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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Florida]
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Florida use of chemical agents

In reading the May/June 2010 newsletter Under Lock & Key I have come to grips with the fact that we prisoners in Florida are not the only one subjected to and victimized by this oppression, corruption, and systematic abuse in the US prison system. As a new subscriber to ULK, and a fellow comrade, I have also come to grips with the fact that in order to change this oppressive prison system we must use litigation and the creation and maintenance of a prisoners' rights movement both inside and outside of the prison walls. At the same time we can't lose focus of the bigger picture of imperialism and must be carrying out our work as a part of a larger anti-imperialist strategy.

On March 26, 2010 I filed a 1983 Civil Rights complaint in the United States District Court of Florida's Northern District for cruel and unusual punishment against officials of Florida's Department of Organized Crimiaals (DOC). These law abiding criminals (Correction Officers) are taking advantage of a systematic "torture procedure" that was implemented as a tool of intimidation and torture to keep prisoners in check and from rebelling against this abusive and oppressive prison system. This "torture procedure" is a use of force procedure that allows prison officials to administer chemical agents into the cells of prisoners at the slightest infraction or if a prisoner does something or says something an officer does not like. You may get gassed out of retaliation or even if the officer doesn't like you.

It usually goes down with an officer coming to your cell role playing like he is counseling with you about your behavior. This role playing is continued with a sergeant and lieutenant or captain to make it appear for the cameras as if they are counseling with you about some alleged behavior that was "disruptive" or "a threat" to staff. Once the role playing is done the oppressors role your door with a chain on it and unload big cans of mace into your cell to torture and abuse you. The spraying or gassing (as the oppressors call it) usually goes on for three rounds. During each round you are left in the cell at least five minutes or longer to suffer from the effects of the mace (coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing and severe burning of the skin and eyes). Once the gassing is over you are pulled out of your cell and placed in an empty cell for 72 hours in only your boxers with no clothes, property, mattress, sheets or blanket. If you refuse to come out your cell to be subjected to this additional punishment after you have just been victimized then the oppressor (usually a captain) will assemble a good squad (extraction team) to come in to get you.

This article is written to expose the corruption and systematic abuse within Florida's Department of Organized Criminals. If we are going to abolish oppression and systematic abuse systems such as this one in Florida, it's going to have to come through litigation and a unified effort on our part and our fellow comrades on the outside to establish a prisoners' rights movement. Meanwhile, our motto should be: resistance! resistance! resistance!

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this prisoner's call for resistance in the legal system and building a strong resistance movement. However, we have no illusions that we can abolish oppression through litigation. This comrade does mention that we can't lose sight of the larger struggle against imperialism, and it is this struggle that leads to our understanding that fighting legal battles is a strategy for this stage of the struggle but not a solution to end oppression.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Mt Pleasant Correctional] [Iowa]
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Control units used to torture mentally ill prisoners

I received your pamphlet on control units and the introductory letter. I enjoyed it and am in favor of any campaign calling for the abolition of such cruelty and torture as is inflicted by the DOC's control units.

These torture chambers are also used to monitor mentally ill prisoners who are at risk of suicide. They force the man (I don't like to use the term "inmate" if it can be avoided - we're human beings who have worth and value. Words such as "inmate," "offender," and any other titles that have been given to incarcerated individuals are very degrading as they have very negative stigmas attached to them) to strip completely naked and put on a suicide smock, which is basically comparable to wearing a cardboard gown. They do not allow the person any tangible items whatsoever to be in the cell with them - not even a bible or some other book - until a psychiatrist determines that he/she is no longer a danger to hself.

Now, let's think about this: How is somebody going to kill themselves with a book? Now, if one wants to play the "what if" game, they could ask, "what if they got a hold of a hard cover book and bashed their heads in with it until they were dead while the guy who gets paid to sit right outside the cell and watch them through a window 24 hours a day takes his eyes off them for a split second for the purpose of looking at the booger on his finger before flicking it?" (And trust me, this is the kind of ludicrous crap these DOC pigs use to justify some of their absurd policies.) But this problem is very easily solved; don't give them hard cover books! Give them soft-cover books.

