Prisoners Report on Conditions in

West Virginia Prisons

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out 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.

[United Front] [West Virginia]

Dead Man Incorporated Statement of Unity with UFPP

This is a statement of unity issued by Dead Man Incorporated(DMI) to inform all concerned of our alignment to and full co-operation with the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

After discussion we have come to the general consensus that a unity amongst us and other oppressed peoples caught up in the struggle would best suit all involved in the interest of our common goal of ending the tyranny of the imperialist states.

The maintaining of the principles of the UFPP are critical and imperative in our mission. We, as DMI, value Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. From henceforth each of us promise to uphold those principles; mind, body and spirit.

Furthermore, let it be known that We as DMI stand in alliance with the UNited Struggle from Within.

[Organizing] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia] [ULK Issue 59]

Drugs Hold Back West Virginia Organizing

I completed the drug survey from ULK 56. As the days passed I could not stop reflecting on the article “Drugs a Barrier to Organizing in Many Prisons.” Here in West Virginia dope is God and those who supply them are Messiahs. I decided to put pen to paper and add my thoughts to the discourse.

I am currently incarcerated at Mount Olive, which is West Virginia’s highest security prison. Recently the administration severely restricted our yard time. This was done to punish us for the rash of recent murders. Some of the more militant brothers started organizing a peaceful sitdown to protest. The shot-callers immediately vetoed the sitdown.

I was shocked. Then I decided to follow the money, or in this case dope. The gang leaders did not want to antagonize the prison administration out of fear that they would restrict the flow of dope. Drugs were more important than our outdoor recreation privileges.

This is not the only power that drugs have given the administration over us. To curtail the flow of K-2 into the prison we no longer receive our actual mail. We get poor quality photocopies of our mail. There is still K-2 on the compound, but the price has doubled. If prisoners cannot get K-2 through the mail how does it get in? Simple, our captors bring it in. Not only are we enriching our captors, we are increasing their control over us.

Drugs drain all the money off the compound. When prisoners are broke and dope sick they not only rob and extort weaker prisoners, they are grimey with their brothers. This increases the violence on the yard. Instead of working together to improve our situation we make it worse. No unity.

As an old head I lead by example. I abstain from all drugs and alcohol. I do my best to educate the young bloods. No, I do not have much success. As soon as I turn my back they chase the dopeman. I hate to paint such a dark picture, but the truth is not always bright. I look forward to reading the other discourses on this subject.

[Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia]

Prisoner Murdered by COs in West Virginia

On Friday the 12th of June, prisoner David Munday allegedly assaulted an employee at Mount Olive Correctional Complex (MOCC), which is West Virginia’s Super Max prison. The assault occurred in one of the pods out in general population. Mr. Munday was then assaulted (“restrained”) by numerous guards. Munday was handcuffed behind his back, placed in full restraints and he was then taken to medical for treatment. Once he got to medical he was placed into the restraint chair with a mask over his head. It is believed that approximately 15 minutes later staff member noticed he was no longer breathing. David Monday died under suspicious circumstances on Friday the 12th of June, 2015.

The prison has been locked down since the incident took place. Prisoners believe what happened to Mr. Munday is a culmination of the ongoing systematic problems within the WVDOC. Staff believe they are above the law, and that they are the law. They condition us to believe the same as well. If we complain or write grievances they respond with generic answers, outright lie or they will dodge the primary issue with a response that does not pertain to the grieved issue at hand. Then the commissioner in most cases will rubber stamp the Warden’s response to our grievances.

To add fuel to the fire, Warden Ballard released a video to the prison population stating that there’s an ongoing investigation into the incident and that the state police are handling and overseeing the process in Mr. Munday’s unexpected death. He stated several times in the video that he will not tolerate any inmate putting their hands on his employees and inmate Monday’s death is an example of what happens when you do. He then stated that he was not threatening us “he was just saying” and that this is an “example of what life could be like here at Mount Olive.” Although Warden Ballard stated that it was not a threat, it’s crystal clear when you watch the video that Warden Ballard threatened the entire inmate population at MOCC, by stating if you put your hands on his staff, then this is an example of what happens, clearly referring to inmate Monday’s death.

