You never hear about Nevada and there's a reason why. Cover-ups, medical negligence, racial/social bias along with violence against inmates by COs, and let's not forget one of the worst parole and release systems in the nation. With lopsided, unfair sentence structures even according to statute, and unnecessary parole denials and completely unilateral discretion left to the parole board, which is screaming for reform. This is a culture and a consciousness up here but it will be their undoing.
Oscar Velasquez, a prisoner in Lovelock Correctional Center, committed suicide a few months ago and it's under investigation, a very slow, quiet investigation. Negligence played a huge part in this situation by COs and medical staff. Oscar gave the COs a suicide note on a medical kite. But protocol was broken because Oscar never made it to suicide watch in the medical unit. The next day Oscar was found dead and cold. Which meant COs weren't doing their rounds in a timely manner. Word is the suicide kite never made it to administration. This is being looked at by some other independent group, but it's been very hush-hush. A lot of the population believes the COs were fired but they weren't. They're on leave and being supported by their reps and lawyers.
A personal friend of mine and a lot of other brothas, Johnny Jordan or J.J., died in the uncaring arms of the Nevada medical system. While in High Desert Prison on an appeal trip, he also had a serious medical condition and was not given proper medical treatment. Which I'm sure was not very complicated, but just simply ignored. And it stems from the whole "oh well, fuck 'em" attitude most staff here have for prisoners.
Two of the most recent serious attack/gross incompetence incidents happened at High Desert, which is really under the microscope for piling up bodies for years and sweeping it under the rug.
About two years ago a CTO, aka a "Cadet Trainee Officer" gunned a prisoner down and killed him while handcuffed. He has since been sentenced on two counts of manslaughter; not murder of course, that's for us. What happened was during showers in the hole two prisoners started to scuffle while handcuffed. Instead of pulling them away from each other, the CTO was ordered to shoot and he just unloaded on them, killing one with fatal wounds to his head and chest area.
At the same prison, a prisoner was stabbed while being escorted by COs, if you can believe that! This was more recent, but also little publicity was spread about this. There was more press involved in the shooting death.
Along with these incidents, blatant and unpunished racism and bias in this state is so open it's ridiculous. I'm talking about assemblymen and women, COs, Sgts and representatives alike, it's everywhere.
Keep an eye on Nevada, these mothafuckas fly so far under the radar you rarely hear about things like this. They rarely make the local news and almost never make national headlines no matter how gross or serious it is. The censorship in this state is designed to keep Nevada's public in constant fear and prejudice of convicts. Bulletins are always going up on TV about this or that wanted person, this murderer or that sex offender. "Call secret watch and turn this person in," they'll say. But you rarely ever hear or see in Nevada: this human being was murdered by a cop, by a CO, by this sadistic cowardly butcher who's been anticipating the chance to take a human life!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade reports on something we hear more and more these days: prisoners dying from negligence and abuse at the hands of prison employees. And of course these murders are covered up rather than punished. This is one of the reasons why an independent press like Under Lock & Key is so important. We need a way to spread this news and organize people to fight back. The mainstream media and politicians are all in service of the capitalist system that set up this criminal injustice system so, as this comrade points out, our appeals to them are going to be purposefully ignored. Send us your reports about abuse and neglect. Even if they don't make it into the print version of ULK we will publish them on our website.
After reading "The 2 Strikes Law" article in ULK 49, where the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was referenced, I decided to write the following article about something that happened recently in this prison regarding PREA funding.
Over the fall of 2015 and into the early winter of '16 this prison received more federal funding to implement PREA safeguards including the following measures. Now every unit officer has to display and provide a stack of pre-printed PREA cards with information on how and what to report. The leading PREA investigative Lieutenant at this prison, Lt. Carey, stands around the chow hall to randomly pull individuals over and ask them: "If you are sexually assaulted, what will you do?" Looking for the answer: "I will dutifully report it to you sir, of course."
And every unit and building in this facility has had the restrooms and showers reformed and renovated with large metal stalls and divides in them built from the small welding shop here so that during the upcoming PREA audit this smartass Lieutenant can show the public everything they've done to make sure "inmates'" genitals aren't in constant view of each other or any staff that walk by a bathroom or shower.
This was after doorbell alarms were installed on every unit to alert "indecent" prisoners as to whenever female staff entered a unit, to make themselves decent and to not accidentally sexually assault them or intentionally be exposed when they come around; i.e. when a female staff comes onto a unit to relieve the duty officer and then does a "shower check" to see who on the shower list is still naked and in there. Although none of the female staff seem to enjoy having a bing-bong doorbell ring every time they enter a housing unit, Lt. Corey personally installed most if not all of them, with pride.
