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Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Grievance Process] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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Texas update, Increasing Censorship, Increasing Unity

In Texa$ we have received more reports from prisoners about the worsening conditions overall behind bars. Multiple reports of increased repression regarding food quality, medical care, lack of respite for Ad-Seg and increased censorship. Much of the staff is not following any regulations laid out for it regarding the grievance process. Many writers have reported guards throwing out grievances. One report from Clements Unit mentions 100% denial of grievances.

The reports from Clements show some of the worse conditions prisoners face in Texas, with people in isolation suffering worsening health conditions and mental health. From Choper’s report:

“In protest fires burn daily on each of the Ad-Seg lines. Prisoners burn any and all items that will burn. So many so often they don’t even react or bother to put them out, consequently we have no mattresses. Waiting list over 18 months to get a mattress. We sleep on steel and concrete. There are no radios for sale on commissary.”

There is some unity in action going on, but without intentional organizing efforts to facilitate further education in proletarian ideology and connecting the masses behind bars to the oppressed nations in and out of the United Snakes, it may fizzle out due to lack of organization. Tactics such as setting fires can also bring about more repression from guards while taking away energy and materials for organizing. We will continue to fight the censorship and prepare for increased repression, and continue to grow USW inside Texa$ prisons.

We’ve also recently gotten a report of a new SPD (Security Precaution Designate) of Self Harm which is a measure the state is likely taking in response to organizing efforts and legal action against solitary. We are still awaiting updates from the court on the Anti-RHU lawsuit Dillard v. Davis, et al. Civil Action No. 7:19-cv-00081-M-BPs.

The most censored units are Allred and Hughes units. Censorship rates for ULK in TX have been increasing. Censorship rates for the last four issues of Under Lock & Key are as follows:

ULK 75 - 1.82%
ULK 76 - 3.55%
ULK 77 - 4.17%
ULK 78 - 8.15%

These are confirmed censorships while many are unconfirmed as received at the moment, so rates are likely much higher.

Much of this is in response to increased pushback from the prisoner population regarding the conditions already prevalent across Texa$ and organizing efforts such as the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative which initiated a wave of censorship which has been ongoing since June.

One comrade has been pushing a censorship lawsuit Owolabi v. TDCJ Allred Unit, et al., 7;22-cv-00094-0 which could have massive implication on facilitating further organizing efforts inside Texa$ prisons, however there have been issues with the Courts trying to dismiss the case on payments grounds despite payment being made for legal documents, that has been resolved for now but it goes to show how unwilling the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice is to follow in own procedure if prisoners use it to further progressive interests in making Texas$ prisons into liberation schools.

Regarding the BP 3.91 case Martinez, ET AL. vs. Members of the TExas Board of Criminal Justice, ET AL. #3:21-CV-00337, it is currently pending and the Judge had sided with the defendants and denied to issue summons to the TDCJ board members and director, however further action is being taken, its not over yet. More proof that this system is completely biased towards the oppressor and we cannot let up on any fronts.

On December 16, 13 comrades have unified in the Michael Unit to stop eating in response to ignored grievances, which both step 1 and 2’s have been filed, and hazardous conditions inside the isolation cells, where we’ve gotten a report where an entire row got sick due to improper ventilation. As with some other units, chow is being left out for hours at a time before being served, and people aren’t being let out to shower. We stand with these comrades and encourage other prisoners to find unity through these worsening conditions.

North Texas AIPS has been established and will be working in coordination with other groups such as Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. to ramp up more outside support and awareness of the struggle behind bars, and spreading MIM line in and outside of prisons in Texa$. We will continue to expand our efforts in order to bring awareness and strategize on combating the increased repression Texa$ prisoners have been facing

One project we will be working with a number of jailhouse lawyers on is updating the Texas Campaign Pack to include anything we can find to update the grievance information as well as information regarding the new independent Ombudsman for Texa$. Please send us your edits and changes for the Texas Pack so we can make the next edition as complete as possible.

The struggle in Texa$ is growing, as is state repression, our goals to establish institutions of the oppressed nation and facilitate the study of Maoism and peoples war is our path forward. Stand up for your right, don’t give up the fight.

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[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Florida State Prison] [Pendleton Correctional Facility] [Florida] [Indiana] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 80]
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Woke Prison Officials See Racism Everywhere

The imperialists are crying “racism” to repress prisoner organizing, censoring mail
and punishing those who boycott their patriotic holidays.

Lately there has been a rash of woke mail room staff and prison officials who seem to be able to find “racism” everywhere they look. Under Lock & Key has been censored by a number of these activist employees of the state in Arizona, Indiana and Florida. This is very odd, as most of our readers know we rarely even mention the concept of race as we maintain that it is not a biologically valid concept, so clearly we do not believe or promote ideas of racism or racial superiority. But these snowflakes are just looking for reasons to be offended and use the state to crush free speech and association of the oppressed.

