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[Legal] [Education] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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Fighting for a library

Thank you for sharing the struggle of others bearing much heavier crosses than mine. At this prison I'm trying to establish an Inmate Library Committee - which legally we should already have. The law library is our most powerful tool from within institution walls and the administrative authorities here at this prison have turned our law library into nothing more than a copy room to promote their agenda. The law library here at Mule Creek State Prison does not even have typewriters or provide legal envelopes for purchase or otherwise.

This is my struggle, this is our struggle! The Department of Corrections has coordinated an attack at our ability to be heard by the courts - and the tide is on their side.

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[Organizing] [Education] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 4]
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USW organizing in Nevada

I received your recent missive; thank you for the USW information. I understand you do not have a USW chapter in Nevada. I am not surprised; in fact, I suspected there wasn't, for there is no revolutionary core among the oppressed nationalities. I will assume responsibility of USW leader in Nevada.

There is an extreme lack of literature circulating among Nevada prisoners to begin breaking new ground and give rise to a revolutionary core here. To illustrate my point: the side I'm on, housing over 100 prisoners, has no political material in circulation, except my literature. I'm the only one on my side with political material (and the Wall Street Journal). Because of this, I find that lack of political education - or lack of choice to be politically educated - to be a hinderance to establishing a revolutionary core.

Simply put, we need more literature in circulation.

Generally, Nevada prisoners suffer from the same injustices endured by prisoners at large: education issues, medical, control units, etc. However, we have issues that are unique to us and we must struggle against alongside general issues. I am preparing a platform in harmony with the goals outlined in your letter.

This letter is to officially declare that I will lead in the tasks of erecting USW in Nevada.

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[Organizing] [Education] [California]
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Fighting for rights to education and organize

I am a prisoner of the State of California at CSP-Corcoran. I received your address from the Prison Activist Resource Center and was interested in your ad about helping prisoners to organize and educate themselves. Right now I'm prepared to take legal action against this prison for exercising injustice, oppression and corruption against me. They dislike when a prisoner stands up against their injustice and exercises his constitutional right. I personally will not allow my rights to be stripped away nor will I stand by idle when the helpless are being oppressed!

Malik Shabazz stated: "And one of our first programs is to take our problem out of the civil rights context and place it at the international level, of human rights, so that the entire world can have a voice in our struggle!" What a profound speech and lovely concept to strive for. I dislike injustice, tumult and oppression at any level of society. My goal here is to promote justice and human rights in this prison. The only way to fight the system is with the system!

Malik Shabazz also stated: "But all of that violence that they display at the international level, when you and I want just a little bit of freedom, we're supposed to be nonviolent. They're violent. They're violent in Korea, they're violent in Germany, they're violent in the South Pacific, they're violent in Cuba, they're violent wherever they go. But when it comes time for you and me to protect ourselves against lynchings, they tell us to be nonviolent." Luckily we are protected by the U.S. Constitution and this allows us to be nonviolent and utilize the legal system, this is why one of my current objectives is to study, learn and practice legal law. If you can please donate any legal books, i.e. law dictionary, how to file 1983 Civil complaints, or books on how to file motions.

MIM(Prisons) responds: There is a constant demand for law books and other educational materials in prisons. This is an indictment of the prison system which doesn't even pretend to help rehabilitate people.

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[Education] [California]
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Education system lacking but still fighting

I was studying Comrade George L. Jackson's "Blood in my Eyes" when I first came to know of your organization and movement. After inquiring I was given a little more information and agreed completely with everything that you expressed and stood for.

I'm currently serving a life sentence, though I strive each day to relieve myself of this oppressive prison system, having gone through this experience has been fundamental in the development of my revolutionary consciousness. When I was running the streets the same conditions that exist in prison where I'm at existed out there as well. It took the compounding of these conditions that prisons create to lead me to open my eyes. More than that, being housed and living with, and in many cases fighting along side with, BGF, Crips, Bloods, former Black Panthers, and others, gave me the strength and realization that there is still much work to be done.

George Jackson has become a role model of sorts for me. His strength, intelligence and desire for positive and meaningful change are aspects I see within myself. Through this process of self and environmental reflection I've come into my own ideas of how to affect change, and have begun working with a couple of other comrades towards this end. But one many can only do so much by himself, or even with a few determined comrades.

