The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Control Units] [High Desert State Prison] [California]
expand

High Desert, CA Control Units

High Desert State Prison
I am currently in this Control Unit(CU).
There are 96 cells which are mostly housing two prisoners each for a max of 192, but a handful of single cells make it about 187.
The whole prison is not a CU. Z-unit is the only full time CU built for this specific purpose. However three building on D-yard, 6-7-8 blocks, are currently used as overflow and to reward snitches, PCs with comforts and luxuries not afforded to those who see the beast for what it is.

80% or more of the population is Hispanic, 15% white, and 5% Black. A large majority of us are "validated" as prison gang members/associates and are thereby automatically deemed threats to the safety of others and the security of the institution. This is illegal as none of us have been designated "current active" in prison gangs by OCS, which is the agency responsible for dealing with prison gangs. Likewise, the evidence gathered and used to label us members/associates is also fraudulent and goes against the requirements set forth by their own rules and regulations. Others are here for weapons being planted on them or in their cells. A few are here for stabbing/fighting with other prisoners.

I believe this CU opened in 2005/2006

It was built solely to serve as a CU

We are unaware of state plans to open new CUs but we believe it is inevitable due to the mass "validation sweeps" across California prisons.

At this time Z-unit is run by staff that have little respect for our conditions. We are being denied clothing exchange on a weekly basis. In lieu of that we are given half a bar of soap to wash our clothes and even that is thrown on the ground and kicked under our doors instead of being given to us through the tray slots like decent human beings. We are closed off from the outside world with no access to TVs/radios that are available in other CUs. We are also limited to a single book or magazine in our cells at a time.

chain
[Control Units] [Abuse] [Arizona State Prison Complex Eyman SMUI] [Arizona] [ULK Issue 15]
expand

Intentional deterioration of mental health in Arizona DOC

I am currently being housed in a maximum facility in the Arizona DOC where I've been confined to a one-man prison cell for over seven years in 23 hour a day solitary confinement. I was sentenced to precisely 156 years for taking up arms against a corrupt judicial system. One of my ultimate goals is to help shed some light on the inhumane environment that those of us in prison are subject to live in "generation after generation." Those of us who speak out against capitalist, imperialistic injustice are kept silent and retaliated against in prisons all across the world. We're kept isolated in boxes about the size of dog kennels for years. Rehabilitation only comes in the form of one's personal dedication of adopting a military mindset and achieving what is essential to keeping oneself afloat and not consumed by the burden of being taken for granted as human beings.

It's very common to become invisible in any society designed to desensitize and demoralize the average person, designed to corrupt and eat away at some of the greatest minds. Inevitably, the mental disease surrounding this establishment consumes the vulnerable-minded completely and has its effects on those stronger and competent minds. No amount of love or money can ever replace one's lost time or sanity. Oddly, some of these same people return back into society with no real plan on how to cope or withstand even the smallest pressures. Sadly, I witness people deteriorate on a daily basis while imprisoned, what could have been a short-term prison sentence often ends up a lifetime scar.

I've always resented the idea of one resorting to drugs as a means to emancipate oneself from the difficulties, but as you can see when dealing with the shamefulness of the imperialist system, I really do understand why my equals would rather be intoxicated than face a reality in which we're born into a cycle of destruction. However, one fact that will never change is that drug abuse only hinders and destroys one's personal experience to grow in strength and wisdom. Our ancestors weren't quitters nor cowards. We're skilled, imaginative, intelligent engineers and ultimately we adjust to our problems to overthrow our challenges. Yet we remain students to our own neglect; show us a meaningful purpose to our civilization and we will keenly follow.

In July 2003, I returned to the Arizona Department of Corrections to spend approximately 156 years behind bars for taking up arms against a corrupt Tuscon Police Department in self-defense. I was immediately placed in Arizona's super-maximum facility (SMU-I,(VCU)). SMU-I is a facility that publicly houses "the worst of the worst" special management prisoners. Prisoners are able to obtain some personal items but conditions in SMU-I are very restrictive and inhumane. I was housed in VCU, which is considered isolation within solitary confinement. Ordinarily, prisoners who are held in VCU are labeled disruptive while housed in SMU-I or have accumulated serious disciplinary violations while in prison. Most prisoners in VCU are labeled disruptive for choosing not to conform to the collective ways of the prisoncrats and in return are retaliated against.

