I am a POW in the state of Tennessee and in these narratives I am providing exposure about this wicked prison system and Derrick Shofield, who came from Georgia. This dude is constantly applying new rules, with the latest being called tier management – something straight outta Georgia prison system. Of late all of Tennessee prisons are run like Georgia. This is the same Shofield who was instrumental in causing the largest sit down in the state of Georgia. On an I-team investigation on channel 4, Nashville, TN, it was reported that Shofield ordered two former wardens in West Tennessee to alter incident reports on assaults on staff.
As I write they are building security threat group management units at Riverbend Maximum security plantation in Nashville, Tennessee. This is the big sister of tier management. Both are part of the larger policy agenda regarding U.$. prisons. One of the standards that the federal government sets in order for the state to receive construction subsidies is to mandate the building of supermax units, security threat group units, such as the ones at Riverbend: steel and stone sensory deprivation cells.
In Georgia they have this tier 2 program of gang control for long-term lockdown. This same situation is being played out in Tennessee. The prisoners in Tennessee should take a page from Georgia, sit down and do nothing in a silent protest. It's some wicked shit going on in Tennessee, it has to be said that for all the men and women trapped in the wretched crime and punishment morass, especially in the Tennessee system, we have to determine our fate. We got the power.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade gets at the truth of prison control units, and in fact the broader prison system in general: it is a system built for social control. Prisons in general house the oppressed nation lumpen in disproportionate numbers, and for those who speak out, organize or otherwise challenge the system from behind bars, there are long-term isolation cells for even further control. These control units are torture and we must demand they be shut down. Part of this battle is documenting their existence, a project that we need help with from anyone who can complete our control unit survey about prisons in their state.
We offer the example of prisons in China while it was still Communist-led and Mao was alive, in stark contrast to the Amerikan criminal injustice system. In China prisoners participated in education classes with others where they studied politics and discussed the nature of their crimes and why their actions were harmful to the people. Prisoners were allowed to participate in productive activities of work and learned cooperative practices. Many who went into prison for actions like theft or even spying, came out dedicated to serving the people and grateful for a second chance. The example of Adelle and Allyn Rickett, two Amerikans who worked as spies for the United $tates until their imprisonment, wrote an inspiring book Prisoners of Liberation detailing these progressive practices and what they learned from years in prison in China.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was signed into law in 2003.(1) National prison and jail standards were enacted in 2012, nearly a decade after passage of PREA, and inexplicably late for the U.S. prison system which is long plagued by a sexual violence crisis.(2) PREA national standards carve a benchmark for prison administrators to prevent, detect and respond to prison sexual violence (PSV). Most significant are sweeping changes affecting documentation, accountability, confidentiality, post-sexual-assault medical care, testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and mental health counseling for PSV survivors.(3)
The PREA audits began in August 2013, and are supposed to occur at every youth and adult, state and private prison, jail, and holding facility every three years, with punitive forfeiture of federal funding at stake for lack of compliance. With 50% of documented PSV perpetrated by staff, prison administrators face greater liability through the transparency now mandated by PREA.(4)
One in ten prisoners are sexually abused, which is more than 200,000 youth and adults in prisons, jails and juvenile detention each year.(5, 6) Many are left to march the road to recovery, while coping with HIV, other STIs, mental trauma — the morbid souvenirs of rape.(7)
With PREA, the New York Department of Correctional Services (DOCS) started promoting "zero tolerance" propaganda. I felt (foolishly) that we were on the same side for once. I formed and launched a non-profit project with the goal to support, educate and advocate for PSV survivors, and those at risk. I especially focused on LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/sexual, Queer, Intersex) prisoners who are at 10-13 times higher risk to be victim of PSV, according to Department of Justice statistics. Not thinking I was doing anything "disallowed," I conducted this openly with no attempts to hide my activities.
However, DOCS took a radically different view, and launched an Inspector General Office investigation, forcing me (under duress) to cease and desist further activity with the project. But unable or unwilling to issue writeups on this issue, they instead launched a salvo of "unrelated" administrative charges, resulting in 18 months of keeplock (isolation). They also transferred me multiple times. I'm now serving 5 months keeplock time, which I'd already served at the last jail.
All this has only served to strengthen my commitment and resolve. Our efforts, in concert with NY ACLU, have yielded a settlement with DOCS to reduce the use of SHU/long-term isolation, with caps on sentences and exempting non-violent/safety-related offenses. It's a start but I'd have preferred a court ruling to this "voluntary" settlement, which the state can renege on.
