Prisoners, where is thy victory?

by Anthony Robinson Jr.

“You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.” – Gandhi

CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) and CDCR (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation) is the epitome of the above quote, and it is not enough for those reading this to agree with the truths delineated herein; we need a process that reorganizes the structure of our humanity, because as the above quote states, “Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.”

“No Price Is Too High” – Art: Damon Shuja Johnson, E-20385, RJDCF FA5-116, 480 Alta Rd., San Diego CA 92179
“No Price Is Too High” – Art: Damon Shuja Johnson, E-20385, RJDCF FA5-116, 480 Alta Rd., San Diego CA 92179

“A criminal justice system is a mirror in which a whole society can see the darker outlines of its face.” – “The Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Prison” by Jeffrey H. Reiman

I was transferred from TCCF in Mississippi to La Palma Correctional Center in Arizona due to a captain to captain realignment. I was not afforded a committee hearing nor told where I was going, which is in violation of California Code of Regulations.

I had to endure a three day bus ride shackled hand and foot to another inmate – having to use the restroom in a 3-foot hole with urine and feces piled up due to the inability to flush – even though the courts have already declared this to be unconstitutional, stating that it is illegal to bus inmates shackled hand and foot to another person for more than 18 hours with no layover. CCA and CDCR are still illegally busing hundreds of inmates in their shell game transfer scheme. With no due process, prisoners, where is thy victory?

Before I left TCCF in Mississippi, I was contacted by an inmate, Fredrick Lee, asking for my assistance in a matter wherein correctional officers (COs) illegally sent him to the hole (Ad-Seg, or administrative segregation) claiming to have found an inmate-manufactured weapon during a cell search. The problem is that upon finishing the cell search, COs gave inmate Lee a cell search receipt stating there was no contraband found.

When Lee went to his hearing, the senior hearing officer who found him guilty stated that it wasn’t until later, upon inventorying the property, that they discovered an inmate-manufactured weapon. The problem is there was no property taken during the initial cell search and the receipt was given to inmate Lee concluding the matter.

It was not until they came back hours later after moving inmate Lee to a different building that they decided to put him in Ad-Seg after hatching up a plot to hit him with the trumped charge – as a result, adding about 120 days to his sentence; he was due to go home in less than a year. So if a man can’t even do his time in peace without having to worry about being convicted by corrupt staff in one of CCA-CDCR’s many kangaroo processes, prisoners, where is thy victory?

We need a process that reorganizes the structure of our humanity, because as the above quote states, “Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.”

Evan Scott, who came up here to La Palma with me on that long bus ride, was in Mississippi and given an illegal sentence after being found guilty of refusing to take a urinary analysis test. Although he had the original receipt showing that he took the test and a staff witness stated he took the test, not only did TCCF find him guilty, but on appeal the CDCR CBU (Contract Beds Unit that transfers prisoners to out-of-state prisons) grievance coordinators upheld the guilty finding stating that the preponderance of evidence supported it.

The specific act Mr. Scott was charged with was refusal of urinary analysis. Mr. Scott provided physical evidence that he did in fact take the urinary analysis test by providing a receipt of his test results, signed by them on the form dictated by their policy. When corrupt grievance coordinators like Flowers and Tabers are in charge of the process and it is in their interest to ignore evidence that will grant you relief, prisoners, where is thy victory?

In this drawing for the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners on Feb. 20, 2012, renowned artist and writer Kevin Rashid Johnson illustrates the influence of Wall Street and big money on mass incarceration. – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107
In this drawing for the National Occupy Day in Support of Prisoners on Feb. 20, 2012, renowned artist and writer Kevin Rashid Johnson illustrates the influence of Wall Street and big money on mass incarceration. – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo TX 79107

In today’s experience of incarceration or being imprisoned, the prisoner finds himself in a mythical reality of oppression and exploitation wherein the systems are designed to portray the effect of rehabilitation but, on the contrary, result in an adverse effect upon the prisoner’s psyche, condition and wellbeing.

We must get back to being the custodians of our humanity. Every prisoner reading this knows too well that the institutions are not designed to rehabilitate. Why are we continuing to cooperate with a process that is designed to debilitate us?

