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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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[Abuse] [New York]
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Assault for using the bathroom

This is to inform you of the recent incident involving officer Demo at Adirondack Correctional Facility.

On 7/19/2008 at approximately 2:10 am, I was walking down 3C hallway in route to the restroom. At this time officer Demo asked me "where the fuck are you going". I stated "to use the restroom" and Officer Demo said "no go the fuck to bed." I then stated "I take medication an dI really have to go". He said "I don't give a fuck if you piss yourself, go the fuck to be."

There was no need for the officer's unjustifiable harassment, seeing as though I was not causing a disturbance or being disruptive in any manner. I was only trying to use the restroom before I went to bed for the night.

After I used the restroom Officer Demo asked me "give me your ID so I can write your dumb ass up." I then asked for a grievance and asked "why are you harassing me for using the restroom." Officer Demo then approached me in a very aggressive manner. Then he took his right hand and slapped me across the eye and face area, again saying "go the fuck to bed." I then said "call the sergeant, you just assaulted me and I want to file a formal complaint." Officer Demo then told me to turn around and place my hands on the wall. I complied and he then pushed my head into the wall.

Due to an old eye injury I take medication to relieve pressure on my pupil. Officer Demo's physical attack on me further aggravated my injury. Further, once the Sergeant and three other officers arrived in the dorm area Officer Demo gave me an ultimatum status "you leave this alone and go to bed or you can go to the box upstate."

This is not the first time this officer has refused to let prisoners use the restroom facilities causing conflict between him and other prisoners.

As of now I am in grave fear for my safety and well being. For fear of retaliation from officer Demo. Seeing as he is known through out the prison population to bring forth repercussions to prisoner who grieve him.

I would like for Officer Demo to be placed under investigation. I am filing a complaint for assault, battery and harassment.

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[Organizing] [Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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Who's talking in code, pig?

i received your letter today. My Brotha, i did receive your letter in Feb, and i had responded to it, but it was confiscated by the Institutional Gang Investigation Unit (IGI). They claim it was gang related, they claimed New Afrikan Collective is a code word for BGF, now you know how silly my keepers are.

For the past 18 years IGI/ISU [Institutional Gang Investigations/Investigative Services Unit], have used their gang policies as a tool/tactic to circumvent our free speech right, they are using every means at their disposal to censor my voice.

In April and May they all of a sudden decided that my Muslim name was a fictitious name, so, between April 1st and May 29th they confiscated about sixteen outgoing letters under the fictitious name policy. Enclosed is just an example. i have been using my Muslim name since 1982. This had nothing to do with my Muslim name. IGI/ISU were attempting to censor my voice.

i filed a 1983 civil suit (Free Speech & Religious violations). i also sent to the court as an exhibit photo copies of the front of at least 20 letters i had received between Jan and May 29 2008 that clearly shows my Muslim name on each envelope and they passed through IGI/ISU. So this is clear proof that their actions had nothing to do with my name.

...
Your Beloved Brotha,
a California Prisoner

MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade has been a leader in an effort to build peace among the warring groups within the California prison system. The letter that was held by IGI from reaching MIM(Prisons) was regarding these efforts. The Catch-22 that this comrade, and many of us, find ourselves in is that if he writes honestly about the work he is trying to do then he is labelled a gang member and censored. The pigs do everything they can to prevent a peace process from moving forward in a system that has hundreds of race riots every year that have spilled onto the streets, particularly in Los Angeles County. You would think that it was the pigs jobs to encourage violence so that they can further repress certain groups rather than to put an end to this senseless killing.

One of the charges brought against MIM(Prisons) and many prisoner activists to justify censorship of our communications is that we are writing in code. Yet, our track record speaks for itself. The Maoist movement has continuously and tirelessly worked to put an end to oppression and exploitation. Within the prison movement we have put massive resources into providing hundreds of thousands of pieces of literature to help educate prisoners across the country to provide guidance and hope for a better future.

Meanwhile, it is the pigs who use code words such as "gangs" and "security threat groups" to target the oppressed and any efforts to bring peace and progress, without sounding like the racist arms of imperialist oppression that they are. If talking in code is a crime, censor the pigs, and let those of us who have solutions to the social problems of drugs abuse, violence, and national oppression get to working on putting these solutions into practice.

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[Control Units] [Pennsylvania]
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Control units in NY and PA

I see that comrades are working on producing a movie that exposes the corruption which is taking place in control units all over the country. Hence, I would like to take the time out to touch on some of the things that I've seen and experienced in these types of confinements.

I've done time in New York and am currently trapped in Pennsylvania. Between the two, I've been in five control units, and know of several more. I can't remember the addresses to the ones in New York because it's been some years since I've been there. However, the names of the ones I've been in are Southport, Marcy S-Block and Lakeview S-Block. I know of others in New York such as Malone's Upstate, Green S-Block, Cayuga S-Block, Collins S-Block and Fishkill S-Block.

