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Under Lock & Key

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Florida]
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Violence and Medical Neglect Caused by Prison Guards

On August 21st I was stabbed by a white supremacist while I was in full restraints. Though I didn't know the man, I can't help but wonder whether this guy thought I was someone else, or he was following orders from these tyrants (COs). It seems to be a common thing for prisoners to harm another prisoner, in the hopes of staying in the Correctional Officers (COs) good graces.

Anyways, I was sent to medical. While at medical the nurses glued up my wounds, with a liquid stitch. Without verifying whether I was internally bleeding or not, they decided to place me under 23 hour watch. The captain happened to walk in the room, and asked me how I felt. I told him I was having trouble breathing, and so he decided to overrule the nurse and send me to an outside hospital.

By the time I reached the hospital I had already lost 40% of my blood. I was bleeding internally in my lung, stomach, spleen, large intestine, bladder and bowels. Long story short, the surgery went well. I stayed in the hospital for about 3 weeks.

While I was there the COs tried to persuade me to be cool with them enough to not file a lawsuit. You see I was stabbed while in full restraints, and the officer watching us said absolutely nothing to aid me away from harm. It didn't work because I've begun to take the proper steps in order to file a lawsuit against DOC.

They failed to properly search the other prisoner before allowing him to leave his cell, and while I was being stabbed the CO just sat there and watched. The whole situation just seems too funny to me. I don't know the guy, I've never had any beef with a white supremacist, I'm not a rat and I'm in good standing amongst my LO.

But I was building with two comrades and was recruiting other POWs to file grievances on various issues within the DOC. I'm not into conspiracy theories but I can't help wonder whether the system purposely allowed me to be harmed in the hopes of discouraging me from the revolutionary path. Nonetheless here I stand, still fighting for freedom no less.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We're saddened but not surprised to hear this story of brutality and suffering caused by prison guards, and their subsequent attempts to stop a lawsuit that might expose this system. We commend this comrade for standing strong in the face of this violence. We know that our comrades in prisons often place their lives in danger just by advocating for peace and an end to injustice. This is an inevitable part of the revolutionary struggle and we must continue to expose these incidents in the pages of Under Lock & Key.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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PBSP Strike Update - CDCR Still Breaking Laws

1 October 2011 - As of September 26, 2011 we have re-started our hunger strike. It was evident that Scott Kernan isn't going to uphold his end of the original agreement on the 5 core demands from our first hunger strike, so action was necessary.

As of September 29, 2011, CDCR removed all representatives in the short corridor as well as the organizers of the hunger strike. They were all placed in Ad-Seg (that's the story CDCR is giving). No one has access to them. We don't know what their condition is, because they are also on the hunger strike.

Scott Kernan issued a memo stating that "Inmates who participate in the hunger strike will be disciplined." On September 29, 2011, Pelican Bay staff started pulling prisoners out of their cells, so they could take all food out of their cells. Even those prisoners who couldn't participate in the hunger strike because of poor health and serious medical needs. Their canteen and food was taken away as a result of the hunger strike.

Today is October 1st, 2011, and we were just told by CDCR staff that prison visits are cancelled due to the hunger strike. This is a direct retaliation by CDCR. It's obvious that Scott Kernan doesn't want information to leak out to the public about how this situation is beyond his control. By CDCR denying our family and friends direct access to us they place uncalled for stress on them as well as a financial burden.

So far CDCR is still using old standards to keep us validated as gang members/associates. I received 1030s stating "other prisoners were caught with my name in their cell," so CDCR is using that to validate me, along with drawings that have a huelga bird on it.

I have to file a 602 on these issues, because in the 2005 Lira v Herrera case, the courts decided that laundry lists and drawings are not to be used as active gang material. So I have a lot of legal research to do on this.

Also, I have just filed a 602 on CDCR for "withholding" a letter from MIM(Prisons). They cited that MIM is asking prisoners to disrupt daily operations of CDCR. So I'm in litigation to get CDCR to give me that letter.

I have to say, our daily struggles from behind the walls will continue as long as this corrupt system continues to abuse the mass of the prison population who are wrongly accused of gang ties, etc.

