The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was signed into law in 2003.(1) National prison and jail standards were enacted in 2012, nearly a decade after passage of PREA, and inexplicably late for the U.S. prison system which is long plagued by a sexual violence crisis.(2) PREA national standards carve a benchmark for prison administrators to prevent, detect and respond to prison sexual violence (PSV). Most significant are sweeping changes affecting documentation, accountability, confidentiality, post-sexual-assault medical care, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and mental health counseling for PSV survivors.(3)
The PREA audits began in August 2013, and are supposed to occur at every youth and adult, state and private prison, jail, and holding facility every three years, with punitive forfeiture of federal funding at stake for lack of compliance. With 50% of documented PSV perpetrated by staff, prison administrators face greater liability through the transparency now mandated by PREA.(4)
One in ten prisoners are sexually abused, which is more than 200,000 youth and adults in prisons, jails and juvenile detention each year.(5, 6) Many are left to march the road to recovery, while coping with HIV, other STIs, mental trauma — the morbid souvenirs of rape.(7)
With PREA, the New York Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) started promoting "zero tolerance" propaganda. I felt (foolishly) that we were on the same side for once. I formed and launched a non-profit project with the goal to support, educate and advocate for PSV survivors, and those at risk. I especially focused on LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/sexual, Queer, Intersex) prisoners who are at 10-13 times higher risk to be victim of PSV, according to Department of Justice statistics. Not thinking I was doing anything "disallowed," I conducted this openly with no attempts to hide my activities.
However, DOCS took a radically different view, and launched an Inspector General Office investigation, forcing me (under duress) to cease and desist further activity with the project. But unable or unwilling to issue writeups on this issue, they instead launched a salvo of "unrelated" administrative charges, resulting in 18 months of keeplock (isolation). They also transferred me multiple times. I'm now serving 5 months keeplock time, which I'd already served at the last jail.
All this has only served to strengthen my commitment and resolve. Our efforts, in concert with NY ACLU, have yielded a settlement with DOCS to reduce the use of SHU/long-term isolation, with caps on sentences and exempting non-violent/safety-related offenses. It's a start but I'd have preferred a court ruling to this "voluntary" settlement, which the state can renege on.
PREA mandates the first round of audits as of August 2014, with statistics to be published online. This increased transparency is progress. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are little more than an ideal or paper unless we facilitate their power through litigation, demanding compliance with these standards. PREA can be just a stack of papers and "feel good" hot wind, signifying nothing. Or it can be a keen sword to excise the cancers of prison sexual violence and prison staff corruption and negligence. The burden falls to us to proactively safeguard our interests, and our futures. Fight to Win!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We regularly receive reports of sexual assault from prisoners across the country. In September 2013, one year after the PREA standards were finalized, Prison Legal News published an article detailing incidents of PSV all across the country. This article underscores the futility of federal laws to actually protect people in custody of an oppressive state.
The 2013-2014 PREA Resource Center (PRC) report was just released this week. It contains no statistics on the efficacy of the project, but does contain a lot of fluff about the trainings and webinars that the PRC has been hosting.
It is a step in the right direction that this comrade, with the help of NY ACLU, was able to place some restriction on the use of isolation to protect prisoners from rape. The use of isolation has been reported by the American Friends Service Committee to have an even worse affect on the victims of prison rape, causing negative psychological effects due to isolation, and making the prisoner even more vulnerable to abuse by prison staff.(8)
While we can and should make use of laws to stop prison staff sexual violence when possible, we call on prisoners to step up and put an end to sexual violence among themselves using their own inherent power as humyn beings. The issue of prison rape is one that activists must tackle head on, as it impacts our ability to build unity behind prison walls, and is indicative of a wrongheaded line on gender oppression overall. Take an example from Men Against Sexism (MAS), an organization in Washington State Prison in the 1970s. MAS pushed men to treat each other with respect, opposed all prison rape even of very unpopular prisoners, and defended weaker prisoners against attacks by stronger ones.(9)
Gender oppression is a product of our patriarchal society, and neither federal laws nor prison organizations will put an end to all gender oppression in prison on their own. This gender oppression is another tool used to control oppressed nationalities, and won't be done away with until we overthrow the systems that require the oppression of entire groups of people — imperialism and capitalism. Only through revolution can we start to build a society where gender oppression, like class and national oppression, are torn down in our culture, economics, and all levels of social relations. For a basic study of gender under imperialism, we recommend the magazine MIM Theory 2/3, which we distribute for $5 or equivalent work trade. And see the 1998 MIM Congress resolution "Clarity on what gender is" for a more theoretical discussion on the origins of patriarchy and its structure today.
I am housed at Suwannee Correctional Close Management Unit, which is the Florida Department of Corruption's equivalent of the SHU or AdSeg. On 4 August 2014, myself and several other political prisoners on my cell block were targeted for repression during a shakedown which was conducted by the pigs. This shakedown was in retaliation for several grievances/complaints being filed about the corrections officers denying us outdoor yard access and indoor day room activities, including access to the phones.
During the shakedown the pigs read some notes I had written down from studying politics, history, and communism. These notes contained some commentary that wasn't very patriotic or friendly toward the Amerikan imperialist regime. When the pigs ordered me to explain the notes I told them that "I like to take notes on politics and current events," and "I like to keep tabs on what's going on in the outside world." The sergeant then held up one of the notes referring to "sovereignty" and said "so you're a sovereign citizen?" To which I replied, "No, I'm just a normal human being." Then he told me to explain why I had notes on weapons. I told him how I was in the U.$. army and developed a fascination for firearms, and he responded by saying, "so now you're a domestic terrorist?" I then told him that the average Amerikan citizen is more likely to be terrorized by their own local law enforcement than by so-called "terrorists."
