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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

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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.

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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
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HRC/FedUp!
5125 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
hrcfedup@gmail.com
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] [Crossroads Correctional Center] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 7]
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Retaliatory Segregation in Missouri

Noble salutations comrades! I have been a recipient of your prison newsletter for several months now. In January I was transferred from the South Central Correctional Center in Licking Missouri to Crossroads Correctional Center in Cameron Missouri. I have been in administrative segregation (Ad-Seg) since November of 2007. In Feb of 2008 a classification hearing was held (unscheduled) and it was then recommended by the housing unit staff of one house at SCCC that I be placed on "mandated single cell confinement," a status with no end. This hearing was held but twenty four hours after I filed paper work through inmate grievance procedure of the functional unit manager of my unit for staff familiarity and personal conflicts. The day following this unscheduled hearing, I filed again on this DOC employee for retaliation which is plain to see. All of my grievances and appeals were denied and have now been exhausted, my situation remains the same although I am in a different correctional center.

SOP 21-1.2 Administrative Segregation, page 2 states the following: Assignment of an offender to a single cell within an administrative segregation unit [is] for documented safety and security reasons, i.e. offenders who are considered an immediate or long term danger to other offenders that would be celled with that offender based on extremely violent, aggressive, threatening actions towards others, which may include murder/manslaughter, sexual assault/rape, assault with serious physical injury, sexually active HIV positive offender. This offender is not to be celled with other offenders.

Page 8 of the same SOP 21-1.2 states:
Mandated single cell assignment:
1. The administrative segregation committee will evaluate offenders for single cell confinement at the time of the hearing. All offenders who are considered an immediate/long-term danger to harm a cellmate as explained in definition II.E of this procedure should be assigned to a single cell in administrative segregation.

2. Offenders who have recently assaulted/harmed a cellmate or other offenders who staff believe are a continuous threat to other offenders if housed in a cell with them, should be submitted to the deputy division director, who, in consultation with the division director will approve/disapprove these actions. Offenders who have been approved for mandated single cell assignment will require approval from the deputy division director prior to removal from this status.

Upon my arrival to this institution I asked the classification staff if I would now be removed from the mandated status. I was informed by the head of the committee that no one gets removed from this status once placed on it. All staff present for this made noises that I "have life without in the hole," as I'm serving two consecutive life sentences, one of which is without parole.

I have been denied my right to due process. I have quoted their policies and procedures in all my filings. Every action I have taken has been within and following all guidelines. No justice has been given.

I have written several prisoner rights advocates and contacted numerous attorneys offices, all futile.

This is not just a solitary issue concerning just one prisoner. Missouri has prisoners that have been on this status up to ten years (that I know of). Some have had no violations in several years yet remain caged 24/7 like some rabid, volatile beast.

Many of us have no one to reach out to for aid and assistance. More than one is being held for past acts or political reasons while others committing the same or worse acts are given a year with a cellmate in ad-seg then released back to general population.

The South Central Correctional Center hands out this status as though it were candy to any prisoner who staff seem to have personal issues with. And it continues because we have no one to assist us.

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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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[Control Units] [New York]
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Mental Health Programs Just Expanded SHU

UPDATE: On 9/17/2009 the comrade who wrote this letter was killed in Attica Correctional Facility

I commend MIM and Reel Soldier for the successful release of Unlock the Box. You comrades are relentless in the struggle.

For well over a decade now, the NYSDOCS (New York State Department Of Correctional Services) has been developing housing units and programs to confine mentally ill prisoners who are serving penalty terms in the SHU (Special Housing Unit). These programs/units were created and developed to counter a lawsuit (Disability Advocates, Inc. v. OMH) against the NYSDOCS declaring the confinement of mentally ill prisoners in SHUs to be cruel and unusual punishment. The law firms who brought forth the suit have accepted these programs and subsequent legislation as part of an "out-of-court" settlement (take not that the mentally ill prisoners within the NYSDOCS were not given any consideration in the matter of the settlement, as they were never consulted as to whether they agreed to the terms themselves).

Simply put, units such as the GTP (Group Therapy Program), BHU Phase One (Behavioral Health Unit), and the STP (Special Treatment Program) amount to no more than glorified Special Housing Units (SHUs). They are being used arbitrarily as warehouses for prisoners whom they (the NYSDOCS) wish to keep locked down but must "accommodate" due to the settlement agreement and new legislation.

I have been confined to such programs since late May of 2005 (due to diagnosis of PTSD and Antisocial Personality Disorder). These programs have proven generally to be anything but therapeutic, primarily because they are only slightly modified SHUs structurally and are subject to the automatic efforts of security and administrative staff to assert control over prisoners/patients during the therapeutic process. Much of the "programming" (especially Dr. S. Samenow's "Commitment to Change" video series) is blatant brainwashing administered to induce total subservience to prison and state authority.

What is most disheartening is the vanishing of the general political consciousness of prisoners in the NYS prison system, that was given birth during the 1960s & 1970s. How many prisoners are even aware of the history of the Black Panthers, or that ideologically they were Maoists?

