Note: We received this recently with 4 documents which are Notices of Charges by NDOC.
Ask yourself this question: who’s crazier- the individuals that are forced to reside and rot in these so-called “prisons”, or the individuals who first thought of such inhumane institutions of torture? How repulsive! I, TrayWay, am an anarchist radical currently confined and held against my will here at Nevada’s Ely State Prison (Nevada’s department of repression).
Adamantly am I forced to remain in a cell twenty-three hours a day, seven days a week, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. And for some of us, those years extend beyond decades. Just recently an event transpired that I myself feel obligated to tell you (the reader) with hopefulness that you shall learn from it. For, the more we know, the more effectively can we change our world.
So, my story goes as follows: in the unit that I’m in, (4A), several corrections officers had taken it upon themselves to deliberately and blatantly make our lives (the inmates’) worse than they already are. Personal property was being damaged during cell searches, the phone was hardly passed out, cleaning supplies were denied, and most appalling (and most despising), several inmates weren’t being fed occasionally. Also, keep in mind that, in the unit I’m in we are not allowed to order food from the prison’s commissary, so consequently we must depend on the food they provide us and the measly portions they serve. Portions that I might add are no bigger than that of a McDonalds’s Happy Meal for children (minus the small drink and a toy). Yes I know, my dear reader, sounds unbelievable. You may be saying-to yourself, “This coming from the mouth of an inmate”.
Well let me assure you that I have no reason to make up such a story, for I myself was victim to those acts of coward cruelty on several occasions. And secondly, these types of acts aren’t uncommon here at Ely State Prison, nor are they uncommon at most prisons in Nevada. In fact, most of these tactics (and many others) are implemented by the prison officials to produce prisoners submission; to show the inmate “who’s master”.
Anyways, back to my story: On the night of August 3, 2011, corrections officer x. and trainee officer y. were assigned to my unit (4A) as swing-shift floor officers. These two officers (x. in particular) were known to most inmates as trouble-makers. Trainee officer y. was actually responsible for not feeding several inmates a couple of days prior to the aforementioned date. Around 8:00pm that night, these two officers were escorting a lower tier inmate back to his cell after conducting a cell search. During the process of having his handcuffs removed from behind his back, the inmate inquired about an item taken from his cell. Corrections officer x. ignored his inquiry and began to forcefully and roughlv remove the handcuffs from the inmate; at the same time bending the inmates’ wrist upward causing the inmate to have to bend forward at the waist. After the handcuffs had been removed, the inmate then turned around and quickly captured his flap while proclaiming that he needed medical attention and that he would not surrender his flap until otherwise. The two officers began to close the flap on the inmates’ arm while at the same time l and other inmates began to verbally protest against the precarious actions perpetrated at the hands of the two officers. At this same time, senior officer z., who was located in the unit control room, came to one of the control room windows and yelled these exact words to his floor officers: “Break his arm if you have to”; and I quote. It was at this very moment that I myself became enraged beyond measure. It was by these very words that I came to the conclusion that further protest needed to be taken beyond the verbal level.
I then began calling out to other protesting inmates on the top tier, and after two minutes of debate (direct democracy), we came to the unanimous decision that we would all begin flooding the tier simultaneously. During our rebellious and somewhat humorous demonstration, the two floor officers had given up in their efforts to reclaim the flap. We continued our demonstration and after ten minutes of simultaneous flooding, one of the floor officers came upstairs and immediately after seeing the water everywhere, yelled to the senior officer in the control room to cut the water, supply to the tier. Thus was the end of our demonstration. But believe me, my dear reader, that was far from the end of our rebellion.
Eventually a sergeant was called to the unit (due to the inmate having captured his flap and our solidarity demonstration), and after five minutes agreed that he would have medical staff come to the unit if the inmate
would voluntarily surrender his food flap. Medical staff came and checked out the inmate and hence the issue of the captured flap was resolved. I say that once more: the issue of the captured flap was resolved. Not the sadistic oppression we have been subjected to at the hands of these fascist pigs for several weeks prior to this day: That issue was not resolved, and it is because of this reason that our indignant acts of rebellion would not come to an end. To show their solidarity with those of us on the upper tier that had demonstrated earlier that night, several inmates on the bottom tier organized a massive flood that was to take place later on that night.
