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Under Lock & Key

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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My environment! Real as it gets!

I am currently in the Missouri Department of Corrections at Potosi Correctional Center. I am being housed at a prison which my state defines as a level 5 institution. Which is the most secure of our classification system. Our state has five of these institutions for people with anywhere from 8 years to life without parole and this particular prison of oppression also houses the state's Death Row prisoners. Outrageous if I may say, because i found myself here for one reason alone, accumulation of minor write ups.

Housed with murderers, rapists and well humans I should say who have messed up and got way too much time. Why? Because this state and many other states would just assume to warehouse us for many years than try to help us. My environment is as real as it gets and here's why.

There are six housing units on this prison yard and they break down like this: one house - supermax (where I am at right now we'll touch on that later) holds 22 people and two suicide cells (no cameras in these cells) we have showers in our cells in one house and the temperature stays so cold it's quite unreal, which I believe is to punish the ones who are at times in the suicide cells, which they also use for punishment/strip out/dry cells.

Then there comes two house, the worst house on the yard! This house is also the hole or segregated/oppression house. It has 3 wings A-wing consist of 30-double bunk cells, a total of 60 people. B-wing 32 single man cells and C-wing 30 single man cells. This house is out of control when it comes to custody officers. What is known to any and every prisoner is if you're in two house you must stay on your toes, especially during the 7:30am to 3:30pm shift when the 5 "C's" work Culton, Clubbs, Conrad, Comer, and Copeland. These oppressors are treacherous because they will deny you food, exploit your mail, ruin you property, free-case you, retaliate on you with frivolous write ups, and these five rogue oppressors have backing all the way to the sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, deputy wardens, and the top oppressor, the warden.

The things they do come natural to them: deny, abuse, exploit, deter. But all this doesn't stop on their shift, it goes on 24/7, especially on weekends. What we refer to as the good ol' boys, because we're in a little prison in a little town, where damn near everyone knows everyone and they're all related and friends.

I just watched a comrade refuse to be put in a hazardous environment man-handled by these people all except Copeland, who was the Bubble/Control Unit officer, maced this guy, pulled him out of his cell, and as soon as they were in a blind spot where no camera could see, he was slammed on his face/neck and shoulder. He is two doors down now in a cell that floods during showers.

But wait, there is more. Let's examine why I am in a supermax cell. On September 11, 2009 I was given a medical lay in to receive a brown bag with my trays. Everything was going like it should, then comes Sunday evening dinner tray pass. I didn't get my brown bag, was told they would order it, they gave me an excuse as I would get it later. I believed them, later came and went. This started at 4pm, it turned into 10:30pm. Still nothing so I covered my window in an attempt to see/get a Sargent, a custody count came by, they didn't even see me. The sign in my window said I wanted a Brown Bag. I was told by one officer "your beat" the other said "wan-wan". So I did get quite angry and decided to make the sprinkler head come alive and flood my cell and the walk. Yes, I know, stupid but can't change it now. Well, anyways my cell started to flood and here com the oppressors. 4 or 5 blue shirts (foot soldiers) and the sargeants two or three of them. Now I'm not exactly calm so maybe I warranted 2 or 3 but 8 or 9, c'mon folks!

So I remained in the cell for about 20 minutes with oily/nasty water pouring by the gallons until I was given the directive to "cuff up"! I complied only to have the handcuffs slammed on my wrist. My door was opened and I was jerked out, put in a restraint hold with my arms lifted above my shoulder and practically drug out of the wing into the rotunda, I was doing everything I could to walk, well needless to say, on the way out of the wing I was slammed into a door frame causing a pretty nice cut across my right collar bone and a swollen eye/cheek, but they aren't done with me yet. So far this was witnessed by quite a few. As I am being escorted out of the housing unit to medical I assume as soon as we are in another one of the blind spots I was slammed on the concrete causing quite a few inflictions. Left shoulder all scraped/cut up, left knee split open. Right side below my armpit a few scrapes. Right eye/cheek bone nice and swollen and cut open. Does this seem unreal? Believe me it's not.

After they did the usual stop resisting shenanagins twisting my shoulders and wrist to points of probably near breakage I was lifted up and forced to walk bent over at a rapid pace into medical. I was sat into a chair while a nurse used some type of water and gauze to treat/first aid the multiple bleeding wounds. All the while I was having my wrist twisted when I made the comment. I'm not trying to resist I was told to shut up and twisted harder, again lifted up and walked say 500 feet to one house, put into the suicide cell, even though I'm not suicidal, completely naked. Searched forced onto a concrete slab onto my busted knee, almost over. Door shut unshackled and handcuffed. Phew I still have cuts and scars still healing due to improper medical care and the Good Ol Boys. I'm telling you as real as it gets this is not unusual, quite typical. People getting slammed, spit upon, mace bombs thrown in on us, riot cans of mace used, forced to subsist in freezing temperatures stark naked, it don't stop, and when we try to organize and let our oppression be known about we are placed on limited property where we don't have access to paper, pen or envelopes or stamps. This is outrageous. I ask myself why all this because we want our civil rights and we want our state issue (things we are entitled to) food, clothing, bedding, legal.

