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Under Lock & Key

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[Control Units] [Florida]
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Solitary Confinement Torture in Florida

Evidence is never impartially investigated or presented at disciplinary hearings. Contrary to claims of disciplinary teams, captives are railroaded and cheated, subject to arbitrary one-sided, kangaroo court, despite the evidence (camera and/or eyewitness) in captive's favor.

Air Conditioning is used as a torture device in disciplinary confinement. Cells are kept freezing cold, so cold that frost can be seen coming from the AC vent. Captives are allowed no sweat shirts or long johns from their personal property, only thin, torn and inadequate state issued blues, boxer shorts and socks in these freezing cold cells. Cruel and unusual, inhumane. Lights on, whistle blow wake up calls 4:30 a.m. every morning including weekends screaming "wake up, get dressed, bunks made." Captives are not allowed under their sheets or blankets till 5:30 p.m., forced to remain exposed to the cold in these locked cells. How cold is it? Between 50-60 degrees. Prolonged hours of cold causing numbness of bones.

Confinement meals are always cold due to being intentionally left to sit on the food cart in the hallway, way before feeding time.

Strip (property restriction, steel) captives are placed on steel or strip by overseers for 72 hours or more at a time in these cold cells. Stripped of all property except boxer shorts and a steel bunk, based on fabricated reasons of zealous overseers. If captives are caught under their covers, or wrapping themselves in their sheet worn under their blues, or overseers claim that captives are too loud, standing on the door or talking on the door, overseers will lie that captives have been disruptive and disorderly. They would write on a captive's contact file that he is being disruptive even while he's not just so he can be placed on steel or gassed (sprayed with chemical agents, i.e. pepper spray). Picture prisoners being gassed, placed on steel, and receiving more disciplinary reports. Captives are being gassed or placed on steel for asking for 303s (grievance forms), request forms, sick call forms and/or ink pens, tooth brushes, tooth paste, toilet paper and other necessities permitted by law but are denied.

Captives arriving in confinement any time after the monthly issue date of tooth brushes or the biweekly issue date of tooth paste or the weekly issue of toilet paper are deprived until next issue date. No toilet paper? Use your hands or your sheets.

Captives cannot file complaints due to being intimidated with retaliation or due to being denied ink pens and 303 forms. The grievance box is empty, not because captives are okay but because of the above mentioned reasons. Without ink pens, captives can not only not file complaints, but cannot write or contact family or outside sources, cannot fill out sick call or canteen forms. Overseers and the whole administration adhere to the rules only when and if convenient.


MIM(Prisons) adds: It is descriptions of conditions like this one that led us to initiate the campaign to shut down prison control units. Part of our work on this campaign is documenting both the conditions of torture in these isolation units and systematically documenting where and how many of them exist. Write to us for a survey of control units in your state if you can provide an accurate count for your prison or others.

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[Education] [Latin America] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 27]
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Prisoners Study for Early Release in Brazil

Time is Knowledge
Brazil has instituted a program in its federal prisons to allow prisoners to earn an earlier release by reading certain books and writing reports on them. In a country with a maximum prison sentence of 30 years, they recognize the need to reform people who will be released some day. The program is interesting for us because it's hard to imagine Amerikans accepting such a program, in a country where there is no consideration for what people will do with themselves after a long prison term with no access to educational programs, and prisoners who do achieve higher education get no consideration in parole hearings.

This reform in Brazil seems to be quite limited. Only certain prisoners will be approved to participate, there is a limit to 48 days reduction in your sentence each year, and the list of books is to be determined by the state. Meanwhile, the standards applied for judging the book reports will include grammar, hand-writing and correct punctuation. Which begs the question of what are the prisoners supposed to be learning exactly? Writing skills are useful to succeed in the real world, but being able to use commas correctly is hardly a sign of reform.

In socialist China, before Mao Zedong's death, all prisoners participated in study and it was integral to every prisoner's release. Rather than judging peoples' handwriting, prison workers assessed prisoners' ability to understand why what they did was wrong, and to reform their ways. The Chinese prison system was an anomaly in the history of prisons in its approach to actually reforming people to live lives that did not harm other humyn beings through self-reflection and political study. This type of system will be needed to rehabilitate pro-capitalist Amerikans under the joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations. It is very different from the approaches of isolation and brute force that Amerikans currently use on the oppressed nations.

