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Under Lock & Key

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[National Oppression] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California]
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Update from Killer Kern Valley State Prison

As expected brothas are still struggling against the oppressive administrators here, and when I say brothas I'm talking Black-Africans. We're now coming up from a race based lockdown where all Blacks were locked down for being Black.

K. Harrington (the Warden) said it was because members of the "Black population" had assaulted C/Os on two different occasions. As if the Black population was a gang or organization where one or two individual's actions are a reflection of the mass, and is to be responded to as such.

Almost any other prison you go to in California, individuals are held accountable for their own actions, or those in which they are affiliated. For instance, if a Crip does something out of the administrators regulation, they hold the CRIPs or the individual Crip gang at fault. Not the whole Black population.

But you know this Department of Corruption, they have tactics for everything they do. My theory on our situation here is the inciting of violence. Whether it be against them (pigs) or us (prisoners).

At this time, the California Correctional and Police Officer Agency can use a little publicity on reasons why California tax payers and makers shouldn't start firing their asses left and right, starting from the top. All they need is a few riots to crack off, they'll then call up the local news and have them come out and throw it on the news basically painting to the general public: "see, this is why you all need us." California is in a bad position again, and they can't just build new prisons to put themselves in a better one.

The pigs aren't giving us canteen, the food portions have been reduced and it's the pigs do more taunting towards the Blacks for us to make a move. And a lot of the brothas here don't even see what it is that is taking place, they fall right into the plans of these capitalist pigz.

The water is still contaminated with arsenic lead and they've said nothing about it although when I appealed it they responded to me saying that it'll be fixed by the second quarter of 2009. Well it's now the 5th, making this the third quarter. I'm going to the courts about the issue but I have plenty more so I have to move slow.

Brothers here seem to do a lot of mumbling about the problems, but they refuse to unite and address the issues for fear of being sent to the SHU or ASU for standing up for their rights. Although they (the administrators) already have us all labeled as united "Black Population".

Only the strong survive.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter illustrates the type of racial profiling and pitting of oppressed nations against each other that goes on in the criminal injustice system and on the streets. However we would go further than this author and argue that singling out lumpen organizations (LO) is another aspect of the same problem. The prisons decide who to validate as gang members, often putting people in groups with which they have no affiliation. And the prison administrators pit LOs against each other and selectively punish one or the other to increase the violence and repression in prisons.

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[Spanish] [National Oppression] [Florida] [ULK Issue 10]
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No soy criminal, soy revolucionario

Compañeros Revolucionarios,

Recientemente acabo de recibir una edición de MIM(Prisons) la cual me hizo sentir lleno de energía positiva y fuerza para continuar la lucha en contra del opresor. El sistema encarselario de los U$ es evidente ha sido formado con el proposito de mantener las personas de los barrios pobres y los inmigrantes que no comprenden las leyes, o mientras fueron a la escuela nunca le hablaron del peligro que los asecha en las calles de sus barrios, la policía, que facir es venir a la prición en este pais.

Yo me encuentro en los U$ desde abril del 1993, diez años de mi estadía en este pais ha sido en las granjas (prisión) por un robo a mano armada. Aunque esta es mi primera ofensa, donde no hubo sangre, ni victimas, fue sentenciado a 15 años en las granjas (prisión), pero no como un obrero sino como un animal.

Aunque para el sistema soy considerado un criminal, yo me considero un individuo que cometió un error en una etapa de mi vida cuando no estaba pensando apropiadamente. Apesar de que este sistema es un negocio que genera millones de dolares para ser gastado en cosas como "la guerra contra el terrorismo" y un grupo de cosas que solo ayudan a los que ya están en poder y no necesitan ningún tipo de ayudar. Es doloroso lo que ultimamente estoy viendo pasar en este sistema, un gran cantidad de los presos nuevos son niños, si niños con una sentencia de vida, muertos, basura en los ojos de este sistema diabolico. Es doloroso cada vez que hablo con alguno de estos muchachos, veo mi imagen en sus ojos, un niño que no va a tener una oportunidad de ser libre, tener una familia, hijos, etc. Y su algún día tiene la oportunidad de salir de este lugar, su mente estará tan doblada y confundida que se convierte en un producto del sistema, un verdadero criminal.

