The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Education] [Fremont Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 2]
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Winning censor battles in Colorado

Thank you for sending in your MIM Notes. We've played hell getting them in to Colorado D.O.C. They don't like your message of truth. Our mailroom here in Fremont Correctional Center likes to act as our moral censor. Every time you send your notes it has to go through our "reading committee." Every time they have to give it to us.

In Colorado D.O.C. we've paid very little for our slave labor. I'm glad to get your writing and I try to pass it on to others in here. The ideas spark some heated talks between us here. Your words to us in here can and do instigate some good thinking. Keep up your good work for us on the "inside". We are appreciative of you and look forward to your mailings.

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[Education] [Abuse] [Censorship] [California]
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Prisons cutting off education access, increasing brutality

I know you are having trouble getting lit in to the prison. In the BMU (Behavior Modification Unit) it seems they are trying to deplete the literature that is already in the system, while not allowing any new lit in. There are also new restrictions popping up around the state on the number of books you can have. The point: they are trying to systematically prevent alternative education. They want to limit you to the education they provide. GED, basically next to nothing. It is no coincidence that the individuals being flooded with 115s, and placed in BMU are, the jailhouse lawyers, the political educators, and non-conformists, i.e. revolutionary minded individuals. All of these adverse policies must be attacked at the same time. If we get them to allow lit back in it is meaningless if they can just put you in BMU and send it home, it is also costly.

Myself and a bro we will call "Z" were fighting the censorship. "Z" has been doing time since 1974. They transferred him to Corcoran SHU in May. In June they vacated my indeterminate SHU, and placed me in ad-seg pending transfer. I now have none of my property. My property was trans-packed pending transfer to SVSP or CSP general population. Transfers have been routinely taking 6 months or so. It is clear these pigs are serious about repression.

This battle may come to the knife. They are getting physical. They pepper spray people around here on a regular basis. As well as beat people. Something as small as complaining about a missing item on your dinner tray is enough to get you splayed and whipped. The attitude of the pigs seems as if it has changed overnight. I mean it is real bad. They pepper sprayed a guy the other day because he refused breakfast. This kind of abuse is condoned by the brass up to the warden. I don't see how it cannot come to the knife if we have no redress. Appeals are met with more abuse. They routinely use punitive measures and intimidation to get inmates to drop appeals, or to keep other inmates from coming forward as witnesses. The tactics and practices of the Green Wall are spreading at an alarming rate. These practices are not just spreading amongst the rank and file pigs, but the administration.

Please note the struggle against censorship is my top priority. I realize that the education of the prison population is important to our overall struggle for prisoner rights. I am trying to do a quick analysis of the situation. We already have a strategy we are just revisiting our tactics to meet the environmental change. Any assistance MIM could provide in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

MIM replies: We know that it often seems like there is no way to beat the prison administrators and brutal guards, who use violence against prisoners daily, without resorting to violence. But we also see that attacking from behind enemy lines almost always leads to greater repression. And so we urge our comrades behind bars to avoid violence. Obviously prisoner on prisoner violence only serves the prisons. But prisoners retaliating for guard brutality just gives them another excuse to beat you up. We must organize our fight strategically especially when it looks like we are losing ground.

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[Censorship] [Education]
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Studying and struggling in spite of censorship

Just because the study group never got started [because of censorship problems in California prisons] it doesn't mean that I'm not studying or learning anything. I repeatedly go over MTs and past study group questions and answers, constantly trying to see if there's something I missed or didn't quite comprehend the first, second or third time around. Right now I'm going over MT10 for the third time and I must say a lot more knowledge and information is jumping out at me this time around that before. I hope everyone else is doing the same.

Also, I constantly find myself arguing in the dayroom or on the yard, and it's always about the same stuff. I just can't stand hearing the bullshit that comes out of a lot of people's mouths. Like, for example, if I hear someone talking about "our soldiers" over there in Iraq or wherever getting shot at or blow up. Fuck a pig! A pig is a pig is a pig! I quickly point out that they are not our soldiers, but our oppressors, or a fool of the oppressors. Unfortunately it always seems to be an uphill battle.

Also, the MT on the white proletariat certainly came in handy the other day. There's this guy in here, one of many in here whom I like to argue with on a regular basis. I like blowing holes in his bourgeois theories. Not just that, but more importantly I want to help him understand the evils of capitalism and the science of self-criticism. I think the MT helped a lot.

Anyways, just letting you guys know that the struggle continues.

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[Censorship] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 2]
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Censorship in Oklahoma

The mail kops here stole whatever you sent me, using their standard excuses of "incites revolution" tripe. Probably they just got the secret ok from chuckle-head Chertoff to snoop and thieve at whim. With all the government terrorism being spewed by government about terrorism, it's not a good time to be secretly branded with a bunch of black checkmarks by a pack of sociopathic, religion-crazed paranoids-in-power.