As a prisoner class we must recognize the New Underground Railroad’s motto: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” When officials of CDCR and CCA have proven time and time again they operate outside of the law and policy, then it would be against the law for us to abide by such “authority.”

The lawmaker comes to need the outlaw and, in needing him, he creates him.

The mass of prisoners confined in these prison industrial plantations are being further conditioned and made into outlaws as they continue to rely on examples of rule breaking and illegal conduct exercised by those agents – correctional officers, wardens, counselors, psychiatrists etc. – who have custodial authority over them. These individuals in their official capacity are the carpetbaggers of the prison industrial complex, and they are paid to ensure that the prison slave laborer is properly conditioned and attuned to allow CDCR to get the maximum amount of labor out of him without question or rebellion.

We must get back to being the custodians of our humanity. Every prisoner reading this knows too well that the institutions are not designed to rehabilitate. Why are we continuing to cooperate with a process that is designed to debilitate us?

Mass incarceration is in essence an economic system – and if we are true and sincere about wanting to change this system, then we must change the economic scope of the system. In the words of the brothas and sistas from the Free Alabama Movement, “We must let the crops rot in the field if we aren’t receiving the benefit of the harvest.”

Filing grievances and appeals has proven no longer effective in regards to a system that conveniently shows no regard for its own rules and policies. We as a prisoner class have employed many strategies to organize a change of this system, and as our aggressive imaginations continue to work out tactics and solutions to carry out our vision of a more humane process of doing time, we cannot afford to leave any stone unturned.

Imprisoning millions of poor people generates huge profits for private prison corporations like CCA. Could denying them the free or slave-wage labor of prisoners change the game? – Art: Unknown prisoner in the Pelican Bay SHU
Imprisoning millions of poor people generates huge profits for private prison corporations like CCA. Could denying them the free or slave-wage labor of prisoners change the game? – Art: Unknown prisoner in the Pelican Bay SHU

A great call for a prisoner labor strike throughout the states where the prison industrial complex thrives in its exploitation of human beings as capital incentives has been made by the Free Alabama Movement and the New Underground Railroad Movement because we recognize that in the mass of prisoners enslaved by this system, the same hands that pray at night seeking to be set free of these chains are the same hands that get up in the morning and are set to work in the industries that allow the corporate carpetbaggers to profit off of your chains. What incentive do they have to set you free?

Prisoners, thy victory is in organizing a labor strike that forces them to look through the economic scope at the reverse end where they can see their profits dwindle until they come to the table in an open and humane way, where we reorganize the parameters of this system – its laws, policies, operations manuals etc.

“Let the crops rot in the field” is a proven strategy that was passed down to us from our ancestors from the slave plantations that was used to disrupt the economics of the field (i.e., the prison industrial complex). The profit was reaped when the crops were harvested from the field and sold. When the slave master had invested all that he owned into his next crop (of prison factories), the slaves would wait until just before the harvest and rebel against the slave system by “going on strike” and causing the crops to rot in the field.

When the laborers stop working, the free labor prison system collapses because there isn’t any revenue coming in to finance the system that keeps 30,000 people imprisoned in Alabama, 23,000 in Mississippi, 160,000 in California and 2.5 million nationwide, who still must be fed, still must be provided medical care, still must have lights, water and basic hygiene.

These obligations and costs don’t stop, but the means to pay for them – the revenue that is produced by our labor – stops when we stop.

When the laborers stop working, the free labor prison system collapses because there isn’t any revenue coming in to finance the system.

Prisoners, here is thy victory: Stop allowing your hands to be used to reinforce your chains through your own labor and let the crops rot in the field. Contact FAM or the New Underground Railroad Movement to organize a labor strike at your facility and work to organize your family and friends as well to stop supporting the corporations that invest in prison slave labor.

“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!”

Prisoners may contact me at: Mr. Anthony Robinson Jr., P.O. Box 55185, Stockton, CA 95205. Outside people and organizations may contact me at: Mr. Anthony Robinson Jr., P-67144, LPCC MB-119, 5501 N. La Palma Rd, Eloy, AZ 85131.

Ona move!

Power to the people who use power as a process!