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[New Afrika] [Abuse] [National Oppression] [Police Brutality] [Federal Correctional Institution Tucson] [Federal]
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The Murder of Tyre Nichols - Do You Approve?

cops who killed Tyre Nichols
Five cops who were filmed murdering Tyre Nichols.

27 January 2023: At about 5:30-6:00 PM the nation watched the horrific video of 5 policemen who beat a man literally to death weeks prior. The man, Tyre Nichols, was handcuffed and had no way to defend himself as 5 large officers beat the man far beyond what anyone could call humane. Dogs don’t get beat this bad.

I saw this in my dorm from USP Tucson, in the day room. Of the seven televisions in the dorm, four was on the CNN broadcast of the vicious beating. At least half the dorm of over 100 prisoners in here watched in horror and shock, witnessing the same thing the rest of the United $tates (and the world) was viewing. I have never seen such interest in a television event outside a sports event.

I sent an email to the Warden of the prison, challenging him if he approved such methods. This could be seen as an insult, but what we see on the streets of America is simply a reflection of what commonly happens in the prisons of the United $tates. For decades staff brutality has been common, and often overlooked in prisons, because many may believe that the victim probably deserved it, or the prison staff will lie and cover up the act.

I have to believe that what happened to Tyre Nichols that horrible night, which resulted in his death a couple of days later, could have happened in part here at USP Tucson… multiple times, and happens in many jails and prisons in our country.

I believe this likely happened to a prisoner here back in November of 2022, shortly after an incident in a nearby camp, where a prisoner managed to acquire a gun. He would have likely shot and killed an officer were it not for the fact that the bullets did not match the gun. We at USP Tucson went on a lockdown for 3 days, although we had absolutely nothing to do with that incident. That was a different facility, yet we were punished anyway, which led to a second incident:

A few days later, on November 18th, we went on a month long lockdown because we heard there was a “staff assault.” If this was the case then the usual protocol for prison staff is to beat that prisoner physically, then throw him in the SHU until the wounds heal… it is what they do.

How bad did they beat the prisoner here? Did they cuff him, and like cowards, beat that man with sticks, tase him, kick him and slam him on the walls? It’s pretty easy to beat a man if you outnumber him 5 to 1, and cuff his hands behind his back.

We have to compare what happens in prisons to what happens in the streets. We seem amazed that what happens to George Floyd, Rodney King or now Tyre Nichols, is so unusual. This is very common in the prisons, and you have to ask the staff here at USP Tucson if this is the method they approve of.

It must be, if it continues to happen.

Why would law enforcement treat humyn beings so horribly? And to be stupid enough to do it with a BODY CAM on? Did they not know that this would be viewable to anyone in time? Why would you beat a man to death, with the cameras on?

This is an idea that prisons fear greatly; they fear that if society knew what happens in prisons, coupled with how law enforcement is clearly losing the ethical training they have, there would be such a cry for justice that the country may not be able to contain it.

But consider: some don’t sympathize with prisoners being brutally beaten because in some way, they think that the sentence of prison comes with the brutality of abuse. Yet the Constitution clearly disagrees. No human being deserves to be treated like that, to be beaten by another officer. No officer working in the United $tates is given a green light by the government to beat prisoners. Yet, it happens, and many excuse it because maybe we believe that deep down, the prisoner must have deserved it.

So reflect back to Tyre Nichols, why would those cowardly officers beat a man to death? Could it be that maybe they felt that Tyre “deserved” to be beaten… but if so, why?

Here’s one idea, one I have seen from the prison point of view: In prisons, where there is a disturbance, they call it “hitting the deuces.” When this happens, for example from a fight, officers come running from everywhere. In seconds, you can see up to 50 officers on the scene.

But note, when this happens, these officers get into a different frame of mind. The adrenaline rush puts many of these officers in an almost rage. Once that rage sets in, that officer is looking for a reason to release it. They are almost HOPING for a physical altercation, so that they can release that rage that is created because the situation could be a violent riot where a life may be lost.

The problem here is that once an officer gets into that adrenaline they don’t know how to come down, and so they are looking for a release. This happens very often in prisons, and no doubt, it happens in society. The problem is that these officers are not taught to TALK down to de-escalation, rather they are looking to make demands and argue.

Prisons prove this happens all the time, and many prison officers are not trained to de-escalate a situation; they are left to act on their anger and rage, which results often in physical violence, most times on defenseless prisoners.

So, I asked the Warden, does he approve of the methods we saw in Memphis… based on how staff treats prisoners, I think we know the answer. Their advantage: they don’t wear body cams, so they can get away with murder, literally. All they have to do is blame it on the prisoner, lose the footage and lock everyone down for a few weeks, so they can clean up the mess.

It’s what they did here in November, when a prisoner, who had his medication taken from him for two weeks, “PUSHED” an officer. They called it “staff assault”, and punished him, then put everyone in USP Tucson on a 4 week lockdown, then forced us to use filthy showers that were never cleaned. Over those 4 weeks, each shower was used 80 times, and was never cleaned.

They also took our First Amendment, refusing to give us or sell us stamps, and refused envelopes or paper. We had no way to communicate with the outside. The Warden never issued a memo as to why we were on lockdown, so there is no official word.

And during the lockdown, the entire prison raped prisoners’ property, taking thousands of dollars of personal property like personal pictures, food, coffee, legal materials and books, and like the SS Nazis in Germany during WWII, threw them all away, or stole it to give to their families during Christmas.

This is what prisons do… so, I ask again, would they approve of what happened to Tyre Nichols? Probably.

The Warden, as of August 10th, never responded.

UPDATE: On 12 September 2023 the five pigs were indicted on federal civil rights charges in addition to the state charges of second-degree murder they are already being tried for. The four-count indictment charges each of them with deprivation of rights under the color of law through excessive force and failure to intervene, and through deliberate indifference; conspiracy to witness tampering, and obstruction of justice through witness tampering.

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Excessive Force or Not?

Proverbs 14:17:

A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated.

Part One: What Happened?

