At this point Leavenworth Detention Center has no gang validation or step down program. Actually it seems that the administration does very little to address gang violence. This is a detention facility housing mainly pre-trial prisoners but it seems more like a war zone. No effort is made to separate rival gang members or to place people in a safe environment. For example it is common for the pigs to house a white supremacist with a Muslim.
They pit us against each other and sit back and enjoy the show. We must look beyond the tip of our noses and begin to see the bigger picture. United we stand, divided we fall.
Recently we had a major victory! The food here is substandard at best but the meatloaf in particular is undercooked and rancid. White, Black and Latino all stood together and refused to accept trays and refused to lockdown until we were fed. The pigs brought in tear gas canisters to try to intimidate us but we simply refused to go to sleep without food. Finally we were brought sack lunches and they took meatloaf off the menu. If we stick together and stand up for what's right peacefully anything is possible.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This writer reminds us that prisons can play lumpen organizations both ways. On the one side we oppose the validation of people as gang members because this is used to punish and isolate and it is used to target activists and leaders. On the other side we oppose prisons throwing rival organizations together to try to create conflict and violence, which is further used as justification to isolate and lockdown whoever is perceived as a leader, activist or troublemaker. None of these actions are for the purpose of promoting safety or security of the prison population.
It is good to hear about people coming together in spite of the pigs attempts to foment conflict. Winning one change in food is a small battle, but it gives people the chance to see what is possible through unity, and hopefully will lead to greater unity in the future. Those conscious comrades in Leavenworth should take this opportunity to spread political education, and try to unite all against the criminal injustice system. If everyone is on the yard together, this is a good opportunity to start study classes. Write to MIM(Prisons) for help getting a study group started in your prison.
One of the most damaging aspects of U.S. prisons today is the control units. Control units and solitary confinement are the state's biggest guns in their torturous arsenal. Control units are called SHU, SMU, CMU and a variety of other names depending on what state one is in, but they all work to employ torture on the captives held therein.
When we look to the history of the U.S. prison system we find that the oppressed nations held within have always suffered greatly at the hands of Amerikkka. Prisoners in the United $tates have suffered unpaid labor, lynchings, beatings, floggings and assassinations to name a few. Although much of this still continues — at times more concealed and shrouded than in the past — there are other new methods of national oppression which are employed in this new era of United States domination. I suspect that post-Obama (so-called "post-racial Amerikkka") we will continue to see more of these concealed forms of oppression which inflict the same harm, but which slip through under the radar of the average First World citizen. This makes liberals feel warm and cozy and allows them to believe "progress" is obtainable in the imperialist center.
One such method employed on prisoners in dungeons within the United Snakes is the use of the control unit. The control unit is a modern-day torture chamber, but it cannot be advertised as a lethal killer of mostly Brown or Black minds because the liberals might even turn their noses up at such a revelation. Instead the public must be told that control units are only used on incorrigibles, savages, foreigners, gang members or the sensationalized terrorists.
Who is Locked in Control Units?
Like our ancestors who may have been asked what got the shackle around their ankle, what got them branded with their owner's name on their face, or what got that noose wrapped around their necks, our answer, like theirs, is that it is the nature of our oppressor to seek to eliminate all rebels and revolutionaries who oppose the oppressor nation. This is ultimately what places one in a control unit.
Of course we are up against a sophisticated oppressor nation and the placement of prisoners in control units is wrapped in flowery language. We are told it is for "gang activity" or a "threat to the safety and security of the institution." I am sometimes given a chrono stating I'm "actively engaged in a criminal conspiracy that threatens the institution, staff and other prisoners." This to the untrained mind may sound like justification for torture. Not only is this character assassination not true, but nothing justifies torture, absolutely nothing!
It was only after I began to write articles that spoke up for prisoners, and began filing appeals and lawsuits on behalf of all prisoners, that I was targeted for placement in the Secure Housing Unit (SHU). In short, when I began to resist state repression was when I was isolated in solitary confinement. I was allowed by the state to commit minor crimes and fight other prisoners, until I started to become politically conscious. I am not alone.
Most who work to advance and organize their nation, speak up on behalf of others, or engage in jailhouse lawyering will end up in a control unit. This is a common practice in colonized society: those who resist and who are politically influential are imprisoned under a colonial oppressor.
