The key or the peephole: A look inside the prison industrial complex and where movements should go from here

August 30, 2016
Words of wisdom for Sept. 9

by Anthony Robinson
Published originally in the SF BayView: http://sfbayview.com/2016/08/the-key-or-the-peephole-a-look-inside-the-prison-industrial-complex-and-where-movements-should-go-from-here/

“Therefore my people have gone into captivity. Because they have no knowledge; their honorable men are famished. And their multitude dried up with thirst.” – Isaiah 5:13

To the prisoner or the man in prison, what is being free? For the man behind bars attempting to fight off conditions and circumstances meant to chain his mind and spirit, if he has not defined for himself what freedom means and what value it has, determined by the price he is willing to pay for it, then the circumstances of his chains have a self-efficacy so inherently designed that his causes and solutions will be written on the locked door of his plight and his prayer for relief will result in asking for a tiny peephole wherein he might peek out to view his brother’s steel cage rather than demanding a key to open his own.

“The great enemy of the truth is often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive and realistic.” – John F. Kennedy

I define the term “mythical reality” as a situation where one class of people, usually the down-trodden (prisoner class), know a reality – usually violence, racism, prejudice etc., to be true by experience – while another class, usually bureaucratic oppressors (prison officials), tries to control the perception and narrative of the other class by forms of exploitation offered by their resources and privilege.

Your confliction will direct your influence: If you are not careful to come up for air and take a moment to clear your head as you face the dynamics of “sink or swim” situations that have become the routine patterns of your existence, could it be that the California Prisoners Movement has become so bunkered down in combatting the infantry effects of the prison industrial complex that we have not considered routing our forces at the cause and finally ending or at least gaining an advantage in the conflict?

Don’t get me wrong; there have been victories in the prison movement, not just in California, but other states as well. But I often wonder, has the prison industrial complex had a hand in dictating our causes by controlling our conflictions?

The Ashker decision was great, the five core demands are all good, but how come we are not writing our own regulations and attacking the “STG” scheme in totality? We know from its inception it was designed to isolate and entrap prisoners with the God given talent to awaken the prisoner class to the exploits of the system and provide those willing to organize for change with practical alternatives to prison enslavement.

How come we are not demanding that California Prisoners serving 85 percent be given an opportunity, through practical application of rehabilitative programs, to earn milestones and early parole eligibility the same as other similarly situated classes of prisoners serving time? Why allow the 85 percent prisoners to be discriminated against and denied equal protection?

The old argument made every time violent offenders are put on the ballot for early release and time reduction opportunities, the prison industrial complex runs the same old ads about soft on crime legislators letting criminals loose to rape and pillage communities. This argument has become so cemented in the minds of prison advocates that they think they are doing the Prisoner Human Rights Movement a favor by not introducing legislation for violent offenders, once again allowing our causes to be dictated by the control of our conflictions.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is the moving force that privatizes criminal statutes for financial gain and profit, and they receive their funding from major corporations. If they can legislate for profit, why can’t we legislate for freedom?

The prison industrial complex is built upon and operates via a commercial framework. When a prisoner does any “work” or “labor” in the system, he reinforces and substantiates the prison system’s position over him. When friends, families and outside advocates do business with corporations and banks that have their hand in the American cookie jar of exploitative prison profiteering and labor, they are investing in more prisons, harsher sentences, Jim Crow laws, and tactical militarized training aimed at prisoners and urban communities.

For those of us who claim to want a solution to the problem, we have to seriously look into the mirror of reality and remove our own actions from reinforcing the problem. And if we think that the U.S. courts are not functioning to reinforce this system and cut themselves a slice of this industrial pie, then our naiveté has been one of our biggest crimes. Pay careful attention to the following excepts from a Jean Keating seminar on prisons:

“A condensed version of what is going on is that CCA as a corporation creates or issues stock certificates based on prison population – goods or chattel as they are called in commercial law. The underwriter is the one who buys the stock from the issuer, the CCA, with intent to resell it to the public or an entity or person – usually an investment banker. The investment banker purchases all or part of the shares of the stock for resale to the public in the form of newly issued investment securities based on the shares of stock. Brokerage houses and insurance companies bid on the investment securities with a bid bond issued by the GSA. The bid bond is then indemnified by a surety company through performance and payment bonds. The bid, performance and payment bonds are then underwritten by the banks as investment securities for resale to the public. …

“This system permeates the fabric of our society.