One of the many tactics used by our oppressor is to place us in the tortuous shadows of the severely mentally ill to help break a person's spirit. I was placed in this unit upon my initial intake into the penitentiary, never once expecting for my oppressors to provide me due process before being admitted into this unusual world. During this particular part of my life a lot of soul-searching was done and ultimately strength was gained. These teachings have allowed me to fully comprehend my ancestry's mantra of "what doesn't kill us only makes us stronger." For long periods of time I debated with the idea of suicide. It was at my lowest point in total darkness and hopelessness that my eyes were truly illuminated to the ways of this injustice system. At this point I chose to continue my life, to have life. The nightmares that keep me from advancing forward, I've confronted and compromised with. But as you can imagine, I found myself in a tight spot, being the VCU unit.

I was placed on a gurney while four correctional officers escorted me to my new cell. I was strip searched, placed in extra-tight handcuffs with an additional dog chain that offered my captors an object to manipulate.The officers who were escorting me decided it was essential to assert themselves aggressively. I was pushed face down on the gurney and was advised if I looked sideways or moved even just slightly I'd be pepper-sprayed, tazed and neutralized by the police K9. I knew in the back of my mind this was a familiar tactic embraced internationally by my oppressors so I closed my eyes and kept my mouth shut. It is these types of incidents that inspire me to vigorously overcome fierce adversity. In prison, life goes on but one never gets comfortable with the demeaning environment, the torture, the food poisoning, the searches, the depression, the yells, and the screams. It is what brainwashes us into what we are.

I was wrongfully convicted by a judicial system that clearly favors the police, the state's prosecutor, and biased, corrupt judges. My best friend, my little brother and myself are all sentenced to die in an institution that shows no compassion. This is the same institution that as a child you become so dreadful of as you watch your father travel through the same system. Just when I thought my childhood couldn't become any more tragic, reality set in. The temperatures in solitary confinement have a strong tendency of remaining freezing cold; my captors figure if we stay under our blankets all day, wishing upon falling stars, the odds of becoming productive prisoners will diminish. I say productive in the sense that we as prisoners should take up the obligation of combating what is inhumane within the injustice system. This becomes a lifetime struggle while imprisoned. What actually appears to be meaningless, in the long haul is actually morally fulfilling. Yet challenging! What we consider to be productive, our captors refer to as "disruptive." In the end all we want is equal opportunity.

Many tactics and well practiced strategies are put up like road blocks. This has given our captors an everlasting advantage. One important method of abuse is the placement system. Our captors have the authority to move prisoners at will. The sycophants usually end up in "Disneyland" while the "disruptive" end up in "Alaska". With this tactic our captors maintain control. The majority of prisoners housed in VCU are seriously mentally ill. Banging on cell doors creates insomnia, the lights stay on all the time, and some prisoners become extremely delusional and schizophrenic. Mental illness has a strong desire to befriend the next prisoner's addiction, as if the air was contaminated with dementia. All different types of crazed thoughts are fabricated in these prisoners' minds, where everyone around you acts suspiciously like an assassin. These types of delusions commonly progress and eventually their pressures become too overbearing to hold inside, forcing these prisoners to act out. Prisoners lose their minds and begin mutilating themselves to ease their mental pain. Suicide is still viewed as cowardly, but some are too overwhelmed to escape its treacherous snares.