PREA mandates the first round of audits as of August 2014, with statistics to be published online. This increased transparency is progress. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are little more than an ideal or paper unless we facilitate their power through litigation, demanding compliance with these standards. PREA can be just a stack of papers and "feel good" hot wind, signifying nothing. Or it can be a keen sword to excise the cancers of prison sexual violence and prison staff corruption and negligence. The burden falls to us to proactively safeguard our interests, and our futures. Fight to Win!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We regularly receive reports of sexual assault from prisoners across the country. In September 2013, one year after the PREA standards were finalized, Prison Legal News published an article detailing incidents of PSV all across the country. This article underscores the futility of federal laws to actually protect people in custody of an oppressive state.
The 2013-2014 PREA Resource Center (PRC) report was just released this week. It contains no statistics on the efficacy of the project, but does contain a lot of fluff about the trainings and webinars that the PRC has been hosting.
It is a step in the right direction that this comrade, with the help of NY ACLU, was able to place some restriction on the use of isolation to protect prisoners from rape. The use of isolation has been reported by the American Friends Service Committee to have an even worse affect on the victims of prison rape, causing negative psychological effects due to isolation, and making the prisoner even more vulnerable to abuse by prison staff.(8)
While we can and should make use of laws to stop prison staff sexual violence when possible, we call on prisoners to step up and put an end to sexual violence among themselves using their own inherent power as humyn beings. The issue of prison rape is one that activists must tackle head on, as it impacts our ability to build unity behind prison walls, and is indicative of a wrongheaded line on gender oppression overall. Take an example from Men Against Sexism (MAS), an organization in Washington State Prison in the 1970s. MAS pushed men to treat each other with respect, opposed all prison rape even of very unpopular prisoners, and defended weaker prisoners against attacks by stronger ones.(9)
Gender oppression is a product of our patriarchal society, and neither federal laws nor prison organizations will put an end to all gender oppression in prison on their own. This gender oppression is another tool used to control oppressed nationalities, and won't be done away with until we overthrow the systems that require the oppression of entire groups of people — imperialism and capitalism. Only through revolution can we start to build a society where gender oppression, like class and national oppression, are torn down in our culture, economics, and all levels of social relations. For a basic study of gender under imperialism, we recommend the magazine MIM Theory 2/3, which we distribute for $5 or equivalent work trade. And see the 1998 MIM Congress resolution "Clarity on what gender is" for a more theoretical discussion on the origins of patriarchy and its structure today.
I'm enclosing a pamphlet recently circulated here titled "Help for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Prison." The official policies in New York are actually pretty good and some staff are supportive. Sing Sing has openly gay and lesbian corrections officers (COs), a high percentage of young and/or female officers, and at least one transgender officer. Far from ideal, but good enough to suggest there's hope for the rest of the country and struggles in this area will be successful!
Please note the #77 speed dial feature described in the pamphlet [a speed dial to the Rape Crisis Program that does not need to be on the approved telephone list and calls are not monitored.] This is an innovative idea that could well be advocated elsewhere. I've heard one positive comment from a user, and the speed dial does work well on a technical level. But why not a #66 to report beat downs, or #55 for corruption, or #1 to report injustice or ask for legal help?
MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this prisoner's call for a hotline to report other abuses within prisons. Any opportunity for prisoners to report abuse outside of the prison structure is a welcome addition to the criminal injustice system that denies prisoners a voice to speak out against abuse. But we do not yet have any evidence that prisoners speed dialing a rape crisis program will result in any help or attention to the problem beyond supportive counseling after the attack happens. If this is just offering the prisoner an anonymous opportunity to talk after a rape, the problem will continue. In a system that has demonstrated its ability to dismiss or sweep under the rug any complaints or accusations by prisoners, we doubt this new hotline will be any different.
As for the existence of gay, lesbian and transgender COs, we see this the same as having New Afrikan COs. Those who have joined the criminal injustice system will be forced to conform to the rules or they will be out of a job. And so we can now expect to see these new COs abusing prisoners just like their straight counterparts. There are many male COs who do not identify as gay, but who are part of the rape of male prisoners. In all situations, the COs are in a position of power in a system that is set up to denigrate and abuse the men and women it holds. Rather than fight for COs of a different sexual orientation, gender identity, or nationality we need to fight for an end to a system of brutality that condones rape.
