The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Rhymes/Poetry] [Ohio]
expand

Our Darkest Hour

From our birth they installed limitations on what we may acquire and achieve,
Diluting our minds and aspirations, making it virtually impossible to succeed.
See 28% of men are dead or imprisoned by age 21
Yet they say there's equal opportunities for everyone.
20% of the 28% are from neighborhoods like yours and mine
But these #'s don't seem to equate in my mind.
The urban culture is being oppressed by a politically corrupt society simply and utterly
Because they're afraid of what we may become if given true equality.
So I implore you do not succumb to temptation,
Stand up and speak out for what you believe in,
let liberty and prosperity be your motivation,
because it's beyond our time to achieve it.
I drop these simple words of inspiration cause knowledge is power,
As for the urban culture and my entire generation, this is Our Darkest Hour

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [Florida] [ULK Issue 15]
expand

School of Hard Knocks

Welcome to the school of hard knocks,
where it seems the clock has stopped,
trapped in a prison industrial complex,
the size of city blocks,
guns cocked in gun towers,
Ever so slowly passes, years, days, months and hours,
time devours all - tempus edax rerum
And here I live in this correctional slum
I've never been dumb, but I've done dumb things
and this brings me to:
As long as I'm alive, I strive,
Sometimes striving means simply surviving,
I could have went to Penn state,
but instead I'm in the state pen
Surrounded by 1200 people, but not one friend
I sent a letter to my family, but it seems that they're mad at me,
Because they only seem to respond semi-annually,
But I still have a strategy
to increase intellectually,
they may have my body, but they don't have the best of me,
I'm 30 now, I'll be released at 41,
In the futuristic year of 2021
The sum total of my incarcerated years will be 20,
But the total of the tears of me and my family is too many,
Plenty places, all over the state they have sent me,
tortured occasionally with tear gas and electricity,
they think that they're breaking me, but they're only remaking me,
I'm taking a breath while they're trying to smother,
And brother, in this world, if you break it down statistically
you'll realize you have to do your own part individually,
and realistically, I can see, if I don't improvise, educationally,
In FL DOC, I'll never go further than GED,
So I'm striving and searching, reaching and seeking,
trying to gain more knowledge, give my life more meaning,
in this institutional, "correctional," demeaning existence,
to improve yourself, takes a lot of persistence,
and one day prove useful to communist resistance

chain
[Organizing] [Texas]
expand

Fighting Rotten Food and No Parole

Before I could get this letter out, land of the weak, home of the slave day came up, "4th of July" the celebration of the day the Europeans that came to amerikkka who took this land from the Indigenous people had to in turn fight the British to keep it. I wonder where was good ole karma then? Anywow. I'm sitting here troubled because like the comrade who wrote about the hot dogs, they served us half-cooked BBQ chicken. My point in this they were also supposed to put cherry pie on the tray but since I'm in loss of privilege, for not wanting to work for free, and numerous other reasons, myself and others on the "lazy offender program" as the pigs call it, did not receive cherry pie. These grown ass men were crying about no pie, and I was saying you'll be lucky to eat the chicken with no stomach problems. These morons stress for all the wrong reasons. There is no unity here in the Texas Don't Care Jailocracy. These inmates have been led to believe that if you work and stay disciplinary free parole'll let you go. The truth is I stayed case free for 7 years on a non-aggressive 10 year sentence and they tried to give me parole after I pulled 9 years and 3 months, with all kinds of stipulations. So I told the parole board to give it to someone else. The moral of the story is, instead of riding for a cherry pie, why not ride for parole or furloughs to be reinstated in TDCJ asylums?

chain
[Abuse] [Texas]
expand

Depriving Sleep to Torture in Texas

I know you folks are interested in illegal activity that prisons allow against prisoners. Here in Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) in the Administrative Segregation (Ad Seg) sections that I have been to and others that inmates have spoken to me about we have several things being done against prisoners.

The first is sleep deprivation. Every night, either officers or inmates who work for them will talk to you in all kinds of disrespectful ways, mostly in whispers through the venting system or they may use the PA system. It's a form of brain washing I have been keeping a log on. It's way out of control because many officers and inmates are involved.

In cases of baby rapers they force them to have different kinds of sex with other inmates. They will open cell doors to allow this to take place.

