Spartacus Project reflects on Keep the Struggle Up by Coyote

Reflecting on Keep the Struggle Up

NPW:

I think you’ve got the point. That was me years ago. The prison disgust never goes away. However, it only reflects the face of our government. They are one in the same. They represent the rich, and only make laws to protect themselves. Unfortunately, too many of us buy into their philosophy believing it works for us, too. It does not and we stay fractured and without leadership for true freedom for the good life.

I am no bleeding heart liberal. Prisons were built to keep the dangerous people out of circulation until such time as they learned to played by the rules of fairness. Upon reaching American Prisons, almost all reasonable thoughts are eliminated by gross and harsh treatment by arrogant & mindless prison administrators–thinking of only how to increase their pay envelope and retirement. All the while using the selfish and stupid peons/guards in green and blue uniforms, to do there dirty work–all in the name of justice. You know how the story goes from there. More courts to feed the filthy system, more police to feed the courts, more prisons to feed the corrupt government agencies, and the complete farce that any public defender is capable of avoiding the wishes of his government paid boss. Why do we buy into this bullshit? We all know better–don’t we?

One of these days, and I’m hoping it doesn’t happen, because I don’t want to be in one of the meetings that this may take place, a ex-prisoner may walk into a room of government abusers and leave a package and walk out. I am totally surprised it hasn’t as of yet. I am told almost everyday of the instilled hatred beaten into the men & women of American Prisons, by foolish job security seeking administrators and guards, by prisoners currently serving their sentences in America.

Maybe I could understand it better if the “spin” wasn’t laid on so heavy by our press and government about how “fair & good” we treat our citizens–as a nation of free thinkers and doers. I can’t help but recognize the billions & billions of American dollars being sent to other countries to help enslave their citizens, and only the dictators becoming richer and richer by our hard earned tax money, yet we have veterans and past tax-payer–homeless, and without medical care. In America we should take care of our own FIRST.

But as Americans, we have the responsibility of treating our neighbors with dignity and respect. That doesn’t happen too often in America and the abuse must stop. Murdering our young over wearing a color, or walking down a certain street, or just thinking a different way–is not the way of a true American. I don’t like it, nor do I buy into it. I think you have the right idea. Education is our way out of prison and a better life once released. I encourage you to continue your studies and the educational help you are trying to bring to your fellow prisoners.

What can I do to help better your life and others´?

Good luck.

Donald Hinton, Sr.
Spartacus Project

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VERA: Oversight Status Report Regarding the Nevada Department of Corrections

VERA, Institute of Justice, produced this 52 page report recently, after a year of researching what could be improved within the prisons in Nevada (which would mean: a lot has to be improved, otherwise we would not exist).

Title:

Oversight Status Report Regarding the Nevada Department of Corrections:
A Report of the Corrections Support and Accountability Project
JULY 2010

The report can be read here:

http://www.doc.nv.gov/Vera_Oversight_Status_Report_for_NDOC_July_2010.pdf (PDF)

The executive summary:

The Vera Institute of Justice is pleased to present this report of the Corrections Support and Accountability Project. The Project partners us with five jurisdictions – two states and three counties – to help each partner jurisdiction develop meaningful oversight of its prisons or jails specifically tailored to its needs.

This report, and the recommendations summarized below, is the result of partnership
with and the dedication of several Nevada State agencies, including the Nevada
Department of Corrections and the Nevada Board of State Prison Commissioners, as well
as the participation of other individuals and agencies, including the Nevada Legislature, the Governor’s Office, the Attorney General’s Office, the Secretary of State’s Office, United States District Court for the District of Nevada, American Federation of State and Municipal Employees, Nevada Corrections Association and individual inmate advocates.

In particular, this work would not have been possible without the leadership of Director Skolnik, who was incredibly accommodating and willing to open up his Department to this review. With the help of these participants we investigated the current mechanisms of correctional accountability and transparency already in place in the NDOC. This process included visits to prison facilities, numerous interviews, research, and meetings with NDOC staff and administrators and stakeholders to determine the most pressing oversight needs of Nevada’s correctional system.

