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Under Lock & Key

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Western Correctional Institution] [Maryland]
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Brutality in Maryland

Time has granted me the ability to speak my mind and express my thoughts on the abusive, foul-crookedness that is going on here at the Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. I'm on the segregation unit, it will be two years that I've been here in April.

Not long ago I was cuffed and taken out of my cell by two KKK members, a.k.a. the pigs, a.k.a. the correctional officers. As soon as I got to the bottom of the tier I was dragged into the lobby, slammed on the floor (still handcuffed), the pigs stomped and kicked me while the other pig held me down. The pigs then dragged me back on the top tier stomped and kicked me some more so everybody on the top tier could see.

After that I was put in cell #1 (the butt naked cell) with no mattress, no clothes, nothing. The pigs put a rock in the window so I would not be able to close it. The pigs then walked past the cell calling me nigger and telling me they run the show and next time I will keep my mouth shut. One of the pigs told the others to chill because I can't be broken. He told them that they already took all my soap and toothpaste before, they took all my cloths, they even took my showers and recreation for 50 something days. The pig said all the other niggers will look out for me and told them to lay off before they start a riot.

This is a life long struggle I'm fighting.

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[Abuse] [National Oppression] [Western Correctional Institution] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 2]
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Beating on Blacks in Maryland

I've been locked up 16 years and I could have been up town a long time ago, but I always wind up beefing with these pigs because I'm not going to let them beat on my people. They keep jumping on people up here at WCI in Cumberland, Maryland. They killed one person up here and now they are telling prisoners, look we got away with one murder, what makes you think we won't do it again and get away with it!

They have this hearing office doing whatever they want it to do. They find everybody guilty, and tell you that if you don't plea guilty you will get the max no matter what. So they are saying we don't have any rights!

They are also playing with my mail and others. The office tries to send people's books home, but only Black books. Over the last 15 years I've been in this belly of the beast and I have been mindful of its design to destroy the strong beautiful Black minds that enter.

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[Organizing] [Control Units] [California State Prison, Corcoran] [California]
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Locked in SHU after release date, still fighting

I'm confined in Corcoran state prison SHU program. I have been in the SHU for years. I personally don't consider myself a con, I like thinking of myself as a prisoner of war. I suggest to our brothers and sisters in this Amerikkka war against our races to take a stand in prison. Use your free time to study and use U.$. law against them and also on department of corruption and repression (CDC&R). My SHU term was up 12-1-05, but I'm still here pending transfer. Yes, it's a lot of us still here on that note. I won a few 602s, but most get lost by staff members.

I need help and candidates on the streets to carry our fights for us in prisons unmask this corruption system. Enclosed is a 602 I won, and the reason I'm not transferred yet. CDCR gives us 602 forms, but if you use them and win, you will pay your price, allright!

Someone once said I'd rather die standing than die on my knees. In simple English words, that means I will not be a coward. Refuse to work, clean up messes by Corrections Officers (C/Os), don't make deals or business with C/Os. They are not your friends! When a C/O or any official writes you up, what do you consider that? It's called ratting/snitching. All against what we believe in. So why do cons make deals with them? Refuse to program and protect your rights. Do not be a slave to CDCR.

Currently all my books and study notes were taken from me due to my beliefs - I'm called by staff "Little Castro."

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[Abuse] [Racism] [Calipatria State Prison] [California]
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Welcome back to Calipatria under siege

In May 2006 inmates of all racial classifications were lulled into a false sense of security as the totalitarians blanket approach to punishment was lifted only to be used again disproportionately against one aspect of the inmate population. It is our belief that the blanket approach was to disguise this administrations racist tactics in their dealings with inmates. Now that it is applied to only one segment of the inmate population it is all the more clear. As is stated in my first "Calipatria under siege" report, the "Hispanic" inmate population of Calipatria suffer disproportionate punishment as opposed to the several other racial designations [MIM ed: we will use Latino instead of Hispanic, but in California prisons this is almost entirely interchangeable with Mexican]. Now with living evidence I submit this second "communiqué" from the front line that is Calipatria State Prison.

