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[Gang Validation] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 41]
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Pennsylvania STG: Acronym for Oppression

A few years ago, former Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (PA DOC) Director Jeffrey Beard relocated to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Director Beard was known for his tyrannical style of utilizing confinement and isolation for more sadistic than safety purposes, by increasing constantly the number of prisoners placed on the restricted release list (RRL). Once on this list, the only persyn who can finalize your release back to general population is the Governor of Pennsylvania. Beard, after seeing the practice of the California STG program, informed current PA DOC Director, John Wetzel, of these tactics of oppression, suppression and repression. In the summer of 2012 the Pennsylvania security threat group (STG) unit was started.

In Pennsylvania, a security threat group is any group of persyns who continuously ignore the department's administrative rules, i.e. any unauthorized group activity. The word "group" is the concealing factor of the oppressive practices in place in the PA DOC. Members of religious "groups" such as Muslims, Jews, Moors, Nation of Islam, Nation of Gods & Earths, etc., are placed on the list of documented STGs violating the First Amendment right to freedom of religion and freedom of association. Members of political "groups" such as the New Afrikan Communists, New Afrikan Independence Movement, Black Liberation Army, etc. are placed on the list of documented STGs, violating the first amendment right to freedom of political identification and freedom of association.

Of approximately 175 captives brought to the Pennsylvania STG program, 95% (166) are of oppressed nation heritage. Out of this percentage, about 20 were actually told why they were abducted for the program, i.e. why they were labeled STG members, although the reasons were mostly untruthful and unjustifiable. There is no appeal process in place to combat placement in the program. There is no validation/assessment hearing or procedure in place to present your side of the alleged claims or bring forth any evidence or witnesses on your behalf. Those who do attempt to refuse this assignment are placed on RRL. In order to be released from there you have to agree to do the STG program (the same program you refused in the first place!).

The tactics employed here are quite surely the same as any other STG unit. Obstruction of correspondence (incoming and outgoing), no visits (unless earned through advancing in the program), no phone privileges (unless earned through advancing in the program), inadequate legal services and materials (unless earned through advancing in the program), thought police/Orwellian indoctrination and debriefing systems disguised as cognitive restructuring. Those who hold firm the belief this is an injustice are labeled as "in denial and unwilling to give up participation in group activity." Those who express their opinions are titled as "thinking criminally" or using a "gang mentality." The guidelines, procedures and policies governing the programs are restricted to the public. Instead a prisoner supplement handbook is issued to each captive which quite surely differentiates from the restricted policy.

Exercise, food, commissary and restraints are used as an enticement method as well as punishment. For example, you may hear a pig say "if you program, you won't have to wear handcuffs." Or "if you don't complete the assignments you won't be able to order commissary." To increase the allure of these "privileges" they make contrasting practices as hard and uncomfortable as possible. They feed you next to nothing to increase hunger and craving for commissary. They make all movements restrained to add to the uncomfortability. This is all done in hopes of breaking your spirit or to make you "give in to the inevitable," to quote a pig.

These are only a few of the ever-changing, ever-occurring issues here for myself and the komrades. There is a resistance to struggle not only for our liberties but for those who would come after us as an example of unity, komradery and solidarity in struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We are seeing this STG classification used to target activists in Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, Michigan, as well as California and no doubt many more states. While the development of STG programs is a sign of the strength of the oppressed nation organizations and political activists, it is also a dangerous tool of repression that we must expose and fight. Targetting prisoners for "group" or "gang" activity has long been an excuse to bring down oppression on those with the greatest interest and organization in fighting the criminal injustice system.

