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[Mental Health] [National Oppression] [ULK Issue 29]
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Psychiatric Matrix of Isolation as Social Control

A comrade from another trench spoke once on leadership and what it means to h: "The answer is that like it or not, people who collect information, analyze and then make decisions on what is true and not true, are leaders. People who do not are not leaders."(1)

Sensory deprivation in solitary confinement creates an inability to make decisions because information flow is very nearly cut off. Another way this bourgeois imperialist society stops leaders in their tracks is by making one's decisions, after analyzing information, seem off, to seem crazy or "mentally ill."

"Another problem relevant to revolutionaries is they have a more intellectual tendency to describe reality independently of the socially acceptable way of so doing. The individual is one who feels manipulated and controlled by outside forces, and is aware of the limitations of his individuality and room for maneuver... he gives himself importance, and does not care what others think, or at least feels that to care about that won't help him to live. He tends to see himself as good and others as wicked."(2)

Prisoners, prison abolitionists and anti-imperialists of all stripes are familiar with the above mindset. It is a mindset that's a prerequisite to successful prolonged struggle against entrenched anti-people systems. Hegemonic propaganda that pigs use to uphold the superstructure inculcates the majority of citizens to turn on non-mainstream individuals. I'm positive some reading these words will be shocked to hear the above quote is the bourgeois definition of schizophrenia.

Comrade Huey P. Newton, Minister of Defense of the Black Panther Party, was labeled mentally ill by prison administrators, cops and non-revolutionary whites. His leadership ability of disseminating truths gleaned from study posed such a threat to capitalist hegemony that he had to be discredited by the label "crazy." In prison, pigs forced Newton to visit a psychiatrist. He had this to say:

"From the minute I entered his office I made my position clear. I told him that I had no faith or confidence in psychological tests because they were not designed to relate to the culture of poor and oppressed people. I was willing to talk to him, I said, but I would not submit to any testing. As we talked, he started running games on me. For instance, in the midst of our conversation he would try to speak in psychological questions such as 'do you feel people are persecuting you?' Each time he did this I told him I would not submit to any sort of testing, and if he persisted I was going to leave the room. The psychiatrist insisted that I had a bias against psychological testing. He was correct."(3)

Mental illness is just a form of social control. Just the same as "corrections" and "spreading democracy" are forms of social control. I believe the prison system uses mental health jackets, and society in general tags people as "just plain crazy," to break revolutionary's self-esteem, leadership skills and family connections. When something as large as koncentration kamps throws its weight into convincing people's mothers, fathers and sisters that said person is nuts, it's a short walk away from these individuals actually becoming insane with lack of "free-world" support.

Their tactics are to divide and conquer by pasting "schizophrenic," "depressed" and "anti-social" tags on the foreheads of revolutionary genius. They psychotropically castrate and lobotomize mind-washed leaders into their people's own genocide.

I could leave prison by consenting to swallow my own destruction. I could leave solitary if "all I did" was snitch for them. Most of my family's gone because they believe I'm insane. Forty-six letters sit unmailed because I lack postage. After filing two lawsuits, the Prison Litigation Reform Act bleeds 60% of the $25 a month my dear poor grandmother sends. She could have retired this year, but with all her grandsons in chains.

FDR 25 is a kkkontrol unit policy which I have filed suit on. A policy deputy director for administration Mike Haddon states:

"The policy you are requesting is FDR 25, Intensive Management Unit, it states 'mail, other than first class, privileged and/or religious shall not be allowed for inmates on intensive management and includes newspapers, books, magazines, pamphlets, brochures, etc.' This policy's release could reasonably be expected to jeopardize the Utah Department of Corrections hence it is protected. If this information were to be released into the system, inmates could use that information to fight policy. We do not let that chapter out to anyone who isn't in law enforcement. Your request for a copy of the 78 page policy is, therefore, denied."

A policy that prevents people from collecting information, receiving information and analyzing said information, coupled with the unconstitutional fact that the Utah DOC doesn't provide a law library per supreme court ruling Bivens, halts the ability for captives to "describe reality independently" of that policy. Since only pigs can know that policy, we can't fight it.

Even if I could know it and struggle with it and beat it in court I'd just be labelled "mentally ill," more so than I am now. And this is the purpose of sensory deprivation and mental illness: halting revolutionary leadership and maintaining the status quo. Stopping information and throwing dirty jackets on truth.

Who does bourgeois psychiatry serve by destroying oppressed peoples? The oppressor nation. What types of people are being killed off in these concentration camps? The oppressed nations. What population turns a blind eye to this reality, or even worse, that the Third World is parceled up and packaged for First World consumer consumption? The oppressor nation. What nation must be organized to defeat the oppressor nation? And if we wish to succeed shouldn't we discern friend from foe?

"The job of psychiatrist [and those that subscribe to bourgeois psychiatry] must be abolished [and reeducated after repenting oppressive policy, genocidal injustice and terroristic 'spreading of democracy'], if only because it is corrupting to the truth to have a profession of people [or nation] making money by constructing various vague illnesses [vague reasons for war or psychotropics/institutionalization] that people have. Instead, all oppressed people and progressive-minded people must take up the science of controlling their own destinies."(4)


MIM(Prisons) adds: Just as physical violence is used against the oppressed as a means of control and installing fear, so is psychological violence. So when we think about promoting safety in prisons, we cannot do that without addressing psychological violence as well. Often that is the predominate form of violence used against revolutionaries. Our approach to this must be twofold in terms of helping comrades survive the torture they currently face in U.$. gulags, and to put an end to that torture altogether to really ensure people are safe. It is for this reason that we reviewed and distribute portions of the recently revised Survivors Manual from the American Friends Service Committee. Our Serve the People Programs, such as our Free Political Literature for Prisoners Program and University BARS study groups exist for all prisoners, but are especially important for keeping those in isolation engaged, active and sane. All comrades should support these programs with money and labor, while comrades on the inside should keep the issue of long-term isolation at the forefront of the general struggle for prisoner rights.


Notes:
1. MIM Theory 7, 1995 Revolutionary Nationalism, p. 119.
2. Asylum, pg 29, "Asylum: A Magazine for Democratic Psychiatry, Vol. 5, No.1, Winter 1990-1991 ℅ prof FA Jenner, O Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, Sheffield 510 2JF, England.
3. Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide, Ballantine: New York, 1973, p.262.
4. MIM Theory 8, 1995 The Anarchist Ideal, p. 70.

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[Abuse] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 27]
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Institutionalized Mind: The Breaking Process

cdcr pacifying lobotomizing
In prison one comes face to face with the harshest reality. A prisoner is at the mercy of his captors. Once confined the breaking process begins with the strip search — the intrusive search and viewing of one's body parts by complete strangers - over and over again. To refuse brings one response: assault and abuse. Physical assault at the hands of the prison guards (pigs) becomes a regular ritual.

The pigs will feed you a bag lunch consisting of bologna and cheese, three times a day, seven days a week, or a loaf and raw cabbage. The "Nutra Loaf" supposedly has all the nourishment a body needs baked into a loaf of bread.

The pigs will delay or destroy incoming and outgoing mail. There are men and women who go months without hearing from family and friends, as the pigs want you to believe no one loves you. Visits and phone privileges are denied as a form of disciplinary measure, for years at a time.

