Can equal justice really be counted upon, or will it be another Black shot dead on the front lawn?
Police suffocating Blacks with their knees Is the new hanging, All this yelling, marching and burning things down But ain’t nothing changing. The list of Black youth being killed by police grew longer, but the memory of George Floyd in Minneapolis grew stronger.
We need to start recognizing, humanizing, and see the unrequited injustice, never forget the Declaration of Independence ain’t no fate and irony in this, we need to fight for Dred Scott And the dead forgot for emancipation, we should know a universal equality will never get passed in this nation.
A cry from the heart, can’t echo through the cracks, until the litany end what it do to Blacks.
Let’s put an end to the painfully gradual process, If we can shrink the blue foot print, we can make an actual progress.
We know reform isn’t enough We need heart and power in their voices, because only aftermath tears of justice will see rejoices.
16 March 2023 – Here at Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI), we have implemented the below program. We turned in over 200 copies to the Governor of Maryland, state delegates and senators. We also sent copies to the Commissioner of Corrections and the Warden. We are still sending copies out on the compound to have brothers do their part.
We have been met with a few obstacles but we still are struggling against intel (they’re like Prison FBI, Gang Task Force, etc.), they started going in to cells searching for these papers. They even complemented the organization for our resistance (even though they’re trying to lock us up). After the people heard about intel and their continued and increased oppression some brothers got discouraged and actually returned some of the copies. It broke my heart to see such cowardice in men. But the sacrifices of those that came before us motivates me to keep pushing.
I want to thank MIM and all the comrades involved with MIM that helped me learn from the materialist method. This form of resistance I took was a page out of MIM’s book and I appreciate it. But what we need here at ECI for there to be change is outside support. So if you comrades are reading this or are listening. Please contact these numbers and write these addresses in order to bring about change more quickly.
Delegate Charles Otto 309 Lowe House Office Building 6 Bladen Street Annapolis, MD 21401
Governor Wesmoore 100 State Central Annapolis, MD 21401-1925
Senator Mary Beth Carozza 316 Jame Senate Office Building 11 Bladen Street Annapolis, MD 21401
Commissioner of Corrections 6776 Reistertown Road Baltimore, MD 21215
We the incarcerated citizens of ECI feel we are not being treated as we should and we want change. Incarcerated yes, but we are still human beings. The conditions we are forced to live in are inadequate to say the least. The opportunity for rehabilitation is insufficient and because this is the case recidivism seems inevitable. As such, a place built on the pretense of rehabilitation becomes a concentration camp. It becomes a place where people are waiting to die. Our recreation has been reduced, our visits have been reduced and our meals have gotten worse. Along with these there are many more things we want changed, but here below we highlight the ones we deem most important.
Request #1. Educational Opportunities
We request access to college education along with training in trades that will serve us when we return to society. We also ask that proper tutoring be provided to those that struggle in certain subjects. It must be understood that lack of education played a major role in our bad decision making that lead us to prison, so it only make sense that education play a role in our rehabilitation.
Request #2. Employment
We want jobs for all able-bodied incarcerated citizens. We also ask that we be paid minimum wage for these jobs. Please understand that many of us were the sole provider for our family, so to not grant us this request may result in our family turning to criminal activity to pay bills out of desperation.
Request #3. Programs
We want programs that address our individual needs. For we understand that every incarcerated citizen isn’t locked up for the same crime. Therefore we believe each individual should be programmed off his individual crime and sentence. This is the only way to properly rehabilitate us.
Request #4. Medical
We ask for faster response to our sick calls. Every time we are told to put a sick call in by the time we get called for it, the issue is worse off or it has spread. We are asking for a switch in medical protocol. By this we mean to proper test to be ran based off the patient’s feeling. The issue may need an X-ray or MRI. These things should not wait until the problem worsens in order to carry out these minor procedures. We demand that our health issues to be paid close attention to because the lack of attention may result in an unnecessary death of an incarcerated citizen.
Request #5. Psych/Therapy
We want proper psycho analysis to be done on each incarcerated citizen in order to understand his actual mental problems. For we understand that our actions are a result of our mental workings so if we act in a manner that is unfitting it is the result of our brain work. We do not wish to be doped up on psych meds that will only have us ‘Zombified’. We want actual treatment that will identify our problems so we can work on them. We understand that therapy is important to health and to deny us this tool is to deny us our right to be healthy.
Request #6. Sanitation
Our sanitation time is not enough to thoroughly clean the tiers the way that is needed. Our showers contain black mold and no matter the day our tier is not fully clean. This is not the workers fault it is because the shortage of time. What we want is an extended time period for sanitation workers, an increase in sanitation workers. And to do so by hiring workers from that tier. This we understand is a matter of health and not to address this matter is to disregard the health of the incarcerated citizens of ECI.
Request #7. Hygiene
We demand more than one wash day out of the week. We shower everyday but do not possess the amount of clothes we need to sustain good hygiene throughout the week without washing our clothes more than one time. We want C-shift laundry men to be hired to do the workers clothes so that they won’t be in the way of general population’s clothes. Also we want weekend wash days to be added. We are asking for soap and soap powder to be distributed weekly to those who need it. We understand that there is a such thing as welfare commissary that will provide these things but to meet the qualifications one must show proof of no income for months in order to receive these benefits when the effects of not showering or washing are immediate.
