The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out
[Control Units] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Federal Employee Threatens Prisoner for Fighting Torture in Court

Today the Federal Bureau of Prisons Director, Harley Lappin, did a phony inspection of the Special Management Unit (SMU). He walked into the unit, posed for photographs for the upcoming propaganda campaign, then made a beeline for C-range (disciplinary glassed housing). Mr. Lappin stopped at my cell door, looked at the door tag bearing my name and stated, "you started it, but I'm going to finish it!" Several individuals, including Warden Rathman, accompanied Mr. Lappin and witnessed his threat.

I accept Mr. Lappin's threat as retaliation for filing a civil action (D.D.C. 10-1292) due to the continued torture of prisoners in these SMUs (psychological warfare via prolonged isolation) which was declared illegal back in 1970, Ex Parte Medley, 134 US 168. I will defend myself at all cost!

The SMU has a history of viciously attacking prisoners with use of force teams to torture them into compliance with their psychological torture regiment. Attempting to cope, some are forced to take psychotropics. It is evident Mr. Lappin views himself as above the statutory law, but he is not above the people's law!

chain
[Control Units] [Education] [Florida] [ULK Issue 20]
expand

Turning Control Units Into Universities

As we already know, control units are torture chambers where prisoners spend from 22 to 24 hours a day locked up in a tiny cell for long periods of time with a blinding light burning all day, with no educational or other kinds of programs and without proper medical and mental health attention. We are forced to live in here with the pigs oppressing us every day. These conditions are meant to break prisoners' mental states and spirit. They are oppression tools. Here I've seen prisoners give up and lose all hope, lose their mental states, harm, and even kill themselves. There's no doubt that these horrifying places affect the majority of prisoner's mental health. However, we can and should turn these torture chambers into our universities, for the betterment of ourselves and our oppressed comrades.

The first time I was placed in a control unit (here in Florida they are called close management units or CM) I did 2 years locked up in a tiny cell 24 hours a day. In my first few months I was wasting my time bullshitting, fighting and reading mind-killing fiction books. I was blind about the struggle - our struggle, oppressed against oppressor. Then, one day, a comrade handed me a book called "Last Man Standing" by Geronimo Pratt, a top member of the Black Panther Party. That book alone sparked the revolutionary in me and since then I haven't looked back. Then I met George Jackson, Mao, Lenin and Che among others. That's when I started shaping and organizing my ideals. When my family asked me if I needed money for canteen, I told them no. Instead I asked them to send me books on or by the above-mentioned comrades and I started studying full time.

Along the line a comrade gave me a copy of Under Lock & Key and I loved it. That boosted me up on the prison struggle. I started corresponding with MIM and after a while I began writing articles for them. The comrades at MIM(Prisons) supplied me with good and much needed studying material and I kept working hard on behalf of the struggle - our struggle. I've learned to discipline and organize myself in a way that I never thought possible. As I grew mentally and expanded my knowledge of the struggle, I shared it with others and helped awaken their consciousness.

I had access to nothing except what MIM(Prisons) sent me and my only opportunities to get out of my cell were when I had to see medical or mental health personnel and when we had recreation in a tiny dog pen and showers 3 times a week. Nevertheless, I refused all these. I thought - and still think - that by going to these I was throwing away time that I could use to study and put in work for the cause. I exercised and took bird baths in my cell. I studied even when the lights went out. I used a little bit of light that came in through the back window from a light pole that stood outside the building.

The pigs were used to going around doing their checks and seeing prisoners cuddled up in their beds doing nothing or just staring into space while talking to themselves. In fact, they like to see this because they know that they are breaking the prisoners' minds and fighting spirit. But they hated it when they walked by my cell and saw me sitting on the floor with all kinds of books, dictionaries, papers and pens scattered around me. They couldn't crack me, let alone break me, and that chewed at their insides. I wouldn't give them a chance. I was, and still am, going to fight them until the very end. If I can't fight them physically I will fight them with pen and paper by spreading the word of struggle and helping other oppressed people wake up consciously.

