The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

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[Economics] [Theory]
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Opposing Turning the Tide Attacks on MIM(Prisons)

I want to express that Under Lock & Key did well in the response to Turning The Tide's (TTT) improper misrepresentation of MIM(Prisons). TTT has no true political line and those who think differently should debate on this issue.

The petit-bourgeoisie is not only the white nation people. Anyone who posses the ideological and social behaviors or the political views that are influenced by private property interests are in fact part of the petit-bourgeoisie. In Amerikkka those whose ideological principles are on this level are part of the oppressor nation. Many TTT constituents fail under these principles.

And as for the individual claiming to have been dropped by MIM(Prisons), it sounds like that person never was attempting to build. For those who want to attack an organization that has been staunch in true struggle and who's line is correct in many ways, needs to, as the komrade who address this issue said, investigate before hs/she has the right to speak. Komrade Soso did well in the response and TTT should engage in "righteous" criticism not some back door attack on MIM(Prisons).

MIM(Prisons) must keep their energy on educating those who want to learn. Let's not waste energy on fictitious attacks. MIM(Prisons) has been doing revolutionary work for many many years and has proven results. As said, history will tell.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that TTT demonstrates a petit-bourgeois political line, though we must be careful with our definitions of this term. We define the petit-bourgeoisie by their relations to the means of production, as an economic status, not just ideological principles. The fundamental point of debate with TTT is around the MIM(Prisons) scientific analysis of classes in imperialist countries, concluding that the vast majority of people in these countries are part of the petit-bourgeoisie. This is not because they have political views aligning with private property interests, but rather these views stem from their economic interests.

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Gang Validation] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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San Quentin Adjustment Center list of demands to CDCR

Open letter to the Director of CDCR, the Warden of San Quentin Prison and the Captain of the Adjustment Center

San Quentin top officials have concocted and enacted an exclusive code of regulations called the IP 608 Condemned Manual, which mandates that Death Row prisoners are under the control of the warden of San Quentin Prison. Therefore, after years of the abuse of authority by Adjustment Center (A/C) committee members and unit staff and after years of filing 602s that fall on deaf ears here in the A/C, all the way up the chain of command to Sacramento, a collective group of Death Row prisoners in the A/C will be joining in the statewide non-violent, peaceful hunger strike in July 2013 to demand that the warden of San Quentin use his power of authority to bring about positive change to prisoners housed in the A/C SHU.

For years, Grade B A/C prisoners have been told Grade B is not a punishment; it's just a "program" different from Grade A. So the warden should be able to use his power of authority to order the following immediate changes without delay:

  1. The warden should immediately implement a "behavior based program" that amends the current criteria that permit a condemned prisoner to be eligible for Grade A privileges and be removed from the punitive punishment of Grade B status, basing this program on a condemned prisoner's current good behavior and disciplinary free conduct regardless of a prisoner's alleged gang status or validation and eliminating the under-the-table and vague indeterminate status in the A/C. The warden must order the immediate release of A/C prisoners who are not validated as alleged gang members and associates and have remained disciplinary free for years.

  2. The warden must order the A/C committee to stop the controversial and unfair classification practices of using illegal inmate informants and anonymous informants and the so-called roster list of names to label prisoners gang members and associates and to stop the illegal and vague "mandatory debriefing" and vague validation process. San Quentin officials must put in place a set of standards and safeguards to protect a prisoner's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment
    1. Any information used in A/C committee decisions must be first-hand information and must be corroborated by three different independent sources;
    2. A/C committee must state on the record why such information is indicative of gang activity and state on the record what California laws are being broken;
    3. Any information used against a prisoner must be provided to the prisoner and all copies of documents, such as 1030s and 128s, and debriefing reports placed in a prisoner's C-file must be immediately disclosed to the prisoner so he will have ample time and opportunity to contest and challenge any allegations in writing through administrative 602s and legal redress to confront his accuser or confidential source.

  3. The warden must (a) order the end of the administrative segregation of condemned prisoners to segregated yards that have been designed to label a condemned prisoner unjustly, (b) order an end to the constant use of bogus confidential inmate informants and bogus 1030 disclosure forms to deny A/C prisoners access to Grade A status and access to the A/C group yards, and (c) order that all four group yards in the A/C be labeled "re-integrated yard 1, 2, 3 and 4" and remove the racist yard labels of "Southern/White and Northern/Black" that A/C staff and committee have used for decades to instigate racial division and segregation among prisoners of different races who would like to program and co-exist on a group yard together. Every A/C prisoner should be given group yard unless the prisoner chooses to stay in a walk-alone cage. The warden must order that all walk-alone cages have roof coverings like the cages in East Block and Carson Sections, and add a dip bar in each cage for exercise.