One more instance and I'll be through for now. We have a chapel library assistant who was said to have been doing it for 3 years. Well just recently he was in the fabled two house and accused of bringing in contraband. No way, no how would he have if you knew this guy. Now we in two house have no chapel access.

Now back to the housing unit breakdown. Three house A-wing: 46 cells all double man cells, general population. B-wing: 23 double man cells, general population, the other 23 the hole. That's 3 holes total! Crazy huh, and they all stay full, then we got 4 house with two wings 46 cells apiece, single-man A-wing sensitive needs unit, B-wing protective custody unit, 6-house with two wings general population, 92 double man cells total. 5-house - the honor house full privileges, no 22 hour lockdown. The ones who make no noise of the oppression are the ones who get to stay there and the ones who lay back and don't do much of anything good or bad.

We are trying to get the ACLU involved in our struggle within. Grievances are met with excuses as to why we're in the wrong. Seldom are they remedied inside the institution, and occasionally when they get to central office and when they are this prison doesn't follow up. It's chaos, it's surreal, it's downright bullshit!

Thanks to Under Lock and Key I know this is happening abroad and all around the U$. We must stand united. We will win!

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Mt Olive Correctional Complex] [West Virginia] [ULK Issue 10]
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Abuse in West Virginia

I recently read an article in your ULK #7 that really caught my attention. It was from a New York prisoner who was assaulted by correctional officers. I too was recently assaulted by correctional officers here at Mount Olive Correctional Complex, the Supermax, located in West Virginia where I'm currently incarcerated. I have filed grievances, my family has contacted the governors office, attorney general's office, even local news stations informing them of what happened, and nothing has been done about it. I was recently informed by another CO that the people who did this to me were considered to be "pretty high up on the food chain" around here. Those people include Associate Warden, The Captain, the Prison Investigator, and another Correctional Officer.

I am in need of a civil rights attorney to represent me, but this is a small town. Everyone knows everyone and nobody wants to get involved. What this prison administration doesn't cover up, the government officials in this area cover up for them. I need your help, let's stop the abuse, I'm not the only victim in this prison, I'm just the one who's speaking out against the violence that's taking place inside these walls.

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[Control Units] [Pennsylvania]
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Restricted Release in Pennsylvania

Restricted Release is exactly what it says it is: a placement on a segregated list of prisoners who are restricted from being released to any general population for an indefinite amount of time. The practice is being implemented in complete violation of due process laws.

Placement on restricted release is to begin at the institutional level within a PRC (Program Review Committee) recommendation. That recommendation is then forwarded to the superintendent where it is approved/disapproved before being sent to the Regional Deputy Secretary of Corrections for review. If he/she concurs with the recommendation it is then submitted to the Secretary of Corrections (currently Jeffrey A. Beard) and approved. NO prisoner on the restricted release list can be transferred or released to general population without the written consent of Jeffrey A. Beard.

DOC Policy states that an inmate shall be informed and given a summary of his placement on A/C restricted release. Upon the initial placement the prisoner has the opportunity to appeal verbally or in writing within two days to the superintendent. This right to appeal is the due process. However, the institutions are conducting these hearings in private without the prisoner being present, therefore denying any opportunity to refute or appeal such placement. In addition, whenever you do attempt to appeal it's being denied for unspecified reasons. I am currently on the list, and to date, I have never attended a hearing informing me, nor do I have anything in writing alluding to my placement. Everything said to me was told informally.

The Restricted Release is basically 23 hour lock down with assumed privileges at their discretion. Policy states that it should not be interpreted as punishment. Still, this institution in particular fails to adhere to that policy, and the few of us here are being denied any additional privileges. Radios and commissary, but no TVs. In addition to this- all of our stories are similar in that none of us received hearings, nor were we able to appeal our status.

It's similar to the Gitmo concentration facility in Cuba, where individuals are taken hostage because of their dress attire, religion, ethnicity and beliefs. No criminal charges or solid evidence to justify the displacement. Prisoners sit on the Restricted Release list for an average of 8 years. It is not a program that involves any therapy or counseling - it's just confinement until either your age or strength diminishes your will.

To my understanding there are 4 of us housed at this institution and we are all contacting family and comrades for additional support in our litigation.

Despite all of this my spirit remains strong as ever, and I only pray that I become a stronger individual when, and if it's all over. I truly appreciate your literature and commitment to our cause.

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[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Real Revolutionaries Locked Down in Texas

It’s been nearly 17 years since I was removed from the streets of San Antonio, Texas. In many ways I truly consider it a blessing. I was a gang-banger in every sense of the word, til one day I was arrested for a gang-related shooting. Even within the confines of the Bexar County Jail on into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system I continued to represent my hood to the utmost.

Somewhere along the lines deep within my soul I began to view life from a different perspective. I began to see others for who they truly are, my human brothers. I elevated my understanding from being Mr. Do-Dirty loc to Mr. Shakwamu. Through all of this I pursued further education so now I hold three associate degrees and I’m awaiting unit transfer to begin work on my Bachelors degree.

The reason for my correspondence is because after reading several articles which were published in your periodical I notice an alarming trend among people who write in (in particular Crips and Bloods). Many brothers feel the unnecessary need to reveal who they are in these organizations, not truly understanding that they've marked themselves for the administration. I can’t speak for other states, but in Texas I don’t care who you say you are, you will not get locked up unless you are a serious threat to the system. I look in the dayroom from my cell and see the brothers who claim to represent these revolutionary ideas and none can accurately tell me what it means to be a revolutionary.

