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[Prison Labor] [Civil Liberties] [Legal] [Private Prisons] [Indiana] [Washington] [ULK Issue 80]
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Campaign to Raise Wages in Geo Group Prisons

It is with immense frustration that I write to you on the behalf of ALL offenders that are in the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) prisons that are run and operated by The Geo Group Inc. (a private prison corporation). Prisoners here are receiving “State Pay,” which consists of the following:

A-Pay $0.25/hour
B-Pay $0.20/hour
C-Pay $0.15/hour

The level of unequal wages from The Geo Group Inc. regarding this effort is appalling. Indiana Government Officials have unfortunately failed to address the problem and have allowed the “State Pay” wage disorder to continue.

In the State of Washington, on 27 October 2021, a Federal Jury ordered The Geo Group Inc. at the ICE Processing Center (formerly the Northwest Detention Center) liable under the State Minimum Wage Act (MWA). In Washington, Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit alleging that The Geo Group Inc. was violating the state minimum wage law. The U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan ordered The Geo Group in Tacoma, Washington to pay their detainees $13.69 hour. These are immigrant detainees. These immigrant detainees were represented by four (4) law firms. Names of the law firms are as follows;

  • Schroeter Goldmark & Bender – Seattle, WA
  • Open Sky Law PLLC – Kent, WA
  • Menter Immigration Law PLLC – Seattle, WA
  • Law Offices of Robert A. Free – Nashville, TN(1)

We believe that our pay here, less than 2% of the pay received in Washington, is discrimination by The Geo Group Inc. here at the Indiana Geo Facilities.

On 26 January 2021, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr (D) signed an order and stated… “to stop corporations from profiting off of incarceration that is less humane and less safe”. We believe that The Geo Group Inc. is violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in the workplace. State prisoners may not be entitled to State Minimum Wage, but there is NO exception for private for-profit detainees, prisoners, or offenders here. The Geo Group prioritizes profits over rehabilitation, making us ALL less safe.

Indiana Government Officials and The Geo Group Inc. have to remember that we are in an inflationary economy. Us prisoners here at The Geo Group Inc. facilities here in Indiana are getting overwhelmed, over-worked, and frustrated simply because we do not have the same income or access to resources as others. We have material needs such as hygiene, property, food, etc. that cannot be met due to the “State Pay” wages that have NOT kept up with the exorbitant price of living.

At the Indiana Department of Corrections commissary from the Indiana Correctional Industries Plainfield, IN Distribution Center, the prices of our needs are increasing dramatically due to the inflationary factor. NO prisoner in The Geo Group Inc. private run prison(s) who gets State Pay should ever cower in fear of his/her employer‘s power to silence legitimate points of view of their wages.

The State of Indiana and/or The Geo Group Inc. needs to raise the starting pay wage significantly to a reasonable wage. It is time for the State of Indiana and/or The Geo Group Inc. to make the financial adjustments and changes.

We believe that there are laws, ordinances, policies, rules, acts, statutes, procedures, or even regulations that have been violated or criminalized by our Constitution in the Fair Labor Standards Act (F.L.S.A), Administrator of Wages & Hour Division, U.S. Deptartment of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Labor Management Relations Act, etc. We know Indiana Government officials Governor Eric J Holecomb, Commissioner Robert E Carter Jr, Deputy Commissioner/Chief Financial Officer Dan Brassard, are the individuals who control our scale wage that makes the financial adjustments and changes in our “State Pay” for the The Geo Group Inc. to pay our wages.

A raise in starting pay will be a positive thing allowing more offenders to find satisfaction in their careers and it can allow more workers to make a living wage and contribute to the broader economy. Our facility jobs are not a free pass to wipe our slates clean, they are an acknowledgment that we have to change our lives to be more accountable and the State of Indiana and/or The Geo Group Inc. is what will allow us to do that. A productive offender in the Geo Group facility with a fair wage will perform better work ethics, do things properly, and have better responsibility.

We as prisoners are entitled to be paid minimum wage or a fair wage for our labor keeping The Geo Group Inc. facilities up and running, like preparing and serving food, running laundry, maintenance, landscaping, mowing, sanitation, administration clerks, etc. We are not asking to be put on an indefinite leave of absence means or that ALL Geo Group contracts be terminated. We are exercising our rights, which are workers rights, and show that we have a right to stand up for each other and for justice for Geo Group Inc. prisoners who work at their facility and receive state pay wages.

Please take into consideration, when we do get our “State Pay” the I.D.O.C takes 15% right off the top. This money goes into our re-entry account which we receive back upon our release back into the community. This gives us a little financial assistance. Now here is this Geo Group Inc. offender who has a C-Pay job, which is $0.15 an hour, works 6.5 hours a day, 5-days a week, comes out to be $19.50 per month. Now the State takes 15% for re-entry which comes out to $2.89. This leaves you only $16.32 a week to buy hygiene, property, food, paper, pens, etc. And if you went to go to medical or dental, that’s a $5.00 charge and the medication is $5.00.

Please also investigate the Geo Group Inc. in Tacoma, Washington where they are paying immigrant detainees $13.69 an hour. This is discriminating against us offenders and manipulating us due to what they pay us as “State Pay” here in Indiana.