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation & Reentry - Office of Publication Review gave as one of their reasons for censoring Under Lock & Key 78 as:

“7.2.8 Content that is oriented toward and/or promotes racism and/or religious oppression and the superiority of one race/religion/political group over another, and/or the degradation of one race/religion/political group by another.”

“…The pages identified containing such content are throughout, including, but not limited to, pages 1, 2, 4, 9, 16.”

Page 2 is the same in every issue of Under Lock & Key and is an explanation of what MIM(Prisons) is and how our programs work. We do not promote racism or even discuss race on that page. Page 1, 4 and 9 contain reports on the struggle of Texas prisoners against oppression, and page 16 lists ongoing campaigns, including the one in Texas. It is confusing why Arizona is so worried about this campaign in Texas, and why they would call it “racist.” However, it did advocate boycotting the Juneteenth holiday, which triggered prison staff in Texas to get very repressive.

On 21 November 2022, staff member Chambers of the Indiana Department of Corrections censored Under Lock & Key 79 at Pendleton Correctional Facility. Pendleton has been censoring all mail from MIM Distributors for the last year for spurious reasons. Snowflake Chambers was offended by the spelling of Amerikkka with 3 K’s and decided to label it Security Threat Group material.

Security Threat Group (STG) can be used to prevent materials from entering the prison that facilitate illegal activities by a criminal group (STG). STG cannot be used as an excuse to censor people for their political beliefs. It is our belief that Amerikkka is a white supremacist nation and therefore we spell it with 3 K’s to criticize it as such. This is political speech, and it is legal in the U.S.A.

Florida State Prison (FSP) also deemed Under Lock & Key 79 to be “racist” among other things, on 2 December 2022. We really must go through their reasoning point-by-point for censoring this newspaper as it is quite revealing.

They objected to “Obtaining Copy of Lawsuit on TX Mail Policy BP-03.91” because “our inmates might try this”! The article is literally just telling people where to write and how much to pay to get a copy of a pending lawsuit around Texas mail policies. At this point it seems they’re just rubbing it in our faces to use the most illegal reasons they can to censor us.

FSP employee J.M. Clillen (sp?) goes on to cite “Alabama Prisoners Demand Freedom” because “talking about living conditions”. So that’s illegal now? If we talk about conditions in prisons all of a sudden we’re “racists”?

The one article Clillen cites that does not have a reason with it is “Free Palestine - Join the BDS Movement.” This couldn’t possibly be a threat to security at FSP, and is clearly just demonstrating their support for the Zionist (racist?) state of I$rael.

Finally we get to the “racist” claim, which was made against the article “Conquering My Demons” on page 13. This article is a self-criticism by a USW comrade regarding eir past substance use and misogyny, and a call for all of us to become new, better people. It discusses the resistance of oppressed nations against the imperialists – which is our best guess as to why they labelled it “racist.” Oh, and it also spells Amerikkka with 3 K’s. That’s not racism idiot, that’s a critique of racism.

There are no rights, only power struggles. And it is the oppressed and powerless who are denied rights by the powerful in this racist woke imperialist country.

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[Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [United Struggle from Within] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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TDCJ's Repression of it's Political Prisoners Leads to Devastating Effects Among the Wider Prison Population

[UPDATE: In late December we got confirmation that the fees for the suit were paid by a comrade in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support. We no longer need people to contact the judge, but are still collecting postcard signatures and can use your help.]
[NOTE: At the end of this article the author asks you, the reader, to contact the Judge about the TDCJ blocking court fees for a prisoner’s lawsuit to fight censorship. This is part of an ongoing campaign. We are also asking people to print and gather signatures on postcards that you can download from the campaign page along with fliers to use in outreach around this campaign to oppose political censorship in Texas.]

When i initiated the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative (JFI), and the fliers for that action began to find their way into every prison in Texas, Allred Unit’s Warden Jimmy Smith commanded the unit mailroom supervisor to place me on a ‘watchlist’ – purportedly to provide a greater level of scrutiny to my outgoing mail.

This measure first began to disrupt communication between cadres and myself throughout the state. The state has policies and courts have upheld bans on such communications under the cloak of a fear of gang organizing.

The watchlist measure intensified and all reading materials were made to go through a months long process of scrutiny. Texas has a part of its Mailroom Operations policy that they need not announce to a prisoner when a publication has arrived at the unit, even when it is subject to further review. This results in reading material being sent and one not knowing of its existence until it is officially denied. At the point of denial, We’re supposed to be allowed to appeal through the grievance procedure. What i’ve experienced , however, is that the unit grievance investigators don’t allow me to grieve a Director’s Review Committee decision. My battle with the UGI subsequently slows up the exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Eventually, the watchlist measure intensified to the point that ANY material from MIM(Prisons) was purportedly denied at the command of the DRC in Huntsville. This political police tactic is what led to the state-wide censorship of the Revolutionary 12 Step Program. The 12 steps is an anti-drug abuse and anti-reactionary program that is definitely needed in the Texas prison system. The state has upheld this censorship with the vague statement, ‘may incite inmate disruption’.