Long term and indefinite isolation is by all standards inhumane and excessive punishment for any person no matter what his crime is. This places serious stress on any person's psychological and mental state of mind. I personally have experienced a lot of this oppression and abuse by CDCR for the past 12 years here at Pelican Bay SHU.

Things have to change. The current cycle of abuse and the systematic way in which it's applied is more than any human spirit can take. It's a miraculous accomplishment that so many of us still housed here at Pelican Bay SHU still have our sanity.

Well it's no surprise that CDCR just told all those on the hunger strike that they will not be allowed to see/talk to their visitors because their visits were canceled. But those prisoners who didn't take part in the hunger strike will be allowed to visit their loved ones. It's a sad disturbing turn of events, but it's our reality.

My viewpoint on this hunger strike is that these material items such as sweats, photos, colored pens, etc., are not what we really want, but rather are items that should have been part of the established curriculum for the SHU all along.

I am a lifer, as you know, and I can't imagine having to spend the rest of my life living here at Pelican Bay SHU. And I don't want to see youngsters brought to the SHU behind CDCR lies and have to suffer the same fate we are all suffering now.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Calipatria Prisoners Staying Strong in Hunger Strike in Face of Harassment and Abuse

This strike is being done peacefully, but yet one of my fellow prisoners in support of the hunger strike was assaulted by IGI [Institutional Gang Investigations]. Not once did he try to resist, and everywhere we go we are in restraints.

I've already lost 2 pounds, which is nothing yet, but I'm a man who will see this through till my body seizures. I'm well aware that my medical disorder (seizures) is something not to be playing with. I will stay positive and focus on the big picture of what's important: change. I'm not in Pelican Bay, but I've been validated and since March of 2009 I have yet to receive what I got coming.

This memo was given to us on September 27. No advance directive was given to any of us who are food striking [an advance directive form allows food strikers to designate a person to make health care decisions on their behalf in case they become seriously ill]. I requested an advance directive and submitted it on September 26. I also sent a copy to my family.

I'm not alone here in Calipatria fighting the struggle. There are over 70 of us validated here who have been stuck here for over two years. Last year there were over 80 cell extractions here in ASU. This was for TVs, jackets and laundry they are not providing us. Nothing is being fixed here. All Calipatria administration did was ship out 12 prisoners who they considered the organizers.

I know the Calipatria administration isn't taking this hunger strike seriously. And in response to the September 27 memo some prisoners got intimidated and decided to eat. Many do not see the bigger picture and feel it is a lost cause.

After we stopped the first strike in July all we got was harassment, cold food and laundry messed with even more. I've been asking about receiving some disinfectant and was informed that we are not going to get it anymore. And we get hand soap, watered down, in a milk carton once a week per cell. We live in dirty filth here.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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PBSP ASU Hunger Strike and Retaliations

I'm writing to inform you about the food strike here in Pelican Bay. Everyone around ASU (administrative segregation) has been passing your articles around and I'd like to thank you and all of the protesters for showing us love and supporting us prisoners in PBSP. The strike has started and there's been a lot of traffic in ASU lately. We received a memo from undersecretary Scott (the liar) Kernan on September 27 stating:

"information has been received that a number of inmates have engaged in behavior consisting with initiating a demonstration/hunger strike event. The department will not condone organized inmate disturbances. Participation in mass disturbances, such as hunger strikes or work stoppage will result in the department taking the following action:... [See a complete copy of this memo in another article here.]"

Tomorrow, Friday [September 30], ASU stand alones start a stand and people here will be striking.

I've been put in ASU because when I was in the CTC a nurse disrespected me and I took a stand and received a false 115 for indecent exposure which never happened. I am currently in the 602 process of filing sexual harassment against resident nurse Joe Carr.

Let me take you on a step-by-step retelling of that fucked up day. After lunch time in the CTC infirmary I was being housed for a fractured jaw but after lunch I observed nurse Joe Carr making rounds so I called him over and asked nicely did he watch the game (football) on Sunday. I'm a big Raiders fan so I wanted to ask him the score. Carr got hostile and told me "none of my fuckin business, I went home on Sunday, that's what I did jack ass." Now I lost my cool and cussed him out so Carr tells me "You better get off your door or I'm gonna put you on strip cell suicide watch." I rebelled more and Carr said "get off your door or I'll write up some paperwork saying I seen you with your penis out masturbating." I told him he's a fuckin' liar and he says "my word against yours" and laughs.

