The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Release] [Campaigns] [Organizing] [Texas]
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Fighting Parole System in Texas

January 2011 will be a legislature year in Texas. A petition has been put on the internet to ask our state leaders to reform the Texas parole board system, a tyranny agency ruining thousands of lives, in prison and in our own society. For some years now, since the mysterious death of David Ruiz (a Brown brother who achieved federal action to demand prison reform in Texas) we continue to raise awareness of the new and old injustices of the "justice" system as it pertains to parole.

Texas prisoners are not granted parole, even though they have done everything possible to be eligible for parole as required by their Inmate Treatment Plan (ITP). When the judge, the lawyers for both sides, and the offender all agree to a sentence, why does the parole board have the right to deny the parole because they decide the prisoner hasn't served enough time? Doesn't make sense or seem fair, does it? Prisoners have a time calculated date which is the parole eligibility date and those having met their ITP requirements should automatically make parole on that date. As the system works now, prisoners can not know whether they can exercise their special review rights, effectively ask for a review, or even know why or if they have been turned down, because they do not have access to their files. It is impossible for anyone to know if they have been falsely or wrongly accused of a transgression while incarcerated. If information has been erroneously placed in the file that may actually belong to another prisoner, or if their parole is being thwarted by a campaign by others they won't know. They can not know if rules have been violated or if evidences that would prove their worthiness for the privilege of parole is actually in their file.

Good time is currently not calculated or used to achieve parole or financial compensation for prisoner labor. At present it is awarded but discounted as part of the parole process (ignored and not honored), meaning modern day slavery is going on. The system currently continues to vindictively punish even the "ideal" prisoners who have been rehabilitated (which supposedly is the goal of the incarceration) making them wonder why they keep trying and causing them to lose all capacity for hope as the promised parole is disregarded and becomes one setback after another. In addition it callously wrecks the lives of families and children of prisoners who suffer needlessly while trying to find some reason for the parole board's coldness and tyrannical practices acting above the laws of the land.

Taxpayers are being robbed of funds by the corrupt parole practices. Prisoners in Texas seem to be the exception to the 13th amendment of the U$ constitution abolishing slavery as a large amount of capital is raised by the prison work generated by the incarcerated people now in prison. However, in the united states of america we should not allow slavery for state and corporate profit. It is criminal in itself to keep prisoners incarcerated for financial benefit by enslaving inmates past their parole eligibility date when they prove that they have gotten rehabilitated and qualify for parole release.

If you want to help change these parole injustices, please have your families and friends go to the following website and sign the petition: www.petitiononline.com/tcb123/petition.html
Also please have them write each one of their representatives.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this prisoner that the parole system in Texas, and throughout the criminal injustice system in the U$, does not work, not even by the laws of this illegal government. We find the demands in the petition agreeable in that they would lead to a general reduction in imprisonment in Texas.

However, disagree with the common misperception that the U$ prison monstrosity is driven by a desire to exploit prison labor. Certainly the workers benefiting from their well paid jobs running the prisons have an interest in denying parole, and the politicians who want the votes of the workers and their families, share this interest. But as we explained in an article on the U.$. prison economy, prison labor can offset some of the costs of imprisonment, but prisons are not profitable. They are a tool of the government that both provide jobs for the mostly oppressor-nation labor aristocracy workers while providing social control of the mostly oppressed nation population that is incarcerated. The U$ prison system is a massive suck on superprofits extracted from the Third World to pay staff and provide basic needs for those imprisoned. This is one of the costs of operation the imperialists are willing to pay, not something they are making money off of. That an industry has developed around this massive project is only a product of this reality that helps tie labor aristocracy interests to the imperialist state.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Texas]
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War on Drugs - Democracy Style

Greetings to everyone standing up for prisoners and human rights. My red fist goes to all MIM social or prison reformers who continue to carry truth, facts and hard struggles in their hearts against a democracy that does not serve all equally but serves the few rich imperialist greedy elites. MIM(Prisons) is speaking hardcore about a reality destroying many all over Amerika, especially those in prison of Black or Brown crimes, also known as the "War on Drugs." I am not trying to justify that smuggling or selling drugs should be permitted. Yet thousands now sit in prison with long harsh prison sentences that usually don't even balance out to such drug crimes. For example, in Texas the court judge gives you a certain prison sentence for drug crimes so that when you're up for parole the parole will be denied for reasons like "excessive amount." These reasons will be used each time you go for parole, not only violating Texas parole board policies but state law and U$ Constitution Amendments like the double jeopardy clause.

