The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Legal] [Medical Care] [Louisiana] [ULK Issue 56]
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Clarifying Legal Tactics: Deadly Heat in Louisiana

In response to the article in ULK 55 titled "Correction to Deadly Heat in Louisiana Article," I am equally compelled to struggle my point across to my Texas comrade and all other comrades within the jurisdiction of the 5th Circuit. Our Texas comrade has committed the error of "seeing only a tree instead of the forest," please allow me to explain.

While it is correct that the 5th Circuit remanded the case back to the District Court with an order to apply the injunction to only the three plaintiffs in Angola's death row – Ball, Magee and Code – if one would read and digest the discussion of the 5th Circuit's ruling then one would see that it is obvious that in order for "all" prisoners to receive this relief then "all" prisoners would have to file! And I am fairly sure that most comrades can "come up" with a medical condition! In section 3 of the opinion under "disability claims" the court stated in the last paragraph that because the plaintiffs failed to properly introduce their ADA claims that it was fatal as to that claim, therefore "reading between the lines" one can grasp the nugget of wisdom!

So in conclusion there has been and is a victory against the deadly heat in Louisiana, so I urge all comrades to flood the courts with their own "personal" suits and bypass the stacked deck of the PLRA, entiendes? Please read the "entire" case with footnotes etc.: it was declared that the heat can be a violation of the Eighth Amendment. (The ADA provides "endless" major life activities and functions so everyone can find a niche). So if the heat is a violation of a federal right then – (quote from opinion) "such relief shall extend no further than necessary to correct the violation of the federal right of a particular plaintiff or plaintiffs!"

Be that plaintiff!

Please read the case: Elzie Ball, et al. v. James M. Leblanc, et al. U.$. District Court for the Middle district of Louisiana, 988 F. Supp. 2d 639; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 178557 Civil Action No.: 13-00368-BAJ-SCR. This is on order from Ball v. Leblanc, 792 F.3d 584, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 11769 (5th Cir. La. 2015).


MIM(Prisons) responds: In "Correction to Deadly Heat in Louisiana Article", another writer responded to this writer's original article on this lawsuit from ULK 53. The responder pointed out that the 5th Circuit Court's decision only afforded people with pre-existing medical conditions relief from the dangerous heat in Louisiana prisons. And so ey clarified that the ruling does not automatically apply to all of Louisiana's death row. We are glad that both writers chimed in on the topic, to clarify the ruling and the suggested tactics.

We need to think creatively about how to use this court decision to expand protections to anyone with any medical condition. In conditions like this that are truly dangerous (as we approach summer once again) we encourage people to follow this comrade's lead and look for ways to use the legal system to improve safety of your conditions.

Perhaps others will disagree with this tactic and propose other better uses for people's time and legal research. It's slow to engage in debate through the pages of a bi-monthly newsletter like Under Lock & Key but this is beneficial to all readers and a part of the unity-criticism-unity process. It's a healthy debate over tactics that will keep pushing our work forward, so write to us and let us hear your thoughts.

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[Medical Care] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
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Medical Copay Revolving Door

I am writing with a texa$ prison medical copay update. Here on the Alfred D. Hughes plantation, the medical department's Senior Practice Manager Valencia Pollard-Fortson's attitude is that every procedure is a valid charge. Aspirin, bandaids, blood sugar checks, clipper shave, whatever. You're going to be charged $100. Her idea is if you charge 10 people a day for sick call, that's $900. Because only one will do the paperwork for 90 days to get his money back. Now they've gone a farther step.

In Ad-Seg/SHU building, we cannot buy fingernail clippers off store. To be caught with a pair is a major offense. We have to submit a sick call request to medical to trim our nails. Even diabetics who must keep toenails trimmed. Well, that sick call costs $100.

