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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 5]
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Brutality in Lockdown and No Grievances

This modern day plantation I'm in just came off a week long lockdown due to brothers acting some damn fools [Afrikan on Afrikan]. In that incident a few pigs got injured (so they say), it's funny how they claim to be injured when they was the ones swinging those sticks. In any event, the plantation was shut down then the nonsense started. Very, very small portions of food was given out, not to mention the already small portion that's given. Everyone's cell was tossed-up (they call it legal cell searches), which is crap because what does the entire population have to do with a 14 man (pigs included) incident?

During the cell toss-up these pigs just went along hand-picking brothers in their boxer shorts and handcuffed, taking advantage of them. The roughshod began and it ran for 3 and a half days of plastic buckets over the heads of brothers then striking the bucket with their sticks. They knocked the tooth out of one brother when he asked "why was they kicking his radio around."

These and many other racist tactics was done as a modern day paradigm for the Willie Lynch Theory! I say that because out of the many that I've spoken to, only a handful wrote out grievances, phoned family members, wrote lawyers, etc. The masses chose not to, in fear of retaliation! Some have open dates, others have parole boards coming up, and others just prayed for them!? That last one really got to me and it's a shame that someone would believe that the very god that they forced upon us can save us! I mean, we loved Martin Luther King Jr., but I respect Malcolm because he never gave a damn about the repercussions! By any means necessary! We must continue to uplift our people and stop waiting for some clown named Obama to bring change.

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[Abuse] [New York]
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Assault for using the bathroom

This is to inform you of the recent incident involving officer Demo at Adirondack Correctional Facility.

On 7/19/2008 at approximately 2:10 am, I was walking down 3C hallway in route to the restroom. At this time officer Demo asked me "where the fuck are you going". I stated "to use the restroom" and Officer Demo said "no go the fuck to bed." I then stated "I take medication an dI really have to go". He said "I don't give a fuck if you piss yourself, go the fuck to be."

There was no need for the officer's unjustifiable harassment, seeing as though I was not causing a disturbance or being disruptive in any manner. I was only trying to use the restroom before I went to bed for the night.

After I used the restroom Officer Demo asked me "give me your ID so I can write your dumb ass up." I then asked for a grievance and asked "why are you harassing me for using the restroom." Officer Demo then approached me in a very aggressive manner. Then he took his right hand and slapped me across the eye and face area, again saying "go the fuck to bed." I then said "call the sergeant, you just assaulted me and I want to file a formal complaint." Officer Demo then told me to turn around and place my hands on the wall. I complied and he then pushed my head into the wall.

Due to an old eye injury I take medication to relieve pressure on my pupil. Officer Demo's physical attack on me further aggravated my injury. Further, once the Sergeant and three other officers arrived in the dorm area Officer Demo gave me an ultimatum status "you leave this alone and go to bed or you can go to the box upstate."

This is not the first time this officer has refused to let prisoners use the restroom facilities causing conflict between him and other prisoners.

As of now I am in grave fear for my safety and well being. For fear of retaliation from officer Demo. Seeing as he is known through out the prison population to bring forth repercussions to prisoner who grieve him.

I would like for Officer Demo to be placed under investigation. I am filing a complaint for assault, battery and harassment.

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[Abuse] [Florida] [ULK Issue 4]
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Inexcusable behavior by guards in Florida

One time I found pieces of gray rocks in my food (kidney beans and white rice). I showed it to the Correctional Officer. He said “you should have swallowed it and died. You have to eat this shit, not me." These are some of the malicious things they do in a nasty environment like this all the time. I receive mail in from the streets from my family and they hold it in the mailroom for several weeks before they bring it to me. They play a lot of mind games to try to make a person lose control.

When a prisoner has a call-out, the correctional officer will say you refused it, and you were not aware you even had one. I went to recreation one day July 10, and I witnessed three COs attack a prisoner who was handcuffed behind his back, punching and kicking him until he fell to the ground. Their intentions were to kill him. No cameras were in sight.

At times here I stand at the door for mealtime and the officers refuse to open the food flap for me to eat, meaning they deprive me of something I’m required to have three times a day. That’s crazy. There’s no excuse for their behavior.

A lot of the prisoners work for the officers, meaning they will write grievances stating other prisoners are getting illegal drugs in the institution. Or they will tell the officer that a prisoner has a knife in his cell. This is the type of foolishness prisoners play against one another on a daily basis. The COs live for the prisoners to combat one another.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This sort of repression is the reality of life in prisons. To fight back against their dirty tactics and pitting of prisoners against each other, comrades behind bars need to unite against the injustice system.

