Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Washington Prisons

Postage is one of our biggest expenses. Why not send a book of stamps or two to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140 next time you're at the post office? help out

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.

[Spanish] [Elections] [Washington] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Barack Obama y la nación oprimida de aristocrasia laboral

Ahora que Barack Obama ha asegurado la nominación del partido Democratico de los Estados Unidos, es importante que nosotros informemos nuestra nación oprimida de jovenes que esta siendo controlado por las mismas fuerzas que controlan George Bush, lo cual son corporaciones multinacionales, grupos de presión politica y capital patriarca internacional.

Es aparente que Barack Obama será el siguiente presidente de los Estados Unidos considerando la emoción del pais sobre el y la indispocisión de la nación de separar John McCain de George Bush.

Este es el más grande momento decisivo en la historia de los Estados Unidos, porque Barack Obama tiene el potencial de transformar la nación oprimida en este pais en una aristocracia laboral al costo del Tercer Mundo. Esto fortalecerá el imperialismo Estadounidense y debilitará la revolución en un sentido porque entre más y más Negros y Latinos ganan beneficios de la nación opresora, esas naciones oprimidas estarán menos servicial para pelear por el proletariado internacional. Esto a la larga transforma los inmigrantes en el grupo revolucionario numero uno en este pais y el grupo más servicial para pelear por el proletariado internacional.

Aunque Negros y Latinos representan la mayoría de esos encarcelados en carceles y prisiones hoy, verdaderamente creo que el sistema criminal de injusticia como también la policia drasticamente incrementarán sus campañas para encerrar más inmigrantes, y eventualmente los inmigrantes serán la mayoria de esos encarcelados en el bordo de los Estados.

Por cierto, estamos mirando esta tendencia desplegarse a como hablamos. Inmigrantes son el segmento más rapido de crecimiento de los estados y el sistema federal penitenciario. [Casi todas las estadisticas sobre encarcelamiento no separan enmigrantes de "Hispano" en general, haciendo esto difícil de confirmar pero esta creciendo la evidencia que esto es verdad. Existe un aumento significante en construción detenciones federales a lo largo del bordo tras cada ves más leyes draconicas de inmigración y reglas en años recientes. Mientras tanto, la población general de prisioneros ha continuado aumentando, pero algunos sistemas estatales han empesado a recortar. Nosotros recibimos más contribución y investigación en este tema.]

Los prisioneros Estado Unidences son actualmente el segundo más grande grupo revolucionario en este pais. Un muy importante, y algunos incluyendo yo argumentará que este es el más grande punto de vuelta en la historia de Estados Unidos y historia del mundo, y nosotros debemos poner una perspectiva apropiada en este momento crucial de historia. Es aparente que estamos dirigidos hacia ocho años de Barack Obama como presidente de los Estados Unidos y tengo un presentimiento que los siguientes ocho años (2008-2016) será el tiempo más importante en la historia de los Estados Unidos y el mundo.

MIM(Prisiónes) responde: Pensamos que este prisionero ofrece algunos comentarios valiosos sobre la nación oprimida dentro de los bordo Estado Unidence juntandose con la aristocracia laboral. MIM ha estado diciendo por años que las naciónes oprimidas son una parte de la aristocracia laboral, entonces no estamos de acuerdo que tomará Obama ser presidente para causar esta transformación. La realidad de vida en Amerika es que todos los ciudadanos se benefician de la economía de este pais imperialista y eso incluye las naciones oprimidas dentro. Por lo tanto, el interes de clase de naciones oprimidas dentro ya esta con el imperialismo. [Mira MIM Teoria 1 y MIM Teoria 10 para más detallada economia y analicis politico de clase dentro de los bordos Estadounidenses.]

