Under Lock & Key Issue 2 - January 2008

Under Lock & Key

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[Censorship] [Spanish] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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California Prohibe MIM Distributors

El Departamento de Correciónes y Rehabilitación de Califonria (CDCR) ha instituido una prohibición en material educativo dentro de prisiones, categoricamente censurando toda la literatura mandada por MIM su programa "Educacion de prisionero." Esta prohibición fue ordenada por Scott Kernan, Director de la Division de las Instituciones Adultas por California, en un memoranda publicado en Diciembre 13, 2006 "dirijiendo una prohibición inmediata en el recibimiento, poseción, o distribución de literatura/publicaciones de MIM hacia o de prisioneros en la custodia del CDCR." Esta prohibición ha sido interpretado por prisiones que incluye dicionarios y libros históricos e incluso hasta MIM su propia revista y periódicos. En algunas prisones la prohibición ha sido interpretada que también incluye todas las cartas escritas por MIM.

Esta censura es en violación directa del precedente legal el qual requiere ser revisado por contenido que viola reglas de prisión. Sistematico rechaso de todo correo por una organización basado en desacuerdo con el remitente y su política no es legal, hasta dentro del sistema de prisión y sus propias reglas y regulaciones.

Ni Kernan tampoco la administración de prisión applicando la prohibición nunca han proveido ni una evidencia que literatura del MIM, muchos menos, cartas, diccionarios y otros libros MIM manda a los prisioneros, presenta alguna amenaza a la institución. La carta de Kernan contiene una revisión de la linea politica del MIM como evidencia suponiendo que MIM representa algo de peligro a las prisiones de California. El codigo de regulación de California (CCR) Titulo 15, sec: 3135(b) dice: "Descuerdos con el remitente o el recivicor y aparentes valores morales, actitudes verazes, o preferencia de palabras no será usada por el personal correccional como una razón para rechazar o detener el correo. Personal correccional no debe desafiar o confrontar el remitente o al recividor con tal valor de juicia, tampoco debe tal valor de critica ser considerado en ninguna acción afectando el correspondiente." Además, en Procunier v. Martinez, la Corte Sumprema sostuvo el derecho de prisioneros de recibir correo, sin importar la opinión del oficial de prisión en el contenido del correo, mientras no ahiga restricciones legitimas de la prisión relacionado con propositos correcionales.

Hay una fuerte correlación entre educación y aprisionamiento. De acuerdo con el Buro de Estatísticas de Justicia (el Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos y su propia organización) el más reciente estudio de 1997 de información de población, 41% de prisiones de estado y federales no han completado preparatoria. Esto comparado con 18% de la población general 18 y mayores. (1) Las cosas se miran aun peor entre prisioneros edad 29 hasta 39 demostrando que la inclinación es hacia mas prisoneros sín una educación de preparatoria como prisoneros más jovenes están aun menos educados que las prisioneros mayores. Otros estudios más recientes han enseñado que esta inclinación continúa. La probabilidad de terminar en una prisión es tremendamente más alto para jóvenes de raza negra quienes paran de atender la escuela antes de obtener un diploma de preparatoria. Y un titulo coleguial es más protección contra el aprisionamiento.

En el otro lado de la educación, programas de educación dentro de prisión han repetidamente estado enseñando que reduce el reofendimiento ayudando los prisioneros a encontrar trabajos y oportunidades cuando ellos son puestos en libertad. Estudios individuales y metalicos repetidamente concluyeron lo mismo.

Desde 1990, la literature ha mostrado que prisioneros quienes atienden programas educacionales mientras ellos están encarcelados son menos probable de retornar a prisión después de su salida. Estudios en varios estados ha indicado que en promedio 24% ha desminuido donde han recibido una educación apropiada. Además, la clase correcta de programs educacionales lleva hacia menos violencia por los presos envueltos en los programas y un ambiente prisionero más positivo. (2)

California ya tiene uno de los más altos porcentaje de reofensa en el país, con un inmenso 70% de prisioneros en libertad terminando para atras en prisión dentro de tres años. Y en años recientes nosotros hemos visto que programas de educación, visitación, y hasta correo recortado, asi los prisioneros son dejados con muy poco que hacer detrás de las barras y virtualmente un imposible trabajo de ir derecho de prisión hacia las calles sin una educación o servicios transicional.

Implementando una prohibición por todo el estado de material educativo del MIM es una manera más de mantener los prisioneros encarcelados. Prisioneros quienes leen nuestra literatura frequentamente nos dicen que ellos aprenden a canalizar su tiempo dentro de actividades productivos en vez de participar en violencia detrás de las barras. Y la educación ayuda ellos a tener una mejor oportunidad de estarse en las calles una vez ellos son puestos en libertad. Nosotros recibimos cartas preguntando por material que leer como esta todo el tiempo: "Soy un prisionero del estado en el Valle Salinas y estoy en una yarda que ha estado en encierro constantemente por aproximadamente cuatro años. Por eso me encuentro sin poder llegar a la librería aquí. He leido cada panfleta. Estaría muy agradecido por cualquier clase de libro cuberita suave que puedan mandar. Cualquier cosa que tu mandes sera leido y releido por bastantes prisioneros." Seguramente el CDC"R" sabe que allá hay una demanda de material para leer en la prisión, pero ellos ni siquiera se molestan en llenar este vacio con novelas de pelusa. Ellos prefieron gastar su gran paquete en salarios más altos para sus brutales guardias y defensa legal de sus actividades ilegales tal como crear pleitos como deporte.

