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Under Lock & Key

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[Theory] [Virginia]
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Madness of the Mind

People assume it's their circumstances that causes them to act out towards themselves and those around them, but in all actuality it's their thoughts that controls the actions to their bodies and their tongues. When people start to experience this wicked sickening, they begin to play all types of mind games with themselves and everything starts to become illusions to them, which is dangerous to their souls, because they're not thinking about the consequences and punishments that follows the madness that circulates in the mind.

They could attempt to fight the evil off, but they still find themselves fighting the same exact battles, because they lack self-control of their mind functioning. People say, that they have to act a certain way to survive this cold world and that's the only way they can demand respect from those around them; but really stop! Ask yourself, who's lives are being destroyed by the madness of the mind.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade brings up some good points. As revolutionary scientists we study society and attempt to explain why different groups behave in certain ways so that we can better understand and transform the world around us. But the basis of the transformation that we want to make is in humyn society, and at the lowest level it is in the humyn mind. So we should not confuse our scientific explanations of behavior with excuses for how we act as individuals.

The comrade is correct to point out that we all have an opportunity to fight off the evil that is being imposed on our minds by a corrupt system. That is why it is so important to have literature and educational programs coming into prisons, especially programs that are teaching people how to play an effective role in making the world a better place. Those who study are the ones who remain strong under the torturous conditions of u$ prison control units. Many fall into the madness that is pushed onto them by the system.

As materialists, we do not believe in a soul, and we believe that ideas stem from a concrete material reality. But at the same time, the writer is correct to say that it is ideas in our heads that determine our actions as individual humyn beings. It is here, where the old adage, "mind over matter" is applicable. Don't be a slave to a system, be an active party in determining your own life.

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[Control Units] [Medical Care] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 4]
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Budget cutback on meal menus

Recently, as of May 2008, we Arizona prisoners have had another cutback to our food menu. DOC has now started "a heart healthy diet" and has managed to cut back, even further, our calories. This is on top of the cutback we have automatically in lockdown at this control unit. This clever budget cut has been hidden behind platitudinous drivel aimed at protecting our best interest as health issues. As vegetarians, we have been especially hit hard, losing up to half or more of what we had before. The usual procedures allowed us are a waste of time in protesting this recent farce of economy shaving being perpetuated against us prisoners under the pretend guise of our best interests.

A heartfelt thanks for letting the voice of us prisoners be heard and let known generally amongst the publik. From this AZ gulag, up the system, strength in solidarity!

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[Spanish] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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No mejora la asistencia medica en prisiones de California pro un prisionero en California

Acabo de leer Under Lock and Key de 007 y era tocante a la asistencia médica en prisiones de California. Estoy mandando una copia de un articulo escrito en el Sacramento Bee por Don Thompson de la Associated Press. El artículo explica que el reporte escritó por el Recibidor Federal Robert Sillew enseña que hay muy poco cambio en la asistencia medica en prisiones de California, a partir de Marzo 2008. El Sr. J. Clark Kelso es el nuevo Recibidor Federal.

Yo ha estado preso por 11.5 años por resistir arresto. Me dieron una sentencia de vida bajo la "Three Straikes Law" de California. Desde que yo estado preso yo ha conocido personalmente tres prisioneros que han muerto de insuficiencia del higado. Cada hombre me dijo que no recibió cuidado apropriado del servicio medical. El CDCR necesita más doctores calificados y más prisiones de la salud mental y prisiones de la salud, por lo general, pero hasta que el problema del sobrepasamiento de la población (173,000 prisioneros) es resolvada, prisioneros van a continuar de morir. Necesitamos que nos vean como seres humanos, no como ganado.

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[Spanish] [California]
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Condiciones del SHU en Upstate Correctional Facility

Yo he estado varias veces en Upstate Correctional Facility en una unidad controlada llamada SHU, y es una unidad especial de doble cama por celda.

Hay entre 800 y 900 presos aquí. Adentro 90% del institución es SHU, los demas son presos barranderos que cocinan y que sirven la comida en los platos y también hacen lavandería. La celda de doble cama es grande porque hay campo para dos y hay una ducha en la celda para bañarse y una jaula atras para hacer ejercicios. Basicamente nunca sale de la celda, solo si tienes visita al hospital, o cuando eres suelto del SHU.

