The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Spanish] [Political Repression] [Theory] [ULK Issue 38]
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Nosotros Queremos Paz! Ellos Quieren Seguridad

El mayor propósito de la publicación #7 de Bajo Llave & Candado es el mostrar quién y quienes no quieren la paz. También nos enfocaremos linea ya - sostenida - por tiempo de que los presos no logran nada desuniendose y peleando entré sí mismos o con el personal de la prisión. Cada prisión que censura este boletín reconoce que la paz entre los presos va en contra de su meta la cual según llaman "seguridad," y además sostiene nuestra tesis presentada abajo.

El tiempo ha comprobado … que la deferencia ciega a los oficiales de las correccionales no les hace un verdadero servicio. El asunto judicial con la regularidad de procedimiento tiene relación directa sobre el mantenimiento de la orden institucional; el cuidado ordenado con el cual las autoridades de la prisión haces sus decisiones esta íntimamente relacionado al nivel de respeto con el cual los prisioneros observan esa autoridad.

No hay nada más corrosivo a la estructura de una institución pública, como una prisión, que aquellos a los que contiene tengan el sentimiento que están siendo tratados injustamente." Palmigiano v. Baxter, 487 F.2d 1280, 1283 (CA1 1973). Como lo notó el Juez Principal en Morrissey v. Brewer, 408 U.S. @ 408 U.S. 484, "Tratamiento justo…aumentará la oportunidad de la rehabilitación evitando reacciones de arbitrariedad." - opinión disentido de Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974)

Nuestros registros de rastreo hablan por si mismos. Por lo menos docenas de presos y ex-prisioneros han dejado esas vidas que alguna vez incluían ataques físicos a los policías, y a menudo peleas contras personas, después de haber tomado la lucha anti-imperialista mediante MIM. Desafortunadamente, nuestra información esta un poquito desertada pues solo podemos hablar por los prisioneros con los que estamos en contacto. Depende de un investigador ambicioso el demostrar estadísticamente que esos envueltos en el anti-imperialismo son menos violentos que aquellos que no. (o más así como las oficinas de correo de las prisiones a lo largo del país sostienen en este caso).

Mientras tanto, hay una abundancia de estudios que enseñan como todo tipo de programas educacionales y familiares ayudan a reducir la violencia y el carácter anti-social. (1) Desafortunadamente, en un sistema enfocado en el castigo y a condenar al ostracismo a grupos de personas, estos programas son usados para manipular en vez de rehabilitar. Las prisiones de EE.UU. que ofrecen estos programas lo hacen con el esfuerzo de tentar a los presos con una zanahoria. Tomando este enfoque individualista ellos no están verdaderamente invirtiendo en paz o progreso. Cuando las prioridades cambian y un preso pierde su trabajo, o ya no puede ver a sus seres queridos, entonces ya no existe el incentivo para ser pacifico. En contraste, una dedicación a la lucha por un mundo sin opresión no puede ser quitado por administradores futuros de la prisión.

Verdades:

  1. En décadas de trabajo el Movimiento Internacionalista Maoista nunca ha roto leyes burgueses. En años de trabajo, tampoco MIM(Prisiones) lo ha hecho.
  2. Miembros de MIM y miembros de MIM(Prisiones) siempre se les ha prohibido el romper la ley.
  3. La literatura de MIM nunca ha promovido romper la ley o tomar armas en contra del gobierno de los EE.UU. o algún gobierno u organización local de hecho.
  4. Cada publicación de Under Lock & Key, el periodico de MIM(Prisiones), anima a que los presos obedezcan las leyes y evadir conflictos físicos.
  5. La experiencia anecdótica provee evidencia de un modelo de violencia reducida entre prisioneros que se han envuelto en programas educativos guiados por el MIM y/o compañías organizacionales.

A pesar de las verdades enlistadas arriba, nuestros programas y materiales son rechazados rutinariamente a los presos a lo largo de los EE.UU. A finales del 2007, lanzamos nuestra página de internet donde hemos grabado 509 incidentes de censura. La mayoría de esa censura es para MIM(Prisiones). De estos, 11 dicen STG - "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," 34 dicen "Seguridad" en general, 14 dicen una amenaza de "violencia," y 26 dicen de nuestra amenaza a la "ley" como la razón de la censura. Además, 164 tomaron lugar en California, donde todo el correo de MIM fue prohibido porque supuestamente "aboga el tomar el poder público mediante lucha armada y derribar las administraciones de las prisiones "quitandoles el control."(2) Mientras que las luchas legales recientes de un camarada en California han traído a la luz un documento que inválida esta prohibición, esta aún se sigue aplicando en muchas de las prisiones donde MIM(prisiones) tenía una multitud de lectores. La mayoría del resto de los incidentes de censura caen bajo varias categorías de "inaceptable," "no permitido," "no autorizado:, "rechazado" o no se daba ni siquiera una razón.