It is imperative to recount the details of an event that happened many years ago here at USP Tucson. At about 2:15pm, Thursday, July 21 st, an incident happened which begs this question: Did an officer here at USP Tucson use excessive force against a prisoner?

First, the details At about 2:15-2:30pm: a friend and I were sitting against the fence on the soccer field yard, near the corner of the yard. From where we sat, it was close to the sidewalk, which led into the hallway that was close to Education. We were the closest prisoners to the vantage point.

About that time, it was the Northside Program move, when the prisoners here can leave the dorm and go outside, or go back inside, or go to the Library, Indoor Recreation or other places, so there was movement of the prisoners, but also of staff as well, since it was also shift-change. As my friend and Isat in the shade, we saw volunteers from religious service leaving the building from the door closest to Education. They were coming from the Chapel, which was in the same building as Education. There were also two officers, one being the officer in question. Let’s call him Officer Burt, although Officer Coward could be a better name. The other officer I do not know.

At the same time, there was an elderly prisoner, Mr. Montgomery (his name I would learn later) who came down the walkway and headed towards Education - or that area. Normally prisoners don’t use the sidewalk to go to Education, they are supposed to go through the prison yard; but for whatever reason, he did not.

My friend and I saw Montgomery go in, just as the volunteers were leaving, through the same door. He went in, then we heard some exchange of words: someone was asking Montgomery why he didn’t go through the yard as he was supposed to. He was then told to leave; and as he came out, Officer “Burt” first told him to leave. Then he changed his mind, telling Montgomery to put his hands up, because Burt was going to put cuffs on him.

Montgomery… a 60+ year old man, turned to Officer Burt, and put his hands in front of him. I saw very clearly this action, and perhaps it might took like Montgomery was being aggressive; but he did EXACTLY what Officer Burt told him to do. Montgomery thrusted his two hands up in front of him, much like one would after running their hands through a bowl of water, pulling the hands upwards. But Officer Burt paused for a split second, then immediately went and grabbed Montgomery and slammed him into the fence.

Among the endless profanities Burt spoke - while the volunteers of the religious service looked on - Burt proceeded to roughly put Montgomery on the cement, breaking his glasses and drawing blood from his nose or lips. It was very clear that Montgomery wasn’t resisting, yet Burt roughly forced the prisoner face down on the cement… on a 105+ degree day, while the volunteers looked on.’

Montgomery showed no reasonable signs of resisting; an elderly man (or any man) slammed on the fence, then on a hot cement sidewalk while profanities are spewed over him, while forcing his arms to his back, will naturally resist a LITTLE: it’s a “fight or flight” reaction.

The second officer helped Burt subdue him, as help was called. It was shortly canceled, as Burt told them it was under control. The volunteers were held away by another officer, while Burt and the officer pinned Montgomery down, and put cuffs on him, as a bleeding Montgomery cried.

I then heard Officer Burt say, “He lunged at me”, to which I felt immediate contempt. He told the officers arriving on the scene that Montgomery LUNGED at him, which justified his actions. After cuffing him, they picked Montgomery up off the cement, and took him inside, Burt cursing continually.

Later, my friend and I sat there, furious at what Burt did to that old man. From the same doors to Education, a couple of staff members came out, looking at the small area of blood left by Montgomery. My friend and l were still there, in fact moved closer to see the blood spot. I overheard the two staff members talk about the incident, but tried not to be too nosy. One said, “i can’t believe he did that in front of those people”.

Who was he talking about? Montgomery… or Officer Burt?

So, I saw what happened, and was sickened by Officer Burt’s response to the situation. Naturally, when the other prisoners on the yard saw what happened, they came over to see the situation. They asked us what was going on, and I was adamant in saying that Montgomery did NOT lunge at the officer. One of the other prisoners said that the officers told Montgomery to go through the yard, and he refused. He was stubborn about it, and decided to take his own route to Education or Psychology. I heard he was trying to go to Psychology, so he could get his medication.

So—excessive force? Was Officer Burt’s actions necessary, or was this based on a man with a quick—temper? Consider the factors: USP Tucson — although a penitentiary, is almost non-violent. One case manager once said, “this is the softest penitentiary in the country.” Most prisoners are non—violent (at that time, because MUCH has changed in the last few years), or ex gang members trying to leave that life behind. So relaxed is this prison, that during rec move, the softball field, the middle yard, and the soccer field can be full of prisoners, with ZERO guards, because it is not needed. This was not an “active” yard, so aggressive confrontations with officers are minimal; hardly existent at all.

So was this exessive force? We’ll explore that in the second part.

Part Two: So Was it Exessive Force?

So, what are we looking at? A situation where an elderly man, in his 60s, is taken down by an officer when he “went the wrong way” here at USP Tucson. The officer (let’s call him Officer Burt) told the old prisoner to put his hands up because he was going to cuff him.

The prisoner, named Montgomery, did as he was told, and in the action, he put his hands up straight in the air. Officer Burt paused, then roughly pinned Montgomery to the fence, then took him down to the hot cement… all this while visitors to the prison for the religious service stood mere feet away.

Is this “Rodney King 101”, where an officer can justify rough and excessive treatment of an elderly prisoner, who happens to be on psyche medication? How will the prison justify this action? Normally this is a simple task for the prison to do; they’d just ignore the prisoner complaint and discredit anything we say. After all, nobody believes prisoners: that’s the running theory.

But there’s a problem with that this time: there were witnesses from outside the prison. Those volunteers for religious service came from ministries outside the prison, right here in Tucson. Will the prison say that those people didn’t see what they saw? Or, will those visitors believe Officer Burt’s story, and make Montgomery the villain? I might wager the latter, but it depends on what those people from religious service is willing to believe. I mean, I know what I saw; they saw the same thing.

So now the problems in society; the abuse of authority by officers, now reflects in this prison (which has always been an issue). This isn’t new: officers have been roughing up prisoners for the longest time, but the prison never took accountability, because it’s always our word (the prisoner) vs their word (the prison). But now with about 5—6 visitors from a ministry, looking on while Officer Burt virtually assaults a 60+ year old man, breaking his glasses and drawing blood, the prison has to find a way to spin this.