  • State of Washington Attorney General – Bob Ferguson filed lawsuit against The Geo Group Inc. in 2017 [Washington v. Geo Group, USDC, W. Dist. WA. Case No. 3:17-cv-05806RJB]
  • Detainees filed lawsuit in 2017 with assistance of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender and Robert Andrew Free [Nwauzor v. Geo Group, USDC, W. Dist. WA, Case No. C17-5769RJB]

Thank you for your time and patience.


MIM(Prisons) responds: First, we want to remind our readers that a very small percentage of prisoners in this country are in private prisons, and most of them are immigrant detention centers like the one in Washington discussed. As the author above argues, there are potential legal differences in how labor is considered in private prisons compared to most prisons. And economically it is very different because corporations like Geo Group are making money running prisons for the state, but using basically free labor to do much of that work. This is a very dangerous combination that economically incentivizes mass incarceration.

In our 2018 survey of prison labor across the United $tates we found that wages for maintenance work typically ranged between $0.14 and $0.63 per hour. Though of course in some states prisoners do not get paid at all for working to maintain the prisons. This puts Indiana at the low end of states that do pay. But as this comrade and others have recently pointed out, inflation is hitting hard in the form of commissary prices. Therefore to have wages at the low end from 5 years ago is far from adequate when most prisoners need to buy supplemental hygiene and food, not to mention minor comforts.

Based on the information we can find online, the Geo Group stopped having prisoners work right after the court decision, so no prisoners are getting paid minimum wage. In addition they appealed to delay back-paying those who had already worked in the past.(2)

Notes:
1. Prison Legal News, December 2021 Vol. 32 No. 12 pg. 26 and April 2022 Vol. 33 No. 4 pg. 30. published by the Human Rights Defense Center
2. Alanna Madden, 6 October 2022, Ninth Circuit takes up Geo Group appeal over underpaid detainees, Courthouse News Service.

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[Grievance Process] [Legal] [Tucson United States Penitentiary] [Federal Correctional Institution Tucson] [Federal] [ULK Issue 80]
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Cheating At Chess (The flaws of the Administrative Remedy in Prisons)

In prisons, there are venues for prisoners who have been abused or treated unfairly or inhumanely. When things like this happen, a prisoner has a right to sue, but only if he can get his case to court.

The problem is that because of PLRA, or Prison Litigation Reform Act, it’s much more difficult for a prisoner, even if he is right, to get his case to court. In essence, PLRA requires prisoners to first exhaust the Administrative Remedy procedure… or a grievance procedure. In Federal Prisons, it is known as a BP.

So quick scenario; a Black prisoner is being harassed by white officers, who: constantly use racial slurs and trash his cell, taking his family pictures and other valuables. The prisoner tries to file a BP to get to court. Months pass, with no success, so he tries to take it straight to court. The court shoots down his claim, because he did not go through proper procedure of filing a grievance. So, even if the prisoner is right, the courts won’t acknowledge his lawsuit because he didn’t go by the rules.

But, is the prison going by them? Let’s talk about that, and how prisons like USP Tucson are actually breaking the rules, making it very difficult for prisoners to properly file a lawsuit, because the Administrative Remedy procedure is horribly flawed.

To begin, let me pull up a statement from a case law, Woodford v. Ngo 548 US 81, 126, S. Ct 2378, 165 L.Ed 2d 368 (2006). I want to share with you an argument a prisoner had about the grievance procedure, and what the argument against it was:

“Respondent contends that requiring proper exhaustion will lead prison administrators to devise procedural requirements that are designed to trap unwary prisoners and thus to defeat their claims. Respondent does not contend, however, that anything like this occurred in his case, and it is speculative that this will occur in the future. Corrections officials concerned about maintaining order in their institutions have a reason for creating and retaining grievance systems that provide — and that are perceived by prisoners as providing - a meaningful opportunity for prisoners to raise meritorious grievances. And with respect to the possibility that prisons might create procedural requirements for the purpose of tripping up all but the most skillful prisoners, while Congress repealed the “plain, speedy, and effective” standard, see 42 U. S. C. §1997e(a)(1) (1994 ed.) (repealed 1996), we have no occasion here to decide how such situations might be addressed." - Justice Samuel Alito

In short, this argument claims that the prisoner was incorrect that prisons could – and do – make it much harder for prisoners to file a grievance. After all, if the prisoner can’t file the grievance, he can’t get to court to sue the officers. In the above case, the Black prisoner is trying to go through the procedure, meaning he has to exhaust the grievance procedure, before he can go to the courts. This kinda makes sense, because one intent of the PLRA is to prevent a lot of frivolous lawsuits by prisoners.

But in doing this, there is a flaw, one prison has used a cheat in the procedure. Let me explain:

To begin the BP, or grievance process, a prisoner must first have an issue… ok, check. The prisoner claims discrimination against officers, so he has a right to file a grievance. Well, step one, as I use USP Tucson as an example, is to get what is called a BP-8. This is the lowest form of the grievance, and it should be available upon request.

Problem: Here at USP Tucson, it isn’t. The prison makes a policy that ONLY the Counselor can hand out a BP-8. So, what if the Counselor isn’t there? You have to wait to find the Counselor, because apparently no other officer in the world can get that piece of paper. This is already an obstacle of due process. In other states, you can get a grievance form from any officer, especially the ones working in your dorm. It makes sense, they are there all day, why not allow them to pass out the grievances?

