The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[International Connections] [Middle East] [ULK Issue 27]
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Palestinian Prisoners Still Striking Too

When the 2011 food strike was peaking in California, MIM(Prisons) had mentioned similar tactics being used by Palestinians in Israeli prisons. And just as the struggle in U.$. prisons continues, so has the struggle of the Palestinians. A mass hunger strike lasted 28 days this spring, with some leaders having gone as long as 77 days without food, until an agreement was made on May 15.

"The written agreement contained five main provisions:
  1. The prisoners would end their hunger strike following the signing of the agreement;
  2. There will be an end to the use of long-term isolation of prisoners for "security" reasons, and the 19 prisoners will be moved out of isolation within 72 hours;
  3. Family visits for first-degree relatives to prisoners from the Gaza Strip and for families from the West Bank who have been denied visit based on vague "security reasons" will be reinstated within one month;
  4. The Israeli intelligence agency guarantees that there will be a committee formed to facilitate meetings between the IPS and prisoners in order to improve their daily conditions;
  5. There will be no new administrative detention orders or renewals of administrative detention orders for the 308 Palestinians currently in administrative detention, unless the secret files, upon which administrative detention is based, contains "very serious" information."(1)


While the concessions were a bit more gratifying than those that stopped the strike in California, Palestinians still have to ensure that Israeli actions followed their words, just as prisoners have been struggling to do in California. And sure enough the Israelis have not followed through, as leading hunger strikers have had their "administrative detentions" (which means indefinite imprisonment without charge or conviction) renewed. One striker has been on continuous hunger strike since April 12, and was reported to be in grave danger on July 5, after 85 days without eating. Others have also restarted their hunger strikes as the Israelis prove that they need another push to respect Palestinian humyn rights. [UPDATE: As of July 10, Mahmoud Sarsak was released from administrative detention, after a three month fast. Others continue their fasts, including Akram Rikhawi (90 days), Samer Al Barq (50 days) and Hassan Safadi (20 days).]

MIM(Prisons) says that U.$. prisons are just as illegitimate in their imprisonment of New Afrikan, First Nation, Boricua and Chicano peoples as Israel is in imprisoning the occupied Palestinians. The extreme use of imprisonment practiced by the settler states is connected to the importance that the settlers themselves put on the political goals of that imprisonment. Someone isn't put in long-term isolation because they're a kleptomaniac or a rapist, but they are put in long-term isolation because they represent and support the struggle of their people to be free of settler control.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Cresson] [Pennsylvania]
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Pennsylvania Torture Regular Part of Prison Life

I come in the universal salute of peace. I was recently made aware of your movement and newsletter ULK May/June 2012 Number 26. And as I read it I started to see plenty similarities between our causes. I am a native of Aztlán and therefore the ways of valuing self are embedded in my way of life.

Here, like in any other plantation in PA, exist the ordinary issues of: abuse of authority by staff, unconstitutional living conditions, a definitely inadequate grievance system and last but not least plenty of incompetency in the form of correctional officers and other staff who are not fit mentally, intellectually and/or physically to perform their job who seek revenge on us.

June 30, 2012 in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) an incident took place involving a certified mentally ill prisoner who was moved by force to the "reinforced cell/dry cell/ suicide watch cell." After he was placed in that cell the lieutenant sprayed him with pepper spray, even after the prisoner had already stopped struggling. The whole block and every prisoner felt the effects of the spray because they didn't bother to stop the air ventilation circulatory system which let the pepper spray enter every cell. Soon after the prisoners with asthma started to have complications with breathing and vomiting. But instead of providing health care for us, the guards left the block because they couldn't bear the effects of the pepper spray. This happened at SCI-Cresson June 30, 2012 8pm to 1:30am.

I'd like to personally urge any prisoner to educate him/her self in the law of the land and apply it to their everyday life behind bars. Knowledge is the only cure to the fast growing and deadly disease of "ignorance." Being anti-establishment and/or anti-government doesn't mean that you are an outlaw, a villain or a ruthless piece of trash as they see us. No! It means that you would stand for your principles in accordance with how you want to live your life, and apply those principles to yourself and to how you'd like your legacy to be written.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is correct that even events that seem relatively small and common like this pepper spraying incident need to be fought. Prisoners need to learn the legal system and try to use it to our advantage. At the same time, we have to know that we won't win this battle through the legal system. It is a part of the broader criminal injustice system which, as a tool of social control for imperialism, will not give up power without a fight. Only by overthrowing imperialism will we be able to establish a system that truly serves the interests of the people. But while we build for that struggle we can fight the day to day battles to gain some small rights and freedoms for our comrades behind bars, putting them in a better position to organize and build the movement.

