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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Texas Prisoner Framed and Provoked

I'm on lockdown at the Allred unit. I've been placed on high security for the time being for assault on a correctional officer. But the truth is I was actually the one assaulted. These cowards (officers) are abusing their authority by participating in criminal activities and covering up their unlawful behavior.

On March 15, 2009 I was forced to defend myself which resulted in physical violence. Sgt. J. Davis approached me on my way to the recreational area and took an altered t-shirt from me and started talking trash to me about a bogus cause he and one of his female officers wrote on me. I tried to plead my case and explain that the case was not legit, because I wasn't nowhere around to receive a case. When the case was written I was in school, but Sgt. Davis continued to harass me. So, I told him that he can write all the cases he wants I don't care, if that's how he chooses to wage war that he was a weak strategist.

Sgt. J. Davis said "Oyea! Well how do you like this!" Sgt. Davis then assaulted me by hitting me in the face with a closed fist, busting my upper lip. That's when I defended myself. I was then assaulted again by another officer named Moore, and sprayed with chemical agent and slammed on the floor. After being placed in restraints and sprayed I was kicked in the face.

Since then I've had all my property stolen, I've been threatened by numerous officers, and been placed in closed custody (high security). I had one officer threaten to poison my food in front of other officers. They just laughed about the shit! I've filed grievances and other complaints on staff, so far the O.I.G. has contacted me, and are currently investigating my claim. I really don't trust the O.I.G., or any other prison authority figure, is there any advice you could give to help me and my current situation?

I do apologize for not writing sooner, but this is why I haven't been able to respond to your newsletters as quickly as I should. Your Under Lock & Key (news you can use) has really motivated me. I need the motivation right now, so thank you, MIM, and the rest of my oppressed brothers and sistahs that contribute inspiring and important information to Brothers like me.

Under Lock & Key makes my time a lot easier, and I'm starting to understand the prison environment a little bit better.

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[Abuse] [Pennsylvania]
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Disciplinary policy torture

We have been engaging in nonviolent protest because certain individuals (pigs) wish for the capital case population to fall under disciplinary status, for punishment, when they haven’t committed any infractions against the institution.

For instance, on March 15th 1998, Supt Varner implemented a disciplinary policy that forced us in one day to ship all personal property, except for what could fit in one box. We were told we are now on D status. No more food items, no 6 hour visits, no sneakers, boots, and only cosmetics would be soap, toothpaste, deodorant, and toothbrush. We had to stop eating in order to get the media attention and people on the outside to help us. We were restored all privileges.

Then we had to face the matter of access to legal property. They wanted us to have access once a month when we needed access every week. They gave us access once a week after we stopped eating again.

Then, in September 2001 we had to stop eating once again because Supt Stickman wanted us to fall under the torture policy of sleeping with the lights on 24 hours a day. This is a disciplinary tactic that’s designed for population prisoners to stop committing infractions against the institution. We requested our own policy separately from Restricted Housing Unit (RHU), so we could be distinguished from disciplinary tactics. They gave us our own policy and exempted us from being punished with the light being on in our cells 24 hours a day.

Now on May 14, 2009, captain Walker and Unit Manager Guyton decided to place capital case population back under disciplinary policy by turning on the lights in our cells for 24 hours a day. We are asking that Deputy Martin, Captain Walker and Unit Manager Guyton be removed from handling capital cases because they’re responsible for placing us under disciplinary policies. Finally, Mr. Guyton issued a policy that will not permit us to wear hats to cover our heads during inclement weather.

We are asking for your assistance in helping us bring awareness to the ongoing punishment tactics. We ask that a letter, email, phone call or fax be sent to Jeffrey Beard the DOC Secretary of Prisons, Supt Louis S. Folino, and Ernest D. Preate Jr.

Ernest D. Preate
Mellon Bank Bldg.
400 Spruce St, Suite 300
Scanton, PA 81503
570-558-5970
570-558-5973
(contact him to contact Jeffrey Beard DOC Secretary of Prisons for us)

Supt Louis S. Folino
175 Progress Dr.
Waynesburg, PA 15370
724-852-2902

Secretary Jeffrey Beard
Dept of Corrections
PO Box 598
2520 Lisburn Rd.
Camp Hill, PA 17001-0598

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[Abuse] [Federal Correctional Complex Coleman USP II] [Florida] [ULK Issue 9]
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Pig Enables Stabbing of Prisoner in Riot

I'm a prisoner currently in the SHU in an Atlanta, GA transfer unit writing to you in regards to a legal matter I need assistance with. On January 25, 2009 at 2:10 P.M. on the USP Coleman 2 (Florida) recreation yard a major riot involving over 100 Hispanic inmates jumped off on the soccer field here while I and hundreds of other prisoners were watching a football game. The emergency announcement system was activated at which time I complied right away by getting down on the field.

