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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 2]
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Texas women's prison blocking mail, gassing prisoners

On March 27, 2006 the MV staff gassed me (pepper spray) to take from me my sealed, outgoing legal mail. That gassing nearly killed me. And it was obviously a violation of the law - as well as TDCJ's use of force plan. That's when MV started blocking all of my outgoing mail and most of my incoming mail. And the TDCJ mucky-mucks I could reach through the very flawed grievance process did nothing to stop it.

MV is way out of control - with many folks having their mail blocked; and many folks (like myself) having our visits blocked because staff like Warden Black herself were lying to our visitors that they couldn't come see us. Even lawyers were leaving their visits blocked - but, you can't count on lawyers to do a damn thing! And you can't count on cops anywhere to do a damn thing right - just to be misogynist, racist thugs.

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[Gender] [Racism] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 1]
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Gender Oppression in U.$. Prisons

Sexual Violence in Prison shows Gender not about Genitalia

In 2004, pictures released from u$ prisons in Iraq showed amerikan bio-wimmin warding over primarily bio-male Iraqis in acts of rape and sexual assault. This incident helped substantiate MIM's long-standing line that gender is not based on genitalia and that amerikans with female genitalia are in fact gendered male. The male gender, by definition, being the dominant group in gender relations under the patriarchy.

MIM had already suggested that prisoners in the united $tates might be gender oppressed before the Abu Ghraib pictures came out. This was due to the control of the sexuality and leisure time of prisoners by the state. In particular, Black men as a group are prevented from having consistent sexual relationships. This of course affects the family structure of the oppressed and therefore is a form of national oppression as well.

To help sort out the gender status of biomale prisoners, a recent Department of Justice report gives us the surprising statistics that, "In State and Federal prisons, 65% of inmate victims of staff sexual misconduct and harassment were male, while 58% of staff perpetrators were female". (Here we are discussing the 52% of reported sexual violence in prisons where the captor assaulted captive. The rest were inmate-on-inmate assaults, addressed more below.) (1) In the general population 97% of sexual violence reports are wimmin victims and the perpetrator is generally male (around 98%). The instance of female perpetrators is actually a higher rate in instances of assaults on males, estimated at around 14%. (2) Much higher than female assaults on wimmin, but nowhere near the 58% of assaults on prisoners of any biology.

With 93% of the u.$. prison population being male, we would expect a much higher percentage of assaults to be against males than females, even if rates of assault for wimmin was higher. But assuming 97% of victimization is of bio-wimmin as it is on the street, you'd only get 29% of the absolute number of assaults being against men in prison. So we're seeing a ratio of male to female victims on the order of 2 times the general population. In other words, if wimmin are five times as likely to be assaulted in prison than they are on the street, then men are 10 times as likely.

Unfortunately, the study does not breakdown the statistics of female on male vs. female on female assaults. But even if we assume that all of the 35% of staff sexual assaults on wimmin in state and federal prisons are perpetrated by wimmin, that leaves another 23% of the perpetrators who are females attacking males (assuming one-to-one incidents, which was the vast majority). Even if you want to argue that no male guards ever sexually assault female prisoners, you see a significantly greater rate of bio-wimmin engaging in sexual violence against males in prison compared to the general population. Since female assaults on males in the general population are much higher than female assaults on females, we would be better off assuming the opposite. If we assume a proportional breakdown you'd be comparing 58% female perpetrators against bio-men in prison against the 14% on the street. If that weren't bad enough, we must factor in that females are still only a minority of prison staff, accounting for 22% in the federal system. (3) So that 58% of assailants is coming from maybe a quarter of the staff that happen to be bio-wimmin. These are the statistics that back up our line on Lynndie England that it could have been any amerikkkan womyn sexually assaulting Iraqi bio-men. And if we acknowledge that Iraqis under occupation are much more powerless and oppressed than amerikan citizens, then these statistics speak even louder to say that amerikan bio-wimmin are the enemies of the oppressed.

So first we saw that the vulnerability of men to sexual assault increases twice as much as wimmin after incarceration. On the flip side, we see bio-wimmin working for the state greatly increase their rates of assault compared to wimmin on the street. They go so far as to overcome men at the state and federal levels. In local jails the stats were closer to life on the streets, with 80% of the victims of staff sexual assault being female and 79% of perpetrators being male. (1) But even there a 20% rate of victimization of bio-men and 21% rate of assault by bio-wimmin is a noticeable difference.

Prisoners More Vulnerable than Wimmin?

While it is important to move away from one-on-one relationships in trying to understand gender systematically, incidents of sexual violence remains a widely accepted and useful indicator of gender oppression. The DOJ study showed sexual violence to be reported by prisoners at a rate of 2.9 per 1000 (it is not broken down by biology). This is about the same rate that 16-24 year old people, the age group with the highest rate, report sexual assault in the general population. The overall rate of reported sexual assault in the united $tates is 0.8 per 1,000 according to Department of Justice statistics. Only counting wimmin, the rate is 1.4 per 1000. Going back to prisoners, if we only look at state prisons the rate was 3.75 per 1000. All of these statistics are based on reported cases, and there could be reporting discrepancies between these groups. However, the statistics for prisoners are reported by the prisons, whereas the other stats are reported directly by the individual to the survey. Therefore, incidents not reported to police may be captured in the general population data, while they will not be reflected in the prisoner data.

