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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Mountain View Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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When the Morning Comes: Current Prison Conditions

Imagine being in the body of an animal who lives the zoo-life everyday for long periods of time. Waking up in the wee hours of the morning I see the same wall, same toilet and sink 8 feet from me; I feel the same back ache from last week after another night of "sleep" on a metal bunk with a 2 inch thick pissy mat. The food trap has been popped open with a loud thud - time for breakfast. As I arise from that bunk, I notice the darkness through the mesh metal covering my small window. As I stretch I jam yet another finger because I can't stretch my arms fully out.

Breakfast meals become predictable: eggs, bread and a 7 oz cup of cereal. After eating my meal I go to brush my teeth and wash my face and notice the 15 to 20 year old dirt ring around the sink and toilet. So much for effective cleaning supplies. Here at Mountain View Correctional Institution in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, we never get a fresh change of clothes. Just a wash twice a week with no detergent, soap, or anything of that matter. My white shirt matches the color of my brown pants. They issue s state-ordered Black slip-on shoes despite the fact I have my own shoes, which I'm not allowed to have in isolation. My 1 hour recreation time only 5 times a week is hardly recreation in a 15x15 steel cage with no workout equipment.

The only thing to look forward to is mail (if you're lucky enough to get it) and showers (which are only 10 minutes), and food trays. Don't forget looking forward to the hundreds of ants and rodents you will have to kill during the day that are living in your trash bag. As I talk to a friend, I get told by authorities to keep the noise level down. My friend is 5 doors down and everyone's talking at the same time, which will make this impossible. He closes a steel slider which has been placed over my door window - which they say is for "noise control." Everyone is still talking at the same time so, again, quieting down is impossible.

Finally mail call comes. They arrive at my door with a notice of publication disapproval, yet again. This is the only mail I have coming in, yet they deny this to me, always for the same reason - "may cause violence or disorder or insurrection which is a threat to institutional security." Moreover, the department and constitutional rights and policy violations are rampant. I sign away the only thing I depend on for outside contact with the world, being that visitation and telephone privileges have been restricted.

What am I to do? How about reading a book? The two I'm allowed have been read several times. After studying some material for the 5th time today, I sit and stare at the same white wall I wake up to every morning. I look down at the rib cage bones that are showing now due to the excessive weight loss from lack of adequate food. As my day winds down, I go to brush my teeth in the same dirty sink and notice against that I am forced to use state-issued hygiene when I have a tin of my own hygiene I have ordered from canteen. State-issued toothpaste, soap, deodorant that breaks my arm pits out. I see why they say the state is going broke. Even the state-issued paper I write on is a puzzling thing because I have two full 80 sheet notepads that they have denied me from having.

I lay down without brushing my hair nor combing it because I'm denied those things as well. I can expect a ton of lint to be in my head due to me being denied a wave cap to cover my head. I lay! I think! Lay on the same sheets I've had for months. The same blanket I've had for months. I think of what the morning holds. I can expect the captain to come attempt to pacify me for the grievance I just wrote on foul conditions. On the notification the secretary of divisions of prisons received about these foul conditions. What will be brought up is the numerous food strikes that have occurred. The numerous occasions where the facility's "swat" team was brought in to "Rodney King" me. The property confiscation, mail stoppage. It's always been a "reminder."

I could very well expect to be told to pack my things to be moved to another facility after just being moved from unit to unit to unit. Could it be better anywhere else? Will things change? I guess I'll see in the morning in this cage. You have no "freedom." You have no "rights." There is no "rehabilitation." No "correction" by the Department of Corrections. Only control, repression, depression, suicide, violence, problems. You do what they tell you to do or resist and face crucial and sometimes deadly consequences. Welcome to the zoo-life - and this is just the isolation unit of more vulnerable zoo-life. Where the morning is unwanted and the night is hell. But when the morning comes, we'll do it all again.


MIM(Prisons) adds: These conditions, and the punishment prisoners face when fighting for their rights, are pushing forward the campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. In reality much of the horrible conditions faced daily by prisoners is considered legal and so can't be fought through the grievance system. No surprise in a country where we let mass murderers run the government while locking up Blacks and Latinos at astronomical rates. This is why the grievance battle is part of a larger struggle against imperialism. We won't be able to reform away this injustice, in the end only revolution will allow us to make real and lasting change in the interests of the people.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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False Charges and Grievances Ignored in Texas

I'm writing to you in hopes of receiving relief or at least a thorough investigation into the matter of a grievance I filed. It's an appeal to a disciplinary case I received on November 2, 2011, for allegedly "Threatening an Officer," which was completely false and untruthful.