They sat on it for a month before finally deciding, for their own obscure reasons, to obey the law and tell me they stole mail that came from you. If it's any consolation, they are not equal opportunity thieves: they show a decided preference for stealing mail from you over the anarchist groups, Hitler huggers, KKK, etc.

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[Medical Care] [Prison Labor] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 2]
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Fees keep prisoners from needed medical care

Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, in conjunction with Prison Health Services, the statewide healthcare provider for the PA-DOC based out of Brentwood, Tennessee, made it much more difficult for prisoners to get medical treatment by increasing the co-payment for medical services to $5. A fee of $5 will be assessed each time a medical service at sick call is provided to a prisoner when seen by any physician, physicians assistant, dentist, optometric professional or other person licensed to provide health care under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Also, an additional fee of $5 will be charged for each subscription that is ordered for the prisoner by an on-site health care professional.

No complimentary services will be given to prisoners, with the exception of prisoners with well documented chronic care issues: HIV/Aids, hepatitis, hypertension and diabetes.

With the average wage paid for a prison work assignment here in Pennsylvania of 19 cents an hour, 4 hours max a day, many prisoners are letting their illnesses go untreated. They are unable to pay for medical services and buy bare necessities like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo from commissary! Frequently prisoners are deliberately given medication subscriptions that do not improve or fully restore them back to good health.

Under DOC policy DC-ADM820, there should be no additional fee when this takes place, however a prisoner still must fill out and sign a DC-138 cash slip for follow up sick call visits, and these signed cash slips are being forwarded to the facility business office for fee deduction from the prisoners account.

The prisoner can use the grievance system to try to recoup these deductions, however the odds are small that fee will ever be credited back to the prisoners account. This is just one of the many ways the executive administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections manipulate the prison population into handing back over the slave wages they work all month for.

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[Legal] [Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Houtzdale] [Pennsylvania]
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Retaliation for filing grievances

Here at SCI-Houtzdale, there is little or no action taken by the administration when correctional officers or general staff members go out of their way to intentionally mistreat, harass, and do things contrary to department of corrections policy to prisoners who dare to use the Inmate Grievance System.

Retaliation is very common and many prisoners are fearful of getting a fabricated misconduct report and being sent to the RHU (Hole) or having their correctional file sabotaged with misleading information that could harm them when its time to be reviewed for parole.

Basically if a prisoner files a grievance complaining about being mistreated or the conditions here at this facility, within days their name and photo is distributed throughout the institution on the C/Os good old boy network and that is when the harassment starts. C/Os and staff that the prisoner may have never had an altercation with are now openly harassing the prisoner. Cell searches every day, withholding of the prisoner's mail, being intentionally singled out for frequent pat searches when moving about inside of the prison are just a few of the ways COs and staff show their dislike for having one of their co-workers named on a grievance.

A large number of grievances that are filed at this facility, SCI-Houtzdale, are later dismissed as being frivolous. Specially when issues are brought up that the administration is trying to avoid addressing. Responses to grievances are worded on purpose in a way that dehumanizes and makes the prisoner appeal disgruntled in an attempt to discourage the prisoner from continuing on with the appeal process and filing future grievances. COs and staff regularly make remarks to prisoners they are having a disagreement with that has a sarcastic under tone like "you can always file a grievance" knowing that their supervisor will be the grievance officer and will dismiss it. Plus the repercussion the prisoner will fact.

The inmate handbook says on page 12, policy number 804: All grievances and appeals must be made in good faith and for good cause. You will not be punished or otherwise harmed for good faith use of the inmate grievance system. If only these words were true!

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[Organizing] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 2]
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Militant in the struggle

I, a true militant in the Global Struggle, write you from inside the sordid trenches of a Missouri gulag. I recently received a package from you - finally, after a death struggle with pigs to receive my material that had been censored.

I'm headstrong and set in my ways. Prison cells can't contain or circumscribe my thoughts and ideas. In similar aspects, subjugation/incarceration mirrors social ostracism. In both cases, one is treated as an outcast. That is why, importantly, we must nurture strong identities and, essentially, maintain outside connections and support. We, as prisoners, have something to prove: it is our responsibility to work for positive change, mobilize the masses and endear them to our struggle - and then "shut down" the slave-making prison-industrial-complex.

Throughout my years of incarceration I've personally witnessed poignant scenes that have left an indelible mark on my soul; each time I replay these scenes in my mind, I tremble from head to toe...knowing that, somehow, I got to make a change for "me" (and the voiceless, hopeless brothers and sisters dealing with the turmoil of prison.)

To my MIM brothers, sisters and comrades: you have a lifelong supporter, friend, ally in me. I'm scheduled to be released in the next 2.5 years, and the enemy is doing everything in its power to prevent my emancipation (they have me facing trumped up criminal charges for allegedly committing violence on a DOC employee.)

So stand with me in solidarity to eradicate this beast of property (PIC)! From the trenches, to the streets - can't no concrete tomb hold my body down, still I rise!

