[Ppnews] Windsor, NC, Heats Up - Prisoners Set Fires, Barricade Doors,

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 30 18:16:01 EDT 2011

Windsor, NC, Heats Up: Prisoners Set Fires, 
Barricade Doors, and Engage in “Riotous Type Protest”

March 29, 2011
by prisonbookscollective


Comrades and outside supporters of the prisoners 
at Bertie CI in Windsor, NC, recently received 
word that two prisoners on Solitary Confinement 
recently barricaded themselves in their cells as 
a protest of prison conditions and repression. 
This “lock-in” action lasted four days, and was 
timed to coincide with an outside demonstration 
by anarchists and supporters on March 12th. It 
also coincided with the second of two national 
call-in days to the prison and NC Department of Corrections.

Two days into the lock-in, which began March 
10th, about twenty anarchists gathered outside 
the prison with drums, pots and pans, and large 
banners reading, “Against Prisons.” According to one prisoner,

“In regards to the demo on the 12th, the pigs 
tried to keep it under wraps from everyone. 
Usually, when a disturbance happens, they’ll lock 
the facility down. On this occasion, they figured 
if no one brought attention to it then they could 
go on as if everything was normal. One problem 
though. There are rooms facing the parking lot 
and prisoners were able to see what was 
happening! Word of mouth is effective. We started 
kicking on the door and flooding. A couple prisoners set fires.”

Another prisoner got written up for his behavior, 
his disciplinary report alleging, “creating a 
riotous type protest and causing other inmates to 
do the same thing.” Two days later, the prisoners 
conducting the lock-in were forcefully extracted 
from their cells, and later promised that many of their demands would be met.

The following is a description of the lock-in 
action by one of the prisoners involved, as well 
as the demands they submitted to prison authorities:

Description of Action:

“On March 10th, 2011, myself (James Graham) and 
my comrade Danny Washington barricaded ourselves 
in our rooms and refused to come out for 
anything. This was done in protest of the 
conditions here at Bertie Correctional Institution.

On March 14th, we both sent a list of demands to 
prison officials demanding that we not 
be  treated like animals and slaves and that they 
institute programs that address our basic human 
rights. Once they received the list of demands, 
they sent the Unit Manager, Asst. Unit Manager, 
Captain, and the Intelligence Lieutenant (he 
deals with prisoners who are labeled as being 
part of a Security Threat Group) to our doors to 
speak to us and ask us if we had any food trays, 
but neither of us answered and they left. The 
captain summoned his lil’ “goon squad,” and he 
came to our cells again, this time accompanied by 
a guard holding a camera, giving us a direct 
order to come out of our cells. He received no 
reply. He stated on the camera that we “had 
weapons” and that his goons would come and 
extract us from our cells “to restore order.”

First off, we had no weapons and I didn’t know 
that refusing to come out of your cell was 
causing a disturbance. Once they saw we weren’t 
coming out, they left. When they returned, it was 
the Captain along with his goons who had an 
electric shield and a mace canister (the size of 
a fire extinguisher). They came to my cell first 
and told me to “submit to the cuffs” and come out 
of my cells. No reply.  One of the guards opened 
my food trap and sprayed mace in my cell and 
closed my trap hoping that would force me to come 
out willingly. It didn’t work. Next, they did the 
same thing again and it was unsuccessful too. 
Then, the Captain called the guard in the control 
booth to open my door. My door wouldn’t open 
courtesy of my barricade.  I sat back and waited 
patiently while listening to the guards cough and 
choke on the mace as they struggled trying to get 
my door open. After witnessing this for a good 
lil’ while, they finally got my door open and 
rushed in my cell, tackled me and held me down 
while I was handcuffed, chained, and shackled. I 
was then thrown in a shower – with the water on – 
for about five or six minutes, taken to see the 
nurse for a check-up and placed in a cage. They 
also ran my comrade’s cell, but I don’t know the details.