When I was close to being released to open population I told myself that if I started getting off track and losing my discipline I would return to CM on purpose to start disciplining myself all over again. When I was finally released in late 2009 people who knew me before wouldn't associate with me much because they couldn't relate to my new mindset. Fortunately I was able to wake some of them up and have them join forces in the struggle.

In my first prison, after my release from CM, I quickly formed a study group of nine comrades, of which the comrade who first introduced me to MIM(Prisons) was a part. However, the prison in which we were was extremely racist and oppressive and the pigs started targeting us. For being the group's spokesperson they considered me the leader and for that alone they ransacked and destroyed my personal property every time they got a chance, threatened me, then placed me in solitary confinement on false charges. Finally they transferred me to another prison.

At my next prison the pigs already knew about me, so as soon as I got there the searches and property destruction continued, but that didn't discourage me nor did it put a dent in my confidence. In a matter of weeks I had another study group going. But then, not even a year after my release from CM, I had an altercation with another prisoner who was a snitch for the pigs and was returned to CM where I currently find myself.

I have come to the conclusion that open population is not for me. It only takes too much of my study time. Study time that I need for when I get released back into society. Besides, in CM I don't have the pigs in my face all day. In open population there's a great chance that I harm one of them badly and catch more prison time. So I've decided to do my remaining 14 years in a solitary cell. This might be helpful for me, but it is not for everyone because not everyone understands and appreciates it like I do.

If you have no choice but to be in a control unit, don't waste your time bullshitting. Don't let these damn pigs break you. Turn the torture chamber in which you find yourself into your university. Read, study, and educate yourself. Subscribe to Under Lock & Key and other MIM(Prisons) material. If you don't have much material to study, whatever you do have study it over and over. You will be surprised by how much you can learn from reading the same thing over and over. I still have the first Under Lock & Key I ever read, which was given to me by that good comrade 3 years ago, and I still read it every once in a while. And every time I read it, I learn something new.

So comrades, wake up and get to studying. Show the pigs that you won't allow them to break you and that you are willing to fight, learn, struggle, and turn their torture chambers into your university. Just don't turn it into your mental and physical graveyard.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We're glad to see our work having such an impact on comrades in prison and we agree with the recommendations given for those in isolation. But keep in mind that control units exist in order to keep those who study away from the masses. A one-man university is nothing compared to running study groups and organizing sessions with a group of people. For those who are forced into isolation, Under Lock & Key is your connection to dialogue with the larger prison movement.

chain
[Control Units] [California]
expand

False Validations Part of Prison Control Strategy

I am currently in an Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) for nothing. I guess you can call it mistaken identity or racial profiling. A group of about eight prisoners (Blacks) got into a fist fight. The pigs rounded up 21 of us and placed us in ASU for participation in a riot. The people who were actually involved fessed up to it like men in order to get the rest of us cut loose who had nothing to do with the incident. But the pigs didn't want to hear the truth. They placed us in ASU and two days later sent three pigs to interview us one at a time and again the parties involved tried to accept the blame and the pigs told them they were lying. Since no one wanted to tell them what the issue was that started the fight, they decided to issue us all a CDC-115 Rule Violation Report, which is punishable by a 90 day time add and up to six months in the SHU.

These pigs had all 21 of us sitting on the hard asphalt handcuffed for nine hours. After which they put us in ASU and didn't give us a blanket to sleep under. We were handcuffed for so long without being allowed to drink water, one guy actually passed out and hit his head on the concrete. The pigs and the medical staff did nothing. Two of the brothers went on a hunger strike in protest. One guy lasted eight days. The other guy went for 19 days before they came and took him to the medical facility.

Incidents like this are prerequisites to gang validation. By participating in group disturbances you are being labeled by the administration as an "associate" of a particular group/gang. Three CDC-115 Rule Violation Reports for participation in a riot is grounds for an indeterminate SHU placement. This alone makes you a potential candidate for gang validation. Another way they get you is by the group you congregate with. In this territorial, tribal environment of the prison yard a person has no choice but to hang around the people they know and are comfortable around. You don't have to be a gang member but the pigs are going to label you an "associate" and as such if those people from that group get into something and get locked down, the "associate" gets lockdown too. The same goes for your cellmate.