Say January 1st you go to medical for chronic care. It's charged $100. Then you go January 15th and again January 28th. You file a grievance Step One with medical about copay of January 1st. It's denied February 10th. You file a Step Two appeal to Regional Medical Supervisor. It's granted March 13th. Your monthly invoice will not show up until April 15th showing March 13th $100 was refunded for medical copay of January 1st. BUT a new charge for January 15th appears and the $100 is taken on March 13th. You start all over again, stretching out for months just like I'm doing now on a charge from March 2016. These pigs are determined to keep your money.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are many tactics the state uses to enact medical neglect, and to create and exacerbate long-term health problems for prisoners. In some states they just throw the sick call in the trash. But in Texas they are frustrating people using the financial angle. Our Texas Campaign Pack has instructions for how to fight against the $100 medical copay. We can use this information to make ourselves a little bit stronger while we struggle to overthrow the horrible social and economic system that makes such an exorbitant copay possible in the first place.

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[Medical Care] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 53]
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Cell Exercises to Build a Revolutionary Body

The stressful conditions of imprisonment, through its tactics of oppression and the aggressions of the prison system, not only take a toll on our minds, but on our bodies as well. Lockdowns and constant hours confined in a cell erodes our bodies through inactivity. It's important to work on our physical stamina to aid us in our struggle against this oppression and this can be seen as an effort against this tyranny, furthering our revolutionary efforts. So exercise is important and one should do some kind of exercise every day as an action against our confinement.

Here are some simple exercises that can be done in a cell or the yard and shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

Warm-up: This is an easy warm-up to try when you feel you're not in the mood to exercise yet. Do some calf raises, they're fairly easy. Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart, then get up on your tip-toes, then go back to standing normally; that's one. Do this about 10 or 20 times, or however many you feel is enough; it's a great way to get your blood flowing.

As you do these, if you want, you can hold your arms out to your sides, about shoulder level, for two counts, then straight up over your head for two counts. Then back to the start position. You can do this anywhere with any type of footwear.

Isometrics: Isometrics are when an exercise position is held for a few seconds in order to gain stamina at exercise. It's a great way to strengthen your core.

Here is a simple set of three exercises that shouldn't take more than 3 minutes to complete.

  1. Forward Lunge - Starting with your feet shoulder width apart, step forward with your left leg until it is in a 90 degree position in front of you, your back leg bent forward it's lower leg (or calf) parallel to the floor. Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, then go back to the standing position. Next do the right leg. If you need to, between each exercise you can rest for 10 to 15 seconds, or until you have recovered. When doing the forward lunge try not to rest your hands on your leg or knee, as this will weaken it during the exercise.

  2. Front Leaning rest - Get in a push-up position, and sink to the floor as if to do a push up, holding yourself just off the floor (or down and hold it, as it's known) then hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds.

  3. Squats - Stand with your legs shoulder width apart; then bend your knees, bringing your upper torso down while keeping your back straight, until your knees are bent at 90 degrees, or what you can manage. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

During these exercises you can take small breaks of about 15 to 20 seconds in between each one, but it's best to do them one after the other, with as short a break as possible in between. If you want you can extend each exercise to 60 seconds and see if you can finish the whole set in under 5 minutes.

Quick Cardio: here are some exercises to work on your cardio. The whole set can be done in under 5 minutes.

  1. Push-ups - do as many push-ups as you can in 30 seconds. Later, if you want you can increase this to 60 seconds.

  2. Jumping Jacks - do as many jumping jacks as you can in 30 seconds, you can also increase this to 60 seconds.

  3. Flutter kicks - lie on your back, on either the ground or your bunk, put your hands under your hips, on either side of your spine, so that your pelvis doesn't touch the floor (the best way to do this is to ball your hands into fists). Then bring your feet up so they and your legs are about 2 inches off the floor. Lift your left leg up until it is in a 45 degree position from your body. Then bring it back down to the start position. Next do the same with your right leg. Keep alternating legs at a steady pace (like walking or jogging) for about 30 seconds. This exercise can create stress on your back, so it's best to build your strength by doing the exercise moderately before you increase the time to 60 seconds.