Anyway, while in the cell the individual is forced to do 3 strip searches per day per IDOC (Iowa Department of Corrections) policy even though he/she may never have left the cell or even had their cell door opened for any reason. In one particular facility of the IDO , the Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility, the prison officials won't even allow the mentally ill person to shower, on the grounds that they "might drown themselves." I have personally experienced this kind of humiliating and dehumanizing cruelty as I was placed in a control unit cell when I temporarily lost hope in life and became suicidal. They called it "mental health observation status." (MHO)

MIM(Prisons) responds: As we pointed out in the issue of ULK 15 on Mental Health in prisons, the brutality of prisons causes mental health problems. It's no surprise that prisoners, facing daily humiliation, brutality and oppression, and cut off from family and friends, become depressed and even suicidal. And by keeping these prisoners from access to reading material and subjecting them to strip searches, things can only get worse. Join MIM(Prisons) in organizing against this oppression.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Dixon Correctional Center] [Illinois]
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Dixon's Disabled done wrong

Dixon STC (Special Treatment Center) Correctional Center is a facility that abuses, verbally and physically, Illinois' fathers, nephews, cousins, uncles, brothers and sons, while failing them on a regular basis. It doesn't fail them in a rehabilitation manner because this isn't a regular facility. This facility is for the physically and mentally challenged.

How does it fail them? It fails them by constantly breaking these men's civil liberties. An abused man can stand up for himself, but many of these men, like lost sheep, are left to the wolves, the guards, and fall right over. These men, Illinois' family, are slaughtered by a system that protects the abusers, the guards, and slowly destroys the abused. Some of the abused even try to kill themselves because of the situation.

It starts with the guards, which are composed of, in rising order, correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants, and majors. They all come from around the Dixon area and are a tightly wound group. Most, not all, of the guards treat the STC prisoners with constant badgering or demeaning names and comments. In groups, the guards will make fun of or belittle an individual's disability; especially if the individual has no other witnesses. However, that is just the beginning.

The abused men here have three options: take the pain, retaliate, or do paperwork. Sadly, the choice taken is usually one of the first two.

If they are quiet, then the verbal abuse continues until they get out or, like some choose, they exit by suicide.

The other route, retaliating, is what the guards love and the system is made for. If the abused counter with words then two things can happen. The first is disciplinary action can and will be taken. The second, which some guards do, too often, is they take it farther. A guard might strike or even gang assault a prisoner. However, it doesn't end there. They then write reports claiming a whole different story occurred and a whole new case will be given to the individual.

How can this happen? Because three or more officers versus a man that is deemed low in society, forgotten, and disabled isn't hard to crush in the courts.

What courts? Lee county, whose main area, Dixon city, is built around Dixon CC and it's precious guards.

Anyone would say " Why at Dixon STC and not other joints?" The answer is simple. It happens at other joints, even the General Population side of Dixon CC, but rarely as often because it's a Special Treatment Center, on the other side. The prisoners here don't either know how to use, don't believe in, or don't trust the system. Being disabled they don't know better.

These family members of ours need our help. They need the help provided at this facility, but not treatment like this. Even if they choose to fight back through paperwork the system's a joke. You first need to fill out the paperwork, which most of them can't do or don't realize what rights have been broken. Then, you send it through the mail, which the guards sometimes have access to at different points, to the counselor. Then, a week or two later you get it back. You send that to the grievance officer who gets it done in a month and then gives it to the chief administrative officer to agree or disagree with. Then, you can finally send it to Springfield. That wait is a long time and after that you can finally sue for your rights being broken. Like that, if you can prove it, can make up for pain, humiliation, and for the fact you have to go back. With such a long process, where most are done with their sentence or punishment by then, it's a joke.

They have an Internal Affairs here, but today in May I've been asking for over a month to report a beating where I only retaliated with words, yet I still haven't seen them. I even sent them a slip 10 times already, but no response.

They even have guards who are crisis Correctional Officers for men who are feeling really depressed, but these are the same guards who most don't trust because of what they do. When counselors are available, a guard, who isn't trained or trusted by the individual to discuss the issue, may not give consent and call the counselor for the patient when asked.