Why Does the State Have a Validation Process?
Our oppressor must devise ways of placing us in control units, and in California it uses the validation process. The validation process attempts to lend a legal aura to torture and national oppression by claiming to undergo a fair and unbiased process to validate someone as a "gang affiliate." This process is about as unbiased as asking the fox to guard the henhouse.
The fact that the validation process continues to use things as ridiculous as a birthday card, an Aztec drawing, or a book written by George Jackson as evidence of gang activity proves that there is nothing unbiased about this validation process. The kourt cases which supposedly stopped the prison from using these items show how much of a joke the injustice system is and how much it really is an extension of an oppressive state. Our victories will never come from massa's kourthouse.
The validation system helps pacify prisoners into thinking that there is a legitimate process they are undergoing to end the torture. That somehow if we are patient and do as we are told that we might get out of the SHU. This of course is ludicrous. We will stay in SHU until our oppressor feels we no longer resist, until they feel we are broken. Sometimes they want to train their agents and attempt to capture all who associate with us out on the mainline, as if we were live bait. But so long as we remain resistant to their oppression, we will not be allowed to freely associate with others. The validation process only works to uphold our national oppression.
The Step Down Program is More Repression
When we go to committee in California SHUs we are given a form called the "CDCR Advisement of Expectations." This form gives a list of supposed STG behavior which includes "participating in STG group exercise, using gestures, handshakes, possession of artwork with STG symbols." Note that we are not informed what STG symbols are.
We basically cannot socialize with anyone, or we might be accused of STG behavior. We are not told who is validated as part of a STG or given any information about STG behavior. We are simply told we better not associate with STGs or engage in their behavior. The state will decide if we are behaving properly and allowed to proceed in the Step Down Program. They claim they are the experts.
I have heard of some being put on this "Step Down" Program, but the state is picking and choosing who they put in the program. In my opinion it is a pacification program and I am not going to participate in it. Participation masks the oppression of the state while also allowing them to attempt to coerce me and any participants of being guilty, of confessing guilt, even if only guilty of what they deem to be incorrect thoughts.
Recent news of a federal class action lawsuit challenging policies and conditions at the Pelican Bay SHU is welcome and something we all should be following. Ashker et al. v. Governor of California et al., No. C 09-05796 claims that being held for more than ten years in SHU is cruel and unusual punishment and that the validation process is a violation of due process.(1) But here's the kicker: if you have joined the Step Down Program you are not included in this class action. So already we see how the new Step Down Program is serving the state by making it more difficult for prisoners to challenge their conditions.
My behavior is no more incorrect today than it was the first day I was captured and housed in the SHU. The state will not be let off the hook and I refuse to step down from resisting oppression. The Step Down Program continues the same oppression that the validation process started: it attempts to justify what the state is doing to the oppressed nations.
What will End the Validation/Step Down Program?
The Step Down Program is not only similar to the validation process, but here in California many prisons are still using both methods, so we need to end them both.
From the beginning I saw the need to struggle for closing the SHU. From the first hunger strike I knew that if we don't close the SHU altogether, the state will just have us fighting the same problem under new names for decades via strikes/lawsuits. This will never accomplish our goal. We need to keep all justifications for the use of solitary confinement in our scope. No matter why someone is held in solitary confinement, it is always torture and it should always be opposed.
At the same time we have made improvements in many prisoners' lives and some have gotten out of SHU, and I am happy for this. However validation and Step Down Programs will keep us locked in the SHUs until we can make resistance to oppression a hip and common thing. When hunger strikes occur more often than once every ten years, and peaceful protests are as frequent as spring cleaning, then maybe we will finally end validation/step down programs.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Most civilians would say that controlling gang violence is a good thing, and that perspective is exactly what the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is relying on for its gang validation and Step Down Programs. The assumption is that all groups classified as gangs are engaged in criminal activity, and anyone in contact with the gang must be a member.
Let's put aside for now the reality that the U.$. military and police force is the biggest gang in world history. If anyone is organized in criminal activity and terrorism, it's them. That any U.$. government agency claims to be against gang activity without being critical of itself is just a joke.