Security Threat Group (STG) o "Grupo de Amenaza a la Seguridad," es la palabra de moda adquirida en los años 1990 que se aplica a organizaciones políticas y callejeras por igual, muchos según llamados "profesionales correccionales" afirman que MIM(Prisons) es un STG. Pero exactamente, ¿para quién somos una amenaza a la seguridad? Copiando el lenguaje del precedente marco de jurisprudencia, se usa frecuentemente como "perjudicial a la seguridad, buen orden, o disciplina de la institución o […] que facilitaria actividad criminal." El problema con el fraseo de la decisión de esta corte es que muchas prisiones interpretan que significa que si tu le dices a prisioneros que presenten demandas, escriban a la prensa, que se unan a organizaciones o entablar un juicio en respuesta a la tortura, abuso físico, falta de cuidado médico, censura, etcétera, entonces tu estas amenazando el buen orden o disciplina de la institución. (THORNBURGH v. ABBOTT, 490 U.S. 401 (1989))

Revisiones de esta y otra jurisprudencia demuestran que bajo capitalismo en America, prisioneros realmente tienen derechos y la interpretación dearriba es una violación a ellos. El real significado de esta ley sería permitir a administradores de las prisiones a censurar materiales que fomentan real e inmediatas amenazas de riesgo y seguridad, tal como planear atacar a alguien más en la prisión o contrabandear armas. El caso más reciente condenando encerrocratas por prevenir a prisioneros recibir materiales que promueven resistencia legal, fue justo el año pasado cuando un camarada en Wisconsin, ganó su pleito en la corte federal.(3)

En algunos casos la administración de la prisión ha interpretado la ley de la misma manera que nosotros lo hacemos, pero todavia afirma que violamos esta al representar una amenaza de riesgo y seguridad. El boletin de prohibición de California, citado arriba es un ejemplo de esto. En estos casos además, no estamos de acuerdo hasta el punto de llegar a involucrar a las cortes burguesas.

El memorándum de Octubre del 2006 del Director del CDCR Scott Kernan prohibiendo publicaciones de MIM (supuestamente no todo nuestro correo) tiene completamente inexactas declaraciones en este, tales como el citado arriba. Si fuera posible demostrar que MIM fomento o violó la ley sin mentir, uno de los abogados del estado ya habría hecho esto. Su defensa favorita en muchos estados es esconderse detrás de las paredes de la prisión, en vez de mentir como Scott Kernan lo hizo. Por eso es que oficiales del estado necesitan ser públicamente responsables en cualquier sociedad que alega democracia en cualquier forma.

Desde oficiales de corrección hasta el director, desempeñan el papel al pie de la letra del burócrata intentando defender su institución corrupta, y para poder actuar en el nombre de trabajos lucrativos. Nosotros admitimos ser una amenaza a los trabajos de oficiales corruptos e instituciones abusivas, como cualquier consciente ciudadano debe ser. En esta edición leerás historias de planes frustrados de paz, violentos montajes, y riesgo de pago para los C.O.s. Varios de los sindicatos representando a los así llamados oficiales de paz, son algunos de los mas fuertes en el país y su principal herramienta de influencia es la seguridad personal. Ellos dicen "estamos poniendo nuestras vidas en juego para proteger tus mierdas, es mejor que nos paguen bien." Por lo tanto la inherente motivación por más violencia, más motines, más miembros de gangas "validados" y más máxima seguridad y prisiones supermax. Todo esto significa más dinero en sus bolsillos.

Por lo general, Amerikanos en su totalidad se benefician de sus posiciones de poder sobre los oprimidos. Ciudadanos Estadounidenses de clase media se benefician por ser miembros del grupo de gente quienes pueden ser policías o que pueden consiguen trabajos similares como opresores en el sistema de injusticia criminal, y se benefician de los servicios que los policias proporcionan manteniendo lineas entre los grupos sociales.

Esto no es solo una motivación individualista de un pago más alto, esto es además una conciencia nacional que es necesaria para crear la mentalidad de "Nosotros vs. Ellos," que es necesaria para dirigir prisiones de la manera que ellos lo hacen en los Estados Unidos. Un ejemplo esta conciencia surgió durante el reinado de terror de Guiliani en la ciudad de Nueva York en los años 1990s, cuando el New York Times reportó que la mayoría de residentes blancos estaban conformes con la conducta de la policía que ellos veían, mientras que nueve de diez de Negras sintieron que "la policía se dedicaba en la brutalidad contra Negras."(4)

Estas normas nacionales de "ellos contra nosotros" fueron creadas por los colonizadores blancos y esta profundamente dentro de la historia de arrebatos de tierras y comercio de esclavos. Después del tiempo esto forzó al oprimido a ver el mundo de una manera similarmente dividida, dejando a los opresores con dos alternativas; ellos pueden retractarse y usar esto como una justificación para su propia brutalidad o pueden disminuir la contradicción. Nuestro análisis de imperialismo y la contradicción principal predice que Amerikanos no pueden disminuir la contradicción, y hasta ahora hemos probado tener la razón. Y eso es porque prisiones de Estados Unidos llegaron a ser un pequeño mundo perversamente violento de la sociedad Amerikana.

Mientras que creemos que policías y oficiales correccionales en general tienen intereses conferidos para oponerse a nuestros esfuerzos para promover paz, estamos actuando en un Frente Unido con algunos empleados del enorme sistema de justicia criminal quienes están mas interesados en llegar a casa con sus familias cada noche, que consiguir una chance de pago y nuevos juguetes de alta tecnología para jugar. Esto es poco probable en lugares como California donde la historia ya ha mostrado que les pasa a los empleados de las prisiones que hablan contra estos intereses. En una nota asociada, MIM(Prisons) no amenaza las vidas de las personas ni induce gente al suicidio, ni lleva a cabo asesinatos.