Claro, el CDCR tiene razones en prohibir el MIM a los prisioneros. Educar los prisioneros es contrario a sus metas. Con la educación viene la conciencia, y mientras los prisoneros trabajan con MIM reporta que evitan enfrentasiones violentas (con los dos, sus semejantes y los guardias), también ellos son más probables a tomar apelaciones legales y administrativas, y de educar y organizar sus propios compañeros prisioneros para levantarse por sus derechos legales. Como un prisionero de California nos escribió en octubre del año pasado:

Extendiendo mis respetos hacia todos, me gustaría tambien expresar de todo corazón mi agradecimiento a todo aquel que trabaja, trabajando con y/o afiliado con el Movimiento Internacional Maoista por todo lo que ustedes hacen y el servicio que proveen. Especialmente, con respeto a las prisioneros. Hablando de experiencia personal yo puedo decir que recibiendo y leyendo tus boletines, es las dos cosas, una mayor motiviación y fomentación. Decir que tus Notas MIM me ha servido bien no cubre nada en especifico, pero puedo decir que tus notas han sido un potente ingrediente hacia mi transformación: y tu programa de libros gratis para prisioneros me ha criado y alimentado como un pequeño en los pechos de su madre. Los libros que tu me has mandato tan generosamente, me han enseñando a respetar y valorar la importancia de una educación... una educación que me ha enseñado que con el conocimiento viene enorme responsibilidad. La responsibilidad que surgue de no solo saber la diferiencia entre lo que se dice ser bien, o mal, probando y deseifrando, verdades y mentiras, pero sabiendo y actuando en acuerdo con lo que es consistente y progresivo en el ejercicio de determinación personal y defensa personal.

Nosotros continuarámos persiguiendo el pleito contra esta prohibición en California, trabajando sercamente con nuestras compañeros detras de las barras para disputar esta acción en corte si es necesario. Nosotros animamos el CDCR liderazgo y los politicos del estado de California a levantarse hacia adelante y derrocar esta prohibición ilegal antes de ellas ser forzados a desperdiciar dinero sin necesidad en una batalla legal que solamente expondrá sus despreocupaciones para la reabilitación, el bienestar de prisioneros, y los propias leyes ellos afirman sostener.

Necesitamos ayuda de prisioneros en este batalla, y el suporto de la gente afuera para parar esta prohibición. Manda cartas de protesta a: James Tilton, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, 1515 S. Street, Sacramento, CA 95184.

Notas:
1. Buro Estatistico de Justicia de Reporte Especial: Educacion y Poblacion Correccional, Enero 2003.
2. Boletin Correccional de educacion, v55 n4, p.297-305, December 2004. Tambien mira "La Nacion" Marzo 4, 2005. Estudios han demostrado que participantes en educación de prisión, vocación y programas de trabajo tienen una tendencia en promedio de 20-60 porciento mas bajos que esos sin participar. Otro reciente estudio mayor de prisioneros encontro que los participantes en programs de educación fueron 29 porciento menos probable de terminar para atras en la carcel, y que los participantes ganaraon salarios mas altos despues de su salida.


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[National Oppression] [Prison Labor] [ULK Issue 2]
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Amerikans: Oppressing for a Living

Direct expenditure by criminal justice function

Critics of amerika's unprecedentedly high incarceration rates have stressed that increased imprisonment does not correspond to less crime. And despite decreasing crime rates, imprisonment continues to rise. How is this possible?

A recent report from the JFA Institute describes how the increase in prison populations is a result of a change in laws and policies in enforcement. (1) We have been in the era of "tough on crime" politics for decades, but most amerikans will still hide the fact that this translates into increased control and repression of the internal semi-colonies. At the same time, millions of amerikkkans are supporting these laws as a means of securing the jobs and livelihood of themselves and their families. While white people like to look at slavery and genocide as things in the past, the amerikkkan nation has probably never been so deeply entrenched and invested as a nation of oppressors as they are today with millions serving as cops, spies and military personnel.

And while the white media would have you believe that "tough on crime" policies are protecting amerikans from murderers and sexual predators, about two-thirds of the 650,000 prison admissions each year are people who have violated their probation or parole. And half of these violations are technical, in other words, they're going to prison for things most people could not be put in prison for. (1) The demand for more incarceration is putting hundreds of thousands of people in prison each year for doing things not generally considered crimes under u$ law.

Who's Profiting?

The progressive groups opposing the prison industrial complex like to condemn so-called "prisons-for-profit." But it isn't primarily corporate profits behind the three decades long prison boom and the so-called "tough on crime" legislation. It is amerikan cops and bureaucrats maneuvering for government funds (money that comes from taxing amerikans whose wealth comes from the exploitation of labor and resources from the Third World). And it is career politicians catering to a white nationalist vote. "Tough on crime" stances aren't tolerated in amerikan politics, rather, they are demanded by the voting public. Politicians who have attempted to go against the tide can attest to this.

Other than "prisons are big business" the other popular argument explaining the surge in incarceration is that it is "modern day slavery." As an economic force behind imprisonment, this too is largely a myth. If the motivation for being the number one imprisonment country in all of history was exploiting labor then you would see the majority of prisoners engaged in productive labor. While some sources claim half of all prisoners work, one study from 1994 found less than 10% are involved in work other than maintenance and housekeeping. (2) More recent statistics by state indicate industrial employment at similar low rates. (3) The estimate of half of prisoners working seems reasonable if we acknowledge that most of those prisoners have part-time jobs doing upkeep of the prison. While also dated, MIM cited statistics from 1995 showing that only 6.4% of sales stemming from prison labor in the united $tates was private in MIM Theory 11: Amerikkkan Prisons on Trial.

