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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 25]
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Tossed in Segregation for Grievance

I have spent the last 60 days in the hole for writing an administrative remedy on the superintendent. He turns around and has me placed in segregation and charges me with an offense due to my political activism. I am what they call a trouble maker because I teach others with our knowledge. But that's what I do. I was taught by the old heads to do what I do.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This response to prisoner's fighting for their legal rights against repression is all too common. It is one of the driving forces behind our expanding campaign demanding grievances be addressed. While we organize and educate for broader anti-imperialist change, we can use this campaign to fight for greater freedom to carry out political organizing behind bars. Write to us for a copy of the grievance petition for your state, or to help expand the campaign to your state by customizing the generic petition to your local conditions.

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[Organizing] [United Front]
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Uniting to Redefine Gangs as Revolutionaries

Revolutionary - one who takes part in a sudden, radical, or complete change especially the overthrow or renunciation of one ruler or government and substitution of another by the governed.

Gang - a group of persons working or associated together, esp a group of criminals or young delinquents. Also: mob, band, clan, club, crew, pack, ring, team, crowd, horde, posse, circle, clique, outfit, friends, syndicate.

When the word gang comes into play especially by the media (i.e. radio, television and newspaper) why is it always associated with negative energy? We as members of lumpen organizations have effectively allowed ourselves to be boxed into a stereotype of negativity and successfully strayed from our paths as revolutionaries. It seems that we as revolutionaries fighting for an extreme, radical change to and for our environment have allowed ourselves to become radically changed by unseen puppet masters thus detouring us from our way of righteousness.

As members of the lumpen organizations known as Crips and Bloods, we were formed on the heels of the Black power era to override the oppression and destruction of our inner city neighborhoods and take up the baton passed to us by our forefathers to continue this fight for liberation for the people. How have we regressed from a "group of persons working or associated together" for a noble, common cause to a "group of criminals and young delinquents"?! We have allowed ourselves to be labeled "menace to society" by our true enemy (the U.$. government) but instead of refusing that moniker, we have embraced it and fallen into line like cattle to a slow slaughter.

History, true history, clearly shows what is happening: covert government operations, such as the counter intelligence program (COINTELPRO), are infiltrating our ranks and using their art of "divide and rule" to weaken us from the inside out. For all of us still living in darkness; the light of the matter is that this oppressive government tactic is working and has worked for decades! By pitting our respective families against each other, they allow us to set our own limitations on our growth and development. By keeping the lumpen organizations at each others throats, the government can deal with each faction as an individual. This has to change! Only by stifling our generations of feuding can we begin to focus on bigger and better things; only then can we focus on the rebuilding of the urban communities that we have helped tear down.

When J. Edgar Hoover initiated his counterintelligence program, to combat the Black Panthers and other Black nationalists, it was a form of genocide. They threatened to destroy anybody in the Black community who was a leader, anybody! So, they declared war on us 40-45 years ago and that war is still going on right now. That is why those in power are so afraid of our unification, because you can only keep an oppressed person or people down for so long. Then when unification comes, all of us have the same enemy and they can't have that because we become a united body fighting in solidarity with focus, determination and rage against the machine!

For us in the "department of corruption" we are already united in our suffering and our daily repression. We face the same common enemy, we are trapped in the same oppressive conditions. We wear the same "plantation" clothing, we are brutalized by the same racist, prejudiced pigs. We are one people, no matter your hood, set, creed or nationality, we know we need unity but we need a different kind of unity than we have at present. We want to move from unity in oppression to unity in serving the people and striving towards national independence and liberation.

Crip, Blood, Vice Lord, Gangster Disciple, Latin King, it makes no difference; we are all brothers of the same struggle. The sooner we all overstand this concept the better. We are revolutionaries, but without every individual of every feuding family taking a step for peace, there can be no change. Without change, there can be no revolution.

"Revolution is about change, and the first place where change takes place is within yourself." - Assata Shakur


MIM(Prisons) adds: The United Front for Peace in Prisons was initiated in 2011 to bring together those with an interest in revolutionary organizing. This comrade echoes the principle of Unity that is inherent in the shared conditions imprisoned lumpen class.

