The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Education] [U.S. Penitentiary Florence] [Federal] [ULK Issue 37]
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Educational Repression and Censorship a Tool of the Ruling Class

Understanding the historical foundations that imperialism rests upon, it's not surprising that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has moved to censor MIM material at United States Prison (High-SMU) Florence, Colorado.

As a New Afrikan, and a native indigenous warrior, I strove to show a qualitative form of unity by creating a social-political educational study class with MIM material. However, in a classic predictable anti-social way the BOP censored our materials. By the will to outlast our captors we remain committed and courageous as we strive to expand our political awareness and sharpen our mental tools.

As we study European expansionism, conquest and imperialism we find that their art of politics easily turns into their art of war. By tracking the footprints of history we find the first thing to be seized, controlled and destroyed by European settlers and conquerors is the cultural, political and educational facilities and institutions of those conquered.

By studying the mechanics of imperialistic conquest, we find that to effectively colonize a people the colonial system must thoroughly entrench itself inside the minds of that subjected people. Thus, the educational system of that people must be replaced, and repressed with an anti-social educational system that reinforces a system of slavocracy.

The masters of the means of production fear a people armed with the social weapon of political education, because true liberation education is the well of hope and power that directs and harnesses the humanism of humanity. Education for the colonized is not static nor does it exist on a one dimensional level that's academic in nature. Political, social and cultural education is forever in motion working in a dialectical relationship with materialism. Education is the catalyst for the process of decolonization.

Our brother Frantz Fanon noted: "Decolonization is the veritable creation of new men. But this creation owes nothing of its legitimacy to any supernatural power, the 'thing' which has been colonized becomes 'man' during the same process it frees itself..." Thru correct political and social education the "things" (i.e. the nigga, the pimp, the social parasite, the whore, the agent of fratricide and natural genocide, the gangster, the dope fiend, dope pusha, and every other reactionary element in our community) become true healers of humanity by finding a new sense of humanity within themselves. This is the powerful potential of education.

In Amerikkka it was a crime in the 1700s and 1800s for a slave to be able to read. We hung like strange fruit from trees for just picking up a book. This pervasive ignorance was a sturdy bolt in maintaining the system of chattel slavery, and we find the same system and pervasive ignorance in place today. So for a system that is bent on maintaining the present order of things it becomes a criminal act to possess and process any material that would induce a neo-colonial slave to bend these bars back, break these chains, challenge our minds, find our humanism and take our freedom. The class enemy understands that in the right hands, in the right minds, education would be a dangerous tool. It would become an anti-imperialist weapon of mass destruction and mass liberation at the same time. It would compel the "thing" to become "man", break the chains and rise up and slit the throat of those who presently pull the levers of control.

Our captors work overtime to repress any tendency of the birth of new age Malcolm Xs and George Jacksons. They understand that these jails and prisons are our universities and finishing schools. They know and understand there is a living contradiction between the ruling class and those of us who wear the chains of neo-colonialism. And the imperialists also know and understand there is a scientific development of opposites that's inherent in everything. Thus the material conditions will force the masses to bear the responsibility of solving the economic, political and social contradictions one day. So they can burn all the books, destroy all the libraries, kill all the wisemen, censor all the material they want, but they can't stop liberation.

We educate to liberate!

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[Censorship] [Legal] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 37]
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Some Censorship Reprieve in Illinois

Revolutionary Greetings!

On 21 May 2013 I filed a Section 1983 Civil Suit against Illinois Department of Corrections employees S. Rhone-Plaskett (Counselor), A. Winemiller (Correctional Officer), Jackie Miller (Administrative Review Board Representative), and Grievance Officer (John Doe) for the unconstitutional banning of the November/December 2012 No. 29 issue of Under Lock & Key (ULK).