But, if you change the rules, you then regulate how often you pass out the grievances. Now, you can’t get a BP unless there is a certain officer there. And if he/she isn’t there, they don’t pass them out. So, in theory, a Counselor can stiff-arm prisoners from getting a BP, by making excuses of not being there, or “not having any”.

I say this from a LOT of experience… this happens a lot here at USP Tucson. Many prisoners are frustrated with the Administrative Remedy because for most, it simply does not work. The case law implies that all prisons want to make the grievance procedure available for the maintaining of order, this is not necessarily true at all.

Another technique for obstructing the grievance procedure is to simply “lose” the grievance. If you manage to corner the Counselor and get a BP-8 form, you then have to fill it out and hand it back to them. Problem: The BP-8 is a single white piece of paper, and once you hand it to the Counselor, you have NO copy. So how do you know they actually processed it? In many cases, they don’t. They either “lose” it, or simply trash it.

So, if you can get past the BP-8, there then is a formal BP-9, which is on carbon paper. You have to fill out the form (if you’re lucky enough to even get one), then turn it in to the Counselor (if you can find “Waldo”), and wait for them to give you a carbon copy, if they don’t lose it or trash it.

Additionally, the carbon paper on the BP-9 is so poor, you have to have the strength of the Hulk to press down, to make the copy on the second page, let alone the third or fourth. So, the BP-9 is almost worthless after the first copy is torn off.

If you get no responses from the BP-9, then you have to go to the BP-10, which goes over the heads of staff. But rinse and repeat on the procedure. It is incredibly difficult to get the forms, when in actuality, it should ALWAYS be available to any prisoner, at any time, by most staff members. But staff plays keep away, from prisoners, to prevent them from getting the BP’s, so they cannot timely file.

I say all this from experience. In February, I filed a BP-9 against staff in my dorm because they refused to give us chemicals to clean the showers during a lockdown. Over that period of time, an average of 30 prisoners used each shower cell, and not one drop of chemicals were used to clean it. Think about that, how many of you would walk into a shower after 30 other people had already used it? How about 10? Even 5? No one here should have to do that, but staff knew about it, and did nothing.

So, I wrote a BP-9 and the Case Manager took it and “turned it in” to the Counselor, long story short, as of this date, 9 September 2022, I have heard nothing, and they had only 30 days to respond. My guess, they threw it away.

This is much like cheating at chess, where we have to match wits against a facility that seems to be dead set on preventing prisoners from properly (and legally) filing a grievance. Let us not lose the fact that the grievance procedure is Constitutionally protected; no officer or staff has the right to prevent prisoners from filing.

But, if you cannot complete the grievance, you cannot get to court, because they will claim, as the case law showed, that the inmate didn’t do the proper work, when in fact he did all he could do, but staff aggressively prevented him from being able to file. The courts seem to be blind, or naive, that prison officials would actually HONOR the grievance system.

Think about that, why would they honor a system that holds their staff accountable? Do you really think they are going to play fair if, in the example I gave, a Black Prisoner is trying to sue racist officers? Do you really think they are going to let the BP’s go through, when they can block it at every turn?

It’s like cheating at chess, and it’s also why so many grievances fail, because places like USP Tucson have figured out the loopholes and are exploiting them to prevent prisoners from their constitutional rights. It happens all the time, and nobody is doing anything about it.

I mean, take out my queen, rooks and bishops, and yeah, it’s hard for me to win too.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is why comrades in United Struggle from Within initiated the campaigns “We Demand Our Grievances are Addressed.” Comrades developed petitions for many states as well as the Feds to appeal these issues to higher and outside authorities to try to bypass the problem described above. This campaign has included other tactics like filing group grievances and even taking other group actions when grievances are ignored. In many states comrades have called for an outside review board to address these complaints. But ultimately, there are no rights only power struggles, so leaving these issues in the hands of the state will only do so much. The solution to the problem is coming together as prisoners, as the oppressed and fighting for these rights every step of the way. That is why we must build peace and unity among prisoners to get grievances addressed.

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[Legal] [Mental Health] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 80]
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Officers use Funds for Fiesta's not Mental Health Programs

[The following complaint was served to the Department of Justice.] RE: California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCr) and Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) Systemic Scheme of Fraud to Misappropriate Federal Funds

I am requesting an investigative audit of all Federal Funds received by CDCR specifically for mental health programs, services, and activities here at RJDCF because it is clear that those funds are not being used for intended purposes. As a participant in CDCR’s Mental Health Services Delivery System (MHSDS) at the Enhanced Out Patient (EOP) level of care under the Coleman v. Newsom, 2:90-cv-00520-KJM-DB(E.D.Cal) injunction, MHSDS EOP participants are required to receive 10 hours a week of ‘structured therapy’, and receive federal funds to provide such to prisoner participants.

Here at RJDCF EOP there are no specialty, or core, therapy groups which treat or target the diagnosis and symptoms of MHSDS EOP participants because mental health care providers continue to tell us that they’re short of staff and resources.