While it would be a miracle to have in the United $tates today, the Brazil program demonstrates the great limitations of bourgeois reforms of the current system. The books are to be literature, philosophy and science that are recognized as valuable to the bourgeois culture. And the standards for judging the prisoners will be mostly about rote learning. The politics that are behind such a program will determine its outcome. Without a truly socialist state as existed in China during Mao's leadership, we can never have a prison system truly focused on reforming people.

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[Spanish] [Campaigns]
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Quejate, Quejate, Quejate; un Movimiento Creciente para Democracia

En este numero de Under Lock & Key estamos presentando reportajes de camaradas en varios estados quienes están dirigiendo esfuerzos por una campaña para tener las quejas de prisioneros eschucadas y respondidas por oficiales y empleados estatales. Esta campaña ha ido creciendo en popularidad, con mínimo esfuerzo por MIM(Prisons), pero aun muchos no han oído de ella y hay mucho espacio para expandir. Para todos que siguen inspirados por los ricientes esfuerzos de prisioneros en California y Georgia, pero sienten que sus condiciones no están tan avanzadas, les sugerimos que laboren con la campaña de quejas encabezada por USW para empezar ha organizar gente en tu área.

Las acciones básicas necesarias para avanzar la campaña de quejas son:
1. Presentar quejas sober las problemas que enfrentas donde estas. Hacer que gente a tu alrededor presenten quejas. Apelar tus quejas hasta el nivel más alto.
2. Si tus quejas no son contestadas, organiza la gente a tu alrededor para firmar y enviar las peticiones de quejas creadas por USW, distribuido por MIM(Prisons). Mande cartas siguiendo to queja periódicamente para averiguar la condición de tu petición. Manda respuestas a la petición de quejas a MIM(Prisons).
3. Si tu estado todavía no esta cubierto por la petición de quejas, pero tus quejas siguen sin contestación, traduce la petición para que trabaje para tu estado. Esto requiere buscar citaciones y pólizas, y figuran a quién sería mejor para mandarle la petición.

Aunque conseguir respuestas a las quejas es esencialmente un ejercicio en reformismo, vemos promesa en estos esfuerzos porque luchan para darle voz a unos de los mas oprimidos. Esto es una lucha democrática en una parte de los Estados Unidos donde la menor cantidad de democracia existe. Americanos te dirán que eso es la chiste, "haces el crimen, haz el tiempo." Pero nosotros no estamos de acuerdo. No pensamos que la sistema prisionero de los E.U. tiene algo que ver con justicia o aplicar leyes sociales imparciales a sus ciudadanos. La simple realidad de que la mitad de todos prisioneros estadounidenses son Nuevo Afrikanos, mientras que sólo son el 12% de la población de E. U., rebate la teoría de un solo golpe. En general, las naciones oprimidas han visto un aumento de democracia en los Estados Unidos, pero aun un creciente segmento de estas naciones, estan teniendo sus derechos negados legalmente. Esos que han cometido crímenes reales en contra del pueblo y deben pasar tiempo en prisión bajo estándares proletarios, creemos que un programa de reformación criminal requiere responsabilidad de ambos lados.

Algunos han empujado por campañas para darle derechos de votación a prisioneros como un método de aumentar los derechos democráticos de prisioneros. Pero nosotros vemos elecciones imperialistas como algo que tiene muy poco que ver o nada con las condiciones de naciones oprimidos. En contraste, vemos la campaña de quejas como una campana democrática que nosotros podemos apoyar porque verdaderamente puede tener éxito en dandole mas voz a prisioneros en sus condiciones de día a dia.

La campaña de quejas a cual nos refirimos fue originalmente despertada por unos camaradas de California en enero del 2010. Desde entonces se ha extendido a Aroznoa, Colorado, Missouri, Carolina del Norte, Oklahoma y Tejas. Las peticiones son puestos al dia regularmente basada en reacciones que recibimos de aquellos usandole. Los tres estados que son particularmente activos recientmente son Tejas, Carolina del Norte y Colorado.

La campaña en Colorado se lanzo justo antes de que recientes reformas fueron promulgados en la sistema de Colorado como resultado de resistencia pasiva por trabajadores de prisión siendo usada en industria a escala-grande. Similarmente, la petición de Missouri es especifica a sus condiciones de censura alrededor de una nueva póliza prohibiendo música con clasificación consultiva de los padres.