And once this demonstration took place, indeed it was a massive flood. The amount of water was so abundant that it covered the whole bottom tier and began pouring out into the unit hallway and into the other wing. Us rebels on the top tier unfortunately were not able to assist the massive flooding only because our water had been turned off individually earlier that night. But nevertheless, sabotage comes in many different forms. So, to add to the sabotage that was taking place on the bottom tier, I began pushing tons of trash out the bottom of my door and onto the top tier. Once the unit officers noticed the chaos that was taking place on the tier, they immediately shut the water off to the whole tier and called the sergeant. Thus was the end of that demonstration. But once again I say: not the end of our rebellion.
Now, once the sergeant had come onto the tier, as planned, us rioters began voicing out the door all the injustices and atrocities that have-been perpetrated against us at the hands of several cowardly officers. But as expected, the sergeant acted as if he didn’t care what he had to say and adamantly denied that his officers were doing such heinous things. I say this to you (my reader), that this type of denial is to always be expected; for you can never persuade a corrupted officer to persecute another corrupted officer. Your efforts will be futile. After I and several other comrades had given speeches out our doors urging all inmates on the tier to stand up for their rights and come together in solidarity with the rest of us that were rebelling, this particular sergeant (Sargent q.) came upstairs and stood in front of my door as if waiting for me to say something; and I did. And this is exactly what I told him word for word, I quote: “This is going to happen every day. All we ask is that you treat us like human beings and stop using food as punishment. You can stop this. Every time you disrespect us, we’lI disrespect you. You hurt one of us, we’lI hurt one of you.” At these words he walked away from my door and I came to find out later that he had written me up on a notice of charges clairning that I told him I was going to “stab him”. Cowards never cease to amaze me. The next day no one was allowed to take a shower, nor was anybody offered one-hour yard time. It did not matter anyhow, for most of us slept all day from having rioted all night.
That night while mail was being passed out, the same inmate that had captured his flap the night before was given a letter that had obviously been withheld from him the day prior.
But that is not the only thing. The letter he was given was soaking wet and the contents inside were completely destroyed. Need I not have to say what happened next. For I am positive that you (my reader) have already postulated that the beautiful ballad of rebellion serenaded the tier that night to the anarchist drums of solidarity. My ears have heard no sweeter sound. lnfallibly the more and more we rebelled, the harder and harder the enemy repressed. Eventually things escalated to a physical confrontation when on August 5, 2011, an inmate on the top tier attempted to head-butt an officer while being escorted back to his cell from the shower. He was slammed on the floor in handcuffs and the shift sergeant was called. Once the-lieutenant entered the tier, several inmates including myself began the usual proclaiming of all the oppression we have been subjected to. To our protests he replied, and I quote: “We’re trying to find a way to fix this”. Well I have a suggestion; treat us like human beings and we shall act as such. Minor floods and protest occurred after that incident and later on in the afternoon the unexpected happened. The assistant warden and the sergeant showed up to our unit to serve our dinner and make sure everyone got fed. I’ll say that again: the assistant warden and the lieutenant showed up to our unit to serve our dinner. I pity those of you who believe revolution shall be brought about through non-violent endeavors only; l assure you that both are a necessity.
Anyhow, moving on.
Later on that same night, a certain anarchist comrade of mine was moved to the infirmary without regards to why or even how long. This was expected. We predicted this move would happen days before it actually did.
The following is the reason why: this particular inmate (A.), is an anarchist radical that has been exposing the atrocious agenda of this corrupted prison inexorably for years. And because of his revolutionary activities (i.e. creating solidarity and awareness among prisoners, telling the unmitigated truth, and overall standing for what is right), he has become an interference to the fascist administration and their nefarious agenda. So, by removing him from the unit, the fascist believe they will have snuffed the flickering flame of rebellion which burns from the perpetual candle of autonomy. In this they are wrong. For you cannot cut the head off a headless beast. And war does not cease because one of our warriors falls. This act of dividing is typical of the prison industrial complex. They fear unity. For they know that there is strength in solidarity; that groups cannot be easily bullied or subdued; and it is far more difficult to predict the movements of ten individuals than it is to predict the movements of one. So, it is essential to their endeavor of maintaining dominance that they suppress acts of immense prisoner solidarity.
The level of suppressive actions implemented by the fascist varies to some degree and are dependent on several factors. But understand this and never forget it: the fascist shall always retaliate, always, more so if there is a possibility of public exposure. Some of their suppressive/repressive actions include, but are not limited to, the following: abrupt transfer to another prison, tampering and withholding of incoming and outgoing mail, false accusations, extreme sanctions for minor infractions, planting of false evidence, spreading rumors intended to cause alienation and division, visitation complications, food and heat deprivation, physical
violence, lengthy periods of stripped-cell isolation, destruction of personal property, and sometimes the fascist shall even resort to cold-blooded murder. If you were to inquire about the tactics I have mentioned beforehand, l assure you that the fascist administration would deny them; predictable. But, ask yourself this question my dear reader: who is more likely to tell the truth concerning cruelty and oppression – the individuals that being beaten (the slaves), or the individuals that are doing the beating (the masters)? My point exactly. Nobody knows the Master better than those that serve him. And I, TrayWay, am one such servant that has come to realization of the Master’s atrocious ways of operating.