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[Abuse] [California]
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Conditions deteriorate at Kern Valley

What is the deal at Killa Kern Valley State prison here in California? Is it Amerikka's society economic meltdown, or is it CDCR's capitalist truly saying "buck the world, let's get paid". At the moment Kern Valley prisoners are experiencing some major difficulties with obtaining the things we have coming from the state. And it is becoming worse and worse with each day that goes by. They have come up with a new budget cut campaign, and they aren't doing any playing, or half stepping.

Recently they came with a variety of snake tactics that will help them take from us to save funds, and not be seen doing it. It will be done in a manner that would make society respond with a "so what" attitude.

At this point administration has succeeded in limiting the general population's usage of flushing toilets in order to cut back on the prison's consumption of water. They've shortened the amount of toilet tissue from a small roll to an extra small one. Basically they've forced us (two prisoners per cell) to make what was used to last one person whole week, last two people a whole week. Not only can we not sit on the toilet and pass gas freely while the smell is flushed away to the pipes, keeping the scent out of the cell. We have to figure out a way to keep ourselves wiped properly without using up all of the tissue. It's kind of barbaric if you ask me.

The prices of various canteen items are on the rise like gas prices. Top Ramen noodle soups are 25 cents, up from a recent 20 cents, and the price of rice, beans, and peanut butter is up as well. The dinner trays are ridiculously short, sometimes missing a whole part of the meal. And the nutrition sack lunch isn't so nutritious at all. At the moment California prisoners who owe restitution fees are being taxed 55% of whatever funds their hard working families send them. Coffee is up $7.50 from $4.50, and they are planning to boost the restitution fee by 5%. That's more than half of California prisoner's money taken before they've even got the opportunity to shop at the overpriced shopping market.

They've let this yard off lockdown for the moment, but it seems to be something they've done on paper just to cover their asses and the asses of the California senate. Blacks can't get the same working/education opportunities as other races. Nor can the convict population as a whole receive adequate access to the law library (or religion services).

This institution and its officials are foul. It's as if we're truly being physically attacked by the capitalistic forces, and no one of society is taking note.

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[Abuse] [Florida]
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COs refuse to do their jobs

The correctional staff here don't like to perform their jobs. When a prisoner has any type of call-out they will try to bribe the prisoner by offering them cigarettes or anything to do with tobacco products, drugs, etc. It's being done on a monthly and weekly basis. They will try anything to stop a prisoner from receiving what he is required to have. That's plain deceitful. They don't care because all of them do evil things and it's covered up and that's awful.

One morning on June 5, 2008, the officers refused to open the food flap to feed a prisoner. He told the prisoner, I don't care if you never eat - now go kill yourself. One time last year (May 2007) I had a sty on my eyelid so I was told to sign up for sick call. I did. When I went up there to be seen the medical nurse told me there's nothing we can do for you. So it was left untreated and I was charged $4. The whole thing was a waste of my time.

Another thing, I want to address, is when you file a grievance they will deny it even if your point is legit. And then they will try to retaliate by writing you a disciplinary report or putting a knife in the cell while you're on a call-out or at recreation, etc. This is some of the criminal injustice that needs to be exposed. I believe with your support we will see some light at the end of the tunnel.

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[Abuse] [Florida] [ULK Issue 4]
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Brutality in Florida prison

On June 3 I was pulled out of the cell I'm assigned to. I was removed by correctional staff Sergeants Mason, Rivera and Covey. I was handcuffed with leg irons on, helpless. They placed me in the shower. Out of the camera view they beat me and kicked me until I fell out. They tried to kill me. This was a very dangerous incident that took place with me. A lot of outrageous and awful things take place in here and it needs to be exposed. After they attacked me they placed me back in the cell. It looked like a hurricane hit the cell. They took all my personal things.

The correctional staff instigate conflict amongst they prisoners. They will get the prisoners to fight one another. They correctional officers are very capricious, you don't know what move they will make next.

The correctional staff try to discourage all the prisoners from coming out of the cells for showers, shaves, haircuts, etc, things we're required to have. They tell us they will place a knife or drugs in the cells if we leave.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Nevada]
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Ely State Prison: Are Officials the cause for Prison crimes?

