Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Utah Prisons

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www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[International Connections] [Utah]
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Health Care for Muslims Under U.$. Occupation

white nationalist charlie daniels plays for troops

I started reading [The Straight Scoop from Charlie Daniels (see excerpt below)] with the thought, "Oh, he has some good music" and ended up with the, "never again will I listen to country music." All country music is patriotic, racist pig rhetoric. Take old Toby Keith's bullshit soldier songs.

Motherfucker, Charlie Daniels, those Taliban have been victims, their land was invaded, their wives and children murdered… Let's see your pussy ass go through that and not have a heart attack!!!

It's his conviction that he's so right that's frightening. And he is amerika. The epitomy of the average amerikan right there. Ignorant, proud, uppity, evil, wrong!

The Straight Scoop from Charlie Daniels... I've just returned from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Naval Air Station base where we did three shows for the troops and toured several locations around the post visiting with some of the finest military personnel on planet earth. The kids seemed to really enjoy the shows and especially liked "This Ain't No Rag, It's A Flag" and "In America." … The truth is that these scum bags [Taliban detainees] are not only being treated humanely, but they are probably better off health wise and medically than they've ever been in their lives.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Charlie Daniels is taking up the Michael Moore (maker of the film Sicko) amerikan populist line on health care. MIM(Prisons) calls for the u.$. to provide universal health care to all people in countries under u.$. occupation, while white nationalists get indignant because a thousand prisoners of war get medical attention while they are tortured in long-term isolation. Daniels thinks long-term isolation is humane, and is pissed off that they are getting such good health care. This is amerikan chauvinism at its finest as our comrade points out.

Any humynist would be pissed off that the only way Third World people have been able to get decent health care under imperialism is by being captured and tortured by the imperialists. At home, with their family, such care is not available. Racists like Daniels and Moore think Afghans and other Third World people get what they deserve, while amerikans need more when they have access to Viagra, boob jobs and an endless list of medical technology that is purely recreational and not related to survival.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Utah] [ULK Issue 13]
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Dear Pig


Everything you are
is everything I hate
Everything you love
is everything I ain't
I want to live
you are already dead
I struggle to achieve revolution
Divesting knowledge like you do bread
The day your obese heart stops
and all you know ceases to exist
I'll still be sweating truth
Your daughter my wife, you not missed
Keep me here for years
but know the longer I stay
my mind's building the future
how it'll be one day
Understand I'm a man now
not that weak confused child
What pain you caused me growing up
will return, boomerang, anything but mild
For now I sit
starved, rattling my chains
but I'm stronger for this
You weaken by the day!

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[Theory] [National Oppression] [Utah] [ULK Issue 14]
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Trading hot dogs for freedom

amerikan hot dog

While reading MIM Theory 11: Amerikkkan Prisons on Trial about how all United $nakes prisoners are political prisoners, and most all of these are oppressed nations, it made me question if maybe these statistics differ much in the state of Utah?

The Utah population is mostly white, so much so that over half of us convicts in these chambers are white. This statistic must really be an anomaly in the overall U.$. percentage rate of those incarcerated. Of course it's poor whites who can't afford lawyers who are caged here. But what saddens me to my very soul is seeing these whites running around with swastikas saying they love Amerikkka. Saying it's not the unjust in-justice system that targeted them for slavery but it was because they chose this path, they chose not to work and slang drugs. Did they choose too to have their fathers and uncles institutionalized, I ask? Where was your father growing up, where was your dad when you were starting to buck the system that you supposedly love so well? Not in prison? So your son is now destined for the very same fate as you and your father...and you love this system?!

We were served hot dogs for the fourth of July and these people, my peers, were happy. Yelling out on the tier, "Happy fourth of July." I screamed back, "Fuck Amerika!" If we wasn't all in solitary, the looks on their faces would of made the Mona Lisa frown. The audacity of this Communist to say "fuck Amerika." We got hot dogs and fireworks, they say, we have it much better than prisoners elsewhere.

Is this what we've come to now? Even though our families are ripped apart, severed from each other like so many heads from chickens. Now it's our fate to run around headless, knowledge-less, happy that our captors (with swastikas too under sleeves and on hearts) feed us a damn hot dog!

As a child I remember visiting my father here at the Draper prison and even then I felt anger at him and a sort of disgust. Isn't that how they feel on T.V. about criminals? Isn't that how I should feel, too? Well I did. I hated him. His very own son. And why? Because that's what I was "taught" to do. I was mind-fucked into hating my very own father the same way these lumpen racists are mind-fucked into loving a country that takes everything from you but a damn hot dog.

