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Under Lock & Key

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[United Front] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 21]
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New Man Corp supports UF for Peace and Freedom

While reading the latest issue of ULK I noticed the topic on Peace and Unity. As a member of the New Man Corp., it's my obligation to want to contribute to productive activity and liberation from what ignorance has bound me to. This is why I encourage all my comrades to work towards true freedom, and also to work against this diabolical establishment. I believe we as men should study our heritage and culture and protect each other from this open enemy. I understand the need to study George, Malcolm, and Huey to become well versed with the people of the struggle and develop a sense of camaraderie. It has come time for all of us to stand together as one united front, so we can fight against prison injustice.

I reside in Maryland Correctional Institution, where peace and unity is imperative. It's become increasingly clear that our continued genocidal tendencies are at our peril. We complain about the injustice we are forced to deal with inside this slave plantation known as prison, but it pales in comparison to the pain and sorrow we have inflicted upon each other.

Just think of the power that is in our writing against the elements that thrive successfully because of our difficulties and divided strata. It is time for all of the warriors of the prison tribes to realize that together we are unstoppable. It is time for those of us with political minds, influence, rank, and respect to start believing in and advocating peace and unity. We must revolutionize ourselves, become new men, and liberate ourselves mentally. This will redirect our energy towards the interests of our people. This is why I stress education of the lumpen to understand why we are where we are, while building strong ties to change our reality. Those who benefit from the oppression and exploitation of others do not want such change to take place. So lets come together to overthrow this oppressive imperialist system. This is the only thing that will truly bring peace and unity to us in prison.

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[Abuse] [Hudson Correctional Facility] [Colorado]
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Abuse at Private Prison in Colorado

I am an Alaska prisoner at a Cornell company, Cornell Corrections, a private for profit facility in Hudson, Colorado. This facility is not to be confused with a state or federal operated prison. It has private investors and is contracted to the state of Alaska to house prisoners because of the so-called overcrowding.

This facility as with all private for profit facilities is extremely corrupt. Cornell Corrections has a long history of corruption and illegal actions. I, along with a large percentage of the prisoners at this corrupt facility, should not be here because we are maximum security and maximum custody. The Alaska DOC/Cornell company's contract and the state of Colorado statutes both state that no maximum security, or maximum custody prisoners are to be housed in private, for-profit prisons in the state of Colorado.

The employees at this corrupt facility are not sworn to oath correctional officers. They are untrained or extremely poorly trained private citizens. Cornell employees are not empowered in any official capacity. If indeed they employ a law enforcement or correctional officer, these COs may not exercise their official authority while employed by a private party or contractor. This is a conflict of interest and allows for lawsuits to be filed on them for this illegal action.

I am at present in the SHU, Special Housing Unit, due to a fight instigated by a Cornell employee, Joe Hammock, employee number 17454. Joe Hammock had harassed and humiliated me numerous times prior to this incident which took place in May, 2010. A Black female employee, Larnette Mingo, employee number 17432, joined Joe Hammock in this fight. I had filed several complaints and grievances over harassment, humiliation, and discrimination actions by Mingo towards me and other non-Black prisoners. These two employees were then joined by two more employees, Stephen Mannan, employee #17273 and Paul Price, employee #17219, with Price being the senior employee in charge. I at this point had approximately 900 to 1000 pounds jumping on top of me. Stephen Mannan put handcuffs on me squeezing them down until they cut into my wrist and then stood and kicked me in the lower rib cage. I was then basically dragged through the G-A Mod by pulling and jerking on the handcuffs by Price and Mannan, through two sets of doors and then Mannan and Price threw me in a corner with Mannan then slamming my head into the wall cutting my right eye, while yelling, "I never liked you anyway, I'll make you sorry for what you did you scumbag. I'll make life a living hell for you."