Notice not once did I refer to these men in any kind of criminal or demeaning term. They, like myself, made a mistake, but we are the people of Illinois family and we should be treated like people with rights. When they ridicule us without reason it isn't fair to punish us if we do it back, just because they are officers. Provoking fights and laying your hands on the disabled, when not attacked first, is wrong and illegal. No one has the right, no matter how much power they may have, to lay their hands on someone and then lie about it, especially the disabled.

Just ask yourself - why aren't the guards being arrested?

This is what's occurring to your fathers, nephews, cousins, uncles, brothers, and sons at Dixon Special Treatment Center. The fact is, what is occurring at Dixon STC is wrong.

MIM(Prisons) responds: As we've reported in ULK 15 on Mental Health in prisons, "In imperialist prisons, the ambiguity of diagnosing people as mentally ill becomes very pronounced. Part of the problem is that imprisonment causes mental health problems, so people who may not have had symptoms that would lead to a diagnosis often develop them." Prisons cause health problems, but revolutionary study and organizing is the best option to fight this oppression. Don't give in to the system, work with MIM(Prisons) to organize against the criminal injustice system and fight for the rights of all people.

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[Abuse] [Prison Labor] [Arkansas]
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Psych torture in Arkansas

Here in Arkansas we don't have the types of problems they do in other states. They did years ago. Now it is subtle psychological conditioning (that neither the guards/staff/inmates realize they are a part of).

Most of the units in Arkansas were built by inmates - they received a slightly better living environment for their efforts - only because the inmates on construction created less problems for one another, not even realizing that their efforts were creating problems for many more in the future. Had we not built these warehouses for the state to store us, Arkansas would only be able to house half this many people.

After reading the most recent ULK, I must say that I have been telling these Arkansas inmates we need to quit working for the longest, they do not want to lose Good Time (we don't get paid to work in Arkansas). I've tried to explain that if staff billed inmate jobs we would cause a strain in resources and would cause many non-violent offenders to be released early. It also appears that many are not grasping that the officers also are part of the oppressed peoples. In Arkansas, prisoners are racially balanced and most officers are colored.

I filed suit against the county for not feeding us properly. I have now been transferred to a facility with minimal law resources.

MIM responds: We do not agree that the prison officers are part of the oppressed people. While they may be from the oppressed nations, they are not a part of the oppressed peoples. They have been bought off and are working for the oppressors. They are in one of the professions most overtly working for the imperialist system. This means their interests are no longer aligned with their oppressed nation.

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[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California]
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Punished and unable to appeal

I am writing to let you know about what's happening up in Salinas Valley State Penitentiary here in sunny Cali.

As you all know, we have a budget problem here. All the police are half staffed and close to minimum wage. And pissed. I have recently had a few run ins with the investigation squad (ISU) and always manage to piss em off.

Since then I have been put on a nothing coming status. I cannot seem to get any mail at all. My house gets tossed on a regular basis and they leave everything such a mess it's hard to tell just what they took. Sometimes it takes days to figure out that little things are really gone.

I have recently filed a grievance regarding incoming publications and was reimbursed for two magazine issues. I also wrote the company about the missing issues with the response that four would be resent. This was three months ago. How the hell do they lose four magazines twice?

We have some serious issues with the appeal process here. Sometimes they just don't return our shit so we can't file a repeat appeal to exhaust the grievance process. I recently filed a medical appeal about Hep C and the lady that did the first level interview told me "hey they have it written here on the informal that you were referred to the clinic but I checked your file and there is no record of it." I made sure this lady put that down as her findings. I never received the disposition (the 602). I later tried to file a subsequent appeal. They said "it had already been exhausted." what bullshit!

MIM(Prisons) responds: this story of repression and censorship is all too common in Amerikan prisons. This letter underscores the importance of prisoners who are subscribed to ULK writing to us regularly to tell us what mail you received from us. This helps us to track censorship and then take on coordinated legal battles.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Depriving Sleep to Torture in Texas

I know you folks are interested in illegal activity that prisons allow against prisoners. Here in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in the Administrative Segregation (Ad Seg) sections that I have been to and others that inmates have spoken to me about we have several things being done against prisoners.

The first is sleep deprivation. Every night, either officers or inmates who work for them will talk to you in all kinds of disrespectful ways, mostly in whispers through the venting system or they may use the PA system. It's a form of brain washing I have been keeping a log on. It's way out of control because many officers and inmates are involved.

