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Under Lock & Key

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[Mental Health] [Gender] [Abuse] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California] [ULK Issue 40]
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Defining Rape

I have initiated a lawsuit alleging that Officer Mary Brockett at California State Prison-Sacramento (CSP-Sac) subjected me to sexual harassment. This occurred in the Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP) which is part of the mental "health" services in the California Deparment of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). When I reported Brockett's predatory acts to other top ranking prison officials, they did not believe me because I'm Black, and Brockett is a white amerikan. They also did not understand why a prisoner would file a staff sexual misconduct complaint against an officer. As a direct result of Brockett's sexual misconduct against me she was terminated, but CDCR top ranking officials refused to have her arrested and identified as a sexual offender.

I requested an Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) investigation against Brockett for her predatory behavior towards me. In December 2003, I was interviewed by Special Agent Jill Chapman of OIA, and I agreed to assist her with an investigation against Brockett in order to prove my sexual harassment allegations. During said investigation, the OIA dropped the ball, and OIA agents allowed Brockett to sexually assault me four times after the start of the investigation.

On 15 January 2014, Judge Hunley of the United States District Court, ruled that officer Brockett's conduct violated clearly established law of which Brockett should have been aware. The court found that Brockett is not entitled to qualified immunity on my Eighth Amendment sexual misconduct claim.

My investigation has revealed that many other prisoners who reported rape and other forms of sexual assaults by CDCR personnel are sent to SHU as a form of retaliation and/or intimidation. My defense team and I have been able to identify many other cases of corrections, medical and mental health staff sexually abusing the mentally ill prisoners, plus many coverups by supervisors, at several California state prisons.

I had to hire a private investigator to assist me in light of the fact that going to ranking officials kept getting me put in lock-up units. Instead of charging Brockett with sexual assaults, the CDCR prison officials in Sacramento allowed me to be subjected to a series of retaliatory transfers attempting to intimidate me. On 8 September 2009, prison officials were informed about my lawsuit and that same day I was placed in administrative segregation (ASU) on false allegations of fighting. In December 2009 I was ordered placed in ASU pending a false prison gang validation. Retaliatory transfers are a violation of CDCR policy.

The evidence will show that correctional and medical and mental health staff sexual harassment and sexual assaults were not isolated incidents within CDCR's EOP. I would ask you to help me and my defense team to spread the word. Other victims are out there. My purpose of the lawsuit is to shed light on sexual abuse against the mentally ill in California, including torturing tactics through criminal activities and criminal organized crime within CDCR.


MIM(Prisons) responds: People usually conceptualize patriarchy as those biologically categorized as male oppressing those biologically categorized as female. But sexual assault of bio-male prisoners by bio-female guards is an example of how gender oppression is not necessarily linked to one's biological sex category. In the first issue of Under Lock & Key we wrote about prison rape, and using the best statistics available, we suggested that Black bio-men might be gendered female in the United $tates, largely due to imprisonment rates and the sexual abuse that comes with imprisonment. The abusing bio-female guards are certainly gendered male, and are part of what we call the gender aristocracy.(1) Amerikan (and especially white) bio-wimmin enjoy benefits in leisure time based on their national ties to white bio-men, based on a long history of lynchings, suffrage, and Third World oppression.(2)

Fighting sexual abuse through the courts can be difficult for anyone, and especially for prisoners. As this correspondent writes, white Brockett was not even charged for the sexual assault. When sexual assault cases do go to court, the judge/jury, like much of U.$. society, get hung up on the debate of whether the sex was "really rape," a subjective measure of whether the victim gave consent to the sexual activity or not. Prisoners are assumed by the courts and society to have a low moral standing, and this subjectivity bleeds into the judgement of whether they were "really raped," and whether they should be protected even if they are considered to have been raped. People have debated for decades about where to draw the line with consent, and this debate has recently resurfaced in First World Maoist circles.(3)

When deciding whether a sexual encounter was a rape, a tendency is to focus on whether the victim of sexual assault verbally said they did or did not want to have the sexual encounter, what words they used, in what tone, how many times they said it, if they were intoxicated, how intoxicated, their sexual history, what they were wearing, etc. Others even draw the line where "Most victims themselves intuitively recognize the difference between consensual sex and rape."(3) But all these criteria are based on subjective social standards at the time. Many people don't start calling a sexual incident a rape until months or even years afterward, because they have since learned more about sexuality and social norms, or the social norms have changed. The courts change their definition of rape depending on public opinion as well. When mini skirts were racy, it was considered by many an invitation for sex. Now that mini skirts are normalized as pants in our society, almost no one would make this argument. Social norms and subjective feelings are untrustworthy as measures of gender oppression. They focus too much on individuals' actions and feelings, ignoring the relationship between the group and the individual.