Miramos naciones oprimidas dentro como potencial revolucionario por sus intereses nacionales. Pero estamos de acuerdo con este prisionero y su punto en general que el gobierno Estadounidense podría empujar hacia adelante la condición nacional de naciones oprimidas internas para elevar sus intereces nacionales para alinearlos con el imperialismo. La historia de Estados Unidos tiene bastantes ejemplos de naciones oprimidas juntandose con la nación opresora, pero esos grupos eran blancos de diversos paises, como los irlandeses [mira Colonos: La mitologia del proletariado blanco escrito por Sakai.]

chain
[Control Units] [Washington] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Control units used as retaliation in Washington

I read your article about lockdown units, I’m in a Special Offender Unit. We have only one program, it’s like a hygiene class or something that is only available half the time, and a GED program with very limited extra topic access, which for me is hard because I’m college level in everything but math and punctuation.

We are in shackles whenever we are out of our cells and get dayroom time to watch about 2 hours of TV several times a week. Our cells are flooded almost weekly, the phones are broken much of the time, and I have had mail I sent to my 14 years old son and several legal firms taken.

I’m also told I cannot grieve (fight back through the administrative system), and they will not bring me to the office to call lawyers that do not accept collect calls, and they say none of the offices want to speak to me or don’t answer. This has gone on for over a month. I have two civil suits, one about the legal mail and my family mail being taken and another for failure to administer thyroid medicine. The conditions are very poor and I’ve been punished for asking for attorney calls – having my level frozen at 8 leaving me in shackles with no hope of release.

chain
[Control Units] [Gender] [Washington]
expand

WA Control Unit Inventory

MCC. There are multiple control units at the Monroe Correctional Complex. However, I have never been to any of them.

WSP. There is one at the Washington State Penitentiary that opened over 20 years ago. I have been in this unit and it houses approximately 100 prisoners. The racial make up is approximately 1/3 white, 1/3 Latino and 1/3 Black. The majority of the prisoners are placed in this unit for no reason except dislike by some administrator or guard. This unit has been expanded recenetly but I am not sure to what extent.

WCC. There has been one at the Washington Correction Center for over 20 years. I have been in this unit and it houses approximately 120 prisoners. The racial make up is approximately 1/2 white and 1/2 Black. The majority of the prisoners placed in these units are for no reason except dislike by some administrators or guards.

CBCC. There is one at the Clallam Bay Correction Center that has been open for about 20 years. I have been in this unit and it houses approximately 220 prisoners. The racial make up is approximately 1/3 white, 1/3 Latino and 1/3 Black. This unit is split into three units (D, E and F) and expands into the general population units as needed. For example, D, E and F units are full, then a portion of B-unit will be appropriated as part of the control unit. As the need diminishes, then B-unit goes back to general population.

It is my belief that the state plans to open more control units and that some are currently under construction.

Control units house mostly mentally ill prisoners that are tormented by the guards. Many gays are forced to live in the control units by the guards and are harassed by the guards. Lots of gang members are in the control units for associations but no rule violations. The control units are used for punishment for prisoners that guard do not like. It is very difficult to watch the guards torment others. It is very difficult to get out of the control unit once assigned there.

I have spent approximately 10-14 years in a control unit in the past 28 years of incarceration. I do not dare make an actual calculation for fear of the mental impact of the reality. I recently spent a year in isolation in a control unit for refusing to have sex with a female guard and complaining about being punished by her for it. It is all a matter of public record if you have interest in the matter.