In cases of baby rapers they force them to have different kinds of sex with other inmates. They will open cell doors to allow this to take place.

Some (most) of the inmates are weak when it comes to being threatened in Ad Seg. I am here for two murders and I am not weak. I backup against their threats. They have been trying their bullshit with me going on 4 years, at two different units. The inmates who illegally work for them help in this with mirrors and cell phone cameras. It is actually a terrorist operation they have set up to make criminals worse instead of better. This makes sure the inmates return, increases the prison population and increasing funding for their jobs.

I have been up for parole six times but due to action taken against me, it created a reaction with me and stopped parole each time. I have had several fist fights and was declared a gang member which I am not. Never have been, except boy scouts! They are threatening to move me to another pod right now for writing this letter, they are reading it as I write with their small high tech cameras that are not supposed to be used by other inmates. They are saying as I write this that no one will believe me because of my mental illness.

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[Abuse] [Georgia]
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Georgia conditions deteriorating

I've seen a lot of changes in the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) over the past 5 years.

It started with the food (menu). In 2006, the GDC made a drastic change in the menu, downsizing the meals and eliminating all salt in the name of health. They even put a memo up saying "this is a healthy change meant to promote health." This lasted a week, before inmates "bucked" causing them to change it back. So these guys (GDC) went back to the think tank to come up with a better way to get over on us. Well, they succeeded. What they did was, instead of changing the menu all at once, they decided to do it little by little. Take boiled eggs out this month, egg salad 3 months later, tuna goes in June, no more soy milk for vegans in August, less chicken next year. They did this to avoid disruption from us. They took a page out of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." Got us acting like the animals walking around saying "didn't we use to have that", "I thought the menu said 'this' one time." To me, this "take a little here" strategy has become one of their favorites.

It doesn't stop there, Georgia inmates, got to be the sorriest group of guys in history. I'm a part of it, sad to say. It's unbelievable how submissive these guys are. They go for anything.

Back in 2006, according to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) laundry was ordained to be washed 6 days per week. Then a drought hit Georgia for a month. So they downsized laundry cleaning to 3 days. That was 4 years ago - so tell me why laundry only goes out 3 days a week still? The drought been over. Hell, there was a flood or two since them. Nobody cares.

In 2008, all the wardens in every prison in GA went down to their dorms to inform inmates that everything on Friday will be shut down and will be considered a part of the weekend. I have no idea how they swung that one by without a riot. No mail on Friday, no lunch, no law library, no medical, no counseling, no programs, etc. Rumor is they will soon be giving inmates in GA 2 meals a day everyday. No uprisings.

Because so many prisoners used adapters to charge cell phones, the GDC banned us from buying them in almost every prison. No protests.

There once was a time when medical visits were free. But then they started charging $5 per visit. Earlier this year they took it a step further and started charging us for the visit and medicine. So if I went there for a cold it would cost me $5 to walk in the door, $5 for the medicine, and another $5 for the nasal spray. We just keep taking it in the ass.

In the last 3 years, 5 prisons (1800 inmates each) shut down. So the GDC, instead of releasing folks, chose to add multiple annex (open dorm) buildings to each prison. When overcrowding still persists they started putting triple bunks in all cell houses. The prison I'm at has 3 men per room in all cell houses bottom range. Top ranges have 2 men. But it won't be long before they triple up every dorm. What this is doing, besides humiliating us, is putting serious strain on the existing facilities, such as medical.

When this prison was built, it had an inmate capacity of 800. Well today you have over 2000. All that has changed has been the amount of inmates. Instead of medical staff having to care for 800 they now have to care for 2000. Same size staff, same size rooms. Nothing was enlarged to compensate for this population boom. The law library has enough computers for 800 men. Today we don't have time to do legal work on the computer because we have 4 computers for 2000 men. Visitation area was designed for 800 men. Today, because of the population, its regular for an officer to come up to you and your family and say "you have to go so others can come in." It wouldn't matter if your folks flew in from France they will force your visitor to leave because they don't have enough space. No riots.