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[Organizing] [United Front] [ULK Issue 27]
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Call for Solidarity Demonstration September 9

united front for peace in prisons
SAMAEL is calling on all prisoners to engage in a solidarity demonstration on Sunday, September 9, 2012. We are requesting all prisoners (who are able) to embark on a solidarity fast and work stoppage from midnight September 8 to midnight September 9 in a show of solidarity by:
  1. Fasting for the period above cited unless a medical need necessitates eating.
  2. Refrain from working for our captors (or slow work to minimal output) for the period above cited.
  3. Engage only in anti-oppressor, networking and solidarity actions for the period.
  4. Cease all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities regardless of set, race, custody, gender, religion or other division.
  5. Show respect for our mutual bondage and suffering as well as the sacrifices of all revolutionary brothers and sisters.

This is timed to coincide with the anniversary of the Attica uprising and is intended to draw attention to our devolving treatment and escalating abuse of prisoners by the state.

We welcome all prisoners - confined or not - to show support by participating or speaking out.

Just one day, just one voice!

We do not expect our brothers and sisters to incur casualties or harm - we do want to send a message, not to them only, but to each other. This is an us thing - a true united front.

Just one day.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We support this call from a group participating in the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP) for a day of peaceful unity and protest, and will work with local organizing cells to coordinate this demo. This is an opportunity for the UFPP to build on the principle of Peace: "WE organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."

This 24 hour action will require a little sacrifice by prisoners, but should incur no harm, and should lead to a reduction in violence as all prisoner-on-prisoner hostilities cease for the day. We can build greater awareness of the oppression against which we fight, and build the unity that is necessary for that battle, by organizing groups and individuals to participate. Comrades organizing around the solidarity demo are encouraged to send their plans or reports to Under Lock & Key. Note that copy for the next issue will be due the week of the demonstration, so send your reports in on September 10 to make the deadline.

From Georgia to California, from Virginia to Illinois, all across the United Snakes, let's show that the prisoner struggle is one common struggle.

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[Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Forced to Drink Contaminated Water in Texas

[MIM(Prisons) has received several letters from prisoners about the water situation at Connally Unit in Texas. The water is apparently contaminated and is unsafe to drink. As a result, the prison has shut off the water to the cells, creating dangerous conditions for prisoners who have no access to alternative water sources.]

11 June 2012 - The enclosed mandatory notice about our water [which informs prisoners that water must be boiled prior to consumption] was not sent to prisoners at the John B. Connally unit until after about two weeks of having our water supply turned off and on from time to time. Going without water for days is not only abuse but a human rights violation. Prisoners were consuming this hazardous water without any knowledge of it being contaminated! Now they advise us to boil our water before we consume. These people are either stupid or are literally trying to kills us, because we have no appliances to use to boil water.

Another prisoner wrote:
Now that we have this problem with the water they won't give us dayroom time. Just imagine being in this cell 24 hours a day with no sink water, no flushing water, and, the most important one, no drinking water. Personally I don't think that's right at all. We need some justice, but what do you think we should do to get this to improve? For one thing, we need unity in this unit!

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[Political Repression] [Colorado]
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Colorado Grievance Battle Leads to Punishment

Ever since Colorado prisons were mentioned in your previous issue of ULK concerning the grievance petitions, Colorado Department of Corrections has cut off our hobby work providers in favor of hobby items (colored pencils, paper, crafts, etc.) that are supposed to be sold on monthly canteen. They post these phantom hobby items on our monthly canteen lists, but won't actually sell any of it to us. The administrative regulations were created as smoke and mirrors to retaliate against us for grieving and petitioning (attempting to have a voice / be heard) for their inequities and injustices. So the hobby items simply don't exist in real life. It all looks good on paper when the auditors are here, but there's no one to put these pigs in check, hold them accountable. We have already grieved this issue in mass, what more can we do?


MIM(Prisons) responds: Often we face repression when we speak up against oppressive conditions and for basic rights. There are a few things we must do when this happens. First, publicize what's going on. Under Lock & Key is a good place to expose the prison's tactics. Second, use this opportunity to educate others. Spread the work in your prison about what's happening and organize others around the oppression. Third, continue the fight. Grievances aren't working: try the grievance petition to protect first and fifth amendments in Colorado. It's exactly situations like this one that led to the grievance campaign that MIM(Prisons) is helping to spread across the country. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state.

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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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[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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[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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[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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[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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