“Go to a search engine and type in U.S. courts. Go to the court links and click to see a map of the circuit courts. Click on 7th Circuit, and a list of the 7th and 8th Circuit Courts will appear. Click on Illinois Northern District Court, then click on Clerk’s Office, then go to Administrative Services, then to Financial Department. You will see Criminal Justice Act, Post Judgment Interest Rates and a list of sureties. Click on Sureties; it will take you to fms.treas.gov. There on the left side you will see the sureties listing, admitted reinsurers and forms. Click on forms and you will see Reinsurance Agreement for a Miller Act Performance Bond SF 273, and a SF 274 Payment Bond and a Reinsurance Agreement in favor of the United States SF 275 and a list of admitted reinsurers, pools and associates. You will also see a list of the Department of the Treasury’s listing of approved sureties.

“U.S. District Courts are buying up the state courts’ default judgments, where you refuse to pay or dishonor the debt. …

“(P)risons are repository institutions or facilities for securities (prisoners) as collateral for the public and national debt. The prisoners represent asset or repository money for the bid, performance, and payment bonds. The prisons are referred to as credit facilities, institutions or repositories. They function essentially the same way that a depository bank does under 17 CFR Sec 450. The prisons are acting in the capacity of a fiduciary or custodian over government securities. …

“(I)n addition to being a repository bank with prisoners being the assets, collateral or securities of the bid, performance and payment bonds, the prisoners are the actual reinsurance or surety and their sentence represents the valued and marketable risk involved with the materials, supplies and cost factors involved with the guaranteed performance and payment relative to the bonds. This is termed ‘assumed risk’ in insurance and represents a present peril, hazard or danger of loss, due to their dishonor and default judgment in court. That is why there is penal sum or clause attached to each bond for non-performance and payment of the bonds. …

“By legal definition all of your federal and state ‘statutes’ are bonds or obligations of record and are represented in the courtroom by the recognizance bond, which is a bond of record or obligation for the payment of debt.” (See Jean Keating’s “Prison Treatise.”)

And here we are as a prisoner class investing our energy and intellectual capital in studying and researching their copyrighted federal statutes/bonds to petition the courts to overturn intentionally exploitative sentences. Remember, a prisoner’s “sentence represent the valued and marketable risk involved with the materials, supplies and cost factors involved with the guaranteed performance and payment relative to the bonds.” Why would they willingly let you go when your sentence represents “valued” and “marketable” risk? Marketable means they are still utilizing it for sale, trade and exploitation. Why would they let you go?

While it is true that a small fraction of prisoner petitions are granted relief, that is nothing more than a ploy manufactured to convince the masses to put their faith and credit in the “justice” of the system. Even the majority of prisoners seem to have fallen for this tactic. For every 10 petitions that get granted, 10,000 get denied.

My own case provides a perfect example. Locked up at the age of 18, too indigent to afford my own counsel, I was exploited by a public defender, Keith Arthur, who signed my plea two months before I did, and rabid dog Deputy District Attorney Victoria Rose. I was coerced to sign a plea that waived Penal Code 654.5 Multiple Punishment/Double Jeopardy Prohibition in order to be punished for both robbery and carjacking and given an enhancement (use of firearm) for both, even though by the penal codes, statutes, and legislature’s intent, this is fundamentally against the law. What type of counsel coerces a client to waive a penal code in order for them to be punished for more time on their sentence and be given two strikes when they had none?

I’ve put in six petitions or writs with sound, on-point arguments showing a prima facie cause for “relief.” All have been denied. I even challenged the plea as an invalid contract because “The Declaration in Support of Plea” was never signed by the judge. The judge never signed the contract to substantiate the “Court’s Findings” which reads: “The Court having reviewed this declaration and questioned the defendant in open court, finds that the defendant has voluntarily and intelligently waived his constitutional rights, that these pleas and admissions are freely and voluntarily made, and that the defendant understands the nature of the charges and the consequences of these pleas and admissions. The Court finds a factual basis for the pleas and admissions, accepts them, and the defendant is hereby convicted on his plea.”

