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Under Lock & Key

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [North Kern State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 23]
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Hunger Strike First Step in Building United Front

So much is going on right now with the hunger strike reactivated. Here at North Kern State Prison we received a memo stating that whoever participated in the new hunger strike will be severely punished. Wow! They can only make us stronger, so every race is refusing one meal a day to show our solidarity.

My main comment is in response to the so-called comrade calling everybody in Special Needs Yards (SNY) a snitch. S/he was very wrong. As you stated in Under Lock & Key 21, 13 prisons supported the hunger strike initiated in Pelican Bay State Prison in July. CCI Tehachapi is predominately SNY, and all of R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility and Pleasant Valley State Prison is SNY. SNY is 3-to-1 over the very overrated general population (GP), and we don't get validated by SNYs; we get validated by GPs. Unity in the masses is needed. How can you question someone else's loyalty when the very same individual could go to SNY one day? We GPs created SNY, and not all SNYs are bad. A lot of my comrades who are still solid Crips went SNY to get release dates. I can't be mad at that, or anyone willing to debrief to leave the SHU.

In this hunger strike the unity is with us all starving ourselves for the better treatment of our beloved comrades who are stuck in the back willing to die for a righteous cause. I support that! We are all trying to bring a United Front with all structures in the California prison system; not just with a hunger strike, but it's a start. True, the pigs are the enemy and we've let them divide us. We can stand together against them as long as leaders lead right with the positive influence to cease all grudges and stress why the unity is needed. And that's all prisons across the country. All LK, GD, UL, BGF, EME, TS, AB, CCO, UBN, 415, and anything else that's of the lumpen.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Every oppressed persyn should know that there is nothing to gain by talking to the police. But without proper training, and when facing years in a torture cell, many will not know how to respond in a way that serves their interests in the short and long-term. Yet, the hunger strike is so important because of the role the SHU plays in repressing the organization of the oppressed. We want to keep people out of there. And while debriefing is generally translated as snitching, a Corcoran prisoner describes:

"A debriefer who was briefly in this individual's cell told IGI, the individual spoke of the merits of socialism, the history of political resistance to racism in America, and the validity of the socio-economic and political views of Frantz Fanon, Ho Chi Minh, and George Lester Jackson. The IGI told the debriefer this was 'BGF education,' to which the debriefer quickly agreed, framed it in those terms, and parroted what his IGI handler told him to."

The author of this quote, who was validated, is quick to condemn SNY prisoners, describing them as the most violent and discussing the gangs they have formed to work directly with the pigs. While it is true that many LOs work with the pigs, that is not limited to SNY. And while many in prison have given real information to the pigs, the above example begs the question, what do we have to gain by condemning snitches when all they are doing is parroting the pigs? Aren't the pigs in control, going so far as to tell them what to say?

Rather than marveling at the lack of character of the current generation, we need to look at the reasons why so many prisoners are easily manipulated to play the pigs' game. There are material bases for the actions of the masses. If there's too much snitching, then why don't the LOs address the causes for that? What support can you provide your members to encourage different behavior? Because the current way ain't working.

In California, SNY, like SHU, has been used as a tool to break up oppressed nation organizing. But it has become so common that prisoners are questioning the SNY vs. GP split that the state created. We echo this comrade's recognition that California prisoners came together over the last three months across all lines, a good step towards expanding the United Front for Peace in Prisons, and we join this comrade in calling for LOs to continue to come together in this struggle.

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[United Front] [ULK Issue 23]
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Ghost Guerilla Mafia Signs on to United Front

To my comrades of the United Front for Peace in Prison, I give the services of the Ghost Guerilla Mafia to bring together those comrades who are lost in the primitive battles of who's blue, red, yellow or green. As "Gs" we give our full effort to establishing unity, peace, and independence amongst the comrades we encounter. Having first accepted the task of fulfilling the aims of the Ghost Guerilla Mafia, and now the task of serving the people, we recognize our true enemies for what they are. Our battles are not with the people, for we do not do the dirty work for the scum of the U.$. bureaucracy. The goals of the Ghosts are as follows:

  1. Unifying resistance forces, especially among our youth, for the preparation of the overthrow of unjust dictatorship and what we call imperial-democracy in the U.$.
  2. Educating the masses to the political struggles inside and outside the institutions and gulags of amerikkka, and to the past and future struggle of the common people here and abroad.
  3. Standing on the side of impoverished and otherwise oppressed people in their struggles for freedom, justice, respect, and fair distribution of wealth.
  4. Endeavoring for harmony of all indigenous and immigrant minorities in this country
  5. Establishing institutions for learning and expression for the people of our communities
  6. Ensuring the protection and security of our communities from oppressive/insurgent action.
  7. Bringing the poor to power, peace, strength, growth and liberty.