Rather than falling into this subjectivist trap, MIM(Prisons) upholds the line that all sex under patriarchy is rape. Among the general public, living in a highly sexualized culture with a long history of material consequences for granting and withholding access to one's sexuality, no "yes" can be granted independent of group relationships. This is especially true for a captive population; saying "yes" to sex as a trade for privileges, or to a guard who quite literally has your life in their hands, cannot be consensual, even if everyone involved "liked" it or "wanted" it. Power play is very tied up in leisure time to the point that a coercive sex act can feel pleasurable to all involved. Granting consent in a society with gender oppression is a moot point. People always behave in a way that is determined by group relationships, and this is no different for the gender oppressed under patriarchy.

While Liberals are concerned with how we define rapists so that we can lock them up and ostracize them, we look at the systematic problem rather than essentializing individuals. We don't adhere to the bourgeois standard of criminality for theft, so why would we follow their standard for rape? Instead we want to build a socialist society that allows jobs for everyone, separate from the sex industry. We would then ban all sex for profit, all pornography for profit, and all sex trafficking. We wouldn't criminalize sex slaves or people choosing to have sex for their own subjective pleasure, but we would criminalize anyone making a profit off of sex work, especially the multi-billion dollar porn and abduction rackets. Low-level pimps and "self-employed" sex workers would at least need to go through self-criticism and reeducation and take a cold, hard look at how their activities are impacting others. Anyone who wanted to leave these anti-people industries would have other viable options, something we can't say for the vast majority of sex workers in the world today who were either kidnapped, or subject to manifestations of national oppression such as homelessness and drug addiction.

As with any form of oppression under imperialism, we encourage people to use the courts when we think we can win material advantages, set a useful precendent for other cases, or make a political point to mobilize the masses. But kicking Brockett out of the facility will just replace her with another gender oppressing officer. Ultimately we need to change the economic conditions that underly the coercive gender relations in our society and attack the system of patriarchy itself.

Notes:
1. For more on gender get ULK 1, ULK 6, and MIM Theory 2/3.
2. In contrast to the strand of class oppression which is based in work relations, the strand of gender oppression is based outside of work, or in what we call "leisure time." To speak of prison as "leisure" can sound odd because it's certainly not a day at the beach, but the point is that it is not labor time, and not based in class. See "Clarity on what gender is" 1998 MIM Congress Resolution.
3. Comments on "All Sex is Rape". 20 July 2014, LLCO.org. Write to us for a more in depth critique of this piece.

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[Abuse] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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The New Court-Approved Device of Torture in California SHUs: Guard One

Guard One was implemented in the middle of June per mandate of a court-appointed mental health expert in Sacramento. The device resembles a pipe about the size of a closet pole cut to an 8" length. It either flashes or beeps to indicate a welfare check has been recorded. Similar devices are in use throughout selected prisons, especially in the Security Housing Units (SHUs) where statistics reveal most prison suicides occur.

While it is being promoted as a high-tech device able to create an electronic record that prison guards are actually performing their assigned duty of half-hourly welfare checks at each cell, it is also supposed to be showing how much CDCr cares about reducing the number of suicides on its four death row SHUs at San Quentin.

In San Quentin's SHU II D.R. the sensor which the beeping pipe must make contact with is attached to each cell's food port. That's a small metal door on hinges which is padlocked closed unless the cell has no occupant, the prisoner is attending some other program, the cleaning bucket is being used, or there is a phone in use. When the food port is open, for whatever reason, it must be lifted to the closed position so contact can be made with the beeping pipe. Normally, upwards of 100 food ports are left open every day between the hours of 9am and 1pm as various programs are in session. During that time there is continuous banging, clanging and beeping. That's hardly conducive to anyone's mental health!

At around 9pm the beeping pipes are traded in for a non-beeping Guard One device. So between the hours of 9pm and 5am the padlocked metal food port doors continue clanging each time a contact is made. The banging of food ports on empty cells as they're lifted and dropped also echoes throughout the night while the prison guard flashlights would probably remind you of a prison break scene from an old movie as the spotlights search up and down for prisoners crawling the walls. Sleep deprivation can lead to a number of mental and physical health issues.

By 5:30am the beeping starts up like a small brood of electronic rooster chicks fighting for dominance in a cast iron coop and a few cocks get to crowing about the "easy money overtime" coming from the taxpayers.

Many prisoners have died in their cells due to heart attacks, cooking, or other things which might not have been fatal if they had received timely medical attention. So these must be some of the factors considered by the "expert" who armed prison guards with these devices seemingly designed to preserve prisoners and create jobs. I hope I separated the truth from fiction for you.

We call for the elimination of the Guard One device because it is causing more torture and anguish for prisoners.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a good example of the criminal injustice system implementing new costly practices in response to serious problems, but the new practices do nothing to help prisoners. In this case, it is a real problem that prisoners die due to medical neglect. But spending lots of money creating more jobs for guards and increasing sensory torture for prisoners is not a solution to this problem. We can never expect the injustice system to reform itself or address its problems fundamentally. We must continue to demand an end to torture like long-term isolation and these new devices, while we build a broader movement that can attack the fundamental injustice of a system that uses prisons as a tool of social control.