I read about the USW (United Struggle from Within) and I want to become a part of this. Because this prison is quick to suppress any efforts to organize prisoners around anything that isn't conformatory, I haven't heard of any others involved with the USW. But that's not to say there are not any. I will work from my end to affect the goals and objectives of the USW.

The conditions of my prison are as follows: the overcrowding here is out of control and has lead to the placing of prisoners on bunks in the middle of the day room floors and gym, two places that were never intended to house prisoners.

The conditions I find to be most objectionable however are those you can't see. Not having the access to exact numbers I can only describe the following situation from a first hand perspective. Though I'm a convicted murderer, at the moment I'm a level 3 prisoner, and many of my comrades here will be heading back to the streets within the next 5 years. The education system here is worthless. A man who is given the chance to work toward his GED isn't given any help in the way of actually understanding the information he's asked to memorize off the packet of work he's given. The man is asked to sit in a classroom for 6 hours where he receives no instruction, and the teacher, like most of the so-called students, is goofing off, doing everything except the work intended. These men are fed through a worthless system where their only requirement is that they show up.

From what I have read, education is the biggest factor in the reasons people come to prison in the first place, and return in the second. And yet, when money "needs" to be cut, it's education that is the first place they turn to. The system in my eyes hides this fact by compensating the lack of education with an abundance of yard time. My prison does offer a college correspondence course, one must first have his GED and with a majority of the prisoners being unable to read through an entire newspaper their ambitions remain as such, alone and to themselves. So with the illusion of GED and college classes, the fact that many of the prisoners will never participate or complete them is hidden from those too distracted walking laps around the prison yard. Thankfully I came in with a GED, and I am taking college classes. But the basis of this educational system is to be laughed at.

The conditions of today's prison system are not, in my eyes, as physical as they once were in the 50s, 60, 70s, and 80s. Though I'm only 25 years old, I tend to view the developing prison system as I do the development of the New African Nation here in America. Some think that because the physical restraints have come off and we have been given fists full of "rights" that we've come along in the way of freedom. I take nothing away from those who lived and died to achieve these rights, but the United States is a flexible entity that has existed as long as it has because it is able to mold itself with developing and commanding situations. I ask myself, did slavery end because they finally work up and realized their abuses, or did it become just too difficult to maintain any longer? I like to believe it's the former. The abuses of this country or of its prison system have only receded from the front lines where it's most easily attacked, to the rear, where those of less than open eyes cannot see its source.

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[Education] [Release] [South Woods State Prison] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 2]
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DOC claims integrating Prisoners back to society/work force a priority

I felt the need to express my opinion on this matter, since I will be one who will be affected by this phenomenon that has yet to be solved.

The other day I was watching the New Jersey Network channel, in which they were airing a program called Due Process. The topic being spoken of on Due Process was on the issue that prisoners will be facing prior to their release from prison. The main & only topic was "jobs." there were several spokespersons, one was from Princeton University & the other was from the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections states that they have implemented programs to help prisoners in obtaining jobs when released back into society. So here I am to expose the so-called programs & to hopefully make clear what is the Department of Corrections (DOC)'s main priority.

As you may know, I am a prisoner at Southwoods State Prison (SWSP) in the state of New Jersey, which is the largest prison in New Jersey. In this prison you have a variety of programs that you may choose from. They consist of Educational, Vocational, therapeutic programs such as Moral Recognition Therapy, Life Skills & AA. DOC has also started a program by the name of S.T.A.R.S. which is suppose to help prisoners to re-enter society. The S.T.A.R.S. program provide prisoners with the help of resources, how to apply for jobs and how to manage your money. There is also another so-called program that is provided to prisoners who are within 2 weeks of their release from prison to prepare them to re-enter society. This program also provides resources.

This leaves us with DOC's top priority program, The Therapeutic Community Drug Program, which to my understanding is a funded program. The Therapeutic Community Program (TC) is a program that is provided in several of the New Jersey State Prisons for prisoners with substance abuse disorders. It does not provide prisoners with educational, vocational, nor a transitional re-entry back to society.

