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[Censorship] [Texas]
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Censorship at Texas Estelle Unit

This brief letter is not a complaint but only to raise my voice against the injustice I'm experiencing here at the Estelle High Security Unit.

I understand the implications pursuant to Correspondence Rules BP-03.91, of which each out-going and in-coming letter to and from offenders are indeed subject to inspection and if such letter is denied then the offender and the sender will be provided a Correspondence Denial Form within seventy-two hours of rejection. This is designed to go into detail informing the offender of the appropriate cause and the evidence relied upon for this denial, and whether he intends to appeal. If he does not wish to appeal, then he has the choice either to have the letter destroyed or sent back to the sender at the offender's expense. This rule, policy or procedure is not being followed.

As stated, there is no question a uniform procedure for denying out-going and in-coming mail is needed. I don't have a problem with the policy. I have a problem with the process. The BP-03.91 policy is a complete method of procedures, which establish a way of doing things and each procedure shall be related in accordance to policy.

What the mailroom staff (Office of Intelligence) are doing is shifting/switching procedure from one day to the next to cover whatever actions they've taken. In a very plain term, its unfair and totally inappropriate to shift or switch procedures in midstream without giving prior warning to offenders. How can any offender follow rules which constantly change without any notice? Rules, policies and procedures that change without notice confuse me as well as other offenders.

This policy is vague and ambiguous, leaving major openings for misinterpretation and giving unreasonable discretionary power to unit Gang Intelligence Officers that TDCJ-ID has left largely unchecked and unquestioned and untrained in key areas of the policy which, in return, causes animosity towards myself and other offenders. They use these misinterpretations to vastly exaggerate accounts of supposed gang-related information, and to justify denial of out-going mail. When mail is denied it often takes weeks before an offender is notified or if the correspondence is not denied it is sent out weeks later. All this is under the guise of security.

If the G.I. (reader) decides my letter contains dangerous content the letter will automatically be denied. How these readers define such content, and who plays a role in making that determination are questions without clear answers. And while such denials require written notification, in practice that rarely happens.

A review of the process exposes a policy in which sections of the policy either contradict each other or are shifted from one day to the next so that no one is responsible. The mailroom, the G.I. and/or Wing officer or even other offenders have access to our mail. The policy isn't even uniformly applied. These type of standard procedures will continue to exist because the mailroom staff insists on denying out-going mail without providing a written notice and without returning back offender's stamped envelopes.

For over two years on this unit, when out-going mail was denied the offender was informed and his stamped envelopes were confiscated. Only after the mailroom staff became so sloppy that they no longer even passed out any denial forms were there enough questions raised that it was discovered that the offender was supposed to receive his stamped envelope back, how nice! However, if questioned about where the thousands of stolen or wrongly confiscated stamps when to the past two years, there is no answer. In fact, any offender ho dares to ask will be retaliated against. Even when caught, the mailroom staff will deny that their conduct was unlawful in any respect.

Enclosed in this letter are grievance step one and two proof of my effort to remedied the problem but as you can see their response is always the same "...The Estelle Unit mailroom is processing all incoming and outgoing correspondence in accordance to BP-03.91. No further action is warranted..." I have other grievances that consist of the same issues but were handled with the same answer.

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[Medical Care] [Texas]
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Medical malpractice in Texas

The U.S. Justice Department says there are 33% of disabled people in prison. Texas closed mental health hospitals and a lot of disabled people are now housed in prison.

A disabled person makes $9,000 a year to live on the streets, but TDC makes $32,000 a year to house the same person. In TDC there is no protection for disabled people and most can’t write or think properly to protect themselves from rape, extortion, beatings and mistreatment from staff and medical care.

This is one case out of many that I am trying to bring to light. I was being overdosed at the pill window [where they dispense medicine in the prison]. The pill window staff would give me an odd number of pills repeatedly and when asked why, the reply would be “Take your meds or receive a disciplinary case.” Over the course of this three and a half years, my blood work has come back toxic three times. While this was going on I had over 30 seizures and I started having blackouts. I did not receive treatment for years.

When I first learned that I was being overdosed I told the nurse. The reply was “we don’t do that” so I wrote emergency grievances but they were all kicked out. I requested help from the doctor and he said “he’s crazy” and sent me to the mental health department. Then TDC put me to work while I was still unstable from seizures. I had three seizures at work and they said it was a security issue and put me back to work in the hot kitchen where I had 4 more seizures.

Eventually I talked to a nurse who stopped the overdose of one of my drugs. But the medical department continued to cover up the overdose while the overdose of another drug was still going on. I told the nurse manager that I needed my medical records to show the doctor to stop the seizures and blackouts. She said “we don’t keep those records” then added “some of your records are not for you to see.” Then she told me “get a lawyer.” When my lawyer finally was able to get my medical records, I found that the overdose was deleted from my records. The lawyer asked the nurse manager about this and was told this was a mistake and sent the records again. But the records were not corrected. After repeated appeals and requests for my full records, on the fifth try I got a set of records that show them overdosing me 11 times, but the rest of the dates were changed.