This is why many Crips and Bloods are not in segregation in Texas. In truth they are treated like kids. It’s appalling how a brother can openly declare himself an enemy of the system (only in title) and yet the system doesn’t feel the need to protect itself from him. Brothers need to do some serious soul searching and self-evaluation and find who they truly are. It’s only a matter of time before we find that who we perceive we are now is merely a façade.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is right that the politics behind who gets put in segregation is very much tied to who the system sees as a threat. At the same time, various prison systems are pitting different oppressed nation groups against each other and against whites, and locking people up selectively in solitary to fuel these battles. All revolutionaries should strive to make the best use of their time behind bars. This means not giving out information to the pigs that they can use against you. Being a revolutionary is about work and study, and revolutionaries can make the best use of their time in general population.

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[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
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Turning from Violence to Progressive Organizing Gets Prisoner Validated and Locked Down

It is a sincere pleasure to receive the open letter detailing the progressive actions you all have been taking. As we see with Obama, it is not enough for us to continue down the line of just using titles such as capitalism, racism, imperialism, fascism, colonialism, classism, and oppression. We must call them out one by one. For example: when capitalist/fascist Dianne Feinstein presents legislation that further targets the lumpen/proletarian class, we must send out operatives in the area to challenge her by contradicting the very policies she’s introducing. We have enough public record information to use against these politicians who continue to draw up policies that line their pockets with corporate profits at the expense of humanity.

We have New African politicians such as the Congressional Black Caucus who are affected by the fraud and control. They must be sought out and called out on the very oppressive policies that they support like when Rep. Maxine Waters was in support of legislation that authorized a one million dollar bounty on Assata Shakur, who is in exile in Cuba after escaping from the imperialist state that sought to murder her. When she was called on it she said that she didn’t know her by that name!

We are dealing with spineless individuals who not only support all these draconian laws but don’t inform their constituents of what these racist policies will do to them, like when Bill Clinton was made to be seen as the first Black President. He is responsible for passing the Prison Litigation Reform Act which is an extremely anti-prisoner policy. Lawyers' incentives were taken away which had encouraged lawyers to take prisoners cases. He was also responsible for the Death Penalty/Terrorist Act in 1996 sealing the fate of thousands of poor disenfranchised New Afrikans, Latinos and poor whites to life in prison. This made it next to impossible to challenge criminal cases in the courts after one year.

We must challenge each and every one of these sell-out politicians when they support policies that are anti-human in nature. We must hold them accountable by voting them out of office.

Most of my life I’ve been incarcerated. I had a reputation as one of the “leading Bloods” in the prison system. My fate was sealed until my mother was killed in a car accident in 1996 and it was a letter she wrote to me that I received about 3 days after finding out she was killed. This letter was ironically a brief biography of her life that revealed to me all these things I didn’t know about her, like she was a Sgt. of arms in the Black Panther Party, and that she was responsible for introducing the Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program. She assisted in the escape of Angela Davis. It was an honorable surprise because it explained why our childhood was so radical for my brothers and I, where the FBI kicked in our doors routinely and we moved constantly. Therefore my disdain for authority that abuses its position is strong.

I was already questioning my past actions because even as a misguided youth I tried to be rooted in a moral sense where I would justify my actions by saying that those individuals who I wronged were wrong. Yet looking back, I never liked what I saw and it’s really crazy because I found out my mother was a revolutionary when I always thought she was a gangster of some sort because of what I saw with the FBI and others constantly harassing her and my step-father when I was a child.

I learned that law enforcement does’t just go after bad guys, but also good ones. This led me to redirect my energy toward the interests of my people. If you could see my past history in the penal system, where I was extremely destructive from 1976 to 1996, it wasn’t until I became productive/constructive from 1996 until now that I became a threat. All the stabbings, assaults on prisoners, and a couple of staff, didn’t seal my fate in these gulags. It wasn’t until I became a progressive in organizing prisoners towards their own interests that I was validated as a prison gang member and placed in SHU indefinitely in 2000.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This letter is yet another excellent illustration of why we say that revolutionaries are the real advocates of peace while the criminal injustice system punishes those who oppose violence. We also agree with this prisoner that it's important to point out the bad policies enacted by politicians, but we disagree with his suggestion that we vote these politicians out of office. Voting won't change anything, because the only people who can get elected are those who serve the interests of the system. Changing the face of the oppressor will not put an end to oppression. Only the overthrow of the oppressive imperialist system will truly bring peace to the majority of the world's people.

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [Abuse] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania]
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Urgent Action Alert: Camp Hill SMU torture

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HRC-FedUp! URGENT Action Alert: 6 Prisoners
Assaulted in the SMU at Camp Hill; Chemical and
electro-shock weapons used; racist violence and
repression on the rise again; take action Today
Tomorrow and Next Week.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Forward further and wider than ever because enough is enough!

