The reality of federal prison, Part 1

Prison melee – Photo: Dave Gilson

by Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington, member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC)

Part 1: Truth hurts

Comrades, I don’t have to be long-winded in order to describe what is happening here.

In federal prison here in Amerika, approximately 80 percent of prisoners regardless of race are abusing illicit drugs. Suboxone, Meth and K-2 are the drugs of choice for federal male prisoners. I cannot and should not speak about what the conditions are like for our sisters because I feel a woman should tell that story. Right now, I’m relaying my first-hand experience in an all-male high security federal prison.

I have been clean and sober for a little over 12 years – my perspective is clear and my analysis of the situation is concise.

The presence of drugs brings violence. Debts are accrued and they must be paid – or else! Vicious acts of violence materialize daily – FACT.

Federal prison officials in Washington, D.C., have factored in the violence and current drug epidemic as they put together long term plans for the operation of high security facilities. The first attack made by prisoncrats is on our First Amendment rights.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons makes the erroneous claim that the drugs which are present here come in via U.S. Mail. This lie is being fed to the public in order to justify draconian suppression policies which obstruct and restrict incoming and outgoing mail. This destroys family ties!

What you know is that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) relies on secrecy in order to keep the public at large ignorant and blind to the abuse and injustices federal prisoners are routinely subjected to. Cut all lines of communication!

First they cut the mail. The next move is to discontinue contact visits! This is the plan. Most are oblivious to the subtle changes because the drugs have everyone in a state of unconsciousness. I am wide awake.

Are you?

There is a financial dynamic at play here. The drugs produce violence and with that comes medical costs as well as logistical problems. If a prisoner gets beat down because he owes a $500 drug debt, he obviously cannot be placed back on the prison compound.

Now multiply this incident by 1,000 per week! That is 1,000 violent assaults resulting in injuries and sometimes death – and then transfers.

The next step they take is the mass lockdown of most U.S. penitentiaries in the United States! Instead of a programming schedule which allows prisoners out of their cells from 6:15 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., we will be locked down in our cells for 22 hours a day and given only an hour and a half to two hours of out-of-cell time.

The justification will be security.

Most are sleepwalking in here, but I am wide awake.

These drastic changes like video visits and lockdowns are being gradually introduced and are creating a more inhumane environment. Will this stop the drugs and violence? I think not. I know a secret that you don’t know. More later, comrades. Stay woke!

Dare to struggle, Dare to win, All Power to the People.

Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign. Visit his website at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith Washington, 34481-037, USP Pollock, P.O. Box 2099, Pollock LA 71467.

Truth Hurts