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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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GRAD program in Texas

In your November issues of ULK5 I read the article written by a Texas prisoner "Segregation in Texas" and am appalled by his ignorance as far as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) aka "Texas Department of Criminals" is concerned.

I myself am an ex-gang member, and I got into the GRAD program (without snitching), and do you know why? After 23 years of being a gang member in the prison system, I saw how the oppressors were using me to oppress others. By using me and other gang members, the oppressors in uniform do not get dirty while we get our time jacked-up or may even receive death for doing what the man in uniform wanted me to do. Not only that, but it gives the imperialists an excuse to build more control units for the idiots that are doing their dirty work.

Now I'll tell you about the Texas Department of Criminals. We prisoners in GRAD chose to call our gang affiliation history. Since then we have been labeled snitches (by TDCJ employees), by the same people who advertise how the prison system wants to help us rehabilitate. TDCJ employees know what goes on between prisoners because gang members have a habit of bragging, so when we denounce our gang affiliation the Gang Investigator (GI) tells you everything he knows about ranks and members all around the prison. At times the GI knows more than gang members. After being placed in the GRAD program, the same TDCJ staff go and instigate trouble between gang members and ex-gang members. That keeps the fuel on the fire and keeps prisoners at each others throats. Then TDCJ goes to the tax payer and asks for millions in tax dollars to build more control units.

December 4, 2008 and December 6, 2008, the thieves in the Governor's administration and TDCJ asked for a total of $506 million for the renovation of the prison hospital, for the medical contractors, and for walk-in metal detectors, wand detectors, surveillance cameras and x-ray machines. For the latter, the Texas department of criminals executive director is seeking an immediate $33 million. It is their own employees who bring in the contraband, but in the newspaper prisoners are the criminals.

Those of us who step back away from our gang membership are punished by the prisons. We face denial of meals (since I've been in GRAD I have been denied food 7 times). If we don't bark or beg for our meals we don't get fed. By law we should be allowed to recreate 1 hour daily, five days a week, but we are lucky if we get 1 hour a week. We get our water turned off by TDCJ employees just to try to get us to go off, and if we go off we have to go through the process all over again. We get verbal threats by staff. We get one or maybe two clean towels a week. We get old sheets that are cut in half. We don't get soap, tooth powder, grievance forms, or medical attention. We get strip searched by female guards, and if you are like me fighting the system, your mail is given to other prisoners or is denied.

The wing where I am housed is the only wing in the whole unit that is constantly freezing so that staff refuse to work this wing. We have to wear a t-shirt, jumpsuit and jacket in our cells during the winter. The air vents are so loud that you think you are standing next to a train (this is psychological torture). In the summer time the heat is turned on which makes you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the desert.

For 23 years I worked to please the oppressors by abusing the weak, oppressing others, and that is why I decided not to allow these people to tell me to do their dirty work while they sit back and earn money while I rot in these human warehouses.

Right now I am in a struggle with the medical department because they refuse to treat my illness. I am hypoglycemic and my blood sugar drops. Without the proper medication or diet I will lose my vision, which is happening slowly but surely. The way the grievance committee (kangaroo committee) puts it, I have to go into a coma so they can treat me. If more prisoners stood together as we used to in the 70s and early 80s, others would not have to go through these kinds of treatments. While we continue to fight each other they are building more control units. While we continue to fight each other we are forgetting the real purpose.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of Under Lock and Key carries strong messages about the need for prisoners to stop fighting one another. We know that programs like the Texas GRAD system are used in many states to turn prisoners against each other by forcing them to snitch or be punished. But we also know that prisoners are turned against each other even before they enter these types of programs, fomenting conflicts between rival groups, and using prisoners to carry out violence against other prisoners in exchange for small favors. It is up to each prisoner to figure out how to best use the system to break away from the senseless violence and coming together with other prisoners to put their energy into the anti-imperialist struggle for peace.

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[Organizing] [Utah] [ULK Issue 7]
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Trading short term violence for long term struggle

I've spent my whole life being angry and confused with law enforcement, the U.$., and just people in general. In my confusion I've taken my anger out on the pigs these past fourteen years, with many assaults on officers, attempting to disarm an officer, anything to rebel against this system of lies everybody has fully embraced and accepted.

I'll admit for a while there I was beginning to believe I was the problem: not having pride in the Amerikan troops in Iraq like the rest. Hating these pigs for giving my father the raw deal over and over. My whole life witnessing my family deteriorate by losing touch with each other because most all of us are felons. Never being able to fight back because there's not enough money to fight these charges, paying fines eternally.