So, it seems that prisoners (of both genders) and youth (of both genders) are reporting more sexual assaults than wimmin over all. If being young or incarcerated is really twice as risky as having female genitalia as the report rates suggest, then not only are there other considerations to determine someone's gender status, but there are factors that are much more important than what genitalia a persyn is born with. Below we will see how age and incarceration intersect to create one of the most gender oppressed groups in the united $tates.

MIM has established the basis for gender as purely gender in a persyn's physical development, age and health status. Therefore, when nation and class are not major complicating factors, such as within the amerikan labor aristocracy, these are the basis for gender differences.

However, the greatest differences in gender are found between the imperialist nations and the Third World people. Therefore when we talk about the spectrum of gender oppression we place most First Worlders on the male end of the spectrum, regardless of biology. We have demonstrated how First World bio-wimmin benefit by the patriarchy elsewhere. (4) The picture of bio-wimmin as sexual assailants in prisons above only adds to this argument. Now let's continue to look at how bio-men in the internal semi-colonies suffer under patriarchy via the criminal injustice system.

Are Black Men Gendered Female?

MIM circles have suggested that Black men could be gendered female due to their high rates of incarceration and historical vulnerability to whites who accuse them of rape. In other words, their gender power is limited by white hysteria around the Black rapist, and Black crime in general, in the context of a white-dominated society. The recently released statistics on sexual assault in prisons help to support this argument.

Among staff perpetrators in prisons and jails, 71% were white; 20%, black; and 7%, "Hispanic" and these averages were pretty similar to jails and prisons taken alone. (1) It's hard to argue that the 71% is a disproportionate number of assaults by white staff, as that is close to the representation of whites in the general population. However, in most service or otherwise undesirable fields of work, whites are becoming less common. It is a contradiction of our times that Blacks and Latinos are doing more of the footwork of the criminal injustice system than ever before. In the federal bureau of prisons whites make up only 57.2% of the staff. This number likely varies greatly among state prisons and local jails. Many states are still working on the good 'ol boy network, but some more prosperous states have taken the neo-colonial approach.

Among inmate victims, 80% were white; 14%, Black; and 5%, "Hispanic" in local jails, while 54% were white; 32%, Black; and 12% "Hispanic" in state and federal prisons. (1) In this data you see once again that whites are disproportionately the victims, even if they are slightly more likely to be the perpetrators. A couple explanations for this are suggested below. Even using the state and federal prison data, whites are 1.5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than average, while Blacks and Latinos are below average for the prison population.

However, if you create an index based on the general population and not on prison populations you'll see that the u$ prison system results in Black bio-men facing much more sexual assault than other bio-men, especially whites who now have an index below average at 0.78 (see figure 1). By comparing these indexes between Blacks and whites one can see that when someone is born in the united $tates, h chances of being raped in h life would be 3.3 times greater if she is Black as opposed to white, ignoring other factors.

The identity politics crowd takes a mechanistic approach to oppression, giving the Black gay wimmin the pedestal of the most oppressed. They often put the straight Black man and straight white womyn on a similar level as each having one strike against them. But not only have Blacks historically been at the bottom of the national hierarchy in the united $tates, in the realm of gender they can compete with the white womyn pretty well for the title of oppressed. In general, all u$ citizens are gendered male anyway though. Just as the Black man is torn between his position as an amerikan citizen and an oppressed national, he is able to taste great gender privilege as well as oppression.

But Prisoners are Rapists Too

The Bureau of Justice reports that 48% of the incidents of sexual violence reported by prisoners were perpetrated by other prisoners. The idea that prisoners rape each other is nothing new to amerikans. It is probably more surprising to cop-loving amerikans that 52% of the incidents were actually perpetrated by prison staff, despite research that has shown the tendency of people to mistreat others when they have control over them in an oppressive prison environment.

One question that comes to the forefront in looking at prisoner-on-prisoner rape is whether these instances parallel lines of national oppression, with the oppressed being disproportionately victimized in gender relations. However, the prisoner perpetrators of sexual assault according to the reported incidents are approximately representative of the prison population by nationality. Meanwhile, the victims of rape are 72% white, when whites only make up 35% of the general prison population. As mentioned above, the accusal of rape against Blacks and other oppressed nations has been a tool of both national and gender oppression. It is possible that some of this statistic is an exaggeration based on white hysteria. But there are also reasons to believe that whites may face greater threats of sexual assault, such as the decline of white street organizations and the association of whites with the power structure. Franz Fanon and Eldridge Cleaver both talk about the socio-political motivations behind the pursuit or rape of white wimmin by Black men. In the all-male prison environment the white man can step in to play this symbolic role. If anything, gender is used as a counter-balance to national oppression among prisoners more than an extension of white power. It is on the systematic level that Blacks are facing significantly more gender oppression as explained above.