Now I'm the one that's hated when mail call or visiting comes around, ("Whats wrong with you?" looks hidden behind what could have been smiles). I see my nephew's face and the hostility there masked, just barely, and I want to grab the little guy and tell him, whisper, don't listen to them man! Little buddy wake up! Wake up! But visiting is over and mother and grandmother won't allow any of that "revolution" talk in front of the child, let alone any truth in letters. Return to sender. Return to ignorance. Is this how you felt, pops, at our visits? Was that why you looked at me that way? Was it pleading? As you sit in "population" or "Lone Peak work release" and I struggle here in solitary supermax, my brother in county jail, uncles and aunts in CUCF, I understand now. But it took me twenty seven years to do so, twenty seven years of self-hate, suicidal thoughts, homicidal anger, clouds of drug smoke and alcohol fog.

All I ask you sick, demented, money hungry, cold, imperialist nation is one hour. You and me alone in a dark alley. Put down that fascist oppressive stick and take off that bullshit white power mask. We'll see who is the better man. Even with my malnourished body and soul, you'd be the one on the cold concrete, Uncle Sam. You'd be the one eating garbage, unable to get up. Every fiber of my being is now tied up with the Maoist Internationalist Movement. I, or my son, or my son's son will take up the gun beside the people when revolution calls. It's not going to stop until we stop it.

Most of the time we don't even realize anything's going on. Hell, how could we when we have hot dogs?! We must find a way to wake everybody up to what's happening. It's up to us, the youth of today's generation, to figure out how best to halt the ignorance, to wake them up! The old to teach the new and the new to redo or reinvent strategy, reinvent new agitations, new minds who maintain the same line and disciplines but with a spin on dissemination, essays, and politics.

Of course the world knows what time it is but in order for our part of the revolution to have enough strength, enough firepower and muscle to take down the bourgeoisie, we need all hands on deck. We can't be having our own family and peers wearing the wrong colors and waving the wrong flag. In my eyes those who won't listen to the truth, who won't take their eyes off the Seinfeld reruns, family included, those are the ones who will first trip up the movement. They'll give the pigs the momentum to take us down. Personally I'm in prison because a family member called the kops. The more I'm learning, the more I understand the underground status, and believe it applies universally. And that's what makes it difficult to lead by example or spread the word. This contradiction is an important one and I think the answer or solution is right here in us, in the youth. We just have to realize this.

I send strength to all comrades worldwide. As one!


{Saved by the bell

we are made this way,
then punished for being this way!
be afraid motherfuckers
its back to school today.}

MIM(Prisons) adds: Yes, Utah is an anomaly. The Black nation makes up half of the U.$. prison population, while representing about 12% of the overall population. And that is one legacy of the material basis for building socialism among Blacks and not whites. We should try to ally with all who can be allied with, but as we see Amerikans "waking up" they are too often turning to fascism.

Actually, this is a good test case for the "re-proletarianization" of the United $tates. Some argue that we must organize Amerikans now in a mass movement for socialism because as imperialist crisis advances they will become proletarian again. First of all, Amerikans have never been a proletarian nation. They began as an oppressor nation over the indigenous people of the Americas, followed soon after by African slaves and countless other peoples throughout history.

Utah prisons are an interesting example because we actually have a majority white population losing their economic privilege as well as facing extreme repression. And technically, a portion of them are even being economically exploited. An economic collapse in the u$ will not suddenly cause a boom in industry, so a lumpenization is a more accurate description of what will occur than a proletarianization. In this sense, the Utah case study parallels the hypothetical future Amerika pretty well.

So, what is the result? A minority of whites, like our comrade here, will become radicalized towards finding solutions to the inherent contradictions in the system. The majority of whites will cling to their heritage and wave Amerikan flags and scream white power.

All U.$. citizens are criminals—accomplices and accessories to the crimes of U.$. oppression globally until the day u$ imperialism is overcome. All U.$. citizens should start from the point of view that they are reforming criminals. Comrades like the writer are already well on their way to becoming contributors to a brighter future for humynity.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Utah] [ULK Issue 11]
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Utah's Finest

To protect and serve or belittle and torture?
It's the same to me, to them I'm not sure
Kind of feels like these pigs they feel that
They enjoy our deaths, our "suicides" and body bags
Abu Ghraib wasn't a fluke or freak of nature
Those atrocities pale in comparison to what I see here
Except this stuff's o.k. if we're Amerikans?
Faces filled with expressions of understanding
Loving benevolence as if they're doing me favors
And I'm deserving of my cage, not a slave here
Questioning my motives, like "Why's he fighting back?"
Your corrections made me this way, that's real as a heart attack.

