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.