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[Education] [Release] [Recidivism] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 60]
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Rehabilitation Must Push People to Their Fullest Potential

Seven out of every ten parolees will be arrested sometime after their release. Nearly half will return to prison someday. The plague of recidivism hangs over every releasee's future like the scythe of the grim reaper coming to cut short their potential beyond the concrete walls, iron bars, and razor-wire of the perpetually proliferating injustice system. The very dehumanizing experience of imprisonment itself plays a significant role in criminal conditioning. For many, it is the influencing factor of imprisonment that detrimentally affects them the greatest. Many learn from those mistakes of their past and some don't. For those with the ability to endure the physical and psychological terrors of "doing time," the lack of skills acquired leaves them with few options other than crime for economic survival after release and leaves the parole board wondering whether or not it made the right decision in granting parole in the first place.

More often than not, it is overlooked as to what may have led to someone's imprisonment and what may be done to help them overcome the struggles or obstacles in their path and in order for them to have a successful reintegration into society. The feeling of defeat is often a temporary condition, but there is never a better measure of what a person is than when they're absolutely free to choose. Removing the individual's choice leads to a lack of inspiration and motivation to overcome one's struggles, and they eventually give up hope. Giving up is what makes the temporary condition of defeat permanent. Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is; treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.

In prisons the use of manual labor is considered by several states to be rehabilitative for those given the duty of performing labor that could be done by an advancement in technology through farming equipment. In all actuality, this manual labor is of no use to the prisoner and further hinders true rehabilitation. More money is put into prisons, county jails, and other state penal institutions than there is put into the actual rehabilitation of the prisoners. The addition of more educational programs throughout the state penal institutions would serve a greater good and present people with more opportunities for a successful reintegration into society. "Hoe squad" and "regional maintenance" are a hindrance to the efforts to rehabilitate criminal behavior and thinking modification efforts of the individual prisoners.

Forcing a prisoner to perform such tasks of manual farming and regional clean-up to replace that of existing farm equipment and jobs that are the responsibility of our city labor forces, and without an incentive for possible job placement upon release, serves no greater purpose to the individual prisoner and proves to be more dehumanizing than rehabilitative. It has been declared by many that we can change our circumstances by a mere change of our attitudes, but when placed under duress with no choice in the matter there becomes no room for progress. In regards to rehabilitation, it should and must be the objective of our state government and legislature to seek out better avenues by which to lower our states' recidivism rates, and use education as an avenue by which to rehabilitate our states' prisoners. The person everyone wants returning to their community is an educated, empowered taxpayer who has the skills to help make our society safe and healthy.

As an ex-convict, I understand the limitations placed on our states' prison populations by the use of "hoe squad" and "regional maintenance" as a form of rehabilitation. The value of post-secondary correctional education programs prove to be very beneficial. As this article is written, I am in progress of putting together business plans for an outreach program entitled "A New Leaf Outreach Program" aka "My Brothers' Place" that will serve as an avenue by which convicts / ex-convicts and parolees / probationers, as well as the community, may come together and organize our knowledge — not denying one another the opportunity to teach what we know and learn what we may not know — and bring about a solution to our society's problems.

One may choose to be a part of the problem or choose to be a part of the solution. Regardless of one's past mistakes, one always chooses to be a part of the solution. Once you are challenged, you find something in yourself. Adversity causes some men to break, others to break records. Success is based upon how one rises above his defeats.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This writer explains well the importance of education for prisoners and the uselessness of many of the "jobs" programs that currently exist. This failure of the work programs is specific to the criminal injustice system that seeks to control populations rather than educate and rehabilitate.

In communist China under Mao we have examples of prisons where people were sent for genuine rehabilitation and education. These prisons integrated work programs for the prisoners, to help them contribute productive labor to society and learn skills they might use on the outside. When prisoners were released in China it was after undergoing intensive education, which included reading many books and discussing these books with others. This process of study and criticism/self-criticism helped them see why their actions that harmed other people were wrong, and giving them a sense of purpose to their lives that did not involve harming others.

All of this occurred within the greater context of a society where everyone was given a role, and expected to participate in transforming society. We can't expect the imperialists to implement such a progressive system because it would be counter to their use of prisons for social control and impossible in a capitalist dog-eat-dog society. But we can, as this writer says, build together to be part of the solution. We can build our own educational programs, study groups, and organizations independent of the oppressor. This is our job right now, as we build to ultimately take down this corrupt and unjust system.