chain
[Control Units] [Washington]
expand

Washington Supermax report

Greetings from the oppressed in the state of Washington's 2nd fully operational 'Supermax' gulag. Since i've been imprisoned here by the fascist pigs and imperialistic/racist government and state powers, the conditions have deteriorated a bit. Currently, we are fighting the pigs, A/C's (assistant cooks), CUS (custody unit supervisor, CO's (pigz) and the Unit Sgt. concerning the quality/quantity of our food. We're being given food that is just reheated from servings 2-3 days previous and lacking enough nutrients to benefit us (ie. 2000 calories). We also have no real outside yard access. We go out to a 10' x 10' concrete box, with an iron screen mesh high up on a wall that only allows us to get a strip view of the sky. The ventilation in our cells blow hard air 24/7. Our cell lights stay on 24/7 (count-light). [MIM(Prisons) adds: this unit was just opened in October 2007 as the first certified "green" prison building in the state]. All of our cell functions (toilet, hot & cold water, lights, air conditioning, heating) are controlled by the pigz in a control/monitoring booth. The water we sue is "re-claimed" water, water already used, and our showers have inadequate pressure & heat. When placed in the showers we're put in a cage with open front were both male and female pigs that are walking around can view us taking showers. Since i've been here, i've seen 3 cell extractions with the "Goon" squad, OC [pepper spray], electrified shields & tasers. They've also moved 2-3 guys of my current tier to ISO for no apparent reason other than filing grievances or complain about conditions or lack of general issue items.

I've heard through the grapevine that the fascist pigz are looking at out-of-state a prisoner chain of 500 (slaves) to be shipped out to MN, AZ, CO, KY, and IN in the next 12 months. I can't confirm this, but i am looking into it.

As far as statistics on the number of people in control units in Washington, i cannot verify numbers for Clallam Bay, Stafford Creek or WCC for Women, but i can clarify and confirm for the following prisons:

McNeil Island has three (3) control units, each unit is single cell, 23hr. lock-down. Each unit holds approximately 30 prisoners, for a rough total of 90+. One pod (unit) is seg, 1 pod is IMU and 1 pod is Mental Health IMU/seg combo.

As for Washington State Penitentiary (WSP), they have an ASU/seg unit that holds 195-200 prisoners on 23 hour lockdown. They (WSP) also has a new 1500-2000 bed CC "state-of-the-art" housing unit that just opened, a 96 bed IMU, and a new "supermax" IMU/ASU that i've been told holds 199 prisoners. WSP also has an medical/mental health 14 cell (1 man) capacity housing. Then they have a SHU, which is where the mental health/protective custody and death row prisoners are housed and it's a 260 bed capacity with another 24 cells for seg overflow.

As for Monroe Correctional Complex, SOU/SOC are the same facilities. SOU(Special Offender Unit) is for Medium/Minimum inmates with a 600+ bed capacity (1&2 man cells), SOC (Special Offender Center) is CC for mental health/sex offenders with 4 units; 2 (CC) with 72 bed, 1 man capacity and 2 IMU/ASU with 72 bed, 1 man capacity. The new "supermax" Monroe Correctional Complex-IMU has 120 1-man 23hr lock-down IMU "supermax" housing cells and 120 ASU-"supermax" housing cells. This is one of two new "supermax" units that opened in the last 6 months. Monroe also has a Seg/ASU unit at Washington State Reformatory (WSRU) with 100-115 bed, 1-man cell capacity, 23hr lock-down. Meanwhile, the WSRU-SHU is medical/psych long-term housing with several 100 bed capacity. Also at MCC, the Twin Rivers Correctional Unit(TRU) has a 20 bed "Temp" seg unit.

Washington Correctional Complex at Shelton has an IMU/Seg unit with 144 1-man cells and a 6-man ISO unit known as COU (Crisis Observation Unit).

These figures are as close as possible, and the units are ALL control/long-term ISO with the exception of WCC Shelton COU and TRU's seg unit. Airway Heights also has a "SMU" (Special Management Unit) Seg which has 45-60 bed capacity of short-term ISO. Again, most of these figures are very close as i've either been there before or someone has come through here and let us all know what's going on elsewhere.

a comrade in Monroe Correctional Complex IMU

chain
[Prison Labor] [Washington] [ULK Issue 3]
expand

Economic Investigation of Washington State Penitentiary

How many prisoners at your facility?
According to information online, the capacity is 1825, but there are actually 2,240 prisoners being held here.