Myself and three other prisoners were placed in confinement after the shakedown and we were charged with the disciplinary infraction of "Possession of Gang Related Paraphernalia." They tried to validate me as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG) on the basis that in the notes I made a reference to "Popular Sovereignty" and that therefore I was in possession of documents related to the sovereign association, which the imperialist bureaucrats view as a STG because sovereign citizens are not compelled to abide by U.$. laws.
When I went to my disciplinary hearing I told these pigs that the so-called evidence they have against me (the "gang paraphernalia") is merely a bunch of notes I copied from social studies. I explained that "Popular Sovereignty" is (supposed) to be one of the five basic principles of Amerikan government and that anyone who claims to be a patriotic Amerikan citizen should at least know this.
I used this argument to beat this charge and I also presented my own evidence as a defense — part of a social studies assignment on Amerikan government from FDOC's very own educational department which explains (what is supposed to be) the Five Basic Principles of Amerikan Government; 1) Federal System, 2) Popular Sovereignty, 3) Separation of Powers, 4) Checks and Balances, and 5) Limited Government. In real life these "principles" hold no valuable meaning, just as the U.$. constitution is merely a piece of paper.
It seems evident that anyone making an attempt to educate themselves is viewed as a threat by the imperialist bureaucrats and anyone who is against oppression and imperialism is a "domestic terrorist." As revolutionaries, it is imperative that we educate ourselves and our fellow comrades and expose the true terrorists for who they really are: the terrorists in pig clothing, masquerading as those who "protect and serve" and provide "care, custody and control."
We shall prevail in our struggle against imperialist oppression.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have heard from some comrades that even writing to MIM(Prisons) or participating in our correspondence study groups can be used as evidence for STG validation. We know there is a risk to corresponding and working with MIM(Prisons) but the education and organizing opportunities are great. We hope others will take this comrade's example to fight false validation attempts made against them and stay active in political work and study. For those not yet involved in political study, write to us to join our next introductory study group.
Community Bulletin from the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement - First Amendment Campaign
This bulletin is to alert and update the community on the current fascist offensive that is being waged by one sadistic pig named S. Burris of the Pelican Bay State Prison - Prison Intelligence Unit (aka IGI). Officer S. Burris is going through some very drastic measures to try and criminalize the W.L. Nolen Mentorship Program (WLNMP). This is typical of any fascist!
For example, within the WLNMP's Mission Statement, it states that our objective is to provide the community with alternatives to joining gangs, along with tools of violence prevention and intervention. Only a complete idiot would insist that this constitutes gang activity!
Officer S. Burris is attacking the WLNMP, not because we're involved in criminal activities, no! The WLNMP has been placed under attack because it possesses the potential of educating and unifying the oppressed masses to their real purpose in life. And this truth makes the WLNMP a viable threat to the prescribed social order of U.$. capitalism.
I have provided the community with factual evidence, wherein the courts have determined that George Jackson and W.L. Nolen were not Black Guerilla Family "prison gang members." They were actually members of the Black Liberation Movement. To receive a copy of this documentation, write to the below address and ask for the Request for Judicial Notice dated February 24, 2014 in the legal case of Marcus L. Harrison v. S. Burris, et al. - Case No: C-13-2506.
Attn: Central Texas ABC c/o John S. Dolley PO Box 7187 Austin, TX 78713
In the month of April 2014, I was issued four Stopped Mail Notices and one CDC 115 Rules Violation Report for communications relating to the WLNMP. For example, a comrade of the Maoist Internationalist Movement has contributed to the WLNMP by typing some of our study documents. I personally wrote these study documents and sent it to our MIM comrade via regular mail, but when s/he attempted to send me a copy it was disallowed on the grounds that W.L. Nolen and George Jackson are "prison gang members."
In conclusion, it must be noted that this contradiction is a continued manifestation of the Dred Scott court decision from 1857, wherein the U.$. Congress announced to the world:
"The negro lies so far below whites on the scale of created beings that they have no rights that whites are bound to respect."
We New Afrikans have committed to absolving ourselves from this contradiction via our collective efforts to restore and protect our human rights with the creation of the Pelican Bay Human Rights Movement - First Amendment Campaign. We urge the community to get involved and check out our mission statement in the SF Bayview.
Less than two months from my release date, I was maliciously scapegoated for my actions in reporting a continual, inhumane practice of Central Maryland Correctional Facility (CMCF). CMCF is a supermax camp that houses minimum and pre-release security inmates under Maryland's Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS, formerly DOC). As you may imagine, there isn't much effort put forth by convicts to struggle (peacefully or otherwise) against administrative injustices, due to short release dates and the strict guidelines of the residential substance abuse program (RSAT), which half of the jail is binded by. For the vast majority of those assigned to RSAT by case management, it is mandatory under DPSCS policy that they complete the program or they receive a notice of infraction (ticket) in which all good days given to you at the beginning of your bid may be taken if found guilty. Needless to say, I'm hoping I can dodge that ticket somehow. But with the aforementioned in mind, you can understand the lack of political involvement at CMCF.
