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[COVID-19] [Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 77]
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Suit Against CDCR for Endangering Prisoners with Covid-19 Advances

To The People

I have a COVID-19 litigation update. My 42 U.S. Code § 1983 civil case no. 21-cv-0055-LAB-Ggs, Williams v. Warden Pollard, Et Al, in the u.s. District Court - Southern district of Calif, survived the Attorney General’s (A.G.) motion to dismiss on 19 January 2022.

I alleged pre-existing health conditions placed me at higher risk of death if exposed to COVID, and that defendants were deliberately indifferent to my risk of exposure to COVID by

  1. Providing face masks of poor quality, which don’t protect from exposure (before CDCR started issuing the KN-95’s);

  2. housing infected and non-infected prisoners in the same unit and cells;

  3. forced double cell housing in conditions which violate and don’t comply with 6 ft social distancing public health orders;

  4. poor sanitation of the immediate housing unit, and

  5. C.O.’s constantly taking their masks off in the housing unit, was a failure to protect based on a totality of deprivations.

The A.G. moved to dismiss saying:

  1. My claims were speculative because 82% of the population was vaccinated so my chance of exposure was minimum;

  2. I presented no allegations defendants acted maliciously;

  3. I lack standing and the court lack jurisdiction since I have no injury and ‘did not’ contract COVID-19;

  4. Injunctive relief claims are moot because the Brown v. Plata, and Coleman v. Brown receivers were already with jurisdiction over medical and addressing the COVID-19 crisis, and

  5. My claims are foreclosed by 42 U.S. Code § 1997e, which requires an injury before a money award, but of course the district judge rejected the A.G.’s best efforts. The district judge did, however, dismiss all defendants except Warden Pollard, with leave to amend, and while awaiting this ruling I did test positive for COVID-19 in January 2022.

Many prison administrations, housing lieutenants, sergeants, and officers only care about filling empty bed spaces. They don’t expect prisoners to present a pre-written GA-22 which “request reason why I am being forced to defy current public health orders to practice and maintain 6ft social distance by forced double cell housing,” and/or “request instructions on how to practice and maintain 6ft social distance in double cell housing conditions,” when they come with the “you getting a cellie” speech. “I’m not refusing officer, but before I adhere to your orders or directives to disregard or violate any existing public health orders I need specific instructions on how to keep myself safe” and let’s hope they got a body camera on during this incriminating exchange.

The point is, just because the prison system and its officials don’t care about us don’t mean we don’t care about ourselves. Since the pandemic commenced, I’ve seen too many captives tricked out of their lives by following orders from those who operate a system of violating the law, or rules, to enforce them. The killer then notify next of kin of a captives death and say “I’m sorry for your loss.”

We have to implement our own measures to stay safe and survive, which includes filing suit, and helping others with the information to do the same.

Power To the People!

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 80]
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A Black Man's Confession

A black man’s confession;
I could never escape oppression;
for as long as beauty is black;
ghosts, demon, and devils
breath down my back;
mad cause they can’t trick me
out my skin;
to bask in the chocolate love
that I’m in;

So my punishment is to never
escape oppression;
For this is true as my confession;
At 51 it’s still the same;
penitentiary slavery chains;
When he say “shut up”, and I
won’t comply;
I have to wonder if I’m’a die;
And if I rely on Freedom of
speech;
Then theres a different lesson, he
aim to teach;
So I could never escape
oppression;
300 years and we still guessin;
why they hate us like they do;
A voice whispers “cause they
can’t be you”
So in a way i understand;
How it hurt to be ‘that’ man;
wicked, sick and on the plot;
Slimey gooze covid snot;
Yet ‘n’ still I feel I feel his pain;
His soul is lost without a gain;
Something the devil farted out;
unleashed on me, so I can’t pout;
So before I stink like the rest;
I rather stay black, and be
oppressed!

Suffer with a smile
so how you hurtin me?

WE The People
u dig? dude!
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[COVID-19] [Censorship] [Political Repression] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Covid Outbreaks & Repression on Allred

i am taking the time to write this because i would like the readership to know the truth about what’s been going on recently at the TDCJ Allred unit in regards to COVID-19 and targeted repression of socio-political leaders.