I have been a loyal supporter of the oppressed Palestinian people for over 20 years now, when I was at liberty and since I've been an unwilling guest of the Amerikan gulag system. I had a Palestinian instructor in college and she really opened my eyes to the high-handed imperialist tactics of the United States government.
Being a homosexual in Amerika during the 1980s and forced to confront the atypical everyday injustices co-opted from oppressive world religions and given the wink and nod by various White House administrations and Congress, I thus opposed the despotic and dictatorial government whose flag I am unfortunate to be forced to live under. Unfortunately these revelations robbed me of my adolescence at 12 and 13 years of age.
My people have suffered and died under this regime since its inception over 200 years ago. But even more tragic, we have suffered, as have the Palestinian people, the consequences of the Hebrew/Jewish religious and cultural influence that have poisoned the earth now for thousands of years with its Zionist agenda.
Make no mistake, I have no quarrel with the common Israeli citizen nor the adherents of Judaism. I am not anti-semitic in any way. But I do however dream of a day when the food and destructive influences of radical religions are all eliminated.
I wish these religious zealots no evil end or personal ill will. Only that they could learn to live in peace and harmony with those of us who simply want to live our lives as we choose as equals along with the rest of the world. Not as half-men, half-women, freaks or outcasts. We only ask equal rights and to benefit from equal justice.
Our people too suffered in places such as Bergen-Beese and the like. Our extermination has been sought by all cultures and ethnicities since the dawn of time. Mostly in the name of one God or another. And Yahweh - the god of the Jews - seems to be the most bloodthirsty of all.
Our children have the basic human right and reasonable expectation to grow up as homosexuals or heterosexuals without their fears and insecurities being created as a result of the hatred and intolerance of a sheep-like population that has been brainwashed by government stooges through the world. Religion truly is the opiate of the masses. Sadly though, these puppeteers sit, primarily in London, Washington and, yes, Jerusalem.
We homosexuals in the United States and throughout the world have the human right, as do the Palestinian people, to self-determination notwithstanding the dictatorial influence of world religions propped up by hypocritical governments seeking only to control the masses.
Sadly, we do not live in a true democracy. We live under an authoritarian government. A democracy is a nation governed by the will of the people that seeks social equality. No, friends, we live in a theocracy that masquerades as a democracy.
It is also sad that Palestine - primarily a Muslim, heterosexual nation - do not enjoy even the limited human rights the vilified homosexual minorities of the western world do.
It is my sincere hope that my homosexual brothers and sisters throughout the world, those not brainwashed by the Israeli propaganda machines, would stand in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian people in opposition to the jackbooted Israeli thugs in Jerusalem.
The Amerikan government stands behind and actively supports the genocide of the Palestinian people by Israel through her leaders by financing this obvious extermination attempt of an ancient people and culture with Amerikan tax dollars and military aid, thus forcing all tax paying Amerikan citizens to be unintended co-conspirators in these crimes against humanity.
This purportedly is to defend a peace-loving nation claiming only to want to exist. Yet that same nation actively seeks the utter annihilation and complete extermination of a legitimate ethnic group of human beings, with ancient ties to the disputed land in question, from the face of the earth.
Amerika has demonstrated they are a nation of liars and hypocrites. We have known since 1967 that Israel always has been. Never again, indeed!
MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade correctly ties the struggles of one oppressed group (gays) to the struggles of another oppressed group (Palestinians) by noting one common source of oppression in bourgeois culture in the form of religion. And further s/he correctly points out that Palestinians enjoy even fewer rights than most gays in imperialist countries, a point that is crucial for us to understand because it underscores the relative wealth and power of those living in oppressor nations compared to the oppressed nations like Palestine. In fact, tax-paying Amerikans mostly support the U.$. government and the I$raeli regime it supports, and so they don't mind being party to these crimes funded by U.$. military aid. In the arena of international politics it is important that we are able to distinguish our friends from our enemies. We do not want to create false unity with our enemies, nor do we want to divide unnecessarily from those on the anti-imperialist side of the struggle.