It was also interesting to note: I saw officers running to the scene when the “deuces” were hit (a call on the hand unit for help). I could be wrong, but when some of them arrived, they were hesitant to physically get involved because they saw the visitors. Had they NOT been there, would they have been more aggressive? Even the second officer with Burt seemed hesitant to assist Burt, possibly having a moral check; was he thinking, “is this the right way to go about this?”

So, what happens now? If I know this prison, they’ll defend the shield and do the wrong thing. An officer with a quick-temper showed poor judgment and excessive force on an elderly man on medication in front of a group of volunteers from outside the prison: witnesses. There is no question that in my eyes, my friend’s eyes, the prison surveillance and the volunteers who saw the incident that all the facts were congruent. It all matches.

So, IF the prison chooses to side with Officer Burt, they are wrong, and no different than abusive police officers who beat people or kill them, then justify it to the victim. Something has to be done to restore respect to these officers, and I fear that this prison may not be capable of doing that.

Proverbs 17:15 says:

“He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord”.

I don’t expect the prison to do the “right thing”, because it would be an admission that they make mistakes. And they’d never admit that to prisoners. They’d rather cover it up, discredit or forget the valid points of view we give. Yet in doing this, prison abuse flourishes. Just two weeks prior to this incident, a man was murdered in the SHU (Specials Housing Unit) based squarely on prison ignorance and neglect. Officers have been accused of discrimination, yet the prison has been slow to act, if at all.

Bad behavior by officers is ignored, or even rewarded, since many get promotions; but half questionable behavior by prisoners have been met with full frontal condemnation.

Where does it end? Sadly, at this rate, it won’t. Prisons don’t learn from their mistakes, even if it is shown on television shows a hundred times. Prisons believe they can do what they want to prisoners because it’s some given right; and if (when) they do abuse people, it’s like Las Vegas: “What happens in [prison] stays in [prison].” Besides, who believes prisoners anyway?

But I didn’t lose my humanity when I got locked up. I still have values, so I will stand strong on this, regardless of what people say or think. Prisoner or not, people should be treated with a level of respect until something critical changes the situation. Officer Burt is known for having a temper; I had a run in with him before, and I am not a fan of his tactics at all. That doesn’t make me prejudiced against him (from one black prisoner to a black officer). I think he’s a bad officer, and persecutes prisoners because he can get away with it; and nobody working at USP Tucson has the intestinal fortitude to hold him accountable. Lots of officers here are like that: not ALL, because there are a couple of “good” officers here, but people like Officer Burt make prison so much harder than it needs to be.

The punishment is to BE in prison, not the abuse done by any officer. So, this incident which happened several years ago, as I look back at it. Montgomery got his family to sue the prison for abuse, which I helped by documenting what I saw. I hope it got Burt fired. But, years later, not much has changed. Bad officers get promoted, while the good ones leave, going elsewhere.

USP Tucson has gotten worse since then, so, I have to keep writing.

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[Abuse] [Heat] [Campaigns] [Buckingham Correctional Center] [Virginia]
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Incarcerated People Are Suffering And Dying In Prisons During The Current Record Heat Wave

I have written and spoken extensively over the last couple years about the impact recent heat waves have had on incarcerated people housed in non-air-conditioned prisons in Virginia and in the Prison Industrial Complex in general. I even drafted and disseminated a proposal for the creation of a state-wide, coalition-based movement to shut these prisons down. As of the date of this writing, none of the so-called prison justice and prison abolitionist organizations I sent it to in Virginia responded or expressed interest in it.

A comrade of mine then created an online petition in 2022 to raise public awareness about this issue and build momentum for shutting these prisons (i.e., death traps) down. Last checked, the petition had 560 signatures. Buckingham Correctional Center alone houses 1,091 people, so there should be more signatures on this petition.

Since I began writing/speaking about this issue, the dissemination of my proposal and the creation of the online petition, historic heat waves have increased exponentially, both in frequency and in record high temperatures. And with these increases must be increased pressure and organizing to shut these non-air-conditioned prisons down.

Since the beginning of summer, the U.$. and most of the rest of the world have been gripped by deadly and historic heat waves. Science and medical experts the world over have warned that deaths caused by extreme heat will only increase each summer without some sort of action to mitigate climate change. They say that elderly people, obese people, and those with diabetes, heart disease and other serious health related issues are the ones most at risk. Time and time again, people confined to prisons, jails and detention centers with poor ventilation, substandard medical care and partial or no air conditioning are left out of the category of those most at risk during these record heat waves.

I just read that in Texas, which incarcerates more people than any other state in the country, the temperature inside its prisons regularly exceeds 120 degrees during the summer and as result, hundreds of incarcerated people have died there from extreme heat exposure in the last few years. Predictably, Texas prison officials have denied the number of deaths and the deaths they have acknowledged they falsely claimed were not caused by extreme heat but by other causes. So, on July 8, loved ones of incarcerated people and other community members attended a rally inside the Texas state capital demanding an emergency session be held to address the issue and for funding to be allocated to install AC units inside all Texas’ prisons. We need similar rallies to take place here in Virginia every summer when it is the hottest and not later in the year or the beginning of the year when the temperature and the issue of extreme heat inside non-air-conditioned prisons both starts to cool down.

SOME ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW:

  • Sign and share the following petition to close three main non-air-conditioned prisons in Virginia at: https://chng.it/T5hzhPsJXM

  • Call/email Virginia’s Governor, Secretary of Public Safety, and Director of the Department of Correction at the contact information below demanding these prisons be shut down due to the extreme heat suffered by the people incarcerated there and that housing people at the named facilities under those conditions constitutes torture and cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Glenn Youngkin, Governor of Virginia
Tel: 804-786-2211
Email: governor.virginia.gov/constituent-services/communicating-with-the-governors-office

Robert “Bob” Mosie, Secretary of Public Safety of Virginia
Tel: 804-786-5351
Email: [email protected]

Harold Clarke, Director of Virginia Department of Corrections
Tel: 804-674-3000
Email: [email protected]
  • Help build a statewide, coalition-based movement specifically to shut these non-air-conditioned prisons down. The proposal for the creation of such a movement can be found on my blog at https://consciousprisoner.wordpress.com/2022/10/01/preliminary-proposal-for-a-statewide-campaign-to-close-shut-down-non-air-conditioned-prisons-in-virginia/.