The living conditions in ASU are those of a caveman: 3 showers a week, no phone calls, yard in a human dog cage, and no TVs because there are no plugs.

Quick note P.S.: Today, September 30th, while at yard in our cages, the police came and retaliated at the south siders in the strike. They denied yard and came in their cells and took magazines, books, toothpaste, deodorant, and shampoo. The police are inhumane and this proves it.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 23]
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FSP Prisoners Unite for Rec and Against Brutality

On cell block one, prisoners were being denied outdoor exercise. In 2003, prisoners won a class action civil suit (titled Osterback v. Singletary) where the court made the ruling that it was against the 8th Amendment to deny Close Management Unit prisoners outdoor exercise.

Still, we were constantly being denied. The prisoners were griping. Another comrade and I decided the conditions were right to direct the people. Thus we set out on a "grievance campaign," forming a nucleus of seven. We enlisted five other prisoners to each make two copies of exemplary grievances (that me and the other comrade pre-wrote), all with different language. This was necessary because the people themselves would not have spent one minute to place pen to paper.

Altogether a good 25 grievances were written by the core body. They were passed on for the people to sign and date, and for others to copy. A good 30 prisoners participated.

On the next designated day of outside exercise, the pigs went from cell to cell asking if anyone desired outside exercise. It was a small victory (however temporary), but it showed what can be accomplished if conditions are ideal and leaders take initiative to direct a movement.

More recently, during exercise time at the outside dog kennels, a prisoner was pulled from his cage and punched in the mouth while in restraints by a sadistic pig. The prisoner requested that the pig remove the handcuffs. The prisoner was then grabbed in a choke and his head was rammed into the cage, carving a deep gash in his head, and knocking him unconscious.

The pig then plotted with his co-workers that they would say the prisoner tried to slip the cuffs. They said that there is no surveillance cameras, therefore nothing can be proven.

Because of the incident they tried to take us back on the cell block, but we refused, and demanded to see a higher ranking official. When the white shirt came we stated the facts. Further, everyone united together and initiated grievance procedures for the victimized comrade.

Three months earlier this same pig bashed another prisoner's head in the wall twelve times and caved that side of his face in. The prisoner was taken to an outside hospital. This sort of police brutality is an everyday occurrence here at Florida State Prison. It has a history for it.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Abuse] [Wabash Valley Correctional Facility] [Pendleton Correctional Facility] [Indiana]
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Censorship and Grievance Denials in Indiana

Enclosed you should find Under Lock & Key number 14. I am returning it to you because prison staff disallowed it's delivery to me and confiscated it stating 1)"contains information about performing work stoppages" and 2) "photos of dead klan members (cartoons)."

Apparently the issue was confiscated in May/June 2010 while I was housed at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (PCF). I was not notified of the confiscation until July 12, 2011. I was transferred from PCF in November 2010 to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (WVCF). PCF staff forwarded the confiscated mail (almost a year after receipt) to WVCF staff. WVCF staff notified me of the confiscation.

I have attempted to challenge this confiscation via the offender grievance process. However, WVCF case manager Marty Hale refuses to provide me with a grievance form. On August 9 he responded to my request by becoming irate and yelling at me, "fuck your grievance... every time an issue comes up you want to file a grievance, fuck you... you're just a sniveling complaining bitch", "you bitch", and "stick a grievance up your ass." To date I am still being denied a grievance form.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisons in Indiana are blatantly violating what few rights they tell us prisoners have, both with their illegal censorship and failure to notify both MIM(Prisons) and the prisoner of this censorship, and by denying this comrade the ability to file a grievance. By documenting such abusive denials to grieve we can continue to expose their sacred grievance system for what it really is, a sham. Even if the public buys it, all prisoners need to understand what it means to file a grievance and what it takes to change conditions in prison.

