Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ely State Prison: A Place of Depravity, Death and Despair

Ely State Prison is a place of death, stagnation, misery, pain, loneliness and indeterminate lockdown. If you were to take a walk on one of these depressing tiers back here in “the hole”, you would hear many disembodied voices ring out, yelling in anger and frustration, trying to tell you how bad it is for us in here, in between the isolated confines of steel and stone.

This is a maximum security prison, but not everybody here is a security risk, but if you were to ask these pigs that, they’d probably tell you otherwise, just to try to justify the fact they’re keeping us warehoused in here, whether we deserve it or not. With time things change, and usually for the worse. Deterioration is a normal occurrence in here. In fact, if you were to ask the prisoners around here if they think the conditions here will get better or worse, most of them will tell you things are only going to get worse. Pessimism and hopelessness permeate the minds and attitudes of the average prisoner in here. There’s nothing much to look forward to, besides the next meal, and maybe a letter in the mail, if you’re lucky.

Back in the day, ironically when E.S.P. was actually opened up (when we were allowed group yard, tier time, porters, etc.), the majority of the prisoners here were actually befitting of the status: maximum security. Back then, a man was sent to Ely State Prison for failure to adjust in another, less secure prison, violence, escapes and things of that nature. But even then, that could also mean he was disruptive, someone who organized other prisoners, led religious services, or filed too many legal writs or grievances.

Not every man at ESP is told why he’s here these days, and not every man here has committed a violent crime. Not every man here has done anything serious to even warrant maximum security status (like for example, I have a neighbour here in the hole with me right now who was transferred up here simply for contraband). A prisoner has no chance to appeal a transfer before being sent to ESP, and sometimes arrives in the middle of the night without warning. Brought into a world of darkness, locked into a cell, left to get stale and stagnant as he deteriorates, like a mouldy piece of bread.

Nobody belongs in a world where they’re buried alive, where they’re in a tomb for the dead, basically. And the police has total control, and many of them frequently abuse that control, either on a psychological level, or on a physical level. And over the days, weeks, months and years, a prisoner who is confined to this every day misery, begins to degenerate. I’ve seen it happen, over and over again. Nobody belongs in a world like this, where death permeates the atmosphere. Where pressure is applied so constantly that all it does is make these men hard and mean as time goes by.

Some of these guys in here feel they only have 2 or 3 choices now: escape, snitch or suicide. Nobody has escaped from here yet, but many turned into snitches, and many have committed suicide. And others have succumbed to psychotropic medications, which is a form of both escape and suicide. For so many of us in here, there’s nothing to strive for, no aim, no goals, no hope, no light at the end of their tunnel, and they just give up; give in. There’s no love here, just the artificial love that you’ll find in the gang culture of prison life. This is a terrible place to be, especially for someone who has to return back to society.

All you have to do is read a little psychology to figure out what’s going on, to understand what’s being done to us in here. They try to break us down, sever our family and social ties, dominate us, talk shit to us, treat us like children, going out to their way to try to keep us stagnant and ignorant, and always out to break our spirits. Needless to say, I pass around books, articles and notes on psychology, so that prisoners can get a deeper understanding about things. Not just about being in prison, but also about how our minds work, personality, emotions, why we act the way we act, and why we are the way we are. It’s very important to actually be able to come to an understanding of these things; to raise our level of conscious and to be able to elevate our thinking under these circumstances is very important in more ways than one, and it’s also necessary for our survival in here, where psychological warfare is being waged on us every day.

The depravity and despair in this graveyard continuously pushes men to death or insanity. I wrote an article on November 18th, 2009, about the mysterious death of death row inmate Timothy Redman. November 18th, 2009, was the day he died, and I was there when it happened. This is a prime example of the daily depravity that takes place in this hellhole. Approximately an hour after Redman allegedly tried to grab a correctional officer by the wrist and pull his arm through the food slot (apparently the pig had to struggle to free himself), an extraction team of officers was made up to physically and forcefully remove Redman from his cell, or at least to try. Redman refused to surrender and to be placed in handcuffs, and he did so by displaying a weapon. What’s cold about this whole thing is that the policy (administrative regulation) even states that any time a prisoner has a weapon in his cell, his water and toilet is to be shut off, an officer is to be stationed outside of his cell, and nothing is to come in or go out of his cell – not even meals, and this officer is supposed to stay stationed outside of his cell until the prisoner either gives the weapon up, or for 72 hours, and then they have to decide what to do from there, whether excessive force is to be used or not. Did this happen? No. These pigs refused to follow their own rules and a man died as a result.