The main instigators are often the ones who are employed to implement corrections. They introduce this type of behavior to intensify the mental strain, giving the vulnerable a reason to simply attend to their anger, frustration and pain. Sometimes they even use seduction as a defense mechanism or to infiltrate the lumpen organizations to create conflict. This misconduct usually creates disagreements, cell extractions and the like. I myself have continuously remained in long-term isolation. No effective adjustment programs have ever been offered to us in this Arizona maximum facility, so obviously this type of behavior continues to worsen. The truth is solitary confinement is creating its own demise. Since I have been in isolation, the VCU ward I spoke of has been deemed unconstitutional by the higher courts and has publicly been shut down.

I am grieving the techniques implemented by the Arizona Department of Corrections in regards to long-term isolation without adequate recourse for mental health treatment. It is detrimental to one's comprehensive health and in due time deteriorates one's ability to function as a human. ADOC utilizes a detrimental structure which it abuses in its discretion to maintain order, rather than to address rehabilitation/recidivism concerns. Long-term isolation without adequate and the effective recourse increases the risk for prisoners to develop extensive mental health disorders and physical health problems as well. This also recruits and increases additional mental health cases for those prisoners isolated amongst the severely mentally ill population for long periods of time. ADOC has neglected to provide adequate mental health services in their maximum custody facilities. What this atrocity does to the environment is create a breeding ground for psychosis. ADOC has strongly neglected to conform its system to reduce recidivism and in fact has demonstrated through their actions, a crime against humanity by converting prisoners into mental health patients, consciously capitalizing on prison enterprise by neglecting to provide adequate recourse for their maximum facilities. This makes prisoners worse off than when we initially arrived, creating a more fortified cycle of sociopaths. This is a logical fact and is very inhumane. Without the adequate learning tools this process is going to keep creating insanity.

Also see An Alternative to the SHU
and U.S. Prisons Prove Maddening

chain
[Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
expand

An All Points Bulletin from the Concrete Tombs of Pelican Bay

To my people of the free communities of Babylon, as of January 2006, a new phenomenon of fascism has been introduced into the Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California via the creation of a new "Communications Management Unit" (e.g."C.M.U.") program (affecting Housing Units D1 thru D4). The disciples of Adolf Hitler (our kaptors) have taken the extremes of fascism to a whole new level!! The construction of Pelican Bay's "Communications Management Unit" program is a prototype of the models that have been created in Terre Haute, Indiana and Marion, Illinois of the Federal Prison System. Pelican Bay's new "Communications Management Unit" program has largely been kept secret from the free public, because the implementation of this C.M.U. program was done on an arbitrary & illegal basis, to where our fundamental constitutional protected human rights and freedoms (e.g. "speech, expression, association, etc.") are being violated without any cause for concern on their part. Normally, whenever there is a new program, policy, or rule change, the free public is made aware of it through the "Regulation and Policy Management Branch" (e.g. "Notice of Rule Change") as mandated per the "Administrative Procedure Act" (A.P.A.). But ask yourself this: "why all of the secrecy now, if this new C.M.U program is being implemented in accordance to law?"

But nonetheless, since January of 2006 Adolf Hitler's disciples (our kaptors) have begun rounding up prisoners in your atypical "slave catcher" fashion, and then began moving us into the new C.M.U. program without us prisoners ever being told, given a reason, or a notice, as to why we have been designated chosen to be housed in the new C.M.U. program. Neither were we accorded a hearing regarding our new classification & housing change. This act within itself has violated our substantive & procedural due process rights, as well as the equal protections of the law as warranted in Wolff v. McDonnell 418 U.S. 539 (1974); and C.C.R. Title 15 Section 3375. Months later, it was revealed to us prisoners the reasons for us being designated/chosen to be housed in the new C.M.U. program. It was because the Pelican Bay State Prison administrators felt we were "real gangstas" with influence in our alleged gang affiliations, to which we were supposedly utilizing to control, intimidate, and influence other prisoners so they could commit unlawful criminal acts on the behalf of that prison gang. But again, we prisoners were not allowed the ability to defend ourselves, as we were not provided with a hearing, or given notice about the wanton allegations being made against us. Meaning that these diabolical monsters are utilizing a "blanket approach" to charge/convict whomever, regardless of whether that prisoner has, or has not been previously found guilty in allegedly utilizing his influential ties to a prison gang, to control, intimidate, and influence other prisoners.

