The Nevada Council for the United Struggle from Within (USW) is putting the call out for prisoners at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) to end all the hostilities, and to join together in the ongoing grievance campaign and ultimately the mass 1983 civil complaint campaign, that is now underway at HDSP.
The conditions of confinement at HDSP must be challenged. Over the years, our constant infighting has distracted us while our conditions of confinement have gotten progressively worse. We are now faced with a situation where we remain confined to our cells up to 22-24 hours a day, are not given proper cleaning supplies, are denied the use of our toilets, are housed with those who should be being treated for their mental illnesses rather than being overly medicated, etc.
This campaign has already begun, with many individuals having filed grievances, while the final stage of filing a civil complaint is already under way. Our main focus is and must be the lack of programs, education, and work abilities which deny prisoners housed at HDSP the credits which shorten their sentences.
We are in the position that we are in because our national groups have failed to be properly mobilized around an internationalist class consciousness. We have focused on individualistic issues. We as prisoners have allowed this to happen to ourselves. With each new restriction imposed, no action or protest was organized. We are as much to blame as anyone else. Without organized opposition, the administrators have reached new heights of repression and disregard of our needs.
But the United Struggle from Within Nevada Council has taken steps to organize this grievance campaign. We are calling on all nations within the walls of HDSP; PC, GP or otherwise, put aside your differences and conflicts. We are not enemies. We are allies, and share a common interest in fighting back against what we are faced with every day.
So, we are putting out the call. Let's stop all hostilities and join together in raising our voices as one and demanding that we be treated as humans.
Comrades within the USW in Nevada have already united with a few nations in this struggle. There are already over 30 grievances filed! Change will occur, but only if each of us do our part to fight back.
To aid you in this struggle, we have compiled examples of the grievances that have been filed. The examples cover all three grievance levels. We are also writing up an example civil complaint, which can be utilized to challenge the NDOC in court.
If you want change, fight for it. Join our campaign. Stop all hostilities, and pick up the pen!
MIM(Prisons) adds: Nevada was where the first September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity originated in 2012. It's good to see comrades in Nevada keeping it moving. Any prisoners of the state of Nevada can write us for a copy of the example grievances.
Revolutionary greetings to all kaptives inside the gulags of the United $nakes of A-murderer. As kaptives with lots of time on our hands, knowing firsthand the oppressive state apparatus, we must work to politicize ourselves, then our contacts on the streets. As there are many orgs in existence pushing for exposure of prison conditions, we must do our part; persistently sending them reports on incidents of violence, food and health care neglect, mail tampering, and the overall divisive and mentally debilitating tactics used by the state (and its pig lackeys).
We must teach one another how to analyze these conditions from an anti-imperialist perspective. We then must help to raise the consciousness of those outside the gulag (individuals, orgs, support networks, etc.). We must help them to see the direct cause of our treatment as imperialism; then we can tie in some of their personal struggles as belonging to the lumpen class/oppressed nation as well, hence imperialism as well.
It appears that our path forward is constantly blocked or taken over by enemy, backwards, or conservative elements without our nationalist movements. Hence our nationalist consciousness remains a strong aspect to unify around. And we should study projects such as the Jackson Rising platform, to both amplify our call to national unity as well as develop the tactics and strategies used by them. By showing the link between imperialism and national oppression, we can direct the path forward.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Jackson Rising was a conference in 2014, which launched the Cooperation Jackson project based out of Jackson, Mississippi. Cooperation Jackson is building dual power for colonized New Afrika, and is an outgrowth of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, and the Jackson-Kush plan.
"Operation Black Belt is a campaign to organize the oppressed peoples and exploited classes in the South, particularly concentrating on organizing Black workers in the region who form the core of the oppressed Black or New Afrikan nation that has been super-exploited for centuries, into militant, class-conscious and social movement-based worker associations and unions."(p. 13)
While it was reasonable to refer to New Afrikans in the 1960s and earlier as proletarian, or exploited, we believe there is no way that any U.$. citizens could be considered super-exploited today. The struggle for unionization and benefits for citizen-workers today comes largely on the backs of the actually super-exploited people working across the Third World.