As stated in May 2006, the blanket of torture was lifted and tensions eased only to be complicated once again by a "skirmish" between "southern Hispanics" [MIM ed - prison label] and correctional staff, and though the blanket was not unfurled for a great length of time we believe out of sheer oversight and not from a merciful standpoint. The blanket of torture was lifted in exchange for a blanket of psychological warfare with reminders of the totalitarians power to inflict wounds both physical as well as mental as is mentioned in the latest skirmish and the subsequent disappearances of "southern Hispanics."

A return to "normal" program was beginning from total lockdown that began in July of 2005 where we were denied everything from yard exercise to canteen to adequate hygiene products to legal relief. Most services were said to be slowly re-implemented to the inmate population using a screening process where inmates were returned to a program status in accordance with prison behavior, the most programs/privileges to inmates who have the most appealing prison history and the least programs privileges with the least appealing history. This "screening" is a farce! It only applies to the Latino inmate population. Other inmates were afforded all programs and privileges immediately while the Latino population were/are subjected to this screening, where only approximately 5 Latinos from each of this sub-facilities' four general population buildings were afforded all programs and privileges on a weekly basis (approx 20 each week). The remainder were/are merely afforded canteen and package program access. No yard exercise, no vocation education, no work programs, etc., a continued punishment merely for being Latino. It's obvious this screening of those most willing to program has no bearing on the administrations decision of who to "release" or "gradually unlock" to full programs/privileges as all Latino inmates have and show their willingness to program in accordance to prison procedures.

This administration utilizes methods to deal with or remove the so-called "un-desirables" with several steps in the disciplinary procedures. For example, placement in the "hole" for those who seriously disrupt the programs or "C" status - a confined to quarters type punishment for those who refuse to work (to name a couple). My point is, that aside from the above mentioned individuals undergoing disciplinary procedures, the remainder of the 99.9% of Latino inmates have not committed a disciplinary infraction to warrant this ongoing punishment. Those who have committed a disciplinary infraction that are not removed to the hole or placed on "C" status have not committed an infraction of a serious enough nature to warrant this ongoing punishment.

Furthermore in September the blanket was unfurled once again when the entire prison population was placed on lockdown due to weapons being found and unfounded "intelligence" which allegedly stated the weapons were to be used to assault staff. In the beginning the entire institution was placed on lockdown with all programs suspended and searches of the entire institution conducted. The administration's racist policies surfaced in a statement by administration posted on the institution information channel for the inmate population to read, where it stated "certain segments of the inmate population continue to disrupt the program of all the segments."

At first reading nothing is amiss, until all the racial segments of this institution were released from lockdown and afforded all program/privileges. That is, except the Latino population! Now this statement by administration takes on new life. Now, "certain segments" means Latinos, where blame for the weapons and so-called "intelligence" is placed squarely on the Latino population. The weapons in question were not found on any one person, but in a common area accessible to all. Yet alleged "intelligence" was used to attribute the weapons to Latinos. It should be noted the intelligence used by administration is not refutable nor is there given any proof of its authenticity as it is "confidential." The Latinos thereby have no legal recourse to challenge said "intelligence" as fabricated, false or even to prove it's actual existence. Again, disproportionate decision followed with punishment based on blatant racial attribution of weapons said to belong to Latinos, based as stated on unfounded and unchallengeable "intelligence."

As of this writing, December 2006, the Latinos are again under the "screening" process prior to unlock of lockdown and access to all programs/privileges. And again in a manner disproportionate to the other races who were not subjected to the screening. As stated the entire Latino population, merely by being housed in this prison in the general population, is proof positive of each inmates individual as well as collective willingness, desire and goal to program in accordance to prison procedures, like that of other racial segments. (Calipatria is a 270 design prison - meaning less restrictive level 4 for level 4 inmates who have and are positively programming). Like that of the other racial segments, some individuals or groups have been alleged to have committed disciplinary infractions serious enough to disrupt programs where the said are removed from general population to the hole while the remainder suffer the residual effects of those infractions with lockdowns. Yet as stated above, the Latino population suffers punishment disproportionately.

One only has to view our objective conditions to see the racial overtones where Latinos as a whole are viewed as the undesirable elements of the prison population. But not undesirable for any disciplinary infractions committed as a whole but for merely being Latino. Where disciplinary infractions are committed by other racial segments of the inmate population are viewed as "isolated incidents," Latino disciplinary infractions are viewed as an alleged collective conspiracy and any and all weapons found are attributed to Latinos, allegedly corroborated by unchallengeable 'intelligence" notorious Calipatria State Prison.