After 2 years I wrote to Senator John Whitmire and to the Texas Medical Board. The Senator faxed a medical release to get my medical records and within two weeks the doctor called me in and asked me what was wrong. I told him “seizures, blackouts, confusion, and I could not eat.” He asked how long and I told him I had been reporting all this for the past two years. He said he would send me to a neurologist.

Then my letter from the Texas Medical Board came and the response said “the doctor is now under investigation for what he has done and now his case is in the director of enforcement.”

My last seizure was August 2007 and I was sent to the emergency room. There I weighed 148 pounds, that is a loss of 52 pounds from this treatment. My appointment with a neurologist showed neurological problems. So I filed a case in federal court and was denied counsel. Now I must represent myself.

This is going on in prison. There was a man who died August 9, 2007 from seizures from the same treatment I was getting. If they have the ability to change my records, then they will change anyone's and get away with it.

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[Censorship] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 5]
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Hypocrisy continues at Red Onion

Peep this out! You all remember sending me a document of someone saying that ROSP [Red Onion State Prison] allowed his January 2008 issue of GQ to come through when it had an article concerning the Crip gang lifestyle? Well, I went and ordered GQ in hopes that they slip up, to help in our defense in this battle. Well, in the August 2008 GQ, under the topic crime, there is an article titled "Mexico's Red Day" on pages 96,97,98,100,102 and 103. In it they talk about gang/drug cartels, rapes, small gang war, killing left & right behind the gang & drug war, cops getting killed & using their rank to get over on people.

I mean, how could these three levels of review miss this, especially when it's dealing with Mexico and they are aware of the conditions of poverty there? It's disappointing to see such blatant racism go unchecked, just because GQ is deemed a white publication while XXL and others are "Black." But it's alright because these fools insist on placing themselves in a position that they can't justify. They want a strictly enforced policy that they don't even honor.

MIM(Prisons) adds: There is an ongoing battle against censorship in Virginia, where the prisons are rejecting all MIM(Prisons) literature as well as any other publications considered "Black" like XXL. We are appealing this through the legal system and also need letters of protest sent to: W.D. Jennings, Ph. D., Management Lead Analyst, Virginia Department of Corrections, PO Box 26963, Richmond, VA 23261-6963

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[Prison Labor] [Pennsylvania]
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Prison Labor at SCI Fayette

SCI Fayette has about 1800 to 2100 prisoners, of those 1200 to 1400 work for the DOC doing various work assignments. Jobs are related to running of the facility, such as maintenance, commissary, grounds crews, schooling, laundry, barber shop, library and janitors. Some also work for "Correctional Industries." The pay scale is as follows in $/hour:

Step AStep BStep CStep D
Class 10.190.200.210.23
Class 20.240.250.270.29
Class 30.330.350.380.42

People usually work from 120 to 160 hours per month, so top pay would be $50.40 to $67.20. Correctional Industries (CI) makes 51 cents or about $81.60 a month. Like similar programs that exist in all 50 states, Pennsylvania Correctional Industries produces things such as furniture, clothing and personal care products primarily for purchase by state agencies. However, on their website they claim they are unique in that they are completely self-sufficient. Like most examples of "industries" in prisons, they allow the state to save money, but there is no private profit being made.

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[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 4]
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SHU time for MIM lit

I'm writing regarding the 7/24/2008 rejection notice concerning my MIM publications. The claim for such action: "Inappropriate material for the correctional environment." There was no explanation in how my publication's were classified as inappropriate. I didn't receive the notice until four day's later, 7/28/08, so that I wouldn't have an opportunity to protest and appeal the rejection of my publications.

As of this moment, I've filed my informal complaint concerning the matter. Once I've received a response, the next step is laying the foundation for 42 U.S.C § 1983. The actions of this Hitler-style concentration camp is unacceptable!

Comrade, I've been locked down in the SHU since February 24, 2008, following the first rejection of my MIM publications on false allegations of organizing a riot! The length the Amerikans will go to silence the voice of an eminent revolution is unbelievable. The time is coming, they can't stop the unstoppable comrade!

[MIM(Prisons) also filed an administrative appeal to this censorship, and posted it, along with the censorship notification on our website. We encourage others to write in to support this comrade and protest the baseless censorship, using our letters as a model.]

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[Control Units] [Texas]
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Unlock the Box survey

Concerning the Control Units, the designated cells are called Administrative Segregation. Depending on who the Warden, Major, and other low ranking supervisors are, all or different types of abuses take place within these housing areas. Ranging from unlawful denial of special privileges and rights, to physical abuse and food tampering. You are confined to these cells 22 or more hours a day and eat inside the cell, limited recreation, and virtually no programs for prisoners. It can be a very depressing and non-rehabilitative atmosphere. Over half of Texas Prisons house inmates in Administrative Segregation. And the mistreatment varies, so I will only speak on what unites I know of from experience.