Then prisoners are placed in solitary confinement, in control units given various names: SHU, SMU, etc. In these units prisoners are locked down in the cells 23 hours a day. This is even done to pretrial detainees not yet convicted of crimes who in fact may be innocent. In the summer, heat is pushed through the vents, and in winter ice cold air is pushed in. Men are kept in ambulatory restraints (handcuffed, with waist chain and black-box, and shackles) or "four pointed" (handcuffed and shackled to a bed or restraint chair) for days at a time.

There are "cell extractions" where prison staff (pigs) suit-up in riot gear in five-man teams (allegedly a man for each body extremity). These five men enter a cell of one man, and beat him or her senseless, breaking arms, teeth, head, legs, ribs, etc. These are carefully crafted beatings with the words "stop resisting" yelled over and over for the camera operator who stands outside the cell, pointing the camera at the backs of the pigs in riot gear. The prisoners are then either "four pointed" or placed in ambulatory restraints. "Non-lethal" munitions are used, which are the chemical agents. They gas you until you choke; many have died this way. They throw concussion grenades into the small confines of the cell, which is a grenade that contains black balls. Or they shoot rubber balls into the cell at a range of five feet and less. Many have been maimed. These attacks are justified by reports concocted and written by staff to cover their ass. In fact, United States Penitentiary Lewisburg (USP Lewisburg), where the newly formulated Special Management Unit is instituted, has more cell extractions and men placed in restraints than any facility in the federal Bureau of Prisons, including ADX which supposedly confines the most dangerous prisoners in the country.

These abuses in American prisons are real and it's all designed to de-humanize the prisoners and destroy their sense of self-worth, self-respect, dignity and morals.

Often I ask young pigs "is there a difference between a man and an inmate?" The majority say yes, but when I ask the difference they cannot explain it. Others have come back later and said no, but their initial response is a "learned one." For example, new staff (pigs) are taught at training facilities (at Glencoe for federal officers, local places for state officials) to not eat prisoners' food, and to not drink prisoners' water. They are indoctrinated psychologically to view prisoners as sub-human, a separate species, in the same manner as the U.S. Constitution counted Black people as three-fifths human. In the year 2011, USP Lewisburg had on display in the institution toy figurines: a gorilla complete with orange pants, a broken handcuff attached to one wrist, and a toy white man in the costume of superman. This is how they view themselves and us.

But I will not delve too deeply into the racist mentality inside America's prisons; that is a well-known and accepted fact. There are many tortures perpetuated in America's prisons, from those stated above to sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, to brutality and killings. These acts are well known and rarely is anything done.

Instead, the judicial system turns the proverbial blind eye. There are over a thousand cited juridical cases of prisoner lawsuits dismissed as frivolous, or on some contrived technicality, e.g. failure to exhaust administrative remedies/the institutional grievance process, even when that "grievance process" affords no capacity for redress. See Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 USC 1997; 28 USC 1915(g), Woodford v. Ngo, 126 S. Ct. 2378 (2006), Booth v Churner, 532 U.S. 731 (2001).

In federal civil rights cases, the U.S. Attorney (and Department of Justice) for the district where the prison is located "represents" the prison staff at the tax payers' expense. In state 42 U.S.C. §1983 civil rights cases it is the state attorney general who represents prison staff, again at tax payer expense. Prisoners are rarely given an attorney to prosecute their civil actions.

Emboldened by success at having prisoner lawsuits dismissed, prison staff have become more abusive and more blatant. This abuse and torture has had the desired effect, and many prisoners stop reporting staff abuse and just accept it. Thus happens the moral decay of the prison population. Men and women who were social pariahs, when free, for economic reasons, become scavengers, who lack morals, integrity and principles. Human beings are confined and allow the conditions of that confinement to make them into predatory beasts. Whether you are incarcerated for murder, robbery, drug dealing, extortion, or burglary, these crimes have a rational basis, often poverty-bred crime.

In America's prisons, what morals and integrity are left in the prisoner are slowly eroded away. Those who never used alcohol become drunks on prison-made wine and white lightening; those who never used drugs become heroin addicts with self-made needles; psychotropic medication-babies; gunners-flashing and masturbating in front of prison staff; men raping weaker men.

Prisoners are not doing time, the time is doing them. Mentally, prisoners are being dumbed down. It used to be when the youth entered prison they received a book from elder prisoners and a knife from their comrades for protection from the other prisoners and the pigs. Now the youth sit in front of the idiot box (TV) tuned in to BET and MTV.

The majority of prisoners pled guilty and got more time than they deserved, yet few ever even look inside the law library; they cannot read or write, yet do not go to school. They simply play the yard all day, until they find themselves in the SHU for a stabbing over being drunk, fighting over a "punk" or some minor offense perceived as disrespect.

Prisoners have lost the identity of who their enemy is and is not. Do other prisoners lock you in at night, deny you visits and phone calls, throw your mail in the garbage, tell you to strip naked, squat, cough and spread 'em?

All these groups, formed for this fight against "oppression" or claiming to be pushing an agenda of growth and development, and representing truth, justice, etc., are only oppressing themselves. On every yard in the country more Bloods stab Bloods, Crips stab Crips, GD stab GD, Vice Lords stab Vice Lords, LK stab LK, Norteños stab Norteños, Southside stab Southside, and the pigs lock us all down at the end of the night. Where is the comradeship amongst yourselves in particular, and prisoners in general? Where are the George Jacksons of today, Geronimo Pratts, Huey P. Newtons, Albizu Campos, Lolita Lebrons of today? How can you be a man or a "G" and sit confined every day without ever trying to liberate yourself? Is that gangsta, to sit idle chasing dope for the rest of your years in the womb of oppression?

I commend and salute the brothers and soldiers of Georgia State Prisons that in 2010 had a six-facility work stoppage to protest deplorable prison conditions. Every year, there should be a whole month where prisons across America simply refuse work; working for under a dollar for your captors is a crime against yourself. Every time a prisoner is beaten, collectively, without discussion or plan, everyone should simply refuse to work.

In all prisons, and the federal system in particular, there needs to be a moratorium on prisoner-on-prisoner assaults. This needs to go on with each "gang" and I say "gang" because you do not act like freedom fighters, revolutionaries or movements.

"No people to whom liberty is given can hold it as firmly, and wear it as grandly as those who wrench their liberty from the iron hand of the tyrant." - Frederick Douglas


MIM(Prisons) responds: In June of 2010 we had someone write to us about the degrading conditions in Georgia prisons, while lamenting how sorry and submissive the prisoners in Georgia were. Six months later thousands of prisoners in at least 6 prisons launched a coordinated strike just as the comrade above describes. Eighteen months after that, a hunger strike is approaching the one month mark after expanding to multiple GA prisons as well. So, while everything about the breaking process this comrade describes above is true, its hold is not permanent on the minds of the oppressed.

It is already traditional that the month of August be used to honor those who came before us, and SAMAEL has answered this comrade's call for a countrywide fast and work stoppage on September 9, though only for 24 hours. We encourage comrades to use the month of August to do education work around the history of the prison movement. Get in touch with MIM(Prisons) if you need additional study materials. We hope this comrade will follow through on his own suggestions and organize where he is at for a day of solidarity with others in the United Front for Peace in Prisons on September 9.