El bombardeo contra el pueblo Palestino no se puede describir en palabras. Mi forma de ver a Israel a cambiado de un estado asentado a un estado terroristico. Mas de 1,000+ Palestinos han sido asesinados por Israel. La mayoría de las víctimas son civiles. Niños y ancianos descuartizados por bombas Israelíes. Esta atrocidad sigue sin ninguna palabra de los medios de comunicación Americanos crítica de parte de los portavoces contra estos actos casi no existe, pero esto no es ninguna sorpresa.
Yo sigo en lo que puedo, la guerra Israelí contra los Palestinos desde este campo de muerte llamado Pelican Bay SHU. Lo que veo mas que nada es que Israel ataca a niños y hospitales. La gente quedan enterradas en sus hogares y cuando se hace atentos de rescate, los tiradores escondidos disparan contra los rescatadores. Los militares Israelíes convierten los hogares Palestinos en nidos para los tiradores escondidos después de botar a los Palestinos. Están disparandole a mujeres y niños para infligir terror a las vidas de los Palestinos que nunca van a parar su lucha por su liberación.
Yo saco mucha fuerza de los Palestinos y aprendo mucho de sus ejemplos concretos de lo que es luchar contra un ocupador terroristico. Pienso que el mundo entero esta aprendiendo lo que es la resistencia. Los Palestinos de hoy son un ejemplo en que podemos aprender. Están sin asistencia económica pero siempre encuentran la manera de pelear contra los tanques y misiles sufriendo de hambre, descalzos solo con AKs y puños cerrados.
El estado terroristicos Israelí es un ejemplo audaz de colonialismo que tiene que ser eliminado de la humanidad. Los Palestinos son rehenes cuales son bombardeados al gusto de los Israelís. Pero la mayoría de los asesinados son civiles y no se oye ni una palabra de los gusanos Amerikkkanos. No dicen nada porque en muchas maneras el estado terroristico Israeli es como un espejo de el estado terroristico Amerikkkano. Todavía no nos atacan en esta escala en este pais, pero las semi-colonias internas estan teniendo sus tierras ocupadas y estamos siendo asesinados selectivamente. Amerikkka usa el terror "blandito" con la tortura de el SHU, la pena de muerte y los guardias "cochinos/puercos/marranos/cerdos/lechones." En Palestina el terror no es "blandito," los misiles, tanques, y aviones de guerra masacrana la gente.
Estos actos terroristicos desatados por los perros Israelíes son los que me inspiran a propagar el anuncio que Palestina tiene que ser libre. Este avance militar me ha educado más que todos mis años de estudio. Después de ver el trato barbárico de los Palestinos lo único que puedo decir es que nunca más los Palestinos estarán solos peleando el colonialismo.
En meses recientes se ha vuelto más común leer cuentos noticieros sobre el hundimiento irreversible de glaciares en Antártica y en otras partes alrededor del mundo, como resultado de temperaturas crecientes en la Tierra. Este degradación de nuestro medioambiente global es accionado por emisiones humanas de gases invernaderos. Mientras la realidad de destrucción humana de sistemas naturales de la Tierra se hace más claro a diario, y científicos proporcionan más claras y alarmantes evidencias que estamos a punto donde los efectos no se podrán anular, vemos un argumento convincente para el comunismo como el único sistema económico que tiene la posibilidad de proveer la supervivencia a largo plazo de humanos.
Maoístas enfocan en combatir la represión y brutalidad de humanos contra humanos, cual es un elemento inherente de capitalismo. Cuando llega la pelea por la supervivencia de los humanos más oprimidos en el mundo, pelear por la vida del planeta en cual todos vivimos llega a ser inextricablemente entrelazado con nuestro humanismo. Sin un medioambiente que puede sustentar vida humana, la pelea contra opresión de grupos de pueblos se vuelve irrelevante. Vemos una fuerte razón para que comunistas apoyen ambientalismo revolucionario, y para unidad entre activistas ambientales y aquellos que pelean la opresión de pueblos. Pero no ganaremos la batalla por el medioambiente sin primero liberar los pueblos oprimidos del mundo y derribar el imperialismo.
Alla en 1997 MIM publicó la revista MIM Teoria titulado "Medioambiente, Sociedad, Revolución." En el escribió, "Nuestra meta fundamental es erradicar la opresión de pueblo sobre pueblo, y esta meta también es la manera más efectivo para liberar el medioambiente de agresión humana. No creemos que socialismo necesariamente lleve a cabo salvación ambiental, pero si argumentamos que solamente por el socialismo tendremos la posibilidad a si."
