The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Gender] [Control Units] [Mississippi] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Segregation in Mississippi

While at the Parchman plantation I spent 5 1/2 years in a sensory deprivation unit called Unit 32. It holds a thousand bodies, but when I first got there it was doubled up due to banging between the Vice Lords and Black Gangster Disciples. The racial makeup was over 90% Black with a smattering of caucasians and one or two Vietnamese and Latinos.

I was first placed in it for my crime and length of sentence: Aggravated assault - my sentence is 110 years. I was kept in there due to my lack of conforming to their principles, willingness to attack them in court, filing numerous grievances, refusing to be brainwashed, and most importantly I did not lose my mind. Currently I am in federal court pursuing a censorship and 8th amendment cause (2nd hand tobacco smoke exposure) as I have pulmonary problems and a strong desire to be kept abreast of world events and revolutionary education.

People are ad segged for fighting, escape attempts, standing up to the officials, dirty urine, trying to obtain education or better health care, fighting the phone system monopoly and canteen monopoly, trying to obtain and utilize knowledge to make a better way for themselves and family, and for trying to obtain better prison living conditions (i.e. less overcrowding, sanitary, food, etc.)

Unit 32 opened in 1989 and has not been expanded. However, there are rumors that they are in the process of building two, possibly three more deprivation units in MS. One is to be down here and the other in Rankin County, MS, AKA Central MS Correctional Facility.

I know all about female psycho-sexual predators [as described in ULK 4]. In Parchman it is very prevalent. They use it to control prisoners in various ways. I've actually seen them (females) take out hits on people using their boy toy to do it. I like sex as well, if not more so then the next person, but I have never and will never lower myself to do some crap such as that. Nor set up a brother with drugs, hooch, or weapons. Down here it is not so much actual sex, though that happens too, it is the expectation that it could happen if the person just plays his cards right, or wrong as the case actually is.

chain
[Abuse] [Gender] [Montana] [ULK Issue 6]
expand

Psycho-Sexual Warfare Article Speaks to Others

I have been receiving your newsletter for a couple of years now and have thought to write on many occasions. But reading the article "Psycho-Sexual Warfare vs Political Prisoners" by a New York Prisoner has finally compelled me to do so. My own personal experiences within Montana's prison system share some common ground and I thought I would take the time to offer a comparison.

Unlike most of your contributors, I am not only a political prisoner within the prison system itself, I am a political prisoner for opposing the corrupt authorities on the outside, as well. I did not commit a crime to be arrested, I sued the City of Kalispell, Montana, and was charged with a false crime and arrested, followed by a kangaroo court trial and conviction, to stop my suit against those authorities.

Upon entering the prison system I committed myself to fighting the system from the inside. I have used my legal knowledge to file hundreds of legal documents for other prisoners (in spite of unlawful rules and regulations prohibiting prisoners from assisting each other with legal matters) and filed several claims in the courts on my own, including an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) suit and a class action suit for numerous civil liberty violations.

As a vocally outspoken opponent of the prison industrial complex as a whole, and the Montana State prison system specifically, I have made myself quite the target for retaliations from the prison administration. Though I have not had the sexual element foisted upon me as my New York counterpart reports, I have had the rest done to me. I am a low custody prisoners presently confined in a high security lock-down facility, for instance. This has been done in spite of the authorities' foreknowledge that I am claustrophobic, in spite of the fact that I am housed with predatorily violent prisoners, many of whom are staff bulldogs (prisoners who work for the cops, basically acting as strong-arms against anyone in disfavor with those same cops). I have been not only placed in "ambiguous and pressure-filled situation(s)" but I have been beaten by an inmate who did so I believe at staff instruction.

I have had privileges stripped from me, and even property stolen from me, by staff members whose only intent is to harass and provoke me. Yes, I have been on the receiving end of efforts designed to "dehumanize" me and to make me "subservient." And I have only been subjected to all of this extra hardship because I will not break and I continue to fight the system. The New York prisoner is absolutely right in this regard - prison officials isolate those with the greatest potential and subject them to abuses designed to strip us of our focus and will.