At approximately 3:00AM on November 2, Officer Nwanko let inmates out for breakfast. Because he didn't give prior notice, as standard procedures, a lot of inmates were caught unaware. Officer Nwanko was closing prisoners in their cells for not being ready. A college class I was taking started at 5:00AM I explained this to the officer but was ignored. It was during this time that other prisoners who were stuck in their cells were hollering to get out for chow and AM lay-ins, and were cursing the officer. Officer Nwanko proceeded to let out 3rd row, then left. On his way out the door, another prisoner made a comment for which I was written up.

After he finished letting all the inmates on the pod out, he went to the front desk and called for rank. Officer Nwanko explained that someone made the threat, but had no knowledge who the offender was that made the threat. He stated "When I was leaving, 35-cell (my assigned cell), was trying to get back in to get a school pass, ask him." Because of this statement, I was called to the front desk where I was then confronted by Lt. Davis and Cat. Graham, who both ask me about the threat made to the officer. Lt. Davis wanted to know who made the threat against the officer. When I had no knowledge, Lt. Davis made it quite clear that unless I told them what they wanted to know, that I would be locked up, and charged with threatening an officer. The officer was instructed to write the case, knowing this to be false and untruthful.

During my disciplinary hearing, the charging officer didn't have his story straight. The security tape will refute his testimony which the hearing officer relied on in finding me guilty of the charged offense. He stated that as he came down from third row, I intercepted him and proceeded to follow him. I requested that the security tape be made available for review, for that day and time that this alleged threat was made against this officer by me. The footage will refute the charge and discredit the charging officer's false testimony. The hearing officer refused my request for this security tape to be presented in my defense.

I never threatened this officer, nor approached this officer at any time, as the tape will substantiate. Despite the credible defense evidence of the existing tape, I was found guilty by the officer. The appeal process was equally unsuccessful. This greatly affected my chances for parole consideration, as the board relies heavily on what the "papers" say not on truth/or ones claim of innocence. Any input by you will be appreciated.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade sent a copy of his grievance petition looking for our assistance. Unfortunately MIM(Prisons) doesn't have the resources to help with each individual battle against injustice like this one as there are so many going on in the Amerikan prison system. But we encourage everyone to participate in the campaign demanding our grievances be addressed as a systematic way to deal with this problem. Of course addressing grievances still won't put an end to the injustice in the criminal injustice system. But it will help prisoners like this one shorten their time behind bars and create more organizing space for anti-imperialists building the movement behind bars.

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[Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Forest] [Pennsylvania]
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Brutality and Resistance in Pennsylvania Demonstrates Need for United Front

I am currently being held captive in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) at SCI Forest and would like to apprise you of some recent events that have taken place:

On February 21, 2012, a mentally ill prisoner told Lt. Raymond Burkhart and other staff that he was feeling suicidal shortly after breakfast trays were distributed to prisoners in the unit. In turn, Lt. Burkhart summoned an extraction team, which consisted of approximately seven guards clad in full riot gear - helmets, body armor and gas masks. Moreover, the extraction team carried Conducted Energy Devices (CEDs), chemical agents, nightsticks, and other weapons. Bear in mind, the mentally ill prisoner, like most other prisoners in RHU, was housed in a single-man cell and with no clothing except for a jumpsuit and underclothes.

Instructed by Lt. Murin, the extraction team accosted the mentally ill prisoner and demanded that he relinquish his plastic breakfast tray. Disregarding the extraction team's orders, the prisoner requested psychiatric care apropos of his suicidal feelings. The extraction team then blasted the prisoner with a chemical agent. With his eyes and skin burning from the chemical agent, the prisoner relinquished the breakfast tray. The extraction team then left the unit. Lt. Burkhart and other staff left the mentally ill prisoner in the cell with the chemical agent burning his eyes and skin, and causing him to experience breathing complications overnight. All requests for medical and mental health care were denied.

The following morning, Lt. Burkhart summoned another extraction team to deal with the same mentally ill prisoner. Fortunately, that extraction team did not attack him with chemical agents. Unfortunately, they opted to charge into his cell, stun him with CEDs and pummel him bloody. Even after he was fully restrained by handcuffs and leg irons, one extraction team member (C.O. Woods) repeatedly struck his face with fists and elbows. The prisoner suffered a broken nose in addition to other facial injuries.