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[Middle East] [California]
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Palestine Petition Gains Much Support in California Prison

In August 2014, United Struggle from Within launched a petition campaign against the I$raeli settler state and to support the people of Palestine against the recent violent attacks. A petition was circulated to prisoners in many states and this is a report back from one persyn's efforts to collect signatures.

I was surprised to get as many signatures as I did, and most prisoners didn't have to hear much more than the basic thrust of the document to know that they wanted to sign. I offered everyone the petition to read for themselves so that they could be sure of what they were signing. For most people I broke the document down into three points. The first was simple opposition to the purposeful targeting of civilians by I$rael. Indeed most of the people who signed had very strong feelings about seeing wimmin and children being killed. The second point was our agreement that Israel's bombing of Gaza had to stop. The third was that even as so-called "thugs and criminalsm," even we know there are lines to be drawn in combat, and civilian deaths are a big no no. Therefore all signatories were united on one basic premise: no to the killing of wimmin and children.

Most prisoners quickly signed after hearing what I had to say, while two people just refused to sign. I was actually surprised since they were both "born again Christians" and part of the social base I'd thought would've been easiest to organize. One of them said he was currently in the process of reading something on that topic and would get back at me once he was thoroughly informed. I told him that I had already outlined everything he needed to know, but still he was hesitant. I then went into explaining the basics of the document but still he was unsure. He also seemed nervous for some reason at which point I thanked him and walked away.

The second "Christian" is a Vietnam veteran so I anticipated his hesitance but thought his so-called spiritually would transcend the political. Instead he quickly put on a look of disgust and kindly declined. I tried pushing him some based on his religious beliefs but still looking annoyed he once again declined, instead telling me that he would pray for the wimmin and children of Gaza but would not sign the petition. Of course I had some choice words for his bombastic air of superiority as he is one of those Christians who walks around with bible in hand, head to the sky as if he's superior or has reached some type of Nirvana to which none of us are privy; yet he cannot sign the petition.

Then there was someone else, another older gentleman who expressed something of shock and irritability at what I was proposing. Who was I to organize a petition for Palestine? And why should he sign it if no Amerikan lives where involved? I recited my script and basic points of unity to which he was still "confused." At this point I began to sense something of a chauvinist attitude emanating from his line of questioning. Finally I told him that if he didn't want to sign then that was fine as he was beginning to take up too much of my time.

But now he was the one who didn't want to let me go. He said he was only trying to understand my motivations. He said that during Hurricane Katrina he saw no petitions to help the people of New Orleans, that America has its own problems and that we should focus on that first instead of organizing for Palestine. Finally, he caught me off guard when he cited the many wars in Africa currently taking place and why wasn't I organizing for that? I was left speechless for about a second or two but then quickly recovered by telling him that he was right and that was a good point he made about Africa. I told him that if he wanted we could both put something together and start a petition. He quickly refused and then retreated to his second line of defense. He didn't understand the point of the petition. He said it wasn't gonna solve anything, therefore what was the point? I told him that he was wrong and that the purpose of the petition was to help build public awareness of the atrocities and to help build public opinion so as to hopefully put additional pressure on Israel. Furthermore if people on the streets who have the freedom and liberty to organize for Palestine saw that prisoners were circulating and signing a petition for Palestine then perhaps they'd be moved to do more.

He disagreed and instead proposed that I initiate a fundraiser/food drive here in which we can get a outside vendor to sponsor us and all money collected from prisoners could go to Palestine. (Various self-help groups here such as AA, NA, Anger Management, etc. have raised funds in the past thru these fundraisers with proceeds going to Locks of Love, cancer research, etc). I told him that we needed the administration's permission for such a drive and that they would never sanction us sending money to Palestine since they were a tool of the state. He vehemently disagreed.

He then went back to his point about Africa, and why did I choose Palestine over Africa? He said the only reason I chose Palestine was because I too was Middle-Eastern. I told him I was not, and he was more confused. I then told him that Palestine is a flash point on an international level compared to the civil wars in Africa and thereby more people would be easier to organize around this platform. I once again offered to work with him on an Africa project. He again refused. By this time I again offered to take my petition somewhere else but after a little more struggle he begrudgingly signed. I told him that if he was still pessimistic about it that I didn't need his signature as I wanted everyone's signature to be sincere, but he said he was good and I accepted.

As the day went on I got more signatures and had a couple interesting political conversations as a result. You can be sure that everyone who signed did so out of a sense of injustice in Palestine. My small petition drive was a good learning experience and helped me exercise my political speaking abilities.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Bringing the Truth to Light: The Result of Sunlight Deprivation at San Quentin

A recent study concluded that even a moderate deficiency of vitamin D results in a 53% increased chance of developing dementia. The most abundant source of vitamin D on earth comes from a chemical reaction that occurs naturally when our skin is exposed to direct sunlight.