As this comrade explains, to achieve unity in practice, we must come together and resist the state-sponsored work to undermine that unity. It is not the labels that matter, but rather our actions that will make a real difference. We must judge individuals by their actions, regardless of their affiliation, location, or background.

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[Release] [U.S. Imperialism]
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Inspired to Overcome Release Challenges

I just received my ULK24 with the article Overcoming Release Challenges. I have 67 months until I am released. For me education, experience and pain/love for the proletariat is my driving force. Chairman Mao stated about political work "ideological education is the key link to be grasped in uniting the whole party for great political struggles. Unless this is done the party cannot accomplish any of its political tasks." (April 24, 1945) Mao's Little Red Book, The Communist Manifesto, Das Kapital Vol 1, and What is to be Done? by Lenin are just a few works that we should be intimate with.

A revolutionary is more than anti-imperialist/anti-establishment. Comrade Ernesto "Che" Guevara said "the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love." So if we truly tremble with indignation at every injustice and believe in what we together can change through scientific socialism and faith in MLM then why or how would I choose to not continue once released? We can't depend on the parasitic, sadistic bourgeois.

Now I would like to say that the UnUnited $nakes of Amerikkka is the aggressor toward Iran. History has shown that the U.$. does not invade unless it can capitalize from the invasion. Iran has a hold on the Strait of Hormuz, where a nice percentage of oil comes through.

Further, nuclear bombs currently held by many countries including: U.$.A. 8,500, France 300, Russia 11,000, China 240, U.K. 225 and the imperialists known as the Zionists 80. It's alright for these countries to possess nukes but not Iran. President Obama stated in his State of the Union address, "let there be no doubt, Amerikkka is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal." Rick Santorum in his foreign policy statement said, "first and foremost publicly embrace the opposition and call for regime change." Who's really the threat? Hasta la victoria siempre!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We urge all comrades behind bars to let us know your release date and work with us towards a practical plan for staying active after release. As this prisoner points out, there are many important reasons to continue the fight on the streets, but desire is not enough to ensure your success. It will take hard work and planning, along with a strong dedication, to stay political once you get out of prison. Work with us to put together a release plan when your date is getting close.

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[Censorship] [West Valley Detention Center] [California]
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MIM Notes Package Triggers Threat Assessment

This missive will be brief but informative on the level of state repression being executed by the authorities down here in West Valley Detention Center. It seems that my interest in researching history by receiving your MIM Notes newsletter has rubbed the police the wrong way. On February 16, 2012 I got a visit from a federal agent who wanted to know why I was receiving such information. The agent reveled to me that they were contacted because a package had MIM material inside of it.

Although the package was given to me it was quite unusual in the manner it was presented. Being that it wasn't classified as legal mail, I was called out of my cell and instructed to bring my ID. An officer who did not work in my unit handed over the package after scrutinizing my I.D. The package was open and was obviously inspected. Now none of this I would consider misconduct on their behalf, but suspicious in how they did not give the package to me in the regular way they pass out mail, which is through the unit officers who pass out all books, mags, and first class mail after 8pm count.

The only logical conclusion that I can reach on this matter is that they were making a threat assessment of me which would be considered absurd for receiving a publication that reports on global events. But when looking past the surface of this event, it is quite obvious that our so-called rights to the press and "individual sovereignty" are denied when we are discovering the skeletons in this nation's closet. On that note I will end this missive with a message to the masses: learn the facts of everything, don't let the authorities intimidate you.