Upon entering DOC, you are interviewed by so-called trained clinical screeners, to evaluate the severity of ones substance abuse. Once you see classification, which have the final say, they determine if you qualify for the TC program by evaluating your clinical screening results. If your results are a 5 and above, then you are automatically classified to the TC Program. Now the catch to this program is that if you deny or refuse the TC Program, you are given an I-Overide, which means that you will not receive any type of status, forcing you to do the remaining of your time behind the wall without the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of going to a Halfway house, unless you submit to such TC Program. I am one who will be facing the I-Overide for my refusal to participate in such programs. I was classified with a score of 5 which according to the Administration makes me an appropriate candidate for such programs, in which I have no substance abuse disorder since 1999 & my Pre-Sentence Report states clearly "no drug use during the time f crime, no drug evaluation or recommendations for drug use programs." But according to the Administration they state that due to my previous and present drug charges, I am an appropriate candidate for such programs. Funny that no where in the 10A Law does it state that you will be classified to the TC Program because of your past & present drug conviction. But as I mentioned above, the TC Program is a funded program, which provides money to DOC for keeping the programs beds filled. Which leads me to really question the contradiction that DOC has imposed on itself. What is really their priority? Are they really providing prisoners with the proper transition program to re-enter society, who has always abandoned our interest & needs, after being released?

DOC claims are nothing but bull shit, like every politician here in the united snakes, who sell dreams. DOC fails to really understand the prisoner's needs. Lack of job opportunities is not the only obstacle that many prisoners will be facing when released. Many prisoners will be facing the obstacles of not having a place to stay upon their release & health issues as well. But has any of this really been a concern to DOC? Of course not! If DOC was really concerned about this issue, then they will provide more educational & vocational programs. Here the only certificate that is really recognized in society is the GED certificate, which is authentic. All the other certificates are not recognized in society. I took a Core Curriculum & Building Trades course at this prison and according to the teacher who taught one of my classes, the certificate that I received from the National Center for Construction, Education & Research really meant nothing. He stated that if we were to provide these certificates in our resume or job interview, that employers will probably laugh because the reality is that no one has ever heard of such a place.

Here at this prison there are College courses, that are being provided to those prisoners who are under 25 years of age. Leaving those who do not meet the age criteria with no hope of pursuing a higher learning. Of course there are College correspondence courses, but the issue with such courses, is the money the prisoner will have to pay, in a place where the common pay is $1.40 a day.

There is truly a lack of understanding by DOC, when it comes to the prisoner population, in dealing with the needs & obstacles that we face collectively when we are released from prison. The priority should be Educational & Vocational learning skills. DOC should find a solution for upgrading the educational & vocational programs.

Here in New Jersey, every prison has an Inmate Trust Fund, which is generated by the surcharge of the Institution Commissary Sales. What the Inmate Trust Fund is being used for is recreational equipment, Incentive Meals and for more commissary purchases. This trust fund is well over 2 million dollars.

To give you an insight into how much the Inmate Trust Fund generates a month, I will give an example. At this prison it is said that it holds up to 2800 prisoners. Let's say that all these prisoners receive a state pay of $16.00 a month. Let's also say that all 2800 prisoners will use their $16 for commissary orders. So 2800 prisoners x 16.00 dollars = $44,800 dollars made in commissary sales, now $44,800 x 10% of commissary surcharge = $4,480 made for the Inmate Trust Fund. Just think, over the years the amount that the Inmate Trust Fund has generated. Yet DOC claims that they run on limited funds for educational programs.

This money from the Inmate Trust Fund should be used to build a complex to provide prisoners with a true & certified vocational trades before and after release. It should be mentioned that the Inmate Trust Fund is run by a Board of Trustees, in which we the prison population have no say or rights.

If DOC wants to make re-entry a priority, they should stop giving I-Overides for a TC Program that does not provide any educational or vocational learning skills and and replace them with proper training to re-enter society. If you were to do a survey of prisoners who participated in TC Program and prisoners who participated in real educational & vocational training, I can guarantee we would see a lower recidivism rate among those who got the educational & vocational training.

It is evident that the DOC priority is money as they keep giving I-Overides to those who refuse TC Program, while educational & vocational programs are optional. As mentioned above, the TC Program enrollment brings money to the DOC while other training does not. If they were truly concerned about prisoners post-release they would give I-Overides for refusing educational & vocational training instead.

DOC's form of helping to deal with this matter is by providing prisoners with pamphlets listing resources. This method is like giving a person a map to find a specific place. Of course I will refer to the pamphlets as I would the map, but the rest is really up to us.