Generally, if prisoners work for an outside corporation and produce goods for interstate commerce, then they are legally required to receive amerikkkan exploiter level wages. The benefit to the companies is that they can skimp on benefits and don't need to give raises. Small business owners have fought to limit the benefits of those who use prison labor, since they lack the capital to take advantage of such competitive advantages. The petty bourgeois interests here keep those of the imperialists in check. (4)

Therefore, most prison labor is done for the state, who can pay whatever they want, and increasingly garnish most of the wages to pay for the prisoners' own imprisonment. These prisoners are either working to run the prison and therefore allowing the amerikkkans in charge of the prison to work as well-payed bureaucrats and not have to worry about cooking and cleaning, or they are working for government industries that supply state agencies and therefore subsidize the tax money of the state as a whole by reducing state expenses. The National Correctional Industries Association says state industries contributed $25 million by garnishing inmates wages, not a very large contribution to the cost of the u$ prison system. However, one estimate done by MIM 10 years ago indicates the savings in wages overall (not including benefits) could be on the order of 10% or more of current overall state expenditures on corrections (5), which have risen sharply (see graph).

Some state industries export products to other countries, but interstate commerce has largely been restricted by the efforts of small business interests and amerikan labor unions. Since the 1980s, the federal government has tried to embrace the model of "factories with fences." But the free market for slave labor continues to be hampered by state laws. This year, Alaska passed a law that allows the Department of Labor and Workforce Development can enter into contracts with private companies or individuals to sell them prison labor,

provided that the commissioner consults with local union organizations beforehand in order to ensure that the contract will not result in the displacement of employed workers, will not be applied in skills, crafts, or trades in which there is a surplus of available gainful labor in the locality, and will not impair existing contracts for services. A contract with an individual or a private organization must require that the commissioner be paid the minimum wage for each hour worked by a prisoner." (10)

Clearly this has nothing to do with prisoners' rights, but it is crafted for the protection of labor aristocracy jobs and small businesses. And as many states do, Alaska allows for the wages to be garnished before disbursing them to the prisoner. So there is no law that the prisoner must be paid a certain wage.

What about the one industry that does have unfettered access to prison labor? Theoretically, private prisons could collect fat contracts from the state and let prisoners do much of the work to run the facility. But after 3 decades of prison boom, still less than 5% of prisons are privately owned, at least partially due to an inability to remain profitable. (4) It is often pointed out that it costs more to keep a persyn in prison for a year than send them to college. (The difference for sending youth to a correctional facility compared to grade school can be differences in order of magnitude). This is a price that largely tax-averse amerikkkans are willing to pay.

State Bureaucrats and National Oppression

Strictly speaking, prisons are a net loss financially for the amerikkkan nation. And the boom cannot be blamed on any major corporate interests. What a beefed up injustice system does offer economically is a means of employing millions of people at cushy exploiter wages. It is a means of shuffling the super-profits around the pigsty and maintaining a consumer population. These millions of people provide a self-perpetuating demand for more prisoners, and more funding for various law enforcement projects.

One example of this self-perpetuating bureaucracy dates back to 1983 when James Gonzalez became Deputy Director of the California Department of Corrections. He immediately expanded the department's planning staff from 3 to 118 and began focusing on modeling that would forecast increasing needs for expansion into the future (it's not just COs getting the jobs). (6) Since then California has built 23 major new prisons, expanded other prisons and increased its prison population 500%. (7) With more prisons, come more prison guards, creating the 31,000 strong California Correctional Peace Officers Association with yearly dues totaling $21.9 million. (8) This is the same union that earned itself a raise following the exposure of gladiator fights staged by guards at Corcoran State Prison, where many prisoners were murdered. The very same that was behind the 3 strikes laws to put people away for 25 to life for petty crimes, and that has campaigned repeatedly to eliminate educational programs for prisoners.

The CO's are partners with the private industry that has boomed off of an economy based on war and repression. A visit to the American Corrections Association conference will tell you it's not just a few imperialist suits in a smoke-filled room. It is a getaway for a large mix of salesmen, cops and CO's; just regular amerikkkans. (9)

In the united $tates there are laws that prevent the military from lobbying the government as a safeguard against war being carried out in the interests of the warmakers. There are no such limits on the police and correctional officers (COs), allowing the war on gangs to go on perpetuating itself both politically and economically. The NYPD and LAPD have arsenals and capabilities that rival many nations' armed forces, and they are allowed to influence politics on the local, state and even federal level both directly and indirectly.

On the local level police departments have undermined trends toward so-called "community policing." Where youth in the community have been effective at reducing violence through dialogue and organizing, the police have rejected these programs in favor of community representatives who will rubber stamp their continued strategies of suppression and harassment of oppressed nation youth. When street organizations came together to form peace treaties in Los Angeles and Chicago in the 1990s, the police responded immediately through the white media saying it was a hoax and it would never last. Let there be no confusion, the police created these wars and the police will not let them stop.

In the late 1990s, the New York Times reported that most white residents of New York City were comfortable with police behavior, while 9 out of 10 Blacks believed brutality against Blacks to be frequent. The regular "stop and frisking" by police that was then practiced under Mayor Giuliani, was found to be directed at Blacks and Latinos 90% of the time. (11)

Politically, the rest of the oppressor nation is willing to go along with the job security plans of the police and correctional officers as a means of protecting their collective privilege. One of the few things amerikkkans can agree to spend state money on. With that, the injustice system becomes an important part of the national culture in rallying the people in material support of the imperialist system that they benefit from.

Who's being locked up?

While the question of who is profiting from the prison industrial complex is a bit cloudy and controversial, everyone knows who is being locked up. In a half century, amerikan prisons have gone from white dominated to Black dominated in a period where the Black population has increased less than 2 percentage points to its current level of about 12%. And yet amerikkkans are not outraged.

As we recently reported, Blacks are imprisoned at rates 10 times those of whites for drug charges and the increase in drug-related prison sentences was 77% for Blacks compared to 28% for whites. (12) So, the increase in sentences that is behind the current prison boom is targeting certain populations.