While we acknowledge that Cooperation Jackson is one of the only projects we know of which is putting self-determination into action against the United $tates government, we believe that a misstep on the question of the labor aristocracy within the imperialist countries places the struggles of internal semi-colonies in opposition to the proletarian masses in the Third World. How Cooperation Jackson might put this analysis into action in its work is up to New Afrikans working within that project. But we want to push them on clarifying/updating their economic analysis.
Our comrade in Ohio suggests above that our subscribers need to raise their own consciousness, and then reach out to people outside prisons to help raise their consciousness. MIM(Prisons) struggles with other organizations through ULK regularly. Our subscribers struggling with other orgs through the mail, or ULK, is certainly another medium to advance the anti-imperialist movement. You can write in to MIM(Prison) for reading material about the labor aristocracy. Cooperation Jackson can be reached at PO Box 1932, Jackson MS 39215.
When it comes to unification in prisons, there is one topic that needs to be addressed: discrimination. For some reason, prisoners have a tendency to discriminate against other prisoners for a plethora of reasons. Race, color, creed, ethnicity, and sexual orientation are just a few. The one I would like to discuss here is sexual orientation.
I use the word "orientation" instead of "preference" because this is a unique situation in prison. So many times people become homosexual in this environment out of necessity, or force, rather than by choice. Unfortunately, the prison systems in this country are disproportionately black, and this largely contributes to the large number of whites who fall prey to and are trapped in the prison sex slave industry. Some do it for protection and security, and some are just bullied and coerced into it. For many it's just a means of survival.
The drug trade is also thriving in the prison environment, which is another trap for those who struggle with addiction issues. They are able to support their habits by exchanging sexual favors for a "fix." In addition, the drug dealers are able to get their hands on female hormones such as estrogen, which they dose their sex slaves up with. These drugs can have long-term, even life-long effects which increases a lot of the guys' sense of worthlessness.
Many times, the reason that white prisoners are abused this way is due to black prisoners' desire to retaliate against the predominantly white-run system that has oppressed and persecuted them throughout their life. While this desire is certainly understandable, their attacks are misdirected. We shouldn't discriminate against anyone for any reason because, as prisoners, we are all ultimately in the same situation. We should struggle together toward the same goal.
There are definitely people in prison who elect to practice homosexuality out of their own free will. We shouldn't exclude them as comrades either. We must all unite and fight the system that has taken everything away from us.
Let's put our differences aside, regardless of what they are, and let's stand united as equal partners and bring this tyranny to an end. We're all human beings and none of us are better than the rest. It's time that we realize that and stop judging and classifying each other. Let's focus our energy on the proper target: Imperialism and the Prison Industrial Complex. United we stand, divided we fall!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is an excellent reminder of the importance of fighting against gender oppression within prisons. This comrade is right on that we need unity, and we must fight the use of sex to coerce, punish, or just overpower others. We don't care if people are straight or gay or any other form of queer, as long as they are on the side of anti-imperialism and building unity rather than division.
While the U.S. Department of Justice affirms this writer's assertion that many victims of sexual assault are white (and numbers are even higher for people who are "two or more races"), we don't have access to data on the national background of perpetrators.(1) Even if it is true most perpetrators are New Afrikan, we also can't conclude whether this would be because of a psychological desire for retribution, or simply a statistical likelihood because so many prisoners are New Afrikan in the first place.