  4. The warden should cease all group punishment tactics. Group punishments and lockdowns were designed for large-scale riots, not for alleged isolated incidents. The warden should cease the unlawful use of the interview/interrogation process and never allow the vicious attack and assault on prisoners by A/C staff just because a prisoner invokes his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refuses to answer questions during an interview/interrogation. This illegal policy of forced interrogations makes no sense because if staff utilize chemical agents on a prisoner, which have proven to be lethal, and attack him and then drag the prisoner into an interview/interrogation room, he will say, "I have nothing to say," and take the Fifth. Or the prisoner might give a statement based on his fear and the fact he was brutally attacked, in which case the information would be deemed "given under duress and torture, therefore unreliable." So the use of violence on prisoners, particularly on prisoners of color, is just an excuse and a blatant act of the worst kind of torture and racially motivated retaliation. Also, the administration should cease passing out "interview questionnaires" to prisoners after an alleged isolated incident because the informants read these questionnaires and re-word them and use them as first-hand information when the informants did not get the information from a prisoner but directly from a prison official. Simply put, these forms describing the incident are only done so rat inmates can exploit these incidents for gain by giving staff bogus and false statements to be used on 1030 disclosure forms and be rewarded by obtaining Grade A and other privileges and favors.

  5. The warden should order the end to the degrading policy of stripping out A/C prisoners outside during yard recall, violating Title 15, Section 3287(4)(8), which partly states that "all such inspections shall be conducted in a professional manner which avoids embarrassment or indignity to the inmate. Whenever possible, unclothed body inspections of inmates shall be conducted outside the view of others." Stripping out in the cold and rain is inhumane, and it's time for this policy to stop. The warden should allow A/C prisoners to wear tennis shoes or state shoes on all escorts, especially in the rain, to visits and medical escorts, and put an end to the "shower shoes only" policy and allow A/C prisoners to be fully dressed in state blues when going to the law library.

  6. The warden should order that the third watch sergeant return the scheduling of A/C prisoners for SHU law library to the SHU law librarian clerk and start utilizing all available SHU law holding cells so Death Row prisoners can do important research at least three to four times a month. A lot of prisoners are being denied access to SHU law library on a regular basis. The third watch sergeant should be ordered by the warden to end the practice of putting dinner food on paper trays to sit on the bed in the cell while prisoners are at law library as this practice is unsanitary and eating cold food is unhealthy.

  7. The warden should order the end of excessive use of property restrictions. No other CDCR prison in the state of California uses property restriction as a punishment and it's only done in extreme cases. Title 15 mandates no longer than 90 days. The excessive use of property restriction punishment in the A/C is based on nothing more than A/C committee members' abuse of power and authority and is never based on a prisoner's behavior.

  8. The warden of San Quentin should use the power of his authority to expand A/C Grade B privileges for prisoners housed in the A/C through no fault of their own and who have remained disciplinary free for years.
    1. Allow contact visits with family, friends and attorneys, or allow 2.5-hour non-contact visits in Booths A-l, A-2 and A-3 in the visiting room.
    2. Allow two phone calls per month.
    3. Allow hobby and educational programs for the A/C.
    4. Allow more educational channels like the Discovery Channel, the History Channel and National Geographic.
    5. Allow $110.00 canteen draw a month.
    6. Allow four food packages a year or two food packages and two nutritional packages of vitamin supplements and protein meal supplements from approved vendors.
    7. Allow A/C prisoners to participate in the food charity drives.
    8. Allow 10-book limit in cell, not to include any legal or religious books.
    9. Allow A/C prisoners to purchase white boxer underwear, T-shirts, socks and thermals from approved vendors at least four times a year (each quarter).
    10. Allow clear headphones, non-clear earbuds and headphone extension for TVs and radios or leave speakers connected in TVs and radios.
    11. Order the return of exercise equipment on the group yards, return the basketball court and the pull up bars, and add dip bars and a table and provide group yard activity items such as basketballs, handballs, board games and cards.

  9. The warden should order that all medical chronos issued and approved by the chief medical doctor be honored and order all A/C staff not to interfere with the medical needs of prisoners. Custody staff should have no say-so in medical needs of prisoners. If the medical needs of a prisoner cannot be met in the A/C, then the prisoner should be housed in a unit where his medical needs can be accommodated. The A/C unit staff must not be permitted to impose unjust punishments upon prisoners who have a proven need for medical appliances. When it is deemed medically imperative for modified cuffs, staff puts the prisoner on leg restraints claiming "safety and security," when in fact it is an attempt to discourage prisoners from seeking medical appliances by punishing them with unnecessary, painful, degrading and excessive mechanical restraints.

