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Under Lock & Key

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[Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Huntingdon] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 15]
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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.


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[Organizing] [High Desert State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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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.

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[Organizing] [Prison Labor] [Oregon]
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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.

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

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[Organizing] [Southeast Correctional Center] [Missouri]
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Continuing the Struggle from Inside Ad-Seg

Today I find myself really motivated to again try to inform my fellow convicts, no, I mean offenders. For we know the days of the "convict" are long gone, especially in lame-ass Missouri, where even guys with "all-day & without" don't even want to make a stand in fear of receiving a damn CDV. Like it's gonna make a difference one way or another to their case.

I'm housed here at Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston Missouri where offenders are subjected to outright violations of any retirement what-so-ever. They use tactics such as grabbing offenders off the yard and placing them on bogus investigation without telling them what for, keeping their mail from them, manipulating the offender's law clerks to keep CDC policies from offenders. Say "this or that policy no longer exists" when in fact there's no way that can be true when policy's supposed to govern Rules and Regulations. When an offender tried to file on an issue it's denied solely based on another staff's statement.

To make matter worse, that staff starts issuing you bogus conduct violations to further keep you in Ad-Seg. As I try to explain this to my fellow offenders they be so broken down from being locked down in the hole that no matter what they just want to get out and once they do it's "so what" until the next time.

At times I become so livid about just how badly we're treated that it almost turns me into a monster, wanting only to hurt them like they're hurting me. But then I receive your newsletter and read the articles and see it's all over this so called "great country" called the USA. This leads me to believe that it truly starts at the very top, meaning our government. I don't think the public has any real idea as to the conduct that's being put upon the mass of people locked up. Really, for one to come to work just to do these type of actions, it makes me think who the real criminals the public should be worried about, the ones locked up or the ones who go home from these places at the end of their hateful 8 hours!

I'm proud to say that this is one convict who will never give up the fight and I will continue to do my part in this struggle. I will support MIM to the best of my ability.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Developing a class consciousness of prisoners, and the lumpen in general, is the purpose of sharing all the stories from around the country in Under Lock & Key. We're always glad when a new comrade comes to grasp the big picture. S/he gets it exactly right. Prisons serve a purpose for the state, which is an institution of class oppression. Currently the exploiter classes are in power, including the labor aristocracy pigs who are well aware of the conditions in the prisons they run and their families pay for through taxes.

This is why we refer to "prisoners" and not "convicts" or "offenders." All people incarcerated in the united $tates are prisoners of the imperialist state to serve its exploitative interests. Many did not even do anything to "offend" another humyn being. And even the many that did aren't the big criminals, as this writer points out, who are responsible for mass murder, torture and ecological destruction.

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[Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 15]
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Refused medical treatment in Texas

I'm writing in reference to the mental health and overall medical conditions in the Texas pri$on $y$tem. Here recently they've been taking several mental health patients off their psych medications even though these individuals need these medications. They say these individuals don't need these medications anymore, even though they've been diagnosed with mental disorders prior. Since they've started taking these individuals off their medication there's been several of them attempting suicide (one successful).

They've refused me treatment for a rash I had spreading over my body. I had to raise hell just to get some medication for it. It's to the point now where it's extremely difficult to get any kind of treatment for anything.

The big picture is these pigs could care less about our mental or physical well being. It's all about making a dollar to them. If they got to cut back on our medical care, to make more money they will. That's why we got to make a stand comrades, we can't just sit back and let these pigs f**k us over. Sad thing is a lot of these prisoners don't know how to fight back, that's why those of us that do need to step up and show our fellow brothers how to stand up to this injustice system here in Texas and everywhere else for that matter. Once these pigs see that we won't be run over and mistreated, they will stop their B.S!

MIM(Prisons) responds: We are printing this report in our issue focused on mental health. While medical care is often tied into mental health in our society, we are putting forth an approach that looks at mental health as a social issue and problem. While in the narrow sense, these prisoners may have acted on their suicidal tendencies because they stopped receiving certain medications, these medications were only a band-aid to begin with. And while suicide is the ultimate destruction of a humyn being, the fate of many people who are victims of this oppressive system of incarceration, isolation and drugging is little better. So, rather than see the lack of medicine as the cause of death, we would say that the oppressive system of imperialism caused this death and the other suicide attempts.