This lawsuit is the second one that I have filed concerning the bogus banning of ULK and I expect to file many more in the future. This lawsuit is based on the grounds that the Defendants cannot substantiate the banning of ULK and that the banning of ULK violates my Constitutional Rights to:

  1. Receive and own reading material;
  2. Have freedom of speech; and
  3. Have freedom of political expression.

Any material or support you can offer that would aid me in my battle against censorship in Illinois would be greatly appreciated. Specifically, I would count it a blessing if you would comb through your archives and send me anything you have regarding censorship of ULK in Illinois, especially the November/December 2012 No. 29 issue of ULK.

Filing lawsuits does work! Because of the pressure I have been applying by filing Section 1983s, I was allowed to have the March/April 2013 No. 31 issue of ULK, the first issue of ULK that I have received since November 2011. So keep your heads high and your hearts strong as we continue to fight the phenomenon of censorship. It is just another contradiction facilitated by the proletariat/bourgeois contradiction.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Some comrades in Illinois have been permitted to receive ULK without censorship, after much work on their end to defend their rights. In other facilities, it is still banned. Specifically, at Sheridan, Menard, Stateville, and Lawrence Correctional Centers, ULK is being censorsed for any reason from "banned in facility" (Stateville) to "promotes unauthorized organization activity" (Menard). Still, we are being banned without notice to publisher or prisoner (Lawrence) and mailroom employees at Sheridan inconsistently enforce a policy that labels are not permitted on mail pieces; we have yet to see this policy in writing in any official format.

Several prisoners in Illinois have stepped up to help out with the censorship battle in their state. We recently began engaging with these volunteers on an organized basis to help push this battle to a head. We need prisoners who are facing censorship to fight out their persynal censorship battles, like the author of this article has done. MIM(Prisons) and the Prisoners' Legal Clinic volunteers can assist, but we can't fight the battle for you.

The author of this article is correct that occasionally we will make gains, and expand space, for revolutionary organizing. We can use the legal system to make small reforms that make our job easier; for example, defending the right to receive revolutionary newsletters. But we don't expect to be free of all censorship, as it is a manifestation of the battle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat; it is a manifestation of the battle between the Amerikan oppressor nation, and the oppressed internal semi-colonies. We use the administrative procedures and courts when we can, but ultimately we know we can't rid ourselves of censorship, or any other social ill, unless we resolve the root problem: oppression of the proletariat by the bourgeoisie, and oppression of the internal semi-colonies by the Amerikan nation. We can only make this sweeping change by throwing out the entire capitalist imperialist system itself.

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[Censorship] [Illinois]
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Legal Pressure Wins Some Censorship Victories in Illinois

You sent a "newsletter" (ULK) and "publications (several)" to me recently. I just got 2 "Illinois Department of Corrections - Material Review - Lawrence Correctional Center" for each package for a publication review. This is the first time I ever got any notice from the mail room/publication review for anything. I've been raising the issue of unofficial censorship/mail tampering because I never get responses from organizations like MIM(Prisons), the Midwest Soaring Foundation, A.I.C.-Chicago (Native American Cultural, Spiritual, Community Centers) or Prisoners Rights Research Project.

It's amusing that the Sep/Oct edition of ULK was delivered only after I filed my first mail tampering grievance, that the May/June, July/August weren't delivered and that I've never received any notice of any other withholding of my mail until after we corroborated that mail was being tampered with and you sent the censorship packet (which was held a month and unstapled/copied and I wasn't notified).

I've seen that these people facilitate, promote and anticipate ignorance and apathy. It seems an inactivate person is a pliant subject. They sincerely don't want their constitutional, Federal, State - law, regulation, policy and procedure known. I've had problems with accessing and copying IDOC/LLC policy and procedure. I actually won a FOIA issue where the institute moved the IDOC Administrative Directives and IDOC Chaplaincy Handbook from the law library to the general library and issued a verbal/unofficial directive not to allow copies be made. I filed a FOIA request and was denied because "the material requested is available in your institution's library." So I grieved saying LLC's no copy directive is in direct violation and conflict with the Illinois FOIA denying due process/equal protection of laws. Then copies were allowed. They'd also taken these administrative directives out of the general library, but after the grievance they put them back. No direct victory but a clear pressure point.