Muchos empleados de las prisiones afirman que MIM(Prisons) es una amenaza porque animamos a prisioneros a organizarse. Miramos a la historia otra vez, y ayudamos a sofocar esos temores tomando una mirada a dos de los mas grandes ejemplos de prisioneros organizadose ellos mismos: Attica y Walpole. En la rebelión de Attica en 1971, no fueron asesinados oficiales correccionales hasta que la Guardia Nacional entró y baleó a muerte a 11 empleados junto con 29 prisioneros. Hasta ese punto los prisioneros de Attica habían organizado una sociedad dirigida democráticamente dentro de las paredes de la prisión, incluyendo cosas tales como su propia comida y servicios médicos, mientras que estaban negociando con el Estado en nombre de todos los prisioneros. A los guardias se les dio trato superior todo el tiempo.

Un par de años más tarde, prisioneros en Walpole se les fue permitido dirigir la prisión ellos mismos cuando el sindicato de los guardias se fue a la huelga. Ellos crearon servicios similares como los prisioneros de Attica, y en realidad incrementaron la eficiencia de operación de la prisión con los guardias y burócratas fuera del camino. Esto mostró que tan pronto como a principios de los años 70s, que a los guardias de prision se le pagaban altos salarios por hacer nada. Desde entonces la población de la prisión se ha incrementado ocho veces, haciendo engordar la labor aristocrática con trabajos de salarios más altos a lo largo del camino.

Los prisioneras funcionando pacíficamente sin supervisores impactó a los puercos, quienes entonces empezaron a correr rumores acerca de motines dentro de Walpole. Los motines nunca sucedieron, y de hecho hubo a fin a toda violencia y violaciones durante la semanas en que los guardias de la prisión estuvieron ausentes, y por algún tiempo después. Esta clase de rumores continuos no es única a un grupo particular de guardias malévolos. En vez de eso, ellos estaban representando el mismo interés heredado de esta clase de gente. En los últimos 15 a 20 años en California, ellos han tenido éxito en crear una atmósfera de disturbios y violencia. Unicamente la minoría lleva a cabo su-mismo-interés en paz, porque esta es una amenaza a sus trabajos como clase.

Desafortunadamente, podemos esperar mucha violencia de los opresores antes de que podamos esperar un honesto juicio de lo que esta pasando en estos reservados calabozos. La gente quiere paz ahora. Comunidades que están siendo ocupadas, encarceladas y bombardeadas quieren un inmediato fin a la violencia.

Huey P. Newton dijo que le corresponde al opresor decidir si satisfacer tales demandas del oprimido pasan de una manera pacifica o de una manera violenta. Frantz Fanon dijo que la violencia es parte del desarrollo humanista y nueva conciencia entre la gente. Aún si Fanon esta en lo correcto, toma mucho para presionar a las multitudes hasta el punto de violencia como Huey lo indicó. Esto es obvio con la tanta gente que ha pasado más días en sumisión pacifica que estos quienes no. Resistencia violenta de la gente surgirá como esta sea necesitada por los que monopolizan violencia a través de su propio poder.

MIM(prisons) únicamente entabla y promueve medios legales para combatir injusticia. Cuando el personal de las prisiones reprime cada salida educacional y legal para prisioneros para reparación de sus quejas, entonces se hace claro que clase de estrategias están promoviendo. En esas prisiones, predecimos que habrá violencia, y ellos no pueden culparnos de esto porque ellos nos han mantenido fuera.

Esto es igual a lo que decimos de todas las luchas por justicia alrededor del mundo. Creemos que la violencia es necesaria para acabar con la injusticia porque la historia ha mostrado que el opresor nunca para de oprimir de una u otra manera. No queremos fomentar violencia, estamos simplemente declarando nuestra conclusión leyendo la historia. En cada caso de guerra revolucionaria, dependió del opresor decidir si la violencia fuera usada o no. La historia muestra que lo mismo ha sido verdad en el movimiento de los derechos en la prisión; la lucha por los derechos de los prisioneros ha llegado a ser únicamente violenta cuando el Estado ha iniciado la violencia.


Apuntes:
1. "Desde 1990, la literatura ha mostrado que prisioneros quienes asisten a programas educacionales mientras ellos están encarcelados son menos probables a retornar a prisión después de su salida. Estudios en varios Estados han indicado que el índice de reincidencia ha declinado donde prisioneros han recibido una apropiada educación. Además, la clase correcta de programa educacional lleva a menos violencia por prisioneros involucradas en los programas y un ambiente más positivo en prisión." Journal of Correctional Education, v55 n4, p297-395, December 2004.

Vea además The Nation, March 4, 2005: "Estudios claramente han mostrado que participantes en educación dentro de la prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen índices de reincidencia de 20 a 60 por ciento más bajos que los no participantes. Otro reciente y mayor estudio de prisioneros encontró que participantes en programas de educación eran 29 por ciento menos probables de terminar de regreso a prisión, y que participantes han ganado un salario más alto en libertad."
2. El texto completo de esta carta esta disponible en nuestro sitio web a lo largo con ciento de toneladas de otros documentos relacionados a la prohibición de California: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/ca/ (si tu eras un preso de California probablemente ya la has visto.)
3. Lorenzo Johnson v. Rick Raemisch, Daniel Westfield, and Michael Thurmer, Case No. 07-C-390-C US District Court Western District of Wisconsin. Disponible pronto en nuestra página de archivo.
4. Hayden, Tom. Street Wars. The New Press, 2005, p.108.