  10. Order the Institutional Gang Investigation (IGI) unit to stop the harassment of interfering with A/C prisoners' mail. Incoming mail has been denied and held by IGI under the excuse of "promoting gang activity" with no further explanation of exactly what constitutes "promoting gang activity"! Many times incoming mail takes anywhere from 20 to 40 days from the postmarked date on the letter to reach prisoners in the A/C. Legal mail has been taking far too long to reach A/C prisoners, and it should be passed out with regular mail call at 3 p.m. so that prisoners can have plenty of time to respond to their attorneys by the 9 p.m. mail pick-up.

    All of these issues are fair and reasonable and create no serious threats to the safety and security of the A/C but can only create a more positive and productive environment in the A/C for prisoners who have been put in a punishment situation with no disciplinary write-ups for years. We ask that the warden of San Quentin and the captain of the A/C look into these issues as soon as possible.

    Thank you.

    Main A/C Representatives: Smokey Fuiava, E-35592, 2AC56; Richard Penunuri, T-06637, 3AC55; Billy Johnson, F-35047, 2AC51; Todd Givens, V-42482, 3AC52; Marco Antonio Topete, AK-7990, 1AC12; Cuitlatuac Rivera, T-35975, 2AC67 Body of Representatives: Bobby Lopez, K-76100,1AC16; Reynaldo Ayala, E-10000, 2AC59; James Trujeque, K-76701, 3AC13; Mike Lamb, G-30969, 2AC1; Hector Ayala, E-38703, 3AC4; Marty Drews, C-88058, 3AC2

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[Censorship] [High Desert State Prison] [Nevada]
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Small Victory in Nevada Censorship Fight

We have one small victory on the censorship front on admission that ULK is not on a restricted distribution list and subscriptions will be delivered. Though this was issued in January, one issue still never arrived. That is being grieved. Aside from that a recent ULK subscriber received a Prison Legal News "survey" concerning censorship which appeared to be a precursor to litigation against the NDOC by PLN concerning censorship.

The principle problem which we encounter now is unofficial censorship, such as mail being withheld/not delivered without notice, mail being returned without notice (such as happened with ULK) and not stamping the received date on our mail, which is then not delivered on time.

In one extreme example, a kid got a letter form his family who had not been able to locate him for a couple of years because all of his incoming/outgoing mail to family had "disappeared" and they were just recently able to locate him. Apparently officials wouldn't explain why or where he was.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is on top of fighting censorship in his prison, and provides a good example for others who are experiencing similar problems. We need everyone to grieve censorship whenever it happens, pursue all administrative remedies, and attempt to contact outside organizations that might also be fighting censorship or willing to help with a lawsuit. If you have experienced censorship in your prison, write to us for a guide to fighting censorship, and be sure to report all mail (both received and rejected) to us so that we can accurate track censorship.

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[Education] [Mental Health] [Pennsylvania]
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Pennsylvania Prison System Promotes Social Ills

Systemic and severe violations of international human rights law are an endemic feature of prison conditions in Pennsylvania. This is why the PA Department of Corrections is being investigated by the U.S. Deptartment of Justice and a class action lawsuit has been filed by the Disability Rights Network challenging PA's mental health practices of warehousing prisoners with serious mental illnesses in solitary confinement causing this class of prisoners undue suffering. The treatment amounts to a punishment nightmare where they cannot receive treatment, but receive disciplinary infractions and sanctions for behavior directly related to their mental health issues.

During the past 30 years or more, Pennsylvania has embarked upon a project of race and class based incarceration unlike anything Pennsylvanians have ever seen. In my almost four decades of incarceration, I have witnessed the annual state prison budget increase from under $100 million for the fiscal year 1980, to $2 billion today. Not coincidentally, prison construction and prison population increased with the passage of the law that created the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing in 1982. The prison budget has increased even more because the General Assembly authorized three new prisons and built cells at 17-existing prisons to imprison another 9000 prisoners in the next 3 years. Additionally, PA leads the nation in juveniles serving life sentences, the overwhelming number of them being of African descent.

Pennsylvania is one of many states that are building more jails and prisons at the same time that they are closing schools. While states have an abundance of funds to build jails and prisons, more and more school districts are facing funding and program cuts, furloughs, and hiring freezes. Is it not more sensible to invest in schools than jails and prisons? Schools will help to improve quality of life, education and values; jails and prisons will continue the pipeline to prison and increase the penal population.