The extraction team then locked the mentally ill prisoner in a hard-cell (a cell with a concrete slab for a bed and no other furniture). He was left naked and bleeding with no running water. Several prisoners made requests to Lt. Burkhart and other staff for the mentally ill prisoner to be given medical treatment. These requests were denied.

On February 23, a comrade had words with Lt. Burkhard about the fact that the mentally ill prisoner was being denied medical treatment and held under inhuman conditions. Lt. Burkhart insulted the comrade with racial epithets.

That afternoon, the comrade was asleep while a pig was counting prisoners. The comrade didn't respond to the pig's calling of his name and consequently Lt. Burkhart ordered several guards to enter the comrade's cell. Awoken by the opening of the cell door, the comrade sprung to his feet and defended himself from the attack by the pigs. In fact, he defended himself so well that one pig ended up with a broken nose, and another with broken ribs. The comrade received minimal damage to the body.

Then, yesterday, four prisoners refused to return to their cells from the RHU yard in what began as a peaceful protest to seek the removal of Lt. Burkhart from the RHU. True to form, the pigs quickly got into riot gear and stormed the yard. They attacked one of the four prisoners with a stun shield. Be mindful of the fact that each prisoner was in a single-man exercise cage. Seeing no possible victory in combating the extraction team under the circumstances, the other three prisoners chose to return to their cells and excogitate new strategies.

It is well understood that MIM(Prisons) believes that the time is not yet ripe for armed struggle in this imperialist country, as their regime is still very powerful, and a minuscule percentage of the people are ready and able to partake in real revolution. Furthermore, when prisoners use violence against guards, then those who want to keep the prison industrial complex functioning label such prisoners incorrigible in order to increase the fear, and decrease the support, of prisoners in general by the populace. This makes easier the accomplishment of the government's goal of social control. Notwithstanding, prisoners often feel the need to take up arms against oppressors as guards are given free rein to physically assault them, deprive them of meals and subject them to various other forms of torture.

Even when prisoners endeavor to resolve issues the "right" way, i.e., filing prison grievances and lawsuits, they are often faced with coverups and injustices. For example, the same Lt. Burkhart mentioned earlier in this report often goes into cells while prisoners are in the yard and discards prisoners' legal materials. There are video cameras recording every pod in this unit 24 hours a day, but when prisoners request the use of the videos that would show Lt. Burkhart leaving cells with legal materials as proof of claims to resolve grievances, Lt. Burkhart's coworkers either refuse to review and preserve the videos, or say they can't see him on them. Such experiences are frustrating for prisoners.

The unity, discipline and hardihood displayed by the prisoners who partook in the hunger strikes in Georgia and California is commendable. And albeit not all participants belong to LOs, respect must be given to the many who do and yet were able to put their differences to the side and federate to take a stand against the common enemy. We are not close to having that type of unity in Pennsylvania, as individualism is prevalent out here. Nonetheless, there are some inspired guerrillas paying attention and working to radicalize others. Moreover, some of us are building the foundation of a movement that will aim to join the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

So, as other comrades and I strive to devise and employ tactics to thwart Lt. Burkhart and other oppressors, we look to strengthen solidarity with those who desire a communist world.


MIM(Prisons] adds: These struggles in Pennsylvania are similar to those going on across the criminal injustice system in Amerika. And this comrade does a good job describing the contradiction between the immediate desire of prisoners to fight back physically against the physical brutality they face daily and the potentially detrimental consequences of this armed struggle at this stage of development. We continue to encourage all prisoners to work with the United Front for Peace in Prisons and avoid physical confrontations whenever possible. We will build a movement that demonstrates that it is the oppressed who want peace and the prisons that promote violence.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California]
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Censorship and Criminal Neglect in San Diego

In Richard J. Donovan State Prison in San Diego Ad-Seg this place is off the hook with their green wall mentality and tactics. For starters, today I got my mail and it's your magazine dated August 9, 2011. So these people are playing with our mail. It took seven months to get my mail from you. If that ain't censoring our mail then I don't know what is. There are other items of mail I've been waiting on that I still have not received. I've written ISU (Institution Services Unit) and the mailroom to find out whats going on with my mail, they have not bothered to respond.

When I was on the line here at RJDSP I worked as a porter in the EOP (Enhanced Outpatient Program) building. I used to find 10 to 20 letters a day in the trashcan. I got to the point of just passing out mail to these guys myself, as I found it in the trash. The pigs keep whatever they want here, mags, photos out of letters, stamps, money orders, visiting apps, etc.

