The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prisons don't give a damn if we die

I think that things are going to get a lot worse for prisoners. I say this because people are dying left and right down here. These so-called doctors refuse to provide adequate health care like they are supposed to. I am 23 years old with a 40 year sentence. I constantly have to go through struggles just to receive medical help. I was diagnosed with leukemia a little over a year ago and I have days that I am in serious pain that I wouldn't wish on one of my foes. Do I get the assistance I really need? No. I hope things get better. Not just for me, but for all the other brothas and sistas in prison, because from what I'm seeing and experiencing, these people don't give a damn if we die.

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[Medical Care] [Soledad State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Delays in medical care in California continue

As populations continue to rise in California state prisons, health care has deteriorated. Overcrowded is an understatement. It's literally standing room only. Inmates have no chance to receive adequate medical attention here at Soledad CTF-South or any other CDCR institution. Doctors are overwhelmed with prisoners on a daily basis. And even though the feds are overseeing the medical department in CDCR, the CDCR continues to pile on the prisoners, making it impossible to receive primary care. And by the time you write a grievance and get any response, you are forced to live with the medical issue, whether it be pain or discomfort.

Constitutional rights are being violated on a daily basis. Weeks and months can pass by before any remedies, once a grievance is submitted. It's like they are punishing prisoners who merely exercise their rights to submit a complaint. Is there any agency that can help? Most agencies require that all remedies be exhausted before they step in, but these remedies take from 3 to 6 months. CDCR knows this; it's why they are able to continue to violate the rights of prisoners who fall into the category of patients with "non-life threatening conditions." But non-life threatening conditions can turn into life threatening conditions if left untreated for months at a time and sometimes cause long term effects. The feds need to step in ASAP. All prisoners whose constitutional rights have been violated should be compensated. This prisoner abuse must stop.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Ironically, prisoners are actually the only people in the united $tates guaranteed health care by law. Nonetheless, prisoners still suffer vastly disproportionate cases of HIV, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis C and many other chronic diseases as well as drug addiction.

Keep in mind that it has taken the government years to process the current cases that it is attempting to enforce in California mandating population reductions. California continues to resist the orders as people continue to suffer and die from lack of care.

MIM(Prisons) does see long legal battles demanding rights that the oppressed need to get free as an appropriate strategy at this time. In fact, it was the strong prison movement of the late 1960's and early 70's that brought the class action suits that required the state to provide any level of care at all to their prisoners. But as most of those comrades also acknowledged, the state does not have an interest in the their health and the little progress achieved over years of struggle could be achieved many times over in a much shorter time by changing the system itself.

In the past, the FBI has tried to promote itself as a savior for Black people from racists in the south, when in reality they worked hand-in-hand with the local KKK groups. Similarly here, the feds have been involved in the California prison system for some time, but as this comrade reports, the conditions have not changed. We can take advantage of differences between our enemies without looking to the oppressor as our savior.

notes:http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee/c208/briefing_documents/Healthcare%20briefing%20paper31.htm

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[Medical Care] [Waupun Correctional Institution] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prison lax on spread of H1N1

I'm in the Wisconsin prison system at Waupun Correctional Institution. This is a letter concerning one of my fellow prisoners.

You guys already heard about the H1N1 flying around the country. There are 3 prisoners in Waupun Correctional who have confirmed H1N1. Now with my fellow prisoner in particular, he has been sick all day and on 11/6 supposedly the guards called down to HSU and they said they can't do anything about it.

Now this fellow prisoner has been lying on the floor throwing up in a garbage can since 2pm, that I know of (it could have been longer). Second shift comes on at 1:45pm. They checked on him at 2:30pm and that was the last time they checked on him until 4:45pm count. I go get my meds between 3 and 3:30 every day. I went to get my meds and told the 2nd shift Sgt. Congel, and he said they couldn't do anything about it. Now after 4:45pm count the guards pass the mail out and they just walked past his cell without even looking in. I know this because I'm right next door to him.

It's been 15 minutes, 5 to 5:15pm and the guards still didn't come. They are only 40 feet away at the desk. Finally at around 6pm they came and got him and he hasn't returned yet. It is now 9:15pm.

