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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Mt Pleasant Correctional] [Iowa]
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Control units used to torture mentally ill prisoners

I received your pamphlet on control units and the introductory letter. I enjoyed it and am in favor of any campaign calling for the abolition of such cruelty and torture as is inflicted by the DOC's control units.

These torture chambers are also used to monitor mentally ill prisoners who are at risk of suicide. They force the man (I don't like to use the term "inmate" if it can be avoided - we're human beings who have worth and value. Words such as "inmate," "offender," and any other titles that have been given to incarcerated individuals are very degrading as they have very negative stigmas attached to them) to strip completely naked and put on a suicide smock, which is basically comparable to wearing a cardboard gown. They do not allow the person any tangible items whatsoever to be in the cell with them - not even a bible or some other book - until a psychiatrist determines that he/she is no longer a danger to hself.

Now, let's think about this: How is somebody going to kill themselves with a book? Now, if one wants to play the "what if" game, they could ask, "what if they got a hold of a hard cover book and bashed their heads in with it until they were dead while the guy who gets paid to sit right outside the cell and watch them through a window 24 hours a day takes his eyes off them for a split second for the purpose of looking at the booger on his finger before flicking it?" (And trust me, this is the kind of ludicrous crap these DOC pigs use to justify some of their absurd policies.) But this problem is very easily solved; don't give them hard cover books! Give them soft-cover books.

Anyway, while in the cell the individual is forced to do 3 strip searches per day per IDOC (Iowa Department of Corrections) policy even though he/she may never have left the cell or even had their cell door opened for any reason. In one particular facility of the IDO , the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, the prison officials won't even allow the mentally ill person to shower, on the grounds that they "might drown themselves." I have personally experienced this kind of humiliating and dehumanizing cruelty as I was placed in a control unit cell when I temporarily lost hope in life and became suicidal. They called it "mental health observation status." (MHO)

MIM(Prisons) responds: As we pointed out in the issue of ULK 15 on Mental Health in prisons, the brutality of prisons causes mental health problems. It's no surprise that prisoners, facing daily humiliation, brutality and oppression, and cut off from family and friends, become depressed and even suicidal. And by keeping these prisoners from access to reading material and subjecting them to strip searches, things can only get worse. Join MIM(Prisons) in organizing against this oppression.

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[Organizing] [Missouri]
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The Call for Unity

The case for unity has been argued in word and demonstrated by action many times throughout history. From the violent struggle for liberation led by Nat Turner to the peaceful protests of Ghandhi and King the call has always been to unite in a common cause. Though every revolution has been ignited by the spark of one person's vision progress has never been the result of unilateral effort. Only through the co-mingling of the group dynamic can we hope to create the necessary environment to usher in an era of positive change.

We, the men and women held as prisoners of war in these so-called United States, face a unique challenge. In order to begin the process of change we must first let go of the petty differences we have for each other. The incarcerated in Amerika come from all walks of life. We are white, black, brown, red and yellow. We are Aryan, Muslim, Christian and we are Jew. Our most enduring common denominator is that we all are treated as nothing more than as commodities for the profiteers of the prison industrial complex. The so-called boundaries of race or religion or gang affiliations no longer apply to us. These are the tools of these modern-day overseers to keep us separated and at each others' throats. It no longer matters through what eyes you see the fences, they are clear to all of us. We are all under the yoke of oppression. We are all subject to the whims of jack-booted thugs who pass themselves off as correctional officers. The time has come to put away the childishness of racial and/or religious supremacy, join together in one cohesive unit and face our common enemy together.

Brothers and Sisters, I must warn you that it will not be easy. Our struggle may very well be long and arduous. The pigs and their handlers have perfected their game for decades while we were still killing each other over any perceived disrespect. There will be losses as there were losses in the past. But if we implement a gradual strategy of non-violent rebellion our losses will be minimal while theirs will be mountainous.