But the most scathing display and culmination of target-harassment for generating PREA funding came in these early months of 2016. It's not female officers performing count at midnight, one, five o'clock in the morning and ringing a door bell while prisoners are trying to sleep that generated the imagined need for PREA awareness. It was this: DOC added revisions to certain rules in this state on 5 January 2016, including 291-133: "Marriages and domestic partnership solemnization ceremonies for inmates." which states: “These revisions are necessary to update the department's policies and procedures regarding marriages and solemnization ceremonies for prisoners in department facilities. The rules will recognize same-sex marriages to reflect changes in state and federal laws. The department will no longer transport inmates between facilities for the purpose of participating in a marriage or solemnization ceremony. Married or domestic partnership inmates who reside in the same facility will not be housed in the same cell.
Here is also what happened in January 2016. From one of this prison's units approximately 15 prisoners were taken to segregation from the same unit for alleged "sexual activity" and/or "unauthorized organization." They were all given 120s in seg. 120-day sanctions for the “unauthorized organization” convictions and those who could have been were convicted of “sexual activity” if they were “known homos” or even “suspected homos” if their names were close enough on the shower log to have communally showered together.
Many, or most, of the “known homos” and “suspected homos” were all transferred to this unit in the late months of 2015, to set up this target “unauthorized organization” and inevitable communal-shower-sign-up. Many prisoners lost their prison jobs, incentive levels, etc. for being a casualty of what the officer-pigs refer to as 2016's “Operation Fruit Roll-up.” All to bring more necessity to the prison's gathering of federal PREA funding for the April audit.
PREA information has also now been blasted nonstop on the prison's “information and education” channel since January. When the prison posted the 291-133: “Marriages and domestic partnership solemnization ceremonies for inmates” memo on units in early January, the prison then used that to say “unauthorized – organized” “suspected homos” thought it was ok to come out, so we sent them all to segregation for 120 days and set them up to be “identified homosexuals” for fellow prisoners and staff to “watch out for.”
I was not an individual who was segregated and I do not identify as homosexual, but other prisoners who were D-seged and other individuals who weren't, are too scared to associate with each other or stand up for themselves for successive retaliatory target harassment of this sexual nature. I am writing to bring attention to the korupt and disgusting lengths these pigs will go to, to secure prison rape funding “just in time” for the audit, but nobody is fooled.
This is one of the most disgusting and damaging pig setups I have witnessed and likewise read about. But what now can be done?
MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good example of the so-called Prison Rape Elimination Act actually leading to more harassment and gender oppression. We can't rely on the oppressors to take action to eliminate oppression. If we want to see an end to rape in prison, prisoners must come together to build unity and peace, and protect one another from any predatory or violent individuals. Of course the guards have the power, and when they are the rapists it is very hard to fight back. Even when the rapists are other prisoners, when this is sanctioned or at the bidding of the guards, it becomes very difficult to fight. But we will build far more peace and security through independent institutions and organizing of the oppressed than will ever be achieved by appeals to the administration or government for protection and new rules and regulations.
[In December 2014 MIM(Prisons) received this petition against the Tier II program from two different comrades, with almost thirty signatures. Considering these prisoners are organizing in extreme conditions of isolation and sensory deprivation, that number of signatures is impressive. We publicize this petition as part of our overall struggle to shut down Control Units in prisons across the country.
The conditions outlined below are common to Control Units in the United $tates. An end to the Tier II program in Georgia would certainly be a step in the right direction. But we know it is only a tiny piece of a much larger problem: capitalism, imperialism, and national oppression. While prisons in general are a tool of social control for the imperialists, control units are used by the imperialists to further control prisoners targeting activists in prison who are fighting for their rights and the rights of others. We organize to tackle these broader problems with our society, and shutting down Control Units is a battle in that process.]
We the People petition
We the people (jointly and severally) come together to petition the government for a redress of grievance, pursuant to the Bill of Rights, "Amendment I" of the Constitution for the United States of America. Furthermore, we the people assert the rights set forth in "the Universal Declaration of Human Rights" (UDHR), adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948. More specifically, we assert the rights set forth at Article 1-8, 18-22, 26 and 28 of the UDHR.
We the people now move to set forth the factual basis for this petition. Fact, on December 7, 2014, at approximately 10:45pm, a man [inmate] "died" inside of the J-1 dormitory (cell #124) at Smith State Prison. It is stated that the man/individual committed suicide. The examiner and/or coroner pronounced the man officially dead between 11:30pm and 1am.
We the people believe (with strong conviction) that the Tier II Program (behavior modification program) is the root and cause of the death. During our examination it has been determined that there are numerous "factors" that must be evaluated, and has been evaluated in reaching our conclusion that the tier II program is the "root and cause" of the "death."
Factor #1: The Tier II program is a mind and behavior control program for prisoners, via long term deprivational isolation and segregation, which is a form of psychological, mental and emotional torture/suffering.