One area there seems to be a significant difference in rates of victimization is between different agegroups of prisoners. MIM sees age as part of the gender strand of oppression, so this seems intuitive. In the last two years of data, victims were on average younger than perpetrators. The latest data from 2006, show that 44% of victims were age 24 or younger, while 81% of perpetrators were age 25 or older. Unless 44% or more of the prison population are under age 24 (U.$. Dept of Justice does not seem to publish this data), the most vulnerable age group to sexual assault appears to be disproportionately more vulnerable once put in prison. Another source indicates that youth in adult prisons are 5 times as likely to be sexually assaulted than if they were in a youth prison. (6)

Some 82% of the victims in inmate on inmate sexual assaults were male. Where assaults are almost exclusively same-sex this is merely indicative of the significantly greater propensity for men to rape. But we cannot ignore the fact that 82% of the victims are bio-men as well. It is clearly a case of population dynamics. In this sense prisons are a perfect example to prove that gender relations are not dependent on having certain genitalia. By eliminating bio-wimmin, sexual assault does not disappear, in fact it increases for a variety of reasons in prison. And we see factors such as age, health status and physical development more clearly define a persyn's gender status. The young, physically small, mentally ill but physically healthy are the primary targets for gender oppression. (7)

In some ways the patriarchy within prisons is just a reflection of the greater society and in others it is a more extreme microcosm of power dynamics. This is indicative of the two levels on which fighting gender oppression in prisons must be conducted. The first level requires the transformation of the prison system to one that builds communal values rather than being a tool of oppression and punishment. The second requires combatting the eroticization of power in society in general and the dismantling of the patriarchy. Both require the revolutionary dictatorship of the oppressed to become realistic.

In the meantime, the extremes of amerikan prison life serve as an educational tool for the masses. It is much easier for a group to accept the "all sex is rape" line when they have been on both sides of patriarchal oppression, when they've been the victims of the extreme power dynamics of prison life, and when many have had their own gender privilege taken away for doing what every one else is doing and just calls sex or love. It is in these ways that we take some positive lessons from these statistics for the future building of a proletarian feminist vanguard among lumpen youth in the united $tates.

The clearer lesson we take from all this is the negative lesson of the alliance of amerikan bio-wimmin to the patriarchy. The group that is traditionally considered the greatest victim of patriarchy by the white nationalist left is behind 58% of sexual assaults in u$ prisons. That just doesn't add up.

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[Spanish] [Control Units] [Abuse] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Abuso en SHU

Me dirijo respetuonamente a ustedes. Para dejarle saber lo que me esta pasando, y para que me ayuden. Tengo diez meses en SHU en Clinton CF. Tan pronto llegue comence a sufrir acosos sexuales y abusos por parte de los sargentos, oficiales, psiquiatra, consejero y el director medico y el superintendente, le escribí al Commisssioner Brian Fischer, Inspector General Anthony Annucci, Lucien J. Leclalle Jr. y a varias organizaciones y no hicieron nada por my. Y puse un grievance pero aqui no procesan los grievances.

El 7/7/07 el oficial J. Cross me acoso sexualmente mientras me bañaba en mi celda. Pero como no deje que me falte el respeto y lo denuncie tomo represalia conmigo. Primero me dejo cinco dias sin comida, y me boto todas las medicinas. Y el 7/8/07 le puso veneno o un liquido deconocido a los tres jugos que me das el medico. Me tome la mita de un jugo y pase el día vomitando y desde entoces tengo fuertes dolores de estómago.

El 7/9/07 me puse para el sick call, y le enseñe los jugos a la enfermera y a un sargento, y le escribí al departamento en Albany, y a V. Johason, Medical Director en Clinton Corr Fac.

El 8/1/07 una persona me vio respecto a los incidentes, y le dije que necesitaba un interprete, porque no habio ni entiendo el ingles correctamente, pero la persona me dijo que estaba bien y se fue de una vez.

El 8/9/07 recibí una carta del Commissioner Brian Fischer dejandome saber que el Superintendent Dale A. Artus, hizo una investigación de los incidentes, que a mi me hicieron una entrevista, y que mis alegeaciones son mentiras.

Aqui en SHU hay una camara en cada celda y graba lo que uno habla. Yo le estoy pidiendole al Commissioner y al Superintendent que cheque el video del 4/22/07 que me asaltaron en la yarda y el 8/4/07 que la enfermera me trae la medicina incompleta desde que llegue a Clinton CF, y el 6/22/07 que el oficial R. Perry me acoso sexualmente en el baño, y el 7/7/07 y el 7/8/07 que el Oficial J. Cross me acoso sexualmente y quiso envenenarme.

Pero esto cerdos criminales y corruptos no me dicen nada respecto a los videos porque saben que es verdad. Ademas yo tengo todos reportes de los incidentes y no se puede mentir con las camaras.

Tambien no me estan dando la recreación que es una hora diaria mandatoriamente ni el baño tres veces a la semana. Aqui en SHU no cogen lista para el baño pero cogen lista para la yarda. Pero sacan aquienes los cerdos quieren. Yo le digo al Commissioner que cheque el video, para ver si abren la puerta de mi celda cuando hacen el baño y la yarda pero no hace nada por mi.

Los Sargentos W. Bisso y N. Giambruno son los cerdos que permiten que los oficiales hagan lo que quieran. Un día no me dieron el baño ni la recreación porque la psiquiatra M. Smith le dijo al Sargento N. Giambruno.

Aqui en SHU no dan limpieza de celda ni revistas ni ponen deportes en la TV ni en la radio ni ponen programa ni musica en la TV ni en la radio. Ahoramismo no le estan dando comida ni baño ni recreación a algunos presos.

Los cerdos llevan a los presos a la clinica y le dan golpes en un cuardo sin camara y lo ponen desnude en un cuarto sin nada. Y en invierno abren la ventana del cuadro con la temperatura bajo cero. Y a algunos presos le inyectan droga en contra de su voluntad. Y lo bañan con aqua fria en invierno. Y le envian un libro de ley con páginas rotas y lo acusan que lo rompio para que la pague y no permitirle usar la biblioteca de ley más, y para que lo no luche contra todas clases de abusos inhumanos de parte de estos cerdos criminales.