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[Organizing] [Release]
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Challenges Organizing without Housing

MIM(Prisons) has very few comrades who continue work with us once released from prison. Recently one of these comrades offered to ask the wimmin ey organizes with on the outside to write up something for this issue of Under Lock & Key. We sent prompts but didn't hear anything back. When we checked in on the article submissions, our comrade gave us an update:

"The reason nothing has come out of the shelter is because of a sudden turnover in residents, many of the active wimmin are now gone or just can't be reached. I have not submitted due to constraints on my time. My fiancée was kicked out of the shelter and due to taking care of her as much as possible and my own parole and other issues, i simply have not had time to put anything to paper. I am sleeping about 3 hrs. a day and on the move the other 21. We are working on an awareness project to get some of the people mobilized. Currently there are only 3 of us working on all of this, a member of Blackstone from Chicago, my fiancée and myself. It is very slow and tiring work. I apologize for my silence, i have just been swamped with stuff every day."

We empathize with this comrade's difficulties in finding time to put pen to paper. It's extremely difficult to juggle the bureaucratic challenges of parole with the lack of resources available for basic survival. We need to build independent institutions so we can meet our basic survival needs, so we can focus on the political struggle for self-determination. There's a catch 22 where reformist struggles take time and energy to build, and our ultimate goal is liberation from the conditions that make these band-aid programs necessary.

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[Release] [Gender]
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What I did as a communist and on probation: 2006-2015

I emphasize greatly that I do not intend to romanticize my experiences while keeping true to my communism and being on probation. It was not a romantic existence being in sort of an involuntary political vacuum and underground. During this time, my political work was severely limited. I did not partake in rallies, forums, strikes, etc. Unfortunately I had to eventually internalize that the best way to fight against the system was to survive probation. Every day for nine years was excruciating hell for me, my comrades, and my family.

My letters from jail, prison, and the "outs" are full of such depression, melancholy, outright anger, and all sorts of ambivalent emotions. Obviously a lot of more people have it worse than me, but for those nine years I could only do my time. Even during probation, jail, and prison; at the best of my circumstances (almost at the cost of my life, friends, and family) I was very devoted and very biased in favor of supporting struggles of working-people, People of Color, the poor and the lumpenproletariat.

My only contribution and commitment to the movement came to only keeping notes on the Prison-Industrial Complex, keeping up with contemporary news, and reading up on Marxist Theory, and History.

For better or worse, my socialist credo kept me clear of reoffending. I have been a communist since 2004 when I joined a revolutionary youth group and later its parent group. I, with another comrade, was elected to represent our respective departments in the student senate. I was also in other activist groups on and off campus. At the age of 24 I plea bargained to guilty without a jury trial to using the computer to facilitate a child sex crime.

Right away after being charged, my face was all over the news. I voluntarily left the party and discontinued as a student senator. Amongst radicals and communists, it is not easy to be convincing that it was a sting operation and there was no victim. Some feminists would argue I was being reactionary, misogynistic, and anti-communist due to my actions.

I served a total of nine years probation. I was originally given three years and 90-days on an ankle monitor. Because I made some minor infractions of probation rules, I was incarcerated from 2008-2010. I did not offend, but served time in jail off and on for minor probation occurrences.

In Wisconsin, when a sex offender is on probation, every move one makes, mental and physical is under a microscope by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WIDOC). I had to see my probation officer once a week. I had to respond to questions such as "If I have been around minors", "If I have taken drugs or alcohol", "If I was around parks, schools, or where minors typically frequent", "If I had sex with a member of my peer group." etc. She did not ask these questions every week, but it was disciplined into me that I would have to automatically bring anything up that the WIDOC needed to hear. They would even make me keep a masturbation log and record what I fantasized to. I was also polygraphed 8 times to see if I was telling the truth. For most of my probation, I could not use a computer, cellphone, or internet. This made it hard to finish my history degree without a use of computer.

I had a fine network of friends and family to help me through it. Dating, networking, keeping up with news, was very hard without a 21st century device. For one instance, I had to finish my senior thesis on Sri Lankan communism on a typewriter and have a colleague type it up on a computer! I was not the model probationer. Due to my arrogance, naiveté, belief that I was wronged, I was revoked once and jailed many times. I was put on a probation hold for a number of occasions. Being revoked does not mean I reoffended with another crime. Revoked means I did not follow probation rules and I had to be incarcerated. This means losing one's "street time" and doing probation all over again. I was revoked for two years and had to do five years of probation.

One cannot have sex, a sexual relationship, however defined, without DOC approval. The chances of finding someone, being okay with my crime, and willing to meet with the probation officer is very slim. I defined this as a "state-issued girlfriend." I did not have this luxury during probation. Many sex-deviants do not want to date due to the extremely strenuous circumstances with the WIDOC.

