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Under Lock & Key

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[Control Units] [New Jersey]
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New Jersey Gang Unit

The last time I was in a control unit was from 2000-2002. It was in Norther State Prison's STGMU, which was the gang unit lock up. The location of this control unit is in Newark, New Jersey. There are various groups in this control unit, and the total population is about 100 prisoners. The national makeup of the population is Latino and Black. The only expansion I believe is that once you are finished with the STGMU ad-seg time, you are given the option to go to the gang-unit program, and if you refuse to participate you may stay in phase I and you are basically in ad-seg without any ad-seg time or charges. At least that's how it was done back when I was there. Now, I heard that you have no choice once you finish the STGMU ad-seg time, they send you straight to the gang unit program and if you refuse you no longer are allowed to stay in phase I. Instead you are given a charge and sent back to the STGMU. In the STGMU you only get to go to rec 2 times a week at most.

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[Spanish]
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Amerikanos: Oprimiendo para una vida

Escrito por MIM(Prisons), Diciembre 2007
Traducido por un preso de Washington, Mayo 2008

Los críticos de las altas tasas de encarcelamiento han insistido que un aumento en el número de prisioneros no se corresponde con menos crimen. Y a pesar de la disminución de crimen, las tasas de encarcelamiento siguen creciendo. ¿Cómo es esto posible?

Un informe reciente del Instituto JFA describe cómo el aumento en la población carcelaria es el resultado de un cambio en las leyes y las pólizas aplicadas. (1) Hemos sido durante décadas en la época de la “política dura al respeto la delincuencia", pero la mayoría de los americanos todavía ocultan el hecho de que esta práctica se resulta en un mayor control y represión de las semicolonias internas. Al mismo tiempo, millones de amerikkkanos están apoyando estas leyes como un medio de asegurar sus propios trabajos y el sustento de sí mismos y sus familias. Mientras que los blancos consideran la esclavitud y el genocidio como eventos en el pasado, la nación amerikkkana nunca ha sido tan arraigada y invertido en una nación de opresores como están hoy con millones, sirviendo como espías, policías y militares.

Y mientras que los medios de comunicación blanco le hace usted creer que las “pólizas duras contra el crimen" están protegiendo la población americano de asesinos y depredadores sexuales, aproximadamente dos tercios de los 650,000 nuevos prisioneros anuales son personas no violentas que han solo han cometido el error de violar su libertad condicional. Y la mitad de estas violaciones son técnicas, en otras palabras, esas personas son mandadas a la cárcel por cosas que la mayoría de la gente nunca hubiera ser encarcelado. (1) La demanda de más encarcelamiento está mandado cientos de miles de personas en la cárcel cada año por cosas no considerada delitos bajo la ley estadounidense.

Quien está ganando?

Los grupos progresistas que oponen el complejo industrial de la prisión, también condenan "las cárceles-fines de lucro." Pero las beneficios empresariales en si mismo no son los únicos detrás de las tres décadas del boom de las prisiones y la “legislación dura contra el crimen". En realidad los responsables son las policías americanas y los burócratas maniobras para fondos gubernamentales (o sea ese dinero viene de gravar americanos cuya riqueza proviene de la explotación de los labores y recursos del tercer mundo). Resulta también que los políticos carreras que quieren placer los votantes blancas nacionalistas están involucrados. “Posturas duras contra el crimen" no son simplemente tolerados en la política americanos, más bien, son exigidos por el voto público. Los políticos que intentan ir en contra de la marea pueden confirmar esto.

Aparte de la teoría que "las cárceles son un gran negocio" el otro argumento popular explica que el auge de encarcelamiento ocurre porque el sistema representa "la esclavitud moderna." Como la fuerza económica detrás de encarcelamiento, esto también es un mito. Si la motivación para ser el país prisionero número uno en toda la historia fue la explotación laboral, a continuación, debería observar la mayoría de los presos participando en trabajo productivo. Mientras que algunas fuentes afirman que la mitad de todos los presos trabajan, un estudio realizado en 1994 encontró que menos de 10% están involucrados en trabajo distinto de mantenimiento y limpieza. (2) Estadísticas estatales más recientes indican empleo industrial en tasas bajas similares. (3) La estimación de la mitad de los presos trabajadores parece razonable si reconocemos que la mayoría de esos prisioneros tienen empleos de tiempo parcial, haciendo mantenimiento de la prisión. También, MIM citó estadísticas de 1995 mostrando que sólo el 6.4% de las ventas derivadas del labor prisionero en EEUU era privado en el MIM teoría 11: Los prisiones de Amerikkka a prueba.

