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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [New York] [ULK Issue 13]
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Ra'd Lives On in Our Struggle

Thanks to those who continue to pass us information on what happened to Amare "Ra'd" Selton, as well as the many words of condolence. Though it is hard for us to say anything conclusive on what took place last September when he died in Attica, it has become more evident that the DOCS was ultimately behind what happened. As our comrade explains below, there is a constant struggle for many between staying alive to struggle and staying sane under extreme repression. For more on this topic read Prisoner driven to suicide.

To learn from Ra'd's sacrifice is to study strategy, and how to be effective in organizing for justice. As materialists, we also recognize that winnable battles are not always in the cards. Sometimes there is no question of whether we can win, only a question of whether we struggle or not before we lose. In such cases, our strategy must center on making these losses serve as examples to inspire and to expose. Ra'd continues to inspire those who knew him.

A New York prisoner writes:


I am writing to inform you and my comrades of the death of my mentor Amare "Ra'd" Selton. May Allah bless his soul. … Ra'd was my boy, he's who a person with nothing would always look up to. Ra'd would embrace anybody who was struggling. Ra'd would pick anybody up who was down. If Ra'd saw another prisoner being assaulted by a police officer he'd help out any way he could. Ra'd was a good brother, may Allah be with him.

Rest in Peacefulness, hold your head Ra'd!

A second New York prisoner writes:


I was in SHU with Amare back in 2003. He is a true rebel with a cause! May he rest in power! He was never the suicidal type, he was a warrior, a freedom fighter and he had 25 to Life, so he sought freedom by all means, even death.

I had hours to build with him and he always expressed his Muslim theory and stance against imperialism and white supremacy, which coincides with his murder, which I know was done by the pigs! He was a threat, that's why they isolated him in SHU for long, extended periods of time.

I met him and automatically connected with him because he has a passion to resist oppression and police brutality. So to know he got murdered by these pigs really was heart-wrenching. The pigs get away with it like they do when the pigs in the street shoot an unarmed Black or Brown brother/sister; it becomes justifiable homicide! This cannot continue to happen without some type of organized resistance. One cannot talk non-violent or peaceful resolutions with those sadistic pigs because they don't respect it. To be honest, I don't want to die in prison, I'm more worthwhile on the streets organizing, but there's only so much I can endure in this hell hole. I'm not reactionary, but we must demand our respect by any means!

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 14]
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CO undermines hunger strike, causes death

On March 6, James McKinney died at Potosi Correctional Center. In the Washington County paper it said natural causes (heart attack). Now for the real story. James McKinney was in solitary confinement with me. So I'm giving you a first person account of the events that I believe led to this man's death. In early or mid-February McKinney was assigned to cell 2C-20 for a minor infraction. His first couple of days there he ran afoul of COI Shannon Clubbs (as many prisoners do). COI Clubbs harassed and verbally abused McKinney daily. In protest of this ill treatment James McKinney declared a hunger strike. He also sent a letter of protest to Senator Robin Wright-Jones.

When you have missed a certain amount of meals, you are automatically referred to medical personnel for a physical. Two times when he was approaching this certain amount of missed meals COI Clubbs opened McKinney's food port and threw a noon-time meal in his cell. He then logged as if McKinney accepted a meal, effectively rescinding the food strike. The second time Clubbs did this McKinney screamed on the walk that Clubbs was setting him up, Clubbs was laughing and taunting him the whole time. To add insult to injury, he also gave McKinney a conduct violation for accepting a food tray and then not returning it when the meal was over. This is a common and favorite tactic of confinement COIs. We (all the prisoners) did kick and holler for assistance from other COIs to no avail, so when McKinney finally saw medical, he was in worse shape than they thought, because he had missed triple the meals as the files indicated because of Clubbs manipulating the files, but no one would listen to him or us. He wrote a letter to Senator Robin Wright-Jones explaining the harassment by PCC staff in general and COI Clubbs in particular. I'm not sure how long it was, but it was well past 2 weeks, maybe 3 before he was convinced to eat, the first couple of days in March early in the morning he was complaining about chest and he went to medical as a self-declared patient - 3 or 4 days later he was dead.

I'm not a doctor and I don't know anything about his health or lack of health, but he wasn't overweight, looked to be in good shape, a quiet respectful brother. I asked him a couple of times if he was cool and he said he had things under control. I tried to rally everyone to form a peaceful protest, but these passive-assed conformed-as-slaves won't put up any type of resistance. My focus is COI Clubbs. Me and a couple of comrades wrote letters to Senator Robin Wright-Jones, State Rep Linda Fischer, Lisa Jones of constituent services. I have several copies of complaints on COI Clubbs in the last 6 or 7 months, about his abuse, harassment.

I just don't know what to do next. I am not afraid of them so educate me and tool me up and I'll stay on their asses here. Several convicts have won suits against them over the years. They pay but never change their repressive policies.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this article to continue our discussion about which strategies and tactics are available and useful to us in our struggles to end oppression worldwide. We need to analyze our options with a realistic and material perspective, and with that we need to measure their limitations. One lesson we can learn from this prisoner's tragic death is that hunger strikes by individuals are vulnerable to manipulation by COs and administration. As we explained to another comrade in ULK 13, a protest needs to be well-planned and considered from all angles. The more we can learn about the limitations of our tactics, the better equipped we will be to use them effectively.