CMCF is a dorm setting and down in the RSAT building the bunk area is separated from everything (bathroom, TV, microwave, etc.). During count time the Correctional Officers (COs) are supposed to keep the doors locked only until they are finished counting the other side and then return to open the doors so prisoners can utilize the bathroom, two at a time. Most prisoners are frustrated by this "supermax-like" procedure of a pre-release camp because they were of the belief that the closer to getting home that you are, the easier your bid got. Getting to the issue, every now and then a CO will leave the doors locked for excessive time, consequently forcing us to hold our bladder and bowels.
When a legitimate situation arose, I felt it was imperative for someone to take up the vanguard so we could do some agitating of our own. This particular instance, the doors were locked for an hour and a half (no exaggeration), leaving some to piss in cups, while the officer bullshitted and remained in the bubble acting oblivious to the kicks on the doors and prisoners pressing the buttons that lets them know that someone needs to get out. A strong Black brother from the FOI (Fruit of Islam), me, and two other conscious brothers struggling to ameliorate the Black man's plight, encouraged our dorm mates to write it up so administration would know that we are sick and tired. Twenty five out of a dorm of 61 people filing grievances for the same reasons is abnormal to say the least, for that jail.
As a result of this protest I have been placed on Administrative Segregation pending adjustment (hearing) for four charges (most serious to least): engaging in a disruptive act, interfering with officer's duties, coercions, and forging documents. They alleged that I forced people to sign some grievances, signed others myself, and intimidated ALL participants with my STG status (I am validated as Blood). They needed what seems like a feasible explanation to dismiss the grievances filed - thus scapegoating the "intimidating, coercing, Blood member who had a vendetta against Officer D. Brown." But this route wasn't taken until after the THIRD attempt to get inmates to withdraw complaints using their usual bribery and manipulative tactics: promises of yard every night in exchange for signing off, saying the grievances wouldn't accomplish anything, etc.
There are lessons to be learned in every situation, this in particular being, not giving administration an easy target, as a conscious brother warned me of just before I got this ticket. For those who wanted to contribute but just didn't know how to write the complaint or were just too lazy, I wrote their grievances for them, all the exact same way that I wrote mine - this was a crucial mistake. I also spoke out more than others when administration came to convince us to withdraw our complaints - another vital mistake, giving them an easy target again. If found guilty of this ticket I face 180 days lockup, 246 days loss of good time, a year loss of visits and my security going to medium. Whatever the outcome, I will be seeking justice!
MIM(Prisons) adds: This story of punishment for filing grievances is echoed across the United $nakes prison system. And it is one of the reasons prisoners have initiated a campaign to demand grievances be addressed in many states. We have petitions that prisoners can use to fight the denial of grievances, though Maryland is one state where we still need someone to customize the petition for use. These campaigns are important for two reasons: first, they give prisoners a way to fight back against unjust denial of grievances and demand the prison respect their rights, and second, they provide an educational opportunity for prison activists. As a common battle faced by all prisoners, the struggle to get grievances heard can be used to unite many for a common battle, while educating all about the limitations of our struggle within the system and the need for an anti-imperialist movement for long-term and systemic changes. Write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of the grievance petition for your state, or if one does not exist volunteer to customize the petition from another state to be used there.
My most sincere revolutionary greetings to all strugglers. Just a short note informing the world on the haps here on master Martin's plantation.
On Thursday, 27 February 2014, during Black history month a white Christian band was brought in to perform on the rec yard. Upon attending the function, prisoners were ordered to sit on the grass by staff. By the time the show began only about 30 prisoners stayed sitting on the ground. The whole compound went back inside. Feeling insulted and embarrassed, the administration took dictator-style action. They entered the dorms where the prisoners had already been placed on lock down for not participating in a religious event. The officers announced loudly in the dorm that "all who refuse to participate in the religious event on the yard will not only be kept on lock down, but their cells will be shook down and their personal property will be ransacked." So to avoid our personal property from being ransacked and thrown away, everybody from every dorm went to the yard and sat on the ground. How is that for the First Amendment?
Martin Correctional Institution happens to be one of the plantations at which the Veteran's Program is allowed. Not a problem, except that when the U.S. flag is being risen and put down with the sounding of the trumpet, all prisoners on the walkway must stop walking in honor of the flag or be disciplined, even placed in confinement. Dead-ass serious.
Enclosed is a disciplinary report (D.R.) written by Martin CI mail man Mr. Payne, accusing me of mail violation because I wrote a letter to Boston ABC some time in early 2013 concerning a petition regarding the Keefe Commissary network. The letter mentions that I stated that I placed a petition online. This must be a mistake considering the fact that the petition had been online long before I was informed of it and promoted it. It's also a known fact that I did not post or initiate the petition. Be that as it may, I pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 30 days on D.R. confinement, which I'm currently serving.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The political repression this comrade is currently facing for authoring an article protesting high commissary costs is a good example of why we do not print prisoners' names in Under Lock & Key. The pigs have too much control over our comrades' lives to let them know who is doing what all the time and not have it come back to bite us.
We can also add a concerted effort to censor Under Lock & Key to the list of political repression going on in Florida recently. They do things that piss people off, and then censor ULK for being "inflammatory" by reporting on it.
por un@ prisioner@ en California March 2014 permalink
El mayor propósito de la publicación #7 de Bajo Llave & Candado es el mostrar quién y quienes no quieren la paz. También nos enfocaremos linea ya - sostenida - por tiempo de que los presos no logran nada desuniendose y peleando entré sí mismos o con el personal de la prisión. Cada prisión que censura este boletín reconoce que la paz entre los presos va en contra de su meta la cual según llaman "seguridad," y además sostiene nuestra tesis presentada abajo.