Factor #2: The Tier II program is intellectually, mentally and creatively stagnating. People/human-beings [prisoners] are prohibited from receiving any and all books, magazines, newspapers, novels, articles, etc. We are forbidden to read any and all books, magazines, newspapers, novels, articles, and all other forms of reading material [the only exception being a bible or Qur'an; either or, but not both; we may choose one or the other]. This prohibition on reading causes "stagnation" of the mind, which in turn, turns man back into what men were before civilization [barbarians, cavemen, and savages]. To not want people/human beings to read and or have access to divers reading materials is self evident that the goal of this program is not progressive and rehabilitating, but instead, by design it is regressive and debilitating. Reading is fundamental [fundamental to growth, improvement, learning, success and life itself, etc.] No one can put forth a logical explanation for prohibiting reading and forbidding reading. No one can provide evidence that prohibiting reading serves some good cause or rehabilitation. All evidence is contrary to that thesis/theory.
Factor #3: The Tier II program isolates and separates us from our families and loved ones. Most individuals/people placed on the program cannot receive visitation because of the way the program is designed. Most people cannot use the telephone because of how the program operates. For a vast majority of us, the "only way" to contact and or connect with our families or loved ones is the letters. We must write letters; we correspond through the mail back and forth. Mail correspondence is the only form of communication for the majority of us.
Factor #4: The Tier II program is a health hazard. The conditions of confinement are a violation of the 8th amendment (cruel and unusual punishment clause) of the Constitution for the United States of America. The food that is served is nutritionally inadequate. Everyone (all of us/all the people) that are on the Tier II program has and/or is losing weight. Some of us have lost a lot of weight, while other have only lost 10-15 pounds (since being on/in the Tier II program). But all of us are losing weight, and have lost weight. Also, the food that is served is often unclean and thus unhealthy. The milks are often spoiled. The "meat" is often raw or old (spoiled). The food in general is old (half of the time). The trays that the food is on are always filthy/nasty, as if they have not been washed. The filthy ways contaminate the food that is placed on them. We have no choice but to eat it or starve. (On phase 1 and 2 of the program we cannot purchase any food items from the commissary/store.) No clean water is passed out or given to us. We are forced to drink out of old, nasty sinks, with rusty spicket/faucet.
Sanitation: The showers are always filthy and disgusting. When I/we enter into the showers, often there is hair (shavings), urine, semen, (sometimes) blood, feces and other bodily filth. Cells have bugs, rats, roaches, ants, spiders, and other unknown species of insects or bugs. In the summer time the flies and gnats are overwhelming. We are only allowed to clean out the cells 1 time a week and sometimes 1 time a month. (But according to GDOC standard operating procedure cells are supposed to be clean at all times.)
Exercise (yard call/outdoor recreation): We are denied and or deprived the opportunity to go to outdoor recreation and exercise (which is a judicial-constitutional guarantee - for prisoners; see Spain v. Procunier, 600 F. 2d 1490 (9th Cir. 1984) and a plethora of other federal cases). Yet and still they deprive us of outside recreation/exercise for months and months at a time (case to case basis). Some of us are deprived for days, and some for months and/or years. The bottom line is, they deprive us of exercise. On phase 1 (of the Tier II program) we are not allowed to buy any hygiene from the commissary. We are prohibited form buying hygiene for months at a time. Yet, they take all our hygiene items. The list on conditions of confinement goes on and on, so for time sake we must proceed.
Factor #5: Many of us are put on the Tier II program without due process of law (procedural due process of law, as set forth by the Supreme Court on Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-655 (1974)). We were put on the Tier program without receiving written notice; we were not given a constitutional hearing; we were not allowed to call witnesses; we were not provided an opportunity to present documentary evidence or any other form of evidence; we were not provided an opportunity to be heard/to speak; we were not provided an "advocate" to assist us, or to put up a defense (of any kind) or to investigate (into the alleged matter); thus, no due process of law.
Factor #6: When we were put on the Tier II program, all of our property was confiscated illegally (confiscated without due process). Property that was taken include: all our CDs, CD players, headphones, earphones, all pictures and/or photos, all books, magazines, novels, articles, newspapers, and all other reading materials (except a bible or Qur’an), lotion, deodorant, soap, toothpaste, grease, toothbrush, hairbrush, nail clippers, comb, dental floss, soap dish, photo album, free world clothes (tshirts, socks), pajamas, wave cups, thermals, etc. All food items purchased from commissary, be it soups, honeybuns, buddy bars, chips, drinks, etc. The property/items they took/confiscated include the above mentioned things, but are not limited to those things/items. Other personal property was taken that is not on this list.
Factor #7: Some people are on the Tier II program for an indefinite period of time which could last many years. Others will remain on the Tier II program within the time line specified in the SOP (ITB09-0003), which is 9 months - 2 years.
Factor #8: Whenever we are taken out of the cells, we are mechanically restrained (handcuffed and/or shackled and/or waist chained) and escorted by two or more guards.
Factor #9: If there is an emergency, such as death in the family (or something of that nature), we are not allowed to attend the funeral or memorial services, because of the Tier II program.