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[Organizing] [California] [ULK Issue 15]
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Response to my critic in SNY debate

During the past 25 1/2 months I've been physically, verbally and emotionally assaulted, degraded, etc. I've fought several successful legal battles during this time also. Some have been denied all the way up to the State Supreme Court. Either way, I have shown full support to our comrades in arms and ink, unlike some of MIM(Prisons)'s correspondents, specifically one who replied to a previous article I wrote on unity. This particular comrade's response to me was published in ULK 14 (May/June 2010).

In my article, I stated that all comrades must put aside our petty politics of Special Needs Yard (SNY) vs. mainline crap. I am on SNY and have not had a bunch of other prisoners forcing me to do things just because they say it's to be done. I no longer have to fear reprisals for being my own man, or going to groups, religious services or law libraries to help with legal work.

Each person is their own person on SNY, free to do and be what they choose, not through fear, but choice.

The comrade who rips into my article claims it's SNY prisoners that further the Green Wall in prisons. That's pure speculation. It's a fact that mainline and SNY don't really affect that Green Wall either way. Sure, SNY yards aren't perfect. Yes, a lot of creeps run around also. But there is greater freedom and unity on SNY. A forceful riot with violence under threat of punishment on the mainline yards due to active prisoner politics is not even close to a voluntary sit down/riot/strike/protest/etc. by SNY prisoners, nor will it achieve the same results.

I was an active skinhead for well over 7 years in prison. I participated in no fewer than 6 riots/protests under duress. What was accomplished was barely worth my time. It continued the racist segregation, deprived prisoners of even the barest necessities, programs, visits, access to legal libraries, educational and rehabilitative services, and more. This in turn made guard's jobs easier, and allowed them to do less work for the same pay. No great accomplishments.

Not that it's all great on SNY, but I've witnessed greater accomplishments out of an SNY protest. As an SNY prisoner I've been a part of 3 nonviolent protests and 2 riots, each on a voluntary level. The lack of fear helped unite prisoners longer. The camaraderie was more intact, the benefits more noticeable. During one of the nonviolent sit-downs, we accomplished higher wages for the workers in all the Prison Industry Authority factories here, though still not fair wages compared to those of general society.

In another case, a violent riot involving SNY prisoners against guards at Lancaster prison, due to being unfairly denied program and visits for petty crap like "lack of staff to run prisons," a riot involving weapons, was a small success in itself. One guard and 3 prisoners were hospitalized. However, our program was returned to normal, our visits returned, store returned.

To hear this comrade talk shit about how he'd rather be in Administrative Segregation at all times rather than have to go to SNY is not showing unity. If this comrade wishes to do that as his own form of protest, fine. That's on him. If he wants to be confined to a cell 23 1/2 hours a day, lose his privileges, visits, family visits, usual store, and program, fine. I personally think it's nuts, but I will never tell him he's wrong.

He automatically labels a SNY prisoner "his own worst enemy." He says SNYs are full of cowards who afraid of programing. This is false. I tried to stay active when I first attempted to get out of the skinhead gangs, but when the other prisoners attempted to jump me daily, label me a "snitch" when I never told a soul a name other than mine, when I was threatened with being stabbed with a knife due to defending myself from racist politics to further benefit my life, it's a common sense issue to do what I did to survive and get back to my family, the people who I know truly care for me.

I am no coward. In fact, it takes a lot of balls to do what I did, to go against the grain, and to better myself. Since then I have educated myself in several areas: basic education, philosophy, religion, politics, and legal issues to give myself a better chance to succeed in life.

I'm not knocking the comrade that criticized my previous article, but it is my personal opinion that s/he isn't informed well enough to speak on the subject of SNY with any authority. I am. I spent a long chunk of time on active yards as a skinhead, as well as on SNY yards, not out of cowardice as this other comrade implies, but as a drop-out skinhead who wished to succeed in life so as to 1) be able to lower the recidivism rates of CDCR, 2) be able to better assist other comrades who aren't as fortunate as I am and 3) return to my friends and family as they need me there with them far more than they need or want me subjected to slave and torture conditions in prison.

Instead of offering up viable options, this critic ostracizes prisoners and comrades, who a lot of the time just want away from situations that are not useful to any reasonable objective. Actives primarily only want gangs, drugs, racism and politics. They claim to be better than SNY. They preach racism and fighting between prisoners and do nothing that thwarts the Green Wall's efforts at instigating those same tensions. At least on the SNY side, these racist, gang and political differences are virtually non-existent, which requires the Green Wall pigs come up with other ways to instigate things.

