The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Prison Labor] [Texas] [ULK Issue 8]
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Texas Prisoner Forced to Work for No Pay

In Texas, every general population prisoner is required to work. They either work in the service of prison upkeep (i.e. maintenance, food service, field labor, support service inmate, etc.) or they work in one of the various factories owned by TCI (Texas Correctional Industries).

TCI is not part of the state. It is not part of the prison system. TCI is a private conglomerate which contracts with the state for prisoner labor. They operate metal fabrication plants, stainless steel works, meat packing plants, furniture factories, computer restoration plants, and many others throughout the 130+ prison units around the state. These industries do indeed provide products which the prison system needs for itself, but these products are also sold to other states for their prisons and jails at prices greatly marked up. The profits come from the fact that the prisoner labor is free.

Texas prisoners do not get paid for working.

Now there are a couple of pilot programs which started a couple of years ago, that do pay their workers a tiny bit. But these programs employ less than 1% of the 150,000+ prisoner population, and there are no plans to extend or expand these programs.

When general population prisoners in Texas attempt to involve the U.$. Department of Labor, OSHA, or other labor organizations concerning the exploitation of prisoners, we are told that prisoners in Texas "volunteer" to work, and are therefore not entitled to any support. They fail to mention that if a prisoner refuses to work, he is subject to disciplinary action, loses commissary and recreation privileges, has his good time credits taken away, gets locked up in administrative segregation - all of which has a negative effect on chances for parole. So the Catch 22 is: either work for free, or suffer the consequences.

Oh, they tell us that our good time credit is our pay. But good time only affects non-3G prisoners. It means nothing to the rest of us.

Furthermore, the extent of embezzlement within TCI is outrageous. The managers and department heads, even the foremen, are ripping off the tax payers with their thefts. I personally have witnessed many such incidences. For example: the maintenance department receives a new pump which it does not need at the time, so it is put into storage. Three weeks later I can't find that pump. A month after that, the supply truck delivers another pump which has the exact same serial number as the first.

Another example: just before Thanksgiving, the meat packing plant receives a truckload of frozen turkeys. The plant closes on Friday evening, and come Monday morning there are 120 frozen turkeys missing. The official ruling is "inmate theft." But no prisoners are at the plant on weekends.

And again: the stainless steel fabrication plant makes the round circles which are used for the seats we sit on at the chow hall tables. I saw a bill for 24 of those seats, the price? $40,000 for 24 one foot circles of stainless steel.

The factories build all the bars, the bunks, the toilets and sinks, the steel doors, etc., using prison labor. Then TCI sells all that to the contractors who build the new units at an unbelievable mark-up. The contractor then builds the prison, and sells it back to the state for an even more exaggerated price. Meanwhile, briefcases of cash keep changing hands. How else do you think the state gets away with telling the tax payers that a new prison costs $64 million when the outside of that prison is all pre-fab, and the inside is all prisoner built? Where is the oversight? Where is the accountability? The nature of bureaucracy allows these things to go on. Hell, they learned it from the feds, there's no one left to tell. Those officials who are supposed to look out for these things just take their share too.

The nature of capitalism ensures that the abuses of prisoner labor and the rape of tax payers in Texas will continue unchecked while the imperialistic standards thrive.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This is an excellent exposure of the prison labor conditions in the state of Texas and the benefit that private industry is getting for this free labor. The stories of corruption ring true across the whole federal government. See our article on Halliburton/KBR and Blackwater to see parallels in the military industrial complex.

We only disagree with the author in their assessment that the tax payers in Texas are being raped. While it is true that the State is paying ridiculous prices for goods, this is no different than the state paying high salaries to guards: these things actually work to ensure good jobs for those working in the service to imperialism. And the vast majority of taxpayers in Amerika are benefiting from imperialism so we can't agree that they are being raped. The criminal injustice system is helping to prop up the system of imperialism that benefits the taxpayers, and a little more money exchanging hands to enrich another imperialist institution (TCI) does not change this situation.

This article referenced in:
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[Rhymes/Poetry] [North Carolina]
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Solitary Confinement


Mental purgatory trapped inside the
matrix
hells aging heaving grabbing at me.
Suicidal mind battles fictional characters
trying to hold on.
I believe I can fly touching the
sky inside my mind zone.
I rather die before I submit to
genocide systemized legalized lynching.
Judicial homicides of the black
strong and gifted.
Invisible teardrops manifested
Obama can't change this.

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[Abuse] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 7]
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Excessive Force in North Carolina

Check this out, there are a lot of issues of excessive force jumping off here at this spot with this renegade white Sgt named Deno. He has been dumping whole cans of pepper spray on prisoners when pulling them out of their cells. He then takes them to the mop closet and beats them up.

Guys are writing Prisoner Legal Services about these incidents but no internal investigations are being done by these people. They only send longass questionnaires and after all is said and done their response is always the same "we find no cause to investigate your complaint any further." Nobody comes to see these guys physically all busted up and stitched up.