To me this is way wrong, the guards don't do shit about this and they don't care about us! The only way we can catch H1N1 is if a guard brings it into the prison! Is this the way we have to live? Just because we are in prison doesn't mean we aren't human beings. Trust me if there is a lawsuit I'll be the first one on the stand going against these bitches.

This is not justice, all these guards care about are their checks. This does piss me off very much and I wish I could do more.

p.s. My last issue was denied because they said it had gang stuff in it.

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[Medical Care] [Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility at Rock Mountain] [California] [ULK Issue 12]
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Prison Health Care System is Inhumane

Health Care is a Straight JacketI was unable to finish reading ULK10 because I was motivated to begin this letter as a contribution to issue 12: Health Care. The front page article "Brutality Leads to Death" by a Texas prisoner describes an almost identical incident that happened here at the R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF, in the Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU).

On September 13, 2009, a prisoner's death occurred here in ASU Housing Unit 6, Cell 128. This prisoner died of a drug overdose, which is being blamed on one of the PM med nurses who was apparently fired and escorted off the grounds. At the same time, they are investigating another prisoner suspected of selling drugs to the prisoner. It should be noted that this unit has video surveillance security cameras.

The fact is, on August 4, 2009, a federal judicial panel found that the entire California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was in violation of the Eighth Amendment rights of prisoners, that the prison health care system was inadequate and constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and that denial of adequate medical care caused at least one unnecessary death per week. In addition to the federal take over of the prison health care system, CDCR was ordered to reduce prison overcrowding by 40,000 prisoners within the next couple of years.

The most recent prisoner death can only be viewed as a criminally negligent homicide, caused not by the nurse or prisoners, but by the inhumane conditions and treatment we are subjected to every day in these disciplinary segregation units. Prisoners are stripped of all personal property and thrown in an empty cell without basic human necessities, are denied prescribed medications on a regular basis, and are ignored by custody and medical staff when they bang on the door and scream "man down" in the case of a medical emergency.

I have been confined in this ASU for nearly a year, because I "refused to double cell" with a non-compatible, sexually violent predator, a known rapist! As a Jailhouse Lawyer, I am currently pursuing two federal civil rights lawsuits for inhumane treatment, denial of due process and sex discrimination under patriarchy.

The relevance of the ongoing legal battles, deaths of prisoners, and prisoner resistance in relation to the larger anti-imperialist struggle is not lost on me. With all the hoopla about Obama's health care reform proposals in the liberal corporate-controlled media, one can't help but read between the lines and separate the real from the BS.

Let's keep it real, this health care reform will not include prisoners. Additionally, right-wing Republican legislators in congress are already raising a ruckus about inclusion of immigrants. Why not talk about the California prison health care crisis in these national debates? Or the billions of dollars being wasted in the imperialist Iraq war? Money used to commit mass murder to protect the rights of U.$. oil companies should instead be used to solve the economic and health care crises caused by capitalist greed and medical neglect in this country, and in the prison industrial complex! Revolution, not reform, is the only way to stop the oppression, mass murder, and health care neglect under U.$. imperialism.

The program of MIM(Prisons) promotes the "elimination of all oppression - the power of groups over other groups" and "independent institutions...to provide...medical care." Additionally, the MIM Platform states "Abolish the Amerikan prison system...prisoners who do not represent a violent threat to society will be relased." These are steps in the right direction. And so is the struggle against patriarchy and gender oppression!

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[Medical Care] [State Correctional Institution Muncy] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 12]
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Basic Healthcare threat to security

Here at SCI Muncy prison for women the medical department is a complete joke and employs morons. In order to get any type of treatment you have to be half dead. I sign up for sick call numerous times and every time I see them they tell me they have to check my chart. There is not that much checking that even an obsessive compulsive person would do. Nothing ever gets done. I am in RHU, which is segregation, since April 10, 2007 on bogus misconducts. Medical comes to your door in RHU and everyone hears your medical problems. They don't check you at all, and diagnose you through a door and charge you $5 every time you are seen. And nothing ever gets done.

I have arthritis in my spine and RHU staff took my mattress from me since August 24, 2009. They have me sleeping on a metal bunk bed with no mattress. They also had medical take my back pain medicine away. I signed up for sick call to get an order for a mattress and my pain med back, they told me security overrides medical and they can't. They have x-rays of my back which shows arthritis in my lower lumbar and they refuse to order me a mattress. I kept signing up for sick call for over 2 weeks and only thing they gave me was my pain med back.