Factor #10: Because of the Tier II program, we can not look at TV or listen to the radio. For some of us it has been over 22 months since we last seen TV, seen a movie, or even seen a commercial, or heard the radio.
Factor #11: Some of us, they will not let out the hole (segregation/isolation) even when we may have earned and received a certificate (and or receipt) stating "successfully completed the Tier II program.
Factor #12: We are deprived of almost any environmental or sensory stimuli and of almost all human contact.
Factor #13: The conditions of confinement are an "atypical and significant hardship" upon us.
Factor #14: The above mentioned deaths, is not the 1st death this year, that was caused by the Tier II program. Earlier this year (on or around February 12, 2014) in J-2 dormitory, cell #240. On 2/12/14, another man dead on the Tier II program. This man was killed by his roommate. Currently his real name is unknown but he was known as Sa-Brown. Sa-Brown was murdered, stabbed to death by his cell mate. We believe and/or it is believed that the Tier II program drove the man crazy/insane, then he murdered Sa-Brown.
According to the Georgia Department of Corrections Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) II B09-0003, Section I, Policy (page 1) states: "This program is an offender management process and [supposedly] is not a punishment measure... The Tier II program is a behavior modification program." The truth is - this offender management process/behavior modification program induces death (whether directly or indirectly). And we believe those that are responsible for the deaths are the creators, maintainer(s), operator(s), and manager(s) of the Tier II program; that would be: Brian Owens (GDOC commissioner) and Randy Tillman - the authors/creators; and Stanley Williams (Warden of Smith State Prison) and Eric Smokes (the unit manager of the Tier II program). These individuals (Owens, Tillman, Williams and Smokes) are responsible for the Tier II program and are responsible for the deaths (whether directly or indirectly).
The above mentioned factors are not the only relevant factors to be examined and evaluated in determining our conclusion. The above mentioned factors are included (in the examination and evaluation process), but are not limited to those factors (mentioned above). But for time sake, we will cease to elaborate on the numerous factors.
The Declaration of Independence (in relevant part)
We the people inhabiting the North American continent, freemen, "...hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness..." having been granted by our creator dominion over all the earth, reserve our right to restore the blessing of liberty for ourselves and our posterity, under necessity, that I/we declare, "that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..." and as declared in many states constitutions; "we declare that all men, when they form a social compact are equal in right: that all power is inherent in the people" ... and "that, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."
Therein, the greatest rights of the people is the right to abolish 'destructive' government, those administrating as trustee, or those institutions that have become destructive and/or corrupted.
We the people call for an end to the Tier II program!
The new hit single across California.
Available now @ Pelican Bay State Prison,
California Correctional Institution,
San Quentin State Prison,
Corcoran State Prison,
& Old/New Folsom State Prison.
Stand up for your rights now to get your free tickets!
I received the information on the study group/cells which I go over several times a night, then engage my neighbor here in Ad-Seg/SHU in good conversation. At times others quit talking, and conversation don't resume until directly after I am forced to sit down after standing on cold hard concrete a few hours. I have severe nerve damage from diabetes as well as this cement box environment. But I do hit the door at least 4 times a day to continue or expand the topics I read in past issues of ULK I have, or the more recent materials you have sent like "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" and "Commitment is the Key." I have got two young men reading many of my past issues of ULK that I have received from you and inherited from others over the years.
Forming an actual study cell on this 14-man section of the pod is hit and miss. The Security Threat Group Office has a very broad but vague description of who and what constitutes an STG member/group. And this being a highly militarized zone in central texa$ with Ft. Hood and an Air Force base nearby; many who discharged or were drummed out come to work here, with severe cases of hate toward prisoners in general. A few target anyone deemed anti-american or anti-capitalist.
What I see are quite a few who support the xenophobic racist Trump, even a few people one would not expect such as several black and mexican officers! I do not capitalize their race/color or call them New Afrikans or Chican@ because they are not to me, supporting a vile individual like Trump. I have attempted to find out why they support him. It's the rhetoric he spews that they believe in. More jobs, make america great, stronger military presence overseas, etc. Because of my reaction and comments I have lost meal trays come slop time, or been "forgotten" for medical lay in, rec or even shower time. Even my mail gets misplaced for days or given to the wrong person on another section!
Oh, an update on medical co-payment in texa$ and University of Texas Medical Board (UTMB) Healthcare. As of 1 February 2016 TDC prisoners are not charged medical copay for the dentist UNLESS it is for teeth cleaning. So texas comrades let it be known on your facilities. This came directly out of the mouth of UTMB Dentist of the Year for 2016 quoting the director of texas healthcare in TDC and the director of TDC dentistry.
As of April 2016, I am currently battling a new TDC move on medical copay. If you do win your initial grievance Step 1 or Step 2, they now go back on your records previous 24 months and look for things to charge for that were overlooked the first time. I have a grievance filed specifically countering that. When I hear a response I will inform all my comrades at MIM(Prisons).
MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this comrade updating us on the medical copay campaign, and we are not surprised that TDCJ is going back thru medical records to see what they can charge for. It's just another example of the eternal dead end of reformism. As revolutionaries, we work on reforms presently so we can lay the groundwork for our more broad political organizing. We recognize the need for a complete change in the system that capitalizes off of humyn suffering, and we are always striving toward this goal.
Subscribers should keep sending us updates on the several campaigns we are supporting all across the United $nakes.
No doubt even throughout the global community many have heard of the infamous "3 Strikes Law." In California if someone gets 3 felony convictions they face a sentence of LIFE in prison. The law has created quite a bit of controversy and there's been a few token reforms to it that mean about as much as calling San Quentin (SQ) a "Correctional Center" instead of a prison.
SQ's Adjustment Center (AC) is also in the midst of controversy and in the process of implementing reactionary token reforms in much the same way. They also implemented what could be called "The 2 Strikes Law." The SQ oligarchy calls their oppressive tool of retaliation Operational Procedure (OP) 608 Section 825 A.4. Here's how it gets implemented:
On 25 December 2015 while en route to group yard Sergeant Rodrigues waved a piece of paper in a prisoner's face, after asking him if he remembered refusing to show his asshole to officer C. Burrise the other day. Rodrigues tells the prisoner he is going to the AC for receiving two serious Rules Violations Reports (RVRs) within 180 days of each other. A death row prisoner receives an indeterminate SHU term for that.
The two RVRs involve the prisoner's refusal to submit to unclothed body search procedures either prohibited by OP 608 Section 765(2) (local prison rules) and state law, or not applicable to East Block (EB) prisoners. In fact, before either of these RVRs were fabricated the prisoner had filed several staff complaints citing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and alleged "sexual harassment under the guise of security." The prisoner also wrote an informal letter to Specialized Housing Division Facility Captain J. Arnold asking him to abolish his "Perversion Enforcement Team Training Project" (PETT Project). That got the prisoner a punitive cell search response resulting in the confiscation of a loaner TV and theft of art supplies valued at $48. So now you know the motive. But let's see what else this means for ALL death row prisoners thinking Seigle & Yee are to the rescue.
Seigel & Yee are the attorneys currently representing the "AC class" regarding the long-term/indeterminate SHU program conditions experienced by death row prisoners in the AC. One prisoner who corresponded with Seigle & Yee attorney Emily Rose Johns in early 2014 from his recently acquired EB (SHUII) cell reports advising her a wave of prisoners formerly doing indeterminate SHU terms in the AC was flowing into EB and being assigned to the "Sun Deprivation Program."(1) This prisoner came over to EB just ahead of that wave. Johns's response to our dilemma was, "We intentionally kept the scope of the case narrow for many reasons, including out of respect for the experience prisoners in the AC had with the Thompson case."
So now it's about time that someone points out that experience prisoners in the AC had with the Thompson case, including not rescinding the 2 Strikes Law, and that OP 608 Sec. 825 A.4. is still being used as a revolving door into the abyss of indeterminate SHU terms. How leaving that door wide open could be hailed as a reform or "respect for the experience of prisoners in the AC had with the [SQ/Seigel & Yee] case" remains to be seen by a lot of prisoners literally LEFT IN THE DARK for years.
This unfolding experience brings to mind an article from a recent issue of Under Lock & Key.(2) It sets the record straight, explaining in detail the "reforms" hailed in the media regarding indeterminate SHU terms with respect to prisoners subject to the cruel and unusual conditions in the Pelican Bay gulag. Just as the so-called reform left the doors wide open to every other SHU in California's gulag system, merely limiting the time spent doing an indeterminate term at Pelican Bay to 2 years. It's nothing, NOTHING different than SQ's 2 Strikes Law being intentionally contested. Torture cannot be reformed. So the practice of long-term isolation must be ABOLISHED. The construction of more SHUs at SQ must stop because it is torture.
I would like to let you know of a situation that occurred on 1 December 2015, at Ely State Prison in Nevada. A white corrections officer (CO) was taking a Black prisoner to yard in handcuffs. CO Edwards is a known racist pig, and while taking this prisoner to yard he slammed his face against the sally port door. When the prisoner went to his knees, CO Edwards then slammed his face on the ground. The reason given was that the prisoner "turned his head too fast."
The prisoner was taken to the hole. But it caused us to unite. Nevada has become a highly individualized state. No one wants to get involved with any struggle. But yesterday a comrade and I pushed the issue, and we got a large number of prisoners to file grievances. We filed them as AR340 misconduct complaints against the pig Edwards, which are supposed to be sent to the Inspector General's office.