Lumpen organizations that are not necessarily revolutionary are also targeted as gangs, whether or not they break U.$. laws. The real threat is not the activities that the lumpen are engaged in, but that they have any level of unity and organization. STG labels and Step Down Programs criminialize the association, not actual crime.
The U.$. government will do everything it can to protect its international hegemony. Controlling any potentially subversive population within its borders, especially the internal semi-colonies, is a high priority, no matter how much they dress it up with fancy titles and administrative process.
In New York what you call "gang validation" is called "gang intelligence" and every prison has at least one sergeant who works on it full time.
Alleged gang members are very often self-identified by foolish displays of colors, flags, and wacky writings found on cell searches. Sadly, many are not real gang members in any substantive sense, but foolish young wannabes who are horribly manipulated by "gang leaders." In New York, and likely everywhere, nearly all "gang leaders" are really collaborators of the worst, most manipulative kind, and they are nearly all rats. It's pretty easy for the "gang intelligence sergeant" to look good when the leader gives him a written membership list! Which doesn't have to be at all accurate, of course.
The biggest gang intelligence tool is the phones — New York State prisons record 100% of phone calls on digital hard drives. Obviously, there are not enough ears to listen to 80,000+ prisoners all the time, so they just sample or review a particular prisoner's calls. Or they may review calls to a certain phone number by multiple different prisoners. And the authorities are very careful. They rarely make direct use of recorded calls to nail minor offenders. I know about the extent of the monitoring because I double-bunked with a guy whose ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend was beaten up very badly. My bunky was questioned harshly and almost charged based on calls going back two years. Another man, who I worked with, a defrocked politician, got six months in the box, when "they" had it in for him, based on year-old recorded conversations.
A technical note: hard drive voice recording costs about 1 cent per hour once the system is set up. Put another way, it would cost more to have someone periodically erase old recordings than it costs them to keep them indefinitely.
From snippets of phone conversations I've overheard while making my own calls, nearly all prisoners are lulled into complacency and extreme carelessness by the authorities letting little transgressions slip by while they wait for the really useful information.
In New York, men identified as gang affiliates go to the most miserable prisons which have the fewest educational and remedial programs (nearly zero). Young, generally terrified, totally uneducated men get no help. I call them "five centers," just empty recyclable cans. Recidivism is good for job security. Just like a hotel or restaurant, prison employees make real money on repeat customers.
Another method is to record the information on the outside of mail. I happen to know Green Haven Correctional Facility was doing that big time (probably related to Muslim prisoners). Authorities look for multiple prisoners written from or writing to the same address. Same game with phone numbers. It's not likely ten guys have the same wife or grandma.
Regarding the petitions advertised on page 12 of Under Lock & Key, please be very careful. Petitions from prisoners are completely illegal in New York. A clear constitutional violation which has, unfortunately, been allowed by every level of New York and federal courts. Please find another word, at least, and please don't encourage more than one signature on any piece of paper, or multiple letters mailed together. Anything considered a petition in New York is a quick bus ride to a six-month box stay.
I do not mention anything in New York out of admiration. It's the worst and sometimes the best because they spend (waste and steal) the most. The real fixes are real pay, real freedom, not the phony kindness of the dictator. The most distressed prisoners must get the most help, not the least. The gangs exist mostly as a tool of domination and manipulation — in the larger view they are created by and for the system, not combated by the prison system. The only usefulness to my mind of somewhat better practices in New York prisons or elsewhere is that New York's practices may temporarily help men's arguments in other states.
MIM(Prisons) responds: There are people out for themselves in all prisons, who will sell out their fellow prisoners to the guards. But we would not categorize all so-called "gang leaders" as collaborators. No doubt some are, but some are working with lumpen organizations that have a genuine interest in the anti-imperialist fight. We need to judge each individual for their own actions and political line. Similarly we judge each organization in the same way.
This comrade correctly points out the many difficulties prisoners face with secure communications and general security of self-preservation. As we've written in the past, secure communications are a critical part of self-defense at this stage in the struggle. Everyone needs to be conscious of the many ways the imperialist state can monitor our work and communications. The Amerikan public knows that all its communications are being monitored now, and prisoners should be under no illusion about theirs.
