The state is tightening its control on free communication and association in prisons across the country by imposing digital monitoring systems, and in some cases banning hard copies of mail.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has begun using a company called TextBehind to handle their mail and push people towards their digital communications platform. This allows the company to extort people to pay whatever prices they want just to send their loved ones a message, while the state gets to monitor every word.
MIM Distributors began sending mail to TextBehind last month only to have it returned unopened. It turns out TextBehind does not process letters from organizations, only from individuals. As an organization we would be required to set up a corporate account with non-public pricing schemes. In other words, as a member of MIM(Prisons) I cannot just put a stamp on an envelope and drop it in the mail for a comrade in NCDPS custody anymore. This is a blatant violation of our First Amendment rights to speech and association. At this time it appears that newsletters and books are still allowed through the prisons, but we will not be able to correspond with you directly, send you study guides or other information persynalized to you if you are being held by NCPDS.
UPDATE: We just had a package of ULKs returned to us from Roanoke River Correctional Institution saying, “This facility DOES NOT accept friend and family mail directly” and that we must send mail to TextBehind. But TextBehind does not accept publications, only letters that can be scanned. So it seems mail to NCDPS is being blocked on all fronts.
Pigs Bring in Drugs, While Prisoners Mail Suffers
related news from a Wisconsin prisoner:
First thing first, I am still in Wisconsin. They are making all of us have our families and comrades send personal letters and photos to the Phoenix, Maryland PO Box (189) to inspect them for drugs such as K2, even though drugs, cell phones and other contraband items come from the fascist pigs that work in these imperialist gulags. Newspapers, books, publications are still to be sent here.
Styled name: F. Martinez and all inmates similarly situated in TDCJ-CID, “Doll” and “Pineapple Pictures” versus members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, TDCJ-CID, Director, Members of the MSCP, Members of the DRC, and mailroom supervisor at the Terrell Unit.
I am writing you in regards of the lawsuit filed on 3 December 2021, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division.
I am the leading plaintiff and I am representing all inmates similarly situated in TDCJ, Doll and Pineapple Pictures, both outside vendors.
The reasons in filing this lawsuit is to challenge the unconstitutionality of rules 1 (C), IV(A)(10)(11) of the “Uniform Offenders Correspondence Rules” (BP-03.91) of the TDCJ-CID.
Rule 1(C), which limits to receive ten photos per envelope, and rule IV(A)(10), which is a total ban on “sexually explicit images” coming into the general prison population, and rule IV(A)(11), which bans any altered photos, all in disguise of rehabilitation purposes. I am challenging these rules under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
I am writing you to request your support of this lawsuit by notifying the inmates in TDCJ, publishers, outside vendors of commercial photos and catalogs, and all persons affected for the enforcement of these rules in the TDCJ-CID.
Inmates may join to the lawsuit by writing letters to the U.S. District Court to the following address:
U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division 601 Rosenberg Street, Room 411 Galveston, Texas 77550
They need to include the styled name and number cause above written.
Revolutionary salutations to all Texas USW comrades, leaders, supporters, and those reading this wonderful newspaper for the first time. In issue #75 there was some dialogue regarding the BP 3.91 and i would like to speak to some things.
Comrades, as you all read in the last issue, Allred RHU went on hunger strike in protest not only against B.P.-3.91, but also the illegal use of solitary confinement as practiced via RHU, and we also fought for other pressing issues. Due to this action, on September 8th i was pulled off the outside rec yard, and brought to a cage; this cage is very similar to the one illustrated by the comrade in the last issue. Me and another New Afrikan brother were the only two of all the strikers who went through this. After standing in the cage for about 30 mins to an hour I was informed by an inmate worker that “they takin all yo shit.” By this i assumed he meant food/beverage items of which i only possessed empty condiment bottles so I had no worries. Half an hour later, the property officer and a lieutenant come to escort me. They tell me i will have to send property, particularly books, home; i have too many and they may not be given to another prisoner. As they say this i have heated words with the property officer, and have to be escorted by a major and some others. They bring me to the office and outside my property (all of it including state property) is slung everywhere. I’m irate to say the least.