There are several notable contradictions that have become manifest within Pelican Bay's C.M.U. program that amount to First Amendment constitutional violations of speech, expression, association, etc. such as:

  1. Stopping & stealing all our incoming/outgoing mail under the false premise of us promoting gang activity;
  2. Arbitrarily charging/accusing our families, friends, and loved ones of being involved in & promoting unlawful criminal activities (e.g. "gang activity"), which is done as an intimidation tactic to subvert, disrupt, neutralize, & sabotage our relationships with the free communities;
  3. Any form of communication (e.g. "talking") between prisoners is automatically assumed to be a form of gang activity;
  4. Not according our families, friends, loved ones, or us prisoners a hearing, in instances when we are collectively charged/accused of being involved in our promoting gang activities; and
  5. Not reporting incidents of unlawful criminal activities (e.g. "gang activity") to the criminal & postal authorities as they are mandated to do whenever our mail is believed to be involved in unlawful criminal activities as is required, per. C.C.R. title 15 Section 3132(a.)

I could continue listing several more contradictions as it pertains to Pelican Bay's new C.M.U. program, but these five contradictions relate primarily to our current social conditions in the C.M.U. program. I have also written a couple of pamphlets entitled: "Resisting the Subversive Extremes of Political Persecution"; and "Evidence of Corruption, Genocide, & Neo-Colonialism within Pelican Bay's C.M.U.", and the secondary contradictions thereof. If interested, you may write to the following address to obtain a copy of these pamphlets:

ATTN: So. Chicago ABC Zine Distro
c/o Anthony Rayson
P.O. Box 721
Homewood, Ill. 60430

MIM(Prisons) adds: After overturning the illegal ban on MIM mail within the California prison system in late 2008, Pelican Bay began returning all mail from MIM once again in the middle of 2009. As this comrade points out there are no rights for the oppressed in amerika and the continued expansion of control units to repress the oppressed nations is the best example of this.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [International Connections] [Control Units] [ULK Issue 11]
expand

Third World Muslim Prisoners of Amerika

Shortly after MIM(Prisons) posted an article talking about the use of excess prisons to lock up migrants, CNN reported that the u.$. government is looking to take over another empty state prison, this time for Muslims from the Third World.(1) The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) already secretly opened two control units for Muslim Arabs in recent years at USP Terra Haute and USP Marion (which became the original control unit in 1983, but was later downgraded to medium security). These units hold 94% and 75% Muslims, respectively, are even more isolating than many prisons holding English-speakers and u.$. citizens.(2)

Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois is an unused, high tech, maximum security prison with a capacity of 1600 that still sits virtually empty. The government promises that if Third World Muslims are to be sent there, that it will be made even more secure than the official federal control unit, ADX in Florence, Colorado. According to the CNN article, Thomson is the top contender to take most of those now held in Guantanamo Bay after its planned closure, scheduled for January 2010.

There are only 215 prisoners at Guantanamo, and the BOP already holds 340 people that they say are "linked to international terrorism."(1) While the imprisonment of Latino migrants dwarfs these numbers, one must also consider that there are many u.$. prisons in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan and other secret military locations that hold primarily Muslims from the Middle East.

Governor Quinn is excited at the prospect of bringing these prisoners to Illinois because of the money it will bring to the region. This is consistent with his policies of using prisons to combat recession (3), and he may be on to something. With more and more amerikans being employed to physically oppress other people, importing people who are a threat to the imperialist order to hold in amerikan-run prisons would not be an unlikely form for amerika to take as it turns more fascist in the face of imperialist crisis. As one resident pointed out to Reuters, the local population in rural Illinois would back the mission of the prison (4), unlike people in the Middle East where the u$ currently holds most of its Middle Eastern prisoners. A turn toward fascism would be necessary to prevent non-citizens from gaining access to the bourgeois democratic rights promised to those on u.$. soil. (Those currently held in Guantanamo have never been convicted of a crime.) When convenient for them, the imperialists believe humyn rights begin and end at man-made borders.