To create the illusion of providing the 10 hours a week of required ‘structural therapy’ as so CDCR may continue to receive federal funds for RJDCF EOP program, prisoners regular exercise yard time is being documented as recreational therapy,(or R.T. yard), where recreational therapist’s (R.T.’s) assigned to supervise R.T. yards are being explicitly instructed by CDCR Mental Health Program overseers and supervisors to embellish R.T. yard notes to give any reader the impression that the R.T. yard activity itself was/is therapeutic, when fact is, aside from walking around to record which MHSDS EOP prisoners attend regular exercise yards, the R.T.’s have no contact with any of us, yet a significant amount of such fraudulent hours are and have been used to report compliance.

There are many MHSDS EOP participants who report receiving a regular schedule to attend particular mental health therapy groups which does not even exist, as there is no facilitator to provide treatment.

Then, the gist of the described systemic scheme involves CDCR’s use of a ruse to misappropriate federal funds intended for MHSDS EOP programs, services, and activities, thereby using such funds to pay the salaries of its subordinates who directly supervise the EOP, subordinates who are correctional officers (C.O.s) providing security.

With the aid of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA), CDCR and RJDCF has manufactured a need for more C.O.s in the MHSDS EOP Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU), and divert federal funds intended for mental health programs, services, and activities, to custody, while these same custody C.O.s then convert the PSU into a ‘lounge area’ where surveillance cameras throughout the PSU, initiated by the Armstrong v. Newsom, no. 94-cv 02307-CW, injunction, regularly record C.O.s blatant inefficiency, hosting fiesta’s and other celebratory gatherings, and constant use of big screen televisions intended for MHSDS EOP groups, to watch sporting events and other shows. All this occurs in the PSU while on duty in direct violation of well established CDCR policy at California Code of Regulations, CCR. Title 15, sections 3394, and 3395.

With this described systemic scheme, C.O.s may continue to exploit the MHSDS EOP, profit from such, while CDCR continues to orchestrate the diminishing of mental health programs, services, and activities, blaming the failure on any and everything else except the truth, which is, despite being member of a protected class requiring mental health services and treatment, to CDCR and it’s employees we are only a financial asset. A prisoner’s mental health challenges are nothing more than a bargaining chip to use to extort more money from the federal government, to fund and fuel an already debauch state system.

Please Help Us!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Over 1.1 million people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic in the United $tates (more than from drug overdoses). This hit hardest among the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, and since the advent of vaccines, the unvaccinated. Strong resistance to vaccines among law enforcement has led to disproportionate deaths. Meanwhile many who could retired early. Like many industries, the state has struggled to replace the prison staff it has lost due to the pandemic.

This situation has allowed for extra leverage, from the already powerful CCPOA in California, meaning many are doing their jobs even less than before. People are sitting in their cells, people aren’t receiving care, people are eating sack lunches, and people aren’t getting access to grievances. And like so many capitalists have done during the last few years, the CDCR has cashed in on state funds that they do not deserve.

These are signs of a struggling system. The criminal injustice system is functioning worse and with less credibility than it has in decades. Meanwhile, greedy kleptocrats are stealing from the state, weakening it further. We must study these cracks in the system and find ways to operate that push the agenda of the oppressed through independent institutions.

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[COVID-19] [Economics] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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Again on Prisons Deducting from Stimulus Checks

Do you have any case decisions of the stimulus checks. I just received a check for the first two payments plus interest. It totaled $1,900.76. Of this amount TDCJ deducted $1,786.11 leaving me with $114.65.

This is the first money I’ve had where I could go to “store” since I got here in 2015. The deductions were for medical co-pay, indigent correspondence and postage, and federal court fees. Another prisoner told me that there was a federal court decision in Arkansas against the prison system forcing them to return money deducted from prisoners’ accounts. I’m rough drafting a Step 1 grievance right now to start the exhaustion process, then I’ll add it to the suit I’ve already started. I intend to do the same on this censorship of ULK 79 as well. Any information will help.


North TX AIPS responds: From ‘New Class Action for Prisoners Who Did Not Receive Stimulus Money and Filed Taxes’ published in Under lock & Key Issue 76:

Clay v. Director of IRS Mnuchin No4:21-CV-08132-PJH

Sub Class Representative Thomas H. Clay advises all prisoners who filed for EIP from Oct. 2020 – August of 2021 and did Not receive any check in mail or Direct Deposit. After filing Form 1040/1040SR or letter with SSI# and copy of such to show proof of filing; then write To: United States District Court Northern District of California Oakland Division Attn: Hon. Clerk/Presiding Judge 1301 Clay Street Ste 400 S Oakland California 94612-5212

If you are filing the following criteria below:

1.Non-disabled or physically or mentally impaired prisoner in State or Federal Prison Institution in the United States

2.Correctly filing legal letters to IRS or 1040/1040SR Form 2019/2020 from October 15,2020 thru tax season of January – August 17, 2021

3.Utilizing only Institutional Regular Legal/or Indigent Legal Mail System in State of Federal Prisons.

  1. Who did not receive any payment from IRS of EIP #1 #2 #3

5.In the form of “Check in Mail” or “Direct Deposit to Account”.

6.Who can “Prove upon Request” proof of the correct timely filing by: copies of letters to the IRS office in your State area, Prison Mail Room Record of Legal Mail logged letters showing IRS address. Indigent mailing file showing letter sent to IRS or 1040/1040SR copies or responses from IRS during that period from any of its offices.