Step One: Everyone in their respective institutions stage a boycott of the chow hall. It could be a meal that is particularly disliked by the majority. If your place is anything like mine there will be many to choose from. Make an organized effort to enforce this demonstration. Those Brothers and Sisters who have it to give, give it to those that don't. Nothing can break this action faster than a bunch of people running to the chow hall. So, for those who lack the discipline to miss one meal give them a soup or something to tide them over. If there are Brothers or Sisters who need to eat something for medicinal reasons, feed them first.

What this will do is demonstrate to the screws that we are willing to sacrifice together. If asked, and you will be asked, what is going on, tell them: This is a peaceful demonstration of solidarity amongst us prisoners of war in protest of the living conditions here. Submit a written list of grievances to the warden's office with the promise that the demonstration will not escalate if there is reasonable effort on the part of the administration to adequately rectify your demands to the satisfaction of the whole population. Remember to be clear that there is no plan for violence. Send a copy of your demands to a trusted outside source for external verification that you are engaged in a non-violent protest of the deplorable living conditions at your institution.

Be prepared. Your institution may go on lock down. Don't panic. This is the usual response. There may be massive shakedowns so remove all contraband from your living areas as any violations of institutional rules will be ammunition for them to undermine your efforts. They are relying on our desire for rec time to break the demonstration. We must hold fast. Take pleasure in the fact that they are spending more time and money to feed you than they would if you were to continue taking your meals in the chow hall. Kitchen workers, at this point, should continue to work in the kitchen to maintain that the meals are prepared in a sanitary manner. If Step One is ineffective and/or is taking too long move to Step Two.

Step Two: Organize a institution wide boycott of the canteen for one week. No one goes to the store for anything. Resubmit your list of demands to the warden's office and to the outside source. Reiterate that you are engaged in an act of non-violence. For this action refuse to yield until positive action is taken to remedy your grievances. This hits them where it will hurt the most. Granted we all like to be able to prepare some treats for ourselves every now and then but sacrifices must be made. You have broken no law and therefore any action taken against any of you is proof of continuing injustice. Again, be prepared for lock downs and shakedowns. Some Brothers and Sisters may be targeted as suspected ringleaders. There may be transfers. All this is to be expected. If they occur they are retaliatory and punitive. The standard reasons will most likely be in regards to the safety and security of the institution. Be sure to document all such punitive transfers or retaliatory sanctions and make your outside source aware. This information will help you in a class-action suit that may be filed on your behalf in the future. As no laws are being broken or institutional policies infringed on you will have a strong counter-argument against the safety and security of the institution. If Step Two is ineffective and/or taking too long add Step Three into the mix.

Step Three: Strike!!! No one goes to work anywhere. Realize that we run the prisons. If we don't do it they will have to do it. Or hire outside help to do it. We get paid pennies per hour. Any outsourced labor will demand at least minimum wage. This is the only step of the three in which Brothers and Sisters can and, most likely will, be charged with a crime. The U.S. Constitution maintains that slave labor is legal for prisoners of war in war time and prisoners of war in prisons any time in the so-called United States. Make certain that your outside source is fully aware of your intentions as there may be a need for legal representation. We must maintain discipline within the ranks. The pigs will use trickery and slickery to attempt to break your momentum. Do not let them. Make sure that anyone who gives in knows that they are weakening the revolution and that there will be consequences for their betrayal in the future. I'll leave you to decide what is best in that regard.

We all understand the language of violence. Some of us are fluent in it. But I'm here to tell you that violence is the last act of desperation. We have no win if we engage in violence. The pigs hold all the weapons and will wield them at the merest hint of provocation. The time may come but that time is not now.

Without shedding a drop of blood, if we stand united together, we can put the powers-that-be on their back feet. By maintaining an aura of solidarity we can take back some of the power that was stolen from us. And when we prove that we can last longer than they can, they will come running to the negotiating table. The prison industrial complex is a business and we do nothing more that to help the facilitator facilitate when we spend our money in their company stores. Individually we are weak but together we can move mountains.