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[Mental Health] [ULK Issue 36]
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I'm Not Crazy for Identifying with My People

When one is imprisoned and kept away from society for a rather long period of time, it's not unnatural to feel as if you're beginning to lose your bearings, and it's not unnatural for one to seek help from "medical professionals."

What is considered unnatural however is to speak of the plight of the oppressed. I found this out the hard way when I went to my annual psychiatric review. To be "mentally-ill" or depressed when one is from oppressed nation origin and imprisoned is perfectly normal. However, to be perfectly normal or "sane" under the oppressive conditions of imperialism is certainly abnormal. One cannot be of oppressed nation origin and imprisoned and be content. Depression is a completely appropriate state of mind when oppressed by imperialism; there can be no other reaction.

As stated above I attended my annual psychiatric review and was introduced to the four member committee. I was asked a series of questions. How did I feel? Have I experienced any depression lately? Am I suicidal? I answered their questions as quickly and concisely as possible. I felt I passed their test with flying colors. As I was about to be excused however one of the psychiatrists stopped me from leaving and asked me if we could talk about my revolutionary tattoos. My first instinct was to ask him what my tattoos have to do with my "mental health." However, I felt it might look bad to not cooperate so I agreed to stay.

The psych wanted to know what they meant. I simply stated that they were political symbols and took it no further, but he pressed and wanted to know exactly what they meant. S/he kept pressing and at this point I once again thought, "what the hell do my political beliefs have to do with my mental health?!" I figured I'd play their little game and see exactly what they were trying to get at.

I was asked why I choose to have this artwork on me. I replied that they were simply expressions of my solidarity with the oppressed and exploited of the Third World. But why did I feel the need to show my solidarity? "Because" I stated, "they're oppressed and exploited, they've been oppressed and exploited and they're gonna continue to be oppressed and exploited for the foreseeable future!" "Oh, is that all?" At which point I lost temporary control of my emotions and strongly stated: "Yea, that and the fact that they're currently being massacred across the globe!" The committee then collectively jumped and stared at me as if I was indeed crazy for saying these truths.

The psych then attempted to further bait me and get me to incriminate myself by asking me if I felt the need to show my solidarity in any other way. To which I simply laughed and stared in h judgmental hate-filled eyes and said "of course not, I'm in prison." But what if I wasn't in prison? And of course I laughed and just said no.

S/he then accused me of being a gang member, to which I immediately objected and said "no, I am not a gang member!" But the bald-head, the tattoos and last but not least the fact that I'm from the oppressed nations certainly means that I'm a gang member. S/he then asked me what I'm in prisyn for. I told h the truth and told h that I'm in prison for "gang violence." S/he then repeated that I was a gang member. "No!" I once again corrected h. I explained to h that while I once was a gang member, I no longer am today. However, s/he insisted and asked me if I was in solidarity with the Third World when I was on the streets. I told h of course not. I was in solidarity with myself and my "gang". "So you've changed?!" Of course I changed, everybody changes. To which s/he then looked at me curiously and asked if I'd ever been in an insane asylum. "No" I stated. "Would you like to go to one?" "No" I once again stated. I was quite simply surprised that s/he would threaten me so openly. I was then excused.

The implication is clear. To speak of the plight of the oppressed and exploited Third World masses, one must be "crazy."


MIM(Prisons) adds: Check out the article "Psychiatry and Psychology as National Oppression" for a good analysis of this pseudo-science that classifies revolutionaries and oppressed nations as crazy. Also request a copy of MIM Theory 9 on Psychology and Imperialism for a complete analysis of this topic.

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[Mental Health]
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Psychology: A Battle for My Mind

I recently received MIM Theory #9 about the psychology of imperialism. This magazine has so much eye opening knowledge in it! I am very grateful for my copy and for helping me understand myself. I have been labeled as insane for so long and looked down on because of it.

I have been tortured in mental hospitals for refusing to take medication that caused me such very painful side affects. I was billed 29 thousand dollars for a few days of treatment. I was told I had to take medication that was given to make me unhealthy. This medication was priced at thousands of dollars a month.

I was told that my vision of a new world was psychotic delusion. I was told that wanting to have revenge for what was done to the natives of this land was threatening to myself and others. That since I was having vision that I was just a nigger slave on a plantation in chains that I was crazy. That my fear that these damned imperialists might just start a war that will kill us all was not rational.

Many people can't see the world as a whole so it doesn't affect them. Others just need to take a pill for their nerves. I know this enemy of the people and I will expose it. From now on I have pledged to fight for freedom. My next move is to educate myself so I can use my mind as a tool to end injustice. I plan to study law so I can help others. I will try to serve the rest of my time without violence.


MIM(prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade, psychology is used as a tool to control people who do not conform to the norms of imperialist culture. We do not agree with the oppressor's definition of mental health. It is healthy to question the oppression and exploitation of the world's people. It is correct to want to challenge inequality and injustice. And those who are truly in need of help are the ones who think it is ok to profit off the suffering of others. Under communism we can re-educate these people and help them understand the need for a world system that works for the interests of all people.

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[Medical Care] [Mental Health] [California]
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Medical Malpractice in the PSUs

One of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's (CDCR) current problems is not enough bed space inside the psychiatric housing units. As a result of this consistent problem prisoner's health and federal rights are being compromised more and more. Currently there are 4900 prisoners in Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP) programs, but a large number of EOP prisoners have been awaiting admission into the CDCR Psychiatric Services Unit (PSU) for way too long.

This problem could have been solved by the prison administration a long time ago, but with the CDCR, money takes precedence over prisoner's health and well being. They just do their best to camouflage that fact creating legal technicalities to prevent liability. EOP Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisoners who are currently in the PSUs are suffering and paying the cost of overcrowding. Due to the prison administration's desperation to create bed space for EOP SHU offenders awaiting admission to the PSU, many EOP prisoner's level of care is being lowered without regard to their medical needs by the interdisciplinary treatment team (IDTT) committee members.

Recently a fellow prisoner comrade of mine went to his IDTT hearing, which are held every 90 days. At the hearing he was told that because he is "high functioning" his level of care would be reduced back to Correctional Clinical Case Management System (CCCMS). He told them that he has many medical reasons to stay on EOP level of care to help control his symptoms, including hallucinations and inconsistent changes of behavior. They ignored his medical history and dropped him from the EOP program.

The CDCR takes a mental health patient who isn't functioning well at a CCCMS level of care, and changes his level of care to EOP, to help the prisoner function better. Then they see the positive changes the prisoner has made due to the level of care change, and so they decide to change him back to CCCMS. But there is no help for these prisoners to sustain their progress on CCCMS. That's what the IDTT members are doing to current PSU EOP prisoners simply to make bed space. There's a huge difference in treatment given when in CCCMS compared to being in EOP. there is no possible way a prisoner that requires an EOP level of care can cope at a lower inadequate non-suitable level of care CCCMS! That's medical malpractice! It's the same as forcing a disabled prisoner that can't walk to be restricted from using a wheelchair!

As a United Soldier from Within member I'm asking for the EOP prisoners who are experiencing this type of medical malpractice to come forward by sending a letter to Under Lock and Key and let us know your situation. If we can demonstrate that this is indeed a pattern someone from United Soldiers will be assigned to look into the matter and work on putting a cease to this form of injustice and inadequate medical care.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade demonstrates well the failure of the health care system in Amerikan prisons.

