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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Murder at Clinton

It happened again! These vicious ass wild boars killed another brother here in Kkklinton maximum facility. Sunday morning October 3, 2010 approximately 9:10 am the roughshod started as brother Leonard Strickland was assaulted while being moved from one cell to another cell. As it played out on the news that following night I became greatly agitated. The media (4th branch of government) accused brother Leonard Strickland of assaulting the guard which is malarkey (those are the only facts the administration has!). These wild boars say that so they can justify their use of deadly force. Another thing the media (WPTZ 5) said was that "prisoner Leonard Strickland was incarcerated for weapons possession serving 20 years to life" as if that justified his death! We asked, what does his crime or time have to do with the malicious taking of his life. And these sorry ass inmates continue to worry about losing CINEMAX TV. The subliminal message was to all of NYSDOCS sympathizers that you shouldn't feel sorry for a "Inmate" who was convicted of any crime!

Annually there are 1-2 murders here in KKKlinton. KKKlinton also has a notorious reputation not only for killing the Black and Brown but also for covering it up as well (Suicide or Medical Complications).

On October 5, 2010, Superintendent Thomas LaValley had an emergency meeting with the Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) to sift the mood of the population and ask the representatives questions on the murder, which he and his team calls an "incident."

Bottom line is they are lying! They beat brother Leonard Strickland then threw him down a flight of stairs. He was then handcuffed and never regained consciousness. Of course the administration consisting of Supt. LaValley and his Executive Team all lied when they told the ILC "Leonard Strickland was subdued and was walked to the facility hospital (approx. 100 yards). In reality he did not walk because he was unconscious/dead. The State Police stated Leonard Strickland was pronounced dead at 10:45am. On top of all of this, his property has disappeared. The so called Inspector General (IG) didn't leave a name or contact card with any prisoner. Many assumed it was IG because after the many deaths over the years it's easy to recognize them.

There is an imminent danger that fills these prison walls and most importantly it's the Black and Brown prison population that's in peril! Since I came here in 2006, there have been five murders and a profusion of brutality on the Black and Brown by the all white wild boars called correction officers. I've been told by the administration "it's not a race thing." Well I beg to differ! I asked when was the last time a caucasian "allegedly" assaulted staff and his death followed? When was the last time they kicked a caucasian's teeth in, broke his nose, wrist and ribs or stomped, kicked, punched etc.? The reply was "I'm going to have to get back to you on that!" Can you believe that???

As you see, we are literally sitting ducks. Who knows, I might be next for writing about what I see although my time here "is" limited. Now check this out... The State of New York wants to hire 1,000 more young boars!!!

I forgot to mention this, the ILC requested an emergency meeting in June 2010 with Superintendent Thomas La Valley to try and resolve the multiple staff assaults on prisoners that always ended in having no merit. He refused to attend the emergency meeting and less than four months after, Leonard Strickland was killed by these cowards. This all took place less than six months after Superintendent Thomas La Valley took over in KKKlinton. He allowed for the wild cowboy attitude to persist and this led to Leonard Strickland's live being extinguished.

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[Abuse] [MORGAN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX] [Tennessee]
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Victim of Injustice System

In the last 2 months I've fallen victim to the injustice system in prison. The first time was a sexual assault by a staff member. I'll not get into that because I'm still dealing or should I say trying to find ways to deal with it. My other incident, I was working in Admin as a counselor aid and was assaulted by a corrections officer. We had had words previously because the job I had did not require me to do what he told me to do so he felt I was "walking on him."

Well he was sitting in the counselor's office and he was talking to the man I worked for. He was getting up to leave and I was shutting the door behind him and it hit his boot. He turned around and lunged at me so I threw my hands up in a blocking, defensive manner and he grabbed my pinky and ring finger and jerked it and twisted it which broke it.

My boss called for me to get medical attention (costing me $5) so I've got 5 x-rays and doctor's notes on this incident. I have filed numerous Grievances on this core officer. The paperwork I filed was "too late" or "lost" so it was thrown out and I was placed in protective custody due to the incident. And since it has happened I've been treated worse than an old smelly mutt. It's sad how much the injustice system can get away with here in the united $tates these days. I've tried going an alternate route by getting one of the neglected forms with response and mailed it to my lawyer.