In Pennsylvania I was in the now defunct Long Term Segregation Unit (LTSU) which was at SCI Fayette (PO Box 9999 Labelle, PA 15450). It originally opened in 2000 at SCI Western but was moved to Fayette in 2004. That so-called "program" was totally shut down in 2007 because of the barbaric conditions. It was since converted into what's called SMU (Special Management Unit). I was never in the SMU at Fayatte, but I was in the SMU at SCI Camp Hill (PO Box 200, Camp Hill, PA 17001).

New York is designed just to be a Control Unit. It has 1200 people in the Control Unit, then an additional 300 people to do the cooking, cleaning, etc. Marcy, Lakeview and the other S-Blocks in New York are units built at "regular" prisons and confine 200 people apiece. Southport is predominantly a Control Unit, but I don't know the head counts.

The SMUs in Pennsylvania are units built at "regular" prisons and hold about 70-something people each. The LTSU was a unit within "regular" prisons and housed 40 people.

In terms of the national/racial make up of the people in the CUs I've been in, I would estimate that they all had about 90% Black/Latino and about 10% white.

The ways that the CUs are run varies, especially from state to state. Nevertheless, they are all different from the "regular", "holes", "boxes," or whatever the 23 hour/day lockdown units are called in each state. One of the biggest differences is that these CUs have several levels that a person can be on and these levels determine how many privileges are supposed to be afforded to them. For instance, in the SMUs in Pennsylvania, people on Phase 5 cannot have personal pictures, newspapers, magazines and many other things. The LTSU was the same way on levels 4 and 3.

Often times, persons with mental health issues are placed in these CUs, at least in Pennsylvania. It is not uncommon for them to bang on their desks, toilets, etc. for many hours at a time being as they can't deal with the confinement. Many even throw feces, urine and vomit on other prisoners and guards.

Several people enter these CUs with no history of mental health issues, but develop them while they're in there. They begin banging on things all day as well as throwing feces, urine and vomit. Suicides/attempts are not uncommon in these units.

Many guards antagonize prisoners and deny them food trays that they are supposed to be given. Or they may put things such as dead mice in the trays.

The physical abuse from the guards is a common thing. They sometimes beat handcuffed and shackled people bloody. They'll even do it while video monitors are recording by yelling "stop resisting!" to make it seem like they're to restrain a person.

They also have restraint chairs that they put people in. These are chairs in which people are strapped down for hours at a time - in Pennsylvania it's for a minimum of eight hours. People have been known to urinate or defecate on themselves while in these chairs.

These are just some of the things going on in these CUs. People have filed numerous grievances and lawsuits about the things that are going on, but for the most part there have been very few changes made. Usually a person's claim of being denied a food tray is dismissed as being "frivolous," or something of that nature.

I think it's a good idea to expose to the public what is actually going on behind these walls. Not only in Control Units, but in these neo-plantations in general. I will be of whatever assistance I can.

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[Abuse] [Florida] [ULK Issue 4]
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Inexcusable behavior by guards in Florida

One time I found pieces of gray rocks in my food (kidney beans and white rice). I showed it to the Correctional Officer. He said “you should have swallowed it and died. You have to eat this shit, not me." These are some of the malicious things they do in a nasty environment like this all the time. I receive mail in from the streets from my family and they hold it in the mailroom for several weeks before they bring it to me. They play a lot of mind games to try to make a person lose control.

When a prisoner has a call-out, the correctional officer will say you refused it, and you were not aware you even had one. I went to recreation one day July 10, and I witnessed three COs attack a prisoner who was handcuffed behind his back, punching and kicking him until he fell to the ground. Their intentions were to kill him. No cameras were in sight.

At times here I stand at the door for mealtime and the officers refuse to open the food flap for me to eat, meaning they deprive me of something I’m required to have three times a day. That’s crazy. There’s no excuse for their behavior.

A lot of the prisoners work for the officers, meaning they will write grievances stating other prisoners are getting illegal drugs in the institution. Or they will tell the officer that a prisoner has a knife in his cell. This is the type of foolishness prisoners play against one another on a daily basis. The COs live for the prisoners to combat one another.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This sort of repression is the reality of life in prisons. To fight back against their dirty tactics and pitting of prisoners against each other, comrades behind bars need to unite against the injustice system.

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[Control Units] [Texas]
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Administrative Segregation in Texas

I have been in administrative segregation on two different types of units. On the Ferguson Unit, 12120 Savage Dr, and the Connally Unit I am presently housed in at 899 FM 632. On the Ferguson, it is three tiers with 24 cells on each row in one straight line, with a shower at the front of each row. Recreation areas are cages fit for one person with a pull up bar and a basketball goal and basketball. We got one hour recreation a day or two hours every other day.