La nacionalidad aquí es de 50% Negro y 50% Latino. Hay numerosas reglas y violaciones puestas en el SHU. Por ejemplo asalto a una policía o un preso, pandillero de carcel, un examen sucio de orina, uso de droga, posesión de arma y todas estas son un ticket de 3 tiras. Cualquier otra cosa baja como 1 or 2 billete no te llevan al SHU. El billete 3 tira es considerado una ofensa seria.

Esta unidad es la más grande en NYS y fue abierto por el ano 1999. Los SHU en NYS han sido expandidos al abrir unos más chicos que detienen 200 presos. Son de doble cama y fueron hechos detras de prisiones de mediana seguridad por todo el estado. Muchos están vacios y es un desperdicio de dinero para los que pagan impuestos.

Yo no he eschucado ni leido que quieran o hagan planes de abrir más SHU en NY. Yo espero que no. Necesitamos escuelas, programas sociales, no unidades de control que no son ocupadas.

Estas unidades de control son muy peligrosas y daniñas para la mente de los presos que son debiles mental. Unos pierden control y son auto-destructivos. Han habido instancias donde compañeros de celda han atacado y casi matado a su compañero de celda y también los han atado. Te ponen en una celda con cualquiera persona que nunca has conocido en tu vida y uno no sabe que intenciones mentales el tenga. Es sobrevivencia para el más fuerte.

Te dan de comer muy poco para comida y los presos pierden mucho peso. Las visitas son detrás de alambre y te separa de tus visitantes para que no hay contacto real con ellos. Ponen restriciones de comida y agua a unos presos. Nos censuran las revistas, y los libros, y violan nuestro derecho de recibir periódicas que no presentan riesgo alguno para la institución. Estas unidaes de control hubien de ser cerradas completamente porque no reducen violencia en las carceles y es una perdida de dinero y daña mucho a la mente de uno.

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[Organizing] [Education] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 4]
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USW organizing in Nevada

I received your recent missive; thank you for the USW information. I understand you do not have a USW chapter in Nevada. I am not surprised; in fact, I suspected there wasn't, for there is no revolutionary core among the oppressed nationalities. I will assume responsibility of USW leader in Nevada.

There is an extreme lack of literature circulating among Nevada prisoners to begin breaking new ground and give rise to a revolutionary core here. To illustrate my point: the side I'm on, housing over 100 prisoners, has no political material in circulation, except my literature. I'm the only one on my side with political material (and the Wall Street Journal). Because of this, I find that lack of political education - or lack of choice to be politically educated - to be a hinderance to establishing a revolutionary core.

Simply put, we need more literature in circulation.

Generally, Nevada prisoners suffer from the same injustices endured by prisoners at large: education issues, medical, control units, etc. However, we have issues that are unique to us and we must struggle against alongside general issues. I am preparing a platform in harmony with the goals outlined in your letter.

This letter is to officially declare that I will lead in the tasks of erecting USW in Nevada.

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[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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Bad food, no visits, and locked down in California

I am currently at Calipatria State Prison however I must say it does not matter what prison you are in because all of them are corrupted the same way. I’m sure you know the things they have already taken from us, which started in 96-97 by taking away weight lifting and family visits for lifers. Then eventually they took pornography, tobacco, the yard privileges were shortened, canned food and personal packages as well, we’re not even allowed personal jeans. Then they even changed our prison state issue clothing to cheaper and more ridiculous uniforms.

The food value is absolutely disgusting and even if it’s an ok meal it has no flavor since they don’t use salt or even offer single salt packets like they used to. The portions are absolutely a minor’s portion that will not fulfill a grown man. Not many of us have people or family members to send us money for store so we rely on state food which leaves us hungry after 5pm. The menus they pass out may sound good but it’s a scheme to show people out there we are eating good. They say certain calories are all we need to survive, however to be hungry: isn’t that cruel and unusual punishment, especially since we are supposed to be living in a civilized country. They say it’s a free country but whether you’re a prisoner or not, there are no rights because every right we have the system seems to have a loophole around it. The latest violation against us now is they are rigging the plumbing system to flush only 2 times every 5 minutes.