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[Prison Labor] [Utah]
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Responses to Prison Economics from Utah

Greetings comrades! I am writing to you today to first and foremost thank your organization for all the work being done to educate the sleepers.

I received your notice and letter about the pigs refusing the literature you sent to me. I was not even issued a copy of the rejection slip by the prison mail room. They are by policy required to notify prisoners of any and all mail refused by the facility, but following policy is not of concern to the oppressors! I am glad to have received ULK #7. There was plenty of good info in there and I have passed the newsletter around to others.

In regards to money being made by the prison, I am a witness to the way prisoners are performing cheap labor in this hell hole as the prison gets contracts with outside corporations. For example, UCI (Utah Correctional Industries) employs prisoners to make products for any corporation including the united states military. The prisoners are paid anywhere from 90 cents to $5.45 to work for UCI an hour. They must give back 60% of their total pay to the prison. So each prisoner is roughly making $1,144.50 a month, but they only bring home roughly $400 bucks after the prison gets their cut off top.

Then the prisoner must turn around and buy food off of commissary, which is extremely overpriced. So the prison is again making money. The UCI job is the best one as far as pay, that a prisoner can get.

The section jobs (in house stuff like food handler, section cleaner) only pay $62 a month. These jobs are what keep the prison functioning and the pay is a joke to say the least. There are not enough pigs to fill the positions prisoners hold and if the convicts would stand in solidarity to demand higher pay it would make some changes have to be made or the institution would not function.

Yet problem number one is the lack of solid convicts who will stand as one against the oppressors. Number two is that only a handful of prisoners have any income from family or friends, so they must work and accept the low pay, just to purchase general needs such as soap, deodorant and other hygiene.

The system is well designed to stay with a full belly at the expense of the poor, oppressed prisoners it houses. Prisons are huge money makers for somebody, and its time for the people to come to power and take control of our environments to live righteous lives!

Keep up the good work MIM!

P.S. Here’s a list of some more jobs that prisoners perform to keep this place running: laundry services, food prep, grounds keeping, plumbing, and the UCI makes all clothes issued to prisoners and for purchase of commissary.

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[Prison Labor] [Utah]
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Utah prisoner labor

Here at Utah’s plantation they’ve cut jobs that used to pay $60 a month to just $7 a month and thrown out a lot of positions. So one guy does the work of what used to take several. The prison does manufacture houses in their carpentry program, and UCI commisary has convicts making sweats and shorts down in Gunnison, then selling these products back to the U.$ and community. I’ve been out of population for a year now but the above is what I was seeing at that time.

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[Organizing] [Utah State Prison] [Utah] [ULK Issue 9]
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Unite to work with MIM(Prisons)

Since I last wrote to you I’ve been studying with MIM(Prisons) cell study course and had the privilege of seeing one of these punk pigs here at the Utah Supermax solitary unit fired. Not only was Feikert fired for sexual misconduct, but it seems he’s pursuing a lawsuit himself against the DOC. Let them bite each others swine throats I say. He’s back at work though on some form of legal matter but hopefully not for long.

The interview with Mfalme Sikivu in ULK 7 was right on and I respect what he and the UFD are doing. Though the comrade from Texas’s words were the most heartfelt I believe. I think we should all try harder to see things for what they really are instead of putting our own personal slant on issues. Being a realist for sure isn’t the easiest way to be but it’s the truest.

Take for example my comrades here in UINTA One solitary. Day in and day out these pigs taunt and seek reactions so they can keep us here longer or take all our stuff and place us on strip cell. Most comrades are wise to that approach but it’s when these pigs turn us against ourselves that most convicts become tricked into acting out.

I don’t see how some people can become friends and sit there talking to these pigs. You see my friend just hanged himself and the next day I hear ”I don’t care about you pieces of shit, I never lost a single moment of sleep over you scumbags” or “Spider went home, 4a, Hoopers on early release” as they laugh like it’s funny.

To my comrades in neighboring cells no matter if they’re white or black, I will be beside all you comrades when revolution is necessary. I see the economic recession as just another sign the U.$. is weakening and I can feel the anger turned to knowledge in each of your ULK submissions. I’m glad to be a part of MIM.

Imperialism is the enemy first, all this other shit second but it’s not time to just wait for a movement. We are the movement, every time one of us wins a lawsuit or cracks a law or history book we win. Slowly we’re winning, growing, learning.