Please reach out, get involved and help build this movement before incarcerated people in Virginia start dying on a level like they are in prisons in Texas.

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[Abuse] [Chester County Prison] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 82]
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Chester County Prisoners Petition Against Abuse

ATTN: Governor’s Office Joshua Shapiro, May 10th 2023

From R-Block, Chester County Prison, Westchester

Our Government, has set a Law under Commonwealth Code, 37 PA Code § 95.223 (4), governing Local and State corrections facilities here in Pennsylvania! You now as the elected Governor, “Joshua Shapiro” have duties to enforce these Laws, or correct these customs, used to violate our First Amendment Rights, freedom of speech, use of a protected conduct without retaliation! We have been abused, threatened, sexually harassed, injured and oppressed to a damaging element, involving injury both physical, emotional, mental and sexual in nature by correctional officers, Administration, and the County of Chester’s elected Commissioners! I request your office to fact check this, as I’ve reported along with a copy of herein letter, to Pennsylvania Prison Society, Disability Rights Pennsylvania, PILP, Daily Local News, Fox 29, CBS, NBC 10! This prison population pleads for help of those elected to protect them!

[Signed by 9 prisoners at Chester County Prison]

ATTN: Chester County Commissioners Office, Pennsylvania Prison Society, May 10th 2023

From Chester County Prison, Westchester R-2 Petition

Our Grievance system is broken here in Chester County Prison, and we are all being affected dramatically! Our grievance procedure requires inmates to request a Grievance via Inmate Request Slip, this Inmate Request Slip then in turn is returned to the block correctional officer, who may or may not be involved, but then proceeds to view, and read the request to use our protected conduct. Are we allowed to have our First Amendment rights so openly violated? We become subject to a Campaign of Harassment by attempting to use our protected conducts! Yet our in-house administrative remedies become non-existent! We need help! We have become subject to attack, abuse, retaliation and more!

[Signed by 9 prisoners at Chester County Prison]

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[Prison Labor] [Abuse] [Beto I Unit] [Ellis Unit] [Coffield Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 82]
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Rewinding Time: The State Of Texas Prisons

Observing the day-to-day operations within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), it’s as if someone hit the rewind button on the worst movie ever made. A half century ago David Ruiz, then a TDC captive, filed a civil lawsuit against the state agency while suffering in one of TDC’s many solitary torture chambers (cells). That humble complaint, after being joined with others’ suits, became the widely known Ruiz v. Estelle litigation, which initiated over 25 years of litigation, scrutiny, federal oversight, and reform in prison policies.

One of the many aims of the Ruiz litigation was the destruction of the internal, neo-colonial structure, known then as the Building Tender System (BTS). In summary, the BTS was a mechanism designed by the state to handpick certain inmates, then utilize them to maintain order and control among the masses of prisoners. Compensation of these hand-picked inmates services came in the form of ultimate power and authority in the prison, as well as extra work time and goods, in a time when these things meant something. This allowed them to go home faster. Furthermore, BT’s, with the complicity of the state, were allowed to make slaves (male sex slaves referred to as ‘punks’) of other inmates on a whim.

The BT’s were an essential part of the prison economy because their presence and services allowed the agency to cut costs and limit its budget by not having to pay as many guards as other states. As such, Texas had the lowest budget for any state prison system throughout the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s.

Today the state does not boast the lowest budget. Despite this and multiple pay raises, TDCJ can not maintain a necessary number of staff members to adequately run and operate its institutions. This reality is currently creating the foundation of conditions similar to the Ruiz days BT system.

Case in point, reports from Coffield, Ellis, and Beto Units narrate how prisoners have complete control of the unit. Prisoners conduct counts, feed, clothe, discipline, and even act as suicide watch for other inmates. Some prisoners reading this may say ‘that doesn’t sound bad’, and on the surface that may even be correct. However, the sad truth is that most prisoners are still operating with corrupt intentions. As such, when corrupt people are placed in positions of authority and responsibility it is the most marginalized and oppressed people who suffer at the hands of a corrupt power structure. This was true in the days of Ruiz, and it is true today, as it is also true in neo-colonies around the globe.

Under pressure from inmate litigation, over fifty years ago, Texas legislatures, enacted the following law:

Tex.Gov.Code Paragraph 500.001

Supervisory or Disciplinary Authority of Inmates

"(a) An inmate housed in a facility operated by the department or under contact with the department may not act in a supervisory or administrative capacity over another inmate.

  1. An inmate housed in a facility operated by the department or under contract with the department may not administer disciplinary action over another inmate."

Despite enacting this law, state officials didn’t initially, and still don’t, abide by it. Only the most recent example is the wide-spread use of life coaches as suicide watch sentry. Despite their best intentions, life coaches aren’t equipped to deal with a serious suicide attempt, and neither are correctional staff, if we’re being honest. Instead of channeling their budget towards more and better medical and psychiatric personnel, or releasing more people, TDCJ’s executive director Brian Collier has begun to implement a portion of his so-called 2030 plan. The portion important to this topic is his professed desire to initiate ‘new positions’ for inmates, so that they can allow this institution to function smoothly, ‘with less dependency on correctional staff’.

Since I’ve been released from solitary, and been housed on Ellis Unit’s CTIP, I’ve witnessed and experienced the new wave BT system up close and personal. Here inmates operate in-and-outs, feed, and other duties reserved for paid officers. As you can imagine, this situation causes tensions among the hand-picked, and the masses of prisoners. These tensions have their fall-outs and all this is instigated by the illegal policies and practices of the state. In 2023, we’re still being (neo)colonized and enslaved in Texas.