First there is the failure of care in general: prisoners receive abysmal health care services that amount to outright neglect. This got so bad in California that a federal judge put California prisons in receivership under a mandate to fix the health care services. Denial of adequate care leads to an unknown number of deaths and illnesses every year in Amerikan prisons.

In this case, the author is talking about inadequate mental health services. It's important to understand what is meant by "mental illness" under capitalism to put this neglect in context. Prisoners who are locked in isolated cells for years at a time are going to lose their ability to function in society. This is just one example of how the criminal injustice system literally drives people to mental illness.

We don't see mental illness as a fixed situation but rather a result of society. And in fact the definition of this "illness" changes based on who has power in a society. There are many examples in history of communists being labeled "crazy" for their beliefs in the equality of all people. Further, those who are angered and depressed by the exploitation, murder and oppression of the majority of the world's people are given drugs by the capitalist doctors to help make them happier.

There are many people in prison who have been abused by society and then abused by the criminal injustice system. And it should be no surprise that they now have difficulty functioning. We are under no illusions that a little "mental health" treatment is going to fix this problem. But neglect and punishment is certainly only going to make things worse. And the casual moving people from program to program with little regard for their well being described in this article is just a financial and numerical exercise for the prisoncrats.

As we have described in other articles on mental health, we need to keep in mind that we can't rely on the enemy to solve our problems. The criminal injustice system is behind many of the mental health problems in prisons. And so they can not be counted on to provide the solution, which requires more than some capitalist counseling and drugs. We support our comrade's call for adequate health care, but we know that this must be a part of the larger fight against the imperialist system, because the imperialists are the cause of many of our health problems.

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[Abuse] [Mental Health] [Dade Correctional Institution] [Florida] [ULK Issue 22]
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FL Grievances Forbid Helping Others

I am a prisoner currently incarcerated in the Florida department of corrections. At this time I'm being held at Dade Correctional Institution, in the mental health dorm transitional care unit.

This unit is for prisoners who have had, or who have developed serious mental health problems. This place is supposed to provide treatment such as counseling, one-on-one therapy, groups, etc. And it does that, but only to a bare minimum.

I am writing this because the prisoners here are being neglected. Not so much the ones who have good sense left, such as myself, but the severe cases of the prisoners who are so far gone they've lost touch with reality; the ones who are truly mentally disabled.

I've been writing grievances about this neglect, but the FL DOC has this rule that if the incident does not affect you personally then you cannot grieve the issue. This makes no sense to me at all. Some of these inmates are gone, and cannot grieve when they are done wrong.

There's an incident here that I continue to grieve of a prisoner who sleeps in the cell across from mine. This comrade has nothing in his cell except his being and a set of blues. He has no mattress, blanket, sheets, nothing. This guy doesn't talk at all. He makes noises sometimes that have no reasonable meaning but that's about it. He's lost to the world and he is mentally unstable. He cannot ask for these things, and he definitely cannot file a grievance. So this prisoner must continue to live like this because of some stupid rule that the DOC made up about this not affecting me directly.

There are a lot of prisoners here who are being literally warehoused. There are guys here who haven't taken a shower for months. They don't ask so it's not offered.

This is a mental health dorm. The staff are suppose to be helping these prisoners who cannot help themselves, and instead they are ignoring them.

I, fortunately, cannot be ignored. My mental health issues developed from doing long periods of time in close management settings (control units). I admit I became weak in a way. I picked up a bad habit that eventually turned into an addiction: self mutilation — I'm a cutter. But I am not beyond bouncing back. I do time how I want to do time. And that's the way I'm comfortable right now so it is what it is. I've got good sense though, trust that!

I'm going to continue to write up everything that I see these pigs here do, and I'm writing everything they're not doing up too. Someone will eventually listen. They cannot run a mental health unit like this. I'm going to keep on fighting for our rights until something is done.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Health care in prisons across the U.$. is terrible so it's no surprise to hear about the lack of even basic care in these Florida Mental Health units. We are also not surprised to hear the effect that long term incarceration has had on this comrade, leading to self mutilation. This is a good example of capitalism causing so-called mental illnesses. In reality, we should call these torture illnesses, as they are a direct result of torture in prisons. For more information about imperialism and psychology request a copy of MIM Theory 9: Psychology and Revolution.

This article referenced in:
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[Mental Health] [Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada]
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Ely State Prison: Depravity, Despair and Death

Ely State Prison(ESP) is a place of death, stagnation, misery, pain, loneliness and indeterminate lockdown. If you were to take a walk on one of these depressing tiers back here in "the hole," you would hear many disembodied voices ring out, yelling in anger and frustration, trying to tell you how bad it is for us in here, in between the isolated confines of steel and stone.

This is a maximum security prison, but not everybody here is a security risk, but if you were to ask these pigs that, they'd probably tell you otherwise, just to try to justify the fact that they're keeping us warehoused in here, whether we deserve it or not. With time things change, and usually for the worse. Deterioration is a normal occurrence in here. In fact, if you were to ask the prisoners around here if they think the conditions here will get better or worse, most of them will tell you things are only going to get worse. Pessimism and hopelessness permeate the minds and attitudes of the average prisoner in here. There's nothing much to look forward to, besides the next meal, and maybe a letter in the mail, if you're lucky.

Back in the day, ironically when ESP was opened (when we were allowed group yard, tier time, porters, etc.), the majority of the prisoners here were actually befitting of the status: maximum security. Back then, a man was sent to Ely State Prison for failure to adjust in another, less secure prison, violence, escapes and things of that nature. But even then, that could also mean he was disruptive, someone who organized other prisoners, led religious services, or filed too many legal writs or grievances.

Not every man at ESP is told why he's here these days, and not every man here has committed a violent crime. Not every man here has done anything serious to even warrant maximum security status. For example, I have a neighbor here in the hole with me right now who was transferred up here simply for contraband. A prisoner has no chance to appeal a transfer before being sent to ESP, and sometimes arrives in the middle of the night without warning. Brought into a world of darkness, locked into a cell, left to get stale and stagnant as he deteriorates, like a moldy piece of bread.

Nobody belongs in a world where they're buried alive, where they're in a tomb for the dead, basically. The police have total control, and many of them frequently abuse that control, either on a psychological level, or on a physical level. And over the days, weeks, months and years, a prisoner who is confined to this every day misery, begins to degenerate. I've seen it happen, over and over again. Nobody belongs in a world like this, where death permeates the atmosphere. Where pressure is applied so constantly that all it does is make these men hard and mean as time goes by.

Some of these guys in here feel they only have 2 or 3 choices now: escape, snitch or suicide. Nobody has escaped from here yet, but many turned into snitches, and many have committed suicide. And others have succumbed to psychotropic medications, which is a form of both escape and suicide. For so many of us in here, there's nothing to strive for, no aim, no goals, no hope, no light at the end of their tunnel, and they just give up; give in. There's no love here, just the artificial love that you'll find in the gang culture of prison life. This is a terrible place to be, especially for someone who has to return back to society.