Another error we would point out is the assertion that COI Clubbs is a problem separate from the repression of the imperialist system. We think it is important to bring attention to this abuse, and to name names for accountability's sake. But focusing all energy on getting COI Clubbs fired doesn't impact imperialism in general. In fact, it does the opposite by reinforcing the idea that the system is good; that the problem is just a few "bad apples" who can be dealt with on an individual level. In our agitational work, it is important to be clear about what the true problem is and the correct strategy to address that problem.

The fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of prison staff with similar accusations against them demonstrate that firing one guard does not usually improve the conditions of prisoners at a particular facility. In other words, getting Clubbs fired doesn't ensure that the next guy that goes on hunger strike won't face the same fate. However, developing strategy among prisoners who are facing these conditions and building outside support will help avoid such tragedies and make comrades' lives last longer and be more effective in their resistance.

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[Abuse] [Connecticut]
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8th call to assist

On December 22, 2009 a guard was assaulted, and I am accused. I was attacked by a hoard of guards. If you have ever seen a bunch of wild animals during a feeding frenzy that is exactly how they acted. I was taken to the floor, there were 13 to 17 guards on top of me. This one supervisor named Germond sprayed me directly at point blank range with a long blast of chemical agent (pepper spray - mace) the powerful chemical effectively took all of my air and went up my nasal passage, of my frontal lobe, he then shook the can and saturated my face with another longer blast, all over my face. The chemical becomes very hot once it touched your skin, burning ever hotter, the more air it is exposed to.

A Guantanamo type mask was placed over my entire head, effectively cutting off my ability to breath even further, coupled with the fact that I had over 1200 pounds on top of me. I could not expand my diaphragm and I was on the verge of blacking out. Actually suffocation via asphyxiation. I was fortunate that I had my arms to the front, and with every ounce of my strength I was able to turn enough to get some air. This one guard was violently punching me in the jaw, another one was drop kneeing me (standing up and dropping down on me with his knee). There was someone trying to hurt, if not break my legs, while yet another one was trying to break my fingers, I had to make a fist to prevent this.

They finally put leg irons and handcuffs on me, the leg irons were so tight I was unable to walk. I was suppose to be put under cold water to decontaminate me. Instead they put me under hot water, which caused excruciating pain as the chemicals got into my pores. And this was done on purpose just to cause me pain. Due to the leg irons being so tight I was unable to walk, so they dragged me down this quarter mile long hallway. I was put in this dirty filthy cell, in all the years of doing time I have never been in a cell that was a foul as this one was, it smelled like the den of a wild beast, there was dried blood, urine and spit on the floor and walls. The toilet had crud on the outside, and about an inch on the inside. I was chained to a bed, 4 pointed. They have managed to transform the use of this therapeutic, mental health procedure, to a form of punishment and torture, and it was amplified in my case by chaining one of my arms up and down which is reported to cause pain, and did cause me pain. And such practice is in violation of the DOC's own policy.

As they were putting the chains on me, these two sad excuses for human beings, named Sisk and Thomas were putting their feet on the edge of the bed to gain leverage, so they could pull the chains as tight as physically possible, to assure I would be in maximum pain. They applied so much pressure, they hyper-extended my collar bone, which remains painful and swollen. I was 4 pointed over night, and it was probably the longest night of my life. Every second in pain and being burned by the chemicals on your face. I was denied water by Lt. Germond, as though this was not enough, my cloths were ripped and cut off of me until I was totally naked, the cell was colder than a refrigerator. A useless cotton porous blanket was put over top of me, but my feet were only inches away from the back wall, which was like a block of ice, you could feel the cold radiating from the wall as much as a foot away. I was truly afraid that my feet would become frostbitten. I was unable to sleep the entire 12 hours I was chained.

Once they removed me from the stationary chaining, I was 3 pointed, placed in handcuffs, leg irons and a tether chain which connected the hands to the feet. And the tether chain was short chained, another illegal procedure applied to keep you bent over, unable to stand erect, and causes pain in your lower back. I was left like this for 4 days. The floor was dirty and made of concrete, and I had no socks or shoes. The toilet could only be flushed from the outside, and in 9 days it was only flushed 4 times. The first couple of days I was not fed at all, it was not until an internal affairs officer came did they start feeding me. (This guard named St. John led the charge not to feed me.) Soon after they started feeding me, the guards started urinating and spitting in my food, so I did not eat anything but drink the milk and juice for the next nine days.

Immediately after the incident every Tom, Dick and Harry was writing false disciplinary reports on me. The purpose was to keep me without my radio. That is how their sick twisted minds work as they try to break me. I am also without my property, and they are keeping me isolated. But you may rest assured, I actually see it as a badge of honor. I was moved after 9 days to what amounted to the Ku Klux Klan's den, run by the Grand Dragon, Captain Chaill. As the head goes, so goes the body. They have been, and continue to subject me to all kinds of unsavory and discriminatory treatment, not giving me my out of cell exercise, forcing me to go out in inclement weather without being adequately dressed, coming up with all kinds of arbitrary and capricious rules that only apply to me. Once in that unit they started urinating in my coffee. I prepared some samples of the coffee and sent them to the state police, governor, commissioner, warden and the Grand Dragon, to be tested for DNA. The Grand Dragon came to my cell with a larger contingent of guards and put me back into the same filthy type cell in isolation. The charge was using the mail to send my sample. He lied and said that I purported it to be a sample of my urine sent in retaliation. These cells are supposed to be used to control someone being violent. He used it solely as punishment and retaliation. (I was kept in chains again for 3 days, the same filthy, dirty, cold cells. In order to sustain his lie, the Grand Dragon discarded my written description of what I was sending, he further ripped the top off the document in order to hide what had been written, and then as a final move threw away the actual evidence and took instead a very bad black and white photo. And even after i presented all of that to the D.R. board they still found me guilty, in triple fashion of a kangaroo court.)