On January 20, 2009 guards in the Special Management Unit (SMU) at the State Correctional [sic] Institution (SCI) in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania assaulted six prisoners, reportedly citing as reasons that these men file grievances against guard misconduct and are engaged in civil litigation against DOC officials; contact outside organizations (HRC/Fed Up! and www.prisoners.com in particular) to expose conditions of torture; also to send a message-in their words: "fuck a historical day, y'all always going to be niggers."

Seven men inside the state's premier torture unit have testified to the following events in reports to HRC/Fed Up!, including six men who submitted Declarations of Truth pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746 and subject to the penalty of perjury, adding to the hundreds of pages of prisoner reports, additional Declarations, institutional paperwork, and civil litigation documents sent to our offices from the SMU at Camp Hill alone since only June of 2008. The incidents have been verified in a personal interview with Mr. Damont Hagan, who has since been transferred (as we've been demanding for 5 months). Superintendent's Assistant Robert Volciak further verified that four or five men were subjected to forcible cell extractions on the 20th in a telephone conversation of January 26th. Several others around the state and the country, from Louisiana to California, have received reports of these assaults as well and contacted our offices.

We are asking that you read the alert, become angry, and act accordingly to help protect the men in the SMU and by extension all others subjected to the normalized white supremacist torture occurring on a daily basis inside prisons in the state of Pennsylvania and throughout the U.S.

Inauguration Day

David Smith #FZ5176: On 1/20/09 C/O Liddick, C/O Zeigler, and Lt. Kuzar approached Gary Tucker's cell upon the pretext of wanting to conduct a search, despite having conducted one on 1/15/09. When Tucker came to the door, Liddick said, "Since this guy likes filing grievances, let's make an example out of him." Tucker refused to leave his cell after Kuzar denied his request to have a Captain or Unit Manager present. Willie Robinson then refused to leave his cell out of fear for his safety. David Smith then consented to a cell search, and was promptly assaulted by the above named staff and thrown in another cell, separated from his property. Mr. Smith reportedly suffered undisclosed injuries.

Gary Tucker #FG8520: In his own words: "A little later that morning a cell extraction team came to my cell. I was then told to come to the door and cuff up. When I walked to the door a guard opened the slot and sprayed me in the face with a whole lot of OC mace. I backed away from the door blinded; seconds later more mace was sprayed inside the cell, trapping my lungs up, that's when about 7 guards (including Lt. Kuzar, C/O Brant) charged into the cell slamming me to the bed with electric shields [that discharge 50,000 volts of electricity]. These electric shields were pressed against my body and held there for several minutes while the 6 guards took turns beating, kicking, and shocking me with hand held stun guns. After cuffing me they continued beating me down and shocking me. The guard holding the camera maneuvered the camera so that the beating couldn't be caught on it. From D-12 I was dragged out the cell and hoisted into the medical cell. There the beating continued (shocking, choking, and punching) and a male nurse squirted a liquid in my eyes that didn't seem to help at all. Next I was airlifted up a flight of stairs (after protests from several inmates about my medical condition [which requires me to be] bottom tier status. I was taken into D2-20, slammed face first to the metal bed frame and the 6 or 7 guards continued jumping and shocking me with stun guns. After several minutes of this I was stripped naked, dragged to the floor and pulled up to the tray slot and the cuffs were taken off after they tried to break my wrists. I requested to see medical but was denied the request so my injuries weren't [recorded]. The injuries suffered were as follows: face swollen both sides; wrists with deep cuts from the cuffs; stiff neck (I can barely move my neck); severe pain in my lower back which makes it hard for me to move; my right arm dislocated; badly swollen right ankle that I can't put pressure on and a bloody mouth. Several inmates witnessed this assault and the Lt. Kuzar kept yelling, "Stop resisting" which was merely a means to justify their actions in assaulting me. Truth was I never resisted; I couldn't resist at all."

Damont Hagan #DS9488: In his own words: "I was approached by C/O Brant who threatened me, informing me that I had to come out for a search, stating 'the camera can be manipulated Hagan, remember that.' He also called me a 'nigger.' . . . After a while, I told Unit Manager Chris Chambers [about the threats] . . ., and informed him that 'I fear for my life.' He retorted, "Hagan, I'm tired of this complaining to HRC and www.prisoners.com and preliminary injunctions. Y'all did this to y'all selves, now y'all scared. You're coming out regardless, so write HRC [which he did-let's be there for him] or have .com write the Attorney General again, who cares.' . . . A cell extraction team came and the same SMU staff (Brant, Kuzar) were in suit. I also witnessed them abuse Gary Tucker. They told me to cuff-up and I told them I feared for my life (on camera). Sgt. Maxwell then sprayed me with OC which got in my lungs and eyes, forcing me to cuff up." After being cuffed Hagan was taken to a cell where his clothes were cut off of him and Sgt. Maxwell whispered sexually lewd comments to Hagan regarding Lt. Flowers (a female) being present. Mr. Hagan was denied water for two days, his food was tampered with when it wasn't denied altogether, and he was left naked in a freezing cell, which caused him to become sick. He was transferred on 1/27/09 to SCI Pittsburgh.