I spent nearly a decade on active yards, and I've seen no more than 3 guard stabbings by prisoners. In 4-5 years on the SNY side, I've documented 7+ that I've actually seen. Prisoner assaults on guards are up also, not that it was the best way, it just occurred.

So if this criticizing comrade honestly wishes to help the overall goals of other comrades, maybe he should man up and spread the word instead of wasting his breath on things he doesn't know about well enough. Stop hindering comrades trying to do real helpful things. I may be on SNY but I help both actives & SNY. I'm literally responsible for 4 successful legal suits resulting in the state and CDCR paying out over $12.2 million dollars with over 3 of it going to active prisoners who were abused, including 2 illegal use of force and 1 wrongful death due to negligence.

I ask this other comrade "what have you done for the cause?" I still am in process of 3 other suits, 2 with fair possibilities of victory. Put your money where your mouth is comrade. One day you just may get called upon, one way or another. Both sides of the fence have their issues. But it's not really a problem unless comrades allow it to be, as this other comrade does.

MIM(Prisons) adds: For years, leaders in the lumpen organizations (LOs) in the California Prison system attempted to organize peace summits. These meetings were sabotaged by CDCR intelligence higher-ups, the leaders were further isolated in Security Housing Units, and many hand-picked leaders were given free reign in the mainline. Like we've said before, staying true to your LO does not necessarily mean staying independent of the K9s (the state). It is often the exact opposite. But it is also the case that the LOs are in such a sad state of affairs because of state intervention and manipulation. The LOs do have more potential than most are currently demonstrating, but they have already lost many of their best youngsters who have seen the current errors of their ways as this comrade has.

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[Organizing] [Montana] [ULK Issue 15]
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Boycotting work is unrealistic

In the May/June 2010 issue of ULK a Pennsylvania prisoner stated that he thinks everyone should stop working so the prison systems would look at our complaints. While I think my comrade has a great idea, I must conclude that it is a very unrealistic one. There simply aren't enough people willing to stand up for this cause. S/he was right in saying people care more about television than their rights. I ask MIM(Prisons) and my fellow brethren to give me, as well as everyone, some ideas on how we can make other prisoners come together to make our Pennsylvania brother's dream come true.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We did briefly address this point in the article "Our unity vs. their crisis" in the same issue of ULK. What many people are recognizing here is that we need to proceed in steps, and we must continually assess our conditions to see how fast we can move. Also, keep in mind that development is not equal across the board. So, while our Montana comrade is correct in general, this might not be true everywhere (see "Back to the basics"). But where it is not true the key is to start with things that can be done with smaller groups, such as lawsuits and study groups, or actions that require less commitment like petitions or fund drives. All of these things can help develop unity. We welcome ideas from others, but specifically ideas that you have tried and worked. Or if they didn't work tell us why. Ideas without testing in practice are a dime a dozen.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Filthy Prisons/Filthy System in Texas

I want to lace some of you up about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutional Division (TDCJ-CID), just in case you ever get the itch to come to Texas. It is a great state but the courts are kangaroo, the Texas court of criminal appeals ignores pro-se (pro-per) filings and TDCJ-CID treats prisoners (now called offenders for effect) exactly like barn yard animals. This prison system is so oppressive that they recently took away our pillows. The following is a list of oppressions that Texas inflicts on prisoners:

You can not purchase anything from an outside vendor. There are no care packages, and no conjugal visits, and you can not purchase your own television. TVs are in the extremely loud and noisy dayroom where everyone argues and/or fights over programs which is usually Jerry Springer, soap operas, or basketball. The Texas prison units are not air conditioned, and the old brick units and some (most) of the sheet metal units are cockroach and mice infected, filthy pigsties. The unit I'm on routinely had black mold on the kitchen and shower walls. Speaking of kitchens, prisoners clean and make all the food - 90% of Texas prisoners take no pride in anything they do - they do not wash their hands.

This prison system is one nasty filthy place. Every summer there are many staph infection outbreaks. Some even have the resistant type called M.R.I.S., and we just got over a Norovirus. Showers are at 6am so you go to bed after 90-100 degree weather sweating. Clean clothes are given only Monday thru Friday. If you went to a hospital environment on Friday (chain leaves at 3am, you get back at 9pm/10pm), you are contaminated with bacteria and/or viruses, etc... but you still get no shower or clean clothes until Monday, Tuesday if the Monday is a holiday. Waiting on transfer transportation, you must leave your coat in the main building and walk to the back gate, pouring rain and/or freezing cold, it does not matter. If there is a shack, it will not be heated. Guards have thick fur lined coats and sit in a hot brick shack sipping hot coffee while grinning. In the dorms in the summer, it is so hot that the fans run 24/7 for almost 5 months. These fans are industrial barrel fans. They are so loud that if you close your eyes you can imagine being on an old propeller airplane - 24/7 for 5 months! This has to be causing ear damage. Complaints to any state or county agency (health department, etc) are diverted, ignored, or just sent back to prison officials identifying you/me as the whistle blower.