It is at that time that i entered an office with regional director David Blackwell, along with three unit wardens. Here is a brief overview of what was said pertaining to the B.P.-3.91 policy.
So this policy was supposedly pushed for by these “family groups”. He mentioned Texas Inmate Families Association(TIFA) as the main culprit. Supposedly one of the TIFA members has a brother who’s a sex offender(S.O.), and she learned that he was allowed to write pen pals who sent her brother sexually charged letters. Further investigation led the sister in question to observe that he could also view/receive pictures of women as long as the female wasn’t showing her “parts”. This woman was immediately concerned that her brother was not being allowed the proper environment to rehabilitate his behavior, and this is what led to the rule change.
In case you don’t know, every week, like clock work, TIFA and other family groups like the Families for Air Conditioning in TDCJ, have phone/zoom conferences with the executive director and other top personnel. In these conferences these groups are having influence on policy changes and other things that affect us here in prison. The issue is that these groups are not in contact with the masses, which in this case is US, the captives. TIFA has a $25 membership fee yearly, and imprisoned people can join. However, imprisoned voices are a minority, and are/will be over rode by the petty-bourgeois/labor aristocrat elements which dominate this terrain and don’t allow prisoners to practice any level of self-determination. Even worse is that these groups (TIFA in particular) do not even reply to inquiries from prisoners. The pigs mentioned above provided me with their info to contact and begin dialogue. I’ve wrote, I’ve e-mailed, I’ve DM’d, and have gotten no response. This is on trend as we of TX TEAM ONE have repeatedly contacted them in the past during our previous 3 hunger strikes in the last 4 years, not including this year’s. Never have we received any reply. So what does this tell us?
It tells us that the class divide is very profound in the TX prison movement, even on the “left”. It tells us that at this present juncture we can not collaborate with such reformers in any concrete way. Our movement MUST be prisoner-led.
Speaking specifically to the BP-3.91 issue, from observation one can see that these pigs are picking and choosing when/where to enforce this rule. THE RULE DID PASS! Initially we were told that it hadn’t, that’s not the case. Not only did this Director tell us so, but as i scribe this, Allred Unit has been under rolling lock down and the pigs (from what We in RHU are being told) are solely focused on pics, mags, etc. We in RHU haven’t been hit yet. Last week the ACA came to the unit. An audit. The pigs were verbally reprimanded (the wardens were) by ACA personnel for even operating the lockdown/shake down while they are/were still supposed to be under COVID protocol. This is a violation of CDC guidelines, which is one of the things we called attention to during the strike. The ACA demanded the wardens to cease the shake down. They did so for the week the ACA was here, yet today (9 November 2021) We’ve heard that they’ve resumed on the ECB building, and are to be coming here next. U.S. weekly and Cosmopolitan have been denied here.
The legal standing they’re trying to stand on with this move is that if they were to target specifically sex offenders with this rule while not applying it to the masses of the prison population who are not S.O.s then they open themselves up for suit by the S.O.s for discrimination. What it boils down to is We’re gonna have to come together and fight this through litigation. Simple.
We encourage others who are SERIOUS about litigating this issue to contact us. While our writers within TEAM ONE are busy challenging RHU confinement, We can possibly put all Our heads together to formulate a way forward. All those who’ve filed step 1 & 2, and look to move forward towards litigation should reach out to us: Tx TeamOne/ 113 Stockhom, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221
First, on B.P.-391 in Texas, there are units that are fighting this policy, yet here on Connally Unit they are taking and denying everything they can and they are not allowing us to appeal anything. We’ve written a bunch of grievances and they all got returned saying that the issue is not grievable, and when we file step 2’s, they are all getting thrown away. We have no wins here on Connally.
Second, we’ve contacted the TDCJ ombudsman on multiple ranking officers and regular officers. In doing that we are getting retaliated on and harassed. They are cell searching and destroying our property, tearing our pics, denying us our privilege of commissary, rec or day room. We’ve sent multiple grievances on these officers and they never come back. The wardens are letting them retaliate on us and not doing anything about it! The Connally Unit is steadily short staff only on their Fridays and payday. Right now we’re short staffed and when we asked a question about what’s going on, they put us on 23-hour lockdown – for asking a question. They are playing with peoples’ lives and freedoms here on Connally Unit. We can’t grieve officers because they always come back saying “this isn’t grievable.” We’re in a no-win situation here!