Of course bourgeois rights are denied to citizens of the united snakes as well, as the FBI demonstrated by assassinating New Afrikan Imam, Luqman Ameen Abdullah in Detroit. Abdullah was a member of Jamil al-Amin's (formerly Black Panther H. Rap Brown) Muslim network called "Ummah." New Afrikan Muslims are the second largest group in the Marion Communications Management Unit.(2)

notes:
(1) Yellin, Jessica. Illinois prison top contender to house Gitmo detainees, official says. cnn.com. November 14, 2009.
(2) http://www.abolishcontrolunits.org/research/US
Exposing "Little Guantanamo": Inside the CMU by Daniel McGowen reports that 75% in Marion CMU are Muslim, though only 10 of 26 are from the Middle East. In Terra Haute, reportedly 2 of 213 prisoners are not Arab Muslims.
(3) MIM(Prisons) on U.S. Prison Economy. Under Lock & Key Issue 8, May 2009.
(4)http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSN16528063

chain
[National Oppression] [Control Units] [MORGAN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX] [Tennessee]
expand

Blacks face longer Max in TN

I'm currently locked up in a racist mousetrap camp called Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg, TN. This is the newly built plantation and is "state of the art" as the oppressors boast.

I'm writing and speaking briefly on my struggle as a maximum security prisoner. I have been on maximum security for 7 years and 5 months for a fight (hand on hand, no weapons involved) that resulted in the death of another brother who attacked me. The prison officials never actually took the circumstances surrounding this attack and "investigated" them to collaborate my story of self-defense on a compound I only resided on 5 days before this happened. Instead, they placed me on maximum security and have left me here 23 hours a day for the past 7.5 years.

Since my arrival to max in 2002 it has been a constant battle to maintain my relationships with my family and my wife as well as my daughters. This is by design because the oppressors know that the foundation to any relationship not only is communication but physical contact/visits as well. I haven't been able to so much as kiss or touch my wife or hug my daughter in 7.5 years and that has been not only a physical challenge but an emotional one and mental one as well.

Max security has a "review board" that, every 30 days, makes assessments of a prisoner's behavior and makes recommendations to the warden of whether to release you from max or continue to hold you on max. The warden then decides whether to approve those recommendations or deny them. In the past 19 months the review board has recommended me for release from maximum security a total of 11 times and each time I have been denied release by the warden citing "nature of placement on max." Meanwhile, I am forced to witness white boys being released from max security every day only to return to max 60 days later (or less) and I meanwhile continue to be denied release from max and this is my first time in prison and on max security.

We arrived to this new plantation in May of this year from Brushy Mountain Complex and, to date, since our arrival here, the warden has only released 6 Black prisoners and nearly 70 white prisoners from max security. We're in the mountains and no Black employees work here and the place is 85% white. The Black prisoners request BET or MTV due to the white prisoners having CMT but this request is denied. This is just a small example of where we are and the favoritism shown to whites.

I would advise all of the brothers and sisters to educate themselves about these prisons and not just use your voices to complain but to act on your complaints and take full advantage of your grievance and in house procedures because education and knowledge is the only way to defeat these oppressors. I have obtained a college degree (associates) in applied sciences and have continued to educate myself despite these oppressor's attempts to break me or bury me on max. I have continued to strive for betterment and enlightenment while these oppressors pray for my mental demise because if they can kill your mind, your body will soon follow.

Maximum security has stolen so many brothers minds because brothers lose so much that they snap, but all you brothers and sisters on max or in these prisons, educate yourselves and be determined to survive and utilize your voice because your voice is powerful and it will be heard in time as we continue to collectively come together against these oppressors.

chain
[Control Units] [Abuse] [Potosi Correctional Center] [Missouri]
expand

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!

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

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.

chain
[Control Units] [Pennsylvania]
expand

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.

chain
[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 9]
expand

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.

chain
[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
expand

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.

chain