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Under Lock & Key

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[International Connections] [California]
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Migrants Treated Unequally

I start off by writing that I will not be using the term "illegal aliens" as a way to refer to my people. As it is only used by oppressors to debase emigrants. It is senseless to have such a label since this country was formed on migrants. Furthermore CA was one of the many states tripped from Mexico. Indeed. That clear, I move on to the issue at hand, non-citizens contributing to the growing prison population. I use my personal story as a foundation to paint a bigger picture.

I was born in Mexico, at the age of four. Regardless of what your native country may be, we all seem to paint a wonderful picture of what the U.$. has to offer us. Yet it is completely the opposite of what we dream. When we arrive to the "land of opportunities" we are welcomed with degrading and low wage jobs. Due to us being migrants we are forced to accept these conditions. Victims of oppression, we work for the rich while they gain from the poor.

Some of my fellow migrants realize this, but go about it in the wrong manner, i.e. committing crimes. Being victims of oppression does not justify participating in or conducting illegal activities, but does in fact play a role with why we end up incarcerated. The government magnifies crimes committed by migrants to form stereotypes that all illegals come to the U.$. with the intention of committing crimes, which is not true.

Until everyone is treated equally and with dignity, the prison population will continue to grow. While the bourgeois injustice system is in effect, we can expect no such change. While we live in an imperialist state we can expect no change at all.

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[Political Repression] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Texas Prison Officers Label ULK Recipients Gang Members

Here on Hughes Unit the gang officers put us on file as members of a gang called ULK. A few weeks ago when I was called to the gang offices I was asked a lot of things about your newsletter. I don't see how they can do this when there is no gang called ULK at all. I would like you to let all comrades know about what's going on in Texas and what they do to prisoners who get Under Lock & Key on Alfred Hughes Unit. Once they put us on gang file they can read all mail that comes to us from anyone, and they can withhold mail and send it back to people. Please send me help to fight this.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania]
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Filth and Retaliation in PA

I'd like to expose the abuses and misconducts of correctional staff here at SCI Huntingdon. I begin with conditions of confinement. I am surrounded by vermin as well as roaches. Although the institution provides an exterminator service, the infestation is a continuing dilemma. Cells are generally too cold. I usually have to wear 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, and my jumpsuit just to barely keep warm. At times I must wear this while utilizing a blanket just to sleep.

Lights are kept on 24 hours a day. The toilet is on a timer, and if you flush too quickly you must wait for the timer to reset. Not exactly comfortable if you have a cell partner! Food is generally served cold. Trays usually have water or condensation around them because they sit for long periods of time before being served. Water seeps into food posing health risks. Although Department of Corruptions directives state that RHU prisoners shall have the same portions; portions are not equal to those of the general population.

Clothes is laundered once a week and if you have a cell partner you must use the same laundry bag. Clothes generally come back dirty! Correctional staff liked to "burn" or not provide trays or yard periods to those who they pick on, although DOC policy forbids such retaliation. Grievances are addressed, but the rationales do not specifically address issues cited and the specific issue is generally ignored. If you are served with a misconduct report, the hearing examiner is not impartial at times known to say that he believes his officers over the prisoner. Clearly a statement made by someone who is biased. The Program Review Committee is basically the same way.

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[Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Fighting Abuse of Authority in Texas

I am currently fighting a battle in court regarding the abuse of authority and unconstitutional treatment of prisoners here in Donovan. I currently have the court ordering RJDCF an informal response to my allegations. It is due July 23rd and it's July 19th.

I have been housed in administrative segregation for 14 months awaiting a non-adverse transfer to a lower level institution. Ad-seg is for prisoners who are serving a period of disciplinary detention for committing wrong acts. I have not done any wrong. I have been in adseg because of someone else's security concerns.

So here I am 14 months later, unfairly without any privileges I have rightfully earned. I lost my paying job, my ability to attend religious services, go to normal yard, socialize with friends, regularly attend law library, lost my property because staff failed to pack it up as required. The guards constantly degrade us and call us names. They threaten us, and harass us, feed us portions of food not suitable even for a small child. They act as if their shit don't stink and like they're better than us. I don't like it and I have decided to take it to the courts. But as you likely know, it's the legal system. The injustice system. I don't expect to win. But I sure am going to try. It's just sad that most of the other prisoners are too chicken to do anything about it.