Mail is just the tip of the BS going on. I've eye witnessed back-to-back beatings by CDCs finest. These poor guys here have tried time and again to get outside help, all these people do is screen our mail and hold back what they don't want getting out.

The food is bland and there is no salt in our food. The amount is so small in portion that a child could barely live off it. The air conditioning is on full blast to keep us frozen in the middle of winter. The conditions are so bad - it's so dirty in here and they never give us cleaning supplies.

My neighbor got an infection on his toe, and they wouldn't treat him for it. It got so bad they had to cut it off. They got us sleeping on mattresses that are stained with piss. Or in some cases no mattress. But if we make a big deal by asking for help, we'll get the shit beat out of us, and stripped down to nothing. I've been in Ad-Seg for a minute now and still haven't got my property. But I refuse to stop the fight no matter where they put me. This is why I write, to encourage others to never let these people still your spirit.

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[Abuse] [Scotland Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 25]
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Scotland Lockdown Passes One Month Mark

In early February we received a report from a family member that Scotland Correctional Institution had been on lockdown for over 2 weeks. All the time prisoners were getting out of their cells was 5 minutes to shower with handcuffs. They were not allowed to use the phone to call family, so mail has been the only form of communication.

On February 21 a North Carolina prisoner reports:

I'm on lock down for something that happened on January 19, 2012 which I had nothing to do with. The prison placed us on an institution-wide lock down for a small gang riot, which was handled and shut down quickly. They still got us locked down, just trying to break our spirits.

They've not given any religious service, no school, no visits, no sick calls. I placed a sick call 2 weeks ago and they still haven't called me in.

Grievances are not being addressed. I'm so tired of being oppressed. I want to overcome this oppression and I know it's a struggle.

On February 16 ULK correspondent Wolf reported:

Other closed custody facilities went back to regular operation after Prison Emergency Response Teams (PERT) searched and stayed on each unit for about 2 weeks. But the oppressive Karen Stanback and her assistant Capt. Covington has continued the oppressive conditions at Scotland. Details of this oppression include:

On 20 January 2012 we were searched by PERT at 6:30 AM. No shower, recreation, TV, phone calls, religious services, canteen, etc. that day. Taken to the shower on 23 January 2012 in handcuffs and made to shower with handcuffs on. Only had 10 minutes to shower escorted by 2 COs in handcuffs, one inmate at a time in a block of 48 people. PERT searched us again on 25 January 2012.

After grievances and receiving complaints from family members and other outside sources, we received 2 hours in the dayroom, 24 prisoners at a time. During this period we must shower, make phone calls, or try to cook or prepare a meal using 1 hot water sink in the dorm. Prisoners must become bootlickers or snitches or their jobs are being given away to medical custody.

All the guys who participated in the actions that occurred that night are on segregation or were sent to long-term lockup. Still these conditions continue to be enforced on us. Brothers don't realize they're used as pawns in a dirty chess game played by this administration to finally have a reason to bury us alive in these cemeteries. However, Resistance Number 1, aka Wolf has entered the fight against the oppressive imperialistic system of justice and joins MIM. We the Resistance Number 1 realized our fight is hard and difficult, but someone must speak out against the laboratory of injustice here at Scotland CI.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Menard Correctional Center] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 24]
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Fighting Back in Menard

Here at Menard, a prison within the Illinois Department of Corruptions, the prisoners have said "no more." We now are making a full and united front against the swine who confine us.

We have tried for years to voice our objections in a peaceful and civil manner to the hierarchy of this morally bankrupt system. However, these pigs refuse to listen. In fact it has now become completely and utterly impossible to exhaust any and all grievances with any kind of legally sound argument within its body, thereby stopping a prisoner from presenting any claim in any court.

Here in the segregation unit they have gathered together a group of sadistic pigs who torture at will. The head and ringleader of these cowards seems to be Officer Davis. The hierarchy put in cameras to curb the abuse. The piggies found blind spots, where prisoners' blood stains the concrete, and those responsible are allowed to hide.

There have been at least five severe and bloody staff assaults here in a row. The brass in their state capital keeps asking, why? Why, because you have left us with no other course of action. We have become intolerant of the consecutive abuses. We have finally found ourselves in a corner with nowhere to turn. I see no end to the bloodshed. Even after these pigs put those they believe responsible in extreme isolation, it continues!