Sunny California's torture units feature dog run style walk-in closets called "walk alone" or "small management yards" (SMY). These usually consist of four solid walls and a plexiglass or metal grating for a roof, both of which obstruct sunlight. Depending on the time of day, a prisoner may not get any direct sunlight at all.

The SMY torture cages designed for Grade A and B death row prisoners warehoused in San Quentin's East Block (SHU II D.R.) are especially cruel and unusual. Unlike the torture cages in the SHU III D.R. (The Adjustment Center) which are completely exposed to the elements with no protection whatsoever, the SHU II D.R. torture cages have a corrugated steel cover over 1/4 of its top and every one of these 40 or so cages are under a gigantic modified metal pavilion which could be comparable to a rusted metal circus tent. The only direct sunlight penetrating this bizarre big top of the CDCr circus pierces through rust holes in the massive metal canopy.

True to form, California's mad scientists conducting the world's most infamous death penalty experiment in numerous SHUs across the sunshine state prefer their own blend of pharmaceutical cocktails to solve the problems they themselves are mass producing. CDCr's "chemical solution" aims to obscure and/or delay known side effects of this particular experiment which subjects humans to sunlight deprivation torture indefinitely. CDCr prescribes Vitamin D/Calcium supplements and "psych meds."

Who will dare to fathom the impact this state-sanctioned torture has on prisoners in the United $tates, and on the prison system's medical and mental health costs. This is a system already overloaded and still under federal receivership.

The bottom line is this is where getting involved in the grievance campaign would be a wise choice. Also keep in mind that no matter what your current classification is, it's always subject to change. Just being in a California control unit is all it takes to become a test subject in this already out of control experiment. Don't think you are somehow immune to this twisted chemical warfare.

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[Organizing] [California]
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"Crash Dummies" Used to Foment Disunity

There are plenty of mentally challenged prisoners in this system who exhibit immature coping skills, poor impulse control, and difficulty in managing their behavior. Many of those who harbor personal biases and prejudices, but have a higher intellectual understanding, often will turn these unwitted souls into their own personal "crash dummies" to amuse themselves as well as do their dirty work. When I see or become aware of such abuses I typically will let my view about such be known, and sometimes it may help the situation. But when people are bored due to lack of reading material or other constructive activities, they tend to look for other ways to garner entertainment resulting in the fabrication of "crash dummies."

A "crash dummy" is a person who, as a result of their developmental impediments, tends to look to others to tell them what to do, and it never ceases to amaze me how easily cats who are craven will dupe a "crash dummy" into doing their dirty work for amusement or other nefarious purposes. Typically you will find that it is the gutless ones who will espouse to the high heavens that they are guileless and courageous. But when it comes to a chickenshit prison job that only provides an extra sack lunch, or the fear of losing visiting, canteen or other punk privileges, he will recruit a "crash dummy" to do his bidding.

I recently noted a sad example of this phenomenon, where the target of one character's biases and prejudices was a Cuban comrade who is of African ethnicity. He speaks fluent Spanish and has a knack for practicing his footwork with a soccer ball, and would typically play soccer with the B-Dog's when they opted to play a game. Well this one African son had a problem with that.

So this agent provocateur saw the Cuban addressing a matter to the pigs. This had nothing to do with a couple youngsters who thought the Cuban talked funny, because of his Spanish accent, but they said to the Cuban "take your ass into your cell" laughing and clowning as kids sometimes do. However the issue the Cuban was trying to address with the pigs was important to him and he said to the youngsters "mind your own business you black mutha-fuc's." This statement with a pronounced Spanish accent was what the agent provocateur was looking for, and he took those few words and twisted them into "disrespecting the Black race." The story kept getting blown out of proportion with each retelling. Well, with just a slight goading, all of a sudden the Cuban is deemed a pariah now by the petty tribalist who initially tried to convince another Cuban to act on such drivel, claiming that otherwise "we" will do it!

Sensible minds, your commentator's included, did verbally interject. However the monotony of the environment somehow won out and while it was believed that the matter was squashed, I later came to find out that the agent provocateur had somehow reignited the matter and this particular morning. While I was discussing some legal issues and procedures with a comrade the agitator all of a sudden came and sat at the table with a Cheshire cat's toothy smirk on his face saying "those two youngsters are going to get him watch" and lo and behold it went down close to the table where I, a comrade, and the provocateur had been seated.

The booth pig pointed the block gun in our general vicinity and the provocateur dove 15 feet away under a staircase against the wall displaying his cowardliness for all who had paid attention. The provocateur got the results he desired and has subsequently bragged to me that he has not had a CDC-115 disciplinary in years. He just gets a dimwit to do his dirty work for him.

