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Under Lock & Key

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[Religious Repression] [Abuse]
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Jewish Prisoner Denied Food in Corcoran

In May 2014 I arrived at California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility - Corcoran State Prison. When I arrived they were about to serve dinner so I told them I eat Kosher. I'm Jewish. I didn't get any food. I was housed in G-yard where I got no Kosher meals. I have proof that I was approved for Kosher meals at a previous prison, but have been denied here because I won't let the Rabbi in Sacramento call my mother.

Keep in mind that there are Muslims and Skinheads that get the Kosher meal. I have names and numbers of those prisoners. I have been assaulted twice so far by officers and a lieutenant. Lt. Akin slapped me in the back of my head, officer Ruiz and another officer grabbed me and knocked me down. I was refused medical attention and told by medical, "oh you're a hunger strike patient, go back to unit." I've lost 17 or more pounds in a little over a month, but still have been given no Kosher meal. They keep searching my locker and taking all my food. I have a hell of a paper trail proving this.

The Pastor Alvarez here put me on the Jewish service list on 4 June 2014, but I have still been denied access to go to Jewish services as of 18 June. The Jewish prisoners (only 7 of us) send me food and the police take it.

One doctor sent me to a crisis bed. Others sent me back an hour later saying it's not a mental health issue, it's a religious issue. The doctor has tried to trick me into signing a paper to volunteer to go to a hospital. I said no, I'm being abused and starved.

Lt. Akin and Sgt. Ibarro threatened to have inmates rape me if I don't eat their food. Yet, other prisoners actually took a CDCR 602 group grievance and over 50 prisoners signed it verifying the abuse. I never asked anyone to do this, making this a great show of prisoner solidarity against the abusive officers.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a clear example of prisoner abuse and the power of solidarity fighting this abuse. If prisoners can step up to demonstrate unity without solicitation and organizing, imagine the power of a unified prisoner movement led by conscious brothers and sisters spreading education and drawing connections between these individual cases of abuse and the broader anti-imperialist struggle. We call on United Struggle from Within leaders to take these opportunities to build the movement.

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[Gender] [Abuse] [Sussex II State Prison] [Red Onion State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 40]
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Facing Abuse by Pigs and Gender Contradictions Among Prisoners in Virginia

Since my last correspondence I've experienced the greatest oppression in my entire 8-year sentence. This past week or so also presented me with revelation into the power of positive energy and the adverse effects of negative energy, which can affect your mental and physical health.

At Sussex II State Prison, a pig ran in and dribbled my head 3 times between his knee and the ground, when I was cuffed and already grounded. Then, that same pig tossed me in the box and stuck his knee in my neck with intensive force. At this same time, my arm was being bent so far back that breaking it was highly anticipated. Furthermore, my ankles and thumb were in the hands of the pigs. My thumb had nerve damage for 2 or 3 months.

At Red Onion State Prison I was sprayed for a false claim of assault by a super redneck. The pig first grabbed the shackles as if he was going to strike me with them, he looked around, and then had his partner use the can. They rinsed me fully clothed, returned me to storage and then I tried to refuse to give up the leg irons. They then took me out on the block and tackled me to the ground. During this they twisted me, bent my fingers and yelled "stop resisting." Afterwards I was stripped naked and 8-10 pigs placed a turtle suit on me - chained me - and left me for about 15 hours. This happened because the officer refused to correct my negative meal, and I stuck my arm out of the slot because of it.

Those are just two of the oppressive events I experienced in kaptivity.

This week though, it was oppression from kaptive residents. The oppression came by high energy/high volume gossip, to spread wildfire word of myself being homosexual. The fire starter(s) knows nothing about me, knows no one within or outside the block who knows me, and has no evidence of such activity. Fifteen to twenty people whispered this around. The way this happened in a rapid and collective manner, you would've thought I was of great status and/or a part of a group that calls for questioning and violation. I got into a 30-second-or-so bullshit fight and received rejection from workout crews. The fight was with a comrade who was supposed to be a good friend and solid individual, but he needed to protect himself and reputation, so he got defensive and helped the spread.

