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[Control Units] [Great Meadow Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Corruption and Retaliation in New York

Dear Mr. Goord, Mr. Malone, Governor Pataki, and Reverend Sharpton,

There is very serious problem going on here in Comstock Prison. On June 6, 2004, I was set up by Sergeant Brown and his gang, who took me into a strip frisk room and put some dope on me. They told me that I'm going down if I don't go into the hearing and make a deal. On the day of the hearing, the hearing officer was already aware to make a compromise with me if I plead guilty. So I did and received four months but that is not the biggest issue.

The biggest issue is that they have me in a special housing unit (SHU) with claims of me being an Al Qaeda member. They are treating me like the prisoners in Abu Ghraib Prison. They gave me one old ripped up mattress, no bucket to receive hot water to wash up, no net bags, no boxes, no toilet paper, a dirty filthy cell with no kind of cleaning supplies. The toilet bowl is extremely filthy and most of the time they don't feed me. They place empty trays on the gate so that on camera, it looks like they're feeding me.

These are untrained, rude, racist and rebellious people who are decorating themselves in blue and green uniforms and saying that they are promoting democracy and justice. They say they're watching over criminals. Let the records reflect that these prison guards are doing this wickedness to me on the order of their supervisor, whom I have a complaint on. They are doing this in retaliation. They know fully well that I am a Muslim and not any member of Al Qaeda but that is their excuse to cause me great harm and suffering. This is the same evil mentality that caused great harm to the people of Iraq. These are the same people who jumped on Malcolm X's grandson. These are the same unruly, arrogant, outlaw, racist people who are Klansmen hiding behind government uniforms.

When they pass my cell, they burst out in laughter and make racial epithets. They also prevent me from writing to anyone to obtain relief. From this day on, I assure you that these guys who have decorated themselves in blue uniforms must stay away from me. I will go straight above these Rumsfields because they are the ones who are giving out orders. They know what is going on so I will go over their heads. I won't write to them anymore. They never remedy any situation when it comes to prisoners.

I request a serious investigation into this serious matter.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

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[Control Units] [Prison Labor] [Oklahoma]
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Repression in OK SHU

I am a female Segregation Housing Unit (SHU) inmate, and this is my fourth time on Administrative Segregation (A.S.). I have spent a total of eight years on lockdown. As of May, 2004 I have been on SHU for one year and seven months, for an alleged battery without a weapon on another inmate. The inmate that I battered has a paper filed on me that keeps us separated on a yard divided from mine by a brick wall.

Nail clippers are not allowed in this facility, so I am charged $2.00 to see the doctor and fill out a form, and $2.00 to use the clippers. This leads me to ask where is the money that is supplied to run this facility? Has it been reduced? Even as an indigent inmate, I must pay for any doctor visit, plus medications.

Where does inmates' money go and what is it used for? Starting May 3, 2004, we are going to be charged for any form we need for in-house mail. We are charged for copies of cases from the law library, legal-sized envelopes to mail to the courts, etc. Being on the SHU it is almost as if I am cut off from the world completely. I have no resources to raise hell about injustice.

At this prison, slave labor is in full effect. Inmates work at a plant here called Oklahoma Corrections Industries. They handle Department of Motor Vehicles-related paperwork. They're paid a few cents an hour, according to how many huge boxes they sort through.

There are 37 rules for the SHU that we must comply with or have our exercise (which is a right) terminated.

[From the prison's handout, these rules include: "9. Materials will not be allowed to hang over the cell door to obstruct observation. ... "15. Magazines, newspapers, and catalogs are not allowed for DU/PI/PD/TD/TS inmates. ... "17. Library books cannot be traded between inmates, left outside of the cell, or placed in the windowsill. ... "22. Inmates are subject to urinalysis testing at any time. ... "30. All inmates shall be allowed one hour of exercise outdoors, weather permitting, five days per week. The Shift Supervisor may cancel outdoor exercise for security reasons. If exercise is indoors, inmates will be restrained in belly chains, hand cuffs, black box, and leg irons ..."]

If an A.S. inmate receives a misconduct for not having our shirts tucked into our pants, we must spend more time on A.S.

Your Notes are an informative inspiration. I am now being transferred to another yard. I will fight for my beliefs if I am sent to hell.

Sincerely,

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[Control Units] [Washington]
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Intensive Management Units: Behavior Modification or Psychological Subjugation?

