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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Hays State Prison] [Georgia]
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Georgia Implements new Control Unit Program

I am writing to inform about the tier II program Georgia has started at all level 5 security institutions. This program is suppose to be a disciplinary management program, but in reality it is a cover up to keep prisoners on lock down.

There are 13 criteria that identify prisoners to be placed into the program, but since they've started this program there are prisoners who do not qualify but who have been placed into the Tier II program. The real reason the program was started is to keep certain organizations on lock down. The majority of prisoners in this program (90%) are African Americans. The other 10% are ones who have rebelled agains their system somehow so they were placed into the program.

You can be in the program up to two years at one camp and even if you complete it at one camp they'll send you to another camp that has the Tier II program and place you back on lock down.

At Hays State Prison inmates constitutional rights are being violated, they are refusing us recreation, our procedural due process has been violated, they are not feeding us 2800 calories a day, and they serve us cold food at all meals. Recently Hays State Prison guards have started carrying tasers. The officers let a prisoner kill himself, and if you piss one off they'll neglect feeding you or put something in your food.

In addition, the grievance system they have is bogus. Even if you word your grievance correctly and you have them dead to wrong, their reply will always be 'your grievance has been denied due to the fact upon investigation of this matter such and such say or nothing was found to be out of order.' When really no investigation was run, because they never talk to your listed witnesses or talked to you personally.

This is one institution that needs to be closed down. There is so much going on. The only reason certain things don't take place for now is because of the tactical squad that's running the institution, but when they leave it's back to beating on prisoners and other such cruel and unusual punishment.

The prisoners here are filing lawsuits but it's a process that takes time. Hays State Prison is practically starving prisoners and they violate constitutional rights as well as standard operating procedures of the Georgia Department of Corrections.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It's important that our comrades report on new programs like this Tier II system in Georgia because this is the sneaky way that states are now renaming long term solitary confinement. Also known as control units this isolation in and of itself is very harmful to people. As this comrade reports, Georgia is taking the repression further by restricting food and carrying out other abuses, and then denying prisoners the ability to grieve these violations of law. Georgia does not yet have a grievance campaign, but we hope that one of the many active comrades in that state will soon take up the challenge to create a grievance petition specific to this state so that we can push that campaign as another tool in our fight in Georgia.

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[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 39]
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Inspired by Prisoner Standing up Against Oppression

Since I arrived here in Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), I have personally observed officers oppress prisoners. One prisoner who is disabled was jumped on by these officers, and these officers falsified reports to cover up their use of unnecessary force. Well, he filed 602 (grievance) after 602 on these officers, and he has not allowed the tricks and oppressive tactics to stop him. They placed him in the hole and he managed to get out in 3 days. And now these same officers realize that he is not going to stop, and have turned to getting at other prisoners to get him off the yard, all because of his 602 filing and the direction he is taking against them.

Other prisoners have mentioned how this person always has the officers around him, as to feed into the officers agenda, but that's just not true. This prisoner would be minding his own business, and they start provoking him, so he turns around and uses law back at them. One time officers told him he was a "rat for 602ing all the officers," and he told the officers he would 602 them if they violate him. They responded that they are not afraid of the 602, but when he asked them if they are afraid of "the grand jury" they changed their tune, and demeanor.

I have never seen anyone who was not afraid of the officers, despite what they have already done to him. The amazing thing is he stays to himself and is laid back and shares law with others. I never once seen him involved in any altercations, verbal or physical, with other prisoners. Some officers don't want to even touch him during searches, and I overheard one say this is because he loves his money and job.

This is inspiring to me, because I have watched the officers throw everything at this prisoner and he is still not dissuaded. And now the divide and conquer tactic of paying another prisoner to take care of their problem is what they have resorted to.