Here in CDCR you can't choose your cell mate. You have to go where they put you or get a 115 and go to ASU. Now if they house you with a gang member then you get the label of being an "associate" of that gang. Then you have to go through a whole gauntlet of stuff to get that label removed. After they tie you in with a certain amount of "misconduct" with a group they label you as being a "member" of then you'll end up spending the duration of your prison sentence in the SHU unless you "Debrief." And once you debrief you're headed to an SNY. A lot of guys get labeled just based on where you live.

To avoid this process a lot of guys are opting to go to a SNY straight off the fish bus, only to find the same stuff going on on the SNY. Once you go SNY, for whatever reason, you can never go back to GP. All the stuff going on at High Desert is nothing but a divide and conquer strategy. Some of those guys are going to break rank and tell pigs whatever they want to hear, even if it's a lie, to get out of that situation. You see these pigs are playing chess and they're aggressively attacking the pawns in order to get the king. And if they have to lock us all up until all they have is whole prisons full of snitches, then that's what they're going to do.

We as prisoners in this imperialist u.s. prison system need to stop pointing fingers. There's nothing wrong with constructive criticism. If the criticism is not aimed at uplifting the person or people being criticized then it does no good. Stop calling out names and singling out groups. Instead reach one teach one. Don't be a commentator, be an inspirator and a motivator. The revolution will not happen overnight. We're up against a powerful enemy. It took Blacks four hundred years to break the chains of slavery only to become slaves to capitalism. Now we have to figure out a way to break these chains. It's going to take a group effort. You push me, I'll pull you. Push, Pull, Strive! And together we'll rise!

chain
[Control Units] [Tamms Supermax] [Illinois]
expand

Activists Labeled a Threat and Locked in Tamms

I have recently received your MIM Theory 13 magazine and your letter and the ULK newsletter. I am a Tamms C-Max incarcerated individual who has been living and experiencing the Tamms life of daily struggles and misfortunes for the past year of what seems like an estimated five to ten years before review and actual consideration for an eligible transfer. Although fixed annual and quarterly reviews are held for us here, nobody goes anywhere, especially for what most of us are down here for which is allegedly being gang leaders and influencers over a Security Threat Group(STG). Really we're just conspired against by those in general population who can't stand to live among a different mindset which is hated on by those who can't figure one out.

So the birds chirped and the masses spoke to get rid of yet another innocent man just trying to get back in count and enjoy a few contact visits. I was brought here in January and have kept to myself since then. I'm antisocial and goal oriented, silent to the land but outspoken and observant for the blind. So with that said, I've been silent to the land concept and scheme which revolves around my 90 thousand dollar a year head and stay here in the worst of the worst prisons. I've observed enough and must now speak out for those who are blind and out of sync with what's really transpiring behind the walls of Tamms.

On my first day here from being transferred I wasn't fed on the ride here so I spoke up and was told my next meal was going to be a 3-11 shift, but then I stood light headed till four that afternoon hungry from breakfast which was my last meal before waking up at 7 to be told to pack up what property never got sent here to my possessions. I got discriminated and retaliated against for something I wasn't even a part of. I only retrieved my personal electronics, clothing and food but all my legal mail and personal mail never showed up... "mistake", i think not.

chain
[Control Units] [Political Repression] [ULK Issue 18]
expand

Solitary for Studying instead of Fighting

Revolutionary Greetings,

...I would have responded much sooner to give notice to the fellow comrades at MIM(Prisons) that I received ULK 16. However, at the time I was forced to remain in solitary confinement for organizing an intellectual study group, which included members affiliated with organizations such as Bloods, 5 Percenters and Latin Kings. This oppressive institution of confinement and confusion charged me with "group demonstration." I am currently housed in Administrative Segregation for that charge and serving a 365 day sanction. But in any event, I received the ULK 16 and wish to be added to your mailing list.