Remember directly after your exercises you should walk or pace around for a few minutes, or do some calf raises. This is so your body can adjust itself to having been active after being in a cell all day. Make time in your schedule to try some of these exercises. To strengthen your body is an action against the tyranny of imprisonment and a demonstration of determination against the actions of imperialism.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer's analysis of the importance of exercise to a strong mind and body, especially when both your mind and body are under attack in prison. A physical exercise program should be combined with mental exercise of political study and struggle as well as political organizing work. Some comrades have used exercise programs as a tool for political organizing, building unity in the yard by bringing together groups to work out together and then conducting education classes after these workouts.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Legal] [Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 52]
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Perseverance and Commitment in Texas Lawsuits

It has been a while since I've sent you anything due to all the time involved with fighting the Texa$ Legalized Mafia (Texa$ Department of Criminal (in)Justice) in Federal Court. But I've got to the point that I had to make a report on the advances I've made in our struggle.

1. I sent a letter (which a copy of is enclosed) to the Medical Practice Manager on my Unit who works for University of Texas Medical Board (UTMB). I was reimbursed $100 of the $400 I owed them. Upon his response I sent him another letter informing him that though I was thankful for that, it was not enough, I wanted it all back. The next day it was done. Enclosed is a copy of the first letter I sent to the UTMB Practice Manager. I only have one stamp right now, so I will send the rest of the paperwork when I get a chance.

2. My lawsuit against the Texas Board of Criminal Justice is going great. The Court shot down the Ass. Att. General Leah O'Leary's Motion to Dismiss and her Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment and gave me until September 9, 2016 to have all my Despositive Motions in. I've already done that and filed two complaints of Bad Faith on the Defendants' part for attempting to defraud the Court on several occasions. I've asked for two separate sanctions ordered and for the Court to order a Default Judgment in my favor. It won't be long and we will get the Revision to Board Policy-03.91 Correspondence Rules repealed.

My next 1983 Lawsuit in Federal Court against the Texas Board of Criminal (in)Justice is going to be over them violating our 14th Amendment right of equal protection under the law, which prohibits sexual/gender discrimination, due to their grooming standard policy. Women who are incarcerated in Texas can grow their hair as long as they want to, but men can't have it very long at all. This is a gender-neutral act and the state is discriminating between the sexes/genders. I've already gotten my informal resolution back from Warden Butcher at Terrell Unit and filed my Step 1 grievance. When it comes back I will file my Step 2 and so on into Federal Court.

Once I finish that one I am going to file against them for slowly but surely denying us due process by removing the tools we need to fight against unconstitutional acts. First in September 2014 they hid the Offender Grievance Operations Manual, and now I read in your latest ULK that they banned the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook.

It is unbelievable how people watched me struggle day in and day out every day with this fight, and started donating paper, pens, envelopes, and documentation to help me. Please send me everything you can on the ban on the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook and the Offender Grievance Operations Manual. Right now I'm in Ad-Seg because I was given 5 bogus major cases and an illegal use of force. They didn't use a chemical agent; they had it on hand but instead just beat me for 30 minutes on tape.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade on eir commitment to continuing eir lawsuits which benefit all prisoners in Texas, even though ey is facing persynal physical retaliation from prison staff.

We know that unfortunately the retaliation is more consistent than the victories. So while we support this comrade's efforts at this stage in our struggle, we also know that legal action alone won't put an end to the litany of abuses. What we ultimately need is to organize for self-determination of all oppressed peoples worldwide, including the internal semi-colonies within U.$. borders. Until we are free from Amerikkkan imperialism, we will always have a need for these lawsuits, and face even worse conditions. In the meantime, we organize, educate and try to carve out space for our survival.

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[Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Medical Care] [Southern Ohio Correctional Facility] [Ohio]
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SOCF Prisoners on Hunger Strike

Dear Under Lock & Key (Newspaper):

I am contacting you to make you aware of my "Hunger Strike," and my demands and to ring the alarm about the oppressive administration here and to make sure my strike is "Documented."

Being falsely incarcerated since the age of sixteen years old for a crime I didn’t commit, sentenced to 100 plus years, and fighting for my liberation has been no easy task against this racist regime here at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lukkkasville, Ohio.