I hope MIM(Prisons) is able to convey what I am saying, because I see the teaching from the United Front for Peace in Prisons statement of principles in his walk, and just some of the fruits of these principles that he is reaping, too. I know the officers hate him because I personally hear them talking bad about him.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a great portrait of a prisoner fighting his own battles in prison and through this fight inspiring others. He exemplifies the Peace principle of the UFPP: "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression." Drawing the hatred of the prison officers is a good sign of success, though of course we always want to minimize the suffering of our comrades and help them gain as much room to organize and survive behind bars as possible.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 39]
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Texas Petitions Fall on Deaf Ears, Need to Shift Campaign Target

We here on Polunsky Unit are receiving the ULK and copies of the grievance petition. We are engaged in the fight on a very small scale. Hundreds of petitions have been sent to the central grievance office, Administrative Review and Risk Management Division (ARRM), Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and recently TDCJ Board Chairman Oliver Bell, but to no avail. Grievances are not submitted and grievance investigators claim to not have received them. Those that do get processed/submitted are not properly investigated and receive the standard response of "insufficient evidence to substantiate your allegation."

The KKKlantation Warden Gary Hunter is in collusion with grievance staff to trash/destroy any grievance/appeal that may get action if we proceed to the Step 2 level, that is if the Step 2 does not land in the hands of Regional Director Richard Alford who has been Assistant Warden and Head Warden on this KKKlantation within the 12 years that I've been here.

There is another struggle against Helen Sheffield (Sgt. of Safe Prison/Extortion). She confiscates personal property of offenders accused of extortion, running gambling businesses, stores, inappropriate relationships with female guards, etc., and destroys property if the offender refuses to snitch for her. This is all done under the watchful eye of Senior Warden Hunter and Assistant Warden Kenneth Hutto.

If any comrades in Texas can assist us in our fight against Sgt. Sheffield and her theft and unlawful destruction of offender property, please feel free to engage in this struggle.

To all comrades of USW in Texas, we must come up with a new direction to take this grievance campaign (new addresses, etc.) to send grievance petitions to because all the former names/addresses have failed us. My suggestion is the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or ACLU Texas. We comrades on the Polunsky KKKlantation have chosen to forward our petitions to the DOJ.

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[Abuse] [Polk Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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HCON Abuses Fall on Deaf Ears, NC Prisoners Demand Grievances Addressed

[The following is text from a grievance submitted 18 September 2013 to the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services that was accepted and then rejected without explanation. NCPLS is under contract with the NC Department of Public Safety to meet the legal requirement of access to legal resources for prisoners. As a result NC prisoners are not provided with law libraries. Meanwhile NCPLS repeatedly denies help to our comrades who have been writing them for years about the abuses like those described below. Combined with the obstructionism of the department staff handling grievances, North Carolina prisoners have become frustrated with the injustice and responded with hunger strikes and a campaign to demand that grievances are addressed in the state prison system. We have edited the text from the original grievance for clarity. - MIM(Prisons)]

Dear Prisoner Legal Services,

I have been housed in High Security Maximum Control(HCON) North Carolina State Prison. HCON is long-term isolation with single cells including blocks A,B,C and D, housing 96 prisoners total.

I been here over over 9 months in 23/24 hours locked down and face years here. What follows is a brief summary of the problems prisoners (WE) have here. Us prisoners always try to address our problems with the officers. They ignore inmates on our daily needs when we have a concern to be addressed for whatever matter.

We have to beat on our cell doors and windows to get officers attention because the call button of all cells was removed from the rooms. Then some officers most of the time take up to 45 or so minutes to appear in our window. An extremely loud noise beating on cells windows for a day long and night on the daily basis does disturb the peace of other prisoners as well as staff members also.

The high official Mr. Muns, Polk Correctional Institution Superintendent, and Mr. Ryan Irvin Assistant Superintendent of HCON fail to address officers behavior to have them do what their job requires them to do.

Prisoners throw human waste (shit mixed with piss) at staff members or prisoners set cells on fire to get things done by staff, which results in the prisoner being indicted on street charges.