Por lo general, si los presos trabajan para una corporación exterior y producen bienes para el comercio interestatal, ellos están legalmente obligados a recibir los salarios de nivel explotador amerikkkanos. El beneficio para las empresas es que pueden escatimar como lo demuestra en beneficios y no es necesario dar aumentos. Los propietarios de pequeñas empresas han luchado para limitar los beneficios de aquellos que utilizan labor prisionero, ya que carecen de la capital para tomar ventaja de estas ventajas competitivas. Los intereses de pequeños burgueses aquí mantienen los imperialistas bajo control. (4)

Por lo tanto, la mayoría de labor prisionero se realiza para el estado, quien puede pagar lo que quieren y guarnece la mayor parte de los salarios prisioneros para cubrir los gastos de encarcelar cada preso. Parece que estos prisioneros son trabajando para manejar la prisión y por lo tanto permiten que los amerikkkanos en cargo de la prisión funcionen como burócratas bien-remunerados y los prisioneros entonces no tiene que preocuparse de cocinar y limpiar. O puede ser que los prisioneros están trabajando para las industrias gubernamentales que suministraron las agencias estatales y por lo tanto, subvencionan los fondos recolectados de los impuestos del Estado en toda parte por la reducción de los gastos estatales. La Asociación Nacional de industrias correccionales dice que las industrias del Estado aportaron 25 millones de dólares por el acto de guarnecer los salarios de los reclusos, en realidad no es una gran contribución al costo del sistema penitenciario estadounidense. Sin embargo, una estimación realizada por MIM hace 10 años indica que el ahorro en salarios generales (no incluyendo beneficios) podría ser del orden de 10% o más del actual estado general de los gastos en correcciones (5), que han aumentado notablemente (ver el gráfico).

Algunas industrias estatales exportan productos a otros países, pero el comercio interestatal en gran medida ha sido restringido por los esfuerzos de los intereses de la pequeña empresa y los sindicatos amerikanos. Desde la década 80, el Gobierno federal ha intentado adoptar el modelo de "fábricas con vallas". Pero el mercado libre de labor esclavizada sigue enfrentando obstáculos por las leyes estatales. Este año, Alaska aprobó una ley que autoriza que el departamento de desarrollo de la fuerza laboral entren en contratos con empresas privadas o con individuos para venderlos labor prisionero.

siempre que el Comisionado consulta con organizaciones sindicales locales previamente en el fin de garantizar que el contrato no resulta en el desplazamiento de los trabajadores empleados, no se aplicará en las habilidades, artesanías, o oficios en los que hay un excedente de labor disponible remunerado en la localidad y no se pone en peligro los contratos vigentes para los servicios. Un contrato con un individuo o una organización privada requiere que el Comisionado mismo recibe el salario mínimo por cada hora dedicada por un prisionero". (10)


Hablando con claridad, esto no tiene nada que ver con los derechos prisioneros, pero está realmente diseñada para la protección de los puestos de labores aristocráticas y las pequeñas empresas. Y como hacen muchos estados, Alaska permite que los salarios son guarnecidos antes de que son distribuidos al preso. Por lo tanto no hay ninguna ley estipulando que el preso debe recibir un salario determinado.

¿Qué pasa con una industria que tiene acceso ilimitado a labor prisionero? Teóricamente, las cárceles privadas podrían tener contratos grasas del Estado y dejar que los presos hagan gran parte del trabajo para manejar las facilidades. Pero después de tres décadas de expansión prisionero, todavía menos de 5% de las prisiones son de propiedad privada, debido al menos en parte a la incapacidad para seguir siendo rentable. (4) Se han dicho con frecuencia que cuesta más dinero mantener una persona en la cárcel durante un año, que enviarla a la Universidad. (La diferencia para enviar jóvenes a un Centro Correccional comparada con una escuela primaria puede ser diferentes en el orden de magnitud). Esto es un precio que la gran parte de los amerikkkanos fiscales-reacios están dispuestos a paga

Burócratas estatales y la opresión nacional

Estrictamente hablando, las cárceles son una pérdida neta financiera para la nación amerikkkana. Y el boom no puede ser culpado en cualquier de los principales intereses corporativos. Un sistema inflada de injusticia ofrece económicamente un medio de emplear a millones de personas pagados con salarios explotadas. Es un medio de barajar los beneficios super alrededor de la porqueriza y mantener la población consumidor bajo control. Estos millones de personas proporcionan una demanda auto perpetúa de más prisioneros y más fondos para varios proyectos legales.