Es facil jusgar, apuntar el dedo y hablar acerca de las cosas que uno no comprende. Yo fue una de esas personas. Este gobierno colonialista, capitalista, nos mantiene ignorante, crellendo que ellos están trabajando para un mejor mañana. La guerra hasta que se da cuenta el verdadero propocito, colonialismo, es el verdadero proposito. Esta gobierno sabe que no importa cuantos niños y mujeres mueran, el mundo cuntinua su curso, mientras el pueblo esta comodo no habra revolución.

Yo soy parte de una organización la cual es catalogada como un grupo terrorista, somos catalogados como STG porque no estamos de acuerdo con las idiologias de este gobierno, porque nos catalogamos como un movimiento revolucionario, porque amamos nuestra jente del tercer mundo, nuestra gente oprimida. No importa el nombre que se nos de, nosotros no morirémos, nosotros nos continuarémos multiplicando, en las acciones de nuestros guerreros es que se puede ver el hombre del mañana.

Yo voy a ser deportado para mi amado pais al final de mi sentencia y promento continual regando la semilla del cambio despertar a todo aquel que se encuentra dormido en el cementerio de la ignorancia. El camino es duro pero mi hambre por revolucíon es más grande.

Viva la revolución! Viva el hombre de nación!

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[National Oppression] [Oklahoma]
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Vietnamese Struggles Against INS, Prisons, Persecution for Being

I am a Vietnamese immigrant. I’ve been living in Amerikkka since 1985. I came to this country when I was a kid. My father passed away so I grew up in a foster home. My life is not colorful, I had my ups and downs. This is the second time that I’ve been locked up. My life is changing as I grow older.

Upon discharging my first sentence, I was picked up by INS. A court date was set, I was ordered deported by a federal judge. While waiting for a travel visa I was sent to different county jails. I met people who were waiting for 5 or 10 years just to be deported. Some people can’t go back to their birth home due to persecution, and yet they can not be released because they committed crime in Amerika. All of us have to pay our debts to society.

After a few years I was released back to society with various conditions. I have to check in monthly, to pay for a work visa yearly, pay taxes, and go back to my birth home once they have a visa ready for me. I have children who were born here.

I worked and had a job. Some of the work I did was harsh, only so-called illegals and non-citizens work at such places. Jobs that are not done by Americans, yet they sit and cry about us "illegal" and non-citizens taking up jobs.

Every month I saw INS come through and do a sweep, checking people for work visas. Those who didn’t have visas were picked up and arrested. Some were thrown in federal prison because of re-entry. Families are being torn apart because of these reasons. Some come back because of family ties. They come back because they want to see their sons, daughters, mother and father. Some relatives are too old to travel or too young to understand.

Recently Oklahoma has passed a new law called House Bill 160U. It specifically targeted "illegal" or non-citizen people in Amerika. We get pulled over for no reason so that they can check for ID. If any person or company hires or harbors "illegals," there will be fines and imprisonment. Some small businesses are closing down because "illegals" are afraid to work.

We’re being punished for breaking the law, and punished again by federal court. We’re guilty for not being Amerikan citizens. Some of us don’t have a voice. Sometimes I wonder, does kindness have any value in Amerika?

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[National Oppression] [Michael Unit] [Texas]
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Unite to Fight the System

I’m writing from the Michael Unit plantation in Tennessee Colony, TN. For the past few months we here at the Michael Unit have been having racial altercations, and it isn’t even the summer yet. It’s been mainly behind frivolous stuff: “wasted energy on a wasted cause.”

I’ve tried time and time again to get my Latino and Black brothers to open their eyes to the real struggle. Why fight each other? The system should be the ones you’re fighting. The more we stay divided, the more we can’t win our fight. It’s crazy!

Here in Texas, our unit comes through every few months and separates Mexican and Mexican cell mates and the same with whites, and integrates them with Blacks, when they know none of them can live together, and know something will happen because they have nothing in common.

This system is designed to divide and conquer the masses. If only everyone would open their eyes and realize what they were doing, then maybe somethings would change for the better.

I used to be one of the ones who was for my people and you couldn’t tell me different. If it wasn’t Raza I didn’t care. It’s fine and all good if you love your culture, but it’s time that we break down the walls of ethnicity and look at the big picture. It’s us against them and without knowing this, then we will always lose. It’s not a white, black or brown thing, but a struggle thing.