All too often, horrific incidents have to occur, lives have to be lost and tarnished before the public and people in positions to alter things begin take notice. If the incidents of 50 years ago are any indication we cannot afford to lose so many lives, for any more people to be physically violated, before we begin to bring these conditions to the attention of the public, and simultaneously organize liberation armies behind the walls to combat what will ultimately become a battle of control and influence between reactionary and revolutionary power.

DARE TO INVENT THE FUTURE


MIM(Prisons) adds:This comrade notes the very relevant history of the BTS in Texas and how those conditions are being repeated today. But there is other history to look at, like the 1973 takeover of Walpole prison in Massachusetts. Guards went on strike and the prisoner union took over running things smoothly and peacefully. This was only possible however because prisoners had spent years organizing into a union. As staff shortages seem widespread in prison systems across the country, opportunities for organizing can arise. But it will take preparation, education and organization to properly seize such opportunities.

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Michael Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 81]
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Filing Suit Against TDCJ Staff for Setup

When I first got to the Michael Unit about 8 months ago I was placed on safe keeping for my protection, but I’m still considered General Population (G.P.) because we still get all the regular privileges of G.P. prisoners - we are just housed separately.

Anyways I get here and there are no showers, no rec, no day room, no TV, and no phones on this section. We had to sit down multiple times in large groups in order to get administration to force the C.O.s to just give us showers. Oh and mind you that they are housing medium and high security prisoners on the same section as P4 and P5 prisoners. We are not supposed to be housed amongst each other at all.

Well, the staff aren’t doing anything about getting what we are supposed to have. After about 60 days I started initiating I.C.S.s, or “use of force”, causing ranking C.O.s to come down and force regular C.O.s to do their job. We kept getting Johnies for food with basically nothing in them. Then they started to feed half of us and the rest we had to force them to feed us.

So because I orchestrated all this sitting down and standing up for all our right (yes, I initiated this behavior to buck the C.O.s), I was assaulted. We set fires, flooded, and basically forced the wardens to fix our problem, but it only lasted so long before we would have to do it again.

We finally got them to start leaving all the doors open 24/7 so we could run our own showers and day room rec and forced them to put in phones. Then they brought the tablets T.D.C.S. system wide. So I believe that the administration on this unit has orchestrated the assault on me that occurred on January 31, 2023.

So let me explain exactly what happened leading up to this assault seven days prior.

A prisoner set a fire in his cell and attempted to kill himself through smoke inhalation. I got the picketts attention after the prisoner passed out. I ran in and dragged him out of the cell and put out the fire. About six days later they moved me into the cell the prisoner tried to kill himself in. So the next day they moved some prisoner into the cell with me. I only weigh 110lbs. This offender weighs 190lbs, 30lbs over the 50lbs weight difference limit per housing policy. That’s two violations already. Next I was talking to my family via tablet two days later. Then, bam, I get blind-sided and the prisoner assaults me. I wind up with 5 stitches above my right eyebrow, 3 staples in a gash on my head, and 2 in another gash on my head. They rushed me to the hospital.

When I got back, a Lieutenant asked me to write a witness statement for an Offender Protection Investigation (O.P.I.). My statement was: “My life is not in danger. I do not want to file an O.P.I.” They filed it on my behalf anyway and placed me in another building with no light and brought my property the next day. The next day, they moved me back to the same cell with a new cellie, another major violation because I was still under O.P.I. status, supposed to be in a Restrictive Housing Area by myself until I saw the Unit Classification Committee. On 8 February 2023, I was moved again. I had basically nothing of what was in my cell and they did not even inventory any of it. I lost stuff that meant a lot to me that is irreplaceable because of sentimental value. They also “lost” my state ID somehow.

So I am filing a §1983 Civil Claims Suit again TDCJ Michael Unit Administration as a whole because I believe this was all set up… for me to get hurt because the U.C.C. major said, “We have to ship you to cover our ass because we fucked up.”

I filed my step 1 on and got it back. Today I’m filing my step 2.

This is my first civil suit. I am asking for any material to help me in winning this suit. As of right now prisoners are helping me with what they can and said that I need to get a copy of the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook but I don’t have the resources nor funds to purchase one. I am not the first offender this has happened to on this unit but I do want to be the last. I am going to do everything in my power to ensure it does not happen again.

I have been fighting for prisoner rights for seven years now and they finally broke the last straw with me. I’m going to war with this pen. To the courts.

Here on 12 Building we are still setting fire and flooding everyday. Please help us.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Much respect comrade for what you are doing on behalf of Texas prisoners in the face of state violence and repression. Much respect to the comrade for taking care of fellow prisoner and saving eir life as well. We have placed an order for you for the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook. We do not offer legal assistance ourselves, but encourage you to continue to report on your organizing efforts here in Under Lock & Key.

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[Grievance Process] [Heat] [Abuse] [California Medical Facility] [California] [ULK Issue 81]
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CDCR Freezes Elderly Inmates in Retaliation of Grievance Campaigns

I am writing you today in response to an article you published in your Winter 2023 edition of Under Lock & Key No. 80. It’s true grievances don’t work, but it’s not just in Nevada where this is the case – it’s also here in the California Department of Corrections (CDCR). They have become callous and adept in covering up their wrongs; or find some minor significance in order to deny or just throw out our grievance and hold their green line even when they know that it’s a heinous act, which one of their own is committing.

Such is the case here at California Medical Facility (CMF) where C.O. Clark has been subjecting god awful pain and suffering on an aging population by running a gulag with temperatures in the high 30’s and low 40’s throughout the night. Pouring rain and broken windows are in every dorm. C.O. Clark insists on turning off the heater and running the swamp cooler full-blast all night long which has had a detrimental and highly damaging effect on my sciatica. I have spoken to him on numerous occasions but all my talking, explaining, and pleading falls upon deaf ears. What he is in fact doing is operating a gulag here at the California Medical Facility and freezing out the senior/aging population.