Hughes Unit, Route 2 Box 4400, Gatesville, TX 76597. I was housed in Ad Seg from 10/2003 until 03/2008. There are approximately 500 beds in these buildings. One prisoner per cell/bed. The whole unit does not fall under the definition, only "12 Bldg" is where Ad Seg prisoners are confined, controlled and monitored daily. The racial makeup of the population is majority Hispanic, then Black, then white. Most prisoners are placed in Ad Seg for being part of a Security Threat Group, or assault towards staff and prisoners. Most situations aren't as serious as the administration makes it seem. These Control Units began opening in the late 80s and early 90s, and four of them were expanded and opened in 1999, adding 660 cells labeled as "High Security." I have no knowledge whether the state plans to open any others. Here are the addresses to the other three units that have been expanded:
Allred Unit, 2101 FM 369 North, Iowa Park, TX 76367
Lewis Unit, PO Box 9000, Woodville, TX 75990
Smith Unit, HCR7, Box 187A, Lamesa, TX 79331

Prior to being transfered from the Huges Unit in March 2008, there were several prisoners complaining about food tampering in 12 Bldg. The tampering didn't start until 2006. The substance being used attacked the immune system, causing severe headaches and drowsiness, heart trouble, high blood pressure, loss of energy, etc. I noticed the difference in my body and energy level once I got transferred and the food got out of my system.

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[Legal] [Education] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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Fighting for a library

Thank you for sharing the struggle of others bearing much heavier crosses than mine. At this prison I'm trying to establish an Inmate Library Committee - which legally we should already have. The law library is our most powerful tool from within institution walls and the administrative authorities here at this prison have turned our law library into nothing more than a copy room to promote their agenda. The law library here at Mule Creek State Prison does not even have typewriters or provide legal envelopes for purchase or otherwise.

This is my struggle, this is our struggle! The Department of Corrections has coordinated an attack at our ability to be heard by the courts - and the tide is on their side.

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[Control Units] [New Mexico]
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Control Units in New Mexico

I am currently housed in a CU as of June 18. There are approximately 30 people in this unit. About half of this detention center is control units. Pods D1-D4, B1, B4, G1 and G4 are regular population. Units F1, F2, B2, B3, C2 and the SHU are all lock down. Originally in 97 when this facility opened it was only the SHU that was a CU. Since then the CUs have been expanding, moving from unit to unit, most recently to C2 which only happened a month or so ago.

Most of the population of the CU is Latino which some whites. I have seen no Blacks.

We are only given 1 hour out of cell rec time, every other day.

I was placed in here for "failure to obey" and "disrespect to staff." I was told to close another prisoner's door and when refused was placed on "pre-disciplinary lockdown" (CTQ). I told the officer she was a bitch and was moved to here. People are in here for various reasons. Being "gang affiliated" or fighting mostly. One prisoner is here because he has a clover tattooed on him and it is believed to be a gang tattoo but he's just Irish.

I have no idea how long I will be in here or when I will get any kind of hearing. This is a county facility and I am a pre-trial detainee.

I have also been in CUs in R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego CA, Mule Creek State Prison in Ione CA and Palm Hall in Chino Prison. The last one you get about 2 hours a week out of your cell.

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[Release] [New Mexico]
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Parole is a revolving door

I do not commit crimes for fun or drugs. I commit them to survive and drugs just go along with the crime scene. I have been repeatedly released from the California Department of Corrections with no hope and no resources. They have taught me no skills to survive in the world or get a job. I parole with $200 and the clothes on my back, no family support and no place to stay and no job leads and only marginal skills to get one. It is only a matter of days before I have to turn to crime to keep myself fed and a roof over my head.

The parole department says it can get you housing, but it takes weeks if not months. And without a stable place to stay you can get nowhere. The system is set up for failure of parolees to keep recidivism rates high and prison populations soaring and the money flowing into the prison industrial complex. And because of this system, I have spent most of my adult life locked up and ma facing 25 years in California after I get done in New Mexico.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Ohio]
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People Power

People power is derived directly from and through the unification
of those in dire need, tired of false promises, so they take it upon themselves for its manifestation

United Struggle from Within is a par excellent example
so long as we comrades strive hard and fight on, our work will be ample

People power is a scientific revolutionary term
In that it speaks to the masses to apply and earn

Earn what's rightfully theirs, such as justice, freedom, liberation and equality
For when we outline our objectives, we do not say it modesty

Striking at the core cause of the problems
takes a deep look at capitalism before we can solve them

The socialist theory, better yet, the pathway to communism
Is the road, for the people, to stomp out oppression and imperialism

People Power is obtainable, visualize and please believe
For without people power we shall never achieve

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