Request #8. Recreation
We request mixed recreation; top and bottom together. The separation limits our yard and gym access to only 3 times a week. Along with this limitation is an extended period of time where we have to sit in the cell dirty. By this I mean if we choose to participate in all 3 days of gym/yard there will be a day where we are either last or first and the top will have second rec. So that will mean that we will have to wait a minimum of 6 hours and 30 minutes before we shower depending on what yard we have. This in turn will limit our gym/yard to 2 days if we don’t want to sit in the cell dirty. Not to mention the negative health effects from sitting in the cell for that long without a shower. (Example: people breaking out into rashes).
Request #9. Visits
We demand that in person visits be once a week. This will increase our opportunities to see our families. The majority of us cannot get our families to make the trip without scheduling a day around it because of the 4 hour journey it takes to get to ECI. Increasing the visit to once a week will increase our family’s availability. We also ask that for those families that are 4 hours away be given an extended visit of 2 hours. Lastly we ask that the process to acquire visitation be less difficult for us and our families. Being able to see our loved ones is vital to our mental health and it plays a major role in the way we act.
Request #10. Food
We request that our menu be changed to food we deem desirable. We want food that free people would eat. Fresh food that’s nutritious. We are also asking for portions fit for grown men, because the time in which we eat and the quantity of food we eat leaves us hungry waiting for the next meal. So we request a change.
Request #11. Dietary Sanitation
The kitchen is infested with roaches and mice that leave urine and feces all over the place. And because of this we demand that pest control come once a week until we have a pest free kitchen. There should be no reason this kitchen pass inspection with this infestation. As such we demand change.
Request #12. Grievance
We request that our grievances be dealt with separate from the state prison administration. We believe that our grievances are being swept under the rug and disregarded at times. As a result of this we don’t trust the administration. So we ask that our grievances be handled by an outside non-profit civil rights organization.
Request #13. Maintenance
We request that the maintenance of our housing units be maintained. There are times our sink or toilet may leak, or it may not work at all in the cell. And with these incidents there are too many times we have requested for things like that to be fixed and it would take weeks. Understanding these small things can tum into large things through the accumulation of bacteria and mold etc. we request that four men in each housing unit get trained in the field of plumbing and maintenance in order to maintain livable conditions for the incarcerated citizens.
We the incarcerated citizens conclude this request list asking one more question, “would you want to be housed under these conditions?” We want change because we want to change. Help us change. Thank you for your consideration.
Life is about growth and change. A constant change is needed, or even the small pleasures that we enjoy begin to lose their excitement. Even though I don’t agree with a lot of changes, well the ones that aren’t progressive or geared to help us go forward, I still understand that their presence is needed. You see, revolution as a necessity only begins to make sense to those who have the keen insight into atrocities that make revolution a necessity. The problem we encounter is communicating this to the overwhelming majority, and those people are willing and even oftentimes unwilling participants in the progression of the things that make revolution truly a necessity.
The problem is also in how revolution is perceived. Most people equate civil disorder, small riotous acts such as killing police, kidnapping government officials etc. as the revolution itself and this is not the case. Revolution is all about complete change of society as a whole – a violent overthrow of a class dictatorship by another. In some ways, many small revolutions take place each day, but they are not what we need to move forward in good shape. Revolutionary change, to mean anything, must start with the individuals changing themselves. Without that sort of progressive conduct we cannot begin to show others the benefits of our ideals.
Another problem is that the revolution has been hijacked by non-progressive puppets who act under the guise of a revolutionary progressive apparatus. This is much like what deteriorated the power of our progressive leaders of the yesteryears. The new left of the 1960s mislead the Black Panther Party. They encouraged the Panthers to miscalculate revolutionary steps and also by convincing the Panthers that they alone were the vanguard party placed too heavy a burden on its members causing them to make mistakes and also going against the central tenant of communism – from each according to ability and to each according to its needs. Another issue was that their support was only monetary and as Malcolm advised us before
“money brings advice. Since it’s their money that will eventually carry our movement, it’s their advice we will be listening to. Eventually a Black group will end up having a white brain controlling it.”
So the Panthers became the puppet group of the new left, while those who truly waged the battle sat back and got a lot of beautiful brothers and sisters killed and in the end they withdrew their support. A similar thing is occurring now, only this time, since revolution has taken on a new character tone, message, and the leaders appear more dressed up and cute rather than the rugged edge that was characteristic of the yesteryears’ soldiers, the picture has become even more foggy and harder to slice through the deception of Oligarchs.
Another problem is that we don’t own the media outlets, newspaper firms, or even the schools that teach us the absurd and outrageous lies that pacify the brain and hinder revolution. Affirmative action helped us to send more and more blacks to college and to create HBCUs (historically black colleges/universities). But the more educated we become the more dangerous we become, and so even more efforts to conceal the truth have been created.
Basically what I’m leading up to is the fact that as revolutionaries – whether cultural, economic or spiritualist – there is so much work to do. If we let those whose political economic interests do not match ours at the bottom of the rung continue to tell us how best to revolt or change the world then we will continue to lose. What they are really doing is letting the powers that be know how we are coming that way all efforts to forestall our movement will happen before we get to make our moves. The people who have advised us before sometimes become our enemies as well. Why do you think Elijah Muhammad was so adamant about “his” ministers not saying anything about JFK? It was because those same people he called the devil is who financed his program. So he allowed Malcolm to say what he said with no warning (even though he advised all other ministers), that way Malcolm’s fall from grace was ensured.
Even this newspaper Under Lock & Key doesn’t escape scrutiny. There is no published material that is anti-government that escapes censorship. So how big is your commitment to change? Because a lot of what is published as it relates to issues pertaining to Blacks and “our place” in revolution, or how we are “supposed” to move forward seems like the same advice by the new left to the Panthers. Am I making an indictment? No, however, being as aware as I am and considering how aware you are supposed to be, I must wonder if your commitment is sincere. Especially since we are in the belly of the beast and could suffer the same fate as our fallen comrade George Jackson under the same pretextual designs by each state to prevent the disciplined practice of revolution.