Just keep your heads up out there, especially those sitting in these solitary dungeons. It’s not east-side west-side, it’s the oppressed-side. We are all family in this and we are going to take the power back because we speak truth, we bleed justice.

I am alive today because of MIM and the ideals I’ve learned there. The anger's not focused inward anymore, but outward towards learning how to better myself instead of destroy myself. Because they want us to go off, they want us to die. It’s what they don’t want that scares them, that gets through to them. They fear real equality, justice and peace. I mean their minds can’t grasp the possibility of liberty for all. It’s our jobs to blaze a trail, to show the way.

Budget cuts here at the USP have knocked indigent envelopes down from 5 a week to just one a week which is hateful. The fact that paper got cut too from 25 pieces a week to just 5 is a matter I’m grieving (freedom of expression) because we here in the hole aren’t allowed to buy any writing materials other than 15 envelopes a week. So we (some of us) have 15 envelopes but only 5 pieces of paper.

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[Organizing] [Utah] [ULK Issue 7]
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Trading short term violence for long term struggle

I've spent my whole life being angry and confused with law enforcement, the U.$., and just people in general. In my confusion I've taken my anger out on the pigs these past fourteen years, with many assaults on officers, attempting to disarm an officer, anything to rebel against this system of lies everybody has fully embraced and accepted.

I'll admit for a while there I was beginning to believe I was the problem: not having pride in the Amerikan troops in Iraq like the rest. Hating these pigs for giving my father the raw deal over and over. My whole life witnessing my family deteriorate by losing touch with each other because most all of us are felons. Never being able to fight back because there's not enough money to fight these charges, paying fines eternally.

I want to thank all the comrades who put the word out about your beliefs and platform because my blinders are off because of all your hard work. You see I'm currently in Utah's UNITA One facility. It is Supermax solitary, or intensive management unit (the hole), for just plain anger related incidents. I came to prison this time for attempting to disarm a pig. I figured I'd take one of them fuckers out at least, and my life would seem worthwhile or my family would feel the utter hate I have for these people who have destroyed everything I hold dear through their constant harassments.

I'm 26 years old, just eight months ago I wrote to the Maoist Prison cell, seeking reading materials to pass the time. These past eight months I've become almost drunk on all these misconceptions. I've been exposed to the truth. I feel anger still, but it's not at those small town pigs, it's at the imperialist pigs who run the U.$.

Now there's a whole bigger picture and I want to contribute to the struggle. I see now it's like they wanted me to go off so they could just brush me aside and either kill me or place me in a cell. I feel the rightness when I read Mao's words and see the total wrongness in this system, in these CO's eyes as they torture us, force medicate us. I was very close to just succumbing to these offers of medications. Like I said I thought it was me who was wrong, seeing Amerika as evil. My struggle brought me here though, and I'm happy for that because my mind's just been seeking the rhyme and reason and my back's been strengthened enough to put my weight behind just such a cause.

I smile now at these COs when they toss my cell or write me up. I laugh at these psychiatrists when they tell me I need medication. I feel pity the same way a person feels pity on a weaker boxer in a title bout. For these pigs, they'll lose.

So for now I'll continue my study and contribute all I'm able to the fight with hopes of gaining enough wisdom to spread the message to a lost soul like I was someday. I'm literally the only prisoner in my section (the hole) who is not all zoned out on medications. I was very close to being unable to even struggle with anything but my own medicated thoughts - out of despair I came close to just getting on medication. Yet my drugs is in my exercise knowing there's many years ahead to fight a just cause. My drug's in the look on these guards faces when a grievance causes loss of jobs, positions and face. I live now in a torture chamber, the lowest possible position (except death row three sections down) a man can be in. But I see myself rising to the most high position possible: comrade in a struggle to bring true justice to the world's population.

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[Organizing] [Legal] [Censorship] [Utah] [ULK Issue 7]
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Combat their Violence with the Law

I'm in solitary and they have strict magazine/newspaper rules, meaning no magazines/newspapers and just this last week they said no books. I'm grieving them on the books and all the returns using this case law: Prison Legal News v. Lehman 397 5.30 692 (9th Cir. 2005) - prisons may not prohibit prisoners from receiving non-subscription mail and catalogs, Sonnels v. McKee, 290 F.30 965 (9th Cir 2002) - prisons may not ban gift publications for which prisoner has not paid, and Morrison v. Hall, 261 F.3d 896 (9th Cir. 2001) - prisons may not ban receipt of subscription publications sent by bulk, third or fourth class mail. I've tried writing to the mailroom and explaining the way they've been in the wrong, nicely. But it seems there's no other way but to grieve and most likely prosecute.