Un ejemplo de esta burocracia auto perpetúa se remonta a 1983, cuando Jaime González se convirtió en subdirector del Departamento Correccional de California. Inmediatamente, amplió el personal de planificación del departamento de 3 a 118 y comenzó a enfocarse en modelando para prevenir el aumento de las necesidades para la expansión en el futuro (no sólo los oficiales correccionales consiguen los puestos de trabajo). (6) Desde entonces California ha construido 23 principales nuevas cárceles, ampliado a otras cárceles y aumentó su población prisionero mas de 500%. (7) Con más prisiones, vienen más guardias de la prisión, creando la 31,000 que forman parte de la Fuerte Oficiales Correccionales de paz en California, asociación con las cuotas anuales, con un total de 21.9 millones de dólares. (8) Este es el mismo sindicato que sí mismo obtuvo un aumento en el saldo tras la exposición de las luchas gladiadores organizados por guardias en la prisión estatal Corcoran, donde muchos prisioneros fueron asesinados. La misma organización que estaba detrás de las leyes de 3 golpes para ubicar personas de 25 a la vida por los pequeños delitos, y que ha hecho campaña repetidamente para eliminar programas educativos para los presos.

El CO (oficial correccional) es socio con la industria privada que ha crecido gracias a una economía basada en la guerra y la represión. Una visita a la Conferencia de la Asociación Americana de Correcciones le mostrará que no es sólo unos trajes imperialistas en una habitación lleno de humo. Es una estancia para una gran mezcla de vendedores, policías y CO; amerikkkanos ordinarios. (9)

En EEUU existen leyes que impiden que las fuerzas armadas presionan al Gobierno para protección contra la guerra que llevó a cabo en los intereses de los creadores de la guerra. No hay tales límites sobre la policía y funcionarios penitenciarios (co), quienes permiten que la guerra en las bandas van por sí mismo perpetuando en maneras políticas y económicas. La NYPD y la policía tienen arsenales y capacidades que rivalizan las fuerzas armadas de muchos países, y se les permita ejercer influencia en la política en los niveles locales, estatales y federales incluso tanto directa como indirectamente.

En la policía de nivel local, departamentos han socavado las tendencias hacia la llamada "comunidad policía." Donde los jóvenes de la Comunidad han tenido éxito en la reducción de la violencia a través del diálogo y organizar, la policía ha rechazado estos programas en favor de los representantes de la comunidad que refrendar sus estrategias continuas de represión y hostigamiento de jóvenes oprimidas de la nación. Cuando las organizaciones de las calles se reunieron a los tratados de paz de la forma en los Ángeles y Chicago en la década 90, la policía respondió inmediatamente a través de los medios de comunicación blanco diciendo que fue una falsa alarma y no duraría por tanto tiempo. No que haya ninguna confusión, la policía creó estas guerras, y la policía no las deja parar.

En los Finales de la década 90, el periódico The New York Times informó que los residentes blancos de Nueva York fueron cómodos con el comportamiento de la policía, mientras que 9 de cada 10 negros quejaron que la brutalidad contra los negros es frecuente. El regular "parada y frisking" cometido por la policía, a continuación, se practicó bajo el alcalde Giuliani, fue encontrado para ser dirigido a los negros y a los Latinos el 90% del tiempo. (11)

Políticamente, el resto de la nación opresiva está dispuesto colaborar con los planes de seguridad policiales y funcionarios penitenciarios como un medio de proteger sus privilegios colectivas. Uno de los pocos asuntos los amerikkkanos pueden estar de acuerdo es como gastar los fondos estatales. Con esto, el sistema de injusticia se convierte en una parte importante de la cultura nacional para convencer a las personas que proveen soporte material del sistema imperialista que se benefician.

