I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Reign of Terror.

While it is certainly a genuine milestone to see prison written about in such an open forum, this from a former federal prisoner who served 3 years time, the slant on it is too light. That is not criticism of MJ, for as I said, something written is near infinitely better than nothing. I went in on a setup at age 56 with no prior convictions on my record, no felonies, no misdemeanors and a PhD in Biophysics under my belt.

Not just from what was done to me, which amounted to torture , physical torture, from any objective judgment, but also from what I saw done to others, I cringe whenever I see any lighthearted comments about imprisonment. If I had to give advice to anybody who wanted to come away with their soul and sanity intact, as opposed to their health intact, which is almost impossible to protect, it is to have an attitude that you are willing to die rather than to get on your knees. The game from beginning to end, and I was in the roughest federal disciplinaries of Ray Brook up North and Talledega down South, is to be willing to die, to fight to the death.

Having that attitude is no guarantee that you'll survive prison. You also need luck. But having anything less than that attitude is sure death of your self-love and confidence as a man, your soul. In Talledega, a disciplinary, where the SHU is a disciplinary within a discipinary and I did most of my time, I did a survey of how many guys would flip a coin, Heads you're free, Tails you're executed. Easily 90% said they'd flip the coin.

Prison is torture, especially federal prison. The techniques, chained for ten days so that 5 years afterwards my shoulders still ache at night , handcuffed and beaten, kicked in the knee and hip so that I couldn't walk for six months, and all medical records carefully eliminated. Held down by two guards while a third pried open my eyelids open and the fourth poured in the pepper spray. You scream for two hours, and afterwards go so baseline terrified that the words go out of your mind and you stare at the yellow wall and know what it is to be a wordless gorilla or such, almost as an "interesting" side line experience to be gleaned out of it.

Or the cell you are in in January has an intentional broke window in upstate New York and it is fifteen below and so cold with only a sheet given to you that you moan non-stop from the freezing and still tell them to go [deleted] themselves, for to crack is to to be a [deleted] eater for the rest of your life.

Inside and out, as we say publicly, for all my family are revolutionaries, be willing to die for what you think is important, your and your kids happiness, or suffer worse consequences, the death of your soul. Soon the curveball will break and we will, all of us, find ourselves beyond the place where words in themselves have meaning.

Welcome soon to Paris, 1792, or Berlin, 1938.

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