I want to thank all the comrades who put the word out about your beliefs and platform because my blinders are off because of all your hard work. You see I'm currently in Utah's UNITA One facility. It is Supermax solitary, or intensive management unit (the hole), for just plain anger related incidents. I came to prison this time for attempting to disarm a pig. I figured I'd take one of them fuckers out at least, and my life would seem worthwhile or my family would feel the utter hate I have for these people who have destroyed everything I hold dear through their constant harassments.

I'm 26 years old, just eight months ago I wrote to the Maoist Prison cell, seeking reading materials to pass the time. These past eight months I've become almost drunk on all these misconceptions. I've been exposed to the truth. I feel anger still, but it's not at those small town pigs, it's at the imperialist pigs who run the U.$.

Now there's a whole bigger picture and I want to contribute to the struggle. I see now it's like they wanted me to go off so they could just brush me aside and either kill me or place me in a cell. I feel the rightness when I read Mao's words and see the total wrongness in this system, in these CO's eyes as they torture us, force medicate us. I was very close to just succumbing to these offers of medications. Like I said I thought it was me who was wrong, seeing Amerika as evil. My struggle brought me here though, and I'm happy for that because my mind's just been seeking the rhyme and reason and my back's been strengthened enough to put my weight behind just such a cause.

I smile now at these COs when they toss my cell or write me up. I laugh at these psychiatrists when they tell me I need medication. I feel pity the same way a person feels pity on a weaker boxer in a title bout. For these pigs, they'll lose.

So for now I'll continue my study and contribute all I'm able to the fight with hopes of gaining enough wisdom to spread the message to a lost soul like I was someday. I'm literally the only prisoner in my section (the hole) who is not all zoned out on medications. I was very close to being unable to even struggle with anything but my own medicated thoughts - out of despair I came close to just getting on medication. Yet my drugs is in my exercise knowing there's many years ahead to fight a just cause. My drug's in the look on these guards faces when a grievance causes loss of jobs, positions and face. I live now in a torture chamber, the lowest possible position (except death row three sections down) a man can be in. But I see myself rising to the most high position possible: comrade in a struggle to bring true justice to the world's population.

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[Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania]
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Pennsylvania torture units

I was in Camp Hill prison control unit called the SMU which means special management unit. The race there is only Black prisoners and the staff there beat Black prisoners until they are bloody or deprive them of their food. In 2005 the SMU guards killed a prisoner - a black prisoner that is - by not feeding him his food. I myself have been beaten and deprived of food, water and other things mainly medical care. These control units are slave torture camps and the staff that work in these control units are diabolical devils. They only build these control units for Black prisoners to torture, murder and rape our mind from our sanity. These staff who work in Camp Hill SMU are all white and they do so many unlawful things it's crazy. The courts of commonwealth of PA backs them up. Many lawsuits have been filed against Camp Hill control unit, but nothing has been done. Outside people need to realize that us prisoners are being tortured and murdered because of the color of our skin.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Missouri]
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Concrete Soldiers


We are living our lives as captives trapped
behind this prison gate
Our bodies are tortured but our will to survive will never be
slain by this system that believes in nothing but hate.
Daily we're patronized ridiculed with our hearts filled with pain,
Ever so fearlessly we fight so that our hearts and souls will remain.
We rebel against our captors tooth and nail,
Refusing that the numbers we've become won't be our only tale to tell.
We retaliate by planning, dreaming, and persuing our goals,
We're accustomed to the system's hard knocks and low blows.
When our lives became no longer our own we vowed to fight and win our struggle.
Never to surrender our individuality at any cost or the respect thereof,
for it is everything during our struggle inside this concrete jungle.
We have the right to keep our bodies, minds, and souls safe
from the pollution inside this hell.
Regardless what our captors think while we're caged like
animals inside these cells.
This battle we fight has been going on for decades of years.
A war fought for humanity by many good soldiers
through blood, sweat, and tears.
Year after year we continue to fight against a system that
believes in nothing but wrong.
Our powers take aim towards helping those who have fallen and are less strong.
A healing must take place for the oppressed, the beaten,
the battered and abused.
Cease movement I say to racism, sexism, and all of the hate
that is used.
Our fight shall never end until Power to our People shall
be granted again.
May our fight touch many lives Peace, Love, and Solidarity
to all from our hearts deep within.