Just like I have witnessed the state's annual prison budget increase tremendously, I have witnessed a perversion of the priorities in education that in the long run criminalizes poor blacks and poor people of color in general, institutionally robbing public education to feed the prison industrial complex.

The National Center for Education Statistics affirms that 68 million people read below basic levels, but less money in education is spent. It uses the state of Texas as an example, where they have eliminated close to $4 billion of the budget and also the financing of programs that served 100,000 at-risk children. Other cuts have included the closing of hundreds of schools.


MIM(Prisons) adds:
We appreciate this comrade for taking the time to write this article, which concisely points out many of the problems with the current system. While we print it here for its useful content, we disagree with the reformist line of the article. Long-term isolation is torture for all people, whether you are mentally ill or you are a political prisoner. We've watched as reforms around who gets put into control units only justifies using them against some of the greatest leaders of the oppressed. So we do not report on these efforts uncritically.

As proletarian internationalists, spending more money on schools or prisons for Amerikans is a crime as long as people (whose wealth they've stolen) are dying of malnutrition and basic medical care. Segregation in public schools is an ongoing problem in the United $tates. And the educational disparity, which leaves oppressed nations within U.$. borders with far less than adequate education, feeds into prison. Taking money from prisons to put into education will not solve this problem. While we do support cutting prison budgets as a means to discourage the ridiculously high incarceration rate in this country, as long as the imperialists control the budgets, they will find ways to spend money on furthering their goals. Reforms to spending will just move things around a bit, but not make fundamental and lasting change we will need to end the system of imperialism which prioritizes profit over the life of the oppressed.

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[Censorship] [Illinois]
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Censorship Victories and Banned Lists in Illinois

As I believe you are aware, I have been involved in several battles with the prison system to secure your publications, and am now receiving them without incident. Therefore, I was surprised to read that prison authorities were claiming that Under Lock & Key was on the "banned list." The next time that I am at our law library, I will examine the banned list, to see if the zine is on it, but I rather doubt that it is, as this facility would not have given me it if it were.

For all of your Illinois readers, I would suggest the following actions if they are having difficulties in receiving any of your publications:

  1. Regularly examine the "banned publication list" which is available in every prison library.
  2. It should be noted that only the Central Publication Review Committee can actually ban a publication; a prison can request it, but only the CPRC can approve it, and there will be a paper trail if anything is banned.
  3. The following documents spell out a prisoner's rights regarding publications; all are available through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). However, if they are available at the prison's library, they will tell you to review them there. (Any person in the free world can obtain them.)

a. Illinois Department of Corrections
Staff Development and Training
Office of Inmate Issues
Publication Review Procedures

b. Departmental Rule 525
Part 525 - Rights and Privileges
Subpart C: Publications


These documents can be obtained from:
Ms. Lisa Weitekamp
FOIA Officer
Illinois Department of Corrections
1301 Concordia Court
PO Box 19277
Springfield, IL 62794

[For a report from a comrade who is having these problems see: Legal Pressure Wins Some Censorship Victories in Illinois]

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[Mental Health] [Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
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Mentally Ill Program "Treats" With Torture

Program for the Aggressive Mentally Ill Offender (PAMIO) — the name sounds innocent and by reading the thirteen page information packet, almost promising. But the truth behind the smoke screen is anything but innocent and promising. I am currently admitted to the PAMIO program under advice from my psychiatric case worker and I would like to shed light on the inhumane torture and psychological abuse the prison calls rehabilitation.

On 21 May 2013 I was processed into PAMIO and taken to my living quarters with no incident. On May 26 porkchop Hall made sexual remarks and advances towards me and a few other prisoners. He then took it a step further by denying me a shower because I would not show him my genitals. I then encouraged my fellow prisoners to write him up to document all incidents. This is not all Hall has done, he is also known for refusing to feed a prisoner he doesn't like or whose religious or political views he disagrees with. A prisoner who is Muslim and provided proof of his religious convictions told Hall he needs a pork-free diet. Hall smirked and knocked his tray to the ground and closed his slot, saying that the prisoner is now meal free. His cronie Mclaen just laughed and walked off, both proud of themselves.

I was personally targeted by porkchop Frost with threats of physical violence and an unnecessary gassing because of a grievance I filed. Frost asked me why I filed a grievance on Hall and I told him it was none of his business. He then asked "what are you doing?" and I answered "minding my own business" and he said "sixty two cell put down the razor." He then pulled his gas can out and shook it up. The nurse then came through the side door with another guard who asked what the deal was, Frost looked at me and said "nothing I was just messing with him."

I was targeted again, this time by an unknown porkchop who accused me of stealing his handcuff key and then threatened to have me slammed and gassed. However the other guard found the key nowhere near my possession.