Aqui, no procesan los grievances y el Superintendente Dale A. Artus es el primer cerdo corrupto y el Commissioner Brian Fischer no quiere hacer nada por mi ni quieren chequiar los videos. Que puedo hacer yo para que vean los videos, y me envien para otra prision, antes que me envenenen o me maten estos cerdos criminales.

Yo tengo una demanda en proceso por estos incidentes, pero como puede ver necesito que me ayuden, porque el Commissioner y el Superintendente no quieren ayudarme, y los grievances no lo procesan.


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[Political Repression] [Racism] [Control Units] [Legal] [Abuse] [Red Onion State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 1]
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Red Onion State Prison: Obstruction of Justice

"Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people, by its example. Crime is contagious. If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law: it invites every man to become a law unto himself."Olmstead v. U. S., 277 U. S. 439, 485 (1927)

In April 2007, Richard Rowlette became the new Assistant Warden at Red Onion State Prison (ROSP). Rowlette had previously worked at ROSP in the position of Security Chief from the time that the prison opened in 1998 until December 1999. During that time he was a principal administrative player and ringleader in the racist abuses that won ROSP its reputation for prisoner mistreatment. He was instrumental in helping ROSP gain national notoriety as one of the country's most abusive prisons.

Since his promotion to Assistant Warden, I have filed an official complaint with Rowlette concerning ROSP officials refusing me telephone contact with two attorneys who had offered me their professional assistance. I presented a request to Rowlette to allow me to call these two lawyers.

Months before, both of these lawyers had verified their credentials and their intent and efforts to advise and assist me in litigation against various ROSP staff, including my assigned counselor John Sykes and the chief warden Tracy Ray. One of these lawyers is Mr. Malik Shabazz. Upon being informed of my ongoing experiences of abuse at ROSP (abuse which is a response to my political activism and continuing exposure of abuses at the prison), Mr. Shabazz decided to support me. Mr. Shabazz happens to be the Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), an organization with which I have no affiliation.

Rowlette's response was that if he had anything to do with it I'd never talk to a lawyer. When I pointed out that this was a basic constitutional right, he responded, "Your people have no rights." I am New Afrikan (Black) so his meaning was obvious. I filed a complaint. I also filed a complaint about being denied contact with my lawyers for months, despite their repeated attempts to arrange legal calls with me. Rowlette responded to my complaint with a memo stating that my request to have confidential legal calls to these lawyers was "DENIED." In this memo he rationalizes denying me legal calls by claiming that no attorney-client relationship exists between me and these lawyers.

The memo states that unless I prove that they are actively representing me in litigation pending in a court of record in Virginia, I will be denied legal calls. It specifically states that a letter from a lawyer stating the she is representing me "will not suffice." The memo also states, "Your request is further DENIED in regards to Mr. Malik Shabazz due to his involvement with the New Black Panther Party. To allow unrecorded phone calls between you and the President/Founder of the New Black Panther Party would present an unacceptable risk to the Security of this Facility."

For the benefit of any doubters, I've attached a copy of Rowlette's initialed memo.

Rowlette's memo breaks a barrel full of criminal laws. In Virginia it is a crime for any person to interfere with the relationship of confidence and trust that must exist between a lawyer and her/his client. It is also a crime for any one not licensed to practice law to present himself as qualified to give legal opinions. Both of these acts constitute the crime of "unauthorized practice of law."'

Rowlette has no legal training or authority to define the attorney-client relationship. He certainly cannot use any such unauthorized definition to block confidential communications between a lawyer and client. Indeed, the Virginia Supreme Court itself has defined what constitutes an attorney/client relationship. The court's definition is quite different from Rowlette's. In the U.S., it is the function of the courts to define and interpret the laws and the functions of executives (including prison officials), to enforce and apply those laws.

In its definitive document "Practice of Law in the commonwealth of Virginia" (PLCV), the Virginia Supreme Court defines the attorney-client relationship as follows:

"Generally, the relation of attorney and client exists and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever he furnishes to another advice or services under circumstances which imply his possession and use of legal knowledge or skill.

"Specifically, the relation of attorney and client exists, and one is deemed to be practicing law whenever (I.) One undertakes... to advise another... in any matter involving the application of legal principles to facts or purposes or desires. (2) One ... undertakes, with or without compensation, to prepare for another legal
instruments of any character...(3) One undertakes, with or without compensation, to represent the interest of another before any tribunal judicial, administrative, or
executive..."

Rowlette's memo presumes to overrule the high court's definition of the attorney-client relationship. Using his unlawful definition, he has barred me from confidential contact with these lawyers. The bigger absurdity is the obvious Catch-22 in Rowlette's position. A lawyer must be able to consult with a client in order to gather the information necessary to file a lawsuit for him/her. If I am blocked from confidential communications with lawyers, then they will never be able to bring litigation on my behalf. This is the real intent behind Rowlette's game.

As for Mr. Shabazz's NBPP membership, Rowlette presents no evidence that this affiliation threatens prison security. As a federal lawyer, Mr. Shabazz is foremost an officer of the courts. If his private organizational affiliations conflicted with his professional status, Mr. Shabazz would not be permitted to maintain his legal license.

Furthermore Rowlette has directed ROSP mailroom clerks to intercept, open, read, and refuse to send out mail that is clearly identified as "legal mail" intended for lawyers. These mailroom officials, based upon Rowlettes' position, refuse to treat or process mail to and from lawyers as confidential legal mail in blatant violation of VDOC mail policy. This is a federal crime, obstructing U.S. mails,2 and violates my constitutional rights to free speech and to privacy in my legal mail.