I just hope someone will spread the word about the big picture. It’s not “let’s make it better for our race.” It’s “let’s make it better for everyone.” We are the ones living in the trenches of poverty, blindness and no hope. And if we don’t change, this struggle will never defeat the system.

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[Release] [National Oppression] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 8]
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Pennsylvania Building Prisons to Create Jobs

Governor Edward Rendell brought casinos and slot machines to Pennsylvania and now wants to turn PA into a prison state. He wants to add 8,000 more beds to PA plantations by the year 2013. Even with the fact that three different police districts falsified reports to get warrants, planted evidence, and paid informants to set up and testify against people, some of whom had no criminal records. Rendell noted that of the 31,000 people on parole in Pennsylvania in 2007, 95% did not commit new crimes, yet he suspended parole.

The governor has eliminated 20 educational programs including the Scranton State School for the Deaf, the Scotland School for Veteran's Children in Franklin County, and the Schools of Excellence. The Library subsidy was cut by $1.75 million dollars. The governor cut $205 million from the education budget. The Justice Department's budget is currently $23.9 billion dollars and that's not including the salaries for 50,000 more police officers, the salaries for 2000 more border patrol agents, and not including the $1.4 billion for deporting illegal aliens who are convicted of crimes, and minus the $75 million dollars for job training for ex-cons released from prison.

There are 63 positions that convicted felons can not have. Once an individual serves their time, there shouldn't be any chains upon them. These uninsured Americans have to start over. Many have no savings accounts, homes, or any other property to fall back on. Now labeled as dangerous criminals who can't find work, they end up in homeless shelters or back in prison.

The prison business is booming in PA. Three new prisons are currently under construction and a fourth prison will break ground in 2010. That is on top of plans to add 860 beds to four operational institutions, plus an additional 1,600 beds at 10 more prisons before 2010. The Governor wants 8,000 more beds by 2013 because the prison industry has proven to be so very lucrative in PA. In January 2009, the prison population was at 49,215. It will surpass 50,000 before 2010 because the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole aren't releasing prisoners when they reach their minimums.

Why are fewer prisoners being released on parole? It's a conspiracy! Population control! Whose population does PA legislators want to control? The Pennsylvania Legislature has burned through $5.8 million dollars of tax payer money so far on legal fees and other expenses stemming from an investigation into staff bonuses and the misappropriation of public resources. House Democrats spent $2.6 million. Senate Republicans spent $1.4 million, and House Republicans spent $1.8 million. We have a $1.75 trillion dollar federal deficit because of all our wasteful spending.

The disparity in prison sentences between white people convicted of crimes and Black people convicted of the same crimes would suggest that Africans in America are under attack. In the past their birthright was stolen via the slave trade. Today, this modern day slavery is accredited to unjust laws. Just as slavery was once legal in this country, you can buy stock in the prison industry on Wall Street. The price tag for all this construction is $862 million dollars and the bidding for the jobs this prison will create is effective immediately.

The quickest way to create jobs is to build a prison. The state prison population increased by 10,783 in 2008. Two-thirds of them were nonviolent offenders. At this rate the prison population will be at 60,000 within five years. Tougher sentencing laws are sending younger people to prison with longer sentences. Take a look at who is running the prisons and who are being put in the prisons and how long they're confined. The slave traders plan for their children to work alongside of them and they also plan for prisoners to be confined with their children. With the substantial amount of time prisoners are forced to serve, the prisoners who will be released are those who were forced to max out. Their ages range from 40 to 60 years old when they get out.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 7]
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Prison Leader Steps Up

I'm currently an acting lieutenant of the Hoover Crips in NC state prisons. I've been working towards building better relationships with rival Crip sets in prisons in hopes of bringing solidarity within my nation. I'm working towards a new concept within the Crips and I have gained a following. I'd like to overcome the stereotypes and propaganda so we as an organization with publicity utilize our image to show that liberation is gained from education. The search for truth is often unsettling and if acquiring knowledge was easy we would all have it. I'd like to see my organization help with overthrowing racism, classism, sexism, and oppression. Instead of us damaging our standing as a minority-based group we need to vow to never again serve a system content to exploit us as commodities. I'd like to see us in the struggle for civil rights and humanitarianism. It's no easy task to bring stability from chaos but I've gained a following with a lot of inspiration from the Maoist Internationalist Movement to overstand the struggle is bigger than my personal issues - bigger than one particular race, creed or gender.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We applaud this comrade's work to bring rival groups together and encourage him and others to work towards unity across any and all organizations willing to work for real peace for the people. This means not only rival Crip groups, but also other oppressed nation organizations. Any oppressed people fighting other oppressed people is a waste of energy and essentially work for the imperialists. As this comrade points out, the struggle is bigger than persynal issues.