I wanted him and everyone else suffering similar hardship to know that you are not alone. Others fight the war with you. Each time prison officials fail to break you, it's a victory. Remember that and stand strong.

I wish my brothers and sisters in solidarity strength and goodwill.

chain
[Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 6]
expand

Responses to ULK4 on censorship

I'd like to comment on some of the articles written by prisoners in September's ULK. While I haven't finished reading it just yet, only the prisoner articles, I quite enjoyed the ULK. This edition should've been titled "The Censorship Issue."

It's true that institutions throughout the country focus only on Black and Brown oriented magazines, citing "pornographic material" or "gang paraphernalia." Now this doesn't just have to do with "Vibe" or "XXL" or "Maxim en Espanol." Even "ESPN en Espanol" has begun to be targeted within SVSP. Now last I checked "ESPN en Espanol" focuses on soccer and sports in Latin America in general and last I checked there weren't many scantily clad women in this magazine. So what's the deal? It seems that since many adult institutions so successfully banned pornographic materials, such as pictures and magazines, now they're trying to stop us from appreciating our own women who aren't even naked in these magazines. Now that they see that they can get away with this they seem to move on to sports magazines stating that they can't understand the language therefore there's a possibility that coded messages might be hidden somewhere in the text or some other frivolous, ridiculous reason.

To me this seems like a type of aggressive assimilation. You can't look at brown/black women, but you can look at some fancy white model in Vogue magazine. Also I recall seeing an issue of GQ magazine sometime back with an article about a supposed member of the CRIPS gang in Watts. In this article there were a few pictures which, if found in Vibe or any other culturally oriented magazine, would've deemed the magazine a "safety and security risk" to the institution, but because it was in good 'ol GQ, no one batted an eye. I'm sure they don't even bother to crack those open for inspection in the mail rooms inside institutions across Amerikkka.

Another article that caught my attention in the ULK was the plight of the South Carolina inmate. There seems to be a lot wrong with what's going on over there. To begin with, by law every institutional law library must be properly stocked and equipped with adequate and up to date legal materials. Off hand I can't remember the title of the case but I believe this has already been decided in the U.S. Supreme Court. Next time I go to law library I'll try to find it.

Also concerning the New Mexico inmate whose grievances are not being responded to, it would be a good idea if he acquired declarations from other inmates there who've gone through similar experiences he could use these declarations to show the court how the prison refuses to let prisoners exhaust their remedies. This is what I'm doing for a couple of guys here whose civil suits were dismissed in the district court due to supposedly not exhausting the remedies. They are now appealing in the 9th Circuit and my declarations of how I found 602s and legal mail in the trash will hopefully be helpful.

chain
[Control Units] [Ohio]
expand

Info on control units in Ohio

I’m in a controlled unit that’s called 4B. It’s a special unit of the Maximum Security Prison of Ohio (max security level is rated 4 while 4B is a secluded section of the same prison). This is also where they administer the death penalty. People are sent to 4B for assaults, drugs, fights, etc. I came from a close security prison #3). One must do 6 months, 1 year or 18 months here on 23 hour lock down before going to general population, depending on your case. General population is called 4A here, at the same prison.

There are 6 cell blocks of 4B, 9 cell-blocks of 4A, 1 cell block of “the hole” (segregation) for 4A, 2 cell blocks for “protective custody” and one for Security Threat Groups” (gangs). On the 6 cell blocks of 4B you have 80 prisoners in each. The cells have bars and some brothers conduct themselves like animals (cursing, yelling, throwing urine and waste, etc.). Televisions are hung on the walls outside of the cells. Racially it’s probably 60% Black, 30% white, 10% other. This first opened after the riots went down here in 1993 (the Lucasville Riots). Going to recreation we have to chain up on ankles, arms behind backs and placed on a collective chain.

chain
[Abuse] [California]
expand

Limiting toilet flushing in California

Just recently CDCR replaced all state owned prison institutions with new flushing mechanisms for the toilets, The flush-o-meters. This is supposed to save money on water waste, leaving the prison money, in other words. First off the flush-o-meter varies from prison to prison. But basically you get 2 flushes within a 15 minutes time zone. If you flush a 3rd time the toilet locks for 15 minutes. If you check within 15 minutes that the toilet is locked, the timer resets. So you could have your toilet lock for a long time (I myself had it lock for over 90 minutes).