History of Abuse at Red Onion State Prison

When ROSP first began operating in 1998, it developed almost instantly a nationwide reputation for racism and abuses of its predominantly nonwhite prisoner population by its near exclusively white staff.

In response to receiving a flood of letters from ROSP prisoners complaining of unjustified transfers to ROSP and of frequent and widespread racism, brutality and general abuse, Human Rights Watch (HRW) attorney Jamie Fellner conducted an independent investigation into conditions at the remote Virginia prison. Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Ms. Fellner's findings were set out in an April 1999 HRW report entitled Red Onion State Prison:Super-Maximum Security Confinement in Virginia.3

This report touched on the various abusive conditions and treatments suffered by ROSP prisoners and found that many of those assigned to the prison did not meet the criteria for "supermax" confinement. Actually almost none did. Seven pages of the report focused on incidents and practices in the "Use of Force" at the prison. One incident described in that section stands out and is particularly relevant here:

"One inmate told HRW that immediately upon arrival at Red Onion in September 1998, he and other inmates were told to strip and permit a visual body search, including by spreading their buttocks. Female staff were present—indeed one was taking a video of the proceedings—and the inmate was reluctant to do as ordered in front of them. A captain shot him with the taser in the presence of the warden, associate warden and a major. After the inmate had been tasered, the major screamed in his ear, “Boy, you’re at Red Onion now” and then told the other officers to “get that nigger out of here.” The inmate filed a grievance because he felt—correctly—that he should not have had to submit to a visual body search strip in front of female staff.

"The inmate's grievance was denied. The warden acknowledged that a taser had been used because the inmate hesitated to strip and thus 'was failing to obey instructions.' The denial was upheld by the regional director without comment 'based on the information provided.' There was no effort to suggest that application of physical force was warranted by any possibility of danger or that nonphysical effort to persuade the inmate had been attempted and failed. The use of the taser appears more likely to have been a deliberate and malicious excessive use of force calculated to intimidate new arrivals to the facility.

"In denying the inmate's grievance, Warden George Deeds stated that post orders at Red Onion permit females to work at any post in this case, assignment to the video camera. It is widely recognized, however that cross-gender strip searches violate inmates' 'Individual dignity and right to privacy'. The warden's policy at Red Onion ignores basic correctional principles and international standards prohibiting cross-gender strip searches unless in an emergency." (pp. 21-22)

The prisoner who was the victim of this abusive strip search and unwarranted attack was XXXX XXXX. Indeed, most every prisoner assigned to ROSP during that time, including myself, were subjected to this cross-gender strip search process, during which it was often demanded that we repeatedly manipulate our genitals and spread our buttocks.

These searches were conducted under threat of being immediately tasered. A taser was trained on us throughout the strip search process. We were bodily subdued and searched by force by a mob of guards who were always present and dressed out in full riot armor. We were then escorted to our new cell assignment. Most were literally dragged stark naked through the prison while being observed nude by multitudes of guards, both male and female, as well as by other prisoners.

The entire process was calculated to humiliate and terrorize new arrivals and convey the message that at ROSP we would comply without hesitation with any staff demands, no matter how abusive or arbitrary. If we failed to promptly comply or questioned the demands, we would be met with immediate overwhelming force and further humiliation.

To convey this message these officials deliberately created a situation (for example the cross gender strip searches) calculated to provoke our resistance or hesitation and thereby justify the
premeditated intent to use overwhelming force.4

Before Abu Ghraib there was Red Onion.5


Richard Rowlette: Crime Time at ROSP

The Major who was personally present and supervised most of these intake strip searches, the very same major that screamed in XXXX's ear and told guards to "'get that nigger out of here," was Richard Rowlette.

XXXX subsequently filed and won a lawsuit concerning the incident. The court found that the officials had violated his constitutional rights, which is a federal crime.6 XXXX was then transferred away from ROSP and hasn't since returned. However, the multitudes of other prisoners who were subjected to the same treatments and worse, including myself, were granted no relief

In the wake of extensive bad media, the HRW report, and a U. S. Department of Justice investigation, Rowlette was assigned to another VDOC prison in Powhatan County, but not before he acted to settle a long standing vendetta he had against me.

On December 6, 1999, the day before he left ROSP, and in a departing last show of power, Rowlette attempted to force me to talk to him at my cell door. I ignored him. I generally refuse to engage him in conversation. This enrages him, as he believes he can intimidate prisoners to do whatever he demands under threat of having them attacked by guards.

Because I wouldn't talk to him, Rowlette had two extraction teams of some 10 guards assembled at my cell in full riot armor, with two 50,000 volt electric shields and a 36 ounce canister of gas. Under his direct supervision and direction I was gassed for an entire hour while the entire canister was emptied into the cell. This level of gas was far in excess of the 6 grams that federal courts have found to be an "estimated lethal dose" when sprayed into a small closed-in cell.7 He then had me sprayed with more gas from a smaller canister that guards generally carry on their sides. This was a clear attempt to torture and murder me by asphyxiation.