En este numero, hay dos reportajes saliendo de Tejas demostrando los niveles variantes de organización dentro un estado. Un camarada en la unidad Connally reporta de una demostración masiva. Mientras otro camarada ha diligentemente presentado las quejas máximas que ha podido por casi dos años, el ha probado que este camino es inútil por si solo. ¿Pero cual es la lección aquí? ¿Valen la pena nuestros esfuerzos? Nosotros decimos que no hay derechos, solo luchas de poder. Nosotros ya sabemos que la sistema de injusticia va ha abusar de la gente, esta hecho para controlar ciertas poblaciones. Para ganar una lucha de poder, el otro lado tiene que sentir un tipo de presión. Algunas veces una queja a un nivel mas alto es suficiente para aplicar presión. Pero cuando el nivel mas alto esta involucrado en la represión, va requerir mucho mas que la queja de una sola persona. Mira el ejemplo del encerramiento de Escocia. Un camarada reporto que quejas estaban siendo ignorados, como ha sido común en Escocia antes del encerramiento. Pero hemos oido por un ULK corresponsal de ULK, Wolf que una combinación de quejas de prisioneros y partidarios de afuera resultaron en mejoramiento de condiciones, aunque pequeños. Esto es paralelo a las peticiones para acabar con el zoológico de modulario 2 en la prisión estatal de High Desert, que conoció algunos éxitos este año pasado.

La lección no es la del consiguiendo un poco de tiempo fuera de las celdas, o una gorra, es una gran victoria. La lección es como prisioneros y sur partidarios de afuera trabajaron juntos y ejercieron su influencia sobre el DOC como un grupo. Al mismo tiempo, un camarada de Carolina del Norte reporto como resistir a solas puede ser riesgoso.

Nosotros pensamos que la campaña de quejas es un buen paso firme para camaradas que dicen que unidad y conciencia estan faltando en su área. Como sabemos por los reportes en ULK, las condiciones en la mayoría de las prisiones en todo este pais son muy similares. Entonces la base para organizaciones masivas debe existir aunque requiere algún trabajo duro para empezar. Circular la petición de quejas no requiere mucha gente para empezar, y todos pueden identificarse con ella.

Un líder USW involucrado en la campaña original en California salió ha cuestionar la eficacia de la táctica de firmar peticiones mandadolas a oficiales estatales y observadores oficiales. El/Ella propuso moverse hacia demandas para hacerlos tomar atención, particularmente después de que un miembro del personal del CDCR insinuo que no oirán ni, una queja sin demanda. Como Jon Q Convict indica, todavía hay otras conexiones que hacer entre la campaña de quejas y el acceso a los medios de comunicación en estados como California para crear mas responsabilidad para los captores. La mejor táctica va depender en tu situación, pero la petición es un buen lugar en donde empezar y poner las aguas a prueba.

Este trabajo no es solo un camino para juntar aliados localmente, pero esta conectando luchas a través del país. Un camarada de Massachusetts fue inspirado por los esfuerzos de un camarada de Florida quien estaba teniendo problemas movilizando a otros y escribió ha decirle, "A mi camarada de Florida, te quiero decir que te mantengas fuerte." El/ella siguió ha citar Mao, "En tiempos de dificultad no podemos perder la vista de nuestros éxitos, debemos ver el brillante futuro y debemos animar nuestro valentía."

Por supuesto, opresión siempre existirá bajo imperialismo, porque es una sistema definido para la opresión de algunos naciones a otras. Y no podemos esperar usar reformas para componer una sistema que tortura gente y luego ignora remedios administrativos para cubrirse los traseros. (pagina B) Pero nosotros tenemos que empezar en algún lugar. Y la campaña de quejas abarca mucho de las batallitas que nosotros hemos peleado no mas para poder leer lo que queremos, hablar con quienes queremos y para tener una voz en esta sociedad.

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[Gang Validation] [Organizing] [Security] [California] [ULK Issue 27]
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Prisons Create New Tools to Validate, Prisoners Seek New Methods of Protest

Recently I received notice of change to regulations number 12-03, publication date 25 May 2012, effective date 10 May 2012, that is said to affect sections 3000, 3375 and 3375.6. It states the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) seeks to establish requirements for an automated needs assessment tool to be used to place prisoners in programs that would aid their re-entry to society and reduce their chances of reoffending by identifying the criminogenic needs of offenders.