It's not what they can do to us, it's what we let them do to us. The petty tyrant works against the cause and against the people. I call them petty because they don't have power, only bequests/allotments/investments and only to enforce/proliferate the interests of those in power. The problem isn't of equality in america but heredity. Not of genes - blond and blue - but of revelation, independence and manifest destiny. Sovereignty and conquest.

[for more info on how to get information on mail policies in Illinois see Censorship Victories and Banned Lists in Illinois]

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[Censorship] [Religious Repression] [Lovelock Correctional Center] [Nevada]
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Religious Material Censored

On 27 November 2013 the mailroom at Lovelock Corr Center received from the U.S. post office mail that was addressed to me and sent from the National Catholic Council on Addiction. It included a letter with a 2014 calendar and a catholic prayer book. I received an unauthorized mail notification saying it was not from an approved vendor. On 7 December 2013, I was told to either pay to send it out or they would dispose of it. I am an indigent inmate so sending it out is not an option.

How is the Catholic church not an approved vendor? When I approached the prison chaplain all I was told was "oh it's only a book". I guess as an inmate our faith has no meaning. I would love to see the free world's reaction if it were their prayer book and the government took it from them and destroyed it.


MIM(Prisons) responds: While we don't think that Catholic books and calendars are doing anything positive for the revolutionary struggle, we print this letter as an example of the ridiculous mail policies found in Amerikan prisons. Censorship is generally targetted at political organizations, particularly those like MIM(Prisons) which are educating prisoners about the criminal injustice system and helping them to organize to fight for their rights. But we have seen basic educational material like dictionaries and law books rejected by the censors. And so this rejection of religious literature further proves that prisons are being used as tools of social control and punishment, not centers for rehabilitation. For this reason, we oppose all censorship of mail in the prisons and encourage prisoners to fight these unjust policies by filing grievances, and taking it to court if needed. Ask for our guide to fighting censorship in prison for more information on this.

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[Download and Print] [Campaigns] [Censorship] [Texas]
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Announcing Campaign to Resist Restrictions on Indigent Correspondence

Sample Grievance
Click on the image to download a pdf of a sample grievance. TDCJ prisoners can use this sample grievance to protest restrictions on indigent mail.

During their August 2013 Board Meeting, the Texa$ Board of Criminal (in)Justice approved a revision to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Correspondence Rules. The rules came into effect with no warning on October 1, 2013.

This new revision restricts indigent prisoners to 5 one-ounce domestic letters per month. It also removed all references to the first 60 days a prisoner is indigent — essentially allowing the TDCJ to collect "indigent debt" indefinitely. The previous policy allowed 5 letters per week and only allowed TDCJ to recoup amounts expended during the first 60 days a prisoner is indigent. This revised policy clearly violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments, especially in light of Guajardo v Estelle, 432 F.Supp 1373 (1977 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16242).

We must proactively resist this policy. Attached is an example grievance that can be filed by TDCJ prisoners. I encourage you to edit, expand, personalize, or revise it. Proactively seek out other prisoners who have the courage to resist this revision. Encourage family/friends/freeworld comrades to contact the officials below and demand that this new policy be repealed:

TDCJ Ombudsman, PO Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
[email protected]
936-437-6791

TDCJ Executive Director, PO Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
[email protected]
936-437-2101

Senator John Whitmire, PO Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711
512-463-0115

Governor Rick Perry, PO Box 12428, Austin, TX 78711-2428
512-463-2000

Chairman of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, PO Box 13084, Austin, TX 78711-3084
512-475-3250
Fax: 512-305-9398

Attorney General Greg Abbott, PO Box 12548, Austin, TX 78711-2548
512-463-2100

Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst, PO Box 12068, Austin, TX 78711-2068
512-463-0001

Speaker of the House Joe Straus, PO Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910
512-463-1000

Another new policy that came out of the August Board Meeting which needs our proactive resistance prohibits prisoners from receiving stationary through the mail, starting 1 March 2014. You will only be allowed to purchase stationary through the commissary. TDCJ is attempting to create a monopoly. Once this happens, they will be able to charge whatever prices they wish for their stationary. Start organizing resistance to this policy NOW!