This article referenced in:
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[Control Units] [Limon Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 7]
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Thrown in segregation for writing complaint about conditions

I am living in segregation on a plantation in Limon, Colorado. A month ago I wrote a comprehensive and detailed letter to the American "Corruptional" Association asking how they could give a score of a hundred percent to a prison that denies a third of its population (self included) pillows, trash cans, trash bags, mattresses that are thicker than a piece of cardboard, jobs, and other items.

With Colorado DOC it is all about greed. Prisons do not exist in this state to provide rehabilitation to "offenders," but instead exist to provide a lucrative and easy lifestyle for employees of the system at all levels. We as prisoners are merely an inconvenience and are treated as such. And at a time when corporate Amerika is cutting back and doing away with pensions and insurance, Colorado DOC just received an additional $64 million for the new fiscal budget, and additionally is getting 1,630 new employees. The prison budget is fast approaching $1 billion annually for a state of roughly 5 million inhabitants. Meanwhile, we are having things like real beef, fresh vegetables, and other essential items taken from the menu, which they hardly follow anyway, and we get laundry back that has not been washed with any amount of detergent. In addition there are no trash cans, trash bags, pillows, new mattresses, or even chairs or stools for the wall mounted desks. I am currently writing sideways on a TV shelf.

Shortly after sending the letter to the ACA I got a horrific shakedown that the guard says was "ordered by admin" in which they found a broken razor in the trash that had arrived broken in the package. Then based upon finding this "dangerous weapon" four thugs came and arrested me while I was in the middle of typing a letter to my attorney in the law library. Now I have been in here 15 days and have not seen any paperwork or charges, but I have been told repeatedly that they exist. Now what do I do? I have never once been to seg here at this hell hole and I have successfully completed two terms of probation for minor offenses during my two years here.

I have never once had a charge for assaulting a staff member or inmate, nor have I ever been charged or even accused of having dangerous contraband, drugs, or weapons. But now due to a broken razor I am too dangerous to be in general population.

It is not uncommon to have wardens making six figures and lower levels of admin making $85 to $95k per year plus all the goodies. If I were a taxpayer in this state I would be outraged.

Our mail is illegally searched, copied and/or read all the time without probable cause or justification (legal mail included). Currently, the two items that you sent me have been sent to the alleged "reading committee" due to what is more often than not, the uneducated, unsophisticated mailroom staff's inability to figure out what they are looking at. However, I do expect to receive these copies that I was really looking forward to, in about a month.

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[Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania]
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Pennsylvania torture units

I was in Camp Hill prison control unit called the SMU which means special management unit. The race there is only Black prisoners and the staff there beat Black prisoners until they are bloody or deprive them of their food. In 2005 the SMU guards killed a prisoner - a black prisoner that is - by not feeding him his food. I myself have been beaten and deprived of food, water and other things mainly medical care. These control units are slave torture camps and the staff that work in these control units are diabolical devils. They only build these control units for Black prisoners to torture, murder and rape our mind from our sanity. These staff who work in Camp Hill SMU are all white and they do so many unlawful things it's crazy. The courts of commonwealth of PA backs them up. Many lawsuits have been filed against Camp Hill control unit, but nothing has been done. Outside people need to realize that us prisoners are being tortured and murdered because of the color of our skin.

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[Control Units] [State Correctional Institution Camp Hill] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 6]
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Oppression at Pennsylvania's SMU

Oppression in Pennsylvania's plantation "Special Management Unit" is at an all time high. This is where the so-called worst of the worst convicts are sent, but it's not for any form of rehabilitation but rather to be abused. A lot of strong brothers are being physically and mentally abused in an attempt to break their fighting spirit. Note: the oppressors fear what they can not conquer.

It is said that all those of us who have the mental ability to organize the masses and structure any type of movement for the betterment of the oppressed peoples movement "need" to be locked down.

The abuse at SCI Camp Hill runs deep, to the point where it'll drive the weak crazy. The other day a brother (new arrival) split his own forehead open in an attempt to get transferred. He was taken to medical for 3 days and brought right back to the SMU. I personally have been experiencing a lot of abuse. I'm labeled by central office, under the Security Threat Group as a high ranking New York Blood. Officers use this to confiscate my literature, mail, photos and legal materials (all is labeled gang related).

We are not allowed to buy soap, deodorant, toothpaste, or lotion off of the commissary even if we have the proper funds in our accounts. Every time we request copies of any policies that tell us what we're allowed to have, we're told, 'oh you can't have that in the SMU.' Everything is considered a security risk at this concentration camp.

All other facilities allowed me to have MIM Notes except here. Officials don't follow publication procedures and take it upon themselves to determine what is and isn't allowed. I've filed a grievance on this and a number of violations here including health risks and I'm currently planning to file a class action suit with a few other comrades. Our ultimate goal is to get this concentration camp shut down.

We are currently working with a number of organizations who've been very supportive. I write so that everyone may know the seriousness of the situation. Officers beat brothers senseless in this control unit even if we're completely restrained, wearing cuffs, tether, shackles and restraint belt. This isn't rehabilitation at all but it sure is oppression at its worst! Still in all, we remain strong and focused on shutting this joint down!

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