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[National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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Gang Affiliations and Organizing

My upbringing was a lot like others before me and those who share the same living conditions as I do now: poverty, boys home, foster homes. My mother was a junkie and my father was a junkie/womanizer. So I grew to know the "system" well before I could understand it. Well as time moved on I became more rebellious by the minute. But I did not know why I was so rebellious to begin with. My crimes landed me in the belly of the beast.

Before I go any further I must explain my past affiliation. I used to be a Crip. As most young men with no family no structure at home, I was infatuated with the bling, money, females, drugs, guns and colors. But doesn't Crip stand for Community Revolution In Progress? But here we are shootin' things and people up, robbing and selling drugs. All within the confines of our community. Crips are without question the most numerous group in Texas state prison. How can this be so? Well I continued my affiliation until 3 years ago due to the fact that this and similar questions kept nagging at me.

Well now I am currently a member of our prison chapter of the BPP. I believe myself to be a realist. So I understand the reality of the 6 years that I face. So in essence it's not about me anymore. It's about the people. That is why a LK comrade directed me to you.

MIM(Prisons) responds: As we work to push the Peace Issue of Under Lock & Key, this letter is useful as an example of what we are trying to enable. This prisoner is at a transitional stage that is common among our comrades who have gone thru the process of developing political consciousness that begins with asking the simple questions of 'What am I doing?'. The system pushes the rebellious attitude he talks about in his youth into certain outlets that involve self-destruction of oppressed communities. Prison is the typical end of that path.

Now some will point out that if this comrade was never sent to prison he would have never turned around. In fact, we often hear from prisoners themselves that prison gave them the time to think and ask questions. And it is true, that struggle forces people to overcome adversity, and in the process they will grow. But that does not make u$ prisons a positive force on the lives of the oppressed. It is a negative force that the oppressed succeed in spite of, not because of. Programs run by MIM(Prisons) would be examples of positive forces that help people take this path. Because if we are real, there are more people who come out of the system mentally damaged, hooked on drugs, full of hatred and rage, physically handicapped, etc. We must organize the few who make it out stronger now, so that we can all become stronger, more productive members of society in the future.

It is no secret why youth join street organizations. What's a little less well known is the government's role in getting these organizations involved in the international drug trade and other serious criminal activities. They need these orgs to act as agents of the state to keep the oppressed communities in place because the oppressors themselves can only do so much to occupy these communities as outsiders. To the extent that the state has been successful in this strategy, conscious comrades will find it necessary to leave these organizations for ones that serve the community.

So the lesson to take from letters like this is that the oppressed want liberation and purposeful lives, not that the prison system can kick some people into shape. The current system wastes humyn lives and potential. It is up to the oppressed to build institutions to counter that trend. Work with MIM(Prisons) to take up this important work.

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[Prison Labor] [National Oppression] [New York] [ULK Issue 8]
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Slavery Without Capitalist Exploitation

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

I received the January 2009 issue #6 of Under Lock & Key, for which I was most grateful. I salute the Mexican comrade for his excellent and exemplary contribution to that issue ("Misplaced rejoicing in prisons over Obama victory"). I am a Black man, the son of an Eritrean emigrant and a descendant of First Nation peoples and Africans enslaved and transported to the Amerikas. The comrade was right on target, especially when he wrote: "... How can there be real change if the system is never changed, only its leaders? For those of us who are convinced that we are 'soldiers' ask yourself, who's soldier are you? Are you some common criminal's soldier? Do you fight and work for greed, power and lust of recognition? Or will you be the People's soldier?..." Yes. I salute the comrade for his courage and determination. Palante, siempre, hermano!

I am responding as well to your request for feedback on your assessment of the prison labor/economics situation. I have been aware of the reality of MIM's findings for some time, and am in agreement with you wholeheartedly. I perceive that prisoners' disagreement with MIM's assessment is not rooted in an analysis of the facts on the ground but rather is due to their misunderstanding and confusion regarding the nature of our enslavement.