I feel I was a victim of racial profiling for the simple fact that while complying, an unknown officer overlooked all other non-Hispanic inmates around me and restrained me. While I was face down on the ground and being restrained by this officer, I was then attacked by unknown assailants. While this officer held me down on the ground I was kicked, beat and stabbed. While I was repeatedly beaten and kicked, this unknown officer showed a great deal of negligence and blatant disregard for my life and safety when instead of protecting me or even helping me to a safe place, he just abandoned me, leaving me at the hands of my assailants. With this officer nowhere in sight, I made my way off the soccer field and to the safety of another officer who detained and cuffed me.

I was finally seen by Coleman medical staff who noticed the severity of the stab wound to my stomach and at which time I was air lifted to an Orlando, Florida based hospital where I underwent emergency surgery.

Coleman officers and staff failed to react properly and whether it was a lack of training or whatever, were obviously not prepared for such a major riot, and in being so unprofessional ultimately resulted in my near-death assault. I've unsuccessfully been trying to make contacts with legal firms or people who could help me with a lawsuit against the FBOP. A chaplain over here in Atlanta gave me one of your newsletters (Under Lock & Key) and told me your publication could help me find legal assistance with me filing a lawsuit. So with that said, I'd appreciate your help and response.

MIM(Prisons) responds: Unfortunately we do not have the resources to help the many comrades like this one who write to us for assistance with their legal battles. We are not even able to put sufficient resources into our own legal battles like the fight against censorship of Under Lock and Key. We print this letter to expose what is going on behind bars and encourage those with legal knowledge to step forward to help others.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Step up to expose and fight brutality

I am here in the Allred unit in Texas. I was reading a homie's Under Lock & Key paper back in Connally Unit and I would like to give thanks to him for putting me on this kind of work. I was reading that article about Peace in the Streets and I would like to comment on it. It's time to step up and help our people move up in this oppressed world. I've seen a lot of things that go on this side of the walls at Allred Unit.

For example, me and my cellie were going through shake down one day, and before we got to the front I told him not to disrespect them because these pigs are so dirty that they will mess us over. So we went through shakedown and everything went right, and then in a heartbeat this pig slammed him right on the ground with his face down. I told them we need to get medical down here for him and the only thing they said was he asked for it. So that's why I ask my people in the struggle to please not put yourself in that situation because what I have seen in these walls is like what happened to that prisoner Larry Cox in Huntsville TX who died due to shortage of medical staff in 2007.

I think about how many people die behind these prison walls and nobody knows what's going on. It's time to step up because we've been oppressed all this time.

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[Spanish] [Washington] [ULK Issue 11]
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Pandillas Afiliación y Organización

Mi desarrollo ha sido muy parecido al de otros antes de mi, y al de aquellos que comparten las mismas condiciones de vida que yo enfrento ahora: pobreza, amistades, albergues. Mi madre era una drogadicta y mi padre un drogadicto mujeriego. Conocí el sistema mucho antes de que pudiera entenderlo, cada minuto que pasaba me volvía mas rebelde sin saber el por que de esto. Todos mis crímenes me fueron llevando a estar en las entrañas de la bestia.

Antes de continuar debo explicar mi historia; yo solía ser un Crip. Como la mayoría de jóvenes sin familia o hogar estructurado, yo era un joven deslumbrado por el lujo, el dinero, las mujeres, las drogas, las armas y los colores representativos de mi grupo. Como Crips nosotros solíamos disparar a las personas y cosas, nos dedicamos a robar y vender drogas dentro de nuestras mismas comunidades; fui participe de este grupo y estas actividades hasta hace unos tres anos cuando comencé a cuestionarme acerca del verdadero significado de las siglas Crips, las cuales supuestamente deberían significar revolución comunitaria en progreso, o como también, el por que hay tantos miembros de los Crips cumpliendo condenas en las prisiones estatales de Texas? Bueno, continue mi afiliación hasta hace 3 años por la razón de que esta pregunta y similares seguían resonandome.