Defiance and refusal to submit to these pigs has become a movement within itself. It has become much too large to squash. When things attain a certain size they become permanent. One can dredge a lake, but not an ocean.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter illustrates an important fact: when people are pushed into a corner, tortured and given no option of running away and no peaceful way to fight back, they will be forced into a violent response. It is ironic that the prisons are constantly censoring MIM(Prisons) as a threat to the security of the institution when it is their own policies and practices that threaten the safety of staff and prisoners the most!

We do want to point out that there is an alternative to short-term violence against the pigs. We need broader organization among our comrades behind bars so that they are not taken out one by one for fighting back. While we cannot judge individual cases of desperation, we know that the long battle is one that requires the building of unity and the education of our allies.

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[Abuse] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 25]
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Maryland Abuses Prisoners, Tortures Mental Health Patients

I'm incarcerated at Maryland's North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) in Cumberland, Maryland. I have been getting Under Lock & Key for about six months now. I'm writing this for me and my fellow prisoners; we need help. I have been here at NBCI in the segregation unit for two years now and there is a serious problem here. There is a big ring of corrupt racist white renegade prison guards employed here. These guards are anti-social/racist towards Black prisoners. They provoke, curse, challenge to fight, call them niggers, bitches, etc.

They broke the legs of one of my fellow comrades who I'm close to, and no one did anything to help. These prison guards take our food, recreation, and showers for days at a time. They spray us with pepper spray out of the blue for reasons that are still unknown. I have been a victim of that twice. I have tried to fight back but I'm one lone prisoner. Other prisoners are afraid to back me because they fear losing what little they have: single cells, TVs, etc. They are afraid of having their property sent home, being beaten, and/or thrown in the segregation unit.

The mental health patients housed in the prison who have Axis 1 diagnoses throw feces on other prisoners on the tier and the prison guards feed prisoners while the feces are on the tier. Prison guards abuse these Axis 1 diagnosis mental health patients; they agitate, provoke, mock, and call them stupid and retarded. These corrupt guards also constantly break their chain of command. They are not disciplined for their violations of Maryland Division of Corrections Directives. Even the Request for Administrative Remedy process is corrupt.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter describing the abuse and corruption at NBCI raises a concern directly related to campaigns MIM(Prisons) is leading. Staff in Maryland are not accountable for their actions. This is true in prisons across the country and this abuse of power inspired prisoners to initiate a campaign to Demand Our Grievances be Addressed. It's spread from California to Arizona, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia. And anyone can help spread it further by requesting the form from us and doing the research on policies to cite for your state.

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[Abuse] [Political Repression] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 25]
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Texas Limits Privileges and Denies Grievances

Due to the budget cuts and Governor Perry refusing the stimulus package, in Texas prisons they've attacked those housed here. They ceased serving prepackaged cartons of milk, and went to powdered milk, and now they have attached a fee of $100 annual to medical. If you need medical care you will be charged for a toothache, diarrhea, headache, etc. But what's devastating is TDCJ doesn't pay its offenders money. Instead it uses good time which they take away as a punitive measure, causing you to do more time.

Since TDCJ doesn't reward or pay offenders, money needed has to come from gifts via family, friends etc. In other words they're extorting our loved ones, and this will follow those who parole with money to be paid and attached to parole fees.

Upon being released from the Texas system you'll receive a bus ticket to your county of conviction and $50. Upon reporting to parole you'll receive the second $50 from which parole fees of $12, victim fees, educational fees, and restitution fees will be deducted, so you're to reenter society on a very small amount of money.

Texas's systems practically operate on what they produce themselves for consumption. Clothing, shoes, food, etc., is all made at the multiple units, sent to central stores and resold to each unit.

TDCJ has the offenders scared. They will stack free world time on any act of violence - any kind of unions or solidarity will be attacked as Security Threat Groups and figureheads will be placed in level III Administrative Segregation.

They have sought out to break any sort of groups and unauthorized activities. Since I've been involved in prisoner rights we've lost more than gained: We have lost smoking products, canned goods, beans, meats, fruits, educational classes, GED, college courses, radios with speakers, cable TV, art privileges, and even carton milk. Long hair and facial hair were banned. They hold supposed good time above these bamboozled offenders and make them comply.

I recently received a major rule infraction, just because I told the law library trustee to stop throwing my photocopies on the floor. So he filed a LID (life endangerment) on me: he forged a letter and signed my name to it - saying I asked another to beat him up, so I received a major rule infraction for Penal Code 71-02 Organized Crime. I've filed 4 grievances on his department and security staff for sabotaging my legal request and destroying my letters. All were denied.