To push the fight against rape in prison forward, we have the example of Men Against Sexism (MAS), a prisoner organization in the 1970s that fought sexual assault, providing protection for vulnerable prisoners and attacking the culture of sexism. Ultimately MAS had a significant positive impact at Washington State Prison which in turn impacted prisons across the state. MAS demonstrated the potential power of conscious prisoners coming together for an important cause.(2)
The USW-NV study group spent much time discussing the topic of gender, sexuality, and what our position on it must be. This discussion came about because a comrade heard SCO Franco and another officer discussing two trans women that live in another pod. SCO Franco, with a number of racial and homophobic slurs, stated that he was looking for a reason to write them up because "no fag would be on my tier prostituting themselves unless I am getting something." These pigs were making a big joke out of it. This comrade spoke up, and as a consequence his cell was searched, and he lost some items.
We have determined, through our discussions, that gender is more than simply genetic. It is not a matter of choice, nor can one be "cured" of homosexuality. We are born who we are, and any person or institution that challenges this must be struggled against.
Based upon this and many other discussions, we have reached out to the LGBTQ community both within the Nevada DOC, and the greater community, in an attempt to build solidarity, and show them that they are not alone.
The LGBTQ community, especially within prison, is a very preyed-upon community. Inmates avoid them, assault them, or simply exploit them, while the pigs ignore them. Within prisons, members of the LGBTQ community have lost any identity, and instead have become "them," "fags," or "MOs." This is unacceptable. As such, we have taken an active role in promoting a call for the organization of the LGBTQ community into statewide groups. This call was put out by a great LGBTQ group called Black and Pink.
We have aided in the formation of a NV LGBTQ group, have and will continue to associate with them openly to show our solidarity, and will, if the need arises, defend this group or its members, in whatever ways needed. Be it from the pigs, or other inmates.
We call on all to follow, stand up against all forms of oppression, exploitation and hatred. Contact Black and Pink and show your support, and reach out to the LGBTQ community at your prison. Stand with them, help them organize, and join our United Struggle from Within.
Black and Pink is an LGBTQ organization that publishes a monthly newsletter, and helps those members of the LGBTQ community who are incarcerated. The NV-USW has reached out to them in hopes of starting an open chain of communication. We have not heard back as of yet, but please contact them and call on them to join the United Struggle from Within. You can contact them at Black and Pink National Office, 614 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA 02125
I'm responding in regards to ScHoolboy Q of the Hoover Crips in Los Angeles mentioned in Under Lock & Key 56. I'm a real 74 St Hoover Crip from the 70-99, with the real 83 St Hoover Crips, 92 St Hoover Crips and what is now known as 52 St Hoover Crips. This ScHoolboy Q is living off the fame of something he knows nothing about. He can not tell you about the struggle or how the Hoover Groover became the Hoover Crips or why the Crip culture of the 2 years are so disrespected by the neighborhoods they claim to be from. Let's not put rap and money into the struggle. The quote is Crips don't die, they multiply. That is the correct wording of the Crip saying. The stuff these rappers are saying take away from the true street life of Crips and the struggle to free the hoods they live in or the cop culture they had to fight with each day. Please let's stay with facts when referencing the struggle. He ain't kill no one, has not been shot, or has he shot anyone? He knows nothing about Hoover and that a fact.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We always welcome our readers assistance in staying with the facts. The mention of the Crips in that review was meant to highlight the connection to a positive New Afrikan struggle. In doing so we reinforced ScHoolboy Q's self-identity as a Crip, something we cannot speak to. We can observe that today he's making news for calling out United Airlines for putting his little dog on the wrong connecting flight, while real Crips are doing long bids in cages.
Being a "real Crip" in itself is full of contradictions. A lot of senseless loss of life has occurred in neighborhoods like the one this comrade came from. But we do respect the voices of the OGs that lived that struggle and are allies to the anti-imperialist struggle. It's no coincidence that we see many who come from that life pledging their lives to the people. The worst criminals kill thousands around the globe and never express any remorse.
In the past we spent a good amount of time trying to work with some comrades to document that history for a book on the lumpen that was never completed. But we still welcome the stories from comrades like the one above, that will allow others to learn from the history and evolution of lumpen organizations in this country. The Crips are an interesting phenomenon as they are known internationally, and the name is repped by many who read our newsletter who do not know the history and struggle this comrade speaks to. It is a true cultural heritage of the New Afrikan lumpen in Los Angeles, the good and the bad. We hope that comrades from that culture can use it for good.