This man is a sadomasochist who finds pleasure in inflicting physical and mental pain on the prisoner/patient population simply because he can. I assert that it’s all in retaliation for grievances made last year against Sgt. Perez and Sgt. Huston which I used in support of my thesis of abuse by CDCR under the Color of Law here at CMF in a paper to Solano C.C. in my ENGLISH004 class with Professor Therriault which earned me an A in this course.

All this has resulted in causing me horrific amounts of pain. It’s a tragedy that a man like this should be allowed to wear a badge and be given so much power and authority to torture human beings and unleash such sadistic punishments on a graying population of prisoners/patients such as those of us here at the California Medical Facility. The true guilt and culpability lies with his superiors who are fully aware of his actions and legitimize his narcissism/tyranny. I say this because he has been 602ed for his cruelty of freezing-out the population but staff either cover it up or condone his actions through never acting on said 602 (i.e. Grievance Log #349915/filed 1/9/2023). Both him and his superiors need to be held accountable for their disgraceful actions.

I write this in solidarity with my brothers in Nevada: you are not alone in this struggle. And we also have been dealing with oppression and marginalization by Euro-Amerikan subjugation being subjected to through the so-called self-help groups such as RISE run by LSA (Life Support Alliance). It’s all the same oppressive conditions which are a result of the constitutional based involuntary servitude issue (all which is used with bias) that the legislature and repressive justice system refuses to address. This is negatively effecting the lives of ALL incarcerated people.


MIM(Prisons adds): We received a series of grievances and responses from multiple comrades at CMF regarding this issue of the swamp cooler being used to freeze out prisoners. The response from Reviewing Authority D. Hurley was that this never happened. The comrades then submitted grievance petitions to the department documenting staff “reporting deliberate false information (DOM §31140.6.1).”

The USW campaign to “Demand Our Grievances are Addressed” began in California and continues in California and in many states across the country. The question is can the imperialist United $tates ever provide a functioning grievance system to the people it holds in captivity? The majority of the people being of the oppressed nations occupied by imperialism means the ability to abuse with impunity is part of the ongoing repression of those who have fought for freedom from U.$. imperialism for hundreds of years. The fight for grievances to be heard, as is the fight for national liberation, is a fight to end these oppressive conditions.

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[Abuse] [Gender] [Buckingham Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 80]
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Strike Force Executes Surprise Pre-Dawn Raid in B1 Pod at Buckingham Corr Center

11 October 2022 – Around 2:05 AM, Tuesday morning, I was jolted out of my sleep by a familiar sound. Yes, that familiar sound of Strike Force rushing into the pod to execute one of their surprise raids. I didn’t even have to get out of my bed to see what was going down. Like I said, it’s a familiar sound of feet stomping, door slamming, guards shouting, and dogs barking.

An elder Panther told me years ago to always observe the guards during raids just in case they violate the constitutional rights of a fellow prisoner – or even worse kill one of us. So, I got up to witness the chaos out of practice. The scene is always the same.

During the wee hours of this Tuesday morning, Strike Force, accompanied by institutional investigators, were rushing to a pre-selected number of cells (my cell was not chosen this time. Thank god!), banging on cell doors to confuse and disorient occupants. Inside the cells, people were forced to strip naked, lift their testicles, squat and cough, and bend over, reach back, and spread their butt cheeks (this is done in full view of officers looking from the front and behind) before handcuffing their hands behind their back. The K-9s (drug sniffing dogs) were taken into each cell to find drugs, which always create sanitary issues, because the dogs sometimes sniff, lick, and tread on our bed sheets and laundry, leaving behind dirt, drool, and possibly feces. Replacement sheets and laundry are never issued, and they weren’t this time.

Strike Force then entered and ransacked each cell in search of any contraband the K-9s couldn’t find. Their personal property, including letters and family photos, are tossed around the cell for good measure. A lot of property is trashed and confiscated.

Other strike force members searched areas in the pod – in the trash cans, in the showers, under tables, on top of ceiling lights – for contraband that may have been hidden there.

I observed the chaos for two hours before getting back in bed to sleep. I found out later that this pod, B1, had been placed on lockdown all day Tuesday for unspecified reasons. We were allowed out of our cells on Wednesday morning.

I’ve been subjected to these surprise pre-dawn raids many times during my imprisonment. And I can tell you they are quite dehumanizing and retraumatizing. Can you imagine being jolted from your sleep in the early morning, being forced to strip naked and bend over and spread your butt cheeks while a stranger stands behind you and looks in your anus for contraband? It is so humiliating and emasculating. And every time I’ve been asked to do it, something inside me (perhaps my manhood?) always makes me want to refuse. Because deep down inside, I know it is not done to find drugs, but to remind us we have no agency. And that prison staff have utter and complete control over every aspect of us, even the most intimate parts of our bodies. But refusal means a write up, a rousting, time in solitary, or more time in prison. So, what can we do?

What I and many other incarcerated folks can refuse to do is be silent by writing about these abuses and sending them out into the free world hoping they’ll change people’s perceptions of these prisons and how the people locked in these cages are being treated in the name of “public safety”.

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[Abuse] [Grievance Process] [Mental Health] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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Torture and Neglect in Clements Ad-Seg

For 2 years now they have been short of staff or so they claim. For 18 months they operated at 20% staff and for the last 6 months they claim to be at 30% staff yet I’m certain an audit of certified payroll would differ, especially salary or ranking positions.

Absolutely zero SOP (standard operating procedures) are adhered to. Each rotation and every shift on every line is a freestyle depending on how that officer chooses to conduct his/her daily routine. Count is the only exception as all are constantly counting, especially when this interferes/conflicts with prisoner movement and/or distributing meals that regularly sit out for a long time (on occasion 4+ hours till next shift has to deal with it) resulting in all meals served cold .

I spent the last 6 days under a blanket blowing my breath into the space to try and keep warm. When I say cold I mean ice with the so called temperature controlled (without any thermostat) Air conditioner blowing.