I was then escorted to the SHU unit (the Hole) where I have been since. I ask for law enforcement to be summoned in accordance to law, and they were not. When I ask for law enforcement to be called I was told by a female employee, good luck, as she walked away laughing. Law enforcement was supposed to be called due to this being an assault issue at a private, for-profit prison. I ask at least three times for police to be summoned. A medical employee then came to the cell I was in. I asked to see credentials as to who and what part of the medical profession she was, which she stated she did not have to produce. I then refused to speak to her due to the fact that medical issues are to be confidential, and not to be shared with non-medical employees.

They claimed that I am charged with assault on staff members. I have not received any paperwork from the Colorado court system or law enforcement that any charges were filed on me. I have been hauled to the Weld county courts two times and was appointed a public defender, whose name I do not know.

In June 2010 a disciplinary hearing officer from Cornell Corrections, J. Becker, came to the cell I was in and stated that the District Attorney of Weld county, Greely Colorady had dismissed all charges and that I was not charged by DOC Alaska for assault of a staff member. A disciplinary hearing was held by J. Becker after the charges were dismissed and I was sentenced to 30 days of punitive segregation which I served and was completed. The state of Colorado is now re-charging me for violations I have been sentenced and served my punishment for ending. I find this action to be extremely corrupt and illegal. The public defender appointed to me has done nothing in my defense. I am just one of an extremely large number of Alaska DOC prisoners to be corruptly and illegally treated at this Cornell companies facility. All of the corrupt and illegal actions mentioned prior are promoted by, condoned and endorsed by very corrupt Cornell company and facility heads, superintendent Rick Veach and his cronies, Trevor Williams, and Scott Vineyard.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This prisoner gives some good documentation about the private prisons in Colorado along with details about the employees who are perpetuating a system of corruption and abuse. As we explained in our article on the U.$. Prison Economy, private prisons are a small portion of the criminal injustice system, at least partially due to their inability to remain profitable. But we know from reports from other prisoners and our own research, private prisons cut costs in ways that lead to even more atrocious conditions and danger for prisoners. We print this article as further documentation of the conditions in private prisons.

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[United Front] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 20]
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NJ Avalon Crip Signs On to UF Statement

I fully support the United Front and the five principles, because these five principles should be lived out within lumpen organizations. What the United Front means to me is this is one form that we can use to better ourselves as a whole, as well as liberate our minds to become better people so that we can help better others. I also feel that the principles are important because within U.S. prisons the prisoner-on-prisoner oppression is at an all-time high and I feel that I must do all I can to help put a stop to this madness.

- A New Jersey Avalon Crip

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[Abuse] [Eastern Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Fighting Destruction of Grievances in Maryland

Just as it is in all of the places that are discussed in Under Lock & Key, the system here in Maryland is a joke. Prisoners in this system who wish to air their grievances have no outlet because the same pigs who were writing them up are the same pigs that handle the administrative remedy process.

In 2008, a memo was put out to prisoners, written by the Prisoners' Rights Information System of Maryland (PRISM). It indicated that a Federal lawsuit had been filed by a prisoner represented by PRISM and that that lawsuit resulted in the division of corrections, revising directives governing the administrative remedy process. One of the changes included the adoption of a two-piece carbon copy complaint form so prisoners can retain a copy of the ARP, thus reducing risk of loss and destruction and providing proof of exhaustion of remedies.

For a while this two-piece carbon copy complaint form was beneficial to prisoners, however, like everything else that has been put into effect to ensure that "justice" for prison inmates is upheld, officers have found a way to undermine the system. At first many officers began to refuse to sign the ARPs, but after prisoners began to complain about this injustice the cowards gave in because they did not want to be written up. Then they created a new system stating that no officers could sign an inmate's ARP, only a Lieutenant (Lt) or a "designated officer" could do so. These Lts and designated officers pick and choose which ARPs they want to sign and which ARPs they want to scrap. We have to give our ARPs to a tier officer to take to the Lt because a Lt will never come get it himself. If the Lt is okay with what you've written it will be signed and the carbon copy will be returned to you. If not, you'll never see it again.

