In Missouri, our complaints are easily silenced; the caseworker simply throws the grievance form in the trash. A prisoner has no way to prove the form was ever even submitted. This tactic is especially prevalent in segregation units.
I wonder what state has the best grievance system. I certainly hope it isn't Missouri, because ours is too easily sabotaged. I do not have any experience with other states' procedures, but I did see a grievance form for Arizona's procedure belonging to a prisoner in Missouri on interstate compact. It looked better than Missouri's, mainly because the prisoner keeps a copy.
Will comparing states grievance procedures in a court case be effective in bringing about change? I am willing to entertain the possibility, but how will we know what state has the best procedure? The Prisoners' Legal Clinic will need to form a team of comrades from the various states to discuss the differences and their experiences.
MIM(Prisons) Legal Coordinator adds: We don't rely on the Amerikkkan court system for our ultimate liberation, but while we're stuck here in the belly of the beast we try to use the courts to our advantage in our revolutionary organizing. A long-term project of United Struggle from Within and the Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC) is the campaign to ensure our grievances are addressed. Our subscribers have been submitting petitions to prison administrators, prisoner advocacy groups, and the Federal government in several states, some for years. These petitions notify the prisoncrats of all the corrupt ways grievances are being mishandled and misused on the ground.
In some states, we've had success with our grievance petitions. Other states have come down with more creativity with their repression. In those states that don't respond to the petitions, a lawsuit will likely be necessary to push this struggle further.
This author discusses the tactic of comparing grievance procedures to see which states have more reliable remedies for administrative relief, and using this information in a lawsuit to push your own state to adopt these tactics.
It is vital to keep a copy of the grievance in any case and in any system. If the system does not allow the you to keep a receipt or copy of the grievance, then it is much more difficult to track a grievance and prove that it was submitted. This of course makes it much easier for the grievance to end up in the trash.
As we're looking forward to the development of the campaign to have our grievances addressed in several states, we can start discussing legal tactics to use in a lawsuit. Besides ensuring that a prisoner is able to keep proof that a grievance was submitted, what other procedural reforms would improve the grievance process?
Of course procedural safeguards won't always prevent the grievance from being "lost," or keep it from being used as an excuse to harrass the persyn filing the complaint. But the more protections we can build into the grievance processes, the better we can protect ourselves from abuses — abuses of the grievance process, and in prison generally.
Most prisoners don't know that the only reason some injustices happen to them is because the person before them it was done to did nothing about it. So it continues into custom, then into practice, then into policy. Once in policy, Court Order Injunction is the only means to prove unconstitutionality of such acts and force them to be changed. Therefore we need to fight injustice while it is still just a custom!
In ULK 33"Solidarity: Dead in the Feds", a Federal prisoner reported on a spontaneous action that took place to protest poor meals in the Security Housing Unit at the United $tates Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana. 53 prisoners participated in a collective action but most quickly retreated. Clothing was taken away and everyone was placed on meager "disciplinary meals."
Besides the spontaneous direct action approach which quickly fizzled out, another tactic those comrades could take is to get those 53 prisoners to pick up a pen and a grievance and file the case law outlined on Donegan v. Fair, 859 F2d 1059.1063 (1st Cir 1988) (Statute: Prisoners have liberty interest in receiving nutritionally adequate food and meals).
I would also recommend to read the unit's use of force policy to see what they can and cannot do to you, being that this correspondent in Pollock was gassed five times. Getting gassed when done without reason is unconstitutional. See Stringer v. Rowe, 616 F2d 993 at 998 (7th Cir 1980).
The taking of clothes is arbitrary and capricious and done to punish without penological purpose. The case Reeves v. Pettcox, 19 F3d 1060 (5th Cir 1994) combats this type of act.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We appreciate this Prisoners' Legal Clinic contributor for sending in legal tips for others to use in their struggles against the criminal injustice system. Spontaneous collective action provides a good assessment of our overall level of solidarity. That 53 people participated in this spontaneous action in the first place is quite impressive. But building a protracted struggle to bring down the root causes of our vast criminal injustice system — capitalism, imperialism, and national oppression — is another thing altogether.
Unless there is a very broad and deep level of unity among the imprisoned population, direct actions will face defeat because the guards can easily intimidate people out of participating. This is essentially what happened in the original article from ULK 33. We hope the correspondent in Pollock will continue to organize others against injustices in their unit, rather than accept defeat because of one failed action. There are many tactics we can employ to build unity and strengthen our movement.