The intensity of the psychological war has gained momentum and although raids, property seizures and disappearances have lessened, they continue none the less. And although by all outward appearances Calipatria is in compliance with inmates' rights, those of the Latino prisoners are denied, suspended or lessened and suffer the whims of a totalitarian administrative body. And although it's no longer 120 degrees outside, it is still cold in the shadow of the Green wall and the Latinos are still under siege.

MIM adds: This tactic of dividing the prisons along national lines is one of many used by the prison administration to keep prisoners fighting each other rather than uniting against a common enemy. Even the appearance of preferential treatment for one nationality over another can contribute to this division. Rather than focus on this inequality, MIM calls on prisoners of all nationalities to unite in fighting the unjust policies of the administration. The real enemy is the criminal injustice system, and unity behind bars will greatly advance our struggle against this enemy.

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[Censorship] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Censorship of outgoing mail at Pelican Bay

This initiative is being brought forth under the social principles of communal cooperative work. The focus point of this initiative is to combat an arbitrary policy that the Pelican Bay State Prison administrators have initiated, which essentially violates the constitutional 1st amendment right to the freedom of speech/expression, as warranted to the captive class of prisoners that is being held in the SHU (Security Housing Unit). On November 13, 2006, the Associate Warden Ms. C.M. Scavetta authorized a memorandum which mandates that: "all prisoners housed in the SHU shall have their outgoing mail stamped in big red letters (Pelican Bay SHU - Unit D3) on the outside of the envelope, as well as on every single page of the enclosed correspondence, or on the noted contents therein…such as; "drawings, cards, political writings being sent out for publication purposes etc…"

We prisoners firmly oppose this new arbitrary policy, in that it vandalizes, defaces, and undermines the essence of our 1st amendment right to the freedom of speech/expression. Furthermore, this practice is semblance to how the Nazi Germans branded (stamped) the Jews that were being held captive in their Nuremburg concentration slave kamps for purposes of social control and eventual extermination! So in the true spirit of communal cooperative work, we prisoners are requesting the community's support in the form of launching a "phone call/letter writing campaign" in opposition to this arbitrary policy/practice.

For those of you who may be entertaining thoughts of doubt as to why you should get involved in this initiative, my people you should try to understand that we prisoners are an extension of every poor and oppressed community out in Babylon. Meaning that we prisoners remain an integral part of the community that we were removed from, but also our families, friends, and loved ones are also affected by this repressive practice via the mail that we send to them as well. What if your loved one or family member had a very important message to get out to you, but when you received his letter, you were unable to read it on account of it being stamped (vandalized) in very big red letters?

It is a historical truth that repression breeds resistance, so let our call of resistance be echoed in the form of placing phone calls and writing letters to the warden and associate warden of this prison in the expressed form of opposition and to the illegality of this practice. It will also help if you would notify your local politicians and legislatures about this to encourage them to investigate this matter, and to send letters as well. Send your letters to the following address:

Pelican Bay State Prison
c/o Robert Horel, Warden
5905 Lake Earl Dr.
Crescent City, CA 95531

Or:
c/o Associate Warden C.M. Scavetta
same address as above
707-465-1000

MIM adds: in our short experience with this policy we can collaborate this prisoner's statement that the stamps on every page of every letter make SHU prisoner's mail very hard to read. Further, stamping artwork essentially ruins the art. This policy serves no purpose other than harassment of prisoner's and their correspondents.