The thing is, if you live with a cellmate you need to flush your waste down because of the smell. It's the only logical thing to do. No one flushes that many times.

This is supposed to be a big money saver. First the CDCR pays pennies for work (prisoner's work) so it's a joke. It's basically slave labor. A form of slavery in the worst kind. Because people want to get out of their cells they do anything, It's like building your own cage. So right off the bat the CDCR saved for the installation of the flush-o-meter. Where did all the extra money go that they saved? Who knows.

Second off, the water waste is lessened supposedly. So the water bill for all state prisons are less. Where does that money go? My assumption is that it does not go back to help rehabilitation of prisoners. This machines is broken down, it needs reform and change. One thing for sure, whatever budget the CDCR wants, it gets.

chain
[Censorship] [Gender] [Clinton Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 6]
expand

NY promotes Sexual Harrassment and Violence


8/12/2008

Yo, I just want you to know that I received your letter and that I didn't get the MIM Theory #7. I am waiting for the grievance that I filed on 8/5/08 and I just wrote to the superintendent of programs about this. I got the manila envelope that they send the MIM Theory in, but the MIM Theory was not in the envelope, instead there was a pictorial sex book.

...I don't know if it was on tv out there but the jail got locked down for like 4 to 5 days and 4 C/Os got cut or stabbed, so shit's been crazy.


8/18/2008

I just wanted to let you know that I didn't get the MIM Theory #7. I wrote to M. Putnode, Deputy Supt./Programs Services and they said that they do not have it. I wrote a grievance and they didn't write back.


- a prisoner in Clinton Correctional Facility

MIM(Prisons) comments: We can document a history of abuse and targeting of politically conscious prisoners at Clinton Correctional Facility going back years and naming names. Numerous prisoners have filed complaints regarding these staff members, and groups like the Correctional Association of New York (in 2004) have reported on these trends. Yet the state has still not put an end to it.

This example is similar to others at Clinton, where there is no paper trail, allowing the administration to say that nothing happened and deny responsibility. In other words, the NYS DOCS has granted staff the freedom to act however they see fit to repress efforts at organization and education in Clinton.

We have written in previous issues about the gender oppression of prisoners. This act of sexual harassment is just one more example of that. A Black man tries to educate himself about the liberation of his people and some cracker steals the literature we send and replaces it with porn. He sees the Black man as having no interests outside of smoking weed and chasing pussy, and this is how he reacts when faced with reality.

Upstate and Five Points have recently censored mail from MIM(Prisons) as well alleging that it promotes violence. Once more, for the record, MIM(Prisons) does not promote violence, we promote a world free of oppression. Only the oppressor can decide how that will come about. Unfortunately, we do not have the power to do so ourselves. We can only transform the world we find ourselves in by understanding its internal nature.

Some recent censorship was justified because it was critical of prison labor, the physical abuse of a prisoner in New York, and advertised lawsuits that are pending against the state. The most recent prison censorship case, Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C, upheld that prisons cannot censor literature because it is critical of their department. And attempts at stifling support for class action suits is just one more effort to prevent prisoners access to legal protection. The recent attacks at Clinton reported here show what happens when you don't allow prisoners access to legitimate grievance procedures when staff becomes abusive, as they inevitably do in such an oppressive situation.