I can tell you exactly what took place. After Redman refused to surrender, the pigs then proceeded to spray one can of pepper spray into his cell. After that the senior officer in the control bubble commenced to open Redman’s cell so the pigs could run in there on him and retaliate, and then remove him from his cell. But the cell door was jammed from the inside, and they couldn’t get it open. Obviously Redman was no dummy, he knew how to keep the pigs out, and he knew why it was so important to do so. That’s a situation that you usually don’t win. They come in and beat your ass, and after they’ve got you fully restrained, they beat you some more as they yell out “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!” So, over the course of two hours, the pigs emptied a total of 6 canisters of gas into Redman’s cell, and then sprayed a seventh canister one time. They would spray him, and then go hide out in the upper storage room, so that the gas wouldn’t affect them (Redman was housed in 3-B-48, right next to the upper storage room). When they were finally able to open Redman’s cell to get him out, he was dead. His face was purple, his body was blue and blood was coming out of his nose. His boxers were stained with feces and urine and he had what appeared to be a smile on his face. The nurses and doctors tried to revive him, but to no avail.

What’s mysterious about this whole situation was that when they pulled Redman out of his cell, there was no rope tied around his neck or anything. But they say he hung himself. They said it was a suicide. But did he really hang himself, or was he murdered by six cans of pepper spray? Was it a cover-up? People need to be concerned about this, and they should demand to see the video footage of the extraction, just to make sure, because the whole thing seemed mysterious to the majority of the inmates who saw the incident take place.

All seem to agree that Redman died from the pepper spray. They think he was murdered. Who knows what happened. All humans are capable of murder, and death row inmates have been murdered before under McDaniel’s administration. I know this much: a couple of hours after they carried Redman’s body out of the unit, 2 of the wardens, the coroner, and the investigator were all standing outside of Redman’s cell laughing, smiling and joking around, thinking it was funny, until a prisoner piped up and said, “What are you laughing at? If that was one of your own who died, you wouldn’t find it very funny, now would you?” They got quiet. But it seemed like they were happy to see Redman die. At dinner time, a guard who was on the extraction team came into the unit and yelled out loud, so everybody could hear, “Cell 48 said he doesn’t want his tray.” It just goes to show how much regard these pigs have for our lives. They have no love, no mercy for us. The whole scene was a blatant violation of the administrative regulations and a blatant disregard for Redman’s life. And the really cold, cold, part about it was, when the coroner asked the warden, on two separate occasions, “How should I decide this?”, “How do you think I should decide this, suicide or murder?” The warden looked around, seen that prisoners were standing alert at their doors and said, “I can’t decide that, that’s your job.” But what would even propel the coroner to ask such an odd question like that in the first place? It makes you wonder…

I knew Redman personally. He wasn’t really a friend of mine, but someone I talked to occasionally. I don’t know what set him off to go after the pig, but I do know this: Redman was a death row inmate who has had to endure 23-hour lockdown while on H.R.P. (High Risk Potential status: supermax custody level) for 16-17 years straight. I’ve heard him talking once about how year after year administration is stripping one privilege away from us each year. Tobacco, milk, scrambled eggs, hot lunches, food packages, clothing packages, etcetera, etcetera. They just take, take, take and keep you locked down in a cell with a death sentence hanging over your head. Oh yeah, and I know that they were messing with Redman’s mail too. He seemed to think that his wife left him due to this; because certain letters never got to her. So, I think it’s safe to say, with all these things taken into consideration, you have a man who has nothing to lose, and no hope in sight, who has basically been driven to a point where life doesn’t even matter anymore.

There’s a lot of people like that in here. They weren’t always like that though. They’ve deteriorated, and have been broken, and just stopped trying, stopped caring, with no one or nothing to help pull them through. It’s a sad, sad story, about depravity and despair. Some of us fight and struggle (psychological and spiritually), trying to make it through this, trying to better ourselves and better our positions in life, and some just give up all hope. It’s easy to give up in a filthy, foul-ass place like this, where nobody cares about what you’re going through, or about where happens to you, one way or another.

The guards that work here don’t care about us, they’re not trained to care about us, they are only trained to control us. Ely State Prison is an unproductive, unhealthy environment, even for these pigs. It has been documented that prison guards have the highest rates of heart disease, drug and alcohol addiction, divorce – and the shortest lifespans – of any state civil servants, due to the stress in their lives. Prison guard are in constant fear of injury by prisoners, and the fear of contracting diseases always lingers in their minds, since prisons are normally flooded with all kinds of diseases, from hepatitis C, tuberculosis, to AIDS.

From the first day in the academy these guards are trained to believe that they are taught to believe that they are the “good guys” and that prisoners are the “bad guys”, They are pretty much programmed into fearing and despising us – before they even come into contact with any of us! They are led to believe that all prisoners are manipulative, deceitful and dangerous, and that all prisoners are the scum of the Earth. So no, they don’t care about us, they are not even allowed to care about us. We are not even human to them. Needless to say, none of this leads to rehabilitation, but on the contrary, it only contributes to the everyday depravity here in this hellhole.