Thank you very much!

chain
[Control Units] [National Oppression] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 18]
expand

Isolation for Symbolic Drawing

As of this writing I've been confined to a special management unit because, of all things, a drawing. The artwork however is not the problem, but what it supposedly represents. From a larger standpoint the censoring of such work is another form of passive cultural destruction. What they can't control they restrict. What they don't understand, they tend to fear. And of course the "they" I'm speaking of are those upholding Amerikan values of whitewashed virtues.

The drawing was one I chose to adopt because of its high symbolism and esoteric meanings. But because this symbol was first used by the Nation of Gods and Earths (Five Percenters), a branch of the Nation of Islam, which is deemed a "security threat group" within penal institutions in six states, I was also branded a threat. I have no affiliation with that organization or any gang. I don't adhere to the NOGE's or NOI's religious dogmas. I do however share in their militant outlook and agree, for better, with what they've done to reeducate Black youth to the realities of this system. Because of this they, and anyone even duplicating a representative symbol of such organizations, are deemed a threat.

I must assume the motivation behind the government labeling a peaceful, cultural religious organization as a gang can be found in a real warranted fear of this group's objectives. To name just a few: its obvious work in enlightening individuals about this police state, its very successful strategy in reducing the recidivism rate, and most importantly empowering youth to be leaders and conduits of true culture in their families and communities. These priorities, and numerous others, are something to fear, especially when privatized institutions can prospectively lose millions annually.

The programming of the masses through corporate-owned media propaganda has not been done haphazardly. Sensationalism, violence, stereotypes and desensitization through repetition of crime and cop shows has not only controlled opinion but has thoroughly turned people into mindless robots, keeping the rich in control, middle class happy and poor discontented but helpless. Any organization that exposes this government for what it is and directs its energies to providing and teaching what true responsibility is to a community, is one I'd gladly be a part of.


MIM(Prisons) responds:
We agree with this prisoner that the criminal injustice system has a real reason to fear any organization that is educating people about the prison system, working to reduce recidivism, and organizing oppressed nations. These organizations threaten their use of the prison system as a tool of social control. And it is true that the media plays a major role in promoting imperialist policies to the Amerikan people. However, this is not the only reason the masses are passive. Amerikan citizens are acting in their economic self-interest when they play the role of happy robot and accept imperialist policies. See our article Amerikkkans: Oppressing for a Living in ULK 2.

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [Control Units] [Federal] [ULK Issue 17]
expand

SMU Federal Forced Psychological Treatment Program


Do you realize, it is not wise, your actions are absurd!
You know from history, there is no mystery, haven't you heard!
It's been tried again and again, successful it has never been,
you want to change reality!
Only an idiot would believe it, your report concludes the
opposite, but it's your story!

To follow a flawed plan, of a foolish man, is no less idiotic!
Federal SMU, they don't have a clue, their leader must be
psychotic!
Contractors keep on bribing, congress keeps on buying, greed
takes over the atrocity!
Employees union denying, administration outright lying, sacrifice
integrity for the money!

International courts condemn the practice, you must be actors,
lied to congress to get your wish!
You claim it's beneficial, in actuality it's detrimental, how do
you explain this!
Community communication, through human isolation, the theory
is ridiculous!
Add antagonization, mental manipulation, makes the hypothesis
preposterous!
where'd you get that data, like indicting a potato, the truth
you will always withhold!
It's a program, run for the sons of sam, one of the biggest
bullshits ever told!

Your stated objective, must be defective, the strategy is
really old!
Institutionalization, of the entire nation, seems to be your goal!
A laboratory experiment, who gives a shit, about some
federal convicts!
Just some lab rats, Stanford's second act, use them
for your benefits!

So what if they go crazy, ignorant and lazy, signed the
consent to make it authorized!
The ones who try to get wise, hasten their demise, to
keep the others terrified!
Keep it on the low, nobody needs to know, the true nature
of your enterprise!
When you get exposed, the doors will be closed, now it's
you being ostracized!

What you don't understand is any flawed plan, that tortures
your fellow man, must come to an end!
Just as before, those that work the store, shall face
the forgiver of sin via pistol or pen!
Don't see the danger, that's the avenging angel, you
must have made a mistake!
Thought he was nice, better think twice, your soul
he comes to take!