At this time due to the continuous oppressive and outright abusive behavior of the administration, and harsh penalties for basic rule infractions, they have forced me to protest for change. This is my only means to protest nonviolently and peacefully to change the conditions and practices of this administration by laying my life on the line and going on a "Hunger Strike." I am only one voice and my sacrifice will be in vain without your support and the Power of the People. I'm nothing so I enlist your support and assistance to bring attention to this struggle and compel the power that be, to change and meet the hunger strike demands.

I will need for you and the people to make calls to Central Office 614-387-0588, so that my Hunger Strike is documented and changes are made.

To the world you are just one person, but to one person you may be the world. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter and pray all is favorable to all concerned. I exit in revolutionary spirit. Shields up!

Hunger Strike Demands

1) A complete end of denying prisoners the right to basic hygiene necessities or property (soap, toothpaste & deodorant) which is required while in the hole [solitary confinement].

2) A complete end of denying prisoners the legal right to have access to their pending legal work to litigate the case while in the hole, and the immediate end with tampering with prisoners' incoming and outgoing mail.

3) A complete and immediate end to the recent arbitrary practice of handing down excessive and severe penalties for drug violations, and termination of visiting privileges when the Rule Infraction Board (RIB) have already handed down a penalty for Rule 39 and Rule 40. A 3-year non-contact visit from family and the outside world is unheard of for violation of Rule 39 & Rule 40, and extremely inappropriate and not healthy and destroys any possible chance to be rehabilitated to re-enter society. For this reason, favorable consideration shall be given and the penalty for violations for Rule 39 and Rule 40 shall be reduced to a reasonable amount of time that will not undermine the violation of the offense.

4) An immediate stop of violence against prisoners when cuffed, and stop the excessive use of force and spraying of prisoners with O.C. spray which causes severe health problems. Also, stop the embellishment of violation of Rule 4, to justify the physical assault of prisoners while cuffed. This prison has a very ugly history of "Excessive Use of Force" and this abuse must stop.

These are the more important things that we expect to accomplish as a result of this "Hunger Strike." There are other issues, some more important, others less.

As of 10 July 2016, there's a total of 3 that's on hunger strike.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In another article reporting on this hunger strike, there were 20 people participating as of July 18. This comrade rightly frames the hunger strike as the last possible nonviolent option. When officials do not respond to a hunger strike, they are saying that they'd rather have a violent uprising than meet the demand to stop torturing prisoners.

A public campaign such as a hunger strike is good to build organizing around a need: in this case, an end to solitary confinement, and adequate care for prisoners. In order to fight for an end to all conditions of torture and unnecessary suffering, our education needs to connect the hunger strike to a larger battle for justice worldwide, in other words, an end to imperialism.

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[Medical Care] [Organizing] [ULK Issue 49]
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Survival Pending Revolution: Basic Tactics

Mental War

Survival in this imperial dungeon is a must. Survival is more than looking over ya shoulder wondering when a shank will be placed in your back. Survival in these walls has a broad base.

First, we must be vigilant in what we eat, the reason why is food nourishes the body, mind and soul. There are so many chemicals added to our diet that it kills or destroys us over a period of time. We must change our diet or balance it with more fruits and veggies. What I have done was get on a kosher diet rich in fresh produce, and cut back on a lot of mystery meat. How can we fight with all our strength if what we eat is making us weak?

Another survival method I use is peers. I connect to those held captive in the system of snakes, and politic with them so we can all be on point. Staying away from negative energy which brings chaos. I try to apply "each one teach one" as my everyday survival method, cause once you help your brother-comrade in need it brings a feeling of joy.

But the enemy can come with all kinds of tricks, and once they see you are a fighter for justice, then you're hauled off to a solitary confinement unit. Now that's when you must use all the tools to survive. One method that I currently use now while housed here is reading a lot of material and applying the principles to my everyday life. And spreading literature helps so us comrades can chop it up (conversate) amongst each other and figure out ways to find solutions rather than being a problem. But I keep a simple program so I can survive in this imperial prison. Stocks of peanut butter in case food supply doesn't come. Batteries for fuel, radio to keep up with current events. And learning more about self, so I can be prepared mentally to overcome this injustice.