MIM(Prisons) responds: If they won’t let you grieve, then it’s time to come together with all who can be united there and get creative. We’ve been fighting the grievance battle for years. It is only a tactic. It will never solve comrades’ problems overall because the rules are only applied when they want them to be.
On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:
“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”
In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.
a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take effect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.
a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:
“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit" photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted."
MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.
a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)
a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.
a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.
a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.
a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.
Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.
Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.
[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]
This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.
We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.
This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.
Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.
Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?
Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.
Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?
If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.
We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.
Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.
The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.
…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.
The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,
“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)
Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).
Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )
“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. "Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)
As a study on sensory deprivation by a team of 4 Harvard psychologists conducted for the CIA revealed:
The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.
“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”
It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).
What is BP – 3.91?
Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.
While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.
TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.
What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?
At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.
That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:
Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.
REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.
But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?
Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.
On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.
Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.
In the past few years censorship in TDCJ has reached epic proportions. In March 2020, the board on criminal justice enacted new restrictive policies regarding mail correspondence, greeting cards, and receiving monies. After a year of wide-spread resistance to this fascist policy, an exposé was written by Kerri Blessinger of the Houston Chronicle’s criminal justice department along with an inside comrade of the National Freedom Movement - TX Chapter.
The public outcry that resulted from this article which spoke specifically to the denial of greeting cards, moved TDCJ officials to annul this restrictive policy and now captives are again allowed to receive cards.
If the story ended there, things would be all well. Unfortunately, TDCJ officials have sought to retaliate against the prisoner population by instituting even more arbitrarily restrictive regulations.
Set to take effect on 1 August 2021, the newly amended Board Policy(BP) 3.91 will effectively ban ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings, and images that We could possibly receive. This amendment bans any items showcasing thongs, lingerie, buttocks, sex toys, or bodily fluids, as well as photos that hides someone’s face.
Nearly all publications and photos one gets are subject to this rule. Harmless publications such as US Weekly, OK, National Geographic, Muscle Fitness, etc can/will be denied due to this rule. Accordingly, this denies TDCJ captives their visual stimuli, in the case of isolated captives in RHU/solitary such persyn will have NO visual stimuli at all.
The politicized prisoner collective known as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is calling ALL prisoners in teKKK$a$ to join Us and the souljas on ALLRED seg in Our campaign. We are striving to amass 75,000 grievances on this issue. Included please find a sample of a step 1, shortly We will distribute a step 2 and a petition to be sent to TDCJ Director of CID and the Chairman of TDCJ. We must showcase a show of solidarity as teKKK$a$ captives.
Offender Name:____________________ TDCJ#___________________ Unit:_________________________ Housing Assignment:____________ Unit where incident occurred:______________________
who did you talk to?_________________________When?________________ What was their response?________________________________________________ What action was taken?________________________________________________ sample: BP-3.91, amended on 6/25/21, goes into effect on 8/1/21, and effectively bans ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings and images that we could possibly receive. This edict is in direct violation of our First Amendment rights against censorship, and fails to satisfy the four-part Turner test as TDCJ officials have failed to justify this policy.(see: TURNER V. SAFELY, 482 U.S.78(1987))
TURNER QUESTION ONE: Is the regulation reasonably related to a legitimate, neutral government interest? These magazines are non-nude, and are commonplace with no age requirement to purchase them. Thus, TDCJ cannot possibly believe such magazines may cause disorder or violence, or will hurt a prisoner’s rehabilitation. Prisoners have a right to non-obscene, sexually explicit material that is commercially produced, MAURN V. ARPAIO, 188 F.3d 1054(9th Circ.1999).
TURNER QUESTION TWO: Does the regulation leave open another way for you to exercise your constitutional rights? No. As an Ad-Seg inmate, the only visual stimuli we receive are pictures and magazines. Yet the very images that are being banned are the EXACT same content any observer can see on TV. Newspapers have circulars with bra sales, etc. Effectively banning those as well. BP-3.91 destroys our ONLY visual link to the outside world.