The Fifth Amendment of the U$ Constitution states, "…nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb…" This clause assures three basic protections: it protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after acquittal, it protects against a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction, and finally it protects against multiple punishments for the same offense.

Violating the double jeopardy clause qualifies as a constitutional violation in satisfaction of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, Pub. L. No 104-134. 110 Stat. 1321. When evidence indicates the parole board has violated the U$ Constitution the matter may be reviewed by a Federal Court pursuant to §1983.

2011 will be a legislature year. Black, Brown and other brothers in prison in Texas should ask their family and friends to protest such failed parole policies, state laws or constitutional amendments, now broken by this war on drugs by homeland terrorists calling themselves our nation's leaders.

The War on Drugs is not only a failed war on drug dealers, but against our families and communities, especially the Brown barrios and Black ghettos which many have always called home. The war on drugs sole purpose was to be able to create a new home, called prison, now filled with prisoners for drug crimes under harsh laws of sentencing ruining thousands of lives. And even our nation seems to be under attack by a democracy that serves more the rich than the poor or needy ones. I encourage others to draft protest petitions or letters and have their loved ones send them to John Whitmore who is a Texas Senator in charge of The Sunset Commission looking into this kind of prison violation.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We condemn this practice of refusing prisoners parole based on their original sentence, but we can learn from history that elections are not the answer to the problems of the oppressed. The imperialists and their supporters will be elected, and candidates truly serving the people will never gain any real power in the United $tates through elections. However, we can exert pressure on the criminal injustice system through protest letters and actions. Sometimes we can win small gains for the people through these struggles. And there is nothing wrong with using election time to push a progressive cause, just keep in mind that many legislators get elected on a "get tough on crime" platform. All this rhetoric is bullshit that has nothing to do with the reality of crime and punishment in Amerikkka, but the publicity is important to politicians so they are probably less likely to take progressive action in an election year if it might make them look "soft on crime."

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[Abuse] [North Carolina]
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Assault with a sock?

I am currently on I-Con [lockdown] for assault on staff, but the write up was false. In December 2009 an officer was told to write me up for assault because I refused to sit down in the day room. She called me out by name and then told me to go to my bunk. As I was going to pass her she stood in my way so that she was blocking my path, and she said I pushed her. Prisoners later told me that while I was in segregation she stated I never touched her, and that she wrote me up because she had the authority to do so.

In June 2010 my room got searched while I was still on I-Con for the assault charge, and I got written up for another assault on staff charge as well as destruction of state property and disrespect. They charged me with assault because the officer told me to drop my socks outside of my trap door. So I dropped them out my door because I was following a direct order. Now it's four officers standing outside my door and this particular officer is standing right in front of my door when the sock falls on his foot. So he says that I threw a sock at him. Officers claim I "assaulted" him but one of them told me that you can't assault anybody with a sock and she never saw me assault anyone but she wrote a statement claiming I did.

Even if I did what they claim, the charge A-3 assault on staff is for "throwing objects that are likely to produce injury or by any other means hitting, kicking and pushing." A sock doesn't produce injury and they claimed it hit him in the leg. I've never known a sock to injure anyone. The only reason I was found guilty is because it was the word of two officers and a sergeant and I had no witness. But the evidence that I asked to be submitted was never submitted in my case. I'm currently appealing the charge.

