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[COVID-19] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 72]
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Prisoners Petition for COVID Testing and Freedoms in Texas

We here in High Security (cool-bed housing) wrote about 40 or 50 letters to Warden Smith asking to be allowed 30 prisoners in the day room and also to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies. We made several copies and spread them around to have them signed, then we collected them and sent them to Warden J. Smith and he actually wrote back and said that he was assessing our request. So we then filled out close to 20 step 1’s [grievance forms] and passed them around. It is not known how many actually sent them in?

All we are requesting is to be tested for antibodies because we believe that the way COVID moved through this building, there is almost no way we did not all contract the virus and obtain “herd immunity”. That may have been their plan all along at this unit, but they should at least admit it to the families of those who died. Two prisoners died on this wing and 4 went to the hospital in 30 days. This pod only holds 62 prisoners so that’s a substantial amount! Most of us had symptoms but didn’t report them for fear of being locked in our windowless cells longer. My Celly had it and they took him out and never told me. I only recently saw him because he has been in the infirmary for almost 2 months. He said he almost died.

We want to be tested for antibodies so that we know who is still at risk and who has obtained resistance to the virus. I also heard that they do not know the long-term effects of this disease and that it has been noticed that it may negatively impact the vascular system. My leg has been swelling up since September, so I’m having vascular issues and it would be good to have good information so that doctors can better be able to treat us.

After submitting our Step 1’s on October 20th, they did random COVID testing unit-wide on November 10. But they did not do antibody testing which they have been advertising on the radio for “free”. I am going to step 2 [appeal] it until they test me for COVID antibodies. They do Hep C and HIV testing, they need to do COVID antibody testing but they don’t want to because it will show how unprotected we are here. And possibly make them liable in some way? Anyway, we are doing what we can. They have lifted some restrictions, we can go to religious services now and I’m in school.

UPDATE: I just got another step 2 back that ignores my complaints and steals my documents. My step 2 was missing it’s 2 pages of attachments. I know I shouldn’t be so long-winded but I was letting them have it! I’m going to do what you suggest in your Texas Pack and grieve the Investigator for not investigating & destroying documents. This is the second time this happened with a “medical emergency” grievance having to do with staff not following safety protocols with regard to COVID.

They never did conduct proper lockdown/quarantine as they took prisoners out of quarantine on a daily basis and took them to the medical dept on the 2nd floor so that medical staff did not have to wear full PPE and they contaminated the medical department by bringing in COVID-exposed patients. Being in High Security, our housing areas are equipped with medical triage rooms on every housing area but they never did use these rooms. They have sinks, paper towel & soap dispensers but medical would never use these things. They spread the virus by touching multiple prisoners with the same gloves or unwashed hands when they dispensed insulin shots twice a day. I’ve filled grievances for 2 years straight and have never gotten anything but outright lies and denials of fact. It frustrates me to no end. Could you please send me your Texas grievance petitions?


MIM(Prisons) adds: While data so far is promising, medical researchers are not yet confident in saying how resilient resistance to COVID-19 will be among those who have been exposed. So it is unlikely that antibody tests will be used to allow for more congregate activities in the near future. However, vaccines should allow for such group activities. It is important that prisoners receive vaccines immediately, not just to return to normal like everyone else, but because they are at a much higher risk for infection and death from COVID-19 than the general population.

This report reiterates the failures of the current system to be accountable for how it treats the vulnerable. As comrades organize for immediate demands during the pandemic, they must also build independent institutions of the oppressed so that we can ensure humyn needs are met in the future.

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[COVID-19] [Civil Liberties] [Daniel Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 72]
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COVID-19 Sheds Some Light on Prisoners' Lack of Recourse

I’m writing to ask if there is a way to receive the grievance petition for Texas. As for here all grievances are answered the same. The lawsuit that was in federal court due to COVID-19 was thrown out for not exhausting administrative remedies. Also here at this unit we are not allowed to wear N95 masks. We do not have any rights here.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is commenting on the fact that grievances are constantly denied in Texas, like so many prison systems in this country. Yet, without the proper paper trail of going through all levels of the grievance process, your lawsuits are deemed invalid thanks to the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act(PLRA) of Bill Clinton. Before the PLRA there was actually a semblance of checks and balances applied to conditions in U.$. prisons. Since then that has not been the case, and abuse and humyn rights violations occur daily, unchecked. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped bring that to the attention of the general public.