But within the duration of my nine years, I did a lot of reading up on deviance, sexuality, the bourgeois notion of family, and Marxism. I hope my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors give one a clue on how ridiculous Americans overact towards sex offenders. I realize how such a sensitive topic sex offenders is dealt with in academia and so reactionary it is dealt with in the mainstream press. I only know that a better way is needed to treat sex-deviants and non-sex deviants alike need be done with facts and figures rather than sex-steria. I kept to my socialist ideas, no matter how one thinks I compromised them, destroyed them, or foolishly kept them. My exuberant sense of humor, zealous optimism (challenged at many degrees), stubbornness, knowing the system, kept me going. It takes a lot through treatment, conversations with PO, in jail, probation, prison, to keep true to my politics.

I, like every human on the planet, am a product and by-product of my societal surroundings. This is where we get social cues, clues, habits, thought processes, and where we get our class from. I read up on different countries (primarily Stalinist countries) and how they have dealt with the concept of deviance. I primarily read up on the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), popular justice in the People's Republic of China (pre-1980), the Soviet Union, and Cuba. I kept up on theory with Merton, Quinney, and other ex-convict criminologist mentors. I continued to read up on contemporary and historic happenings and sent for radical bookstores for socialist newspapers. I took notes and worked on writings on a contemporary communist position of the revolutionary role of the lumpen. I put together some notes for a manifesto of "Dragon Battalions" made out of class-conscious criminals and social-deviants.

I also had to participate in Sex Offender Treatment (SOT) run by a so-called "law and order conservative." To me, it is part self-criticism session and part Catholic confessions. I did not disclose myself in SOT or in probation as a communist. I would not be on the outs if I did. At one point, since treatment did not know why I was failing polygraphs, they called me the "most dangerous man in [XX] County." I had to attend several different SOT groups due to my unequivocal nature of probation.

I also tried to start up a socialist prisoner group called "Samizdat: Socialist Prisoners Project." The SSPP was designed to send radical literature to prisoners and be a more direct movement. Because of my arrogance I snuck through a couple months without the WIDOC knowing of the SSPP. I ended it as soon as I was banned from computer use. Upon the closing of SSPP, the WIDOC still did not know of it. Due to a bit of arrogance and indifference, I listened to Radio Havana Cuba (RHC) on a shortwave radio. I even wrote to the radio station, heard my letter read on the air and received parcels from RHC. I also wrote the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (north Korea) and received some books. Who knows if the WIDOC found out, what state of affairs I would be in?

The boogeyman of the sex offender is a product of the contradiction of the ultra-sexualized, ultra-puritan, police state standard-operating-procedure of the USA. I do believe sexual abuse is harmful; I am against rape, as well as the societal cannons of chauvinism, sexism, racism, bigotry, misogyny — all stemming from capitalism.

I am still serving a life sentence due to be stigmatization and even registered for another ten years. The WIDOC knows my email, where I live, my phone number, my Facebook accounts, and the car I drive. I have to disclose my crime to possible future employers. I have to disclose my past to future relationships. While on probation I made a small service to the revolutionary cause. I wrote hundreds of poems, and published four books.

Without the use of a computer, I finished my degree in History and Sociology. I co-authored a paper about the life of a sex offender partaking in college. I was inspired to be a convict criminologist researching and observing so-called criminal deviant acts from the view of the incarcerated and recently incarcerated persons.

I am currently writing a political memoir of my experiences of treatment, jail, prison, and probation. I am now in many leftist organizations including SSPP and my past socialist group. I am working towards a Masters in Criminology and for workings of a formation of the freedom armies of tomorrow. I am currently occupied in the solidarity front of the Wisconsin Dying to Live hunger strikes. Mentally, I am left paranoid, colder, distressed, with social-effective disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, anxiety, depression, scared, and insecure of forming close relationships and doing some political work.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade does a good job describing the difficulties that face former-prisoners on the streets. In the case of someone labeled a sexual deviant there are even more challenges. These difficulties face all parolees and require a strength of persynal conviction as well as social support to overcome. This is why we are building our release support program preparing our comrades years before they get out. And why we emphasize setting up structures on the outside that will lead to a sustainable life. This will make it much more likely that folks can stay politically active on the streets.