Another way that DOC could really help prisoners with the transition back to society is to bring back the Work Release Program that were eliminated for reasons unknown to me. And if they were to bring back the Work Release Program they should find jobs that provide true vocational skills for prisoners to become equipped with the proper training for today's work force.

I myself will not submit to the TC Program, I will not take part of a program whose only benificiary is the DOC, not me. I tell all those inside the belly of the beast, to stop submitting, stop participating in any TC program. Note that DOC has no priority or concerns in this matter. Don't rely on DOC rehabilitative process because if you do it will only keep you contained. The struggle continues.

MIM replies: We don't know much about the programs described above, but we actively support the demand for more educational and training opportunities for prisoners. As the author stated, these are proven means for helping prisoners after release and therefore helping society as a whole. There are tactics that we can use to build a campaign among prisoners and concerned citizens on the outside to push some of the reforms suggested.

At the same time, we encourage those who are concerned with these problems to work to build the Serve the People Prisoner Re-Lease on Life program as well as our Free Books and educational programs for prisoners. The state has the ability to provide various training on a large scale to prisoners. But as we see here, this is a constant battle. And ultimately we must create institutions that can provide the people with what they really need.

The DOC has two main motivating factors: 1) to perform the task of social control, including the suppression of liberation movements, and 2) the meeting of the narrow economic interests of the bureaucracy and prison guard unions. Only institutions by and for the people, free of these narrow interests can really address the concerns expressed in this article.

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[Education] [Control Units] [California]
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California uses gang label to stop activist prisoners

I must say that I am indeed a prisoner who is against the hegemonic domination of Amerika over nations and I believe imperialism is the primary struggle to fight again. I believe that the Amerikkkan injustices system is the most fascistic aspect in amerikkkan society and is a tool perpetuating national oppression and social control. I indeed want to see stronger organization and unity against Amerikkkan domination. The USW seems to be a major need and must to the brothas and sistas locked behind these bars nationwide. Because I indeed understand that knowledge is power, and without it you are weak. And right now the prisoners of California are real weak (but only to the oppression of this enslavement). We need real live educational resources that'll teach the forwardance of this struggle against the "free and almighty land of Amerikkka," and you can beta believe they aren't going to give it to us. That's why we have to take it and pass it on, and enforce this revolutionary lit at all times, while at the same, realizing the following.

It's known to the mass populations of California Department of Corrections that IGI (Institution Gang Investigator) and ISU (Institution Security Unit) are not trying to let prisoners become educated on a real level, because it'll have us all united, and we know here in California that's against everything they stand for (which is the oppression of us and all our families.) California has a Gang Validation law that gives these two prison agencies the authority to hand out indeterminate SHU terms to prisoners who they believe to be involved in a prison gang (such as the Black Guerrilla Family, Nazi Low Riders, Mexican Mafia, etc.)

Take notice that I said "believe", versus "are", in a prison gang. Now these are indeed actual prison gangs that are still in existence to this day, but they are also labels placed on inmates who are politically active in trying to educate the general population. With one of the set labels, they are justified (on paper) when they throw you under the prison (indeterminately) and forget about you. If resources provide it, look up the case of Steve M. Castillo vs. Edward S. Alameida Jr in the US District Court of the Northern District of California, case number C-94-2847-MJJ-JCS. It will show you in black and white how they do it.

At the moment I'm in the SHU and I'm in a cell by myself. I try to use this time of solitude to really, really focus on educating my mind about this struggle we all face. Although a lot of brothers on the main lines (general population) are afraid of that validation lawn, and therefore lay down to the oppression when they fail in their duty to preach the real to those who are blind and are dying for their help. I'd rather go out on my feed than on my knees any day. Although I'm young in age, teach me and I'll indeed teach them.

If we properly prepare for the battle, then we know who we're up against and can be ready. Don't be quick to shout out who you're with and what you're about, because as I said "divide and conquer" is one of their tactics and it has worked well. That's the reason for the Inmate Task Force (ITF), rats and infiltrators who play the ears to and for the CIA/FPI/ATF wannabes and prevent the educating of the blind behind bars.