Another issue that is really hurting the prisoners is for them to be housed in special housing units which is an all day lockdown with a few hours a week out of your cell. You can be put in the SHU because of a picture or ethnic belief if you are Mexican and have art of your ancestors and forefathers in your cell the prison considers that gang activity. Right now I’m in an administrative housing unit and for us to actually get our yard it has to be less than 108 degrees outside or yard is canceled. We are sent to cages which only give room for you and your cellie, which is basically what the dogs go through when they are put in a pound. Most of us in here always wait much longer than what we were supposed to be here for, it’s just so they can keep these new ASUs open. I’ve been waiting to be put in general population since January, but they say no room.

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[Organizing] [Education] [California]
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Fighting for rights to education and organize

I am a prisoner of the State of California at CSP-Corcoran. I received your address from the Prison Activist Resource Center and was interested in your ad about helping prisoners to organize and educate themselves. Right now I'm prepared to take legal action against this prison for exercising injustice, oppression and corruption against me. They dislike when a prisoner stands up against their injustice and exercises his constitutional right. I personally will not allow my rights to be stripped away nor will I stand by idle when the helpless are being oppressed!

Malik Shabazz stated: "And one of our first programs is to take our problem out of the civil rights context and place it at the international level, of human rights, so that the entire world can have a voice in our struggle!" What a profound speech and lovely concept to strive for. I dislike injustice, tumult and oppression at any level of society. My goal here is to promote justice and human rights in this prison. The only way to fight the system is with the system!

Malik Shabazz also stated: "But all of that violence that they display at the international level, when you and I want just a little bit of freedom, we're supposed to be nonviolent. They're violent. They're violent in Korea, they're violent in Germany, they're violent in the South Pacific, they're violent in Cuba, they're violent wherever they go. But when it comes time for you and me to protect ourselves against lynchings, they tell us to be nonviolent." Luckily we are protected by the U.S. Constitution and this allows us to be nonviolent and utilize the legal system, this is why one of my current objectives is to study, learn and practice legal law. If you can please donate any legal books, i.e. law dictionary, how to file 1983 Civil complaints, or books on how to file motions.

MIM(Prisons) responds: There is a constant demand for law books and other educational materials in prisons. This is an indictment of the prison system which doesn't even pretend to help rehabilitate people.

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[Political Repression] [Gender] [New York] [ULK Issue 4]
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Psycho-Sexual Warfare vs. Political Prisoners

On May 19th, 2008 I received the book that you sent me, Schooling the Generations in the Politics of Prison edited by Chinosole. I really enjoyed this book, especially the section called, "Genocide waged against the Black Nation," which starts on page 174. I totally agree with the theory that psychological warfare is being waged against political prisoners in an effort to get them to comply with brainwashing objectives of the U$ penal and imperialist system.

Dr. Edward Schein mentions 24 strategic techniques that prison officials use in order to break and dehumanize political prisoners. However, there is one strategic technique that Dr. Schein fails to mention that I would like to address in full detail: the sexual exploitation and manipulation of young and political prisoners by female staff sexual perpetrators. This technique leads to false disciplinary and criminal charges being filed against political prisoners who pose the greatest threat to the prison's use of oppression and most importantly have the potential to lead other prisoners to fight the system.

Let me briefly explain how this is done. First, prison officials determine which prisoners have the greatest leadership potential and pose the greatest threat to the prison - politically speaking.

Once this is determined, prison officials will try numerous psychological mind-breaking techniques to disrupt and strip the political prisoner of his focus and will, and at the same time dehumanize him by making him subservient.

Once a political prisoner proves to be too strong mentally and once the prison officials techniques fail, prison officials will place these political prisoners in an ambiguous and pressure-filled situation. The high-ranking prison official will order a female staff member to play sexual manipulation games with this political prisoner, while at the same time putting pressure on them to conform and comply with what is desired by the female staff in order to win favor and to have the pressure lifted.

If the political prisoner does not agree to comply with the female staff's sexual advances, then the female staff will create false claims of harassment against the political prisoners, which will result in false disciplinary and maybe criminal charges. If the political prisoner does agree to comply with the female staff's sexual advances, then he risks being set-up and retaliated against by jealous male staff members. This will likely lead to physical assault of the prisoner by male guards, in addition to false disciplinary and criminal charges.

It's a dirty game and this technique by prison officials is typically used against political prisoners who have the greatest potential for awakening and organizing the rest of the prison population.