The last major incident still sickens me. The porkchops on both cards and shifts got together and targeted a prisoner for over two weeks. In this time they cut off his water, denied him necessities, denied proper hygiene for an indigent prisoner, denied him a mattress, denied him medication, verbally harassed, gassed, and went through other methods of torture and degradation. This prisoner was mentally ill and could not help himself. Instead of pulling together against the porkchops, the other prisoners on the section this prisoner was housed whooped and hollered and rode with the porkchops. The said prisoner has since been transferred, thankfully because he surely would have died due to criminal negligence on the part of PAMIO security staff.

I will now address one more note to all comrades wishing to come together at PAMIO. The porkchops have a clique called the Wolf Pack on both day and night shifts. The Wolf Pack has been responsible for prisoner beatings, rapes, gassing, starvation, denial of necessities, dehydration, and deaths among other injustice and corruption. I am in the process of gathering the names and leader of this Wolf Pack and I will report back with further information.

I am using this as a call to arms for all politically active comrades within Texas to come together in United Struggle from Within to fight abuse at PAMIO. I am requesting both militants and educators to request admission to PAMIO. The program is located on Clements Unit.

This article referenced in:
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[Control Units] [Abuse] [California State Prison, San Quentin] [California]
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Control Unit Torture at San Quentin

The Adjustment Center (AC) is the politically corrupt designation given to the death row security housing unit (SHU) at San Quentin (SQ) which also serves as an administrative segregation unit (ASU) overflow. But for all intents and purposes the AC is a secret torture unit at SQ and a fraternal twin of CDCR's other torture units, now partially exposed by media attention resulting from the 2011 peaceful hunger strikes at Corcoran, Pelican Bay, Tehachapi and elsewhere.

Public Affairs Officer Sam Robinson conducts tours at SQ and would tell you with a straight face the AC is overflowing with "the worst of the worst", but you're not allowed inside. That's because the torture unit overlords, which includes but is not limited to Chief Deputy Warden W.A. Rodriguez, his cohort Assistant Warden J. Curzon, and their loyal attack dog Facility Captain Robertson, claim it's a "security risk." Truth be told, we do see how it would "risk" exposing them and the asinine antics common to their clique, how it would cost them the "security" of their jobs, and perhaps land a few of their asses in prison.

All this begs the question "who is really in the AC and how do they end up there indefinitely?" Here is an inside perspective.

On May 7, 2013, shortly after "yard is cancelled due to maintenance" was gleefully blasted over the excessively loud PA system in East block (where the majority of death row prisoners are warehoused), two prisoners in neighboring cells were confronted by a goon squad comprised of a red-faced Sgt. Reynolds and four henchmen all barking ferociously "don't touch anything and strip out!" As if at random these two prisoners were selected to be under suspicion of possessing cellphones. After being detained for over an hour in cages about the size where you might expect to see a pair of pet macaws swinging, they were again humiliated by being staged in their cells, but just long enough to see how everything in them had been tossed like salad during the frantic search that turned up no cellphones or contraband whatsoever, then relocated to the AC indefinitely pending the outcome of an "investigation." No rules violations reports (RVR) were issued, their property remains in a shambles at East Block, and this ride began over three weeks ago. For one of these two unfortunate prisoners his ride through this not so funhouse began in the dungeon.

Cells 1AC63 to 1AC67 are called "the dungeon" because a barred and padlocked gate separates them from the other twelve cells on the tier. The dungeon cell floors, concrete bunks, and walls are cracked, un-level, and flaking. Another bizarre feature is partitions extending about five feet or so from the cell fronts dividing them like horse stalls. The dungeon is primarily used to torture marginalized or hated prisoners, especially those already obviously suffering from mental disorders acquired at some point during their ride through this torture unit at SQ, or at one of the many others operating within the California prison system.

Shane Bauer spent months in an "Iranian SHU program." A short time after his release he blew the cover off gang validation policies and SHU conditions in California prisons. He reported Pelican Bay SHU was not identical to its Iranian twin but worse and in Iranian prison no one has served more than two years in solitary confinement! Getting held hostage in this torture unit for a couple years, decades, or more is business as usual at SQ just as in others operating in the United $tates.

In my opinion, one of the most diabolical ways they keep us on this ride is the "fabrication and rejection process." In short, this means getting RVRs fabricated against us, being found guilty at hearings where due process is considered a thing of the past, then having our appeals rejected. Prisoners cannot appeal a rejected appeal. That of course is by design, intended to delay, and if possible preclude exhausting administrative remedies — a requirement before prisoners can access the courts. The torture unit overlords really want to have their way with you and do all they can to get you to hang yourself in their noose-shaped loopholes. Could that be anything other than the designs of sadistic criminal masterminds?