In recent times Texas has made national headlines due to the governor’s reactionary policies that repress social and political narratives that counter dominant narratives and positions. This trend, which tarnishes the First Amendment so-called rights, has made its way into the Texas prison system.

To understand how this has occurred one must have knowledge of connection, the family tree of repression if you will, that connects Jimmy Smith(Allred Warden), Brenda Kelley(Allred mailroom supervisor), Tammy Shelby(Mailroom system coordinator’s panel-chair), and the DRC, to Texas’ highest levels of government.

When a governor is elected in Texas they appoint people to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. The TBCJ is charged with making Board policies, revising them, and thus make the overreaching rules and regulation that determine the day-to-day lives of over a hundred thousand captives.

The Governor also appoints the Director’s Review Committee (DRC), which is charged with, among other things, determining the content that can/cannot enter or leave prisons. The DRC is the ultimate authority on matters regarding denials of mail, publication, visitation.

We should be asking the questions: where is the transparency, and democratic decision making in the selection of TBCJ and DRC officials? These positions are handed down to careerist politicians who’ve made their living on the backs and misery of the prisoner class and Our families. In the future comrades must organize an outside force to force Texas to remove the veil between these backdoor chambers of power and the common public. We need readily accessible information on these so called public officials and representatives of the people.

So We have a clearly reactionary governor who’s appointed a clearly reactionary Board and review committee. In Texas the only way to overturn a DRC decision is through litigation, and therefore most censorship bans last indefinitely.

While Jimmy Smith and the other prison careerists play prison politics, in an effort to quell dissenters and self-determination of the prisoners, there is a fatal drug wave crushing Allred Unit. As i write this in late October 2022, 7 prisoners have died this month due to overdose.

The Revolutionary 12 Step Program is currently at the point of training cadres to be able to facilitate the program at their locale. The censorship of this program, in conjunction with the indefinite solitary confinement of many cadres, act to circumvent what could otherwise be a highly effective and influential peoples’ initiative. And therein lays the problem, at least from the administrator’s perspective, they seek to circumvent the rise of any influence among the prison population. Instead of differentiating between types of influence, their practices put a blanket on ALL influence and influential people or initiatives among the prisoners, and seeks to disrupt them.

Of course this can’t be done totally, and what results (as what resulted in previous generations of the Prison Movement) is that the mass influence of the prisons and prisoners falls in the hands of the most reactionary prisoner forces. The admin elects to deal with the lesser of two ‘evils’. It has seen that the reactionary forces are easier to contain, to appease, to divide and conquer, in contrast to an awakened, drug free, unified and determined population.

Active political prisoners and prisoners of war are the exemplary prisoners among the masses. They are leaders. Texas’ desire to conserve ideological, and social hegemony over the population has and will continue to cost people their lives.

In the civil case, Owolabi V. TDCJ Allred Unit, et al., 7;22-cv-00094-0, one such political prisoner has challenged political censorship of the Revolutionary 12 Step Program, and other communist, revolutionary nationalist, anarchist, and abolitionist materials.

The sitting Judge, a George W. Bush appointee, for the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas is Reed O’Conner, who has a reputation as a highly conservative Republican reactionary. O’Conner has moved to dismiss the case, not on the basis of the case alone, but due to prison officials withholding and delaying the processing of the check for court fees. Unit prison officials have ignored the plaintiff’s request to have the check processed. The Plaintiff has informed Judge O’Conner of this problem, and filed a motion for extension. The court has yet to respond to the plaintiff’s motion.

We’re asking all those among the public who have an interest in stopping political censorship in Texas, to contact the Court, inform Judge O’Conner and the Clerk of the Court that the Allred Unit is refusing to process the check for court fees.

Contact info for the court is here: https://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judge/district-judge-reed-oconnor

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Legal] [Grievance Process] [California] [Florida] [ULK Issue 79]
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California Move to Digitize Communications Impedes Civil Rights (after Florida Just Did)

The truth has finally out come from the darkness and into the light: people housed within social isolation by the U.$. criminal justice system are not considered persons protected by the U.$. Constitution, international agreements against torture, or Human Rights. States across the United $tates are actively deploying systems and protocols that suspend persons held in custody, in social isolation from Amerikan society, away from the protections of law, due process and order.

The criminal justice trend is to eliminate prisoners’ freedom to use and access Postal Services. It’s like the U.$. Postal Service has entered into a private agreement with the criminal justice system to deny mailing services of the traditional sense from all imprisoned.

Correction departments across the U.$. have engaged in concerted acts of sedition, substituting systems disguised as fun helpful tablet gadgets and video visitation programs for actual social interactions. Gone are the days of free assembly/press/congregation and religious exercise. Now persons are free to shut up, and be retaliated against for even hoping to benefit from the protections of the U.$ Constitution’s freedom of speech.