It seems that prisoners who disagree with your findings do so actually because they fear that such assessments will confound the acknowledgment of U$ imprisonment as slavery and a capitalist enterprise. U$ imprisonment is certainly slavery and it is certainly a capitalist enterprise whether prison labor is a source of great profits or not. Forced or coerced labor is not the most defining characteristic of slavery and such labor within U$ imprisonment is hardly the source of the real lucrative profiteering that stems from U$ imprisonment in general. The depraved creatures who crafted the language of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution understood this all too well.

slave n. one owned by another: one completely subject to another or to some habit or influence;
slavery n. the holding of persons as property;
(The New International Webster's Pocket Dictionary of the English Language, New Revised edition. Trident Press International 2002)

And it is enough for the state and government to "own" us to profit from us, whether we are sweating away in their industries or not. Much of the elaboration that follows is adapted from "Prison Town", by "The Real Cost of Prisons" project:

During the 1980's and 90's many jobs and sources of income evaporated in the rural and farm areas of this country. Federal, state and local officials were then tasked with discovering a new type of "growth" industry that would revive and sustain the dying economies of the municipalities, districts and sectors they were elected or appointed to serve. Prisons were touted as a viable growth industry with significant potential. Perhaps it was for this reason that former New York State legislator Daniel Feldman stated, "When legislators cry 'lock 'em up!', they often mean 'lock 'em up in my district!'" Certainly it was for this reason that Texas judge Jimmy Galindo said:

"We live in a part of the country where it's very difficult to create and sustain jobs in a global market. [Prisons] become a very clean industry for us to provide employment to citizens. I look at it as a community development project."

Some private developers build prisons in states like Wisconsin without legislative edict from officials and then "sell" the prisons, prompting people like former Wisconsin state corrections chief Walter Dickey to declare,

"... It flatly introduces money and the desire for profit into the imprisonment policy debate, because you've got an entity in Wisconsin, a private entity, with a strong financial interest in keeping people in prison and having them sentenced to prison."

Investment banks, construction companies, private developers, real estate agencies and many others stand to profit immeasurably from prisons in innumerable ways. Federal, state and local officials are then lauded for bringing financial security and economic prosperity to their respective regions and lobbyists.

This phenomenon was complemented by another phenomenon, namely the "mandatory sentencing", "three-strikes-you're-out" and "rockerfeller-type drug" laws introduced by legislators during the same aforementioned period of rural economic decline. It is no secret nor is it debated that such legislation contributed to a 370% prison population growth since 1970. Small wonder, then, that there are more prisons in America than there are Wal-Mart stores.

Thus it matters little whether the imperialist slaveowners can glean profits from our work on their institutional plantations. Their ownership of us prisoners ensures a diverse profit source, whether by accommodating the labor aristocracy or enriching corporate entities.

Thanks to MIM(Prisons) for providing a venue where revolutionary-minded prisoners can connect and exchange ideas. Among other things, Under Lock & Key certainly accomplishes that. I hope that the information in this letter will be useful towards compiling the upcoming issue on prison labor/economics.

MIM(Prisons) adds: As we explain in the introduction to this issue of ULK, we prefer Marx's definition of slavery to the one found in Websters and so conclude that imprisonment is a system of oppression distinct from slavery. We agree with this prisoner's discussion of the ways that corporations, labor aristocrats, and Amerikan imperialism benefit from imprisonment. In addition to the points discussed by this comrade, the lockup of oppressed nations by the U.$. prison system also prevents the self-determination of those nations through their own labor. So, while capitalist profits are not generally extracted from the 2.3 million locked up, that is a huge chunk of labor that is being denied to the oppressed that otherwise could utilize their people locked up to further the development of meeting the needs of their respective nations, and the oppressed people of the world in general.

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[National Oppression] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 7]
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Fighting Imperialism in Wisconsin

I have had enough of being denoted a nigger or nigga or whatever the hell they wish to call my people. No more of the racial backward politics, the hands that rock the cradle of oppression!

Even as a fellow Afrikan brotha sits in the White House, which is, let us not forget, stained by the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors who were forced to build it, Amerikkka remains the nasty, hateful, oppressive, greedy, unconscious government that it always has been. There has been no real change for my people, the disenfranchised of the nations of people who constantly fall at the hands of imperialism. All that has changed is the man who holds the whip. My brothers and sisters, did not some of our own brothers enslave us on this land? Whip and shackle us?