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[Control Units] [Warren Correctional Institution] [Ohio] [ULK Issue 40]
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Organizing Against Control Units in Ohio

Resist
I am currently imprisoned in Warren Correctional Institute in Lebanon, Ohio and am Vice President of a prisoner-run organization called Long Term Offenders Organization (LTO) where our main focus is to abolish the "3 tier system" which is Ohio's equivalent to California's Security Housing Unit (SHU) system. We promote abolishment by enforcing programs, workshops, events and activities for prisoners to beat the 3 tier system. We promote unity outside of these walls but even more within these walls. I've noticed a lot of brothers complain about our current circumstances in Ohio such as the 3 tier system (which is obviously a cycle that is supposed to be broken), the food (not enough portions), and correctional officers abusing their authority. By having a platform such as LTO to speak up, I'm promoting prison unity to use the proper procedure through the formal complaints process and not letting the pigs or their system get the best of us. I always tell the brothers it's going to take more than just me alone to make a difference so I need them just as much as they need me.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We add these comrades in Ohio to the country-wide movement to shut down control units. Whatever they are called, this long term isolation is a form of torture, primarily targetting politically active and oppressed nation prisoners. We also encourage LTO, and any other prisoner organizations out there, to consider joining the United Front for Peace in Prisons, and work to build unity on an even broader scale. As the second organizing principle of this United Front states: "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."

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[Abuse] [Georgia State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 40]
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Georgia Prisoners Ready to Fight Negligence and Corruption

Canteen
This prison degrades all to the lowest form. We are repeatedly refused showers, recreation, and medical attention after being abused by supervising officials. They are running in on us at 3am in full riot gear while we are resting in what peace we can get around here. The Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) is run by a new sergeant and he is pepper spraying prisoners who pose no threat. He is ordering his subordinates to "shoot first and ask questions later."

We are being subject to excessive rectal searches just to take a shower. Our food is cold, spoiled and inadequately prepared. We don't receive beverages and staff talk over, sweat on, and handle our trays with no gloves, hair nets, or face masks.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Me and my fellow lumpen comrades are definitely determined to sink this "titanic" along with other negligent and corrupt entities within the state. Always remember a closed mouth doesn't get fed. It's time to fight back with our minds, pens and comradery! Believe me that there's only so much that we are going to take laying down! Free all my like-minded brothers of the same struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: There is a growing movement of prisoners and lumpen organizations in Georgia standing up to the abuse and unjust conditions in the prisons in that state. Part of this work requires educating and organizing, and for this we need leaders like this comrade. Leaders are willing to put in the work exposing the conditions, and educating fellow prisoners about the need for unity and building for legal and non-violent actions that will further the anti-imperialist movement. United Struggle from Within (USW), the MIM(Prisons)-led prisoner organization, needs more comrades to step up and take on leadership roles behind bars. Get in touch with us for more information on working with USW.

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[Control Units] [Oregon]
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Shut Down the Oregon Long Term Program

Overpopulation

There's something I'd like to bring to your attention in hopes that you can possibly provide help in stopping and exposing Oregon's long term isolation scheme. In late 2010 Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) started a program called "Long Term" (LT) that has 24 beds/cells. Administration can place someone in LT upon completion of a Disciplinary Segregation sanction and Intensive Management program. LT is permanent lockdown. There are no special criteria that get us placed there, nor any time limit to how long we can be kept on that status. Administration does what they want. Annual evaluations are done with no guarantee we'll be released back to mainline.

From its implementation until the summer of 2013, the 24 LT cells were never completely filled up with LT status prisoners. I was placed there in May 2013 and only about half that section were on LT status. The rest were Intensive Management Unit (IMU) overflows transitioning back to mainline. From May until about January 2014 the Inmate Program Committee (IPC) were long-terming a group of prisoners for their first IMU shot for a fist fight. They had no misconduct while in IMU and they "successfully" completed their LT. It's an admission that they know their IMU program doesn't work, and by failing to release those prisoners back to mainline they never gave it a chance to work. One vato there is paroling within months and IPC didn't want him to parole from mainline. There was no other reason for that decision.

By March 2014 every cell was filled up with LT status prisoners plus about 7 LT overflows who sat in a regular IMU cell, waiting for an LT cell to become available. Well, with annual evaluations only happening in October, the only way an LT cell will become available is if someone gets kicked out and sent back to an IMU unit for disciplinary reasons. In the last annual only 3 people were released back to mainline. So it raises the question: why are they all of a sudden long-terming so many people if there's no room?