Even the freedom to grieve against the state has been frozen. In California it is being done under the departments decision to cease classical mailing processes for email services made available by the Global Tel Link security corporation. CDCR is planning to phase out all traditional mailing services in exchange for heavily restricted online access.

The move by CDCR involves outsourcing labour facilities and redirecting institutional service agreements to security bonds controlled by state agencies outside of the department’s jurisdiction, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services. The moves are being made under the cover of darkness, better yet the cover of claims to public safety, and the Center for Disease Control acts as the shelter. All in the name of mental health and hospitality for Amerikans with disability? From prisoners of circumstance to residences of outpatient facilities too doped out of their minds to even know the value of a traditional letter.

CDCR has began phasing out traditional mailing services using its Inmate 602 Grievance Procedures, institutions have eliminated traditional answering and mailing procedures for residence. Not only does the department rely on a new SOMS computer scanning system that forecloses any original writings and supporting information attached to an Inmate grievance, but it is enforcing computer software coding, by way of its Global-Tel Link tablet emails, that requires California prisoners to email grievances. This last part connects to the criminal justice system in the late requirements of U.S District Courts in California for 1983 Civil complaints filed by prisoners be done via email. If an individual can’t even write a simple complaint any longer, it begs to question what is the U.$. standing in justice?

Technological advances are all good and all, but are the residence of these penal institutions still citizens of the United Snakes of Amerika? Or does their custody lie somewhere else?

It is important that the public be aware of this very serious dynamic between themselves, the state and those in custody of state agencies like CDCR. The state is allowing for those in the custody of CDCR to be stripped of their civil rights and it all is being done in the name of the people, under the color of law. Silence is not an answer to the claims set forth against the people.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prison Legal News (PLN) just reported some interesting stats following the Florida Department of Corrections completing its move to digitizing all regular correspondence. They found that 1% of the contraband found by the Florida DOC was through routine mail. Meanwhile, in July 2022, the Legislative Finance Committee noted that after New Mexico shifted to digitized mail there was zero effect on the amount of drug use in their prisons.(1) These statistics back up what we’ve been reporting on anectdotally for years – that mail restrictions and visitation shut downs have had no impact on the influx of drugs into prisons across the country.(2)

According to PLN prison systems and jails in 27 states have switched to digitized mail. With California gearing up to follow suit, it seems the tides have shifted in that direction.

Like body cams, some prisoners have asked for digital grievance systems so the C.O. you submit it too can’t just drop it in the trashcan. Otherwise, we agree with this comrade’s concerns. Social isolation is a violation of basic humyn rights and humyn needs. Visits, phone calls, letter, photos and cards are a must for any system that hopes to rehabilitate.

Notes: 1. Kevin Bliss, 1 September 2022, Florida Now Digitizing Incoming Mail for State Prisoners, Prison Legal News September, 2022, page 48.
2. A Texas Prisoner, March 2021, TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop, Under Lock & Key No. 73.

Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 1151
Lake Worth Beach, FL 33460
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[Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support] [Abuse] [Censorship] [ULK Issue 79]
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Texas Continues to Fight Neglect, Censorship and Heat

prisoners suffer in heat from global warming

Texas prisoners face some of the harshest conditions in the kkkountry mainly due to neglect from prison staff, and disregard for prisoners’ health, safety and rights. For example recently in Estelle High Security we had received a report from one of our readers on dialysis, and a copy of eir grievance,

On 15 August 22 at 5:45PM-7:10PM 11 Dialysis patients were put in a van with NO Rear A/C. We got to the rear gate of high security at 6:10pm our officer driving the van told Lt. Phillips:

“Hey there’s Dialysis in the van and it’s hot for them.”

Lt. Phillips said ,“I don’t give a fuck, I’m crossing my kitchen crew to the main building. They can fucken wait.”

It was about 90 outside. Our officer driving the van told her again, “They just got off dialysis.”

Lt Phillips said, “They’ll be fine.”

Their report describes a fellow prisoner who had passed out after they were left in there for an hour. This is not the only heat related incident, as heat waves were going on for weeks, many units went without A/C or adequate ice or respite as reported on from the Luther Unit. Meanwhile, Stiles Unit spent much of September in lockdown during the heat with no showers and limited food. Heat exhaustion and health issues are being exacerbated by lack of respite, this all being against directive A.D. 1064 requiring access to ice during times of elevated heat. The oppressors at this unit deny this happening of course, and show their own unwillingness to follow their own laws, which gives light to the real purpose of prisons of course being national and political oppression. Unity and mass action is the only way to address this, such as TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E.’s mass petition to mail to the U.$. Department of Justice as mentioned in ULK 78 Juneteenth Freedom Initiative (J.F.I.) Phase 2.