Ronald Jackson #CF3994: Mr. Jackson refused to exit his cell because of the threatening and assaultive behavior of the guards, and was subsequently attacked with mace and punched several times in the back and head by C/O Brant, carried to another cell where C/Os Brant, Liddick, Ziegler, Lt. Kuzar, and Sgt. Maxwell cut off his clothing and cut his dreadlocks. Mr. Jackson was left bleeding behind both ears, had numbness in both hands, and cuff markings remained on his wrists for 6 days. Mr. Jackson was left naked and without property or state issue items for six days-like all the others assaulted on this day. On January 26th he was returned to his cell, which was still contaminated with mace. C/O Huber, Jones, Sabolsky, Banks, Martz, and a Lt. stole and destroyed much of his personal and legal property. In a written response to Mr. Jackson regarding this theft, Superintendent Palakovich justified yet another unmistakable effort on the part of SMU staff to deny access to the courts under the pretext that his property was contaminated with mace and needed to be destroyed as a result. Given that several of the prisoners extracted that day have reported being returned to cells still contaminated with mace, this explanation cannot be taken seriously. Mr. Jackson's lawsuit against the DOC will likely be sabotaged by this theft and destruction of his legal documents, which is a widespread practice throughout the PA DOC.

Willie Robinson #FX7258: After refusing to exit his cell for obvious reasons, Mr. Robinson was attacked by the same guards with mace and thrown in a cell that had dried blood on the walls and floor for 6 days without bed sheets or underclothing. Following this he was returned to his former cell, which was still contaminated with mace, including his bedding.

Jamar Perry #DQ4432: Mr. Perry was also attacked with mace and cell extracted on this day. According to Michael Edwards, in a Declaration subject to the penalty of perjury, Mr. Perry is severely mentally retarded, constantly covers his cell and his person with bodily waste-which he also ingests-and suffers from suicidal tendencies. Staff, including C/O Flynn, Sgt. Jones, and Lt. Kuzar, frequently call him names such as "retarded nigger," and encourage him to kill himself. Mr. Perry has been constrained in a "restraint chair" on several occasions, including the first three days of February. These devices are widely recognized as implements of torture. He reportedly wants to die, and ranking officials, including Regional Deputy Secretary Shirley Moore-Smeal have witnessed his fetid condition and taken no remedial action, despite policy provisions against housing severely mentally ill and developmentally disabled inmates in the SMU.

White Supremacy and Repression

In another Declaration from Michael Edwards, Unit Manager Chris Chambers is again alleged to have threatened Mr. Edwards for his correspondence with HRC/Fed Up! Chambers and Huber and others have repeatedly threatened Damont Hagan and Gary Tucker about their involvement with HRC and www.prisoners.com, along with other efforts to expose torture and officially-sanctioned sadism inside the SMU at Camp Hill.

An all white staff in the SMU is holding hostage and waging a one-sided war against a captive, defenseless population that is "99.9% blacks and latinos," according to Mr. Edwards.

A small sampling of racist remarks made by SMU staff, according to Declarations submitted by Michael Edwards, are as follows:

*1/19/09: C/O Brant stated over the PA system, "I have a dream that one day all of you niggers will be dead," after which he laughed, clapped his hands, and lit a smoke; *1/20/09: Lt. Kuzar stated, "He [Obama] may have won, in my eyes he's still a nigger." Brant and C/O Flynn started laughing at this, and Kuzar continued, "There will be no showers or yard today. We are going to show you niggers who run this SMU."
*1/20/09: When told Tucker has a medical condition and is not to be housed upstairs, Chambers replied, "I don't give a fuck what medical says, I want that nigger upstairs now."
*1/30/09: After Chambers told Mr. Edwards he would not be receiving any law books or property in retaliation for his working with HRC/Fed Up!, Huber told the inmate, "Hey listen up nigger, I have the green light to kill your black ass," before walking away from the cell laughing.
*2/1/09: Lt. Kuzar stated to Mr. Edwards, "Nigger do you honestly believe we are going to let you, or any of these other niggers get away with what you are doing?"

Hagan, Jackson, Tucker, Robinson, Smith, Edwards, Terry Brooks, and others in the SMU are being targeted for their refusal to be silenced and submit to a regime of white supremacist torture. These men continue to file grievances, pursue civil litigation, and write family, friends, and other allies on the outside to expose the illegal and degrading conditions they are being subjected to.

Despite being starved, gassed, electrocuted, beaten, sickened, and subjected to racist death threats on a daily basis, these men refuse to submit, they continue to resist, and they are calling on us to take action again.

This action alert is more comprehensive and far ranging in the targets it lists than the ones in November and September (provide links). We have watched the Emergency Response Network grow considerably over the last 12 months, especially during the last 4, and countless people have answered the call to defend the rights and lives of prisoners. This is why we are asking even more from our allies this time, because we trust you will continue to intensify your efforts, channeling your outrage into action and building this movement against torture and racism and for human rights.

As Michael Edwards recently wrote from the SMU: "Keep doing what you are doing, because it surely is working. Some of these guards are just walking around here banging on any and everything, and using racial slurs. This means we are winning the war." I take this to mean that this latest outburst of hate and violence by SMU guards is a desperate reaction to growing outside pressure. They are trying to silence the men in the SMU through daily acts of terror, but it is not working. Resistance continues, and the outside pressure is growing. . . .