I was then met with violent attack by the two teams of armored guards. After being restrained and strapped down to the bunk in 5-point restraints8 for 48 hours (in the still contaminated cell), I was electrocuted repeatedly. For the entire two days in restraints I was denied water, meals, medication, and restroom breaks. This is all documented and on record in the U.S. District Court in Roanoke.9

Rowlette had remarked that he had hoped I'd refuse to talk to him and that the attack he'd orchestrated was his "going away present" to me. His spell away from ROSP was merely a "cooling off period" and a token move by VDOC officials to create a public appearance of responding to abusive conditions at ROSP. Indeed, there was little effect on abuse levels after he left.


Promoting Official Criminals as the Norm

Rewarding criminally inclined prison officials in Virginia is the norm. For example, one guard, David Allen Taylor (a prior captain at ROSP), has been found guilty in several prisoner lawsuits of involvement in beatings and abuses of Black prisoners. in one such case, a prisoner YYYY YYYY, won a monetary judgment against Taylor. The state not only paid the judgment for Taylor (your tax dollars at work), but he was promoted in the meantime from lieutenant to captain. Just this year, he was promoted again, to major, at one of the VDOC's new prisons.

Another guard, William Wright, is widely known for assaulting Black prisoners at ROSP while they are fully restrained. His attacks have resulted in broken bones, dislocations, lacerations, and other serious injuries. Wright was recently promoted from corporal to sergeant.

Indeed an unmistakable pattern and long-standing trend in the VDOC is to promote guards who are being sued by prisoners for abuses while they have litigation pending against them. This is a ploy to bolster the professional image of abusive guards in order to create bias in their favor. Furthermore, the state defends abusive guards against prisoner litigation no matter how obvious their guilt and no matter what their offense. And as occurred with David Taylor, the state pays any monetary judgments awarded, no wonder there is no fear of consequences for abuses.

Most of the abuses at ROSP are captured on videotape, but those records are routinely erased, which is a crime in Virginia. 10 So where do the illegalities end and "justice" come into play? Rowlette won't be prosecuted for his crimes. This contributes to the cavalier attitude of officials towards the very laws they are sworn to uphold. Indeed what is a man like Rowlette doing running a prison? Ain't prisons in Amerika supposed to exist to punish and deter criminals? Where are all the tough on crime politicians when you need them?


Power to the People!


Notes;
1 In Part 6 Section II of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Virginia, "Introduction," the Supreme Court states: "any person practicing law without being duly authorized or licensed is guilty of a misdemeanor." The statue under which this crime is enforced is Code of Virginia section 54.1-3904. The Supreme Court has promulgated a set of Unauthorized Practice Rules (UPR) which outline some specific acts which constitute a criminal unauthorized practice of law. Rowlette's actions violate the following UPR's:

"UPR 3-101. Attorney Client Relationship": (A) An agency shall not disrupt the relationship of confidence and trust which must exist between a lawyer and his client.
"UPR 9-101. Holding Out as an Expert": (A) A non-lawyer shall not hold himself out as authorized to furnish another advice or service under circumstances which imply his possession of legal knowledge."

Prisoners also have a constitutional and civil privacy right to confidential telephone calls to their attorneys. See Tucker v. Randall. 948 F 2d. 388, 391 (7th Cir. 1991).
2 It is a federal crime to obstruct or delay delivery or processing of U.S. Mails. See Title 18 United States Code sections 1702-1708. Prisoners have a constitutional right to privacy in mail to and from "any identifiable attorney either representing or being asked to represent a prisoner in relation to any criminal or civil problem." See Taylor v. Sterrett, 532 F 2d 462, 474 (5th Cir. 1976).
3 The entire report can be read and downloaded at the Human Rights Watch website at: http://www.hrw.org/reports/1999/redonion/
4 The U.S. Constitution's 8th Amendment protects prisoners from "cruel and unusual punishment." The federal courts have ruled that officials violate the 8th Amendment when they deliberately "provoke an incident so as to allow" them to attack a prisoner "under guise of maintaining order or defending" themselves. Miller v. Leathers, 913 F. 2d 1085, 1088 (4th Cir. 1990).
5 As XXXX's incident exemplifies, the abuses at ROSP cannot be dismissed as the actions of a few unsupervised low-level staff, but rather was approved by the VDOC's highest administrators. The torture, sexual degradation and abuses at Abu Ghraib were dismissed as the acts of a handful of "renegade" soldiers acting without authority. These soldiers, when targeted for prosecutions, contended that they were doing as instructed by high level military officials, which likely they were, just like at ROSP.
6 Under 18 United States Code, sections 241 and 242, it is a crime for prison officials to violate prisoners' civil and constitutional rights.
7 Based upon tests of pharmacological experts, the federal courts have found that caustic gas is lethal in doses of just 6 grams "in the confines of a small cell." See Williams v. Benjamin 77 F 3d 756, 764 (4th Cir. 1996).
8 5-point restraints is a process where a prisoner is handcuffed and leg shackled to the frame of a steel bunk inside a cell spread eagle on his/her back. A thick strap is then secured across his/her chest to prevent the body from being able to raise up or move.
9 See case file of Kevin Johnson v. Page True, et al.
10 Under Code of Virginia section 18.2-472 it is a crime for any "public officer" to make any false entry into or destroy any government record. Under this statute any such offense committed by an officer "shall" result in the permanent forfeiture of his office and he shall forever be barred from holding any public office in Virginia ever again.

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[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California]
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Visitation cut off at Salinas Valley State Prison

I am writing to let you know that these fucking pigs are at it again. Yesterday and today these pigs turned away at least fifty people from coming in to visit they're incarcerated loved ones. I myself was waiting on a visit yesterday and today. However since we are on lockdown at the moment there is no possible way for me to know whether my visitor did indeed come. If she did, then she would've come all the way from New York for nothing. Protocol for these pigs requires that they notify us inmates if they refuse our visitors entry into the facility, however that almost never gets done.