Now that he is here, no need to shed a tear, your path
is set in stone!
No you can not hide, before the foolish man by your side,
now he has left you alone!
But you knew all along, that it was wrong, yes you
assisted in the deed!
I too cry, because now you lie, soulless, heartless,
fertilizer for planted seed!

chain
[Control Units] [Legal] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 17]
expand

Keep Fighting Gang Validation

I would like to comment on the "Legal Tips to Fight Gang Validation article that was printed in ULK 16. This comrade's tips are greatly appreciated and will help a lot of prisoners who are not familiar with our rights in the validation process. Here's the thing though, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is aware of such due process rights and we get a 114-D lockup order, a chance to reboot our validations, and to be put up for the Security Housing Unit (SHU) by classification. However, it's all just a big charade without any meaningful review given at any time and no matter what we say or what evidence we present to show the source items are insufficient, unreliable and can't be used as source items per the Title 15 and relevant authority, we are ignored at every level.

I 602ed [grieved] my validation and clearly showed why my validation is false on all levels but was just given a general response at the 2nd and 3rd levels, as all prisoners are, saying I'm wrong and my validation meets the department's requirements. CDCR refuses to follow their rules and is just rubber stamping prisoners' validations and going through the motions that are nothing more than a front in an attempt to dupe the courts into believing we got our due process.

Now in my optimistic attitude I thought the courts would see the arbitrariness of my validation and actually, you know, follow the law. But when I sent in my habeas corpus to the Lassen County Superior Court it took them all of 6 days to deny my petition without holding any hearings, which is the only way the court could have determined that my source items showed "some evidence" and were reliable as they stated. So I sent my habeas corpus to the court of appeals hoping I can get a real review, which I have yet to receive. My case is no different from all other prisoners being validated here at High Desert State Prison and it won't change until we shed light on this dark process. So my question is, what do we do when the officials and courts that swore to uphold the law are disregarding it without a second thought? We all will continue to 602 and petition the courts about our fake validations for they can't ignore us forever.

Another case that is vital for validated prisoners to get their hands on to study and apply to their situation is the Lira v. Cate, No. C-00-0905 S1 (N.D.Cal. Sept. 30, 2009) which is regarding a former validated prisoner who challenged his gang validation and lack of due process and won.


MIM(Prisons) responds: They can't ignore us forever if we team up. As pointed out, people are facing the same situations all over. Legal battles are an important tool in the struggle, but we know the whole system, including the courts, is set up to oppress certain groups. Part of these struggles is making connections and working together. With enough unity around the right issues our reliance on the courts becomes less and less necessary.

chain
[Control Units]
expand

Home Sweet Home

Go to your bathroom door and kick a hole in it. Now lock yourself in tight. Throw all your hygiene items, except a toothbrush and toothpaste tube, out the hole. Everything. Now go sit. The light switch disappears and the shower splits. A little speaker replaces them. It listens and sometimes speaks to you, laughs at you, taunts you, tells you your sufferings entertaining. You can't shut off the light with no switch and you'll have to shower using the sink. As you sit you hear ten or so voices outside the door. That's funny, sounds like that guy who robbed my mother's house last year and put her in a wheelchair after brutally beating and raping her. It can't be! Is that the judge that let the man run free too? And his twisted attorney? Why they here?

The worst enemies you could imagine, or put a face to, have just moved into your house as you sit in the bathroom. These people wish you harm of the utmost, and your death would be nothing but joy to them. All your food, and any mail you might be expecting, will have to come from these "squatter-enemies." Good luck!

To make matters worse, these enemies of yours control all your heating, air conditioning, water form your sink and to your toilet. And to top it off, if they see you sleeping they'll kick the door and yell at you, then laugh.

You can hear these men day and night right outside your door. You smell them Bar-B-Qing and smoking. You're hungry. You can hear these men torturing people. Sometimes other people in similar bathrooms next to yours are pulled out and placed in body bags. To these "squatter's" amusement.

A day passes this way.