Quienes están encerrados?

Mientras que la cuestión de quien se beneficia del complejo industrial prisionero es un poco nublado y controvertido, todo el mundo sabe quienes están encerrados. En medio siglo, las cárceles amerikanos han pasado de blanco dominado a negro dominado en un período donde la población negra aumentó menos de 2 puntos porcentuales, hasta su nivel actual de aproximadamente el 12%. Y sin embargo no se indignó los amerikkkanos.

Como informó recientemente ], los negros son encarcelados 10 veces más que los blancos para cargos de drogas y el aumento de las penas de prisión por asuntos relacionados con las drogas fue 77% para los negros, en comparación con 28% para los blancos. (12) Por lo tanto, el aumento de las penas que está detrás del actual auge de la prisión está orientada a ciertas poblaciones.

El informe del Instituto mismo hace referencia a investigación, indicando que encarcelamiento a menudo alienta la delincuencia. En su resumen de la literatura, apuntan a evidencia que demuestra que la gente dejará estilos de vida criminales cuando están ofrecidos oportunidades. ¿No mierda? Detener la delincuencia no es exactamente la ciencia espacial. Mientras los comunistas saben cómo poner fin a la delincuencia, los cerdos y sus fanáticos han demostrado que no son realmente interesados en eso. Ellos entrañarían destruyendo sus propios privilegios. En su avanzado etapa de parasitismo, la nación amerikkkana tiene un sector bien involucrado de cerdos que obtengan seguridad laboral y aumentos salariales por la perpetua de la delincuencia y el encarcelamiento.

Curiosamente, el informe señala también un número de estudios que indican que cuando el gobierno ejecuta ciertas programas, estas tienen efectos muy marginales en reducir la reincidencia. Esta conclusión es apoyada por los informes que recibimos de comrades criticando programas del Gobierno. (13)] Al parecer, la literatura también admite la necesidad de programas prisioneros como MIM(Prisons) Re-Lease de la vida, porque solo los programas que parecen ser efectivos en el tratamiento y la rehabilitación son independientes del Gobierno. (1) Las personas no son estúpidas, saben como funciona el estado.
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[Rhymes/Poetry] [California]
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Let us rise as one!

Set my people free, from the streets 2 the penitentiary!
I say a prayer 4 you, from the streets 2 the penitentiary!

I stand alone strap decent I’m ready 4 war
Military ammu I’m knocking at your front door
Mr. Oppressor open up and kick in like a slot machine
No excuses I want mine by all means
Doing crime is easy we getting by
Just look around, Black and Brown
Where we at, locked up, we doing life
They (oppressor) want us off the streets, the violence decease
Mr. Police “please,” y’all ain’t no better than me
Body bags is staking up and the system is corrupted as hell
The war, the drugs, these slugs, we bust
The rules you make, you break, we all stuck
Ain’t no justice, it’s just us
Believe that shit
Bloods and Crips at war, kids is killing kids
My soul is torn, my heart ripped up,
Bloody tears dried up, love ones I mourn
Love me or hate me, I can care less,
You ain’t the one:
Born in captivity, living in a struggle,
Contemplating death,
Mr. R___ a cop, damn right, let’s ride, till my last breath,
BanaRu from the feet up.
Those chosen few representing us, stay up.
The torch been passed down 2 me, flames in rage,
All power 2 the people, here I give 2 you
Rise and shine our time has arrived
It’s ‘our destiny,’ we must survive,
(Afrika)=Ethiopia is calling come home
Riches of all land, beginning of all man,
Mother 2 all earth, righteous land of our birth
The world is waiting 4 a new power 2 rise,
It’s time 2 wake up, open up your eyes
Let Freedom Ring, my people, hear your brother sing
My strong sistas, continue 2 shine like the sun
Lead and guide our generation and those 2 come
Get in the cell, get in the cell, they continue 2 yell at me,
Ayana Wewe, Ayana Wewe, I continue 2 scream
So go ahead and turn your back on all political prisoners and
pay us no mind, bu
Behind every action there’s a re-action
It’s only a matter of time
Are strength in numbers
It’s time 2 wake up and let’s catch the oppressor
While he slumbers
So all those who are with me “Put your fist 2 the air”
So when the revolution comes we shall all be there!!!
Enclosing I just would like 2 say, may you stay forever grounded and gravitated in victory against eh powers and
Principalities that conspire our collective demise and their
Constant rise!