When choosing what campaigns to organize around, we can see there is a difference between just fighting for reforms while leaving the overall oppressive system intact, and fighting for reforms that make space for more political organizing. Our comrades behind bars should organize with others in their unit against prison abuses, to build networks and elevate the collective consciousness of their fellow captives. This would include fighting against excessive use of force, or for nutritious meals. And we can fight for reforms that directly impact our ability or organize, such as anti-censorship campaigns, or the struggle to abolish solitary confinement. We can organize over these campaigns, and even have some wins under imperialism. The biggest win will be developing our collective consciousness and unity.
To the comrade who wrote the article titled "South Carolina Stops Grievance Challenge Process" in ULK 33, I would like to commend you and provide ammo. You say the pigs move you around to different segregated dorms when they find out you are assisting other prisoners with their legal work. The clearly established right to assist others with legal work has been in place for over three decades in Corpus v. Estelle 551 F2d 68 (5th Cir 1977). Even though South Carolina is in the 4th Circuit, case law from the 5th Circuit can still be cited as a persuasive authority.
As for the problem of unprocessing your grievances, take a look at your prison's policies and see if they make reference to an offender grievance manual. They might have criteria for making a grievance unprocessed. Check and see if there is information on access to courts and if the manual has criteria with words such as what that administration "must," "will," or "shall" do before unprocessing the grievance. This is how you determine a "liberty interest," if the policy mandates any constitutional process due under the 4th or 14th Amendments.
Also look at these cases: Tool Sparashad v. Bureau of Prisons, 268 F3d 576, 585 (DC 2002) and Herron v. Harrison, 203 F3d 410-416 (6th Cir 2006) on matters concerning grievance and retaliation.
Teach as much as you know to others wanting and willing to learn, and keep on pushing comrade! Keep promoting use of the pen in legal warfare! Remember, winners never quit and quitters never win.
I would like to encourage any prisoner who is abused in any way that is clearly counter to the regulations and department operational manual (DOM) to consider that upon exhausting the administrative process or even when it's obstructed there is another lawful way to force the CDCR prisoncrats to act on your complaint.
It's not as simple as the administrative 602 process and if you lack serious determination to force the issue don't waste your time. But it's called "administrative mandate" petitions you can file in the court. Now you can obtain basic instructions by writing the Prison Law Office and asking for "information on filing an administrative mandate" and/or buy the California state prisoners handbook which will explain to you how to force prisoncrats to follow their own rules and regulations.(1)
There is always the law library, which is the most powerful resource in the system for a prisoner who does not allow themselves to be mentally worn down. The adversarial system is just that, and prisoncrats and the CCPOA don't care about you but as a means to a pay check. This is not to belittle but encourage you to pursue lawful action if you have exhausted administrative remedies. You can sue easily in small claims where you do not have to have much legal knowledge (think of Judge Judy/Joe Brown/Matis, etc.). That's the simplest way to sue. But make sure you line your ducks up!
More complex methods of suing are available also if you are willing to do the work required seriously, as in "limited jurisdiction" and "unlimited jurisdiction" in the state courts; in addition to your ability to file in the federal jurisdiction. This is not easy, it is time consuming and it can be costly to you.
I would also consider writing complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division special litigation section if you are serious. The opposition makes use of all of its resources, I suggest you too use all of the resources you have. I am not anybody's attorney and this is not legal advice, I am simply stating the obvious so people do not lose heart. In most cases the picklesuits and prisoncrats allow the abuse of those they don't expect to offer a real challenge.
I've been slapped in the face with a crazy example of how this country uses its criminal system as social control.
In 1997 I was locked up for 1st degree murder for a robbery that happened when I was a kid just 17 years old. I didn't get to try the 1st Degree Murder Charge in court, only the robbery. This is due to the "Felony Murder Rule" (Cal P.C. 190.5) which says basically: all deaths that occur during the preparation, the act itself, or in fleeing of any serious felony are 1st Degree Murder. I didn't kill anyone or want anyone to die, but, because I wouldn't testify against anyone I became an adult murderer, even though I was neither.