Mental Health requests, telepsyche, 2nd day mental health related issues take 9 months minimum if you ever see the telepsyche or for psych meds while the self mutilation, smoke inhalation, and suicides are at an all time high. The number of Ad-Seg prisoners going or gone crazy is astounding. No, sad actually. Disturbing when witnessed first hand but that is a problem. We are isolated from any and all civilization.

The weekly library actually drops off/ picks up books once every 6-8 weeks while we receive late notice disciplinaries for late books we cannot return if they don’t pick up.

They do not run recreation or allow us our 1 hour out of cell ever. On occasion, they will fill the 6 rec cages maybe once every 6 weeks but there are over 60 prisoners for 6 cages and when they only run 1 shut, they document they ran rec and we get fucked.

50% of all meals are Jonny Sacks. Always an excuse but never do we get the diet as budgeted or as advertised. They steal all desserts so we never get our once a week dessert. Jonny Sacks are a spoon of peanut butter in a corner of two pieces of bread and 2 boiled eggs. We do not get the drink called vitamin c drink (juice) but half the time and we never get coffee + milk with breakfast like General Population.

When it comes time to review for getting out of Ad-Seg or program eligible they write us bogus disciplinary charges and run fictitious hearings resulting in automatic guilty verdict and restrictions ineligible to get out of Ad-Seg or go to programs.

No phone calls no video visits, no tablets as advertised by TDCJ- no effort or progress related to the tablets that are stored on site . Nor do we get official word. No media access. No radio as they have faulty wiring. No local papers. No echo TDCJ papers. No clue what’s happening outside these walls just as they have no clue what’s happening inside. They report they installed televisions. They mounted two TV’s where they cannot be seen and the faulty cable wires mean no reception.

In protest fires burn daily on each of the Ad-Seg lines. Prisoners burn any and all items that will burn. So many so often they don’t even react or bother to put them out, consequently we have no mattresses. Waiting list over 18 months to get a mattress. We sleep on steel and concrete. There are no radios for sale on commissary. They send us books then collect them as contraband. No cell cleaning disinfectant or bleach.

We starve and eat crap. Spoiled rotten crap. Many actually eat their own bodily waste and drink urine. Both hungry and mentally ill. Constant screams. No crisis, suicide prevention, Chaplain, medical response etc. For those in pain there is no medical relief. Suicides happen as threats, and early warning signs are ignored. One must cut themselves badly to be removed from cell. And we all do.

No windows, fresh air or sunshine, makes for a gaseous vapor in the air that means pain. Scream all you want its music to their ears. Ad-Seg B housing for confirmed family members labeled STG (security threat group). I estimate nearly a quarter of the prisoners in Ad-Seg now have empty cells with no personal property as it is constantly taken without any due process at all. Often for standing up for one’s self or trying to protect one’s rights or get what ones entitled to result in loss of property with no formal procedure or due process. Regardless of religion or affiliation they force christian music and preaching for 10 minutes every Saturday. No other religious material is available for any religion.

No barber in Ad-Seg no haircut for over 18 months now. We either shave our heads with razors or grow long hair and beards. They put us on bogus restrictions and limit how often we can buy stamps papers pen envelopes etc to write out. Much of our outgoing and incoming mail mysteriously does not reach its intended destination. Can’t prove who is at fault.

They took away and banned any pics of women that may cause arousal. Religious medals and items have been out of stock in commissary for the last 2 years. Chaplain offers no addresses or info for any but christian. The law library here offers no help, only issues exactly what document you request if you know exactly what to request. Grievances 100% denied with responses completely bogus and irrelevant to the issue attached. Completely useless when the board works for TDCJ and they review and devise on complaints against them.

We are not receiving the items budget for and paid for with tax dollars. We do not get the beef we raise on the fields. We do not get the pork we raise. We do not get the chickens we raise. We do not get fresh vegetables from field squad. We do get eggs, where does the rest go? I’ll tell you. They sell the choice cuts of meat for money and the lesser gristle and refuse in return.

The conditions within these walls are far worse than I witnessed in military POW camps. they call for nothing less than military action to get inside and expose what is occurring and begin a healing process. Its fucked.

There hasn’t been any light bulbs for 18 months. I only recently received one light bulb. Sit in a dark cell with no light.

Roaches and mice are an infestation. ORK Pest control in Amarillo Springs regularly comes but none die. I owned a pest management company and can tell you its not copacetic.

What I’m running into is a denial of all grievances, refusing all due process rights, and one-sided administration that makes rules they hold us accountable for and completely ignore those punishing them. Lawsuits are difficult with no assistance and I’m running into a cost issue of not being able to produce documents necessary for TDCJ to prove pro se or indigent.

Shake downs every 90 days and regular cell search result in losing much of what they sell us as they just take it period and destroy our cells in disarray tearing books etc.

Of the 20 to 30% staff, many are foreign working on indentured servitude program receiving less or no wages. Purchased into slavery from an African country and housed on site and bused around. Nigerian/African prisoners, debts owed, criminals, and outcasts purchased under flag of indentured servitude.

Majority have sold out and crossed over to become a part of the problem as they were too weak or chose not to fight a battle they couldn’t win alone and divided we are. The few of us who resist are overwhelmingly outnumbered and now fight the administration less as we first have to fight the layer of those who were once us and crossed over. Fighting amongst ourselves and trying to interpret rules all by design a smokescreen to hide the underlying more predominant fights. The criminals who take us prisoner, abused and torture and neglect us, and steal all the funding allocated for the “solution to the problem” the failure of democracy, justice and Law in this entity.

I stand up for what I believe and will resist or fight ’til my last dying breath; I call for help and assistance. I Need the methods I use to help change things from what they currently are to closer to the original intent which is reform and discipline and department of “corrections” is necessary.


North Texas AIPS Adds: We assume many similar reports have been censored by the state of Texa$ through direct or indirect methods as this writer describes above in regards to materials being taken away through cell searches and terrorism from the staff. The few that do come through highlight the extensive problems regarding any accountability the guards have to the Texa$ prisoner population and continuing neglect and abuse. While reform can be a useful tool to facilitate organizing and education, the original intent versus practice for prisons in amerikkka has always been to further suppress organizing among the oppressed masses. Fighting the conditions of Ad-Seg in this state must be for the purpose of revolutionary organizing and education if your goal is to end this long list of abuses.