It's not right all this happens on the daily basis and the matters are still not handled. All that happening in special house building is out of order. It makes an unsafe housing situation for prisoners and state staff.

The prisoners' behavior causes lack of medical attention we're suffering in special housing. Medical staff denied us medical emergency when declared most of the times. For example, nurse Mr. Berry, on September 15, 2013 denied me medical emergency I declared for high blood pressure and chest pain.

When we do get a nurse to respond to a medical emergency they are all being performed inside the prisoners' cells, which is also incorrect because cells are unhygienic and contaminated. It's unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, prisoners who submitted sick calls forms are facing months delays to be screened or be seen by doctor Lightsey Joseph. It take up 2 or 3 months without any concerns been fixed still. Most of the time prisoners sick calls are addressed outside the prisoner patient presence by doctor Lightsey Joseph. Mr. Mitchell Lawson nurse supervisor fails to properly train nurses personnel and he is liable.

On occasions staff members abuse their authority in many ways by messing up prisoners' meals or playing our emotional sense. Our food trays serve poor amounts of food. We starve. Mr. Carl Miller food service manager is in charge.

All prisoners clothes we use are damaged clothing. So bad they cause itching, are uncomfortable and unhygienic clothes and we are being force to use them.

For special house prisoners all outgoing or incoming mail are being obstructed by Ms. Jacqueline Maxey S.T.G. Sergeant, including reading all family or friends mail. Prisoners sometimes can't reach the North Carolina Department of Public Safety main office in the outside world to put our concerns in head official hands. So they're dirty ways can always be hidden, to save their hides. We can't reach our loved one.

Special housing staff intentionally misdeliver prisoner mail to different prisoners for that very purpose to cause harm to the prisoner himself or family members or friends. Or prisoner grieve whatever matter is... our grievances are not addressed or give a joke answer at step one. Grievances soon get dismissal always. Mr. Orlando Brown is also liable for prisoners' mail clothes issues.

Prison official also punish inmates in the prison by feeding us Nutraloaf for a 7 day period. Nutraloaf is a mix of beans, oatmeal, grits, collard greens etc... Which is cruel punishment along with taking all inmate property mattress, clothes, blanket, sheets. Except the clothing we wear for up to a 7 day period.

Us prisoners should not suffer these punishment when charges are filed and served more prison time and visa versa. It is double jeopardy.

All these should not be outside issues. They are institutional matters because Polk Correctional Institution higher official Mr. Muns and Mr. Ryan fail to fixes the special housing problems by first addressing their lower officers' behavior. Instead of giving more hard work to the Court of Justice as also affecting groups of prisoners sentences and making an unsafe and unhygienic housing for both prisoners as well for staff members also.

Just get lower officers lack of doing what they were hired for to do their work.

Finally, Mr. Muns also Mr. Ryan fail to understand, balanced, and excellent neglected to mention the typical hours for lower officer workers is 12 hours a day, 2 to 3 days a week. Staff are overly tired, burned out officers workers will make errors causing harm to prisoners in many ways to neighbors, and to themselves the prison staff is under staffed.

This is how special house crazy is.

North Carolina prisoner legal services could this office put hands on this matters to challenge in court?

I wait for you to hear a trustful and positive respond. Thanks you very much.

Relief sought, to hire the amount staff workers correct by state statute indicate. Fix special housing problems that affects a group of prisoners or close high security maximum control N.C. building. We demand our grievances are addressed. Address all points above in this sorta grievance. Remove Mr. Ryan from office.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 39]
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Originator of NC Anti-Abuse Lawsuit Down for the Cause

It made me smile to see that Under Lock & Key No. 38 had an article on my civil case. The name of the case is Stanley Earl Corbett, Jr., et al v. G.J. Branker et al., case # 5:13-ct-03201-BO. I filed this case pro se back in 2010. For two years I fought the case by myself, and it took me two years to get the judge to appoint me a civil attorney (NCPLS). Upon them being appointed to my case they asked me to let them use my case to add 7 other prisoners who'd been beaten in similar situations to what happened to me. I told them to add them without any hesitation, then I signed a consent form.