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[Organizing] [Tennessee]
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To the OGs, Stop the Lie

Brothers we got to correct our backward thinking. You call yourself OGs? Black gangsters got no lore for a Black-men, never have, but you play the script well? OG why blind our youths with lies, false hope, why give them guns to do your dirty work? OG you leave prison wrap up with the right knowledge, but jump right back in the life, and call yourself an OG, but in prison you was fumbata now you are Mac-G. This madness got to stop whatever street tribes you claim: South, East, West, North, and in between, we got to rise above stop lying to our youths, like this is the best of lives being in these concentration kamps, doing time have never been cool, now these kids think it's part of life in order to get OG status. This false status got to die.

This is a call to all older OGs to say stop this false status among our youths. Here in Tennessee we are reversing the old time order of things, we refuse to be followers of reactionary ideals. Our family falls in line with comrade brother George Jackson ideals, Mr. OG please kill that statue. The law of the land is very real. Mr OG you will be judged by your deeds. The klan loves your status, cause they know you will continue to let our youths kill one another. The STG also love your status. Tag by your name Mr OG-Gangster.

This war is real, as the blood that flows on the streets. Mr. OG our youths look up to us inside of these concentration kamps. The judicial system don't care about our youths, we got to save them from this madness. They listen to us and they want to be like us. I've spent half my life in prisons and saw these OGs play the role real good. This system has always been a sanctuary to preserve and proliferate the criminal mentality.

Mr OG, let's rise up, you are the shot caller. Want to kill someone? - hit that criminal mentality - kill it, and bring to life the revolutionary mentality. As comrade brother George Jackson said, we got to transform the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality. Let's save our kids. In doing so we also save ourselves. To deceive others is reprehensible, to deceive ourselves is a damn tragedy.

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[Censorship] [ULK Issue 16]
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July 2010 Censorship Report

This Report is an analysis of the censorship experienced by MIM(Prisons) from July 2009 through June 2010. In January 2008, MIM(Prisons) released our first censorship report, documenting what we can and can't get into which prisons. Last year we decided it would be best to analyze our censorship status annually instead of biannually because it often takes months to determine the status of a piece of mail.

To compile this data we rely solely on censored mail that is returned to us by mailroom staff and reports from prisoners themselves. From July 2009 to June 2010, we sent in five digits worth of mail, of which 83% were unconfirmed as received or censored. In the last reporting period, only 80% of the mail was unconfirmed. This trend shows us that even less people are reporting what mail they've gotten from us than last year, which makes drawing conclusions from our records nearly impossible. For example, when reading the state-by-state chart, it is important to remember that "no censorship reported" does not mean that all the mail got in, just that we don't know what happened. Some states with no censorship reported were: Colorado were 96% of the mail was unconfirmed; in Indiana 92%; in Mississippi 93%, and in Nebraska and New Hampshire, 100% of the mail was unreported.

This lack of data continues despite the fact that every issue of Under Lock & Key and many of our letters request that subscribers tell us what they receive from us and when each time they write. At our congress this summer we voted to adjust our policies to require subscribers to notify us of their mail status in order to stay on our mailing list. We have started sending comrades we are in correspondence with Unconfirmed Mail Forms that will list what mail we have sent them that we do not know the status of to encourage reporting. But even if you don't receive one of these forms, you should still let us know what you get from MIM Distributors or MIM(Prisons). In fact, if you tell us what you get from us before we send out the form you'll save us printing and postage costs!

Across the country, it appears that our censorship is gradually decreasing. However, if we aren't facing state repression, then we're probably doing something wrong politically. For this reason, we don't expect to ever be completely free of censorship while the United $tates is still an imperialist state. We attribute these decreases to the hard work our comrades inside have been doing to file appeals when their mail gets censored. Another reason it may appear that our censorship status is decreasing is our incomplete data — there may be censorship in places that we just don't know about.

Prisoners' Legal Clinic

In the last year we started coordinating our legal efforts in a more structured way with comrades inside through the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic. Members of the PLC have edited and added to the Censorship Guide that we send to prisoners who have had our lit censored; shared info and analysis about important legal issues relating to our anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist work of fighting censorship and political repression; and contributed several articles to the legal strategy issue of ULK issue 13. In this reporting year, we doubled the amount of Censorship Guides we sent out in the previous reporting year, so the help we've gotten on this guide is invaluable. We hope the PLC will eventually expand to offer counseling and preparation assistance to comrades filing anti-censorship lawsuits in the next year.