They have destroyed all of my legal cases by mixing all of my documents together. It would take a team of forensic scientists or a team of archaeologists to get them back in order again, I'm not even going to try. I am just going to allow the cases to expire and file a lawsuit. In closing my motto is: that which does not kill me only tends to make me stronger.

Please write to:

Governor Jode Rell
State Capitol Building
Hartford, CT 06106

Commissioner of Corrections
24 Wolcott Hill Rd
Wethersfield, CT 06109

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[Abuse] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California]
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Rotten Food in CA = Hunger Strike

Revolutionary Greetings to all those who struggle to remove the infestation of capitalism-imperialism from it existence on our mother Earth. From one humyn to all humyns, power to humynity...

Kern Valley State Prison has been forcing prisoners in ASUII (and who knows where else) to consume spoiled milk, rotten meat, rotten fruit, moldy bread and small rations. I've filed multiple 602 appeals (class action), but have only had them screed out by the Appeals Coordinator.

The staff say the conditions are due to [Governor] Arnold's budget crisis. But I ask, what is the price that you put on humyn life? Because after this is all said and done my family might need one.

I have begun on the day of 2/27/2010 (Saturday) not accepting any of the food that they claim to offer - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I don't eat or drink anything!!! Because the food they are serving is bad.

I will continue this until we receive humyn justice and are fed like humyn beings.

MIM(Prisons) adds: As Under Lock & Key 13 goes to print we have not heard from this comrade since they began their hunger strike. We hope they are well, and hope to hear from them, or anyone else at Killer Kern soon with an update. As we expected, among the privileged citizens of the united $tates, it is the oppressed nations and the lumpen who increasingly feel the crunch of economic crisis in terms of real life necessities.

Hunger strikes are a tactical approach to protest that can get attention with only a few participants, but it relies on the party being protested actually being concerned about your life. They don't need to subjectively care about you, but they must feel some pressure to prevent you from dying for their own interest.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [California] [ULK Issue 13]
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Call for unity against CO violence

When I first came in to the CDC, a guard's job was simple: unlock us in the morning so we can function and lock us up at night. The rest was living simple and every once in a while someone would get stabbed or jumped, but the violence ratio was 10 times lower 25 years ago. But now times have changed. For example, a few weeks ago, a prisoner was being yelled at by 2 corrections officers. As the non-English-speaking prisoner was sitting on the bench, trying to understand what they were saying (they wanted to know his name), without any cause or reason, the 2 COs started spraying him with large canister sprayers of pepper spray, soaking his entire body, and then started beating him with little telescopic-like batons with a lead ball on the tip (very painful). Afterward, he was kicked while he was lying on the ground, and placed in handcuffs and escorted to a vertical coffin-like holding cage. I stood at my cell window and observed this, among many other incidents.

When I was in Salinas Valley, housing unit number 5 (also known as "the dirty nickel"), the COs would yell racial slurs, profanity, and anything disrespectful towards the prisoners over the intercom. When I was there I counted 115 acts of violence against prisoners by COs and on one occasion I observed a CO tell one prisoner to assault another prisoner or he would tear up his cell. The prisoner complied out of fear of reprisal.

I am writing this to educate you and hopefully many others of the mistreatment and abuse of the COs, currently named the "Green Wall" due to the fact that all of the correctional officers wear green uniforms. The main gist of the Green Wall is to keep total control over the prisoners by encouraging them to maintain violence and animosities with each other. The Green Wall will use any and all tactics to maintain that control. Sometimes a prisoner may try to stand up for what is right, but no one will join him or support his cause because the majority of prisoners are in constant fear of getting property (photos of family) torn, damaged or destroyed.

My hopes are for everyone to be on notice. Be vigilant, be aware, and let's stop being entertainment for the Green Wall. Let's start figuring out a way where all the prisoners can come together. The mainline GPs [General Population] are outnumbered by the SNYs 3 to 1 because the GPs are inventing new reasons to attack their fellow brethren and make them run to the SNY (Sensitive Needs Yards). All I'm asking is that all come together and repair and change what the Green Wall has caused. All it takes is that one voice to get it started!

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUI] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 15]
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Intentional deterioration of mental health in Arizona DOC

I am currently being housed in a maximum facility in the Arizona DOC where I've been confined to a one-man prison cell for over seven years in 23 hour a day solitary confinement. I was sentenced to precisely 156 years for taking up arms against a corrupt judicial system. One of my ultimate goals is to help shed some light on the inhumane environment that those of us in prison are subject to live in "generation after generation." Those of us who speak out against capitalist, imperialistic injustice are kept silent and retaliated against in prisons all across the world. We're kept isolated in boxes about the size of dog kennels for years. Rehabilitation only comes in the form of one's personal dedication of adopting a military mindset and achieving what is essential to keeping oneself afloat and not consumed by the burden of being taken for granted as human beings.