The felony Murder Rule theory says since all adults should anticipate all potential outcomes of every act, they're responsible for anything that happens should they not alter their behavior based on the potential worst case scenario. So one becomes morally culpable for the acts of everyone involved. Disregarding the supposed pillars of our "justice" system: act and intent.
In 2012, Miller v. Alabama (S.67 U.S_,_,_) applied the primary theory in Graham v. Florida ((2010) 560 U.S. 48) to murder cases, which says "juveniles who don't kill or intend to kill have a twice diminished moral culpability when compared to adult murderers." This obviously eliminates the only "evidence" used to convict me of 1st Degree Murder. I was automatically an "adult" because of the serious felony charge. I was automatically a "murderer" because I caught the robbery. But the principal that invalidates my conviction can't be automatically applied. Nope. The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) laws that restrict collateral reviews through my only recourse - Habeas Corpus petitions - are so complicated judges write books on their unconstitutionality. I had a 1% chance of being heard by the court.
Even the blood thirsty citizenry of this country balked at the insane application of this felony-murder rule on Dr. Phil when discussing the Elkhart 4 in Indiana, where 5 kids burglarized a house thinking no one was home. The owner shot and killed one and injured another. The 4 living kids got 50 years to life! Guilty of burglary, automatically adult murderers.
In California they tried to mitigate the effects by enacting P.C. 3051 which makes it easier for juveniles to parole after 25 years. So, I was found guilty of murder I didn't do, couldn't try in court, that your own law says I'm no longer guilty of but, I'll only have to do 25 years? Wow.
Could you imagine if the CEO of GM was charged with murder for approving the continued use of the faulty ignitions that led to the 13 deaths from their use? If the general who ran the VA was charged with murder for the 40 deaths they found so far that resulted from the faulty list waiting times? If wardens were charged with murder for every death by prisoner suicides? All these people committed crimes that led to peoples' deaths.
But these businesses are protected from culpability using U.S. v U.S. Gypsum Co. citing Morissette v. U.S. where the Supreme Court expressly articulated the importance of "mens rea" (act/intent) to "our" system of criminal law.
That's their system of criminal law. Poor minorities get Rockefeller, 3 strikes, felony-murder and AEDPA laws. A ton of other laws I'm sure.
I was a kid, unarmed, who wanted money. I got life in prison for a murder I didn't do, without a trial. There are thousands of us in U.S. prisons.
They get 'em young. But we're gonna put up our anti-felony-murder rule use on juveniles legal argument in light of Miller v. Alabama on the internet for those who choose to push that pen. One of us will get them.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a very good example of the Amerikan Criminal Injustice System. And the parallels this comrade draws to the CEO of GM and other corporate executives are right on target. When people criticize socialist China under Mao for "persecuting" landlords, imperialist spies, and capitalists they purposely ignore the murders, rape and brutality that these people enabled, in many cases directly perpetrating. A landlord who demands from a peasant payment of his entire crop in a drought year means inevitable starvation for that peasant's family. This leads to deaths easily foreseen by the landlord. And so under socialism landlords are convicted of these crimes. The same people who decry these socialist actions as "unjust" stand by while people like this writer are locked up for deaths they did not cause and could not have anticipated. This is the double standard of the capitalists.
It made me smile to see that Under Lock & Key No. 38 had an article on my civil case. The name of the case is Stanley Earl Corbett, Jr., et al v. G.J. Branker et al., case # 5:13-ct-03201-BO. I filed this case pro se back in 2010. For two years I fought the case by myself, and it took me two years to get the judge to appoint me a civil attorney (NCPLS). Upon them being appointed to my case they asked me to let them use my case to add 7 other prisoners who'd been beaten in similar situations to what happened to me. I told them to add them without any hesitation, then I signed a consent form.
My point in speaking about this is because I could of said "f*** these prisoners," and went to trial, or settled out of court, but I didn't. Why? Because I represent the struggle, and I'm all for a major change in a positive way. So to all these selfish "inmates" (not prisoners) that are only concerned with themselves — We aren't nothing alike! I do this for real, and I'm still taking bumps and bruises because I've been receiving numerous forms of retaliation from these pigs for pursuing my rights. But I'ma ride or die for the cause/struggle. I truly appreciate ya'll exposing this injustice.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Another comrade involved in this case has been keeping us abreast of the consistent progress of this lawsuit. And while the outcome is a limited reform, this letter reinforces the greater significance of this work. By working in the context of class struggle we continue to build something bigger than ourselves as individuals. We're glad this comrade found ULK and has pledged to become a contributor to our work. We're also glad to hear that he received Under Lock & Key No. 38, since every issue for over three years has been put on the statewide ban list in North Carolina. Perhaps comrades' efforts on that front are paying off as well. Despite the repression, comrades in North Carolina are working together to stop abuse.