As a show of your commitment, since I’m questioning it, I would like this to be printed, not to offend you but to ask brothers and sisters to question their own sincerity as well. If our commitment is not cemented by the events that we must actually change, then we are letting people co-opt our direction and that cannot happen unless they can prove with facts that their direction is more beneficial and helpful. But if that were the case wouldn’t we be a lot more further on that issue and all issues in general?
Galaxy Ruler Universal Sole Controller Allah
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade about the central role played by funding sources in the path (and splitting) of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (BPP). And it is fair to say we have not offered a concrete solution to this. The Panthers raised funds from the masses by selling their newspaper and doing other fundraisers, as do we. The Panthers also got funds and resources from local businesses as they asserted political power in areas like Oakland. It was largely the legal repression of the state that pushed the Panthers to start branching out into their fundraising efforts among wealthy Amerikan celebrities and such.
In practice the BPP was the vanguard of its day, with other oppressed nation formations trying to follow suit and white student/youth groups offering support. The BPP correctly encouraged similar formations and leadership to develop for other nations in the United $tates. Yet there did develop a line that the Black revolution here on occupied Turtle Island is the vanguard of the revolution globally, a line some promote to this day. While the oppressed of the world understandably put great hope in this internal force for revolution in the belly of the beast, we understand today that revolution comes from the periphery and works its way to the core. A successful revolution from within the United $tates is conceivable, but not before many successful revolutions elsewhere bring the socialist camp to a point of strength in the world again. The BPP itself reached its peak in part due to international alliances that cooled as struggle against the United $tates cooled internationally.
We also agree with this comrade that it is healthy to question the sincerity of MIM(Prisons) and whoever you choose to work with. Not to the point of paralysis, that it prevents you from working with others. But the only way we will succeed in offering effective leadership is if we receive thoughtful critique from an educated populace. That is why we are always attempting to teach how to think along with what to think. The bigger problem we have today is that there is no revolutionary leadership recruiting mass followings. People aren’t being misdirected by the funding of revolutionary organizations, they’re being misdirected by the funding of non-profits and social media platforms. At its peak, the BPP had an operating budget over $9 million in 2023 dollars(1), but even that would be nothing for the imperialists to double. Not to mention the measly MIM(Prisons) budget. Therefore, the need to address the risk described by this comrade is real and important in the longer term.
Are we sincere? committed? Hell yeah! But intentions are only a starting point. The only real measure is effectiveness. And effectiveness is no easy measure either. In our underdeveloped conditions it’d be easy to say that nothing is effective, which is why we must study other times and places to learn what effectiveness looks like and how to achieve it. The BPP of 1968 was looking pretty effective, but they did ultimately fail. “How much of that was avoidable?” and “how could it have been avoided?” are the key questions for us to attempt to answer. These are questions this comrade’s letter brings to the fore.
In another letter this comrade says we must ensure people are not committed merely to advance their own careers. We agree, and we do have an answer to that, which is anonymity. We intentionally discourage the promotion of cults of persynality, we even try to prevent people from publicly taking credit for the things they’ve done as individuals. We are one body, that takes credit for what we do as a body, and we struggle to prevent splits and offshoots.
Notes: 1. Joshua Bloom and Waldo Martin, 2013, Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, University of California Press: Berkeley, p. 392. and https://www.in2013dollars.com/us/inflation/1970?amount=1200000 2. get our study pack “Defend the Legacy of the Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary Edition” for $6 stamps or cash or work trade for more analysis of the BPP
The Governor of California has decided to rename San Quentin “Prison” to “Rehabilitation Center.” This is just one more appeasement given to the millions of Californians who have suffered the injustice of incarceration. Politics has no more place in the justice system than religion has in government. However, the injustice system remains more political than the legislative branch.
Governor Newsom’s play at “restorative justice,” AKA rehabilitation for “some of the less dangerous criminals,” is as false as his smile. For instance, the old lady that was hypnotized as a child by Manson to commit a murder of someone famous has been granted parole (found suitable for release from prison) no less than 15 times by a board of experts in evaluating that kind of thing (Parole Board). However, Governor Newsom, who is not an expert, has taken it upon himself to deny (veto the Parole Board’s decision) each and every time!
That is only one instance where this two-faced politician has denied parole to people. This makes clear that Newsom’s notion of rehabilitation is purely symbolic. Nothing more than the smile; handshake of Satan himself.
Funny, this morning on the mainstream news, Mike Pence is accusing the Manhattan District Attorney of politicizing the law for charging a former President Trump. Funny, politics in the law? How can a prosecutor have so much power to arrest a former President of the United $tates? Funny because these same rich assholes gave that enormous power to prosecutors and police and judges when it was used to arrest the poor man. But now that it is used to arrest the rich man, it is politics?! Did these rich people really think that if they built a monster that the monster could be controlled? Did they really think that the injustice system would only be applied to hurt and kill poor people?
Pence and Trump should not be surprised now. Politics have always been part of the law for the poor man. Despite the image of a blindfold on Lady Justice, the proletariat knows all too well that the law is political. Now the injustice system monster will show its ugly belly to anyone and everyone because that is how much power the pigs have been given.
Perhaps now we can see what California Governor Newsom’s motivations are in pretending to abolish prison. Is he afraid of the monster he created? We all heard him say on T.V. that he is tired of paying the trillions of dollars his prison industrial complex eats up.