It's very common to become invisible in any society designed to desensitize and demoralize the average person, designed to corrupt and eat away at some of the greatest minds. Inevitably, the mental disease surrounding this establishment consumes the vulnerable-minded completely and has its effects on those stronger and competent minds. No amount of love or money can ever replace one's lost time or sanity. Oddly, some of these same people return back into society with no real plan on how to cope or withstand even the smallest pressures. Sadly, I witness people deteriorate on a daily basis while imprisoned, what could have been a short-term prison sentence often ends up a lifetime scar.

I've always resented the idea of one resorting to drugs as a means to emancipate oneself from the difficulties, but as you can see when dealing with the shamefulness of the imperialist system, I really do understand why my equals would rather be intoxicated than face a reality in which we're born into a cycle of destruction. However, one fact that will never change is that drug abuse only hinders and destroys one's personal experience to grow in strength and wisdom. Our ancestors weren't quitters nor cowards. We're skilled, imaginative, intelligent engineers and ultimately we adjust to our problems to overthrow our challenges. Yet we remain students to our own neglect; show us a meaningful purpose to our civilization and we will keenly follow.

In July 2003, I returned to the Arizona Department of Corrections to spend approximately 156 years behind bars for taking up arms against a corrupt Tuscon Police Department in self-defense. I was immediately placed in Arizona's super-maximum facility (SMU-I,(VCU)). SMU-I is a facility that publicly houses "the worst of the worst" special management prisoners. Prisoners are able to obtain some personal items but conditions in SMU-I are very restrictive and inhumane. I was housed in VCU, which is considered isolation within solitary confinement. Ordinarily, prisoners who are held in VCU are labeled disruptive while housed in SMU-I or have accumulated serious disciplinary violations while in prison. Most prisoners in VCU are labeled disruptive for choosing not to conform to the collective ways of the prisoncrats and in return are retaliated against.

One of the many tactics used by our oppressor is to place us in the tortuous shadows of the severely mentally ill to help break a person's spirit. I was placed in this unit upon my initial intake into the penitentiary, never once expecting for my oppressors to provide me due process before being admitted into this unusual world. During this particular part of my life a lot of soul-searching was done and ultimately strength was gained. These teachings have allowed me to fully comprehend my ancestry's mantra of "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." For long periods of time I debated with the idea of suicide. It was at my lowest point in total darkness and hopelessness that my eyes were truly illuminated to the ways of this injustice system. At this point I chose to continue my life, to have life. The nightmares that keep me from advancing forward, I've confronted and compromised with. But as you can imagine, I found myself in a tight spot, being the VCU unit.

I was placed on a gurney while four correctional officers escorted me to my new cell. I was strip searched, placed in extra-tight handcuffs with an additional dog chain that offered my captors an object to manipulate.The officers who were escorting me decided it was essential to assert themselves aggressively. I was pushed face down on the gurney and was advised if I looked sideways or moved even just slightly I'd be pepper-sprayed, tazed and neutralized by the police K9. I knew in the back of my mind this was a familiar tactic embraced internationally by my oppressors so I closed my eyes and kept my mouth shut. It is these types of incidents that inspire me to vigorously overcome fierce adversity. In prison, life goes on but one never gets comfortable with the demeaning environment, the torture, the food poisoning, the searches, the depression, the yells, and the screams. It is what brainwashes us into what we are.

I was wrongfully convicted by a judicial system that clearly favors the police, the state's prosecutor, and biased, corrupt judges. My best friend, my little brother and myself are all sentenced to die in an institution that shows no compassion. This is the same institution that as a child you become so dreadful of as you watch your father travel through the same system. Just when I thought my childhood couldn't become any more tragic, reality set in. The temperatures in solitary confinement have a strong tendency of remaining freezing cold; my captors figure if we stay under our blankets all day, wishing upon falling stars, the odds of becoming productive prisoners will diminish. I say productive in the sense that we as prisoners should take up the obligation of combating what is inhumane within the injustice system. This becomes a lifetime struggle while imprisoned. What actually appears to be meaningless, in the long haul is actually morally fulfilling. Yet challenging! What we consider to be productive, our captors refer to as "disruptive." In the end all we want is equal opportunity.

Many tactics and well practiced strategies are put up like road blocks. This has given our captors an everlasting advantage. One important method of abuse is the placement system. Our captors have the authority to move prisoners at will. The sycophants usually end up in "Disneyland" while the "disruptive" end up in "Alaska". With this tactic our captors maintain control. The majority of prisoners housed in VCU are seriously mentally ill. Banging on cell doors creates insomnia, the lights stay on all the time, and some prisoners become extremely delusional and schizophrenic. Mental illness has a strong desire to befriend the next prisoner's addiction, as if the air was contaminated with dementia. All different types of crazed thoughts are fabricated in these prisoners' minds, where everyone around you acts suspiciously like an assassin. These types of delusions commonly progress and eventually their pressures become too overbearing to hold inside, forcing these prisoners to act out. Prisoners lose their minds and begin mutilating themselves to ease their mental pain. Suicide is still viewed as cowardly, but some are too overwhelmed to escape its treacherous snares.

The main instigators are often the ones who are employed to implement corrections. They introduce this type of behavior to intensify the mental strain, giving the vulnerable a reason to simply attend to their anger, frustration and pain. Sometimes they even use seduction as a defense mechanism or to infiltrate the lumpen organizations to create conflict. This misconduct usually creates disagreements, cell extractions and the like. I myself have continuously remained in long-term isolation. No effective adjustment programs have ever been offered to us in this Arizona maximum facility, so obviously this type of behavior continues to worsen. The truth is solitary confinement is creating its own demise. Since I have been in isolation, the VCU ward I spoke of has been deemed unconstitutional by the higher courts and has publicly been shut down.