At the time of this report, NDOC has made progress implementing several of these
recommendations. We believe that, with time and the cooperation of other Nevada
stakeholders, implementing the remaining recommendations will enable the state to better evaluate the use of resources to support NDOC, identify inefficiencies, manage risk, measure the success and failures of programs and policies in order to guide future decision-making, build public confidence and public interest in NDOC, and promote good governance and professionalism. While we recognize that some of the
recommendations may be aspirational during these economic times, many are costeffective and may lead to long-term savings. Others should be considered for
implementation when it is financially feasible.

The recommendations are provided in summary below for convenience. We encourage a full review of the report to understand the context and reasoning behind each of the recommendations.

1. Conduct more formal and regular audits of both southern and northern
facilities.
2. Create formal follow-up for problems identified during internal audits.
3. Improve tracking system for inmate grievances and generate regular reports.
4. Resolve more inmate grievances at the facility level.
5. Consider creating a citizens review board for the inmate grievance process.
6. Implement a staff survey.
7. Provide pro bono attorneys for inmates in the Inmate Early Mediation
Program.
8. Keep more investigations at the facility level.
9. Provide additional training on NOTIS for staff at all levels.
10. Train select staff to run reports in NOTIS.
11. Set internal performance measures and formalize internal data sharing.
12. Provide more information to Board of State Prison Commission members and
in a timely manner.
13. Clarify the role of the Board.
14. Develop system for following up on concerns received at public meetings.
15. Create an ombudsman to handle complaints by inmates, staff and the public.
16. Make certain reports and evaluations available to the public.
17. Develop a publicly available data dashboard.
18. Create a dedicated Public Information Officer position.

Amelioration

From: Coyote-Calling

As I sit back, reflect and let my thoughts flow, many things percolate to my mind’s cortical surface, keeping me attentively entertained and intellectually stimulated. In these locked down situations, it’s absolutely imperative for me to take the necessary measures to keep my mind right, because I’ve learned – through trial and error – that when I’m unable to stay focused on positive and productive activities, I’m most likely to get caught up in negative and unproductive and sometimes even counterproductive activities. When that happens, I’m not surviving, but rather I’m slipping, letting myself get took under by the merciless current of self~destruction.

So, I’m just sitting here thinking, letting my thoughts be fluent and making sure to stay acutely focused on the things that pertain to my day~to~day survival, trying to get through this daily psychological Vietnam, trying to ameliorate myself. Some people like to still their minds, but me, I like to keep my mind active and constantly flowing.

One of the things that grabbed a “kung fu death grip” hold on my attention today was a quote that I read by Napoleon Bonaparte that goes like this: “DEATH IS NOTHING, BUT TO LIVE DEFEATED IS TO DIE EVERYDAY”.

Those are words that I resonate with. Tome, that means that once you die, that’s it, it’s over, ya estuvo, your life becomes nothing. You’re gone, you’ve faded to black. So while you’re alive, you might as well take care of what you need to take care of, be real with your comrades and loved ones and try to enjoy life and appreciate the time you have.

But if you’re living like a defeated person, then you’re not living; you’re already dead and every day that you wake up, you die again.

I would rather die once than to die every day. I’d rather die now, than to live the rest of my life waking up already dead. I would rather die than live as a defeated man.

Death is nothing, we all die, in fact, the only thing promised to us in life is death. So we might as well accept it, face it, embrace it and know that we can’t cheat it. I believe that with this acceptance and understanding, we are able to live our lives out more fully, having no fear and illusions.

So I try to live with the understanding that as long as my tenable and tenacious heart thumps passionately with furious resistance and undying love, then I haven’t been defeated. Because as long as I can find one thing in this world that I can love and appreciate, and as long as I have something that my heart beats for, while I remain unwilling to allow myself to be consumed by hate, then I’ve remained unconquerable.