All you have to do is read a little psychology to figure out what's going on, to understand what's being done to us in here. They try to break us down, sever our family and social ties, dominate us, talk shit to us, treat us like children, going out of their way to try to keep us stagnant and ignorant, and always out to break our spirits. Needless to say, I pass around books, articles and notes on psychology, so that prisoners can get a deeper understanding about things. Not just about being in prison, but also about how our minds work, personality, emotions, why we act the way we act, and why we are the way we are. It's very important to actually be able to come to an understanding of these things; to raise our level of conscious and to be able to elevate our thinking under these circumstances is very important in more ways than one, and it's also necessary for our survival in here, where psychological warfare is being waged on us every day.

The depravity and despair in this graveyard continuously pushes men to death or insanity. I wrote an article on November 18th, 2009, about the mysterious death of death row prisoner Timothy Redman. Nov 18, 2009, was the day he died, and I was there when it happened. This is a prime example of the daily depravity that takes place in this hellhole. Approximately an hour after Redman allegedly tried to grab a correctional officer by the wrist and pull his arm through the food slot (apparently the pig had to struggle to free himself), an extraction team of officers was made up to physically and forcefully remove Redman from his cell, or at least to try. Redman refused to surrender and to be placed in handcuffs, and he did so by displaying a weapon. What's cold about this whole thing is that the policy (administrative regulation) even states that any time a prisoner has a weapon in his cell, his water and toilet is to be shut off, an officer is to be stationed outside of his cell, and nothing is to come in or go out of his cell - not even meals, and this officer is supposed to stay stationed outside of his cell until the prisoner either gives the weapon up, or for 72 hours, and then they have to decide what to do from there, whether excessive force is to be used or not. Did this happen? No. These pigs refused to follow their own rules and a man died as a result.

A Story of One Man's Death

I can tell you exactly what took place. After Redman refused to surrender, the pigs then proceeded to spray one can of pepper spray into his cell. After that the senior officer in the control bubble commenced to open Redman's cell so the pigs could run in on him and retaliate, and then remove him from his cell. But the cell door was jammed from the inside, and they couldn't get it open. Obviously Redman was no dummy, he knew how to keep the pigs out, and he knew why it was so important to do so. That's a situation that you usually don't win. They come in and beat your ass, and after they've got you fully restrained, they beat you some more as they yell out "Stop resisting! Stop resisting!" So, over the course of two hours, the pigs emptied a total of 6 canisters of gas into Redman's cell, and then sprayed a seventh canister one time. They would spray him, and then go hide out in the upper storage room, so that the gas wouldn't affect them (Redman was housed in 3-B-48, right next to the upper storage room). When they were finally able to open Redman's cell to get him out, he was dead. His face was purple, his body was blue and blood was coming out of his nose. His boxers were stained with feces and urine and he had what appeared to be a smile on his face. The nurses and doctors tried to revive him, but to no avail.

What's mysterious about this whole situation was that when they pulled Redman out of his cell, there was no rope tied around his neck or anything. But they say he hung himself. They said it was a suicide. But did he really hang himself, or was he murdered by six cans of pepper spray? Was it a cover-up? People need to be concerned about this, and they should demand to see the video footage of the extraction, just to make sure. Because the whole things seemed mysterious to the majority of the prisoners who saw the incident take place.

All seem to agree that Redman died from the pepper spray. They think he was murdered. Who knows what happened. Death row prisoners have been murdered before under McDaniel's administration. I know this much: a couple of hours after they carried Redman's body out of the unit, two of the wardens, the coroner, and the investigator were all standing outside of Redman's cell laughing, smiling and joking around, thinking it was funny. I piped up and said, "What are you laughing at? If that was one of your own who died, you wouldn't find it very funny, now would you?"

The really cold, cold part about it was, when the coroner asked the warden, on two separate occasions, "How should I decide this?", "How do you think I should decide this, suicide or murder?" The warden looked around, seen that prisoners were standing alert at their doors and said "I can't decide that, that's your job." But what would even propel the coroner to ask such an odd question like that in the first place?

I knew Redman personally. He wasn't really a friend of mine, but someone I talked to occasionally. I don't know what set him off to go after the pig, but i do know this: Redman was a death row prisoner who had had to endure 23-hour lockdown while on HRP (High Risk Potential status) for 16-17 years straight. I heard him talking once about how the administration is stripping one privilege away from us each year. Tobacco, milk, scrambled eggs, hot lunches, food packages, clothing packages, etc. They just take, take, take and keep you locked down in a cell with a death sentence hanging over your head. Oh yeah, and I know that they were messing with Redman's mail too. He seemed to think that his wife left him due to this; because certain letters never got to her. So i think it's safe to say, with all those things taken into consideration, you have a man who has nothing to lose, and no hope in sight, who has basically been driven to a point where life doesn't even matter anymore.

Systematic Problems Require Organizing

There's a lot of people like that in here. They weren't always like that though. They've deteriorated, and have been broken, and just stopped trying, stopped caring, with no one or nothing to help pull them through. It's a sad sad story, about depravity and despair. Some of us fight and struggle trying to make it through this, trying to better ourselves and better our positions in life, and some just give up all hope. It's easy to give up in a filthy, foul-ass place like this, where nobody cares about what you're going through, or about what happens to you, one way or another.

The guards who work here don't care about us, they're not trained to care about us, they are only trained to control us. Ely State Prison is an unproductive, unhealthy environment, even for these pigs. it has been documented that prison guards have the highest rates of heart disease, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce - and the shortest lifespans - of any state civil servants, due to the stress in their lives. Prison guard are in constant fear of injury by prisoners, and the fear of contracting diseases always lingers in their minds, since prisons are normally flooded with all kinds of diseases, from hepatitis C, tuberculosis, to AIDS.

From the first day in the academy these guards are trained to believe that they are the "good guys" and that prisoners are the "bad guys." They are pretty much programmed into fearing and despising us - before they even come into contact with any of us! They are led to believe that all prisoners are manipulative, deceitful and dangerous, and that all prisoners are the scum of the Earth. So no, they don't care about us, they are not even allowed to care about us. We are not even human to them. Needless to say, none of this leads to rehabilitation, but on the contrary, it only contributes to the everyday depravity here in this hellhole.

I'm writing about all of this for a reason. I'm here to expose the abuse, the disparity and hopelessness. I'm here to raise awareness about all of these things, and I'm here to help seek solutions. One of the things I'd like to help Nevada prisoners understand is that the situation for us out here is deplorable. There is a real problem with this whole system, and if we don't recognize these problems, we will never find solutions, not to mention the possibility that we ourselves could even be contributing to many of these problems. Please believe, the way they've got us doing our time is not the way we're supposed to be doing our time. This whole prison is "the hole"; there's no general population here at ESP, there's no incentive, no programs, no rehabilitation, nothing. We have way more coming to us than this! We are not supposed to just lay down and accept this, we have to start finding ways to come together, we have to start striving to make the necessary changes that will help better our positions in life, so that we don't have to keep coming back to these dead ends.

Furthermore, there's no real level of activism in Nevada. Prisoners do not have any available resources, bookstores for Nevada prisoners, no prisoners' rights advocacy groups, no solid help from the outside, whatsoever. In order to make changes on the inside, we need support from the outside. We must take it upon ourselves to build a proper support structure for Nevada prisoners, and we have to do this from the ground up!