MIM(Prisons) responds: On the topic of survival in solitary confinement, we distribute excerpts from the "Survivors Guide for Solitary Confinement" pamphlet that was released by the American Friends Service Committee. It is primarily authored by prisoners and gets into many mental health tactics, including meditation, setting a schedule, and regular exercise. These tactics are useful for any comrade who's serious about political organizing, whether locked up or not.

Sometimes our oppressors will put us in a strip cell with no bedding, no warmth, no food, no water, no medical attention. In those moments, there's little we can do as far as relying on peanut butter reserves. But maintaining everyday practices that keep us healthy and strong, and with a strong ideological understanding of the reasons we're facing these horrible conditions, will help us remain strong and make it through this torture. Our survival tactics may be individual at times, but our struggle is vast.

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[Medical Care] [Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility] [Kansas] [ULK Issue 49]
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Medical Neglect Covered up with False DR in Kansas

I would like to share a struggle that many Kansas captives are dealing with currently. In the past few years, the synthetic marijuana drug known as K2 has flooded the prison system. Its use is easily hidden from detection because urine analysis tests don't regularly detect for it. One way it's detected is from red eyes. The KDOC is saying "red eyes" is a determining factor in writing a class one Disciplinary Report (DR) for substance abuse.

I recently had a seizure (my medical history includes epilepsy) and was rushed to the clinic. I came to with red eyes from having the seizure and the nurse said to me "you have no history of seizures, did you smoke some K2?" With this comment, I was not treated for my seizures, I was taken straight to segregation, and while still in handcuffs had another seizure in the cell. From hitting my face, I was bruised and bleeding. The nurse came down and said "It's just the drugs coming out of him, keep him in seg. We've already seen him." I was scared I was going to die!!! I hadn't used any drugs, I was having seizures and medical was refusing me care. It was later found in the computer that I had been treated for seizures, had been on anti-seizure medication, and had been hospitalized for seizures. Because of the DR I was placed in segregation for 21 days and had my visits suspended for one year. I filed appeals and even contacted the Kansas Medical Review Board. They concluded "because of this inmate's history of seizures, we believe the DR may need to be re-evaluated."

No one in the Department of Corrections was willing to correct this DR. The nurse that made the comment "this might be from K2" told me word for word "you should be able to beat this on appeal" after she was made aware of my past history of seizures. In her medical report (that was used to find me guilty) she stated "inmate has no history of seizures." That was clearly medical malpractice, my history was in her computer, and I told her I had a history of seizures and she called me a liar.

I have now paid $195 and filed a 60-1501 [habeas corpus petition] downtown. There is no way that simply having red eyes after having a seizure shows proof of K2 drug use. I know of several others who have had red eyes from allergies and have been convicted for this same bullshit writeup. I'm encouraging everyone who gets a substance abuse DR solely on "red eyes" to challenge this write up on the way to the courts. It needs to be done and change needs to be made. This is based on a pure assumption and no solid facts.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This medical neglect in Kansas underscores the prison's use of unscientific criteria to classify people into segregation. Just as so-called gang members are identified based on false evidence, now the Kansas DOC is identifying illicit drug users based on criteria so common they can use it to label anyone they like. Red eyes can come from a summer allergy, lack of sleep, or any number of other causes. Prisoners have to be careful they don't get soap in their eyes when washing their faces, if the prisoncrats are looking for an excuse to punish them. We echo this writer's call to everyone affected to challenge these writeups. And we urge this comrade, or others in Kansas, to draft a grievance that can be used by everyone for this challenge. This would make a good state-wide campaign because it ties together the issues of medical neglect and control units in a battle against a practice that will no doubt target politically active and conscious prisoners for isolation. We should work to build a united front to fight this policy in Kansas.

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[Medical Care] [California] [ULK Issue 49]
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Contradiction Between Hippocratic Oath and Prisons

I just wanted to take advantage of this lull in the recent pain I've been struggling with, as much psychologically as physically. It should get better, relatively speaking, and pass. It usually does. The only thing that's truly effective is the pain medication I'm on, but I'm not in any position to request an increase. I've got a good doctor right now and he does what he can, of course within the restrictions imposed upon him that limit his abilities. It's really just so damn frustrating, not being able to identify the root of the pain. I can't help but genuinely wonder if I'd be subjected to this if I were not incarcerated and had good insurance and doctors?