Some (most) of the inmates are weak when it comes to being threatened in Ad Seg. I am here for two murders and I am not weak. I backup against their threats. They have been trying their bullshit with me going on 4 years, at two different units. The inmates who illegally work for them help in this with mirrors and cell phone cameras. It is actually a terrorist operation they have set up to make criminals worse instead of better. This makes sure the inmates return, increases the prison population and increasing funding for their jobs.

I have been up for parole six times but due to action taken against me, it created a reaction with me and stopped parole each time. I have had several fist fights and was declared a gang member which I am not. Never have been, except boy scouts! They are threatening to move me to another pod right now for writing this letter, they are reading it as I write with their small high tech cameras that are not supposed to be used by other inmates. They are saying as I write this that no one will believe me because of my mental illness.

chain
[Abuse] [Georgia]
expand

Georgia conditions deteriorating

I've seen a lot of changes in the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) over the past 5 years.

It started with the food (menu). In 2006, the GDC made a drastic change in the menu, downsizing the meals and eliminating all salt in the name of health. They even put a memo up saying "this is a healthy change meant to promote health." This lasted a week, before inmates "bucked" causing them to change it back. So these guys (GDC) went back to the think tank to come up with a better way to get over on us. Well, they succeeded. What they did was, instead of changing the menu all at once, they decided to do it little by little. Take boiled eggs out this month, egg salad 3 months later, tuna goes in June, no more soy milk for vegans in August, less chicken next year. They did this to avoid disruption from us. They took a page out of George Orwell's "Animal Farm." Got us acting like the animals walking around saying "didn't we use to have that", "I thought the menu said 'this' one time." To me, this "take a little here" strategy has become one of their favorites.

It doesn't stop there, Georgia inmates, got to be the sorriest group of guys in history. I'm a part of it, sad to say. It's unbelievable how submissive these guys are. They go for anything.

Back in 2006, according to Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) laundry was ordained to be washed 6 days per week. Then a drought hit Georgia for a month. So they downsized laundry cleaning to 3 days. That was 4 years ago - so tell me why laundry only goes out 3 days a week still? The drought been over. Hell, there was a flood or two since them. Nobody cares.

In 2008, all the wardens in every prison in GA went down to their dorms to inform inmates that everything on Friday will be shut down and will be considered a part of the weekend. I have no idea how they swung that one by without a riot. No mail on Friday, no lunch, no law library, no medical, no counseling, no programs, etc. Rumor is they will soon be giving inmates in GA 2 meals a day everyday. No uprisings.

Because so many prisoners used adapters to charge cell phones, the GDC banned us from buying them in almost every prison. No protests.

There once was a time when medical visits were free. But then they started charging $5 per visit. Earlier this year they took it a step further and started charging us for the visit and medicine. So if I went there for a cold it would cost me $5 to walk in the door, $5 for the medicine, and another $5 for the nasal spray. We just keep taking it in the ass.

In the last 3 years, 5 prisons (1800 inmates each) shut down. So the GDC, instead of releasing folks, chose to add multiple annex (open dorm) buildings to each prison. When overcrowding still persists they started putting triple bunks in all cell houses. The prison I'm at has 3 men per room in all cell houses bottom range. Top ranges have 2 men. But it won't be long before they triple up every dorm. What this is doing, besides humiliating us, is putting serious strain on the existing facilities, such as medical.

When this prison was built, it had an inmate capacity of 800. Well today you have over 2000. All that has changed has been the amount of inmates. Instead of medical staff having to care for 800 they now have to care for 2000. Same size staff, same size rooms. Nothing was enlarged to compensate for this population boom. The law library has enough computers for 800 men. Today we don't have time to do legal work on the computer because we have 4 computers for 2000 men. Visitation area was designed for 800 men. Today, because of the population, its regular for an officer to come up to you and your family and say "you have to go so others can come in." It wouldn't matter if your folks flew in from France they will force your visitor to leave because they don't have enough space. No riots.