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[Organizing] [Franklin Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 38]
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Organizing Against Apathy and Collusion in New York

Franklin Correctional Facility is a medium classification prison that does its best to oppress. Rules are broken on a constant basis by this administration. Their need to control every tiny moment and movement really displays their fears of us ever getting on the same page to take action. I'm not speaking riot, just trading info and court actions when it comes to confronting their gestapo tactics. The physical beatings in front of others by guards has placed fear into many hearts so that writing a grievance is taboo.

As an Orientation Facilitator, I used to inform those coming to this prison what to expect and how to protect themselves. Someone snitched on me and I was fired.

I wrote a total of 42 grievances but it was never enough for me. The next step was to meet the oppressors face to face, and I became the Inmate Liaison Committee (ILC) Chairman, and that's when the fireworks started. Contempt and hatred for me was freely displayed. I stayed on my horse until I was set up with a misbehavior report that sent me to the box.

When I got out I tried to get back to the ILC but was always stonewalled. My so-called peers refused to assist me, claiming it would hamper their agenda and they don't want any trouble. In other words they are comfortable and satisfied. Sellouts is what I call them. In order for any progress to take place snitches and sell-outs must be contained. Corrections depends on them for their services. The "I don't want to get involved" types complain and bitch but don't take any action. 1,700 prisoners reside here and about 20 will lay a pen game down. Law library sucks because the workers want to get paid to do nothing for you.

The prisoner organizations are so controlled that we are not allowed to advertise how to become a member. We are told what to spend and where to spend. I say let's organize and write Corrections in Albany, but my prisoner peers say we don't want to cause any trouble. How can people who weren't afraid to break the law be afraid to write in defending yourself or make a point. Even if you don't know how, ask someone. Make the pen your gun.

The capitalist company Corcraft runs sweatshops in this prison to make officer and prisoner clothing. Guys can't wait to work for them because it pays the best in comparison to 10 to 20 cents an hour for other assignments. Commissary prices continue to increase.

Any time I attempt to band us together in writing grievances and Article 78s someone snitches on me. Microphones are placed in the library, chapel and other places we congregate. How can any movement get generated when dudes snitch or are going home soon? I have done all I can, but fear and the lack of education gives corrections an all-systems-go for future oppression in a big way. We are losing in this injustice system and a lot of us don't care to know how to win. Organize!


MIM(Prisons) responds: Our work in the criminal injustice system in Amerika involves a constant battle between those who see the value in uniting to fight the system, and those who are taken in by the bribery offered by the prisons in exchange for complacency or snitching. This contradiction exists throughout the prison system in this country, but in some states we are winning more unity and strength while in others the anti-imperialist forces are still a small minority. New York state still does not have a grievance campaign while prisoners in twelve other states have already stepped up to push this important work forward. There was an important action last year in Auburn Correctional Facility in New York, where prisoners joined the food strike in California.

Activists must evaluate the conditions in their state and their prison, and then determine what they can do to most effectively educate and organize other prisoners. In some states this may involve mass protest, in others we are still at the point of building study cells and educating whoever is willing to talk with us. Wherever your struggle is at, MIM(Prisons) can provide material to help with the educating and organizing.

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[Rhymes/Poetry]
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People Say...

They don't care.
They're not involved or don't want to get involved,
but they are.
Their involvement just masquerades as indifference or inattention.
It is the silent "acquiescence" of the millions that supports the system,
your silence becomes approval,
for it does nothing to interrupt the system.
People use all sorts of excuses for their indifference.
They appeal to god as a shorthand route for supporting the status quo.
They talk about law and order,
but look at the present system,
look at the present social order of society.
Do you see god?
Do you see law and order?
There's nothing but disorder,
and instead of law and order there is only the illusion of security.
It's an illusion because it is built upon a long history of injustices;
racism, criminality and enslavement and genocide of millions.
Many people say it is insane to resist the system,
but actually, it's insane not to.

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[Education] [Virginia]
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I am in Charge of your Destruction

My roommate is serving a life sentence. A few years ago he became eligible for parole but each year he is denied with an admonition to "obtain your GED before your next parole hearing."

He has been in prison 20+ years so why hasn't he obtained his GED? Is he ignorant? Lazy? Stubborn? No, each year he submits a request to attend school and each year his request is denied because "classes are reserved for inmates with five years or less remaining on their sentences." Persyns with life sentences will always have more than five years remaining.

The parole board Chairpersyn and the Education Director refuse to compromise. Each states emphatically, "I am in charge and this is my policy."

The imperialist/capitalist mindset views power as a goal in and of itself because imperialism is built upon domination, subjugation, and starvation of "those other people."

Socialism/communism views power as a means to a worthy goal. The view is toward the community or collective, and power is used to help each persyn find his or her place of function or service within the collective. A communist who sees a worker on the roadside with a flat tire will stop and show the worker how to change the tire. The imperialist will stop and flatten the other three tires, then punish the worker for being late to work by docking the pay.

In American life we see many selfish abuses of power. For example, almost 100% of persyns released from prison are at the lower end of the American socio-economic scale. Yet their criminal convictions will make them ineligible for low income housing. And if they have a conviction for a "sex offense," they are pretty much prohibited from living anywhere except landfills and moon craters.

Criminal convictions in American "society" restrict employment to generally the most menial and lowest paying jobs. Yet imperialist judges demand fines, court costs, and restitution payments begin immediately. Usually there are additional monthly fees for parole and for court-ordered treatment programs. Plus, the former prisoner's drivers license is suspended or revoked until these payments are made, effectively hindering the mode of transportation to seek or maintain employment.