This Sgt Deno messed up this one guy's eyes so bad with dumping too much pepper spray this guy's vision is permanently altered. He is presently seeing an eye doctor. He has been prescribed medication for his eyes but it's been 3 weeks and counting and this nursing staff still haven't given it to him.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [North Carolina]
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The Day Before Tomorrow


Sacred memories painted black on
brokeness of hard times canvases.
Mirrored images of many men confined
who remind me of me in memory.
Souls tear stained with blood of
our ancestors past.
Injustices pain like rain falls forming
puddles around ankles like shackles.
Unwritten script fist clenched against
bad experiences within the penal system.
Too many talented dreamers behind
prison fences.
Prison Central is confinement of the mind
Black life in eyes still shinning but dimming
He went from living to merely existing.

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[International Connections] [Illinois]
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Canadian Denied Transfer Back Home

I am a Canadian citizen incarcerated in a prison of the Illinois Department of Corrections since December 1999. I am trying to get transferred to a Canadian prison but the transfer coordinator of the IDDL denied my requests for the last six years. They don't even tell me how long I have to stay in the U.S. The only hint I got is that I have too much time left to do to be transferred right now, and I know this only because I wrote to former Governor of Illinois Mr. Rod Blagojevich. I even wrote to President Barack Obama on his inauguration day about my transfer to a Canadian prison but he didn't even bother to answer, much less to do something. I also wrote to some Illinois state and federal officials but they didn't do anything either.

This is just another example of American imperialism. The U.S. likes to swing its weight with citizens of other countries incarcerated in this country by not allowing them to return to their home country, while the U.S. wants to have its citizens incarcerated abroad return home. There is a treaty of prisoner exchange and transfer between the U.S. and Canada, but the U.S. usually does not honor it.

There is nothing left for me to do but stay and suffer in U.S prisons among foreigners. Where is the day of equality among nations with mutual respect? Canada is more humane to its prisoners. The U.S. is far behind for human rights that it claims to promote around the world.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Montana]
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Animal

We're told when we can eat,
We're told when we can sleep,
We're treated like animals,
We're treated like the sheep.

No one really cares,
As long as it's not them,
Prisons treat us like animals,
Instead of grown-up men.

They open our doors to chow,
We race for it like cattle,
They may have won this round,
But they haven't won the battle.

We all must stay strong,
Surrender is not a choice,
We will rise up,
We will use our voice!

So let's be animals,
But not the one's they think,
Roar like lions,
Let them know their policies stink.

Don't give up,
Don't be blue,
Cause' even though we prisoners,
We're humans too.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Missouri]
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untitled

In my quest for freedom I continue to struggle
spitting conscious thoughts, so I'm flexing my muscle
overdosin on oppression on this modern day plantation
with knowledge. I rebel to improve my situation.
I strive for the greatness that our people once displayed.
No longer influenced by the beast, disgusted by his wicked ways.
I'm militant like Huey
Ready to lead like Marcus
I come in peace like Martin.
But like Jonathan I'll spark shit
Like Malcolm by any means necessary
For my people I'll go there,
might get assassinated like George
with the Black Power fist in the air
I'm a conquerer like Hannibal
A warrior like Shaka
lead you to freedom like Harriet
might break out like Assata
I ride for the cause
and stay on point like a needle.
What more can I say
Power to the People.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 7]
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Oklahoma Pigs Set Up Prisoners

Let me tell you how these pigs run this system. We are locked down 23 hours a day, no programs, this prison holds about 1,800 prisoners, 60% are white, 35% Black and the rest "hispanic." Racism is really bad here, some pigs are really racist. Every time something happens at another unit we will get locked down and punished for it.

Recently they came to my cell and conducted a shakedown. I was the first to cuff and get ready for the shakedown, but my celly refused. After about 5 or 6 minutes he decided to cuff up. They came in and found an empty trash bag with beer residue in it, so they took my TV and wrote me and my celly up. My celly admitted that that was his. Well about 3 weeks ago they did the shakedown and found something that my celly flushed down the toilet. They wrote him up and they dropped him to a level one.

I'm on level 2, and I'm coming up for parole in 2 months. I don't have control over what another prisoner is doing. I've been trying to move to another cell but they refuse to move me. What I'm getting at is that they punished me for something my celly did. They do that to make me and my celly kill each other. They do it like that a lot, and most of the time prisoners do stab each other.

Sometimes these pigs pay or tell other prisoners to beat each other up. Just a while back a couple prisoners got into it with these pigs. They beat them up and put them in a cell with a rival gang to get them stabbed. Their own Lt brought in dope and got busted. And if you say something bad to the pigs they will go tell a lie about you to other prisoners. Just another way the police control things.