So, if you're a prisoner doing time in Nevada and if you have family/friends out here in Nevada - or anywhere else on the outs - I would like to encourage you to explain to them how bad the situation is for you/us in here. Let them know that we cannot expect any type of real rehabilitation from this system; explain to them that the administration is not going to do anything to help us further our growth and development, or push us close to becoming reformed, socially functioning individuals. We have to take it upon ourselves to do these things and we can't do it without a proper support structure from people on the outside.

Talk to your families talk to your friends, talk to your loved ones out there (show them this newsletter if you have to), see what they would be willing to do to start up programs for Nevada prisoners. Something needs to be done, but nothing will improve unless prisoners start taking the initiative.

The guys who have to do life sentences, or who have to be here for the duration, I encourage you to start learning the law, use it as a tool to make changes for everybody; start stepping up to the plate, instead of waiting for others to do it for you. As long as we keep trying, sooner or later something has to give. It's better to try than to do nothing, especially when we're living like this! We can do anything we put our minds to, it all starts with a thought, and what we think about we become, so let's get cracking!

Until then, we are just going to sit here, warehoused in this misery, as the years go by, more people losing their minds, more deaths and suicides, more repression, more rules being placed on us, making it harder on us, more restrictions, more losses of privileges and whatever else they want to take from us. We will sit here with sad looks on our faces, as anger and hatred eat us up inside. The despair will lead to depravity , and the depravity will do us in. Death is the only outcome tomorrow, for those that don't start taking action today.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good discussion of the need for activism in the context of concrete examples of repression and brutality in the criminal injustice system. Further, this writer is correct that there is a bigger context to the repression that is an inherent part of the system. We do not believe that psychology is the appropriate place to look for answers, but it is useful to understand systemic motivations and factors. See our article on mental health in ULK15 for more analysis on this.

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[United Front] [Mental Health] [ULK Issue 19]
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The Subjection of the Incarcerated

I read in the September/October 2010 issue, an article written by a prisoner in the Pennsylvania structure. He said, "[guys in this jail] are only concerned with BET, sports, 40 cent ice cream tickets and who's sucking whose dick... they don't stand up for shit except count time."

I believe these statements are very correct. Not only for the Pennsylvania structures, but all penal structures throughout the United $tates. I've read every single article in that issue by many different prisoners throughout these structures. I can relate to every last one of them, and I'm pretty sure that all prisoners within the system can relate to every single article just the same.

These structures differ only so slightly, only by name, location and modeled design, but their inner mechanisms pretty much work the same way. Everyone complains of the disunity and betrayal between their fellow prisoners. Noone wants to stand up against the powerful structure that has the ability to deploy swarms of guards equipped with body armor shields and pepper spray to counter any resistance from its 'subjects.' Even though we outnumber them, in the end, they still seem to come out on top. They seem unstoppable, victorious, and mighty. Prisoners give these "warriors" seemingly honorable names such as "The Goon Squad", "The Turtles," "The Team," "The Run Down Boys", and "The Squad."

Riots and uprisings are quickly squashed with no positive results, other than more lockdowns, revocation of good time and parole, restrictions on telephones and visitations and all other privileges of the prisoners that were provided by their "structure." I relate and share in the suffering and pains of every one of my comrades.

Psychology

But do you know why there is so much disunity between prisoners? Do you understand how the human mind works? Do you understand what I mean by the term structure? Do you know how dangerous and manipulative your institutional psychologist or "psych" could really be? Do you know why all modern prisoners must be built and structured into many individual pods? Do you know what your mind frame is being subjected to, by the master psychologists and anthropologists who designed and masterminded the inner workings and mechanics that make these structures work so differently from those of the 70s and 80s?

In the world of psychology, there's a basic and very fundamental term known as "Classical Conditioning." Classical Conditioning means any type of learning through which an organism learns to associate one event or object within the environment to which the organism or person responds with another. For example: when we see or smell delicious food we are tempted to eat, or feel hungry. Or when we see a very attractive person, we become sexually aroused, thanks to certain hormones that are being secreted within our bodies.

These natural responses to events or objects in our environment are our Classical Conditioning. It is in our nature to respond in this way to these types of stimuli. (Ivan Pavlov 1849-1936, Conditioned Reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex.) [ULK Editor: Classical Conditioning is actually the replacement of the natural occurring stimulus (like the smell of food) with an unrelated stimulus (like the ringing of a bell). Pavlov famously made dogs salivate with this method by ringing a bell. The idea that anything that triggers a physiological response is "natural" is often used to imply that humyns are hard wired to respond this way. On the contrary, most, if not all, of our sexual arousal is triggered by socially conditioned responses (see Operant Conditioning below). A scientific approach would be to overthrow the patriarchy and then see what triggers sexual arousal in humyns. Things that trigger sexual arousal under communism and under the patriarchy would be good candidates for "hard wired" responses. Similarly, the smell of certain fast food might make some Amerikanized humyns salivate while making other people nauseous.]

The next most basic and fundamental term in the world of psychology is known as "Operant Conditioning." Operant Conditioning means a type of learning in which the consequences of behavior are manipulated so as to increase or decrease the frequency of an existing response or to shape an entirely new response. For example, in order to be paroled and released back into society, you must respond with good behavior throughout your incarceration. Or, if you break the law, the response of the controlling authorities will be to convict you and then send you to prison.

The most notable researcher of Operant Conditioning is a psychologist by the name of B.F. Skinner. In his book, "Beyond Freedom and Dignity" (1971) Skinner quotes "free will is a myth and a person's behavior is always shaped and controlled by others - parents, teachers, peers, advertising and television." In this book, Skinner argues that society must systematically shape the behavior of their members for the larger good.

Now that we are familiar with the terms Classical and Operant Conditioning, we will lean more towards the Operant Conditioning within the walls of these structures because Operant Conditioning deals strictly with the manipulation of human behavior.

Operant Conditioning in Prisons

As of right now, I'm confined to solitary confinement, in a single cell for 23 hours a day for a total of 570 days. My original time was 90 days for a "shank" or "shaped weapon" that was allegedly found in my cell during a shake down at a time when we were having a lot of stabbings within our structure. When they brought me down to the hole, they tried to give me a cellmate, but I refused. Due to this refusal, I was issued a ticket, which was then reviewed by a hearing examiner, who gave me an extra 30 days in the hole for "refusing to obey a direct order." Every day, the guards would order me to take a cellmate, but I refused. Within one month I totaled 570 days, and counting.

One must be thinking, why is he putting himself through all of this unnecessary punishment? Why don't he just take a cellmate and get out of the hole?

The truth is, I'm actually avoiding extra punishment, not physically but mentally. The hole is a behavior modification mechanism within the structure that employs a form of deprivation to manipulate human behavior. It is not meant for two human organisms to occupy for any period of time. But due to overcrowding in all of the Pennsylvania's structures, people are being forced to cell up and co-exist with each other under these harsh conditions. A man needs privacy and time to himself in order to cope in the best way he can during this time of extreme deprivation. But instead prisoners within my structure are forced into these conditions. Under these conditions cellmates are known to fight with each other for something as minor as using the bathroom at a certain time of night. Whereas in general population if the same two individuals were cellmates an unorthodox or out of timed bathroom break would never have been a problem.