His notions of restorative justice are a little misplaced though. Rather than educate prisoners he should be defunding his prison system monster and putting the trillions back into the community – after all he can’t have his cake and eat it too. But that seems too much to ask of the Devil. He already said his rehabilitation is only for some and “not the more dangerous criminals.”
Anyone with half a brain knows that the real cause of crime is poverty. Poverty caused by the trillions of dollars going to the police and prisons and not to the community.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree that all prisoners are political. The state paints itself as being an arbiter of blind justice as this comrade states, when in reality it is the tool of one class to use against others. That is why real change requires changing the state from the hands of the bourgeoisie to that of the proletariat, not just shifting tax money around from prisons to more social services.
What’s good to all my Sisterz and Brotherz on the inside. My name is Motivation. I am a certified paralegal incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I was moved to write this article because I’ve experienced TDCJ’s arbitrary and unconstitutional censorship under Board Policy - 03.91 (BP-03.91), and I’ve also witnessed the same with other men on my unit. Therefore, I’ve filed a §1983 civil complain. See Linzale Greer V. Bryan Collier, et al., 4:21-cv-03976. So, if you are a TDCJ inmate and you are experiencing improper denials because the TDCJ claims the material contains a sexually explicit image, then here’s some information to guide you on defending your rights and legally combating BP-03.91.
Know the Policy
First and foremost, find out what the policy is and how the policy defines a “sexually explicit image.” This is easy. Just go to the law library and request BP-03.91(rev.5). For those of you who may not know, BP-03.91 was revised on 25 June 2021 by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, and the revision expanded the definition of a sexually explicit image. It essentially bans any image which depicts sexual behavior and/or is intended to sexually arouse. This means TDCJ inmates cannot possess or receive by mail any image deemed sexually explicit. In my view, this is unconstitutional because BP-03.91 is impermissible and vague, over broad, and unreasonable on its face and as applied.
You have the right to appeal
Secondly, whenever the mail room denies material, you shall be provided a sufficient notice in writing and a detailed reason for the denial. You also have the right to appeal the denial to the Director’s Review Committee (DRC) and the DRC shall render its decision within two weeks after receiving the appeal. However, if the material has been previously banned by the DRC, then the denial will be non-appealable. I don’t agree with this practice but the reality is, this is what the TDCJ does. Keep copies of all documents for your records.
Exhaust all available remedies
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires prisoner’s to “Exhaust all available remedies” within TDCJ before filing a §1983 civil complaint. What this means in some cases is that you must file a step 1 and step 2 grievance before you can go to court. Remember you must exhaust only “Available remedies” and need not exhaust “unavailable remedies.” In my opinion, there are no available remedies within the TDCJ grievance procedure concerning mail room censorship because the grievance office routinely returns inmate grievances and states that the issue is not grievable. Also TDCJ grievance procedures states that inmates may not grieve matters for which other appeal mechanisms exist. Nevertheless, you should still file a step 1 and/or step 2 to be on the safe side. Now, if your step 1 is returned because the issue is not grievable then, you do not have to file a step 2 because there are not available remedies. You can now go straight to court.
Another vital tool is conducting legal research. This is where you roll up your sleeves and get down to business. This will be your prerequisite before filing suit. I didn’t have anyone to hold my hand during my legal research process or to help me file my suit. I can admit that legal research is an arduous task, but more importantly, it’s vital before filing a complaint. However, to point you in the right direction, here’s some relevant case laws that will be important to your fight against TDCJ:
Turner V. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987)
Thornburg V. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 (1989)
Guajardo v. Estelle, 543 F. Supp. 1373 (S.D. Tex. 1977)
Guajardo v. Estelle, 580 F.2d 748 (5th Cir. 1978)
Guajardo v. Estelle, 568 F Supp. 1354 (S.D. Tex. 1983)
The Guajardo cases specifically applies to TDCJ’s correspondence rules. It will give you historical and present insight on the promulgation of BP-03.91, and how to legally proceed to challenge it in federal court. You should also get very familiar with the PLRA because it controls prisoners litigation and the types of relief we are entitled to. The federal statue can be found at 42 U.S.C. 1997e and 28 U.S.C. 1915A9c). If you need additional case law, just ask the law library to shepardize the above cases for you, and you will find more jewelz than you can use.
Filing a §1983 Civil Complaint
After doing all of the above, your next step is to file a §1983 Civil Complaint. You can file it in either state or federal court depending on your situation. However, because you will be complaining of First Amendment violations under the U.$. Constitution, you should file in federal court. Federal court has jurisdiction over federal law. But again, depending on your case and the facts of your case, sometimes filing in state court is the better route. You will have to research this issue to decide which route fits you.
You can get two §1983 civil complaint forms from the law library. One is for you to send to the court and the other is for your copy. Remember always keep copies of everything you send to the court. The most important part of filing a complaint is stating sufficient facts, which is “enough facts to state a claim to relief.” If you do not state enough facts, there’s a chance your complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
If you can get an attorney to file your complaint that will be great. However, the reality is, the vast majority of prisoners are left to litigate pro se. So, do your homework and learn the law.
My Last Wordz
So, to all my Brotherz and Sisterz that are willing to legally fight the arbitrary censorship system nationally, I tip my hat to you all and wish you courage, patience, and persistence. Also, for those of you who are in the process and those that have already begun the process of litigation, WE are not doing this just for Us. WE are more on the front line for the voiceless and the ones that may not have the ability to STAND UP. So, I ask that WE ALL DO OUR BEST AND NOTHING LESS! Stay Blessed No Stress!