Along those lines, comrades in New York should take heed of this warning about petitions. At the same time, we should not be scared into complacency. Petitioning the government is a basic right guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which reads, "the right of the people... to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." So while we should be strategic about using petitions in conditions where they have been used as an excuse for political repression, we must fight these battles for basic civil rights for the imprisoned population in this country. MIM(Prisons) will work with comrades in New York to push this battle further.
Things have been pretty rough here at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP). A prisoncrat-orchestrated racial riot has put me in administrative segregation since July. KVSP's "A" yard (the only general population, non-honor yard) has been, more or less, on a constant lock-down since the beginning of the year. This lock-down is due to racial tensions that have been exacerbated by the prison's state-sponsored security threat group, also known as the goon squad, or simply the gooners.
The best way for the prison oligarchy to remain in power and thwart any organizing or political dissent is to keep us all fighting amongst ourselves. Of course this is nothing new for many of us, but for some reason we all find ourselves locked down time and again, pointing fingers (and unfortunately, knives) at one another instead of using our minds of reason to see that clearly this whole war/mess has been instigated by the very pigs that always have the most to gain. It's extremely frustrating to sit here watching the same pattern of senseless fighting and rioting occur while the pigs laugh, crack jokes, and generally play us against each other for their sick jollies and political agenda.
This madness on "A" yard at KVSP and elsewhere in the state is definitely part of a much bigger political agenda. One of the results of the 2013 general hunger strike is that, slowly but surely, a lot of those guys have been returning to the main lines after spending ten, fifteen, or twenty years back there in the SHU. Well, CDCR can't just let those beds remain empty so we've been seeing the gooners dropping fallacious gang validation packets on people for all kinds of erroneous reasons. And the best way to "prove" gang conspiracy or activity is to run us all into these stupid racial riots. The fucked up thing about it is that it's working. Every time we all go out to the yard and fight each other is another victory for the pigs, and another bus load of "gang members" heading to the SHU torture units and thus, the very "evidence" CDCR points to as justification in keeping those control units open and full.
This white vs. Black violence needs to stop for the benefit and health of both our people. Let's stop and remember that it should always be blue vs. green! It's time for peace on these yards. Don't forget who the real enemy is.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade's call for peace on the yards underscores the importance of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. We need organizations to come together behind bars to stop the pigs and the imperialist system in general. A United Front is comprised of groups with different views and goals, that have a common enemy. It doesn't require everyone to agree on everything, and in the case of the UFPP there are just five key principles around which groups have unity: Peace, Unity, Growth, Internationalism and Independence. If your organization is interested in putting an end to the fighting amongst the oppressed and ready to take a stand against the oppressor get in touch for more information about the UFPP.
For the past 19 months I have been locked down in solitary confinement, all because of a gang validation. In February 2013, I was taken from my cell and locked down in the hole, for nothing. I haven't broken any rules of the prison or given them any reason to punish me. Without a hearing or a proper investigation I was thrown in the hole and labeled "Goodfellas" (G.F.). They put a label on me and several others, and we are "guilty by association." No matter if you are G.F. or not, Smith State Prison will label you G.F. if you are from Atlanta. And the Goodfellas are the only group of people in this prison on lockdown.
Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) started this new program called the "tier program." From my understanding it was designed to treat us as individuals instead of as a group. It's supposedly a 9-month program, and when you complete the program you are supposed to get out of the hole. But that only applies to those who are not validated Goodfellas. If you are validated G.F. then you are stuck in the hole even after you complete the 9 months.
I have the Standard Operating Procedures of the administrative segregation Tier 2, and it states that Tier 2 program is not a punishment measure. Why do I feel that I'm being punished for no reason? All my privileges have been taken away. I can't go to the store for the same things as general population. I can't order a CD player, radio, books, magazines, etc. By being in the hole I have no access to a TV so I'm lost on what's going on in da outside world.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This system of labeling people as members of an organization based on where they are from is well documented in California as well, and we're sure it's going on in other states. While this practice purports to address regional disputes that may turn dangerous behind bars, this practice actually forces people who may not have identified with a lumpen organization to become affiliated for self-defense. It does help promote one goal of the prisons: to fuel disputes between prisoners and expand gang validations to justify locking up more people in long-term isolation, just like this writer explains is happening in Georgia where people labeled Goodfellas aren't let out of the hole in violation of the prison's own rules. We have reports that some G.F.s have been held in isolation for many years.