This is why USW comrades have written grievance petitions in over a dozen states to appeal to various state overseers to restore a semblance of justice to these prison systems. While the victories have been isolated, it has led to concrete organizing around concrete conditions faced by prisoners as a class. These injustices demonstrate the bad faith of the current system that offers no real solutions for the oppressed.

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[COVID-19] [ULK Issue 72]
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From the Inside Looking Out -- COVID Forced on Prisoners

doctors are no help

It’s beautiful that now there’s a better connection with us who are in this new sentence to a slow death due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the actions of free society. The majority of these in-prison cases are caused by nurses and pigs and other free-world staff who choose not to wear masks, either in here or out there. It’s not our fault we catch COVID-19 when we can’t go no further than the yard gates unless we’re being escorted to the prison medical facilities, an outside hospital, or to other yards or prisons. We’re not the ones who are the cause of the spread of the disease inside these prisons, but we’ll get a Rule Violation Report (RVR), which extends our sentence, for not wearing a mask from a pig who isn’t wearing one themselves.

Also now there’s no programs for us prisoners to even gain any good time kronos like attending CGA, AA, Anger Management, GED classes, or college classes. The chapel isn’t running either but the chaplains still show up to collect their check. Prisoners don’t have a way or avenue to stay out of trouble, unless they are really doing nothing. Myself and other prisoners have been harassed by the pigs for group exercising together even while using social distance procedures. CDCR ain’t working on helping us prisoners rehabilitate, we’re doing it our damn selves.

Medical facilities on the yards won’t even do a check up on individuals like myself, but they will call you up to draw your blood for testing, for COVID or not. On some straight vampire shit but us, who are the vampire slayers, the N.G.E. School of Carthage, slay the vampires by the United Front for Peace in Prisons Statement of Principles, which are:

  1. Peace WE organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression.

  2. Unity WE strive to unite with those facing the same struggles as us for our common interests. To maintain unity we have to keep an open line of networking and communication, and ensure we address any situation with true facts. This is needed because of how the pigs utilize tactics such as rumors, snitches and fake communications to divide and keep division among the oppressed. The pigs see the end of their control within our unity.

  3. Growth WE recognize the importance of education and freedom to grow in order to build real unity. We support members within our organization who leave and embrace other political organizations and concepts that are within the anti-imperialist struggle. Everyone should get in where they fit in. Similarly, we recognize the right of comrades to leave our organization if we fail to live up to the principles and purpose of the United Front for Peace in Prisons.

  4. Internationalism WE struggle for the liberation of all oppressed people. While we are often referred to as “minorities” in this country, and we often find those who are in the same boat as us opposing us, our confidence in achieving our mission comes from our unity with all oppressed nations who represent the vast majority globally. We cannot liberate ourselves when participating in the oppression of other nations.

  5. Independence WE build our own institutions and programs independent of the United $tates government and all its branches, right down to the local police, because this system does not serve us. By developing independent power through these institutions we do not need to compromise our goals.

As we build and live by these Principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons, we destroy the monster that imperialist/capitalist governments have created with this U.$. prison system.

MOE POWER TO THE KENFOLK NATION!!

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[Hunger Strike] [Organizing] [State Correctional Institution Albion] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 72]
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Hunger Strike in Albion RHU over Basic Humyn Needs

For every male prisoner locked up in the state of Pennsylvania, I pose some questions:

  1. Do a prison have the right to deprive you of food?
  2. Do a prison have the right to deprive you of a shower?
  3. Do a prison have the right to deprive you yard?
  4. To determine when you can see your children and how long you can hold your children?
  5. Every prison in the state of Pennsylvania allow gay prisoners inside of each prison to hold hands/hold each other, have make-out sessions and have intercourse. The Department of Corrections in the state of Pennsylvania even sell bras/panties, makeup, provide hormone injections and sex changes.
  1. Why can’t we hug/hold/kiss our girlfriends and wives for more than three minutes on a visit?
  2. Why don’t we fight for conjugal visits?
  1. Do the prisons have the right to talk however they want?