Many of you reading this are already aware of the spike in COVID infections related to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here at Allred, particularly in the restrictive housing unit, which houses some six hundred plus people in conditions internationally recognized as inhumane, there has been a dangerous and life threatening pattern of administrative negligence in regards to the effort (lack thereof) to quell the spread of this aggressive virus.

Back in August of 2021, captive persyns held on the Allred RHU and other units held a hunger-strike protest. One of the issues raised and forwarded to unit, regional, and state level administrators was, ‘#10- follow all CDC COVID-19 protocols’. Even after people have literally starved themselves, the unit administration still has refused, and neglected to implement, and re-implement basic CDC COVID guidelines.

On January 6th, Comrade Ozomatli, co-founder, and key figure of the TX TeamOne organization, was strategically targeted for harassment, by way of an unlawful search and seizure, and purposely exposed to COVID-19. On the above date Ozomatli was taken from his cell and placed in a holding cage in the building’s main hallway for five hours!

i am not too good with math and measurements, but i know the cage in question is absolutely too small to place a full grown human in for that amount of time. There is no where to relieve ones self, not anywhere to comfort ones self. Regardless, Ozomatli remained in this holding cage while a multitude of agents of repression searched his usual abode. i raise the question, what possibly could they be looking for, and not find if it were there, in such a small space, for such an extended period of time?

To even begin to analyze this question We must first point out that the incident on January 6th was the second such incident targeting this same comrade in the last few months. Previously the only thing confiscated were the comrade’s contact information written down on various papers and inside books. On January 6th, the comrade’s entire cache of persynal property was confiscated, and he would remain property-less for a week.

During this ordeal, Ozomatli was placed in danger, recklessly, of catching COVID-19. Agents of repression who escorted him from and returned him to his cell weren’t following proper COVID guidelines. Afterwards, in the matter of days, a new COVID outbreak ensued on the RHU building, and unsurprisingly the outbreak has been largely centered on the pod which Ozomatli inhabits. When other prisoners on other pods show symptoms they’re re-housed on the same pod as Ozomatli. Furthermore, prisoners are being constantly moved around, leaving and being brought to the unit and thus constantly exposing more and spreading more and more COVID. Daily so-called ‘integrity checks’ are still in operation, along with unnecessary cell extractions, and are also inducing the spread of COVID.

Administrators are refusing to test or even symptom check prisoners, as was done in the mid 2020 days of the pandemic. There’s this untrue belief that the pandemic is over, despite the fact that less than 70% of people (prisoners & guards combined) are vaccinated. An untold number of prisoners have mass filed grievances, but of course appealing to the same source of Our predicament has rendered little to no results.

i would be remiss if i didn’t acknowledge the underlying political undertones of Ozomatli’s being harassed, and also pinpoint other similar patterns adhered to by the unit administration sometimes at the behest of the state level agents of repression.

Ozomatli, as i have said, is a leader with the Texas TeamOne Organization. TeamOne is an organization of politicized prisoners dedicated to politicizing prisoners and consolidating those in TX into a class that can actively struggle for its interests, as well as, and more importantly, reinsert people into the larger society as assets to communities which are all too often neglected in the realms of social, political and economic development.

Ozomatli is an abolitionist, a Chican@, and a leader that leads by example. Thus it goes without saying that Ozomatli’s very existence as a Chican@ revolutionary imprisoned in tekkk$a$‘s gulags, is seen as a threat to the enemy-state and the prison administration, and this is the underlying politics of his harassment. Ozomatli has recently been working with other comrades and formations, independent of his work with TeamOne, in mobilizing a Texas prisoners’ political action committee, it is during the time span of this work in that sphere that the administration has targeted him.

The clearly politically motivated repression tactics, in a supposedly ‘free’ country, do not stop there. i myself have been a constant target for similar tactics of intimidation, and retaliation. i have been ‘sentenced’ essentially to LIFE in TDCJ’s RHU. This repression came on the immediate back of Our collective hunger-strike effort in August (thru September 9th). i was seen in absentia by the State Classification Committee four days later. i was denied release to general population, after having been without any disciplinary incident in over four years time. The reasons given for this miscarriage of justice was that i am staff assaultive, and prone to possess weapons, and the main one, written in large bold letters, was the fact that i am currently serving an unjust sentence of Life Without Parole. The third reason was provided as the main reason for my denial of release. The catch is that i can not, on my own accord, alter my sentence therefore this decision summarily acts to confine me in isolation for the remainder of my sentence (life).