This year has seen an increase in reports (at least 135 recorded by Texas Dept. of Criminal Injustice (TDCJ)) of censorship of mail from MIM(Prisons) across Texas, since the start of the J.F.I. As stated in the last 2 issues of ULK, the J.F.I. is simply organizing for prisoners’ legal rights as stated by the imperialist’s own laws (peacefully advocating for legal rights is not inciting a disturbance). Massive censorship continues in the Allred and Hughes Units, among many others, where conditions are some of the worst in the state. The reason behind this as stated before is to prevent organizing and political education from prisoners, and to limit their knowledge of their legal rights. The state’s interest are of population control, and torture (Restricted housing for decades is unconstitutional torture) along with the many cases of neglect beyond what’s referenced here.

"MIM Distributors and our subscribers within the TDCJ have exhausted all administrative remedies with our appeals, letters and grievances. The TDCJ is not interested in following the law on it’s own accord. Therefore we have begun to step up outside pressure on two fronts.

  • the legal front by filing a lawsuit
  • the public opinion front via our postcard campaign"

“A prisoner’s administrative remedies are exhausted when prison officials fail to timely respond to a properly filed grievance.” (Haight v. Thompson 763 F. 3d 554 (6th Cir 2014)) According to this, if they do not respond to our grievances we can go on to a §1983 Civil Action.

Anti-imperialist Prisoner support (AIPS) has been hitting the streets with ULK, J.F.I. Flyers, and postcards to be mailed to TDCJ’s Director’s Review Committee office and Jimmy Smith’s (Warden of Allred) office, collecting donations and educating those on the outside. We can always use more feet on the ground, and legal funds from those on the outside, more support in general.

This short summary of some of the conditions recently faced by Texas prisoners is a call to unite against all oppression, primarily against the United Snakes of Amerikkka, and to unify under the common banner of Anti-imperialism. Don’t let the divide and conquer tactics work as intended, this political oppression cannot and will not go unanswered. We need the people on the outside to support those on the inside in their efforts to further organize, rehabilitate, and educate in the United Struggle from Within in Texas. We need public opinion to shift, so keep on the pressure from both sides. The more they censor and oppress, bigger our fight gets!

All Power to the People

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Political Repression] [Allred Unit] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 79]
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Illegal Censorship in TX Persists as Resistance Grows

Biden punishes prisoners for not celebrating Juneteenth

MIM Distributors has confirmed at least 135 pieces of our mail that have been censored by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) in 2022. However, the vast majority of our mail goes unaccounted for, so we know that the actual number is in the many hundreds.

Censorship in Texas is not new. The TDCJ banned our book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán for many years. More recently it was brought to our attention that that decision had been reversed and a number of comrades were able to receive the book. However, Allred Unit has censored the book 4 times in 2022. The bourgeois state has always repressed political speech that is opposed to its oppression.

Most of the censorship in 2022 has been triggered by and targeted at organizing efforts around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. In particular letters with updates on the campaign and plans to boycott the holiday. The most censored letter actually was mostly reports on censorship by the TDCJ itself.

Many comrades reported that the censorship of the infamous June 8th JFI Campaign Update letter was appealed automatically by the TDCJ. We received dozens of letters stating the censorship was upheld by the Director’s Review Committee(DRC) on appeal because the letter was “inciting a disturbance.” Yet all the letter called for was to boycott the holiday and instead spend it advocating for a list of demands including an end to long-term solitary confinement, censorship and unpaid labor. In other words, peacefully advocating for your rights has been made illegal for Texas prisoners. That is why we say prisoners in this country do not enjoy full citizenship rights.

Meanwhile, of the dozens of notifications that we received, none of them specified what the item was that was being censored, or what about the item was objectionable. When we wrote the DRC to point this out we received no response. Similarly, our letter to Allred Unit warden Jimmy Smith regarding blanket censorship went unanswered. This is a violation of caselaw, such as Crofton v. Roe (9th Cir. 1999) 170 F.3d 957, which concluded:

“Unsupported security claims couldn’t justify infringement on First Amendment rights.”

One comrade in Stevenson Unit who had achieved a reversal after appealing a recent censorship reports:

“I received the enclosed notice that the Director’s Review Committee reversed the unit denial of 5 pages that could incite a disturbance mailed to me from MIM. I am now in possession of your MIM Censorship pack, and I can’t seem to find any mention of riotous propaganda, or anything other than helpful caselaw in the struggle to uphold 1st Amendment rights. Systematic denial by the piggy is surely taking place because they don’t like the expression of political and social views that are protected by the 1st Amendment right against arbitrary government invasion. Oh well, life’s hard. Harder if you’re stupid.”

Another comrade who won an appeal was convinced that our letter contained more contents because all ey got was an Unconfirmed Mail Form listing what we had sent em recently. Nope, that’s all that was in the letter that was originally censored for “containing information to incite a disturbance.” The only appeals that have achieved reversals so far have been for Unconfirmed Mail Forms(UMFs), our censorship pack, and a copy of the Bill of Rights. However, these reversals were not applied consistently, in other instances UMFs and our censorship pack was censored after appeal to the DRC.