The JFA Institute report references research indicating that incarceration often encourages crime. In their summary of literature, they point to evidence that people will leave criminal lifestyles when given opportunities. No shit? Stopping crime isn't exactly rocket science. While communists know how to put an end to crime, the pigs and their fans have demonstrated that they aren't really interested in that. That would involve destroying their own privilege. In it's advanced stage of parasitism, the amerikkkan nation has a well-entrenched sector of pigs who get job security and pay raises from perpetuating crime and imprisonment.

Interestingly, the report also points to a number of studies indicating that government run programs have very marginal effects on reducing recidivism. This conclusion is supported by reports we get from comrades criticizing government programs. (13) Apparently, the literature also supports the need for programs like MIM(Prisons) Prisoner Re-Lease on Life program, because the only programs that seem to be effective in treatment and rehabilitation are independent from the government. (1) The people aren't stupid, they know what the state is there to do.

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[National Oppression] [ULK Issue 2]
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Blacks targeted for drug imprisonment in Amerika

Large population counties across the United $tates continue to imprison Blacks for drug offenses at a much higher rate than whites, in spite of similar rates of drug use, according to a report released December 4 by The Justice Policy Institute. The report underscores the fact that "Whites and African Americans report using and selling drugs at similar rates, but African Americans go to prison for drug offenses at higher rates than whites."

The study used data from the National Corrections Reporting Program and other census and government sources, focusing on 2002 because that is the most recently year of NCRP data available. In 2002 there were approximately 19.5 million drug users and 1.5 million drug arrests (1 in 13 drug users). These arrests resulted in 175,000 admissions to prisons; 51% of these new prisoners were Black.

The 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that rates of drug use were similar between whites and blacks: 8.5% of whites compared to 9.7% of Blacks. Given the economic disparities and national oppression within Amerika, it is not a surprise that there is a slightly higher rate of drug use among Blacks.

These rates of drug use translate into about 14 million white drug users in 2002 compared to 2.6 million Black drug users (in the month prior to the survey). This means there are roughly 5 times as many white drug users as Black drug users. But Blacks were locked up in prison for drug offenses at 10 times the rate of whites: 262 per 100,000 for Blacks and 25 per 100,000 for whites.

Underscoring the fact that these lock up rates are not a result of Blacks using more potent or dangerous drugs, the Drug Use survey found that 24% of crack cocaine users were Black while 72% were white or "Hispanic," but over 80% of people locked up for crack use in 2002 were Black.

The JPI report focused on 198 counties with populations over 250,000. They found that "Despite similar rates of drug use across counties, drug admission rates vary substantially." The correlation is not between drug use and imprisonment but rather JPI found that drug imprisonment was directly correlated to the per capita policing and judicial budgets in each county. The JPI explains that the bottom line is resource-driven discretion by local police:

To further substantiate these results, JPI conducted a multiple variable analysis that controlled for the crime rate, region of the country, the poverty and unemployment rates, and the percent of each county’s population that is African American. The results
strongly suggest that the resource-driven discretion that local police forces have is the engine driving the wide variation in local drug imprisonment rates. This relationship is evident in this study’s finding that policing budgets are positively associated with the drug imprisonment rate—even after controlling for the crime rate.

The JPI report looked at likely causes for this disparity in imprisonment rates. They cite mandatory minimum laws as contributing to a growing disparity because Blacks are already more likely to be locked up for drug use, and they are now also more likely to be incarcerated under a mandatory minimum sentence - increasing the length of time they spend in prison. Between 1994 and 2003, the average time Blacks spent in prison for drug offenses rose 77% compared to a 28% increase for whites. They also noted disparate policing, disparate treatment before the courts, differences in availability of drug treatment, and punitive social spending patterns.

These are all important factors but they are not the whole picture. All of these discrepancies in treatment between Blacks and whites are symptoms of an underlying system of national oppression in the United $tates. Studies have repeatedly shown that imprisonment rates are not correlated with crime rates. The fact is that prisons are used as a tool of social control and disparate arrests, sentencing, imprisonment, access to education, health care, financial loans, job opportunities, and more are part of this system of social control that maintains the supremacy of whites in a society that pretends to offer equality to all.

The JPI report concludes with the recommendation of a "more evidence-based approach to drug enforcement." They want to hold the criminal injustice system to standards enforced by statistical analysis of arrest and imprisonment rates. This is probably the best that we can hope for from an institute like the JPI. The fact that there is currently no science behind the actions of the criminal injustice system is a striking indictment of Amerikan society overall. But the problem is not just in the police and the judicial system. Both of these systems are part of a larger political infrastructure that props up a massive imperialist state. We can not expect one aspect of this state to change and grant equality to oppressed nations while all other aspects remain the same.

Locking up more whites would be progress - if the whites in question were those in the government who are responsible for more death and destruction than all the 2 million people in U.$. prisons combined. In the end, progress of this sort, or progress towards a more equitable justice system will only come through revolutionary struggle.

Notes: The full Justice Policy report can be found here: http://www.justicepolicy.org/images/upload/07-12_REP_Vortex_AC-DP.pdf

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[Censorship] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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Legal research on censorship

I've been in and out of this prison law library and I've found some information that should be placed in the Under Lock and Key section of MIM Notes. According to the California Prisoners Rights Handbook, page 49:

Prison officials are permitted to open and read most incoming and outgoing mail, except legal or confidential mail that may not be read by prison staff. Such "regular" mail may be withheld or censored only when necessary for the reasonable protection of the public. Mail cannot be censored because prison officials believe it improperly magnifies complaints or contains inflammatory remarks. A prisoner should receive notice of any mail that is withheld or is returned.