My point in presenting this is: I'm not gay and this event is coming my way at a time when my sentence is over. I've never seen or heard of this shit before. It was so collective and everyone possible was engaged. Yet, never is this type of bullshit/energy applied to the fight against the true enemy of imperialist oppression. We have to acknowledge that in order to get others to move within/for the struggle, the key influencing factor(s) have to be identified.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This report of abuse by the guards is nothing new to the pages of ULK, though it is important to remind our readers on the streets of the brutality of prison guards and document it for our records. But this report of prisoner-on-prisoner attacks in the form of gossip and attempts at character assassination is particularly important for us to discuss.

This is an example of the lack of unity in prisons across the United $tates, where, as this comrade points out, more energy is put into attacking other prisoners than into fighting the true enemy of imperialism. But just as important, we want to address the use of gender in this particular attack. Claiming someone is gay as an insult or character attack is a more fundamental problem than just disunity. This is no different than accusing someone of being Chicano as if that would be an insult. We can not allow the oppressors to divide us along lines of gender or nation. Sexual orientation and identity are not a measure of a persyn's character. We should look to people's work fighting oppression, the way they treat others, and their political outlook. Lowering ourselves to considering labels and gender/sexual orientation/identity as decisive is putting ourselves on the level of the pigs who lock up and beat up people for the very same reasons.

We must build a United Front of all prisoners, coming together against the common enemy of imperialism. Reject the guards' attempts to pit prisoners against each other.

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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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[Organizing] [Gang Validation] [ULK Issue 41]
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MIM Prison Activism Labeled "Contamination"

I recently came across something that may be of interest to you. I was doing some research into this reactionary pro-prison propagandist organization known as the National Gang Crime Research Center (NGCRC). It's run by an adamant apologist for this pernicious system named Dr. George W. Knox. Dr. Knox and the swine that work for NGCRC routinely conduct surveys for the gulag system to help them identify and neutralize any potential "threats." I was able to get my hands on one of these surveys and preliminary finding reports that was conducted within 148 gulags in the U$A, representing 48 states, and nearly 150,000 prisoners. Now, the part of the survey that I thought may be of some interest to MIM(Prisons) is the following:


Low Level of Contamination from the MIM

Some types of political extremist groups try to recruit inmates and prisoners in America, they can do this through the U.S. Postal Service. These groups often have sophisticated websites as well. The Maoist International Movement (MIM) exists to spread communist ideology among inmates incarcerated in American jails and prisons. It seeks to radicalize prison inmates and give them a platform for organizing resistance against the American government. If your inmates are corresponding with MIM, you might have a problem brewing.

The survey included the question "have any of the inmates in your facility corresponded with the Maoist International Movement (MIM)"? Only 4.6 percent of the respondents indicated that their inmates have been in contact with MIM. Thus, it would appear that MIM is not effectively reaching out to the vast majority of American inmates. Not yet at least. Alternatively, maybe such contact with MIM is going under the radar of prison and jail officials.



MIM(Prisons) responds: This report on "Gangs and Security Threat Groups" does not include mention of any other communist groups, so we could see our inclusion as an indication of MIM(Prisons)'s success in reaching oppressed nation activists and the correctness of our political line in threatening imperialism and Amerikkkan rule. Communism is our goal: a society where no group has power over another group. This threatens the imperialist criminal injustice system for sure. In reality, as the study admits, they cannot really judge our reach based on survey of prison administrators alone. We would love to reach the vast majority of prisoners, but in practice we are focused on those who are interested in anti-imperialist politics and/or open-minded and looking to learn. Nonetheless, we take this as a call to action for Under Lock & Key readers: we need to increase the percentage of people in contact with MIM(Prisons)!

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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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[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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