In 1492, the European colonization of Turtle Island, which they'd call the Americas, began with the voyage of Christopher Columbus, in command of the Niña, Pinta, and the Santa Maria. This recon expedition arrived in the Caribbean and landed on the island of present-day Haiti and the Dominican Republic, which they named Hispaniola. In 1492, Columbus returned with a second, larger force, comprised of 17 ships and 1,200 soldiers, sailors, and colonists.
By 1535, Spanish conquistadors had launched military operations into Mexico, Central America, and Peru. Using guns, armor, and metal-edged weapons as well as horses, siege catapults, war dogs, and biological warfare, the Spanish left a trail of destruction, massacres, torture and rape. Tens of millions of indigenous peoples were killed within the first century. The Mexica (or Aztec) alone were reduced from 25-million to just 3-million. Everywhere the death rate was between 90-95% of the population.
For all native Americans, the coming of Europeans to the New World marked the beginning of a long, drawn-out disaster. Their cannons and rifles gave them the ultimate power to inflict their will on the indigenous people. Even as they learned from the indigenous people how to survive in their new environment, Europeans saw their own way of life as the only "true" civilization. Indeed, so powerful did the notion of European superiority become that today they celebrate the "Discovery" of the New World by European explorers. Too often, we forget that what happened in 1492 was not the discovery of a New World but the establishment of contact between two worlds, both already old.
Was the European, or "Western" way of life really superior? This question remains a subject of stormy controversy throughout the world. Much of the resentment against Europeans and North Amerikans expressed by people in the Muslim world, for example, is based on the history of invasion, conquest, and domination by Western powers, a subject to which our RAZA and ALL indigenous people in the Western Hemisphere are familiar. European invasion and settlement spelled the doom of indigenous societies.
Amerikkka has always been a hegemony, a term which refers to dominance or undue power or influence. A hegemonic culture is one that dominates other cultures, just as a hegemonic society is one that exerts undue power over another society.(Gramsci, 1992/1965, 1995)
A classic study of the emergence of an ideology was Max Weber's analysis of the link between Protestantism and Capitalism, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1974/1904). Weber noticed that the rise of Protestantism in Europe coincided with the rise of private enterprise, banking, and other aspects of capitalism. Weber hypothesized that their religious values taught them that salvation depended not on good deeds or piety but on how they lived their entire lives and particularly on how well they adhered to the norms of their "callings" (occupations).
The most important norms in Western civilizations are taught as absolutes. The Ten Commandments for example, are absolutes: "Thou shalt not kill," "Thou shalt not steal," and so on. UNFORTUNATELY, people do not always extend those norms to members of another culture. For example, the same "explorers" who swore to bring the values of Western civilization (including the Ten Commandments) to the New World thought nothing of taking Indians' land by force. Queen Elizabeth I of England could authorize agents like Sir Walter Raleigh to seize remote "heathen and barbarous" lands without viewing this act as a violation of the strongest norms of her own society.(Jennings, 1975; Snipp, 1991) Protest by the indigenous people often resulted in violent death. But the murder of indigenous people and the theft of their land were rationalized by the notion that the indigenous people were inferior people who would ultimately benefit from European influence (the same ideology that justifies in their minds the wholesale murder of our Raza throughout the barrios of Aztlán by the police). In the ideology of the conquest and colonial rule, the Ten Commandments DID NOT APPLY (then or now).
So when you hear Trump making statements like, "Make Amerikkka Great Again!", make no mistake about it, what he is in fact saying is, "Make Amerikkka White Again!"
So in commemorating the Plan de San Diego, when asked the question, "What's this gotta do with me?" "Everything you're talking about happened a long time ago." RAZA, it has everything to do with YOU! It's time for the sleeping Giant to WAKE-UP! And say YA-BASTA! We have a rendezvous with destiny!