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[Prison Labor] [Economics] [California]
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"News and Letters" misses the boat on labor aristocracy

Greetings and respects to all. Thanks you guys for the free newsletter you sent me. I found it to be very interesting and insightful. However I couldn't help but to notice the enormous amount of support you guys give to the various labor unions here in the United States. And also in other First World nations. Do you guys not consider these labor unions part of the 'Labor Aristocracy?" To be a bit more specific on this term, please allow me to directly quote from our comrades Theory Journal #1 "White Proletariat?" By the way, when I say "our comrades" I'm speaking about the Maoist Internationalist Movement. Anyhow, "The labor aristocracy comprises the elite workers in the world who the capitalist class have bribed with profits obtained from other workers. Lenin said that imperialism gives the bourgeoisie enough super-profits to 'devote a part (and not a small one at that!) to bribe their own workers, to create something like an alliance…between the workers of a given nation and capitalists.." "There is the tendency of the bourgeoisie and the opportunists to convert a handful of very rich and privileged nations into 'eternal' parasites on the body of mankind to 'rest on the laurels' of the exploitation of negros, first world nations, etc., keeping them in subjection with the aid of the excellent weapons of extermination provided by modern militarism." "Lenin believed there was a growing labor aristocracy which owed its position to the workers exploited and super-exploited abroad."

A perfect example of one such union that's filled with these parasites is the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA). This particular "labor union" through the exploitation of minorities in this state has quickly risen to become one of California's largest and most powerful unions around. Through the bribing of government officials they've been able to consolidate power at the very highest levels. That unfortunately has cost us minorities very dearly. Because now they are able to pass even more stringent laws aimed at us. Thus keeping their "cash cow" well fed. And us and our communities oppressed.

Another union that comes to mind is the AFL-CIO. This particular union has a very unsavory past, to say the very least. From Guatemala to Chile, they have helped to oppress our brothers and sisters. Or did they not play a very significant role in bringing down the "Allende Government in Chile!?! Or did they not provide assistance to the United Fruit company in Guatemala when they were trying to smash the indigenous led union!?! Their foreign policy speaks for itself. Of course I could go on and on about these labor unions. But I'll go ahead and stop here. I hope to get some feedback from you guys on this topic. Once again, thanks for the newsletter.

MIM responds: This comrade's analysis of "News and Letters" position on unions is right on. The only point we disagree with is where s/he writes that the CCPOA "through the exploitation of minorities in this state, has quickly risen to become one of California's largest and most powerful unions around." Presumably the minorities in this state referenced are prisoners. The current economics of prisons don't (yet) support this statement. Prisons in California don't yet make a profit off of prisoners; they are still greatly subsidized by the state. And so it is not the CCPOA doing the exploiting, though the use of them as an example remains correct as they are definitely benefiting from exploitation of Third World peoples as those superprofits are brought home and the state of California uses them to build more prisons and pay high wages to CCPOA workers.

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[Organizing] [Political Repression] [California]
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Peace between prisoners discouraged in California

In response to an article in the October Under Lock and Key about prisoner's attempting to organize a peace summit at Pelican Bay prison in California, one prisoner wrote:

I have yet to hear of any of this, however, I did hear about the 2001 attempted peace treaty. Which of course was purposely sabotaged by CDC. The very last thing these bastards (CDC) wants is peace amongst the races here in prison. It is not in the material interest of the white middle class who work for CDC to have this violence come to an end. Any time an institution goes on lock down, prison officials automatically get what's called "Hazard Pay" which doubles their pay. So for every violent incident they (CDC) can provoke, they stand to profit from it.

And it's not only the CDC that stands to profit. Other outside organizations are also profiting from what the CDC has created. Organizations such as the Sheriffs department and other police agencies. Which of course are staffed with middle class white amerikans. Every time an incident from in here spills out into our occupied communities, it is these organizations that come in and lock up everyone in sight, not to mention harass, beat and even murder us.

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[Control Units] [Organizing] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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History of the Peace Summit initiative at Pelican Bay

Concerning the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Summit initiative, I'm all too familiar with the initiative and the brothas that are seeking grassroots community support. Back in the year 2000, we the progressive class of Black prisoners had initiated efforts through these prison bureaucrats, in order to initiate some peace/resolve to the social conflict that had materialized out in general population, i.e. "race war." But as to be expected, these prison bureaucrats launched an aggressive "armed propaganda" campaign, in order to sabotage and disrupt our efforts. Because, as you know, it is these pigs nature to exist in a quagmire of diabolical, corrupt, and violent practices. So the armed propaganda campaign consisted of spreading a rumor to the head officials in Sacramento (CDC department heads) who had sanctioned the "peace talks" initially, that we prisoners that were directly involved with these "peace talks" were manipulating this opportunity to organize and conspire in criminal and violent activities, which is completely false and unfounded!