El tiempo ha comprobado … que la deferencia ciega a los oficiales de las correccionales no les hace un verdadero servicio. El asunto judicial con la regularidad de procedimiento tiene relación directa sobre el mantenimiento de la orden institucional; el cuidado ordenado con el cual las autoridades de la prisión haces sus decisiones esta íntimamente relacionado al nivel de respeto con el cual los prisioneros observan esa autoridad.
No hay nada más corrosivo a la estructura de una institución pública, como una prisión, que aquellos a los que contiene tengan el sentimiento que están siendo tratados injustamente." Palmigiano v. Baxter, 487 F.2d 1280, 1283 (CA1 1973). Como lo notó el Juez Principal en Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. @ 408 U.S. 484, "Tratamiento justo…aumentará la oportunidad de la rehabilitación evitando reacciones de arbitrariedad." - opinión disentido de Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974)
Nuestros registros de rastreo hablan por si mismos. Por lo menos docenas de presos y ex-prisioneros han dejado esas vidas que alguna vez incluían ataques físicos a los policías, y a menudo peleas contras personas, después de haber tomado la lucha anti-imperialista mediante MIM. Desafortunadamente, nuestra información esta un poquito desertada pues solo podemos hablar por los prisioneros con los que estamos en contacto. Depende de un investigador ambicioso el demostrar estadísticamente que esos envueltos en el anti-imperialismo son menos violentos que aquellos que no. (o más así como las oficinas de correo de las prisiones a lo largo del país sostienen en este caso).
Mientras tanto, hay una abundancia de estudios que enseñan como todo tipo de programas educacionales y familiares ayudan a reducir la violencia y el carácter anti-social. (1) Desafortunadamente, en un sistema enfocado en el castigo y a condenar al ostracismo a grupos de personas, estos programas son usados para manipular en vez de rehabilitar. Las prisiones de EE.UU. que ofrecen estos programas lo hacen con el esfuerzo de tentar a los presos con una zanahoria. Tomando este enfoque individualista ellos no están verdaderamente invirtiendo en paz o progreso. Cuando las prioridades cambian y un preso pierde su trabajo, o ya no puede ver a sus seres queridos, entonces ya no existe el incentivo para ser pacifico. En contraste, una dedicación a la lucha por un mundo sin opresión no puede ser quitado por administradores futuros de la prisión.
En décadas de trabajo el Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista nunca ha roto leyes burgueses. En años de trabajo, tampoco MIM(Prisiones) lo ha hecho.
Miembros de MIM y miembros de MIM(Prisiones) siempre se les ha prohibido el romper la ley.
La literatura de MIM nunca ha promovido romper la ley o tomar armas en contra del gobierno de los EE.UU. o algún gobierno u organización local de hecho.
Cada publicación de Under Lock & Key, el periodico de MIM(Prisiones), anima a que los presos obedezcan las leyes y evadir conflictos físicos.
La experiencia anecdótica provee evidencia de un modelo de violencia reducida entre prisioneros que se han envuelto en programas educativos guiados por el MIM y/o compañías organizacionales.
A pesar de las verdades enlistadas arriba, nuestros programas y materiales son rechazados rutinariamente a los presos a lo largo de los EE.UU. A finales del 2007, lanzamos nuestra página de internet donde hemos grabado 509 incidentes de censura. La mayoría de esa censura es para MIM(Prisiones). De estos, 11 dicen STG - "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," 34 dicen "Seguridad" en general, 14 dicen una amenaza de "violencia," y 26 dicen de nuestra amenaza a la "ley" como la razón de la censura. Además, 164 tomaron lugar en California, donde todo el correo de MIM fue prohibido porque supuestamente "aboga el tomar el poder público mediante lucha armada y derribar las administraciones de las prisiones "quitandoles el control."(2) Mientras que las luchas legales recientes de un camarada en California han traído a la luz un documento que inválida esta prohibición, esta aún se sigue aplicando en muchas de las prisiones donde MIM(prisiones) tenía una multitud de lectores. La mayoría del resto de los incidentes de censura caen bajo varias categorías de "inaceptable," "no permitido," "no autorizado:, "rechazado" o no se daba ni siquiera una razón.
Security Threat Group (STG) o "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," es la palabra de moda adquirida en los años 1990 que se aplica a organizaciones políticas y callejeras por igual, muchos según llamados "profesionales correccionales" afirman que MIM(Prisons) es un STG. Pero exactamente, ¿para quién somos una amenaza a la seguridad? Copiando el lenguaje del precedente marco de jurisprudencia, se usa frecuentemente como "perjudicial a la seguridad, buen orden, o disciplina de la institución o […] que facilitaria actividad criminal." El problema con el fraseo de la decisión de esta corte es que muchas prisiones interpretan que significa que si tu le dices a prisioneros que presenten demandas, escriban a la prensa, que se unan a organizaciones o entablar un juicio en respuesta a la tortura, abuso físico, falta de cuidado médico, censura, etcétera, entonces tu estas amenazando el buen orden o disciplina de la institución. (THORNBURGH v. ABBOTT, 490 U.S. 401 (1989))
Revisiones de esta y otra jurisprudencia demuestran que bajo capitalismo en America, prisioneros realmente tienen derechos y la interpretación dearriba es una violación a ellos. El real significado de esta ley sería permitir a administradores de las prisiones a censurar materiales que fomentan real e inmediatas amenazas de riesgo y seguridad, tal como planear atacar a alguien más en la prisión o contrabandear armas. El caso más reciente condenando encerrocratas por prevenir a prisioneros recibir materiales que promueven resistencia legal, fue justo el año pasado cuando un camarada en Wisconsin, ganó su pleito en la corte federal.(3)
En algunos casos la administración de la prisión ha interpretado la ley de la misma manera que nosotros lo hacemos, pero todavia afirma que violamos esta al representar una amenaza de riesgo y seguridad. El boletin de prohibición de California, citado arriba es un ejemplo de esto. En estos casos además, no estamos de acuerdo hasta el punto de llegar a involucrar a las cortes burguesas.