In this New Katun! This is OUR SIXTH SUN! As [email protected] growing up in occupied Aztlán. This is why [email protected] and Raza are discriminated against, marginalized and imprisoned at higher rates than Amerikkkans.
We must build for the Reunification and Liberation of Aztlán!!!
We have been plagued with this Amerikkkan disease LONG ENOUGH!!!
VIVA LA CAUSA VIVA LA RECONQUISTA!!!
MIM(Prisons) adds: By the time this issue of Under Lock & Key hits the cell blocks across the United $tates, August will be upon us. In addition to the 38th annual Black August, commemorating the New Afrikan prison struggle, this August we mark the beginning of a campaign to commemorate the Plan de San Diego. This Plan called for a united front of oppressed nations living on occupied Turtle Island to take up arms against the settlers and reclaim land for the oppressed. If you haven't already, write to MIM(Prisons) to get Plan de San Diego fliers to distribute. The flier calls on [email protected] comrades to study, build with others, write articles, make art and develop [email protected] consciousness inside prison.
The building of consciousness and unity this August should lead up to the 9th of September when all prisoners are encouraged to mark the United Front for Peace in Prisons Day of Peace and Solidarity. Last year, September 9 was marked with many actions across U.$. prisons to commemorate the Attica uprising. Let's build on that momentum! Keep us updated by sending in your reports on what you achieved during Black August, Commemoration the Plan de San Diego and on the September 9 Day of Peace and Solidarity.
This is the third movie in a new trilogy based off the original 5-film series. Like Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2010), War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) makes many references to the original series. It does a lot to set up for the scenario in the original second film, Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970). However, the ending seems to crush that possibility. There is a fourth film being planned for the new series, and it is not clear what the scenario will be.
This new series lacks some of the scifi complexities of the original that dealt with space and time travel and mutations and evolution. So far the new series has covered a modest 15 years, in one world, and is a pretty straight forward story of struggle and war between humyns and apes whose brains evolved due to a brain-enhancing virus developed to cure Alzheimer's disease in humyns.
In Beneath (1970), the humyn civilization is built around a worship of nuclear weapons and the film is a righteous critique of nukes. In War (2017), the humyns are led by a messianic colonel who blames the man-made viruses for their plight. This leads to an anti-science position that puts these humyns at war with another faction who want to find a medical cure to the plague striking humyns. In the case of nuclear weapons we can say that humyns are taking technological advances into a dangerous direction that threatens all life on Earth. But this new Planet of the Apes series leaves us with the message that we should fear medical advancements. Under capitalism, such fear has a material basis because profits over people can lead to technological disasters in all fields. But in this post-apocalyptic world, there does not seem to be a functioning capitalist economy. So the message amounts to a religious movement calling for a cleansing, and opposing attempts at solutions in medical science. This feeds into the fear-mongering of fascist-leaning religious cults, unlike the original series that critiqued genocidal militarism.
In this movie, Koba haunts Caesar, both in dream-like visions and in the ongoing war that he started with the humyns. The mantra of "Ape shall not kill ape" is brought back by Koba in one vision, after Caesar kills a traitor who gave up Caesar's location in an attempt to save himself, leading to the murder of Caesar's wife and older son. Revenge for this event serves as Caesar's motivation through most of this film. When they encounter the traitor at an enemy camp he attempts to notify the humyns of their presence, endangering Caesar's life a second time. While Caesar is very merciful, he cannot abide to absolutes like "Ape shall not kill ape" and still serve the masses of apes at the same time. We later learn that the seemingly ruthless humyn Colonel has also made sacrifices for the greater good of humyns. The Colonel even offers Caesar lessons in not letting his emotions and drive for revenge guide him. This is one positive message of the film, which ends with Caesar returning to the struggle for all apes that he was so dedicated to in the last two films.