In GA, it costs taxpayers $1.1 billion a year to support this system. Next year the feds will not give the GDC $85 million that they thought they would get. So it will get ugly in Georgia. There's no telling what they might do next. Georgia prisoners will continue to submit. Will continue to go to work (prisoners in GA earn $0 in wages) for free, just to have something to do. Next year, these pigs will be understaffed with this 85 million being withheld. They already are scrambling for ways to earn money. We need to sacrifice all our cares for one month and not work, that would break their back. It would be then that they really realize where the power lies. But that day might not come in GA, cause we are the prisoners with no nuts.

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[Abuse] [National Oppression] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Assaults and Brutality in New York

I must promptly apologize for not writing in a while. These pigs here are opening my letters to you and destroying the contents inside. I've also been helping the brothers (Black and Brown) here at the notorious Clinton max.

Since the new superintendent took over back in April 2010 there's been a slew of assaults by corruption officers on the Black and Brown. Keep in mind this superintendent was once an officer, sgt, capt, and deputy. Back in April a pig broke his nightstick over a brother's shoulder after the individual was laid out on the yard grounds. In May a young Muslim brother who was wearing sweatpants to the yard was assaulted by several dastardly pigs so badly that the brother defecated on himself. Of course you know they charge the prisoner with assault so that they can justify using force that is extremely excessive with impunity.

Also in May an older Mexican brother who doesn't speak much english, nor does he understand it, was told to place his hands on the wall, only the pig motioned with his finger. He didn't understand so he put both hands on top of his head, he was then assaulted. This same brother was assaulted again when he was being escorted back to his cell. He was punched in his ribs and hit by a nightstick in his kidney area along with his wrist being twisted and bruised. This brother is 119 pounds soaking wet. He was also denied food. He's a diabetic and has mental issues and was spitting up blood.

The next day I saw him in the yard and a few Mexican brothers told me what happened and I was furious! As a brother and a member of the Inmate Liaison Committee(ILC) I took the prisoner, who was still spitting up blood, to the COs post and explained his need for medical attention. He did receive medical treatment, and x-rays and reports showed that he had fractured ribs, photos of bruises and a twisted wrist. After I translated a grievance form from Spanish to English about the abuse, he was threatened by more abuse if he didn't "sign off" the grievance. He didn't sign off and because of that he was retaliated on while coming back from commissary. He was picked out of line an put on the wall, while everyone else locked in. He was then handcuffed and a plastic bag was put on his head until he passed out. He woke up in a daze (still shackled) and now wet from the waist down from urinating on himself. The coward ass pig hurled racial slurs at him, and that's when brothers started yelling "leave him the fuck alone!" He left for a so-called hospital trip in June and he hasn't been seen since. I have all of this information first hand from the prisoner.

In May a brother was accosted in E-Block (SHU) by two pigs who jumped on him. There was blood high on the walls. After handcuffing they swing you like a pendulum high against the wall and watch you drop on your face, head, body, etc. There was so much blood that it ended up underneath the E-block door. I personally know the brother who did the clean up and he told me "It looked like something out of CSI."

Two years ago, then Supt Artus issued a memo after numerous complaints by ILC and individuals throughout the population. He issued one on "use of force" and another on "professional demeanor." These memos have been and continue to be blatantly disregarded just like many complaints and grievances. The administration speaks with the same rhetoric "staff abuse will not be tolerated" but as you can see nothing has changed. The roughshod is becoming more and more like the practices at Gitmo!

Today, while in the yard, there was friction between the Muslims and the LOs. Yesterday got real ugly between the two, resulting in brothers being scared for their lives. As they met in the center of the yard, the pigs were well prepared with rifles in hand and nightsticks. As they recorded the yard I could see it in their eyes that they were anticipating "tribalism." Many brothers couldn't see what was about to take place. Although the beef was squashed (thanks to the Muslim brothers), I just can't see how we don't recognize who our true enemy is!

In hindsight, almost 40 years ago when troopers entered into the notorious Attica prison on a "murderous rampage" killing 29 prisoners and 10 of their own, they also used "dum dum" bullets which explode on impact. I'm forgetting to mention it was against Geneva codes back then as it is now. There's also footage that shows caucasians (COs) yelling "white power" after the gunshots rang out. Even now, almost 40 years later, a plaque still remains in front of Attica honoring the co-called bravery of the 10 pigs who they killed. Autopsy showed they died from ground shot wounds. It doesn't show any type of condolences for us prisoners who were murdered. This shows that 1) These pigs will not only kill the Black and Brown with impunity but also kill their own and call it bravery, friendly fire, etc. 2) I personally feel that there should be only 2 gangs: us and them!