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[Control Units] [Medical Care] [US Penitentiary MAX] [Colorado] [Federal]
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Medical neglect in Colorado

One of the most alarming constitutional violations of prisoners' rights today is the denial of adequate psychological and medical treatment. In this prison alone, I have met dozens of inmates who have glaring psychological and medical problems. One quintessential case is the guy who literally tried to slice his genetalia off with a razor blade. This guy has also been kept in handcuffs and leg irons for several months, rather than be sent to a mental health facility. Keep in mind, while inmates at ADX are warehoused in the infamous "control unit," the unit where I am writing you from, it is prohibited to be prescribed psychotropic medication. Thus, guys who need psychotherapy in conjunction with psychotropic medication to function are not able to receive it while assigned to this unit. On average, inmates are serving four to eight years in this unit.

As for the inadequate medical treatment, the simplest way to describe this is as follows: for the entire prison complex of Florence, which consists of a camp, FCI, USP and the ADX Max Penitentiary, there is only one doctor and one dentist to service the entire complex. At ADX the doctor visits only one and one half days per week, and the dentist visits only twice per month. Thus, the waiting list to see either of them is astronomical. This comes as no surprise since there is over 2500 inmates living on this complex. I waited one year to receive my chronic care exam for Hep C. I also waited between 8 and 14 months to be seen by the dentist.

As a consequence of these egregious violations, I have filed two lawsuits since 1999. Twice now, media representatives, R. Scott Rappold, from the Gazette in Colorado Springs, and Henry Schuster, from 60 minutes, have contacted me in order to set up interviews with me at this prison. The prison rules clearly permit prisoners to have contact through visits and correspondence. However, the former must be approved by the Warden. So far, the warden has not approved a visit for me or any other inmate in the past nine years. Apparently, prison officials have something to hide. Even though in the prison regulations it states, we encourage inmates to maintain ties to the community, prison officials' actions speak otherwise.

Finally, it is good to read in the "Under Lock and Key" section that some brothers and sisters are still participating in the arduous yet all-important struggle for reform. Although not many are here in my midst, your publications apprise me that I am not alone.

As I sit here waiting for the seventh day to have photocopies made of legal papers with a June 19, 2007 deadline, I understand just how much patience and hard work is required to succeed against the American oligarchy.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Maryland max unit on lockdown

I am currently being housed at a new warehouse in Cumberland Maryland called North Branch Correctional Institution. NBCI is a max security warehouse that opened up in 2005. As of now NBCI has only 2 housing units but one of the housing units holds Medium II prisoners so it has only 1 max unit which houses 346 prisoners. NBCI max housing unit is a lock down prison because in 2006 smashed 3 pigs because some pigs had jumped on a prisoner a few days before. Every time we come out of our cells for recreation or showers we have to be handcuffed from behind our backs. We take 15 minute showers 3 times a week and have 1 hour rec 2 times a week.

A lot of these racist pigs who work here are trying to crack slick out of their mouths now since this prison is a lock down joint. They are jumping on prisoners while they have their hands cuffed behind their backs. Not too long ago, while I was being moved from one isolation cell to another, with leg irons on and my hands cuffed from behind my back, a sergeant pushed me so I would trip over the leg irons. Then he slammed my head against the cell wall 3 times and yanked on the leg irons a few times and the leg irons cut both of my ankles up.

I was in the isolation cell for 10 days and all the water was shut off in my cell except the hot water for the first 5 days. My toilet was only flushed once every shift. The next 5 days I was moved to a different isolation cell and all water was off, and the only time I could drink water was once every shift when I was aloud to flush my toilet. These racist pigs think they are doing something slick but they just don't know what they are really getting themselves into.

I let a few of my comrades read the things that you sent me and they are planning to write to you.

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[Education] [Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Houtzdale] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 1]
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No useful education in the hole

I have been locked up here in the PA DOC for over 10 years. Four and a half of that has been served in the RHU "Hole" in retaliation for confronting the PA-DOC administration on a wide range of issues, healthcare, dietary, commissary and about having adequate material for general and law libraries, to name a few. The years I have been locked up I have seen things go from bad to worse to sickening in regards to the way prisoners are treated here in PA.

Less and less money is being spent on effective rehabilitation and educational programs. And the programs that are up and running may look and sound very good on paper when presented to the state legislatures in Harrisburg for funding and the general public. However, in all actuality the programs that the DOC do make available to the prisoners are just a shell of what they should be. After securing Federal or State funding for a particular educational or rehabilitation program a major part of this money then gets diverted to things for the guards' new uniforms, the latest two way walkie talkies, new computers, more video security cameras, and the list goes on and on.

Here at SCI-Houtzdale, two of the educational programs that the administration likes to show off when people from the community or legislatures from Harrisburg come to tour the facility are the computer repair class and the computer aided drafting class. However, for a prisoner to get discharged from the DOC and try getting employment with what they were taught will be very difficult because the technique, computers and software they are learning on is 12 to 15 years out of date. The administration, staff, and COs are getting all the new equipment, not the prisoners. So factor this in when wondering why PA has such a high rate of recidivism.

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