The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
[Download and Print] [Organizing] [Civil Liberties] [Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Political Repression] [Campaigns] [California]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, California

California Grievance Petition
Click to Download PDF Of California 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.

Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC)
2590 Venture Oaks Way Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95833

Prison Law Office
General Delivery
San Quentin, CA 94964

Internal Affairs CDCR
10111 Old Placerville Rd, Ste 200
Sacramento, CA 95872

CDCR Office of Ombudsman
1515 S Street, Room 311 S
Sacramento, CA 95811

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

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

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

*Petition updated September 2011, July 2012, and October 2013, February 2016, November 2016*

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[Censorship] [Evans Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 54]
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Stop Wasting ULK on Censorship

This letter is to inform you to discontinue sending out the Under Lock & Key newsletter to me here. There is a very repressive regime established at this prison and indeed the entire state. The censorship of our materials goes without challenge. Why? Authorized violation of so-called rights! The grievance procedure is designed to be a stalling mechanism and as it stands now is actually depriving the prisoners here of redress of grievances and access to the courts!

I do not want relevant/useful information appropriated or destroyed by these foolish people so please do not continue to mail any of your publications for now. I am furious at these methods and practices this system is using to block our awareness and consciousness but I am unable to offer a real challenge because these South Carolinians are fast asleep! I grow weary of the incessant thought of the problem. Merely writing or filing actions to the courts who, with every degree of bias/prejudice, turn blind eyes. We need some direct action! Do not let our papers go to waste brothers and sisters! I do not have any reliable sources out there. Yet, but I guarantee I soon will.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is always sad to hear from comrades hard at work behind bars who want their Under Lock & Key subscription terminated due to censorship problems. We appreciate this comrade's desire to save us the cost of sending in a publication that will only be censored, but we have also noticed that in prisons that are usually censoring our literature, occasionally things will slip through. So if you are in this situation, we are willing to continue to send ULK, in the hopes that it will get to you.

If we look at the last 10 issues of ULK, the rate of copies reported received in censor-heavy states like South Carolina and North Carolina are the same as the average across the country. The reports of censorship in those states are higher, but we still have more people reporting ULKs received. We have also had isolated victories after appealing censorship in both states in the last couple years. Of course, if more subscribers told us which issues they received and which they did not, we would have more information so we could make a more accurate assessment. So please let us know specifically what you have received every time you write us.

Ultimately it is a tactical question of when we want to exclude a facility or state from our mailing list because we think we are just throwing money away. Overall, we know that only a small fraction of the prison population is exposed to Under Lock & Key and we will always face state repression in our efforts to expose them. So we have chosen tactics that increase our chances of exposing the greatest number of people.

This writer is setting a good example by fighting this censorship on all the fronts possible. And trying to organize others as well. Conditions change over time, and organizing is a dialectical process that involves many failures. This letter underscores the need for outside support for our comrades' battles behind bars.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 53]
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California November Updates: Stamp restrictions, Santa Clara strike success and Ashker settlement update

In our last update letter to United Struggle from Within (USW) comrades in California, we announced that the California USW Coordinator would be working with the California USW Council to provide better, more regular updates in ULK to coordinate our campaign efforts in the state. This will also reduce the need to send out separate letters except in time-sensitive instances. This issue of ULK is the first with such a CA-focused section.

One issue that came up among CA USW recently is restrictions on mailing stamp donations. This was happening at CSP-Sacramento, and more recently reported from West Valley Detention Center. In ULK 36 (3 years ago), we printed a report from San Quentin where they successfully campaigned against the same issue through a combination of 602 appeals and letters to the press exposing these restrictions on freedom of expression.

Appeal #CSQ-J-13-03205 was submitted October 27, explaining exactly how operational procedure 608 article 7 was being illegally circumvented. This appeal was rejected by appeals coordinator puppet M.L. Davis on November 1. Davis offered to process the appeal if appellant directed a CDCR 22 to the mailroom. Davis also demanded appellant remove copies of Article 7 and OP0212 which are in fact the official rules/directives regarding "items enclosed in incoming first-class mail."

If readers have other examples of successful tactics around this issue, or rules to cite, send them to MIM(Prisons) for the next issue.