In conclusion, prisons are the Alma Mater of terrorism with quasi-torture tactics! Think about it, how else can a small group of people (COs) maintain and rule a much greater number of people (prisoners)? Stop reading this article and actually think about that. The most concise answer is by "terror"! We are all victims of the Amerikan social order. Violence is an Amerikan tradition, it's citizens thrive off it, and are addicted to it and enchanted by it. We have been so desensitized that we fall victim so easily to Willie Lynch syndrome, this modern day even. Bottom line is we need more solidarity between the Black and Brown!" It seems that my efforts are becoming useless due to the hostility I get when I confront my brothers involved in these Lumpen Organizations. The leaders especially insist on dismissing me as "stuck in the 60s mentality." So now the mentality of the masses is "thuggery" and "gangsterism."


MIM(Prisons) adds: Too many people are brainwashed by BET and XXL into thinking self-hatred and individualism is something new and trendy. We join this prisoner in calling for a United Front for Peace of all Lumpen Organizations active in prison and on the streets. We are currently drafting a statement of unity for this United Front and will look to leading LOs to sign and propagate it behind bars. Write to us to get involved in this project.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Filthy Prisons/Filthy System in Texas

I want to lace some of you up about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutional Division (TDCJ-CID), just in case you ever get the itch to come to Texas. It is a great state but the courts are kangaroo, the Texas court of criminal appeals ignores pro-se (pro-per) filings and TDCJ-CID treats prisoners (now called offenders for effect) exactly like barn yard animals. This prison system is so oppressive that they recently took away our pillows. The following is a list of oppressions that Texas inflicts on prisoners:

You can not purchase anything from an outside vendor. There are no care packages, and no conjugal visits, and you can not purchase your own television. TVs are in the extremely loud and noisy dayroom where everyone argues and/or fights over programs which is usually Jerry Springer, soap operas, or basketball. The Texas prison units are not air conditioned, and the old brick units and some (most) of the sheet metal units are cockroach and mice infected, filthy pigsties. The unit I'm on routinely had black mold on the kitchen and shower walls. Speaking of kitchens, prisoners clean and make all the food - 90% of Texas prisoners take no pride in anything they do - they do not wash their hands.

This prison system is one nasty filthy place. Every summer there are many staph infection outbreaks. Some even have the resistant type called M.R.I.S., and we just got over a Norovirus. Showers are at 6am so you go to bed after 90-100 degree weather sweating. Clean clothes are given only Monday thru Friday. If you went to a hospital environment on Friday (chain leaves at 3am, you get back at 9pm/10pm), you are contaminated with bacteria and/or viruses, etc... but you still get no shower or clean clothes until Monday, Tuesday if the Monday is a holiday. Waiting on transfer transportation, you must leave your coat in the main building and walk to the back gate, pouring rain and/or freezing cold, it does not matter. If there is a shack, it will not be heated. Guards have thick fur lined coats and sit in a hot brick shack sipping hot coffee while grinning. In the dorms in the summer, it is so hot that the fans run 24/7 for almost 5 months. These fans are industrial barrel fans. They are so loud that if you close your eyes you can imagine being on an old propeller airplane - 24/7 for 5 months! This has to be causing ear damage. Complaints to any state or county agency (health department, etc) are diverted, ignored, or just sent back to prison officials identifying you/me as the whistle blower.

Parole? Forget about it. The records and classification department of the prison system scans the prisoner file when you first get here, evaluates your sentence and any and all allegations by anyone, and then codes your file to tell the parole board not to seriously consider you/me for parole until the "coded amount of years" has been completed. It may be the entire sentence. Getting a "serve-all" is commonplace, and get a "serve all via 1 yr, 2 yr or 3 yr, continuous denials" is also common place even for model prisoners who has completed all individual treatment programming and has full family support. Interstate compact transfers and paroles are rare. Prison staff are "guards" not trained peace officers like California. Most TDCJ-CID guards are off the welfare roll, Nigerians who barely speak English, wanna be police officers who fail the psych exam, and huge ego power trippers who get their rocks off making life as miserable for inmates as possible. And then you have actual gang members - bandana flying gang members. As a lung and bronchial tube cancer patient the prison and medical system deliberately tried to let the cancer kill me - waiting for 1 1/2 years to even get me to a hospital, and 3 years to start actual treatment.