I am grieving the techniques implemented by the Arizona Department of Corrections in regards to long-term isolation without adequate recourse for mental health treatment. It is detrimental to one's comprehensive health and in due time deteriorates one's ability to function as a human. ADOC utilizes a detrimental structure which it abuses in its discretion to maintain order, rather than to address rehabilitation/recidivism concerns. Long-term isolation without adequate and the effective recourse increases the risk for prisoners to develop extensive mental health disorders and physical health problems as well. This also recruits and increases additional mental health cases for those prisoners isolated amongst the severely mentally ill population for long periods of time. ADOC has neglected to provide adequate mental health services in their maximum custody facilities. What this atrocity does to the environment is create a breeding ground for psychosis. ADOC has strongly neglected to conform its system to reduce recidivism and in fact has demonstrated through their actions, a crime against humanity by converting prisoners into mental health patients, consciously capitalizing on prison enterprise by neglecting to provide adequate recourse for their maximum facilities. This makes prisoners worse off than when we initially arrived, creating a more fortified cycle of sociopaths. This is a logical fact and is very inhumane. Without the adequate learning tools this process is going to keep creating insanity.

Also see An Alternative to the SHU
and U.S. Prisons Prove Maddening

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[Abuse] [Dixon Correctional Center] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 13]
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Prisoner driven to suicide

DSU hell

February 1, 2K10 I will start my suicide hunger strike. I am tired of being transferred, regardless of my psych/schizophrenic suicidal bipolar background. I figure at 1-2 months they should consider moving me to a hospital here at Dixon. I figure I will lose my voice at anywhere from 3-4 months. At 5 months I will be completely weak, the only muscles I figure will be able to move are my eyes. I have NO family or relatives, NO one. Besides, I am sure I am ready to go. The Assistant Warden Dirk Deuce and Warden Mrs. Nedra Chandler were informed of my suicide strike on January 4, 2K10. I also notified the court of claims of my plight/demise here. In fact, the courts might be in shock because I told them I am planning to kill myself.

I have nothing to lose or gain. My death is for my own dignity, respect, and love. My sacrifice is in my best interest. The reason for my suicide strike is because it is not likely I will ever have a cellie here or anywhere else. Moving me from one place to another will stop as of this letter. From here until I die, I will control my last months of 2K10. I see death as a good thing for me. People will try to talk me out of it, but this is stupid.

Trying to talk me out of this is futile or useless. I am taking my own life because it is in my best interest. Not only have I had many dreams where I take my own life happily, I feel as though I am going out/leaving with a degree of power and respect. Also I know for a fact that I will leave this year. The only way to keep me alive is to force food and water into my body. I do not want anything or miss anything.

I am sorry I will no longer be around to help MIM(Prisons). I love MIM(Prisons). MIM, I love your newsletters. I do not want to go off talking about the newsletter but I believe this is the best newsletter I ever got. I have received many educational books and theory from MIM(Prisons). I loved the poetry. I never liked poetry before. I love your Spanish network news. I am self-educated, through MIM's help. I am sorry I must leave you and everyone. It is in my best interest.

If these people do not transfer me to building 38 before February 1, 2K10 then it is too late. I will not go back on my word. Feb. 2K10 is me all the way. I hope they do not try to force food and water down my throat; I will resist. They have until the end of January to make a move or else. Please forget me if this is my last letter because I will not be in my right mind.

I love and respect all of my MIM brothers and sisters. But most of all I love myself, even though I will take my own life.

MIM(Prisons) Responds: We received your letter from earlier this month about your planned suicide hunger strike. We hope you are still with it enough to read this letter, and are willing to hear us out. We are not blind or numb to the horrible, tortuous effects of the imperialist injustice system, and we understand that there are endless reasons why someone could be driven to suicide. This is especially true if you are trapped inside the belly of the beast, in one of the cruelest manifestation of capitalism, inside of a u.$. prison.

We are not writing to tell you that you're exaggerating your despair, or that you shouldn't kill yourself because of some mystical reason like "sin." We are writing to remind you that your life is very valuable to the struggle to stop the same exact cruelties that have led you to this decision. We encourage you to become more involved in revolutionary struggle instead of suicide.

With this letter we have sent you an article from MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Imperialism entitled "Disavowing Suicide: Testimonial of a Woman Revolutionary." Her life experience may be somewhat different from yours, but her ability to turn her life into something useful for liberation and revolution is the same.

On page 41 of the article the author writes, "I remembered the Sartre quote in which he says that if you are not working on behalf of the oppressed, you are accomplice to their oppression." I think this quote is significant because it shows the political character of suicide. You wrote that you need to kill yourself to maintain some dignity and respect, but we would argue that you are just holding your life to bourgeois standards that aren't useful to stopping oppression. By proletarian standards, to truly have a life (or death) that maintains dignity and respect, one would have to devote their life to revolutionary struggle and the liberation of the oppressed. For someone like yourself, who supports the struggle against all forms of oppression, to remove your life as a resource from this world is to work in favor of the oppressors. You are helping the same oppressors you are trying to get away from with this hunger strike!