    We appreciate the efforts of all of your brothers and sisters and we are behind you 1000%.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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PBSP Strike Update - CDCR Still Breaking Laws

1 October 2011 - As of September 26, 2011 we have re-started our hunger strike. It was evident that Scott Kernan isn't going to uphold his end of the original agreement on the 5 core demands from our first hunger strike, so action was necessary.

As of September 29, 2011, CDCR removed all representatives in the short corridor as well as the organizers of the hunger strike. They were all placed in Ad-Seg (that's the story CDCR is giving). No one has access to them. We don't know what their condition is, because they are also on the hunger strike.

Scott Kernan issued a memo stating that "Inmates who participate in the hunger strike will be disciplined." On September 29, 2011, Pelican Bay staff started pulling prisoners out of their cells, so they could take all food out of their cells. Even those prisoners who couldn't participate in the hunger strike because of poor health and serious medical needs. Their canteen and food was taken away as a result of the hunger strike.

Today is October 1st, 2011, and we were just told by CDCR staff that prison visits are cancelled due to the hunger strike. This is a direct retaliation by CDCR. It's obvious that Scott Kernan doesn't want information to leak out to the public about how this situation is beyond his control. By CDCR denying our family and friends direct access to us they place uncalled for stress on them as well as a financial burden.

So far CDCR is still using old standards to keep us validated as gang members/associates. I received 1030s stating "other prisoners were caught with my name in their cell," so CDCR is using that to validate me, along with drawings that have a huelga bird on it.

I have to file a 602 on these issues, because in the 2005 Lira v Herrera case, the courts decided that laundry lists and drawings are not to be used as active gang material. So I have a lot of legal research to do on this.

Also, I have just filed a 602 on CDCR for "withholding" a letter from MIM(Prisons). They cited that MIM is asking prisoners to disrupt daily operations of CDCR. So I'm in litigation to get CDCR to give me that letter.

I have to say, our daily struggles from behind the walls will continue as long as this corrupt system continues to abuse the mass of the prison population who are wrongly accused of gang ties, etc.

Long term and indefinite isolation is by all standards inhumane and excessive punishment for any person no matter what his crime is. This places serious stress on any person's psychological and mental state of mind. I personally have experienced a lot of this oppression and abuse by CDCR for the past 12 years here at Pelican Bay SHU.

Things have to change. The current cycle of abuse and the systematic way in which it's applied is more than any human spirit can take. It's a miraculous accomplishment that so many of us still housed here at Pelican Bay SHU still have our sanity.

Well it's no surprise that CDCR just told all those on the hunger strike that they will not be allowed to see/talk to their visitors because their visits were canceled. But those prisoners who didn't take part in the hunger strike will be allowed to visit their loved ones. It's a sad disturbing turn of events, but it's our reality.

My viewpoint on this hunger strike is that these material items such as sweats, photos, colored pens, etc., are not what we really want, but rather are items that should have been part of the established curriculum for the SHU all along.

I am a lifer, as you know, and I can't imagine having to spend the rest of my life living here at Pelican Bay SHU. And I don't want to see youngsters brought to the SHU behind CDCR lies and have to suffer the same fate we are all suffering now.

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[Political Repression] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Retaliation in Ad-Seg for Participation in Hunger Strike

4 October 2011 - Hello and greetings from the concrete tombs of Pelican Bay! This is my first time writing. I came across your most recent publication, it was very helpful, being that I'm currently on a hunger strike since 9/26/11. I was able and fortunate to be able to partake in this worthy cause.

At the moment I am being housed in an overflow unit (Ad-Seg). Every one of us is either validated or serving an indeterminate SHU, we all are awaiting bed space in the SHU. I started my hunger strike on 9/26/2011 in solidarity with all prisoners who are in the same struggle. On 9/29 the cops came around to all those on the hunger strike and announced that all who continue on hunger strike will be given disciplinary "write ups," so a lot of guys accepted their trays and ended their HS. That evening the cops came by again and said all those who are on HS will not only be "written up" but also have all their property taken immediately, so unfortunately only 3 of us out of 64 are currently still on HS.