One of the new characters introduced in this third film is a goofy source of slap-stick humor. While this may be seen as a desperate attempt to liven up the series, perhaps it is a throwback to the third film in the original series, Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971), which has a whimsical feel to it that is inconsistent with the two films before and after it. The comic relief character does play an important role in letting us know that more supersmart apes exist in the world. While he got audience laughs, the only funny part about this character in this reviewer's opinion was how the producers introduced the name of the young humyn who joins the ape leadership on their revenge mission. This young humyn is an interesting look at what we could call national or species suicide. She gives the "Apes United Are Strong" salute before playing a crucial role in breaking them free. At one point she asks the orangutan Maurice, "Me? Ape?". Maurice answers by saying her name. A sort of non-answer that seems to say no, but you are one of us. The examples of apes working for the humyns, and this humyn being part of the apes is a blow against identity politics. An individual's politics and the role they play in the world is not defined by what group they were born into, even though we can analyze about groups and their roles and positions in society.
On the other side, there are many traitors working for the humyns who were called "donkeys" and treated as servants, while being forced to commit much of the brutality against captive apes to prove their loyalty. This type of mentality is so well-established today that no force is needed to get Black and Brown pigs to be more brutal than their white counterparts. One of the traitors who beats and abuses Caesar when he enters the work camp comes to his aid at the very end. This comes after we see Caesar act in a firm and principled way in front of the traitor throughout the film. This is not just a nice, fictional story. In his autobiography, set mostly in the first wave of the U.$. prison movement, Black Panther Eddie Conway demonstrates that being politically consistent and being a leader does impact people in ways you may not realize for some time. And that people will come through for the movement when you don't expect it if you set a good example as a leader.
There is something unbelievable in the way the modern Planet of the Apes films combines the lumbering ape-suited actors, with the scenes of tracking humyns and searching in close combat situations. The idealized images of military and SWAT operations we're so used to in movies today just don't accommodate the clumsy movements of the apes. The more primitive scenes of war in the original series are actually more congruent and believable.
Overall, there was some good character development in War (2017) that demonstrated some useful lessons for political struggle. Like the other films in this new series there is more of a focus on fast-paced battle scenes than in the original series. And like the others in this new series, it loses some of the more radically progressive aspects of the earlier version. Despite that, the focus on prison struggles, like in Rise (2010), will probably preclude this movie from being screened in U.$. prisons. We are still holding out to see whether the makers of the new series will delve into the subject of the dictatorship of the proletariat, as did the last two films of the original series.
La primera vez que vine a la prisión toda mi percepción de organización en las calles cambio. Un cambio debido a la educación de historia: historia de otros movimientos y su organización en las calles desde la prisión. Yo soy creyente de que los prisioneros pueden tener una gran influencia con los activistas debido a nuestras luchas aquí. Pero como el dicho dice; “La lucha del prisionero hoy sera la lucha de la calle mañana.” El trabajo que se debe realizar desde estas paredes es para ayudar a influenciar otras organizaciones en educación, estrategia, democracia central y unidad sobre todos los trabajadores y personas oprimidas. Pero lo que encuentro en las calles es que todo el mundo quiere escoger que batalla es mas importante para su causa en vez de buscar una solución para todos los retos de las organizaciones.
Aquí en prisión a veces nos quedamos atrapados arrogantemente en pelear un asunto, que sólo satisface los deseos de egoístas de una persona, en vez de retar los asuntos que cambian el sistema de forma completa. Nosotros tenemos que aprender a unirnos bajo un paraguas para atacar los asuntos que enfrentamos.
Mi audiencia objetivo serian los trabajadores porque creo que tienen poder pero no lo saben todavía. La diferencia que contradice el trabajo con los trabajadores es que algunos están tan atrapados por el consumismo que no se organizan, o no quieren perder sus estatus así que no luchan enteramente por un mejor sueldo. También pude ser difícil trabajar con el lumpen por la falta de recursos.