A lot of my things have come up missing, they are constantly in my cell searching for items that's not there. I've been trying to file a civil suit of negligence against the state and TDOC since this occurred but I'm having the hardest time from a control unit (23/1) and little if any help.

Since this assault my time has gotten really hard. It's a struggle every day. Trying to use the phone, the excessive force used to and from the Dog Pen (recreation). A week ago a corporal shoved and spit on me for filing a grievance on him. I got to be on guard with them. They have done all they can do and more. A man can only take so much but it will only satisfy them to see me act out in violence on them so I'm taking every precaution to their games. It's quite sad they stoop this low.

I wish there was another way to reach out. I know I'm not alone and we keep our heads up and keep on fighting from behind bars. I am trying to keep it cool and recruit all anti-imperialists and encourage them to start standing up for themselves and others. We're not alone in this war.


MIM(Prisons) adds:
Stories like this one are a big impetus behind the grievance campaign that MIM(Prisons) and United Struggle from Within(USW) have initiated in prisons across the U.$. We are fighting to get grievances, like the ones this comrades has filed, handled fairly. Write to us for a copy of the petition.

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[Abuse] [MORGAN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX] [Tennessee]
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Guard Brutality Unpunished in Tennessee

This prison is a 100% white employed prison. As you can imagine, there is a great number of racially motivated incidents that occur here. Earlier this year in May, several correctional officers beat a Black prisoner and broke both his arms and gave him brain damage. In response to this beating, many Black prisoners (who were not on max security) responded by attacking several COs and beating them. The local media reported this incident as "inmates rioting against COs and sending 8 of them to the hospital." However, the media failed to report that the beatings of the COs were in response to the lynch mob type beating of a Black prisoner.

The head pig in charge of this beating is named Sgt. Bennett. He single-handedly carried out many beatings of Black prisoners and his only form of discipline for beating the prisoner in this incident was being stripped of his title as a Sergeant and demoted to a Corporal and being placed on third shift. Meanwhile the prisoners involved in the beating of the COs all face additional time added to their sentences and placement on max security for years on end. The pigs who nearly killed a Black man are still employed here at this prison.

I have been incarcerated over 9.5 years and 8.5 years of that have been spent on max security segregation and this is one of the only incidents that I've ever seen in prison in my time where prisoners came together for a common purpose against the prison officials. What amazes me is that the very human desire to fight oppression has seemed to die within the prisons of Tennessee. I have read several accounts of how prisoners in other states have stood up for a common purpose against oppression, yet the prisoners in Tennessee lack the desire to fight oppression. They all complain verbally but if someone such as myself files a grievance on behalf of us all and tries to pass it around for all to sign showing support, 98% of them will refuse to sign because they fear some form of retaliation when the truth is, nothing else can be done to them that hasn't already been done. These pale faced pigs have stolen the very essence of our people which has made us great and allowed us to survive... a will to fight.


MIM(Prisons) responds: While we agree that the race of prison guards underscores the racism of the criminal injustice system, we're under no illusions that having Black and Latino guards would change the system. The problem is the system, and the guards are just serving that system. Some may be more brutal than others, but they are all pigs in the eyes of the people.

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[Prison Labor] [Abuse] [Arkansas]
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Grievances in Arkansas

Here in Arkansas state prisons we have a terrible grievance procedure. The administration and pigs call it an "informal resolution" and it is a joke. I have enclosed the front page so you can check it out.

In Arkansas we receive no pay for the jobs we perform, but at Christmas time the state places a big $6 on our books, averaging out to about 1 1/2 cents per day. In the mid to late 90s I ran one of the unit's cabinet shops and would often work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for that $6. Purely slave labor in my opinion.

Here they shut out our lights at 10:30pm and turn them on again as early as 3am, leaving them off only 4 1/2 hour, and this is usually done 7 days a week.

The food we get us usually not fit for human consumption. Very often the hamburger meat and chicken are spoiled, but most of us can't afford to go to the commissary store and must eat it.

Our grievances often get "lost" or "misplaced" if they have factual info about a staff member, especially if a few individuals write them.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This problem with grievances is not unique to Arkansas. For this reason United Struggle from Within initiated a grievance campaign this year. If you are filing grievances about any issue and they aren't being handled properly by staff, consider becoming a part of this campaign and spread it to your people inside.