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[Control Units] [New York]
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SHU conditions at Upstate Correctional Facility

I have been in Upstate Correctional Facility plenty of times, and it is a double bunk control unit called Special Housing Unit.

There is about 800 to 900 people contained in there. 90% of the facility is SHU, the rest is porters that cook and serve the food trays and do the laundry. The double-bunk cells are large because it's a room for two and your shower is in the cell as well as a rec cage in the back of your cell. So basically, you never leave the cell unless it's for a visit, hospital call out or release from the box.

The national makeup is 50% Black and 50% Latino. There are numerous prison rule violations to be placed in SHU, for example: assault on staff or on convict, gang lessons, dirty urine for drug use, weapon possession and all of these must be a tier three ticket. Anything lower , like a tier one or two ticket don't go to those SHUs. So a tier three ticket is considered a serious offense.

This unit is the largest in NYS, and it opened around 1999. The SHUs in NYS have expanded by opening smaller ones that hold 200 convicts. They are still double-bunk and they were built behind medium security facilities throughout the state. Many are empty and a big waste of tax-payers money.

I have not heard or read any memos about new SHUs planned for NY, I hope there are not. We need some schools and social programs, not control units that are hardly occupied.

These control units are very dangerous and hazardous to the minds of convicts who are mentally weak and they lose control and become self-destructive. There were instances where a convicts bunkey almost killed him and tied him up. They put you in a cell with anybody, a perosn you never met in your life and who knows what ill intentions he might have, it's a surivival of the fittest!

They feed you small portions of food, so that prisoners lose lots of weight. The visit are behind a chicken fence gate that separates you from your visitors, so there is no real humyn contact. They put brothers on food and water restrictions, they censor our magazines and books thoroughly and most times violating our right to periodicals that don't pose a threat to security. These control units should be shut down because it doesn't reduce prison violence and its a waste of money and hazardous on the mind.

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[Medical Care] [California]
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No improvement in health care in California prisons

I just read Under Lock and Key from 2007 and it concerned the health care in California prisons. I'm sending along a copy of an article from the Sacramento Bee by Don Thompson of the Associated Press. It explains that Federal Receiver Robert Sillew's report shows there is very little change in health care in California prisons as of March 2008. Mr. J. Clark Kelso is the new federal receiver.

I have been in prison for 11 1/2 years for resisting arrest. I was given a life sentence under California's Three Strikes Law. Since I've been in prison I've known three prisoners personally who died from liver failure. Each man told me they did not receive proper care from the medical services. The CDCR needs more qualified doctors and more medical and mental prisons, but until the over population problem (173,000 prisoners) is solved, there will continue to be people dying. We need to be seen as human beings, not cattle.

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[Control Units] [New York]
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Report on Upstate Supermax

Currently, I am in a Supermax, what you refer to as control unit/ solitary confinement/ the box.

There are five buildings. Each building has three blocks, each block has two galleries and on each gallery there are twenty-five cells. Within each cell there are two prisoners. In total there are fifty people on a gallery- 100 people in a block - 300 people in a building.

The exception is that one of these buildings are occupied by cadre. These cadre are the workers. These workers are akin to those of a beehive, they're the lifeline of the facility. They clean the facility, and basically maintain it so that the facility is self-contained.

The four other buildings are strictly occupied by prisoners who are locked down, like myself, for 24 hours. A single prisoner might occupy a cell depending on that prisoners prior disciplinary history in the Special Housing Unit. Being that when one is locked in the box, we are liable to take anyone as a bunky, on several occasions people have been killed and some times even raped. Fights are common because of the frustration and being forced to double bunk with someone that you're incompatible with.

Upstate was built in 1999. It was the last Special Housing Unit that I know of that was built within the past 9 years. There are several more SHU buildings throughout New York State.

As far as the racial makeup, my observation & analysis is based on the numerous facilities i've been in, whether solitary confinement or group population. More than 50% of the prisoners are Black, 30% are Latino and the rest is made up of whites and those of Asian descent. This ratio also holds true for Upstate (which is where i'm at). More than half the cells on each gallery is occupied by Blacks, then Latinos. Many galleries have no white prisoners, if there is two cells on a gallery occupied by whtie prisoners, that itself is a large number.