I also have asthma and since I been in the department of corruptions I had an order for no Capsicum (mace). Two weeks ago security asked the doctor to remove that order so they can spray me with mace when they need to. This doctor removed that order and never checked me for my asthma before he lifted it and I still have asthma and an active order for my inhaler. He is an idiot. He told me "well, they asked me to." Are you kidding? They have EBID which is like a stun gun. It's ridiculous here. Spraying mace at an asthmatic can be deadly!

I'll be in RHU till I max in 2014. I am hoping I don't get any type of sickness while I'm here. The RHU Lt. has to approve medical to give us any type of orders before we get it. Whether we need it or not, the RHU Lt. has to approve it first. And if we seriously need an order and he says no, we don't get it. He won't even let medical order us lotion. We can't get no lotion in RHU. Imagine what our skin looks like!

I'm having problems with my teeth. The dentist don't even see us. A dental hygienist comes up and her answers to our dental problems is gargle with salt and warm water. She won't even order salt and we only get 1 small packet, if we are lucky, with meals. They only give us 1 tube of .85 oz of toothpaste per week and we can't get orders for more. That tube don't even last 2 days.

And the food? It's such a small amount that I lost over 100lbs in a year and became malnourished. My hunger pains start 3 hours after I eat a meal. Sick call only ordered me a vitamin with iron and and a calcium pill and now they discontinued the order because of the RHU staff. The food hasn't gotten better, as a matter of fact it's worse. They try to perpetuate a fraud by saying it's a "healthy heart" menu, meanwhile everyone who has no money and orders commissary or is in RHU loses an abundant amount of weight and looks anorexic and sickly. I've lost a lot of my hair because of not being fed properly and sick call orders me tar gel shampoo. What is that gonna do? That's for dandruff! 9 times out of 10 I am refused medical treatment and the one time I get treated I get something that does not treat my ailment.

The prison health care system is getting worse and worse. When I first came to SCI Muncy prison I was supposed to get hand therapy because I had surgery. You know what their therapy entailed? Seeing a physical therapist 1 time at the prison for 10 minutes. And she tells us what to do and we have to do it ourselves. I was going to a physical therapist twice a week before I came here. And so because of that my hand is fucked up.

I had surgery in my foot as well. They removed a tendon and when I came here I was in a wheelchair. They took my wheelchair away and made me walk this campus while I was in excruciating pain and fell down numerous times. I was told to hurry up, and I was threatened with misconducts for being too slow. I have problems with my eyes, my left eye's vision is distorted. The eye doctor ordered me to go to an outside doctor. The RHU Lt. told them no, I can't go, and they canceled my appointment and refused to reschedule it. RHU staff also refused the doctor to do a physical on me. I haven't had a physical in over a year. We can only see the dentist for a checkup once every 2 years. They can't afford to provide us with medical treatment but they keep sending people here. This prison is so overcrowded it's ridiculous. The prison health care system is terrible. But that's the department of corruptions for ya!

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[Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Brutality leads to death

I would like to reach out to my fellow prisoners, by this true and law breaking story. This happened in the wee hours in the morning.

I lived just on the opposite side and above and several doors down from a man who you might call a mentally challenged prisoner. He was heavily medicated since first coming to this wing. Over periods of time, he would have his outbursts, beating, banging on the walls, door, etc. Even at times rubbing feces on and around inside his cell. At times not eating meals.

Late last night this prisoner was brought to a stand up cage made out of fence. It's a 3x3 cage, 7 feet tall. He was brought to this cage because he took abundant amounts of pills. So then a nurse came to speak with him and he was given a cup of charcoal to drink. It coats the stomach and intestines. Several hours later he was moved to a cell unknown exactly to us, but he died.

You must keep in mind that we live on a super-seg prison in TX. One of the most high secured. This is a 24 hour lock-down unit. How did this challenged prisoner get or accumulate these pills that were so detrimental to him? The nursees pass out AM and PM meds. They are supposed to watch each prisoner swallow their meds. They fail doing this, only because they think it's a burden of time on their hands.