El memorándum de Octubre del 2006 del Director del CDCR Scott Kernan prohibiendo publicaciones de MIM (supuestamente no todo nuestro correo) tiene completamente inexactas declaraciones en este, tales como el citado arriba. Si fuera posible demostrar que MIM fomento o violó la ley sin mentir, uno de los abogados del estado ya habría hecho esto. Su defensa favorita en muchos estados es esconderse detrás de las paredes de la prisión, en vez de mentir como Scott Kernan lo hizo. Por eso es que oficiales del estado necesitan ser públicamente responsables en cualquier sociedad que alega democracia en cualquier forma.
Desde oficiales de corrección hasta el director, desempeñan el papel al pie de la letra del burócrata intentando defender su institución corrupta, y para poder actuar en el nombre de trabajos lucrativos. Nosotros admitimos ser una amenaza a los trabajos de oficiales corruptos e instituciones abusivas, como cualquier consciente ciudadano debe ser. En esta edición leerás historias de planes frustrados de paz, violentos montajes, y riesgo de pago para los C.O.s. Varios de los sindicatos representando a los así llamados oficiales de paz, son algunos de los mas fuertes en el país y su principal herramienta de influencia es la seguridad personal. Ellos dicen "estamos poniendo nuestras vidas en juego para proteger tus mierdas, es mejor que nos paguen bien." Por lo tanto la inherente motivación por más violencia, más motines, más miembros de gangas "validados" y más máxima seguridad y prisiones supermax. Todo esto significa más dinero en sus bolsillos.
Por lo general, Amerikanos en su totalidad se benefician de sus posiciones de poder sobre los oprimidos. Ciudadanos Estadounidenses de clase media se benefician por ser miembros del grupo de gente quienes pueden ser policías o que pueden consiguen trabajos similares como opresores en el sistema de injusticia criminal, y se benefician de los servicios que los policias proporcionan manteniendo lineas entre los grupos sociales.
Esto no es solo una motivación individualista de un pago más alto, esto es además una conciencia nacional que es necesaria para crear la mentalidad de "Nosotros vs. Ellos," que es necesaria para dirigir prisiones de la manera que ellos lo hacen en los Estados Unidos. Un ejemplo esta conciencia surgió durante el reinado de terror de Guiliani en la ciudad de Nueva York en los años 1990s, cuando el New York Times reportó que la mayoría de residentes blancos estaban conformes con la conducta de la policía que ellos veían, mientras que nueve de diez de Negras sintieron que "la policía se dedicaba en la brutalidad contra Negras."(4)
Estas normas nacionales de "ellos contra nosotros" fueron creadas por los colonizadores blancos y esta profundamente dentro de la historia de arrebatos de tierras y comercio de esclavos. Después del tiempo esto forzó al oprimido a ver el mundo de una manera similarmente dividida, dejando a los opresores con dos alternativas; ellos pueden retractarse y usar esto como una justificación para su propia brutalidad o pueden disminuir la contradicción. Nuestro análisis de imperialismo y la contradicción principal predice que Amerikanos no pueden disminuir la contradicción, y hasta ahora hemos probado tener la razón. Y eso es porque prisiones de Estados Unidos llegaron a ser un pequeño mundo perversamente violento de la sociedad Amerikana.
Mientras que creemos que policías y oficiales correccionales en general tienen intereses conferidos para oponerse a nuestros esfuerzos para promover paz, estamos actuando en un Frente Unido con algunos empleados del enorme sistema de justicia criminal quienes están mas interesados en llegar a casa con sus familias cada noche, que consiguir una chance de pago y nuevos juguetes de alta tecnología para jugar. Esto es poco probable en lugares como California donde la historia ya ha mostrado que les pasa a los empleados de las prisiones que hablan contra estos intereses. En una nota asociada, MIM(Prisons) no amenaza las vidas de las personas ni induce gente al suicidio, ni lleva a cabo asesinatos.
Muchos empleados de las prisiones afirman que MIM(Prisons) es una amenaza porque animamos a prisioneros a organizarse. Miramos a la historia otra vez, y ayudamos a sofocar esos temores tomando una mirada a dos de los mas grandes ejemplos de prisioneros organizadose ellos mismos: Attica y Walpole. En la rebelión de Attica en 1971, no fueron asesinados oficiales correccionales hasta que la Guardia Nacional entró y baleó a muerte a 11 empleados junto con 29 prisioneros. Hasta ese punto los prisioneros de Attica habían organizado una sociedad dirigida democráticamente dentro de las paredes de la prisión, incluyendo cosas tales como su propia comida y servicios médicos, mientras que estaban negociando con el Estado en nombre de todos los prisioneros. A los guardias se les dio trato superior todo el tiempo.