Históricamente la peor devastación ha sido causado sobre el medioambiente como resultado de opresión entre pueblos: guerras, fabricación usando trabajo explotado, y incautación de tierras por corporativos. En guerra, herbicidas y agentes químicos son usados para deforestar tierra y destruir producción de cosecha, que tiene severas, duraderos impactos no solo sobre la plantas, pero sobre la gente y fauna también. Agente Naranjo, uranio agotado, napalm, y fósforo blanco son ejemplos de este tipo de guerra. Una bomba que pone en blanco un "enemigo" también destruye el medioambiente en la área circundante. Producción capitalista permite prácticamente no regular el tiro de basuras en nuestros ríos y océanos, incluyendo derrames de petróleo. Cuando mercancía no puede ser vendido es literalmente tirada al océano o incinerado, impactando la vida oceánica y contaminación del aire.
Ademas, los imperialistas ponen en blanco al Tercer Mundo con residuos de países imperialistas, colocando industrias sucias ahí y vertiendo desechos tóxicos en patios de otra gente.(1) Y esta claro que los países que contribuyen lo menos a cambios de clima serán impactado lo máximo por el. Tifones golpeando el sureste de Asia y India, sequías en Africa, e islas que pronto desaparecerán a crecientes niveles del mar son todos consecuencias que ya han tomado las vidas de muchas personas y amenazan a destruir todavía más. Donde los países imperialistas podrán reconstruir infraestructura y defender contra los impactos de cambios de clima más fácilmente debido a su riqueza robado, residentes en el Tercer Mundo no tendrán este privilegio. Al mismo tiempo, contaminación y otros efectos de actividad humana han llegado a una escala donde es mas difícil para las naciones opresoras aislarse de estos problemas. Por esta razón, ambientalismo puede probar hacer la mas fuerte fuerza material para construir internacionalismo verdadero.
En los E$tados Unidos los capitalistas están intentando reformas pequeñas para tratar el creciente problema ambiental, pero estos intentos nos enseñan claramente porque capitalismo va fallar en salvar la raza humana. La Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente recientemente propuso regulación de emisiones de plantas de poder, enfocandose en plantas de carbon existentes. En movimiento lento de capitalismo, la Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente ultimará su propuesta algún día en 2015, dará un año a estados para descifrar como implementar los nuevos reglamentos, pelear los juicios que estados amenazan, y tal vez ver unos pocos cambios muchos años en el futuro. La Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente optimistamente predice el propuesto podría reducir emisiones de bióxido de carbon de estas plantas hasta un 30% para 2030.(2) Los medios corporativos ya están quejandose de normas de emisiones siendo "mal para negocios," que bajo capitalismo es mas importante que vidas humanas. Y fiel a la moda capitalista, hay platica de sobornar a las compañías de carbon y compensar a personas quienes tienen buenos trabajos de sindicato con sueldo-alto que serán afectados.(3) Entonces por los capitalistas ricos y los pudientes trabajadores del Primer Mundo, habrá años de dispúta para la posibilidad de hacer algunos pequeños cambios, mientras gente en el Tercer Mundo están muriendo hoy de efectos de cambio de clima que ya están sucediendo.
Mucha gente bienintencionada piensa que pueden tratar problemas ambientales con soluciones individuos. Sugieren que todas necesitamos reciclar y manejar autos eléctricos, o quizás no comer carne. Es cierto que dietas Americanas, cultura de auto y producción despilfarrador tienen que ser cambiados dramáticamente en una sistema ecológico sostenible. Pero tal estilo de vida política están moviendo mas lenta que reformas capitalistas en términos de actualmente reducir los indices de contaminación, agotacion de recursos y destrozos de sistemas naturales. Movimiento social tiene que ser apoyado con organización, cambios estructurales y poder verdadero. Los capitalistas tienen todas estas cosas, pero les falta la motivación para el cambio. Estableciendo instituciones independientes que actualmente cambian nuestros sistemas de producción y consumo para estar en linea con lo demás del mundo natural tiene que ocurrir. Si esto puede ser antes de la toma de poder estatal, es algo que ecologistas revolucionarios tienen que explorar. Si sabemos que la dictadura conjunto del proletariado de las naciones oprimidas será necesario para finalmente hacer cumplir los cambios necesitados a la escala global. Esto es necesario porque una porción considerable de las naciones opresoras no reducirán su consumo por voluntad propia, y mientras haya la potencia para aprovechar por via de practicas ecológicas miopes, habrán personas que tratarán hacerlo. Hoy en los E$tados Unidos los fuerzas que mantienen el status quo son mas organizados que las fuerzas para imponer practicas ecológicas sanas.