My point in speaking about this is because I could of said "f*** these prisoners," and went to trial, or settled out of court, but I didn't. Why? Because I represent the struggle, and I'm all for a major change in a positive way. So to all these selfish "inmates" (not prisoners) that are only concerned with themselves — We aren't nothing alike! I do this for real, and I'm still taking bumps and bruises because I've been receiving numerous forms of retaliation from these pigs for pursuing my rights. But I'ma ride or die for the cause/struggle. I truly appreciate ya'll exposing this injustice.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Another comrade involved in this case has been keeping us abreast of the consistent progress of this lawsuit. And while the outcome is a limited reform, this letter reinforces the greater significance of this work. By working in the context of class struggle we continue to build something bigger than ourselves as individuals. We're glad this comrade found ULK and has pledged to become a contributor to our work. We're also glad to hear that he received Under Lock & Key No. 38, since every issue for over three years has been put on the statewide ban list in North Carolina. Perhaps comrades' efforts on that front are paying off as well. Despite the repression, comrades in North Carolina are working together to stop abuse.

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[Hunger Strike] [Abuse] [Polk Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 39]
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Hunger Strikers in NC Protesting Basic Conditions

Smash the SHU

On Monday, 19 May 2014, 7 prisoners at Polk Correctional on the H-Con Unit began a hunger strike due to inhumane conditions, and finally some getting fed up with the mistreatment. It is day 4 and 8 comrades refused their breakfast this morning. Some of the demands are:

  1. need brooms to sweep cells
  2. need nail clippers to exercise proper hygiene
  3. need outside recreation
  4. need new trays, ones now are cracked, split, peeling causing us to find plastic in our food
  5. staff need to wear hair nets/change gloves for food preparation and serving
  6. need headphones sold separately in canteen so we don't have to buy a whole new radio
  7. stop taking mattress and religious property as punishment for up to 3 days
  8. special housing cells need to be cleaned daily - currently have blood, bodily fluids in them and comrades are placed in them naked on suicide watch, only given 4 sheets of toilet paper, no hygiene, forced to eat with dirty hands
  9. need a law library
  10. stop use of nutraloaf as punishment
  11. stop keeping us on H-Con 18-24 months before letting us off even without getting write ups
  12. stop using restraints as punishment

These are just some of the most important of 33 demands. I am asking other comrades to join in support and fast or to write to:

Frank L. Perry, Secretary
Division of Prisons
4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4201

and,

U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530

or other forms of protest that do not cause you to receive an infraction. Also, pump them fists as we got a victory in the Central Prison Unit 1 case. They have to use a hand-held camera during all use of force, specifically after the use of force or during/until you are put back in your cell and no longer in contact with corrections staff. So hear it, can I get a hell yeah from all my comrades!

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[Abuse] [Dalhart Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 39]
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Demand Justice for Prisoner Death in Texas

On June 3 of last year a young Black man named Maynard Brumsey was killed at the Dalhart Unit in Texas due to excessive use of force. As a result of constant urging by comrades and their families calling for justice, several of the top officials were removed. It's more likely than not that they were just placed at other units in similar fashion to what the Catholics did in recent years with pedophiles within their ranks. Nor was their removal likely officially directly related to Brumsey's death. So, we are a far cry from exacting anything like justice upon the offender officers whose actions caused that man to die. Officers Hay, Verlardi, Marquez, Jackson, Crawford, and Gambriel killed this man through excessive force and in failing to take him to medical after they brutalized him, even as he complained of having trouble breathing. They need to answer for that. Those officials who failed to investigate this matter correctly and according to procedure and/or who covered this thing up need to face criminal sanctions. We don't let the Brumsey matter die until that happens.