Anyhow, back to my story now. Despite prior intervention by the assistant warden to temporarily bandage the situation, the coward officers continued to retaliate and repress. Showers were being denied, mail was being withheld or tampered with, food portions were being shortened and occasionally completely withheld, request for cleaning supplies were being thrown away or unfilled, and on one occasion, a particular officer by the name of Anderson, attempted to skip my cell and not pick up my outgoing mail that was sticking out the bottom of my door. Had it not been for my neighbor and I calling him on his cowardly actions, I am sure he would have gone through with his plan completely. On a second occasion, I had woken up to find that a roll of soaking wet toilet paper had been dropped into my cell earlier that night while I was asleep. I had woken up
when the toilet paper was initially dropped into my cell, but I was under the impression that it was nothing more than the routine twice-a-week handout; so I paid it no mind and went back to sleep. Upon finding this roll of wet toilet paper, I began laughing more than anything. I find the actions of some of these coward fascist quite humorous. I would like to make it clear to you (my reader) that everything that I have mentioned beforehand directly involved me or was observed being perpetrated against another inmate by my own two eyes. Although, l am positive other events took place during the times I was asleep; precisely do I recall several times having been awoken from the noise caused by protest taking place amongst the tier. Demonstrations continued for several more days ’til eventually the administration decided to implement bed moves. Myself
and two other prisoners were the only ones that were not moved, while everyone else that had been a part of the disturbance (or believed to be so) was moved to another unit or placed in the infirmary. Thus was the end of our solidarity demonstrations and group rebellion. But l assure you that the flame of resistance still inhabits the heart of those of us who refuse to consent passively to oppression and injustice. A heart that knows no such thing as submission is a heart that beats forever. This was not the first time an event like this transpired, nor shall it be the last. As long as the prison administration and its lackeys continue to psychologically and physically oppress prisoners, rebellions such as the one I have depicted will continue to take place. For, though some of us have succumbed to our degenerative conditions, there still remains those of us who have come to the understanding that we are human beings and deserved to be treated as such; despite being labelled a “criminal”. We’ve come to the realization that life is worth living and we intend to live it; and hence, forever we resist!
Part II: Operant Conditioning
Apparently, Willie Lynch’s methods for “controlling slaves” have not been terminated; on the contrary, they’ve only been revised by the prison industrial complex and the fascist United States government. And since I dwell in this vile concentration camp which is known as Ely State Prison, I shall depict to you (my reader) several of the tactics utilized by this fascist administration and its puppets (guards) to control its slaves (inmates) and manipulate their behavior. Take heed dear friend. Today, in the world of psychology, there is a basic and fundamental term known as “operant conditioning”: a type of learning in which the consequences of behavior are manipulated so as to increase or decrease the frequency of an existing response or to shape an entirely new response. So, in simpler terms, operant conditioning means to create certain conditions in assuming that those conditions will cause an individual or individuals to be have a certain way. Still do not understand? No worries, I shall give you an example: imagine for a moment that you have captured and imprisoned an
individual because you wish to obtain certain information from that person. Well, let’s say that this particular individual refuses to give you the information that you seek. Subsequently, from your deeply learned tendency
to “dominate”, you relate to this individual that they will not be fed until they give you the information you seek.
Several days pass by, and as you forewarned, you continuously deprive this individual of food until they meet your demands. In this, my dear reader, is operant conditioning. You have created two conditions: 1) hunger;
and 2) fear of starvation which inevitably leads to death. You created these conditions in assuming that they will cause the individual to give you the information that you seek. Thus, if the individual gives in to the
conditions you have created (imposed), you will have succeeded in manipulating their behavior from refusive, to submissive (operant conditioning). But please dear reader, I ask that you do not make the honest mistake of assuming that power is given to he who imposes conditions on others. L assure you that assumption is wrong.