We here at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) have been having many difficulties with our visiting for the past couple months, it is now beginning to come to a boiling point.

Our recent troubles mostly began a month and a half ago when rumors first started flying within the inmate population that there would be new visiting guidelines implemented. The main guideline affecting us at this moment is one which states that from now on all previously approved visitors must re-submit every two years. Now when rumors of this new implementation were first whispered, I as well as other inmates wrote and inquired to staff about it. Somehow visiting staff nor any other staff seemed to know anything about anything.

All of a sudden at the eleventh hour about 65 inmates on the yard received notices that some of the people on their approved visitors list were due to re-submit by July 9th or risk being taken off of their visiting list. Now they say that visitors were due to re-submit by the 9th of July, however no one was official notified until the last week of June and everybody knows it takes an average of 30 days or more to be approved. These pigs know damn well that even if visitors re-submitted before July 9th it still wouldn't have given anyone enough time to be re-approved by the deadline.

More than 65 people on the yard have had their visitors entry into the insitution denied, and furthermore they were never duly notified before or after the fact. They all had to find out from their own visitors days later via the phone and in some cases weeks later thru the mail. Total bullshit!

Now today there are new reports of these pigs callousness. It's like they're just making up their own new and special rules every other weekend. They have been changing the color which visitors are permitted to wear on a regular basis. In addition to prohibiting solid blue and solid red, which we all have know about for a long time, they recently added solid brown and solid green tops and bottoms. Today they denied a woman entry because she had on white pants. They are also now stating that there is to be no blue or red of any kind on any piece of clothing at all, no matter how minute. This is perposterous!

To add insult to injury these pigs don't even have the decency to communicate with our friends and family in a civilized or respectfull manner. They always speak to our families in a disrepsectful tone. And if our loved ones try to argue that point, then these pigs always have the same response, "Don't like it? Then you could leave" or "That's it, you're not coming in today." Now remember, these are grandmothers and mothers, fathers and brothers, with children in tow. More than half the people coming every weekend are coming from Los Angeles, San Diego and other parts of Southern California or further away in Northern Calif. It's one thing to deal with us in a certain manner, it's an entirely different thing to disrespect our families.

People are also being denied entry onto the grounds due to a new metal detector in the visitor processing area. If, after going through the metal detector three times, an individual is not able to clear it, then they are being denied entry for the day. We all know that women are not allowed to wear bras with metal wire, so nobody does, however now if the bra has a metal clip or button they are being forced to cut the metal off of the clothing/bra if they want to come in. I was told of a grandmother having to do this in order to come inside. She was forced to cut the metal clip off the bra and then tie it back together.

I will be 602ing this weekend's actions and hopefully everyone involved in these incidents will be held responsible. It would be of great importance and help if you could help us out by calling the institution head wardens office and anybody else who might be able to draw attention to these matters. Call and or write, bug the hell out of em.

Send protest letters to:


M.S. Evans, Warden
31625 Highway 101
Soledad, CA 93960

Send MIM(Prisons) a copy of your letters.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Spanish] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York]
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Abuso del Medico en Clinton Correctional Facility

Quiero dejarle saber lo que me hacen aqui los oficiales. El 7/8/07 el oficial J. Cross le puso veneno o algo a los tres unsources que me dan el medico. Porque el mismo me lo dijo. Y ademas pase el dia vomitando y estoy enfermo desde ese dia. La enfermera hizo un reporte de este incidente. Y el 6/22/07 este oficial me boto todos mis medicinas. Y cuando trabaja no me dan comida, y le dice a los otros oficiales que no me den comida y no me dan comida. Y me tiene amenazado de muerte, y no puedo ir a la clinica a ver al medico porque me quieren golpearme los oficiales de la clinica porque el oficial J. Cross le dijo.

El 6/22/07 mi madre me mando unos libros y el oficial Bruce no quiere darmelo, aunque tengo los recibos de los libros. Aqui no me dan el baño ni la hora de la recreación que tiene que darme mandatoriamente.

Ademas, apagan las camaras de video, y me acusan de cosas que no hice, y me dan tigues. Ademas, aqui no me procesan los grievances. Los Sargentos W. Bisso y Giambruno son lo primero racistas y abusadores. Y el Superintende no hace nada por mi aunque le enseño las pruebas de los abuses de los oficiales contra mi.

Le escribí al Commissioner en Albany para que me ayude, y me saque de Clinton y no han hecho nada por mi tampoco. Ayudemen si pueden para salir de Clinton porque mi vida esta en peligro con los oficiales y los sargentos.

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[Education] [Abuse] [Censorship] [California]
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Prisons cutting off education access, increasing brutality

I know you are having trouble getting lit in to the prison. In the BMU (Behavior Modification Unit) it seems they are trying to deplete the literature that is already in the system, while not allowing any new lit in. There are also new restrictions popping up around the state on the number of books you can have. The point: they are trying to systematically prevent alternative education. They want to limit you to the education they provide. GED, basically next to nothing. It is no coincidence that the individuals being flooded with 115s, and placed in BMU are, the jailhouse lawyers, the political educators, and non-conformists, i.e. revolutionary minded individuals. All of these adverse policies must be attacked at the same time. If we get them to allow lit back in it is meaningless if they can just put you in BMU and send it home, it is also costly.