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[Gang Validation] [Ironwood State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 26]
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More Targeting of Latinos for Validation

I recently came across your newsletter and found it very interesting. I am in Ironwood State Prison - Administrative Segregation (ISP Ad-Seg). All should be advised that Hispanic prisoners are being targeted by Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) in ISP for validation. Many of us were told to either inform or be validated. Myself and many others are validated on informants alone, and some on cultural drawings alone. It seems the state's agents (Office of Correctional Safety) are rubber-stamping anything submitted by ISP-IGI.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Gang validation is just one of many tactics used by the prisons to divide prisoners and target activists. The threat to inform or be validated is common, and then false information is used to validate those political activists that the prison wants to isolate. This is another example of why MIM(Prisons) says that prison classifications do not define a prisoner's revolutionary potential. Many informants walk in GP freely without anyone knowing what they did while solid activists are falsely validated or retreat to SNY. We must judge our comrades by their actions, not their prison-imposed classification.

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[Organizing] [Security]
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SNY Debate Continues: Don't Let the Prison Divide Us

I recently received ULK24, thank you. I share your newsletters with more than twenty people and an article (Correction on SNY debate) caused quite an uproar. I recognize the opinion of what people perceive Special Needs Yards (SNY) is (deviants, rats, etc.) but have major disagreement with the flawed perception.

The first of a few salient points is the strongest. In buying into the SNY/GP separation a fatal flaw emerges in ideology. The idea that SNY refugees who pursue personal safety are filth comes from a criminal mindset of values and morals. This needs correction and as a solution I offer education. SNY refugees are getting away from criminal mindset organizations and street gang policies. 99 percent of conflict within the walls isn't political struggle. It's not being able to pay for drugs, tribalism, promoting racial hatred and warfare for earlier lost battles, revenge for street gang violence, manipulation by imperialist agencies, and good old "I can't do my time so I'll make everyone else miserable."

As a mainline and SHU veteran of fifteen years traipsing across New Folsom, High Desert, Pelican Bay, Corcoran, Chino, San Quentin, and Old Folsom, the idea that I should prepare for death because a corrupt criminal organization declares it so is sheer idiocy. The idea that I could crawl under a rock in a hole somewhere and meekly keep my head down and not try to "make" my situation is sheer childlike fantasy. Convict (criminal) justice isn't blind, it is premeditated power struggles, envy, greed and the law of the jungle coming to fruition. The reality of prison politics is simple, dope is shotcaller. Greed, self-aggrandizement, negative cultural and educational values run rampant like a virus. Split by race, geography, imagined fifty year old slights and insults, the semi-ignorant masses huddle on their claimed patches of territory on the yard and build up walls of separation that tower far above the actual prison walls that confine them. Imperialists stand watching; laughing, and profiting. The convenient high noon-middle of the street showdown of physical combat isn't a noble ideal and it has replaced rational thought as the tool of necessity in the concrete culture.

It needs to be said that Republicans and Democrats don't care if you're SNY or GP, creating a mental separation to divide and conquer is proven COINTELPRO strategy. It makes moving the herd easier.

Bear this in mind please. Just because you are in a cell in prison you are not a political prisoner. As an individual you must make peace with why you're in the cell in the first place. Responsibility for your life is first. If you choose to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and do that then wipe away the veil and quit dividing the world in to race, geography, and location, quit dividing your world into SNY and GP, become more than a convict.

SNY was a choice I made that I must live with. To believe that I have no redeemable value is ludicrous. I didn't testify against anyone, no one went to the hole, I did not become an oppressor of my own people. I did not leave my morals on the mainline. I do not live, associate, or do business with deviants, rats, or oppressors. I am vigilant in knowing who and what they've done in my life. I simply now walk stronger alone in my stride.

If you are still on the path of separatism you're stagnant and if your doctrines espouse convict vs. convict violence, drug profits, or control of the mass. You are not a revolutionary, you are an oppressor, as your desire is simply to be king of the mountain. Please do not don the guise of righteousness simply because of a designation the system created that you choose to use.

It is every day actions that define you. if you're still gangbanging, slinging, separating, wake up you're stuck in the matrix like Neo was.

Do something revolutionary, walk across the yard to that semi-familiar face with the ink work of a different tribe on his sleeves. Embrace the viking king, the African warrior, the Aztec warrior and realize that if you can't do it you are by choice dividing and separating, and you're the one who doesn't get it.