I've studied other law books and prison officials taking our mail or sending it back is dead wrong. I've heard that the prisons and their officials are supposed to be letting us prisoners get our political books back, but it's just a rumor as I've heard. I will keep studying the law books.


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[Control Units] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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California housing integration an excuse to lock more prisoners in control units

What is the effect of a new section, 3005, 3269.1, 3315 and 3341.5 of Article 1.6 of Subchapter 4, Chapter 1 of the Title 15, Division 3 of the CCR (California Code of Regulations) that will be felt by California's prison population?

This question, which may confuse your average low down convict held captive by this imperialist state, will be answered by one who is incarcerated and both interested and caring about the well being of this prison society, like myself. Sec 3005, 32691, 3315 and 3341.5 are all sections of the California Department of Corrections (CDC) Title 15 Rules and Regulations that have recently been changed, to implement the department's new behavior control tactic of integrated housing. This is a plan that the secretary of CDC, Mr James E. Tilton published to the public on the date of June 18, 2007 and will attempt to prescribe into prison law in the following manner:

* The insurance that race will not be used as the primary determining factor in housing the department's inmate population. All inmate housing assignments shall be made on the basis of available information, individual case factors, and objective criteria, to implement an integrated housing plan. It is the intent of the CDC to ensure that housing practices are made consistent with the safety, security, treatment, and rehabilitative needs of the inmate, as well as the safety and security of the public, staff, and institutions.

* The housing plan involves an interview with the inmate, a review of the inmate's central file, and a review of all available and relevant information. The housing plan will use all available information to determine an inmate's eligibility for integration and will assign inmates to available and appropriate bed based on their integrated eligibility.

* Implementation of the integrated housing plan will occur over several phases. The first phase will occur in 2007 and will consist of the development of an integrated coding system that will be used to identify each inmates eligibility to integrate. The actual implementation of integrated housing will commence in 2005 at designated facilities such as reception center, and then be phased in statewide commencing in 2009, over a period of several years.

Now I understand that our people of society may take this plan and the implementation of this plan as something greatly needed in California prisons. That is the reason for the CDC claiming that this plan was designed because integration in other states has assisted in the management of gangs and disruptive groups and reduced racial tension. Integration of housing in other states has also assisted with breaking down prejudicial barriers, perceptions and attitudes, promoting increased tolerance of others reflecting community norms.

Wow! With that type of talk you would think that the department is actually making an attempt at changing California's wicked prison system. Yea right! Take it from a California prisoner, looks can be deceiving. In digging deeper into the core of this matter, one may retrieve some very disturbing news for California's prisoners. The integrated housing plan is a trap and nothing but it. Although the CDC states that the plan is designed with an overarching strategy for safe implementation and not forced integration, they also state the options for inmates who fail to comply, such as rule violation reports and alternative housing placement.

Non-compliance will be rewarded with a RUR-115 or a stay in either ASU or the SHU until they agree to integrate. Refer to new Title 15 subsection 3269.1 or 3005(c) - It's not a forced integration, but if you refuse you will be labeled as a non-compliant inmate and dealt with accordingly. Wouldn't you say that's real contradictory? I know I would. But then again I'd say everything that the CDC does and says is contradictory! CDC claims this effort and plan is intended to control gang and race wars, but California is one of the most gang infested states there is. About 90% of California prisoners are gang affiliated. [MIM notes: we can not verify this statistic, but we do know that the prison classifies many prisoners as gang affiliated upon entry into the prison simply based on their nationality and birthplace. The prisons then promote tension and conflict between these groups, making it dangerous for them to live in the same areas.]

The department claims that its response to the non-compliant inmates will be the placement of these prisoners into control units known as ASU and SHU housing. But one may fail to realize that the Department of CDCR is limited on its ASU and SHU housing bed and space, therefore they have nowhere to place the masses of those who refuse to integrate. Or at least that's what they tell us.

California state Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger just recently asked the U.$ Supreme Court for permission and funds to add a couple thousand beds and add on to some of the institutions already built. The CDC knows that with all the prison politics and prison gang warfare, there's no way in hell that prisoners will accept an integrated housing plan. At least not on the level fours (Maximum Security yards). Therefore they look good to the public when they come saying they need funds to build more control units for the non-compliant inmates who are too violent for general population. When in all actuality what they're really saying is, give us some money and we'll use the integrated housing plan as our front and reason to remove all the real brothers who are willing to go toe to toe with them for the cause, from the general population. See they want lay down yessa masters like Jessie Jackson on the yards, so they don't have to do their jobs and still get paid. So they can shit all over the prison population and not be held accountable for it. If they lock up all the non-compliant inmates then they don't have to worry about brothers being on their heads for them to do the things in which they are paid to do. They don't have to worry about so called gangsters and thugs uniting together as a convict structure like in the 60s and 70s with our comrades the Soledad Brothers.

The effect that the integrated housing plan will have on the California prisoners, is the destruction and I mean the total destruction of prison civilization. We think we got it bad now. Let them come with this plan of integration in 2009 and truly lock all those who refuse in the SHU indeterminately. We are going to see how bad prison can really get.

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[Legal] [California] [ULK Issue 2]
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Law library access restricted

I will soon encounter a new roadblock [in researching censorship lawsuits to help fight the censorship of MIM]. Our law library will be shutting down soon. The library clerks told us that after the 29th of November the law library will only be running for a day or two out of the week. The reason for this, or excuse rather, is that since our gym is due to be emptied out within the next couple of weeks, the population on the yard will be substantially smaller, there is no need for law library to be open every day. Of course this is just an excuse for them not to run the library for us. So most likely the only people allowed inside will be those with "PLU" status, no chance for the rest of us to do any research. However, people are already preparing to draw up 602s and those that are more experienced with the law have promised to pursue the matter. As long as the library remains open, I will hopefully be ready to file the complaint with the district court.