While most of our censored mail was destroyed, one comrade in Allred had there’s sent back to us. In the letter “An Address to Tx USW, All TeamOne Committees, and Tx inmates”, the TDCJ seems to have highlighted where the letter mentions the “Juneteenth Freedom Initiative.” Specifically it is the sentence that calls for filing complaints and petitions to the DOJ. We mailed out copies of such a petition with ULK 78. This is the type of activity the TDCJ is calling “inciting a disturbance” in order to censor our communications.

While Under Lock & Key 78 seems to have reached many in Texas, we are still seeing an almost complete censorship of mail from MIM Distributors in prisons like Allred Unit and Hughes Unit. We’ve been told there is a whole shelf for mail from MIM Distributors in the Allred mailroom now.

Earlier this year, we reported on egregious censorship of a 12 step rehabilitation program and the TDCJ’s own Grievance Operations Manual.(1)

MIM Distributors and our subscribers within the TDCJ have exhausted all administrative remedies with our appeals, letters and grievances. The TDCJ is not interested in following the law on it’s own accord. Therefore we have begun to step up outside pressure on two fronts.

  1. the legal front by filing a lawsuit
  2. the public opinion front via our postcard campaign

Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support(AIPS) has been reaching out on the streets of Texas and elsewhere to bring this story to the masses and gather signatures on postcards we are sending to the TDCJs DRC to voice opposition to this illegal practice of handling our mail and communications.

One comrade observed:

“Going to the masses with these postcards was very eye opening. Conceptually I knew many of the theories of how different classes of the oppressed nations react to building revolution differently, but to see how that plays out with my own eyes was something else. For example, many of the petty-bourgeois student types were more likely to scoff at or dismiss prisoner organizing out of defeatist attitudes at best (such as how censorship/repression is so big in prisons therefore we shouldn’t try at all) or take up bourgeois ethics and “justice” at worst (believing many prisoners “deserve” to be there). Many of the common labor aristocrat types tended to be more supportive, but also was discouraged in not being able to see the movement in Texas prisons right in front of them – expressed in attitudes of “what do they have to do with us here?” The oppressed nation lumpen (homeless, lumpen organization members, etc.) on the other hand were much more eager to sign the postcards in support of the comrades in Texas despite them being in another state. They knew how repressive the inju$tice system was in either out of personal experience or through their close friends’ personal experiences; and many expressed how even if all of our comrades in Texas was 100% guilty of the most heinous of crimes that the imperialists had no right to judge them expressed through sayings of “cops are the real criminals.”

“Going through these personal experiences with the different types of masses can become pragmatism itself on this comrade’s part, which can become dangerous, so we should remind ourselves of the whole picture of what Chairman Mao said in eir essays”On Practice" and “On Contradiction.”

Yes, mass work like this is how we learn how the masses will respond and engage in different campaigns, but we shouldn’t be too quick to draw broad conclusions based on a little persynal experience. Another comrade reported:

"There’s so many people from all nations who are personally oppressed by the Texa$ Criminal Injustice system, who with the right political education will be prepared to join the movement. There’s no doubt in my mind as a supporter from the outside myself that there will be many more ready to put in the work, in the near, near future. The reception to the Allred censorship campaign has been nearly all positive so far, and many people of the oppressed nations here have told me persynally that they’ve been looking for something just like Under Lock & Key to educate and organize the people.

"Keep on the pressure from the inside, you have millions more to come and push from the outside, we just have to keep our heads on tight, stay determined, and struggle on.

“ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!”

For the voices of the oppressed inside to be heard, we must increase the voices of support on the outside. We call on our readers outside to print out some postcards and fliers, and copies of this article and hit the streets today.

You can view the growing list of confirmed censorship in Texas on our website.

Notes:
1. MIM(Prisons), April 2022, TDCJ Upholds Censorship of their own Grievance Manual, Under Lock & Key 77

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[Grievance Process] [Censorship] [Abuse] [Private Prisons] [Bent County Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 79]
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CoreCivic Abuse Coverups

We have a lot of issues at this facility, especially with mail delivery delays (policy states the facility has 48 hours from arrival to deliver mail and 72 hours for packages; both can take over a week) and with unnecessary censorship. The Colorado Department of Corrections’ administrative regulations are clearly laid out regarding mail, but this facility often misinterprets or outright ignores those policies.

BCCF is a private-owned (CoreCivic) prison, and despite having a Private Prison Monitoring Unit (PPMU) assigned to monitor the facilities compliance, they more regularly choose to cover for the administration, for whatever reason, instead of holding them accountable in any way. In fact, the former head of PPMU at this facility recently “retired” from DOC and was hired by CoreCivic to a lucrative, high-ranking position (Chief of Unit Management) at this very facility. No potential for conflict of interest there, right?