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[Elections] [Texas] [ULK Issue 6]
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Response to ULK Obama article

Thank you for responding to my letter and sending me the copy of your newsletter. I found the articles very informative and inspiring. I also enjoyed the many letters from the various prisons around and was surprised how many of them spoke to issues I myself am concerned with.

I would like to point out here my agreement with the article about Barack Obama. I think the very prophesy of that article is already coming true. He promised "change" for Amerika, but look at the people he surrounds himself with. Look at the cabinet posts he has appointed. It is the same old inside Washington D.C. bunch, the same powers behind the scene supporting the same oppressive imperialism that keep the poor poor and abused. The hope that many felt would come by the election of a Black man to the presidency is raped by the realization that Amerika actually elected a "half-white man" to the presidency.

I am new to Marxist, Maoist philosophy, but I feel in my gut what these stand for, and I consider myself a thinking man. I am starved for information, so please keep me on your mailing list. And any books or literature you could send to help me understand more, will be greatly appreciated.

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[Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 6]
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Oppression at Pennsylvania's SMU

Oppression in Pennsylvania's plantation "Special Management Unit" is at an all time high. This is where the so-called worst of the worst convicts are sent, but it's not for any form of rehabilitation but rather to be abused. A lot of strong brothers are being physically and mentally abused in an attempt to break their fighting spirit. Note: the oppressors fear what they can not conquer.

It is said that all those of us who have the mental ability to organize the masses and structure any type of movement for the betterment of the oppressed peoples movement "need" to be locked down.

The abuse at SCI Camp Hill runs deep, to the point where it'll drive the weak crazy. The other day a brother (new arrival) split his own forehead open in an attempt to get transferred. He was taken to medical for 3 days and brought right back to the SMU. I personally have been experiencing a lot of abuse. I'm labeled by central office, under the Security Threat Group as a high ranking New York Blood. Officers use this to confiscate my literature, mail, photos and legal materials (all is labeled gang related).

We are not allowed to buy soap, deodorant, toothpaste, or lotion off of the commissary even if we have the proper funds in our accounts. Every time we request copies of any policies that tell us what we're allowed to have, we're told, 'oh you can't have that in the SMU.' Everything is considered a security risk at this concentration camp.

All other facilities allowed me to have MIM Notes except here. Officials don't follow publication procedures and take it upon themselves to determine what is and isn't allowed. I've filed a grievance on this and a number of violations here including health risks and I'm currently planning to file a class action suit with a few other comrades. Our ultimate goal is to get this concentration camp shut down.

We are currently working with a number of organizations who've been very supportive. I write so that everyone may know the seriousness of the situation. Officers beat brothers senseless in this control unit even if we're completely restrained, wearing cuffs, tether, shackles and restraint belt. This isn't rehabilitation at all but it sure is oppression at its worst! Still in all, we remain strong and focused on shutting this joint down!

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[Organizing] [California]
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Snitches, agents of the oppressor

Whether you call it snitchin, rollin over, or throwin rat, there has been a trend take over of brothas and sistas alike cooperating with the oppressor. Now I don't know why, but it seems to be a subject that many whisper about but few are willing to discuss. It's nothing new, but due to the over-popularity of its recent trend, many people are falling victim to the reconstruction of its appearance. And something needs to be done.

Since the beginning of history there have been traitors, informers, and infiltrators, so I'm not looking for a magic potion that'll eliminate the existence of snitching. I'm just looking for my revolutionary comrades to start (or put more effort in) educating each other on the existence of the snitch population, because it seems with so many falling victim to the traps of the oppressing agency, somebody somewhere failed to do so.

Snitchin ain't cool, solid, or proper, no matter how one chooses to dress it up and define it. It shouldn't be tolerated under any conditions or circumstances, whether you're incarcerated, caught up in court on a beef that involved a rad or two with you havin nothing to do with the case, or on the streets under investigation for an involvement, or lies with a certain revolutionary struggle/movement. It is totally unacceptable for one to open up his or her mouth to volunteer his or her cooperation with the oppressor.

As a revolutionary comrade to the USW, I find it my duty to speak on the issue and address it with all my heart.

Here in California there's been a trend of general population inmates turnin in there flags to the administrators for a life in the world of a P.C (peace of $hit) - Protective Custody. Now excuse the french, because I know there are a few celebs lie 'ol O.J. Simpson who reside in the system and have to be PC'ed up so they can keep the vultures off them. But I'm talking about the pieces of shit's, the child molesters, rapists and informers for the government. Dudes who used to be part of the criminal lifestyle, but violated the script, and used the PC route for a scape goat.