How many of them work?
An estimate will show that around 250-280 work as correctional industries employees. About 150 of these work on the sewing complex. The sewing complex is making most of the clothes we, the inmates, are provided with. They also produce materials for out of state contracts. The rest work on welding, license plates and perhaps other work. They make all types of stuff, from bunks to tables and everything they need to equip a cell.

Another form of employment that they have for inmates is what they call "Inmate duties." They pay from 35-55 dollars per month, depending on what type of job you get. Basically, this kind of job consists of cooking, cleaning, serving the food, washing the clothes and anything that is needed to run and keep a place like this clean. There are probably another 250-270 inmates working these types of jobs.

Who do they work for?
As far as I know, everything at this place is supposedly run by the state.

What work do they do?
As I mentioned earlier, sewing and welding are the main industrial jobs. The rest are not considered jobs, but "Inmate duties."

How much do they get paid?
The industrial complexes pay up to a dollar ten cents per hour. The rest of the jobs go from $35 to 55 per month.

Now, up to this point it might not seem like a big profit is being taken, but there is. Who is profiting from all this? The working class in this country, which is not exploited as they claim. Considering that those industrial complexes are run by the state, this is how I would explain who is profiting from all this. In this place there are around 280 inmates who are doing correction industries jobs. If we assume that all of these 280 inmates are working 40 hours per week, we would have 582,400 hours per year of work by this group. At $1.10 per hour, 582,400 hours of labor in the industrial complex would cost $640,640. If now, we decide to do this job with the same amount of people, but instead of paying them $1.10, we pay the Washington state minimum wage of $8.07, then the labor alone would cost $4,682,214. They are saving over four million dollars by using inmate labor, just in this place alone, comparing to state minimum wage salary. But most of the state industrial jobs are well-paid jobs in the outside world. So, if you compare these kinds of jobs, we have another loop that I cannot resolve myself, but will likely account for millions of more dollars in cost savings. I would assume anybody would get paid from 13 to 20 some dollars on the outside for welding work. This could mean a savings of over $10 million.

So far, we are talking of the cost of labor assuming that the state will use all of its products, which is a lie because they have sent products overseas. Now, all this profit will get shared down to every single person who works for the government, especially the department of corrections and the state police. How will this be shared? Better medical care than civilians, better salary than civilians, and better retirement plans. Better exemptions in tax collection. They benefit in so many ways, from which regular civilians are excluded. That is the main reason they support more incarceration rather than trying to educate the prison population in making better choices, if you want to call it "making a choice" when you have been culturally bombed to act stupid.

So when you stated in your article about prison labor that "corporate America do not benefit or do not benefit as much as people have suggested," I believe you are wrong, especially when you look at the benefits of corporate America not as monetary benefits, but rather ideological. Even though there are monetary benefits. Let me ask the following question: Who opposes socialism and the road to communism? Who is in charge of destroying any community based programs for society? Who is in charge of blocking any type of political analysis that tries to make society aware of the necessity to change? Who is in charge of the bad propaganda about Mao, Stalin or Lenin? It is the same corporate America and allies who created the first and second World Wars. To them, the government is just the legal way to repress rebellion. Government bodies are just structures that are defined by how we use them. When Lenin took power, the philosophical structure of the government remained in place, but the practice changed, that is why I believe that you are wrong on this point.

And why is it that when you try to tell people employed by the government about a conscious analysis of history they most likely will reject you? It may not be as big as exploiting the national resources of Third World countries in monetary measurements, but at home they have no opposition because of the juicy salaries they are able to give to their war machine, which is from the DOC all they way up to the presidency. Everybody gets enough to live a luxurious life, when the rest of the world gets screwed.

And the big help lately has been the "cheap labor," the inmates who willingly and ignorantly help the government oppress the rest. So I do not think it is correct to say that the government and corporate America do not benefit from it. Inmate labor is too important for this system that the prison population will only increase in this country and in any other capitalist country.