The PLC is facilitated by MIM(Prisons) but it is only as useful as the comrades who are contributing to it from the inside. Anyone who wants to engage in this important work should hook up with the PLC via MIM(Prisons); no experience necessary.

Grieving Censorship is Crucial

At Menard Correctional Center in Menard, Illinois, Under Lock & Key issue 9 was censored from dozens of comrades because of alleged "STG references and depictions of violence." A prisoner filed a grievance, and Central Review in Springfield approved ULK 9 for entry into Menard CC. We only received confirmation from this one prisoner that he received the newsletter, so it is possible that Central Review only permitted it to him. That is one example of why it is so important to file grievances about censorship.

California Ban

In November 2009 we reported that the ban of literature from the Maoist Internationalist Movement was lifted in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR. Even after this settlement, High Desert State Prison and Pelican Bay State Prison still returned or trashed all mail from MIM Distributors. Finally, in April 2010, High Desert Warden Mike D. McDonald assured us that ULK would be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis instead of being automatically rejected based solely on the return address. We recently sent out issue 14 and it got in to at least some prisoners without a hitch. No such luck in Pelican Bay where even a letter saying "Hi, how's it going?" is still illegally returned to sender uninspected. The San Francisco Bay View newspaper and Revolution (by the rcp=u$a) have complained of similar problems with their publications.

Feds Use Censorship to Make Room for Infiltrators

At the United Snakes Penitentiary - MAX in Florence, Colorado, ULK issue 13 was censored because it contains the article "Security in the Prison Movement" that is MIM(Prisons)'s analysis of how we should deal with potential infiltrators, agent provocateurs, and snitches in the movement. Our advice was basically to treat everyone as a potential pig, and only give out information on a need-to-know basis. We also defended our work with prisoners on Sensitive Needs Yards and Protective Custody for similar reasons. While such prisoners are often viewed as working with the state, we pointed out that many comrades have had to leave their LOs for SNY in order to stop working for the state.

The state sees this perspective as a threat to the security of the institution (of white supremacy, no doubt). The reason given by the USP mailroom staff for its censorship is that "p. 6 and 11 discuss what to do with potential infiltrators who join the movement, not suitable for a prison environment." We wonder who they are targeting in our circle in USP Florence, that it would blow their cover to share this advice with them. The answer is probably everyone.

This report was written by our legal coordinator who took over the job shortly before our last yearly report. While building on previous work, s/he is responsible for many of the advances we made this year. Fighting censorship is central to our work with the imprisoned lumpen population in the United $tates and we always have projects for volunteer lawyers and legal assistants. The easiest thing our subscribers can do to help us out is tell us exactly what mail you have received from us and when, each time you write.

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[Culture] [ULK Issue 16]
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Toy Story 3 Review

barbie and ken flirting

Toy Story 3
Pixar
Summer 2010

Sequel to Toy Story 1 and 2, this movie starts off with Andy, the boy who owns the toys featured in the movie, heading off to college and packing up his stuff. His toys are long forgotten in a trunk and are feeling forlorn about being abandoned. The toys end up being donated to a daycare, but not without much whining about the importance of loyalty to their original owner. Woody, the apparent hero of the movie, is an especially strong advocate of devotion to their one and only owner, even in the face of the logical argument that Andy has grown up and has no need for them any longer and so they should hope to move on to new kids.

We're not looking to liberate the toys of the world, but this movie has some insidious messages for both kids and adults. First there's this theme of loyalty to one owner, a message that is repeated later at the daycare center by the toys that have become evil dictators because they felt abandoned by their owners. This is a good subtle way of encouraging kids not to question the status quo or try to make change independently. Sure it didn't work out for the bad toys, but loyalty paid off for the good toys who end up in a good home in the end, with the blessing of their original owner.