It was nice to see us united. I will keep you updated on this issue.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is doing the hard work necessary to build an anti-imperialist movement: repeatedly trying to inspire others to come together to fight injustices. Even if the action is small at first, the unity around this one incident helps to build unity around bigger issues. People learn through action, even if that lesson is that the oppressors are far more powerful than us right now. We still have to take the opportunity to offer information about the criminal injustice system, why we take on these battles, and how they fit in to our longer term goal of putting an end to the oppressive system of imperialism.
The paramount purpose for this correspondence is to bring awareness to the barbaric, dehumanizing, unacceptable living conditions for us (the offenders) who currently reside in the Restrictive Housing Unit/Administrative Segregation (RHU/Ad-Seg) units of #1 and #2 house here at Southeastern Correctional Center (SECC). These inhumane conditions are inconsistent with the evolving standards of a decent society. We are being abused and oppressed at the hands of the administration. Therefore, I'm hoping that hearing our cry for help may spark a fuse in your spirit and compel you all to help us fight against injustice. These particular injustices are inflicted upon us intentionally and being used as a form of psychological torture for the purpose of tormenting and dehumanizing the prisoners here at SECC.
The staff here at SECC, namely: Warden Ian Wallace, Asst. Warden Paula Phillips-Reed, Asst. Warden Bill Stange, Major Terry White, and HU#2/FUM Bruce Hanebrink, have conjured up a host of sanitation and human rights violations under the umbrella of a recently created "limited property" policy implemented in the Administrative Segregation housing units #1 and #2. These violations are as follows:
1. Equal protection violation (14th Amendment of the U.S. Const.): SECC Administration limited Phase 1 & 2 prisoners in RHU/Ad-Seg to 5 stamps, 5 envelopes, 1 pad of writing paper, and 1 small security ink pen per month. To have the aforementioned supplies is a right and cannot be treated as a privilege in the punishment and reward system to be given or taken away at the staff's discretion based off of behavior and/or placement. Prisoners in Ad-Seg units should be allowed to purchase the same amount of stamps as general population prisoners are allowed to purchase. Having writing material does not pose a potential security threat. It does however, hinder prisoners' access to courts, the House of Congress, our lawyers, prisoner advocate groups and our families if we are deprived, thereof. We have a right to use the mail for corresponding purposes without limitation.
2. Sanitation violation (8th Amendment of the U.S. Const.): The SECC Administration subjected us to cruel and unusual punishment when they sent CERT officers into the housing units of #1 and #2 in August 2015 to confiscate from all prisoners therein all state issued personal pants, t-shirts, boxers, socks, towels and face cloths. Prisoners are no longer allowed to have towels and face towels in their assigned cells. We are given 1 pair of boxers, 1 t-shirt, and 1 pair of socks to be changed out every three days. For prisoners to be forced to wear the same dirty boxers for 3 days straight is such an unsanitary condition that I developed a "jock itch and rashes" around my groin area. When we do finally change boxers they are in exchange for more over-used boxers shared by hundreds of other prisoners. Some of these prisoners have various diseases (i.e. Aids, HIV, Hepatitis, TB, Staph, Shingles, etc.)
Furthermore, we are not allowed to have face cloths in our cells, preventing us from being able to at least wash up in our sinks to get the dirt and stink off of us until shower day. We are only given a wash cloth on shower day, once we enter the shower stall. These items must be given back before returning to our cells. To add fuel to the fire, the same exact towels and face cloths that we are being forced to use on our body, staff are using them for multi-purpose towels (i.e. staff use them to clean the shower walls and doors with; staff use them to wipe the wing food carts with, staff use them to wipe the wing desk down that they sit at while in the wing, staff use them on clean up night — forcing us to wash our walls, sink, and cell floors with, and staff use them to clean up smelly, rust water that comes from the pipes whenever a cell sprinkler busts.) What reasonable minded person uses their dish towels to shower with? This is definitely a serious problem that poses a potential health risk. To sum it all up, we have been reduced to the dark ages. Forced to live like Vikings and cavemen when uncleanliness was an acceptable way of life.
3. Human rights violations: unsanitary conditions: The administration officials decided that Ad-Seg prisoners are not allowed to purchase soap from inmate canteen. Instead, we are issued 1 small bar of state made soap (approx 3 inches in length, 1/2 inch thick) per week. With that 1 bar of soap we have to take a shower twice a week and wash our hands throughout the days. Most of the time, by the 2nd shower day, there is not enough soap left to shower with. Some prisoners, myself included, complain that they limit how many times they wash their hands after using the toilet so that they may have enough soap to shower with by the next shower day.
Furthermore, prisoners in Ad-Seg are not being permitted to purchase toilet paper to adequately wipe with after defecation. We are given only 1 roll of tissue and being forced to make it last a week. Sometimes we have to blow our noses with the tissue due to poor ventilation or various illnesses thereby lessening the tissue supply. Most of the time we run out of tissue and staff refuse to give us any. We use our socks to wipe with and wash them out afterwards. This is grossly unsanitary and also poses a potential health risk.