I have a small group (6) who have joined my fight because they get the same treatment. I have tried to get more and still am, but most of them fear the likely retaliation from the guards. I only have just under 12 months left. I'm tired of their (the guards) shit and how they get away with it because they keep scaring people from stepping up to the plate. I'm going to do this. I want to prove to them that they are no better than we are.

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[Economics] [Organizing] [Texas]
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Prisons Used as Political Tools in Rural Communities

In the prison system, people upstate in rural areas send applications for prisoners to be sent up to the towns. If you live in a rural area upstate and your economic structure has been wiped out you need to have another industry. Now you have prisons. The benefit is that you get money for every person shipped to your state, but you also gain greater political power and shift the political power from the cities to the rural areas because every prisoner who goes into these rural areas is counted as a citizen in the county in which they are incarcerated. So big cities may lose two assemblymen because you and your crew are in jail upstate.

This is why all these rural areas want these prisons built in their communities. Prisoners are a population that they don't have to deal with and will never be heard, but they count as a part of representation in the government giving rural areas greater political power.

That's why these small hick towns have 3 or 4 penitentiaries where they have a population of Blacks and Latinos in their towns when in fact no Blacks or Latinos live within the town, but within the prison. Like the town of Tennessee Colony in Texas which has 4 units: Coffield, Beto, Gurney, and Michaels Unit. In most of these towns and cities most of the prison workers in the unit are related going back 4 to 5 generations: husbands and wives working together, brothers and sisters, fathers and sons, and so on. With this in mind you can picture the tight knit community in these units where "if you touch my mother or sister, I can do anything to you, and there's nothing you can do about it, because everyone on the unit will cover for me."

What most prisoners don't know is that they hold more power and rights than they know. If every prisoner who is from a big city put in for hardships to be at units close to their home, these hick towns could lose all of their political power. And these hick town units with populations of 5,000 would not have any power in their wardens. But there is a catch, once your application is in for a hardship. They are out to get you, and place loads of bogus cases on you, so you have to remain on the Unit 12 months case free before you can be shipped.

What we as prisoners must do is know our enemy when we go out and battle against them. We must be clean and can't have any contraband in our cells, or on our persons when we file law suits against them. And make sure the cameras get playback when they do search you or your cell to show them planting stuff on you or in your cell.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia] [ULK Issue 10]
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Abuse in West Virginia

I recently read an article in your ULK #7 that really caught my attention. It was from a New York prisoner who was assaulted by correctional officers. I too was recently assaulted by correctional officers here at Mount Olive Correctional Complex, the Supermax, located in West Virginia where I'm currently incarcerated. I have filed grievances, my family has contacted the governors office, attorney general's office, even local news stations informing them of what happened, and nothing has been done about it. I was recently informed by another CO that the people who did this to me were considered to be "pretty high up on the food chain" around here. Those people include Associate Warden, The Captain, the Prison Investigator, and another Correctional Officer.

I am in need of a civil rights attorney to represent me, but this is a small town. Everyone knows everyone and nobody wants to get involved. What this prison administration doesn't cover up, the government officials in this area cover up for them. I need your help, let's stop the abuse, I'm not the only victim in this prison, I'm just the one who's speaking out against the violence that's taking place inside these walls.

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[Culture] [Colorado]
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Is Hip Hop as Revolutionary Culture?

Personally I see nothing revolutionary about so-called hip hop nowadays. As someone who grew up in the 80s living the lifestyle, all I see now is everyone doing the same, saying the same, and looking the same. Hip hop needs a throat lozenge because it's lost its voice. When hip hop was pertinent there was a message in the music. A message which not only brought to light the various socio-economic maladies that affected the youth, but often times offered a remedy or blueprint to initiate change.

There were differing styles of dress depending upon how a particular individual wanted to express himself. Long gone are the Africa medallions or airbrushed jeans and hats that actually had meaning only to be replaced with precious metals and name brand couture. Real hip hop is alive and well in Cuba where they've even set up a position for the continuation of hip hop and expression by the government. Wow! In the U.S. hip hop has sold out to the mass media and has morphed into a watered down form of cheap musical entertainment. Shame on hip hop for allowing itself to become what it has. Notice how those rappers who talk about nothing of substance sell the most records while Mos Def or Dead Prez barely get a mention?