Brothers, they don’t respect us nor treat us like human beings because under the 13th Amendment, we are slaves. Under Dred Scot v. Sanford, no black man has “rights that a white man is bound to respect” and blacks shall never have rights under the Constitution. Under Plessy v. Ferguson, we are cattle.

That is why correctional officers in the state of Pennsylvania do all these things to us and why police officers in society can kill us with little to no consequences.

Brothers, the female prisons in the state of Pennsylvania still have everything and much more, that we allowed the D.O.C. to take from us, men. Two female prisons fought to be treated like human beings and won through pain and sacrifice.

This goes beyond our personal dislikes, gang colors, religious perspectives and individual wants. Ask yourself, if two female prisons can accomplish it, why can’t 3 or more male prisons do the same?

We at SCI-Albion believe we have the power to accomplish it, so on 1 November 2020 we are hunger striking. We are not helping the D.O.C. get rich off of this oppression so we are not spending money on commissary/cable/bake sales. WE will be doing more but can’t go into that here.

We are a group comprised of Muslims from America and the Middle East, Christians, a Pastor, G.D., Loc’s, Damus, Kings, Netas, neutrals old and young. Blacks, Latinos and whites.

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[United Front]
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Freedom, Love & Prosperty joins United Front for Peace in Prisons

Organization Name: Freedom, Love & Prosperity

Statement

Here in Freedom, Love & Prosperity we promote unity and love. With the freedom to be ourselves and stop the oppression of all peoples including those in the LGBT community. We believe we are all one! We believe every one has the potential to prosper and beat oppression. We do not promote violence but awareness through group and social activities. We believe love is the ultimate goal in order to achieve unity of all minds, souls and spirits.

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[Organizing] [North Branch Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Maryland Prison Labor Organization (N.B.C.I. Chapter)

The Maryland Prison Labor Organization (MPLO) exists for the purpose of defending and preserving the rights and dignity of the incarcerated working class men and women, who are confined to correctional facilities within the State of Maryland.

Maryland’s incarcerated workers contend daily with abusive staff, inequitable compensation, unsafe or unsanitary working environments, arbitrary termination, inadequate health care, poor diet, and inhumane conditions of confinement.

As a collective and as a Class, we find this set of circumstances unacceptable, therefore our mission is to amend these circumstances by securing social and economic justice for the thousands of imprisoned laborers who have been exploited by Maryland’s Department of Corrections, and who continue to endure such exploitation as a consequence of the labor arrangement that persists behind the walls of Maryland’s correctional facilities.

We are conscious of the fact that the labor we provide is critical to the orderly and efficient functioning of the Department, and as a result of the aforementioned realities, We, the members of the MPLO, seek the following changes to the current labor arrangement within the state’s prisons:

  1. Higher Wages.
  2. Equitable Good Conduct Credit Compensation.
  3. An end to Arbitrary Adjustment & Reclassification.
  4. An end to Oppressive Conditions of Confinement, including Excessively Restrictive Management Systems, Overcrowding, and Abuse by Guards & Administration.
  5. An end to malicious social engineering practices that are designed to cause friction, foment conflict, and incite violence amongst incarcerated citizens.
  6. An end to collective punishment.
  7. Increased access to economically relevant vocational & technical skills training, including that which is currently made available by the DLLR. We also seek access to state sponsored college education.
  8. Increased access to cognitive programs currently available at the prison.
  9. Higher quality food and more sizeable portions.

For the reasons mentioned herein, the Maryland Prison Labor Organization is hereby established for the benefit of its members, and for that of the entire incarcerated working class within the state of Maryland.

Commissioned 19th of May 2019.

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[Black Lives Matter] [ULK Issue 71]
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All Lives Matter in Prison

I am sincere and stand by when we say Black lives matter, but I think we should say and believe that all life matters. I am in a political/race-driven prison just like in California and Texas. We say Brown Pride, White Pride, Black Pride, then White Power and Black Power. We should take all race out of it and be power to the people!

I am 50% Mexican and 50% white and in Juvenile D.O.C. it was mostly Black and Mexican. My last name is [white-sounding] so I got jumped every day for years with a couple of the other white kids. If we are to fight hurt, pain and suffering of being oppressed and rejected. But it’s hard when we are surrounded by so much hate. I only know my dad on that side of the family, the Mexican side, hates me and disowns me cuz my mom and dad was never supposed to happen.