Deification of the individual ego and crushing the down-trodden are lauded achievements in imperialist nations. The only treatment for these symptoms is decapitation and removal of the minds that develop and implement politics designed to keep the impoverished in poverty.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer provides some excellent examples of how the criminal injustice system (CIJ) works to keep the lumpen class down. And as this article notes, the CIJ is an integral part of the imperialist system, serving an effective role of social control. The author outlines the ultimate solution to this problem: overthrowing imperialism and implementing a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat. But in the short term we can also fight these repressive policies through independent institutions of the oppressed that build the anti-imperialist movement. Two of these that are directly relevant here are our educational study groups and literature for prisoners, and our Re-lease on Life program. Both work within the current legal system, the first to provide educational materials and classes to prisoners motivated to study, and the second to help prisoners stay out and politically active once they are released. Write to us to get involved in building these programs.

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[Abuse] [Religious Repression] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting Sanitary Conditions, Grooming Court Victory in Texas

In the William P. Clements Prison unit in Amarillo, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is now selling us 50 sheets of low quality paper on commissary for $1.80. Here in the extended cell block, High Security A.K.A. Segregation, we have showers in our cells. They only come on 15 minutes per day. We are only issued a clean towel 3 times per week: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. So we go Saturday, Sunday and Monday on the same towel.

Here's the problem. Once you are done with your shower the spray covers at least 1/3 of your cell. If you use this towel to dry all this grey water up you no longer have a towel suitable to dry your body off the next day after a shower. If we get caught with a second towel for use in this purpose we receive a disciplinary case for extra necessities. I personally grieved this issue and it was denied because policy states we're only allowed one towel at a time. This is a sanitary issue.

These are just some of the injustices we see here in the Texas department of Criminal Justice. On another level though Texas inmates just won a small victory when the federal courts ruled TDCJ was violating our religious rights by making prisoners of certain faiths shave or cut their hair, like Rastafarians, Native Americans, Muslims, Amish, and Jews. We are still waiting for the change in grooming policy but we won.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Compared to some of the brutality, long-term isolation, and medical neglect, lack of a clean towel may seem like a minor issue facing Amerikan prisoners. But it is these minor issues that really illustrate the irrationality of the prisons in this country. Why would it be a disciplinary case for a prisoner to have a second towel to keep his cell clean? How could this good hygiene practice be dangerous or otherwise problematic? Prisons withold small "privileges" like this as an arbitrary form of punishment. There is no educational or reform purpose. There is just a long list of such actions adding up to unsanitary, disrespectful, unstimulating, and counter productive living conditions (when prisoners aren't being beaten, tortured, starved, or otherwise physically abused).

Prisoners will come together to fight for these minor issues, as we see with this court victory for religious expression with haircuts in Texas. It is our job as revolutionaries to take these small battles and use them as educational opportunities to show others how these issues fit into the broader system of imperialism where prisons are used as a tool of social control.

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[Control Units] [Abuse] [Mental Health] [California]
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Pantries, Poisons, and Gassings: Abuse of Mental Patients in Security Housing Units

It seems that change in our society is only brought about by those of our populace who are considered to be radicals, so this piece is written for those radicals who are compassionate enough to care and who will take the necessary efforts to make a lasting difference for those of us who are held and tortured in Security Housing Units (SHUs), which are specifically dedicated for those prisoners who are supposed to be under the care of an institution's mental health system. These american gulags are also known as "Psychiatric Services Units" (PSUs).

These specially dedicated SHUs are rarely, if ever, visited by outside prisoner rights organizations, to my knowledge; and the prisoners housed therein are simply forgotten. These prisoners have no representatives and no means to voice their concerns and so the atrocities accumulate unchecked.

Aggressive and sadistic prison guards have been known to pepper spray an individual until they cannot breathe due to the accumulation of micronized capsicum (pepper essence) absorbed into their lungs after the guard empties onto the individual several canisters of the corrosive irritant chemical weapon. This is not third party hearsay, I know of it personally, for it has happened to me. Of course nothing is done about it when you have the foxes guarding the henhouse.

Think a prisoner can obtain justice through the prison's administrative grievance systems? You had better think about it again, no way. And the courts, including the federal courts, will not entertain themselves of the issues of complaint where the completion of the administrative appeals process has been denied by a corrupt prison administration; it has been made law, a statutory prerequisite otherwise known in litigation circles as a "procedural bar." It creates gross injustice and perpetrates unchecked human abuse which is tolerated by our society, it is a blatant indication of how cruel and vicious we have become as a people.

Even more sinister is the presence of food pantries created within each of the blocks of SHU/PSU units, which are independent from the main kitchens where mainstream prisoners receive their meals. These food pantries are not under the control of licensed food service employees and are in fact totally controlled by the guards assigned to that block. Those prisoners who are targeted by the "system" quite often find themselves physically sickened by the meals they are served, meals which stink with rotten foodstuffs. Milk cartons are served bloated with full-blown contamination.

