The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Expand ULK. Send us $50 concealed cash with an address and we'll send you a stack of each issue for the next year. help out
[Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
expand

Law library access restricted

I will soon encounter a new roadblock [in researching censorship lawsuits to help fight the censorship of MIM]. Our law library will be shutting down soon. The library clerks told us that after the 29th of November the law library will only be running for a day or two out of the week. The reason for this, or excuse rather, is that since our gym is due to be emptied out within the next couple of weeks, the population on the yard will be substantially smaller, there is no need for law library to be open every day. Of course this is just an excuse for them not to run the library for us. So most likely the only people allowed inside will be those with "PLU" status, no chance for the rest of us to do any research. However, people are already preparing to draw up 602s and those that are more experienced with the law have promised to pursue the matter. As long as the library remains open, I will hopefully be ready to file the complaint with the district court.

I also want to mention, I just acquired a Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook a few weeks ago. It only instructs prisoners on how to file 1983s. I've checked out a couple other similar manuals and this is most certainly the simplest and straight to the point manual I've come across, very easy to understand. You can have people download it for free on the internet, or you can write to the National Lawyer's Guild via a letter and request it for free. For a copy, write to: The Prison Law Project, National Lawyers Guild, National Office, 132 Nassau St, Rm 922, New York, NY 10038. Download it at http://jailhouselaw.org.

chain
[Abuse] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
expand

Lockdown and bad conditions in California

We are pretty much on lockdown 24-7 here at Calipatria State Prison. When we get full program we only go out to yard 4 hours per week, and that's if we are lucky because a lot of the time they come out with all kinds of excuses, and we only end up getting two hours weekly.

There are prisoners who have been here 4 years without getting any assignments (a job or school). I had a job before I arrived here at this "institution" (like they wanted this to be called, instead of what it is - a prison cages for animals, not fit for human beings.) Anyway, I had a job with a paid number which was about $20 a month, and that's if I work a full month. Most of the time I don't work the full month. Anyway, I asked my counselor what's going on with a job. I said I've been here 3 months already and he says, why are you asking that, there are a lot of people here who have been here five years without any assignment. That surprised me because I've been in prison for over 12 years and I have seen other prisoners waiting for assignments 3 years at the most, never 5 years.

The situation here is really sad. A lot of us have to wait over a month to get called to see the doctor, and that's in an emergency. So imagine those that are not emergencies. They only have one doctor for everything and one dentist and we are over 1000 prisoners. The showers look like 1940s showers, they have rat holes in them. My cellie almost broke his foot on one of them last time.

You know what's the worse part of it? When we complain to these Correction Officers, they just say to put in a 602, which is a citizen complaint form, supposedly to fix problems in here on behalf of prisoners. The prisoners hardly win 602s. They either end up losing your 502 or rejecting your 602 because you didn't follow a proper rule. They will do this or that and at the end nothing gets done.

In this law library you are not even allowed to make copies of legal documents. I recently went to the law library because innocence project is getting my case to see if I can prove innocence in court. They sent me these questionnaires in which they needed copies of my opening brief and reply brief. So I went to the law library to get copies. They stopped me on the spot, telling me I cannot get copies. I asked her how we can prove our innocence when we are getting doors slammed in our faces. She just said "that's the policy."

This article referenced in:
chain
[Organizing] [California]
expand

Organize to fight repression in prison

Comrades of MIM, allow me to speak from the eyes and ears on the inside speaking out. In the last 10 years I read a lot of MIM publications and I know and talk to a lot of prisoners/captives who read MIM publications and other anti-U.S. prison and anti-U.S. plutocratic publications.

We all see the "why" and the "who" and the "cause" but no one is doing anything! The whole world has been taken hostage on the capitalistic plutocratic slave ship. The proletariat cows and sheep and some of the bourgeois mule class suffer and complain but they do nothing to fight or undermine this unfettered capitalistic plutocratic slave ship that has shanghaied this planet.

In the background I hear the outcry of the Blacks and Hispanics and the indigenous peoples voicing their complaints of the exploitation and oppression of the U.S. prison machines on their peoples.

Take a video camcorder to the front of a u.s. prison at shift change and see how many Blacks, Latinos and Indigenous people are wearing badges and Nazi uniforms. They far out number the whites in California. Everyday I witness a Black man handcuff and lock a Black man in a cage. Everyday I see a Latino pepper spray poison onto a Latino man. Why?! For that stinking U.$. dollar! For the great crumbs that fall from the capitalist imperialist plutocrats table.