I also want to mention, I just acquired a Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook a few weeks ago. It only instructs prisoners on how to file 1983s. I've checked out a couple other similar manuals and this is most certainly the simplest and straight to the point manual I've come across, very easy to understand. You can have people download it for free on the internet, or you can write to the National Lawyer's Guild via a letter and request it for free. For a copy, write to: The Prison Law Project, National Lawyers Guild, National Office, 132 Nassau St, Rm 922, New York, NY 10038. Download it at http://jailhouselaw.org.

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[Censorship] [Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 2]
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Texas women's prison blocking mail, gassing prisoners

On March 27, 2006 the MV staff gassed me (pepper spray) to take from me my sealed, outgoing legal mail. That gassing nearly killed me. And it was obviously a violation of the law - as well as TDCJ's use of force plan. That's when MV started blocking all of my outgoing mail and most of my incoming mail. And the TDCJ mucky-mucks I could reach through the very flawed grievance process did nothing to stop it.

MV is way out of control - with many folks having their mail blocked; and many folks (like myself) having our visits blocked because staff like Warden Black herself were lying to our visitors that they couldn't come see us. Even lawyers were leaving their visits blocked - but, you can't count on lawyers to do a damn thing! And you can't count on cops anywhere to do a damn thing right - just to be misogynist, racist thugs.

This article referenced in:
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[Education] [Release] [South Woods State Prison] [New Jersey] [ULK Issue 2]
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DOC claims integrating Prisoners back to society/work force a priority

I felt the need to express my opinion on this matter, since I will be one who will be affected by this phenomenon that has yet to be solved.

The other day I was watching the New Jersey Network channel, in which they were airing a program called Due Process. The topic being spoken of on Due Process was on the issue that prisoners will be facing prior to their release from prison. The main & only topic was "jobs." there were several spokespersons, one was from Princeton University & the other was from the Department of Corrections.

The Department of Corrections states that they have implemented programs to help prisoners in obtaining jobs when released back into society. So here I am to expose the so-called programs & to hopefully make clear what is the Department of Corrections (DOC)'s main priority.

As you may know, I am a prisoner at Southwoods State Prison (SWSP) in the state of New Jersey, which is the largest prison in New Jersey. In this prison you have a variety of programs that you may choose from. They consist of Educational, Vocational, therapeutic programs such as Moral Recognition Therapy, Life Skills & AA. DOC has also started a program by the name of S.T.A.R.S. which is suppose to help prisoners to re-enter society. The S.T.A.R.S. program provide prisoners with the help of resources, how to apply for jobs and how to manage your money. There is also another so-called program that is provided to prisoners who are within 2 weeks of their release from prison to prepare them to re-enter society. This program also provides resources.

This leaves us with DOC's top priority program, The Therapeutic Community Drug Program, which to my understanding is a funded program. The Therapeutic Community Program (TC) is a program that is provided in several of the New Jersey State Prisons for prisoners with substance abuse disorders. It does not provide prisoners with educational, vocational, nor a transitional re-entry back to society.

Upon entering DOC, you are interviewed by so-called trained clinical screeners, to evaluate the severity of ones substance abuse. Once you see classification, which have the final say, they determine if you qualify for the TC program by evaluating your clinical screening results. If your results are a 5 and above, then you are automatically classified to the TC Program. Now the catch to this program is that if you deny or refuse the TC Program, you are given an I-Overide, which means that you will not receive any type of status, forcing you to do the remaining of your time behind the wall without the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of obtaining full minimum status or the possibility of going to a Halfway house, unless you submit to such TC Program. I am one who will be facing the I-Overide for my refusal to participate in such programs. I was classified with a score of 5 which according to the Administration makes me an appropriate candidate for such programs, in which I have no substance abuse disorder since 1999 & my Pre-Sentence Report states clearly "no drug use during the time f crime, no drug evaluation or recommendations for drug use programs." But according to the Administration they state that due to my previous and present drug charges, I am an appropriate candidate for such programs. Funny that no where in the 10A Law does it state that you will be classified to the TC Program because of your past & present drug conviction. But as I mentioned above, the TC Program is a funded program, which provides money to DOC for keeping the programs beds filled. Which leads me to really question the contradiction that DOC has imposed on itself. What is really their priority? Are they really providing prisoners with the proper transition program to re-enter society, who has always abandoned our interest & needs, after being released?

DOC claims are nothing but bull shit, like every politician here in the united snakes, who sell dreams. DOC fails to really understand the prisoner's needs. Lack of job opportunities is not the only obstacle that many prisoners will be facing when released. Many prisoners will be facing the obstacles of not having a place to stay upon their release & health issues as well. But has any of this really been a concern to DOC? Of course not! If DOC was really concerned about this issue, then they will provide more educational & vocational programs. Here the only certificate that is really recognized in society is the GED certificate, which is authentic. All the other certificates are not recognized in society. I took a Core Curriculum & Building Trades course at this prison and according to the teacher who taught one of my classes, the certificate that I received from the National Center for Construction, Education & Research really meant nothing. He stated that if we were to provide these certificates in our resume or job interview, that employers will probably laugh because the reality is that no one has ever heard of such a place.

Here at this prison there are College courses, that are being provided to those prisoners who are under 25 years of age. Leaving those who do not meet the age criteria with no hope of pursuing a higher learning. Of course there are College correspondence courses, but the issue with such courses, is the money the prisoner will have to pay, in a place where the common pay is $1.40 a day.

There is truly a lack of understanding by DOC, when it comes to the prisoner population, in dealing with the needs & obstacles that we face collectively when we are released from prison. The priority should be Educational & Vocational learning skills. DOC should find a solution for upgrading the educational & vocational programs.