Toy Story 3 does hammer home the point that it's not good to have evil dictators in charge. The Ken doll makes a little speech about how everyone should be treated equally to underscore that message. But this message is so blunt it's hard to see how anyone would really learn anything from it. And although the good toys work together against the evil dictator, they don't do any work among the masses of other oppressed toys to try to rally them to help. It was just a few focoist heroes, out to save themselves, who accidentally overthrew the evil dictator in their attempts to escape a bad situation. So the writers pass up an opportunity to promote organizing the people against the power structure in favor of focoist hero worship.

The one correct message in Toy Story 3 comes when the evil dictator toy and the good toys end up in the trash burning machine and they are all about to die. The good toys try to work with the evil dictator bear to save themselves and him, and he abuses their trust to save just himself. This is a lesson we can apply to the imperialists who will never give up their power peacefully and work with the people for the common good.

The last thing worth commenting on in this movie is the reinforcement of patriarchal gender roles. The two main female characters are Barbie (playing, well, a barbie doll who spends most of her time working on her relationship with Ken) and Jessie, who's a bit of a tom boy who at least gets to go along on adventures with Woody, but who is very much taken in by the romancing of a Spanish-speaking Buzz Lightyear. So basically the focus of the plot involving the two main female characters is romance. There is some mild mocking of gender roles around the Ken doll who has way more outfits than, it is implied, a normal man might have. But the implication seems to be that he's a toy more fit to be played with by a girl than a boy. Nothing very progressive.

Overall MIM(Prisons) would recommend this movie to supporters of the patriarchy and the imperialist system. It would be useful for training their children in some of the norms of the oppressive world that they love.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
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Wrongful Validation in California Leads to Support for Grievance Campaign

I am a prisoner at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and one of 60 prisoners who were wrongfully validated in August 2009. Z-unit is notorious for its disregard for prisoner's rights. Likewise HDSP and CDCR are disproportionately validating prisoners as gang members and associates, regardless of their actual affiliation.

In the past 3 years HDSP has validated over 110 "Hispanics" off of C-yard. Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is very prejudice and racist here in HDSP. All validations here are racially motivated. All IGI workers here are white and the new Lieutenant is Mexican but wants to be white. The validation system is a sham. The most bothersome thing is in R&R the COs ask you who you roll with. If you say no one they'll ask you where you live and when you tell them they declare that you are a northerner or southerner just because of your region of habitation.

CDCR validation procedures are vague and overly broad. HDSP is not following court orders nor administrative regulations. Information from informants and debriefers is being taken and used as 100% fact. Some of us are issued validation points for a drawing. However we are not given any notice of what is considered gang related. So how are we supposed to know what is against the rules? Instead this is being utilized to validate us and confine us to the Security Housing Unit (SHU) for life. CDCR is using "kites" [written notes] to validate us. If a prisoner is caught with your general information, CDCR uses that as a validation point, saying you committed "gang activity." How do you get a validation point for someone having your name!? Anybody has access to your information as COs post this info on our doors. This whole process is ambiguous.

CDCR has a motivation for all these unjust validations. On January 25th, 2010, California legislators passed a new law (Senate Bill xxx18) in regards to new credit earning for prisoners. General Population prisoners are now receiving half time credits. While SHU and ASU have to do 100% of the time they were sentenced. CDCR is wrongfully validating prisoners as a tactic to ensure their job security. Many general population prisoners will be getting kicked out because of the overcrowding issues but ASU and SHU prisoners will be stuck with the COs needing to guard them. It costs $50,000 to house a SHU prisoner so of course the "Green Wall" wants to line their pockets with "Green Money."

There are many inhumane conditions of confinement here in Z Unit. Prisoners are kept in their cells 22 hours a day with no windows, TVs or radios. Prisoners are not given adequate winter clothing. It rains, snows, and an average temperature stays below 30 degrees and the only things we get is a jacket. Prisoners are forced to strip buck naked in the snow and freezing temperatures. Lastly, staff complaints and grievances are often trashed or just not answered. In ULK 15 (July August 2010) your feedback to a prisoner regarding grievances not being handled property was to get involved in a petition campaign for grievances. I want to get involved along with other prisoners here! I look forward to your response.

MIM(Prisons) adds: CDCR has a long history of ignoring grievances and it is in this state that the grievance campaign started. It has now expanded to many other states. Contact us for more information and to get a copy of the petition for your state (or to get a generic petition that you can customize for your state).