From inside of this beast called the Prison Industrial Complex, I find that the agenda upon which its foundation was laid is being fulfilled to our detriment. I find that Black Men are not only being physically arrested but they are also being developmentally arrested, their psychological, spiritual, political and cultural development confined and suppressed to the point of retardation. But what transpires behind these steel curtains is only a replica of what transpires out there in so-called free society on a smaller scale.

Prisons were constructed from the recesses of man's mind yet Man's mind has become subject to prison cells, the very atrocity born of his incomplete thought. I've watched prison cells cause man's mind to regress to the point where he becomes primitive in his application of thought to this reality.

I've witnessed confinement to a cell for 23 hours a day in Intensive Management Units (IMU), sensory deprivation, and the deprivation of human contact cause my brothers to become so consumed by emotions that it distorts their ability to conceive reality. At this stage they lose the faculty of progressive thought and this causes them to become perceptual beings instead of conceptual beings, making it hard for them to grasp concepts that transcend their confinement.

This causes them to fall down on all fours psychologically in regression designating for themselves a cave of ignorance as a domicile where ambition is imprisoned. They're cast out to the peripherals of reality and held hostage there, never pondering the full extent of their inherent potential, therefore never becoming cognizant of the duality in man's nature. Man can exhibit the highest manifestation of life on earth, or he can exhibit the manifestation of an animal in human form, yet it is not a cell that keeps man confined or imprisons ambition.

Physical freedom is concomitant with, and a product of, psychological liberation. These two elements, physical freedom and psychological liberation, are procured through abstract intellectual concepts, not physical precepts. The ability to grasp abstract intellectual concepts and apply them to one's plight frees the prisoner and the lack of ability to grasp abstract intellectual concepts and apply them to one's plight imprisons the free man.

In light of this reality, sensory deprivation becomes self-realization, for it alleviates sounds, smells and circumstances that redirect man's attention from self, causing estrangement between the physical and the intellect and the deprivation of human contact becomes the introduction to self because it forces man to contemplate self.

It is time that our brothers and sisters overstand that in order to transcend our perceptual confinement, we must elevate our conceptual consciousness! Then and only then will we taste psychological liberation and embrace physical freedom.

Uhuru SaSa (Freedom Now)

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[Control Units] [Upstate Correctional Facility] [New York]
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NY SHU full of Non-violent convictions

Now, to give you a list of things that's going on in Upstate Correctional Facility (NY). This prison was built under the eyes of the government for "violent prisoners" (yet it's double cell) in 1999... It's 2004, and the majority of the SHU (isolation cells) is filled with drug tickets, medium prisoners who only have 30 days, and other "non-violent" cases. Therefore the way they're keeping us in this box (SHU) system is just to keep it full. So what is it really for?

Then you have programs established in SHU that are only beneficial to the economy in the colony of Malone, New York! Give jobs to these people who don't care about the prisoners per se (example: nurses, educational staff, counselors, etc.) They have a cell study program established in SHU. I haven't seen the school teacher in a month and when they do come around they have nothing educational to give me, but have Donald Goins books, etc. The things that have kept our kind down for centuries. Ignorance is power over our kind. Then you have a ASAT workbook program, and it's not established for the well being of drug addicts. Let me point out just what I'm going thru. I have been in SHU for 27 months, and the reason I came into SHU was drug related tickets.

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[Control Units]
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Wastelands: prison control units

When exploring the ethical implications of some socially sanctioned institutions, it is understandable how society at large might not invest due attention to human rights questions that arise based on the severe conditions within prison control units. After all, the ones who are affected may not be society's most beloved individuals and may even be regarded as deserving of less than compassionate treatment.

This logic, however, does not fully encompass the extent of the issues that control units present. Practically speaking, these types of environments inevitably serve as breeding grounds for a wide range of psychological disturbances. What the average person might not realize is that these disturbances manifest themselves in behavior and it is precisely for this reason why people who don't care should.

One specific dynamic that is universally present in inmates who endure long-term isolation is social starvation. Not being exposed to regular social situations creates a profound loss of touch with the world from which they came - the world that bore them. This severed connection can lead to distrust (to the point of extreme paranoia), introversion, and a distorted path of normal, healthy social development.

Anxiety, insecurity, and ultimately, resentment, are also common elements that contribute to an individual's alienation from their community. In fact, isolation is the antithesis of the concept of community and is, in itself, implicative of cruelty and abandonment.

The very term "control unit" is an irony. Yes, while an inmate is housed in one of these places he is under control. However, it is this very "control" that precipitates a wholly negative change in one's character. The inherent coldness of such a barren place demonstrates a disregard for the monstrous effects such a cruelly oppressive environment creates. Instead of nurturing improvement and growth, it actually fosters hostility. It is insanely counterproductive.