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 16]
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Stand Up for Real Causes

I agree 100% with what the soldier said about SCI-Huntingdon in the May/June issue of ULK. The population in this prison does not stand up for shit except count time. I've been trying to get these motherfuckers in here to boycott since 2005, but these dudes only worry about BET, sports, 40 cent ice cream tickets and who's sucking whose dick.

As far as boycotting the kitchen, I understand dudes don't want to lose their jobs but if the kitchen shuts down we shut the prison down! The prisoners do not realize how much power we actually have here, but one or two people can't stand alone. We, the population as a whole, would have to stand together even if it's something as simple as not going to the store for 2 weeks straight, or nobody goes to eat for one or two days. That's enough to get the administration's attention that we are not satisfied with the administration's operation. Shit, the female prisoners have more balls than the males do. Muncy and Cambridge Springs shut down as soon as something goes down that they don't agree on, but we males, what?

Yes, I'm talking to the gangsters, killers and so-called big time drug dealers across the state of Pennsylvania, because it's not only here at Huntingdon, it's the entire male population of PA. Stand up for yours! I'm not talking about a riot or cross burning or any kind of assaultive behavior. Just simply don't go to the chow line for a day or two, don't turn in that slip for the store for 2 weeks, or don't pay that $16.50 they are charging for cable every month. Better yet, stop talking to the pigs as if they are your homies or OGs. That shit makes me sick every time I see one of these pussies "hee-hawing" with the same pig that slammed them in the Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU) and fucked up their parole.

Wake up and realize where you are people. Cuz, Blood, Latin King, G.Ds, Muslims, Christians, forget colors and religions, stand up as human beings. These redneck hillbilly pigs don't even see us as humans, they see us as dollar signs. So since that is how they see us why not hit them where it hurts: their pocketbooks? Fuck that kitchen. Fuck that CI-shop job. Fuck the store and fuck the cable system! We pay $200 for a tube, then pay an additional $16.50 a month just to watch it, what kind of shit is that?

We need to stop spending our dough and make them waste theirs. They do it to us, it's their turn!

Stand up! Wake Up!

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[Abuse] [Prison Labor] [Arkansas]
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Psych torture in Arkansas

Here in Arkansas we don't have the types of problems they do in other states. They did years ago. Now it is subtle psychological conditioning (that neither the guards/staff/inmates realize they are a part of).

Most of the units in Arkansas were built by inmates - they received a slightly better living environment for their efforts - only because the inmates on construction created less problems for one another, not even realizing that their efforts were creating problems for many more in the future. Had we not built these warehouses for the state to store us, Arkansas would only be able to house half this many people.

After reading the most recent ULK, I must say that I have been telling these Arkansas inmates we need to quit working for the longest, they do not want to lose Good Time (we don't get paid to work in Arkansas). I've tried to explain that if staff billed inmate jobs we would cause a strain in resources and would cause many non-violent offenders to be released early. It also appears that many are not grasping that the officers also are part of the oppressed peoples. In Arkansas, prisoners are racially balanced and most officers are colored.

I filed suit against the county for not feeding us properly. I have now been transferred to a facility with minimal law resources.

MIM responds: We do not agree that the prison officers are part of the oppressed people. While they may be from the oppressed nations, they are not a part of the oppressed peoples. They have been bought off and are working for the oppressors. They are in one of the professions most overtly working for the imperialist system. This means their interests are no longer aligned with their oppressed nation.

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[Control Units] [Louisiana]
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Signing petition to shut down all control units

I agree that control units are not productive means of rehabilitating prisoners for productive living in society, but do the exact opposite of their original purpose. Control units starve life mentally and physically, creating an insensible life. These control units create this insensible life by: 23 hour lock down (sometimes more), no religious programs, no school of any type of educational purpose. Maximum $10 store (no food products), one roll of toilet paper every two weeks and anything else punishable and inhumane the system can get away with such as excessive temperatures, followed by abuse of authority.