The way that the system of pairing prisoners works is like this: People are put together based on their race - Blacks can only bunk with other Blacks (there are exceptions if a prisoner bunk goes to population e may request to have someone in the cell, but that doesn't mean the request will be granted). Latinos are bunked with Latinos and whites with whites. Now, Latinos and whites are allowed to be bunked. Basically, Blacks must be bunked with Blacks and all the other racial groups could be bunked together.

I doubt that the state plans to open new facilities for two reasons. (1) Organizations such as MIM have been putting a lot of pressure on the state to close the SHU. There has also been pressure around the fact that many of the prisoners that are locked away in solitary confinement should be put in psychiatric facilities. (2) Another reason is that many prisoners are receiving harsh sentencing to solitary confinement for minor infractions - anxiety attacks is a common one. This is a result of the tenure of Governor Pataki whose "tough on crime" rhetoric allowed him to build more prisons. More prisons were built in Governor Pataki's tenure of two terms than at any other time. Within the past 8 years several jails have been closed and many of those being incarcerated are parole violators who are recycled back into the system. So it is harder to justify the need for so many SHUs.

Unfortunately, I don't have the articles any more, but i have read a couple of journal articles on the harmful effects these units have on humyn beings. In reality there is no value to these prisons, except to control prisoners. They use them to break us down. There is nothing rehabilitative about this place.

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[Control Units] [Washington]
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Washington Supermax report

Greetings from the oppressed in the state of Washington's 2nd fully operational 'Supermax' gulag. Since i've been imprisoned here by the fascist pigs and imperialistic/racist government and state powers, the conditions have deteriorated a bit. Currently, we are fighting the pigs, A/C's (assistant cooks), CUS (custody unit supervisor, CO's (pigz) and the Unit Sgt. concerning the quality/quantity of our food. We're being given food that is just reheated from servings 2-3 days previous and lacking enough nutrients to benefit us (ie. 2000 calories). We also have no real outside yard access. We go out to a 10' x 10' concrete box, with an iron screen mesh high up on a wall that only allows us to get a strip view of the sky. The ventilation in our cells blow hard air 24/7. Our cell lights stay on 24/7 (count-light). [MIM(Prisons) adds: this unit was just opened in October 2007 as the first certified "green" prison building in the state]. All of our cell functions (toilet, hot & cold water, lights, air conditioning, heating) are controlled by the pigz in a control/monitoring booth. The water we sue is "re-claimed" water, water already used, and our showers have inadequate pressure & heat. When placed in the showers we're put in a cage with open front were both male and female pigs that are walking around can view us taking showers. Since i've been here, i've seen 3 cell extractions with the "Goon" squad, OC [pepper spray], electrified shields & tasers. They've also moved 2-3 guys of my current tier to ISO for no apparent reason other than filing grievances or complain about conditions or lack of general issue items.

I've heard through the grapevine that the fascist pigz are looking at out-of-state a prisoner chain of 500 (slaves) to be shipped out to MN, AZ, CO, KY, and IN in the next 12 months. I can't confirm this, but i am looking into it.

As far as statistics on the number of people in control units in Washington, i cannot verify numbers for Clallam Bay, Stafford Creek or WCC for Women, but i can clarify and confirm for the following prisons:

McNeil Island has three (3) control units, each unit is single cell, 23hr. lock-down. Each unit holds approximately 30 prisoners, for a rough total of 90+. One pod (unit) is seg, 1 pod is IMU and 1 pod is Mental Health IMU/seg combo.

As for Washington State Penitentiary (WSP), they have an ASU/seg unit that holds 195-200 prisoners on 23 hour lockdown. They (WSP) also has a new 1500-2000 bed CC "state-of-the-art" housing unit that just opened, a 96 bed IMU, and a new "supermax" IMU/ASU that i've been told holds 199 prisoners. WSP also has an medical/mental health 14 cell (1 man) capacity housing. Then they have a SHU, which is where the mental health/protective custody and death row prisoners are housed and it's a 260 bed capacity with another 24 cells for seg overflow.