TURNER QUESTION THREE: How does the issue impact other prisoners, prison guards, or officials and prison resources? BP-3.91 treats ALL inmates, especially Ad-Seg, like sex offenders and pedophiles, creates unrest throughout the prison population, and punishes non-sex offenders, while GP sex offenders still see images that arouse them on TV. It punishes normal inmates while missing the intended targets.
TURNER QUESTION FOUR: Are there obvious easy alternatives to the regulation that would not restrict your rights to free expression? Yes. Restrict these BP-3.91 original to the Grievance DEPT. on (date) copy to my records BP-3.91 is too vague, encompassing a littany of correspondence (see: Alello V. Litacher, 104 F. Supp. 2d1068, 1045-81(W.D.Wis.2000) which struck down similar ban). BP-3.91 actually says, “Any photo that conceals or hides the face of the individual photographed in a manner that prevents identification of that person.” What penological interest does this serve? And during a pandemic when people are still wearing masks?
Action Requested: That the DRC and TDCJ repeal or annul BP-3.91 in its amended form as it does NOT pass the supreme court’s TURNER test.
ALL TDCJ inmates should file a grievance on this issue, it affects all genders and sexualities as pics with an erection will not be allowed. The paper trail begins now, and We may have to file a class action on this issue. By all means, COMBAT GENOCIDE!!
UPDATE: Grievance officers here are saying this is not a grievable matter. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We suggest that if others run into this problem they should write i60 informing the GR.DEPT that the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) says that policy is grievable, due to the fact that We are grieving the unit’s interpretation of the new board policy. Prisoners should also see Thornburgh V. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401 (1989). Be sure to attach the returned step 1 to i 60.
Here officers are also saying that we can’t grieve it because the policy isn’t effective yet, and we can do so on 8/1 when policy goes into effect. This policy must be resisted on all fronts on all units. [By the time you receive this it will be in effect.] A separate, more extensive petition has also been submitted to the Deputy Executive Director and a phone zap was scheduled to occur on 1 August by outside supporters.
The Nevada Department of Corrections, under Director Charles Daniels and his pet warden, Calvin Johnson, at High Desert State Prison, have, since their arrival, waged an all out war against Nevada’s prisoners. This includes illegal theft and misappropriation of prisoners’ money under the guise of Marsy’s law (money which is still unaccounted for), to the ban on prisoners’ access to visits, chapel, yard, law library, or tier, under the premise of safety concerns over COVID-19. Meanwhile prisoners are still required to work in unsafe and crowded warehouses, kitchens, etc. as if COVID-19 does not target workers.
These same criminals also committed the crime of biological warfare when they knowingly ordered prisoners to work while 15 of them had recently tested positive for COVID-19 but were left unaware of their status. This was used as a way to spread COVID-19 throughout the prison more quickly. This was, by definition, a criminal act!
And now, while prisoners are fighting to get access to visits, chapel, yard, law library, and tier (since the only time they are out of their cell is when working, or their 30 minutes to shower or use of the kiosk, or phone when permitted) these criminals have taken another action to attack prisoners’ rights.
Starting 1 February 2021, High Desert State Prison will implement O.P. 750 mail procedure as outlined in Warden’s Bulletin #21-07. This revised operational procedure is an unconstitutional attack against our right to communicate and be informed.
In effect this new operational procedure mandates the following.
All incoming mail must be in a 4" x 9.5" white envelope written in black or blue ink only. If the mail received is not written in black or blue ink on the envelope, the mail will be returned to sender.
All letters and correspondence within the envelope must be written in black or blue ink. Any other colors will be returned to sender.
Any mail or correspondence received that is scented with perfume and oils will be returned to sender.
Any letter received with drawings and markings that is not from the letter manufacturer will be returned to sender.
Any letter received that are stained or discolored will be returned to sender.
Greeting cards will not be accepted. All greeting cards received will be returned to sender.
Inmates will not receive the original copy of letters and envelopes being received with the exception of legal mail. All letters and envelopes received will be scanned and handed out to the appropriate inmate. Note: the legal mail procedure will remain the same.