Un tercer enfoque común para problemas ambientales es el enfoque de pura tecnología. Mientras la ciencia de ecología ha avanzado en décadas recientes, ha sido limitado por la estructura social forzada por el capitalismo. Primer mundialistas pueden crear carreras alrededor de trabajar con comunidades pequeñas para resolver problemas locales, pero estos curitas no pueden curar la herida cuando la navaja de especuladores capitalistas continua torciendo de un lado a otro. Tales ecologistas académicas pueden contribuir a nuestro conocimiento, pero sus esfuerzos no hacen nada para desafiar el modelo capitalista en si mismo. Es mucho mas eficiente y efectivo hacer cambios necesarios para la supervivencia de la humanidad con un gobierno centralizado actuando con los intereses de la mayoría, a un ONG o sector no lucrativo, o hasta por vía del método de acción directa favorecido por bandas anarquistas. Comunismo suelta la creatividad de todas la masas de una manera que empuja estos proyectos para delante con entusiasmo y anchura sin medida. (Vea nuestro discusión de China: Ciencia Camina Sobre Dos Piernas en nuestra revista de revolutionaryecology.com - only available in English right now). Animamos ecologistas con perspectivas globales ha desarrollar una estrategia que verdaderamente hace uso de su trabajo globalmente, y les recomendamos el comunismo como la mejor manera de cumplir sus metas que valen la pena. Hoy en los E$tados Unidos, tenemos mas estilistas de vida y reformistas en la banda ambientalista. Necesitamos mas revolucionarios.
Socialismo pondrá un fin a métodos "eficientes" capitalistas de hacer ganancias. Y con la tierra en los manos del pueblo, podemos empezar hacer decisiones mas inteligentes sobre uso balanceado para la supervivencia humana sin destrucción ambiental. La mayoría de los pueblos del mundo están interesados en vivir en una planeta saludable, pero los capitalistas con dinero y poder están enfocados en ganancias. Como tienen el poder y armas, ellos no tienen que darle cuentas a la mayoría. Desperdician recursos o hasta los destruyen, si les sirve a sus intereses competitivos. Y no les importa qué o quién muera en el proceso. Bajo el capitalismo vemos como agencias gubernamentales y el gobierno mismo están obligados con los intereses especiales mas ricos, y incapaz de implementar hasta reformas modestas. Solamente derribando a los capitalistas y hacer cumplir pólizas que aseguran la supervivencia de humanos en la tierra tenemos una chanza de hechar atrás la destrucción de el medioambiente.
I am housed at Suwannee Correctional Close Management Unit, which is the Florida Department of Corruption's equivalent of the SHU or AdSeg. On 4 August 2014, myself and several other political prisoners on my cell block were targeted for repression during a shakedown which was conducted by the pigs. This shakedown was in retaliation for several grievances/complaints being filed about the corrections officers denying us outdoor yard access and indoor day room activities, including access to the phones.
During the shakedown the pigs read some notes I had written down from studying politics, history, and communism. These notes contained some commentary that wasn't very patriotic or friendly toward the Amerikan imperialist regime. When the pigs ordered me to explain the notes I told them that "I like to take notes on politics and current events," and "I like to keep tabs on what's going on in the outside world." The sergeant then held up one of the notes referring to "sovereignty" and said "so you're a sovereign citizen?" To which I replied, "No, I'm just a normal human being." Then he told me to explain why I had notes on weapons. I told him how I was in the U.$. army and developed a fascination for firearms, and he responded by saying, "so now you're a domestic terrorist?" I then told him that the average Amerikan citizen is more likely to be terrorized by their own local law enforcement than by so-called "terrorists."
Myself and three other prisoners were placed in confinement after the shakedown and we were charged with the disciplinary infraction of "Possession of Gang Related Paraphernalia." They tried to validate me as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG) on the basis that in the notes I made a reference to "Popular Sovereignty" and that therefore I was in possession of documents related to the sovereign association, which the imperialist bureaucrats view as a STG because sovereign citizens are not compelled to abide by U.$. laws.