Sincerely, Motivation Equalz Elevation
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have a more extensive guide to fighting censorship that is applicable for all states that we send to anyone facing censorship of our correspondence or literature. We print the above as a concise summary with some specific info for Texas.
This is also part of an ongoing campaign among Texas prisoners to fight the rewritten BP-03.91 mentioned above. One of the lawsuits around this campaign is Martinez v. TBCJ, et al. #3:21-CV-00337. The judge has since denied to issue summons to each member of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. This is being appealed. The plaintiff is requesting more support from prisoners in TDCJ in the form of affidavits and/or unsworn declarations. These affidavits/declarations will help make the argument for a statewide injunction of BP-03.91 and can be sent to MIM(Prisons) to forward to the plaintiff.
Pursuant to South Carolina Constitution Article I, § 1, All political power is vested in and derived from the people only, therefore, they have the right at all times to modify their form of government.
Pursuant to S.C. Const. Art. I, § 2, The General Assembly shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government or any department thereof for a redress of grievances.
The South Carolina Department Of Corrections Current Mission Statement quoted as follows:
“Protect the Public, Protect the Employees, Protect the Inmates”
Current SCDC policies, procedures, and practices serve to create an environment in direct conflict and opposition with their “Mission Statement”. Furthermore, SCDC’s “Mission Statement” should be expanded to include educational and rehabilitative goals. The entire system needs to be restructured to meet all the needs and goals effectively and efficiently. “Protection” is just one of the many needs.
The current course that the SCDC leadership is following is constantly creating a “hostile and dangerous” prison population. Continuing in this direction can only lead to disaster. This system has experienced more violent conduct and behavior in the past 12 years (remember the 2018 Lee riot) than in all the years prior, and with the current administration in place, and no incentive to promote good behavior, we can only expect the cycle to continue. [editor: the author does not provide a source to support this claim]
Security Detention (S.D.)
Pursuant to SCDC policy Op-22.38, Restrictive Housing Unit § 9.4:
“The inmate is identified as a high-risk security threat group member and has committed a level one (i) disciplinary offense, or is believed to be in a leadership position within a security threat group and has coerced another inmate(s) to commit any acts or behaviors listed in Sections 9.1-9.3 of this policy…”
As of 12 August 2022, I myself as well as many others were taken out of the general prison population and placed in Segregation (“RHU”) and reclassified as a Security Detention (“S.D.”). No one committed a level (i) offense or any disciplinary offense nor were we given a 48-hour notice informing us that we have a classification review for “S.D.”, per SCDC policy Op-22.38, § 9.7 and 9.4. SCDC Deputy Director Dennis Paterson is targeting so-called gang members, religious leaders, anyone that confidential inmates (“C.I.’s”) inform them about.
Majority of the affected prisoners are being punished for the same offence(s) twice. I myself from 2010-2017 was held in RHU as a validated STG-SD. The DDO have me as well as others back in segregation for the same thing. We haven’t committed no level 1 offense or any disciplinary infractions. So where is the evidence to support this violation?
Pursuant to Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484, 1155. ct. 2293, 132 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1995):
“the Supreme Court declared that prisoners have a liberty interest in avoiding confinement conditions that impose”atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life“…”
Also see Burnette v. Fahey, 687 F.3d 171, 180 (4th Cir. 2012); Incumaa v. Stirling, 2015 U.S. App. Lexis 11321; Wilkerson v. Goodwin, 774 F.3d 845, 854 (5th Cir. 2014).
SCDC is constantly targeting gang members, religious leaders, and prisoners who have influence. SCDC either sends these prisoners out-of-state to private prisons, placed them in segregation as Security Detention, transfer them to other institutions, or SCDC also goes as far as to put propaganda on prisoners’ names so that violence can come upon them. SCDC administration has a habit of setting rules, and then applying them in ways that are in complete contradiction to each other.
Security Detention prisoners have no access to basic life necessities such as:
Proper hygiene products (only state issue hygiene)
Adequate bed lining (only a thin mattress, 1 blanket, 1 sheet)
Cells are never clean
No telephone use
Mail is limited and censored
No adequate food or nutrition
No proper medical treatment
No proper mental health treatment
Employee’s are verbally and physically assaultive
PREA Violations (Excessive strip searches, frisks, etc.)
Constant cell searches and things taken
No adequate ventilation (No heat or air)
The list can go on…
Is it not ironic that when the United States is victorious in war, the first thing they do is provide aid to our “enemies”? We do everything we can not to oppress them for fear of a future rebellion or attack. When it comes to people in prison in this country, there is no end to the oppression.
I myself demand to be released from segregation due to no evidence to support Deputy Director of Operations’ (DDO) allegations to S.D. me. Per SCDC’s own policy:
“If an individual has been validated as an STG member, but has not committed or been implicated in any disciplinary infractions or STG activities, that individual would typically, although not always, receive a classification of Validated-GP… If an individual has been validated as an STG member, and has committed disciplinary infractions, that individual would typically receive a classification of Validated-SD…”
When I first got to the Michael Unit about 8 months ago I was placed on safe keeping for my protection, but I’m still considered General Population (G.P.) because we still get all the regular privileges of G.P. prisoners - we are just housed separately.
Anyways I get here and there are no showers, no rec, no day room, no TV, and no phones on this section. We had to sit down multiple times in large groups in order to get administration to force the C.O.s to just give us showers. Oh and mind you that they are housing medium and high security prisoners on the same section as P4 and P5 prisoners. We are not supposed to be housed amongst each other at all.