I personally have spent too much time in segregation for being true to the way I was taught to jail decades ago, being a true stand-up resistor activist. Experience has consistently demonstrated that those quickest to suggest a violent solution will be the first to duck dodge run and hide leaving others to deal with their mess.

I simply hope that the youngsters are not permanently mentally challenged and that the penalties that they suffer are not criminal proceedings that add to their confinement, but instead simply a sad learning experience that will open their eyes to the actual motivations of some of those they mistakenly try to emulate and befriend. I am simply disappointed in myself and those who know better.

The cat that started the nonsense basically was not willing to do something to the Cuban, for he did not want to get in trouble himself. When I think about it, it's like he was leading fools from the rear in such a way that guaranteed his personal safety. In many cases in prison leadership is only a facade that is full of contradictions. One must recognize that those who claim to be leaders but will not get their hands dirty are simply manipulators.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This story about prisoners using others for petty attacks and retaliation is a good example of the importance of building true unity, across national lines, among prisoners. Our common enemy, the criminal injustice system, should be the focus of our energies. And for this purpose we call on all individuals and organizations to join with the United Front for Peace in Prisons, in particular promoting the UFPP principle of unity: "We strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity."

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[Gender] [Abuse] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 40]
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Fighting Sexual Abuse Leads to Reprisals in California

Several of us prisoners filed a grievance on sexual misconduct against us by a correctional officer. The investigators here did not take this complaint seriously or investigate thoroughly, and even told me maybe the officer was joking around. They then intimidated most to drop out of the complaint. Now there are only two of us who refuse to be intimidated and give up, but we have faced much reprisals. Both of us have been removed from our jobs and many officers here stop and search me almost every day. I have been discriminated against and called racial names by several officers.

I continue to file complaints on many staff here but it seems to do no good. When I go the wrong route and disrespect them back, I get written up and disciplined. There is much corruption at California Medical Facility and most prisoners are afraid to do anything because they do not want to lose their jobs and property, and have their cells searched and tossed up.

I complained all the way up the ladder and they all do nothing to rectify the situation. The supervisors think their officers can do no wrong.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Enclosed with this letter was a copy of the author's first, second and third level appeals regarding employee sexual misconduct:

"I've been working in kitchen for over 3 years. I have not had any major issues. Until CO Liggett took over as culinary supervisor. He continuously makes sexual remarks, like you going to suck me off, and he rubs. You can interview all inmates in kitchen/dining halls and I'm sure most will agree with these allegations."

"I believe the ISU and COs here are not taking this seriously. Myself and another inmate [X] have been retaliated against for filing this and other 602s [grievances]. We have had our work cards confiscated and are not allowed to work. I believe the right thing to do is to remove CO Liggett from his supervisor position."

The matter was referred to Office of Internal Affairs (OIA) for an investigation. The third level decision denied the appeal, but mentions the OIA inquiry which is still pending on the outcome of the investigation.

Finally, after the third level appeal decision, the author wrote a letter to the Warden requesting his intervention. The Warden responded "A review of your appeal record indicates no staff complaints have been submitted regarding your situation, and this matter should be handled through the appeals process."

This response appears to be a form letter, completely dismissing a very serious issue without any real investigation. We have seen copies of the appeals from the prisoner and the appeals decision from the prison, so this suggestion that the Warden's claim that no staff complaints have been submitted is just ridiculous. The Warden could not have missed this extensive paper trail if he had actually looked at the record.

This blatant disregard for sexual harassment and abuse of prisoners comes as no surprise in a society where sexual assault in prison is seen as a legitimate punishment and something to joke about. While in general when we talk about gender oppression and sexual harassment we are talking about men abusing wimmin, in prison the prisoners are put in a position of submission and powerlessness that leaves the majority, including the men, subject to gender oppression.

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [California]
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Beyond the 602: California Administrative Mandate Petitions

I would like to encourage any prisoner who is abused in any way that is clearly counter to the regulations and department operational manual (DOM) to consider that upon exhausting the administrative process or even when it's obstructed there is another lawful way to force the CDCR prisoncrats to act on your complaint.

It's not as simple as the administrative 602 process and if you lack serious determination to force the issue don't waste your time. But it's called "administrative mandate" petitions you can file in the court. Now you can obtain basic instructions by writing the Prison Law Office and asking for "information on filing an administrative mandate" and/or buy the California state prisoners handbook which will explain to you how to force prisoncrats to follow their own rules and regulations.(1)

There is always the law library, which is the most powerful resource in the system for a prisoner who does not allow themselves to be mentally worn down. The adversarial system is just that, and prisoncrats and the CCPOA don't care about you but as a means to a pay check. This is not to belittle but encourage you to pursue lawful action if you have exhausted administrative remedies. You can sue easily in small claims where you do not have to have much legal knowledge (think of Judge Judy/Joe Brown/Matis, etc.). That's the simplest way to sue. But make sure you line your ducks up!