As for Monroe Correctional Complex, SOU/SOC are the same facilities. SOU(Special Offender Unit) is for Medium/Minimum inmates with a 600+ bed capacity (1&2 man cells), SOC (Special Offender Center) is CC for mental health/sex offenders with 4 units; 2 (CC) with 72 bed, 1 man capacity and 2 IMU/ASU with 72 bed, 1 man capacity. The new "supermax" Monroe Correctional Complex-IMU has 120 1-man 23hr lock-down IMU "supermax" housing cells and 120 ASU-"supermax" housing cells. This is one of two new "supermax" units that opened in the last 6 months. Monroe also has a Seg/ASU unit at Washington State Reformatory (WSRU) with 100-115 bed, 1-man cell capacity, 23hr lock-down. Meanwhile, the WSRU-SHU is medical/psych long-term housing with several 100 bed capacity. Also at MCC, the Twin Rivers Correctional Unit(TRU) has a 20 bed "Temp" seg unit.

Washington Correctional Complex at Shelton has an IMU/Seg unit with 144 1-man cells and a 6-man ISO unit known as COU (Crisis Observation Unit).

These figures are as close as possible, and the units are ALL control/long-term ISO with the exception of WCC Shelton COU and TRU's seg unit. Airway Heights also has a "SMU" (Special Management Unit) Seg which has 45-60 bed capacity of short-term ISO. Again, most of these figures are very close as i've either been there before or someone has come through here and let us all know what's going on elsewhere.

a comrade in Monroe Correctional Complex IMU

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[Prison Labor] [Oregon]
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Prison Labor at Oregon State Pen

There are about 2500 inmates housed here and about 1600 of them have jobs, the other 900 are inmates in control units.

The prison offers many jobs such as industry, kitchen, yard, unit, education, assistants, etc. Now all the industry jobs pay between $100 to $175 a month and all the rest pay between $25 to $75 a month, which is bullshit since the minimum wage is like $7.75 and the amount we get paid is only a small percentage of regular outside community jobs.

By working in the prison it keeps us focused and able to purchase the necessities we need to contain proper health & hygiene and things like food, electronics, etc. But the state charges us double or triple the price the items cost on the streets.

The kinds of work we do here consists of building furniture, welding, plumbing, electrical, repairing equipment, washing laundry and the rest are tutors for the education department and unit orderlies. There are also kitchen duties such as cooking, washing, dishes, wiping tables and serving the food.

The industry jobs make couches, chairs, tables and desks for the outside world. Other jobs make jewelry, saddles, clothes and toys. The lifers club has a lot of these items in the visiting room so when our people come to see us they can purchase them.

The Prison Blues clothes are made by prisoners at EOCI in Pendleton and SRCI. They have construction programs where we build trailers and sheds for people to live in. So we do more than make license plates, like in some states. But again, almost all the money made goes to the staff's checks, only 10% gets put toward the inmate trust fund.

Now the state of Oregon is making such a big profit off us working for pennies and they can't even give us better yard equipment so we can exercise without having to be careful the cables don't break while we're pumping the weights. So it's real sad that we live in these conditions.

If the inmates refused to work these jobs like slaves which we our slaves of the state then nothing would get done. The officers are so lazy all they do each day is sit around and eat donuts. There ain't no real labor in this job for them, but they bitch about always being tired. So if it weren't for us they wouldn't be making such a nice chunk of money and treating us so bad.

This article referenced in:
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[Control Units] [New York]
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Understanding Solitary Confinement

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

True solitary confinement - it's general concept, ultimate purpose, and all of its myriad applications - must be exposed to as many concerned citizens as is possible. Media, cinema, and corrections spokespeople have all contributed to distorting our society's perception of this shameful and torturous practice that has been a facet of this country's history since it's earliest years.

Amnesty International has defined solitary confinement as "all forms of incarceration that totally remove a prisoner from inmate society", elucidating further that "the prisoner is visually and acoustically isolated from all other prisoners as well as having no personal contact with them." But even this definition can forfeit the consideration of other variations of confinement that similarly and adversely affect the prisoners who are imprisoned in them. Professors Craig Haney and Mona Lynch concluded and supported with irrefutable evidence from the study they conducted that solitary confinement refers to a broad set of conditions, including single-celled control units where even some semblance of communication between prisoners is somehow feasible, double-celled control units that produce conditions of both isolation and overcrowding simultaneously, control units where prisoners are subjected to sensory overload as well as sensory deprivation, and control units that impose "small group isolation." The effects of solitary confinement in all of its manifestations within this country's prison system have been recognized by numerous authoritative analysts, as well as their impact upon society as a whole. Studies of this phenomenon, empirical and with scientific experimentation, have been conducted and recorded as early as 1790.