Santa Clara County Strike a Success

In "Broad Participation in September 9 FAM Prison Strike" we refer to the challenge of organizing in California with more comrades in county jails not under CDCR control. Perhaps this will be a temporary setback though, as prisoners organized a recent strike in Santa Clara County. On 17 October 2016, over 300 people went on hunger strike, according to the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity coalition. The demands were around ending solitary confinement, inadequate clothing, a faulty appeals/grievance process and the overcharging at commissary. The strike was suspended after less than a week, when the sheriff's department agreed to the demands. Comrades will maintain the strike in suspension until the changes are actually made. MIM(Prisons) commends the organizing efforts of these comrades and the focus on key campaign issues of solitary confinement and the grievance process.

Ashker Settlement Hearings Done, SHU Victims Decrease

The number of people being held in SHU has dropped sharply since the Ashker settlement (see "Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners" in ULK 46 for more background). The review process has been completed, and 1,512 of the 1,557 people covered by the settlement have been released from SHU according to CDCR, with the remaining given dates for release. The number in SHU cells in California is about 1/6 of what it was before the settlement, with less than 500 SHU prisoners as of August 2016 (according to CDCR statistics). But we know a number of our readers are still in SHU, and many more are in other forms of long-term isolation in California, which is not covered by the settlement.

We must remain vigilant now to continue the fight against solitary confinement in California. As we've always pointed out, these reforms with such narrow focus only make it harder for those who remain in these torture cells to get out. SHU cells represented less than a quarter of the prisoners in California in long-term isolation according to our last count prior to the recent decrease in SHU (see www.abolishcontrolunits.org/research). But as the comrades in Santa Clara have demonstrated, this battle is still alive in the hearts of prisoners.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [California] [ULK Issue 53]
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Censor Watch in California

Organizing in other states around September 9th seems to have triggered censorship of ULK in California. Chuckwalla Valley State Prison censored issue 51, which was the last issue before September 9th calling on people to organize something for that day to promote peace and solidarity. The original reasoning was that it "contained Disturbing and Offensive content in the entire publication." Upon our appeal, the warden upheld the decision and specified that it was the article on page 1 that ey felt was inspiring a work stoppage. California Health Care Facility was the other facility that notified us of censorship of issue 51 for posing a threat to the facility, but we have not received a response to that appeal yet. We also received word from some comrades at Kern Valley State Prison that they did not receive ULK 51, but no notification of censorship has been issued.

Outside the realm of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), we also had problems in Orange County last month. Orange County Jail and Theo Lacy both returned ULKs saying prisoners were not there, when some of them are still in custody. While the same laws apply to county jails, we must come up with tactics to address them in addition to CDCR.

Chuckwalla seems to be going hard on mail interference. One comrade reports that not only were ULK and SF Bayview newspapers censored, but so are books sent from eir family. Another comrade, who has also had letters from MIM Distributors censored, sent us a copy of a form 22 ey submitted with a response from mailroom staff A. Salas, dated 29 September 2016:

"Bayview is currently under Division of Adult Institutions review for all issues, to be placed on the list of Dissapproved Centralized list.[sic] If a publication was received with your name on it then you would have been issued an 1819, so if you haven't received an 1819 then you haven't received a newspaper. MIM Distributors is also under review by DAI to be put on the Centralized Disapproved publications list."

MIM Distributors mail was banned by CDCR in 2006, until a Prison Legal News lawsuit was settled in 2007. The ban contined to be utilized until 2011, and effectively cut us off from most California prisoners for 3 or more years. Since then censorship in California has been relatively low (though certainly not non-existent). We cannot afford to lose access to our comrades in CA again. So please be vigilant in appealing censorship and sending us updates. They do not have any basis for a systemwide ban according to their own rules, but as we know there are no rights, only power struggles. So keep up the fight to freely associate with MIM(Prisons) and others on the outside!