For, though one may have the power to impose conditions on ethers, you do not obtain the power over that other individual until they have surrendered to the conditions you set forth. Precisely! So you see, in all actuality, the oppressor does not inevitably obtain power over the oppressed by imposing conditions on them, no; it is the oppressed who give the oppressor power once they have. consciously or unconsciously surrendered to the unnatural conditions set-forth, Yes indeed. Authority of any kind (i.e. government, police,bosses, correctional guards, etc, etc.) can only obtain power over human beings insofar as they are willing to give it to him (or her).
Operant conditioning is a method utilized by all forms of unnatural authority to keep its victims subordinated. And the first step to overcoming one’s circumstances is awareness. For, how can an individual desire freedom if they are unaware that they are not free? They can’t. And similar an individual (or individuals) cannot come to combat the conditions that have been imposed on them effectively if they do not understand the totality of why those conditions have come to be manifested in the first place. I place emphasis on the word “effectively”. For though opposition at any moment may give us temporary satisfaction (and indeed it does), we as the oppressed should always strive to annihilate oppression in its entirety. Thus, a profound understanding of our situation is essential to our overall desire for liberation. But understand this comrades: awareness and understanding are not enough to bring us (the oppressed) liberation. Most certainly not. For once we have come to understand our unfortunate situation, it is up to each and every one of us individually and as a collective whole to make the decision to act upon our enlightenment; to resolve to change, or at least attempt to change the deplorable situation we find ourselves and others trapped in. Knowledge not put to use is useless. And knowledge put to use without persistence is futile. Therefore, once awareness and understanding is achieved, one is left with two options: to utilize what you have learned by deciding to take action; or to disregard what you have learned and accept complacency. Truthfully, though they may be the masters, it’s your choice to continue being the slave. Everything I have mentioned beforehand (i.e. operant conditioning, transference of power, awareness and understanding, etc.) can apply to life in general. but as I mentioned earlier, since I am a captive of this vile institution known as Ely State Prison, I wish to give you (my reader) a moderate (but insightful) depiction of how the fascist administration and its lackeys attempt to manipulate the behavior of its victims (the inmates). That which I have mentioned beforehand correlates to the depiction I am about to give.
Thus I begin. For those readers who are not familiar with the inside operations of the unit in which I am confined (I’m sure there are quite a few of you), I’ll take a brief moment to describe those operations. As I mentioned in part one of this essay, inmates are confined to a cell twenty-three hours a day, seven days a week, three-hundred and sixty-five days a year. One-hour individual yard time is offered occasionally throughout the week but most inmates refuse this for reasons of their own. Since the entire unit is locked down twenty-four hours a day, consequently this means the correctional officers are responsible for providing us inmates with any necessities one may need (i.e. showers, phone time, legal forms, request forms, cleaning supplies, laundry, food trays, etc, etc). In this lies a significant problem comrades. By the prison administration’s myopic decision to assign these tasks to the unit correctional officers, one must assume (and hope) that these individual officers will be responsible enough to fulfill the task given to them. And not only fulfill the task, but proceed in a consistent, fair, and respectful way. Ha! Let’s be honest with ourselves; can we honestly expect such diligent behavior from officers who, veritably without doubt, think of us as nothing more than animals who deserve to rot in these cells for all eternity? One would be foolish to think so.
Occasionally, particular officers do come along that carry themselves with humanist dignity; but for the most part, these officers are rare. Secondly, it has become my observation, that new officers tend to become more like their co-workers over a period of time. And unfortunately, the majority of their co-workers have the robotic fascist mind-set of a tyrant! Just recently, I’ve noticed an enormous growth in the utilization of operant conditioning by unit officers in order to manipulate prisoners into refusing a shower; consequently leaving the officers with “less work” to do. I shall explain further. We (the inmates) are offered showers every three days and if we accept, must submit to wrist and leg shackles before we are escorted out the cell by officers to the showers which are located at a varying distance depending on what cell you’re in. Once the inmate is secured in the shower, the officers then conduct a cell-search which I have heard several of them term a “compliance check”. Heed, this “compliance check” is where they implement their tactic of operant conditioning. They’ll intentionally and blatantly begin to destroy the inmate’s cell with absolutely no regard for personal property such as appliances, letters, writings, legal work, and photos of loved ones. No regard, none whatsoever.
This act of coward cruelty is intended to discourage inmates from accepting a shower, thus giving officers less work to do. The officers know that not only will this tactic discourage the individual who lives in the cell that has been destroyed, but it will also discourage other inmates from accepting a shower out of fear it will happen to them (operant conditioning). Just as the U.S. government and its capitalist crime partners disregard human life in their endeavor to obtain more money and power, so do these officers disregard humanist respect just to make their job easier (like master, like flunky). And sadly, most inmates will not speak out against this atrocious (but clever) behavior exhibited by the officers, out of fear of even more retaliation.