We want to clarify that we agree with this writer's implication that it is society that conditions people to be "sexual deviants," and in fact creates a hyper-sexualized culture and then condemns people who respond to it with arousal. We recognize the power differential between adults and youth, just like that between wealthy and poor, or male and female, as something that creates an inherent inequality in a relationship and a power dynamic that makes full consent to sex impossible. Because of this we agree with the line that says all sex is rape. There is no perfect sex as long as the system of patriarchy exists. Because of this we don't put sex offenders in some special group more condemned than those who steal from the people, deal drugs to the people, or kill people. Instead we are clear that any action that harms other people by using power over them is unacceptable. But we do not recognize the Amerikan criminal injustice system as an authority to judge people's crimes. The people running this system are the biggest murderers, thieves, rapists and drug dealers in the world. Only when we have eliminated imperialism and established a dictatorship of the proletariat will we be able to mete out justice for the people by the people, and help those who really did commit crimes against the people reform to become productive members of society.

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[Release] [Mental Health]
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Surviving on the Streets is a Challenge after Abuse Behind Bars

It has been some time since we connected, 7 or 8 years I'd say. I was a regular subscriber and poetry/prose contributor over the years I was a fedz prisoner.

As I'm sure the question looms, "how does one find himself back inside?" Especially after having done 17 years fedz? Well, while one exited within a progressive state of mind; obtaining an AA in 15 months; doing 40 hours a week volunteering at a program benefiting those with felony backgrounds; rebuilding broken ties to my three adult children; getting into Junior University even!

What I did not get enough of was mental health treatment! All of those yard riots, overt violence and isolation took a toll it seems! After an all-out melee while attending a birthday party, i began suffering flashbacks, nightmares, and chronic insomnia. A professional diagnosed me with PTSD and recommended medication for sleep and anxiety. I refused out of ignorance, erroneously thinking it'd tamper with my brain. Shortly thereafter, an infrequent sexual partner spit on me. My response was to hit her repeatedly. An act i am ashamed of and totally out of character. While there were no bodily injuries (serious), i was convicted at a farce of a trial of multiple charges including burglary 1, assault 2, assault 4 x2, etc.

And given what is called "dangerous offender" enhancement "45 years"! More time than a murderer. My attorney deliberately aided state in suppressing my mental health files and permitted my past organizational ties/prison B.S. to be used as fear inciter. Thankfully, they were in such a rush to get the so-called "gang leader" they made a multitude of errors! Any one of which could/should get one a new trial. Picture a trial where three separate jurors have a connection to the DA or testifying witnesses. Or a defendant with documented PTSD being purposely misdiagnosed (via reading past fedz writeups) as having "personality disorder" so as to justify and legitimize the dangerous offender enhancement. The struggle continues.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this letter because it's a good example of what happens to comrades once they hit the streets. Even those with the best of intentions and solid connections and infrastructure on the outside can struggle to stay out of trouble after years of torture and abuse behind bars. This is something we are interested in hearing more about from released and re-admitted comrades alike: what can be done to address mental health issues, both before release and on the streets, to help people stay out of prison?

We understand this comrade's hesitation in participating with mental health programs even after eir diagnosis of PTSD. There is a long, long history of unethical medical experimentation on oppressed peoples, even those considered U.$. citizens. And the medical and psychology industries in the United $tates are so closely tied up with capitalist ventures, it's difficult to know if you're getting accurate or truthful information about treatment or drugs being prescribed.

This anecdote also paints a portrait of how prisons are used for social control even beyond the prison walls. Violent prison conditions lead to psychological traumas, there's no treatment, and then those psychological traumas carry on post-release and infect interpersynal relationships, ultimately landing people back in jail.

In general, bourgeois psychological treatment focuses on helping people adapt to the fucked up conditions of imperialism. If you are depressed about how unfair and disgusting humyn societies are, that's a valid and natural response. Bourgeois psychology would try to put you on anti-depressants and convince you it's your problem you're depressed — something wrong with your brain. MIM(Prisons) would highlight that this is a social problem, that your brain is in perfect working order, and try to rally you to channel that depression and frustration into working to change these conditions. 9 times out of 10 working on a political project you really believe in will help relieve psychological symptoms caused by the alienation of capitalism.

However, in some cases simply acting doesn't break one out of a mental health crisis. As much as we try to overcome it on our own, sometimes addressing the psychological challenge head-on is an important accompaniment to, or sometimes precursor of, political activism. We're not saying to just go along with whatever treatment plan some quack doctor recommends. But it's important to smartly tap into these resources in order to further one's ability to do political work on an as-needed basis. For example, if this comrade got treatment for their PTSD, ey may have been better able to control eir anger, and thus may have avoided catching another bid.