Why weren't his vitals taken every 15 minutes to watch for elevating blood pressure? Instead, they stuck him back in a cell and allowed him to slip away into total darkness. Why wasn't he taken to a hospital?

His stay to the guards was only a joke, and in fact a way for them to retaliate and finally get their revenge. They blame him for his mistakes. But really, they are pointing their bloody fingers the wrong way. They knew he was a challenged prisoner. So why allow him to accumulate pills to a detrimental level? Where did these pills come from? Only the inside could let this happen.

When the free world investigator showed up to check his cell, he ignored our calls for help. As we screamed desperately for his help about the murder, he shrugged his shoulders and took a few pictures and was gone in a few moments.

Someone is always dying, being an overdose or suicide. How are these things ongoing? They allow us no rights! Here there are days some prisoners don't get food. My mail is on a constant watch. I will speak out about these criminals.

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[Medical Care] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting for Sanitary Conditions in Texas

Since being at Connally Unit, going on a year since I was released from administrative segregation, I can honestly say that conditions are at their worst. I've submitted grievances and nothing has been done about it. For one, we have five showers to each pod, each pod holds 48 prisoners, each shower has only one shower head, and we are limited by the time we receive during day room, which is less than 2 hours a day. These showers are only opened during that time. If you go out to recreation before or after day room, you are not allowed to shower. These showers are locked most of the time during and after recreation. And to finish that off, the temperature of the water can cook a soup.

I am also concerned about our health and the drinking water in the day room that we don't have, with this hot weather, the hottest in South Texas record. Our water fountain has not produced water since the beginning of the summer. Prisoners here have passed out, dehydrated, and have had bad chest and headaches since this started.

We get our mail stolen from time to time, racist staff employees harass and abuse their power and authority as if they have something to prove to the white man (most employees here on Connally Unit are Latinos and Blacks). They like to see us divided, fighting our own oppressed brothers, they want us blind and confused and then on top of that you have these puppets who cater to their masters, by snitching and who help keep us down.

Our food is not properly washed and cleaned such as our beans and greens. Sometimes I find pieces of rock and dirt mixed in there. Our greens are spoiled and have been for the past six months, our bread most of the time is baked with mildew.

Exterminators for mice and ants and other insects have not done their job. Mice get into our lockers and eat our food, the ant eats what's left from that food. Our hygiene is not properly attended to, such as tooth brushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shower slides, etc. Speaking about shower shoes, all this is sold to us through the commissary store, and if you don't receive money from your family, you can't afford to purchase these items because here in Texas you don't get payed for working in prison. In our cell rooms we don't get any kind of chemicals to clean our toilets, sink, floor, walls, bunks, and lockers from germs.

Our showers have fungus on the floor and walls. Just recently they (prisoners working for the system) came with their boss (state employee) and laid down a layer of sand glue to cover up the fungus under it. Just imagine if you have no shower shoes: that causes one to see medical due to foot fungus.

You only have 10 people you can put on your visitation list, and if you receive money from anyone, no matter who that person is, if that person is not on your visitation list and you receive money unauthorized by administration, you can receive, such as I did, a 15.0 trafficking and trading case, which is a major case.

So let us unite our strengths and fight for the oppressed masses, which are many, and not our personal gains and recognition. Let us stand side by side and demonstrate, for a better way of life.

As Mao told us that an army "is powerful because all of its members have a conscious discipline; they...come together and they fight not for the private interests of a few individuals or a narrow clique, but for the interests of the broad masses and of the whole nation."

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Texas]
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Abuse and Neglect in Texas Prisons

I have been imprisoned for 12 years. Believe me when I tell you that Texas prisons are not paying prisoners for the hard labor, and this is just one of the many problems they have. Two of the biggest problems are poor medical care and lack of control over the correctional officers.

Let's start with medical. Most of the staff are poorly trained, only here for the pay and benefits. I have personally witnessed RNs and doctors do things that would start a malpractice law suit in the free world. I have seen prisoners have heart attacks, and it took medical 10 minutes to get to them. All the while staff stood over them doing nothing. A co-workers in the kitchen had a hernia, medical department scheduled him for surgery 9 months down the road when he was discharging his sentence in 6 months. He walked around constantly in pain and couldn't sleep. One of my cellies was a seizure patient. Because the medical department could not get his medicine balanced he had more seizures than normal. Doctors prescribe the wrong medicine and prisoners get really sick. I could go on and on.