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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 17]
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KKKlinton Strikes Again

Twice now in two years, the pigs at Kkklinton have allegedly restrained a convict and murdered him. In the early morning hours of 3 October 2010, Leonard Strickland, a 44-year-old Black male in general population was killed. Of course these cowards will be fighting each other, cutting, stabbing and yet there's no resistance to these corrupt corrections staff.

Just last night, while returning from the SHU shower Sergeant Marcil and CO Stuart told me that the prisoner died of an overdose or bad heroin brought into the prison that weekend. Officer Decoteau told me that it was the plastic bag treatment, meaning that once again they've placed a bag over a prisoner's head. I have spoken to another prisoner who had this done to him.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The NYS DOCS has accused Mr. Strickland of assaulting staff and admit that he died shortly after being subdued by staff. The autopsy results are expected in a couple weeks. We hope our comrades in New York will help us investigate what really went down and start developing means to ensure better protection of the imprisoned population as a whole. This protection starts with the mobilization of a conscious prison population who are watching for abuse and will unite in protest of these acts of brutality.

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[Legal] [Abuse] [Western Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Grieving Leads to Brutality, but Staying Strong

I have been in disciplinary segregation since August 2004 and I am currently at Western Correctional Prison, Maximum Security. On 26 January 2008, I wrote an Administrative Remedy Complaint (ARCs) on six officers who attacked me while coming from the showers on the 4 - 12 shift. This was due to me writing grievances (ARCs) on them for not abiding to DOC policy and procedures. The ARC has stayed its course through the process and it is now in the Court of Special Appeals where it has been since February 2009.

On 13 March 2009, I was assaulted by officer Broadwater, which precluded the above ARC. All these officers at the time were working SHU #4 Disciplinary Segregated Isolation tiers.

On 25 March 2008, I was assaulted by officers Rice, Brambles, and McKenzie. I was sprayed with chemical pepper spray all over my front body, from my waist to my head. This chemical was literally dripping off my body. The officer said in his report that he gave me a one second burst! This ARC went through the process and is in the Court of Special Appeals as of February 2009.

To relieve themselves of an injunction that I won, they transferred me to Eastern Correctional Prison, which is classified as medium security. I am classified as Maximum #2 level, so I made out really good from the injunctions.

I've lodged numerous ARPs:
1. Concerning the wearing of hair nets while serving our food to us. I won this ARP and the Gestapo hates it.
2. Serving us cold food all the time. This ARP is at the Inmate Grievance Office (IGO) now, which is the last step before going to court.
3. ARP about tiers having food and trash on them, which the guards encourage. This ARP was addressed at the IGO level in December 2009, and now they have to come around to each individual cell and collect unwanted food and trash. Gestapo hates it because they have to do a little work.
4. ARP concerning filthy showers and the tier floor not being mopped regularly as stated in the DOC policy and procedures, "It is imperative that good sanitation be maintained at all time!"

I also have two cases in local courts. As you can see, I am very adamant about these Gestapo security guards doing their job correctly. Whatever you can think of that these Gestapos can do to me, they've done it over the years. So whatever they do to me, they're not getting a cherry. Been there and done that!

As far as the grievances go towards censorship of incoming books, magazines, and literature such as Under Lock & Key, I fought the censorship of incoming literature from Book 'Em and Books to Prisoners. Basically I wrote an ARP because when the books came in they sent them back without notifying me that the books were even here. I found out via Books to Prisoners writing me and telling me about it. So the prison violated not only mine, but Books to Prisoners' due process rights.

Plus the prison had a list of 34 companies where you could order books from. This list is called a "blackball" list and it is illegal. I charged them with a restraint of trade and discrimination. Once the ARP got to the second level of the process, Commissioner's Office, they withdrew the list of 34 companies.

I have a very good track record for winning ARP cases, and my first two books were from Books to Prisoners.

I want to put Maryland on the map, so to speak! There are numerous upon numerous violations that are at fault in this Gestapo Security Guard Concentration Camp. I'd like to see more prisoners in this state get involved in any movement that stands against this Draconian style suffering towards those who are imprisoned.

Nothing and no one will stop me from exercising my absolute right to litigate from anyone refusing to adhere to giving me those few basic rights that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights of the United States of Amerikkka says that I have!