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[Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [United Struggle from Within] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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TDCJ's Repression of it's Political Prisoners Leads to Devastating Effects Among the Wider Prison Population

[UPDATE: In late December we got confirmation that the fees for the suit were paid by a comrade in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support. We no longer need people to contact the judge, but are still collecting postcard signatures and can use your help.]
[NOTE: At the end of this article the author asks you, the reader, to contact the Judge about the TDCJ blocking court fees for a prisoner’s lawsuit to fight censorship. This is part of an ongoing campaign. We are also asking people to print and gather signatures on postcards that you can download from the campaign page along with fliers to use in outreach around this campaign to oppose political censorship in Texas.]

When i initiated the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative (JFI), and the fliers for that action began to find their way into every prison in Texas, Allred Unit’s Warden Jimmy Smith commanded the unit mailroom supervisor to place me on a ‘watchlist’ – purportedly to provide a greater level of scrutiny to my outgoing mail.

This measure first began to disrupt communication between cadres and myself throughout the state. The state has policies and courts have upheld bans on such communications under the cloak of a fear of gang organizing.

The watchlist measure intensified and all reading materials were made to go through a months long process of scrutiny. Texas has a part of its Mailroom Operations policy that they need not announce to a prisoner when a publication has arrived at the unit, even when it is subject to further review. This results in reading material being sent and one not knowing of its existence until it is officially denied. At the point of denial, We’re supposed to be allowed to appeal through the grievance procedure. What i’ve experienced , however, is that the unit grievance investigators don’t allow me to grieve a Director’s Review Committee decision. My battle with the UGI subsequently slows up the exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Eventually, the watchlist measure intensified to the point that ANY material from MIM(Prisons) was purportedly denied at the command of the DRC in Huntsville. This political police tactic is what led to the state-wide censorship of the Revolutionary 12 Step Program. The 12 steps is an anti-drug abuse and anti-reactionary program that is definitely needed in the Texas prison system. The state has upheld this censorship with the vague statement, ‘may incite inmate disruption’.

In recent times Texas has made national headlines due to the governor’s reactionary policies that repress social and political narratives that counter dominant narratives and positions. This trend, which tarnishes the First Amendment so-called rights, has made its way into the Texas prison system.

To understand how this has occurred one must have knowledge of connection, the family tree of repression if you will, that connects Jimmy Smith(Allred Warden), Brenda Kelley(Allred mailroom supervisor), Tammy Shelby(Mailroom system coordinator’s panel-chair), and the DRC, to Texas’ highest levels of government.

When a governor is elected in Texas they appoint people to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. The TBCJ is charged with making Board policies, revising them, and thus make the overreaching rules and regulation that determine the day-to-day lives of over a hundred thousand captives.

The Governor also appoints the Director’s Review Committee (DRC), which is charged with, among other things, determining the content that can/cannot enter or leave prisons. The DRC is the ultimate authority on matters regarding denials of mail, publication, visitation.

We should be asking the questions: where is the transparency, and democratic decision making in the selection of TBCJ and DRC officials? These positions are handed down to careerist politicians who’ve made their living on the backs and misery of the prisoner class and Our families. In the future comrades must organize an outside force to force Texas to remove the veil between these backdoor chambers of power and the common public. We need readily accessible information on these so called public officials and representatives of the people.

So We have a clearly reactionary governor who’s appointed a clearly reactionary Board and review committee. In Texas the only way to overturn a DRC decision is through litigation, and therefore most censorship bans last indefinitely.

While Jimmy Smith and the other prison careerists play prison politics, in an effort to quell dissenters and self-determination of the prisoners, there is a fatal drug wave crushing Allred Unit. As i write this in late October 2022, 7 prisoners have died this month due to overdose.

The Revolutionary 12 Step Program is currently at the point of training cadres to be able to facilitate the program at their locale. The censorship of this program, in conjunction with the indefinite solitary confinement of many cadres, act to circumvent what could otherwise be a highly effective and influential peoples’ initiative. And therein lays the problem, at least from the administrator’s perspective, they seek to circumvent the rise of any influence among the prison population. Instead of differentiating between types of influence, their practices put a blanket on ALL influence and influential people or initiatives among the prisoners, and seeks to disrupt them.

Of course this can’t be done totally, and what results (as what resulted in previous generations of the Prison Movement) is that the mass influence of the prisons and prisoners falls in the hands of the most reactionary prisoner forces. The admin elects to deal with the lesser of two ‘evils’. It has seen that the reactionary forces are easier to contain, to appease, to divide and conquer, in contrast to an awakened, drug free, unified and determined population.

Active political prisoners and prisoners of war are the exemplary prisoners among the masses. They are leaders. Texas’ desire to conserve ideological, and social hegemony over the population has and will continue to cost people their lives.

In the civil case, Owolabi V. TDCJ Allred Unit, et al., 7;22-cv-00094-0, one such political prisoner has challenged political censorship of the Revolutionary 12 Step Program, and other communist, revolutionary nationalist, anarchist, and abolitionist materials.

The sitting Judge, a George W. Bush appointee, for the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas is Reed O’Conner, who has a reputation as a highly conservative Republican reactionary. O’Conner has moved to dismiss the case, not on the basis of the case alone, but due to prison officials withholding and delaying the processing of the check for court fees. Unit prison officials have ignored the plaintiff’s request to have the check processed. The Plaintiff has informed Judge O’Conner of this problem, and filed a motion for extension. The court has yet to respond to the plaintiff’s motion.

We’re asking all those among the public who have an interest in stopping political censorship in Texas, to contact the Court, inform Judge O’Conner and the Clerk of the Court that the Allred Unit is refusing to process the check for court fees.

Contact info for the court is here: https://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judge/district-judge-reed-oconnor

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