The presentation appears to be harmless, but it is not harmless for those ignorant enough to boast about their gang involvement, family criminality, and other sensitive factors that will become readily available and quickly cross-referenced and correlated with information contained in intelligence files. In addition, the information gained from the compass core assessment official record can be used as an "administrative determinate" under 15 CCR 3375.2(b)(11) in addition to 3375.3 (9)(4)(A) & (B) which is the foundation not only for validation but for intelligence analysts.

Issuing a list of demands to prisoncrats telling them what their validation process should be is ludicrous, as is the idea of telling your body when it should have the urge to excrete. Cats are quick to want to make demands without any leverage, though prisoners no matter where they are confined, have economic leverage that they are not willing to exercise because cookies are of more immediate import.

Since the 1880s the concept of boycotting, or organizing to engage in a concerted refusal to have dealings with prison/jail stores or commissaries, has been a very powerful tool. In California it deprives the CDCR of a source of revenue. It also affects the bottom line of prison profiteers, whose profits are guaranteed by what amounts to cash transactions for hundreds of millions in profits and revenues, courtesy of prisoners who lack the will to sacrifice luxuries for a while in order to exercise necessary economic leverage, to compel some administrative change.

Prisoners in California should remember that canteen goods originally were purchased at wholesale prices and then marked up 10% and the proceeds over the costs and expenses went into the prisoner welfare fund to finance many programs and activities that benefited prisoners. This changed with the rise of Pete Wilson, the governor who used prisoner welfare funds to help finance a re-election bid which opened the flood gates for all sorts of misuse of the foundational purpose of the prisoner welfare fund.

The validation process is a means of control and manipulation that I have noted that some general population prisoners and sensitive needs yard (SNY/PC) prisoners embrace as a sort of badge of honor, only to belatedly find out the effects. In ULK 26 an Oregon prisoner points to the most significant problems with the divisive nature in the development of LOs who are in competition with each other.

It's common for me to hear cats hollering that they are Blood this, Blood that. Crip this or Crip that, Norteño, Southsider, Bulldog, skin head, nazi, etc., trying to tout some bogus gangsta facade that ordinarily would land them on Corcoran SHU 4B and validated. These boastful cats are easily co-opted and manipulated. Their delusions of grandeur provide Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) with a wealth of intelligence via their eyes and ears on the tier.

A perfect example is the Corcoran prisoner's statement about cats in ASU I (Administrative Segregation) laying down in fear of IGI retaliation for exercising their right to file an appeal! Typically conversations over the tier are recorded when IGI doesn't have a reliable agent to make note of what he sees and/or hears. As to the idea of not taking a cellie as a form of protest, the typical response is privileges taken for 90-180 days and 60-90 days of early release credits are taken. Cats who are addicted to sports programs or television or canteen will cave in every time because they lack the will to sacrifice luxuries for the cause.

Prisoncrats treat gang membership or association as a tool of extortion used in their agenda of touting the violent nature of street or prison gangs.

The CDCR is rife with crooked officials and staff and the secretary, governor and legislature are unable and unwilling to purge itself of those who regularly falsify reports. Supervisory staff/officials fail to address the problems so as to encourage the misconduct and repression. At the same time they are quick to feed a naive public a laundry list of bogus incidents to justify the administration's unwillingness to reform itself.

I try to examine all aspects of the criminal injustice system to see what tactics we can utilize in our struggle effectively, even if I have to employ them alone. I sacrifice luxuries already so I know it's possible and a little something for all to consider.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade raises a good topic of discussion: it's important we evaluate the tactics that will be effective in fighting prison repression. There are a limited number of protest options available to prisoners, and some will be more effective than others. Whichever tactics are best may vary by prison or state, but the fundamental task of building unity for the struggle remains the same across the entire criminal injustice system. Comrades in California continue to strategize on the best ways to build on the recent prisoner rights activism there. Join United Struggle from Within and work with other anti-imperialist prisoners so that we aren't stuck employing tactics on our own, but rather in a united front across facilities, organizations and nationalities.

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[National Oppression] [Release] [New York]
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Parole Denials, Solutions, Winning Cases

I am writing to your publication to report some troubling statistics concerning Black men incarcerated, the parole system, and the latest Supreme Court cases regarding parole denials.