They (cops) came and took every single thing we had in our cells. It will be easier to tell you what we were left with, they left us with state issue clothes, nothing else, no toothbrush, no books, absolutely nothing. I was fortunate enough to come across this one piece of paper and envelope. Also remember that we haven't even received the "write up" yet, but our property was illegally taken three days after we began our HS.

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[Campaigns] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria All Out for Hunger Strike

4 October 2011 - Regarding the current hunger strike that is going on in California's prison system, Calipatria state prison is participating in A, B, C yards and ASU went on hunger strike on 9/26/2011. Unfortunately the mainline yards have started eating again but ASU still has 100 strong not eating. I came to ASU in April 2010 at a healthy 7'1" 420 pounds and I weighed in at 281 this morning.

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[Campaigns] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria Hunger Strike - Still Fighting

3 October 2011 - Today we close our 8th day of this hunger strike. The ASU here at Calipatria State Prison was the last to stop during the July 1st, 2011 hunger strike. Some prisoners went 27 days. They ended up going to Centinela prison central health for treatment (IV and observation). I myself lasted 16 days. Fell out on the 7th day and was given an IV for a few hours.

This hunger strike is crazy! But living in ASU/SHU for years is straight torture. It changes a person. More than half of us here at CAL-ASU are validated waiting to go to Pelican Bay SHU. I've been waiting a year and a half. So we all got together, and once again have joined the movement.

Last time CDCR retaliated by not giving us our liquids (milk/juice). We 602ed [institutional appealed] it and won. This time around they were forced to give us our liquids. Not much but it's progress. We're supporting the Bay's 5 core demands, but we also have our issues here. We're SHU prisoners therefore entitled to SHU privileges: TVs, radios, shoes, etc. Here we're given nothing. We've argued, demanded, 602ed, and yet we have nothing. CDCR's run around and usual response, "we'll look into it," or plain denials is all we get.

I drafted a group 602 for our TVs/radios. It's been done before, but I did it so I'll be able to write a writ once it's denied. It may work, it may not. I refuse to just sit on my ass. If I gots to fight CDCR with paper and pen, I will. If I gots to starve myself for a better tomorrow, I have, and am, and will.

Last hunger strike we received many promises from Calipatria officials. The only one they honored was to give us some of our canteen items (chips, rice, beans) in their original packaging. We used to get them on paper lunch bags. We're demanding those promises be met! Mainly the issuance of TVs.

The movement is strong here, we all try to motivate one another. Many showed their support for a few days but their health prevented them from continuing. Many continue believing in the movement, so they're holding strong even though they hear their stomach rumble. I've lost 10 pounds in 5 days, the last weigh in we had.

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[Campaigns] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California]
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Delano Comrades Strike 6 Days in Solidarity

I write to let you know that I and all races here at Delano State Prison Ad-Seg participated in the hunger strike from the 26th to the 1st in support of our brothers in SHU placement because of validation.

Can you please keep me updated on all the current actions that are happening because of the hunger strike? If there is anything else that I or my brothers around us can do in support, please do not hesitate to let me know.

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[Medical Care] [Mental Health] [California]
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Medical Malpractice in the PSUs

One of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) current problems is not enough bed space inside the psychiatric housing units. As a result of this consistent problem prisoner's health and federal rights are being compromised more and more. Currently there are 4900 prisoners in Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP) programs, but a large number of EOP prisoners have been awaiting admission into the CDCR Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) for way too long.

This problem could have been solved by the prison administration a long time ago, but with the CDCR, money takes precedence over prisoner's health and well being. They just do their best to camouflage that fact creating legal technicalities to prevent liability. EOP Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisoners who are currently in the PSUs are suffering and paying the cost of overcrowding. Due to the prison administration's desperation to create bed space for EOP SHU offenders awaiting admission to the PSU, many EOP prisoner's level of care is being lowered without regard to their medical needs by the interdisciplinary treatment team (IDTT) committee members.

Recently a fellow prisoner comrade of mine went to his IDTT hearing, which are held every 90 days. At the hearing he was told that because he is "high functioning" his level of care would be reduced back to Correctional Clinical Case Management System (CCCMS). He told them that he has many medical reasons to stay on EOP level of care to help control his symptoms, including hallucinations and inconsistent changes of behavior. They ignored his medical history and dropped him from the EOP program.