When I went to my disciplinary hearing I told these pigs that the so-called evidence they have against me (the "gang paraphernalia") is merely a bunch of notes I copied from social studies. I explained that "Popular Sovereignty" is (supposed) to be one of the five basic principles of Amerikan government and that anyone who claims to be a patriotic Amerikan citizen should at least know this.
I used this argument to beat this charge and I also presented my own evidence as a defense — part of a social studies assignment on Amerikan government from FDOC's very own educational department which explains (what is supposed to be) the Five Basic Principles of Amerikan Government; 1) Federal System, 2) Popular Sovereignty, 3) Separation of Powers, 4) Checks and Balances, and 5) Limited Government. In real life these "principles" hold no valuable meaning, just as the U.$. constitution is merely a piece of paper.
It seems evident that anyone making an attempt to educate themselves is viewed as a threat by the imperialist bureaucrats and anyone who is against oppression and imperialism is a "domestic terrorist." As revolutionaries, it is imperative that we educate ourselves and our fellow comrades and expose the true terrorists for who they really are: the terrorists in pig clothing, masquerading as those who "protect and serve" and provide "care, custody and control."
We shall prevail in our struggle against imperialist oppression.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have heard from some comrades that even writing to MIM(Prisons) or participating in our correspondence study groups can be used as evidence for STG validation. We know there is a risk to corresponding and working with MIM(Prisons) but the education and organizing opportunities are great. We hope others will take this comrade's example to fight false validation attempts made against them and stay active in political work and study. For those not yet involved in political study, write to us to join our next introductory study group.
The Montana prison suppression machine has pulled the wool over the eyes of several prisoner advocacy groups by pretending to disband their security housing unit (SHU) program. It's not actually gone, it's just been given a shiny new title. It's now known as LH1 - AdSeg and LHII - Max population or step down program.
The SHU program started in Montana State Prison (MSP) in approximately 2004-2005, designed to hold validated gang members or violent prisoners deemed security threats. Unfortunately in Montana the only requirement for validation is to associate with suspicious prisoners or interact with known gang members. No activity is required to validate you. Anyone who disagrees with a corrections officer, files grievances, or otherwise remotely questions the capitalist authority is deemed a security risk.
MSP's favorite use of control units is for a growing number of mentally ill prisoners. MSP has no resources to house these prisoners separately so they use long term isolation, trying to induce forced sumission over them.
The LHII step down program is creating jobs for high risk prisoners who would normally never have the opportunity to earn a few dollars, but at the cost of long term isolation for most prisoners who are only here because they questioned policy, filed grievances, refused a pig's order, or are scared by prison life. This does not make for a prisoner who will fare well once turned back to population or society.
So MSP has once again fixed nothing, but it might have fooled a few people with the name change. We must expose the new system for what it is: a renaming of the same long term isolation.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We need prisoners to help us keep our statistics on control units across the country up to date. We estimate over 100,000 long term isolation units exist in the United $tates, but this data is incomplete for many states. If you know about a control unit in your state, write to us for a control unit survey so that you can help us collect this data on torture in Amerikan prisons.
It's amazing how some of these institutions specifically discriminate against Black publications from entering into their prisons, stating their writings are offensive and inappropriate to prison standards. This is how prejudice and bias their views are when it comes to Black literature.
I received a notice from the Incoming Publication Review Committee at SCI-Benner, stating that the Movement Newsletter is being denied. They indicated that three of its pages advocated violence, guerrilla warfare against the government, assist in criminal activity related to prison misconduct, and its material is racially motivated that could cause a threat to inmates, staff, and security in the prison.
This accusation is not only a derogatory attack on Black publications, but also towards Blacks in general. They have the audacity to link a race of people to a criminal behavior as though it's inbred in them.
The Black community frowns on criminal activities, as well as violence, much more so than anyone else because many are personally affected by it one-way or the other. And for anyone to imply they abet it, is in a state of illusion, because many of them are unfortunate victims of crime, not participants.
Most of the Black publications are structured to educate readers on past, and current events, give encouragement to those in despair, and to let the community know that they are not forgotten. We're fortunate to have a newsletter of sure caliber as the Movement that's fearless, judicious, and full of profound data that's reliable. Newsletters such as the Movement, Graterfriends, Fortune Society, Innocence Denied, and many others that give a voice to those whose voices have been disregarded. They advocate justice for those who have been denied it, and advocate humane treatment to those men and women in captivity.