Black men incarcerated

There are approximately 27,494 Black males in the New York state prison system (50.8%) - New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) - and, that's over half (51%) of the prisoners in custody as of January 1, 2011, according to DOCCS Under Custody Report: Profile of Inmate Population. These figures are extremely drastic, appalling and warrant investigation by the United Nations, because Blacks are being targeted to fill up NYS prisons in order for certain whites to maintain employment in the rural areas up north in NY.

Black females incarcerated

In NY prisons DOCCS is warehousing 965 Black females (43.7% of the female prison population). Of the total number of prisoners (54,109) under custody in NY (including DOCCS, jails and other facilities), 2,206 (3.9%) were Black female, according to the Under Custody Report (2011). Compare these statistics to the white prisoners women who are only 1.5% of the prison population.

Blacks and Parole

Dating back almost 50 years, the Board of Parole (BOP) commissioners have been denying parole to Blacks more than any other ethnic group in NYS. Despite our (Black male and female) efforts to rehabilitate ourselves via obtaining education (GEDs, mandated programming by DOCCS and college), the BOP continuously denies Blacks parole at an alarming rate compared to other nationalities. Also, for years the BOP has utilized the nature of the crime as the sole reason for denying Blacks parole - although the nature of the crime (NOC) will not change - it is whatever someone was locked up for. This means that those convicted of some crimes have no chance at parole no matter what they do in prison. This amounts to the BOP admitting that prisons are not about rehabilitation since the one thing a prisoner can not change is the NOC.

In a recent ruling the court wrote: "...they [BOP] cannot base their decision exclusively on the seriousness of the crime and must explain their denials in detail..."(1)

On March 31st, 2011 several significant amendments to the Executive Law (BOP) were signed into law - including Executive Law (Exec. Law) 259-c(4); however, BOPs "lawlessness, arbitrariness and their refusal to follow the mandates of the legislature..." warrants an independent investigation by the United Nations (UN) for further scrutiny about denying parole to eligible inmates who have earned their freedom by doing the right thing (i.e. completing their minimum, taking responsibility for their crime(s) and obtaining their mandated programming).(2) If you are reading this article and you have been denied parole after March 31st, 2011, or you know someone in NYS-DOCCS who has been denied parole unfairly, then please be aware of the following cases recently appealed by inmates that - as a result of their litigation - were released:

  1. Velasquez v. NYS Board of Parole (Feb 6, 2012)
  2. Thwaites v. NYS Board of Parole, 934 NYS 2d 797 [see also Pro Se, Vol 22 No 1] and;
  3. Winchell v. Evans, 27 Misc. 3d 1232(A) (Sup.CT.Sullivan Co. June 9, 2010), [reported in Pro Se, Vol.20, No.4].

All the above cases (Article 78s) are winning cases which resulted in prisoners - who chose to litigate their matter by challenging the BOP - being released from DOCCS custody.

Out of twenty years of my incarceration, I have witnessed the BOP deny parole to many men and women based upon their nature of the crime - despite their efforts to rehabilitate themselves. Some of these people have earned Master degrees, Bachelors and the minimum of an Associate degree, only to be denied by the BOP commissioners who judge the prisoners for a period of 15-30 minutes, if that, during their parole hearing.

The nature of the crime doesn't, will not and cannot change so why are we being denied parole solely based on the very element which will not ever be different?

Conclusion

In my humble opinion - after serving 20 years in NY DOCCS - the only way we prisoners will receive justice is by taking our case to the UN for review. How do we attempt to go about this? Reflect back on the Egyptian people and how they were successful in spreading the message of support for their cause via internet. This tactic will have to involve our families who are already walking around with cellular phones all day so this should not be a difficult project. I strongly believe that we can change the BOP unfair practices against us Blacks and Latinos. If we care enough to work together, putting your petty differences aside to bring our relatives home. Our family members have served their time, changed their lives by establishing entirely new ways of thinking and by obtaining higher education. It's time now for our people to step up and support our cause for challenging the BOP unfair parole denials against Blacks and Latinos.