MIM(Prisons) responds: After a discussion with the author we uphold that we have less disagreement than they seem to think we do. MIM(Prisons) never stated that corporate amerika does not benefit from the institution of prison labor or prisons in general. And we agree with the author that the bourgeois state serves to benefit the imperialists as a whole. We have only suggested that it is not corporate profit motives behind decades of prison boom, but rather the national and bureaucratic interests of the oppressor nation that the author describes above. We can even agree that prison labor is too important to the system for it to go away. But that is because it would become cost prohibitive to run the prisons that are already becoming too expensive for public tastes. This is in contrast to the super-exploitation of the Third World (in terms of labor, not just natural resources) that the imperialist countries could not exist without.

Other than asking what are the interests behind the u$ prison industrial complex, we are also looking at the question of the existence of a proletariat within u$ borders in our research on prison labor. Competitiveness on the international market for low-tech items such as clothing indicate that Washington's correctional industries pay a wage that is approximately competitive with the Third World, ignoring state subsidies and other trade irregularities that prevent a truly free competition. One such subsidy is the fact that prisoners are provided room, board and limited necessities before they are paid the $1.10 per hour. For this reason these wage rates are not directly comparable to the Third World. Regardless, these figures seem to suggest that there is legitimate exploitation of labor power going on here, and not just the transfer of surplus value between various labor aristocrats as occurs in most of the First World economy. But being a part of this greater social reality, and considering that most will likely be free u$ citizens again someday, we still see a predominately petty bourgeois consciousness among u$ prisoners. More are amerikan dreaming to be the next Jay-Z or Big Pun instead of trying to organize prison labor to seize the means of production for the people.

The calculations done by the comrade above are an excellent example of exposing the economic realities within u$ borders, and we encourage others to follow this example to create reports in their own state or facility to print in Under Lock & Key. Of course, if prisons didn't use prison labor, they would probably import furniture from China, not hire amerikan welders. This cost comparison would be harder to come up with, though certainly the prisons themselves have done it and decided that prison labor is cheaper. However, work that must be done on site would be paid the minimum wage at least, and would account for additional millions of dollars added to the estimate above.

Finally, one of the most important points we can take from this report is that this is all state run, as is most common across the country. As we argued in our article that sparked this discussion, Amerikans: Oppressing for a Living, the cost savings are going to reduce the need for taxes for all u$ citizens, while providing the funds for wages and benefits for those who work for the state and especially the departments of corrections and the police, as stated above. If these industries are also pulling in profits from sales overseas, again this money is presumably going to offset/subsidize state expenditures. It is a form of state capitalism that lays the groundwork for fascism quite nicely integrating the corporation into the state and providing direct monetary benefits to the general population for expanded oppression.

chain
[Legal] [Censorship] [Washington]
expand

Inmate Mail and Communications in WA

According to WAC 137-48-050 procedures for restrictions of incoming and/or outgoing mail, the Department of Corrections does not usually comply with paragraph (1) or (2) of this section on 137-48.

The Department of Corrections is not sending publishers or senders a copy of the mail restriction according to the mandatory language of shall.

For example, WAC 137-48-050(1) states in pertinent part:

...This notification shall be provided to the inmate and the sender of the specific publication, letter, or package which has been restricted and the reason for this action.

Another example, WAC 137-48-050(2) states in pertinent part:

The inmate and sender shall be advised in writing of his/her right to seek review of the decision to restrict his/her mail...

The Department of Corrections in Washington State is not abiding with this mandatory language in the code.

Publishers and senders are not receiving notice and this is a Due Process issue according to the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution and also violates 1st Amendment Rights for the publisher and senders of publications.

Inmates probably have no standing to challenge the issue, but the publishers do. My advice to all inmates in the Washington State Department of Corrections to do is send the publisher or sender a copy of the restriction. Inform them of the WAC 137-48-050 mandatory language. Also explain to them the fact that they have standing to challenge the Department of Corrections under 1st and 14th Amendment grounds for censorship and Due Process. The more inmates that do this, the more prison mailroom and administration will be working that prisoners will start seeing less mail restrictions coming to them.