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade domonstrates that following through on appeals and filing court cases can actually lead to winning cases and that building your experience fighting such legal battles can pay off.

Though prisons are one of the most fascist elements of U$ society we don't use the term "Gestapo" to describe the pigs. The Gestapo was the official secret police of the Nazi government, and to call U.$. prison guards a Gestapo tends to let imperialism off the hook. The petty bourgeoisie likes to believe that bourgeois democracy is a more humane system than fascism. But part of the importance of exposing what is going on in U$ prisons is demonstrating that imperialism can be just as oppressive when it needs to be. Fascism happens when the imperialists decide they need to be that oppressive all the time.

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[Abuse] [North Carolina]
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Assault with a sock?

I am currently on I-Con [lockdown] for assault on staff, but the write up was false. In December 2009 an officer was told to write me up for assault because I refused to sit down in the day room. She called me out by name and then told me to go to my bunk. As I was going to pass her she stood in my way so that she was blocking my path, and she said I pushed her. Prisoners later told me that while I was in segregation she stated I never touched her, and that she wrote me up because she had the authority to do so.

In June 2010 my room got searched while I was still on I-Con for the assault charge, and I got written up for another assault on staff charge as well as destruction of state property and disrespect. They charged me with assault because the officer told me to drop my socks outside of my trap door. So I dropped them out my door because I was following a direct order. Now it's four officers standing outside my door and this particular officer is standing right in front of my door when the sock falls on his foot. So he says that I threw a sock at him. Officers claim I "assaulted" him but one of them told me that you can't assault anybody with a sock and she never saw me assault anyone but she wrote a statement claiming I did.

Even if I did what they claim, the charge A-3 assault on staff is for "throwing objects that are likely to produce injury or by any other means hitting, kicking and pushing." A sock doesn't produce injury and they claimed it hit him in the leg. I've never known a sock to injure anyone. The only reason I was found guilty is because it was the word of two officers and a sergeant and I had no witness. But the evidence that I asked to be submitted was never submitted in my case. I'm currently appealing the charge.

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[Abuse] [New York]
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Assault in NY

On January 1 after an altercation with another patient I was escorted out the day area to the sideroom. After being placed inside the sideroom, someone came to the sideroom and asked me do I want to take psychotropic drugs oral or by needle? I told him I would take the drugs by mouth. A lot of other TAs began grouping up outside of the sideroom. They ran in the room and started punching and kicking me while they were pulling me out into the hallway. One of them kicked me in the groin and one of them punched me in the mouth. Out in the hallway they forcefully injected me with the medication. They then put me in the restraint bed and put me back in the sideroom. After that three TAs wheeled me over to the sideroom on ward 402. While being wheeled over there and still fully restrained in the bed a TA named Frank Wench assaulted me by punching me in the backside of my head about 4 times and started grabbing me by my shirt and choking me with it and said "you fucked with the wrong person".

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Mental Health] [Iowa]
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Psychological Torture in Iowa

It's after midnight and I am exhausted but the racing thoughts in my head will not allow my body to sleep. My anxiety is at its absolute worst and therefore my insomnia is at its worst.

As a result of having to try to cope with these almost crippling conditions without medication, my depression is also quite severe. Most days I have to force myself to get out of bed. (Keep in mind that when I'm "in bed", I'm not there because I'm sleeping but rather because I cannot find a reason to get up.) When I finally do get up I'm in a constant state of anxiety and panic. I've lived every day of the last year and a half on the verge of a complete nervous and emotional breakdown due to my untreated insomnia and anxiety/panic disorder.

Because of "DOC policy" the medications that were successfully treating these conditions prior to me coming to prison in 2009 were taken from me. The only medication I'm allowed is Cymbalta, which treats my depression.

I have complained to psychology staff and my doctor here that I need these medications back as my mental health is extremely unstable due to not having them. I mentioned to them that it is not unusual for me - since not having these meds - to only get 1-2 hours of sleep a night. I also told them about the panic attacks I've been having. (Anyone who's ever suffered from one of these can tell you just how terrifying they can be.) I've told them all of this and they still refuse to provide me with adequate medications to treat my mental illnesses. Prisoners here do not receive any type of individual therapy to help them cope with such illnesses either.