I’m writing about all of this for a reason though. I’m here to expose the abuse, the injustices, the disparity and hopelessness. I’m here to raise awareness about all of these things, and I’m here to help seek solutions. One of the things I’d like to help Nevada prisoners understand is that the situation for us out here is deplorable. There is a real problem with this whole system, and if we don’t recognize these problems, we will never find solutions, not to mention the possibility that we ourselves could even be contributing to many of these problems. Please believe, the way they’ve got us doing our time is not the way we’re supposed to be doing our time. This whole prison is “the hole”, there’s no general population here at E.S.P., there’s no incentive, no programs, no rehabilitation, nothing. We have way more coming to us than this! We are not supposed to just lay down and accept this, we have to start finding ways to come together, we have to start striving to make the necessary changes that will help better our positions in life, so that we don’t have to keep coming back to these dead ends.

Furthermore, like Ikemba always says, there’s no real level of activism in Nevada. Prisoners do not have any available resources, bookstores for Nevada prisoners, no prisoners’ rights advocacy groups, no solid help from the outside, whatsoever. In order to make changes on the inside, we need support from the outside. We must take it upon ourselves to build a proper support structure for Nevada prisoners, and we have to do this from the ground up!
So, if you’re a prisoner doing time in Nevada and if you have family/friends out here in Nevada – or anywhere else on the outs – I would like to encourage you to explain to them how bad the situation is for you/us in here. Let them know that we cannot expect any type of real rehabilitation from this system; explain to them that the administration is not going to do anything to help us further our growth and development, or push us close to becoming reformed, socially functioning individuals. We have to take it upon ourselves to do these things and we can’t do it without a proper support structure from people on the outside.

Talk to your families, talk to your friends, talk to your loved ones out there (show them this newsletter if you have to), see what they would be willing to do to start up programs for Nevada prisoners. Something needs to be done, but nothing will improve unless prisoners start taking the initiative. The guys who have to do life sentences, or who have to be here for the duration, I encourage you to start learning the law, use it as a tool to make changes for everybody; start stepping up to the plate, instead of waiting for others to do it for you. As long as we keep trying, sooner or later something has to give. It’s better to try than to do nothing, especially when we’re living like this! We can do anything we put our minds to, it all starts with a thought, and what we think about we become, so let’s get it cracking. 

Until then, we are just going to sit here, warehoused in this misery, as the years go by, more people losing their minds, more deaths and suicides, more repression, more rules being placed on us, making it harder on us, more restrictions, more losses of privileges and whatever else they want to take from us. We will sit here with sad looks on our faces, as anger and hatred eat us up inside. The despair will lead to depravity, and the depravity will do us in. Death is the only outcome tomorrow, for those that don’t start taking action today.

Solidarity and Respects

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mistakes are Necessary, Sometimes

Mistakes Are Necessary, Sometimes

First and foremost allow me to extend my most sincere greetings of solidarity and respects, to all of the solid comrades here are E.S.P. who read these few humble words. I’ve been sitting back thinking about all the things I’ve seen in the last few months, and I just wanted to write a little article on it, just to open up a dialogue on the subjects of being organized, and on learning from our mistakes, and using this time to grow and elevate ourselves on different levels. This is just my perception on things, but I welcome all of the feedback that I could get.

I always hear people talking about keeping it real, yet when I question people on their definition of real, it seems like everybody has a different definition from the next man. So I’ve come to realize, if my definition of real is different from your definition of real, then until we reach some type of understanding between us, some type of mutual respect, then we are probably gonna continuously bump heads and clash when it comes to certain things.

If people aren’t on the same page, yet they’re all advocating the same ideas, then people aren’t really ever going to be able to come together on a serious note. Until people, or at least a group of people, can get things together amongst themselves, with agreement and understanding amongst all people involved, then there can’t be any organization. In order for there to be organization, people not only have to be on the same page, but they have to be on the same chapter, in the same book, on the same paragraph. And that can only be done through lengthy discussions and dialogues, going back and forth sharing ideas and discussing these ideas until everybody is in agreement.

Until then, everything is a learning process, we grow as we go. We learn from each other and we learn from our mistakes, and from the mistakes of others. This is why I say certain mistakes are necessary sometimes. It’s so easy to fuck up, to make mistakes, we all do it. And we will all do it again and again, because we all have our flaws, and because nobody is perfect.

But that’s exactly why we are in here using this time as an opportunity to strengthen our minds, bodies and spirits. That’s why we are taking true strides to work on our flaws and our weaknesses. That’s why we are trying to learn discipline, patience, humility, and grace, and that’s why we are just trying to grow and progress and get better and stronger in all aspects.

It’s the ones who are not trying to understand themselves, the ones who are not trying to fix their flaws, learn from their mistakes, and get better and grow, that we have to be leery of, those are the ones who need to be shunned. You have to stay away from people like that.