Fight the System!

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Red Onion State Prison] [Virginia]
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Property Destroyed as Punishment for Helping Fellow Prisoner

I haven't written to you in a while due to the fact that all my property was taken in September and destroyed. This was punishment for me helping a fellow comrade who had his food and shower denied. In fact, both of our property was destroyed by these racist pigs. All my mail, photos, legal transcripts, addresses, hygiene, radio, books, etc. So I've been in an upheaval writing paperwork up, filing this litigation.

Since that incident I've been put back into long term SHU, probably until I go home. So in the mean time I'm trying to put together a political study group - United Political Prisoners Syndicate - to try to organize against this imperialist system. Also they denied me from receiving your ULK 34, talking about how it's detrimental to security, these pigs always talking about some B.S. I'm going to appeal the decision.

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[Download and Print] [Campaigns] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Legal] [North Carolina]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, North Carolina

North Carolina Petition
Click to download a PDF of the North Carolina grievance petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Secretary, Division of Prisons
4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4201

Director of Prisons
831 West Morgan Street
Raleigh, NC 27626

ACLU of NC
PO Box 28004
Raleigh, NC 27611

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

Jennie Lancaster, Deputy Secretary of DOC
4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4201

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*PDF updated May 2012, July 2012, January 2013, and October 2013*

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [Columbia Correctional Institution] [Florida]
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Florida Censorship, Brutality, and Disgusting Living Conditions

I was once a subscriber to your monthly newsletter. My last 2 newsletters: Sept-Oct and Nov-Dec 2012 were rejected. The reason given for the rejection:

"It is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, disruption of the institution, violation of department or institution rules (per Florida DOC rule book Section 33-504.401 F.A.C)."
Sorry for not writing sooner, but I've been very busy. Informing you of why I no longer receive newsletters is not the only reason why I am writing.

Our living conditions are disgusting. The cleaning chemicals are watered down to the point where they are not worth using. No bleach is giving to kill tough germs. In order to get good chemicals we have to pay one of the prisoners. Here at the annex we have air conditioning. In some of the dorms the air conditioning is broken. All windows are sealed closed so there's no fresh air. The ventilation system is very poor. The state wants the air conditioning set to 77 degrees, which is hot and does not keep germs down. Each bunk is about 2.5 feet apart and the head of each single bunk in the dorm that I am in touches each other, so it's easy to get sick from the guy in the other bunk if he's sick.

Every six months existing prisoners, and every new prisoner, is supposed to receive new white under clothes and one new blue uniform (new prisoners). Instead we are issued used clothing upon arrival (boxers with piss stains or crust marks and boxers made from bed sheets, and white shirts with holes or bad underarm stains). Prisoners go through hell and back trying to get new whites every six months. Some of the clothes look as though they have crawled from under a rock or been in a knife fight.

Each prisoner is given a fishnet laundry bag to place whites and personal laundry in. When these clothes are washed the laundry bags are jammed packed into the laundry to the point where the clothes don't even move inside the machine because it's overloaded. When the clothes do come back they are no longer white, but look as though they were washed in rusty water. Towels are cut in half and issued half to each inmate. No wash rags are given and every 7 days 1 bar of hotel soap is issued that is good for 1 or 2 showers.

The chow hall is more than just disgusting. It should be closed down. You either don't eat and starve yourself to death or eat and take a big chance on getting bad health problems. Besides the fact that the Florida Department of Corrections has been serving the cheapest meat and other food products on the market since 2009, the portion of food that is served is not the correct portion for a full grown man. Even a child would ask for more.