By no means is this program of life in control units to help a person be better than when they entered. I know this ala because I am a victim.

I condemn these control units and demand the united states to eliminate these unconstitutional disciplinary control units.

MIM(Prisons) adds: See our web page on prison control units for more information on this campaign.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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All eyes on Us for Black August

From behind California State Prison enemy lines - from within the Belly of the Beast that is the Amerikan Injustice System - I greet you! I call to your attention the annual commemoration of Black August and invite you - prisoners and your families - throughout Amerika - to join in honoring our beloved martyrs with fasting, study, sharing Panther Love and knowledge of our history of struggle against oppression and for justice, and renewal of commitment to struggle for a brighter future for humanity. In particular, Black August 2010 commemorates the martyrdom of our brothers Sean Bell and Gus Rugley, and our comrades Hasan Shakur, NABPP-PC Minister of Human Rights, Jonathan Jackson, and Comrade George Jackson, Field Marshall of the Black Panther Party Prison Chapter.

We must also remember January 1, 2009 police handcuffed Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old Black man, and forced him face-down on the platform of a rapid transit station in Oakland, California. Then one cop shot Oscar Grant in the back, killing him. This cold-blooded murder was caught on cell phone videos and seen by millions. People in Oakland immediately took to the streets in righteous protest. The case has become a flashpoint of struggle in supposedly "post-racial" Amerika and protests have continued. Revolutionaries have been uniting with the efforts of people from a broad spectrum of political beliefs to say This Must Stop, and bringing revolution and communism to the people.

Yes my sisters and brothers,

We shed tears for our fallen brothers and sisters as well as the many children - who have been killed by the oppressors in this land of our exile and enslavement. We have a right to cry over our dead - for every life is precious beyond measure - the loss of each is intolerable. We consecrate this month so that those who have been taken from us will never be forgotten - nor the love of liberty which their lives stood for.

Our grief is real and so is our determination to continue the struggle until all are free and oppression is no more. Our pain makes us stronger and more human. Our determination makes our people struggle. We must get up and stand up as one - a united people - and prepare for revolutionary change in the 21st Century.

To clear our minds, I propose that we eat only one meal a day throughout the month of August, and fast completely on August 7th - in honor of Jonathan Jackson - on August 21st - in honor of George Jackson - and on August 31st - in honor of Hasan Shakur. On these three fast days, we should be silent and contemplative, and throughout the month we should refrain from watching TV and listening to the radio.

During this month, the elders, political prisoners and veterans of the struggle should make a particular effort to reach out to the youth and teach them our history and lessons from our experience. We should demonstrate Panther Love, throw away old grudges, and start new friendships. We should draw our comrades closer and strengthen our united commitment to advance the struggle.

Besides fasting, comrades should work out and get physical exercise, meditate and put mind, body and spirit in harmony.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this Black August greeting in time for our July/August issue. Black August is truly a people's holiday. And its power is acknowledged in California, where it began and where the state still uses Black August material as a justification to put people in Security Housing Units. While we print this comrades suggestions for celebration during the month, we also warn against ultra-leftism and spirituality. Yes, study history and turn off mindless television, but don't cut yourself off from the world for a month. Yes, exercise and even fasting can be healthy, but learn more about how fasting will affect your body in your specific conditions on a prison diet, and don't decrease your strength through excess.

This communique also comes at a time when we are hearing about the work of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) paralleling our own. While we print this statement and have worked with the NABPP elsewhere, we warn our readers that the "MLM" and "Pantherism" of the NABPP is not the same as ours. While the NABPP's practice has generally been commendable, we criticize their ideology as revisionist and crypto-Trotskyist. We discuss the revisionism of NABPP in "Maoism Around Us" and critique one of the NABPP Minister of Defense Rashid's publications in "Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy and Security".

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[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California]
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Punished and unable to appeal

I am writing to let you know about what's happening up in Salinas Valley State Penitentiary here in sunny Cali.