The CDCR takes a mental health patient who isn't functioning well at a CCCMS level of care, and changes his level of care to EOP, to help the prisoner function better. Then they see the positive changes the prisoner has made due to the level of care change, and so they decide to change him back to CCCMS. But there is no help for these prisoners to sustain their progress on CCCMS. That's what the IDTT members are doing to current PSU EOP prisoners simply to make bed space. There's a huge difference in treatment given when in CCCMS compared to being in EOP. there is no possible way a prisoner that requires an EOP level of care can cope at a lower inadequate non-suitable level of care CCCMS! That's medical malpractice! It's the same as forcing a disabled prisoner that can't walk to be restricted from using a wheelchair!

As a United Soldier from Within member I'm asking for the EOP prisoners who are experiencing this type of medical malpractice to come forward by sending a letter to Under Lock and Key and let us know your situation. If we can demonstrate that this is indeed a pattern someone from United Soldiers will be assigned to look into the matter and work on putting a cease to this form of injustice and inadequate medical care.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade demonstrates well the failure of the health care system in Amerikan prisons.

First there is the failure of care in general: prisoners receive abysmal health care services that amount to outright neglect. This got so bad in California that a federal judge put California prisons in receivership under a mandate to fix the health care services. Denial of adequate care leads to an unknown number of deaths and illnesses every year in Amerikan prisons.

In this case, the author is talking about inadequate mental health services. It's important to understand what is meant by "mental illness" under capitalism to put this neglect in context. Prisoners who are locked in isolated cells for years at a time are going to lose their ability to function in society. This is just one example of how the criminal injustice system literally drives people to mental illness.

We don't see mental illness as a fixed situation but rather a result of society. And in fact the definition of this "illness" changes based on who has power in a society. There are many examples in history of communists being labeled "crazy" for their beliefs in the equality of all people. Further, those who are angered and depressed by the exploitation, murder and oppression of the majority of the world's people are given drugs by the capitalist doctors to help make them happier.

There are many people in prison who have been abused by society and then abused by the criminal injustice system. And it should be no surprise that they now have difficulty functioning. We are under no illusions that a little "mental health" treatment is going to fix this problem. But neglect and punishment is certainly only going to make things worse. And the casual moving people from program to program with little regard for their well being described in this article is just a financial and numerical exercise for the prisoncrats.

As we have described in other articles on mental health, we need to keep in mind that we can't rely on the enemy to solve our problems. The criminal injustice system is behind many of the mental health problems in prisons. And so they can not be counted on to provide the solution, which requires more than some capitalist counseling and drugs. We support our comrade's call for adequate health care, but we know that this must be a part of the larger fight against the imperialist system, because the imperialists are the cause of many of our health problems.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Strikers Continue until Debriefing Stops

The refusal of this prison to meet all of the five demands has resulted in yet another hunger strike here in Pelican Bay. The demand that was left untouched by prison officials was the debriefing process. This debriefing process has forced people to either snitch on someone or simply make up gangs in order to get out of the torture chamber known as Security Housing Unit (SHU), and this has gone on for decades.

Just think, most people in SHU are here for b.s. and are not even what the prison claims they are, do not really belong to gang xyz, etc. And so when someone can't take the torturous conditions and wants to get out of SHU, officials require them to debrief (inform) on others, yet this person may not even know anything to tell about even if he or she wanted to, so many times this persyn will make up his own random people while at other times this may be the time for personal vengeance like how men are sent to Gitmo often because their neighbor in Pakistan didn't like the loud music he played.

This pathetic way of "weeding out" supposed gang members or security threats is broken and changes nothing, the truth is SHU is a racist operation directed at the oppressed nations. In addition, guards are getting paid higher salaries for working in these units. Of all the people in SHU, none are the rich, the wealthy, no billionaire ever been validated as a gang member, I have yet to meet a millionaire in SHU. We are the poor, those coming from barrios and ghetto projects, those who can't even walk down the street in our hood without getting tracked by a predator pig and slammed against the wall threatened, beaten, or worse we of the oppressed nations are open game in the streets of the united snakes.

Today is the fifth day into the strike and there is no light at the end of the tunnel and most know this. Here in SHU conditions cannot possibly get worse, we are stuffed into solitary confinement boxes, locked into isolation for the rest of our days - what is worse than this existence?

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Corcoran ASU Participating in Hunger Strike

I am a California State prisoner incarcerated in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) of Corcoran State Prison. The ASU where I am housed is currently undergoing a hunger strike in support of the one kicked off in the SHU. I am in support of it as well, for I believe solidarity is needed amongst the oppressed to resist and fight against the oppressor. Many people do not see that when it comes down to it, there are only two sides, but these past few months have done a lot to enlighten and educate many behind these concrete walls.

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