Also challenge on your appeal how the rejection affects you by not allowing the publisher notice since prisoners cannot even see what is being restricted, how can a prisoner effectively appeal the mail restriction? This is another issue every prisoner should challenge in court too. The fact us prisoners cannot see what the Washington Department of Corrections is censoring or restricting there is no effective appeal process because it leaves the keepers with total control without giving prisoners a "meaningful" avenue to peaceably redress government violation of the 1st Amendment and 14th Amendment grounds.

The more people that unite together the more we can expose the hypocrisy of the so-called state administrative governments. Exercise your rights, because if you don't they will continue to take and take until you are totally defenseless. It is better to try and fail than not doing anything for yourself and fellow man. Past generation prisoners have died for what few rights we have such as clean conditions, medical care, food, mail, etc. Don't let the new prison administrators take without a fight.

MIM responds: This comrades points are in the spirit of Black August, which is now coming to a close, when we commemorate the history of the prison movement behind bars; the struggles, both successful and failed and those whose lives were taken. And as the comrade points out, it is still worth fighting even if you don't win immediately. Particularly when there is a movement that you are fighting as a part of. With enough appeals from prisoners and outside groups we can put enough pressure on the prison administration in Washington and elsewhere to at least follow their own rules, if not change their rules.

In 2001 we passed two resolutions in Congress calling on MIM's Prison Ministry to take leadership in fighting censorship. The first resolution took ownership for the censorship of our literature as a violation of all writers for MIM Notes, many of whom are tax-paying amerikkkan citizens. So, we fully agree with this comrade's call for distributors, particularly anti-imperialists who are being targeted with this censorship, to demand their so-called "rights" to free speech and association be respected. Our Prison Ministry regularly fights the censorship we face through legal and administrative challenges. Prisoners can help by letting us know when they do and don't receive the literature we send them and sending us copies of any rejection notices and facility regulations. And of course, those who are serious about winning this battle can contribute through articles like this one and by leading legal battles on their own behalf as the writer suggests.

The second resolution we passed in 2001 established a regular report of humyn-rights violations in u$ prisons, with a focus on censorship. Following this resolution we also began reaching out to other groups working with prisoners to compile information on censorship. Only recently have these efforts become visible to the public on the Prison Ministries new website www.prisoncensorship.info. This site will feature news from prisons, including everything printed in ULK, a searchable database of censorship incidents, and rules and regulations compiled by state and facility. (On the site you can view the most recent rejection notices that Washington DOC sent MIM for political cartoons that contained swastikas.) We will be using this site to begin issuing regular censorship reports again, which will be more detailed than we were able to do in the past. We will also be accepting submissions of censorship incidents from other organizations and individuals and incorporating them into our work. We hope these efforts will encourage more collaboration with other groups, lawyers and prisoners in fighting censorship within the u$ injustice system.

chain
[Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution] [Washington] [Oregon]
expand

MIM United Front lit banned on 2nd Amendment

MIM recently sent free issues of our magazine MIM Theory 14: United Front to many of our comrades behind bars. The response by prisoncrats was widespread censorship, that should be of concern to everyone from the National Rifle Assocation (NRA) to New Afrikan Liberationists.

The Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution sent us a stack of violation notices and a comrade in Oregon State Penitentiary forwarded us a copy of a violation notice that they never sent to us themselves, despite regulations requiring them to notify both the sender and the intended recipient. All of these censored MT14 complaining about page 92 and 96 of the Black Panther Party Reprints section of the magazine. On page 92, Field Marshall Don Cox says, "more and more gun control legislation, the guise under which the people are being unarmed, is being passed every day to take away the democratic right to bear arms, which in turn dehumanizes you by preventing you from exercising your human right to self-defense." While most NRA supporters will balk at the Panthers efforts to unite the oppressed for self-determination, if they want to protect the right to express one's opinions on the right to bear arms and self-defense they should support MIM in this case.