I'm writing in regards to an article that appeared in issue 37 of ULK titled [url=https://www.prisoncensorship.info/article/fighting-for-useful-legal-counsel-in-arizona/"Fighting for Useful Legal Counsel in Arizona." The author of this article outlined their legal strategy to help prisoners receive legal counsel in the very early stages of their cases. The writer stated that he had filed a Writ of Certiorari asking the court to resolve the issue of the constitutional question left open in Martinez V. Ryan, 623 F.3d 731, 132S.CT1309(1023) of
"whether a defendant in a state criminal case has a Federal Constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel at initial review collateral proceedings specifically with respect to his ineffective assistance of trial counsel claim."
The case that the writer cited in his article was from the district court, but this particular case made it to the U.S. Supreme Court (Martinez v. Ryan 132 S. Ct 1309), and was decided favorably.
There are two other cases that I know of that deal with this same issue after Martinez, both of which were decided favorably. One was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court and the other by the 8th Circuit. Both cases expand upon the ruling in Martinez and may be useful to the Arizona comrade or anyone going through the motions of trying to get their case back in court on an ineffective assistance claim. The cases are Trevino v. Thaler 133 S.Ct.1911 and Sasser v. Hobbs Nos. 02-3103, 11-3346.
MIM(Prisons) adds: The state sets the rules and then doesn't allow those accused of breaking the rules to effectively defend themselves within the injustice system. This is all part of the system of national oppression in this country; it's no coincidence that effective legal counsel is denied to those accused of breaking Amerikkka's laws.
We appreciate this comrade sharing h legal knowledge with others via the pages of ULK, and a lot of times this is the only way prisoners expand their legal arsenal. The author of the original article in ULK 37 said it took h eleven years to exhaust the remedies within Arizona state courts. Undoubtedly much of this time was spent translating legalese, and trying to figure out which motions to file when and where, with much trial and error along the way. With the assistance of a competent lawyer these speedbumps would be easily leveled.
While we know eventually we need to take up arms to liberate ourselves from national oppression in this country, at this stage in our struggle we are only advocating legally permitted campaigns. Like this comrade is attempting to do, setting valuable legal precedent that makes space for revolutionary organizing and defense of the humynity of the most oppressed Amerikan prisoners would be one step in the direction to overthrow the imperialist state. We can facilitate this work by sharing information the most effective approaches with each other.
Comrades who want to contribute to our collective legal knowledge should work with the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic (PLC). One of the primary tasks of the PLC is to compile legal knowledge into help guides which MIM(Prisons) then distributes to prison-based activists and jailhouse lawyers. The PLC only focuses on battles that will push our revolutionary struggle forward. Whether it be our efforts to put a complete end to solitary confinement, or simply to have our grievances not thrown in the trash upon receipt, the PLC is for jailhouse lawyers with a strong left lean! Write to MIM(Prisons) for more information.
Although the law says we can aid others (illiterate or unskilled) on appeals and legal work, we can no longer legally pass papers "cell to cell," so now we can only help others verbally. (Thanks to Assistant Warden Robertson).
In addition, the 2011 CDCR rules limit all grievance appeals to one single issue appeal per 14 days. If we "Abuse" this abuse of our 1st amendment right to file grievances on the government, it is cut to one per 30 days. When I got here (in 1983) it was 2 appeals per week (104/year). Then cut to 1 per week (52/year), then 1/2 per week and 1/30 days if you exercise your 1st amendment rights. I'm on my second year of the limit to 1 per 30 days because of my work exercising my legal rights.
I'm fighting this under 42 USC 1983. "Judge" Rogers keeps stalling but I got her sleazy and false dismissal reversed.