I believe that the bourgeoisie has systematically carried out a sinister plan to eliminate any type of thought provoking messages from being spread via hip hop music in an effort to keep the blind in the blind. I also believe that a direct correlation can be made between recent so-called hip hop's virtual passivity and the staggering number of inmates wandering around the multiple plantations in the good old US of A. We've been getting the message that it's okay for this government to do what it wants because we can't ever change it. There's nothing revolutionary about that!

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[Organizing] [Pennsylvania]
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Fight Keefe Food Group Corruption

boycott Keefe foodsWe are bring to the attention of the masses in the gulags and amongst the populace the corporate monopoly of the Keefe Food Group over Corrections Institutions in North Amerikkka. The Keefe Group is a subsidiary of the Centric Group LLC. It appears that this conglomerate has exclusive lucrative contracts throughout county, state and federal systems.

The corruption and abuses experienced by prisoners nationwide is well known to those of us who are subjugated to the system. However such practices under imperialism are not limited to the Prison Industrial Complex. Therefore, a just fight against Keefe Food Group and its parent company, Centric Group LLC, in these concentration camps can have direct cross appeal to the citizens in society who are battling wall street predators in banking and housing markets.

We are calling on readers of MIM(Prisons) Under Lock & Key to write Keefe Group in their county, state or federal prisons. We are asking people to compile a list of the prison's commissary prices along with any lawsuits or other documented abuses by Keefe Group. If any prisoners have had success with terminating the Keefe Group monopoly in their state system we would like to know the details of it and how the victory was achieved.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this call to collect information and launch coordinated battles against companies benefiting off the oppression of prisoners. However, a Marxist analysis of Amerikan society reveals that it, like other imperialist countries, is comprised primarily of labor aristocrats. These are people who are not exploited but rather are benefiting from the spoils of imperialist exploitation. Because of this benefit, even in economic downturn they have financial interests tied up with capitalism and so will continue to support the system. Certainly this may not be the case forever, and as imperialism weakens it may have to turn back to exploiting people at home, but for now, the imperialist country citizens are not likely to ally with prisoners based for economic reasons alone as is implied in this article.

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[Spanish] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 17]
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El Buro Federal de Investigación Arresto a un Hacedor de Paz

[img="https://www.prisoncensorship.info/art/quick/asanchez.jpg" alt=Alex Sanchez of Homies Unidos]Hace dos ediciones que "Bajo clavo y llave" publicó el número de "paz." Ahora estamos trabajando en una publicación sobre migrantes y no ciudadanos en las prisiones estadounidenses. El secuestro del director de "Homies Unidos", Alex Sánchez, por el FBI ayer demuestra la relación estrecha de las prisiones, emigración, represión y paz.

"Homies Unidos" se inició en El Salvador por 20 personas que fueron deportadas de los Estados Unidos debido a leyes de inmigración de la era Clinton después de cumplir penas de prisión. Alex Sánchez jugó un papel clave en fundar el capítulo de Los Ángeles dos años después, construyendo un importante vínculo al origen de los problemas de pandilla aquí en el estomago de la bestia.

El apuntamiento y arresto de Alex por el FBI es no más que un ejemplo más que soporta nuestro argumento en la publicación número 7, que el estado no quiere paz. Hay pocas quienes pueden decir que han hecho más para traer paz a algunas de las peores áreas mundiales afectada por las pandillas, sin embargo el estado lo mira como una amenaza.

En los 1980, la gente por todo Centro América se había unido por un nuevo sistema económico que servía las necesidades de la gente. Los Estados Unidos respondieron por medio de armar y entrenar escuadrones de la muerte para combatir esos movimientos. Ellos usaron el terrorismo, matando a las familias locales en el genocidio en masa, y haciendo brutalidades similares contra los partidarios de otros países para desentusiasmar el internacionalismo. Como la mayoría de la gente con quien "Homies Unidos" trabaja, Alex sí mismo se fue víctima del desplazamiento masivo de gente por Centro América causado por una década de intervención estadounidense. Este periodo de brutalidad fue seguida por políticas económicas que ofrecieron una opción de trabajo para las niñas de la guerra: corriendo producto para la economía de drogas multi-billonaria estadounidense.