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. And in Texas there are no pro-bono attorneys to speak of. The ACLU of Texas provides no help for Texas prisoners unless it will generate news media coverage, I am assuming to get more donations.

If you come to Texas, remember that its a good 'ol boy state and the highway signs that say "don't mess with Texas" is not talking about littering, as advertised. On a final note, the Texas government code has a section that states that no state, county, or city government has to answer any correspondence from anyone "incarcerated" (convicted or not).

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 14]
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Abuse in High Desert hits mainstream, ban lifted

In May 2010, the Sacramento Bee published a series of articles detailing abuses of prisoners in long-term isolation in several CDCR prisons, including at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). (1, 2) On 10 May 2010 they reported on the American Friends Service Committee's attempt to have the brutality claims brought against High Desert investigated by the state Senate, in hopes that an official investigation would lead to restrictions on the use of long-term isolation. (3) We commend the Sacramento Bee for bringing such an important issue to their mainstream audience. (Although judging from the comments left on the article at sacbee.com you would think members of the CCPOA are the only people who read it.)

These articles by the Sacramento Bee reconfirm much of the information published in Under Lock & Key and on www.prisoncensorship.info since January 2008 that staff at HDSP commit a long list of atrocities against prisoners to manipulate them into submission, or for just plain fun. These abuses include, but are not limited to: tampering with mail, privileges, food, and medical care; calling prisoners racist names; tampering with/discarding/ignoring grievances; and the sweeping use of excessive physical force and sexual coercion. (4-6) Recently we received reports of a racist, oppressive lockdown of so-called "northern Hispanics", which further proves that these injustices are still going on today.

As an outside organization sending literature to prisoners inside, the form of repression MIM(Prisons) is most familiar with at HDSP is their strong commitment to keep prisoners isolated by using arbitrary, outdated, and illegal censorship practices. They have consistently returned mail to us unopened. When asked for an explanation, they cited an outdated ban that was overturned in a settlement between Prison Legal News and CDCR in April 2007.

In a letter from HDSP Warden Mike D. McDonald dated April 23, 2010, he uses poor writing skills to ambiguously admit that there is no ban on MIM literature, while still maintaining that all mail from "MIM Publishers" is a threat to security.

"High Desert State Prison has been receiving MIM Publications [sic] from your company which contains information that could pose a threat to the safety of staff and inmates. This publication is in violation of California Code of Regulations (CCR) Title 15 and the Department Operations Manual (DOM).

". . . All MIM publications that are sent to this institution will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis. If it is found that a publication has violated our policies it will be disallowed and the inmate will receive a CDCR-1819 Notification of Disapproval."

Even though Warden McDonald avoided answering the direct question laid out in the letter he is responding to ("Why was MIM Theory 8: Revolutionary Nationalism returned to us with 'Disallowed Item' stamped on the envelope and no further explanation?"), it is still a step in the right direction for him to allege that lit from MIM(Prisons) will be reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis in the future.

Thanks to the articles in the Sacramento Bee, public pressure on the administration at HDSP is at a high point. We look forward to hearing from prisoners in HDSP regarding their receipt of ULK 14, or those promised 1819s!

notes:
(1) Piller, Charles. "Guards accused of cruelty, racism" Sacramento Bee. May 9, 2010.
(2) Piller, Charles. "California prison behavior units aim to control troublesome inmates" Sacramento Bee. May 10, 2010.
(3) Piller, Charles. "Advocates call for probe of prison abuse allegations" Sacramento Bee. May 20, 2010.
(4) "Response to psycho-sexual warfare article" by a CA prisoner. Published in ULK issue 6.
(5) "High Desert, CA Control Units" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info
]www.prisoncensorship.info
(6) "High Desert bans MIM, falsifies reports on prisoners" by a CA prisoner. Published at [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info

]www.prisoncensorship.info

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