I’m trying to keep life and love flowing through my arteries, I’m trying to appreciate the time I have, the breath I breathe and the life I live, and I’m trying to enjoy it. As long as I’m living by the principles that I’m willing to die for, without compromise or sacrifice, then I haven’t been defeated. I believe that when you value your way of life and the friendships you’ve made, so much, that you feel those things are worth dying for; you’re living your life to the fullest! Because I believe that having nothing to die for is having nothing to live for.

Even under these inhumane conditions I’m able to recognize, acknowledge and find beauty in life, making it a penetrating point to keep a strong sense of self and of life flowing through my veins. These are the things that keep me grounded, and these are the things that I keep in my heart, vibrating, pulsating, thumping to the rhythmic beat of life, while having to overcome struggles and heartbreaks only to come out stronger, wiser and more refined, and then trying to use that same strength and wisdom to assist others in their times of hardship, pain and struggle.

And of course there are many things about this life and this place that I hate, but I allow my hate to exist and to live, because sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s necessary, and because all of my emotions are an extension of me, but I make sure to keep it minimized.

Lately, I’ve been doing a couple of things to try to better myself and to stay active. One of the things I do is something that I call “PUSH~ UPS AND PARAGRAPHS”, and the other thing that I’m constantly doing are logic puzzles.

Push~ups and paragraphs: Basically, what I do is I’ll find an article to read (something educational), and after I finish reading a paragraph I’ll get down and do (10) ten push~ups. And I will continue to do (10) ten push~ups after each and every paragraph I read, until I’ve finished reading the entire article. When I’m done, the count usually comes out to about a total of 500~600 push~ups. I’ll do this every day, sometimes reading the same articles over and over again each day, which helps me to retain knowledge, and sometimes reading a different article each day. It’s just a way for me to cultivate myself by exercising both my mind and my body at the same time, and it’s also a way for me to be productive and appreciative of the time I have in this world, not letting myself be defeated by my circumstances.

As far as the logic puzzles go, Dell puts out a magazine that you can subscribe to called: “Logic Lover’s Logic Problems” (have your people subscribe you to these logic puzzle magazines: “pennydellpuzzles.com”). There are over 100 puzzles in each magazine, so if you do (1) one puzzle every day, then you’re exercising your brain every day for 100 days. I have to do at least one every day, mandatory, but I usually do 2 or 3 a day. It’s one of the best ways that someone in solitary can strengthen their brain! It’s like playing chess with yourself, but better! Your brain is like a muscle, and the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Logic puzzles are like bench presses for the brain. It causes you to think and to figure things out, using deductive reasoning, and most of all it open the floodgates of your brain, allowing you to be more logical and sharp in all areas of your life. It’s definitely an LQ. booster and it allows your mind to be active and to flow! It’s definitely a healthy way to spend an hour or two of your day while locked down in a cell, because not only does it keep you from deteriorating mentally, but it keeps you sharp, like a razor’s edge! And if you’re staying sharp under these dull circumstances, then you’re definitely winning, not allowing yourself to be taken under or defeated! So those are just 2 of the things I’ve been doing lately to stay afloat and to keep my sword sharpened.

Here’s another Napoleon quote that I resonate with: “A TREE WITH NO BRANCHES BEARS NO FRUIT”

I like that because I’m definitely trying to branch out and be fruitful. That’s what life’s about to me: branching out, bearing fruit, making meaningful connections and truthful connections, never having superficial friendships, each one teach one, steel sharpening steel, being real and staying true while getting involved in various endeavors that are sure to produce good results.

The more branches on your tree, the more fruit, and everybody can come to my tree and eat from it, we can have picnics under my tree, people can sit under my tree and duck down in the shade for a while, relaxing and letting their minds be fluent and free. They can climb up my tree, swing from the branches, all that. My tree is the tree of knowledge, the tree of life.