Consider the following which describes an exceptionally violent combination of mental and physical torture. On September 3, 2012, as I lay unconscious in my cell from several days sleep deprivation caused by a custody staff influenced medical decision to discontinue various permanent chronos, a goon squad comprised of henchmen Anderson, Calderon, Morris, and Vanmastright stormed into my cell. Upon entry they proceeded to beat me into a semiconscious state, dragged me bleeding from wrists and ankles down the tier in excessively tightened handcuffs and shackles, bounced me down two flights of stairs, then from the AC entrance all the way to the Triage Treatment Area (TTA) hoisted me by the chains and/or dragged me by them for about a hundred yards as a med-tech pushed a wheelchair alongside at a distance. I want to interject here to point out this is documented as an "emergency medical cell extraction" executed during a lockdown initiated approximately twelve days prior due to an alleged slashing/stabbing of two AC officers which had nothing to do with me but might have fueled the goon squad's madness. The "emergency treatment" I received consisted of being thrown into a cage built into the corner of a TTA cell and left crumpled there for three hours or so. All that time I screamed in agony, forced to endure excruciating pain as the handcuffs and shackles cut deeper into my skin.

I wasn't even seen by a physician on that day, nor would Dr. Grant agree to examine, document, or treat my injuries any time during my sixteen day hunger strke; all I could think of doing to get seen by medical. But the good squad beating injuries, re-damaged preexisting injuries, and the skin condition which was the major contributing factor leading to my sleep deprivation was ignored. A few days after I attempted to file an emergency petition for writ of habeas corpus in Marin County, an RVR was fabricated alleging I battered the goon squad. My two healthcare appeals have been delayed without reason in excess of ninety days so far, and my RVR hearing appeal citing denial of all witnesses except the reporting employee has been rejected by CDCR appeals coordinator J.D. Lozano.

Surely these experiences come off sounding sensationalized and extreme, but they are nonetheless classic examples of what untold thousands in SHUs throughout the United $tates are reportedly subjected to at an ever increasing rate. Who are the real bunch of lying murderers?

The CDCR has proven over and over to be masters of media manipulation and propaganda wizards. Don't allow them to operate secret torture units like the AC or make them appear to be something they're not. Please don't allow your tax dollars to reward and secure impunity for sadistic, corrupt prison officials whose goal is to build more torture units in your backyards. Call, write, email Gov. Brown, his CDCR Director Beard, and the SQ puppet Warden Kevin R. Chappell to demand they shut it down. Also, please contribute generously to this publication/org helping us to have our voice heard from within, keeping the struggle alive.

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[Abuse] [Organizing] [Eastham Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 33]
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Unity in Texas Against Guard Brutality

I have been locked up in a Texas State Prison for the last 4 years and I have to admit they do things very different in this state and in their institutions. The administration treats the prisoners like cattle, but I have strategized against their schemes from the very beginning. I have lost some battles but I am winning the war.

About a month ago two guys got into a fight in the chowhall and after they put handcuffs on both of them they began kicking one of them and hitting him with night sticks when he was on the floor. The whole chowhall came together and approached the ranking Lieutenant and officers and questioned why they were unnecessarily beating him up, and even told them that was enough. The Lieutenant started cursing and screaming, telling people to "get the fxxk back." He was a new Lieutenant and hopefully he learned never to put himself or his staff in danger like that again cause what happened after that amazed me. The convicts set it off!!! That Lieutenant got beat pretty bad and split open seriously. This was the first time I have seen us come together in Texas for what's right.

Yesterday the administration tried to jack us for our dayroom time, and the TV and the fan in the dayroom didn't work the whole time we were out there. The dayroom is already small and over capacity so you can imagine how hot it was. We only get 4 hours a day out of our cells so we couldn't let them get away with this injustice or they would have thought they could handle us on the regular. So everybody refused to rack up in our cells. The Sergeant tried threatening us, saying if he had to call higher rank then he would lock us down for 23 hours, but we didn't budge, we stood our ground. The Lieutenant on shift came down and asked us what the problem was. One person at a time spoke and we represented our argument and cause respectfully, united and firm. He clearly respected the movement and he said "since y'all stood together like this you guys can get another two hours." Everyone began clapping for another victory against the oppressor for a cause.