We only admit there’s a problem when it surfaces. I got sprayed by the cops a couple months ago for no reason, filed my grievance, but don’t have no help nor know how to take further actions. It sucks that it takes people to die to get action. …

If each one of us did what was right it would be all good, but you can’t change the people that want to look at every one else instead of being a solution. I will be the solution whether anybody is watching cuz all life matters!


MIM(Prisons) responds: Since the uprisings in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, we have received many letters echoing the slogan “All Lives Matter.” Like this comrade, they are not doing so in opposition to “Black Lives Matter” but in solidarity based on similar experiences.

We want to commend this comrade for standing with all oppressed people, and with Black Lives Matter as a movement despite eir experience being jumped by New Afrikan youths while in juvie. It speaks to the unity of the oppressed, that ey could see past that experience and not paint a whole group as eir enemy, when those who have lived much more privileged lives are quick to paint whole groups based on something they saw on TV.

In today’s globalized culture it is sometimes hard to have conversations that are limited to one audience, and as a result other audiences are often offended.

In case any of our readers are unaware, the phrase “All Lives Matter” became popular among cops and white nationalists as a rejection of “Black Lives Matter.” The implication is that “Black Lives Matter” somehow means Black lives matter more than others, when on the contrary the slogan was developed by New Afrikans who just wanted their lives to be given the same respect and value as others, specifically as euro-Amerikans. The less forgiving implication is that people who say “All Lives Matter” just want to keep Black lives in a position of less value.

In contrast to this mainstream narrative, every letter that we’ve got so far from prisoners who are white or Raza, stating “All Lives Matter” seem to be coming from a genuine place of respect for all lives. But you all should know what the implications of the saying can be.

We agree with this comrade that race should not be brought into politics, as race is a baseless concept. So why do we talk about whites, and New Afrikans and indigenous and all these other groups of people so much in our writing? Well, we are talking about nation – a group of people with a common culture, language, territory and economy. While integration is greater than previous points in this country’s history, there are still independent New Afrikan, Chican@ and countless First Nations within this prisonhouse of nations that is called the United States. And until these nations are liberated from imperialism, from the United $tates, there cannot be justice here.

What about euro-Amerikans? In prison, euro-Amerikans will generally experience life as an oppressed persyn. Certainly there are hierarchies, and there are white supremacist groups that work with the pigs, etc. But most of our “white” readers are feeling more oppression than your average persyn walking down the street in the United $tates. That is why we see uniting the imprisoned lumpen on a class basis as an important project that is primary within the prison movement, while recognizing the national contradiction as primary in this country overall. To highlight this class unity, we prefer the slogan “Prisoner Lives Matter” to demonstrate what all of our comrades are facing in the Amerikkkan gulags, where you can be murdered for nothing like George Floyd was.

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[United Front] [International Connections] [ULK Issue 72]
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Unity Is: I Care About You

On page 3 of Under Lock & Key No. 70 the key ideals listed under United Front for Peace in Prisons are truly at the heart of any plan for positive change.

I will just hit on the one that seems to echo No. 70: Unity. People must realize We are inherently the same; when I am hungry I want to eat; moms in every country around the world love their babies; people want to live productive, peaceful, happy lives the world over.

Through the five pillars of the United Front, these kinds of universal needs and wants of people should be stressed with the added ingredient: I care about you.

Unity is: I care about you, you care about me; We work together for Our mutual well-being, happiness and development. We are not the same, yet have fundamentally the same fears, hopes, needs, wants and dreams and the reality is that We can only achieve them when We live and work together in Unity. Unity is not being in relationship; it is more being in fellowship; not just co-workers but comrades.

One thing we hear the staff or guards say all the time is “I don’t care.” All of their actions, policies and procedures prove it is absolutely true; they do not see us as people any more. This is an extension of the imperialist view of the rest of the world’s population. “They don’t care” whether this or those people live or die, have a decent standard of living, live free of famine or war, or free from social instability, mass discrimination, incarceration or class stratification.

They don’t care – the target is not a person with thoughts, feelings, needs or dreams. It is an insanity that plagues mankind: people treating others as things, objects, property, chattel or goods; to be used, abused or destroyed at will.

