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.