The policy of the NYS DOCS of supporting staff committing these abuses for years demonstrate a clear attempt by the department to promote violence. Even if they can't learn from their own experience, we've been telling them this for years, and we know they read our literature, so they can't claim ignorance. They want violence, because they use violence as an excuse for further repression. Repression is against the interests of the oppressed, so the oppressed (MIM(Prisons) included) oppose this violence that is being promoted at Clinton.

see censorship records

chain
[Rhymes/Poetry] [Tennessee]
expand

Three strikes in California


In the state of California
They say 3 strikes you're out
If you don't know what that means
Let me explain what the game is about
Now strikes are known as felonies
and they can cause some strife
with 2 you're going to prison
with 3 you're going for life
This law will break up families
and uncover societies fears
The streets will fill with blood
and little children's tears
I say the streets will fill with blood
with this law you choose
A two strike prisoner facing life
has nothing left to lose
If you've ever been to prison
I'm sure you understand
A person without their freedom
is like a person without their hands
And what about all the children
and the parents they have lost?
Suicide and welfare lines
are just a fragment of the cost
and what about the prisons
filled beyond their max
it's those who voted for this law
the government will tax
this law was passed in ignorance
by the people of this states
I hope that it is corrected
before it is too late.

chain
[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 5]
expand

Segregation in Texas

After five years in administrative segregation with no disciplinary cases of any kind, I went before the State Classification Committee, for the tenth time. Again I was denied going to population at any level of custody. Before I left this hearing I spoke with the chair of the hearing and asked "Will I ever be allowed out of Seg?" He looked back in my file and said "No I don't think you will, or at least not until you're very old."

I served another four years with only two minor disciplinary cases, when I was called in by the Gang Intelligence Officer. I was told that I'd sent a letter to a confirmed gang member, four years ago. There was nothing illegal or gang related in that letter. I never received any notice of confiscation, the stamp was still on the envelope. This G.I. claimed I was a member of an STG (Security Threat Group). I denied this saying: "Actually it's you who believes in State Censorship and theft of the mail, and of course locking men up without hearings." We had several sharp exchanges of words before she had me stand on a wall as she examined my body for Tattoos; I have none. Her last words were that she'd have me tagged.

At this point I really didn't care because after all I'd already been told I'd never be released from Segregation. However it did place me in a somewhat awkward position because I wasn't a member of the alleged group. Upon being returned to my cell I wrote a kite to a member of the alleged group, and later received an answer saying: "Don't sweat it, you'll have a confirmation hearing, they can't tag you for that letter."

I proceeded to write out my defense, all the reasons I was not and could not be a member of the alleged group. However I was never given a confirmation hearing and have never received confirmation papers to this day. The next time I went before the State Classification Committee I was informed that I was a confirmed gang member.

I have now been in segregation for 12 years with three major disciplinary cases and two minor cases. Conditions here are similar to what I've read described by segregated prisoners in other states. Recreation is supposed to be run seven days a week for one hour, but we are very lucky if we get 4 days and usually it is less. If you write grievances your cell will be torn apart and your property broken. The grievance system is set up so that it is impossible for any prisoner to ever win no matter how much evidence you present.

Recently four toilets stopped working - they wouldn't flush. The first one broke down for eleven days before it was fixed. You'd think eleven days without a toilet would be illegal but not here in Texas. Yesterday a man a couple doors down went down sick vomiting blood and he couldn't breath very well, he was able to call the wing officer but she refused to even come see what was going on. It took the whole wing banging to get a Lieutenant to check this prisoner. It only took them one hour and fifteen minutes to respond to a prisoner who is supposed to be watched because they know he is sick.

Now that I'm a confirmed gang member, I am only allowed to see State Classification once per year. I believe that these hearings are illegal because to satisfy due process they are supposed to be meaningful hearings. How can a hearing be meaningful when the committee will tell you "We don't have the authority to release you from Seg. You will have to sign up for GRAD." GRAD is the Gang Renunciation and Disassociation program. Basically it's known as the SNITCH program because you must renounce your membership and supply information on the gang. If you don't have the information they want that's ok, they will supply it and you can sign it.

In response to what we consider illegal rules and confinement, both my cellmate and I have become more and more involved in prison activism. We believe that all segregation is punitive and that non-punitive segregation is a lie. In fact, segregation is one of the most severe forms of punishment and should easily constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

We believe that if segregation is used as punishment for disciplinary violations, that all men should have the opportunity to earn their way out of segregation by their behavior, not by becoming or forced to become state informants.

chain
[Censorship] [California]
expand

Censorship at Pelican Bay State Prison

For the past eighteen years a clear pattern of racial discrimination and political persecution has reared its ugly head, its presence is vivid clear and profound, a procedural manifestation within the protocols of official -sanctioned practice here at Pelican Bay. Which simply means the inherent propensity to discriminate against New Afrikan (Black) prisoners, an antiquated evil which is still prevalent in today's society and is magnified ten-fold within the concrete confines of the U.S. penal system and its deplorable code of conduct.