The milk is a favored vehicle to get an inmate victim to ingest a "knock-out" drug and get raped while he is unconscious. This is a fact; it has happened to me twice. Also milk is utilized in these modernized dungeons as a tool to get unsuspecting targeted prisoner victims to consume psychotropic substances which has the effect of a "truth serum" and is used as an aid in covert interrogation of all prisoners suspected by debriefer informants and snitches. And, for the same purpose targeted prisoners are placed in cells with low pressure or dysfunctional ventilation systems which are used to force irritant gasses, pepper spray or other toxic obnoxious chemical weapons through to be inhaled by the occupant of that particular cell. In addition to the above abuses, the usual torture routine includes the air cooling system on full blast in mid-winter, and the heating system turned full up in mid-summer.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We appreciate the risk that our comrades take to get reports of such horrible abuses to Under Lock & Key. Information like this is important to get out because, as this writer points out, very few people are looking at these prisons or monitoring the treatment there. But Under Lock & Key is more than a tool of exposure, it is a rallying point for activists and leaders to bring together others and work out strategies and tactics in our fight against the criminal injustice system. We should read reports like this one and be outraged. And then we should turn that outrage into action, working to educate others and build support for our fight to put an end to this system of injustice.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Mental Health] [Campaigns] [State Correctional Institution Albion] [Pennsylvania]
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Pennsylvania Prisoners Petition to End Torture and Abuse

MIM(Prisons) received this petition from one of our readers. We print it here in full because it does a good job exposing the neglect and abuse at SCI Albion. We do sometimes engage in petitioning government officials for reforms in prison, though petitions with such a broad scope of abuses do not have a history of success. Nonetheless, campaigns such as this one are important educational tools and we hope this one inspires activists to get involved in fighting the criminal injustice system in Pennsylvania. Our one point of disagreement is with the introductory quote from the Anarchist organizer Anthony Rayson: as we have repeatedly demonstrated, prisons are not "for-profit" and in fact take a big loss subsidized by the U.$. government.

A Call to End Oppression: United We Stand

"Prisons aren't about crime control, they're about for-profit repression. In fact they are a huge, government-run, criminal enterprise wildly profitable, & completely paid for by ripped-off taxpayers." - Anthony Rayson

The State Correctional Institution Albion in Western Pennsylvania, is a notorious prison for frequent abuse & torture of prisoners, some are held years in solitary confinement without any chance to see daylight, medical negligence has led to the suffering and death of thousands of prisoners. Lack of adequate mental health care has driven many to commit suicide. The taxpayer's money is being used to prop up an untamed beast that only the people of Pennsylvania can stop.

We ask that you support the struggle for humane conditions and rehabilitation by signing the attached petition, copying it, and mail it to the listed officials, or sacrifice a few minutes of your time by calling the officials and stating the demands/issues in the petition.


Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001
202-353-1555

Secretary of Corrections
John E. Wetzel
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050
717-728-0312

Senator Ronald Waters
6027 Ludlow St - Unit A
Philadelphia, PA 19112
215-748-6712

Senator Shirley Kitchen
1701 W. Lehigh Ave, Suite 107
Philadelphia, PA 19132
214-227-6161

Senator Le Anna Washington
1555-A Wadsworth Ave
Philadelphia, PA 19150
215-272-0475

Governor Tom Corbett
225 Capitol Bldg
Harrisburg, PA 17120
717-787-2500



Public Complaint & Petition
To: U.S. Department of Justice
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett
Pennsylvania State Senators
Secretary of Corrections John E. Wetzel

From:

Date:

Re: Stop prisoner abuse - inadequate medical/mental health treatment & care - real rehabilitation
This petition comes pursuant to and in full compliance with the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution and Pennsylvania Constitution Article 1 Section 20; the people have the authority to petition government officials and to redress of grievances.

Inadequate Mental Health Treatment

SCI Albion officials are not providing adequate mental health treatment to mentally ill prisoners that are warehoused in the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) (Solitary Confinement) that exacerbates their mental deterioration (i.e. cutting/self-mutilation, suicides attempts, smearing/throwing of fecal matter & bodily waste, etc.)

Mary Beth Anderson, an unlicensed psychologist assigned to the RHU to provide and assist prisoners with psycho-therapy, fails to comply with the PDOC policy DC-Adm. 6.5.1 that states: "Psychologist is to visit the RHU 5 days a week and evaluate each inmate in the RHU every 30 days," Ms. Anderson clearly acts hostile to, and in an unethical manner towards prisoners under her care who have sought assistance. Two such prisoners under Mary Beth Anderson's personal responsibility committed suicide, Stoney Schaefer on October 25, 2012, and Harry Cooper on December 9, 2012. Prisoners continue to deteriorate detrimentally in the RHU due to the lack of treatment, with no apparent signs of improvement.

Dr. Steven Reilly, (LMP), is the supervisor of all the (so-called) "unlicensed psychologists" at SCI Albion, who allegedly has been known to manipulate a prisoner's diagnoses, and also dictates to the institution's psychiatrist Dr. Gottsman how to prescribe to the prisoner(s), even when it doesn't conform correctly to a mental disorder; a review of a prisoner's dispensed "psychotropic" medication(s) and their joint-diagnoses will bear this out as occurring.

He also allows the (so-called) "unlicensed psychologist" staff to neglect prisoners who seek help. Two cases in point were of James Whitman who committed suicide September 22, 2013, and a prisoner named Myers who set fire to his cell on the Special Needs Unit (housing unit for mentally ill) October 9, 2013, in an apparent attempted suicide as a result of being denied the treatment that's offered by the department.

Officials at SCI Albion house prisoners who attempt suicide in a Psychological Observation Cell (POC) these cells are designed as torture chambers where prisoners arey confined 24 hours a day with no counseling or therapy, the lights stay on round the clock, and they are forced to wear only a smock (cloth dress mode). These torture chambers only intensify their psychoses that only make them worse upon their return to general population, causing them to receive misconducts and then warehousing them in RHU (Solitary Confinement).