Notes:
1. Pro Se, Vol.21 No.5 2011
2. For more information contact parolereform.org


MIM(Prisons) adds: As we reported in our review of The New Jim Crow, these statistics on national oppression in the criminal injustice system in New York mirror what happens across the United $tates. This author makes a good point about parole hearings and reasons for denial. If parole is going to be based on the very crime for which someone is locked up, there is no point to having a hearing. If prisons in Amerika were truly serving a rehabilitating purpose, the work prisoners do educating and changing themselves should be the primary basis for granting parole. It is good to hear that some court cases are being won on this front.

We do agree that this is a battle worth fighting to help get our comrades onto the streets sooner, but we don't anticipate the imperialist-dominated United Nations to offer any support for the oppressed people of the world. We may win small reforms through the courts and with mass protests, but the only way to truly put an end to the criminal injustice system is by dismantling the imperialist system it serves.

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[Campaigns] [Fremont Correctional Facility] [Colorado]
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Grievance Campaign Update in Colorado

I have received a response from the Warden - Ms. Susan Jones - who was only temporary (we've had three wardens in the last 6 months here at Fremont Correctional Facility) and it was a two paragraph "toe-the-CDOC-company-line" statement of how CDOC has a solid policy for grievances and all are addressed all the time. Basically a complete lie, as it did not raise serious awareness for our issues here at FCF.

However, there have been at least 30 inmates who filed the Colorado Petition that I know of for a fact, and only a few of us actually got a response, the identical B$ response that CDOC is doing the legally right thing, BLAH BLAH, BLAH, and that these matters have been addressed. Well, they literally have done nothing, and now with another new warden, all petitions were also reported to the U.S. Attorney General's Office as per the petition design, so at least somebody outside Colorado's corrupt system got the same message. I have not received a response from them, nor has anyone here that I know of.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is building off the grievance campaign that is spreading across the country. The petition for Colorado was designed for exactly the situation described here: prison administration ignoring prisoner's grievances while pretending they are following policy.

This campaign is part of the United Struggle from Within organizing work to gain some basic protections for prisoner's legal rights. We know that under the existing criminal injustice system we will never have broad sweeping change. But as long as we live in a bourgeois democracy, and not a fascist state, we can win battles holding employees of the state to their own rules. And the rights won through grievances create space for prisoners to organize and build the anti-imperialist movement. Write to us for a copy of the petition in your state, or to create one if it doesn't exist.

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[Prison Labor] [Organizing] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting Trickery and Abuse by Texas Prison Industries

Without a doubt, prison is a microcosm of "free world" society and with that being said, revolutionary-minded men and women who are serious about combating oppression face similar struggles that "free world" comrades face. Earlier this year, on this unit I sat down with two of my comrades to discuss how we could awaken and revolutionize the minds of the proletariat on this particular unit. The proletariat group we were specifically interested in were those who worked in the Prisons Factory/Textile mill on this unit.

What prompted this discussion was the arrival of a new plant manager who was implementing a new oppressive system. Now I want you to remember in Texas, inmates are not paid anything! Some years ago when the feds took over Texas prisons, a question was put forth to offenders "would you like to get paid for your labor or would you like to receive good time and work time credits toward your sentence?" Offenders were bamboozled and hoodwinked into choosing good time and work time credits. I say offenders were bamboozled and hoodwinked for this reason: I have seen numerous men who had time slips that have shown a combination of flat time, good time, and work time exceeding their sentence length! In some cases I have seen time slips in which offenders have served, or more accurately been credited, 150% to 200% toward completion of their sentence. Why are they still here? I thought Texas Department of Criminal Justice had told Uncle Sam they would honor an offender's good time and work time credits. Comrades - they lied!

So with this and other relevant factors considered I came up with an idea for a "flier" to be posted up on every housing block on Estelle urging Black men, Brown men and white men to stand up. Basically I was calling for a work strike to protest the 10 hour work day and the austerity campaign implemented by the new plant manager. Please note in 2011 the Textile Factory at Estelle Unit made about $1.8 million. How many deodorants, toothpastes, or "zim-zims" and "wham-whams" do you think the prison workers received for their labor? Zero, nada, zilch!

In the aftermath conditions improved slightly inside the factory. Prisoners still aren't paid a penny and are treated like scum. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat. With the application of the dialectical problem solving method as well as employing some "covert" tactics the struggle continues, it's just not "televised," or telegraphed.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend the scientific process undertaken by this comrade to think through the contradictions within the prison and figure out what strategies and tactics will be most effective in pushing the movement forward. This is the discussion and debate that we must undertake within each state and prison.