Actualmente soy miembro de "Las Panteras Negras" de la prisión. Yo soy una persona realista por lo cual entiendo el hecho de enfrentar 6 años de condena. Así en esencia esto no es solo acerca de mi, esto es acerca de toda la comunidad; es por eso que mi compañero LK me dirigió hacia usted.

MIM(Prisiónes) responde: Esta carta es un muy buen ejemplo de lo que nosotros tratamos de conseguir con la actual edición de nuestra publicación "bajo llave y candado", enfocada en el tema de la paz (ULK 7). Este prisionero se encuentra enfrentado un estado de transición el cual es muy común dentro los reclusos que han llegado a desarrollar una conciencia política, la cual puede ser generada desde la formulación de una simple pregunta como, que estoy haciendo?. El habla acerca de como el sistema alimentan las actitudes rebeldes y de los desahogos autodestructivos de los jóvenes en las comunidades oprimidas, para los cuales la prisión es un típico final en su camino.

Ahora, algunos pensarán que si el no hubiera terminado en la cárcel el nunca hubiera cambiado, es más muchas veces escuchamos a los mismo prisioneros decir que la prisión les dio el tiempo para pensar y cuestionarse, esto es cierto algunas veces las dificultades obligan a las personas a superar las adversidades y continuar con el proceso de crecimiento personal. Pero esto no significa que las prisiones estadounidenses sean una fuerza positiva en la vida de los oprimidos. Por el contrario, las prisiones son una fuerza negativa que los oprimidos superan a pesar de todo, no por las condiciones generadas por ellas. Los programas desarrollados por la MIM(Prisiones) son un ejemplo de fuerzas positivas que lleva a que las personas no tomen el mejor camino, por que siendo realistas la mayoría de personas que cumplen condenas en el sistema penitenciario salen discapacitados mental y físicamente, drogadictos, llenas de odio y rabia, etc. Nosotros deberíamos tratar de organizar a los prisioneros que salen con una actitud fortalecida, ayudarlos en su proceso de transformación para que sean miembros productivos en la sociedad.

No es un secreto el por que los jóvenes se unen a las organizaciones de la calle. Lo que es menos conocido es como el gobierno involucra estas organizaciones con el negocio internacional del trafico de drogas y con otras peligrosas actividades criminales. El gobierno hace que estas organizaciones criminales actúen como agentes del estado que mantienen estas comunidades en su sitio, ya que los opresores no pueden hacer mucho para influenciar estas desde afuera. Es por esto que los compañeros concientes ven la necesidad de dejar estas organizaciones criminales por otras organizaciones que realmente ayudan a la comunidad.

Entonces, lo que estas cartas resaltan es como el actual sistema penitenciario falla en la regeneración de los reclusos, y como el sistema desperdicia las vidas y el potencial humano. Los oprimidos quieren ser libres y tener vidas con propósito, es por esto que ellos mismos deben crear instituciones que los ayuden a contrarrestar este sistema. Trabaja con el MIM(Prisónes) para tomar este trabajo importante.

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[Prison Labor] [New York] [ULK Issue 8]
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New York Prisoners' Report on Labor and Economics

"Neither Slavery nor Involuntary Servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States..."
—Thirteenth Amendment, United States Constitution

History of Legalized Slavery

The Thirteenth Amendment was ratified by Congress by the required three-fourths of the States (27 of 36) on January 31, 1865, and declared an amendment December 18, 1865. To understand it in a prison setting, it is important to look at the history after it was ratified until today.

It was during the time of the enactment of the Thirteenth Amendment that "slaves", or better yet, the offspring of slaves had heightened their resistance to this torture and inhumane treatment that they inherited by bad luck. Slave leaders like Fredrick Douglas and Harriet Tubman started to educate themselves, assist in the escape of other slaves, and lobby for the rights that they felt they were due. Former slaves, escaped slaves, and others sympathetic to them led negotiations of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Once enacted, what was to be a victory for slaves, the Thirteenth Amendment later became nothing more than a smoke screen. When southern slave owners figured out that the second part to the amendment gave exception "as a punishment for crime" crafty southern lawmakers substituted various equivalents. One of these was "peonage." Peonage is a labor system in which the worker, who owes money to his or her employer, must "work off the debt." The term also can be defined, however, as virtual slavery or serfdom. Southern states enacted a series of laws that required, as punishment, high fines. Poor, now-"free" slaves were forced to borrow money to pay the fines and "work off" the debt, often times never paying off the interest. Some "crimes" included breaking curfews, and vagrancy.