Of course the timing and the fact that these issues have never been previously brought up at these hearings, testifies to the fact that the decision is a retaliatory measure being used to quell the momentum being built up among the captives here and around the state. IT WILL NOT WORK!

Other measures of retaliation such as illegal mail tampering/disappearance are common place. Outgoing letters of even a neutral nature take up to two months to even leave the unit, and incoming mail, including books and other packages have the same waiting time. The former mailroom supervisor was made to resign for ‘undisclosed reasons’, yet mailroom negligence, and deliberate tampering continues even under the watchful eyes of one, Major Murdock, whose been made to keep eyes on mailroom staff.

By no means is this all the repressive tactics utilized by administrators, nor is it only TeamOne affiliates, or political prisoners. For the sake of time however We will hold these slights as a small example. it is important i say that none of this is meant to discourage activism and justified rebellion. In fact the contrary is the intent. i assert here that if more of the captive populace took liberatory ideals and practices more seriously We could actually begin to pose a threat, not only to the prison institution, but the established order as We know it. As George said:

“If we can reach each other through all of this, fences, fear, concrete, steel, barbed wire, guns, the hystory will commend us for a great victory won…” - Soledad Brother

As a sign of solidarity, We call on the public to report the administrative negligence surrounding Allred’s handling of COVID-19 to the following; (prisoners should write complaints regarding their own units):

Dept. of Health & Human Services, region6, regional director
Marjorie McColl Petty
1301 Young St. ste#1124
Dallas, Tx 75202
or call 214-767-3301

Also, outside supporters should be sure to make a report to the following:

David Blackwell, regional director-region 5 @ 806-296-4500(ext 400)

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[Control Units] [New Afrika] [K.A.G.E. Universal] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 77]
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Liberate Our Elders Event Unites Inside & Out

19 February 2022 – K.A.G.E. Universal and Hella Positive hosted an event featuring the voices of New Afrikan elders as part of the campaign to Liberate Our Elders from the cages of the California Department of Corrections and rehabilitation(CDCr). As the comrades say, little “r”, because there is no rehabilitation, and rehabilitation must come from within.

At this event MIM(Prisons) shared copies of our new pamphlet, A Revolutionary 12 Step Program, in the spirit of supporting self-transformation via independent institutions of the oppressed. We also joined K.A.G.E. Universal in promoting the United Front for Peace in Prisons, as they work to expand the message of independent peace building behind bars and in local schools in Oakland.

The event brought together many outside activists and organizations and the voices of New Afrikan principal thinkers from the Pelican Bay SHU who are now on the streets as well as some still imprisoned. Speakers included imprisoned elder Sitawa, one of the main reps during the historic California hunger strikes, and Paul Redd who is now released. Louis Powell’s voice was also heard through the reading of his new book, Chronicles of a Prison Dirty War: California Prison Politics.

In the closing of the event, Minister King X pointed out that these elders are “walking dictionaries,” and the state is “trying to eradicate our history.”

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[Campaigns] [Gender] [Lane Murray Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Fighting for Separate Dorm for Elders at Lane Murray

Here at Lane Murray Unit we are trying to get a dorm for the 50 and over women that reside here. There is a lot of women that are in the “silver streaks” years and have many disabling ailments and being around the younger “residents” has become somewhat dangerous at times. So keep us in your thoughts and if there are any ideas as to how to get this 50’s plus dorm on the way, please let us know.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Please write to MIM(Prisons) if you have any suggestions for this comrade. We understand gender to have a material basis in health status. Things like old age and disability contribute to one’s gender status, and under patriarchy can lead one facing more gender oppression as this comrade mentions. Just as we work to resolve the divisions between nations and lumpen orgs among the imprisoned population, we also struggle against gender divisions. While male and female prisoners are kept in separate prisons, we still have gender divisions along the lines of age, disability, sexual orientation and gender presentation that do not serve the interests of the prison masses.