UPDATE February 2016: This case has entered court as Clark v. Jeffrey Beard CV-11-03520. The comrade fighting this has reported that Judge Rogers has thrown out all testimony from M.L. Davis (Appeal boss of San Quentin) on 4 perjuries and 1 faked document, Davis has since retired to keep his pension rather than be fired.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This limit on grievance appeals is a blatant example of the Amerikan criminal injustice system restricting prisoner's legal rights. Grievances are one of the only opportunities for prisoners to fight abuse and illegal policies and restrictions. Often these grievances are ignored or "lost". Because of these practices, and restrictions like the ones described here, United Struggle from Within initiated the grievance campaign, first in California and now in ten states across the country, with petitions for these states that prisoner's can use to demand our grievances be addressed. Write to us for a copy of the petition for your state, or to help create one if you do not live in a state where this has already been done.
On 27 March 2014, a Federal judge in the United States District Court issued an order requiring prison staff to record any use of force, should force be required on a prisoner.
Some other prisoners and I filed a lawsuit because the pigs at Central Prison in Raleigh used blind spots in the current video system to hide from surveillance so they could beat prisoners. We also informed the courts of the "lack of policy for proper method of investigation in any use-of-force incidents."
As a result, Judge Terrance Boyle appointed an expert (former corrections administrator Eldon Vail) to review the prison's surveillance system. Based on several problems he found, he made five recommendations.
North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) prisons adopted four of the recommendations but said using a hand-held video camera is not feasible and placed "undue burden upon Central Prison." However, on Thursday, 27 March 2014 Judge Boyle ordered the fifth recommendation be adopted. His order stated "...defendants are placed on notice that if there is not voluntary compliance and implementation of the recommendation, a preliminary injunction will ensue."
The pigs deny any abuse, saying they used minimal amounts of force required to deal with prisoners characterized as the "worst of the worst" among the prison system's population.
Still the state agreed last year to install more security cameras to cover previously unmonitored areas. But Vail's report said the new cameras still don't monitor all the blind spots where prisoners say the abuse occurs. Vail also reported finding lenses so out-of-focus and smudged with grime that it was difficult to make out what the camera was recording.
The recommendations made by Vail that must be followed are:
Adjust each camera that demonstrates a pattern of "freezing" to improve motion detection sensitivity.
Establish a written preventive maintenance schedule for lens cleaning, camera refocusing and replacement of faulty cameras.
Install additional cameras to view the sally ports of each cell block in Unit 1.
Modify the video surveillance retention policy and procedure to clarify the responsibility to provide notice to the video retention officer to preserve a video by the unit supervisor from the investigator's responsibility to request a copy of the video for the investigation.
Change the use of force policy, SOP 4.100, to require that a handheld video camera operator respond to the scene of spontaneous use-of-force incidents and that a camera remain on until the event is over and [prisoner] has been safely placed in a cell.
This fifth recommendation means that during an anticipated use-of-force (any use-of-force) a hand-held camera will be used until a prisoner is no longer in contact with the pigs.
We are now getting ready for a pretrial conference. But we are one step closer to getting justice. We have at least made the prison safer. Now the pigs will not have anywhere to hide.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This update to the ongoing legal battle in North Carolina is good news for this carefully planned and hard fought legal battle. We know that often we cannot win when fighting abuse by employees of the criminal injustice system in their own courts. But sometimes the courts have to pretend objectivity and, when presented with facts that show the NCDPS is violating their own laws and policies, we can win some improvements to conditions. While the courts won't be where we make revolutionary change, for now we can use them as one tool to struggle against abuse. We must always accompany these court battles with publicity and education about the case, using them to expose both the brutality we are fighting and the injustice when the courts rule against us.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) picked up my pending case challenging inadequate medical services and unconstitutional conditions of confinement in 2011. We're expecting a trial date in 2015. We are attempting to force Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) to change its policy and practice of housing the mentally ill in isolation for extended periods of time. State prison is extremely poor, prisons are understaffed and riddled with security flaws. I am an adamant critic and am vocal about its policies and practices, therefore the administration has made my life here in prison severely difficult.