More complex methods of suing are available also if you are willing to do the work required seriously, as in "limited jurisdiction" and "unlimited jurisdiction" in the state courts; in addition to your ability to file in the federal jurisdiction. This is not easy, it is time consuming and it can be costly to you.

I would also consider writing complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division special litigation section if you are serious. The opposition makes use of all of its resources, I suggest you too use all of the resources you have. I am not anybody's attorney and this is not legal advice, I am simply stating the obvious so people do not lose heart. In most cases the picklesuits and prisoncrats allow the abuse of those they don't expect to offer a real challenge.


Notes: Code Civil Procedures §1094.5 Administrative mandate is used to inquire into validity of administrative orders or decisions (see also Eureka Teachers Assn v. Board of Education (1988) 199 Cal. App. 3d 358. 366. Woods v. Superior Court (1981) 28 CAL 3d 668.675 etc.)

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[Organizing] [Ironwood State Prison] [California]
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Pigs Endanger Safety and Security of Institution, Put Lives of Prisoners at Risk

"Everyone should know by now that prison is politics, it is part of the imperialistic policy of exploitation, oppression and domination over the internal colonies." From "Who are the Political Prisoners?," MIM Theory 11: Amerikkan Prisons On Trial

The pigs at Ironwood State Prison are at it again. Bored with the apparent lack of excitement and disturbances at this relatively peaceful and quiet yard, they have decided to manufacture their own entertainment to the detriment of the imprisoned. Within the span of two short days the pigs here have decided to raid people's houses without any kind of factual proof but only unfounded allegations from "anonymous" sources and supposed "snitches." To understand the actions of the past week however I must first recount the actions of a couple months ago.

It all began when pigs from Ironwood's Special Investigative Unit raided the cell of a born-again Christian in the early hours before breakfast because they'd supposedly received an anonymous kite stating that the Christian was going to stab a Corrections Officer. The Christian was taken to the hole pending investigation and everyone here was left somewhat surprised at this news, as everyone who knew this guy knew that he'd long since left the lumpen lifestyle behind and was only concerned with helping people out. Anyways, after finally getting out of the hole because the investigation turned up nothing, he confided in a couple people that on the day he went to the hole the pigs showed him a picture of another prisoner and asked him if he knew who this persyn was. He lied and told them he didn't, to which they responded, "that's the person who told on you."

Fast-forward to last week when two pigs unexpectedly ran to a cell and ordered the two cellmates to step out. When they asked the pigs what for, they were told not to worry about it and just step out. When the prisoners refused, the pigs immediately pulled out their batons and ordered them a third time to step out. Feeling threatened the prisoners complied. Once in restraints and out of their cell the prisoners were taken to the pigs' local command post on the yard, A-Facility program office. Once there the prisoners were stripped naked and put into holding cages where they were accused of making wine and subsequently treated to verbal assaults. Both prisoners denied the allegations, which proved to be false as the pigs searched and tossed up their cell and found nothing.

As a result the pigs had no choice but to let them go, but not before showing them the pictures of a couple other prisoners. The pigs then asked them if they knew who those two people were, and they said they didn't and were then cut loose. However, after returning to their building they started telling everyone what had happened and that the two prisoners who were in their building had snitched. Tension began to rise and it looked as if people were beginning to take sides preparing for the worst. In the end however, cooler heads prevailed and crisis was averted between the New Afrikan and [email protected] population, as these were the two nations being pitted against each other by the pigs' actions. And even though I started out this story by saying that this is something of a peaceful yard, at the end of the day it's still a prison and things happen.

The very next day almost the same scenario played out when ten or fifteen pigs rushed another person's cell and forced him out the same way they done to those other prisoners the night before. Again, just as the previous night the pigs said they were looking for wine, and just like the night before they found nothing. As the pigs were exiting this person's cell however they told him to thank the prisoners who'd gotten their cell searched the night before for their visit, thereby implying that those prisoners were somehow responsible.

These events from last week caused me to think deeper about the pigs' actions, as well as the prisoners' response to them and I'd like to discuss it here. Now, before jumping to conclusions because you took a pig at his/her word like most who are confronted with this scenario often do, why don't we first stop and actually think about what's really going on? The real issue in the examples given above aren't about who supposedly snitched on who, but about the motivation that the pigs have in exposing their supposed informants to us. Let us hypothesize that in all the examples given above the pigs were actually telling the truth and the people identified by them in their pictures were really snitching, what then? Should we handle our business in keeping with prison etiquette or do we conduct our own investigation in an effort to get to the truth?

Instead of just smashing on the alleged rat because a pig told us to, why not at least confront this person with the information given to us by the pigs and ask him if it's true before smutting him up? As a matter of fact, since when is a pig's word even worth anything?