I encourage the brothers of the motherland to learn who they are, their true origins and essence. Come on into the movement of Maoism, only then can we find a proper vehicle through which to attain assistance for true freedom in this land. I believe in the cause of justice and freedom, of the principles of love, truth and peace, and in socialism we can pave the road to a form of communism that would allow us all to accomplish our primary objective which is, and let this be clear to all, liberation from this damn government.

I've noticed that there has not been one Wisconsin captive's writing published, and I would like to change that. Not only change that but also get more Wisconsin prisoners involved in the movement.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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GRAD program in Texas

In your November issues of ULK5 I read the article written by a Texas prisoner "Segregation in Texas" and am appalled by his ignorance as far as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) aka "Texas Department of Criminals" is concerned.

I myself am an ex-gang member, and I got into the GRAD program (without snitching), and do you know why? After 23 years of being a gang member in the prison system, I saw how the oppressors were using me to oppress others. By using me and other gang members, the oppressors in uniform do not get dirty while we get our time jacked-up or may even receive death for doing what the man in uniform wanted me to do. Not only that, but it gives the imperialists an excuse to build more control units for the idiots that are doing their dirty work.

Now I'll tell you about the Texas Department of Criminals. We prisoners in GRAD chose to call our gang affiliation history. Since then we have been labeled snitches (by TDCJ employees), by the same people who advertise how the prison system wants to help us rehabilitate. TDCJ employees know what goes on between prisoners because gang members have a habit of bragging, so when we denounce our gang affiliation the Gang Investigator (GI) tells you everything he knows about ranks and members all around the prison. At times the GI knows more than gang members. After being placed in the GRAD program, the same TDCJ staff go and instigate trouble between gang members and ex-gang members. That keeps the fuel on the fire and keeps prisoners at each others throats. Then TDCJ goes to the tax payer and asks for millions in tax dollars to build more control units.

December 4, 2008 and December 6, 2008, the thieves in the Governor's administration and TDCJ asked for a total of $506 million for the renovation of the prison hospital, for the medical contractors, and for walk-in metal detectors, wand detectors, surveillance cameras and x-ray machines. For the latter, the Texas department of criminals executive director is seeking an immediate $33 million. It is their own employees who bring in the contraband, but in the newspaper prisoners are the criminals.

Those of us who step back away from our gang membership are punished by the prisons. We face denial of meals (since I've been in GRAD I have been denied food 7 times). If we don't bark or beg for our meals we don't get fed. By law we should be allowed to recreate 1 hour daily, five days a week, but we are lucky if we get 1 hour a week. We get our water turned off by TDCJ employees just to try to get us to go off, and if we go off we have to go through the process all over again. We get verbal threats by staff. We get one or maybe two clean towels a week. We get old sheets that are cut in half. We don't get soap, tooth powder, grievance forms, or medical attention. We get strip searched by female guards, and if you are like me fighting the system, your mail is given to other prisoners or is denied.

The wing where I am housed is the only wing in the whole unit that is constantly freezing so that staff refuse to work this wing. We have to wear a t-shirt, jumpsuit and jacket in our cells during the winter. The air vents are so loud that you think you are standing next to a train (this is psychological torture). In the summer time the heat is turned on which makes you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the desert.

For 23 years I worked to please the oppressors by abusing the weak, oppressing others, and that is why I decided not to allow these people to tell me to do their dirty work while they sit back and earn money while I rot in these human warehouses.

Right now I am in a struggle with the medical department because they refuse to treat my illness. I am hypoglycemic and my blood sugar drops. Without the proper medication or diet I will lose my vision, which is happening slowly but surely. The way the grievance committee (kangaroo committee) puts it, I have to go into a coma so they can treat me. If more prisoners stood together as we used to in the 70s and early 80s, others would not have to go through these kinds of treatments. While we continue to fight each other they are building more control units. While we continue to fight each other we are forgetting the real purpose.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of Under Lock and Key carries strong messages about the need for prisoners to stop fighting one another. We know that programs like the Texas GRAD system are used in many states to turn prisoners against each other by forcing them to snitch or be punished. But we also know that prisoners are turned against each other even before they enter these types of programs, fomenting conflicts between rival groups, and using prisoners to carry out violence against other prisoners in exchange for small favors. It is up to each prisoner to figure out how to best use the system to break away from the senseless violence and coming together with other prisoners to put their energy into the anti-imperialist struggle for peace.

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