But by the time that we got around to challenging this nonsense, our efforts had proven to be futile, as we did not have any grassroots community support, which remains to be a critical component that needs to be addressed in light of our material existence, in being held in the restricted bondage and isolated confines of the SHU (Security Housing Unit). Besides, these fascist pigs in here also had a vested economic interest in seeing that the cycle of violence remained a material factor, as it continues to be perpetuated out in general population (mainline) in the form of a "race war" (southern Mexicans and white supremacist Europeans vs. the class of New Afrikan Black prisoners), in that, if our collective goal towards peace had been materialized into a reality, then the fascist pigs would no longer been able to prey on the fears of the public, under the premise of violence being a out of control issue, and the justification for the continued existence of these super-maximum slave kamps would have also been negated!!

This is why it is ever so critical that we mobilize ourselves now, in order to obtain some real grassroots community support so that we may effectively combat this social dilemma and bring some peace and resolve, to not just these mainliners, but also in the communities of southern California, to where these acts of senseless violence has spilled over. Meaning, that individuals of these racial nationalities who have no knowledgeable insight of this social conflict (race war) is being arbitrarily subjected to the capricious whims of violence, i.e. "innocent victims." So the onus is on us to restore order on these mainlines and in the communities of Southern California, as these fascist pigs (U.$. government ) has never had our best interest at heard, in particular, as it relates to poor people of color.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California]
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Support the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talk

MISSION STATEMENT

In 1989, the CA Department of Corrections (DOC) opened Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP). Their primary stated reason for its construction was to reduce prison violence by segregating alleged gang leaders and members. But contrary to their stated purpose, prison violence has increased rapidly and dramatically. The CA prison system is more violent now than it was before the opening of PBSP. In fact, it's the most dangerous and deadly prison system in the country, as the statistics will clearly attest.

In Feb. 2001, CA witnessed one of its most violent race riots here at PBSP, where approximately 38 New Afrikan (Black) prisoners were stabbed. A message was delivered to me the next day from a group of brothers who had been involved in the riot, requesting my assistance with resolving this racial conflict/war. I am being housed in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) here at PBSP (solitary confinement), so I am in a position to talk to certain influential Mexican and white prisoners.

That night, I wrote to Warden Ayers, explaining to him that I would like to initiate peace talks designed to resolve this conflict. The following morning, I was escorted to the warden's office. He was interested in my proposal. While I was there, he asked what he could do to facilitate this peace process. I told him I needed to speak with a number of prisoners, and he told his staff to accommodate my endeavors. I was able to bring all relevant parties to the table, a peace plan was adopted and a cease fire was implemented.

We knew there were a number of associate wardens here at PBSP, as well as Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) unit administration in Sacramento, along with the CA Corrections Peace Officers Association (CCPOA, prison guards union) who did not want this truce to take place or to take hold. True to form, they sabotaged our peace talks with lies and negative propaganda. Because we failed to mobilize an outside, grassroots support base, we were not able to challenge the lies and distortions that were being told.

The DOC told the politicians and the media that they didn't need us to resolve this conflict. They know that's untrue, that we are the only ones who can resolve it. When I say "we," I mean those New Afrikan, Mexican, and white prisoners presently housed here in the SHU at PBSP in the D-Facility, units 1, 2, 3 and 4. Many of us are between 40-65 years of age and have been in solitary confinement from 20 to 40 years. I personally have been in isolation for 24 years. We are the only ones who possess the respect and influence to end this conflict.

We could have resolved this racial conflict five years ago, but the CDC didn't want us to achieve that goal. As a direct result, the conflict has spun out of control. Since 2001, there have been at least 500 race-based riots behind the walls, and approximately as many individual stabbing incidents related to this conflict. Over 200 race riots took place in 2005 alone. Even worse, since 2001, the conflict has spilled out into the community outside the walls, especially in southern California, and now the community is caught up in the conflict. Of course the CDC will not take responsibility for the escalation of this conflict, but the fact remains that it was the CDC that sabotaged our efforts to end it, and now it has enveloped the whole state of California.