If the inmate name is not properly spelled, the inmate identification number is not noted, the senders name/address is missing, the mail will be returned to sender.
If there is writing on the back of a photo sent through mail, the writing must be written in black or blue ink.
After all mail is scanned and distributed to the inmate population, the mail will be properly disposed of.
All magazines and newspapers received must come from an established approved publisher.
Pamphlets and anything copied off the internet will be rejected with the exception of pamphlets received through religious services.
This new operational procedure (O.P.) is the latest in a long line of attacks against prisoner rights and protections since Director Daniels and Warden Johnson have taken on their duties. This O.P. is unconstitutional and deserves challenge.
First, in order to restrict prisoners’ Constitutional rights, the state must show how the restriction is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest. We do not believe that they can. The fact that prisoners are not receiving the physical letters/envelopes themselves, any act or restriction that bars or bans letters for scent, markings, drawings, stains, etc. cannot be in furtherance of a legitimate concern. Thus, we believe a legitimate argument can be made that these restrictions are arbitrary and unconstitutional.
Second, both the sender and receiver of mail/publications must be notified that censorship occurred as well as the reason censorship occurred. They must also give each party a chance to challenge the censorship. This is a very clear due process issue.
Third, we believe that a reasonable argument against the disposal of mail without due process is that the mail itself is the prisoner’s property, thus protected by due process.
Fourth, denying all pamphlets and internet copies have already been ruled unconstitutional.
Fifth, restricting all magazines and newspapers to established approved publishers poses a serious threat as it will ultimately be used to ban inmates access to materials and publications that the prison does not wish to enter the facility, such as Turning the Tide, Revolution, The Abolitionist, Black and Pink, Prison Legal News, Under Lock and Key, and other such publications. While “publisher only” restrictions have been upheld, rules which outright ban or deny publications have been ruled unconstitutional.
We are fighting this new attack, as we are fighting others. We are calling on all prisoners within the NDOC to fight for their families and friends, abolitionists, prisoner rights groups, and others, to stand up for NDOC prisoners and call for the resignation or firing of Director Charles Daniels and Warden Calvin Johnson.
Prisoners must utilize the grievance process, friends and families, or anyone else who wishes to help must call or write Governor Steve Sisolak or write Director Daniels - 5500 Snyder Rd. Carson City, NV 89702, and or Warden Johnson P.O. Box 1050 Indian Springs, NV 89070.
All Power to the People.
Let your voices be heard.
MS1 and MS26 - Revolutionary Front - NV
Caselaw: Turner v. Safley 482 U.S. 78.89. 107 S.Ct. 2254(1987) Lindell v. Frank 377 F.3d 655 659-60 (7th Cir 2004) Allen v. Coughlin 64 F.3d 77. 80 (2d Cir 1995) Williams v. Brimeyer 116 F.3d 351 (8th cir 1997) Procunier v. Martinez 416 U.S.396. 94 S.Ct 1800 Krug v. Lutz 329 F.3d 692.696-97. (9th cir 2003) Thornburgh v. Abbott 490 U.S. 401, 414-19 (1989) Juchlovich vs Simmons 392 F.3d 420 (10th Cir 2004) Montcalm Publ’g Corp. v. Beck, 80 F.3d 105, 109-110 (4th Cir 1996) Murphy v. Missourri Dep’t of Corr. 372 F.3d 979, 986 (8th Cir 2004) Clement v. California Dep’t of Corrections 364 F.3d 1148 (9th Cir 2004) Prison Legal News v. Lehman 397 F.3d 692. 699-700 (9th Cir 2005) Green v. Ferrell 801 F.2d 765, 772 (5th Cir 1986) Mann v. Smith 796 F.2d 79 82-83 (5th Cir 1986) Van Cleave v. U.S. 854 F.2d 82, 84 (5th cir 1988)
As social conditions on both sides of the walls cause dissent and unrest, formerly disengaged elements are beginning to ask profound questions regarding the contradictions of humyn society. As these queries continue, people continue to seek out answers. It is at this point where imperialist institutions begin to up the intensity of their censorship.