The whole point of the carbon copy is to prevent loss or destruction. It is supposed to be signed and dated in front of you so that the carbon copy can be handed back to you right then and there so that you will have proof that you wrote the ARP if something happens to it.

In the segregation unit of Eastern Correctional Institution, Lt Galligher is one of the leaders of the good ol' boy network. It is he and he alone who is in charge of signing ARPs and he must have worked as a magician before working for the division of corruption because he sure does know how to make a grievance disappear. Not many people write this up because this Lt and the other pigs who put this system into place will not hesitate to retaliate on anyone that attempts to expose them. I, however, am not afraid and plan to attack this joke that they call a grievance procedure from every angle possible.

I agree with the brother from Washington who stated that in ULK 19, "[t]he only way that we as prisoners will be treated fairly and with justice is if a neutral outside company or corporation dealing solely with grievances and our claims is constructed." Otherwise we're just complaining to the same people who are administering the many forms of injustice that we are fighting against. It's a new era, it's time for change, it's time for solidarity. I'm especially speaking to those of you who are in an organization, this is what our energy should be focused on, instead of trying to destroy the many forms of injustice that we are shadowed with on an everyday basis. It's time for change. The time is now. Power to the people!


MIM(Prisons) adds: In response to this sort of injustice around prisoner's grievances, some United Struggle from Within (USW) comrades initiated a grievance campaign. Write us to get a copy of the grievance petition for your state if you reside in California, Missouri, Oklahoma or Texas, or a generic petition that you can customize for your state if you are anywhere else.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Florida State Prison] [Florida] [ULK Issue 21]
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Inhuman Living

I am currently serving a state sentence at Florida State Prison on Close Management (24 hour lock-down). The prisoners are treated like hogs in a barn, not human beings. The clothes here are filthy and stained with blood, urine, feces, oil, and semen. They are passed out on a weekly basis. We can catch a disease this way.

And the meals are always underdone. Prisoners have gotten sick from this, a stomach virus. If you file a grievance on it, the correctional officers won't feed you the next day.

The pigs will write prisoners bogus disciplinary reports sometimes, and if you try to file an appeal after they found you guilty of the infraction your appeal comes up missing. How can a prisoner win like that? The system is designed for us to lose even if we're right in our argument.

The correctional officers like to jump on prisoners in handcuffs/shackles in the assigned cells, on the rec yard, anywhere where there's not a camera to catch the injustice. How can anyone defend themselves when they're helpless?

The COs try to discourage prisoners on a daily basis out of their institutional call-out, meaning they will bribe them with contraband like cigarettes, chewing dip, coffee, knives, etc. A lot of them will fall for it all the time because they are trying to support their bad habits. It's sad on both parties' behalf.

Florida prisoners have no unity whatsoever and they never will as long as they continue to be brainwashed by the COs and continue accepting contraband that is being brought in by DOC workers to prisoners. As long as this keeps going on there will always be fights between one another.


MIM(Prisons) adds: The oppressive conditions in Florida are similar to those throughout the criminal injustice system, and this comrade's call for prisoners to unite underscores the motivation behind the United Front for Peace in Prisons. One of the 5 principles of the United Front is Independence. The oppressed need to develop institutions that meet their needs. There are plenty of examples of prisoners pooling their resources to take care of each other, rather than relying on the COs who only hope to poison the prison population with drugs, weapons, rumors and jealousy.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 20]
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Something Has Got to Change


As I envision the oppressor
The one we've come to blame
The one who has united us by numbers
And no longer respects our given names.
Who's willing to stand for our cause?
We're trapped in this thing together
And sho' nuf, united we will fall.
That's why we lift each other up
No matter the nationality or rotten speech
Together we should stand in this struggle
No matter the differences, we're all unique.
Defend what you want to accomplish
yet alone, it should be peace.
Something has got to change my people,
the oppressor has made us weak.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 26]
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Politics