In GA, it costs taxpayers $1.1 billion a year to support this system. Next year the feds will not give the GDC $85 million that they thought they would get. So it will get ugly in Georgia. There's no telling what they might do next. Georgia prisoners will continue to submit. Will continue to go to work (prisoners in GA earn $0 in wages) for free, just to have something to do. Next year, these pigs will be understaffed with this 85 million being withheld. They already are scrambling for ways to earn money. We need to sacrifice all our cares for one month and not work, that would break their back. It would be then that they really realize where the power lies. But that day might not come in GA, cause we are the prisoners with no nuts.

chain
[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Kern Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 16]
expand

United We Stand: COs split Bs and Cs

The Department of Corruptions, under the guise of safety and security is slowly but surely succeeding in their divide and conquer strategy. They have already been successful at convincing individuals to snitch by offering those who choose to take that road a safe haven. While at the same time they're inciting conflicts in General Population. Here recently the captain of D-yard told a crip inmate that a blood inmate informed on him. Instead of them seeing this for what it was, these two guys ran around the yard telling anybody who would listen that the person was a snitch. The result was that the blood stabbed the crip in the law library. This resulted in the whole Black population being placed on lockdown for 60 days. The excuse for the lockdown was that they had to investigate the situation.

They released a program status report the day after the incident and passed out copies to everyone. They wanted everyone to know it was a blood and crip that was involved. Under any other circumstances it takes the pigs 30 days to release a program status report. At the same time the pigs were walking around like school kids making comments intended to incite the blood and crip conflict. Normally when something like this occurs they only lockdown the groups involved. But this time they locked down all Blacks, which was strange because this was a one-on-one issue that was provoked by the pigs. But this is the norm here in Kern Valley.

This is a maximum security prison. Guys around here claim to be militant revolutionaries, hardcore gangsters and solid convicts. But all I see is a bunch of fools looking for some type of recognition and popularity, until we all wake up and realize that we have to unite in order to overcome the oppressors then we must accept what we get. United we stand, divided we fall, together we can stand tall. Until that happens the pigs will continue to divide and conquer.

chain
[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 15]
expand

Uniting to fight denied food

On June 26 history was made in SCI Huntingdon's Restricted Housing Unit (RHU). The early Saturday morning began with a racist Correctional Officer (CO) named Powell depriving two prisoners of their breakfast trays. Things like this have been constant here at Huntingdon but this day we had enough and decided to take a stand.

We told the superior officer on deck to feed the two inmates who were denied their breakfast trays or else it was "going down," the officers did not comply, so we waited until they passed out cleaning supplies which consist of a bucket, disinfect, a toilet scrubber, and a floor brush. When the officers came to collect the supplies we gave back everything except the floor brush, which we kept as weapons. We then put our towels over our door windows. The officers began yelling threats about suiting up in riot gear and coming in our cells. Quickly prisoners began taking their towels off of their door and complying, and the number of us still standing was only seven.

Officers began to leave off of the quad ready to suit up in riot gear when we suggested that letting them arm themselves was a bad idea. We decided that this time we would be the hunters instead of the hunted. The two prisoners who did not eat were first. The first one faked a suicide attempt that made the officers have to run in his cell unarmed and when they opened his cell door he took action, getting as many of the four officers until more officers had to help restrain him. Next the other prisoner did the same and when they opened his door he took action using any means to get as many of them as he could before more officers had to help restrain him. From these first two incidents six officers were injured, but it was far from over. Next another prisoner forced the officers into his cell after they had sprayed pepper spray in it. He made sure he got some action before they restrained him. The injured officer toll was now eight.

My celly and I were next. We were the only double cell on the tier, and the officers would not come in. They left and suited up in riot gear, and then turned our water off. Next they ran into a prisoner''s cell with full riot gear, electrical shields and a stun gun. As soon as they ran in, a helmet came flying out and the injured officer toll was now nine. Next they came into our with full riot gear, and two officers were on the floor before either of us wes electrocuted, maced and restrained. Eleven points for the home team. While my cellmate and I were being stripped and checked for injury, the officers were complaining about the CO who started this mess (officer Powell) by depriving the two prisoners of their breakfast trays. Coincidentally, he was not amongst the officers involved in this action. There was still one prisoner left, but before they decided to go in his cell, they let it be known that whatever they had to do for us to stop the madness, they would do it. They submitted! The prisoners were fed and we all received our property back with the exception of our bed linen. We all received misconducts and along with a bruise or two it was a small price to pay in order to gain our respect. Unity overcame oppression. For the first time in Huntingdon RHU history we stopped talking and gave them the only thing that they respected (violence) to gain our respect. Message to all of our brothers in the struggle: it can be done!

MIM(Prisons) adds: We do not think armed struggle now is a viable option for obtaining a more just society within the imperialist countries today. Therefore our strategic orientation opposes going up against the state in physical confrontations where we are always outgunned. That said, we agree with the theoretical point that the state does not respect so-called rights, but they do respect violence. Ultimately the imperialists will not give up oppression and exploitation peacefully.