In recent months, retail giant Amazon censored a book entitled Capitalism on a Ventilator: The Impact of COVID-19 in China & the U.S. The company sent a notice on its censorship of the book and its up-to-date information on COVID-19 stating, “Amazon reserves the right to determine what content we offer according to our content guidelines. Your book does not comply with those guidelines. As a result, we are not offering your book for sale.” Amazon claims to refer people only to “official sources of advice” on the COVID-19 virus, yet there are an abundance of conspiracy theory books on COVID, calling it a hoax.
People and groups on the supposed “left” have initiated a campaign on Twitter consisting of sending an ever flowing stream of tweets at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
The above mentioned book was written by a collection of people around the world and edited by both a U.S. and a Chinese activist. The book puts forth answers to questions being asked, most importantly: “why is China doing so much better containing the virus?” Evidence and available data show that China’s containment of the virus stems from its free medical care and its planned economic system being supposedly “science-based and co-operative.” This book does an injustice to socialism by insinuating that China, Laos, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea are socialist or are currently attempting to build socialism. That is not true. But it does stand to reason that those previously socialist nations, with their residue of socialism, are doing better because of said residue.
Behind enemy lines on occupied Turtle Island, captives of the imperialist state have been active in resistance during the recent rise in social unrest. One of the various tactics used by the agents of repression has been to pick up the intensity of institutional harassment and mail censorship. Mail of prisoners known or suspected to be visionary leaders and protagonists has recently begun to completely disappear without any notice of censorship or denial. This same nucleus of captives has seen the disappearance of stimulus checks, political writings advocating communism, revolutionary nationalism, and writings exposing recent pig physical abuse against defenseless captives.
These disappearances are clearly politically motivated, as only activists and revolutionaries are subject to these tactics. Even more far reaching, is the delay in mail, both outgoing and incoming. Comrades within this nucleus received a recent mailing from comrades at MIM (Prisons) one month after it was mailed.
In response, it is paramount that comrades and visionary captives take steps to maneuver around obstacles put in place to neutralize our righteous revolutionary cause(s). Security culture inside the walls and out must be practiced in the extreme.
I just wanted to let you know some more of the tricks the system is implementing against me via the J-Pay E-Mail/kiosk system they have set up.
It seems that anytime I send an e-mail to my loved ones asking them to contact a Court and/or government official these e-mails show up blank, yet J-Pay says these messages are being held and/or censored by the prison for reasons of “third party contact” (SMH). Imagine that, I can’t even send an e-mail to my Power of Attorney to contact the courts on my behalf as my LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE!
What would they be trying to “censor” from reaching the courts? (rhetorical question).
In other (related?) news they are also using some device to “un-download” movies I purchase from this same system shortly after I lock back into my cell. This is causing me to lose the movie sometimes due to time restrictions on them, which is a form of consumer fraud.
Note that only here on my company in Auburn Correctional Facility, have the oppressors instituted kiosk privileges 1 day per week, when Directive #4425 clearly states 15 minutes daily. Also, due to Covid restrictions we don’t have visitation privileges, so these once a week e-mails are cruel & unusual due to the already strained circumstances.
I have been debilitatingly sick here twice already taking all precautions against such especially at the times I got sick. I didn’t leave my cell outside of showers, packages & visits for approximately 6 months.
By intentionally taking away in-cell entertainment you force one outside where the chances are higher of me getting sick. Because of prior retaliation akin to this, this seems the most plausible ploy. Let me know what you think.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with our comrade in Virginia that there is a strategic effort to profiteer off prisoners and their families while increasing surveillance and censorship of prisoners’ communications with the outside world. The fact that you are losing movies you paid for, or others are being charged by the minute to read a book is just JPay profiteering off of control of data. It’s the same in the outside world where companies like Apple and Google lock you into a system where they can keep tempting you to spend more money and they decide what media you consume. Only in prison you have less choice.
Many prisoners write us asking to communicate on platforms like JPay, which we cannot do. These platforms increase censorship, surveillance and state control over what you can read or listen to. If we do not fight this, other states will join North Carolina in banning U.S. postal mail and materials like MIM(Prisons) study packs and resource guides.