The bad thing about it is most of the time the staff members make them serve with a smaller serving scoops or they water down the food and say it's the correct serving. Just one or two hours after each meal you're hungry again. Some meals are so small it's as though you didn't eat at all. And if a server doesn't want to shake the spoon or water down the food they will be sent to the box for refusing to work for 60 days, and with 60 days gain time lost. If you don't have family or friends sending you money you're out of luck, which causes people to rob or steal from the ones who have money.

A lot of times the cups, sporks, and trays do not get washed with chemicals, only hot water. Sporks are issued out greasy, cups are issued with dirt around the rim and muck on the inside. Sometimes there are drops of juice left in cups from the last person and trays are served with residue from the last man. Sometimes the food is served spoiled and if you complain they tell you to eat or get out.

The worst thing is that the kitchen is infested with roaches. Most of the time they come out while the food is served and at night it looks like a million of them all over the cups, sporks, trays, and cooking ware. A prisoner got transferred today because he killed about 100 roaches and sent them to the state capital, the health department, and a news station in a letter marked legal mail. The state called the prison and ordered that they get the prisoner off the compound.

The correctional officers (C/Os) take shanks, tobacco, cell phones, or drugs from out of their pockets and place it on the prisoners or in their lockers or under the bed to get prisoners sent to confinement or close management for up to a year. When they put prisoners in cuffs and walk them to confinement the C/Os start yelling "stop resisting" when the prisoner is not doing anything at all. They shake the prisoner to make him look like he is resisting so they can slam him on the ground and kick him, place their knee in the prisoner's back or have the other C/Os jump on the prisoner. They take their authority and abuse it. They take non-violent offenders and turn them into violent offenders. We call this the Department of Corruption.

I can go on about the poor treatment of medical: getting charged $5 to get cursed out or get a handful of ibuprofen and told to take lots of water for almost any medical problem. Or the poor teaching skills in education by the teachers who say their job is not to teach. Or the canteen prices that are so high it makes $100 look like $30 and the sale of items that say "not for individual sale" still being sold individually.

Prisoners can't even write a petition without getting charged for trying to start a riot. We don't get any help by writing grievance most of the time. They either go unanswered or some form of retaliation is afflicted on the prisoner who writes them.

We seek help, answers and true care, custody, and control. Not corrupt, custody, and control.


MIM(Prisons) responds: These reports of inhumyn conditions, abuse at the hands of the guards, and illegal censorship of anti-imperialist literature are far too common in the Amerikan Criminal Injustice System. This prisoner writes that he seeks help and answers. Unfortunately, the answer is that prisons are not about rehabilitation, or even just custody, they are about social control. And so this sort of treatment is actually serving the intended purpose. We won't be able to change it without a fight, and fundamentally it won't change until the system changes. We might win some small battles for reform though, while building to change the whole system. And for that we need to pick our fights carefully and build support as broadly as possible. There is no simple form of help that we can offer to end this brutality. But we can work with our comrades behind bars to build a base of support from within, and take on strategic battles that may win some reforms. We provide educational and organizing material, and we will support your battles from the outside. This must all be done in the context of building an anti-imperialist movement that will fight to eliminate the capitalist system that requires a criminal injustice system as a tool of social control. Only when we put in place a government that serves the needs of the vast majority of the world's people, rather than one that serves only a small minority of the wealthy, will we make significant steps towards ending oppression.

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[Censorship] [ULK Issue 34]
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2013 Censorship Report

2013 Censor Chart All

As a mail-based prisoner support organization, the ability to get our mail in to our comrades and subscribers is an essential part of our ability to organize. If we can't get mail in, we can't help lead the anti-imperialist struggle behind bars. We are under no illusion that we'll ever be free from censorship; if our enemy hates us, we're probably doing something right! But the U.$. Constitution and our humynist morality support our insistence on fighting censorship as much as possible so that we can have as big of an impact on the international revolutionary movement as we can.