Un par de años más tarde, prisioneros en Walpole se les fue permitido dirigir la prisión ellos mismos cuando el sindicato de los guardias se fue a la huelga. Ellos crearon servicios similares como los prisioneros de Attica, y en realidad incrementaron la eficiencia de operación de la prisión con los guardias y burócratas fuera del camino. Esto mostró que tan pronto como a principios de los años 70s, que a los guardias de prision se le pagaban altos salarios por hacer nada. Desde entonces la población de la prisión se ha incrementado ocho veces, haciendo engordar la labor aristocrática con trabajos de salarios más altos a lo largo del camino.
Los prisioneras funcionando pacíficamente sin supervisores impactó a los puercos, quienes entonces empezaron a correr rumores acerca de motines dentro de Walpole. Los motines nunca sucedieron, y de hecho hubo a fin a toda violencia y violaciones durante la semanas en que los guardias de la prisión estuvieron ausentes, y por algún tiempo después. Esta clase de rumores continuos no es única a un grupo particular de guardias malévolos. En vez de eso, ellos estaban representando el mismo interés heredado de esta clase de gente. En los últimos 15 a 20 años en California, ellos han tenido éxito en crear una atmósfera de disturbios y violencia. Unicamente la minoría lleva a cabo su-mismo-interés en paz, porque esta es una amenaza a sus trabajos como clase.
Desafortunadamente, podemos esperar mucha violencia de los opresores antes de que podamos esperar un honesto juicio de lo que esta pasando en estos reservados calabozos. La gente quiere paz ahora. Comunidades que están siendo ocupadas, encarceladas y bombardeadas quieren un inmediato fin a la violencia.
Huey P. Newton dijo que le corresponde al opresor decidir si satisfacer tales demandas del oprimido pasan de una manera pacifica o de una manera violenta. Frantz Fanon dijo que la violencia es parte del desarrollo humanista y nueva conciencia entre la gente. Aún si Fanon esta en lo correcto, toma mucho para presionar a las multitudes hasta el punto de violencia como Huey lo indicó. Esto es obvio con la tanta gente que ha pasado más días en sumisión pacifica que estos quienes no. Resistencia violenta de la gente surgirá como esta sea necesitada por los que monopolizan violencia a través de su propio poder.
MIM(prisons) únicamente entabla y promueve medios legales para combatir injusticia. Cuando el personal de las prisiones reprime cada salida educacional y legal para prisioneros para reparación de sus quejas, entonces se hace claro que clase de estrategias están promoviendo. En esas prisiones, predecimos que habrá violencia, y ellos no pueden culparnos de esto porque ellos nos han mantenido fuera.
Esto es igual a lo que decimos de todas las luchas por justicia alrededor del mundo. Creemos que la violencia es necesaria para acabar con la injusticia porque la historia ha mostrado que el opresor nunca para de oprimir de una u otra manera. No queremos fomentar violencia, estamos simplemente declarando nuestra conclusión leyendo la historia. En cada caso de guerra revolucionaria, dependió del opresor decidir si la violencia fuera usada o no. La historia muestra que lo mismo ha sido verdad en el movimiento de los derechos en la prisión; la lucha por los derechos de los prisioneros ha llegado a ser únicamente violenta cuando el Estado ha iniciado la violencia.
Vea además The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Estudios claramente han mostrado que participantes en educación dentro de la prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen índices de reincidencia de 20 a 60 por ciento más bajos que los no participantes. Otro reciente y mayor estudio de prisioneros encontró que participantes en programas de educación eran 29 por ciento menos probables de terminar de regreso a prisión, y que participantes han ganado un salario más alto en libertad." 2. El texto completo de esta carta esta disponible en nuestro sitio web a lo largo con ciento de toneladas de otros documentos relacionados a la prohibición de California: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/ca/ (si tu eras un preso de California probablemente ya la has visto.) 3. Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C US District Court Western District of Wisconsin. Disponible pronto en nuestra página de archivo. 4. Hayden, Tom. Street Wars. The New Press, 2005, p.108.
I wanted to write a few words concerning the new step down program that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has begun to implement. There is nothing new about this brainwash program because brainwash kamps are tools learned in the "School of the Americas" (aka Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), which was founded in 1946. Brainwash kamps were unleashed on the Vietnamese by the French, on Jews and communists by the German Nazis before the gas, and the Koreans tasted these kamps by their Japanese colonizers. In fact, all colonized people experience some form of brainwashing by the oppressor. Security Housing Unit (SHU) prisons are examples of U.$. imperialism following this tradition.
First we should keep in mind that many folks captured in these SHUs are not guilty of what they are accused of. So long as information is extracted via torture, i.e. years of solitary confinement, then false information will be provided to the torturers. It is a fact that some humyn beings will say or do anything to stop the torture, and as a result many prisoners will be subjected to torture for false accusations.
We happened to get our hands on one of the journals that are used in the step down program. A guard slid one of them into our pod by "accident" and as you could imagine it was heavily scrutinized.
This brainwash manual has quotes of nameless supposed prisoners sprinkled throughout saying things to the effect that the supposed prisoner once blamed the system or other elements but has now realized it was her/his own fault. Each page has the following words on the bottom, "It is illegal to duplicate this page in any manner."
The supposed purpose of this program is for prisoners to work their way out of the SHU. This will supposedly be done to allow prisoners a way, outside of informing on people, to get back to the general population. What they don't tell you is that you will have to now go through their brainwash course. Even then they can deny you if they feel you are not sincere. But my question is, why do I have to undergo a deprogramming when I am the torture survivor? Why shouldn't my torturer have to take classes on why it's wrong to torture?