Because there's no outside oversight these types of things keep happening. Now to the correctional officers. They have the mentality that the uniform gives them the right to talk, treat and do as they will to prisoners. they do just that on a daily basis at all the units in the system. Some will cuss at you, even when you give them respect, because they know nothing is going to happen to them. On two different units I've seen prisoners get gassed, handcuffed, beat until they are bleeding and can't walk, all over a piece of contraband, or because the CO didn't like how the prisoner responded to a question.

Female COs tell supervisors a prisoner said or threw something at them, just so they could see the prisoner eat up, and then stand there laughing. I saw a prisoner in handcuffs, when he initially went to seg he was fine, when they brought him back out 10 minutes later he was bleeding from the nose, eyes were bruised, and limping. Found out later that night that he was beat with a walkie-talkie and pushed down the stairs. Medical was told he fell. This came from a CO. Two weeks later that supervisor was fired.

You constantly see bogus disciplinary cases because an officer doesn't like a prisoner, and wants to see them receive some type of punishment. Most of the time it's recreation, cell or commissary restriction, loss of good time, and loss of class depending on the case. These bogus cases create a lot of problems especially when it's time for a parole review.

There has got to be something that can be done to bring some type of constant oversight from the outside to make sure the state is held responsible for what the staff does. Until this happens the prisoners are basically sitting ducks for abuse. We were sentenced by a judge to do time, and to rehabilitate ourselves, so we can return to society as a free and productive citizen. That can't be done when you have out-of-control correctional officers constantly causing you trouble.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer that the prisons only pay lip service to rehabilitation while actually making it very difficult for people to return to society as productive members. The criminal injustice system is not about rehabilitation or even punishment, it is a system of social control.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Step up to expose and fight brutality

I am here in the Allred unit in Texas. I was reading a homie's Under Lock & Key paper back in Connally Unit and I would like to give thanks to him for putting me on this kind of work. I was reading that article about Peace in the Streets and I would like to comment on it. It's time to step up and help our people move up in this oppressed world. I've seen a lot of things that go on this side of the walls at Allred Unit.

For example, me and my cellie were going through shake down one day, and before we got to the front I told him not to disrespect them because these pigs are so dirty that they will mess us over. So we went through shakedown and everything went right, and then in a heartbeat this pig slammed him right on the ground with his face down. I told them we need to get medical down here for him and the only thing they said was he asked for it. So that's why I ask my people in the struggle to please not put yourself in that situation because what I have seen in these walls is like what happened to that prisoner Larry Cox in Huntsville TX who died due to shortage of medical staff in 2007.

I think about how many people die behind these prison walls and nobody knows what's going on. It's time to step up because we've been oppressed all this time.

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[Medical Care] [Montana] [ULK Issue 5]
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Montana medical neglect threatens lives

I'm writing to let you know what this prison here in Montana is up to concerning my many fallen brothers. For instance, a close brother of mine is having this huge run around with the so-called medical department. He's got all sorts of heart problems and takes multiple medications for his conditions. They took his meds away once and he was made to file all sorts of paperwork on them to get them back. Tell me that wasn't some kind of life threatening game played by the prison officials.

I have another brother who has serious knee problems. It took forever fighting with them and listening to them say "There's nothing wrong with you, it's all in your head," before they agreed to bring in a rehab specialists. This specialists told my brother that his left knee was permanently screwed, which he already knew, but anyhow, he told my brother that he'd recommend a brace for knee support and that he'd be back in a couple of weeks to start working with him. The prison put a kebash on those plans because this was done a month and a half ago and still no brace or a second visit from the specialist.

The way I see it is the prison officials, medical and semi-high ranking staff will do anything to put an extra taxpayers buck in their pocket.

There's also another issue that just makes me split a gut. This place does a lot of racketeering. Take for instance the fact that they took our 13" TVs away and started selling 7" TVs. The 7 inchers were only $100 for a while, then out of the blue they switched vendors and the 7 inchers went up to $200 a piece. Seems to me that somebody's making a killer profit.

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