The main article on page 96 is "Message to Revolutionary Women" from Candi Robinson, which stresses the inherent unity of Black people in revolutionary struggle, while acknowledging the need for Black wimmin in the movement to educate Black men about gender inequality, among other things. The prisoncrats did not specify which part of either of these articles was deemed "inflammatory material," the reason given for its censorship.

Washington State has simultaneously issued an across the state ban of MT14, as well as MIM Notes 328, 330 and 331. Despite a US District Court ruling in 1999 that disallowed the WA Department of Corrections (DOC) from an across the board ban of MIM publications based on our declared purpose of "struggl[ing to] end oppression by build[ing] public opinion to seize power through armed struggle," they have blocked all four of these publications from entering WA prisons without providing any specific justifications. The only justification given by authorities at Stafford Creek Correctional Facility is WA DOC 450-100, which includes over 30 different reasons for which Incoming Mail can be rejected.

One comrade in Washington did write us to tell us his MIM literature had been censored, with the reason give that it "advocates armed violent struggle against authority." This misrepresents MIM to imply that we advocate that prisoners use violence against Correctional Officers (COs). On the contrary we expressly discourage prisoners from getting into physical confrontations with anyone. We have a long history of comrades behind bars who have stopped getting in trouble for violence after finding more effective means of self-defense through legal battles and public opinion building.

The idea that MIM can be censored because we recognize the need for armed struggle by the oppressed to liberate themselves from imperialism is illegal despite regular attempts by prisoncrats to do so. According to Procunier v. Martinez, the Supreme Court upholds the right of prisoners to receive mail, regardless of the prison official's opinion of the mail content, as long as there are no legitimate restrictions from the prison related to correctional purposes. Our belief in the need to seize power through armed struggle is a belief that we share with Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and the founding fathers of the United States government.

Just prior to going to print, a comrade in Washington State Penitentiary sent us a Mail Restriction Notice for MT14 and the three MIM Notes issues that did state the reason for censorship as being "Advocates armed/violent struggle against authority" and goes on to cite pages 80 and 94. Curiously, neither of these pages contains even a discussion of armed struggle. The first is our statement "MIM on Prisons & Prisoners", which our readers will be familiar with. It merely explains why we oppose the current prison system, how we would change it and the role of prisoners in the larger anti-imperialist struggle. Page 94 is an interview with David Hilliard explaining the ideology of the Black Panther Party. As far as we can tell, these pages were chosen arbitrarily, but we are currently investigating a more thorough explanation in order to combat these instances of censorship.

These instances of censorship are not isolated incidents, but part of a long history of struggle with various departments of the criminal injustice system. Regardless of their reasoning for singling out certain pages to justify censorship, just as u$ court rulings do not allow the censorship of Abraham Lincoln for his statements on the importance of overthrowing the state, they do not allow the censorship of our materials because someone disagrees with our beliefs. We welcome anyone who agrees with us on this point to join us in our struggle against censorship in Oregon and Washington prisons.

chain
[Control Units] [Legal] [Washington]
expand

Washington IMU repression

I have been locked up for 28 straight years; the past few on "state tour" being shipped back and forth between Intensive Management Unit (IMU) facilities.

There are four levels in IMU. Level 1 is a sanction and for those hwo receive infractions while in IMU. Everyone starts at Level 2 (no radio or TV, nor allowed a newspaper or magazine subscription). Level 3 allows one magazine or newspaper subscription; level 4 allows two magazines or newspaper subscriptions. Also, the person on Level 3 is allowed a radio; on Level 4 given the choice between radio or TV.