By May 2014 they were up to 14 LT overflows. Well, one of the counselors admitted what we were already suspecting: It's all a scam they're pulling with their head honchos in the Dome Building to expand the LT isolation housing. Their intent was to fill up every cell so they can go to their bosses demanding more cells and funds. But they got denied. However, people are still getting assigned to LT. Maybe they feel that as long as they keep the numbers up the Dome will eventually have to relent, which explains a lot of the trips the counselors here have been taking to Salem to push their manipulative agenda. Oregon is turning into a permanent lockdown state. And all this is at the expense of simple decent humanity and civil rights. Many prisoners in LT right now are victims of these pigs' schemes and do not belong there.

Three codes of ethics all DOC employees are supposed to abide by are honor, respect, and dignity. This scheme contradicts all three. I would like to get activist and civil rights groups involved to hopefully shut the program down, or at least to prevent it from being expanded as part of some game these pigs are playing.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This program is similar to what we see in the criminal injustice system across Amerika, where prisoners are put in long term isolation cells for no particular reason, and given no opportunity to appeal this placement. In many places it is used as punishment for political organizing. This isolation is a form of torture, and counter to every supposed aim of rehabilitation. We look forward to working with comrades in Oregon to expose and fight this program.


Campaign info:
Shut Down the Control Units
This article referenced in:
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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Born from Different Mothers Reppin' Different Colors

LO Unity

They say that da left side is da true side
But I bang da right side with much pride
I don't knock your struggle, walk it like a real C
Blood or Crip, I respect the life that you live as a real G
I live in da struggle so I recognize da real from da fake
Dat Blood vs. Crip don't determine our fate
This kind of overstanding produces real niggas
who think like I thought...
A pointless war dat we all fought!
With fragments of unrelated feelings and no logical patterns
Trappin' in a concrete jungle dat preys
on da mind frames of young savages
I bleed Crip from my bloody heart
You Crip walk blood from a gangsters walk
Stuck in psychological confusion, created by poverty's conditions
Black pride and New Afrikan revolution destroyed from da impact
of pointless missions
I keep it poppin' for all niggas drippin' red and staying true
You keep it crackin' for all souljahs
Cripp'n Loc and bangin' blue
So stay true to yourself
cause you're a real nigga even though
you're reppin' dat strange color blue

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[Censorship] [Nebraska]
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Nebraska Forces Prisoners to Overpay for Postage

Mail in Trash

There are many instances of postal fraud/institutional strong arm robbery occurring here. In the canteen , when purchasing a large sized envelope (6x9 or larger) the facility requires the purchase of two first class U.S. postage stamps or three first class U.S. postage stamps, two for 6x9, three for larger.

In the event that someone desires to mail fewer than the two or three ounces permissible with the two or three stamps and removes a stamp in order to not overpay for postage, he receives a misconduct report from the mailroom and often the mail is returned to the brotha's cell. The envelope is usually sealed and then cut open rendering it unfit to be utilized again.

Essentially, they're forcing us to overpay for postage under the auspices of Title 68 of the Nebraska Administrative Code. Specifically, Title 68 Chapter 5 Section(2) III (N) and III (C) "violation of regulations" and "possessing or receiving unauthorized articles." Of course they write the misconduct report so that removing the extra stamp is considered alteration of a canteen item and thus becoming an "unauthorized article." The "violation of regulations" is a result of the dubious unauthorized article.

What, if any, information or experience do you all have with this type of institutional criminality? Postage stamps are highly regulated. How can a state institution, or anybody for that matter, force an individual or collective to overpay for postage? And, how far reaching is this practice? How high does it go? How can we stop this?


MIM(Prisons) responds: This is a good example of prisons denying prisoners' freedom of speech. It is difficult for prisoners to pay for stamps, and by forcing them to overpay, the prison denies valuable opportunities to send out mail. It is censorship before the mail is even sent out. We encourage Nebraska prisoners to get together to fight this policy. Send in your thoughts on how to best take this up as a campaign.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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Against Da Odds

Power 2 Da Proles


During the night of darkness, between da midst of a storm, there stood a warrior, thus a gangster in rare form. Black as soot, skin such a beautiful hue, he lived by da five, da almightly Damu. Constructed by struggles, created in poverty, da soul of realness with my komrades behind me. Standing firm for da cause, fighting through da oppression, 2 hearts, 1 soul. Liberation's my mission. Understand my position, don't judge me by my structure, comprehend my motives, it's filled with more than corruption. I live for my brothers and I'll die for my family, never slow to take a stand, for my love is my loyalty. To conquer all that's in my way, to rebuild my broken destiny, too far from reality, my ambition ran empty, such strength that's unbreakable. I'll fight to the end, I was born against da odds, da undisputed champion.