Nosotros tendríamos que construir una opinión publica a través de medios de comunicación, cultura del hip hop, deportistas y revistas. La contradicción del capitalismo tiene que ser expuesta para que la audiencia asignada tenga algo porque luchar. Pero para concluir, los prisioneros también pueden ayudar a los LOs construyendo unidad y sobre entendiendo los asuntos de cada uno, combinando teorías y usando la ciencia para desafiar al sistema imperialista.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Este escritor ha traído un punto importante sobre la necesidad del poder mirar mas allá de nuestros asuntos y deseos personales hacia los problemas más grandes de los oprimidos. Esto es especialmente importante si esperamos unirnos más allá de nuestra distinción local. Y de seguro podemos usar salidas culturales para construir una opinión pública y unidad.
En la pregunta de organizar trabajadores, nosotros hemos escrito mucho
sobre “la compra natural” de la mayoría de los trabajadores dentro de las fronteras de los U.$. y vemos esto como una explicación material para lo que este escritor anota: Ellos están atrapados en el consumo y no quieren pender su status. Estos trabajadores ganan más que el valor de su labor debido a todas las ganancias de la explotación del Tercer Mundo, que se trae de vuelta a este país imperialista. De forma que los trabajadores aquí sí entienden que su estatus es valioso y genera ganancias. Ellos tienen el dinero para gastar lo que les permite quedar atrapados en el consumo. Como resultado nosotros hemos visto a través de la historia de Amerika que estas personas no son una fuerza para el cambio progresivo, y organizarlos para que exijan salarios más elevados no es organizarse contra el imperialismo. Esta es una de las razones por qué nosotros nos enfocamos en la organización de los lumpen como un grupo que probablemente tenga un interés en la revolución.
For diabetic prisoners, prisons can perform up to 5 fingersticks and insulin administrations per day. A problem is some prisons have blanket policies of only 2 fingersticks and insulin administrations per day, and diabetics are frequently and indiscriminately transferred out to these prisons even though more than 2 fingersticks/insulin administrations per day are necessary to adequatly control their diabetes.
I think the medical treatises, and the other sources cited in the enclosed hand copy of the grievance I have recently filed at my prison will enable diabetic prisoners, as well as prison administrators who are not medical professionals (i.e. the warden, etc.), to recognize when a 2-fingerstick policy is an inadequate regime of treatment.
I also think the illustration of how diabetes and extremely elevated glucose levels harms the body (as evidenced by levels over 300 points, and the accompanying signs and symptoms of elevated glucose) is enough of a showing of physical injury to satisfy the Prisoners' Litigation Reform Act's (PLRA's) "physical injury" requirement necessary to allow a prisoner afflicted by this type of policy to recover additional damages for mental and emotional injury (42 U.S.C.A. Section 1997e(e)).
I am requesting you publish this information so that other prisoners throughout the country will know when their care is lacking and how to pursue proper treatment, through litigation if necessary.
Description of Incident
I am an insulin-dependent diabetic. Lunch is served for diabetics at 12:45 - 13:15 hrs. This is according to the Building Schedule. Like most other diabetics who require 70/30 type insulin, this schedule is too far outside the time frame my pre-breakfast injection of insulin works to lower my lunchtime glucose (by fingerstick at 17:00-18:30 hrs Diabetic Clinic). This is evidenced by the extremely elevated pre-supper glucose level in the 300s, 400s, and 500s. To prevent this, at all the other prisons I've been served lunch from 10:45-11:50 hrs. This is closer to the window period 70/30 insulin is effective to lower lunchtime glucose within. This was evidenced by a lowered pre-supper-time glucose level in the 200s, 100s, and below 100 points. (70/30 insulin is 70% intermediate-acting insulin and 30% short-acting insulin.)
I wrote a grievance on this problem, using information from the Prisoners Diabetes Handbook distributed by Southern Poverty Law Center, and Diabetes Solution by Jorge E. Rodriguez, M.D. On 28 December 2016 Counselor Johnson proofread my grievance for technical compliance before accepting it for processing. I will keep your staff at MIM(Prisons) informed of further developments regarding this.