My heart and mind are guiding my moral compass true and I cannot see exploiting another for self-gain. Where do you stand really? It doesn't matter in the physical sense as it isn't a physical question. What is in your heart will show up in your everyday life. If I'm just talking, blowing smoke, what I've written above makes me another windblown hypocrite and false seer uttering borrowed phrases and aping the intelligent conversations of my learned betters. But if it resides in every beat of my heart and my stride matches my hearts intentions, recognize, wherever I may be.

Just because you read the little red book and you're on a mainline doesn't make you a revolutionary. Educate yourself, enlighten others, uplift all.


MIM(Prisons) adds: MIM(Prisons) does recognize all prisoners as political prisoners because who goes to prison is determined by the politics of those in power. But there is a difference between why you are in prison, and what you are going to do with your life. So we agree with this comrade that political consciousness must be learned through study and work, and is not given to you the day they close you behind a cell door.

This debate over whether there can be any revolutionaries on SNY has been raging in the pages of Under Lock & Key for 2 years now. MIM(Prisons) comes down on the side of all revolutionary prisoners. We judge people by their work and not by their state-determined classification. There are revolutionaries on SNY and there are rats on GP. And we know the rats in all units like to pretend to be revolutionaries. We can only look at people's actions to determine where they really fall.


Related Articles:
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[Security] [Texas]
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Security Precaution Codes for Dealing with Our Conditions

I recently completed an assignment as a prospective USW leader. The topic of dissertation was of revolutionary Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy, and Security. The study offers a primary discourse on issues such as applying the scientific method in strategy, rather than being passionately or emotionally driven. The "fear factor" is addressed, and how it can be effective or reckless in issues like security.

I got a lot from the study personally. I understand as materialists we aren't supposed to be influenced by ideas of "the divine," metaphysical, or spiritual intervention in human affairs, or in any context for that matter. Maybe it's the strong indigenous traditions passed on for generations in my family and culture that lead to such first impressions and perceptions. Whatever the cause may be, within the time frame of me receiving and responding to the above referenced assignment, things were happening on the ground level directly associated with the lessons in our assignment. Maybe a Christian or Muslim would believe it was God allowing their faith to be tried and tested by satan or his legions. Or a pagan may have believed it was a fusion of Mexican and Roman war gods, Vaitzilopochtli and Mars somehow interfering with material conditions on Earth in order to sharpen and refine his skills, strategy, tactics, and security in struggle. But such convictions, regardless of how firmly believed, have no scientific basis and cannot be interpreted as truth. Yet the life lesson and the message has been conveyed.

Back in the 80s in the Texas prison colonies known as "ranchos" there was a spontaneous combustion within the social relations of Chicano prisoners. It spread like wildfire, like a virus. A true example of dialectic materialism in a controlled environment. Like Phoenix rising out of the flames, ashes, and blood, rose a democratic prison society claiming to stand together against negative activities in prison. By the late 90s, entering the new millennium there was a loose confederation of Latino tribes, regional and autonomous in nature, in virtually every one of the over 100 Texas ranchos. These regional autonomous tribes are now a dominate factor in almost every correctional institution in Texas. No longer are they confined to the Ranchos either, but have spread into the hoods and barrios, infecting our youth. There is ample evidence that the state has played an effective instigating role in a long and bloody war of attrition that has been going on for over two decades uninterrupted, in a now hidden, now open fight, a fight kept from the public eye. A war between the tribes and organized Texas families. This evidence could be used to substantiate a claim that the government has encouraged, even created the conditions for this anarchistic tribal take over of the social structure amongst Texas prisoners. Similar to how the U.S. has continuously done in the Third World, funding and provoking civil wars in the Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East in order to divide, conquer, and maintain hegemonic control of economic interests and security.

Within the tribes there is no constitution, rank, or central command structure. They're divided into regional districts, and are purely democratic and autonomous in nature. What's so important and phenomenal here is the material dialectics in action. How the tribes are a natural development, the structure, principle, and form naturally developed over time under conditions of extreme oppression by more than one force. Notice how at the beginning it was a Chicano based movement, but has since embraced the Latino concept.