To oppose armed struggle as a strategy today does not mean that physical force can never be used as a tactic in the fight for justice. Much of the changes that are credited to the civil rights movement were ensured by the revolutionary nationalist movements of the time that threatened to use force against the state. Similarly, the trial of Johannes Mehserle, as pathetic as it was, was triggered by the use of physical force by the oppressed. It would be irresponsible for us to deny these truths, just as it would be irresponsible for us to encourage prisoners to get in fights with guards.


Related Articles:
chain
[Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
expand

This ain't TV, there's no justice here

California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), High Desert State Prison (HDSP) and Lassen County Superior Court are working together to ensure that prisoners' rights continue to be violated! The prison industry and the injustice system stay true to form. According to the propaganda that the U.$. continuously pushes out, "if you seek justice, you should allow the system to work for you." We see this mentality on all the popular TV shows such as Law and Order, NCIS, Judge Judy, etc., as well as in newspapers and magazines. But how can anyone consider a system "just" that fails to protect the basic rights of the people?

You can't, and most people on the outside (that have never dealt with the prison industry) do not and (most) can not comprehend the abuses and atrocities that go on behind the walls, committed by the prison administration and the courts. Take for example the mass validations and blatant violations of prisoners' rights that continue to occur here at High Desert in the administrative segregation unit (Z-unit). I was personally targeted and validated during last year's goon squad sweep. However, I did not sit still and do nothing, no sir, instead I filed an inmate appeal and followed it all the way to the director's level and was denied. Then I filed a petition for habeas corpus and was denied. Now I have to appeal to the appellate courts and we'll see what happens there. Now CDCR validated me as an associate of the NS prison gang, however none of their so-called points that were used against me meet state guidelines or laws. My three supposed points were two lists of names which are considered laundry lists (CDCR agreed to stop using laundry lists in the 2004 Castillo v. Alameda settlement) and one point was I told investigators I had "no comment" during an investigation.

My story is the normal practice here at HDSP and consistently occurs with just about all those who have been validated. And when you turn to the courts, they close their eyes and turn their heads and let the injustice continue uninhibited. So how can we receive justice? We can't, not as long as this capitalist society continues to think about the almighty dollar instead of the needs of the people. And since prisoners equal money to California, the courts and legislators will continue to allow these violations and others to go on until revolution forces a change.

chain
[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Oregon]
expand

DOC: Dealing Oppression Conspicuously

There are an unbelievable number of people incarcerated in prisons throughout Oregon who are either fearfully unwilling or shamefully disinterested in rocking the boat when it comes to initiating unnecessary change within the wall of their respective institutions. But quite often it is a requisite for beneficial change to capsize the boat and force the crew to flounder. As our diminishing rights become even more chewed up by the ravenous jaws of the imperialist piranhas, sitting idly by and watching the grim reality show that is our subjugation, results only in the further detriment and disenfranchisement of the socially ostracized. Unity brings potency to a revolution; solidarity releases an energy capable of crippling the most obstinate oppressor.

The State makes the prisoner an indentured servant to the correctional machine. we are forced to work for paltry earnings under the explicit fiat of Oregon law; punished if we refuse to forfeit our independence. In order to retain special privileges and certain material possessions, it is mandatory that we work our brittle fingers to the bone for the State. One could easily make the argument that it should be criminal to penalize a person for his or her refusal to be a state-sanctioned slave.

As someone doing a life term in prison, the last thing I want is to be a labor horse for the same imperialists who've taken an ax to my liberties. Whatever pittance I procure from my coerced labors must inevitably return to its original source, as I cannot avoid frequenting the commissary to purchase the bare necessities for maintaining personal hygiene and a vital connection to the outside world. The money must revert back to the State; it is a fiendish circle. Moreover, as the demand for their commodities increases, those in charge of operations within the commissary business raise the prices. Meanwhile, the monetary reward handed out to the sweating and bleeding prisoners remains invariably insufficient. But if I want to survive comfortably I must tow the line. However, perhaps it is when we grow too comfortable with our dire situations that we become reticent to speak out against our oppressors.