These individuals are the ones who are the main reasons prisons all over Amerikkka are fucked up the way they are. If it weren't for this population of individuals, the prison officials wouldn't know half the things they know about the prisoner organizing tactics and strategies, helping them to better limit us of our much needed resources, cornering our struggle and section of the end to imprisonment movement.

California has what they call the sensitive need yard (SNY) program, and it is under the protective custody program. It seems that convicts (ex-convicts) of all ages are flocking to the wardens to be enrolled. The program is separated from the GP prisoners, but already it is more of them than it is of us. A common joke amongst the GP prisoners is that in a few years we'll be the prison minority.

I can't speak on the lifestyle of a PC because I've never been on that side of the fence, but I can speak on how the PC lifestyle messes up the lifestyle of the GP.

After a prisoner decides he wants to go rat, he must inform the faculty Sgt officer of his intentions and why. Once this is done the goon squad (institutional security unit or institutional gang investigator) will get at him to receive any information that can be given. Weapons, drugs, names of the politically active, etc. From what I hear, if the information is valid enough they sign him up as a confidential informant and use him to take down individual convicts or whole convict organizing groups.

This snitch then is provided with special needs: a TV or a cell phone, or whatever the guard has to spear with its budget, which makes him want to stay on his job and encourage others to join his Inmate Task Force.

With these individuals existing along with their selfless structure of thinking, the solid revolutionary must truely practice knowing what they deal with, and the ways they deal with them. Back in the mid-sixties the convict element knew of no PC or Sensitive Needs Yards. Dudes got their paperwork checked at the front door, and if he/she had smut on their jacket, it would either be cleaned up or dealt with accordingly.

Now days you ask a dude for his/her ID, and he's bound to call the pigs. I'm supposed to be surrounded by these group of individuals claiming to be incarcerated for murdering a pig, but really be down for molesting a little girl or something. Something I'm totally against, and believe deserves capital punishment right along with the blooming snitch trend.

Informants are being placed on the main lines nationwide comrades, watch yo self and who you surround yourself with. The oppressor has become more aggressive in his/her campaign to destroy communism in Amerikkka (the U.$. to be exact) by putting eyes on the party's people even more so.

Those who are educated behind these walls are a threat to the prison officials and their puppeteers, because we can educate those who aren't. We are the political cadres for the movement to end oppression and imprisonment, and we must conduct ourselves as such. Safe guard yourself for there will always be eyes on you, whether it's the mailroom or Bush and his telecom eavesdroppers.

The snitcin game isn't to be played by a true revolutionary, for it's everything that we as communists are against. It's the game that destroyed the Gang of Four in China, the Bolsheviks in Russia, and Huey P. Newton and the Panthers here in the U.$. Prison rads must safeguard themselves, watch what you say, where you say it, when you say it, how you say it, and who you say it to.

Power to the People.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
This comrade makes some important points about security for our comrades behind bars. We do take issue with one point in his article: MIM(Prisons) does not make a distinction between prisoners based on the crimes for which they were convicted. We know that it is easy enough to convict a Black man for rape of a white womyn, and that coerced sex goes on in marriages, relationships and families, every day. Because sex under the patriarchy is inherently unequal we don't condemn those convicted of rape as somehow inferior to other prisoners. Instead we struggle with all prisoners to see the error of committing crimes against the people, and encourage them to take up the revolutionary struggle.

We also don't support capital punishment for anyone under imperialism because the capitalists use the death penalty to further their political agenda. We know that it may be necessary under a dictatorship of the proletariat, but we strive to avoid taking lives that could be turned into productive revolutionary citizens.

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[Control Units] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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Life in danger after being labeled a gang member

I am here in Allred Unit in Texas. I was reading a friend's Under Lock and Key paper and it caught my eye when I was looking at the article about segregation in Texas. I can't believe it, but it's all true the way security threat group classification works in Texas prisons.

I'm here in Seg at Allred. It started back in San Antonio Texas. I went to court for my charge and the DA was talking about me being a suspected gang member, which I am not at all. My case was not strong so I took a 3 year sentence. I got to the prison and the Security Threat Group label is waiting for me like a hawk. They start asking me all these things about my past. I told them I am not part of anything. They said it's on my travel card from court. I did all I could to make them understand the card is wrong. But they pulled me out in front of the other prisoners and so the prisoners started thinking I am somebody. So my only chance was to ask for help.