As a result of IDOC's negligence to my mental health I have suffered immensely. I was forced to drop out of a potentially beneficial academic program as a result of my untreated anxiety and the fact that I could not attend some days because I was not getting enough sleep at night due to my untreated insomnia. When my conditions got so bad that I was contemplating suicide they locked me in a tiny cell with no clothes and no blankets or a bed to sleep on and they left me there for about 2 weeks - the first time. They required me to eat with my hands and would not allow any tangible items in the cell with me, not even a soft covered Bible. Now lets be reasonable here, how am I going to harm myself with a soft covered Bible - or any soft covered book for that matter? They also forced me to let them examine my anus and genital area 3 times per day because they thought I may have had something hidden up there even though I never once left the cell and the door never opened once. It was closed and I never had any type of contact with anyone. Keep in mind someone was outside the cell monitoring me through a fairly large window 24/7.

I believe they secretly thought that keeping me in there for so long under such harsh and inhumane conditions would discourage me from bothering them with my mental health problems anymore as I heard one of the pigs say to the prisoner they appointed to monitor me that "if he wants to keep plain' these fuckin' games he can just stay in there awhile." When he used the word "games" he was referring to me becoming suicidal as a result of their negligence to my mental health needs.

I was recently told by a psychology staff that they could not afford to give me the medications I need because of the recent budget cuts here in this state. I write this letter because I figured people should know that Governor Culver, who claims to so concerned about the safety of Iowa's children, is also the one responsible for the budget cuts that put a barrier between prisoners and adequate mental health treatment which would help all mentally ill prisoners, including pedophiles and other sex offenders, be better rehabilitated and prepared to live as responsible citizens upon release.

So I'll close this letter by posing a few questions. What is more threatening, pedophiles or mentally unstable pedophiles? A domestic abuser or a mentally unstable domestic abuser? A drug dealer who sells drugs to kids or a mentally unstable drug dealer who has a history of selling drugs to kids? I think I've made my point.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As we've written in previous articles about mental health, we look primarily to the environment as a cause for mental health problems like this prisoner describes. It is no wonder that s/he is suffering problems, as s/he is subjected to the torture of isolation that has a documented history of bringing mental health issues. Under imperialism we are forced to accept band-aids for mental health problems, and so many people end up using drugs to bring symptoms under control. As we explained in ULK 13, "As with most problems we face, we can find answers to mental health problems through dialectical materialism and in having the correct political line. In the 1950s the Chinese eliminated the more backwards psychological practices in their society and replaced them with ones focused on getting individuals to connect with and help shape the material world through applying dialectical materialism. Mental health care, like much of Chinese society under Mao, emphasized the importance of both self-reliance and collective help, with the understanding that patients can fight their diseases and lead productive lives in the new society."

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Texas]
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Pepper Spray for the Mentally Ill

Here in our Texas prison system, prisoners with mental health issues are being abused, mistreated, assaulted, and forced into harming, hurting, endangering themselves as well as other prisoners and officers. The unit officials are negligently using chemical agents against mentally ill prisoners by spraying pepper spray (OC) directly on us and then leaving us in our contaminated cells as a form of punishment. They leave us there to suffer as they watch with gas masks on. OC cause you to burn for days, and by the cell not being decontaminated, it's an ongoing torture. Every time you touch something in the cell it starts all over again.

Mentally ill prisoners are constantly written bogus disciplinary infractions, which we are automatically found guilty of. The mental health and medical departments are co-defendants with the administration's corrupt misuse of disciplinary policy and procedure by falsifying documents, and signing off on these cases without any sort of support on the prisoner's behalf.

This causes mentally ill prisoners to max their sentences because every major case is automatically a year set off by parole, plus the fact that it's also a year's wait before you can receive eligibility for the appropriate line class all over again. So if you are bipolar paranoid, or have another psychotic disorder, you are constantly in harm's way.

And as I've mentioned, the psych staff corroborates with the administration to keep you down and in the last place. There are not any successful programs for prisoners like myself who are provoked to act out in order to receive immediate help and relief. Our ADA rights [granted by the Americans with Disabilities Act] are being stomped on.

MIM(Prisons) adds: For more on mental health abuses, causes, and cures check out Under Lock & Key issue 15.

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