Often times our subscribers don't even know how much censorship they persynally are experiencing, let alone what's going on around the country. Our annual censorship report gives our subscribers an idea of how much political repression we're facing overall.

This year we started recording our mail in more detail, and removed a lot of flaws in how the data is aggregated (although it's not perfect!). At the bottom of the chart, "% Unconfirmed" tells you how accurate the snapshot is for that reporting year; the lower number the better, because a lower percent of unconfirmed mail means we actually know what happened to more of the mail we've sent in. Unconfirmed mail not only covers up censorship in cases where the prisoner never got the mail but we haven't been made aware of it; it also may exaggerate the level of censorship we're actually facing in a particular facility or state where our mail is actually getting in to some people but they haven't told us. Of course we know the content of our literature is not held in high regard by most prison staff, so assuming we're being censored when we aren't sure what is going on is probably more accurate than not.

A facility is considered to be banning our literature for that reporting year if they have censored two or more items, and no items have been confirmed as received. An entire state is considered to be banning our literature if they have censored any mail, and no mail has been reported as received. Another note on the chart: it is only a snapshot of what is going on with our mail. A facility might be banning us in the same state where we also had victories, or a complete statewide ban may only actually affect a few subscribers (plus the potential new subscribers we might gain if our lit wasn't censored).

To improve our data on the level of censorship we're experiencing, you may receive a list from us of mail we've sent you, asking you to confirm receipt or censorship of each item. This list is called an Unconfirmed Mail Form (UMF). We recommend everyone keep a log of all your mail, incoming and outgoing, with dates received/sent, from/to who, and contents. That way if your mail with us, or anyone, is tampered with, you are one step ahead of the game. And if you get a UMF, you will be able to fill it out accurately rather than guessing. But do not wait to receive a UMF to tell us what you've gotten! When you write to us, you should always tell us what you've gotten from us since the last time you wrote. That will save time and money so we can send in more books and literature.

Facilities banning all our mail in the last reporting year:

  • Colorado - Arkansas Valley State Prison
  • Connecticut - Northern Correctional Institution and Northern Supermax
    this is the second consecutive year in Northern Supermax
  • Florida - Suwanee Annex
  • Illinois - Menard Correctional Center (two years in a row)
  • Michigan - Gus Harrison Correctional Facility
  • South Carolina - Leiber Correctional Institution
  • Utah - Central Utah Correctional Facility
  • Virginia - Hampton Roads Regional Jail (two years in a row)
  • Wisconsin - Green Bay Correctional Institution and Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution

Facilities banning ULK in the last reporting year:

  • Connecticut - MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution
    Reason: "Rejected publication per the Media Review Board"
  • Florida - Franklin Correctional Institution
    Reason: MIM investigated as Security Threat Group
  • Florida - Jackson Correctional Institution
    No reason given
  • Illinois - Menard Correctional Center
    Reasons: "Threat to safety and security"
  • Michigan - G Robert Correctional Facility
    No reason given
  • New York - Riverview Correctional Facility
    Reasons: "Incites disobedience, describes gang activity"
  • North Carolina - Marion Correctional Institution
    Reasons: "MIM Distributors on disapproved publication list," "encourages insurrection"
  • North Carolina - Warren Correctional Institution
    Reason: "On ban list"
  • Pennsylvania - State Correctional Institution Waymart
    Reasons: "Unauthorized enclosure" and no reason given
  • Wisconsin - Wisconsin Secure Program Facility
    No reason given

Florida is also attempting to classify Under Lock & Key as a "Security Threat Group," which would likely make all mail from MIM Distributors banned as gang-related, and subject anyone in possession of mail from us to disciplinary action. We have not received an update on this process since April. We do know that for a couple years Florida was a booming United Struggle from Within state, and some of our more active comrades have recently asked to be removed from our mailing list for fear of repression. We aren't sure whether the administration is threatening parole eligibility or physical abuse, or other forms of torture such as solitary confinement; or if they've already gone ahead and beaten the shit out of these comrades to get them to stop talking to us. Yet we've seen this enough times to know that something like that is going on. It's incredible the lengths Amerikans will go to to keep someone who's already locked up in prison from doing something as innocuous as reading a newsletter, participating in a study group, and talking to other humyn beings.