The grievance procedure is a complete joke around here. Each step of a grievance can take up to 2 months to receive a response, although denying that any issues exist is hardly any sort of helpful response. By the time a DOC employee becomes involved, several months have passed and either they are lied to by facility staff, or they lie to the prisoner. Either way, nothing is done about any real problems.

In my 8+ years at this prison, I have experienced a variety of changes, including now having the third warden in that time frame. In the past year – about the time the current Chief of Security and Warden, and shortly thereafter, the PPMU/Chief of Unit Mgmt., arrived – the level of violence here has skyrocketed. During most of my time here this place had remained largely peaceful, if mismanaged to some degree, however, now that new “security protocols” have been implemented (such as creating two “compounds” from the one, making one dangerously understaffed compound the “High-security” compound), drugs have flooded this facility, despite all incoming mail being photocopied. We can’t even get photos from family anymore. The rest of Colorado DOC facilities are going through “normalization.” This private prison is only normalizing drugs, anger, and violence. With no programs and very limited rec, things will only get worse here.

I constantly encourage everyone around me who will listen to file grievances and write letters to public officials. Even if they do not solve issues in and of themselves, they create and build a record of the abuses at a particular prison, or in a state’s system. “Keep your copies!” Tell family and friends about all of the problems, change public opinion of “us” by being responsible, educated citizens who expect accountability from our government just like everyone else. When something is broken, government just pours more of its stolen money into the problem, never fixing anything (but getting more powerful in the process). We need to expose to the public what a waste the prison system is – in financial and human capital – and discourage anyone from supporting the expansion of such a broken system.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade’s strategy. We should not have false illusions about reforming the system through grievances or exposure, but we also must come together and practice diligence and build our skills in fighting abuses. By doing so we can build towards real solutions.

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Censorship] [Control Units] [Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [Texas]
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Juneteenth Freedom Initiative Flyer

UPDATE FOR AUGUST 2022: Now that Juneteenth 2022 has passed, please use this updated flyer and these updated postcards now address the censorship across the state of Texas in recent months. We need your support to keep increasing the pressure to fight this censorship of political speech.

Juneteenth Freedom Initiative flyer

Download and print this flyer to hang or hand out.

We are also asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and activists in Allred to freely communicate. There has been a rise in mail censorship as organizing has progressed.

  1. download PDF below
  2. print 2-sided on cardstock
  3. cut into 4
  4. add $0.40 stamp (or more)
  5. go to event or public space and ask people to sign their name, city and state
  6. explain the Junteenth Freedom Initiative to them
  7. hand them a flyer (above) or Under Lock & Key
  8. ask for a donation to pay for postage & printing
  9. drop postcards in mail box (don’t mail them all at once we want a consistent stream of cards coming in)
protest Allred censorship of activists mail
Click image to download pdf and print postcards.
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[Control Units] [Censorship] [Organizing] [Campaigns] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Juneteenth Freedom Initiative Phase 2

Texas and Cali prisoners unite

On 19 June 2022, prisoners across Texas abstained from celebrating the federal Juneteenth holiday until real freedom is attained by the oppressed in this country. Instead they organized, studied and made their voices heard for the demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, including:

  • End Solitary Confinement! End Restrictive Housing Units(RHU)!
  • End Mass Incarceration!
  • Stop Mail Censorship!
  • Transform the prisons to cadre schools! Transform ourselves into NEW PEOPLE!

Updates Since Juneteenth

The response from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) was swift and coordinated. MIM(Prisons) sent hundreds of update letters to comrades in Texas during the month of June, and almost all of them appear to have been censored.

Prisons where our letters were censored for “inciting a disturbance” or “riot” include:

  • Allred Unit
  • Beto I Unit
  • Boyd Unit
  • Christina Melton Crain Unit
  • Estelle High Security Unit
  • Estelle 2
  • Ferguson Unit
  • Gist
  • Hughes Unit
  • McConnell Unit
  • Mountain View Unit
  • Stevenson Unit
  • Telford Unit
  • Terrell Unit
  • Wallace Unit
  • Wynne Unit

We are still receiving and compiling censorship notices from June. Needless to say, there was a coordinated effort to block our letters across the state, and they were really worried about the Juneteenth boycott. Of course, there was nothing about organizing a riot in our letters. But the imperialists will consider a boycott a “disturbance” worthy of violating Constitutional rights. Biden said we must celebrate Juneteenth, so now we face the consequences of his goons in the TDCJ.

The censorship at Allred Unit had been going on for months prior. This is the worst RHU in the state, where a lot of the JFI organizing began. Therefore we began a postcard campaign to protest the political targeting of mail and of certain prisoners at Allred. One comrade there received 22 mail denial notices in one day in May! Another comrade in Allred wrote:

“I been denied 2 newsletters & 1 letter that ya’ll sent my way. [everything we’ve sent this comrade] I highly appreciate ya’ll. I’ve sent them home. This only confirms that Texas don’t want us to know. Your news letters were denied for tha reason of ‘inciting a disturbance’.”