Well, the staff aren’t doing anything about getting what we are supposed to have. After about 60 days I started initiating I.C.S.s, or “use of force”, causing ranking C.O.s to come down and force regular C.O.s to do their job. We kept getting Johnies for food with basically nothing in them. Then they started to feed half of us and the rest we had to force them to feed us.
So because I orchestrated all this sitting down and standing up for all our right (yes, I initiated this behavior to buck the C.O.s), I was assaulted. We set fires, flooded, and basically forced the wardens to fix our problem, but it only lasted so long before we would have to do it again.
We finally got them to start leaving all the doors open 24/7 so we could run our own showers and day room rec and forced them to put in phones. Then they brought the tablets T.D.C.S. system wide. So I believe that the administration on this unit has orchestrated the assault on me that occurred on January 31, 2023.
So let me explain exactly what happened leading up to this assault seven days prior.
A prisoner set a fire in his cell and attempted to kill himself through smoke inhalation. I got the picketts attention after the prisoner passed out. I ran in and dragged him out of the cell and put out the fire. About six days later they moved me into the cell the prisoner tried to kill himself in. So the next day they moved some prisoner into the cell with me. I only weigh 110lbs. This offender weighs 190lbs, 30lbs over the 50lbs weight difference limit per housing policy. That’s two violations already. Next I was talking to my family via tablet two days later. Then, bam, I get blind-sided and the prisoner assaults me. I wind up with 5 stitches above my right eyebrow, 3 staples in a gash on my head, and 2 in another gash on my head. They rushed me to the hospital.
When I got back, a Lieutenant asked me to write a witness statement for an Offender Protection Investigation (O.P.I.). My statement was: “My life is not in danger. I do not want to file an O.P.I.” They filed it on my behalf anyway and placed me in another building with no light and brought my property the next day. The next day, they moved me back to the same cell with a new cellie, another major violation because I was still under O.P.I. status, supposed to be in a Restrictive Housing Area by myself until I saw the Unit Classification Committee. On 8 February 2023, I was moved again. I had basically nothing of what was in my cell and they did not even inventory any of it. I lost stuff that meant a lot to me that is irreplaceable because of sentimental value. They also “lost” my state ID somehow.
So I am filing a §1983 Civil Claims Suit again TDCJ Michael Unit Administration as a whole because I believe this was all set up… for me to get hurt because the U.C.C. major said, “We have to ship you to cover our ass because we fucked up.”
I filed my step 1 on and got it back. Today I’m filing my step 2.
This is my first civil suit. I am asking for any material to help me in winning this suit. As of right now prisoners are helping me with what they can and said that I need to get a copy of the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook but I don’t have the resources nor funds to purchase one. I am not the first offender this has happened to on this unit but I do want to be the last. I am going to do everything in my power to ensure it does not happen again.
I have been fighting for prisoner rights for seven years now and they finally broke the last straw with me. I’m going to war with this pen. To the courts.
Here on 12 Building we are still setting fire and flooding everyday. Please help us.
MIM(Prisons) responds: Much respect comrade for what you are doing on behalf of Texas prisoners in the face of state violence and repression. Much respect to the comrade for taking care of fellow prisoner and saving eir life as well. We have placed an order for you for the Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook. We do not offer legal assistance ourselves, but encourage you to continue to report on your organizing efforts here in Under Lock & Key.
I remember a comrade that wrote an article a few years back, about the way some prisoners were doing the pigs’ job and that he won’t be surprised if in the near future the prisoner will be doing count. If the comrade who wrote that argument was still receiving ULK, I want to tell em that eir comrads back then were not wrong, because in my institution of the Columbia Correctional Institution the “inmates” (I will not call them prisoners) that work the outside hallways of the butterfly dorm are doing the pigs’ job, even the “master count”. These four inmates represent and run under a nation (gang). Because they stay in the pigs’ face at all times kissing their asses, they receive special privileges. They pass supplies, they call out the prisoners that come from other dorms to violate for any given reason, they prey and benefit from the contraband that the pigs take from the cell searches. The pigs at that dorm have no reason to come out from the control bubble because these inmates do the jobs all for them in exchange for just staying outside.
When I wrote that article that was printed in ULK #79 Winter 2022 page 13 “The Common Colonial History that Led Us Here” – I finished off in the last paragraph saying: “in prison there is only 2 uniforms – the prisoners and the guards – remember always which one you wear”.
That part right there I wrote it because of actions these inmates performed. The night of the Super Bowl, after these inmates made the count in the dorm, the Sgt. in charge authorized me to go to another wing to watch the same; Sgt. opened the door and on the hallway I was stopped by these inmates because they told me that I couldn’t go to another wing because the count wasn’t clear. I told them that wasn’t their problem, besides if they could see Sgt. opened the door for me (I don’t have keys). I keep telling them that that wasn’t their problem, then I told them that I had two life sentences and if the front gate happened to be open that they would expect me to not walk out because if I escape I could mess up the count.
Long story short when I turned around and kept walking one of them swung a punch to my face from the back and all of them started to reach to their waists making it seem like they were armed. Sgt. saw everything and came out running and took me back to my wing – Sgt. didn’t say or do anything to them. That is how much pull these inmates pig fuckers have with security.