After their fight these same two prisoners are then forced to kiss and make up and endure each other's differences as well as their deprivations. Under these conditions, stress and mental anguish are always present. This type of stress results in bad health and hair loss. It is much healthier to remain in solitary where one doesn't have to deal with the next man's deprivations as well as his own. I see and hear cellmates argue and fight each other every day from where I'm at. A lot of the cellmates do not get along and "pull stunts" to force the commanding shift officer to move them in with someone more suitable.

Another form of Operant Conditioning used to manipulate behavior employed by the penal system is food. Though food is a necessity for the human organism and is classified as Classical Conditioning, when used in behavior modification - it becomes operant. For example, in the hole, we get fed less portions of the meals than those in general population.

The food, that all of us prisoners consume is laced with monosodium glutamate (MSG). Our tongue has four distinct taste sensations: bitter, sweet, sour and salty. The fifth sensation is called the umanmi, which is triggered by the substance glutamate. When this fifth sensation is triggered by this glutamate substance, it stimulates the other four sensations on the tongue's taste buds, creating a strong urge for more glutamate substance. Try eating a handful of salt and vinegar potato chips and then bite into an apple. Which product will you crave more?

To supplement the effects of monosodium glutamate in the lunch and dinner meals, the penal system provides the prisoners with a commissary that has food available upon purchase in its inventory. The prisoners are now led to purchase items on commissary to supplement their chemically induced hunger at night after the prison feeds him/her their dinner. Ninety percent of the prisoners I know can't live without ramen noodles every night. So now the prisoner becomes dependent on the commissary.

Then, penal systems will provide the prisoner with privileges, but only if his behavior is in compliance with the rules. The prisoner is allowed to have a radio and a television set with cable in his cell. Then there are the phone calls, the visits, parole, the weight room and the yard. But let's go back to the television set. A TV is major time killer. You could do your entire bid in the cell just watching TV. The TV is a major stimulus if you want to control the weak prisoner. Most people in the hole say "I can't wait to get back out and watch TV., I've missed 3 episodes of Jersey Shore (or whatever program) already." Even I miss the television and a good honey bun every now and then.

The manipulation of Operant Conditioning can be so powerful, many prisoners take abuse from their structure's establishment in order that they may make parole and go home to their families. Within my structure, the prisoners are forced to take programs and work jobs that start at 19 cents an hour, otherwise they won't make parole. Would you stay in prison for 10 years, or adjust your behavior and go home within 5 or 4 1/4 on pre-release.

These individuals who are trying to go home, as well as the weak prisoners, are then placed within the same housing unit along with the strong, long term more militant prisoners - who, by the way happen to be our comrades in the struggle. With these different individuals with different goals in mind, any type of unity or grouping together for one common cause is gonna be difficult.

Whenever the penal system changes a policy that we are in opposition to, only a few will be able to stand up while the majority of these strategically placed so-called convicts will turn their backs and endure the abuse in order to be released from prison or maintain possession of their privileges.

We can't shut down the kitchens, because a majority of the prisoners who are working there are parole mandated. They would rather deal with the abuse and go home. Hunger strikes are iffy. A riot these days will consist of no more than 300 people, which is easily contained as soon as they seal off the individual pods or units and lock the prison structure down. Then they turn us against each other by offering the unfortunate and the "have nots" a radio or television set, in return for spying and telling on their comrades' movements.

The ones who designed the program structure, the parole structure, the commissary and privilege rights (the "brains") are the college educated psychologists who we will never see. They are the ones who created this form of behavior modification.

Because of this, a division is wedged in between our factions, causing a chain reaction of adversary and conflict amongst ourselves. The ones who have a little bit of money, shun and look down upon the one who is broke. Even if the one who doesn't have any money on his books had lived more prosperous in the streets. The young prisoners take our older comrades for granted because they are old. Thus creating a huge intellectual and traditional gap between the two.

Phillip Zimbardo is a psychologist most notable for his work on social roles. A social role, as defined by Zimbardo is a "socially defined behavior considered appropriate for individuals occupying certain positions within a given group."(P.G. Zimbardo, "Pathology of Imprisonment" (1972) 'Society,' 9, 4-8.) The Stanford Prison Experiment is an experiment in which Phillip Zimbardo simulated a prison experience. College students were randomly assigned to be either guards or prisoners. The guards, wearing uniform and carrying small clubs, strictly enforced harsh rules. The prisoners were stripped naked, searched and deloused. Then they were given prison uniforms, assigned numbers, and locked away in small bare cells. The guards quickly adapted to their new role, some even to the point of becoming heartless and sadistic. One guard remembered forcing prisoners to clean toilets with their bare hands. And the prisoners began to act debased and subservient. The role playing became too real - so much so that the experiment had to be ended in only 6 days.

That was just an experiment, play acting. But you see once an individual becomes wrapped up in a certain social role how far it can lead. Zimbardo conducted this experiment back in 1972, but we are in the real thing today. Once these guys adapt to certain roles and behaviors, the result is what we see being acted out today.

One day, a guard burnt one of our comrades for a meal right here in the hole. Only 7 of us held our food trays and refused to return them in protest of the injustice that was carried out. Those that gave their tray back all stated that they didn't want to get a ticket, that they were trying to get out of the hole as soon as possible.

So, what are we left with? The answer is simple - it's knowledge. My comrades, prison is a mental struggle, it always was. We must evolve mentally. Study psychology, get good at it. Study political science, get good at it. Study anthropology, get good at it. We must evolve and turn our cells into think tanks. Learn and understand how the penal system structure controls and manipulates human behavior.

Stop taking psychological medication in any form, be it a sleep inducer or antidepressant. For when you are released you will be subjected to withdrawals whenever deprived which may lead you into narcotic abuse. If you can't sleep, read and learn meditation and breathing exercises, heal yourself.

If you're depressed, meditation and inner calmness works wonders on the mind. The structure is a very powerful establishment designed and put together by some very smart college educated veterans, who get paid a lot of money to make sure that the prisoners advances are easily thwarted.

When we are able to show and prove that our solution is better, the younger ones will follow and we will grow in numbers in time. For now, my comrades, we are all in the same boat. Let's not be upset with the younger ones or the ignorant who refuse to unite. The manipulators who control these structures have made sure that the consequences will outweigh the rewards by far.

The weight of the structure sits heavy on those who need to get home to their families. The younger ones are easily manipulated, just give them a television and some food, and the jail could burn to the ground for all they care. As long as the power don't shut off.

For the rest of us, my comrades, if we continue to apply ourselves and stick to our disciplines, in time we will grow in numbers. Understand the importance of the right knowledge for the right battle. This is a psychological war. Learn the fundamentals of psychology, please.

Prison today is more like a mental hospital. With the number of the mentally ill growing in numbers every year, psych meds dim the intelligence of the individual, making him/her slow as the years go by. Understand what you're really being subjected to within your structure. Learn to adapt and adjust, be independent.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This analysis of prisons using classical psychological tools is useful for revolutionaries because it helps to uncover the methods and goals of those who design and run the Amerikan criminal injustice system. This comrade is right that the system is built to discourage and prevent organizing and unity. It's not that prisoners who are passive are inherently evil, they are just doing what the system is pushing them to do, and resistance is no easy task. Similarly, brutal COs are not just evil individuals. They are playing a role like the students in the experiment. This role cannot be abolished until capitalism itself is abolished.