Currently, I might be locked down, in supermaximum custody, and all strained up on HIGH RISK POTENTIAL status, going through all kinds of harassment and all that, but it doesn’t even matter, because in the far reaches of my minds imagination, I’m sitting under a tree, somewhere near the sea, smoking on a fat one, some of that good, top shelf, “Pineapple Trainwreck” bud, munching on a juicy nectarine that I just pulled off of one of my branches, sitting in the relaxing shade, with the cool ocean breeze blowing on my face, just getting high on life!

In my heart and in my mind, I know I’ve got to stay productive, I’ve got to stay active, letting the liquid thoughts of my mind forever flow and always striving to better myself and others, spreading my dexterous branches, participating in fruit~bearing activities, not fearing death, but loving life, and living it. It’s all about amelioration! Look that word up in your dictionary, add it to your vocabulary and apply it in your everyday life: amelioration. It’s a beautiful word when applied.

And these words are written, from the pain that turned to love, and it’s that same love that I now give to you as a gift from my heart. I close as I opened: with all my love!

Coyote, Ely State Prison November 5th, 2009

Drop me a line or two, show me some love, give me some words of encouragement. I’m not allowed to receive letters from other prisoners, but I’d like to hear from everybody, everywhere. You can reach me at this address: Coyote Sheff #55671 P.O. Box 1989 Ely, Nevada 89301-1989

Packages allowed only for some, not for prisoners on administrative segregation, which is supposed to be no punitive measure

After a long absence, Packages for Nevada prisoners are again allowed, via one vendor, access:

http://www.nevadapackages.com/mainselect.php

Now here comes the illegal bit by the authorities:

When you are on administrative segregation, which does not count as a punishment, you are not allowed a package, because you are housed in certain units! This we have found out is what is happening in Ely State Prison, but it could also be happening in other prisons in Nevada.

There is no AR (regulation) that says that prisoners on Administrative segregation can not have such a food/clothes package. One of the things behind this is that the prison regime, the authorities, are afraid that prisoners are sharing things from their packages with others who may be on disciplinary segregation.

It is also a strange measure, because (some?) death row prisoners are allowed the packages, and they are housed on the same unit (3B) as those on disciplinary and administrative segregation. So is Nevada Department of Corrections lying to families and friends of prisoners?

Did they not check their own rules and regulations?

Question: how are the decisions made and where is the AR supporting the decision?
Administrative segregation-prisoners (who are not supposed to be punished) are the ones not getting packages, and that constitutes a due process violation.

The information-staff writes to tell prisoners to grieve this. But the grievances go to the administration, who do not want the prisoners to have these packages. So they will turn down the grievances! So what does Nevada Department of Corrections want? More angry prisoners? Les safety for its employees? That is the only conclusion we can make.

This all is an unnecessary decision against the NDOC´s own AR´s, meant to take up more time and frustration for prisoners and their families and loved ones.

Prisoners: grieve this and send copies to us all, so that we can demand proper, decent care for those in prisons.

ACLU Agrees To Settle Lawsuit Charging Inadequate Medical Care At Ely State Prison


ACLUNV

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Nevada late yesterday filed in federal court a proposed agreement between a class of over 1,000 prisoners at Ely State Prison and top state prison and governmental officials that would settle a 2008 lawsuit charging that a pervasive pattern of grossly inadequate medical care at the prison created a substantial risk of serious medical harm for every prisoner in the facility.

The agreement, if approved by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, would result in an independent medical expert being appointed to monitor the prison’s health care system and submit regular reports evaluating prison officials’ compliance with specified medical requirements in the agreement. As part of the agreement, prison officials have agreed to build a better system of ensuring that necessary medications are provided to prisoners in a timely manner, develop health care treatment plans for any prisoners suffering from a chronic illness requiring ongoing medical care and provide prisoners with access to qualified medical staff seven days a week for any routine or emergency medical ailments.