4. Human rights violation: Ad-Seg prisoners are not allowed to have any pants in our cells. Prisoners are forced to walk around in their cells with only boxers and t-shirts on with cellmates who often times are convicted sex offenders, homosexuals and prison booty bandits (prisoners who rape other prisoners) which opens the door for a Prison Rape Elimination Act claim. It's as if the administration are promoting homosexuality or setting the stage for one of us to possibly get raped. Prisoners are also being forced to attend our Ad-Seg hearings as well as sick call appointments without pants. Prisoners are also being forced to walk across the yard in only our boxers and t-shirts amongst other offenders, sometimes in the cold or rainy weather, while being escorted between #1 and #2 house which is approx 150 feet apart. Not only is this inhumane, these boxers have a loose opening in the front of them and if a prisoner's penis just happens to flop out through the opening then we are subject to sexual misconduct violations.
Furthermore, sometimes the Ad-Seg laundry doesn't get cleaned on time in which case prisoners are forced to choose between going to rec in the outside cages in only boxers and t-shirts in 30 degree weather or simply to refuse our rec.
5. Sleep Deprivation: The administrative staff has approved staff in housing units #1 and #2 to conduct a number of activities during 1st shift (midnight) which include:
Passing out our mail after the 12 a.m. count when lights are out.
Passing out HSRs (Health Service Request forms)
Passing out cell cleaning supplies at 3 a.m. to clean our cells with.
Picking up sheets and blankets to be washed, which is also picked up and given back around 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
There's no movement count between 10:30 p.m. count and the 6:30 a.m. count because prisoners must be allowed to have at least 7 or 8 hours of undisturbed sleep. The reason for this critical consideration is because physiological and psychological degradation caused by the lack of sleep or insufficient amount of sleep. Disturbing our sleep throughout the night creates an even more stressful environment.
Suggested Remedies to Violations
1. Allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to purchase the same amount of stamps and envelopes as general population are allowed to purchase. These items are not a privilege but a right.
2. Allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to have our own state issued personal towels, face cloths, and boxers back in our cells so that we can at least wash up in our cells until shower day. Good hygiene habits are to be practiced everyday, not every 3 days.
3. Allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to purchase at least 4 or 6 bars of soap per month. General population prisoners are allowed to purchase 2 per week, totaling 8 per month. Also, allow prisoners in Ad-Seg to purchase at least 4 or 6 rolls of toilet tissue per month. General population prisoners are allowed to purchase 2 per week, totaling 8 per month. (Soap or tissue should not be treated as a "privilege" either).
4. Prisoners in Ad-Seg should be allowed to have at least 1 pair of their state issued personal pants or 1 pair of orange Ad-Seg pants to keep and wear in our cells, to be changed out once-per-week. We have a right to adequate clothing supported by the 14th and 8th amendment clause of the U.S. Constitutional.
5. For prisoners in Ad-Seg mail should be passed out on the 3rd shift (like it used to be) so we can read it and respond back if desired to do so. It's unreasonable for staff to pass out our mail after lights are cut out. Cell cleaning should be done on the 2nd or 3rd shift using the proper supplies instead of the towels we are currently forced to shower with, and laundry should be picked up after breakfast and given back before the 10:30 p.m. count. HSRs should be passed out by the nurses on the 2nd or 3rd shift since they only pick them up on the day shift.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is initiating a campaign around a very reasonable set of demands. The lack of writing materials and unsanitary conditions are all too common in Amerikan prisons and these conditions expose the reality of prisons as a tool of social control and in particular the use of long-term isolation (Ad-Seg) for this purpose. Denial of the materials necessary to maintain contact with people on the outside, and creation of conditions that will cause mental (denial of sleep) and physical (unsanitary conditions) health problems are clearly counter to any possible rehabilitative goals of prisons. Instead, these conditions serve to reduce the likelihood of successful reintegration into society by prisoners released from Ad-Seg. It is because of this that we can say prison control units are clearly tools of social control. This sort of long-term torture must be struggled against. In the short term this comrade's demands are a good basis to organize around. But we cannot lose sight of the need to shut down control units altogether. We must demand an end to long-term solitary confinement for any and all prisoners. Of course, in the longer run our fight is for an end to the criminal injustice system entirely, and we should frame these battles against the torture of solitary confinement around this broader struggle so that we are clear about the fact that the injustice system cannot be reformed into justice.
Regarding the rejection of Under Lock & Key 45, I have yet to see the publication. Yet allegations that it depicts "sexually oriented content" make no sense to me. We may be able to use this false review and classification as a means of obtaining relief against arbitrary censorship. I am currently in confinement and was unable to make a copy of the grievance and response for my safe keeping.