Here in New Jersey, every prison has an Inmate Trust Fund, which is generated by the surcharge of the Institution Commissary Sales. What the Inmate Trust Fund is being used for is recreational equipment, Incentive Meals and for more commissary purchases. This trust fund is well over 2 million dollars.

To give you an insight into how much the Inmate Trust Fund generates a month, I will give an example. At this prison it is said that it holds up to 2800 prisoners. Let's say that all these prisoners receive a state pay of $16.00 a month. Let's also say that all 2800 prisoners will use their $16 for commissary orders. So 2800 prisoners x 16.00 dollars = $44,800 dollars made in commissary sales, now $44,800 x 10% of commissary surcharge = $4,480 made for the Inmate Trust Fund. Just think, over the years the amount that the Inmate Trust Fund has generated. Yet DOC claims that they run on limited funds for educational programs.

This money from the Inmate Trust Fund should be used to build a complex to provide prisoners with a true & certified vocational trades before and after release. It should be mentioned that the Inmate Trust Fund is run by a Board of Trustees, in which we the prison population have no say or rights.

If DOC wants to make re-entry a priority, they should stop giving I-Overides for a TC Program that does not provide any educational or vocational learning skills and and replace them with proper training to re-enter society. If you were to do a survey of prisoners who participated in TC Program and prisoners who participated in real educational & vocational training, I can guarantee we would see a lower recidivism rate among those who got the educational & vocational training.

It is evident that the DOC priority is money as they keep giving I-Overides to those who refuse TC Program, while educational & vocational programs are optional. As mentioned above, the TC Program enrollment brings money to the DOC while other training does not. If they were truly concerned about prisoners post-release they would give I-Overides for refusing educational & vocational training instead.

DOC's form of helping to deal with this matter is by providing prisoners with pamphlets listing resources. This method is like giving a person a map to find a specific place. Of course I will refer to the pamphlets as I would the map, but the rest is really up to us.

Another way that DOC could really help prisoners with the transition back to society is to bring back the Work Release Program that were eliminated for reasons unknown to me. And if they were to bring back the Work Release Program they should find jobs that provide true vocational skills for prisoners to become equipped with the proper training for today's work force.

I myself will not submit to the TC Program, I will not take part of a program whose only benificiary is the DOC, not me. I tell all those inside the belly of the beast, to stop submitting, stop participating in any TC program. Note that DOC has no priority or concerns in this matter. Don't rely on DOC rehabilitative process because if you do it will only keep you contained. The struggle continues.

MIM replies: We don't know much about the programs described above, but we actively support the demand for more educational and training opportunities for prisoners. As the author stated, these are proven means for helping prisoners after release and therefore helping society as a whole. There are tactics that we can use to build a campaign among prisoners and concerned citizens on the outside to push some of the reforms suggested.

At the same time, we encourage those who are concerned with these problems to work to build the Serve the People Prisoner Re-Lease on Life program as well as our Free Books and educational programs for prisoners. The state has the ability to provide various training on a large scale to prisoners. But as we see here, this is a constant battle. And ultimately we must create institutions that can provide the people with what they really need.

The DOC has two main motivating factors: 1) to perform the task of social control, including the suppression of liberation movements, and 2) the meeting of the narrow economic interests of the bureaucracy and prison guard unions. Only institutions by and for the people, free of these narrow interests can really address the concerns expressed in this article.

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[Control Units] [Ely State Prison] [Nevada] [ULK Issue 2]
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Long term segregation in Nevada

I'm currently doing 365 days in the "hole" (disciplinary segregation) at Ely State Prison in Nevada. There is only one unit in this entire prison that gets to walk the yard. The rest of us are on 23/24 hour lockdown and have to be cuffed and shackled and escorted any time we leave our cells. And not all of us are on disciplinary segregation. I was told that it's a federal law that prisoners are only supposed to get a maximum of 100 and something days in the "hole" but Nevada gets away with it because of our privileges. Some people are allowed to have appliances in the hole, and that's cool, but a lot of us either lost that privilege or can't afford that stuff, so we are forced to do 1, 2, 3, maybe more years, in the hole with nothing. Me personally, I'd rather only do a couple months in the hole with nothing and get back to a mainline, then sit back here years with a TV.

In this state they have slimmed down on the physical abuse so now they're going even more for the mind. And a lot of dudes can't take it. I request books from our library, but that's a joke, so I was given an old copy of MIM Notes to read from a comrade, and I was relieved to have something righteous to read, and I was also glad to know we have fellow comrades on the outside who are truly helping us in the struggle. Being that I'm fresh out of Y.A. (youth authority) and still a youngsta, it's been difficult finding info on the adult system. I never know where to look up, but MIM Notes has put me up on game.

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[Control Units] [Southport Correctional Facility] [New York] [ULK Issue 2]
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Shut Down the SHU in NY

Let me explain the situation here in Southport. They got regular cells and regular blocks, but not this one. This one is D-block, the most high profile are here, the worse of the worse, that what the crackers say. These are some crazy cells where out of your window nothing can be seen. This is like the basement of the $HU. The lights are kept on 16 hours a day. A real big light which causes pain in the eye. Out of the metal door there is a lil' window which you only can see to the front and to the front there is nothing but a well.

The showers are Tuesdays & Fridays only and you get to shave and shower for 5 minutes. They put a brother like me right now in shower deprivation. That means no shower for over 30 days. The same with rec [recreation]. Over 30 days locked in this crazy cell eating a crazy bread loaf for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They run into brothers' cells here on a daily and they start taking non-important papers or cases we get from the law library that they say is gang stuff. They write you up and the cracker that conducts the hearing gives the person 2 or 3 years with loss of good time. The Sergeant don't care here. Whatever the pig CO do he's OK with it- here they all cracker protect each other's dirty action.