The Freedman's Bureau, a government agency established to help former slaves assume responsibility as free citizens, attempted to replace "Peonage" with contracts. However, southern " Black Codes" prevented much progress. Vagrancy laws were abundant, and slavery was still existent, just under an alias.

In 1867, Congress enacted the Peonage Act in New Mexico, applying it to all of America. Now it was a felony to hold a person in Peonage or to seize or arrest a person to enforce Peonage. This same act outlawed any state law designed to enforce Peonage. In the 1900's the Peonage Act was accepted in full.

As we'll see below, modern laws and policies continue this legacy with many of the same oppressor nation motivations as in the 19th century.

Control those who can't be exploited

Every year, hundreds of thousands of mostly Black and Latino men from the 5 boroughs of NYC go thru the biggest county jail in the united $tates: Rikers Island in New York. After being convicted (which happens 70% of the time), private contractors bus them to state prisons upstate, more than 2/3rds of which are in rural areas with almost all white populations. Most of the officers, nurses, vocational instructors, etc. are from farming populations that lost their traditional economies largely to imperialist expansion into foreign markets in the Third World where they can exploit the people and buy food for excessively cheap prices.

Prisons are now the epicenter around which many towns have sprung up, reviving the dying rural communities. The local populations compete for these jobs, which are unique in their high wages and pension plans, while requiring minimal thinking ability.

No one can deny the stark increase in incarceration of Blacks within the past three decades. This increase is largely due to policies and harsh laws which are racially motivated. One notorious example is the federal guideline that sentences people to 10 years for possession of 5 grams of crack or 500 grams of cocaine, when whites are much more likely to be caught with cocaine. No study has ever proven that crack - cocaine in its coagulated form - is more harmful than its powder form. And though this law was modified recently, its purpose has already been served.

Since the end of slavery's role as a profitable enterprise by the u$ farming industry, the principal question for law officials has been, 'What is to be done about the fast growing population of restless young Black men?' - Prison has become the solution to this never ending problem. A population that is no longer a significant source of labor to be exploited, nor allowed to be junior partners to the imperialists, has no role to play in the modern imperialist economy. Hence, we have seen the growing lumpen class behind u$ prison walls.

Prison serves three valuable solutions, or better yet, prison has been the solution which can be explained in three forms.

  1. Prison is used as a social contraceptive to reduce and control population growth.
  2. Prison is a way to ebb the radical political consciousness of the people. To separate those radical elements among oppressed nations from influencing others to seek change rather than reform.
  3. Prison has been used as a way to deal with rising unemployment and stem entry into the already declining job market. (This is true despite the fact that after years of incarceration, most Blacks and Latinos are released to their communities with little hopes for employment, regardless of any participation in vocational programs.)

As we can see, the prison system is much more than an economic force exploiting labor. This is not to deny economic benefit that is reaped by the corporate elites and the amerikan so-called "worker" stooges. Prison, as a part of the capitalist system, has a further implication beyond jobs; it is also a way to repress other nations of people: the Black, Latino and indigenous nations, as well as migrants from the Third World.

Economics of NY Prisons

New York State Department of Correctional Services (DOCS), has approximately 60,000 inmates. In this system, "programs" are mandatory. Programs range from industry work, to maintenance, to pseudo-rehabilitative or educational programs. Most people work to keep the facility up and running. The five pay grades are as follows:

Grade 116¢ per hour
Grade 225¢ per hour
Grade 332¢ per hour
Grade 438¢ per hour
Grade 542¢ per hour

Each facility is limited to a small number of people being paid grade five, so in all actuality Grade 4 is top pay. Grade 4 is reserved for foremen, who are a special class within themselves where the old rule of divide and conquer prevails. They have proven their loyalty to the system through years of hard work and often report other prisoners if something goes wrong - many of these positions are given to white prisoners.