It should be very well noted that by no means is the tribal structure revolutionary, nor is it structured as a family. It's distinct in nature, a security measure so to say. But it's phenomenal to me. Almost any criminal, political, religious, or economic ideas can be retained by the individual, yet they cannot be instituted as a form from top down. This is anarchistic and ineffective at times, and leads to much conflicting interest, but these are the material conditions.

I happen to be a progressive individual. I believe in developing my mind, body and soul. I'm constantly studying, reading, working out, collecting my thoughts and energies, and focusing them in a productive and creative form. This is what I do, it's how I've learned to adapt to my environment and pull through these wasteful conditions. Yet I'm surrounded by negativity and destructive individuals. Other tribesmen are stuck in a state of mental and physical decadence and decay. They're manipulative, oppressive and dictatorial, straight criminal by nature. I understand these too are only character manifestations of these wasteful conditions. And something I strive against. These two separate and distinct classifications are both allowed within the context of the tribe. Of course they oppose each other and conflict at times.

Recently conflict arose between the tribes and ALKQN. What resulted from the conflict wasn't good for any of us, nothing positive or progressive was attained. In fact what resulted was the loss of solid braves, continuous lockdowns, strategic hits, and "mediation" by the rancheros to keep the steers in line. As a deterrence, the administration began rounding up tribesmen. The tribes have the larger numbers and are often perceived as the aggressors regardless of the circumstances. Anywhere from 16 to 20 tribesmen were rounded up at different times during the conflict, seed as collateral, systematically subjected to punishing intimidation, subjugation, and humiliation, all in order to psychologically inhibit the young braves, and break their will and resistance. Of course it was effective on the youngsters who average out to about 20 years old. Left for weeks without anything, in a bare cell with only enough soap to wash our ass. No writing, legal, or correspondence materials. No books or literatures with which to stimulate our minds. After 3 weeks they gave us our bibles, which we all know to be pacifist literature telling us to turn the other cheek and obey our masters. We were systematically served disciplinary cases for nonsense. Sadly it wasn't my first, and won't be the last time I go through such conditioning. I was a part of the final round up, all my property was confiscated before I was herded into the holding pen "corral." 16 volumes of legal transcripts, including legal notes and work product was seized and inspected for weeks. The round up lasted from Dec 6 2011 through January 12, 2012.

The very next day after being released onto the pasture, not any time during the "investigative" lockdown, but after my release, the Rancheros called a coup of tribal representatives, to show them a letter that was found in my property. This letter was correspondence to one of my kin on the Rancho. A written analysis of our social relations and conditional circumstances as Chicanos under this neocolonial order. It included strategy and tactics regarding pending and future litigation addressing family and communal lands stolen from our direct ancestors after the Texas revolution. The royalty and mineral rights to raw crude being pumped and refined on a particular island off the Southern coast of Texas. The letter was detailed and passionate. It was revealing and exposing. Nothing that should have fallen into agency files. Truthfully, I don't even know the full context of the letter.

Somehow the Rancheros convinced or influenced these two representatives that I had intentions of waging and leading a guerilla assault against other tribal bands. This has no logical or reasonable basis. The context and substance of the letter was written in a language of resistance. These leaders are steeped in the criminal programming and traditions, which is only a natural response, I understand. I evolved from these perceptions myself. Somehow they agreed with the Rancheros that the content of the letter was a threat to the structure and security of the tribal alliance. Council was held, both sides brought their points to the fire. The determining factor was how these so-called gangsters and criminals were allowing themselves to be used by the rancheros, and using the word and influence of the Rancheros to substantiate a claim against a tribesman. Many other subjective and objective factors played a role in the democratic process. But the objective truth is that I'm still here. I'm almost 100% sure that had this issue been brought up on a weak-minded, unrefined, undisciplined and fearful mind, the situation would have played out differently, and that individual may not be here to share the experience like this.