“Nevada officials deserve credit for being willing to address medical care at Ely proactively,” said Amy Fettig, staff attorney with the ACLU National Prison Project. “Rather than spend years and years in costly litigation, both parties decided to sit down to collaborate on a solution. The result is vastly improved medical conditions for the prisoners at Ely.”

Additionally, prison officials have agreed to institute daily rounds by a nurse to pick up any medical request forms – ensuring that all prisoners have a confidential means of requesting medical care – and provide access to a registered nurse or higher level practitioner within 48 hours of a prisoner requesting medical attention.
“The reforms that prison officials have agreed to will go a long way toward fixing a very broken system,” said Lee Rowland, staff attorney with the ACLU of Nevada. “We brought this lawsuit in response to widespread evidence of unconstitutional medical conditions for Ely prisoners, and we are pleased that working collaboratively with the Attorney General’s office and the Department of Corrections has led to the resolution of some of the most pressing issues at Ely.”

The lawsuit contains three named plaintiffs, including 38-year-old David Riker, who alleged at the time the lawsuit was filed that despite his rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, he had never received prescribed medications and X-rays ordered by an outside physician and was told by Ely medical staff that treating chronic pain is against the policy of the prison.

Lawyers on the case include Fettig, Rowland, Maggie McLetchie of the ACLU of Nevada and Steve Hanlon of Holland & Knight, LLC.

Information about the ACLU’s efforts to improve medical conditions at the Ely State Prison, including a copy of today’s settlement agreement, is available online at: www.aclu.org/ely


The settlement can be opened here (PDF).

LA Times: Court settlement would upgrade Nevada prison’s medical care

The ACLU negotiates a deal that includes better staffing and monitoring of treatment that one doctor called ‘shocking and callous.’

By Ashley Powers, Los Angeles Times
July 16, 2010
Reporting from Las Vegas —

A Nevada prison’s medical care — once described as displaying a “shocking and callous disregard for human life” — would be upgraded and monitored under a proposed court settlement filed Thursday.

An independent monitor would ensure that the remote maximum-security prison, which houses Nevada’s death row inmates, was dispensing medication and treatment in a timely manner, creating treatment plans for chronically ill inmates and had qualified medical staff available at all times, according to the proposal.

The monitor would inspect the 1,100-inmate Ely State Prison at least four times over two years. Should medical care fall short, the duration of his oversight could be extended, the proposal said.

The agreement, which still requires the approval of federal Judge Larry R. Hicks, was crafted by the ACLU, which represented Ely inmates, and state officials.

The ACLU cited a 2007 report by an Idaho doctor who, after reviewing the medical records of 35 inmates, said the Ely prison’s healthcare system amounted to “the most shocking and callous disregard for human life and human suffering that I have ever encountered.”

At the time, the men’s prison had no staff doctor; the previous one had been a gynecologist. A nurse was fired after complaining about shoddy treatment, which she said led to one inmate dying of gangrene.

Under the proposed agreement, cash-strapped Nevada would also pay $325,000 in attorney fees and any costs of improving the prison’s healthcare.

Lee Rowland of the ACLU said the plan resulted from “extensive cooperation” with the state. Partly based on National Commission on Correctional Health Care standards, it could help patch what she described as a “very broken system.” State officials declined to comment.

… read more:
The Los Angeles Times

Education: College Guild discontinues…

In our newsletter to the prisoners, we featured the College Guild as one of the small organizations that makes free non-traditional correspondence courses for prisoner students. Unfortunately, although this was not written on their website (visited again today, July 15 2010), they are not sending out courses anymore at this moment.
We are sorry to hear that!
Here is the email we received:

To the Nevada Prison Watch:

College Guild provides free non-traditional correspondence courses to prisoners throughout the United States and feature on your web site. We are getting many inquiries from prisoners in the State of Nevada. Unfortunately at the present time we are unable to accept any more students into our program and would be grateful if you could publish a note stating this. We hope the position might change in the new year.