There are "industries" in several facilities: Attica specializes in making lockers that you find in state office buildings; Great Meadow specializes in manufacturing various chemicals such as liquid soap to clean public transportation and soap that is given to inmates; Coxsackie manufactures bed sheets, pillow cases, clothing worn by doctors and nurses, as well as money bags used by banks. All of these items are manufactured under the name "CorCraft." CorCraft made over $40 million in 2005, while prisoners were paid pennies. CorCraft is a government industry so the $40 million all goes back into the state General Fund, essentially offsetting some of the cost of running prisons or other public "services."

A "bonus" is given based on the individual productivity of every prison. For example, at grade 2 my base pay for a 40 hour work week is $10.00 (all programs other than Industry work 25 hour work weeks). With a 50% bonus I would make $15.00. Unlike all other prison programs, Industry workers punch a time clock and are forced to punch out whenever they leave their shops, even for meals which are in most cases mandatory.

An inmate in DOCS, comes in with a substantial debt to pay automatically: $40.00 Gate Fees, $150.00 Surcharge, $50.00 DNA fee, $20.00 Victims Fee. Additional debts may include restitution, child support, appeals fees, legal fees, processing fees, disciplinary sanctions (if incurred), etc. Oftentimes these amounts run into the thousands of dollars, and higher.

The cost of Commissary staple items, hygiene supplies, stamps, etc., have increased so dramatically that, in proportion, the payment DOCS pays in exchange for hard work becomes virtually worthless. For example, at $0.13 an hour, after a three hour work day mowing lawns in 90-degree weather, an inmate still cannot afford even one $0.42 stamp. The pay deteriorates even more if a percentage of the inmate's earnings must go toward fees, surcharges, fines, or other obligations.

Where it leaves us

Previous challenges to DOCS Peonage system of pay have been unsuccessful because DOCS maintains that they are not "paying" but rather "compensating" inmates for their "program" participation. International Law, such as the Geneva Convention, is pretty clear that prisoners of war cannot be "forced to work" without compensation. However, it does not state what compensation is. The Japanese, for example, compensate their prisoners with food.

In fact, food is one of the greatest incentives for New York inmates to work inside of prison. The Mess Hall is one of prison's more unpredictable locations. While the Mess Hall is mandatory for all meals in some prisons, here in DOCS, attendance is elective. In order to avoid potential conflicts, when possible, many inmates choose to skip the Mess Hall meal and eat a quick sandwich with Commissary items. A positive account balance is required in order to purchase food from the Commissary.

Another great incentive for prisoners to do work is postage. Years of study have proven that inmates who work to maintain family ties strive to do well in general prison populations. Inmates who receive visits do even better, and those who do not maintain family ties are statistically more vulnerable to problems. The ability to correspond with family is usually essential to maintaining family ties. If a person cannot afford a stamp after three hours of hard labor, the incentive for that person to be positive for the remainder of the day greatly diminishes.

DOCS originally established a system to pay inmates, in order to prevent theft and encourage inmates to work. However, by not paying a meaningful wage, what DOCS actually creates is a mirror of the Peonage System. An inmate in prison for ten years, without the assistance of family, may leave prison, not only still in debt, but convinced that hard work is useless and that society is inherently unfair. This is one of the results of a system based on punishing individuals, rather than changing the system that created their bad behaviors. In contrast, a socialist prison system serves to turn those who commit crimes against the people into productive contributors to society.

If the DOCS simply raised the "compensation" from pennies to even just $1.50/hour, this financial outlay surely would pay for itself. An inmate who has no hope of meeting his needs through legitimate earnings is likely to attempt to get what he wants, i.e. stamps, food, cigarettes, etc., by illegitimate means: thievery, violence, extortion, gambling, etc. Such activity increases the likelihood of claims for property, of altercations and of injuries, which lead to civil actions brought against the State.

It is time for the State to increase "compensation" for inmates - compensation that will assist inmates in maintaining hope and in maintaining family ties while inside of prison, and compensation that will convince inmates that there truly is benefit in working hard to earn one's way toward productive life, once they get outside.

MIM(Prisons) supports the application of a global minimum wage under capitalism. Although it would have to be taken into consideration that prisoners are provided with most basic needs before being paid - as poor as they may be.