While the proletariat in U.$. prisons is a small minority (see previous articles on prison labor), these types of organizing strategies are useful in many situations where prisoners are employed in running the prisons themselves.

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[Organizing] [Missouri]
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Pick Your Hand: Oppression or Liberation

I just got done reading Retaliation for Hunger Strikes and New Protest Ideas in ULK 26. My prayers go out to the comrades in the California prisons and every other state's human warehouses who have to suffer from retaliation when we exercise our rights. Although Missouri isn't gang affiliated as bad as most states. We still suffer from racist DOC workers who enjoy making our time hard.

I want to touch on what the CA writer said about prisoners running scared. Man this is common here as well. It's hard to get unity in a place that only wants to divide and conquer. Why would these professional kidnappers want us to unite? They know when we turn against each other, some will eventually turn against themselves. When this happens we as a whole crumble like cookies in a closed fist.

I like to use this metaphor a lot when I am talking through my cell door to other comrades. Picture this, in one hand you have some sugar, in the other hand you have feces (shit). Now there comes a time in everyone's life to choose what they want so they can push forward in life. You have to pick which hand you want to live with, because sugar and feces do not mix!

Every state human warehouse has it's own ways of suppressing us. We as a whole should never look at another comrade across this racist country as if we're better off where we're at, with comments like, "at least we don't have to go through what their going through." No, you're wrong for saying this or even thinking this way. Each of us are comrades (soldiers) in this struggle and when one comrade hurts we should all feel it. When one comrade falls down after so many battles with these racist pigs, then we all should help him up and protect his mind, because let's remember they may have our bodies, but they will never get our minds unless we give it to them.

So let's choose the hand with sugar in it. Stop the cookies from crumbling and unite as a whole. Then enjoy the sweetness of overcoming our oppressors. Keep fighting CA comrades and know you're supported even though I'm in Missouri. Do what you have to do to let them know. But stay healthy in the process. A soldier, a comrade always stays in training, both mentally and physically. Stay up and always stay real!


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade demonstrates in practice how to uphold the Unity principal of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. "WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Texas] [ULK Issue 27]
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New Prisoners Isolated as Security Threat in Texas

The control units here were designed for prisoners the state couldn't control physically. Later it became a place for those it couldn't control mentally as well. Example: I was placed in Administrative Segregation immediately upon my arrival in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) because of tattoos. These were used to confirm me as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG). I don't deny I am a member of [an organization]. However TDCJ made it a rule violation to be a member of any STG. All members are placed in isolation, no matter if they participated in clashes or not. I was never given a chance in population nor is any other confirmed member of any STG. We are all judged on the actions of others who are/were incarcerated.

If an organization will give over a list of its ranking structure and work with the state, then the label of STG may be removed. Prisoners can return to population if they participate in Gang Renouncement and Disassociation. Yes, it's a program and they attempt to program the individual. It's straight up brain washing.

All organizations (or gangs as they call them) were in population somewhere. Only by their own actions should they be segregated, admitted to the Special Management Unit or ADX.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Across the country prisoners are placed in isolation based on labels the prison imposes on them. Often this has to do with who the prison administration thinks they associate with, and nothing to do with the prisoners' behavior as described above. Either way, these isolation cells are torture, causing many to become both physically and mentally sick. MIM(Prisons) is keeping one of the most comprehensive counts of control units as a part of our campaign to abolish control units. To help collect statistics for your state write to us for the control unit survey.

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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The Corcoran Report: Rolling Back the Few Hunger Strike Victories

This report is on the conditions at California State Prison - Corcoran 4A SHU (CSP-COR). It is written with the purpose of sharing with comrades locally and nationally the demise of the movement here at CSP-COR, and what will be necessary for comrades of the United Struggle from Within (USW) to regain momentum uniting those capable of being united in the struggle to abolish the Security Housing Units (SHU).

The author has been housed at CSP-COR SHU on an undetermined SHU sentence that resulted from a battery on a peace officer with serious bodily injury. This was an event orchestrated by Kern Valley State Prison's corrupt guards. Any prisoner who has been somewhere within the California prison system knows the history of CSP-COR and the high degree of guard corruption; everything from murder and police brutality to conspiracy against prisoners for complaining against officials. Here at CSP-COR I've personally witnessed staff abuse the power bestowed upon them by California and its California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) union for the purpose of keeping their foot on prisoners' throats and preventing our freedom of speech.