So I wrote to the law library supervisor with no response. I then wrote to the senior warden to no avail. The Office of the Attorney General offered nothing, but they found a dummy letter forged and they promptly protected their SSI (Support Service Inmate).

In Texas you're only allowed to file one grievance a week, and I've been here two years plus. I've filed approximately 94 and all have come back denied - no proof.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This story of grievances being denied over and over for legitimate cases is all too common, not just in Texas but in prisons across the country. This is why United Struggle from Within initiated the campaign demanding our grievances be addressed. We currently have petitions for California, Texas, New York, Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arizona and the campaign is spreading. We need legal researchers to create petitions for other states. And if you are in a state that already has a petition, write to us for a copy and join the campaign to demand grievances be addressed in your state. It's time to destroy the idea that people can effectively go to the state for protection from abuse in prison.

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[Political Repression] [Abuse] [Scotland Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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Fight Oppression at Scotland Correctional Institution

This is a cry out for help from the brothers in the struggle at the confinement of Scotland Correctional Institution located in Laurinburg, NC under the ruler and dictatorship of Karen Stanback, Asst. Superintendent of Security. It grieves my heart to know and witness an African American woman, apply rules of oppression to camp populated by 80% minority races. Actions of oppression ordered by K. Stanback are:

  1. To ban all Under Lock & Key publications
  2. No state or local newspapers
  3. No shirt jackets worn in the dinner hall, school, or any religious programs (no matter what the temp is)
  4. No showering from 6pm until 9pm (with a population of 1500 prisoners)
  5. No jobs for close custody prisoners once they lose their assigned job. (All jobs are then referred to medium custody prisoners)
  6. Confining over 145 prisoners in one unit called Green D,E,F or "Gangland". This is where all the gangs are housed at, mixed together, and not giving any opportunity for regular programs or employment like the regular population.
  7. Only 1 hour of recreation. Without proper exercise, fresh air, and movement an individual develops a mentality like a caged in animal.

    She and the admins here have created a very hostile environment and seem to enjoy it.

    Brothers and sisters please! This is our cry for relief the hammer of oppression being applied to us at Scotland CI under the watch of K. Stanback. Please contact the appropriate resources to aid us in our struggle.


    MIM(Prisons) responds: We support this comrade's call for prisoners to stand up against oppression. This prisoner and others are leading the struggle at Scotland and they provide an example to prisoners across the the criminal injustice system who are facing similar conditions.

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[Control Units] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia]
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Fighting Segregation, Inspired by ULK

I have just recently been introduced to Under Lock & Key. I regret that I've been ignorant to the existence of such an inspiring movement. I commend you all in exposing the harsh reality that is the Department of Corruption nationwide.

Here in West Virginia the nature of incarceration is mostly mental and emotional torture. Segregation time is handed out in 30- and 60-day increments for infractions of the pettiest kind: borrowing someone else's CD can get you 30 days. Giving a man a soup because he's hungry lands you in SHU for 30 days. Multiple class 2 writeups get you 60 as well as any class 1. Tobacco products get you 60 days. Then god forbid you get caught with a weapon... that's 2 years minimum on the "Quality of Life Program."

The SHU is sensory deprivation to the fullest. There is no access to reading books from the library, and of course no radio or television. If you get no newspapers or magazines in the mail, you have nothing. Get caught passing reading material and it's another 30 days. It's a very stressful game to hold on to your sanity.

Though the atmosphere is not very violent, it is taxing mentally. Behind every face is a potential informant. There are few that can truly be trusted and even fewer who can be depended on. We have no unity. Some try to open the eyes of others to see the true enemy, but often times to no avail. Administration members play us against each other at every turn. They oppress religious freedoms and the mere freedom of thought. Voicing opinions in grievances gets you put in the SHU.

I anxiously await the next issue of Under Lock & Key for advice, direction, and inspiration.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The torture of prison control units, like the SHU described by this prisoner, is widespread in Amerika. It is something we have been fighting against for years, many comrades decades, but with little success in actually stopping the torture. Isolation units are used as a tool of social control for a population that the imperialists have no productive use for. In this system, prisoncrats work hard to set prisoners against one another by rewarding snitching as another method of control. Division and fear are powerful tools for the criminal injustice system. Under Lock & Key is an important tool for prisoners to fight back, organize, and unify. Share this publication with others, form discussion groups to talk about the articles, and get in touch with us to share your stories and struggles. There are many more people like the one above who have plenty of experience with repression, but have had little access to comrades and forums for analyzing and struggling to end it. We are working to change that.

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