In your letter you wrote that you enjoyed the poetry on the pages of Under Lock & Key. This experience might be a good subject to write poetry about. Maybe you would like to write poetry for us? I sent you a poetry guide with this letter which will get you more of an idea of what we look for in poems.

note: Also see "Losing Battles," MIM Theory 5: Diet for a Small Red Planet, p.51. As Huey Newton said, there is Revolutionary Suicide and Reactionary Suicide. Most revolutionaries in the First World are suicidal to some degree in that they reject safety and security in favor of fighting for justice.

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Cambria County Prison] [Pennsylvania]
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Cold and Torture in PA Prisons

It's January 15 and the vicious hatemongers who operate this facility have again flipped the heating system off, changing it to cooling. On Christmas Eve over a foot of white hit up here. This is an apex mountainous zone of the Pennsylvania Appalachian territory. A day after Christmas, there was a freezing hail storm that locked in the foot-plus of white x-mas at peak altitude.

On December 23 I was nestled in warmth underneath a wool/poly blend county-issued blanket with my head tucked under and my knees towards my chest like I was back up in the womb, when I heard someone with a walkie outside near my cell comment on the nice, humane and cozy warmth on the cell walkway. At that time I thought little of it while relishing the civil humanity of heating in a prison's segregation unit in winter. But later that night, with the peculiar uneasiness about the temperature in my cell gradually, steadily, going down, I put my hand to the vent and became stupefied with anger. This morning there was a similar occurrence as the morning of December 23.

Several times this morning I argued with that same correctional officer (CO) in response to him making statements in front of my cell as to the warmth of the unit. My point was, plain and simple, "It's cold outside. It's supposed to be warm inside!" Yet, the CO played it down as some deranged joke saying that it wasn't nothing for me and if I was out the cell running around the unit working I would be complaining about it being "warm" too. (I have been on 24 hour lockdown for the past 7 years and for the past 11 days I have been on what's known as "Butt-Naked". [I'll get to the Butt-Naked thing in a minute; please keep reading]).

See, on December 23 the regular maintenance faculty went on vacation for the holidays. They didn't return until January 4: the first normal working day of this new year. Now this time, the regular maintenance faculty is off for their normal Saturday and Sunday, plus, Monday too, as this is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Monday is the celebration of Reverand Martin's birthday in honor of his civil rights accomplishments, leadership and examples of peacefulness and righteousness.

It pains me to think that these hatemongers who operate this facility would be so viciously cruel as to shut down the heating and pump out air-conditioning in the middle of the winter, on a keep-lock segregation unit in a prison on top of a mountain in the Central region of Pennsylvania to spite Dr. Martin Luther King weekend, blatantly disrespecting the American notion of civil and human rights, mocking, ridiculing, and dishonoring. Yet, I am without doubt to these devil hatmongers' viciously cruel intentions due to the fact that they blasphemed lord Jesus Christ the savior by saying, "I got a Christmas time present this year for them DHU prisoners that they'll never forget: torture!!" and then manifesting their hate for 12 straight days.

On January 3, after hearing every excuse feasible as to why the AC was on blast, and had been continuously on blast for the past 10 days, I proceeded to unload a gallon worth of human feces, which I had been storing in my cell, saving it in half-pint milk cartons since Christmas, just for the occasion. I shitted the entire unit out! There was shit all up and down the walkways, on the stairs, the railings, the walls, high up on the walls, the ceiling, and the officers' chairs and desks. It was shit splatting all over the place dropping at unexpected places outside the cells like bird doodoo. Everybody acted like they couldn't understand why I did it.

The shit was splattered-scattered all over like spots on a dalmatian hound; and, the regular DH inmate workers were crying. After an officer, who must have pulled the shortest straw, came out with a shield, I went ahead and closed the box on my cell door where the shit propelled from. A special work crew came to clean the shit with a hose, a shovel, and later, a ladder. It took them 3 hours to clean it to satisfaction; but, there's still shit gobs on the high ceiling, which have calcified.

Butt-Naked status

There's this special punishment treatment program here at Cambria County Prison (CCP) classified by the administrators of this facility under the official title of "Security Risk" but, amongst the hip staff members and CCP prisoners/jailers, Security Risk is commonly referred to as "Butt-Naked" status (i.e. "they got Baby T on Butt-Naked again.")

During one of my two previous stays here at CCP (from SCI Pittsburgh) while socializing with jailers outside the segregation yard cages, I was informed for the first time of what it was that those jailers called Butt-Naked (i.e. "You better be careful here because these hatemongers are really racist and like putting black men on Butt-Naked and don't give a fuck about none of this civil-human rights shit you be preaching!") A prisoner told me of how after he had "whipped the whole CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] teams asses and broke one of them pussies jaw" he was subdued, beaten by officers, stripped of all his clothing to total nudity, placed in a cell without any bedding or toiletries, left in handcuffs and leg irons and cuffed to the bed, and kept on Butt-Naked for over a month straight. He also told me that once, during the period he was on Butt-Naked for over a month, guards had the audacity to place another butt naked man in the cell with him who had just been put on butt-naked to "overcrowd" the DHU.

On the day I was transferred back to CCP, I witnessed a fellow state transferee be subjected to "Security Risk" Butt-Naked status. This prisoner, who happens to be transgendered, told me that officers beat her while in the jail's intake area after 3 p.m. due to her complaints of being tired and wanting to get to a cell with a mattress to rest. They dragged and carried her from the intake to the DHU in chains and then taser gunned her and beat her more after they got her into a DHU cell before battering off all her clothing and leaving her in the DHU cell totally nude with no bedding, and no toiletries, beaten, cold and in pain without medical. She also was sexually assaulted by anal digital fondling during the episode.