Nevada recently passed new "No Smoking" laws, and Ely State Prion (ESP) is using these laws to say that prisoners can't smoke in their cells. Because of this, they now ignore the classification procedure that does not allow smokers and non-smokers to be placed in the same cell. Before the rule that has abolished smoking in the cells was implemented ESP released a memo listing outrageous sanctions that will be imposed on prisoners who refused to accept obvious enemies as cellmates. Due to fear of the sanctions, prisoner refusing cellmates has ceased in large measure.

I've been placed in the hole for staging a protest because they put me in the cell with a smoker. I went to my 1-hour yard and refused to return to my cell until they moved me I was charged with G1: Disobedience of an order of any correctional employee or anyone who has authority to supervise inmates in work or other special assignments; G14: Failure to follow posted rules and regulations; and a MJ28: Organizing, encouraging or participating in a work stoppage or other demonstration or practice. I was sanctioned with five days DD., which means five days in a bare cell It is a psychological attack; an assault on the mind to drive prisoners crazy.

A lot of conflicts between cellmates, many of which result in new criminal cases, are a direct result of negligent classification practices. They are putting Bloods and Crips and other rival gang members in the cell with one another, smoker with non-smokers, etc.

Although they have always put smokers in cells with nonsmokers, now they believe it is legitimate to do so. This new practice once again shifts a heavy burden on prisoners, particularly non-smokers. We all know that a smoker will smoke, and he has a right to do so. Yet, if a non-smoker complains that his cellmate is smoking, then he's snitching! This is exactly what the Senior C/O told me to get me to call off my protest. Since ESP's interpretation of the new laws means that it is illegal to smoke in the cell, then non-smokers are snitching if they complain. The law bans smoking in certain public places and areas, and ESP extends it to inmate cells. I beg to differ. A prisoner's cell is not a public place because he lives there. It is his residence, his home. As such, prisoners have a right to smoke in their cells. Prisoner smokers should maintain this view and protest. ESP is trying to make prisoner smokers sit in their cells for 23-hours a day without smoking. And as EPS prisoners know all too well: there are more 24 hours days than 23 because we don't always get our 1-hour yard.

In order to stop any Uprising and Protest ESP will employ the same tactics they did to get prisoner to stop refusing unwanted cellmates - suppression. Every time a non-smoker complains, the smoker will receive a Notice of Charges (NOC). since no one wants to be labeled a snitch, non-smoking prisoners will stop complaining But, as with so many other conflicting classifications being forced to live with one another, it will manifest as fights and stabbings between cellmates, which will send a new wave of criminal cases to White Pine County Courthouse and fill its calendar.

Why is ESP so content with forcing mixed classifications to live with one another at the very risk of our lives? Instead of being responsible mediators they implement rules and policies that make them systematic instigators of the blood that is shed by ESP prisoners.

Prisoners being beaten and stabbed and catching new cases are the unspoken affects overcrowding is having on us. Because of the overcrowding population, classification is creating rules and policies that relieve them of responsibility so they can put any prisoner anywhere; otherwise, ESP would be gridlocked. However, ESP's whole administration is rigid. There are numerous ways through which they can rectify overcrowding. ESP has 8 units. Units 1-4 are lock-down units, and 5-7 are general population units, but with the exception of few "privileges", units 5-7 are just like the lock-down units. Unit is the only open unit and it is the workers Unit. Simply put, if you are not in Unit 8 you are locked down 23 hours a day.

Caseworkers often tell us that the only way to get transferred is by first going to Unit 8 first. However, since the eligible prisoners from Units 5-7 are trying to get to one Unit, somebody must be left behind. There are too many prisoners trying to get to one Unit. So, discrimination and favoritism ensues. If a prisoner catches a new case while here ESP that puts a five year hold on him, meaning he can not transfer for at least five years, assuming he has five years left on his prison term. If a prisoner has recently arrived and has a life sentence, or more than one life sentence, he must do at least 1-2 years on each life. If you are a Mexican, you are not allowed to go to Unit 8 at all, but must remain locked-up until they decide to transfer you. Some prisoners, like escapees, they say, may never transfer. My list goes on.