This game is thick, politics and pale faces
and these dark skin negros, itchin to change places
wantin' to reign supreme, niggas catchin cases
where brothers turn fiend, cause they can't face this
the game ain't told - it's sold for brother souls
my people live in poverty - Mr. Charlie sat on swoll
they wonder why the thugs cry and their hearts turn cold
they got us twisted and deny our votes at the white man's poll
they brought us on boats to add labor to this nation
infest our hoods with dope - now servin's the occupation
blind us to life by material infatuation
enslaved to this living, screaming emancipation proclamation
I scream "set me free from this land" through my third eye and see
monkey Tom singing "my country tis of thee"
we steady searching for the land of liberty
the sweet land of jewels that was promised to me
It was a hoax the 40 acres and the mule
with the flow my people gettin played as fools
time to wisen up, get a grip and use our tools
I know you tired of poverty, being mistreated and abused
we got the knowledge - slave labor built the land
they keep us out of college, so ignorance is their plan
clearly I see mental freedom wasn't meant for the black man
trapped in society with statues and laws only they can overstand
dark skin is a sin in this white man's world
my brothers drown their emotions by getting drunk til they hurt
who cares about the early morning fiend twitchin for a fix
the united snakes of american politics

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[Theory] [ULK Issue 20]
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Criticism and Self-Criticism in Revolutionary Practice

Criticism in the positive usage is the examination, analysis, and evaluation of the comparative worth of one's acts, practices, policies and/or ideas by others. Self-criticism is, of course, the same principles applied to oneself, but also refers to the organizational practice of critically examining and re-examining its own policies and/or the policies and practices of its members. Criticism and self-criticism are wholly necessary to human progress.

Criticism in its positive usage corrects mistakes in practices and of thought, and resolves differences among individuals and makes for smooth-running, well-functioning organizations. We should put forth the slogan "Unity-Criticism-Unity" to show how individuals come together and unite under principles, but in the actual working out of these principles differences arise for various reasons, which work against the accomplishments of the declared ends, and against cohesion of the organization. When these differences arise there must be criticism in which those with differences interpenetrate, modify one another, and form a new more perfect unity on the basis of having worked out contradictions that were inherent in the old unity.

Cause of Error

The differences which arise that disrupt unity can generally be found to have their basis in these categories of human error:

1) Opportunism; opportunism is defined as that tendency for an individual or individuals to make a decision or commit an act that is favorable to his/her own self-aggrandizement and at the expense of the collective or the movement as a whole. Opportunism stems from selfishness. When opportunism arises, either in an individual or in an organization it is to be severely criticized, and if necessary, the individual or individuals should be expelled from the organization or ostracized from the movement.

2) Subjectivism: the second type of error that disrupts unity and impairs revolutionary progress may be found in the general category called "subjectivism." Progress is always our purpose, but subjectivism can be distinguished from opportunism often only by the merest of hairlines. It generally has to do with personality flaws; One makes a decision or commits an act that is based on one's personal feelings, desires, resentments, jealousies, prejudices, etc. Such subjectivism may possibly stem from any number of sources: child trauma, subliminal conditioning, religious superstitions, etc. When such subjectivism pops up to impede the functioning of the individual or the progress of the organization, it is imperative that it be dealt with. The consciousness of many must necessarily be stripped of the old pernicious ideas and values imposed by the bourgeois culture. However, those traits and personal idiosyncrasies which are not particularly harmful to the individual or the cause, but are largely a matter of style, should not needlessly be criticized.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We refer comrades to Mao's essays On Contradiction and Combat Liberalism for more on the importance of fighting opportunism and building unity through the resolution of contradictions.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Tecumseh State Correctional Institution] [Nebraska] [ULK Issue 21]
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Fighting the System is Dangerous

As mentioned in prior writings by comrades, the struggle, especially for those incarcerated, must encompass not merely a study of history but an application of those strategies that in some way benefit the cause as a whole. One aspect of such application are the legal remedies which can set precedence for many who may need such standards in proving the wrongs done by prison officials. However the opacity and cover-up culture of prison industry in some instances allows for these same freedom fighters to unknowingly sacrifice their very lives for the sake of the many. Here at Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in a rural part of Nebraska this fact remains ever alive.