Thank you.

CG Admin.

We received a very good explanation about this discontinuement later on:

“We are running out of funds. Everything we do is dependent on fund raising. We have a long wait list and hope to be able to accommodate those already on it. Maybe in the new year we will be able to take on more students.

We would love to be able to expand College Guild to cover everyone who would like to participate. We are looking for some major funding and have a few contacts out there. Any help or ideas you can offer would be gratefully received.”

So if you have ideas, money, etc, please contact the College Guild!

Keep the Struggle Up

We have been slammed down, oppressed and confined to these prisons, ghettos and graveyards. Our stories and our lessons are manicured by the epidemics of pain, poverty, discrimination and struggle. We get poorer and the rich get richer as the story goes. There’s no justice, no rehabilitation, no freedom. We are taken to court on trumped up, bogus shit, given 20 charges for one incident, bullied into taking a ‘deal’, and then we are appointed a public defender ‘cuz we don’t have the money to acquire a more sufficient attorney, and one year the person who is supposed to be representing us is a public defender, and then the next year that same person is a district attorney! So how could we really trust these people? How could we trust them with our lives? How could we be so willing to put our freedom in their hands?

It doesn’t make sense to repetitively place our lives and our freedom into the malefic hands of people who actually despise us. Will there ever come a time when we can start taking control of our own lives? When we can stop depending on the same people that oppress us, to help us? Is there any legitimate, respectable way to get ourselves out of the deleterious grips of this death machine? Is there any way to end these sentences of perpetual suffering? All the questions that come to me while I marinate in this lonely world of darkness, reflecting on the many sorrows I’ve seen. So many questions, but hardly enough answers.

The frustration leads me to sit up on my bunk and start strategizing on different ways that I can possibly try to encourage my comrades in here to start taking the initiative to study and learn the law. I have a Xerox copy of Mumia Abu Jamal’s new book, Jailhouse Lawyers and I pass it out to others, trying to use it as a tool to inspire prisoners to learn how to become attorneys for the poor and oppressed. I sit here and wonder, “What else can I do? What clever ways are there to inspire people to study, to get them to learn?”. Wouldn’t it be great if we could become our own attorneys, or would it even matter?

I’ve held study groups and had many one-on-one study sessions with comrades in here, where we’ve sat around for hours talking and debating, searching for tangible ways to represent ourselves and to learn how to bring ourselves out of this state of oppression, and to eliminate oppression and poverty altogether. To break through the barriers, to rise above the tragedies. Right now it’s just talk, but later who knows what it will be? Everything starts in the mind, one things leads to another.

In this graveyard, it’s so hard to get books sent in and literature, because the administration has deliberately set so many obstacles and put so many restrictions and limits on things when it comes to receiving books that so many people in here have become discouraged and ended up giving up on trying to get books sent in. But I’ve been on an adamant missions for years to acquire all the literature I can get sent in to me, and to pass it out to as many people as I can, trying to turn this graveyard into a revolutionary university, so people in here can take all this time they have on their hands and use it to elevate their minds, reaching for higher degrees of learning, finding liberation through books. I love to be involved in all of these various acts of raising consciousness, I feel it’s so necessary in these times and situations. Not to mention that I’ve seen the lengths these pigs will go to make sure they’re keeping us confined to ignorance and stagnation. Books and reading materials are so important for us here, we who dwell in this gloomy world of degeneration.

I pass out literature on philosophy, politics, psychology, science, spirituality and I’m always passing out revolutionary materials too, and whatever else I can get, having study sessions when I can, discussing things with my neighbors for long hours into the night, all the way until my breakfast tray arrives, and sometimes, if the conversation is really good, I’ll eat and talk at the same time, every once in a while setting the tray down to pick up a book, or an article, so that I can read a passage, sentence, or paragraph out loud to my neighbor, to reinforce the stance I’m taking on certain subjects, or to help get my point across more clearly. I love to learn, I love to teach and I love to engage others. I crave the intellectual stimulation, and I can tell they crave it too.