The feeding practices are such that food carts are brought to the block and the trays are prepared right there on the run in front of the cells. Only the prisoners right in front of the cart can see their trays being made. All food trays are prepared by the same adseg prison guards who work the blocks for that day. The mail is also gathered up and distributed by the security adseg correctional officers so there is no way for a prisoner to know if his mail was actually sent to the mail room to be mailed or thrown away, nor is there any way of knowing whether the incoming mail was actually given to the prisoner.

I had difficulties on the Ferguson Unit adseg because the prison guards were harassing a lot of different people and claimed that I was snitching on them. They also put chemicals and infected blood in my food from prisoners who thought I was snitching on them. They conned these dudes into believing I'm an informant then give them my food tray and allow them to do whatever they wanted to it. Then the prison guard would bring me the trays to eat. Before I found out what was happening, my eyes and skin turned yellow and I started vomiting up blood and getting real sick. I have permanent liver damage right now and I think I have hepatitis but the medical department have been told not to diagnose me with any type of disorder or disease so I haven't received any treatment.

Here on Connally Unit there are only two rows with a picket in the middle and the cells arranged to form a U around the picket to allow the prison guards to see any one of the cells at any given moment. The recreation consists of only two cages fit for one person with a basketball goal and ball, a set of weights, a water fountain and urinal. We are allowed to recreate one hour a day on the rec yard or day rooms which consist of a table and pull up bar.

Just like in Ferguson, all our mail is gathered up and passed out by the security correctional officers. The feeding practices are a little different even though we are still fed individually in our cells. All of the food trays are prepared in another section of the unit and placed in a hot box and brought to the pods. Once there, trays are put on tray carries and brought to each prisoner. No one is able to see their trays being prepared. Whenever prisoners get into confrontations with the adseg guards, they regularly taint food trays with an array of unknown substances because we have to rely upon security to feed u. As a result, thousands of prisoners in adseg suffer just as I do from liver/kidney damage.

Most prisoners are aware of what is happening and refuse to file any type of complaint or grievance against prison guards for fear of being retaliated against as I have. And a number of prisoners have virtually lost their sanity and committed suicide because it is virtually impossible to prove that these practices are happening.

I've been trying and am presently in the 5th circuit court waiting on a ruling, but I can already predict the outcome. These prison guards developed a form of neo-police brutality that is being upheld by federal courts merely because prisoners are not in position to prove that our food is being tainted. Many prisoners back here, mainly on level 3, throw urine and feces on the guards, spear them with shanks on the tip of poles made of news papers, curse them out regularly, and tension between the prison guards and prisoners is just as natural as the conflict between cats and dogs. Yet in adseg we must rely on these same guards to prepare our foods trays outside our presence, to distribute all our incoming and outgoing mail, and to provide us with grievances to make complaints against them. And sometimes even to investigate those same complaints.

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[Control Units] [South Carolina] [ULK Issue 4]
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Challenging SMU policies in the courts

I am known as the litigating terrorist. I have filed many actions challenging South Carolina Department of Corrections. What they are doing now is totally in violation of the constitution.

Two years ago they implemented a policy that Special Management Unit (SMU) prisoners can not receive newspapers, books or magazines. This is legal and religious. The religious materials can get slid in through the chaplain but legal is dead. In mid 2003 they stopped ordering legal books so we SMU prisoners have no way to obtain up to date law materials, being mindfull that the law is forever changing.

Just May 1st of this year they changed the policy so an indigent prisoner can only write to lawyers, courts, judges, legal aid organizations if they represent you in a pending case or you have a pending case in that court. And prisoners must show proof of the case. They won't allow us to make copies of their policies because we use it against them too much.

In SMU we get an hour recreation. I am a level one prisoner so I get my rec with leg irons on, belly chain with a crotch chain and a black box. I have so much iron on I can't sit down without pain. Your rec can easily be taken away. They pass out brooms, dust pans, mops, etc. to clean cells once a week on Saturday or Sunday. This past Thursday an officer took my rec because I had legal work on my floor but he said I needed to sweep my floor. The officer did it because I wrote him up for staling pornographic drawings from me. He took the drawings and claimed he turned them in to the contraband office. The contraband office does not have the original drawings, the officer took them home. He may lose his job.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 4]
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Using time in control units for the revolution

As they keep moving me from penitentiary to penitentiary I can’t help but realize that the majority of prisoners serving indefinite life and death sentences in control units are Black and Latin brothers who, due to their lack of knowledge, had their rights violated and like myself were railroaded and ambushed by this corrupt injustice system, and eventually thrown into these control units. I consider these human warehouses, where we die a slow agonizing death.