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[Censorship] [Union Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 54]
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Florida Prison Ban on MIM Pubs

Please be advised that Florida Department of Corrections has banned all MIM publications. At this time I'm not able to file an informal or formal grievance or appeal as to do so will result in immediate property and mail restriction with a stretch of disciplinary confinement to back it up. Enclosed are the latest rejection slips.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We are seeing many rejections from Florida prisons, although ULK is still getting in to a few folks. We need jailhouse lawyers who are being censored in Florida who can help take up this fight through the grievances and into the courts. Your work will impact many in this state with so many people behind bars. Get in touch with us if you can take up this censorship battle. And for anyone on the streets reading this, we really need lawyers who can support these lawsuits from the outside. Check out our extensive documentation of censorship in Florida (and elsewhere) from our Amerikan Censorship Documentation Project

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[Censorship] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 53]
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Battling Censorship in NC Prisons

As the comrade whom recently filed an civil case against NCDPS stated “there are no rights, only power struggles.” Currently a prisoner entrapped in the cages of North Carolina, I testify his comment as truth. Censorship within NC prisons has been expanded from safety examination to harassing and illegal.

Censorship has become as a tool to cover up the corruption, tyranny, and oppression. Not only outgoing and incoming mail, but also phone calls. When an incident of corruption occurs, these facilities will not allow prisoners to utilize commissionary to purchase stamps, envelopes, or paper. Following the stoppage of canteens, warehouse officers will cease the issuance of paper and envelopes for those of us who are indigent.

The continuous banning of ULK, and similar publications is a problem, but not our only problem. Those of us who are experiencing these conditions, we have to create a vanguard. And the comrades in Texas, California, and the like, we must create a voice. Where is the unity? Where is the solidarity. We have to construct a united front. It doesn’t only occur in North Carolina. Maltreatment of prisoners occurs all across Amerika. We must step up to cease these problems. Our sons, daughters, the future generations, we must fight so they aren’t subjected to these circumstances.

Censorship in North Carolina has risen to the point where it’s an impossibility for my loved ones to receive a letter. Censorship in North Carolina has elevated to the plane where legal documents are not reaching their intended destinations. NCPDS has become so oppressive to where there isn’t a law library in any correctional facility throughout the state.

NCPDS attempts to counter-attack, more appropriately worded as prevent, a rise of consciousness. The preventative measures began with stripping us of the tools which was used to enslave us: politics, economics, and jurisprudence. As the historic figure Fredrick Douglass wrote to Gerril Smith, the abolitionist, in his letter entitled "No Progress Without Struggle":

"The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions, yet made to the august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle, there is no progress."

Mr. Fredrick Douglass continues:

"Those who profess freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are he who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; it may be a physical one, or it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand."

Is the prison industrial complex not the contemporary plantations? Are those of us who are locked away in the penal systems of Amerika, denounced, then deprived of their rights? Dr. John S. Rock, an accomplished physician and lawyer, who was the first New-Afrikan attorney admitted to the bar of the United $tates Supreme Court said, "The greatest battles which they have fought have been upon paper."

We are stripped of our rights according to their principles, laws, and constitution. North Carolina this is the time to support each other, to unite and form organizations, on the inside and outside to voice against the oppression. You are not alone. For all of those whom are oppressed, we have one common objective: to end it! Comrades, please aid your assistance by advice.

The first step is organizing!
One for all, all for one!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We previously reported in ULK 52 on a former prisoner's lawsuit against North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) for censoring Under Lock & Key. Since that article we have not seen any updates on this front.

In the meantime, Director of Rehabilitative Programs and Services Nicole E. Sullivan recently responded to our appeal of the censorship of ULK 51. In eir response, Director Sullivan acknowledges that ULK has a policy against violence and insurrection in our newsletter, ey still says peaceful protest when no other administrative avenue has provided any relief is a threat to safety and order. The real threat to safety and order is the deplorable conditions of confinement that prisoners in North Carolina and across the country are forced to live in. It seems Director Sullivan sees prisoners as inanimate objects rather than people.

As ridiculous as this response is, we need a lawsuit to get NCDPS to budge on its censorship of ULK in the short-term. Getting ULK into the hands of prisoners is one major way we work toward addressing the long-term problems of oppression that NCDPS is able to operate under.