We are here, confined to these cells, but we’ve found ways to communicate and express ourselves, to soak up knowledge and pass it on to others who we’ve deemed worthy of receiving such valuable gems. It’s miserable and depressing in here, so much atrocity and deterioration, but we’ve found ways to make the best out of a bad situation. We understand that we should never just lay down and accept this. We understand that we have to keep the spirit of resistance going strong inside of us, seeking solutions, striving for freedom, making sacrifices when the situation requires us to do so, and never giving up, never breaking down. Everybody that I consider a comrade understands this, and with this understanding we try to reach those that don’t understand, but who really need to understand. With understanding things are made clear, and when that happens, change happens.

You’ll find some of the most brilliant, most creative, most intelligent, most resourceful and most innovative individuals right here, confined to these hellholes. That’s what happens when we have all this time on our hands, with the fire of resistance burning in our hearts. We’ve been discarded by society and caged like animals, left to rot and decay, to deteriorate and fade away into a black abyss, to disintegrate into tiny fragments of nothingness. But we are here, alive and fighting to maintain our existence, going strong, with love beating in our chests. Revolutionary love. We keep that warrior spirit alive, and these pigs fear it, they hate it, and they envy it and that’s why they’re always trying everything they can to try to crush it, break it, tame it and destroy it, but no matter how hard they try, or what they do, there’s not much they can do to take that away from us.

Books and knowledge give us breath, it pumps life into our veins and activate our brains. With knowledge we are invigorated, rejuvenated and made worthy. Knowledge gets us going, knowledge is what sets us free. We use these books to quench our thirst and to feed our hunger.

Through these trials and painful situations I’ve come to learn the lessons of struggle and the importance of a revolutionary, underground education. I’ve learned how vital it is to my survival to be able to keep the fire of resistance burning in my heart. I’ve come to learn about sacrifice, solidarity and fortitude. I’ve got little baby cousins, nephews and nieces that I haven’t even met yet, I’ve fucked off my release date many times already, catching more time on my prison sentence for taking stands against these pigs and their injustices done to us. It’s hard for me to turn my back on the struggle. I’ve recently participated in a brutal riot here on my unit and I’ve got 2 years left before I go home, and now I’ve getting letters from my moms and my brother, asking me what the hell am I doing, don’t I want to come home? They’ve made sacrifices for me, to help get me out of here, spending money on attorneys for me and everything, and yet I’m still in here caught up in the struggle and I’m conflicted, I want to go home, but I just can’t sit back as my fellow comrades stand up and make sacrifices to make important changes for everybody else. My family doesn’t understand my commitment to the struggle and it breaks my heart just as I know it breaks their heart to watch me do things that will jeopardize my release date.

But now I realize that the struggle is going to continue whether I’m in here or out there, and after all that I’ve been through and all that I’ve done, I am so lucky to still have the chance to get out of here. And now it’s time to go home. It’s for me to get out of here and do this from the other side of the razor wire.

I’m gonna do what I can to plant seeds and raise awareness while I´m still here because it´s impossible to overlook all the atrocity that’s going on around me every day. I see all these youngsters coming to prison now, little dudes as young as 14 years old! There’s no true leadership or anything meaningful in here for them to latch onto and it kills me. I see all the fakeness and foulness around here, and I’m always railing against it, trying to raise consciousness to these real issues we’re faced with. The mentality of some of these cats around here is hard for me to grasp and seems “suspect” in my eyes. The way they think, the way they act, I’m not feeling it. If you’re not striving for change or seeking solutions, or trying to elevate yourself,. then what are you doing?

All I can say is that I got love for the real cats in here, I feel for them, especially the ones that have to stay here, I feel for them and will always keep them in my heart, recognizing them as kindred spirits.