The point is that ESP has all these policies, including the acceptance of non-violent, petty theft prisoners into this Maximum Security Prison, to make it seem like they are tough on us. Instead of rearranging how they determine who to accept, what cases to put before the courts, how long prisoners must stay before they are eligible for transfer, etc. They just make up new policies and guidelines and force prisoners to stay with each other, regardless if they are rival enemies, smoker and nonsmokers, etc. Should they abandoned some of the foregoing policies so that the ebb and flow of prisoners through ESP can run more smoothly, it would appear that they are growing soft. So, they neglect classification procedures, throw us in the cell with anybody, and let us kill each other. Then, it appears that we are just being criminals, which the public expects, and they continue to look like the good guys who are tough on crime. Yet, many of the crimes committed at ESP are not due to prisoners willingly engaging in criminal acts, but because of the negligence of a poor administration.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Another senseless death in Texas

Call it senseless, call it tragic, call it what you will, it's death suffered again at the hands of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), in Huntsville, Texas.

You would probably think that I was referring to an execution, considering the infamous Execution Chambers TDCJ operates in Huntsville that has contributed to the death of over 400 humans in the last 30 years. However, this death took place at an area located outside another TDCJ prison called the Wynne Unit, that's located about 10 minutes from the Death Chambers which are at the Walls Unit.

On September 24, 2007, inmates John Ray Falk and Jerry Martin, were escorted out the back gate of the Wynne unit to perform their job assignments as members of the "Hoe Squad." this particular Squad received its name from the gardening tool that's assigned to each inmate as they exit the back gate; it is commonly called a "Hoe". Duties of the Hoe Squad are best described as what most people would probably call a "Chain Gang," except in Texas there's no chains. Each inmate is assigned a garden tool and ushered to an isolated field that typically is located not too far from the prison grounds. Once everyone arrives at the field, the inmates are lined up in several rows and forced to chop grass or turn dirt at the pace of a numbered-paced song, that's normally chanted by a few designated inmates.

Depending on the size of the Hoe Squad you will have 6-10 armed officers mounted on horseback to supervise the working inmates. These officers are known for their Ten-Gallon hats that are exclusively made as part of their TDCJ-issued uniform. No other officers in TDCJ are permitted to wear such a Cowboy hat; only the Field Officers. This is one of the many things that separate the officers assigned to work inside the prison and those who work out in what is called the "fields" with the Hoe Squad. Susan Canfield, age 59, was one of the Field Officers on the Wynne Unit, and was assigned to supervise the Hoe Squad that Falk and Martin were assigned to.

Falk was serving a Life Sentence for a 1986 murder conviction. Martin had just completed his 10th year of a 50-year sentence for two counts of attempted Capital Murder. At 10:10am they decided to overpower Officer Canfield and another officer, and took their weapons. After a brief shootout with some other officers, Martin and Falk fled to a nearby parking lot and stole a Huntsville city truck and ran over Officer Canfield who was trying to stop them while they were making their escape. Shortly afterwards Officer Canfield died.

Death is what the TDC has been known for, mainly because of their brutal and extremely active Execution Chamber. However, many people who have had direct experience with TDCJ know that TDCJ has long maintained a culture of death. The inhumane and barbaric conditions TDCJ prides itself on have contributed to the death of many staff people who have worked for TDCJ as well as people who have been held as prisoners within its system. The TDCJ allows their punitive laws and policies to take precedence over rehabilitation for prisoners and safety for everyone, including their officers.

TDCJ directors have no qualms or reservations about placing their officers in high risk situations in order to obtain their goals of dehumanizing, harassing, and severely punishing all prisoners within their system on a daily basis. They feel as if it is their moral obligation to ensure that every day is a living hell for those who have been found guilty of committing a crime in free society, even at the cost of the safety of their own officers.

This is why Falk and Martin were assigned to work in the Hoe Squad despite their lengthy sentences, and Officer Canfield placed in a very risky position that would ultimately cost her the loss of her life. TDCJ spokeswoman Michelle Lyons has made many reports to the media outlets that alludes to the decision that was made, that permitted Falk and Martin to work outside the prison gates in the fields under supervision, was related to Falk and Martin's clean disciplinary records, and their minimum security classification levels. It is Ms. Lyon's intent to give the general public the impression that being assigned to work outside the prison grounds in the Hoe Squad, is some prestigious award allotted to inmates for good behavior, which is absolutely false and extremely misleading.