You can even go further than this and tell this person exactly what the pigs told you and if he denies it then we can offer to file some kind of paperwork together against that very same pig. Whether it be thru your local grievance procedure or thru the courts, put it on paper and put the pigs on blast. This way there will be documentation which shows how these pigs are putting the lives of prisoners at risk; either because you mistakenly assaulted another prisoner due to a pig manipulating you or because the person in question was really a snitch - it doesn't matter!

Stop blindly taking the pigs at their word and doing their bidding, otherwise you're just a sucker who'll believe anything, as well as a tool of the establishment. We should strive to create unity out of the pigs' attempts to divide us. Turn their divide-and-conquer tactics against them and UNITE! These actions on our part could potentially have a two-fold outcome beneficial to us. First, if the pigs see that we're no longer biting into their little games they might stop baiting us, and secondly, if the rats know the pigs are giving them up and you're gonna confront them then they might think twice about telling, thereby reducing any additional oppression of all prisoners concerned. This way bad things can be turned into good.

I know that many reading this are probably laughing and thinking it's a joke, and yes to a certain degree what I'm proposing is somewhat ideal, but the harm we keep inflicting on each other is not. The possibility of creating a United Front becomes less viable without finding ways to settle contradictions amongst ourselves without resorting to violence, and we must begin somewhere.

As such, within the prison realm there are generally two different types of social contradictions: those between ourselves and the pigs and those among the prisoners themselves. The two are totally different in nature, and since they are different in nature the contradictions between ourselves and the pigs and those among the prisoners themselves should be resolved thru different methods. In order to resolve the very many contradictions that inevitably arise among ourselves we should look to the methods of discussion, of criticism, of persuasion and education, and not the methods of coercion or repression, i.e. violence. This way we can arrive at a new unity with these unstable prison elements on a new basis and against the real enemy.

Now, for those of you still reading this and still wondering if the people pointed out by the pigs were really snitches, that I don't know. What I do know however is that one of the supposed "rats" is constantly pushing paperwork against the pigs on a variety of issues which concern the prisoner population. While one of the other prisoners involved recently go this life sentence commuted to a lesser term after serving almost twenty years; the pigs knew this and didn't like it.

These pigs don't care about us and it doesn't matter to them what inmates are "snitches" and what inmates are "solid". To them we're all just prisoners and the same. Perhaps we should take that as a lesson and start looking at each other as one.

To all those people who are really snitching, start showing some self-respect and stop harming the people you should be working with to unite against the pigs. If you can't stop telling them, at least tell on a pig and not another prisoner. For everyone else, stop being a pawn to these pigs and at least conduct your own investigation before erroneously labeling someone a snitch, smutting him up and getting him or yourself hurt. You never know, next time the pigs might flash your picture to someone and call YOU the snitch.

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[United Front] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 40]
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United the Power of the People Can Defeat the CDCR

USW SNY

I'm checking in from RJ Donovan Correctional Facility in California, where the conditions of confinement are getting harder and harder to tolerate. Here there are a few comrades in the administrative segregation unit (ASU) from both sides of the prison system, mainline as well as Special Needs Yards (SNY), studying and struggling together to overcome the oppression of being punished for submitting inmate appeals.

The pigs that run this unit are giving the prisoners who stand up for their rights half issues of already substandard meals. They also move us from cell to cell at least five or six times a month, and always into a cell with someone who is mentally challenged and disruptive. Some cells are painted with human defecation and urine, and the staff doesn't bother to clean them or provide any cleaning supplies. Some comrades have been physically attacked and have had their personal property passed out to the rats and snitches.

While these are not infrequent unconstitutional violations here, most of the prisoners are afraid to speak up. The theory and actions these officers display is truly terroristic in nature, and the officials allow them to act with impunity.

So I have made it my mission to lead as well as organize and participate in a campaign to stop these abuses here and wherever my feet touch behind these walls. These abuses range from stealing our personal property to creating false charges against us, from denying pens and forms to withholding our mail and yard time, while they sit in the dayroom and eat the state issue items missing from our lunches and dinners.

On a better note, our study group is up to ten in just one week as the brothers of all races and both sides hear us dialogue about the commonality of our situation. Like the brother in ULK 33, I too am SNY and I know there are good strong comrades over here on this side. What people don't understand is that a lot of youngsters have a theory that older brothers "are like leaves on trees" meaning the older ones have to be knocked off so new leaves can grow. This is wrong thinking and a self-defeating tactic.

It's hard for me to understand how some people are fighting to end oppression and hate, knowing the role that the media plays in it all, and then they allow a designation of SNY by the statesman architect of hate and repression to separate us because we'd rather leave our organization and have a chance at parole than stay and end up taking a young brother's life.