This is the inspiration behind the current campaign to Demand Our Grievances Be Addressed, currently active in California, Arizona, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. Write to us for a copy for your state, or if one does not yet exist, help create one by researching the citations and policies specific to your state and we will type it up and get it circulated.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Deaths in Texas Prisons from Heat and Negligence

Five people on the Coffield Unit have been allowed to die due to heat related issues. Now all of the sudden the administration and staff are "concerned" about the prisoners' well being - bullshit or they would have been doing more to prevent needless deaths long ago. Now Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is doing what they call "inmate wellness checks." This is just a real sad attempt (after the fact) to try to cover TDCJ's ass for their lack of concern effectively causing the deaths of inmates due to heat related illnesses (e.g. heat exhaustion, heat strokes, etc.)

We here are only being allowed to shower Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We should be allowed to shower just to cool off (since all Texas prisons are without any air conditioning). We should also have access to ice and cold water, but all of the above is scarce and this unit is observing "water conservation." The heat of Texas summers is not a new thing and neither is the penitentiary system in Texas.

Now the officers are tormenting us by asking every 30 minutes "are you alright", "are you ok?" most insincerely. Yet we are still made to wear very heavy woven cotton clothes in the summer - the same ones we wear in the winter time. Had they ever been truly concerned the five prisoners would have never been allowed to die of heat related illnesses. It is a real shame that so many people had to die before they even acted concerned, it is still hard for me to understand how they avoid any criminal charges behind these deaths.

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[Abuse] [Mental Health] [Dade Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 22]
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FL Grievances Forbid Helping Others

I am a prisoner currently incarcerated in the Florida department of corrections. At this time I'm being held at Dade Correctional Institution, in the mental health dorm transitional care unit.

This unit is for prisoners who have had, or who have developed serious mental health problems. This place is supposed to provide treatment such as counseling, one-on-one therapy, groups, etc. And it does that, but only to a bare minimum.

I am writing this because the prisoners here are being neglected. Not so much the ones who have good sense left, such as myself, but the severe cases of the prisoners who are so far gone they've lost touch with reality; the ones who are truly mentally disabled.

I've been writing grievances about this neglect, but the FL DOC has this rule that if the incident does not affect you personally then you cannot grieve the issue. This makes no sense to me at all. Some of these inmates are gone, and cannot grieve when they are done wrong.

There's an incident here that I continue to grieve of a prisoner who sleeps in the cell across from mine. This comrade has nothing in his cell except his being and a set of blues. He has no mattress, blanket, sheets, nothing. This guy doesn't talk at all. He makes noises sometimes that have no reasonable meaning but that's about it. He's lost to the world and he is mentally unstable. He cannot ask for these things, and he definitely cannot file a grievance. So this prisoner must continue to live like this because of some stupid rule that the DOC made up about this not affecting me directly.

There are a lot of prisoners here who are being literally warehoused. There are guys here who haven't taken a shower for months. They don't ask so it's not offered.

This is a mental health dorm. The staff are suppose to be helping these prisoners who cannot help themselves, and instead they are ignoring them.

I, fortunately, cannot be ignored. My mental health issues developed from doing long periods of time in close management settings (control units). I admit I became weak in a way. I picked up a bad habit that eventually turned into an addiction: self mutilation — I'm a cutter. But I am not beyond bouncing back. I do time how I want to do time. And that's the way I'm comfortable right now so it is what it is. I've got good sense though, trust that!

I'm going to continue to write up everything that I see these pigs here do, and I'm writing everything they're not doing up too. Someone will eventually listen. They cannot run a mental health unit like this. I'm going to keep on fighting for our rights until something is done.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Health care in prisons across the U.$. is terrible so it's no surprise to hear about the lack of even basic care in these Florida Mental Health units. We are also not surprised to hear the effect that long term incarceration has had on this comrade, leading to self mutilation. This is a good example of capitalism causing so-called mental illnesses. In reality, we should call these torture illnesses, as they are a direct result of torture in prisons. For more information about imperialism and psychology request a copy of MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Revolution.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Prison Labor] [Texas]
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United Front Needed to Fight Texas Prison Abuses

I appreciate you sending me the book I had requested. You see, I've got to stay busy to not allow myself to get sucked into the Texas prisoner slave mentality. Just perhaps, being armed with initiative and the right knowledge, I can get these guys minds off of the TV and gossiping, and onto unity and change. It's a very pitiful state here in Texas (no pun intended!) Last week an officer turned off the dayroom TVs during count and left them off for an hour or so. The prisoners went crazy! They were yelling, cursing, making threats and demanding to speak to rank. They're willing to come together and protest over something trivial like the television, but not over important things like parole, our good time and work time being honored, and getting paid to work.