We are still mourning the death of a prisoner who has on several occasions successfully challenged institutional policy, winning both injunctive and compensatory judgments. In the process he made enemies, invoking the wrath of those running this warehouse. And although this comrade was in phenomenal physical condition he somehow experienced an aneurysm and mysteriously died. Some have postulated his diet of tuna was the cause, other more conspiratorial minds say he was murdered because of his success in exposing questionable actions by those officials. I myself have chosen to accept the latter.

I mention this with regards to a legal battle I will enter very soon pertaining to a number of constitutional rights that have been violated. This struggle is real in every sense of the word and unfortunately requires its martyrs, without which one would not perceive the seriousness of our collective struggle.

The constant study, comprehension and application of the tenets of independent thinking, which will always remain applicable to our situation, must continue for substantial change to occur.

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Debemos luchar por la prorrogación de ULK

Estoy escribiendo este articulo para corroborar y animar a mis compañeros presos que apelen la negación de la publicación de la revista Under Lock & Key. No se rindan en la lucha por nuestros derechos. Al no apelar la negación les está despojando la oportunidad a otros presos de recibir la revista ya dicha que muchos disfrutan leer.

Estoy recluido en la sección de “máxima custodia” de una granja penal de alta seguridad en Tejas. Siempre nos están quitando nuestros derechos aquí en "la custodia máxima”. No sé decir sobre la populación en general, pues nunca he legado esta ahí, debido al acoso constante de los cerdos a cargo aquí. Sin embargo, estoy seguro que es como cualquier otra prisión, ¿ las cosas no han cambiado tanto, verdad?

Estoy restringido a una celda de dos hombres, 24 horas al día sin ningún movimiento. Todo me traen a mí. ¿ Qué privilegio, no ? No me siento muy privilegiado. Se nos permite recreo sólo cuando el personal desea regresar a sus puestos para trabajar. Si no estas bajo restricción de recreo, puedes salir una vez a la semana. Pero si estas bajo restricción, y la mayoría aquí en “custodia máxima” lo estamos, sólo puedes ver “la yarda” una vez cada dos mes. Recibimos las mismas excusas que estoy seguro todos los presos han escuchado: que estamos escasos de personal, que nos falta la mano de obra. Aunque aquí, ultimadamente se ha debido “a la neblina” que según ellos dicen es un riesgo de seguridad. La yarda de recreo para los presos en “custodia máxima” está dividida en seis jaulas bajo un techo de concreto. ¿ Cómo es que la neblina posa un riesgo en esta situación ? Para mí, es puro verbo para quitarnos nuestros derechos y esconderlos bajo la excusa de un “riesgo a la seguridad”. Lo que me trae a mi punto central: tenemos que seguir luchando por nuestros derechos.

El 24 de Febrero 2011, me notificó la oficina de correo que mi ejemplar de ULK fue negado y que no lo iba a recibir. La razón que me dieron fue que "la página 10 del ejemplar contenía material de naturaleza racial”. ¿ Ahora a quien le están violando los derechos ? ¿ Qué pasó con “la libertad de expresión” en los Estados Unidos ? También había una casilla marcada que decía: “El ejemplar contiene material que una persona razonable podría interpretar que fue escrito con el propósito de comunicar información que podría romper con el sistema de prisiones a través de huelgas, motines y actividades en grupo que posan un riesgo”. ¿Suena como otro pretexto barrido bajo de la alfombra de “riesgos a la seguridad”, no?

A pesar de estar encerados, todavía tenemos derechos, pero solamente aquellos por los que luchamos. Cuando te pregunten, ¿ quieres apelar esta negación ?, siempre hazlo, si no por ti, hazlo por los demás. No se puede ganar nada si no se lucha.

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