There is a code of silence practiced by the majority of staff at CSP-COR, dubbed the Green Wall, and it's alive and well here in 2012. Where once it was isolated to those in green (correctional officers) it has now spread to those within the medical department (nurses, doctors, and psych staff), the legal library, the mail department, the food services department, and the religious department. This is not to say that every person who works for the CDCR is a part of the Wall; there are individuals who can be used to expose the system for what it is. But the state's institutions seem to be uniting its forces more these days against prisoners for the sake of covering up the problems and sweeping important social issues under the rug.

On 4A, the law librarian prevents any access to his facility unless a prisoner has a deadline from the courts or a state. The prison law library is the most important resource for prisoners, providing literature that guides the ability of prisoners to more effectively prosecute cases in the judicial branch of this government. Prisoners need things like computers, copies, typewriters, reference material, etc. The CCPOA knows this and take away prisoners' access to one of the most important resources they have through understaffing and budgeting. Political power in the hands of prisoners presents a threat to the financial security of every vampire of the U.S. prison complex. And because it is not only a possibility but also a social reality, the state and the union seek to stall the success of the prison movement, particularly in the area of free speech, free assembly, and right to grievance which becomes free protest.

I've also witnessed officials censor prisoners' mail because the contents of the correspondence or periodical didn't sit well with the agenda or idea of the state-union establishment. Often a pig in the position of sorting incoming/outgoing mail is issuing, withholding, or completely disposing of a prisoner's mail for malicious reasons. Brothers at Corcoran SHU have a difficult time just corresponding with the outside world. Officials with their personal vendettas, and most times negligence, confiscate materials such as stationary packages sent to a prisoner from their family. They then turn around and try to trade the material with another prisoner who has filed a grievance against them in exchange for the prisoner's silence on the subject of the grievance.

They trash mail that may expose the reality of the state-union corruption. Most times they secure the support of the public by declaring the "security" threat as a threat to the public. But if the matter was placed under the microscope where the real public could hear and see the position of prisoners, they'd be forced to recognize that the blood of prisoners are on their, the public's, hands.

California uses a department regulation 3135(c)(1) in order to validate censorship practices in its prisons holding that the material is "...of a character tending to incite murder, arson, a riot, or any form of violence or physical harm to any person, or any ethnic, gender, racial, religious, or other group." Most times, though, this isn't even the case. It isn't the security of the public that is at stake, it is the financial security of the labor aristocracy that is at stake.

After the Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) hunger strike prisoners received a number of small concessions from the state. Here they've already begun to renege on their deal. They allow brothers to wear their personal kicks and at times purchase new kicks. There are clear color pen fillers on the store, beanies are issued in the winter, and someone from the psych staff walks around once a week and passes out a sheet of paper with eight to ten puzzles and a calendar for the Jewish month. But CSP-COR officials don't even recognize the elements with the most material substance of the PBSP core demands. There is no group yard, the cages do not have pull up bars, and the ab-roller equipment that was issued has been banned. The canteen has not been expanded, there haven't been any added TV stations, and prisoners still can only receive one package per year.

The guards are banning Prison Legal News and MIM(Prisons) publications, but allowing religious periodicals like the Trumpet. Any attempts by prisoners to come together to figure out how to curb such BS is interfered with by means of vandalizing cell inspections, shortening food rations, confiscation of property/privileges, and bogus rule violation reports. Take, for example, an event that occurred where various Special Needs Yard and Disciplinary Detention prisoners of Black, white, and Latino nationality were on the cage yard exercising together, calling out their routine in cadence to coordinate the exercise routine. The yard pig approached the group and interrupted their exercise stating they'd have to cease the group work out as it was gang activity. The prisoners objected asking, "was the Marines a gang?" The pig wouldn't answer, so they continued exercising. The pig called the building where these prisoners were housed and instructed 4 coworkers that the prisoners involved in the exercise routine were to have their cells vandalized.

This is a brief description of the abuses taking place at CSP-Corcoran. There are a few class actions being initiated and a certain USW comrade is organizing prisoners (peacefully) around a campaign to oppose mail censorship. The USW comrade said it all started with CSP-Corcoran censoring MIM(Prison)'s correspondence.

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