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[Abuse] [New York]
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Assault in NY

On January 1 after an altercation with another patient I was escorted out the day area to the sideroom. After being placed inside the sideroom, someone came to the sideroom and asked me do I want to take psychotropic drugs oral or by needle? I told him I would take the drugs by mouth. A lot of other TAs began grouping up outside of the sideroom. They ran in the room and started punching and kicking me while they were pulling me out into the hallway. One of them kicked me in the groin and one of them punched me in the mouth. Out in the hallway they forcefully injected me with the medication. They then put me in the restraint bed and put me back in the sideroom. After that three TAs wheeled me over to the sideroom on ward 402. While being wheeled over there and still fully restrained in the bed a TA named Frank Wench assaulted me by punching me in the backside of my head about 4 times and started grabbing me by my shirt and choking me with it and said "you fucked with the wrong person".

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[Political Repression] [Florida] [ULK Issue 18]
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Testimony - Retaliation for writing grievances

About three months ago I started filing grievances to the Warden about the verbal abuse Sergeant Watkins was using towards me and several other prisoners. I asked two other prisoners to address this issue also and we started filing grievances on any misconduct that was happening on our housing unit.

In June as I was approaching the chow hall, I got stopped by Captain Mercer, Watkins and four other officers. Watkins said "if you and your buddies don't stop filing grievances, we gonna make y'all life hell around here." I took that threat, and did not let it affect my agenda. See, these devils will use fear as a tactic to get us to submit to their will or ultimatum. Two other prisoners and I kept on filing, and as you may assume, they came at us with bogus disciplinary infractions. They placed us on property restriction, where we have only a pair of boxer shorts to clothe ourselves, and we don't get a mattress or bed roll.

Around shift change the Captain Mercer started to give everyone in our confinement unit a lecture on prisoners abusing the grievance procedures. Comrades, these pigs will use force to break up anything they deem a threat to security. I was sprayed multiple times with chemical agents, denied meals several times, and denied my right to use the legal library. I had another prisoner write to the supreme court of Florida explaining my situation. The court treated the letter as a Writ of Habeas Corpus motion, and now I am awaiting the outcome of the court's decision.

My family was writing me, but these pigs were discarding my incoming mail, so after weeks of unanswered letters my family filed a complaint with the Secretary of the DOC, and finally I was taken off restrictions given proper hygiene products and legal papers. I still get harassed occasionally, but they don't play with my mail anymore or steal my grievances. My agenda is to get a transfer to another facility, but until then I will not let these devils stop me from utilizing my civil and constitutional rights.

Comrades we must prepare ourselves mentally to be able to persevere. The oppressor has advanced, this is a psychological war and genocide is the goal. While doing your part to unite the movement internationally you become a force in our battle to achieve freedom, justice, and equality.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This story of grievances being ignored or leading to retaliation is all too common in the Amerikan criminal injustice system. And not all of our comrades behind bars have family on the outside who are so diligent in defending the rights of their loved ones who are locked up. We need more comrades like this one, and his family, defending the legal rights of prisoners against the abusive prison staff. MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within have launched a grievance campaign to help prisoners get their grievances recognized. We have petitions specific to several states and need more comrades to step up to make them applicable to more. Prisoners whose grievances have gone unheard should help build a library of custom grievance petitions for your state by sending them to MIM(Prisons). To participate in this grievance campaign, write to us and we will send you the info.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [High Desert State Prison] [California]
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Control Units No Better than Zoo for Animals

I am writing in hopes of bringing awareness to your followers regarding some of the injustices being forced upon prisoners housed within the administrative segregation units(ASU) in Z-unit. The circumstances below have unfortunately become the norm. Z-unit is officially referred to as the zoo due to the fact that it is a habitat fit for animals. We don't expect five star treatment because we are in prison. We know this and we are grateful for all that comes our way.