7.And you were not issued any checks for EIP #1 $600.00 EIP #2 $1200.00 or CVRP/EIP #3 $1400.00 totaling $3,200.00

The court is reviewing Contempt of Court Order and Sub Class Action from prior suit *Scholl v. Mnuchin that does not protect the rights to amount of payment withheld from prisoners in a discriminatory manner by IRS.

From Stimulus Checks Are Being Stolen by TDCJ-CID from Under Lock & Key Issue 73:

Section 272(d)(2) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act provides that the second round of stimulus checks ‘shall not be transferable or assignable, at law or in equity, and no applicable payment shall be subject to execution, levy, attachment, garnishment, or other legal process, or the operation of any bankruptcy or insolvency law.’ This means that this round of stimulus checks may not be garnished to cover overdue debts by federal or state prisons.

Scholl v. Mnuchin, et al. No.4:20-cv-05309-PJH ND Cal.; Appeal Docket No. 20-16915 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of prisoners getting stimulus checks while incarcerated. The checks in question should not be confused with the most recent $1400 checks under current President Joseph Biden. It was the $1200 and $600 checks under President Donald Trump that were ruled on.

From Preliminary Injunction Bars Arkansas from Confiscating Prisoners’ COVID Stimulus Money from Prison Legal News:

The Court ordered ADC to place any federal relief and stimulus funds in a sequestered account if it continues to confiscate those funds. It must maintain records of how much money it confiscates from each prisoner and what amount is paid for court fines, fees, costs, and restitution. While ADC may return the confiscated excess funds to prisoners, it may not otherwise disburse those funds until the end of the lawsuit. See: Lamar v. Hutchinson, USDC, ED AR, Case No. 4-21-cv-00529 (2021).

The Court then turned to decide whether confiscation of the money was a violation of procedural due process. It found no violation when it came to confiscation for the purpose of paying off court fines, fees, costs, or restitution.

It did, however, find a violation when it comes to diverting the excess funds to the inmate welfare fund and the Inmate Care and Custody Account. The Court noted there were no post deprivation remedies available, for the ADC’s grievance procedure provides a challenge to “issues controlled by State or Federal law or regulation” a “non-grievable issue.” The Court concluded the confiscation of the monies did not violate substantive due process or the Takings Clause.

We hope this information is helpful. While we still stand by the conclusion that these stimulus checks are an attempt to buy off the U$ population at the expense of the third world, we won’t hold unrealistic notions about how this money can be used for our goals of Anti-Imperialism and building up USW. We also have a censorship pack available as well, having relevant caselaw and regulations for fighting censorship on the legal front.

Notes: Prison Legal News, Nov 1 2021, Preliminary Injunction Bars Arkansas from Confiscating Prisoners’ COVID Stimulus Money

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[Parole] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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Hicks v Guiterrez Dismissed, Continued Legal Action

“No man can tell the intense agony which is felt by the slave, when wavering on the point of making his escape. All that he has is at stake… The life which he has may be lost, and the liberty which he seeks may not be gained.” -Frederick Douglass, 1845

We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.

The Khufu Foundation thanks you for being part of the solution! The following is an update on the lawsuit, Hicks v. Guiterrez, et al, 6: 22-cv-134. It contains both good and bad news. The bad news is that the District Court has dismissed the case with prejudice, which was not unexpected. The good news is the cases he used are not on point, plus he failed to thoroughly address an issue of First Impression “The Cumulative Effect.”

For those of you who have tablets, go to law library and read exactly what the District Judge has to say for yourself. We have given notice of appeal, and await a word from the 5th Circuit giving us a number to seek COA. Before we give our argument in brief, let us give you a word directed to the right that can save you a few dollars as well as allow you to move much faster through the Courts than the §1983. We have learned that these same issues can be attacked with an application for Writ of Habeas Corpus – see the tablet has a wealth of information, particularly the Law Library; there are literally thousands of cases at your fingertips. Yet, the tablet can turn you into a zombie, who feeds on nothing but music and movies.

Now, here is what we will take to the 5th Circuit:

  1. Whether the Cumulative Effect of the Texas Constitution, Texas State Law Statutes, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the Rules and Regulations of the board combine to give a Reasonable Expectation that the parole procedure will be conducted with a modicum of just and fair treatment – see Wilkonson v Austin, 125 S.Ct. 2384

  2. Whether Applicant was denied Equal Protection of the Law as compared to other prisoners who can review their parole-file/transcript, because they can afford an attorney, see Griffin v Illinois, 76 S Ct. 585 and Register v Thaler, 681 F. 3d 623

  3. Whether Applicant has been denied a fair and just parole hearing where the defendants fail to follow the APA and their own rules without meeting the Constitutional minimum regarding parole review – see Parrat v Taylor, 101 S. Ct. 1909 and Leggett v Williams, 277 F. App’x 498, 500 (5th Cir. 2008)

  4. Whether Applicant was denied a meaningful participation in his parole hearings when he was not allowed to review his parole file to challenge all false and/or derogatory information contained therein, when Board Members have admitted that there is often false and/or inaccurate information in parole-files. – see Johnson v TDCJ, 910 F.Supp. 1208

This information is supplied in the hope that each of you will do your research and continue to fight.