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[Spanish] [National Oppression] [Florida] [ULK Issue 10]
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No soy criminal, soy revolucionario

Compañeros Revolucionarios,

Recientemente acabo de recibir una edición de MIM(Prisons) la cual me hizo sentir lleno de energía positiva y fuerza para continuar la lucha en contra del opresor. El sistema encarselario de los U$ es evidente ha sido formado con el proposito de mantener las personas de los barrios pobres y los inmigrantes que no comprenden las leyes, o mientras fueron a la escuela nunca le hablaron del peligro que los asecha en las calles de sus barrios, la policía, que facir es venir a la prición en este pais.

Yo me encuentro en los U$ desde abril del 1993, diez años de mi estadía en este pais ha sido en las granjas (prisión) por un robo a mano armada. Aunque esta es mi primera ofensa, donde no hubo sangre, ni victimas, fue sentenciado a 15 años en las granjas (prisión), pero no como un obrero sino como un animal.

Aunque para el sistema soy considerado un criminal, yo me considero un individuo que cometió un error en una etapa de mi vida cuando no estaba pensando apropiadamente. Apesar de que este sistema es un negocio que genera millones de dolares para ser gastado en cosas como "la guerra contra el terrorismo" y un grupo de cosas que solo ayudan a los que ya están en poder y no necesitan ningún tipo de ayudar. Es doloroso lo que ultimamente estoy viendo pasar en este sistema, un gran cantidad de los presos nuevos son niños, si niños con una sentencia de vida, muertos, basura en los ojos de este sistema diabolico. Es doloroso cada vez que hablo con alguno de estos muchachos, veo mi imagen en sus ojos, un niño que no va a tener una oportunidad de ser libre, tener una familia, hijos, etc. Y su algún día tiene la oportunidad de salir de este lugar, su mente estará tan doblada y confundida que se convierte en un producto del sistema, un verdadero criminal.

Es facil jusgar, apuntar el dedo y hablar acerca de las cosas que uno no comprende. Yo fue una de esas personas. Este gobierno colonialista, capitalista, nos mantiene ignorante, crellendo que ellos están trabajando para un mejor mañana. La guerra hasta que se da cuenta el verdadero propocito, colonialismo, es el verdadero proposito. Esta gobierno sabe que no importa cuantos niños y mujeres mueran, el mundo cuntinua su curso, mientras el pueblo esta comodo no habra revolución.

Yo soy parte de una organización la cual es catalogada como un grupo terrorista, somos catalogados como STG porque no estamos de acuerdo con las idiologias de este gobierno, porque nos catalogamos como un movimiento revolucionario, porque amamos nuestra jente del tercer mundo, nuestra gente oprimida. No importa el nombre que se nos de, nosotros no morirémos, nosotros nos continuarémos multiplicando, en las acciones de nuestros guerreros es que se puede ver el hombre del mañana.

Yo voy a ser deportado para mi amado pais al final de mi sentencia y promento continual regando la semilla del cambio despertar a todo aquel que se encuentra dormido en el cementerio de la ignorancia. El camino es duro pero mi hambre por revolucíon es más grande.

Viva la revolución! Viva el hombre de nación!

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [California]
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I Stand Tall

I'm a mortal man
I do what I can
Just to withstand
The pressure I feel
From those who wanna steal
All that is real
Through my sensory loss
Attempting to toss
Silence across
My very existence
Waning resistance
Till I break down
Wearing a frown
All beaten down
But I simply refuse
To let them abuse
And give me the blues
I will stand tall
Not ready to fall
That is my call
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[Education] [Illinois] [ULK Issue 9]
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Only the Educated are Free

Back in 100 A.D. a greek philosopher named Epictetus uttered these five words: "Only the educated are free." Today these five words ring true to a lot of us who find ourselves in residence behind the walls of the United States prison system. The U.S. has 5% of the world's population, yet is responsible for 25% of the world's prison population. 1 in every 31 adults in the United States is in jail, prison, or on some sort of supervised release. Now, with that in mind, we prisoners should have a strong voice, and I applaud MIM for trying to help us organize that voice for the common good.

Where do we start? Go back to the quote I opened with, and then take a look at MIM platform plank number one: Primary, secondary and college education free to the whole world. Let's localize that to ourselves for the time being. As "guests" of the prison system, we have lots of free time. In case you have not noticed, the government has no problem with us using all that time to play cards, watch TV, maybe take a few of their so-called "educational" programs and basically kick us out the door no better than we were when we came in. There are a ton of correspondence courses available to prisoners from many different colleges in many different disciplines. Apparently though, a criminal seeking a higher education, to better himself while behind bars, scares those in charge.