Though we can concede to the observations that socio-demographics contributed and facilitates the proliferation and perpetuation of racial discrimination, being that the majority of U.S. prisons are located in white rural areas where New Afrikan people are only an image on the 5 o'clock news. It is only inevitable that racism flourishes in these areas. Many of the local rural citizens are hired to work in these new prisons, and they don't leave their racist beliefs/attitudes at home. In fact these folks bring/import their racist attitudes with them, and these attitudes manifest themselves within the core penological psyche of the Prison Industrial Slave-Complex thus influencing every aspect of the Prison Industrial Slave-Complex and this is applicable to the entire U.S. penal system.

In Pelican Bay State Prison the inherent racism has manifested in a very blatant but unique way. The Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI), Investigative Service Unit (ISU) and the Office of Correctional Safety (OCS) out of Sacramento have reduced New Afrikan (Black) history and culture to prison gang politics. By doing so they have limited New Afrikan politically conscious prisoners ability to learn and teach our history and created a method to circumvent our first amendment rights, for example: New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners presently being housed in the security housing unit (SHU - Solitary Confinement). We are forbidden to possess any book, literature/material or pictures/drawings by or about George Jackson, we can't even write about George Jackson. This is considered contraband and gang activity. They have reduced George Jackson to a prison gang symbol. This is a method they have employed to conceal their racial and political persecution. But it don't stop there, we are also forbidden to possess any literature or publication about/or that mentions Black August. Though New Afrikan people in every major state including the New Afrikan Independence Movement/New Afrikan Liberation Movement commemorate Black August. It is considered gang activity for us to write about it or commemorate it.

They have also criminalized the New Afrikan Independence Movement by reducing its primary ideology (i.e. New Afrikan Revolutionary nationalism) to prison gang politics. They have confiscated any/and all relevant literature. They have reduced our political activities to gang activities. For example, about 8 years ago I wrote a pamphlet titled "The Bell Curve Conspiracy - A Recipe for Black Genocide." Two of the New Afrikan prisoners who contributed to this booklet were also alleged members of the Black Guerrilla Family (like myself). For this reason alone this pamphlet was confiscated, claiming we were involved in gang activity. Anytime we come together to participate in a clear political act it is reduced to gang activity and every literature that is associated with that project is confiscated.

Another example: I had Professor Dorothy B. Fardan (Sojourner Truth Forum School, Center for Human Growth) send me a printed copy of a proposal I had written back in 1996 and revised in 2002. this proposal is designed to eradicate hunger/starvation among all children, Black children in particular, because they content I had intended to distribute copies to other alleged Black Guerrilla Family (BGF) members it was confiscated and I was accused of participating in gang activity.

People, what I have described to you above is only a brief glimpse of what we as New Afrikan prisoners are going through. We are also being penalized for our political activities, when they reduce our political activities to gang activities. They are then able to write negative reports which can and have affected our release to the general population, many of us have been in solitary/isolation over 20 years, for me it has been 25 years in the hole. At least 12 of us have lawsuits pending in the Federal Court, and many more are in the process. Before I end this, I would like to provide you with one more example. On January 30, 200, special gang units from Sacramento along with IGI that ISU raided our cells, the following is a listing of what all they had confiscated stating it was gang related, list one consists of my personal writings and list two consists of Black historical, cultural and political literature and artwork and religious material:

List one: 1. New Afrikan Criminology 101 textbook. 2. Other literature pertaining to New Afrikan Criminology 101. 3. Bell Curve conspiracy (pamphlet). 4. The U.S. fradulent annual crime report (pamphlet) 5. All material pertaining to the George Jackson University and Marcus Garvey Study Group. 6. Pan-Afrikan Community Dept. of Agriculture proposal. 7. Support the Pelican Bay State Prison peace summit (proposal). Note: unbeknownst to many, California prison system averages 300-500 race-based riots/melees a year and this does not include the individual race-motivated stabbings. This has been going on for the past 20 years and now it has spilled over into the streets of Los Angeles. 8. Save the Black Farm (proposal) 9. How to stop the spread of the Control Unit Prison (proposed strategy) 10. All my writings concerning George Jackson and Black August. 11. All my notes and rough drafts to at least 15 proposals. 12. Over 40 poems.