What's amazing to me is that this whole experience happened to coincide with an assignment on "Fearlessness, Scientific Strategy, and Security," that I received from MIM(prisons) while these very events were unfolding. The experience was very humbling. I learned a very valuable lesson: "gots ta be mo' careful."

To all you would be progressive individuals with a revolutionary vision, who happen to be involved with LOs who do not follow a well formulated line, or uphold the principles they claim to represent, be careful. Limit yourself and your activities, don't be so careless in expressing your views and concerns around ignorant unlearned individuals. People fear what they don't know. Above all, if your views and beliefs can be based on science and conditional/material facts, if you feel these scientific views to be pure and true, be loyal and stay true to them to da fullest. Stay committed and stare down adversity with a fearless spirit. Understand your material and social conditions. Please don't let no law enforcement elements interfere with your relations and influence your views to the point they become reactionary against your own. Their intentions may be all in good faith to maintain peace and security on the unit level. But their interests and security does not comport with yours in the objective long term. Proceed with caution.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Pledge Allegiance

Why are we so blind to seeing things we need to see
Why do we let those who hate us tell us who we're supposed to be
Why do they tell us that our big lips & noses seem to be awkward
Then they turn around, get breast implants, silicone, lip shots & ass jobs
Why are we coerced into armed forces to do the government's dirt
They turn us into killing machines, mental patients, or inmates
And lie to our loved about how we are hurt
I pledge allegiance to the united snakes
that I'll expose you to the fullest even if it seals my fate
I'll expose your horns & bloodshot eyes & tell the world you are a liar, a cheat, a thief & a fake
Long ago you planted seeds of hate
And stripped our culture
If you're watching but still can't see I recommend that you look closer
Cause there's much more to see
Stand strong in liberation for nations to be

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[Campaigns] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 25]
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Joining Grievance Campaign

In order to file a §1983 prisoner complaint, one must exhaust the facility grievance procedure on any issues beforehand. The pigs here claim procedural defect, frustrating the exhaustion requirement of the PLRA. Now that the institution has been made aware of my pending §1983 suite, they block the third and final grievance process. I am submitting a revised complaint with denial of access to the court added, and I will keep you informed.

I passed two grievance petitions on down the line. Colorado chain gang is just as messed up as you might think, but I do help those who at least show some heart. I pass all of my info on to other people, to maybe spark some fight.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The grievance campaign is spreading from its start in California to Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. Write to us for copies of the grievance petition for your state. If you are in a state not currently covered by the grievance campaign you can use the current petitions as a format, but will need to look up citations and policies specific to your state for reference in the petition. If you do this research and send us what needs to be rewritten for your particular state, we will gladly send an edited, accurate copy to other USW and Legal Clinic folks in your state.

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[Organizing] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Prisons Try to Divide; Respond With Unity

Just recently on the John B. Connally unit drastic changes are being made. The administration has been coming down real hard on the already oppressed masses. Not only do they house all the STG (security threat groups) on Building 4, but have divided the whole unit. The dorms which comprise Buildings 18 and 19 house all non-STG and those prisoners who work around the unit. Building 3 houses non-STG prisoners and those in the religious program. Building 7 houses all those not yet qualified to move up on the unit to A-side. Building 7 also houses those prisoners who are less than 10 years into their life sentence and that have over 50-year sentences. Building B houses a mixture as well but they stay on that building with the less fortunate who are kept housed all day in their cells. They eat in the building now that a chow hall was built to accommodate.

This division with the unit capacity of 2,800 prisoners has not only stagnated the progress or process to organize effectively, but has caused those who got it better on A-side to not give much attention to the sufferings of those who experience it much more on B-side. They are ready to cause wars and riots with each other rather than direct that misguided energy towards establishing a union to grieve concerns and make administration hear and act on our behalf.

In expressing such observations, I also know that it is not an easy task, but it can be done even if we are divided. As a whole we are only segregated until we can find better ways to network and communicate and this is why I am encouraged and empowered by your articles and newsletter. There is hope! And it is right here right now!

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