As we promote these comrades’ campaign for a seperate dorm, we call on USW leaders to find real solutions in resolving the gender contradictions and oppression that leads to some feeling like they need to be separate to be safe. Some of the comrades leading the campaign to Liberate Our Elders in California serve as great examples in bringing that unity.

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[COVID-19] [Grievance Process] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 77]
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Super Bowl Sunday: A New Holiday on San Quentin’s Death Row

On February 13th, 2022 it was announced via PA in East Block that there would be no yard due to holiday feeding. There was no state or federal holiday. It was just another Super Bowl Sunday. We’re being fed bullshit!

The deal is for second watch disrespectful sows to get an A.M. 7/11 lucky break before coming back to pass out lunch and dinner. Doing that might take an hour and the taxpayers eat the rest (comes with free-loading). Some of the second watch disrespectful sows will then join third watch and the game kicks off into overtime. The TV is set up in violation of 15CCR3394 distractions and the potluck tailgate assists close proximity in defeating the chance of a stable cohort – a violation of 15 CCR 3271, but no penalty?

As satirical as it may sound, this writing is an excerpt of events which did occur on San Quentin’s death row in East Block. Similar events as described above occurred in 2021 on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 2022. Deliberate indifference to your right to yard, your health, or anyone’s safety in general means NOTHING to these disrespectful sows and the court has acted more like a referee paid off by the opposing team.

Want your rights back?

A suggestion to those warehoused on San Quentin’s death row:

  • Refuse housing cage staging and/or indoor congregate waiting rooms.
  • Preemptively and immediately submit a 602-1 staff misconduct grievance against AW specialized housing for denying you safe access to appointments, visits, etc. simply because you refuse to ignore HC guidelines to practice social distancing – NOT possible in a holding cage/congregate waiting room AND an ultimatum in violations of 15 CCR 3271 if a valid concern exists.
  • If response implies no indoor close proximity concern is valid, then demand normal outdoor daily yards program be reinstated in a 602-2 follow up grievance.
  • Advise your PCP/MH clinician in writing on CDCR 7362 of your decision to follow HC guidelines to social distance and that custody refuses to comply resulting in you being denied safe access to HC/MH services and programs. Keep the yellow copy of that 7362 form for an official record.

*Doing this in conjunction with grievances citing other ways your card is being arbitrarily taken is a from of non-violent protest. SQ/CDCR’s response (or lack of one) creates an official record for future use.

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[Grievance Process] [Willacy Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Duplicate Grievances and Send to District Clerk

I see a lot of complaints in ULK 76 about problems with Grievance Officers. I’ve been having those problems too and have gotten in the habit of undertaking the laborious task of hand-copying several copies of my grievances and keeping one to “file”, sending one to the “grievance box” and one to the “District Clerk”. That seemed to get a response when I did it on Willacy and sent a §1983 along with incorrectly screened (blocked) grievances. The wheels of justice quickly started turning the other way. Even though I don’t really have the money to file another §1983, I can’t afford to allow these Grievance Officers to get away with not responding to our grievances even more.

This grievance system was certified by the District courts as you’ve explained in the TX Pack and I’m hoping the courts will not be happy to see TDCJ blocking and denying our access to courts.

I’m not even sure a §1983 would be necessary if I were to somehow be trying to file for Contempt in the Cole v. Collier class action but I think Contempt has to be filed by Class Counsel? I’m not sure but am looking into it. It is a little confusing to know who all is a “class member” of that suit since the class extends to all who may be housed at the Pack Unit in the future that seems to me it covers the many prisoners TDCJ has rapidly assigned “Heat Scores” to.

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[Police Brutality] [Drugs] [Abuse] [Pasquotank Correctional Institution] [Granville Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 77]
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Will prisoners' iPads feature apps that record police brutality?

Today at Polk Correction Institution the prep-team beat a young man in full restraints named Mr. Fox as he screamed for help during a shake-down: video surveillance was not provided.

15 March 2021, a few weeks before the killing of Andrew Brown by Pasquotank Sheriff’s Department, I was maced, tased, beat, and nearly killed by almost 20 Pasquotank C.O.s. The beating occurred in 6 different locations in the building including 3 elevators. I received several life lasting injuries to the head, face, and mouth from being punched and kicked over a hundred times while laying flat on the ground on my stomach and/or side. A chunk of meat was ripped out of my shoulder from being dragged over 50 ft. I was choked while beaten til they thought and asked one another if I was dead.