Also as part of our long-term strategy, we need to go beyond Frederick Douglass and the "prison industrial complex" analysis. While Douglass did provide inspiration for many, when it was time to decide between New Afrikan self-determination and integration with Amerikkka, Douglass affirmed eir loyalty to empire and was even appointed U.S. Marshall of the District of Columbia. This was at a time when others, including Harriet Tubman, were organizing separatist movements and independent institutions for New Afrikans, post-Civil War.(1)

We oppose the line that prisons are set up for profit (the analysis of the "prison industrial complex") because not only is it simply not true that the prison boom is motivated by profit from prisoner labor, it also glosses over the primary purpose of prisons: to control oppressed populations.(2) When we have our historical analysis ironed out, we will be better able to take on our oppressors and win!

Notes:
1. Butch Lee, Jailbreak Out of History: the Re-Biography of Harriet Tubman, Second Edition, Kersplebedeb Publishing, 2015.
2. MIM(Prisons) has written extensively on the myth of the "prison industrial complex." Send in a SASE for more on the topic.
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[Spanish] [Censorship] [Hamilton Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 52]
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El instituto correccional Hamilton rechaza todo el correo de MIM(Prisiones)

Un mes atrás enviamos una tanda de correo a los participantes del grupo de estudio introductorio en el MIM(Prisiones). Era la primera tanda de correo de la nueva sesión e incluía una tarea de lectura y algunas preguntas.

Recibimos muchos rechazos sobre este correo de las prisiones de Florida, en particular desde el Instituto Correccional Hamilton, en donde a todos los nuevos participantes se les devolvió su correo con un *recibo de retorno por correo no* *autorizado* que cita razones que incluyen: "amenaza a los objetivos de seguridad, orden o rehabilitación, o a la seguridad de las personas. Representa, describe o alienta actividades que pueden llevar al uso de la violencia física o desorganización grupal. Alienta a que se lleven a cabo actos delictivos." De hecho, a una de estas personas también se le envió un *formulario de correo sin confirmar* que enumeraba las cartas que nosotros les habíamos enviado hace poco, y esta carta también fue enviada, ¡citando las mismas razones! Está claro que la sala de correo en el Instituto Correccional Hamilton ni siquiera se preocupa por leer las cartas de MIM(Prisiones) antes de devolvérnoslas.

Como respuesta a esta censura, a estas personas les enviamos una copia de nuestra guía de seis páginas para luchar contra la censura. Este documento contiene consejos legales y administrativos para apelar a la injusta negación de correo. Inmediatamente, se nos devolvió 17 sobres (anticipamos que lo que sobra será devuelto pronto), junto con otro *recibo de retorno por correo no autorizado* por parte del personal de la sala de correo, que indicaba que esta había sido rechazada porque:

  • "De otro modo representa una amenaza a la seguridad, orden, u objetivos de rehabilitación del sistema de correccional, o a la seguridad de cualquier otra persona."
  • "Representa, describe o alienta actividades que pueden llevar al uso de la violencia física o desorganización grupal."

  • "Alienta o instruye en la comisión de actividades delictivas."
La carta en cuestión contiene citas legales y pautas de políticas de apelación administrativas. Este tema claramente no está relacionado con la violencia o seguridad de una prisión. No hay nada en esta carta que se pueda interpretar como que representa o alienta a la violencia o desorganización grupal. Y definitivamente no tiene nada que aliente o instruya a cometer delitos. Hemos enviado una apelación al alcaide de Hamilton pero no somos optimistas dado que incidentes similares en Florida se han chocado contra paredes de silencio o de negación de nuestras demandas sin razón.

Necesitamos un abogado para que nos ayude con esta pelea en Florida, pero hasta ahora, ninguna firma de abogados ha estado dispuesta a aceptar este importante caso. Tenemos compañeros que conocen muy bien la ley que pelea contra esta censura, pero es muy difícil coordinar nuestro trabajo cuando nada de nuestro correo ni siquiera les llega a estos activistas.

Casos como estos deberían enfurecer, incluso a aquellos que creen en Amérika como una sociedad justa. Es obvio que no hay justicia en la negación de material educativo y recursos legales a los prisioneros. Y este tipo de acción expone claramente la mentira de la rehabilitación que el sistema pretende apoyar. Las personas con acceso a internet pueden buscar en la web estos y otros casos de censura en nuestro sitio www.prisoncensorship.info/data.