Prisoners here at MOCC received Warden Ballard’s threat/message loud and clear: if prisoners assault staff they will die, just as our fellow prisoner died, helpless in a restraint chair, an “example of what life could be like here at MOCC.” Moreover, the message is clear to all of us here, especially the ones who have survived the routine use of excessive force here at MOCC and the ruthless and sadistic actions of some of the staff employed here at the facility. No matter what Mr. Munday did or who he assaulted he did not deserve a death sentence.

What happened here is not just, and it certainly is not justifiable. Coincidentally, it appears that somehow the media received false information that Munday had meth in his cell. We believe that this false information is being used to justify Munday’s death.

This incident is just one of many here at MOCC. If someone would just take the time to thoroughly investigate the conditions of our confinement, the outrageous number of use of excessive force complaints filed against MOCC, the broken grievance system, and the corrupt, good old boy network here at MOCC, they would uncover a mountain of evidence that MOCC is operating with impunity, they are blatantly and routinely violating their own policies and violating the few Constitutional rights that we have left. We understand that we are prisoners, but the majority of us here at MOCC are good guys who have just made bad decisions, at the end of the day we are still people’s fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons. We understand our situation here at MOCC, this is a maximum security prison but that does not give staff here the right to mistreat us, and lock us up in isolation for years upon years, without due process. Something needs to be done and we hope and pray that someone hears our cries for help, and gets justice for David Munday who we believe was killed by MOCC staff.

[Control Units] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia]

Fighting Segregation, Inspired by ULK

I have just recently been introduced to Under Lock & Key. I regret that I’ve been ignorant to the existence of such an inspiring movement. I commend you all in exposing the harsh reality that is the Department of Corruption nationwide.

Here in West Virginia the nature of incarceration is mostly mental and emotional torture. Segregation time is handed out in 30- and 60-day increments for infractions of the pettiest kind: borrowing someone else’s CD can get you 30 days. Giving a man a soup because he’s hungry lands you in SHU for 30 days. Multiple class 2 writeups get you 60 as well as any class 1. Tobacco products get you 60 days. Then god forbid you get caught with a weapon… that’s 2 years minimum on the “Quality of Life Program.”

The SHU is sensory deprivation to the fullest. There is no access to reading books from the library, and of course no radio or television. If you get no newspapers or magazines in the mail, you have nothing. Get caught passing reading material and it’s another 30 days. It’s a very stressful game to hold on to your sanity.

Though the atmosphere is not very violent, it is taxing mentally. Behind every face is a potential informant. There are few that can truly be trusted and even fewer who can be depended on. We have no unity. Some try to open the eyes of others to see the true enemy, but often times to no avail. Administration members play us against each other at every turn. They oppress religious freedoms and the mere freedom of thought. Voicing opinions in grievances gets you put in the SHU.

I anxiously await the next issue of Under Lock & Key for advice, direction, and inspiration.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The torture of prison control units, like the SHU described by this prisoner, is widespread in Amerika. It is something we have been fighting against for years, many comrades decades, but with little success in actually stopping the torture. Isolation units are used as a tool of social control for a population that the imperialists have no productive use for. In this system, prisoncrats work hard to set prisoners against one another by rewarding snitching as another method of control. Division and fear are powerful tools for the criminal injustice system. Under Lock & Key is an important tool for prisoners to fight back, organize, and unify. Share this publication with others, form discussion groups to talk about the articles, and get in touch with us to share your stories and struggles. There are many more people like the one above who have plenty of experience with repression, but have had little access to comrades and forums for analyzing and struggling to end it. We are working to change that.

[Control Units] [Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia] [ULK Issue 10]

Abuse in West Virginia

I recently read an article in your ULK #7 that really caught my attention. It was from a New York prisoner who was assaulted by correctional officers. I too was recently assaulted by correctional officers here at Mount Olive Correctional Complex, the Supermax, located in West Virginia where I’m currently incarcerated. I have filed grievances, my family has contacted the governors office, attorney general’s office, even local news stations informing them of what happened, and nothing has been done about it. I was recently informed by another CO that the people who did this to me were considered to be “pretty high up on the food chain” around here. Those people include Associate Warden, The Captain, the Prison Investigator, and another Correctional Officer.

I am in need of a civil rights attorney to represent me, but this is a small town. Everyone knows everyone and nobody wants to get involved. What this prison administration doesn’t cover up, the government officials in this area cover up for them. I need your help, let’s stop the abuse, I’m not the only victim in this prison, I’m just the one who’s speaking out against the violence that’s taking place inside these walls.

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