As you all know, we have a budget problem here. All the police are half staffed and close to minimum wage. And pissed. I have recently had a few run ins with the investigation squad (ISU) and always manage to piss em off.

Since then I have been put on a nothing coming status. I cannot seem to get any mail at all. My house gets tossed on a regular basis and they leave everything such a mess it's hard to tell just what they took. Sometimes it takes days to figure out that little things are really gone.

I have recently filed a grievance regarding incoming publications and was reimbursed for two magazine issues. I also wrote the company about the missing issues with the response that four would be resent. This was three months ago. How the hell do they lose four magazines twice?

We have some serious issues with the appeal process here. Sometimes they just don't return our shit so we can't file a repeat appeal to exhaust the grievance process. I recently filed a medical appeal about Hep C and the lady that did the first level interview told me "hey they have it written here on the informal that you were referred to the clinic but I checked your file and there is no record of it." I made sure this lady put that down as her findings. I never received the disposition (the 602). I later tried to file a subsequent appeal. They said "it had already been exhausted." what bullshit!

MIM(Prisons) responds: this story of repression and censorship is all too common in Amerikan prisons. This letter underscores the importance of prisoners who are subscribed to ULK writing to us regularly to tell us what mail you received from us. This helps us to track censorship and then take on coordinated legal battles.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Utah]
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Firing Squad

I've seen them walk in with the bleach
Goose stepping out with the rifles
Bloody fragments and bone in blonde hair
Brand new Casio watch, new shoes, clean underwear
The traces of the dead man's Prozac
Ulcer medications and ibuprophins
Mingle loosely with the trigger mens viagra
with their cocaine and caffeine grins
Where you off to now Mr. Executioners?
After you've lynched in the most disgusting way
you are off to your grandchild's christening
to her prom night or school play
my sweat drips on to the cold concrete and I chant, i say, "you can't stop us,
it's inevitable. Soon all you know will fall."
Tattered socks scrape and squeak as I motion
I raise my arms and tap my chest, "ten"
counting out the sets and counting down the days
here's a promise that I believe the people support
we won't blindfold you, we'll allow you to watch
you'll need to see the ones now holding the rifles
are the very same you've oppressed, starved and stifled
and we will pull the trigger out of social conscience
not out of your racism, greed or chauvinistic pride
and it will not be a secret, the world can watch
nothing will need to be hidden or secret
because we'll explain why, to our children we'll teach it
that the reason we kill you pig isn't out of hate
it's that food you stockpiled that the starving masses never ate

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Ohio]
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Our Darkest Hour

From our birth they installed limitations on what we may acquire and achieve,
Diluting our minds and aspirations, making it virtually impossible to succeed.
See 28% of men are dead or imprisoned by age 21
Yet they say there's equal opportunities for everyone.
20% of the 28% are from neighborhoods like yours and mine
But these #'s don't seem to equate in my mind.
The urban culture is being oppressed by a politically corrupt society simply and utterly
Because they're afraid of what we may become if given true equality.
So I implore you do not succumb to temptation,
Stand up and speak out for what you believe in,
let liberty and prosperity be your motivation,
because it's beyond our time to achieve it.
I drop these simple words of inspiration cause knowledge is power,
As for the urban culture and my entire generation, this is Our Darkest Hour

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Utah] [ULK Issue 15]
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Catacomb Reversal

Unwashed bodies
mortal stink
scrunches your piggy nose
to your moral wreak
you do not smell
anymore than our torture
you do not feel
anymore than they tell you
bloody bodies
necks twisted from nooses
carted off like junk
our chests blown out
our backs
by four all-amerikkkan chumps
you must hurry and get away
pass out pills then scurry away
cringe and laugh
be disgusted
it's not your mind and body
lying here busted
we suffer because of you
cursed U.$.
not in spite of you
and these racist tests
worsen worsen
extend and crumble
lay down in your fucking grave imperialism
lie down beast
stumble, sputter and mumble

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