According to the Department of Correction's policy "All Correctional Officers shall receive an annual psychological evaluation," yet SCI Albion officers completely ignore this policy, guards at SCI Albion have not had their psychological evaluations done in years, for some decades, the resulting neglect ramps up the intensity leading to abuse and guards assaulted. The psychological evaluation is also necessary for guards who are active in the military that go to war and return to work with prisoners seething with a combat mentality. Data collected by the International Academy of Suicide Research indicate that prison guard's suicide rates are 39% higher than similar averages for other jobs. If proper psychological evaluations are carried out, it may prevent suicides of guards.

Inadequate Medical Treatment

Prisoners at SCI Albion are being denied proper health care. Prisoners held in the RHU (Solitary Confinement) that send in a request for medical treatment (sick call) get a physician's assistant at their door who attempts to diagnose them based on a brief conversation. Because of this, most prisoners are misdiagnosed, thus violating federal law (Privacy Act), by openly allowing prisoners' medical information disclosed within earshot to everyone on the "pod" (including prisoners).

Many prisoners who request medical treatment in general population and go to see the doctor or physician assistant, are often told to come back or are briefly seen and misdiagnosed. Derrick Jones, a former SCI Albion prisoner won a $312,000 lawsuit for medical negligence at the prison due to a misdiagnosis of a broken ankle as a sprain and inadequate treatment.

Many prisoners with serious medical conditions remain in general population in unsanitary conditions (housing) where they spread their diseases to other prisoners. Prisoners who are on the verge of their demise get housed in the infirmary where they are met with hostile nurses who don't have much regard for life. Dennis Austin died at the infirmary with bed-sores that were grossly infected, confirming a clear disregard for life even at the infirmary. Prisoners continue to die/suffer to death due to lack of adequate care.

No Access to Courts

Valarie C. Kusiak (CCPM) and acting Deputy Melinda Adams are both in charge of the law library at SCI Albion where prisoners' access to the courts and law library are denied. The law library sessions mostly are canceled with no make-up dates; also prisoners are allowed only one 30 minute slot per week access which hinders their research abilities to type up documents and make copies. Also, Ms. Kusiak and Ms. Adams took all the law books out of the law library denying prisoners vital information needed for research. In times of court deadlines, prisoners are not granted extra time to prepare documents and are denied the means to make copies, often leading to losing appeals.

Inadequate Food

Prisoners at SCI Albion are given unhealthy food. The food served to prisoners is uncooked, and the meat is old and freezer burnt. Vegetables and fruit are rotten; milk is 3 days past its sell-by date that most prisoners throw away. Prisoners are getting sick due to these unhealthy food diets.

Inhumane Working Conditions

Prisoners at SCI Albion who are assigned jobs work without proper safety gear to protect them against many dangers. Prisoners working as plumbers do not wear any suits to protect their skin from exposure to the dirty pipes and water that carries Hepatitis C, HIV-Aids, and other viruses from others' body waste that they can be infected by due to a lack of appropriate safety gear. Painters that have to stand on ladders to paint do not have hard hats or eyewear that can protect them from a fall, or paint going in the eyes causing damage to sight. Warehouse workers do not have any hard hats, gloves, eyewear, or safety belt that puts them in great danger. Work related injuries happen quite frequently as a direct result of non-safe standards; also there are other various jobs without any safety measures.

Inadequate Programming & Education

Programs being offered to prisoners at SCI Albion have proven to be ineffective to a prisoners' rehabilitation. Prisoners are lectured in groups (i.e. Violence Prevention, A.O.D., Thinking for a Change, etc.) by coordinators who read from books and do not engage prisoners in critical thinking necessary for rehabilitation, also they allow prisoners to just sit around and talk amongst themselves, when they don't feel like reading and dismiss the group early; this happens a lot. Valarie C. Kusiak and Melinda Adams, who are in charge of programming, do not investigate the efficiency of the groups or prisoners' complaints that the groups are not beneficial.

There are no vocational programs/courses offered for prisoners that coincide with or compliment outside job market trends for ex-felon hiring's at sectors with available openings, leaving an unprepared prisoner upon release to continue a former life of crime that's due to the lack of proper occupational/preparatory instruction. SCI Albion has a 3-in-4 prisoner recidivism rate within a years' time.

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[Control Units] [Pelican Bay State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 37]
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Pelican Bay SHU Update, Small Progress After Hunger Strike

I want to give you some updates on some new developments around here. In the last couple of months here in the PBSP SHU we are now being given more privileges. We are now allowed 3 hour visits and the items/property that we may buy and possess was expanded so that we can now have 40 pictures, up from the previous allowed 15 pictures, we can have a bowl and cup, slippers/houseshoes, jalapeños, hot sauce, 2 pairs of sweats and thermals and two appliances, and others have already received a CD player/tape player for the radio. So it just goes to show that there was no reason to deny us such things in the first place.

Also, on 11 February 2014 Assembly Member Tom Ammiano introduced Assembly Bill No. 1652, which if passed and signed into law would limit the time validated inmates would spend in the SHU solely based on validation status to 36 months. It would also allow validated prisoners to earn and receive good time credits again. Write to: Legislative Bill Room, State Capitol, Room B22, Sacramento, CA 95814, and request a copy of the bill, or have someone on the outside go to www.leginfo.ca.gov.