List two: 1. Blood in my Eye, by George Jackson. 2. Malcolm X Last Speech. 3. Revolutionary Handbook, by Kwame Nkrumah. 4. A pamphlet on the Black Liberation Army. 5. A pamphlet commemorating those members of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army that was murdered during the 1960s, 70s and early 80s. 6. All literature pertaining to George Jackson. 7. A picture and art work of George Jackson. 8. A painting of dead Black Panther members. 9. Revolutionary artwork. 10. All literature pertaining to Black August. 11. A CD cover: one song titled Long Liver the Guerrilla, one song dedicated to George Jackson. 12. Approximately seven newsletters from the New Afrikan Black Panther Party. 13. Pictures. 14. A number of handwritten material. 15. Chairman Mao interpretation of Dialectical Materialism and Historical Materialism. 16. Swahili dictionary. 17. Seven Christian pamphlets by the army of god. 18. Black history book catalog. 19. A class action petition (note: they claim this legal petition is a cover designed to disguise a roster of alleged BGF members).

All the property listed in both list one and two were all confiscated under the fabricated contention it was all prison-gang related. In addition to the censorship, political persecution, we are being intentionally further isolated, New Afrikan prisoners are often assigned to one cell in a pod, while our racist oppositions can occupy up to five/six cells in a eight cell pod, leaving us with no one to communicate with or share our political views. This is a deliberate act by IGI, OCS and the administration.

People, we are presently developing a campaign, if you are interested in helping us put an end to official censorship and political persecution contact MIM(Prisons).

Petition Against Censorship and Political Persecution

1) We demand the immediate end to the IGI/ISU censorship program targeting New Afrikan politically conscious prisoners being held in the security housing unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.
2) We demand the immediate end to the ban on all material concerning George Jackson
3) We demand the immediate end to the ban on all material concerning Black August
4) We demand the immediate end to the political persecution of those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners who are presently being held in Pelican Bay security housing unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.
5) We demand the immediate end to the racial isolation of those New Afrikan revolutionary prisoners being held in the Security Housing Unit 1, 2, 3 and 4.


Campaign info:
MIM Banned in CA!
chain
[Censorship] [Organizing] [Texas]
expand

Repression in Texas

I would like our community of revolutionaries to know what is going on in the confines of Preston Smith Unit. The gang intelligence officer took all of my property, saying that I was trying to recruit a feline pen pal into the ALKQN. When my property was returned to me I was missing people's birthday dates, the names of people getting married, and all my addresses and phone numbers.

The reason that was given was "dangerous contraband." I don't know when such things became "dangerous," none of the people have tried to break me out of prison or smuggle in contraband. I have been incarcerated for a little over eleven years, I have had the gang intelligence take my property several times. At no time have they tried to take my addresses, they have taken pictures, names and numbers of inmates and even raps. At no time have they gone this far.

I have no way to contact anyone that I know and it is infuriating. The gang intelligence has cut me off form society and I still have a little over seven years before I see parole.

The grievance system is a joke, here are people who are chummy with those who we "write up." Do we actually think that we will get results? Of course not. That is a fallacy that only novice prisoners might believe in. The truth of the matter is, the injustice system gets away with so much due to those who are outside of it, not doing anything to assist those who are inside.

This [Under Lock and Key] is a forum, sort of a think thank. We know far more collectively than we do individually. All that needs to be done is to set the stage for a movement. That's why they really took all my addresses, they fear my mind and power to build.

It is time to unify into one, we must set objectives that we reach on a deadline. How beautiful it would be to have 7,000 people call and write letters about one issue at a time.

chain