Long-term isolation forces inmates to construct elaborate coping mechanisms to deal with the psychologically crippling conditions. It requires an emotional detachment, which is a precursor to antisocial behavior and is not in any way healthy or helpful.

It is for this reason that the notion of control units being effective deterrents to future, disruptive behavior is absolutely illogical to a laughable degree. These coping mechanisms become so entrenched into one's personality, that it completely alters their entire psyche. The process is allowed to continue for so long, that inmates become accustomed to isolation at a hefty expense to their emotional well-being.

Strangely, it can become a perverse measure of mental strength - being able to withstand the crushing weight of isolation as a show to "prove" they cannot be broken, when in fact, this contempt may be evidence that they have already been cruelly affected. It amounts to no less than psychological mutilation - a perpetually self-defeating attitude.

It is difficult to believe that control units have any redeeming qualities. The fact is this: nearly all inmates housed in control units will re-enter prison populations, or in many cases, will be released directly back into society.

Human beings are known for being products of their environments. So what do you get when you subject a person to inhumane conditions and an utterly complete lack of compassion? It appears to be as simple and reliable as working out a mathematical equation. It seems though, if you don't get the answer you were looking for, why would you stick with the same formula?

That's not how progress is made. Reexamination, acknowledgment of mistakes, and the redressing of faults are the key to a healthy, moral society.

- a prisoner at Walpole MA in the Department Disciplinary Unit, March 2004

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[Control Units] [Oregon]
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OR prisoner locked down/fined for not making bed

I have currently signed up for your MIM Notes. But due to my recent transfer to another "Correctional Facility" I am delayed in my response back to you. Fortune has it that another comrade is on my tier to help me out.

He read to me from your latest edition about Control Units, SHU, IMU, DSU, and AD-SEG. I am currently serving 16 years (190 mo) under mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines (Measure 11) and have spent 7 years in DSU and IMU. I have not even stabbed anyone or killed a cop and yet Oregon Dept of Corruptions has kept me consistently locked down for not lining my shoes up under my bunk, hanging too many shirts on my clothing hooks, and various disobediences of order and disrespect.

As your article alluded to, I have lost a good deal of my long range and medium range vision. And because the ODOC doesn't provide toothpaste, only baking soda, my teeth are rotting out of my mouth due to lack of Flouride and breaking because baking soda is an abrasive which strips tooth enamel, making the teeth susceptible to cracking and breaking.

It's not like providing inmates with toothpaste would break the bank. DOC confiscates inmate money for every and all rule violations. I recently got fined $75.00 for not making my bed in a timely and fashionable manner. Times this by 20,000 inmates a week and "Inmate Welfare fund" has the money for basic elements of hygiene.

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[Control Units] [Oregon]
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IMU in Oregon

I finally got my MIM Notes and I really enjoyed reading about how you expose the department of corrections dark side. Here in Oregon you see a lot of human rights violations such as: being placed in a program called IMU (Intensive Management Unit) without a probable cause, if your institution feels you're a threat to them or the prison population you're placed in this program, but first you go to segregation for six months, then you go to IMU and depending on what DOC says you could stay there up to five years. IMU is a max custody unit. But they have made it out to be like segregation. According to DOC if you're in a max custody unit you're supposed to receive your property in IMU. You have to earn it by doing programs. Because you people expose such acts and believe that it should be changed I enjoy your MIM Notes.

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[Control Units] [Alabama]
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Resistance from within Management Control Units

I extend greetings of solidarity and strength to those who remain intransigent in view of the ongoing onslaught of oppression. Brothers and sisters, due to the fact that MIM does not publish the names of comrades, all my communications will be addressed to you as Matulla. I will also be submitting future articles on a variety of issues, and petition you all to become or remain active with MIM as we strive for a revolutionary vanguard to defeat imperialism and this repressive prison industrial complex.

I have been reading of your struggles against our oppressors, even as you are interned deep within the belly of the beast, i.e. MCU, SHU, etc. This isolation and its barbaric nature are common to you and I. However our seclusion must solidify our opposition to repression, and must not cause you to become dispirited. We must continue to resist and withstand the force and effect of their deceptive practices.

I have been subjected to every form of terrorism and brutality that the state can throw at me. I've been beaten and tortured, starved and whipped. They've tried to break me, and desired to see me crawl. Instead I decided on resistance by any means possible. Don't get me wrong, I am no hero, and sure as hell would like to have been someplace else, but like many of you, I understand why it is so important to defy our captors, even while we fight to survive, literally in hell. It is also important that you have the support of those on the outside, which is the primary reason I've been effective.