I didn’t say nothing to nobody in my wing, didn’t tell nothing, I just packed all my property and stayed up the whole night. Breakfast was called at 5:20 AM and I went out to the chow hall for a hunt. Out of the four that were the previous night 3 of them were at the chow hall sitting together at a table. Long story short on the way back to the dorm all three of em were stabbed and the one that throw the punch at me was air lifted in a helicopter to the hospital. I came out that morning ready for war and when I pulled out all ey had on em was the apples for the tray. Nobody will never threaten my life, my circle or my inner peace, on top of that put their hands on me and think the next day that everything is over.
When I got to the confinement unit all prisoners from every nation, of every skin color were standing at their door clapping, “Oye we salute what you did”. Because of this incident I was given 90 days in SHU plus I’m under review for Control Management Level 1. Most definitely it will get approved which means I will stay in SHU–CMI for at least 2 years and if I keep myself out of trouble then I can start to work my way down so I can finally be back on general population. I’ve been in prison for 26 years, everything has a limit and these inmates were far beyond that line, and because they have a group of lapdogs behind them they think that they can do anything. If I have problems listening to the pigs orders, definitely an inmate ain’t going to dictate how I am going to do my life sentences. I ain’t no snitch – I don’t work with the pigs or for the pigs.
I don’t know if in other state prisons the comrades tolerate that kind of behavior but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! You must definitely print my name on it!! Is about time we take the bad apples from the bucket because they are fucking up the whole basket. You have now all these young comrades that come in the system for the first time and see this shit from gang members and think that is cool. IT IS NOT!
History is not a prophet who looks back: because of what was, and against what was, it announces what will be. I don’t just make war, this comrade makes history.
MIM(Prisons) responds: One of the five principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons is Independence. This issue of Under Lock & Key has a number stories highlighting how the agents of the state sew death and destruction among the prison population. Without independence from that system, we cannot build a peace between prisoners that serves prisoners. The story above is an extreme example of how working with the state creates violence between prisoners.
Lumpen organizations (L.O.s) are a wavering class in the war of the oppressor nation against the oppressed nations. Prisoners playing the boss role for the pigs is nothing new, but back in the day it was only white prisoners who played boss over oppressed nation prisoners. Today the neo-colonial state knows that it’s better to use the respected organizations of the oppressed to oppress the oppressed nations. From what we hear across the country, we are in a period when the above is often tolerated and the L.O.s in prisons are not maintaining their independence. This relates to the plague of drug deaths in prisons as well.
The SHU/RHU/Control Units are tools of social control, and they are used to target the politically conscious. They use these torture units because they work to achieve the goals of the oppressor. We encourage comrades to do their best to avoid getting sent there. We know this comrade sacrificed a small study cell ey had by being sent to the SHU. We must apply standards and we must make sacrifices. But we must also always focus on what is most effective to serve the people.
The author above asked that we print eir name because of the influence ey has. But we don’t print names for security and political reasons. We hope our readers can see the truths in the above without being told that this or that big homie/shot caller says so. That type of thinking is what has so-called gangsters playing as junior pigs. We all need to learn to think objectively and strategically to have any hope of success in this struggle.
If you follow the news, you are well aware of a Virginian named Officer Edwards, who recently used police training to attempt to groom a teenage girl for eir pedophilic needs. When it didn’t pay off ey drove to California, murdered eir family, burned down eir house, and kidnapped the girl. Ey eventually died in a fire fight with California police. Around the same time, back at a Virginia Prison, a Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) guard named Owens at Keen Mountain Correctional Center shot a prison nurse to death. Ey was pregnant with the guard’s child and was threatening to tell Owens’ wife about eir affair. These are Virginians, and ey are the type of people who flock to jobs in corrections and law-enforcement in Virginia. Virginia officials will tell you they don’t know how people who are so dangerous slipped through the background checks. Virginia officials are lying to you because these are the people they look to recruit.
There are more subtle forms of this sociopathic behavior, and the guards and other staff at the notorious Pocahontas State Corruption Center exercise these forms of open torture daily. One of the most common is the deliberate tampering with mail. Two of the most often seen names are Hagerty and McCall. Aside from delaying outgoing mail, sometimes for weeks if ey send it out at all, incoming mail is often denied outright for any number of nonsensical and often false reasons. An example of this is the denial of a book review/catalog. The reason cited was “no nude or semi-nude images”. Upon investigation it was determined that “nude/semi-nude” was a tank top shirt. Absolutely nothing “nude or semi-nude” by any known standards of decency. Of course the target of this mail denial was a known political writer and the review catalog was from a publisher – Fifth Estate – that focuses on political themes (many of them anti-prison). What these two VA DOC employees did – mail tampering – is a federal crime.
This is just one example of a massive assault on the guarantees of the First Amendment. It is a common event that is meant to not only prevent communications from exposing the other criminal acts by PSCC staff, but it’s also a means of isolating the captives. It’s a vicious form of psychological torture and harm. Ey want the captives to believe that ey are alone – that ey are forgotten by eir friends and family. This is solely to make the captives not only more susceptible to further and more cruel abuses, but also to a force a level of acceptance of the abuse.
To further this endeavor it is important to prevent grievances and complaints from being seen by those at regional or Central (Richmond) administration. Though in all reality, since the Virginia DOC only recruits and promote from within its own insular institutions, the administrators at every meaningful level were hand-picked for eir silence and loyalty to the VA DOC. Without eir allowance of endless cruelty and torture, it could be stopped. Still, “grievance coordinators” such as C. Smalling at PSCC, whose unwritten job description is “grievance disappear-er” answers the grievances erself instead of routing them to the proper areas for re-dress. Ey makes sure they are not properly logged so that they disappear as needed. This is especially important in preventing lawsuits from being filed, something PSCC is prone to do due to its nationalist majority staff and their daily human rights abuses. Without an exhausted grievance process any lawsuit brought by a prisoner is immediately dismissed by the courts. In Virginia, even the federal court judges are Virginians.