"My god," you say "what have I done to deserve this?"
A week passes
You cry
A month
You attempt suicide but your vein closes up before death
A year

You are now talking to yourself and running around naked. You are convinced the food you seldom receive, that's halfway edible, is poisoned. As you eat the rotten "meat" your beard and mustache get in the way of the teeth chewing. You couldn't cry if life depended on it. And it used to. But you've forgotten why.

Two years.

You can't remember. You've forgotten. Forgotten what? You don' know. The "squatter-enemies" come around and you look at them. They look at you. They laugh. You start to laugh too. You forgot why. But you do.

Three years.

You sleep 20 hours a day. You can't help it. But your floor's clean. You keep it spotless. You don't know why. But you do. You're skinny. You've lost an easy 60 pounds. Your skin's turning yellow and your legs cramp up and atrophy. You don't want to die anymore. Why bother? You'd rather sleep and dream. The dreams are so vivid. More real than these walls.

Five years

You go home, you leave your bathroom, this year they tell you that. But why? Where do I go? I don't want to leave now. I like my tub and sinkā€¦


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade vividly describes the torture that is found in control units in prisons across the U.$. The criminal injustice system uses the torture chambers as tools to break the will of politically conscious prisoners. It is one more weapon in the criminal injustice system's work of social control. For more information about these units and what you can do to join the fight, see our campaign against prison control units.

chain
[Control Units] [Campaigns] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
expand

Wrongful Validation in California Leads to Support for Grievance Campaign

I am a prisoner at High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and one of 60 prisoners who were wrongfully validated in August 2009. Z-unit is notorious for its disregard for prisoner's rights. Likewise HDSP and CDCR are disproportionately validating prisoners as gang members and associates, regardless of their actual affiliation.

In the past 3 years HDSP has validated over 110 "Hispanics" off of C-yard. Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) is very prejudice and racist here in HDSP. All validations here are racially motivated. All IGI workers here are white and the new Lieutenant is Mexican but wants to be white. The validation system is a sham. The most bothersome thing is in R&R the COs ask you who you roll with. If you say no one they'll ask you where you live and when you tell them they declare that you are a northerner or southerner just because of your region of habitation.

CDCR validation procedures are vague and overly broad. HDSP is not following court orders nor administrative regulations. Information from informants and debriefers is being taken and used as 100% fact. Some of us are issued validation points for a drawing. However we are not given any notice of what is considered gang related. So how are we supposed to know what is against the rules? Instead this is being utilized to validate us and confine us to the Security Housing Unit (SHU) for life. CDCR is using "kites" [written notes] to validate us. If a prisoner is caught with your general information, CDCR uses that as a validation point, saying you committed "gang activity." How do you get a validation point for someone having your name!? Anybody has access to your information as COs post this info on our doors. This whole process is ambiguous.

CDCR has a motivation for all these unjust validations. On January 25th, 2010, California legislators passed a new law (Senate Bill xxx18) in regards to new credit earning for prisoners. General Population prisoners are now receiving half time credits. While SHU and ASU have to do 100% of the time they were sentenced. CDCR is wrongfully validating prisoners as a tactic to ensure their job security. Many general population prisoners will be getting kicked out because of the overcrowding issues but ASU and SHU prisoners will be stuck with the COs needing to guard them. It costs $50,000 to house a SHU prisoner so of course the "Green Wall" wants to line their pockets with "Green Money."

There are many inhumane conditions of confinement here in Z Unit. Prisoners are kept in their cells 22 hours a day with no windows, TVs or radios. Prisoners are not given adequate winter clothing. It rains, snows, and an average temperature stays below 30 degrees and the only things we get is a jacket. Prisoners are forced to strip buck naked in the snow and freezing temperatures. Lastly, staff complaints and grievances are often trashed or just not answered. In ULK 15 (July August 2010) your feedback to a prisoner regarding grievances not being handled property was to get involved in a petition campaign for grievances. I want to get involved along with other prisoners here! I look forward to your response.

MIM(Prisons) adds: CDCR has a long history of ignoring grievances and it is in this state that the grievance campaign started. It has now expanded to many other states. Contact us for more information and to get a copy of the petition for your state (or to get a generic petition that you can customize for your state).

chain