I’ve done all can to stock up all the comrades in here with good literature and to raise consciousness around here. I’ve been going at it so hard that I ended up losing 2. good friends out there who acted as my main benefactors: Gina and Katy. They couldn’t do it anymore, couldn’t afford to keep making copies of books and literature for me, they couldn’t afford to keep buying books for my comrades in here, and it got to the point where they would dread getting a letter from me because I was always asking them to support me with this project or that project, on a mission to try to flood this prison with as much literature and educational materials as I can. They just couldn’t do it anymore. I feel bad that I won´t be receiving letters from these beautiful, compassionate warrioresses anymore, I feel bad that I’ve become so obsessed with my mission to raise awareness that I failed to take into consideration their needs and limitations. I really miss them.

So as one- door closes, I guess it´s time to look on to new things and start focusing on my release date. I have to figure what I’m gonna do when I get out of here, how can I keep the struggle up from the other side of the fence, and things like that. I don’t have no plans on getting rich or anything like that, I don’t care about none of that. I´ve been in solitary long enough to know that I don’t need lots of money to survive, so that’s one lesson I´ll be taking to the streets. I just want to be real and live right, helping when I can. I have a lot to figure out and a lot to think about, 2 years to go, so close, yet so far away…

Until then, I will continue writing these essays, articles and zines, and things like that. This is my contribution to the struggle., I’m gonna let people know what’s going on, what we´re going through in these hellholes, I’m gonna keep spreading the truth whether these pigs like it or not, because the truth is dangerous! The truth is revolutionary! The revolution starts in our minds, so let’s get free, one mind at a time! My love goes out to all the people out there who have committed themselves to our struggles in here. Keep doing what you do, keep the struggle alive, keep it up.

If you want to be hard, you gotta go hard!

Coyote, 2010

Quote: “Our expressive powers were strong and vibrant. if this could be nurtured, if the language skills could be developed on top of this, we could learn to break through any communication barrier. We needed to obtain victories in language built on infrastructure of self-worth.”
Luis Rodriguez (from his book: Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.) Good book, read it!

The Tiger’s Song

The Tiger’s Song

I’m a tiger, I pace my cage
Never forgetting who I am
An apex predator filled with rage
On solid ground I stand

My heart is hardened, I am steel
There’s no emotion that I feel
My essence has been recognized;
And I am real

I am patient and I’m wise
Always biding my time
I can’t be tamed, I remain uncivilized
Never changing my heart or mind
Through my actions I am defined

You can put me in the tiniest cage
And take all my things away
Surround me with screamers and bangers
Doing everything you can to invoke my anger
And to make me feel pain
You can strip me naked, cold and bare
And starve me if you dare
You can whip me until I bleed
And my bones are broken
I really don’t care

You can try as hard as you like
Using all your might
But it doesn’t matter what you do
You can’t change me
You can’t tame or break me
I’m a tiger, I will fight
I’m a tiger, I will strike
You can’t break me I’m alright!!!

Coyote
ABC-Nevada Prison Chapter
December 7th, 2009
Ely State Prison, Nevada

State prison gets a reprieve from ax

From: Las Vegas Review-Journal
July 13, 2010
Governor outvoted on closure plan

By ED VOGEL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL CAPITAL BUREAU

CARSON CITY — Nevada’s oldest prison will be allowed to get a bit older.

For the second month in a row, the state Prison Board’s Democratic members voted 2-1 Tuesday to block an attempt by Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons to close the 140-year-old Nevada State Prison.

Gibbons had called for the closure to cut spending because of a drop in state tax revenues caused by the worst economic slump since the Great Depression.

Secretary of State Ross Miller and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto want legislators sitting on the Interim Finance Committee to use as much as $8.3 million in an emergency fund to exempt correctional officers throughout the state from mandatory one-day-a-month furloughs and keep the prison open.

They asked Corrections Director Howard Skolnik to present such a request, including the amount of money he needs. His request would be reviewed by the state Board of Examiners and later the Interim Finance Committee.

Read more here.