North TX AIPS adds: This is a follow up to Texas Prisoners Launch Attack on Parole System printed in Under Lock & Key 78. This lawsuit is an attempt for parole reform in Texa$ and was launched May of last year (2022). It is in response to continuous denial of parole for many prisoners based on commitment of the crime, rather than behavior while incarcerated, and to argue that the Board Members are not protected against suit according to the Ex Parte Young Doctrine:

“In determining whether the doctrine of Ex Parte Young avoids an 11th Amendment bar to suit, a federal court need only conduct a straightforward inquiry into whether the complaint alleges an ongoing violation of federal law and seeks relief properly characterized as prospective.” Const. Amend.11 - See Verizon MD. Inc v. Public Service Commission of Maryland, 535 U.S. 635, 122 S.Ct. 1753 and McCarthy ex rel Travis V. Hawkins, 385 F.3d 407, 412 (5th Cir. 2000)

While some of the demands as previously stated are in line with the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, as revolutionaries our focus is on the building on independent institutions of the masses, rather than working for parole reform. We are building on our Re-Lease on Life program and encourage anyone whose interested to write us and start to work on study and strategy for revolution.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Legal] [Grievance Process] [California] [Florida] [ULK Issue 79]
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California Move to Digitize Communications Impedes Civil Rights (after Florida Just Did)

The truth has finally out come from the darkness and into the light: people housed within social isolation by the U.$. criminal justice system are not considered persons protected by the U.$. Constitution, international agreements against torture, or Human Rights. States across the United $tates are actively deploying systems and protocols that suspend persons held in custody, in social isolation from Amerikan society, away from the protections of law, due process and order.

The criminal justice trend is to eliminate prisoners’ freedom to use and access Postal Services. It’s like the U.$. Postal Service has entered into a private agreement with the criminal justice system to deny mailing services of the traditional sense from all imprisoned.

Correction departments across the U.$. have engaged in concerted acts of sedition, substituting systems disguised as fun helpful tablet gadgets and video visitation programs for actual social interactions. Gone are the days of free assembly/press/congregation and religious exercise. Now persons are free to shut up, and be retaliated against for even hoping to benefit from the protections of the U.$ Constitution’s freedom of speech.

Even the freedom to grieve against the state has been frozen. In California it is being done under the departments decision to cease classical mailing processes for email services made available by the Global Tel Link security corporation. CDCR is planning to phase out all traditional mailing services in exchange for heavily restricted online access.

The move by CDCR involves outsourcing labour facilities and redirecting institutional service agreements to security bonds controlled by state agencies outside of the department’s jurisdiction, for example, the Department of Health and Human Services. The moves are being made under the cover of darkness, better yet the cover of claims to public safety, and the Center for Disease Control acts as the shelter. All in the name of mental health and hospitality for Amerikans with disability? From prisoners of circumstance to residences of outpatient facilities too doped out of their minds to even know the value of a traditional letter.

CDCR has began phasing out traditional mailing services using its Inmate 602 Grievance Procedures, institutions have eliminated traditional answering and mailing procedures for residence. Not only does the department rely on a new SOMS computer scanning system that forecloses any original writings and supporting information attached to an Inmate grievance, but it is enforcing computer software coding, by way of its Global-Tel Link tablet emails, that requires California prisoners to email grievances. This last part connects to the criminal justice system in the late requirements of U.S District Courts in California for 1983 Civil complaints filed by prisoners be done via email. If an individual can’t even write a simple complaint any longer, it begs to question what is the U.$. standing in justice?

Technological advances are all good and all, but are the residence of these penal institutions still citizens of the United Snakes of Amerika? Or does their custody lie somewhere else?

It is important that the public be aware of this very serious dynamic between themselves, the state and those in custody of state agencies like CDCR. The state is allowing for those in the custody of CDCR to be stripped of their civil rights and it all is being done in the name of the people, under the color of law. Silence is not an answer to the claims set forth against the people.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prison Legal News (PLN) just reported some interesting stats following the Florida Department of Corrections completing its move to digitizing all regular correspondence. They found that 1% of the contraband found by the Florida DOC was through routine mail. Meanwhile, in July 2022, the Legislative Finance Committee noted that after New Mexico shifted to digitized mail there was zero effect on the amount of drug use in their prisons.(1) These statistics back up what we’ve been reporting on anectdotally for years – that mail restrictions and visitation shut downs have had no impact on the influx of drugs into prisons across the country.(2)

According to PLN prison systems and jails in 27 states have switched to digitized mail. With California gearing up to follow suit, it seems the tides have shifted in that direction.

Like body cams, some prisoners have asked for digital grievance systems so the C.O. you submit it too can’t just drop it in the trashcan. Otherwise, we agree with this comrade’s concerns. Social isolation is a violation of basic humyn rights and humyn needs. Visits, phone calls, letter, photos and cards are a must for any system that hopes to rehabilitate.

Notes: 1. Kevin Bliss, 1 September 2022, Florida Now Digitizing Incoming Mail for State Prisoners, Prison Legal News September, 2022, page 48.
2. A Texas Prisoner, March 2021, TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop, Under Lock & Key No. 73.

Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 1151
Lake Worth Beach, FL 33460
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[Abuse] [Grievance Process] [Legal] [Political Repression] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California State Prison, Los Angeles County] [California] [ULK Issue 79]
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CA Grievance Victory; Bring Staff Misconduct to Executive and Legislative Branches

Closing August 2022 with actions waged against the state of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR’s) deliberate and intentional acts of sedition, systematic race crime, police gangs, mass insurance fraud, healthcare system abuse, etc. Members of United Struggle from Within (USW), Prisoners Legal Clinic - JLS, Lumpen Organizations Consolidated On 1 (LOCO1 United Front for Peace in Prisons) and ABOSOL7 say, “We Charge Genocide!”

In response to CDCr appeal #000000243827 (Deliberately denied access to CDCR 602 form (Rev. 03/20) in housing facility), the Department grants the claims set forth that corruptions officers employed at California State Prison - Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC) are involved in a concerted scheme of withholding revised models of CDCr grievance forms from the inmate population.

After being ignored at the institutional level where administrative executives maintain a strict code of silence to officer misconduct, an Associate Warden made a computer entry on a record affiliated with the log number that the claims would be remanded for decision to an unknown entity on an unknown date. Though the appeal on its face, if found true would most definitely qualify under employee misconduct, that is a candidate for a staff/citizens’ complaint.

As citizens’ complaints are reportable on direct appeal to any federal county police agencies for public-civil prosecution, the issue of intentional mis-handling of an appeal process was exhausted to the state capitol by means of the Chief of Inmate Appeals, and favor has been found for the freedom fighters.

Now we call on the struggle to burn strong.

We shall demand Senate hearing and investigations be held on the subject of police gangs within the department promoting “don’t ask, don’t tell” climates amongst the population, by way of withholding access to the forms designed for speaking up and challenging abuse.

This is made known as a public service to the prison population to wean itself off of depending on the court system as it is conditioned into them to be. In order to not only relieve the stress on the local courts but to increase the volume on the traffic between the cities and their capitols. The Senate hearings are called hearing for a reason.


MIM(Prisons) adds: A comrade at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility(RJDCF) recently wrote Governor Gavin Newsom regarding the infamous gang structure that is running operations there and denying prisoners the services the CDCR promises to offer them. The comrade introduces the letter:

“While the Armstrong v. Newsom, 475 F. Supp. 3d 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2020) injunction requiring body cameras be worn by officers may have subsided the wanton violent attacks on prisoners, nothing has been done to address or rectify the criminally orientated structure which dictates the overall daily operations of RJDCF. Such a failure renders RJDCF incapable of providing adequate rehabilitative programs and services to its prisoners.”

Offering more evidence for what we’ve been reporting about drugs in prisons almost every issue, the comrade goes on to write,

“Long before in-person visits returned to prisoners, RJDCF has been, and continues to be, peppered with the paper chemical substance known as spice, and methamphetamine, both of which are eas[ily] accessible and openly used outside of cell on surveillance cameras by various prisoners in common public areas. In fact, it is easier to access any one of these drugs here any day of the week than it is to establish or participate in a self-help program or access rehabilitative services.”

Comrades in North Kern State Prison have also been struggling to get their grievances heard:

“31 July 2022 – For the past month or two, us captives have been getting fucked out of our recreation (dayroom, yard) even though the orientation manual and Department Operational Manual acknowledges that we are entitled to 1 hour of recreation (outside/outdoor recreation) every day. These guards have been taking our yard and dayroom for the most blandest of reasons, a supposed”shortage" of building staff, or for a “one-on-one” or “two-on-one” fight amongst prisoners (fist fight), fights that these guards are well-aware of before the incident even happens. But still these guards shut down our whole program for any small infraction just to have an excuse to not run yard. I have done a “group” 602 grievance where 40 or so other prisoners have signed on to add weight to our issues, the institution has denied this grievance due to some trickery they employed. …These guards are lazy, they don’t want to let us out of our cells for nothing."

The RBGG Law Firm reports the following outcome of Armstrong v. Newsom, 475 F. Supp. 3d 1038 (N.D. Cal. 2020):

“As part of the remedial plans, CDCR must overhaul its staff misconduct investigation and discipline process to better hold staff accountable for violating the rights of incarcerated people with disabilities. Those reforms will begin to be implemented at the six prisons [including RJDCF, CSP-LAC, CSP-Corcoran, KVSP, CSATF, and CIW] in June 2022 and will be implemented at all CDCR prisons by mid-2023. CDCR must also produce to us and to the Court Expert staff misconduct investigation files so that we can monitor if CDCR is complying with the remedial plans and if the changes to the system will result in increased transparency and accountability.”

We commend the comrades who are pushing for accountability around these court-ordered reforms in the systematic abuse within the CDCR. But as they both point out, criminal gangs are running these prisons, making the attempts at reform superficial. So much more needs to be done. It takes a lot of bravery to stand up to these gangs, and this type of bravery is what is needed to mobilize the masses of prisoners to rally to the cause for independent power.

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[First Nations] [Religious Repression] [Medical Care] [Political Repression] [Civil Liberties] [Legal] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 79]
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Native Religious Rights and Cool Housing Struggles in TX

I’m attacking the “Heat Sensitivity Scoring (HSS).”