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[Organizing] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 7]
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USW Leads Organizing for Real Peace

United Struggle from Within is potentially the most potent prisoner’s organization. USW is intended to take the vanguard position in the overall prison liberation movement, by tackling the multiple battles which we face as prisoners in this injustice system. Such battles are, but not limited to: instituting the national minimum wage to prisoners, fighting censorship, fighting the isolation cell-blocks which are a form of psychological warfare, doing away with the capitalist “death penalty,” promoting peace between street-organizations and guiding these sisters and brothers to a more purposeful meaning of existence (operation), obtaining proper educational programs and courses to enable the prisoner to make a successful re-entry back into society.

Many more can be stated, as our USW movement has a lot of work to tend to. Which ultimately comes to the doing away with the capitalist-imperialist injustice system – without the causes of crime and recidivism what’s the use of having this major system of confinement?

Yes, the program of USW is intended to impact the individual’s life and community to the point we decrease the drug/alcohol use and abuse, recidivism, violent crime and youth crime. The penal system hasn’t tackled these problems of the people, so the people must tend to these issues. I must admit, I am grateful to be a part of such a movement and organization.

As I take up the struggle in Ohio and in forming a committee of the USW (where we will study socialism, organizational tactics, law, and past socialist movements in history), I have been met with many obstacles ranging from prison officials to even comrades of our struggle. One of the main obstacles that weighs heavy on my mind and heart is the barriers we have amongst us (prisoners, proletariat at large….). I’m trying to penetrate the walls of ignorance that pervade the prison system and the community.

This police state (Amerikkka) has given birth to a criminal culture/prison culture. USW must battle for the minds of potential revolutionaries. Our battle also goes against gangsterism, gang-banging, race-hate, and illiteracy. Bringing together opposite street organizations and race/culture oriented groups to the round table in a common striving for self-determination, liberation, and protection is a feat we USW comrades are instructed to accomplish. Bringing peace and a mutual understanding through organizational cooperation and aid is a prioritized objective of USW.

We all face the same problems coming from disenfranchised and socioeconomic oppressed communities, enduring the turmoil of being snatched away from our families and thrown into cages, stripped of our dignity and denied the adequate opportunity to reconstruct our lives in a proper way with education and assistance. Hence, we must educate ourselves. We must organize ourselves in cells/collectives that go beyond the prison fence and wires by establishing ourselves in the communities we come from and work together for the common good of each member. Our common goal is to get back to society. The system won’t provide us with the essentials to ensure our success so we must provide it ourselves. But, our course of action should be in a peaceful mode. And, as we engage and advance we must recognize and respect those who strive in the same way.

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[Spanish] [California] [ULK Issue 7]
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Oppresión en el SMU de Pennsylvania

Oppresion en el SMU de Pennsylvania esta a lo más alto que nunca. Aquí es donde los peores de los peores son mandados, pero no es ninguna forma de rehabilitación, en vez es para que sean abusados. Muchos de nuestros hermanos fuertes están haciendo abusados fisica y mentalmente en un atento de quebrar y de acabar con su espirito guerillero. Nota: los oppresores temen a lo que no pueden controlar.

Es dicho que todos de nosotros que tenemos la abilidad mental para organizar la mayoría y estructrar cualquier tipo de movimiento para el mejoramiento de nuestra gente "necesitamos" ser encerrados.

El abuso en SCI Camp Hill corre muy adentro, hasta el punto en donde los debiles serán quebrados. El otro día un hermano (recien llegado) se abrió su propia cabeza en un atento para que lo cambien se lo llevaron al medico por 3 dias y lo regresaron para tras al SMU. Yo personalmente he visto mucho abuso. Yo soy considerado por la oficina central y bajo el Security Threat Group como un Blood de Nueva York de alto riesgo, y con eso me quitan mi literatura, correo, fotos y material legal (todo lo consideran "gang related").

No podemos comprar jabón, desodorante, pasta ni loción de la cantina aunque tengamos feria en nuestra cuenta. Cada vez que pidemos copias de estas reglas nos dicen que no podemos tener eso en el SMU. Todo es considerado un riesgo a la seguridad de este campamento de concentración.

Cualquier otro lugar me ha dejado tener Notas de MIM menos aquí los oficiales no obedecen sus propias reglas y lo toman en sus manos para determinar que podemos o no tener. Yo he escrito un grievance sobre esto y un numero de violaciones aquí incluyendo riesgo de salud y estoy planiando meter un Class Action lawsuit con otros camaradas. Nuestra meta es para que cierren este lugar.

Estamos ahorita trabajando con un numero de organizationes que nos han ayudado mucho, yo escribo para que todos sepan lo serio de esta situación. Los oficiales nos golpean aunque tengamos esposas y estemos amarrados. Esto no es rehabilitación en ninguna manera pero es oppresión a lo peor! Pero de todas maneras nos mantendrémos fuerte y concentrados en cerrando este pinche lugar!!

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