We need to fight fire with fire: A U.$ prisoners union? This union could take dues and invest them to generate revenue to fight the system. It could call for a two year strike - a two year moratorium on all prison commissary, all prison special purchases, all phone calls. A prison union could give a voice and presentation in the state capitals. It could gain prisoners the right to vote and form a voting block against all these u.s. corrupt judges, lawyers and politicians.

The one thing there is an abundance of in the U.$. prison systems is "division." Division created by the capitalistic plutocratic controlled media machine. Division created by the mind poisoning Kool-Aid of the CDCR and CCPOA union mafia. The CCPOA has over 35,000 union dues payers. A California prisoners union could have 200,000 union dues payers.

It's time to punch holes into the hull and sink this U.$. capitalistic, plutocratic, imperialist slave ship.

MIM(Prisons) replies: Prisoners interested in organizing should check out United Struggle from Within - the MIM(Prisons)-led group fighting the criminal injustice system from behind the bars.

This article referenced in:
chain
[Abuse] [California]
expand

Brutal segregation cells

On October 25th I was led into a room they call a Management Cell. It has a sleeping area where you sleep naked with a thing they call a hard blanket, and you sleep on the floor, no mattress. The pigs brought me from another block and they put me in central ad seg (administrative segregation). Then they put me in the Management Cell. While they were in the cell they cut my clothes off me, then they put me in leg shackles and put the cuffs (hand and ankle) on so tight that I started to bleed. This is what it's like here, the pigs are doing bad things that hurt prisoners.


Campaign info:
Shut Down the Control Units
This article referenced in:
chain
[Censorship] [Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 2]
expand

Texas women's prison blocking mail, gassing prisoners

On March 27, 2006 the MV staff gassed me (pepper spray) to take from me my sealed, outgoing legal mail. That gassing nearly killed me. And it was obviously a violation of the law - as well as TDCJ's use of force plan. That's when MV started blocking all of my outgoing mail and most of my incoming mail. And the TDCJ mucky-mucks I could reach through the very flawed grievance process did nothing to stop it.

MV is way out of control - with many folks having their mail blocked; and many folks (like myself) having our visits blocked because staff like Warden Black herself were lying to our visitors that they couldn't come see us. Even lawyers were leaving their visits blocked - but, you can't count on lawyers to do a damn thing! And you can't count on cops anywhere to do a damn thing right - just to be misogynist, racist thugs.

This article referenced in:
chain
[Medical Care] [California]
expand

Overcrowding, poor food and poor medical care common in California

Let me begin this summary stating that this institution is and has been overcrowded. The actual count it is supposed to hold escapes me, but I am very sure it has been exceeded by 2000. The overpopulation is very apparent since we now are stacked on triple bunk beds which were once doubles. The gymnasiums have been converted into housing units which hold up to 200+ people in an area designed for full court basketball. The inmate to correctional guard ratio is around 50 to 1. As a result of the overpopulation, there have been many infections caused by poor sanitation and the close quartering. Infections range from Staph to ringworm and even tetanus. Not to mention the fact that the facility was built in an area that has a high rate of valley fever.

The food is meager, but I really shouldn't complain since there are far worse prisons in other countries. Protein makes few appearances in this diet. Medical has been slightly revived in the last few months since the federal government's threats to come in and clean the place up. A lot of people look forward to them coming in, but we will have to wait and see if they really change anything. Luckily, mail here isn't heavily censored, but things often change quickly around here.

One of the things I have noticed is the fact that this prison houses a lot of lifers. Now, you would wonder why does this prison accept so many lifers, but it is easily observed when you see the work rosters for PIA (Prison Industry Authority). They employ a large number of lifers to work in their factories for small wages. In facility II, where I currently reside, we have the furniture factory where the inmates make furniture for resale to the state. Where these profits go, no one knows. Information is kept and rarely shared with the prison population, causing a lot of frustration and uncertainty.

This is just a brief summary to outline some of the conditions that we live in. A lot of the prison population states that these conditions have been getting worse. We remain vigilant for any improvements.