There are video cameras here but when they want something out they just call Dep. Superintendent of Security (D$$) and you can bet it is out. There is no ventilation. They keep the back door open in winter. This is the nastiest place I've seen. This block got to be shut down. People here are sufferin and their mental state is not 100% for the simple fact that they are being tortured; most of the time mentally, but there is a lot of physical torture, not just here in this block, but through all the slave houses, especially A-block. That's where everything happens, and the sad thing is they get away with it. Gov. Eliot Spitzer needs to take this place into consideration to be closed down.

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[Censorship] [Education] [Fremont Correctional Facility] [Colorado] [ULK Issue 2]
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Winning censor battles in Colorado

Thank you for sending in your MIM Notes. We've played hell getting them in to Colorado D.O.C. They don't like your message of truth. Our mailroom here in Fremont Correctional Center likes to act as our moral censor. Every time you send your notes it has to go through our "reading committee." Every time they have to give it to us.

In Colorado D.O.C. we've paid very little for our slave labor. I'm glad to get your writing and I try to pass it on to others in here. The ideas spark some heated talks between us here. Your words to us in here can and do instigate some good thinking. Keep up your good work for us on the "inside". We are appreciative of you and look forward to your mailings.

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[Censorship] [Oklahoma] [ULK Issue 2]
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Censorship in Oklahoma

The mail kops here stole whatever you sent me, using their standard excuses of "incites revolution" tripe. Probably they just got the secret ok from chuckle-head Chertoff to snoop and thieve at whim. With all the government terrorism being spewed by government about terrorism, it's not a good time to be secretly branded with a bunch of black checkmarks by a pack of sociopathic, religion-crazed paranoids-in-power.

They sat on it for a month before finally deciding, for their own obscure reasons, to obey the law and tell me they stole mail that came from you. If it's any consolation, they are not equal opportunity thieves: they show a decided preference for stealing mail from you over the anarchist groups, Hitler huggers, KKK, etc.

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[Medical Care] [Prison Labor] [Pennsylvania] [ULK Issue 2]
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Fees keep prisoners from needed medical care

Recently the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, in conjunction with Prison Health Services, the statewide healthcare provider for the PA-DOC based out of Brentwood, Tennessee, made it much more difficult for prisoners to get medical treatment by increasing the co-payment for medical services to $5. A fee of $5 will be assessed each time a medical service at sick call is provided to a prisoner when seen by any physician, physicians assistant, dentist, optometric professional or other person licensed to provide health care under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Also, an additional fee of $5 will be charged for each subscription that is ordered for the prisoner by an on-site health care professional.

No complimentary services will be given to prisoners, with the exception of prisoners with well documented chronic care issues: HIV/Aids, hepatitis, hypertension and diabetes.

With the average wage paid for a prison work assignment here in Pennsylvania of 19 cents an hour, 4 hours max a day, many prisoners are letting their illnesses go untreated. They are unable to pay for medical services and buy bare necessities like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo from commissary! Frequently prisoners are deliberately given medication subscriptions that do not improve or fully restore them back to good health.

Under DOC policy DC-ADM820, there should be no additional fee when this takes place, however a prisoner still must fill out and sign a DC-138 cash slip for follow up sick call visits, and these signed cash slips are being forwarded to the facility business office for fee deduction from the prisoners account.

The prisoner can use the grievance system to try to recoup these deductions, however the odds are small that fee will ever be credited back to the prisoners account. This is just one of the many ways the executive administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections manipulate the prison population into handing back over the slave wages they work all month for.

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[Organizing] [Missouri] [ULK Issue 2]
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Militant in the struggle

I, a true militant in the Global Struggle, write you from inside the sordid trenches of a Missouri gulag. I recently received a package from you - finally, after a death struggle with pigs to receive my material that had been censored.

I'm headstrong and set in my ways. Prison cells can't contain or circumscribe my thoughts and ideas. In similar aspects, subjugation/incarceration mirrors social ostracism. In both cases, one is treated as an outcast. That is why, importantly, we must nurture strong identities and, essentially, maintain outside connections and support. We, as prisoners, have something to prove: it is our responsibility to work for positive change, mobilize the masses and endear them to our struggle - and then "shut down" the slave-making prison-industrial-complex.

Throughout my years of incarceration I've personally witnessed poignant scenes that have left an indelible mark on my soul; each time I replay these scenes in my mind, I tremble from head to toe...knowing that, somehow, I got to make a change for "me" (and the voiceless, hopeless brothers and sisters dealing with the turmoil of prison.)

To my MIM brothers, sisters and comrades: you have a lifelong supporter, friend, ally in me. I'm scheduled to be released in the next 2.5 years, and the enemy is doing everything in its power to prevent my emancipation (they have me facing trumped up criminal charges for allegedly committing violence on a DOC employee.)

So stand with me in solidarity to eradicate this beast of property (PIC)! From the trenches, to the streets - can't no concrete tomb hold my body down, still I rise!

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[Abuse] [National Oppression] [Western Correctional Institution] [Maryland] [ULK Issue 2]
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Beating on Blacks in Maryland

I've been locked up 16 years and I could have been up town a long time ago, but I always wind up beefing with these pigs because I'm not going to let them beat on my people. They keep jumping on people up here at WCI in Cumberland, Maryland. They killed one person up here and now they are telling prisoners, look we got away with one murder, what makes you think we won't do it again and get away with it!

They have this hearing office doing whatever they want it to do. They find everybody guilty, and tell you that if you don't plea guilty you will get the max no matter what. So they are saying we don't have any rights!

They are also playing with my mail and others. The office tries to send people's books home, but only Black books. Over the last 15 years I've been in this belly of the beast and I have been mindful of its design to destroy the strong beautiful Black minds that enter.

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