Now today, the very next day, we were in the dayroom about to watch a very good game everyone was looking forward to when we witnessed a Sergeant who is known for beating up prisoners, beating up a prisoner handcuffed on the floor after tackling him. We went bananas and again together we stood up for one of ours. We couldn't physically help but we let our voices be heard and we were furious. They came in our line and tried to rack us up but we refused and challenged them because they were wrong. We were just doing what we were supposed to do: taking a stand. The Captain ended up giving us his word if we racked up he would let us right back out. He was true to his word like we knew he would be. After things calmed down we were let out. But now they know we aren't gonna sit back while they do us wrong. That's the only way your condition will change: if you take a stand, together.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade describes well the Peace and Unity principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons in action. The UFPP provides a principled basis for organizations and individuals to come together to fight for real and lasting peace. Only by implementing these principles can we have any power over how we are treated in prison.

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[Abuse] [Dalhart Unit] [Texas]
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Prisoner Killed by Officers in Texas: Protest Needed

We lost a comrade yesterday. It's been a little over 24 hours since it went down. Some men are angry, some are confused, not knowing what to do. Some are afraid, with no hope that anything can be done. The worst thing I've heard was when a coward stated that the man who six officers jumped on, gassed, and slammed on the concrete floor, creating a gash in his head and causing him to die "put himself in that position." I don't care how good you are at humbling yourself, suspending your manhood and dignity and staying out of these crooked officers way, as long as you are in white uniform you are in that position. Your turn just hasn't come around yet.

All of the facts are not out. Supposedly, officers Hay, Velardi, Marquez, Jackson, Crawford, and Gabriel exerted excessive force against this man, who was known to have mental and physical disabilities. The man has asthma, and was recently on suicide watch. Knowing this, they suited up and gassed this man in the chow hall, slamming him to the floor. And instead of taking him directly to medical facilities, they took him to an administration building, where he took his final breath.

The way I understand it, this comrade died because he would not move from his seat in the chow hall and sit in another place. I had no idea that was a crime, let alone that such a crime would bring the death penalty. Nor was I aware that these six officers were judge, jury and executioner. But, the worst part may well be the flagrance of the administration in response to this incident. Supposedly Officer Alvarez simply erased the camera footage, and they have more or less gone on running the unit business as usual, certain that we are so "humbled" that we won't do anything. Well, we will do something.

I don't care if you saw the incident or not, file a Step 1 complaint stating what you have heard about what happened and ask for an investigation. Ask that the video of the incident be reviewed. When they send you a bullshit response, file your step 2. This is just due diligence. That is what movement and struggle is about, working the process. Create a paper trail and documented accounts that will no doubt differ from the cover-up they will try to do by calling it an accident, which disrespects that man whose life was taken, his family, and it disrespects all of us. Call your family and have them call the ombudsman. We need calls and emails and letters about this to go out to other state and federal offices. Write to newsletters, newspapers and others about this tragedy and be prepared to stay as is until something gets done. This man lost his life. If this life doesn't mean anything, neither does ours. For those of you who are afraid of what they will do to you if you file or make noise, they took that man's life, so what can they do to you that is worse?

But, we have to realize that our struggle cannot always be in reaction and on the defensive. We need a solid offensive. It is a power struggle. I'm reminded of what the honorable comrade Frederick Douglass said: "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." By now, we should be able to demand that there are cameras all over prisons without blind spots except for restrooms, showers and sleeping areas. Those video and audio feeds should go directly online where a community oversight committee can have 24/7 access to what is happening in prisons in real time. The same committee should have punitive authority over these officers, the committee members themselves being comprised of both crime victims and of the family members of incarcerated persons. Had we had this in place yesterday, I'm certain it would have saved a man's life. The only thing preventing us from having the capacity to make such a demand is our willingness and determination to continue to organize ourselves in unity which is operational, which strengthens our collective leverage. This is our power base.

Hip hop pioneer KRS-One asked the question of crooked cops: "You were sent here to protect us, but who protects us from you?" What we saw in the 80s and early 90s is no different than what we see in today's criminal justice system. What we have to finally realize is that it is the one who holds the power who determines who the criminal is. If these officers killed this man in the way it is coming out, then they are no doubt criminal in their conduct. If justice is to be had it is up to us. Contrary to popular notions justice is not blind, nor do we want her to be. We want her to see clearly what predicament we are in, and we want her to do right by us. Our struggle must seek to subdue and to dominate her, rather than to petition for any favor from her. The longer we wait to stand and do what we must do, the more of these injustices we will endure.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade's assessment that "justice" serves those in power. In the world today this is the imperialists and their criminal injustice system. They call it justice when they provide military aid to corrupt regimes that brutalize and kill their people. They call it justice when they kill or imprison people for trying to cross the border into the United $tates to seek a way out of imperialist-imposed poverty in their home country. They call it justice when they lock people up in long-term isolation cells, proven to call irreparable physical and mental damage, to stop them from educating and helping other prisoners. We fight for a justice of the people. A justice that will put an end to the global domination of a few, the capitalists, at the expense of the majority. Communist justice will liberate the world's people and punish and re-educate the oppressors so that they can become truly productive members of society.