For our comrades who do stand up against all this, we must know that the struggle is long and difficult. But as this comrade points out, we will grow and unite others as we stick to our message and discipline. For more on MIM(Prisons)'s position on psychology, check out the magazine MIM Theory 9 or our article Mental Health: a Maoist Perspective.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Mental Health] [Iowa]
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Psychological Torture in Iowa

It's after midnight and I am exhausted but the racing thoughts in my head will not allow my body to sleep. My anxiety is at its absolute worst and therefore my insomnia is at its worst.

As a result of having to try to cope with these almost crippling conditions without medication, my depression is also quite severe. Most days I have to force myself to get out of bed. (Keep in mind that when I'm "in bed", I'm not there because I'm sleeping but rather because I cannot find a reason to get up.) When I finally do get up I'm in a constant state of anxiety and panic. I've lived every day of the last year and a half on the verge of a complete nervous and emotional breakdown due to my untreated insomnia and anxiety/panic disorder.

Because of "DOC policy" the medications that were successfully treating these conditions prior to me coming to prison in 2009 were taken from me. The only medication I'm allowed is Cymbalta, which treats my depression.

I have complained to psychology staff and my doctor here that I need these medications back as my mental health is extremely unstable due to not having them. I mentioned to them that it is not unusual for me - since not having these meds - to only get 1-2 hours of sleep a night. I also told them about the panic attacks I've been having. (Anyone who's ever suffered from one of these can tell you just how terrifying they can be.) I've told them all of this and they still refuse to provide me with adequate medications to treat my mental illnesses. Prisoners here do not receive any type of individual therapy to help them cope with such illnesses either.

As a result of IDOC's negligence to my mental health I have suffered immensely. I was forced to drop out of a potentially beneficial academic program as a result of my untreated anxiety and the fact that I could not attend some days because I was not getting enough sleep at night due to my untreated insomnia. When my conditions got so bad that I was contemplating suicide they locked me in a tiny cell with no clothes and no blankets or a bed to sleep on and they left me there for about 2 weeks - the first time. They required me to eat with my hands and would not allow any tangible items in the cell with me, not even a soft covered Bible. Now lets be reasonable here, how am I going to harm myself with a soft covered Bible - or any soft covered book for that matter? They also forced me to let them examine my anus and genital area 3 times per day because they thought I may have had something hidden up there even though I never once left the cell and the door never opened once. It was closed and I never had any type of contact with anyone. Keep in mind someone was outside the cell monitoring me through a fairly large window 24/7.

I believe they secretly thought that keeping me in there for so long under such harsh and inhumane conditions would discourage me from bothering them with my mental health problems anymore as I heard one of the pigs say to the prisoner they appointed to monitor me that "if he wants to keep plain' these fuckin' games he can just stay in there awhile." When he used the word "games" he was referring to me becoming suicidal as a result of their negligence to my mental health needs.

I was recently told by a psychology staff that they could not afford to give me the medications I need because of the recent budget cuts here in this state. I write this letter because I figured people should know that Governor Culver, who claims to so concerned about the safety of Iowa's children, is also the one responsible for the budget cuts that put a barrier between prisoners and adequate mental health treatment which would help all mentally ill prisoners, including pedophiles and other sex offenders, be better rehabilitated and prepared to live as responsible citizens upon release.

So I'll close this letter by posing a few questions. What is more threatening, pedophiles or mentally unstable pedophiles? A domestic abuser or a mentally unstable domestic abuser? A drug dealer who sells drugs to kids or a mentally unstable drug dealer who has a history of selling drugs to kids? I think I've made my point.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As we've written in previous articles about mental health, we look primarily to the environment as a cause for mental health problems like this prisoner describes. It is no wonder that s/he is suffering problems, as s/he is subjected to the torture of isolation that has a documented history of bringing mental health issues. Under imperialism we are forced to accept band-aids for mental health problems, and so many people end up using drugs to bring symptoms under control. As we explained in ULK 13, "As with most problems we face, we can find answers to mental health problems through dialectical materialism and in having the correct political line. In the 1950s the Chinese eliminated the more backwards psychological practices in their society and replaced them with ones focused on getting individuals to connect with and help shape the material world through applying dialectical materialism. Mental health care, like much of Chinese society under Mao, emphasized the importance of both self-reliance and collective help, with the understanding that patients can fight their diseases and lead productive lives in the new society."

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[Mental Health] [Medical Care] [Utah]
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Say No to Escape Drugs

It's funny because back when I was more of a knucklehead escapist I wanted medications to help me zone out or sleep through this Auschwitz. And they told me I wasn't crazy enough then for drugs. Now that I've discovered reality, and am snapping them in the ass with it daily, they're crying for me to be medicated and psychologically tested!

Well, they had their chance to turn me into a zombie. Now it's my turn to show them they're hypocrites. I do not believe forced medications are in the picture. But I wanted to give everyone a heads up just in case some curve ball comes my way. If you start receiving letters from me, talking about UFOs and my new brand of comfy diapers, writing in a child's hand, you'll know something's up.

They'll have to wrestle the poison into me each time though. Maybe I shouldn't be dwelling on this, or even speaking about it, but I've spent my fair share of time force medicated, cramped up and yelling/moaning uncontrollably on the cold cement for months at a time, as COs laugh and kick you in the side. Sweating, being spit on and only fed a sandwich bag of dry cereal and an apple a day. Not being even able to chew with your jaw locked up from the Haldol.

The pigs do this sort of torture to break a person. But what they don't know is a small percentage will always become very still inside after being treated like that. So still they perceive him/her as broken. Silent. And they'll move on to the next victim.

But this quiet one will wait and learn and watch. He/she'll smile when they expect a smile. And laugh when they see something as funny and need verification it's so. But this person's not... there's not the same individual "in there" anymore. I mean, how could there be?

There are two roads one can take. One is of poisons and suicide. The other is of sweat and a sort of intelligent number$ where everything petty, insignificant, small, and worthless is what it is and rolls off his/her back.

You continue. But not for you do you do this. Something deep inside understands when nine suited up weightlifters beat a chained soul, your soul, inside you're turned into this time bomb. Sort of. And of such a magnitude, that if you learn to control it, so it doesn't detonate and destroy yourself, it works wonders at getting you through. Through anything. You walk and the sea of people part because they feel and see what's inside you.

It's dangerous. But it's so dangerous not because it seeks to hurt. Oh, It'll hurt, but only if it's to help another in the same type of the situation where he/she was tempered. Seeing totally outnumbered people being beaten. Whether in groups of ten, or nations of ten million. These numbered captives who were raised as parasites, only to be fed to fellow parasites, are dangerous, are in my opinion the true revolutionary force in this nation of $nake$.

We just gotta get to them before they explode. Before they manipulate themselves some Seroquel or Effexor [psych drugs]. Before they stop caring and actually start becoming entertained by the simple, mundane, petty-pussy-patriotic slogans and shiny bloodstained third world baubles dancing merrily in front of their questioning eyes.

This is coming from one saved by the scruff of my neck because of MIM(Prisons) and comrades' tireless work 'out there' to pull the wool from captives eyes 'in here.'

I owe my life to the anti-imperialist struggle. I just hope, and train my body and mind, to contribute positively each day, and in the future, to the struggle.

Because I must, or I'd already be dead.

chain
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