In 1994, the government stopped awarding Pell grants to prisoners to pay for their education. Considering that, by the Bureau of Prisons' own statistics, 40% was the average recidivism rate for parolees in general compared to only 5% for those with college degrees. So one would have to ask, why would the government choose to promote recidivism versus education? There are two simple answers: money and fear. The government makes too much money off of prison and the fruits of prison labor.

As for fear, the government is scared that the prison population will become educated, vocal and organized, which is exactly what needs to happen. Groups like MIM are going to make it happen. I encourage all of you to start a writing campaign. U.S. Senator Jim Webb has vowed to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system from top to bottom to "fix" it. Well, here's a chance to let our collective voice be heard. Encourage other prisoners to write, encourage your families to write:

Senator Jim Webb
248 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Ask why only the rich and the white collar criminals are deemed worthy of outside education and a realistic shot at not coming back to prison.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Send us copies of letters sent to Senator Webb so that we can also publicize this struggle. We also point our readers to Under Lock and Key issue #8 where we discussed in detail the economics of prisons. In reality the government is not making money off prison labor, but they are benefiting greatly from the social control provided by the prison system.

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[Spanish] [Florida] [ULK Issue 9]
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Organizaciones callejeras y organizamiento revolucionario

Como joven revolucionario, yo me encuentro acercandome a 10 años de ser miembro de los Almighty Latin Kings (Reyes Latinos todo Poderosos). Ha tenido sus altas y bajas, pero me ha convertido en el hermano que se encuentra aquí sentado escribiendo estas palabras. Algunas veces yo me molesta cuando leo MIM’s y alguien escribe hablando de que era ex-miembro de una Pandilla. Por que una persona tiene que dejar todo en lo que él cree por equis cantidad de años para cambiar su vida? Si yo tuviese que dejar mi nación para hacer un cambio para mejorar, estos ultimos 10 años de mi vida serían nada más que una mentira. Yo no miro a ALKQN como una Pandilla, porque nunca en mis 10 años yo he participado en pandillerismo, ni me he puesto colores. Pero eso no significa que como hombre yo no he cometido errores. Yo he estado viviendo en los campos de concentración de Amerika por una mejor parte de mi vida. Aquí yo he aprendido a leer y a escribir, y como ser un hombre. Sino fuese por la ALKQN, yo todavía fuese un alma perdida, sordo, estupido, y ciego justo como los imperialistas nos quieren.

Cuando yo leo MIMs y eschuo de hermanos en Nueva Jersey que estan enseñando a otros Reyes y a miembros de UBN (United Bloods Nation) a leer y a escribir, y no solo pasando revistas XXL y VIBE, de eso es lo que Reyismo se trata. No pandillerismo. Siendo yo de Brick City, yo se directamente es el NJDOC, asi que mi amor va para todos esos camaradas que se encuentran en el GU, sin importar cuales sean sus afiliaciones. Tu no tienes que dejar de ser tu para mantenerte fuera de la prisión. No los dejes que te engañen, joven hermano.

Como una vez dijó uno de los hermanos más revolucionarios de nuestra bella isla (Albizu Campos) “Despierta Boricua; defiende lo tuyo!”

MIM(Prisiones) responde: Nosotros aprendemos cosas atravez de nuestras vidas que nos lleva a hacer cambios en lo que pensamos y hacemos. Aprendiendo sobre politicas revolucionarias y moviendose fuera de una organización callejera para estar envuelto en organizamiento no hace la historia de uno una mentira. Algunos camaradas trabajando con MIM(Prisoniones) se quedan con sus organizaciones callejeras y otros eligen dejarlas cuando entran en politicas revolucionarias. Muchas veces estas deciciones tienen base en lo que sus organizaciones callejeras estan metidas, y en lo que individualmente una camarada piensa que puede hacer como miembro. Si una persona es miembro de una organización callejera que no soporta el trabajo anti-imperialista, puede ser tiempo de moverse de esa organización callejera. Sin embargo, nosotros respetamos a esos camaradas que quieren quedarse con sus organizaciones callejeras y promover anti-imperialismo dentro del grupo. Hay papeles importantes para ambos acercamientos.

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