by Kwame Shakur, co-authored by Prison Lives Matter
It was Comrade George Jackson who told us in “Blood in My Eye” that it would take a far-right wing administration to bring about extreme repression within u.s. borders in order to spark the fire for a social revolution. We got that with the trump administration. We saw that resistance at its highest point during the 2020 uprisings.
This far-right neo-fascism emboldened white supremacists and all other forms of kolonizers, including prison wardens and pig administrations all over the kountry. Going back to the ‘60s and ‘70s, our struggle for national liberation and independence has always – ideologically and theoretically – been led from inside to the outside movements.
This is no different in this “new” movement, which is not going unnoticed by the kolonizer and its occupying forces. When repression breeds resistance, that resistance leads to education and knowledge of self that threatens the foundation of kapitalism and kolonialism.
On Sept. 16, 2021, within three indiana department of corrections’ security housing units (SHU), at least 100 correctional police, parole officers and state police stormed each unit in full military tactical gear with weapons and k9 units, stripped hundreds of prisoners down naked and forced us to bend over and spread our cheeks before being zip tied behind our backs.
It was reported that two people hung themselves as a result of the raid.
At this time, all personal belongings were stolen from our cells. We were then put back into our cold cells with nothing but boxers overnight. All communication to the outside was cut off that week. It was reported that two people hung themselves as a result of the raid.
At this time, We’ve been made aware that in long term solitary confinement We are no longer able to purchase food, hygiene or clothing necessities. New forms of sensory and perception deprivation are implemented, including the removal and denial of our mirrors.
Previously controllable lighting is now switched to bright lights forced on at 6a.m. until 6p.m., and our personal clothing is no longer allowed, even with freezing cold temperatures.
Like most secure housing units in the kountry, the rations of nutrient deficient food they give us are extremely small compared to general population – food trays are now only given to us between 7a.m. and 4p.m.
Other restrictions We face at this time are the restrictions to communication. We’ve had several weeks with no access to our tablets, which We use to make phone calls, view pictures and messages, and listen to music – We no longer receive physical copies of photos or mail.
Please note when calls are made that contain politically affiliated words or phrases, We are automatically cut short by five minutes. In-person visits were completely removed and replaced by video visits, which were then cancelled for weeks now due to so-called technology errors.
We’ve been made aware that only people with computers or android phones can participate in video visits, limiting access to visits from people without these technology options. A quick side note: Visitation had just been reinstated for prisoners in the SHU since experiencing over 18 months without visitation due to COVID. All of these are attempts to silence us.
At least five settlements were reached this year for holding people for longer than 30 days by producing sham status reviews, thus hiding people in solitary for over 30 years.
These recent technology shutdowns and restrictions have been particularly damaging to the mental health of prisoners and their families. In addition to these communication restrictions, they are banning and confiscating our educational reading material coming inside including magazines, newspapers, letters, books and now legal mail.
Anything that is politically objective to our struggle is banned or delayed.
In the indiana SHU, prisoners must receive a 30-day review to determine status for re-entry to general population. At least five settlements were reached this year for holding people for longer than 30 days by producing sham status reviews, thus hiding people in solitary for over 30 years.
Since these settlements this year, reviews are still not being performed to determine eligibility for someone’s release from confinement. To be clear, indiana prisoners are placed on two types of disciplinary statuses: short-term and long-term solitary confinement.
Disciplinary segregation is the shorter status but with extreme restrictions. These restrictions have now been extended to long-term segregation prisoners, violating their rights to live with dignity and in humane conditions.
Because of safety threats, people in long-term segregation must have the same minimum of physical and mental health conditions as general population due to the length of their solitary sentence. Please be mindful, lawful gains were made limiting these extreme restrictions for people who are held in long-term solitary confinement.
The time calls for Us to make the sacrifice and commit to the resistance of this genocide and class warfare, by any means necessary.
The state of indiana is a u.s. territory with political prisoners and captives serving over 30 years in segregation. We remind you these inhuman long-term conditions were identified for rectification, including in other states such as kalifornia and the u.n. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).
There are no just causes for any person to be subjected to ongoing torture – every human has the right to self-determination. Our response to this must not be to take it lightly. This enhanced repression is happening across the indiana in every slave and immigrant detention kamp.
From murder, overcrowding, 24-hour lockdowns and censorship, prisoners are facing evolving tactics of violence protected behind impunity, kourts and closed doors. The time calls for Us to make the sacrifice and commit to the resistance of this genocide and class warfare, by any means necessary.
Brothers Kwame and Scott on hunger strike
Kwame Shakur, 149677, is a political prisoner who is currently held in solitary confinement for the last 5.5 years. Brother Kwame entered the indiana SHU in 2016 and is being exclusively held in what is supposed to be short-term disciplinary segregation.
Due to his disciplinary status, Brother Kwame is continuously denied needed medical treatment and has been on a hunger strike since Oct. 28, 2021. His demands are to restore in-person visitation for all prisoners, along with the restoration of hygiene and commissary.
Brother Kwame has also demanded that all prisoners be given access to outdoor recreation. Scott Snyder, 250761, is also on hunger strike and has requested proper hygiene, cold showers and visitation be reinstated.
We are our own liberators! Rebuild to Win!
Families Against Solitary Confinement is a Prison Lives Matter campaign to end long-term solitary torture and repression within slave kamps across the u.s.
Write to Prison Lives Matter at PLM-Midwest, P.O. Box 9383, Chicago, IL 60609; PLM-East, P.O. Box 134, Arvonia, VA 23004; PLM-Northwest, P.O. Box 46743, Seattle, WA 98146.
Send our brothers some love and light: Kwame Shakur, 149677, WVCF, P.O. Box 1111, Carlisle, IN 47838; Scott Snyder, 250761, WVCF, P.O. Box 1111, Carlisle, IN 47838. Visit https://www.supportprisonlives.org and email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: We are at a pivotal moment in the history of humanity as we face the destructive consequences of colonial capitalist imperialist white pathology. Language is an important tool for reclaiming and shifting the narrative. Lower-casing the names of structures and symbols of oppression, while capitalizing references to the oppressed and structures of a more just and empowering world for the people is one way of shifting the power dynamics and sending a clear message that the people will be neither silenced nor disappeared!