As the article Individualism Equals Hunger pointed out greedy people just do not care about others to the point of allowing millions of people worldwide to either starve or at the least live malnourished. Especially here in America, individualism is a key component of “I don’t care.” Even in prisons, huge amounts of food are thrown away daily, it is really crazy when one sits back and thinks about it all.

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[Drugs] [Release] [ULK Issue 71]
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People, Places, and Things Philosophy for Overcoming Drug Addiction

united front for peace in prisons

I had reached a point in my life where I was high for weeks at a time. I would stay awake for over a week at a time on ice. While living this lifestyle for over a half a year I was also big on the spice (K2). I was smoking an 11oz bag by myself every 2 days. When you are in this state one clearly can’t think or function properly in society on any legitimate level. I decided that I was tired of living this lifestyle and thought back to an intensive behavior modification program that I was forced to attend a few years prior to my current addicted state of being. The greatest tools I had received in this 6 month program was the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding based on these 3 words: People, Places, and Things!

If we truly want to be free from drug addiction we must change some or at times all of the people we associate with. We may have to find new employment, housing, recreational places etc. We will have to get rid of certain habits or stumbling blocks that hinder or block progress to freedom from addiction. We can not make excuses, but must stand firm in our convictions that whatever storms or difficulties may arise drugs are not our solution. They will only make things worse 100% of the time in the long run.

I found success when I completely applied the People, Places, and Things philosophy. It’s never easy, but absolutely necessary. Positive People, positive Places, and positive Practices will keep you in a positive direction. It does not make us weak feeling we need others for support during such trialsome times. It shows strength and courage when we can admit to our weaknesses and reach out for the necessary help. I hope you find success in this strategy as I have knowing that it will awaken you, clear your mind and help you move in a more PROMISING DIRECTION!


MIM(Prisons) adds: Taking the initiative to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to be doing is a great tool for success. Unfortunately, it is not always an option (especially in prison) or easy to do. We can apply this comrades’ advice to society as a whole and understand the success of socialist China in eliminating drug addiction. They did not have policies that were particularly unique around drugs. But they were in the process of redefining their nation and their future, which offered everyone a positive roll to play, not to mention jobs, housing and health care.

We see the Chinese model as the solution to addiction. In the meantime, we must figure out how to survive and thrive in this system. That is why our Re-Lease on Life Program is developing resources for those who struggle with addiction that help connect them with a lifelong political mission. We hope to have materials to review and test out soon, so let us know if you are interested in reviewing this program.

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[United Front] [Avery/Mitchell Correctional Center] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 71]
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Fasting for September 9th Helps NC Comrades Connect to the Struggle

Comrade Tag: I fasted from 7PM on 8 September 2020 until 5PM on 9 September 2020. I did drink water though. It was intense, it was the first time I’ve ever intentionally fasted. In the streets I wouldn’t eat for a day or 2, but I had alcohol, weed, etc. to sustain me.

It was eye-opening for me. Like, “Damn, people go through this for the cause all the time!” I need to tighten up. Self discipline for me and food is poor. I write, stand up against oppression, and help educate people, but food is so essential to survival. Not eating for me is like not living. That’s why I decided to fast.

My stomach complained a lot at first, but after awhile it stopped. I had a goal in mind, so it followed my lead. My thoughts tried to scatter, but I focused on explaining to guys why I fasted. Also, more causes were brung to my attention.

All in all the day was a success! The feast with Comrade L was supportive. Ey is new to being aware and learning about the struggle. I explained my appreciation for eir support. Thank you for sending ULK No. 57, it was a great read and perfect timing. Thanks again for your time and support.

In Struggle!

Comrade L: Hello, my name is [Comrade L] and I participated in the September 9th Day of Peace and Solidarity. This is the first time I’ve fasted in relation to prisoner awareness. I did this to show my support and to have something to do.

I’ve done a few things this year to further our causes here at Avery/Mitchell Correctional Institution. This 11 hours (6AM - 5PM) helped me to think about what I do. I feel a little more aware of what others have had to go through so prison could be better.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Also, I feel good when I broke the fast with Tag NC. Ey said I should write my feelings so ey could send it with this letter today. I hope you are happy with my support.

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