I am the sort of person they kept and continue to keep on Level 2. Various excuses at different times are given (I have not had an infraction for some time!) The present excuse is because I do not attend monthly review hearing (in writing I am given the choice to attend or not.) I do not attend because of being tired of them writing in reports I said things I never said.

Prison officials may restrict reading material in punitive segregation, although most cases upholding this practice have involved short periods of time:

Gregory v. Auger, 768 F.2d 287, 289-91 (8th Cir. 1985) - inmates in disciplinary detention could be deprived of all but first class mail of a "personal, legal or religious" nature where detention was limited to 60 days), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1035 (1085); Daigre v. Maggio, 719 F.2d 1310, 1312-13 (5th Cir. 1983) - ban on newspapers and magazines in segregation upheld as applied to an inmate who served 10 days); Pendleton v. Housewright, 651 F. Supp. 1354, 1366-68 (S.D. Tex. 1983) - deprivation of publications except for legal and religious material sin solitary confinement upheld where limited to 15 days.

However, the above refers to punitive or disciplinary segregation. They have me on administration segregation. See e.g., Hardwick v. Ault, 447 F. Supp. 116, 128-31 (M.D. Ga. 1978) - mail and reading material restrictions in administrative segregation held unconstitutional. An added interesting note is although I am not allowed magazines or newspapers, I may have books. Isn't that something!?

You can help by sending letters of protest to:

Eldon Vail, Depty Secty, Department of Corrections, PO Box 41118, Olympia, WA 98504

Carol Porter, Superintendent, WA Corrections Center, PO Box 900, Shelton, WA 98584

chain
[Control Units] [Washington]
expand

Intensive Management Units: Behavior Modification or Psychological Subjugation?

From inside of this beast called the Prison Industrial Complex, I find that the agenda upon which its foundation was laid is being fulfilled to our detriment. I find that Black Men are not only being physically arrested but they are also being developmentally arrested, their psychological, spiritual, political and cultural development confined and suppressed to the point of retardation. But what transpires behind these steel curtains is only a replica of what transpires out there in so-called free society on a smaller scale.

Prisons were constructed from the recesses of man's mind yet Man's mind has become subject to prison cells, the very atrocity born of his incomplete thought. I've watched prison cells cause man's mind to regress to the point where he becomes primitive in his application of thought to this reality.

I've witnessed confinement to a cell for 23 hours a day in Intensive Management Units (IMU), sensory deprivation, and the deprivation of human contact cause my brothers to become so consumed by emotions that it distorts their ability to conceive reality. At this stage they lose the faculty of progressive thought and this causes them to become perceptual beings instead of conceptual beings, making it hard for them to grasp concepts that transcend their confinement.

This causes them to fall down on all fours psychologically in regression designating for themselves a cave of ignorance as a domicile where ambition is imprisoned. They're cast out to the peripherals of reality and held hostage there, never pondering the full extent of their inherent potential, therefore never becoming cognizant of the duality in man's nature. Man can exhibit the highest manifestation of life on earth, or he can exhibit the manifestation of an animal in human form, yet it is not a cell that keeps man confined or imprisons ambition.

Physical freedom is concomitant with, and a product of, psychological liberation. These two elements, physical freedom and psychological liberation, are procured through abstract intellectual concepts, not physical precepts. The ability to grasp abstract intellectual concepts and apply them to one's plight frees the prisoner and the lack of ability to grasp abstract intellectual concepts and apply them to one's plight imprisons the free man.

In light of this reality, sensory deprivation becomes self-realization, for it alleviates sounds, smells and circumstances that redirect man's attention from self, causing estrangement between the physical and the intellect and the deprivation of human contact becomes the introduction to self because it forces man to contemplate self.

It is time that our brothers and sisters overstand that in order to transcend our perceptual confinement, we must elevate our conceptual consciousness! Then and only then will we taste psychological liberation and embrace physical freedom.

Uhuru SaSa (Freedom Now)

chain
Go to Page [1] [2] 3