Myself and a bro we will call "Z" were fighting the censorship. "Z" has been doing time since 1974. They transferred him to Corcoran SHU in May. In June they vacated my indeterminate SHU, and placed me in ad-seg pending transfer. I now have none of my property. My property was trans-packed pending transfer to SVSP or CSP general population. Transfers have been routinely taking 6 months or so. It is clear these pigs are serious about repression.

This battle may come to the knife. They are getting physical. They pepper spray people around here on a regular basis. As well as beat people. Something as small as complaining about a missing item on your dinner tray is enough to get you splayed and whipped. The attitude of the pigs seems as if it has changed overnight. I mean it is real bad. They pepper sprayed a guy the other day because he refused breakfast. This kind of abuse is condoned by the brass up to the warden. I don't see how it cannot come to the knife if we have no redress. Appeals are met with more abuse. They routinely use punitive measures and intimidation to get inmates to drop appeals, or to keep other inmates from coming forward as witnesses. The tactics and practices of the Green Wall are spreading at an alarming rate. These practices are not just spreading amongst the rank and file pigs, but the administration.

Please note the struggle against censorship is my top priority. I realize that the education of the prison population is important to our overall struggle for prisoner rights. I am trying to do a quick analysis of the situation. We already have a strategy we are just revisiting our tactics to meet the environmental change. Any assistance MIM could provide in this regard would be greatly appreciated.

MIM replies: We know that it often seems like there is no way to beat the prison administrators and brutal guards, who use violence against prisoners daily, without resorting to violence. But we also see that attacking from behind enemy lines almost always leads to greater repression. And so we urge our comrades behind bars to avoid violence. Obviously prisoner on prisoner violence only serves the prisons. But prisoners retaliating for guard brutality just gives them another excuse to beat you up. We must organize our fight strategically especially when it looks like we are losing ground.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Maryland max unit on lockdown

I am currently being housed at a new warehouse in Cumberland Maryland called North Branch Correctional Institution. NBCI is a max security warehouse that opened up in 2005. As of now NBCI has only 2 housing units but one of the housing units holds Medium II prisoners so it has only 1 max unit which houses 346 prisoners. NBCI max housing unit is a lock down prison because in 2006 smashed 3 pigs because some pigs had jumped on a prisoner a few days before. Every time we come out of our cells for recreation or showers we have to be handcuffed from behind our backs. We take 15 minute showers 3 times a week and have 1 hour rec 2 times a week.

A lot of these racist pigs who work here are trying to crack slick out of their mouths now since this prison is a lock down joint. They are jumping on prisoners while they have their hands cuffed behind their backs. Not too long ago, while I was being moved from one isolation cell to another, with leg irons on and my hands cuffed from behind my back, a sergeant pushed me so I would trip over the leg irons. Then he slammed my head against the cell wall 3 times and yanked on the leg irons a few times and the leg irons cut both of my ankles up.

I was in the isolation cell for 10 days and all the water was shut off in my cell except the hot water for the first 5 days. My toilet was only flushed once every shift. The next 5 days I was moved to a different isolation cell and all water was off, and the only time I could drink water was once every shift when I was aloud to flush my toilet. These racist pigs think they are doing something slick but they just don't know what they are really getting themselves into.

I let a few of my comrades read the things that you sent me and they are planning to write to you.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [El Dorado Correctional Facility] [Kansas]
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Isolation cell in Kansas

I am currently being held in a box inside a death kamp here in El Dorado, Kansas. My oppressors do anything and everything they can to keep their boot on my neck. In what they refer to as a "limited-contact" cell. I can be held here as long as they feel they want to hold me.

I'm housed with the other proletariats here in Super-Max seg administrative lockdown. I'm in a cell with no window outside, no sunlight, a built in shower that when used floods my box out and sprays my cell everywhere with water. When brought to the attention of the pigs, they smirk and basically laugh at me. They keep all my property from me and will not work with me to take steps to work towards my release from this death box.

The pigs threaten me and the other prisoners with violence. Two days ago I witnessed a pig punch a prisoner in his testicles while he was cuffed from behind, slammed to the floor for nothing. I'm being held against my will in this black, sunless death box because I "battered" two pigs severely. The violence they threatened me with was received by me with violence. I live here twenty-four hours a day and live by watching my back for the crooked pigs at all times.

Keep up the fight MIM, and believe me, you have the support of a lot of people.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Western Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Brutality in Maryland

Time has granted me the ability to speak my mind and express my thoughts on the abusive, foul-crookedness that is going on here at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. I'm on the segregation unit, it will be two years that I've been here in April.

Not long ago I was cuffed and taken out of my cell by two KKK members, a.k.a. the pigs, a.k.a. the correctional officers. As soon as I got to the bottom of the tier I was dragged into the lobby, slammed on the floor (still handcuffed), the pigs stomped and kicked me while the other pig held me down. The pigs then dragged me back on the top tier stomped and kicked me some more so everybody on the top tier could see.

After that I was put in cell #1 (the butt naked cell) with no mattress, no clothes, nothing. The pigs put a rock in the window so I would not be able to close it. The pigs then walked past the cell calling me nigger and telling me they run the show and next time I will keep my mouth shut. One of the pigs told the others to chill because I can't be broken. He told them that they already took all my soap and toothpaste before, they took all my cloths, they even took my showers and recreation for 50 something days. The pig said all the other niggers will look out for me and told them to lay off before they start a riot.

This is a life long struggle I'm fighting.

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