Another official cut my thumb with a switch blade and I received several other injuries that medical refused to treat or document. The officers said, “they’ll be back to beat me every chance they get and that I better not eat.”

I was emergency shipped, and 3 hours later pictures were taken of my injuries when I arrived at Polk Correctional Institution (High-Risk-Security).

Pasquotank Prison Officials deny to have ever touched me and claim their innocence while not even bothering to explain how my injuries were sustained. The disciplinary officer found that the video footage of the incident had been tampered with and cut-short.

18 October 2021, all mail for North Carolina prisoners will be received at TextBehind in Phoenix, MD with long time promises of iPads in the future. Should department of public safety provide proper video surveillance for safety before iPads for profit and entertainment? Surveillance is critical to maintain and monitor unwanted violence.

Relief in the claim I’ve filed against Pasquotank Correctional Institution include that the courts enforce a policy with an injunction ordering hand-held cameras be used when escorting offenders or using force in blind spots.

Unfortunately, body-cams in prison make it harder for guards to smuggle contraband or have relations which would decrease the rate of violence from drug related issues allowing more prisoners to focus on rehabilitation and money management.

With this we would ask for higher pay rates to support our families and conjugal visits for married couples.

Prayers out for the family of Andrew Brown and the victims of police brutality.

For a full report of Pasquotank Prison Incident, see: “Two Letters From North Carolina Prisons Make the Same Demands 45 Years Apart.


MIM(Prisons) adds: In the last issue of Under Lock & Key one of our comrades addressed the use of tablets to pacify and surveil the oppressed in A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones. The article above connects this to the many campaigns prisoners have waged to get cameras in prisons so that there is documentation of the regular abuse and illegal happenings that go on inside.

In 2014, comrades in North Carolina won a lawsuit to [require staff of NCPDS to record with video cameras any use of force incidents]((https://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/north-carolina-prisoners-preliminary-victory-on-use-of-force-lawsuit/). This suit however, left it up to the pigs to determine when cameras need to be used. As AK47 asks, if the state is to invest more money in technology, shouldn’t it be on this important task of preventing physical abuse and drug trafficking, both of which leads to the loss of humyn lives?

We can also take lessons from the implementation of universal cameras, including audio recording, in California which brought up concerns of excessive monitoring of prisoners, including in counseling and rehabilitation programs. Just last year, another lawsuit in California brought a federal court order requiring body cameras in Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in California, resulting in passive protests from staff in the form of not running programs for prisoners.

Modern surveillance and communication technology can be used for good and for bad, for the interests of the oppressed or the interests of the oppressor. The interests of the oppressed lie in holding the state accountable for the rampant abuse and drug dealing its employees commit every day, while being able to maintain connections to society, engaging in rehabilitation programs where they can speak freely and openly. The interests of the state lie in pacifying the population with pop culture media and surveilling the communication of those who cannot be pacified.

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[Censorship] [Grievance Process] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Coffield Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Criminal Gangs Controlling Mail and Punishing Grievers in TX

Quick update on BP 03.91 – Yesterday, while at the law library, one prisoner recently received an order of photos that had been previously banned. This happened months after our legal group filed injunctions in relation to BP 03.91 and how it arbitrary enforcement wasn’t congruent with its parameters. What is even more eye opening is how staff and administration keep taking (and breaking) property. All grievances come back with “your allegations could not be substantiated.”

Some are fighting back small. Dragging the administration through many small litigation claims will weaken their resolve on bigger ones. The grievance system is a joke. While staff continue to bully prisoners around, by throwing away their property in the shakedown, confiscating their religious items, and cutting down their eating, showering, and dayroom times. Texas prisons are becoming more and more run by inmates who utilize drug connections with officers. Recently I had a sergeant who tried to intimidate me into recanting a grievance which I wrote about prisoners passing out mail (a new “hustle” some STG’s have turned up on by holding certain mail “hostage”). When I didn’t relent, he sent one of the gang members to talk to me. How do you threaten the life of a lifer? SMH These kids don’t get get it.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As staff shortages become the excuse to abuse and deny prisoners basic necessities, we are receiving reports of prisoners being used in this manner to deliver mail, do counts, even utilizing department walky-talkies to assist staff. In the short-term this is being used to further divide the prisoner population by granting some the role of the slave catcher and granting them benefits. But this also indicates a crisis in the TDCJ that will create new opportunities as the state loses control over day-to-day operations.