As a person who has spent the last decade in the TDCJ, and has been assigned to the Hoe Squad, I can positively assure you that the Hoe Squad is the most dreadful and despised job assignment in TDCJ. Upon entering TDCJ I was assigned to work in the Hoe Squad by the TDCJ Classification Committee. I was told by this committee that it's TDCJ's practice to make all incoming inmates start at the bottom (Hoe Squad) and work their way up to a job in food service or a job as a porter. However, the moment that you received a disciplinary case or rub someone the wrong way after working your way up, you will be instantly sent back to the Hoe Squad. The Hoe Squad is one of the many vehicles TDCJ utilizes as a form of punishment for delinquents and to ensure none of their rules are violated.

No one volunteers to work in the Hoe Squad, it's the most brutal job ever! Mr. Falk, who had been in prison for 21 years, and Mr. Martin, who had been in prison over ten years, were not assigned to the Hoe Squad for being model prisoners, they were assigned to the Hoe Squad as a form of punishment, despite what Ms. Lyons would like the public to believe. As a result, Office Canfield was placed in an unsafe environment that allowed these idiots to kill her.

This is a tragic and senseless death at the hands of the TDCJ. This is their culture. The usage of Hoe Squads has long been suspended in every prison system in the United States, except Texas. What did the TDC official expect out of Falk and Martin? TDCJ is just as much responsible for Officer Canfield's death as Falk and Martin.

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[Abuse] [Pennsylvania]
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Repression in Pennsylvania prisons

The Under Lock and Key (Nov 2007, No 1), MIM Theory 10, and Aug 2006 MIM Notes couldn’t have come at a better time, for at that very moment I was in extreme need to hear from others who agree that merikkka’s system of injustice – when it comes to the universally poor and oppressed – is not only justifiably contemptible, but is yearning for a well placed, organized and strategic foot in their ass.

I read of the fantastic and revolutionary things MIM does in California – especially at the Bryant Street Jail, and High Desert State Pimping where D-facility got together in protest.

I’m definitely for ending the oppression of “all groups over groups” and do not claim to have all the solutions; therefore do not mind being a soldier. Neither do I really care about the method of ending oppression of all groups over groups; only the progressive results. I’m trying to cook up a recipe for change in Pennsylvania, but we need like-minded outside support to help us stir up the pot.

When I received all three above I was at SCI Cresson. I’m now at a security level 5 unit at SCI Houtzdale where in 15 months of disciplinary time I’ll be sent to the super maximum unit at SCI Green County where free-thinking political prisoners – such as myself – have been boldly killed. Green County is Pennsylvania’s Pelican Bay.

On February 1, 2008, while out in the so-called general population I was accosted by twenty white racist in black riot gear after respectfully trying to report to a lie-utenent that one of his officer’s discriminated against my disability, called me a nigger, and made comments with homo-sexual innuendos that I did not approve of. In the process of the riot team trying to extract me from my block so that I could be isolated for further abuse, one claimed that I stabbed him twice, while another claimed I hit him with a blunt object. I’m winning in the courts, about to take down a prominent judge, I never had a misconduct before this incident, I’m very studious and charismatic. Not only do I find their timing odd, but it is no coincidence that they charged me with just enough to qualify me for a life sentence under the unjust three strikes law.

If this isn’t enough to point out that we need a revolution in Pennsylvania, SCI Cresson can only flush their toilets twice.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [California]
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Censorship and brutality update in CA prisoners

I want to let you know the latest info on censorship and the latest prison crimes against us comrades behind bars.

Censorship: I've written the Attorney General's office and there was a memo that was written on 8/16/2007 that stated that political prisoners who want to receive books on political issues need to write to our counselors. The counselor will say yes or now and then we write to the company and order the book. Tell all comrades who study the ways of Mao or any communism group to go to the library/law library and ask for the memo on political books issues. It helps us out a lot. One problem, they don't give prisoners a copy of the memo because the prisoner who works the law library said that the head people in Sacramento said not to copy the memo. So I will put a 602 appeal in and try to get a copy of the memo for our comrades. Also be advised, it may take a while because the 602 process is very slow and I might have to take it to the director's of appeals in Sacramento.

Prison issues: On February 26 the C/Os and a sergeant brought out a prisoner and gave him an injection in the arm. This happened in the mental health crisis bed. The C/Os and Sergeant slammed the prisoner and punched him two times in the nose, breaking it. The C/Os and the Sergeant then said the prisoner assaulted them first, which is a big lie. I saw all of it. The Sergeant and a C/O pulled me out and put the baton around my neck and started strangling me and told me to remain silent. But now I've not only 602ed it, I've filed a civil complaint.

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