As we know, slavery and capitalism go hand in hand. This is evident because there's no equality; slaves are less than, and whoever is the richest and most famous, their lives are more precious than the common and poor folk. Capitalism takes on a new meaning in Texas prisons. Since we work for free, and the state has enslaved us in their TCI factories to exploit and profit off of us; it's every "offender" for themselves, and some are doing whatever it takes to survive.

While the warden and major sit in their air conditioned offices, and officers are huddled up in the air conditioned pickets, us offenders are sweating like pigs in the scorching hot day rooms and cells. We're running around like savages hustling and conning for a ramen soup, stick of deodorant, a stamp, or a shot of coffee. And the ones who are fortunate enough to have friends and family sending them money to buy stuff from commissary; they're revered, admired, despised, or the next potential victim. Thanks to the state of Texas, petty criminals and first timers become hardened criminals, and whoever has the most money, has either the most power, or has to make the most protection payoffs.

If prisoners were treated as people and paid for their labor like everyone else in civilized society are, they would in turn, act accordingly. There would be real equality, unity and harmony. MIM, please give me some advice on how to make this come about.

On a related topic, I've enclosed my latest timesheet showing I have 213 percent of my sentence completed with all my worthless earned time credits. I want people to view this state issue timesheet so they can see for themselves what a scam this is. The time credits look great on paper, but they're not worth a damn. If they were, I would have been released last February when I reached a hundred percent.

Also with this letter is my last denial letter from the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. I want the people to see this too. To see the absolutely ridiculous reasons why we're denied parole and "mandatory supervision." The following is their most absurd: "The inmate has a previous juvenile or adult arrest for felony and misdemeanor offenses." We've all been arrested for a felony or misdemeanor. We wouldn't be in prison if we hadn't. The parole board might as well deny prisoners because they wear white uniforms, since that applies to all of us too.

Truly amazing the Lone Star State is getting away with such widespread and blatant fraud, and exploitation of its prisoners. But, in our capitalist society and capitalist prison system, money and profit always trump humanity and morals.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer is correct about the need for unity to fight the injustice in prison. We point everyone to the United Front for Peace in Prisons as a starting point for developing principled unity to fight our common enemy. We do, however, need to point out that the prison economy does not lead to prisons, the state or the imperialists profiting from prisoner labor. It is a system primarily used for social control, not for profit. Though of all states, Texas probably has the most productive industries in prisons, and workers receive no wages, only room and board.

As we concluded in our article in Under Lock & Key 8 on the U.$. Prison Economy: "A number of articles in this issue include calls from prisoners to take actions against the prison industries that are making money off prisoners, and to boycott jobs to demand higher wages. All of these actions are aimed at hitting the prisons, and private industries profiting off relationships with prisons, in their pocketbook. This is a good way for our comrades behind bars to think about peaceful protests they can take up to make demands for improved conditions while we organize to fundamentally change the criminal injustice system."

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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More Appeals Sent to CDCR, Protest in Sacramento

MIM(Prisons) sent another stack of letters in support of the prisoners on hunger strike across California to the so-called Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation with the cover letter below. There will also be a demonstration in support of the prisoners' demand outside of the CDCR office today:

Monday, July 18th
1-4PM
Demonstration outside CDCR Headquarters. 1515 S. St. in Sacramento, CA


Warden Greg Lewis

Pelican Bay State Prison

P.O. Box 7000

Crescent City, CA 95531-7000

18 July 2011

Dear Warden Lewis,

Two weeks ago we sent dozens of letters from residents of California who are concerned for the welfare of the prisoners in Pelican Bay State Prison. As the conditions outlined by the prisoners have still not been addressed by the CDCR we are sending additional letters of support (see enclosed). We are all aware that the conditions of many prisoners are becoming critical and we urge you to take immediate action to remedy the conditions. The conditions addressed by the prisoners demands are in no way conducive to rehabilitation and no one should have to die for these basic requests.

We have also forwarded copies of these letters to CDCR Internal Affairs and CDCR Office of the Ombudsman.

Sincerely,
MIM Distributors

P.O. Box 40799

San Francisco, CA 94140

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