In the "journal," each page asks questions, such as for the reader to list wrongdoings you have done and then asks what caused you to make these choices. Examples are given of different crimes the supposed prisoner committed. They then ask for pros and cons of crimes one committed and one is even asked if you feel sly or manipulative when you deceive people.
All these questions are asked in a way that implicates you and attempts to blame you for not just being in prison but in SHU as well. At no time is the possibilty even hinted of someone being in SHU for false allegations. There are lists of good habits and "criminal" behavior. But good habits like "caring" or "responsibility" are what we already showed in the strikes, and "criminal" behavior listed like "dishonesty" or "irresponsibility" is exactly what the state has done. Yet this brainwash journal wants us to say we are criminal if we want to advance in this de-programming or de-revolutionizing program. There is no way I will even act or role play with my torturers just to go to general population. What they are doing is wrong and rather than take them off the hook by falsely admitting to criminal behavior I will refuse their brainwash program and continue to publicize this torture and agitate for resistance in these death kamps!
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade asks a good question as to why it is not the torturer who has to take classes to help them understand that what they did was wrong. Of course there is a class character to every justice system, and in the United $tates we have a bourgeois state. When there was a proletarian-led state in China it was the torturers, landlords and spies for the imperialists that underwent re-education in what might be called a brainwashing program by the imperialists. The difference in the class character of the Chinese prison system and the Amerikan one is that those deemed criminals were put in communal living situations, where they had to learn to live and work together with others, where they were given reading materials, and required to study. So while the ultimate goal of getting the criminals to recognize that what they did was wrong was similar, this was done through group study and struggle, rather than long-term isolation and torture as is common for the oppressed languishing in U.$. prisons.
We do not oppose re-education as we are all products of our environment. Even in U.$. prisons, many of the oppressed locked up have committed (relatively minor) crimes as they emulate the values of the bourgeoisie. What we do oppose is torture, wasting of humyn lives, and a justice system that prioritizes profits over humyn life.
Background on Campaign to Resist Restrictions on Indigent Correspondence
In a move that caught some of us off guard, the Texas Board of Criminal Injustice has issued an order to drastically change the indigent mail policy within the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice, which runs over 111 Texas state prisons. In August 2013 the board convened and decided that starting October 1, 2013, indigent prisoners will only be allowed to mail 5 general correspondence letters per month! Indigent prisoners were previously allotted 5 letters per week. The primary reason cited for the drastic cut is the financial costs involved in providing postage for the tens of thousands of indigent prisoners housed in Texas prisons. However, there is a very real attack being aimed at the growing number of revolutionary voices that are popping up around Texas to expose the barbaric treatment and inhumane conditions that exist in Texas. It is validation to many of us that our voices are being heard by outside supporters, and this new policy is definitely a retaliatory reactionary response to our activism.
Just this year alone has exposed so many major problems in Texas:
Texas surpassed 500 executions of human beings on June 26 2013.
A wrongful death lawsuit was lodged against Texas in regards to the extreme heat (and the pigs joined the prisoners!)
Texas leads the nation in prison sexual assault and abuse cases
Rashid of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party - Prison Chapter was moved to Texas from Oregon and the internet is buzzing with his detailed report of the mistreatment and abuse he has incurred since arriving in Texas.
Comrades, the U.S. Department of Injustice doesn't give a shit about us. In order to actuate change for ourselves we must unite in solidarity, get active with USW and MIM(Prisons), link up with sincere activists and media outlets who are sympathetic to our cause and "mash the gas" on these oppressors. Texas hates media coverage, so now we are forced to really make our correspondence count. Drop all the letters to organizations that are only offering lip service with no action and get with this movement! Share Under Lock & Key, increase your political study, stand up to the pigs. Don't let the comrades in California be the only true revolutionary soldiers.
I am a Georgia prisoner of war at Hancock State Plantation and just recently on 13 November 2013 I was locked down with numerous others on a Tier II program of "gang control" for long-term lock down. The administration says we are a threat to the security and welfare of the institution. We were stripped of all our property, including hygiene, and given state issue everything.
They tell us that the program is for behavior modification, which is crazy considering most of us haven't been to Ad-Seg in years. But they tell us the qualification for this program runs 5 years prior sanctions. We are not allowed to receive mail, literature, or be involved in programs for any type of reform even though certain inmates are required by courts to take classes in order to be released.
We only get one 15-minute phone call a month on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which are working days to the employed across the United $tates. The phones turn on at 8am and are cut off at 4:30pm. On top of all this, our visitations are on the same days as our phone calls and we are allowed to have only 2 hours of non-contact visits with a 2-person max of visitors. Most of our families travel more than 2 hours just to see us.
Due to the lack of professionalism, or to the abundance of corruption, we do not receive our 5 hours of outside recreation, nor do we receive cell clean up, which is a violation of our prisoner rights per Georgia Department of Corrections Standard Operating Procedures. We are forced, by coercion of disciplinary reports and gas accompanied by a strip cell, to have a cellmate even though this is a long-term lock down unit and we are considered a threat to the security of the institution and other persons. I heard the warden tell the captain pig "to let us kill each other."
Nine months is the minimum time you can be held in this Tier II program, but if you receive a Disciplinary Report (D.R.) 90 more days are added to your stay. There are seven close security plantations in Georgia that have this Tier II program and they can hold us up to 2 years in each one, which is 14 years in isolation all together if they choose to hold you that long.