Lastly, a new favorable validation case came out last year: In RE Cabrera, 216 CAL. APP. 4th 1522 C CAL. APP. 5th Dist. 2013. There's some good news but let's not get comfortable as we have a long way to go to abolish solitary confinement. Getting Assembly Bill No. 1652 passed would be a big step in the right direction, so get involved in any way you can and spread the word.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We've said before that you can't reform torture. California Assembly Bill No. 1652 would certainly improve individuals' lives by shortening the length of torture they face. But the state will still be terrorizing prisoners with the threat of 3 years in isolation for talking to people the state doesn't like or sporting a tattoo they find offensive or being a member of an organization they are opposed to.

The In RE Cabrera on Habeas Corpus case may make it a little harder for the CDCR to torture people for just a tattoo as it requires that one piece of evidence used to label a prisoner a Security Threat Group member must prove a two-way relationship between the prisoner and the group. Still, the process of "validation" using secret evidence remains in place making it hard for SHU prisoners to even know if this case applies to them.

As this comrade says, we still have a long way to go to abolish solitary confinement. But the progress in terms of organizing and building an opposition to this blatant torture and social control shows that the oppressed will not put up with this forever. Once a symbol of the state's strength over the oppressed, the torture kkkamps across the United $tates are becoming a point of weakness that exposes its oppressive nature while rallying resistance to its repression.

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[Abuse] [California]
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LA County Jail Guards Bribe Prisoner to Shank Another Prisoner

Back in December 2013, the "Eye Witness Newscast" aired a situation concerning Los Angeles County Jail (mens) Sheriffs who were corrupt and therefore federal charges were filed on these 18 officers. This triggered something in my mind that occurred while housed in the LA County Jail Twin Towers.

While I was there an officer offered me "special favors" if I would stab a prisoner for him. I declined his offer and in turn I contacted the Internal Affairs Division and reported this incident. The very same day other prisoners who had also been approached with this offer beat this prisoner until he was unconscious. Because I had knowledge of the incident I was re-housed in "high power" with no way of speaking to anyone regarding the assault I witnessed and the role of the officers. It should be noted that the prisoners who assaulted the other prisoner (who was deaf), are former officers and children/brothers of active law enforcement.

While in "high power" I was contacted by two LA County Sheriff Sergeants, one male and one female. I was interviewed (taped interview) by the female Sergeant and during the interview I was threatened with bodily injury if I furthered the investigation.

I wrote the U.S. Attorney General's office, Central District of California, 312 N. Spring St, LA, CA and reported this incident, but I've yet to hear anything from them. It should also be noted that while I was going back and forth to court, I also made my attorney aware of the incident when it occurred.

I have the sheriff's name, dates and there was a former California Highway Patrol officer who made contacts in case of my sudden disappearance. I have his name and he too will attest to what I've written. If anyone reading this can help prosecute this wrongdoing, I can provide this information.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The December news report that this prisoner references includes a bit more detail on the case:


Eighteen current and former members of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department were indicted for crimes including unjustified beatings of jail inmates and visitors, unjustified detentions and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation.

The charges are the result of a two-year investigation and involve conduct by deputies assigned to both Men's Central Jail and Twin Towers Correctional Facility.


While we are always pleased to see the criminal injustice system go after their own and actually target real crime, we are not surprised that there was little interest in following up on this prisoner's reports of abuse. It is only when abuse becomes public and embarassing that we can expect any real justice in the prison system, and even then it is generally just to target a few scapegoats to make it look like the problem has been fixed. We know this sort of abuse is ongoing in jails and prisons throughout the country. In reality, the prosecution of individual workers in these institutions will do little to change the fundamental system which requires ongoing abuse and brutality as a part of its role of social control. We continue to expose these abuses as we educate and organize for a movement that will put an end to the entire criminal injustice system that serves imperialism. In it's place we will implement a system of justice for the oppressed.

Los Angeles News KABC, 9 December 2013, LA Sheriff's deputies arrested in jail abuse probe; 18 indicted.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Ohio State Penitentiary] [Ohio]
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Ohio State Penitentiary Conditions Decline

Here at the Ohio State Penitentiary our food service department was privatized about five months ago and taken over by a company called Amark. Since then we've had a steady decline in both the portions and quality of our food. It's to the point now that we're getting severely undercooked turkey bacon (2 slices) at breakfast and meat at other meals is mostly fat and sometimes contains tiny bit of bone. It's the kind of meat you wouldn't serve a dog.

Also, the pigs recently changed policies concerning the long term storage of our property that we may not be allowed at our current security or privilege levels but can have once our levels are lowered. The pigs are trying to force guys into authorizing them to either destroy or send home their property. For the most part guys are refusing to authorize or sign anything and threatening to sue if the pigs destroy their property anyway. Although as always some guys allowed themselves to be intimidated by the pigs. It remains to be seen what the pigs will eventually end up doing but this comrade will keep you posted.


MIM(Prisons) responds: When we see conditions change in a way that inspires others to protest individually, this is a good opportunity to insert some political education into the discussion, and use the situation to build unity against the criminal injustice system. These actions, taken against the whole group, underscore prisoners' basis for unity in fighting for their basic rights. There has been a lot of recent organizing and protests in Ohio, including a hunger strike at Ohio State Penitentiary last year. Political awareness is growing, and it's up to those who understand the big picture of imperialism and our fight against it to take up leadership roles in educating and organizing others.

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