Often, if the political prisoner chooses to have the sexual relationship with the female staff member, high-ranking prison officials will lift the pressure from the political prisoner, thinking that the prisoner has been neutralized and has become subservient to the wills of the administration. Once a political prisoner loses his focus and allows himself to be sexually exploited and manipulated, he dehumanizes himself and basically strips himself of his unique individuality and becomes neutralized, ineffective, psychologically incompetent and easy to control.

This prisoner basically becomes a slave to the female staff member, because the female staff is allowed to act aggressively sexually toward the prisoner. But once the prisoner tries to act aggressively, he will be beaten by the jealous male staff. This game is normally played on younger prisoners, but it is a tactic that works on all prisoners because it's a no-win situation.

MIM adds: In an article entitled, Gender Oppression in u$ Prisons we quoted a study that found that, "In State and Federal prisons, 65% of inmate victims of staff sexual misconduct and harassment were male, while 58% of staff perpetrators were female".

Maoists have long explained that gender is not about genitalia, but about power and relations between groups in leisure time activities. The Abu Ghraib photos were a clear lesson in this reality. Since then, it has become well established that amerikan bio-wimmin were used as gender oppressors against Arab biomen in prisons in Iraq and elsewhere. The use of sex in political repression within the u$ described above is another example of this theory in practice. Just as we say that sex cannot be consensual under patriarchy where gender is defined by power, there can be no consent between prisoners and prison staff.

This article referenced in:
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[Religious Repression] [National Oppression] [Michigan]
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Michigan repression against First Nations

Greetings brothers and sisters at MIM(Prisons). I salute you all for your revolutionary work in educating/liberating the minds of the world’s incarcerated. I am another hostage being held for profit in the Marquette Branch Prison max facility and student of communist thought. I’m presenting you a paper I wrote for my group in light of my studies and reflections on Native American history. I hope it may be of use to you to shed a new light on early American colonization and evoke discussion and further study as it has in my circle.

I attend, along with several other brothers, the “Native American traditional ways” service, and recently when we finally came together meaningfully to build, and to the dismay of the institution, asserting ourselves, our 1st and 14th amendment rights have come under attack. Not that we have any faith in a constitution that still sanctions slavery, but our struggles should raise some alarm in certain communities, specifically Native American, since this is an age-old war in suppressing native traditional ways and customs. We sought to resolve our complaints through administrative remedy; letters, grievance etc. But this is the enemy we’re dealing with and they control the entire grievance process. The same fascist agents that interrupt our service with remarks such as “we speak English in America” addressing brothers praying in their native tongue. We are regularly released from our cell-blocks late and often can not conduct formal service. When we tried to obtain basic allowable items to conduct service in its proper manner, the chaplain decided to confiscate our sacred feathers – brothers has to search for new ones on the yard!

These petty tyrants further prevent attendance with intimidation, if you make any request to attend service you will first receive a visit from a “gang” worker who will inform you that the service is conducted by gang members, and that if they participate they’ll likely be placed on a security threat group (STG) investigation. And for those already on STG, they are also urged not to participate under threat that they will not be let off the designation since attending religious service is a form of gang activity.

We’ve been reaching out to the local nations here in the U.P. for outside support but sadly we have yet to see a trace of Native American solidarity. Nevertheless our circle is strong and we come together weekly to exchange cultural, intellectual, spiritual, and revolutionary seeds. We have debates, discussions, essay assignments, and give oral presentations etc. We hope to have a relationship with MIM(Prisons) and will keep you updated with our affairs and material from our revolutionary thinkers.

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Nevada]
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Correction to ULK1 Legal advice on CA ban

I just got done reading your November 2007 newsletter Under Lock and Key. Impressive reading!

On page 3 “CA prisons ban MIM” you made a serious error. You cited bad case law concerning prisoners receiving mail under the Procunier v. Martinez standard. In 1989 the U.S. Supreme Court in Thornburgh v. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401, 413-14 partially overturned Martinez. In Abbot the court held that the Martinez standard should apply only to a prisoners outgoing correspondence. For incoming correspondence, a different standard applies. This new standard comes from a case called Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78, in which the Supreme Court stated that restrictions on incoming mail are valid if they are reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest. Also see Abbot at 413.

If inmates go to court to fight the ban on MIM and its incoming publications and correspondence, they could wind up loosing hard if they use the wrong case law such as the Martinez standard. On your next publication of your newsletter, I would recommend posting a correction advising inmates to use the Turner standard.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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