There is a time and place for everything. Well, just about everything. We are all in agreement that there are some things you just don’t do, no matter what. Things like raping women and children, snitching, cowardice, and things of that nature. Those are things that we’ve all agreed on, that are absolute no-no’s. But what I’m trying to get at is this, sometimes, as we grow and learn on this long and winding journey, sometimes we have to be wrong before we can be right. As long as we ourselves recognize the errors in our own ways, and try do to do all we can to right our wrongs, then it’s okay, we can come back from that. But there are some mistakes that we can’t come back from and that cannot and will not be overlooked. And the things that we would not do, we don’t condone them either. So we always have to keep that in our hearts and in our minds, or else things will always be foul and fake around here.

As long as our hearts are true and our intentions are good and as long as our characters and conduct are solid, then our paths will be laid out for us. Not to say that there won’t be obstacles and struggles along the way, because of course there will always be those, but it’s how we handle those struggles that determines how much inner-strength we have, and it’s these things that make us stronger.

I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, and I have flaws too, but I’m working on those things every day. We all slip up sometimes, and it takes time to rectify those things, but the important thing is that they can be rectified. It’s good to have comrades around who actually care about you, who care about what you’re going through in life, your ups and downs, your successes and failures, and who are there to help you with your progression. Comrades who will help pick you up when you fall, but who will make sure that you ain’t slipping, who will make sure that you’re on your toes and on top of your game and keep it real at all times. Some things we have to learn on our own, but sometimes it helps to have loved ones around to help you out too.

I just write this article to encourage people to consider these things, and the fact that we are all in here going through similar struggles together. I hope to see people getting on the same page and getting organized on some real shit. Things that will help you and yours excel in all aspects and areas of life. I want to encourage people to take a deeper look at self and at the world around you, and find your purpose and your place in life. Try to gain a deeper understanding of things, and a revolutionary heart and mind. Revolutionary, meaning someone who strives to bring change, because when all you see and all you know is this foul ass bullshit that keeps getting you in these fucked up situations, then change begins to look like a beautiful thing.

I want to encourage people to start having discussions and to keep an open exchange of dialogue going, so that a solid level of understanding can be reached and so everybody can get on the same page, so that we can start striving towards greater heights together, and so that we can make a difference and make this a solid and productive atmosphere for growth and progression. Keep an open mind, listen as much as you talk, try to teach, but also try to learn.

Solidarity and Respects


July 18th, 2010


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stay Strong, Stay Committed

Stay Strong, Stay Committed

There is no time better than right now to take a deeper look at self, life and struggle. Many of us in the struggle have long resisted before we even knew there was a struggle. There’s something inside of us; like a fire! But where does it come from? How did we get like this; I mean what made us so honorable to carry this fire inside of us? For most of us, this rebellious spirit, of course, stems from some form of abuse or injustice in our pasts, or from our early childhood, or something; we are who we are for a reason. Well, for lots of reasons actually. Once you know yourself, you can only become strengthened and empowered through this understanding. I speak of it here, because it’s important to understand what it is that has cultivated us into the rebels and warriors we are, especially now that we know and see who and what it is – this terrible beast – that we are up against.

Sometimes we have to go through our own personal strife before we can again be awakened to the ultimate struggle. I think this is the critical importance of understanding ourselves and our inherent connection to humanity, liberty and struggle. We have to go through things in life, stumble, fall, and then pick ourselves back up and ask ourselves what just happened and why, before we can really start to understand things, and somewhere in all of this turmoil we begin to see that there’s a connection between one’s own personal life and experiences and the lives and experiences of humanity as a whole. And that’s when we realize that we’re not alone in this struggle. We are a part of something. Something that’s bigger and greater than we ever understood.

And now that our eyes are opened, we must stay strong, stay focused and we must stay committed. It’s not just about “me” anymore, now it’s about “us”. Solidarity is what we have, freedom is what we strive for.

Solidarity and Respects,


In the Company of Four Walls


In between four white walls

I contemplate

And in between these four white walls

I marinate

I use this time of loneliness

To think of all the thoughts that could be thought of

With these four walls I share my homeliness

For these walls I have much love

These walls know my feelings, they know who I

Love and who I hate

They watch over me when I sleep

And they’re there to help me concentrate

They’re there when I stress, they’re there

When I rest

They’re there when I fear, and when I’m

Hurting inside they’re always near

These four walls listen when I’m mad

These four walls just may be

The best company I’ve ever had

I Don’t Think You Know

You want to know
How I know
What I know?
Well, I don’t know
What you think you know
And I don’t know
What you think I know
But I don’t think you know

All I know
Is I know what I know
And you think you know
But I don’t think you know
And if you really know
Then why don’t you act like you know
Not pretend you know
But actually show that you know

November 20th, 2009