A major issue around here is mail. It is often late and quite frequently lost. Pictures, books, and magazines tend to often come up missing, but we are usually not provided with notices of disapproval. The thing is, when the mailroom confiscates something as contraband, they send you a notice of disapproval that allows you the opportunity to send home or donate whatever it is. So if the mailroom does not enclose this form in your envelope, then it is not them who steals the stuff, right? This issue is currently being reviewed at the director of CDCR's level of the 602 inmate appeals process in Sacramento, California.

High Desert State Prison(HDSP) is located in the mountains of Northern California. The winters are long and unforgiving. Temps often drop to 20F with gnarly winds, snow and ice. Since we are not provided with adequate winter clothing to defend against the literally numbing cold, we are forced to choose between freezing for three hours on the days they do choose to run yard or stay in our cells month after month. This too is being looked into by means of the grievance process.

HDSP is an unrelenting environment. Z-Unit is entirely worse. The way it was designed deprives one of all stimulation. The architects sure did a good job on designing an oppressive atmosphere. There is no window to the outside, simply a mere slit in the roof that leads to another skylight twenty feed higher. Looking out of the cell door all one can see is an all white wall five feet in front of you, the only contact you have is that of your cell mate, but that quickly becomes stale and strained.

TVs and radios have been authorized by the state since 2005, allowing purchases by inmates for entertainment purposes, but this has yet to be put into effect by the administration here in High Desert. Inmates who are fortunate enough to purchase books, magazines, newspapers etc., often have to wait upwards of a month after they are here to actually receive them. And when they're finally passed out, all reading material gets circulated throughout the entire tier. To say the least, we put everything to good use when we have it.

In spite of that, at one point, we were provided one book a week (better than nothing, I'm not going to front) by means of a tiny book cart. But that has ceased as of June 3 and to top it off, we are provided a slap in the face with two measly cross-words each week.

Without stimulation, internal anguish tends to set in. It has been clinically proven and well documented that in as little as two weeks in this type of environment, the average individual shows signs of stress, depression, anxiety, frustration, PTSD, anti-social symptoms and SHU syndrome. These conditions and the mental impact/ side effects they entail are the major cause of violence, both self-inflicted and in-cell combat. The mental imbalance is such that in September or October 2009 an individual committed suicide in his cell. In December 2009 another prisoner did the same, just to give a couple examples.

The impact this setting imposes has been acknowledged by the administration, for they have hired "psych-techs" who walk down the tier twice each day every day. How much does each psych-techs cost the state each year?

Prisoners have exhausted the appeals process and will continue on the right path to keep doing so, however, we are met with resistance at every level. More often than not, when you have proper grounds for a grievance, your appeal will somehow get lost. And when you write internal affairs asking them to submit it for you so that it won't be "lost," the warden will inevitably get at you letting you know that if you go that route then your grievance will not be processed. But it never gets processed anyway. Real fucking jerks, I know, not only this, but due to the insufficient nature and complete disregard on appeal coordinator's behalf, there is currently a lawsuit pending against the state. What can I say? We're trying.

Frustration got to the point that on June 14 and 18 about 35-40 cells boarded up to get cell extracted so they could voice their grievance. Unfortunately, we must expose ourselves to such gruesome protests, yet we are still not acknowledged. Moreover, on June 14-15 and again on Aug 2-9, prisoners housed in Z-unit went on hunger strikes. It seems like the light at thee end of the tunnel cannot be seen.

Many of the prisoners housed in Z Unit (about 80%) are awaiting transfers to other segregation units; however, some of these individuals have been enduring such dire circumstances upwards of two years.

To date, we have a select few of us on a writing campaign. Our object is ultimately to get our voice heard. So far, we've had a little success. Primarily, the Prisoner Activist Resource Center(PARC) is an organization currently working close with the prisoners housed in Z-Unit. Earlier this year, they led an investigation of this prison, but now they've planned one specifically for Z-Unit. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

This investigation has been published by SJRA Advocate. Also the AFSC has an open investigation on this prison's now obsolete Behavioral Management Unit (BMU), the same setting just a fancier title. The BMU investigation has been published in two newspapers: the Sacramento Bee and the Fresno Bee. We are hoping to get Z-unit added to that investigation.

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