It is judged inappropriate for Black publications to denounce racial discrimination, corruption, oppression, hypocrisy, injustice, and whatever else infringe on the rights of others. Are they permitted to execute their so-called Constitutional rights under the First Amendment to freedom of speech, which includes the rights to criticize the government or state officials? Is censorship in effect or is it just my imagination?
MIM(Prisons) responds:The Movement is a newsletter published by the Human Rights Coalition (HRC), which describes itself as: "HRC’s quarterly news magazine, The Movement, is a powerful source in public awareness that serves not only to tie prisoners to the outside world, but also to tie the public into prison issues. It represents the voices, faces, causes, and ideas of prisoner families and prisoners themselves." This is not even a New Afrikan publication, except in that it covers prison issues and a disproportionate number of prisoners of the United $tates are New Afrikan.
MIM(Prisons) is not surprised to see this censorship because we face constant problems with censorship of Under Lock & Key in prisons across the country. Prisons make up bogus reasons to deny ULK as a threat to security because of our work educating and organizing prisoners. Any publication that reports honestly on the Amerikan criminal injustice system is going to include coverage of national oppression and the struggles of New Afrikans and [email protected] in particular. This reporting and organizing work is seen as a threat to the prisons, but we must fight for our right to this legal form of education.
Between the years 2007 and 2011, 13 prisoners died from the heat in Texas prisons. Two wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in a Galveston Federal Court accusing Texas prison officials of negligence in the deaths.
Scott Medock, an attorney for the Austin based Texas Civil Rights Project, which filed the suits with Austin attorney Jeff Edwards, called some east Texas prisons "death traps."
The Constitution does not require prisons to be maintained at a comfortable temperature. However, if there is extreme heat or cold, prisoners' Constitutional rights are affected. Extreme heat can violate the Constitution. Refer to: Brock v. Warren county 713 F. Supp 238 (E.D. Tenn. 1989) - Maddison County Jail Inmates v. Thompson 773 F. 2d 834, 838-39 (7th cir. 1985) - Hamilton v. Love 328 F. Supp 1182, 1190 (E.D. Ark. 1971).
Prisoners with heat restrictions are in "grave danger" of serious injury and possible death. To win a Section 1983 lawsuit you must show that staff officials acted with "deliberate indifference" to your health risk. "Deliberate indifference" exists when an official knows about a serious danger to a prisoner and yet is "indifferent" (unconcerned, uncaring) to that danger. You can use the fact that the conditions were "longstanding, pervasive, well-documented, and/or expressly noted" by officials in the past to prove indifference. It is enough that the official acted or failed to act despite his/her knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm. There are several kinds of circumstantial evidence that you can use to prove an official's deliberate indifference. These include copies of grievances and appeals, copies of informal notes and letters (I-60s) that you wrote to officials, and you can explain in a declaration exactly when and how you told officials about risk in prison.
As a general rule, officials may not refuse to respond to a substantial risk of serious harm on the grounds that it would be too expensive to fix it. Cost is not a defense to Constitutional liability.
The Eighth Amendment to the U.$. Constitution, among other things, protects convicted prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment. The conditions of confinement must not involve the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain, nor may they be grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime warranting imprisonment (Rhodes v. Chapman 452 US. 337, 347, 69 L.Ed. 2d 59, 101 S. Ct 2392 (1981).) Whether conditions of confinement are cruel and unusual must be determined from the contemporary standards of civilized decency that currently prevail in society. At a minimum, the Constitution requires the state to provide minimally adequate living space that includes reasonably adequate ventilation, sanitation, bedding, hygienic materials and utilities (Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F. Supp 1052, 1122 (M.D. Tenn. 1981).) Constitutionally adequate housing is not denied simply by uncomfortable temperatures inside cells, "unless it is shown that the situation endangers inmates health" (Smith v. Sullivan, 553 F. 2d 373, 381 (5th Cir 1977).) TDCJ may be held liable under Section 1983 if deprivation of prisoners' Constitutional rights were the result of "custom" or "policy" (Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 463 US 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978)).
Texas prison conditions do not meet Constitutional standards!
MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this caselaw for prisoners to use in filing grievances against the dangerous heat conditions in Texas. We have received many reports on the battle against this health risk. Get involved in this fight, file grievances, document the situation, and write to us for the Texas grievance guide.