Eventually we aim to run our own Serve the People medical programs, like the Black Panther Party was doing in their heyday, combining much-needed services with political education against imperialism. Until then we just try to use the few helpful resources available to us to better our ability to do political work, while we build toward that future.

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[Release] [Security]
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Resist Anarchist Tendencies: Stay Disciplined on the Streets

Yes, I'm a hypocrite. I castigate the anarchists for busting out Starbucks windows or torching the Governor's mansion without achieving any political gains or advantage; yet here I am doing 4 years for assaulting a pig, trying to bring a little Ferguson to Austin.

Subjective? How 'bout plain idiocy. I was not disciplined and had been losing my self-discipline for years. My present imprisonment caused my then 13-year-old granddaughter to ask how her grandpa could possibly be locked away in prison. I explained to her the contradictions between visceral and cerebral actions. In effect, I had to admit to my adoring granddaughter that grandpa was an ass at the time of my arrest.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We thank this comrade for eir self-criticism and willingness to share this mistake for others to learn from. We all face a constant struggle to navigate between right and left errors. This is a particularly tough challenge in the First World where we cannot ground ourselves in the proletarian majority to stay orientated. The above is an example of a left error; more specifically a left subjectivist error. Some ultra-leftism is based on a belief that armed struggle now is the best way to spark the revolution. While this comrade did not believe that, still ey gave in to subjective desires for action. We'd say eir action was actually worse than the real anarchists who have a line closer to the former.

Left errors are more dangerous in terms of getting put in prison or hurt. Then you can live the rest of your life in prison or on disability with your street cred for what you did that one time. Right errors are a less respectable way of giving in, in the eyes of most. But both are a form of giving up, particularly when driven by subjectivism.

Without a proletariat base we must seek out a source of grounding to avoid these tendencies. Reading and study is one great way to do this. Having comrades who you work with who can keep you in check is another way. This is one reason one-persyn cells are not ideal. If you do find yourself isolated in your location, try to stay in touch with an organization you trust through regular communications. It is also possible to find pockets of society where there is a revolutionary, or at least progressive current that can keep you motivated. Finally, music, culture, meditation and other leisure time activities can help you stay focused and orientated.

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[Release] [California]
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Notes from a CA Comrade Who Fell Back into Street Life

Well comrades, I must stop and apologize to all. I fell back into the street life, I had no place to live, I could not get a job, so I went back to the old habits. I have no family support. I came back with 12 years to do. These things are very important in the post release: a place to live, there's a lot of people that come back because of this. We also need to help find comrades jobs already lined up so they can touch down running. Also if there's anyone like me, x-gang members, felon, tattooed up, it's very hard.

Please put me back on the list for ULK. I'm no longer an active Crip, I'm going to college in prison. I am now on the SNY yard because of dropping out. It's hard to have a political life. It's easy in here because we have a place to stay, but when comrades touch the streets, life moves very fast and I was too slow to keep pace. So I'm starting over. I want to get right. One thing I do know is the imperialists must not win.


In Struggle.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade echoes the theme of most submissions to this issue of the Re-lease on Life newsletter: life on the streets is hard after prison! We agree with this writer that we need to set up serve the people programs to help our comrades hitting the streets. Jobs and housing are a priority. We don't have the resources to do this right now, but these programs are part of our longer term goals for the MIM(Prisons) Re-lease on Life program. And this is a way that people on the outside can get involved. Help us seek out existing resources that new releasees can tap into, and build the groundwork for programs we can set up independently. As a first step, if you know about resources in your area, send us information so we can share that information with others. Anything that you find useful will probably be useful to others: how to get food stamps, where to find temporary housing, places that help finding jobs, etc. Until we are able to build our own resources we can at least offer our newly released comrades some help with finding some of the existing services that might help them get along on the streets.

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[Release] [ULK Issue 49]
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Surviving and Staying Active on the Streets

I am anxious to address your and my concerns regarding former prisoners' activism once released. I've never encountered anyone who espoused a similar observation to what I am about to present. So, per my experience, the following is a very individualized perspective, and therefore, possibly incorrect. It may outright counter MIM(Prisons)'s line on self-reliance. But what I recall as the greatest hardship for me upon my previous release was isolation. The only Maoist camaraderie I located was not in my city, but on the internet via MIM and the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL). I had to settle. The local Anarchist Black Cross (ABC) was the only group that even remotely resembled my political philosophy and activism ideology.

But it was settling. Lifestyle revolutionary, anarcho-fascist, nihilists. I could be hypercritical. It's been said I'm left of Mao, but really, I might be right of Stalin. As a Leninist, I am a staunch advocate of military-like party discipline. These people, I'm sure, regarded me as an authoritarian dick. But, adhering to my instructions, we were able to garner over 1200 pro-Churchill petition signatures in less than 40 hours.