In spite of my circumstances, my resolve is steadfast, because I fully understand why I'm being subjected to the draconian degrees of selective political persecution that I have been forced to endure over the past 4 1/2 years. I am innocent of all the repressive administrators' false allegations. Because I am militant, I am being subjected to selective political persecution by the state for merely entertaining such militant thoughts.

I'm aware of many of the conditions you speak of at your facilities, if not all. Many prisoners, here as throughout the united $tate$, are placed in these [isolation] units without having broken any prison rules. Prisoners who have been identified as being politically subversive, or incorrigible (political), and possess or display leadership qualities or potentials are assigned to the prison's repressive "MCU" and/or "SHU" unit(s).

Many of these placements are based solely on uncorroborated administrative or confidential informant reports that are never provided to the prisoner before or after the classification hearings so they can prepare some type of defense against the confidential informants uncorroborated allegations, or seek some kind of redress after the fact, via the kourt system (which often sides with the repressive prison administrators).

Some prisoners (political and apolitical) are placed in the MCU, SMU or SHU before they are convicted or right after they are sentenced on the charges they are arrested for. In general, these units will base its decisions to intern a prisoner in these units upon its evaluation of the following factors: records of past imprisonment, disciplinary records, prison records on work assignments, adjustment to prison programs, records on past housing assignments, attitude toward authority, psychological makeup, and involvement in political, social and criminal activities while in prison. In many instances prisoners are isolated due to their involvement or alleged involvement with street organization.

We must also begin to take an in depth look at the goals of these units and how they achieve these goals. Politicized social prisoners, political prisoners, some radicalized religious prisoners, prison lawyers, apolitical prisoner leaders or potential leaders are isolated from the general population with the goal of reshaping their beliefs or to psychologically break us.

During my years in the MCU, SHU and SMU units I've seen prisoners renounce their political, religious and "gang" affiliations in order to win their release from these repressive units. It has long been my position that convictions are not a matter of convenience, because if an individual is serious about his or her convictions, no matter the consequences, he or she will remain true to them. I have seen prisoners suffer emotional breakdowns because they could no longer cope with the constant lockdown. They sometimes start taking the mind-controlling psychotropic drugs administered by the psychiatrist, to escape the realities of this never ending insanity.

Brothers and sisters, being in captivity is a terrible adversity. Many prisoners are affected in different ways. I've witnessed many become complacent in an institutionalized way, capitulate, or they become more rebellious and speak of vengeance. Other prisoners start identifying with their oppressors, the guards, and start seeing them as being humane instead of sadistic. They develop hostile tendencies towards other prisoners who recognize and expose the true sadistic nature of the guard. It all depends on the individual prisoner and his internal composition over a protracted period of time.

My petition to you is that you withstand the direct frontal assaults being unleashed against us. We must all continue to struggle, even while interned in the belly of this most relentless beast.

I too am subjected to the same deprivations as you, which are designed to make us kow-tow. Restricted contact visits, restricted law library access, "no" work and education privileges, restricted religious access, as well as having my correspondences and reading materials carefully scrutinized (more so than the prisoners in general population.) In addition, we are carefully searched every time we leave the control unit (going and coming ) in the presence of two armed security guards carrying black night sticks that they call "nigger beaters." We are subjected to restrictive outside recreation and 24 and 23 3/4 hour days locked down in these cages year-round.

In reading your missives to MIM, many of you have been given the same options as I to obtain release from these repressive units. They have advised me that I need to improve my social profile and abandon my oppositional stance prior to release consideration from the MCU. Renouncing my politics will never happen. I've never contemplated the thought of being apolitical again in my life because I have suffered so, and to pay homage to the late George L. Jackson, I want to say there is no turning back from awareness because it is our obligatory duty to act once we become aware of what is, as well as what must be done and not just spoken about.

MIM has been active when it comes to about the history and reality of control units, i.e. SHU, MCU, SMU etc., especially in the state of California. We must do our part as prisoners, to organize and form a collective behind the walls to assist them. If this means resisting physically we must resist. If we must die, let it not be like hogs, hunted and penned in an inglorious spot.