The police state may prove to be over-extended if they cannot get enough Amerikans to run the machine. With pigs dying from covid-19 at higher rates due to their bad hygiene, retiring faster, and refusing to go to work in the biggest prison systems in the world, we will certainly be seeing shifts in the near future in the terrain of the U.$. criminal injustice system.

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[Release] [Drugs] [Independent Institutions] [ULK Issue 76]
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Providing What They Can't - Rehab for Releasees

lumpen education study group

Shortly after receiving this issue of Under Lock & Key, a number of USW leaders and other supporters of our work will be receiving the first edition of our Revolutionary 12 Step Program. This has been in the works for over a year now and we are excited to get it into the hands of comrades who are ready to implement the program and provide feedback.

The Revolutionary 12 Step Program is a significant advance for our Serve the People “Re-Lease on Life” Program, which has been in existence in some form from the early years of MIM(Prisons)’s existence.

Who is it for?

When most of us think of the 12 steps, we think of Alcoholics Anonymous or a more general Narcotics Anonymous program. However, our program takes an approach similar to a program called Criminals & Gangmembers Anonymous to address the anti-people behavior of the lumpen class in a more general way.

Drugs and alcohol are a big part of the problems the people face. It is estimated that at least 65% of people incarcerated have a “Substance Use Disorder”, while the number goes up to 85% if you include all who were under the influence during the crime they were convicted of.(1) That’s a lot! As recent understandings of the brain tell us, the lack of impulse control that can lead to destructive behaviors is caused by unhealthy social conditions during childhood.(2) Drug abuse will often overlap with violence towards others and other behavior that is deemed criminal by the bourgeoisie and by the people as well. In the long-term, communism can eliminate the causes of these tendencies, but in the meantime we need to address all forms of anti-people behavior to transform ourselves from a lumpen state of being to a revolutionary proletarian one.

Some people in prison are innocent. Some broke a law in a conscious decision – sometimes even for righteous political reasons. But the vast majority of you reading this broke laws through actions you would have preferred to not have taken. The vast majority of people in prison could use this program to avoid regrettable actions in the future.

All of us have rehabilitation that we must go through because we were raised in a sick society. Ultimately, everyone born in this oppressive system could benefit from our Revolutionary 12 Step Program, but many of you need it if you ever want to stay out of prison.

Why do we need it?

The state, by definition, is run by the oppressors. In our imperialist conditions today the oppressors are the bourgeoisie, the imperialists, the oppressor nations – Euro-Amerika. The institutions of the state will always serve those interests. In the current system you have law enforcement, religious organizations, private prison companies like Geo Group, and more small-time profiteers running reentry programs for the state. None of these serve the interests of the oppressed.

Today, we don’t have the influence to abolish these imperialist institutions, but we do have the influence to build independent proletarian institutions. Not only that, this is part of our central task today as a movement, “create public opinion and the independent institutions of the oppressed to seize power.”(3) We discussed previous independent institutions of the oppressed in ULK 59 on drugs.(4) Since then we’ve been working on developing our own.

One of the lessons we can take from the practice of our Re-Lease on Life Program to date is the need to address the drive to do drugs, engage in dangerous sexual activities, and the temptation of the thrill of the life of crime. We must put in its place the thrill of revolution; of fighting the real enemy; of building something new.

Before MIM(Prisons) had a Re-Lease on Life Program, we had one comrade who was one of our top theoreticians and USW leaders while in the SHU. Ey was released from prison and quickly slipped into alcoholism again. Ey stayed in touch for the first year, and then we stopped hearing from em, and ey never did any political work on the outside. At that time MIM(Prisons) had little to offer this comrade to help em adapt to life on the outside, and we certainly had nothing like a 12 step program to help em with eir alcoholism.