Those who lord over the lumpen are not to be confided in, nor are they to be greeted as yokefellows. They do not sympathize with our plight. How can they? They receive exorbitant amounts of money to imprison us, to keep us downtrodden and mentally enervated. To them we are the dregs of society, the mischief-makers whose drumbeat is not synchronous with theirs. Which is why it boggles my mind that there are prisoners who shower the corrections officers with warm cordiality as if these licensed oppressors are on equal terms with the incarcerated. I witness them in deep conversations with the officers on a daily basis, sharing information about themselves, as well as information about others. Prisoners joke around with the guards like everyone is best friends and not two socially separated classes - the oppressed and oppressor. What the oppressed prisoners seem woefully unreceptive to is the fact that these potentates of the penal system are in charge of keeping us stripped of our individuality, and hold the power to make our lives downright miserable. They raid our cells - essentially our homes - and confiscate anything that worries them or shows signs of our burgeoning dissatisfaction with our confinement. Anything we manufacture to amuse ourselves is stolen from us and tossed away like refuse. They intercept grievances, deliberately lose or discard our ail, and tell us when to wake up and when to eat. This is not a relationship of reciprocal treatment. It is a relationship where we are forced under threat of punishment to bow to authority, to respect authority, and they in turn deprive us of the same respect. They see us a dollar signs, not as friends.

The amelioration of our confinement will only see fruition when the lumpen unite as one solid and formidable engine and drive our oppressors into the ground like railroad spikes. We must learn to be smarter than them, to dodge their attacks, and to gain support not just from those in likewise wretched situations but from allies outside of the walls. We must face the challenges as bravely and indefatigably as possible. For it is not the steel bars that make the prison, but those who are unwilling to fight to break the chains.

chain
[National Oppression] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
expand

Appeals Denied on Mass Validation

I sent the grievance petition to the Director of Corrections [in the California Department of Corrections (CDCR)] on the flawed grievance system and how prison officials are purposely violating our rights by using oppressive tactics to stop and hinder us in filing administrative appeals. I received a letter back via a Redding CC II supervisor of high security and transitional housing, stating my letter was received and that the office of the inspector general has the authority to investigate complaints of officials of the CDCR for acts of administrative wrong doing. Basically, the CDCR isn't going to investigate said allegations but I'm welcome to try and get somebody else to. I'm going to strike up an administrative appeal on this issue for I have had a lot of appeals screened out for arbitrary reasons that in some cases can't be met, appeals lost, and just given the run around when trying to get my issues heard. But the appeals coordinator has previously screened out an appeal on him for arbitrarily screening out one of my appeals saying that the appeals coordinator's decision to screen out an appeal "can't be appealed" so I already know filing any kind of an administrative appeal on such an issue will be an uphill battle.

I am one of the 50 to 60 northern hispanics who were wrongly swept up in a mass validation sweep on High Desert State Prison's (HDSP) C-yard and placed in Z-unit (Ad-Seg) on false, unreliable, and insufficient information that doesn't amount to "some evidence" that I'm a prison gang associate. HDSP and CDCR are continuing to deny our administrative appeals, when we can show clear violations of their regulations and the law in how they validated us. I currently have appeals in on my validation. The fact is that they are not allowing us to receive our appliances in Z-unit when our privilege group allows such, the inadequate law library herein, and the fact that we are being held in Z-unit for years and not being transferred to the Security Housing Units. HDSP staff acts as if they're above all laws/rules and can do whatever they want.

I would also like to comment on the false snitches HDSP is breeding. For example, I was placed in Ad-Seg due to Institutional Gang Investigations (IGI) claiming they had sufficient evidence to validate me. But when I was given my validation package it was seen that I was placed in Ad-Seg when I only had one point towards my validation and I didn't receive the other two points that they needed for almost another month. Now IGI was hoping that someone would break and be willing to say anything to get out of Z-unit. You see when someone starts snitching they are moved to a building that allows them to have their appliances and other extra privileges that we are denied here in Z-unit so people desperate to get out of Z-unit will tell the debriefers exactly what they want to hear, be it true or, in most cases, false. Further, the prisoners snitching are usually validated, meaning they went through the whole process, know what the prison officials want to hear and the wording/terms to implicate someone. This system is highly unreliable for anyone can name a prisoner, give h a label/title and prison officials will validate themj just on that type of information.

These are issues that I'm currently dealing with and fighting and I thank you for reading it and also giving it some exposure in your newsletter.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The petition this comrade is referring to is part of the campaign to demand an answer to grievances that are often ignored, destroyed, or screened out for arbitrary reasons. Currently comrades have created petitions specific to California, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma. If you know prisoners who are having their grievances ignored, get in touch with us to get involved in this campaign.

chain