This article referenced in:
chain
[Education] [Control Units] [California]
expand

California uses gang label to stop activist prisoners

I must say that I am indeed a prisoner who is against the hegemonic domination of Amerika over nations and I believe imperialism is the primary struggle to fight again. I believe that the Amerikkkan injustices system is the most fascistic aspect in amerikkkan society and is a tool perpetuating national oppression and social control. I indeed want to see stronger organization and unity against Amerikkkan domination. The USW seems to be a major need and must to the brothas and sistas locked behind these bars nationwide. Because I indeed understand that knowledge is power, and without it you are weak. And right now the prisoners of California are real weak (but only to the oppression of this enslavement). We need real live educational resources that'll teach the forwardance of this struggle against the "free and almighty land of Amerikkka," and you can beta believe they aren't going to give it to us. That's why we have to take it and pass it on, and enforce this revolutionary lit at all times, while at the same, realizing the following.

It's known to the mass populations of California Department of Corrections that IGI (Institution Gang Investigator) and ISU (Institution Security Unit) are not trying to let prisoners become educated on a real level, because it'll have us all united, and we know here in California that's against everything they stand for (which is the oppression of us and all our families.) California has a Gang Validation law that gives these two prison agencies the authority to hand out indeterminate SHU terms to prisoners who they believe to be involved in a prison gang (such as the Black Guerrilla Family, Nazi Low Riders, Mexican Mafia, etc.)

Take notice that I said "believe", versus "are", in a prison gang. Now these are indeed actual prison gangs that are still in existence to this day, but they are also labels placed on inmates who are politically active in trying to educate the general population. With one of the set labels, they are justified (on paper) when they throw you under the prison (indeterminately) and forget about you. If resources provide it, look up the case of Steve M. Castillo vs. Edward S. Alameida Jr in the US District Court of the Northern District of California, case number C-94-2847-MJJ-JCS. It will show you in black and white how they do it.

At the moment I'm in the SHU and I'm in a cell by myself. I try to use this time of solitude to really, really focus on educating my mind about this struggle we all face. Although a lot of brothers on the main lines (general population) are afraid of that validation lawn, and therefore lay down to the oppression when they fail in their duty to preach the real to those who are blind and are dying for their help. I'd rather go out on my feed than on my knees any day. Although I'm young in age, teach me and I'll indeed teach them.

If we properly prepare for the battle, then we know who we're up against and can be ready. Don't be quick to shout out who you're with and what you're about, because as I said "divide and conquer" is one of their tactics and it has worked well. That's the reason for the Inmate Task Force (ITF), rats and infiltrators who play the ears to and for the CIA/FPI/ATF wannabes and prevent the educating of the blind behind bars.

They understand that education is knowledge and knowledge is power. That's why [our literature] is censored and rejected when being sent through mail. They say it is a threat towards the safety and security of the institution. Wow! And that's on paper? What happened to the land of the free? As human beings, weather we're incarcerated or not, in this country we are appointed civil rights. We gotta start standing up together and demand those rights. I believe through United Struggle from Within (USW) we can get that done.

chain
[Education] [Release] [South Woods State Prison] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 2]
expand

DOC claims integrating Prisoners back to society/work force a priority

I felt the need to express my opinion on this matter, since I will be one who will be affected by this phenomenon that has yet to be solved.

The other day I was watching the New Jersey Network channel, in which they were airing a program called Due Process. The topic being spoken of on Due Process was on the issue that prisoners will be facing prior to their release from prison. The main & only topic was "jobs." there were several spokespersons, one was from Princeton University & the other was from the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections states that they have implemented programs to help prisoners in obtaining jobs when released back into society. So here I am to expose the so-called programs & to hopefully make clear what is the Department of Corrections (DOC)'s main priority.

As you may know, I am a prisoner at Southwoods State Prison (SWSP) in the state of New Jersey, which is the largest prison in New Jersey. In this prison you have a variety of programs that you may choose from. They consist of Educational, Vocational, therapeutic programs such as Moral Recognition Therapy, Life Skills & AA. DOC has also started a program by the name of S.T.A.R.S. which is suppose to help prisoners to re-enter society. The S.T.A.R.S. program provide prisoners with the help of resources, how to apply for jobs and how to manage your money. There is also another so-called program that is provided to prisoners who are within 2 weeks of their release from prison to prepare them to re-enter society. This program also provides resources.

This leaves us with DOC's top priority program, The Therapeutic Community Drug Program, which to my understanding is a funded program. The Therapeutic Community Program (TC) is a program that is provided in several of the New Jersey State Prisons for prisoners with substance abuse disorders. It does not provide prisoners with educational, vocational, nor a transitional re-entry back to society.