They understand that education is knowledge and knowledge is power. That's why [our literature] is censored and rejected when being sent through mail. They say it is a threat towards the safety and security of the institution. Wow! And that's on paper? What happened to the land of the free? As human beings, weather we're incarcerated or not, in this country we are appointed civil rights. We gotta start standing up together and demand those rights. I believe through United Struggle from Within (USW) we can get that done.

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[Education]
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MIM literature opening eyes

Greetings! Let me start by saying "thank you - thank you" for sending me the newsletters (MIM Notes). It was very much appreciated. MIM Notes gives us important news and as of this moment they're being shared with others, opening the eyes/minds to our struggles. Especially the prison news Under Lock & Key. I ask in the interest of myself/others if you could please send me more MIM Notes. Thank you for your time and hard work!

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[Education] [Campaigns] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 1]
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California Bans MIM Distributors

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has instituted a ban on educational material within prisons, categorically censoring all literature sent by MIM's prisoner education program. This ban was mandated by Scott Kernan, Director of the Division of Adult Institutions for California, in a memorandum issued December 13, 2006 "directing an immediate ban on the receipt, possession, or distribution of literature/publications from MIM to or by inmates in the custody of the CDCR." This ban has been interpreted by prisons to include dictionaries and history books as well as MIM's own magazine and newspapers. In some prisons the ban has been interpreted to also include all letters written by MIM.

This censorship is in direct violation of legal precedent which requires review of mail for content that violates prison policy. Systematic rejection of all mail from an organization based on disagreement with the sender's politics is not legal, even within the prison system's own rules and regulations.

Neither Kernan nor the prison administrators applying the ban have ever supplied any evidence that MIM literature (much less, letters, dictionaries and other books MIM sends to prisoners) present any threat to the institutions. Kernan's letter contains a review of the MIM political line as supposed evidence that MIM represents some danger to California prisons. The California Code Of Regulations (CCR) Title 15, sec: 3135(b) states: "Disagreement with the senders or receivers apparent moral values, attitudes veracity, or choice of words will not be used by correctional staff as a reason for disallowing or delaying mail. Correctional staff shall not challenge or confront the sender or receiver with such value judgments, nor shall such value judgments be considered in any action affecting the correspondents." Further, in Procunier v. Martinez, the Supreme Court upholds the right of prisoners to receive mail, regardless of the prison official’s opinion of the mail content, as long as there are no legitimate restrictions from the prison related to correctional purposes.

There is a strong correlation between education and imprisonment. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (the U.$. Department of Justice's own organization) latest study on 1997 population data, 41% of State and Federal prisoners had not completed high school. This compares with 18% of the general population age 18 and older.(1) Things look even worse among prisoners age 20 to 39 showing that the trend is towards more prisoners without a high school education as younger prisoners are even less educated than older prisoners. Other more recent studies have shown this trend continues. The likelihood of ending up in prison is tremendously higher for young Black men who drop out of school before getting a high school diploma. And a college degree is further protection against imprisonment.

On the other side of education, in-prison education programs have repeatedly been shown to reduce recidivism by helping prisoners to find jobs and opportunities once they are released. Individual and meta studies repeatedly conclude the same thing:

"Since 1990, the literature has shown that prisoners who attend educational programs while they are incarcerated are less likely to return to prison following their release. Studies in several states have indicated that recidivism rates have declined where inmates have received an appropriate education. Furthermore, the right kind of educational program leads to less violence by inmates involved in the programs and a more positive prison environment."(2)

California already has one of the highest recidivism rates in the country, with an astronomical 70% of released prisoners ending up back inside within three years. And in recent years we have seen education programs, visitation, and even mail cut back so that prisoners are left with very little to do behind bars and a virtually impossible task of going straight from prison to the streets with no education or transitional services.

Implementing a state-wide ban of educational material from MIM is one more way to keep prisoners locked up. Prisoners who read our literature frequently tell us they learn to channel their time into productive activities rather than participating in violence behind bars. And the education helps them have a better chance at staying on the street once they are released. We get letters pleading for reading materials like this one all the time: "I'm an inmate at Salinas Valley State Prison and am on a yard that's been on lockdown off and on for approximately 4 years. Therefore I'm unable to get to the library here. I've read every 'floater' here. I would be very grateful for any soft back books you could send. Anything you send will be read and reread by many inmates." Surely the CDC"R" knows there is a demand for reading materials in the prisons, but they don't even bother to fill this void with fluff novels. They prefer to spend their large budget on higher salaries for brutal guards and legal defense for their illegal activities like setting up prisoner fights for sport.