A story that has become too common is USW members who are released and never write us for years. When we finally do hear back from them it’s because they ended up back in prison. One such comrade recently explained:

“something I felt lack of was community. When I left the gates I went straight to a sober living…. During the time there I worked and attended A.A. meetings. I pretty much gave all my attention to my sobriety and recovery. Simultaneously my career was getting started. At this time I am getting myself situated and also enjoying my freedom, it was a really good feeling getting to move around, good food, and women…”

“I got emotionally attached to a girl that did not fulfill my needs or expectations and I became emotionally unbalanced. All it took was one instance of drugs to get high and begin my relapse. All this was in the lapse of a year. The last three months was just a chase for thrills.”

“I felt loneliness because for sobriety I left everything behind, friends, places, everything I’ve ever done, made and been. Also I felt a need for thrills, action; that was my itch for crime. I lost track of it all and I couldn’t find like-minded people.”

From the above testimony we see how sex and romance plays into this as well. We all know how common “crimes of passion” are in our society. Many of us have done time for them. This comrade wanted community and felt lonely, and seemingly tried to find that in a womyn who maybe was not in a good state herself, or maybe just couldn’t fill the large gap in this comrade’s life. The original AA puts god in that gap, a higher power. Our program puts the proletariat, the people. We will all have important individuals in our lives who help us out and other individuals who set us back. But we cannot rely on any one individual to save us, nor to meet all our needs. One of our needs is a spiritual need to be a part of something that gives us meaning. The bourgeois institutions offer you job training and maybe the prospect of a marriage. But as we see with this comrade’s story, you can attain those things and still be lonely, still not be on the path to rehabilitation. That is why we need an independent institution of the oppressed.

Another lesson we can take from this comrade, and from others, is that success will usually mean leaving behind a lot, especially at first. The easiest way to go back to prison is to go back to the same people and places you were around before you got locked up. Ultimately, our aim is not to cut you off from where you came from like a bourgeois program might do. We must stay connected to the people, and your past may offer some such connections. But those connections can only be good ones if you approach them from a new way of thinking and being. There must be a new community that you can rely on that supports your transformation into a new socialist humyn.

Even in the best case scenarios, the bourgeoisie cannot provide the support comrades need to rehabilitate. However, more often you do not end up in the best case scenario in this system as one comrade describes:

“I spent 6 years in the Drug Court program in York, PA, where a predatory judiciary, local bar, probation department (teamsters union) and suck ass ex-junkies prey on the weak and pile them 3 and 4 men to a room in some old crack house and charge them $500 per month rent plus a $500 deposit, which they would lose when they relapsed (95%) and went back to jail.

“Bless his wife-murdering heart. Bob Allen’s (Life’s Beacon House) means well and has the nicest of these houses but we can do better. The”group homes” or “recovery houses” have 3-4 month waiting lists and so do the rehabs, which county dollars are 95% of their $1000/day business. These houses are 501(c)(3) non-profits and if you start a business to employ the guys that live in these houses, it can operate non-profit too.”

Next Steps

As we said, the Revolutionary 12 Step Program should address something that our Re-Lease on Life Program has been lacking for so long. But to do so, the program must be actualized. Here are some 3-year goals we have related to actualizing this program:

  • build a broader network of local contacts across the country so comrades can get more hands-on training and support from other communists

  • establish a revolutionary 12-step program, run by released comrades, where others can stay and immerse themselves in the program

  • establish satellite programs in prisons across the country that report to the program on the street, learning from each others’ experience and feeding releasees into the street program

Clearly this will require the participation of many of you to succeed. We need comrades on the outside to volunteer to be support people or sponsors for our comrades who are released. Even if you can’t administer the 12 steps, giving them someone to talk to and organize with on a daily basis will be important.

We need comrades on the inside to begin implementing this program locally. Ideal candidates will have successfully gone through the 12 step program themselves and MIM(Prisons) political study courses. And finally, we need similar people on the outside to run our program for post-release. If you think you can play any of these roles, get in touch so we can start building.

Notes:
1. Center on Addiction, Behind Bars II: Substance Abuse and America’s Prison Population, February 2010.
2. Burke-Harris, Nadine, 2018, The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-term Effects of Childhood Adversity, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
3. What is the plan? What concrete actions can I take? What is to be done? What are you doing?
4. Wiawimawo, November 2017, Drugs, Money and Individualism in U.$. Prison Movement, Under Lock & Key No. 59

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