Aunque la mayoría que viajaron a los Estados Unidos busca el trabajo, otras fueron traídos aquí por sus puestos en el mercado negro de intercambio de drogas. De cualquier forma, esos recién llegados son perseguidos por el encarcelamiento del sistema injusticia estadounidense, que ayudó a consolidar y reforzar la vida pandillera criminal como la única opción para casi todos los jóvenes masculinos. Al igual que los que vinieron antes que ellos, los salvadoreños en las calles y prisiones formaron grupos para defenderse de una sociedad quien les temía y atacó a los recién llegados.

El arresto de Alex es un ataque flagrante que forma parte del mismo sistema que ha atacado a millones procedentes del mismo lugar donde el vino. Pero su apuntamiento ha sido muy especifico y constante por sus esfuerzos para organizar la paz mediante el construir de alternativas a los delitos violentos como una forma de sobrevivir. Él apareció una amenaza demasiado grande para el sistema que controla a cafés y negros jóvenes en este país por medio de drogas y intensidad baja de guerra, mientras al mismo tiempo amenazando el flujo de drogas dentro del mercado más ricos del mundo.

Previamente, Alex fue perseguido por la unidad CRASH Murallas(Ramparts CRASH Unit) que condujo a la infame escándalo en el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles(LAPD), donde los policías trabajaban con el INS para deportar a los traficantes de drogas que no trabajaría con el LAPD. En ese momento fue amenazado con la deportación. Él respondió, tratando de obtener asilo debido a posición social en El Salvador, donde miembros de la principal organización lumpen allá son perseguidos por encarcelamiento y asesinato con más impunidad que ellos son en los Estados Unidos. Esto habría proveído una salida para millones de jóvenes atrapados en el ciclo violento. Pero las cortes americanas no irían por este argumento, y le concedieron asilo en la base de sus creencias politicas en su lugar.

Alex continuamente ha puesto su mismo en la línea por los intereses de la clase lumpen, que todavía no han devuelto el favor. Parte del desarrollo de conciencia de los lumpen es organizando la defensa (y apoyo) a los que están haciendo lo mayoría para servir a los lumpen.

Lección para la mente criminal

Hay dos posibles lecciones que miembros de la organización lumpen no política pueden tomar de esto. Hay el mensaje del FBI, que no hay esperanza trabajar contra los imperialistas estadounidenses, así que te encuentras mejor trabajando con el gobierno y sus operaciones de drogar y pacificar las comunidades oprimidas y espera tu no seas golpeado por la violencia o adicción tu mismo. Este es el termino corto, punto de vista individualista.

Entonces hay la lección que MIM(Prisión) aprovecha de esto. Si es verdad quien haga el trabajo verdadero para ayudar los jóvenes lumpen mejorar sus vidas será perseguido por el gobierno estadounidense. Pero en vez de acudir a la desesperación y la capitulación, promovemos el mensaje que entusiasma la gente a mirar a la foto grande y abandonar sus miedos como individuales. Esta lección nos lleva a reconocer la necesidad de varias estrategias. Una de estas estrategias es el cambiar del enfoque de las organizaciones lumpen para proveer verdadero apoyo para organizaciones independientes que están ayudando verdaderamente a jóvenes lumpen. Pero con eso vienen riesgos. Otra lección es que la criminalidad de los lumpen lo hace más difícil para los lideres para ayudar de lumpen como clase. En otras palabras, mejorando tu compartir lo hace más fácil para nosotros trabajar juntos.

En respuesta a los recientes arrestos, muchas estadunidenses ya ha condenado a Alex de los delitos imputados, porque según al idealismo burgués la gente se nace mala y no puede cambiar. Lo que pasa es que la gente quien se nace malo usualmente tienen piel más oscura. Tal idealismo es solamente consistente con una ideología de racismo.

Como MIM(Prisons) Homies Unidos hizo hincapié de la educación del lumpen de entender por qué están donde están, mientras trabajan para formar lideres para cambiar esa realidad. Los que se benefician de la opresión y explotación de otros no quieren que ese cambio tenga lugar. Se promoverá que los individuos escapar de la vida criminal como ejemplos que cualquiera puede tener éxito (si lo intentan). El lumpen sabe que esta es una mierda, pero el lumpen necesita estudiar para mirar cuáles son las verdaderas soluciones.

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