Not only do the prisoncrats think I am a gang member, but now these other guys think I'm a member or ex-member so my problems got worse. Some of the prisoners planned to take me out so my only chance was to tell the prison administrators that my life is in danger. When I told them this I got segregation under investigation. They transfered me to another unit. When I got to the new unit I told them I can't go to population so they told me I will stay in pre-hearing detention and wait for the prison to make a decision. They finally shipped me to an ex-gang member unit and then transfered me to population. I got jumped and beat up real bad. Then they told me that if I don't tell the prison that I'm an active gang member they will leave me where I am. To protect myself I have to claim something I am not. If I claim I am a gang member I can go to Seg.

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[Prison Labor] [California]
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Jobs and rehab in California prisons

Jobs at this prison, what a joke. I've been sitting on my ass for 3 years and still no job. They have few jobs at this place, if you are lucky you can be a slave and work in a chow hall and bust your ass for 10 hours a day. They have 30 people and only 7 are fortunate to receive a pay number. The highest paid slave is the clerk, he makes 32 cents an hour but he owes restitution so they take 55% and he has to pay $5 for medical so he will take home $1.40 a month. The pig who is his supervisor makes $43 an hour with all the overtime he wants.

As for other jobs, if you are into boot licking you can be a janitor in the watch office. All you have to do is clean after the pigs and rat on everyone, for that you get a whole 8 cents an hour. If you want to learn a trade they have a few vocational classes. They have auto body and paint. You get to paint and repair pigs personal cars for free. Does society know that these scumbags are driving BMWs, Porsches and $50,000 Corvettes? While our families are suffering from the recession these scumbags are buying cars, houses and all sorts of fun toys, all from the peoples taxes.

I have no money, no family, no income, I get a bar of soap, a razor, some tooth powder and a roll of toilet paper once a week. They added the word rehabilitation to CDC. I want to file a lawsuit for false advertisement. They offer no form of rehab at all. This is a human storage unit with babysitters who pull in $130,000 a year, all on the tax payers.

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[Education] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
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Responses to ULK5

To my loyal solid freedom fighters. ULK5 has reached its destination safe and sound (to my hands). I must say this one really caught my eye. It's contents are enjoyable and very inspiring to say the least. First, I'd like to extend my thanks and appreciation to MIM for their unending support and dedication. You never fail to teach or elighten me on so many different levels. I can't wait to be set free and given my opportunitity to help and shine a light on the injustices of this corrupt system.

I'm pending validation right now so I can really identify with what was said in ULK. Obama changes nothing, Amerika can't see this point of view. I mean are they blind, in denial, or what? Especially when rappers, musicians, go out of their way to show support. I understand the dire need for change. But changing the face is not going to change the system. The comrade who wrote this article couldn't have said it better: "why is it that if Barrack Obama starts talking about the empowering of oppressed people in this country, he wouldn't stand a chance of becoming President?" Because that's the truth and a lot of people can't handle the truth.

And to CDC's name change, it's ridiculous, nothing but a lie. I'm up for parole in a matter of months. I've been down 10 years. What are they doing to help me prepare for society? Not a damn thing. Except find a way to oppress me even more by labeling me an active gang member and validating me as a prison gang member. All in an attempt to further hinder my so-called freedom once I depart from these gates.

Now I'd like to take a minute and respond to a New York prisoner's words. His is a response to ULK4. He sees the great need for struggle, this can't be stressed enough. We must be patient and humble. Do not let others actions or words disturb our peace and harmony. We need to stay focused on the big picture which would be true liberation. We must educate ourselves and learn rules, laws, and regulations. Even CDC's appeal system. I know it sounds crazy. The system sets up a system to hear their own grievances against them. I have no faith in it either from personal experience.

There is a way to work it, however, and that is get an outside organization to assist you. Send them copies and have them send them into wardens or overseers. You must have patience, build a paper trail, and document everything pertaining to said incident. My last citizen complaint took 4 months just to hear it on an informal level. The stalling in time is just a tactic CDC uses but don't be discouraged. Assist one another, teach and guide one another.

And to a Mississippi prisoner's Combatting Liberalism: very well spoke comrade. I aspire to put words together as you have. They truly inspired me. Reading this whole ULK was inspiring. It's words such as these that keeps that fire burning within to the fullest. I awake everyday eager to learn or teach somebody something new.

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