Action Alert Targets and Talking points

DOC Targets

DOC Secretary Jeffrey Beard-717-975-4918
2520 Lisburn Road
Camp Hill, PA 17001

Superintendent John Palakovich
SCI Camp Hill
P.O. Box 200
Camp Hill, PA 17001

Office of Professional Repsonsibility
Director James Barnacle (formerly with the FBI (i.e. u.s. political police) for 30 years-see the book Agents of Reprssion by Churchill and Vander Wall for more on the criminal nature of the FBI)
717-214-8473
2520 Lisburn Road
Camp Hill, PA 17001

1)-Report the truth of the Inauguration Day atrocity: six men were targeted for assault with chemical and electrocution weapons by guards calling them "niggers" in retaliation for these prisoners continuing to file grievances, pursue civil litigation, expose prison conditions to the public, and otherwise seek justice. Be specific, name the names of the prisoners, guards, the threats made and injuries suffered. Tell them that you are sickened by the endless reports of flagrant racism on the part of guards and the obvious approval of such by top officials in Camp Hill and the DOC. Grievances and civil suits reach Supt. Palakovich and Secretary Beard by the thousands regarding the racist attitudes and actions of staff under their command, and they refuse to take action

2)-Emphasize the role of Unit Manager Chris Chambers-demand he be fired: As our abuse logs indicate (http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org/fedup/abusereports.htm), Unit Manager Chris Chambers, who oversees the SMU, bears command responsibility for the actions of Jones, Kuzar, Sabalsky, Banks, Flynn, Brant, and the rest. We want to build his infamy and make him a liability to the PA DOC and SCI Camp Hill. If his superiors lean on him because of the heat they feel from the people, then he will lean on SMU staff to end the torture in order to protect himself. Tell Beard that you have reviewed the accumulated evidence from the 20th and the preceding months, and that Chambers needs to be held accountable for his crimes. Failure to do so will be understood as complicity in torture. Emphasize that several prisoners consistently report that Chambers has personally told them on multiple occasions that he is punishing them for filing lawsuits and contacting HRC/Fed Up! and www.prisoners.com.

3)-Transfers for Tucker, Jamar Perry, Michael Edwards, Terry Brooks, Ronald Jackson: These men need transferred immediately. When speaking of Gary Tucker tell them that his continued confinement in the SMU is a violation of DOC Policy 6.5.1 (which is top secret-forbidden to the public-and has been provided to HRC via clandestine means) which states that an inmate who does not show progress in the initial 12 to 18 months should be deemed a failure and transferred. Mr. Tucker has been in the SMU for 28 months. Furthermore, Jamar Perry suffers from severe developmental disability (i.e. reportedly mentally retarded) and needs an immediate transfer. Edwards, Brooks, and Jackson continue to face retaliation for filing grievances and lawsuits.

4)-Speak your own truths, make your own demands: If you have ideas of who to contact (press, lawyers, the Justice Department, law enforcement, United Nations, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, NAACP, ACLU) then tell the authorities of your intention and then get a hold of these organizations and have them contact us to learn more. Each one needs to conduct their own investigations to verify these truths. Also, be encouraged to tell them that they need to close down the SMU for good-it is a failed program that does nothing but torture vulnerable prisoners, and it is irredeemably racist. Please inform HRC/Fed Up! of your efforts so we can keep track of where this alert and the supporting evidence are sent and the various responses it receives. Be encouraged to become a point person for reaching out to Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the NAACP, or whoever. Just make sure you are familiar enough with the talking points and the evidence that supports them and stay in touch with us.

5)-Prior Notice: Beard and Palakovich have been notified of the criminal acts of retaliation, racist hate crimes, denial of access to the courts, assault, medical neglect, etc. months ago. There is a paper trail leading to their office and their adamant refusal to accept accountability for the actions of staff under the command of Unit Manager Chris Chambers amounts to complicity in torture.

6)-Accountability: Let it be known, finally, that we intend to see criminals held accountable, and that each denial, evasion, and deception on the part of prison officials will only strengthen our resolve to pursue justice by every means possible. We want accountability now.

7)-Special for OPR: The Office of Professional Responsibility (which is neither professional nor responsible, but is-supposedly-an office), the DOC's own internal "investigation" unit assured an HRC/Fed Up! investigator in early January that they were in fact conducting an investigation into documented human rights violations inside the SMU at Camp Hill. After declaring that they always talk to the inmates, OPR Director James Barnacle went on to directly contradict himself by admitting that their "investigation" consisted of cross-checking our documentation with the prison's own records. Given that the prison records will report only what guards say, since the word of prisoners is deemed prima facie untrue according to their totalitarian (and, yes, racist) ideology, Barnacle more or less admitted that his investigation was in fact not an investigation at all. Furthermore, we have specifically asked several of the men in the SMU if OPR has interviewed them, and with one exception (Brooks was interviewed two or three months ago about an assault he suffered in 2007), nobody had seen OPR-despite several having contacted them-by the end of January. Tell OPR that we know they are not engaged in transparent and good faith investigations, because if they were SMU staff under the command of Unit Manager Chris Chambers would not dare perpetrate such atrocities. Demand responsibility and professionalism from Barnacle.

Political Targets

Governor Ed Rendell

See numbers 1-6 above. Rendell was informed at the end of November, with considerable documentation. He sent it to OPR.