We feel that being classified as “Heat Sensitive”, which requires a cool-bed housing assignment, is a medical treatment and a medical diagnosis. A diagnosis that you should be able to choose if you want the “treatment” or not. We have a right to refuse medical treatment but they will not let us opt out of this “classification” and will not explain how this “Heat Score” was calculated.

The best information I’ve gotten on the Cool-bed litigation came from Nell Gaither at the Trans Pride Initiative PO Box 3982, Dallas, TX 75208 (214) 449-1439, tpride.org. She copied and pasted Document 59-2 from Sain v. Collier 4:18-CV-4412 and I had her letter entered in my case. It is a 4 page letter and you can buy it for $0.50 per page from the Clerk in the Western District, Austin Division @ 501 W. 5th St., Suite 1100, Austin, TX 78701.

TDCJ makes First Nation practitioners take a religious knowledge test before they will approve them for a Designated Native American Unit and if you can’t pass the test you can’t meet with clergy or attend ceremonies, etc.

I was shipped off of my Designated Unit and put in High Security in Allred because I was “Heat Sensitive.” SO they denied me of my religion due to my health conditions and wouldn’t tell me I had to re-take the test to re-apply for a Designated Unit (which is unconstitutional). Anyway, what they’re really doing is shipping [lawsuit/paperwork] filers off to high security claiming they are “Heat Sensitive.”

If this happens to others, all they need to do is contact the Chaplain and apply for a transfer to a Designated Unit again. They will have to take the test again as is TDCJ Religious Policy AD-07.30 policy number 09.02(rev3)p.1 &2 and policy 09.02(rev2) Attachment A.

We are looking to do away with this unconstitutional religious discrimination and teach our own religion. TDCJ’s text is based on Lakota religion and there are no Lakota tribes in Texas, so it is difficult to get Native Chaplains willing to teach a religion that is not their own.

People are fired up about ULK 78! I’m going to be ordering all of my grievances to send to TX Prison Reform. Thank you Triumphant of T.E.A.M. O.N.E.! for the good info. I’ve already ordered my grievances, I have 56! You can purchase them from the law library for $0.10 each.

Note to my Connally Unit comrades: As of 1 August 2022, TDCJ will no longer make legal copies, which is fucked up! I’m having to send my original documents through the mail to the court and hope they don’t steal my mail. Warden Rayford has banned inmate-to-inmate legal visits and there is no drinking water in the Law Library and no bathroom breaks. If you need to go to the pisser, your session is over.

No legal copies and legal visits hinders our access to courts, but I suggest sending an I-60 in and getting a denial on paper even if you don’t need a jailhouse lawyer. Then, if you loose your case you can say this was because you didn’t have your “helper.” Johnson v. Avery, 393 U.S. 483, 490(1969) says you have a right to get legal help from other prisoners unless the prison “provides some reasonable alternative to assist inmates in the preparation of petitions.” And if they are still retaliating after that, make sure you got a lot of witnesses. It is a federal crime for state actors (the prison officials) to threaten or assault witnesses in federal litigation 18 U.S.C.§1512(a)(2).

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Legal] [ULK Issue 79]
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Obtaining Copy of Lawsuit on TX Mail Policy BP-03.91

CAUSE NUMBER:3:21-CV-00337
STYLED NAME: F. MARTINEZ, ET AL. VS MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS BOARD OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, ET. AL.
RE: COURT FEES TO OBTAIN
Dear Friends:

Greetings, I am the leading plaintiff in the above styled and numbered case. Please be aware of the court fees to obtain copies of the case. Basically they charge 10 cents per copy, and the total fees for the following documents are as follows:

  • The Complaint (no exhibits) 32 pages
  • Motion for TRO and preliminary injunction (no exhibits) 31 pages

It will be a total cost of $6.30 to obtain the above documents from the clerk of the court. You need to send a money order or institutional check to the clerk of the court at:

CLERK, US DISTRICT COURT
601 ROSENBURG STREET
ROOM 411
GALVESTON, TEXAS 77550
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[Censorship] [Legal] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Update Regarding the Lawsuit on BP-03.91 Policies

Cause Number: 2:21-CV-00337

Styled Name: F Martinez, Doll, Pineapple Pictures, et al. Versus Members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, et al.

Dear Friends:

Greetings! I am the leading plaintiff in the above styled and numbered case. I filed this lawsuit on my behalf and others similarly situated prisoners in TDCJ. I also represent the interest of Doll, Pineapple and other commercial vendors.

The reasons in filing this lawsuit is to challenge the constitutionality of the rules 1(C) and IV(A)(10)(11) of the “Uniform Offenders Correspondence Rules” (BP-03.91)

Rule 1(C) which limits to receive ten photos per envelope is unreasonably and arbitrarily applied to deny catalogs, brochures, and flyers from commercial vendors. Rule IV(A)(10)(11) which totally bans “sexually explicit images” coming into the general population all in disguise of rehabilitation purposes.

On or about 17 June 2022, I filed in court a “motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injuction.” I hope that the court grant me this motion and temporarily enjoin the defendants from enforcing these rules until the merits are decided in trial or through the summary judgement process.

Anybody interested in copies of the complaint and the “TRO” motion may request copies form the court. To request the price fees you may write to the clerk of the court at:

U.S. District Court
Southern District of Texas
Galveston Division
Clerk of the Court
601 Rosenberg Street, Rm 411
Galveston, TX 77550
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