Politics before personalities.

I had worked as an avowed M-L-M with the ABC per their anti-prisons campaign, and other single-issue activities. Often times when in a verbal, confrontational struggle, the ABC folks would approach me asking why I hated them. I didn't. I truly liked and enjoyed the social company of the ABC people. But I was not going to compromise line. The relationship between ABC and myself quickly degenerated and ended with a campaign of slander against me. I could indeed write a paper entitled "Why the ABC is the Police."

But it was the isolation of being the only Maoist in my city's radical elements. The ABC told me as much stating maybe I'd be better off in a different city, closer to my own kind. But even at the most secluded times, I could be found handing out MIM Notes (most downloaded from the internet) proselytizing for revolution - by myself. That can get a little lonely.

I believe it of immediate import: computer security. I've missed a few things the last few years of my accelerated downward spiral, but the last I heard, those wishing to use public library computer labs must present a photo ID, your ID # being your access PIN #. That was my experience when I attempted to use a public library computer in the 2000s. I also remember librarians protesting a provision of the Patriot Act requiring public libraries to maintain records of materials parolees had checked out. I found this to be significant, as the library system had available books, CDs, DVDs, etc. that might attract pig scrutiny.

It has been my practice to utilize computer labs available at a University, mainly at the law library as I had integrated myself with the staff there due to my uncommon knowledge of law. This is where I printed out MIM Notes. A little difficult at the office. Too many trips to the printer and you would be watched. When I could I'd have several cadre accompany me. I would download MIM Notes from my computer and I would signal cadre to retrieve them from the printer. This way the same persyn was not observed accessing a printer; and if I got busted for performing non-office business, we could just switch to another computer.

On a good day we could produce 50 MIM Notes. A good week, we could do this 3-5 days. That compounded by the notes periodically sent by MIM, and a good quantity of papers were put on the street in the west campus area for a period of approximately 3 years.

Isolation is a big problem. I believe it is paramount releasees be connected to other revolutionaries. Or maybe I'm just antisocial. I have a fear that I may be degenerating into misanthropy which, to my way of thinking, is anathema to socialism/communism/statelessness. Anyway it is political isolation I am apprehensive about upon my release.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In our 2010 article "Rassessing Cell Structure 5 years out" we asserted that 1-persyn cells have a high likelihood of degeneration, and also are at a disadvantage when it comes to criticism/self-criticism. It is important that this comrade reached out to other Maoists thru the internet.

We have been soliciting feedback from our comrades on what helps people stay politically active after they are released from prison. As an ongoing forum for discussion , and an institution to develop our Re-Lease on Life program further, we are going to be printing a bi-annual newsletter devoted to this topic. This will be a place for those planning for release, and those who are politically active post-release, to collaborate and build. Thru this newsletter we can discuss various tactics on how to address political isolation in locations where there are no local Maoist cells, and other problems facing politically active releasees.

Along with this newsletter, we have revamped our Re-Lease program over the last year. We are not yet in a position to provide for basic needs such as food and shelter, but we can't let political isolation in the belly of the beast pull solid comrades out of the struggle. Be sure to tell us your release date, if it's coming up within the next 2-3 years, so we can start prepping now!

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[Release] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 36]
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Release to Amerikkka Brings No Happiness

Three days from now, after serving 15.5 years for technical violations at parole, I will be given $28, the pet end of a leash and a ride to Parole & Probation. Upon "release" from prison and "re-entry" into society, two of the "expectations" placed upon me will be to:

  1. contribute to my own continued oppression in the form of a $50 monthly parole supervision fee and,
  2. contribute to the oppression of others in the form of mandatory employment resulting in apportionment of part of my wages (taxes) to finance the capture, imprisonment and torture of segments of the civilian population.
These "expectations" are enshrined in a parole "agreement" which I must sign prior to being "released." As a condition of my "release" I am coerced into participating in my own oppression and that of others. If I fail to participate, I will be re-captured and returned to captivity and the torture that entails.

