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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Stand with the Menard inmates on food strike...Everyone take part in this call for humane treatment

If we are the 99% let show it in record numbers Tuesday morning!

The most horrible experience anyone can find themselves in would be to end up inside a state prison for a crime they never committed. Some activists lack in the proper educating of society about prisons and how they are deteriorating. As a result, innocent men and women are being abused behind those walls. IDOC unions have successfully been able to gain the support of Illinois legislators, through lies and deceit, implicating policies and laws that have served as a handcuff to the rights of the human beings they warehouse.
The grievance system is completely biased and inadequate.  It allows abuse toward inmates and continues much to long before it is stopped. As a former inmate inside Illinois prisons for 28 years, I was forced to take on these similar issues.  As inmates, we gained no change because society felt we needed a Tamms Correctional Center (Supermax prison which closed January 4, 2013 due to brutal conditions and protest by the media and organizations).
Over theyears, Prison guards, through their union, have been allowed to provide deceit and to stage incidents inside the prisons to gain the support of legislators and society. Inmates are treated as if they have broken major prison rules for very minor rule violations. IDOC was able to convince legislators that cruelty toward the inmates would effectively deter crime. It never did and as a result the rules and regulations have grown much worst.
Today the 48,000 inmates who, unfortunately find themselves locked behind the walls of Illinois prisons, are placed in inhumane conditions and told to function or be placed in segregation commonly known as the hole! Many in society believe they should not care how these men and women are treated because they committed crimes. This misplaced thinking has only served as a large hindrance toward the growth and transformation of inmates once they are released. Inmates that were working toward their freedoms through court processes were targeted as trouble makers.  Services through the prison law library were limited. Limiting the law library services to inmates by IDOC has left them legally defenseless.
I do not support criminal behavior. However, the condition of crime exists largely because the men and women that are in undesirable communities have no crime prevention programs.  The communities that do have programs are underfunded at such a rate that they cannot function effectively. Men and women who are released from prison are told to be successful.  However, they are not treated for the systemic traumatic torture they were forced to endure behind the walls of a prison.
Many enter prison unable to read and leave in the same state, but are told to be successful. Over half of Illinois prisoners released are unemployed but not by choice.   Policies and legislation have been enacted to prevent an ex-offender from working certain jobs. The State of Illinois has passed legislation to not consider an ex-offenders incarceration. They have done this by eliminating that question on job applications. However, legislators (who have shown time and time again that they do not even read legislation that they vote for) call for IDOC not tohire any ex-gang members or offenders. This is a conflicting law which I hope attorneys challenge.
Now that we have taken a look at some of the conditions that cause people to end up inside a prison and why some ex-offenders repeat criminal behavior, let’s take a quick look at IDOC prisons. Over 75%  of Illinois prisons are condemned. They are condemned because the state of Illinois and IDOC have ignored the need for upgrade over the need to gain outrageous raises. They have also ignored the need for upgrade over the need to hire additional layers of management and administrators that are not needed. IDOC, for over two decades, has been permitted to downsize medical care for prisoners. But they have created the medical conditions through forms of ineffective doctors and nurses. Most of the food served to IDOC inmates is soybean. It is served at a higher portion than what is allowed by medical and health professionals. This has created all sorts of medical illnesses at a rate in which IDOC medical staff cannot handle.
Guards use racial epithets toward inmates at the Menard Correctional Center, even in the presence of high ranking administrators. Menard is commonly known by inmates as “the pitbecause of its uncomfortable heat levels which have reached over 121 degrees inside the brick/steel cell houses. There are no air conditioners for the inmatesAs a result, some inmates have died. If White female guards (who are favored by male guards) are caught talking to Black inmates, they are “BLACKBALLED” by those White guards.
Inmates who file grievances against guards or IDOC officials are commonly retaliated against. The remedy is to go through the grievance board. A grievance officer is assigned by the warden to review inmate grievances. If the grievance is not lost by the inmate’s counselor, he receives a response. It will favor the IDOC guard and not the inmate. The conflict of interest in this matter can without doubt be seen as one careful vision…IDOC investigating IDOC. Those guards have an interest to uphold and that is the integrity of IDOC. It is IDOC that employs the grievance officers.  Their friends are guards being charged. How can an inmate that has been raped by a guard receive justice under this current system?
The IDOC union has bullied their way (with IDOC and Illinois Legislators) into setting up policies and conditions that are clearly against the constitution but are still permitted in Illinois prisons. Today an inmate cannot receive a money order; their families are hit with a fee by J-Pay and Western Union. Mail room employees intentionally return mail, sent to inmates, back to the sender claiming the inmate does not exist. Inmate visitors are treated uncomfortable and even harassed by some guards. If the visitor complains, he or she may be banned from visiting. Illinois legislature passed laws allowing IDOC-commissaries to charge an inmate nearly 40% more on items purchased.These are poor people.  IDOC, with the consent of Illinois legislature, is using their muscle to gain profit.
Menard Correctional Center is deemed the worst prison. StatevilleCorrectional Center’s “NRC” unit, where inmates are sent when they first enterthe system, creates mental and psychological abuse. The practice of treatingthose inmates inhumane to attempt to control them when transferred to anotherprison must be addressed and stopped. It’s cruel and unusual punishment. Toknow that an inmate is not doing anything but to provoke an incident to see howan inmate responds is criminal and cruel. Stateville prison guards must be stopthis behavior.
I stand and call for the ending of inhumane practices inside Illinois prisons. I call for you the people to take a stand against these conditions by calling your Illinois State Legislator, demand they investigate IDOC, and stop this behavior. I call for the people to stand in support with the Uptown People’s Law Office in their demand for immediate change within Menard Correctional Center. These conditions have carried on much too long with approaches from many who have great hearts; however their cries have either been watered down or ignored. If we are the 99% and we want change!
Please stand with me. I no longer HAVE to fight! I served 28 years and I am free. I am fighting for you but if you cannot fight with me and get involved proclaiming what you want, then why should I? Stand up with me. This fight is not easy and change only comes about with large numbers. People please get up!
Get up off your ass and act like you want it. I don’t have to fight! I served 28 years and I am free. I am fighting for you! But if you cannot get up off your ass and act like you want what you proclaim…then why should I waste my life standing with you.People get up!
To learn who your Illinois State Legislator is…call 312-814-2121. For those out of state that would like to help…call Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn’s complaint line at 312-814-2121. We have to do something to help those brothers and sisters or how can we expect them to be changed for the better?
Mark A. Clements

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