I got socially acquainted with another prisoner in the DHU. I witnessed his holiday depression in 2009 after an officer pressed him about his family. One second he was speaking calmly with the CO and wisecracking, the next thing I knew he was cussing the officer out and banging on the toilet, bed frame, desk and light fixtures inside his cell without abandon.

He started screaming for the guards to "CERT the fuck up!" and come in his cell so that he may murder at least one of them, or, if they didn't come in his cell to stop him, he was going to slit his wrists and throat and murder himself; because as he put it frankly, "Somebody gonna muthafuck'n die up in this bitch tonight!" He was banging on the fixtures in his cell trying to get some steel loose to make good on his word, one way or another. An officer who had tried to talk reason with him witnessed him making cutting gestures against himself in his cell and called in on walkie-talkie, "he's cutting himself, it looks like it's a razor blade."

The CERT team did eventually appear. Instead of going right in, they doused him with 4 bursts of hot choke burn nerve OC gas for 5-8 minutes while demanding him to surrender his stance and come to the cell door to be handcuffed. He began loudly coughing from the effects of the gas, coughing interspersed with cuss screams of how the guards were cowards for continuing to spray through the door and not entering the cell. When the guards finally opened the door, they ran in on him and had him restrained in 10-20 seconds. I could hear him yelling, "You got me! You got me! Fuck! I'm not resisting! Y'all got me! Get off my fucking head!" And, I could hear the lead guard yelling over and over, "Stop resisting!"

For this he was thrown in the coldest cell on the inhumanely cold unit, inhumanely cold from the heat being turned off and the AC on for the past week, stripped of all his clothing on Butt-Naked/Security Risk. He was placed on suicide watch as well. He remained on Security Risk until January 8, 11 days from his mental health breakdown suicidal/homicidal episode.

There is not very much doubt in my mind that he wouldn't have succumbed to his happy holiday incarcerated suicide, seasonal depression were it not for the viciously cruel devil hatemongers operating this county jail/prison and controlling the conditions of confinement within the facility motifs of physio-psychological torturing and their shutting down the segregation unit's heat and pumping out AC against its captive inhabitants. If it were not for the physio-psychological assault on his senses from the inescapable coldness of the DHU from December 23-27 he would have never succumbed on that Sunday night.

Now, I have myself braved Cambria County Prison's Security Risk special punishment program. I had counted on the hatemongers courting up on me and placing me on Butt-Naked after my having shitted down the whole unit. But they never came for me that night. Then the next morning after the shitting, after I had dosed the officer picking up trash after breakfast with heifer-tit juice, the CERT came (headed by an officer named Kupacella, who threatened to "shoot" me and who was cleared of wrong-doing for bringing his personal gun into the facility and shooting a prisoner to death in 2006) and I was moved to another cell. After I was moved to the Butt-Naked cell the heat came back on.

I just got off Security Risk today. I was on security risk for a total of 16 days. On the 7th day, because I hadn't given back the blanket on time (they give you a blanket and mattress every day for use from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., the hardest time to sleep, and expect you to happily give it back when they come at 1:30-1:45 for it) the CERT team (again headed by Mercenary hate monger CO Kupacella) came back, I was caught off guard by them. I didn't know they were coming until they were right at my door! None of the the prisoners said a word even though they knew that the CERT team was geared up for somebody.

The Lieutenant told me "I'm giving you a direct order to come to the door and cuff up." As soon as I went to the door to cuff as instructed, the Foreman officer of the CERT team (who I recognized visually and by his voice as Kupacella) said "go to the back of the cell" and repeated it 2-3 times. After asking "How am I supposed to cuff up? Do you want me to cuff up or go to the back of the cell?" The Lieutenant didn't respond and the Foreman again said "go to the back of the cell!" Seeing that the box wasn't being opened for me to cuff, I went to the back of the cell. The Foreman screamed "Put your hands up! Drop it! Drop it!" Then called in on the walkie-talkie to open my door. Needless to say I had nothing in my hands. The foreman had the door opened just enough to spray me aiming at my head with high-powered OC nerve gas. After he closed the door back, I took off my eyeglasses and laid on the floor at the front of the cell with my feet at the door and my hands behind my head. I was then beaten by the CERT team, dragged to the shower, and roughed up some more.

I was dragged back into the OC-contaminated cell totally nude. There wasn't even a decontamination attempt made! The officer evacuated all the other 3 cells due to the spraying of the gas, but still put me back on the contaminated cell. (I believe more gas was sprayed in it while I was being roughed up in the shower.) I screamed in agony from the burning effects of the OC. I couldn't open my eyes, because he had got me dead in the face! I continuously splashed my face with water from the sink, but as soon as I'd stop my facial skin would again feel like it was on fire! I couldn't flush my eyes out either. The horrid screams of agony started after I first splashed my body with water, after that it felt like I was in an inferno pit! I would fill a cup to try and get the OC off my body with. I would be on fire for the 15 seconds it took to fill the cup, and after I poured the water on my naked body I would start burning up again in 1-2 seconds. This went on for 2 hours. I eventually gave up on the water and sat down and supplicated to Allah.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This prisoner writes a vivid account of the horrifying conditions in Pennsylvania prisons and the irrational responses that the torture conditions elicit from prisoners, ranging from suicide attempts to aggression to any other form of acting out that they can use to maintain some small amount of control over their lives. Control units are torture, and they are used as a tool of social control in prisons.