Senator Stewart Greenleaf

Inquire into the appropriate process for requesting hearings in front of the PA General Assembly, and then request a hearing-to be organized by HRC/Fed Up! and our allies-regarding torture in PA prisons. Provide him our contact information and ask that his staff get in contact with us. Tell staff what is going on in the SMU at Camp Hill.

Local PA Representatives

Hammer away at them, make these lazy, incompetent, and corrupt parasites take a stand. Demand they petition Greenleaf for a hearing. Who are these fools anyway?

Reminders about demeanor, temperament, manners, composure, etc.

Just a reminder, it is acceptable and appropriate to express anger, be firm in our demands, and not tolerate deceptions and diversions. That said, it is critical that we control our anger and not vice versa, and maintain composure and dignity in our demeanor. We want the functionaries manning the phones and reading the mail to be impressed by our command of the facts and message consistency.

Mary Ann Kushner at SCI Fayette apparently told one of our allies that HRC people had been "nasty" to her. Given Mary Ann's less than sterling reputation as a truth-teller, I assume that means you were all doing your job and holding firm to our shared principles in defense of prisoners' rights and lives, which no doubt upset Mary Ann. So, keep the cursing to the minimum amount necessary and get at them day after day after day.

And pace yourself. Make a call today, two tomorrow, another the next day, and keep at it for weeks on end. This is a long struggle and we're in it for life. Invite others to join, today. Thank you.

We need lawyers! Please help us find lawyers with grit, intelligence, and integrity who are willing to go to war with the DOC.

PS-Taking it to the Streets

Phone calls and letter writing are important, very important for providing some measure of oversight and security to the men in Camp Hill and other torture chambers in PA and the U.S. But it is but one tactic amongst many. We need to take this to the streets and get on a move. Be on the lookout for an invitation in the near future, when the entirety of the country-and beyond-will be welcomed into the state to voice their collective outrage over the dehumanizing white supremacist torture of the PA prison system.

HRC/Fed Up! has accumulated over 100 pages of documentation of human rights violations in PA prisons in the last 16 months alone, supported by thousands of pages of prisoner reports, affidavits, declarations, grievances, requests to staff, and civil litigation documents, and further corroborated by hundreds of hours of interviews/conversations with prisoners and their loved ones on the outside. We can assert with absolute confidence and substantial-in fact, incontrovertible-evidence that torture is a widespread, systemic feature of the prison system that deliberately sabotages parole and increases recidivism, hence creating the conditions for continued market growth for the prison-industrial complex.

PPS-Call and/or write us!

Who are you? Have you taken action? Can we know one another and work together to beat back this insufferable brutality? Call, email, write whenever.

Please provide feedback as to your conversations with the peoples above and other efforts undertaken to protect the men in Camp Hill's SMU.

Thank you.

Solidarity, Health, Respect,
Trust, and Struggle

Contact Information
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
HRC/FedUp!
5125 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
[email protected]
412-361-3022x4~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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[Control Units] [Florida State Prison] [Florida]
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Unlock the Box Research in Florida

I’ve been housed at 3 of the 4 control units that are available and open to prisoners in the State of Florida:
1. Florida State Prison, 7819 NW 228th street, Raiford FL. 32026 (1285)
2. Charlotte CI, 33123 Oil Well Rd, Punta Gorda, FL 33955 (1500)
3. Union CI, 7819 NW 228th Street, Raiford, FL 32026 (1300)

I am currently being housed at Florida State Prison control unit. There are about 1,285 prisoners housed here. Only part of the prison is a control unit and that’s the main unit. Out of the 1,285 prisoners, about 750 are Black, 390 are Latino and the remainder are white. Prisoners are sent to control units in the state of Florida for a variety of things: assault, attempted assault, cell phones, escape, too many disciplinary reports, and anything else they choose. Because it’s said in Florida that close management isn’t a punishment, it’s a program. But we suffer daily in the control unit.

I don’t know when any of the control units opened, and I don’t know if they expanded them since they opened. However, the state of Florida is in the process of opening another one which is a Supermax control unit. The rumor is that the control unit is going to house thousands of prisoners and once you get released off of the supermax part it’s mandatory you spend at least 5 years on their compound. They are now transferring a few officers over to the new control unit. It’s also being said that you do not have to come out for showers or rec because it’s going to be a roll around shower head that steps in front of each cell door, and the back of the cell has a door that opens to a fenced in rec yards. That’s about all the information I have about this new control unit.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 7]
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Oklahoma Pigs Set Up Prisoners

Let me tell you how these pigs run this system. We are locked down 23 hours a day, no programs, this prison holds about 1,800 prisoners, 60% are white, 35% Black and the rest "hispanic." Racism is really bad here, some pigs are really racist. Every time something happens at another unit we will get locked down and punished for it.

Recently they came to my cell and conducted a shakedown. I was the first to cuff and get ready for the shakedown, but my celly refused. After about 5 or 6 minutes he decided to cuff up. They came in and found an empty trash bag with beer residue in it, so they took my TV and wrote me and my celly up. My celly admitted that that was his. Well about 3 weeks ago they did the shakedown and found something that my celly flushed down the toilet. They wrote him up and they dropped him to a level one.