I have been asked many times since the news broke of my parole a few weeks ago if I am happy or excited. I have spent the last 15.5 years in prison for actions which were the result of anti-oppressor activity which would have landed no one but a parolee in prison. I will leave prison visually incapacitated due to deliberate medical neglect which has left me almost completely blind — I am an artist by trade. I am being "released" now only as an attempt to conceal the state's malfeasance which has resulted in my imprisonment for 4 years and 24 days past my mandatory release date. The sudden attempt at damage control is due only to the efforts of an attorney and journalist who recently became involved in my situation. Upon "release" I will be separated from my family, friends, brothers and sister, comrades who will remain confined and tortured, some for the remainder of their lives. I will enter a society which has applauded and financed my, and my people's, captivity and dehumanization; a society which has my destruction and the destruction of all others like me as a cornerstone of its existence. A society weaned on blood, misery and intolerance and the wanton exploitation of humyn and environmental resources to benefit a few, while espousing "liberty and justice for all."

As a bi, two-spirit, "ex"-felon and anti-capitalist on parole in what is quite possibly the most corrupt and anti-humyn state in amerikkka, I can look the pale, unblinking masses in the eye and state proudly and unequivocally:
No, I am not fucking "happy."
No, I am not fucking "excited."

This is nothing but a bed move to a different facility with a bigger yard, better canteen and a few more privileges (mostly for the privileged, which I am not).

What enthusiasm I do have is limited to, and derived from, the increased capacity for resistance in the continued struggle due to better options and resources.

On January 2 I will enter minimum security land (i.e. amerikkkan society) and my struggle for equality and freedom will continue unabated at the gate.

My respects to all who are left behind.


MIM(prisons) adds: We have written about the challenges released prisoners face on the streets. This comrade has a long history of political activism, and this increases chances of staying active on the streets. But dealing with the challenges of life as an "ex-con" can quickly consume all the energy that might otherwise be put into anti-imperialist work. We at MIM(Prisons) have been working to build a Re-Lease On Life program to help prisoners stay active on the streets. Get in touch with us if your release date is coming up in the next year.

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[Recidivism] [Release] [Texas]
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Parole Programs Hinder Re-Integration

I acquired my GED and then enrolled in college and studied economics; macro economics, micro economics, public speaking, business administration and small business management. This is when such were free to Tax-us inmates. Then Klinton passed the laws in 1995 to pull Pell Grants, and further punish us by implicating behavior modification level I, II, and III programs.

When I got released from TDC I was transferred to another cage called ISF, a mini-prison Inner Sanction Facility in a distant desert city in Texas. Then they placed me on a program called SIPS (Super Intense Parole Supervision) with a leg bracelet and electronic monitoring, and they imposed the rule that I couldn't meet or talk with any [groups of men, i.e. lumpen organizations] or they'd violate me. They completely isolated me.

I became gainfully employed after 9 days of being at the ISF and I saved all monies earned. They charged me 25% of my weekly check to be harassed and fed a cold bologna sandwich. I petitioned District Parole for permission to obtain my residency. They kept me on SIPS so I had to pay for a land line so that the security company ADT could monitor my whereabouts.

I worked approximately 2.5 years as a laborer and applied for grants to attend college. I graduated with a 3.95 GPA and I went on to become a sub-contractor and parole detested that I was finally beyond minimum wage earnings. They imposed guidelines claiming that, due to being a possible terrorist, I should be kept in one location. So I had to quit jobs where I earned more than poverty level, and had to find a job in a non-relevant industry to satisfy their requests.

I was rearrested 9 times for faulty batteries in the bracelet monitor, which were not my doing or fault, but marred my record as a recidivist. I only have been arrested two times but they use the technical arrests to further discredit me to make me look like a dangerous re-offender.

I was brought back to the Texas Department of Corrections in 2009 and was immediately placed in the security housing called Expansion Cell Block High Security (ECBHS). I, like other comrades here, have been stripped of all earthly possessions and marked as a threat for what we believe. But our minds are ours to control.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As we described in an article on overcoming release challenges, there are many hurdles facing prisoners who are released from prison, even for those not faced with restrictive parole supervision. MIM(Prisons)'s Re-Lease on Life Program attempts to help prisoners prepare for life on the streets with the goal of keeping our comrades political active once they are outside of the structured environment of the prison. Get in touch with us if your release date is coming up within a year so we can start planning and preparing.

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[National Oppression] [Release] [New York]
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Parole Denials, Solutions, Winning Cases

I am writing to your publication to report some troubling statistics concerning Black men incarcerated, the parole system, and the latest Supreme Court cases regarding parole denials.

Black men incarcerated

There are approximately 27,494 Black males in the New York state prison system (50.8%) - New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) - and, that's over half (51%) of the prisoners in custody as of January 1, 2011, according to DOCCS Under Custody Report: Profile of Inmate Population. These figures are extremely drastic, appalling and warrant investigation by the United Nations, because Blacks are being targeted to fill up NYS prisons in order for certain whites to maintain employment in the rural areas up north in NY.