Of course, the CDC"R" does have reasons to ban MIM from the prisons. Educating prisoners is counter to their goal. With education comes consciousness, and while prisoners working with MIM report avoiding violent confrontations (both with their peers and with guards), they are also more likely to take up legal and administrative appeals, and to educate and organize their fellow prisoners to stand up for their legal rights. As one California prisoner wrote to us in October of last year:

"In extending my respects to all, I would also like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to everyone working at, working with and/or affiliated with Maoist Internationalist Movement for all that you do and the services you provide. Especially, in regards to prisoners. Speaking from personal experience I can say that in receiving and reading your newsletters, it's both a major source of motivation and encouragement. To say that your MIM Notes have served me well does not cover any specifics, but I can say that your notes have been a potent ingredient towards my transformation: and your free books to prisoners program has nurtured and fed me like a baby at his mother's bosom. The books you have been so generous to send have taught me to respect and value the importance of an education…an education that has taught me that with knowledge comes enormous responsibility. The responsibility that arises from not just knowing the difference between what is said to be right, or wrong, testing an deciphering, truth and lies, but knowing and acting in accordance with what is consistent and progressive in the exercise of self determination and self defense."

We will continue to pursue the fight against this ban in California, working closely with our comrades behind bars to challenge this action in court if necessary. We encourage the CDCR leadership and California state politicians to step forward and overturn this illegal ban before they are forced to waste money needlessly in a legal battle that will only further expose their disregard for Rehabilitation, the welfare of prisoners, and the very laws they claim to uphold.

We need support from prisoners to join this struggle, and support from people on the outside to demand an end to this ban. Write protest letters to: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184

1. Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report: Education and Correctional Populations, January 2003 2. Journal of Correctional Education, v55 n4, p297-305, December 2004. See also The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Studies have clearly shown that participants in prison education, vocation and work programs have recidivism rates 20-60 percent lower than those of nonparticipants. Another recent major study of prisoners found that participants in education programs were 29 percent less likely to end up back in prison, and that participants earned higher wages upon release."

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[Education] [Censorship] [California]
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Education is essential, must fight censorship

Revolutionary greetings to your staff. I just received your letter with the information on prison censorship. I'm fully schooled with the state's so-called laws. In the past I have not had any problems receiving MIM Notes or the study books. I fully understand that problems do come up behind the hands of the oppressor. This is why freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Let's test the water for now and please start sending me educational material. The struggle can not be stopped, I refuse to let them take control of my mind. I'm 50 years old, been in prison on and off for 30 years, and now three strikes have me. I refuse to lay down on myself or other oppressed people. The most dangerous weapon in this world is a fully focused mind.

MIM adds: MIM was banned in California prisons by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in December of 2006. We are working with our comrades behind bars to fight this ban. We need support from prisoners to join this struggle, and support from people on the outside to demand an end to this ban. Write protest letters to: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
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[Education] [Legal] [West Valley Detention Center] [California] [ULK Issue 1]
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No access to legal materials or education

I am writing to let MIM comrades be informed on ever more injustice in our so-called system. As of today I have been awaiting trial almost four and a half years, since I was sixteen years old. At sixteen I was placed in a juvenile facility, then the day after my eighteenth birthday was placed in West Valley Detention Center for women in California.

There is not one program at this facility for those awaiting trial - we barely have a library that contains mostly old romance novels. I am not even convicted and have no access to any legal or educational materials. The facility will only provide "Christian" religious materials so any other religions basically do without unless materials can be provided by the outside. We even have some of our religious materials sent back saying they are "gang-related materials" because they are not common beliefs.

How am I to defend myself if I can not get any law books, or educate myself with no real library or any programs? I am 20 years old and have been facing 25 to life since age 16. I now sit idle with my life in the hands of California's injustice system.

Those who have no financial support must also do without personal hygiene and writing materials as these things are not provided free to indigent inmates. Our canteen prices are so high you'd think they could pay to provide us with something! At least get rid of all the gnats, roaches and rats in our facility! Some prisoners here are even kept in ad-seg for their whole waiting process with no real infractions.

I am only one young female inmate and I need the help from my comrades to fight this ridiculous system. I hope to be able to help in this fight, but I can't do it alone.

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