It's not just mail and books I've been grieving and this might be why they have been holding/denying my mail. I've grieved mental health all the way to level three and also medical for deliberate indifference. They have mentally ill prisoners over here in solitary who regularly get peppersprayed, stun gunned, thrown around, thrown on strip cell, and even end up killing themselves. The C/O's kick their doors every count, waking them up. Calling them names, egging them on. Sgt. Feikert commented just last week as they zipped up Mark in his body bag, "No big loss, this scumbag did us a favor, we need the bedspace."

I read a piece by Emile Capouya called, "Laying Down the Gun," that says this about C/Os, "The policeman's... training... [is] directed to a single object... making the system safe for the powerful. The deformation of character he suffers may be greater or less than that of the 'other' born losers he is paid to keep in line, but I imagine it must be substantial." And I can see it in their faces. They're in the belly of this beast called prison even though they go home to sleep. I've been locked up for six years, but against my will. They drive their sorry selves here each day.

But isn't the key in the general strike? If that was awakened again I believe it could work. It's not about violence, is it? I don't know but like I told these other organizations, if you could have talked to me one year ago I wouldn't have been able to tell you there's 2.3 million people caged in the U.$. of A's prison industrial complex. In my mind I knew something wasn't right and I literally saw no better way than to take a couple cops with me, hence my disarming an officer charge. But now I have something larger and more pressing to put my weight behind. I just hope others like myself see the truth before it's too late for them.

MIM(Prisons) says: We also spend a lot of time explaining to prison mailrooms and administrators when they are breaking their own rules and laws. But often they will not address the misdeeds and it is then necessary to prosecute in the courts, as this comrade explains. Unfortunately, this is usually the case, as years of reporting in Under Lock & Key have documented. Like the quote in this letter implies, this is only to be expected from those who are trained to serve the interests of the state. While oppression of certain groups serves the state, so does a semblance of bourgeois democratic rights. That is why we can usually count on the courts to give us a more fair shake than the pigs will. Such battles are necessary survival tactics for the oppressed and for the movement.

The author, like many who write us, is someone who used to think killing cops was the only way to defend himself from the attacks he faced. Prison staff abuse and disregard the lives of prisoners regularly as he describes. Lives are at stake in the amerikan prison environment, both prisoners and cops. Yet official policy institutionalizes violence by encouraging a culture of punishment while often denying any administrative recourse for those who are being abused. In many of these same facilities, even outside parties such as MIM(Prisons) have no recourse with these state employees, nominally servants of the people, when they violate our guaranteed rights by preventing us from communicating and associating with others.

MIM(Prisons) works with comrades like this to find a real solution to these problems because fist fights and stabbings are not the answer to abuse in prisons. We hope that the prison administration will recognize this and begin treating prisoners like humyn beings. Studies have shown that the u$ prison system inherently breeds abuse, while history demonstrates that only a socialist prison system that puts the interests of the world's people first can provide a viable alternative where those who have committed real crimes are restored and not victimized. So it is important that we use long legal battles to build outside pressure and oversight on what is going on inside u$ concentration camps today, in order to bring this contradiction of capitalist society to the forefront while building a broader anti-imperialist united front.

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[Control Units] [Utah] [ULK Issue 7]
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Utah classification system - we must rise above

Here in Utah the lower your classification number the higher risk you are. For example, level 5 prisoners have gate passes and can work in the community or get home visits. Level 4 and 3 prisoners are housed in general population, level 2s are housed in one of two different control units here at the Utah State Prison, depending on if they are considered STG or not, and level ones are housed in a single man cell, with no commissary privileges other than hygiene or writing materials. If you are a level one and in the hole, then you come out three times a week for a fifteen minute shower. You're walked on a dog leash, cuffed and shackled with a spit mask placed over your face by two pigs.

I've been a level one prisoner before and I am grateful for the learning experience. I can tell you first hand that this injustice system is designed to break your mind, body and soul. The best way to combat this system is to first educate ourselves and one another. Unity is essential to our survival and our rise out from under the oppression!

I would like to give thanks to MIM for all the work y'all do to educate the masses. I can go on for days about the conditions of control units and how some of us rise above and how others fall for the okeydoke. Please send me more literature whenever possible.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Locking down the fighters against injustice as so-called "high risk" prisoners is one strategy used by prisons across the country to fight prisoners' attempts to organize. It is true that prisoners are given privileges for closing their eyes and ignoring the injustice and brutality of prison. And those who rise above and take up the anti-imperialist fight are given control unit housing.

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