The United Front for Peace in Prison is taking this validation and turning it against the prisons by calling on all organizations and individuals to come together and fight together against the criminal injustice system. Whether or not you are actually a part of a lumpen organization, if you are put in a unit with others you can use this opportunity to promote peace and unity. And together we can fight to shut down control units, and build a movement that can defeat the imperialist system that needs prisons and long-term isolation units for social control.
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.
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)!
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.
Lanesboro Correctional Institution, in Anson County, North Carolina, has just enacted a gang program, which is nothing shy of draconian. Even for a state that is draconian to begin with.
It started when these pigs separated all of the inmates who were not listed as "STG" from the inmates who were considered part of the "Security Threat Group." Federal law allows violation of prisoners' Constitutional rights during times of emergency, when there is a "threat to the security of the institution." By naming inmates a "security threat," they are basically saying that these inmates have no Constitutional rights. They are being forced to shower in chains, handcuffs and shackles, and are pretty much being denied any and all rights.
The gang program is locked down 23 hours a day, and requires going 6 months infraction free to step down a single step. There are 3 steps in all, and a class of "STG associate" after that. This could force prisoners to go infraction free for 2 full years to get out of the program. Along with this program came a whole new set of rules which makes it nearly impossible to go infraction free without favoritism from the police. Of course, the only way you get that is by snitching, which in such an environment would get a prisoner killed. Being listed as an associate could be justified by something as small as an officer's claim that you said something gang-related, or even my writing this article.
In response to this new policy, prisoners on 3 of the 8 STG blocks have declared a hunger strike. More prisoners on the STG unit are doing the same, in an attempt to break down this program in its infancy. The pigs are responding by cutting off their communication so they cannot be heard. I only learned of this by accident when a "Non-STG" prisoner was moved into my block to make room for more STG blocks.
This policy is being carried out in many states as we speak. Gang members are still human beings, and therefore entitled to the same protections as everyone else. Prisoners need to stand together everywhere and shut this down before it goes into full effect.
I've been confined in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) 23/1 lockdown for a mysterious dangerous weapon which was claimed to be found in my cell. I am considered to be a leader of a Security Threat Group (STG) and my political views and my choice to pursue activism, and communism, has unlawfully become an institutional justification to deny my access to you, to educational reading material, and more importantly I've been buried alive in a seg unit.
I'm escorted with full body restraints and a dog leash as if I am an animal. The administration claims that MIM(Prisons) is a threat to the order of the facility, yet no hearing officer has ever been able to point out or identify any indirect or direct word or words that encourages, promotes, or glorifies violence. On the contrary, oppression and injustice of any kind is not accepted or welcomed in the MIM(Prisons) publications. Anyone or any organization that fights for justice, fights for fair treatment in and out of the prison system, and anyone that opposes a system built on oppression and slavery will be considered an enemy of the state. I will not abandon MIM(Prisons), nor my constitutional rights to pursue education, equality, justice and freedom as a human being.
The conditions of my people are a direct reflection of the bigotry and intentional misuse of authority by the government of the United States of Amerika. The prison system in Michigan took college courses out of the prison while claiming not to have money.
By classifying someone (as an STG) the state receives more money from the government. Once a prisoner has been given the label of a "gang member" the prisoner has to remain in maximum security (level 5) where the prisoner has to go 3 years misconduct-free before the STG Coordinator will interview the prisoner and determine if s/he will be let off of STG. The problem is 85% of prisoners classified as STG aren't gang members, and have been classified STG because the system uses it as a disciplinary scare tactic to flip prisoners against each other, and as a way to justify "selective treatment" towards prisoners who refuse to accept oppression, corruption, injustice, racism, etc.
MIM(Prisons)'s publications stand as a lifeline for freedom fighters in prison and therefore MIM(Prisons)'s publication has been placed on the prison's restricted list. I can not find the words that will truly capture the magnitude of my appreciation for you and the supporters of MIM(Prisons). But please understand that I will never surrender to these legalized criminals clothed in the fabric of the department of corrections.