I'm on level 2, and I'm coming up for parole in 2 months. I don't have control over what another prisoner is doing. I've been trying to move to another cell but they refuse to move me. What I'm getting at is that they punished me for something my celly did. They do that to make me and my celly kill each other. They do it like that a lot, and most of the time prisoners do stab each other.

Sometimes these pigs pay or tell other prisoners to beat each other up. Just a while back a couple prisoners got into it with these pigs. They beat them up and put them in a cell with a rival gang to get them stabbed. Their own Lt brought in dope and got busted. And if you say something bad to the pigs they will go tell a lie about you to other prisoners. Just another way the police control things.

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[Control Units] [Texas]
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Unlock the Box Research in Texas

I'm writing in regard to the Unlock the Box research. I myself am in administrative segregation, where we are confined to a cell for 23 hours a day, seven days a week. We're said to be allowed one hour a day recreation, in a day room with only a pull-up bar, toilet, and in some pods a table. It is only one person per dayroom. Twice a week we're allowed outside recreation in which we are locked inside a cage with four walls. On this recreation area there is one urinal, basketball, basketball goal, and pull-up bar. The "outside" part of it is conceived through the small amount of daylight we receive from the top of the cage that has no wall. Showers are given afterwards. In some situations or institutions rather, such as the one that I am in, we are escorted to the shower which is a tiny little space and locked in for a given time. On other units showers are built into the cell to assure the prisoner never has to come out, or that he comes out as little as possible.

Food is brought on a meal cart and received through a tray slot built into our cell door. Necessities are brought to us also, as is our mail. For any movement we are escorted by two officers and handcuffed behind our back. In some cases we're required to be shackled from ankle to waist to wrists.

There are no religious, education, or other services or programs given to us. Ramadan however is revered. There are approximately five hundred and four cells for administrative segregation here. However, there are also solitary confinement cells used for disciplinary reasons that follow similar circumstances. Inside our cell there is one toilet with sink connected, one desk, one steel bed, and a big light fixture with enough light to illuminate the small cell completely for when they turn them on by a control panel in the picket. The cell is measured at around ten by seven feet; though no completely, considering angles of one wall imposing over those measurements.

Ad-Seg here is only one building. The unit is about a three thousand man unit, consisting of general population, close-custody and medium-custody. There are some units that are entirely for Ad-Seg prisoners only. Some units that I know to have Ad-Seg are Allred Unit in Iowa Park, TX, Beto Unit in Tennessee Colony TX, Clements Unit in Amarillo TX, Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony TX, Conally Unit in Kenedy TX, Darrington Unit in Rosharon TX, Ellis Unit and Estelle Unit in Huntsville TX, Ferguson Unit in Midway TX, Hughes Unit in Gatesville TX, Lewis Unit in Woodville TX, McConnell Unit in Beville TX, Michael Unit in Tennessee Colony TX , Robertson Unit in Abilene TX, Smith Unit in Lamesa TX, Stiles Unit in Beaumont TX, Polunsky Unit in Livingston TX, and here where I am at Telford Unit in New Boston TX.

I'm sure there are others I'm unaware of. The unit I'm on was built around 1994 or 95. I believe that all maximum security units built at that time are built the same as this unit, Ad-Seg and all. That year was when the state built a lot of new prisons at once.

Most people back here in seg are primarily Latino, with whites falling in second and Blacks last. If I had to guess percentages, I would have to say about 60% Latino, 30% white, and 10% Black. If someone is confirmed as a gang member, he is put in ad seg. If he is considered a "threat to security", he is placed here. Or if he is in protected custody he is sent here. I am here for being a so-called "threat to security" for unjustified causes.

There are some units that have another unit next to them (though considered the same unit) that are entirely for ad seg only. therefore, some units have two separate entities of ad seg unit housings.

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[Control Units] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 7]
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The Trick of the Beast: Control Units in Wisconsin

I am writing about this unfair Wisconsin DOC racist system and how they are confining prisoners to "Super Max" solitary but dressing it up, saying it's a maximum security prison. See, the oppressor has found a way to use this maximum security prison, which was really supermax, by changed the name when people started protesting about the conditions of the people who they were holding.

Supermax was supposed to be for the worst of the worst, but by this system not having enough so-called "worst of the worst" prisoners to fill 600 and something beds, they had to do something to keep this prison running and generating revenue for their community. So they started sending any prisoner who receives 180 days in segregation or more to Supermax. They did that for a little while until the outside got wind of it, then the head people tried to change it up, by changing the name and making half of it a maximum prison and the other half a program prison, but all of it is still run like a supermax prison.

When supermax was running, a person had to be screened by the psychologist to see if they are stable enough to be placed there, and now they are using the same methods for the people they are sending to that same prison which is supposed to be a maximum prison now.

My question is, why are people being screened to see if they are fit to be placed in another maximum prison? Whereas, when a prisoner is being transferred to any other max prison they are not being screened, it's just when one is being transferred to this prison that they are screened.

This institution does not have all of the same privileges as the other maximum prisons in Wisconsin, which shows this institution is not run like other max's. Therefore, prisoners are being held there illegally because there are stipulations that a prisoner being confined in administrative confinement should only be held up to 7 years. No, by this not really being a max, but being run like a supermax, prisoners are not really in general population, but are in administrative confinement with a few more privileges.

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