A popular reason for citing censorship in Nevada has been "Per AR 750... Address labels are unauthorized." Our guess is that this policy of the Nevada Department of Corrections would not hold up in court as being reasonably related to penological interests and the safety of the institution. A subscriber in Nevada who has been missing mail due to this rule should take on this struggle in a lawsuit! Another comrade in that state reported that prison officials have admitted ULK is not banned, but now they are resorting to "unofficial censorship" by simply throwing out incoming and outgoing mail. This is another reason why it's important to track your correspondence.

Victories and Struggles

Appealing censorship and filing grievances can lead to small but significant victories. The victories in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and on the Federal level are attributed solely to prisoners filing appeals of the censorship, without any supporting letters from MIM Distributors. Of course not all appeals will be granted, and we don't expect to ever be completely free of censorship from the state. But we encourage everyone to at least attempt to appeal all censorship of their mail. Send us copies of your documents and we can publicize and track them on our website www.prisoncensorship.info.

In the last year we've focused much energy on fighting censorship in Missouri and North Carolina. In Missouri we've met some success with letter writing, but in North Carolina it has been a different story. After a surge in USW activity in North Carolina, every issue of Under Lock & Key has been placed on their ban list for over 3 years straight. Upon appeal, not only do North Carolina prisoncrats tend to simply uphold the decision of the lower level with no explanation, but when asked to explain how their "independent" review process works, we are given no response. When we filed a public records request with the state, the only documents they had to demonstrate that the independent review process existed was a stack of the original censorship notifications, further putting into question the existence of the "review process." We have comrades working on this case in North Carolina who could benefit greatly from some additional legal assistance.

Multiple subscribers in Illinois have volunteered to assist MIM(Prisons) in fighting censorship in that state, and one has two lawsuits pending on this issue. While ULK is not getting in at all in some facilities in the state, some of our subscriber-volunteers are able to receive ULK and copies of the censor documentation. Also they are intimately familiar with the mail rules and appeal procedures in their state. Although it is a slower process for volunteers on theinside working via mail, this has been a very beneficial campaign, and one that anyone with legal knowledge can contribute to in their own state. MIM(Prisons) facilitates a Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC) to help jailhouse lawyers plug into projects that will push forward the collective legal knowledge and experience of the anti-imperialist movement behind bars. Write in to get involved! Any lawyer or law student who is interested in helping prisoners push forward these anti-censorship lawsuits should contact us.

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[Censorship] [Olympic Corrections Center] [Washington]
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Letter Censored for Exposing Prison Problems

I am writing today because I just wrote you on August 8 and the very next day I was called into the office where I was told that my letter (to you) was of concern. The woman working in the office stated that a number of the issues I mentioned they were currently in the process of trying to fix. They have been saying this for the last year while I've been here, and for at least four years according to many of the long-time inmates here.

So like I said in the last letter, ("I'm sure to see some type of retaliation for this letter"). I've been carefully documenting everything that has been happening since I began: piss test, matrix checks, compliance checks, etc. I ask for any books or other legal material that may help with what I'm dealing with. There are no resources to be had here and I do not want OCC to ship me out under the false pretense of legal library issues. I have around sixteen months left and want to spend my time trying to fix some of this BS that is happening here.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The censorship of mail exposing what is going on behind bars in the Amerikan criminal injustice system is one of the most pressing problems that our movement must fight. Mail is our primary method of communication between prisoners and the outside, and also between prisoners in different institutions as our newsletters share news from across the country. This is why we need legal fighters, both behind bars and on the streets. Get in touch with us if you can help take these censorship cases to court.

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