With this in mind, terms such as "punitive segregation", "restrictive housing", "segregated housing", "special housing", "administrative segregation", "disciplinary confinement" and "control units" have all been used to designate constructed environments that employ what are essentially conditions- whether in part or whole - of solitary confinement. Despite their differences, all of them serve similar ends in that all of them employ torturous conditions as punishment rather than rehabilitation.

I have been a prisoner of the New York State Department of Correctional Services prison system for approximately fifteen years to date. I have spent at least two-thirds of those years confined to the system's special housing units (SHU) for lengthy and continuous periods at a time. Recently, former New York State Governor Eliott Spitzer signed a bill into law that provides for mentally ill prisoners who have been sanctioned with disciplinary confinement penalties exceeding thirty days to be removed from conventional SHU's and placed in newly constructed "therapeutic units." The majority of these "therapeutic units" are actually conventional SHU's amended with rooms designated for therapeutic group programming and individual therapy sessions. The rooms are fitted with "cubicles" that amount to small single-occupancy cages, to restrict prisoners contact with program instructors and each other during "therapy." Whether this arrangement is a genuine and sufficient departure form conventional SHU to ward off mental deterioration fostered by the conditions of the various forms of solitary confinement seems to have escaped adequate forum for public debate.

One of the worst SHU's I have been confined to, by my estimation, is the notorious F-Block at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York. I remained there for just over a year.

In their State of the Prisons report on conditions of confinement in 25 New York correctional facilities, published in 2002, the Prison Visiting Committee of the Correctional Association of New York described the SHU at Great Meadow CF as "... one of the most unsettling we have experienced. Many of the inmates were mentally ill and confined in cells behind thick metal doors or bars covered with Plexiglas to protect staff from "throwers." Most striking was the pervading sense of chaos and the way in which inmates with mental illness are isolated, cut off from human contact and caged in barren, concrete walls. Animals in zoos are kept in more humane conditions... the more stable inmates spoke of the constant yelling and noise on the unit, the stench of feces and sweat, and the lack of ventilation." Although the SHU capacity had been reduced since the time of that report, the conditions aforementioned were certainly prevalent even during my confinement there in 2004 and 2005.

With the draconian measures put in place by the Bush administration as a device of its purported "war on terror," and a look to the conditions under which prisoners designated as enemy combatants are being held in at the detention complex in Guantanamo Bay by the U.S. government, I do not see that the use of solitary confinement is being diminished at all. Rather, I foresee that it will expand and morph into forms less conspicuous but more insidious, cultivated with and nurtured by the incitement of mass hysteria and the greed of profiteers.

After clarifying the general concept, myriad applications and ultimate purpose of solitary confinement, this information must be conveyed to the concerned active citizenry. The concept, applications and purpose of solitary confinement serve to control and inflict suffering upon a segment of the population through isolation and deprivation. It does not nor has it ever served to rehabilitate or improve the condition of society.

sources: "Regulating Prisons of the Future", by Craig Haney & Mona Lynch, 23 NYU Rev. L. Soc. Change 447 (1997).
"State of the Prisons" Report, June 2002, by the Correctional Association of New York.
"Enemy Combatant" by Moazzam Begg (the New Press, 2006).

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[Prison Labor] [Connecticut]
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Prisoner innovation stolen and sold back to them

Prisoners make all the clothing and uniforms as well as envelopes and greeting cards here in MacDougall-Walker CI in Connecticut, and then they sell them back to us. They even sell jail pillows now. Not real pillows, jail pillows, the ones the prisoners used to make back in the day and they confiscated them (we use to make 'em out of old mattresses, the ones that were ripped up and no longer useful). Now the state confiscated all those pillows and are now manufacturing our idea in the prisoners workshop. Same kind of pillow we use to make with the old mattresses the state is making and selling back to us for $15. They stole our idea and sell it back to us.

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