Though I don’t condone one succumbing to that fear, understandably it is justified. For those of us who do courageously speak out against the injustice, inevitably end-up facing more repression such as further damage to personal property, withholding of or shortening of food portions, relentless harassment, verbal disrespect, and other acts of retaliation intended to discourage one from speaking up again in the future. Thus, as you can see dear reader, more injustice is committed in order to suppress the individual who speaks out against an injustices just like the U.S. government resolves to solve crime by committing another crime (operant conditioning). I repeat once more what I said earlier in my discourse: all forms of unnatural authority utilize this tactic to keep its subjects subordinated; to keep them compliant; to keep them silent. Ponder this for a moment and you will find what I say is true. This tactic of conditioning an individual (or individuals) can be used individually or as a collective whole. The depiction I have given above is only an example of how the correctional officers utilize operant conditioning individually.
Now I will give you an example of how the fascist administration here at Ely State Prison utilize it as a whole.
Once again comrades, take heed. The segregation units (which I reside in) are intentionally designed to be a most dehumanizing, degrading, despairing, and torturous experience. Inmates are prohibited from ordering such items as appliances, books, winter clothing such as thermals and jackets, nutritional vitamins, and food of any kind.. One phone call is allowed every month, and to add insult to injury (in my opinion), inmates are not allowed to barter, lend, or trade amongst themselves. Yes, but be not disgusted just yet. Because inmates are locked down twenty-three hours a day, inevitably they become subjected to what is known as “long-term sensory deprivation”, which consequently causes mental disorders. Moreover, majority of the inmates will live under these conditions for years. Dutifully I put emphasis on the word “years”. These conditions will only produce two things (with exceptions occasionally): 1) highly anti-social individuals and 2) the mentally insane.
And of course, there is a third option that is quite uncommon but nevertheless plausible: death. I must ask: am
I the only one who finds this treatment of human life horrific? Veritably though, this is my reality; and there is a reason for it, which I will now attempt to explain.
The fascist prison administration has created these dehumanizing conditions, confident that they will produce two things: 1) disunity among inmates; and 2) conformity and passiveness without question. The anti-social complex developed in an individual due to long-term sensory deprivation will consequently make it difficult (if not impossible) for that individual to unite in solidarity with other inmates; even more so, those he does not know personally. Thus, the natural human tendencies of mutual aid and solidarity become impaired (not completely removed), only impaired. Subject enough inmates to this form of dehumanization and one can
almost guarantee disunity, consequently making it easier for the fascist administration to oppress and rule over them. Moreover, inmates are more likely to conform and remain passive towards injustices committed,
due to their fear of returning back to the inhumane atrocious segregation unit they were once subjected to. To liberty’s dismay, sadly such is the case not only in prison, but even within that morbid reality we so blindly
proclaim as the “free world”. Once the double-edged sword of fear successfully penetrates the throbbing heart of direct action, the body and mind is left inert, impotent, and subdued. Thus, the oppressor’s goal is
achieved (operant conditioning).
Part III: Parallels
Reflection upon our morbid reality is not only a means by which we come to better understand our existence (and the significance of it), but in itself is also a clandestine form of defiance. For, by reflecting one dares to
think, And when one dares to think outside the conventional “circle of certainty” imposed by the fascist elite (i.e. the government, the church, etc), one does exactly what the oppressor does not want you to do: think for yourself! For you radical thinkers (those that think for themselves) I offer the following as a gift to reflect upon, if you wish:
“My current reality (that of the prison industrial complex), was birthed from within another reality (that of the so-called free world). So logically, one can only deduce that it would tend to resemble that which it came from. If life in prison is one of exploitation, slavery, and oppression; then life in the free world must be somewhat similar.”
That is reality, dear friends. Prison is only slightly different from the society in which it was birthed. In one, individuals are enslaved, oppressed, and told they are not free; while in the other, individuals are enslaved, oppressed, and told they are free. One allows a wider range of movement and material possessions, while the other does not; but both realities are controlled by a minority few and limited. And lastly, just as prisoners are forced to obey through violence or fear of violence; so are the individuals within society forced to follow laws through violence or fear of it. But be not surprised; we the anarchist have been saying this since time immemorial: no unnatural authority can sustain itself without the use of force, which in essence is violence.
Comrades: oppressed women and men of all mankind; reflect upon this, understand it, fight it! For your liberty and mine depend on it.
Abolish slavery, viva la social revolution,