You see, my doctor can only do so much here behind these walls for a number of reasons. Resources are practically non-existent and anything he wants to do, it's first scrutinized and questioned. And if it's okayed then he has to outsource it to an outside specialist and hospital. And quite often the specialists will either "shoot it down" or use it as an opportunity to run up a bill and bill it to the state. That is, they'll admit me for several days, or a week, run a load of expensive but pointless tests that they've run before. So I'm shackled to a bed and they always either discontinue, or significantly reduce my pain management to ineffective dosage.

So my doctor here is very limited in what he can do without ultimately risking his own employment. You push too hard to provide adequate health care to us animals and it won't be long before you're seeking employment elsewhere.

Philosophically, it's really an interesting dilemma. Especially for a Marxist, or one well acquainted with "the unification of opposites." As we know, the prison system as an appendage of the "state apparatus", is in its very essence, that is, by its "nature," an oppressive institution.

All doctors take a Hippocratic oath and although the oath is subjectively interpreted, the practice of medicine is objective, and the practice of medicine in its "essence" (nature) is irreconcilably opposed to the essence of the prison system and its very existence.

So any doctor employed by the state (prison) is in direct opposition to the very essence of its employers. This is an objective phenomenon that exists whether one is conscious of this inter-connection of opposing tendencies, or not.

Ultimately the doctor will either submit and capitulate to the interests, i.e. trajectory, of the state through a slow process of indoctrination that occurs both subtlety and conspicuously, consciously and subconsciously, as well as from their own experience that they will have with those prisoners around them. And this is the greatest influence on them. I have to admit that I have a tremendous amount of respect for those doctors that do last as long as some of them do when I see how some (most) of these "inmates" act. (notice my distinction of inmate vs. convict).

Anyway, my doctor is in a no-win position. He does what he can without jeopardizing his job security. And although you and I would without a second thought, push and fight until we were unemployed, in these circumstances we are in the minority.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is just another example of how the oppressed struggle for day-to-day survival under capitalism, despite some principles like the Hippocratic oath. In every issue of ULK we print a statement discussing a better form of justice that will be implemented under the dictatorship of the proletariat. We often talk about Chinese prisons during the socialist period of 1949- 1976. The most in-depth reports we have of those conditions come from the former emperor and collaborator with the Japanese occupiers who slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Chinese people, and two Amerikan students imprisoned for spying for their country.(1) Both stress the fair treatment they received, and being fed adequate food in times when food was not always in adequate supply for the whole population. Meanwhile, in the heart of excess, in the United $tates, we have prisoners suffering from lack of basic needs.

It is obvious that this system has no interest in serving the oppressed. But what might not be so obvious is how prisons can and have been used in states that are of and by the oppressed. While a socialist state will use force to repress those who attempt to restore exploitation and oppression, the goal is to build communism. Therefore everyone is to be included in the benefits of society, and even the former class enemies will be won over by fair and humane treatment while being struggled with politically. That is what it looks like to engage in a project to abolish class differences. The key difference is the class in charge. It is only when the proletariat seizes the state from bourgeois rule that we will see systems that truly serve all people. Until then such claims are just political sloganeering.

1. Allyn and Adele Rickett, Prisoners of Liberation. Available from MIM Distributors for $5 or work trade.
Aisin-Gioro Pu Yi, From Emperor to Citizen, Volume Two, Second Ed, 1979, Foreign Languages Press: Peking.
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[Medical Care] [Ridgeland Correctional Institution] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 49]
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One More Doctor Replaced

There is some good news. Remember the doctor Robert Sharp mentioned in the ULK 40 Hailey Care article? He was terminated from Ridgeland Medical and rumor has it that he's in Florida. A lot of effort was expended in trying to get him out, however much work needs to be done still. It seems the history of slavery, Willie Lynch, and other institutionalized oppression still have an effect on a certain class of people here in South Carolina.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We've been reporting on the deficient medical care in this South Carolina prison for nearly two years. By our count, they are on at least their fourth incompetent doctor in that time, and we have no reason to believe the medical care was any better before that time.