This is the nature of our revolutionary struggle in the United States at present. What happens in prisons is just one aspect of it. We need to be vigilant in making the connections clear between prisons and hoods, especially the projects to prisons pipeline that uses public schools as a conduit. We need to understand the relationship between these phenomena and political disengagement and economic disempowerment. In clearly defining the nature of our social predicament, we are more competent in our struggles' strategic development.

Consistent and sustained vehicles of information and resource exchange are paramount. I recently received literature from MIM(Prisons) under the banner of our United Struggle from Within which outlined several procedural codes of compliance that can be used effectively against officers and administration. In our past three years of development we have reached nearly 5,000 men with our advocating for our "Triple C Core Concepts." Each of those men should have such material to fight with. So I praise MIM(Prisons) and the collective efforts of our USW comrades for that.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 38]
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CA Gang Investigators Retaliate for Exposing Prison Abuse

Since my arrival at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) in July 2013 I've had to file numerous 602 appeals just to be able to utilize my two hour a week constitutional right to use the prison law library. At KVSP they like to run a very oppressive program, or I should say lack of program, and keep everybody on lockdown 24 hours a day, even on the general population and non-discipline yards. This was done all under the guise of "safety & security." Their stratagem is that we can't file any complaints on them if we don't have access to legal forms.

For the more creative prisoners, we've been able to bypass their little games and still file 602s and habeas corpus writs in our attempts to inform the outside world of the illegal practices here at the prison.

One of our writs must have struck a nerve because on 10 April at 4am, the prison's "Institutional Gang Investigators" AKA the goon squad, raided our building in full riot gear, and confiscated everyone's paperwork (books, family/legal letters, and writing materials) all in the name of "safety & security." It has been over two weeks now and the warden has given no word on exactly when we will be given access to our legal/personal documents.

Even though the majority of us have already bypassed their little blockade and have filed writs or found ways of informing our lawyers and family on the outside, these things take time. So here we sit on lockdown, with very limited access to the courts and family, awaiting relief or a full blown revolution to kick off. And although it is my personal belief that the latter will happen at some point, I also feel that it's going to take a whole lot more hard work in order to open up the eyes and ears of our fellow brothers and sisters around the world, before we all as a whole, can shout "stop!" and really have the means to add weight to our words.

Until then keep up the faith and hard work. Stay strong! This current system is at the breaking point. There is light at the end of the tunnel!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade that we have a lot of work to do to educate our brothers and sisters before we are ready to kick off the revolution. In the meantime we need to do what s/he is doing: the day to day work of exposing the abuse and brutality of the imperialist system and organizing others. We all have a responsibility to educate others however we can, whether that's by writing articles for ULK, talking to others on our block or yard, organizing a study group, teaching someone to read, or whatever else you can do to use your skills and talents to advance the struggle. Don't just sit back and read about it, get involved!

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Perry Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 38]
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USW in South Carolina to Join Grievance Campaign

I recently wrote to you inquiring about how I can contribute to the struggle within, possibly by joining forces with USW. A few solid brothers and myself are in accordance with the 5 basic key principles/ideas that the United Front for Peace in Prisons represents. However, at Perry Correctional Institution (where I am currently confined), the consciousness is low amongst the masses due to the oppressor's effective psychological warfare tactics being enforced at all angles (fear, divide & conquer, rewards, isolation, etc.). This specific prison is designed to be the "breaking camp" for prisoners, where they train prisoners to be more "obedient" to further assist the oppressor's aim for control and financial advancement.

There are a lot of prisoner violations that occur at this plantation, but one in particular is the grievance system. South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) has recently implemented a procedure where you must first submit a request form to the appropriate officer/supervisor attempting to informally resolve your issue. The officer is then provided 45 days to respond to your request, which most officers refuse to do. If you are lucky enough to receive a response, then you are given only 5 days, including weekends, to submit your grievance after your request form has been answered. Then to add insult to injury, many grievances are never returned and the grievance officials feign ignorance as to what happened to it.