My current confinement is a serious retaliation against me resulting from an incident on September 8, when a prisoner who was in handcuffs was brutally assaulted by a Sergeant A. Arana. Shortly after the assault I wrote a kite to a prisoner in confinement, informing him that a few other prisoners had witnessed him being brutalized by Sergeant Arana. I listed the names [of 3 other prisoners] in the kite, informing him that he needed to write a grievance to the Inspector General ASAP, listing those names as witnesses, that he gotta go all the way through with it, that he could sue and that I was writing the secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections Julie Jones asking her to look into his brutality.
On September 12 all those names I mentioned in the kite and myself got rounded up and placed in confinement under investigation. The Captain showed me my kite even though it was not written using my government name. I was being placed under investigation for "conspiracy to defraud the state." No such charge was delivered. Everybody else was released on September 16, and I was released from confinement on September 18.
Once released I learned that Sergeant Gaucin, Sergeant Arana and Sergeant Sanders were telling prisoners on the compound that I am an FBI snitch. They are obviously trying to get me stabbed or killed. While being escorted to confinement on September 12, Sergeant Gaucin searched me and found an FBI/Department of Justice Civil Rights Division agent's business card. The agency has visited me twice due to my reporting on brutality of prisoners. So I carry the card and give prisoners their information if they need it. I wrote the Secretary a letter about being called a snitch by officers. On October 2 I was placed in confinement under protective management. On October 5 I was released.
The very next morning, October 6 at 8 a.m. count, Sergeant Juliano approached my cell. The cell door was already open. Sergeant Juliano ordered me out of the cell. I stood at the rail outside of the cell in perfect view of the surveillance cameras. Sergeant Juliano opened my locker and started dumping all my property on the floor, loudly stating: "You snitch, you baby rapist, I don't want no snitch in my dorm, you're getting out of my dorm right now, you wanna write up my officers? If you don't stop writing up my officers, I'm gonna fuck you up myself, you damn snitch, you baby rapist," making sure he was heard by the whole wing. He continued, "I'm not Sergeant Arana you snitching mother fucker, you're going to jail."
I was placed in handcuffs while he found my address books stating, "you won’t be writing the Secretary and FBI and whoever else you like to write about what's going on here, you won't be seeing these anymore, snitch bitch," putting my address books in his left cargo pants pockets.
I was escorted to the Captain's office by Corrections Officer (C/O) Hunter who stated, "you need to mind your own business, you write too many grievances, you talk to much."
At the Captain's office I informed the Captain of everything that was said and done by Sergeant Juliano and C/O Hunter. The Captain simply informed me that I was being placed in confinement pending a disciplinary review (DR) for disrespecting Sergeant Juliano; something I never did.
On October 7 the DR was delivered. Sergeant Juliano stated that while counting, he smelled smoke in the area of my cell and asked me if I was smoking. He claimed I replied, "Bitch, ain't nobody smoking, get the fuck out of here and go do your job."
On October 8 the DR hearing team informed me that I was being sentenced to only 15 days rather than 30. They really wanted to let me go, but they said that they feared for my safety and would decide what to do by the time my 15 days would be up. I'm waiting to see how it works out.
No matter how it goes I'm filing a civil claim for retaliation. I had just filed my tort claim in state court, been given a case number and awaiting a response on my application for indigency. The tort is about loss of my personal property last October.
We are putting the pressure on the pro-imperialist goons (pigs) down here by simply letting the Secretary know what's going on. The move is picking up. However, they might skip me soon, that's how it always go.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This report of both unfounded censorship (for content that does not exist in Under Lock & Key!) and punishment for reporting on conditions of confinement are ongoing problems in Florida prisons. We've initiated a campaign against the censorship in that state, but we know that it will likely come with retaliation against those who choose to participate in the struggle. We will use the pages of ULK to expose the Florida injustice system, but we also need legal help to take on the broader anti-censorship battle. It is of critical importance (and also legally protected) that our comrades in Florida, facing this sort of abuse, be able to receive political education and communicate their stories to the outside world. Fighting the censorship is an important part of the battle. If you are in Florida and want to get involved in the censorship battle let us know.
by a West Virginia prisoner October 2015 permalink
Cowards will hit you when you're in chains. Anger fits you, coursing through your veins. Inflicting violence when you can't fight back. Demanding silence or the charges will stack. Stop resisting, I've got mace! Was sleeping, now on your face. Throwing grenades when you are unarmed and compliant. Snitches, puppets and police can't take down a giant. Most are grimy, with much snake in their blood. The rest, evil flowers beginning to bud. Giving us bad water and rotten food. What the hell put them in such a bad mood? Don't think they can get the cuffs any tighter. Of course they will have to chain up a fighter. Excuse me, I've done nothing wrong, sir. Under his saddle must be a burr. Getting sprayed after being cuffed. Wearing a badge must make them tough. Everyone should apply a little resistance. Make the pigs call "Officer in need of assistance." Like a martye against ten, maybe more or less. Just give as much as you take, simply do your best.