We do disagree with this prisoner's statement that carrying out brutality in the prisons over MLK weekend is "blatantly disrespecting the American notion of civil and human rights." The Amerikan notion of humyn rights is the supremacy of the few at the expense of the many. This is the imperialist system. There is only lip service given to humyn rights when it is convenient, for instance protecting the Kurds in Iraq once Amerika no longer finds Saddam Hussein to be a useful ally. But the systematic destruction of basic human rights is commonplace in Amerikan militarism. And we see it daily in the criminal injustice system.


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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Kkklinton breaks in its youngsters

Comrades, once again the Kay Kay Kay of Klinton has struck again. One of young brothers of 19 years of age was literally used to demonstrate Ultimate Fighting Champion moves while none intervened. This occurred on 1/12/2010 here at Clinton Correctional Facility in the Lower F Block. The little brother reports that these devils tried to lynch him by way of strangulation with their hands clasped around his neck.

Years ago, Lower F was the long-term keeplock. Four galleries of cells, 40+ cells a piece, straight dungeon. Then it became transit block. Now in 2010 it's a transit and ASAT housing block.

Basically, the Lower F Block is the orientation program for new lumpen arrivals. It's obvious that corrupt, racist, biased lynch men lurk about preying on the young brothers or elder child-like ones. Some forget how dangerous prison is supposed to be, which is a no-no for the oppressor in Blue/Grey and white.

This report is the latest in a series on brutality at Clinton Correctional Facility. Also see:
Kkklinton Censors Article then Cracks More Skulls
Kkklinton Continues Persecution of New Afrikans
Victim in Clinton Brutality Needs Legal Help

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[Political Repression] [Abuse] [Attica Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 12]
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RIP Amare Selton

Amare Selton Beaten at Auburn Correctional Facility

New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) reports that Mr. Amare Selton (aka Ra'd) #93A3756 died on 9/17/2009. An Eritrean national, Ra'd was an active anti-imperialist who began working with MIM in the mid-1990s.

Comrades of Ra'd have communicated with the DOCS central office in Albany, local Imam's, the statewide Chaplain in New York City and staff at Attica Correctional Facility, including the head counselor. The only information anyone could provide was the date he died. They all claimed to know nothing else and that they could not obtain further information. We print the following testimonies to honor Ra'd - Rest In Power comrade!

A comrade who studied with Ra'd:

Some of our readers will recognize Ra'd as someone who was an active and well-developed participant in our study cell. Contributing to this eulogy reminds me that the first time i remember Ra'd, a Sunni Muslim himself, struggling with MIM(Prisons) was in an extended debate over MIM's eulogy for Saddam Hussein. And as someone who spent over two thirds of his time in various long-term isolation he wrote on mental health units and an article on solitary confinement that was circulated at national conferences addressing the topic.

While the DOCS refuses to release a cause of death, comrades can attest to the fact that he was not suicidal. He found himself placed in mental health units for "anti-social behavior" such as getting into physical altercations with staff.

The enclosed photo is from 2004 following an extended beating of Ra'd by CO's E. Rizzo, M. Woodward, B. Smith and Sgt. T. Mitchell at Auburn Correctional Facility. After facing harassment including having his water shut off and no one responding to his complaints, Ra'd barricaded his door to trigger a cell extraction in hopes of getting the Sergeant's attention. In his affidavit he describes the long series of beatings and abuse he faced as a result. Sgt. T. Mitchell dug his knuckles into his neck saying, "Does it hurt, you nigger, you piece of shit...does it hurt now, stinkin' nigger...you fuckin' nigger..."

A fellow prisoner at Attica wrote after Ra'd's death:

The article in Under Lock & Key on censorship is an accurate description of what is going on at Attica Correctional Facility. They stop our mail from reaching certain destinations.

I recently wrote two complaints on officers in Attica. One was for an officer literally threatening me that if i was in general population i'd be going home in a body bag.

And the second complaint was regarding an officer who was serving my Kosher meal and while i was at my cell door for my hot water, he purposely tipped the cup over scalding my left hand and my private parts. This officer smiled the whole time at me. Attica is the most racist and dangerous prison in New York State. Everyday we are subjected to assaults by staff.

Now there is a new corruption going on in Attica by a lot of correctional staff. When any prisoner is brought to special housing, which used to be known as solitary confinement, all their stamps, cigarettes and even porno books are being stolen and given to snitches and ass kissers. This is done so that the stamps and pornos can be exchanged for cigarettes. Cigarettes cost almost $10.00 in New York State and you have officers robbing us to support their tobacco habits.

When you drop complaints, officers come to your cell threatening you with physical violence if you don't sign off on your complaint.

Society labels us with the tag of criminals, and for many of us we deserve such a tag. But i have come to know that some of the worst criminals in the Department of Correctional Services are working for it.

A close comrade who lived alongside Ra'd in recent years:

O Allah, receive our brother and comrade Ra'd with open arms for he aspired to be a martyr. O martyrs receive your brother (Ra'd) for he is one of our beloved. O prophets smile at him and give him some sweet foods and drink and most of all receive us when our turn comes. Hopefully, as we fight back unshackled, uncuffed.

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