Black females incarcerated

In NY prisons DOCCS is warehousing 965 Black females (43.7% of the female prison population). Of the total number of prisoners (54,109) under custody in NY (including DOCCS, jails and other facilities), 2,206 (3.9%) were Black female, according to the Under Custody Report (2011). Compare these statistics to the white prisoners women who are only 1.5% of the prison population.

Blacks and Parole

Dating back almost 50 years, the Board of Parole (BOP) commissioners have been denying parole to Blacks more than any other ethnic group in NYS. Despite our (Black male and female) efforts to rehabilitate ourselves via obtaining education (GEDs, mandated programming by DOCCS and college), the BOP continuously denies Blacks parole at an alarming rate compared to other nationalities. Also, for years the BOP has utilized the nature of the crime as the sole reason for denying Blacks parole - although the nature of the crime (NOC) will not change - it is whatever someone was locked up for. This means that those convicted of some crimes have no chance at parole no matter what they do in prison. This amounts to the BOP admitting that prisons are not about rehabilitation since the one thing a prisoner can not change is the NOC.

In a recent ruling the court wrote: "...they [BOP] cannot base their decision exclusively on the seriousness of the crime and must explain their denials in detail..."(1)

On March 31st, 2011 several significant amendments to the Executive Law (BOP) were signed into law - including Executive Law (Exec. Law) 259-c(4); however, BOPs "lawlessness, arbitrariness and their refusal to follow the mandates of the legislature..." warrants an independent investigation by the United Nations (UN) for further scrutiny about denying parole to eligible inmates who have earned their freedom by doing the right thing (i.e. completing their minimum, taking responsibility for their crime(s) and obtaining their mandated programming).(2) If you are reading this article and you have been denied parole after March 31st, 2011, or you know someone in NYS-DOCCS who has been denied parole unfairly, then please be aware of the following cases recently appealed by inmates that - as a result of their litigation - were released:

  1. Velasquez v. NYS Board of Parole (Feb 6, 2012)
  2. Thwaites v. NYS Board of Parole, 934 NYS 2d 797 [see also Pro Se, Vol 22 No 1] and;
  3. Winchell v. Evans, 27 Misc. 3d 1232(A) (Sup.CT.Sullivan Co. June 9, 2010), [reported in Pro Se, Vol.20, No.4].

All the above cases (Article 78s) are winning cases which resulted in prisoners - who chose to litigate their matter by challenging the BOP - being released from DOCCS custody.

Out of twenty years of my incarceration, I have witnessed the BOP deny parole to many men and women based upon their nature of the crime - despite their efforts to rehabilitate themselves. Some of these people have earned Master degrees, Bachelors and the minimum of an Associate degree, only to be denied by the BOP commissioners who judge the prisoners for a period of 15-30 minutes, if that, during their parole hearing.

The nature of the crime doesn't, will not and cannot change so why are we being denied parole solely based on the very element which will not ever be different?

Conclusion

In my humble opinion - after serving 20 years in NY DOCCS - the only way we prisoners will receive justice is by taking our case to the UN for review. How do we attempt to go about this? Reflect back on the Egyptian people and how they were successful in spreading the message of support for their cause via internet. This tactic will have to involve our families who are already walking around with cellular phones all day so this should not be a difficult project. I strongly believe that we can change the BOP unfair practices against us Blacks and Latinos. If we care enough to work together, putting your petty differences aside to bring our relatives home. Our family members have served their time, changed their lives by establishing entirely new ways of thinking and by obtaining higher education. It's time now for our people to step up and support our cause for challenging the BOP unfair parole denials against Blacks and Latinos.

Notes:
1. Pro Se, Vol.21 No.5 2011
2. For more information contact parolereform.org


MIM(Prisons) adds: As we reported in our review of The New Jim Crow, these statistics on national oppression in the criminal injustice system in New York mirror what happens across the United $tates. This author makes a good point about parole hearings and reasons for denial. If parole is going to be based on the very crime for which someone is locked up, there is no point to having a hearing. If prisons in Amerika were truly serving a rehabilitating purpose, the work prisoners do educating and changing themselves should be the primary basis for granting parole. It is good to hear that some court cases are being won on this front.

We do agree that this is a battle worth fighting to help get our comrades onto the streets sooner, but we don't anticipate the imperialist-dominated United Nations to offer any support for the oppressed people of the world. We may win small reforms through the courts and with mass protests, but the only way to truly put an end to the criminal injustice system is by dismantling the imperialist system it serves.

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