I spent 15 years in the prison system of the 80s and 90s. I've done my dirt, put in my work. I'm not an animal who just follows his base instincts. I'm a leader and I'm standing for all these brothers who put their faith in my leadership. A true leader will never send one of his warriors to do battle while he stays behind. Further I stand on the ten point program established by the Black Panther Party and we hold the principles of Under Lock & Key to be of the utmost import.

I truly believe in what the Black Panther Party said when they stated that the power of the people is greater than man's technology. But the people's power has to be organized. As the Vietnamese people, who began their war for liberation with only bows and arrows, we must begin ours with pen and paper. And just as they defeated the most powerful military on earth, with determination, internationalist politics and organization by all oppressed people inside and outside these walls we'll be victorious as well.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have published a number of articles on the debate over SNY prisoners and we stand with this comrade in arguing that solid anti-imperialist comrades can be found on SNY yards. We look at someone's history of political work and political line rather than the label that the administration gives them. This comrade's call for unity is in line with the United Front for Peace in Prisons which brings together individuals and groups behind bars to build peace and unity against the common enemy of the criminal injustice system.

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[Censorship] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California] [ULK Issue 39]
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We Interrupt This Program: Censorship of TV and Radio in Prison

In today's world we're seeing the courts and media minimize the fact that U.S. prisons are run by criminals worse than the so-called worst confined within them. They have attempted, and have succeeded to a degree, in demonizing the prisoners being tortured and thereby desensitized the general public on that subject.

This is why it also seems the jury in the court of public opinion is still out regarding what process is due, and how the experimental implementation of political censorship known by its official misnomer "Obscene Materials Regulations" is already in progress on San Quentin State Prison's (SQ) four death row Security Housing Units (SHUs). The normalization of censorship in all its forms continues right before our eyes in SQ and beyond.

Consider how an invasion force imposes their will upon their victims preserved alive. One of the first things it does is knock out all means of communication. After installing a puppet governing body it then promotes its own agenda through the mass media. The San Quentin Antenna Cable System (SQACS) can be described as a one-sided propaganda bomb with a signal jamming warhead. It is a weapon of mass corruption in the hands of terrorists embedded in the Calincarceration Corrupted Peace Officers Association (CCPOA) and other affiliates using the CDCR as their puppet to lord it over in the micro-societies of prison. Their fee for this is deducted from your paycheck, education, and social services for the disabled and elderly.

The SQACS (AKA SQTV) consists of expensive technology similar to that used by cable providers. Most cable companies receive their programming via satellite and then rebroadcast it on frequencies that boxes atop your television can receive. SQTV also consists of 14 converter boxes and several DVD players. As you may know, these devices require your TV be on channel 3 or 4 to operate. However, the SQACS rebroadcasts each on a different frequency. It even rebroadcasts free over-the-air digital signals on different frequencies in QAM (cable mode) and the UHF band.

Not only are the 14 now obsolete converters a huge waste of electricity (they've been on 24/7 nearly 5 years!) they also block free over-the-air broadcasts on the VHF channels they're rebroadcasted on. Contrary to popular belief prisons don't make money for the state. Only those working at prisons make the money and since the SQACS wastes YOUR money and not theirs, they don't care - especially when it can be used to give them job security.

Public broadcast stations KQED and KMTP are just two stations multicasting from Sutro Tower that are currently being blocked/restricted by the SQ administration under the guise of technical difficulties. I argue it is actually intentional because these provide programs such as World News, Democracy Now, and even documentaries denouncing the horrific practice of long term torture by indefinite solitary confinement in California prisons.

San Quentin is by no means the only California prison using this technology to censor over-the-air broadcasts that don't fit their oligarchy's agenda. Radio stations received via these systems at various SHUs have reportedly cut out as the hunger strikers were being commended for their peaceful protest. The broadcast was then turned back on when the CDCR representative began demonizing it.

As stated in the essay "Free your mind; reversing the effects of prison censorship" by S. Muhammad Hyland, "The bottom line is simple. The institutional restrictions on revolutionary political material are in place for a reason: to keep us from learning how to go about securing our freedom, and destroying the system responsible for our lack of success in Amerika."


MIM(Prisons) adds: Unlike most U.$. prisons found in rural areas, San Quentin is right in the Bay Area where, as this comrade points out, there are many sources of progressive information on television and radio. It is quite damning that the state finds it necessary to censor these channels, which anyone just outside of the San Quentin compound can watch and listen to just fine. It speaks to the truth that prisons are all about social control. And it underscores the importance of not just having control of our own independent media, but also fighting for our First Amendment rights to distribute and share that media. Distribution networks are constantly threatened by bourgeois interests, from eliminating public bulletin boards, to the attempts to prioritize corporate website traffic on the internet, to blocking television and radio stations within prisons. Under Lock & Key is perhaps the most censored news source in the Amerikan Criminal Injustice System, and we are always engagedin ongoing battles in many states. We need more jailhouse lawyers and legal help on the streets to help with this fight.

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