Upon entering DOC, you are interviewed by so-called trained clinical screeners, to evaluate the severity of ones substance abuse. Once you see classification, which have the final say, they determine if you qualify for the TC program by evaluating your clinical screening results. If your results are a 5 and above, then you are automatically classified to the TC Program. Now the catch to this program is that if you deny or refuse the TC Program, you are given an I-Overide, which means that you will not receive any type of status, forcing you to do the remaining of your time behind the wall without the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of going to a Halfway house, unless you submit to such TC Program. I am one who will be facing the I-Overide for my refusal to participate in such programs. I was classified with a score of 5 which according to the Administration makes me an appropriate candidate for such programs, in which I have no substance abuse disorder since 1999 & my Pre-Sentence Report states clearly "no drug use during the time f crime, no drug evaluation or recommendations for drug use programs." But according to the Administration they state that due to my previous and present drug charges, I am an appropriate candidate for such programs. Funny that no where in the 10A Law does it state that you will be classified to the TC Program because of your past & present drug conviction. But as I mentioned above, the TC Program is a funded program, which provides money to DOC for keeping the programs beds filled. Which leads me to really question the contradiction that DOC has imposed on itself. What is really their priority? Are they really providing prisoners with the proper transition program to re-enter society, who has always abandoned our interest & needs, after being released?

DOC claims are nothing but bull shit, like every politician here in the united snakes, who sell dreams. DOC fails to really understand the prisoner's needs. Lack of job opportunities is not the only obstacle that many prisoners will be facing when released. Many prisoners will be facing the obstacles of not having a place to stay upon their release & health issues as well. But has any of this really been a concern to DOC? Of course not! If DOC was really concerned about this issue, then they will provide more educational & vocational programs. Here the only certificate that is really recognized in society is the GED certificate, which is authentic. All the other certificates are not recognized in society. I took a Core Curriculum & Building Trades course at this prison and according to the teacher who taught one of my classes, the certificate that I received from the National Center for Construction, Education & Research really meant nothing. He stated that if we were to provide these certificates in our resume or job interview, that employers will probably laugh because the reality is that no one has ever heard of such a place.

Here at this prison there are College courses, that are being provided to those prisoners who are under 25 years of age. Leaving those who do not meet the age criteria with no hope of pursuing a higher learning. Of course there are College correspondence courses, but the issue with such courses, is the money the prisoner will have to pay, in a place where the common pay is $1.40 a day.

There is truly a lack of understanding by DOC, when it comes to the prisoner population, in dealing with the needs & obstacles that we face collectively when we are released from prison. The priority should be Educational & Vocational learning skills. DOC should find a solution for upgrading the educational & vocational programs.

Here in New Jersey, every prison has an Inmate Trust Fund, which is generated by the surcharge of the Institution Commissary Sales. What the Inmate Trust Fund is being used for is recreational equipment, Incentive Meals and for more commissary purchases. This trust fund is well over 2 million dollars.

To give you an insight into how much the Inmate Trust Fund generates a month, I will give an example. At this prison it is said that it holds up to 2800 prisoners. Let's say that all these prisoners receive a state pay of $16.00 a month. Let's also say that all 2800 prisoners will use their $16 for commissary orders. So 2800 prisoners x 16.00 dollars = $44,800 dollars made in commissary sales, now $44,800 x 10% of commissary surcharge = $4,480 made for the Inmate Trust Fund. Just think, over the years the amount that the Inmate Trust Fund has generated. Yet DOC claims that they run on limited funds for educational programs.

This money from the Inmate Trust Fund should be used to build a complex to provide prisoners with a true & certified vocational trades before and after release. It should be mentioned that the Inmate Trust Fund is run by a Board of Trustees, in which we the prison population have no say or rights.

If DOC wants to make re-entry a priority, they should stop giving I-Overides for a TC Program that does not provide any educational or vocational learning skills and and replace them with proper training to re-enter society. If you were to do a survey of prisoners who participated in TC Program and prisoners who participated in real educational & vocational training, I can guarantee we would see a lower recidivism rate among those who got the educational & vocational training.

It is evident that the DOC priority is money as they keep giving I-Overides to those who refuse TC Program, while educational & vocational programs are optional. As mentioned above, the TC Program enrollment brings money to the DOC while other training does not. If they were truly concerned about prisoners post-release they would give I-Overides for refusing educational & vocational training instead.

DOC's form of helping to deal with this matter is by providing prisoners with pamphlets listing resources. This method is like giving a person a map to find a specific place. Of course I will refer to the pamphlets as I would the map, but the rest is really up to us.