I am one of the very few who has managed to maintain my sanity. And rather than serving this tortured time, I’m having this time serve me by educating myself and as the sun bringing light to all corners of my circumference, waking up all those who have been sleeping in the graveyard of ignorance, to unite and assist in organizing a revolution that will bring an end to the oppression of all groups over other groups, classes, genders and nations.

I agree with those who believe that crime is the bad oppressive things we do to each other. The more people you hurt and oppress, the bigger the criminal you are. So the big criminals in our country are the bourgeoisie – those who are rich while others are poor, those who make profit from other peoples misery, street crime is a very small part of all the crimes committed each day in comparison to unemployment, homelessness, discrimination, bad education and bad health care.

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[Abuse] [California]
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Conditions deteriorate at Kern Valley

What is the deal at Killa Kern Valley State prison here in California? Is it Amerikka's society economic meltdown, or is it CDCR's capitalist truly saying "buck the world, let's get paid". At the moment Kern Valley prisoners are experiencing some major difficulties with obtaining the things we have coming from the state. And it is becoming worse and worse with each day that goes by. They have come up with a new budget cut campaign, and they aren't doing any playing, or half stepping.

Recently they came with a variety of snake tactics that will help them take from us to save funds, and not be seen doing it. It will be done in a manner that would make society respond with a "so what" attitude.

At this point administration has succeeded in limiting the general population's usage of flushing toilets in order to cut back on the prison's consumption of water. They've shortened the amount of toilet tissue from a small roll to an extra small one. Basically they've forced us (two prisoners per cell) to make what was used to last one person whole week, last two people a whole week. Not only can we not sit on the toilet and pass gas freely while the smell is flushed away to the pipes, keeping the scent out of the cell. We have to figure out a way to keep ourselves wiped properly without using up all of the tissue. It's kind of barbaric if you ask me.

The prices of various canteen items are on the rise like gas prices. Top Ramen noodle soups are 25 cents, up from a recent 20 cents, and the price of rice, beans, and peanut butter is up as well. The dinner trays are ridiculously short, sometimes missing a whole part of the meal. And the nutrition sack lunch isn't so nutritious at all. At the moment California prisoners who owe restitution fees are being taxed 55% of whatever funds their hard working families send them. Coffee is up $7.50 from $4.50, and they are planning to boost the restitution fee by 5%. That's more than half of California prisoner's money taken before they've even got the opportunity to shop at the overpriced shopping market.

They've let this yard off lockdown for the moment, but it seems to be something they've done on paper just to cover their asses and the asses of the California senate. Blacks can't get the same working/education opportunities as other races. Nor can the convict population as a whole receive adequate access to the law library (or religion services).

This institution and its officials are foul. It's as if we're truly being physically attacked by the capitalistic forces, and no one of society is taking note.

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[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 4]
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Gang validation of the politically active

A revolutionary abrazo given and sent to all, from the depths of the gallows of chain link fences and barbed wire that has met the consumption in the harvest of plantation Amerikkka. Deprived of our livelihood and recruited in this Industrial Army. We have removed the yoke of oppression creating a commune that refuses to bow to the dictates of this prison industrial complex. Our single cell of multicultural backgrounds has fought against the system since birth. Victims to the judicial demagogue, comprehending that the blind lady of justice is only weighing our pockets.

Because of our political beliefs (that always get misconstrued) we've landed in these deprivation units, for our individual cases as men, we the people, are now prisoners of war. We are labeled and branded from the many scattered sheep entwined in hives of "rehabilitation". We have been singled or rather targeted by networks of a controlled government that uses force to impose rules against our race from above, suppressing individual initiatives in the interest of maximizing these control units, to meet their economic consumption that exploits our people.

Those of us who do not prostrate before CDCR economic, political, and militant demands, can be branded associates to prison gangs. These aggressive policies will not be the means of our demise. I am a Marxist-Lenninist-Maoist and I will not subside my resistance to this Abu-Grahiization (torture). But, on the contrary, I will attack the social injustices that commonly validate our people. CDCR has openly declared its intention to agress and colonize our people by rapid and violent assimilation.

Ideologically, CDCR validates [as gang members] groups cast as enemies by the states hegemonic myth or by the need to isolate people who can be portrayed as the embodiment of absolute evil. CDCR has also campaigned to control the mindset of our people to impose a solution to tough on crime legislation by forcing gang validation as a means to deliberately destroy our culture, which systematically liquidates all of our characteristics of our national society.

In closing, the battle has only begun. The proletariat will mobilize in mass demonstration in words with a singe of revolutionary fervor. Our social being has led to our consciousness, we serve as the vanguard for and of the oppressed. So, it is our obligation to help awaken the nucleus of all our peoples, in seeing that we've all been validated in classes and singled out by this fascist plutocracy.

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