I also included in my grievance the following information so prison staff can understand the time frames insulin works within. There are 3 characteristics of insulin: onset (when the insulin starts to work), peaks (when the insulin is working the hardest), and duration (how long the insulin works for). The 70/30-type insulin I require is a mixture of 70% intermediate-acting insulin and 30% short-acting insulin. If you take short-acting (regular) insulin, and intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin, you need to eat on time by matching your meals to your insulin injections, so your insulin is peaking at the same time your glucose from your meals is peaking. Here are the time frames of 70/30 insulin:
Onset after injection
about 30 minutes
2-3 hours later
about 2-4 hours
4-10 hours later
*Note: Actual time frames for performance can vary based on each person's own individual response to insulin.
For me, as for many of the other diabetics who require 70/30 insulin, regular peaks about 3 hours after injection. (This is also the same time my glucose from meals is also peaking.) The NPH component peaks about 5-6 hours after injection. This was about the same time all the other prisons I've been to serve lunch. This was an adequate enough time frame to allow the insulin to lower my lunchtime glucose, measured by fingerstick at suppertime. But here at Riverbed Correctional Facility (RCF) lunch is served too far outside the peak performance cycle to lower my glucose at supper time.
The following information is from Diabetes Solution by Jorge E. Rodriguez, M.D., and my past conversations with diabetes specialists and educators, including this prison's own diabetes education facilitator, Registered Nurse Colin.
When you eat, food is broken down to the blood sugar, called glucose, which then enters the bloodstream where cells use it as food for energy. This process is called glucose-cell metabolism, and it can not occur without the hormone insulin. Insulin is made in the pancreas. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas either doesn't make any insulin, doesn't make enough insulin, or for other reasons the body cannot use its own insulin properly. When this happens glucose starts building up in the blood instead. Diabetes is defined as a fasting glucose level over 125 points, or a random glucose level over 200 points.
Diabetes harms the body in the following way: A glucose molecule looks like a ball made of many sharp points. In high levels the points become abrasive which damages the insides of the veins of the cardiovascular system, kidneys, eyes, etc., causing heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, etc. When glucose becomes this dangerously elevated, the body will attempt to pass it off in the urinary tract. A sign of this is frequent urination. Other symptoms of glucose having become this high are blurry vision, extreme hunger right after eating, dry mouth, thirst, etc. This is happening to me right after lunch at this prison. These symptoms persist until my next shot of insulin begins peaking, 3 hours after supper time insulin administration. A sign I am suffering kidney damage is I can feel my kidneys since I've come to this prison.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is setting a good example for others of sharing knowledge and work ey is doing to help others. Individual medical battles like this one are important for the survival of the individual, and we can make the impact much broader by writing up our successes and failures, documenting information needed by others, and building a movement capable of saving lives while organizing to ultimately dismantle this system of dangerous oppressive criminal injustice.
Recently, comrades held in Administrative Segregation Units (ASU) at Folsom State Prison stepped up the battle against long-term isolation. On 25 May they began a hunger strike to protest the extreme social isolation faced there. ASU is just one more form of control unit, or long-term isolation in California prisons. At Folsom prisoners protested the lack of TVs, pull up bars, education, and social and rehabilitative programs. Outside supporters held a rally in Sacramento.
CDCR responded to the strike by transferring a number of perceived leaders of this campaign a few days in. On 19 June 2017 the strike was suspended.(1) But comrades remain steadfast and call on anyone in an ASU in California to file 602 grievances if they are facing similar conditions of extreme isolation to continue to push this campaign forward.
The various categorizations of long-term isolation units in California are a legal loophole that limited the scope of recent reforms related to Security Housing Units at Pelican Bay, which were already weak to begin with.(2) Meanwhile, at Pelican Bay on 24 May 2017 a fight between prisoners and guards was reported that ended with guards shooting five prisoners.(3) We do not have updated information on their conditions.