Another way that DOC could really help prisoners with the transition back to society is to bring back the Work Release Program that were eliminated for reasons unknown to me. And if they were to bring back the Work Release Program they should find jobs that provide true vocational skills for prisoners to become equipped with the proper training for today's work force.

I myself will not submit to the TC Program, I will not take part of a program whose only benificiary is the DOC, not me. I tell all those inside the belly of the beast, to stop submitting, stop participating in any TC program. Note that DOC has no priority or concerns in this matter. Don't rely on DOC rehabilitative process because if you do it will only keep you contained. The struggle continues.

MIM replies: We don't know much about the programs described above, but we actively support the demand for more educational and training opportunities for prisoners. As the author stated, these are proven means for helping prisoners after release and therefore helping society as a whole. There are tactics that we can use to build a campaign among prisoners and concerned citizens on the outside to push some of the reforms suggested.

At the same time, we encourage those who are concerned with these problems to work to build the Serve the People Prisoner Re-Lease on Life program as well as our Free Books and educational programs for prisoners. The state has the ability to provide various training on a large scale to prisoners. But as we see here, this is a constant battle. And ultimately we must create institutions that can provide the people with what they really need.

The DOC has two main motivating factors: 1) to perform the task of social control, including the suppression of liberation movements, and 2) the meeting of the narrow economic interests of the bureaucracy and prison guard unions. Only institutions by and for the people, free of these narrow interests can really address the concerns expressed in this article.

chain
[Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 2]
expand

Long term segregation in Nevada

I'm currently doing 365 days in the "hole" (disciplinary segregation) at Ely State Prison in Nevada. There is only one unit in this entire prison that gets to walk the yard. The rest of us are on 23/24 hour lockdown and have to be cuffed and shackled and escorted any time we leave our cells. And not all of us are on disciplinary segregation. I was told that it's a federal law that prisoners are only supposed to get a maximum of 100 and something days in the "hole" but Nevada gets away with it because of our privileges. Some people are allowed to have appliances in the hole, and that's cool, but a lot of us either lost that privilege or can't afford that stuff, so we are forced to do 1, 2, 3, maybe more years, in the hole with nothing. Me personally, I'd rather only do a couple months in the hole with nothing and get back to a mainline, then sit back here years with a TV.

In this state they have slimmed down on the physical abuse so now they're going even more for the mind. And a lot of dudes can't take it. I request books from our library, but that's a joke, so I was given an old copy of MIM Notes to read from a comrade, and I was relieved to have something righteous to read, and I was also glad to know we have fellow comrades on the outside who are truly helping us in the struggle. Being that I'm fresh out of Y.A. (youth authority) and still a youngsta, it's been difficult finding info on the adult system. I never know where to look up, but MIM Notes has put me up on game.

chain
[Control Units] [Southport Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 2]
expand

Shut Down the SHU in NY

Let me explain the situation here in Southport. They got regular cells and regular blocks, but not this one. This one is D-block, the most high profile are here, the worse of the worse, that what the crackers say. These are some crazy cells where out of your window nothing can be seen. This is like the basement of the $HU. The lights are kept on 16 hours a day. A real big light which causes pain in the eye. Out of the metal door there is a lil' window which you only can see to the front and to the front there is nothing but a well.

The showers are Tuesdays & Fridays only and you get to shave and shower for 5 minutes. They put a brother like me right now in shower deprivation. That means no shower for over 30 days. The same with rec [recreation]. Over 30 days locked in this crazy cell eating a crazy bread loaf for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They run into brothers' cells here on a daily and they start taking non-important papers or cases we get from the law library that they say is gang stuff. They write you up and the cracker that conducts the hearing gives the person 2 or 3 years with loss of good time. The Sergeant don't care here. Whatever the pig CO do he's OK with it- here they all cracker protect each other's dirty action.

There are video cameras here but when they want something out they just call Dep. Superintendent of Security (D$$) and you can bet it is out. There is no ventilation. They keep the back door open in winter. This is the nastiest place I've seen. This block got to be shut down. People here are sufferin and their mental state is not 100% for the simple fact that they are being tortured; most of the time mentally, but there is a lot of physical torture, not just here in this block, but through all the slave houses, especially A-block. That's where everything happens, and the sad thing is they get away with it. Gov. Eliot Spitzer needs to take this place into consideration to be closed down.

chain