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[Censorship] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 52]
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NCDPS Sued for Censorship of ULK

A former prisoner of the state of North Carolina has filed suit against the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) for regularly censoring eir subscription to Under Lock & Key (ULK) without due cause. In December 2015, U.S. Marshals were ordered by the U.S. District Court to serve Cynthia Bostic and Fay Lassiter with the complaints. Lassiter was the Chair of the Publication Review Committee, who would send MIM Distributors a "letter to publisher" every two months stating that the latest issue of ULK was disapproved for delivery. Usually the reason given was "D Code" or "encourages insurrection and disorder."

Cynthia Bostic was the Assistant Section Chief of Support Services, who was in charge of reviewing these decisions. Every two months a volunteer legal assistant would write Bostic to appeal the censorship and she would respond upholding the decision. This went on for 3 years straight with every issue being censored, every appeal being denied, and no specific justifications being given for the censorship.

In an attempt to investigate the so-called "review process" our volunteer filed a public information request with the state and began shopping the case to some civil rights lawyers in North Carolina. It was around this time that our appeal was granted for ULK Issue 36. Yet, none of the copies sent to prisoners in North Carolina were subsequently delivered. Presumably the state just threw our mail away. So we went ahead and sent new copies of ULK 36 with copies of the letter from Bostic saying that this issue was approved. These too were censored! As most prisoners know, but some readers on the street may not, it can be a real battle just to get these people to follow their own rules and decisions. Like the comrade filing the suit stated in a recent interview, "there are no rights, only power struggles."

We want to commend this comrade for taking up this battle after eir release from prison. This is a shining example of carrying on the struggle for those ey left behind. And it shows leadership and self-reliance to come out and wage what will likely be an uphill battle against the state for basic rights. At the same time, the battle will be so much easier from the outside where one does not have to worry about constant harassment, mail being thrown out and being denied access to law books (North Carolina does not have law libraries in its prisons). The local report on eir lawsuit states that ey will be doing a fundraising campaign, and we encourage people to support em.

This battle is ongoing, as North Carolina continues to ban almost every issue of ULK statewide, despite the fact that Lassiter and Bostic are no longer involved in these decisions. Perhaps not surprising for a state that was recently told by a Federal court that its voting laws were illegal for disenfranchising New Afrikans. A lawsuit like this is needed to take the censorship struggle in NC to the next level. Bourgeois democracy will never guarantee the rights of the oppressed. But we can use lawsuits tactically to win battles when we are clearly in the right according to their own rules and principles.

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[MIM(Prisons)] [Censorship] [Hamilton Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 52]
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Hamilton Correctional Institution Refuses All MIM(Prisons) Mail

A month ago we sent out a batch of mail to participants in the MIM(Prisons) introductory study group. It was the first mailing of the new session and included a reading assignment and some study questions. We got a lot of denials of this mail from Florida prisons, in particular at Hamilton Correctional Institution where all new participants had their mail returned with an Unauthorized Mail Return Receipt citing reasons that included: “Threat to security, order or rehab objectives, or to safety of any person. Depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption. Encourages commission of criminal acts.” In fact one of these people was also sent an Unconfirmed Mail Form that just listed the letters we had sent em recently, and this letter was also sent back to us, citing these same reasons! Clearly the mail room at Hamilton CI isn't even bothering to read the letters from MIM(Prisons) before returning them to us.

In response to this censorship we sent all these folks a copy of our six page guide to fighting censorship. This document contains legal and administrative tips for appealing unjust denial of mail. Immediately 17 envelopes were returned to us (we anticipate the remainder will be returned soon), with another “Unauthorized Mail Return Receipt” from the mailroom staff indicating this letter was denied because:

  • "Otherwise presents a threat to the security, order, or rehabilitative objectives of the Correctional system, or to the safety of any person"
  • "Depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption"
  • "Encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity"
The letter in question contains legal citations and administrative policy appeal guidelines. This subject matter is clearly not related to violence, security or safety of a prison. There is nothing in this letter that could remotely be construed to depict or encourage violence or group disruption. And it certainly has nothing encouraging or instructing commission of crimes. We have sent an appeal to the Warden of Hamilton but aren't optimistic as similar incidents in Florida have just run into brick walls of silence or denials of our claims without reason.