We can no longer afford to expect the CDC or government to end this conflict, or allow them to prevent us from ending it. The escalation of this conflict is a further example of the CDC's criminal negligence. As a class of veteran convicts, we are reaching out to the outside community for your assistance in resolving this conflict. With your help, we can put an end to this war.

We have developed a plan that would consist of a joint effort, but an effort led by us. What we need from you is to force the CDC to allow us to initiate discussion on a peace resolution. At present we are not allowed to get together and dialogue on a truce. We are presently looking for outside volunteers to serve as facilitators and coordinators. The facilitators will assist those directly involved in the process, since being in isolation limits what we can do. This is why it's very important for us to have outside assistance. The coordinators are grassroots organizers that will be responsible for mobilizing a community effort in support of our peace summit. If your are interested in being a facilitator you can contact me at:

Abdul Olugbala Shakur s/n J. Harvey
D-4-112/ C-48884 (SHU)
PO Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532
Pelican Bay State Prison

We also have a petition that we are presently distributing in support of our peace summit. Download the Pelican Bay State Prison Peace Talk Petition.

MIM replies: This mission statement underscores what MIM has long reported - the California Department of Corrections is behind the prisoner-on-prisoner violence and conflicts between nations in the prisons. They set up these divisions and they sabotage efforts by prisoners to achieve a peaceful resolution. The CDC's interest in promoting gang warfare behind bars is clear - keeping the prisoners divided and fighting one another prevents them from coming together to fight the injustice system. And these fights give the CDC justification for all kinds of repression and lockdowns. In fact they justify the existence of the Security Housing Units (SHU) themselves, which claim to house the "validated" gang members.

This is the same thing going on on the streets - the U.$. government has played a role in funneling guns and drugs to the streets to help fuel the creation of organizations fighting each other in oppressed communities. These organizations need to turn themselves to genuine self-defense in the interests of their nation, against their true enemy who perpetuates the system of national oppression in Amerika: the imperialist U.$. government. The organizers at Pelican Bay are setting a good example for people behind bars and on the streets, and we will work with them to take the struggle to the next level, beyond peace and onto the united struggle for justice.

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[Control Units] [Legal] [Washington]
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Washington IMU repression

I have been locked up for 28 straight years; the past few on "state tour" being shipped back and forth between Intensive Management Unit (IMU) facilities.

There are four levels in IMU. Level 1 is a sanction and for those hwo receive infractions while in IMU. Everyone starts at Level 2 (no radio or TV, nor allowed a newspaper or magazine subscription). Level 3 allows one magazine or newspaper subscription; level 4 allows two magazines or newspaper subscriptions. Also, the person on Level 3 is allowed a radio; on Level 4 given the choice between radio or TV.

I am the sort of person they kept and continue to keep on Level 2. Various excuses at different times are given (I have not had an infraction for some time!) The present excuse is because I do not attend monthly review hearing (in writing I am given the choice to attend or not.) I do not attend because of being tired of them writing in reports I said things I never said.

Prison officials may restrict reading material in punitive segregation, although most cases upholding this practice have involved short periods of time:

Gregory v. Auger, 768 F.2d 287, 289-91 (8th Cir. 1985) - inmates in disciplinary detention could be deprived of all but first class mail of a "personal, legal or religious" nature where detention was limited to 60 days), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1035 (1085); Daigre v. Maggio, 719 F.2d 1310, 1312-13 (5th Cir. 1983) - ban on newspapers and magazines in segregation upheld as applied to an inmate who served 10 days); Pendleton v. Housewright, 651 F. Supp. 1354, 1366-68 (S.D. Tex. 1983) - deprivation of publications except for legal and religious material sin solitary confinement upheld where limited to 15 days.

However, the above refers to punitive or disciplinary segregation. They have me on administration segregation. See e.g., Hardwick v. Ault, 447 F. Supp. 116, 128-31 (M.D. Ga. 1978) - mail and reading material restrictions in administrative segregation held unconstitutional. An added interesting note is although I am not allowed magazines or newspapers, I may have books. Isn't that something!?

You can help by sending letters of protest to:

Eldon Vail, Depty Secty, Department of Corrections, PO Box 41118, Olympia, WA 98504

Carol Porter, Superintendent, WA Corrections Center, PO Box 900, Shelton, WA 98584

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