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[Censorship] [Aztlan/Chicano] [National Oppression] [Washington]
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Washington Prohibits Foreign Language Publications

Walls Closing In

I am fighting this Washington Department of Corrections policy "c) Publications in a foreign language will not be allowed with the exception of religious publications." They let letters come in in a foreign language, up to 10 pages. Before 2010 they used to let me get books and magazines in Spanish, but then they changed the policy.

I'm familiar with the censorship pack from MIM(Prisons), but there is nothing that applies to this issue. I exhausted the grievances. Their last response was that they had security interests and that it was a threat to the security of the institutions.

I've heard that there are states that let foreign language literature come in, also I heard that the federal system does too. These clowns told me that there is no state, federal or constitutional law that supports me to get books or magazines in a foreign language. I'm asking for the help of ULK readers around the country to advise me with a case or law that I could use in an argument or lawsuit. I don't know how to file one but I have to learn somehow. I wrote the ACLU and other organizations, but they never gave me a response.

If you do have some advice please sent it to MIM(Prisons). And finally to all those in Washington state, it would be good if we can come together in this and many other issues.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is an important battle because it is clear denial of access to educational materials for all Raza, and is particularly important for those Spanish-speaking prisoners who are not fluent in English. This blatant national oppression must be fought. We look forward to hearing from our readers with suggestions for how to best approach this campaign.

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[Control Units] [Colorado]
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Colorado Segregation Targets Activists and Mentally Ill

Walls Closing In

The ever-growing bureaucracy in Colorado Department of Corrections (DOC), and the interpretations that are following from ego-filled guards is appalling. Rich Ramicsh, our new DOC director, has made strong statements regarding closing down the use of solitary confinement, more commonly known in Colorado as Administrative Segregation. Yet the implementation of these measures and the enforcement of policies is left up to the creative imaginations of the individual prisons' administrators. With no monitoring systems in place, everything that takes place beyond each prison's razor wires and concrete walls goes unnoticed.

A new form of punishment is known as the "Austere Living Environment." They take disruptive, aggressive and often mentally ill prisoners and house them in 12-man housing units, locked in single cells 23 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no TVs, radios, books or any form of stimulation. This means of oppression is just the beginning. Ad-Seg now is used as a means of retaliation, suppression, and rendition to those who are not just gang members, but those who speak out against DOC.

Prisons are public institutions, not fiefdoms. Why can't there be inquiries into the use of prison in non-violent crimes and investigations on the environments of prisons? Instead of tough on crime, let's get tough on human rights and abolish prisons.

Standing in solidarity with fists held high. Keep fighting my comrades.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This attempt to build new long term isolation units under different names is a game employed by prisons across the country to conceal their brutality and abuse. This Austere Living Environment in Colorado will do nothing more than degrade the mental and physical health of prisoners. We call on all prisoners to send us documentation like this on control units in your prisons and/or state. Write to us to request a survey you can complete. We compile this data for use by those in the movement to shut down these control units, but we also take this message further and point out the value of isolation units that target activists to the imperialist system. We work to free anti-imperialist voices so that we can organize a movement that will overthrow the criminal injustice system.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [ULK Issue 41]
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Hystory is On Our Side

United Front

I ask that you embrace
the tides of the times
We are no longer confined
with binds on the mind
Once we embrace
united front, scientific thought
and study for line
the long arm of imperialism's
law
is no longer strong
When through theory and practice
we arrive at the decision
to take up arms
which is a must
if we are to defeat
imperialism's parasitic
lust
with too much greed
for that which we don't need
We fail to heed
even the most basic of humyn
needs
As the Third World suffers
because of our greed
So turn the tides of the
times
Study for line
and overthrow imperialism...
Hystory is on our side.

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