We had the chance to speak to the Superintendent, 
Asst. Superintendent, Captain, Intelligence 
Lieutenant, Unit Manager, and Asst. Unit Manager. 
In meeting with them, we went down the list of 
demands [attached below] and addressed every 
demand. This is what I was told in response to these demands:
    * A new chaplain will be starting on 3/28/11 
who will come around and visit the prisoners. 
Also, they will be making sure there are 
materials for all religions and no specific religion will be shown favoritism.
    * Lack of nurses has been the reason for 
inadequate medical care and in timely responses 
to medical emergencies. More nurses are in the process of being hired.
    * More dental staff are in the process of 
being hired as well. The dental floss issue wasn’t discussed.
    * The Unit Manager and Asst. Unit Manager 
were told to make sure we had clothes daily and 
they promised to contact the warehouse about 
making sure our clothing was sanitized.
    * The food will be served according to the 
dietary charts in Raleigh. Basically, no change.
    * Maintenance would be contacted to make sure 
the temperatures are correct, and to clean the vents out.
    * I was told to contact a woman in the 
Education Dep. about starting up some educational 
programs for prisoners in solitary.
    * I was told to contact Raleigh about the publications ban list.
    * I was told we would ne given toilet brushes 
during cell clean-up –and we have been.

We have made great strides in the right 
direction. We will definitely continue what we 
have started and will continue in the struggle. 
Whatever repressive tactics that may be used 
against us won’t be anything we haven’t 
experienced at one time or another. The only 
thing to fear is fear itself and the only thing to lose is these chains.”

Prisoners’ Demands and Communique:
    * Equal treatment of all religions. Here at 
Bertie CI certain religions are favored over 
others. The chaplain only provides religious 
materials for certain religions and the rest he 
tells prisoners to “write your leader.”
    * Adequate Medical Care. Ibuprofen and 
aspirin are given out like a cure to all diseases 
– including vomiting up blood.
    * Prompt responses to all medical 
emergencies. Often times it takes hours for 
medical personnel to respond to a medical 
emergency. Sometimes it’s ignored altogether.
    * Adequate dental care. Prisoners have to 
wait months after filling out numerous dental 
requests before being seen by a dentist. Also, 
prisoners house in solitary are prohibited from 
having dental floss even though it’s vital to 
dental care. The excuse for the denial has been “because you’re on lock-up.”
    * Clean clothing. Prisoners are given 
clothing that has not been washed properly or not 
at all. Prisoners have received clothing with 
urine, feces, and semen stains in them with foul 
odors. Prisoners have caught rashes from wearing these unsanitized clothes.
    * Adequate portions and nutritional meals.
    * Protection from extreme conditions. In the 
winter, the air conditioning is blasting, in the 
summer, the heat is blasting. The extreme 
temperatures are done for psychological purposes.
    * Clean air. The ventilation (air flow) is so 
poor it undermines sanitation. There’s excessive 
dust and lint particles in the air in our cells 
which prisoners in solitary confinement breathe 23 hours a day.
    * Educational and self-improvement 
opportunities. Prisoners on solitary realize that 
no guard can rehabilitate them. Only we can do 
that. Problem is, there are no resources for us to utilize.
    * The publications ban list be revised. The 
ban list exemplifies racism, bigotry, and 
prejudice. It targets Black books, Black 
publications,  and a specifically Black genre: urban fiction.
    * A toilet brush to properly sanitize our 
toilets. Prisoners are in a cell for a minimum of 
23 hours a day in a cell with a toilet they use daily.

We refuse to come out of our cells in protest of 
these conditions. We will continue to struggle by 
various means until these demands are addressed.”

These actions followed an increase in tension and 
struggle inside of Bertie over the last 6 months, 
as the prison has experienced the appearance of 
Black and anarchist study groups, as well as 
several collective actions involving refusals to 
leave cells and the occupation of yards. Personal 
and political relationships between anarchist and 
prisoner support groups and prisoners have also 
increased. We stand in total solidarity with 
these prisoners, and remain committed to helping 
their struggle generalize whenever and wherever possible.

North Carolina, cmon raise up!

some anarchists against prisons

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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