The grievance process/system within South Carolina Department of Corruption is substandard and blatantly violates prisoners' constitutional rights. I am unsure whether South Carolina is covered by the grievance campaign or not, but we are definitely experiencing similar issues in our grievance process and I would like to join this campaign. Please keep me updated in the decisions or proposals for combatting the grievance system and let me know what is needed of me and my comrades here.

Also, please provide any material available which may assist me in awakening the masses of how to fight against the oppressor and how to unite on a common ground with individuals in different groups. I will strive to become a ULK Field Corespondent for South Carolina in the future, whatever I can do to assist the struggle.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend these comrades in South Carolina for coming together around the United Front for Peace principals and doing the work to identify the critical campaign needs in their prison. The grievance campaign is not yet active in South Carolina but we look forward to working with these folks to customize the grievance petition for that state and get the struggle moving forward there. To work on this campaign in your state, write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of the petition, and if one does not exist for your state you can help by modifying the petition for use there.

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[Abuse] [Gib Lewis Unit] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
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Selective Journalism and Abuse - Cover-ups Rampant throughout Texas

"The media may not always be able to tell us what to think, but they are strikingly successful in telling us what to think about." - Media Critic, Michael Parenti

Comrades, I do not think many of us appreciate how valuable a resource Under Lock & Key really is. Not only do we get exposed to cutting edge political education we are provided a rare opportunity to shed light on the abuse and mistreatment many of us suffer at the hands of the imperialist pigs who run these slave pens of oppression.

Within the past 2 weeks 7 TDCJ Correctional Officers were arrested at the Gib Lewis Unit.(1) These Correctional Officers brutally beat and sodomized a male prisoner at the High Security Unit. We did not hear a peep about this incident from the mainstream corporate media here in Texas. Why? Did all of a sudden this prisoner become non-humyn when he donned the prison whites Texas prisoners wear?

On 22 October 2013 prisoner, Christopher Woolverton, was murdered by pepper-spray used on him by TDCJ correctional officers on the Bill Clements Unit in Amarillo, Texas. If it wasn't for the revolutionary journalism of Karl Kersplebdeb and Rashid of the NABPP-PC we would have never gotten a detailed account of this heinous act of violence.(2) It is perplexing and frustrating when I see the media go out of their way to cover a story in which a sick giraffe is fed to lions at a zoo but they remain totally apathetic and aloof to the abuse and murder of humyn beings housed in Texas state prisons. (I care about animals but I don't like pigs!)

This selective journalism is not something exclusive to Texas or prison and criminal justice issues. Time and time again we have seen the media only publish an opinion or print facts that prop up the position of the bourgeois capitalist ruling class, the only way our voices are heard is when alternative forms of media like ULK are created.

Comrades, we see clearly that there is a collusive and co-ordinated effort between the media in Texas and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to downplay, minimize, and cover up brutal acts of aggression aimed at the lumpen prisoners housed in Texas' gulags.

My interaction and study with MIM(Prisons) has raised my awareness in such a manner that I recognize clearly that the corporate-owned media has a vested interest in the oppression of the lumpen - a financial interest. The fascist-imperialist elite coerce and cajole the mainstream media to report the news in a manner which they see fit. And they ignore any news-worthy items which may portray the state in a negative light.

I end this piece by reminding all of you we must $upport the organizations which support us. MIM(Prisons) and Under Lock & Key don't just speak about it they be about it. $upport them!

As always I encourage all comrades and lumpen to join United Struggle from Within. Get involved and contribute to the struggle against these imperialist fascist pigs in Texas and beyond.

"The concept of conspiracy has long been anathema to most Americans, who have been conditioned by the mass media to believe that conspiracies against the public only exist in banana republics or communist nations." - Jim Marrs (3)


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