The pigs tend to aggravate and irritate us to react out of frustration so we can receive a D.R. They do everything intentionally in order to trick us into longer stay in Ad-Seg. They know that if everyone was to complete this program in 9 months they wouldn't have any program.
What's so fishy about this sudden occurrence of a Tier II program in Georgia is that earlier this year the Crips, Bloods, and GDs came to a peace treaty in order for us to unite against the pigs' oppression. We are not organized to the point of a name, but we are upholding the principles of the United Front. We are trying to educate our comrades in a more revolutionary mentality. As of now, most of the leaders and the more influential participants are locked down in Ad-Seg and I don't find this a coincidence. The pigs hate the idea of us uniting in peace and not killing each other.
The battle against torture in California prisons is heading for a breaking point with unity running high among prisoners and resistance to change stiffening within the state. Since the third round of strikes ended in early September the promised state legislature hearing around the Security Housing Units (SHU) occurred and Pelican Bay SHU representatives met with California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) officials. Yet the actions taken by the state in response to the protests have been the same old political repression that the SHU was created to enforce, not ending conditions of torture. One comrade from Corcoran reports:
I read in your latest publication that you guys hadn't had any news of the concessions Corcoran SHU made in order to bring our hunger strike to an end. For the most part, the demands made here are not even worth articulating, as they don't incorporate, in any way, the push towards shutting these human warehouses down completely.
The demands put forth here are simple creature comforts, which have not even been met by the administration, to pacify those who seem to have accepted these conditions of confinement.
Worse than the petty reforms, is the blatant political repression of strikers just as the world's attention is on them. The state knows that if it can get away with that now, then it has nothing to worry about. As another comrade from Corcoran SHU reports:
I stopped eating state food on 8 July 2013 and as a retaliatory measure I and a bunch of other prisoners were transferred from the Corcoran SHU to the Pelican Bay SHU. Only the thing is, when we got to Pelican Bay on 17 July 2013 we were placed in the ASU instead of the SHU, which made it so that we would have a lot less privileges and we couldn't even get a book to read. So we were just staring at the wall. On 5 August 2013 others and myself were moved to the SHU where we were again just staring at the wall. On 7 September 2013 we were again moved back to the ASU to sit there with nothing. On 24 September 2013 I was moved back to the SHU and I just received all my property last week.
So we were moved around and denied our property for 3 months or more. But that seems to be it right now and I can finally settle in. But I'm telling you that was a long 3 months. Other than that no new changes or anything else has happened around here. I did, however, receive a 115 rules violation report for the hunger strike, along with everyone else who participated, and in it it charges that I hunger striked as part of some gang stuff so it was gang activity. This is ironic since the hunger strike was about the CDCR misusing the validation process and what is considered gang activity. So now that 115 can and will be used as a source item of gang activity to keep me in the SHU longer.
While that comrade was sent to Pelican Bay, our comrade below is being "lost" in Enhanced Outpatient Program (EOP). Organizing in California has gotten so advanced that the CDCR is moving people out of Administrative Segregation to isolate them. But with a third of the people actively participating in protests, there is no way for them to brush this movement under the rug.
I am writing to say that it's been over 5 weeks since our peaceful protest was suspended. I am a petitioner in the Corcoran Administrative Segregation Unit 2011 strike and am a participant and a petitioner in this 8 July 2013 one. I have been moved around and retaliated against. I went from ASU-1 to Cor 3B02 on 24 July 2013. I was moved back to ASU-1 on 16 August 2013 and then on 19 August 2013 I was moved to where I am currently housed in isolation with no access to anything although I am not "EOP." I am being housed against my will and the correctional officers here tell me I don't belong here but that they can't do anything because it's above their pay level. No one seems to know anything about why I am being housed here but all come to the same conclusion: that someone above them has me housed here. I'd like to know if there is anyone out there that you may have heard of that find themselves in similar situations or am I the only one?
We haven't heard anything yet. But don't let their games get to you comrade.
Another indication of the strength of change in California comes from a story being circulated by representatives of the Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective. Multiple versions have been circulating about a historic bus ride where these "worst of the worst" from "rival gangs" were left unshackled for an overnight bus ride. It was reported that not one of the O.G.'s slept a wink that night, but neither did any conflicts occur. At least some of these men self-admittedly would have killed each other on sight in years past.(1) This amazing event symbolizes the extent to which this has become about the imprisoned lumpen as a whole, and not about criminal interests.
The CDCR keeps telling the public that they are instituting reforms, while in reality they are torturing people for being "gang members" for reasons such as protesting torture. Outside supporters can up the pressure to end this system of repression by letting them know that we know what they're doing, that their words mean nothing, and that going on hunger strike is not a crime. There is a campaign to call the CDCR out on their hypocrisy by contacting:
M.D. Stainer, Director Division of Adult Institutions Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation P.O. Box 942883 Sacramento CA. 94283 (916) 445-7688 [email protected]
As we reiterated last issue, it is prisoners who determine the fate of the prison movement. And the only way prisoners can actually win is by building independent power. As long as this is a campaign for certain reforms, the state will go back to business as usual as soon as the outside attention fades. Torture cannot be reformed, and neither can an exploitative economic system that demands it. Of course prisoners can't end imperialism alone, but wherever we are we must focus on building cadre level organizations that can support independent institutions of the oppressed.