Other prisoner support organizations, and most advocates, lose interest after a while because combating the existence of SHUs and control units necessitates a protracted commitment and most people are not willing to make such a commitment. In addition, prisoners around the country who have experienced the fascist repression of these units and prison existence do not stay the course upon release. Many ex-prisoners don't help those who helped them and stayed the course with them when they were locked down deep in the repressive confines of some state or federal SHU and/or control unit. Once released they failed to act upon the promises they previously made about advocating the propaganda of serious struggle in the community at large.

I encourage all of you to remain strong and uncompromising. We must work relentlessly to replace the bourgeois injustice system with proletarian justice.

— Matulla, a prisoner in Alabama, April 2003

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[Control Units] [Menard Correctional Center] [Illinois]
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Illinois: Down with Menard's seg quota

Menard Correctional Centers Segregation Unit consists of one abnormally large cell house, which has the capacity of 490 inmates. Menard had only one major incident this year and there's hardly anyone getting into trouble. So in order to justify using so much space for segregation, the staff issued quotas for each population cell house on how many inmates they need to send to segregation. So the staff sets out to find reasons to place inmates in segregation.

During quota filling time, correctional officers exaggerate disciplinary reports, by writing tickets for "intimidation and threat" because an inmate stared at them too long. Or they charge people with "gang activity" when six or seven people are standing in a small group on the yard. Oftentimes, they can't exaggerate tickets so they talk loudly and curse at inmates to provoke a verbal or physical response. If all else fails, they will utilize the Internal Affairs Confidential Sources procedure, which uses inmate trustees to lie on gang members. Law advocates say that the inmates are planning some outrageous security threat, so that they can lock them in segregation anywhere from 30 to 60 days under "investigative status." I encourage any and all inmates to remain dormant to force the staff here to open at least half the segregation unit's building to the general population, and at the same time neutralize Menard's Segregation quota procedures.

RAIL and MIM respond: The prisoner is correct to expose the everyday injustice as prisoncrats use their power to fix their stupid mistakes. Like this prisoner, we also do not encourage prisoners to fight the pigs since they are currently armed and dangerous. The demand to reduce the size of Menard's segregation unit is a correct one. Segregation brings with it such increased suffering for prisoners as sensory deprivation, reduced yard time, highly restricted contact with other prisoners if any, denial of the ability to work, and tighter controls on visitation. All this is in addition to the loss of good time from tickets, forcing prisoners to serve longer sentences before getting the opportunity to parole.

As we point out in every issue of MIM Notes, the size of the U.$. prison population is too big and growing, with more prisoners per capita than any government since Stalin's during World War II and more Black prisoners than Apartheid South Africa. While we work to bring down this system in its entirety, for the short term we look to fight winnable battles that we can win by legal means. Bettering prisoners' conditions now is a good thing. Any honest persyn can see that getting the Menard Correctional Center to stop manufacturing charges against prisoners is a positive reform that deserves support. To express your views to the Warden, write or call (please send MIM a copy of any correspondence):

Warden George Welborn
Menard Correctional Center
711 Kaskaskia Street
Menard, Illinois 62259
Phone: (618) 826-5071

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[Control Units] [New York]
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New York SHU's repress oppressed nation orgs

I would like to advise MIM that my issues with NYS DOCS on keeping me in admin seg for being a leader of the New York State Latin King Chapter is now in the Albany Co, Supreme Court. The continued segregation and solitary confinement of minority Latinos and Blacks must come to an end. These Special Housing Units (SHU's) in New York State were built under the pretense of placing extremely violent prisoners within them. These new prisons have been built within the past 4 years and 12 new prisons have been built for these reasons. These prisons are not being used for the violent, they are being used for Security Risk Groups: Latin Kings, Bloods, Crips, Rat Hunters & so on.

These new SHU's are filled with people who are here for dirty urine. To justify the money being spent for these prisons they must keep them full! New York State is the only state that gives 5 years solitary confinement on a dirty urine for smoking a stick of weed!(joint) This is their reform and rehabilitation for the drug users!

The article on U.S. prison officials use of torture and biological weapons in MIM Notes 256 is 100% true, because I live it every day of my life since 2000. I've been in the New York State SHU restricted diet (the "loaf") bread mixed with cabbage then baked into a solid gruel. The teargas, pepper spray and so on to an asthmatic is a deadly practice. The stun guns, and electric riot shield is a deadly practice for anyone with a heart problem. The United States Supreme Court abolished cruel and unusual punishment. If these practices aren't cruel and unusual then deadly force along with the governments dumbocracy has just stepped up onto a new plateau!

It's time to wake up and become a part of the resolution to fix the problem.

Peace almighty today, tomorrow and forever. King's love,

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