While it can be a useful battle to organize around, in the end removing "Doctor" Sharp, or any of the doctors in question, won't solve the problem of inadequate medical care at Ridgeland Correctional Institution. Reformists spend all their energy trying to get a better doctor, or a better medical director, or a better president, or whatever. But inadequate medical care for prisoners likely isn't Sharp's only offense to humynity. There are more forces at play than just Sharp's bad judgement or malice. And there are more Sharps than we can count, other doctors at other prisons all across our country providing similar or even worse treatment. There are likely more Sharp-type doctors working in U.$. prisons than not, and when they are removed from their job, they just go to a different facility and are replaced by a similar "doctor." As was explained in the Hailey Care article, the inadequate medical care is even sponsored by the Governor of South Carolina.

On the other hand, revolutionaries aim to change the entire social and economic system. We want to eliminate the conditions that breed people like Robert Sharp, Nikki Hailey, and all their predecessors. We want to provide actual medical care for everyone in society, including prisoners. We want to create a communist society not based on capitalism or national oppression. Today we work on small reforms and education, to set the stage for the day when we will need to take up arms against the state in order to end the various oppressions inherent to capitalism.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Federal Correctional Institution Aliceville] [Federal] [ULK Issue 46]
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Death Due to Medical Negligence

June 2015 brought about one of the more serious human rights violations here at Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Aliceville. The medical care is horrible. From the first day I have witnessed gross negligence, malpractice in many forms, and some of the nastiest medical personnel I've ever encountered. I worked in the intensive care unit at a hospital for 9 years, and I've seen some lacking in bedside manners, but these people are downright abusive.

I'll skip all the second-hand horror stories and tell you about Karen Massengale. She came here about a month ago. I am not sure exactly how old she was but by her gray hair and other tell-tale signs I think she was not young. From day one she was sickly. There were several times she vomited in the common area and in her cell. She was seen at medical and given a laxative. After multiple trips to medication pick-up she finally was able to get them.

Her condition continued to deteriorate rapidly. She lost weight and she couldn't leave her room. On two occasions she was wheeled to medical saying "something's wrong, I know my body and something is wrong, I think I'm dying." When she returned she was distraught, treated like she was faking and told there's nothing wrong. Then on 25 May 2015 after laying in her room for three days, unable to eat or drink, she was rushed to medical. I saw her in a wheelchair barely able to sit up. That was the last time we saw her.

The buzz around the facility is that she died 30 May 2015, possibly of a bowel obstruction. One of the nursing staff (Nurse Eli) who told her there wasn't anything wrong has told multiple prisoners that they are faking. She even went so far as to write one prisoner a shot for malingering. Two days later they were in surgery for a bowel obstruction. Trust me this is not the exception, it is the rule.

I currently have a grievance in process on medical and one on Nurse Eli. What I am asking from MIM(Prisons) is to simply follow up on Karen Massengale. She deserved for the last weeks of her life (if in fact she is deceased) to have been more humane. To die in a prison while begging for help and being told you're faking is the epitome of cruel and unusual punishment, wouldn't you say?


MIM(Prisons) responds: We have verified that Karen Massengale did die on 30 May 2015. Medical negligence is a serious form of abuse of prisoners. It is particularly tempting for prison administrators looking to save some money, as health care can be quite expensive, especially for a population that is fed a terrible diet, given little opportunity for exercise, and put in conditions that cause both mental and physical deterioration.

The health care system offered by capitalism generally offers better care to the wealthy and punishes the poor with sickness and death. This distinction is especially dramatic in countries like the United $tates which don't offer universal healthcare equally to all. But even those capitalist countries that provide healthcare for all of their citizens are ignoring the health of the majority of the world's people who are literally dying in service of profit. There is no excuse for the deaths from easily (and in many cases cheaply) preventable diseases that plague the Third World. Pharmaceutical companies test and manufacture expensive drugs in oppressed nations around the world while denying these test subjects and workers access to basic care. These drugs are for First World customers. The profit motive driving healthcare is a clear example of why capitalism is bad for the majority of the world's people.

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