We need a lawyer to help take on this fight in Florida, but so far no law firms have been willing to take up this important case. We do have some comrades who are very savvy with the law fighting this censorship, but it's very difficult to coordinate our work when none of our mail can even get in to these activists.

Cases like this should outrage even those who believe in Amerika as a just society. It is obvious that there is no justice in the denial of educational material and legal resources to prisoners. And this sort of action exposes clearly the lie of rehabilitation that the system pretends to support. People with access to the internet can browse these and other censorship cases on our website at www.prisoncensorship.info/data

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[Censorship] [River North Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 52]
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Bombard them with Paperwork: Fighting Censorship in Virginia

I am writing to bring you up to date on my litigation against the Commonwealth of Virginia related to the unlawful censorship of ULK and other literature. I am preparing to file my second tort action against the Commonwealth for the rejection of ULK 48. This will make the second claim I've filed in response to rejections of MIM literature.

I've chosen the state tort route due to the higher chance of success and because the 4th circuit is notorious for siding with the state in such matters. Further, eventually the risk management will get tired of seeing claims of the same nature with the same plaintiffs and defendants, and while it may take time, I believe if enough comrades use the same tactic the issue will be resolved. Prior to incarceration I was the IT Department manager at a card payment company. When I got a dozen emails complaining about a website being blocked in the office I often just removed the block since it was easier than being hassled all the time. I'm hoping risk management responds likewise.

It may be helpful to share my tactic of "bombard the bastards with paperwork" with others. Strength in numbers, you know. In Virginia, a notice of claim is free to file and requires little to no legal skill - just fill out the form, state the relevant facts, include supporting documentation and mail it to Richmond.

During the six month response period comrades will have time to develop their notice of claim into a finely crafted petition to file in court in the event risk management doesn't reply or doesn't provide relief. A tort action is also much cheaper than a 1983 suit since the cost is based on the value of the action, and if the relief sought is simply the delivery of the publication and that the prison get in compliance with the constitution, and so long as there is no security threat in the publication, chances are there will be a positive outcome. That's my goal anyway. Nobody wants to get sued six times a year and nobody wants to get sued six times a year by a hundred people over the same matter. In my tort claims I am naming the Warden, Publication Review Committee and the mailroom as defendants. I'm asking only that the publications be permitted, that the review process be in compliance with relevant statutes and case law, and that this be applied to all MIM publications. I am not asking for money damages simply because it's a free publication; nor am I claiming any mental anguish or emotional distress, besides, who would believe that a bunch of "commies" would get all emotionally scarred because their newsletter was rejected?

Hopefully it helps. I feel that as revolutionaries we must use every tool available against imperialism, and the tort claim is one of those tools.

Step-by-Step Tort Claim

  1. Save all relevant documentation related to the rejection of the publication. Make copies!
  2. Complete the entire grievance process. If you get no reply within two weeks send a request form to the mailroom to ask why.
  3. Request further details about why the publication was rejected such as page number, any specific articles and the like. Try to get more information from the publisher if you can, such as their side of the story about what the alleged offensive material is, where else the publication has been delivered or similar.
  4. Upon exhaustion of your administrative remedy, draft your notice of claim. This is not your petition to file in court, it is only a statement of facts and a request for relief. State only the relevant facts, why the rejection is unfounded and include any supporting evidence. Do not lace your claim with opinions or try to claim the Warden is out to get you. (Unless you have evidence he is!)
  5. As you write your claim, when you reference a documented fact make a note of where to find that fact. Mark each documented fact with some way to easily identify it. Ex: "On July 3 the Warden replied to my request for more information. He told me to go f*ck myself. (See Exhibit 4, Paragraph 3, Line 'A')"
  6. Notarize and copy your notice of claim. Make a copy to send to risk management, the commonwealth attorney and as a bonus to each defendant. Include your claim and all supporting documents. You keep the original.
  7. Begin crafting your Notice of Claim into a well-written petition to present to the court in the event you don't get any relief. If after six months you haven't gotten any relief take it to court!

    This has worked for me several times without having to go to court. It can work for you too!

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