I am also working on my criminal convictions. I've navigated myself through multiple tiers of appeals. I really had a hard time exhausting all my state remedies in the Arizona State Courts. It took me almost eleven years to figure out, but most recently I filed my first federal habeas corpus petition in Arizona Federal District Court. I am requesting that the federal court appoint me a lawyer to investigate the possibility of state judicial corruption against the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Attorneys Office. Last week I filed a Writ of Certiorari. This is a petition to the United States's highest court; they only address issues involving "Constitutional magnitude." I'm asking them to resolve the Constitutional question that was left open in Martinez V. Ryan, 623 F.3d 731, 132S.CT1309(1023) of:
"Whether a defendant in a state criminal case has a federal Constitutional Right to effective Assistance of Counsel at initial-review-collateral-proceedings specifically with respect to his ineffective-assistance-of-trial-counsel-claim."
Because state law does not mandate Effective Assistance of Counsel during a convicted criminal's Initial-Review Collateral Proceedings (Ariz. R. Crim. P. Rule 32), I'm able to believe that prisoners in Arizona are being discriminated against because they're indigent and cannot afford effective counsel during their Initial-Review Collateral Proceedings. The United States Supreme Court only takes 3% of the cases filed each term, so the odds of them taking my case is nil, but imagine if they did. WOW, this would mean that a pro se litigant would have molded the law to conform to the needs of the oppressed here at the very bottom of society's heap. A person is only as big as his dreams.
Fortunately, it does not end there. A Section 1983 Civil Rights Action prohibits a state from discriminating pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which provides that:
"No state shall... deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the Law."
The clause is "a direction that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike."(City of Cleburne V. Cleburne Living ctr, 4730 U.S. 432,439 (1985))
I am determined to build a strong campaign to gain Injunctive Relief in a class action seeking to remedy the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment violations caused by Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure Rule 32's past and continuing operations. Our actions, even if successful, will not demonstrate the invalidity of our conviction or sentence, therefore Section 1983 Class Action is the proper vehicle.(Wilkinson v. Dotson, 544 U.S. 74,82 (2005).)
If you feel you were denied Effective Assistance of trial council, and a Fourteenth Amendment right to effective assistance of Appeals Counsel for your Initial-Review Collateral Proceedings because either you did not have an attorney during your first Rule 32, or your Arizona R. Crim. P Rule 32 Lawyer was ineffective for failing to investigate Trial Counsel claims and/or other substantial right claims during trial, it would be important to draft out a notarized affidavit outlining the facts in your specific case and send them to the addresses below. If we're able to gain enough affidavits, then we could proceed to present these facts to a federal district court asking them to appoint class counsel and certify our case as a class action. All we can do is try! In Strength and Solidarity, Revolution!
Send your notarized affidavits to:
Arizona Prison Watch P.O. Box 20494 PHX, AZ 85036
Middle Ground Prison Reform 139 E Encanto Drive Tempe, AZ 85281
Arizona Justice Project P.O. Box 875920 Tempe, AZ 85287-5930
MIM(Prisons) adds: Please note to not send your affidavits to MIM(Prisons). We do not have the resources to copy and mail your affidavits to the addresses listed above.
We commend this comrade on discovering loopholes in the legal system and attempting to remedy them to the advantage of the most oppressed in this country. We encourage comrades in Arizona to participate in this effort to provide more legal support to prisoners in the state (at least on paper).
And we must remember that our struggle cannot stop there. While a successful habeas corpus case may help a prisoner to be released, a release is only as valuable as what you do with your time when you've made it outside. A recently released comrade wrote of the challenges s/he will face after h parole, and the difficultes s/he will have in carrying out political work, even though s/he is supposedly now "free." The trend toward individualism of general legal counsel is one reason why the MIM(Prisons)-led Prisoners' Legal Clinic only works on issues directly related to expanding our ability to organize, educate, and build toward an end to illegitimate imprisonment altogether (i.e. communist society). We believe people should fight for their release, but that they also should struggle for the release of the world's majority from the chains of imperialism.
Related to the topic of carefully selecting our battles, we have written extensively on the limitations of focusing on fighting housing mentally ill prisoners in long-term isolation.(1) Some shortcomings of this strategy are legitimization of long-term isolation for not-yet-mentally-ill prisoners, and the fact that long-term isolation leads to mental illness in prisoners even if they entered isolation with sound mind and body. Of course we agree with the principle that mentally ill prisoners should not be housed in long-term isolation. But we take it further to say that no prisoners should be housed in long-term isolation, and we see no value in selling out some comrades on this issue in order to save others; eventually everyone held in long-term isolation will suffer mental illness. Abolish the SHU!