Parole? Forget about it. The records and classification department of the prison system scans the prisoner file when you first get here, evaluates your sentence and any and all allegations by anyone, and then codes your file to tell the parole board not to seriously consider you/me for parole until the "coded amount of years" has been completed. It may be the entire sentence. Getting a "serve-all" is commonplace, and get a "serve all via 1 yr, 2 yr or 3 yr, continuous denials" is also common place even for model prisoners who has completed all individual treatment programming and has full family support. Interstate compact transfers and paroles are rare. Prison staff are "guards" not trained peace officers like California. Most TDCJ-CID guards are off the welfare roll, Nigerians who barely speak English, wanna be police officers who fail the psych exam, and huge ego power trippers who get their rocks off making life as miserable for inmates as possible. And then you have actual gang members - bandana flying gang members. As a lung and bronchial tube cancer patient the prison and medical system deliberately tried to let the cancer kill me - waiting for 1 1/2 years to even get me to a hospital, and 3 years to start actual treatment.

All this is just the tip of the iceberg. And in Texas there are no pro-bono attorneys to speak of. The ACLU of Texas provides no help for Texas prisoners unless it will generate news media coverage, I am assuming to get more donations.

If you come to Texas, remember that its a good 'ol boy state and the highway signs that say "don't mess with Texas" is not talking about littering, as advertised. On a final note, the Texas government code has a section that states that no state, county, or city government has to answer any correspondence from anyone "incarcerated" (convicted or not).

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[Medical Care] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 15]
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Pleas against brutality following suicide attempt

I write to you in regards to a sexual assault, battery and abuse that I am a victim of. I would have written to you sooner, but my resources are limited, and I have just very recently received your info and address from the psychological services staff here at the prison.

On April 13 I made a suicide attempt by trying to hang myself, which the officers here at the prison responded to by removing me from that unit and bringing me to DS-1, the segregation unit. As we arrived on the unit the officers asked me if I would comply with the strip search, to which I responded "I need help," referring to psychological help or treatment. As I stated no, one of the officers slammed my head into the steel shower door and I fell to the ground. After falling to the ground the officers piled on top of me and rolled me over on my stomach and began tearing and cutting my clothes off me. Then they spread my legs and arms out and the officers began to punch me and twist my arms and wrist behind my back. The officers also choked me and placed their knees on my back and in my face and told me to stop resisting, though I had never resisted, nor had I ever become physically or verbally abusive or hostile. After all this, the officers then began to poke and insert their fingers inside my anus and squeezed my testicles after lifting them up while laughing at me during this unlawful and unconstitutional assault.

I've written to numerous prison officials and have also spoken with several white shirt lieutenants about this matter and about being transferred to another institution because I'm not safe in this prison and the officers are still harassing me. I've done all that I can possibly do and now you are my very last and only hope for help. I respectfully ask you to please please please publicize my story.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We publish reports like this as a small service to some of the most oppressed people in the United $tates who send us these pleas. We hope that our readers are appalled by these injustices and driven to work harder to end imperialism. However, we also recognize the limitations of these moral appeals, and want to reiterate that for the oppressed who write these letters and hope for their conditions to change. Recently, USW comrades discussed the question of appealing to the emotional sympathies of the oppressor. In that discussion comrades recognized the primacy of class and national interests. Emotional appeals may strike a chord in a small minority who may commit class/nation suicide and fight for the oppressed. But overall, Amerikans are aware of what is going on and they support it, even if they don't like to think about it.

As one comrade put it, "we shouldn't base our strategy of building public opinion on whether we can guilt trip amerikans into not being parasites." Our strategy should be based on the vast majority of the world who are the victims of this parasitism. The difference for the oppressed is that they don't have a choice whether to think about the brutality of this system when they are seeing it on a daily basis. It is only a minority in the United $tates that faces this level of oppression, and that is the minority that should guide our strategies for anti-imperialist organizing here.

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