“I asked the mail room lady if anything sent from this address will be denied and she said, ‘Yes.’ Just like that, freedom of speech denied.”

This campaign is ongoing, as the censorship continues, and we ask outside supporters to get involved. Mail from prisoners in Allred is often delayed a month or more, so updates on the launch of the JFI have not yet come in from some of the organizers.

Outreach during June included flyering and postcards on the streets, hundreds of update letters sent to TX prisoners and radio interviews in Texas and on Free Aztlán on 96.1 KEXU in Oakland.

One Texas comrade reported:

“The Juneteenth Freedom Initiative flyer was displayed for several weeks here. On Juneteenth, no movement due to low staff and no special holiday meal. The officers dining room had ribs, BBQ chicken and brisquet with all the fixins, and these were supposed to be delivered to each officer on duty. However, most were stolen en route. The warden and kitchen captain were pissed.”

The JFI was initiated by TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E who has continued to lead organizing efforts inside. Others, including Prison Lives Matter, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee Local 613 #1, the Texas Liberation Collective, and United Struggle from Within cells, have joined the call. On the outside, MIM(Prisons), Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, and the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement have been providing support.

Phase 2

Per the plan below, laid out by TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E. the next phase of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative for prisoners is to file petitions with the Department of Justice. If you need a sample petition, write us to get a copy. This petition is not specific to Texas.

Prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in Texas can also join the Dillard lawsuit against the TDCJ. If you need a copy of the motion to join, write us.

Outside supporters can best assist organizers inside by joining our campaign against censorship. We want to continue to let the TDCJ know that people outside are paying attention and not willing to accept this political repression. We will be following up with a lawsuit on behalf of an affected party in Allred and MIM Distributors. You can help in the following ways:

  • calling or writing letters to the TDCJ, and to Allred Unit in particular
  • getting others to sign postcards protesting the censorship
  • contribute to the legal fund to fight censorship

For more information go to: prisoncensorship.info and go to the Campaigns page and Boycott Juneteenth. For info on how to donate click the “Do Something” link.

Background on JFI

As you may know, Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday in amerika. On this day many will sing the praises of Our oppressors or otherwise negate the reality of the lumpen (economically alienated class), that according to amerika’s 13th amendment We are STILL SLAVES. While We do not wish to nullify the intensity of the exploitation and oppression that New Afrikan people held in chattel slavery faced, We must pinpoint to the general public, those upcoming generations of youngsters looking to follow Our footsteps, that to be held in captivity by the state or feds is not only to be frowned upon but is part and parcel with the intentions of this amerikan government, and its capitalist-imperialist rulers. We say NO CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH until the relation of people holding others in captivity is fully abolished!!

Comrades have been organizing around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative(JFI) for almost a year now, and we just completed phase 1. Prisoners in Texas and North Carolina took up the campaign. Instead of celebrating Juneteenth, boycotters worked to get out the voice of the incarcerated in TX and NC.

Previous campaign materials include more demands and more details. Add your own demands that speak to your local conditions and make the JFI demands heard by the masses and the oppressors. Don’t just boycott, organize.

The Boycott is just the first phase and launch of this campaign by and for all Texas prisoners.

  1. Juneteenth boycott and voice demands starting 19 June 2022
  2. present petition to the Department of Justice Special Litigation division (write in to get a copy if you still need one) – everyone should mail copies of their own signed petition to the DOJ following Juneteenth 2022
  3. if (2) fails to bring proper response, we will petition the United Nations – date To Be Determined – watch for announcement in Under Lock & Key, we will be requesting testimonials and collecting statistics to back up our arguments on each campaign position and submit them as evidence to bolster the recent guilty verdict of the We Still Charge Genocide, International Tribunal 2021 where mass incarceration and solitary confinement were ruled to be vital tools in the U.S. campaign of genocide for centuries against Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples of this continent.
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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Legal] [ULK Issue 79]
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Obtaining Copy of Lawsuit on TX Mail Policy BP-03.91

CAUSE NUMBER:3:21-CV-00337
STYLED NAME: F. MARTINEZ, ET AL. VS MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS BOARD OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, ET. AL.
RE: COURT FEES TO OBTAIN
Dear Friends:

Greetings, I am the leading plaintiff in the above styled and numbered case. Please be aware of the court fees to obtain copies of the case. Basically they charge 10 cents per copy, and the total fees for the following documents are as follows:

  • The Complaint (no exhibits) 32 pages
  • Motion for TRO and preliminary injunection (no exhibits) 31 pages

It will be a total cost of $6.30 to obtain the above documents from the clerk of the court. You need to send a money order or institutional check to the clerk of the court at:

CLERK, US DISTRICT COURT
601 ROSENBURG STREET
ROOM 411
GALVESTON, TEXAS 77550
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