Other more harmful – yet just as subtle – forms of torture and harm are the 24 hour lights, a gift from 15 years of Assistant Wardens who should be in prison themselves. Currently the PSCC Assistant Warden, Mr. Collins, is facing at least six sexual harassment suits at three different prisons including PSCC. They just move the guy from one prison to the next and fire the people who lodged the complaints.
Yet another way the staff abuse the captives is through an especially vicious misuse of the PA system. There are several ways to do this, but the two most common are as follows:
Three very dangerous guards, Barry, Sargent, and Shelton are particularly fond of turning the PA system up to full volume and screaming into the microphone. Since they work on the night shift you might imagine the problems this might cause for the captives. 9PM, 10PM, 12AM, 3AM, 5AM anytime they feel like scaring the living hell out of the 250 people and also disturbing their sleep. This sort of abuse is completely illegal yet all complaints are ignored or disappeared. These acts are a sign of sociopathic behavior and given that 40% of Virginia’s captives are warehoused mental health cases, it is so very devastating. The flip side to this is turning the PA system volume down so low that no one can hear announcements. This causes not only missed classes, programs, or medical appointments, but it also allows guards to justify all manner of false charges against captives – most often “disobey a direct order” or “unauthorized area”. Both are low level charges, but they cause sanctions and fines. They also make your record appear as if you are a problem all of the time, and if you get too many you will be transferred to a higher security prison.
Another regular problem comes from guards such as Craig, Bogle, Kimble and others like them – most of the guards. They are openly racist and anti-semitic, go out of their way to verbally (and sometimes physically) abuse anyone they are able to. On the boulevard, in the education and library buildings, in the chow hall, any place they are able to, and they get away with it repeatedly. This has gone on for years and years without any change or even the least reprimand. To give you a better idea of just how far it can go on PSCC’s compound, here is a scenario that happened recently:
A guard named Horton and his wife, also a guard, both work on the compound. This is a violation of policy for a lot of good sense reasons, but PSCC itself is a major violations of DOC policy and too many to count. Mrs. Horton, while married to one guard, is sleeping with several others on the compound during working hours. It is common knowledge to everyone. As you might expect, Mr. Horton gets fed up with his wife’s extramarital affairs and decides to solve the problem. This guy brings a loaded weapon THROUGH the gates – apparently staff were not checking guards as they came in – with the intend of making some examples. Those examples were going to be PRISONERS! Not the other guards who were involved with the wife, but PRISONERS! Fortunately a few guards stepped in and put a stop to this before anyone got hurt, but still, Mr. Horton is only fired and walked off the compound. Not a single criminal charge was brought even though he broke half a dozen laws. His wife was recently promoted to “counselor,” and he was just rehired to work at the same prison on the same shift as his wife.
Virginians and the VA DOC PSCC staff fed captives food that says “not for human consumption” on the box. Its medical staff is entirely unqualified in every way. Its psychologists do not have the experience to handle severe mental health issues and are even falsifying records to avoid even dealing with mental health because the facility (and the VA DOC) are simply not capable or designated to handle such issues. Add to this all the well-known and common place issues with corrupt prison staff – and put the prison in a well hidden county at the end of some “wrong turn” road in a state that seems to be growing its right wing neo-nazi extremist population. You have a real time disaster unfolding daily: the other 40 prisons in Virginia – a long time slave economy – are no better. On top of all that, add a 20% rate of innocence/wrongful conviction (approximately 5,000 people as of this writing). Harsh action must be taken to stop this madness.
MIM(Prisons) responds: MIM(Prisons) has been questioned online for our support of the campaign to fight the a recent rewrite of BP-03.91 in Texas, mostly to increase restrictions on sexually suggestive, non-nude photos. The example given by the comrade above is one of many that explain why we support that campaign despite stating clearly that we oppose pornography. Any increase in the restrictions on mail are going to be applied to stuff the pigs disagree with politically, because there is no free speech in this bourgeois dictatorship, only power struggles.
Of course, most pornography represents patriarchal and bourgeois morals. Morals that numerous gender-related acts of violence described by this author. We welcome reports like this, and print many on our website. But as the author states action must be taken, we really want your articles on campaigns and struggles against these types of abuses and organized repression.
In another quest to deny me my mail and books I guess you guys sent some material they say had too much tape. They wouldn’t tell me other than that they send it back, so could you please take the tape off and send it back to me?
And also, I have another bone to pick with these motherfuckers deny me all my Black Author Books (Donald Goines, Sister Soulja, Iceberg Slim) because they say it contains too many cuss words. Whereas we can have all the James Patterson, John Grishams, and the white authors where they talk about killing and raping women, but that’s fine. We can get that sent in no problem, but a Black author saying “shit”, “motherfucker,” or talking about drugs we get those books rejected simply by them looking at the cover of the book. The white authors talk about raping and killing 100 women; the officers have no problem with that. I even asked the mail guy to give me a list of authors we can and can’t get. He says no there’s too many authors. That’s bullshit. They’re violating my First Amendment rights. If I was some kind of way I could sue the shit out of their ass, I would.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We often put sticker tabs on Under Lock & Key to keep it folded for mailing. This is what the Colorado DOC is objecting to. We have mail rejected by different prisons for staples, for labels, for manila envelopes, we even had a letter rejected for stickers once because it had a postage stamp on it! It’s all political as this comrade points out with the books that are rejected and not.