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Sussex I State Prison] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 33]
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New Virginia Warden Represses, Revolutionaries Fight Smart

This missive is about the prison conditions at Sussex I in Virginia. John David is now the warden of Sussex I state prison. His first day on the job he made his grand opening by placing the whole institution on lockdown for 30 days with no justification. Those 30 days revealed his intentions about what to expect from his gestapo-style treatment. For instance, when we are walking in lines to and fro, if anyone does not walk in a straight line, even if it's one individual out of 40, his rule is that we get no outside recreation and instead get just 1 hour of in-pod rec. During the 30-day lockdown we got no outside recreation whatsoever and no one was able to use the phones on the whole compound. David put us on modified lockdown, just because individuals throughout the compound started complaining to their families and writing grievances, so he had to save face.

David has also put preemptory restrictions on some of the political literature that comes through the mailroom. I was hit with censorship of your study group mailing sent April 26, 2013 because they deemed it "unauthorized." I did receive all mail prior to that letter and I'm currently appealing the decision. It's just repayment, censoring my ability to think outside this cell, trying to control our thoughts and preventing a lot of comrades from learning anything besides the state's perspective. The oppressor will never stop oppressing.

These are the basic examples that were studied in the study group assignment 3 "On Contradiction." "What is the principal aspect of a contradiction? How does the interdependence (identity) of these contradictory aspects in prison life and the struggle between these aspects determine things in prison life and push their development forward?" This censorship only reveals the true political agenda behind super-maxes as being to repress revolutionary thought, not only in the prisons but even in society at large. The resulting division of staff versus prisoners along racial and cultural lines creates an obvious recipe for conflict and abuse, duplicating the conditions of chattel slavery in pre-civil war Amerikkka where poor whites were armed and empowered to have free reign over unarmed and disenfranchised Black slaves on the plantations.

These control unit prisons were designed to effectively isolate, control, and punish prisoners reacting against abuse. In turn they provoke responses, so prison officials can effectively use these events to demonize us as "violent animals" thus playing up self-fulfilling prophecies and stereotypes to justify the construction of more super-max prisons. This was the main motivation that brought the Attica rebellion in 1971, which will be commemorated this coming September 9.

Just two weeks ago a guard was severely stabbed over a confrontation that started over a prisoner who did not have enough time to finish his food tray when the guard took his tray. It's only a fruitless back and forth cycle played out between poor people [by Amerikan standards - editor] who've been divided along color and cultural lines. In the past I felt myself and my peers to be powerless, therefore fighting with the pigs and treating them with open contempt was in a sense therapeutic. Even now when I witness abuse by the pigs my inner rage boils over, but I have learned to check myself and stand as a witness to testify against these outrages.

This is not to say that we ought to be pacifists. Even a mouse will fight you when cornered. Individual pigs are of no more value to the system than the cost of training their replacements, and they can be replaced from the unemployment lines tomorrow. The system will gladly sacrifice any number of them for the opportunity to throw the book at us and paint us as "animals" and "terrorists." Simply filing paperwork and relying on the courts is also a dead end. But it is useful to create a paper trail and document patterns of abuse. From my time and experience in these control unit conditions it allows one to see the bigger picture.

The prison system institutionalizes isolation and secrecy. The prison walls are designed not only to keep the prisoners in, but to keep the public out preventing observation or knowledge of what is going on inside. Confronting this crazy system, we need to be the voice of reason that raises consciousness and empowers awareness inside and out. In challenging a system built on cruelty and the exercise of absolute and hidden power against the disempowered, there will be attempts to provoke us and bait us to incite reactionary violence from us or against us. But we must stick to our strategy and not get pulled into theirs.

Indeed as I write this, the warden of this control unit where I am confined is waging a struggle to use metaphysical tactics to demonize us. But their efforts to distort the external contradictions will only lead to greater exposure of the internal contradiction, the truth, which will build our struggle. We must stop acting foolish like bulls. The bullfighter waves his cape and the bull charges and eventually runs into the bullfighter's sword. But a smart bull wouldn't do that. He'd wait for the bullfighter to charge him and face his horns. Over the years I have witnessed too many good comrades and potential ones being wasted. We must organize to win! The end game will never change. We must emancipate ourselves, remove the blinds and open our minds.

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