If there was a “factual basis” for the plea, why would a Judge not sign the declaration of the court’s findings? He didn’t sign it because he didn’t want the bond liability on the waiver of Penal Code 654, which is illegal. This type of exploitation by those who are supposed to be the “custodians” of justice is all too common in their system on a daily basis. They have the whole country fooled into thinking it’s about crime prevention, law and order, when in fact it’s about exploiting an “underclass” and sending them to their repository warehouse facilities where we can be investment securities to finance public debt!

Now we understand why prison officials are allowed to add time to our sentences just by writing “rules violation reports” with no preponderance of evidence substantiating the charge other than the “report” itself. Any “hearing” procedure empowered with the ability to add time to your sentence should be upheld by exercising judicial standards, but we know from experience that these kangaroo “hearings” have no standards close to judicial. You are already found guilty based on the “report” before stepping into the hearing. Just like on the streets, you are found guilty when the indictment (commercial investment) is signed. Remember, the more time they give you in any of their courts, tribunals or hearings, the more they can value and market the investment securities.

In light of gaining some insight on what kind of system we are dealing with, where do we go from here, in terms of a practical strategy of shutting down the prison industrial complex? When presenting demands, rights, propositions etc. to an industrial juggernaut, the only way that you are going to make it truly pay attention is to stop his industries. Thus, when he looks out into the landscape of his empire and doesn’t see the polluted smoke clouds which indicate to him that his industries are producing comprehensively, then he will be concerned enough to climb down from his ivory tower and see about the problem. We must leave the crops in the field and let them rot!

The New Underground Railroad Movement supports the Free Alabama Movement and those states – Texas, Mississippi, Ohio etc. – that are organizing for the work strike and boycott starting Sept. 9, 2016. I pray that California inmates and those leaders taking responsibility to organize on behalf of the struggle do not miss an opportunity to participate in this historic labor strike.

I don’t want my energy used for paving the way to live comfortably in prison and call that victory. We have an opportunity to demand freedom from prison and institute policies that will pave the way for a restructuring of the system, but only organized, disciplined, drawn out labor strikes and boycotts will achieve this. Anything else is a pipe dream dictated by our afflictions.

I don’t want my energy used for paving the way to live comfortably in prison and call that victory.

For those seeking more information on any part of this article or how you can support the New Underground Railroad Movement, contact Mr. Anthony C. Robinson, Jr., Coordinating Founder.

Note: To those brothas and sistas of true merit, who have written me from your facilities, know that I never abandoned you in practice or in spirit. The corporate dog who is trying to trump up “BGF activity” confiscated the letters before they reached or were delivered to me. They can’t stop those letters if they come from friends and family to me.

Chino

Poem by Anthony Robinson Jr.

“What quality of will must a Negro possess to live and die with dignity in a country that denies his humanity?” – Richard Wright

There is a psychosis lurking in the understanding
that prison is a culture and not a civilization.
It seems that poor oppressed people
cling to things that are for them emotionally true,
because they so desperately need a truth to protect
them from their harsh reality.
We measure lies, not by fact or fiction,
but by how conveniently they secure our
relationship to our environment.
There is a process in life where
somewhere along the way you have to
invent yourself and try to reach a compatible
identity to your vision of life and where you fit in it.
A vision molded by a trail of tears that leads
you to an expectation of yourself not necessarily
of your own making.
I stare out through these bars
into dreams unfulfilled, and I wonder
if it was ever considered as the juncture
of their design what aspects of humanity
would be confined as well with the person.
Keep from the world like a secret
that can never be revealed because it was
spoken in a language that cannot be translated
by the ears that received it.

Anthony has finally won his way back to California after years in private prisons, used by CDCr to alleviate overcrowding in California prisons without freeing anyone. Send our brother some love and light: Anthony Robinson Jr., P-67144, CMC E6-28L, P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409.

Parole threatened for organizing and writing for Bay View

by Anthony Robinson Jr.
May 30, 2016

The Code of California Regulations (CCR) Title 15 defines a Security Threat Group (STG) as “any ongoing formal or informal organization, association, or group of three or more persons which has a common name or identifying sign or symbol whose members and/or associates, individually or collectively, engage or have engaged, on behalf of that organization, association or group, in two or more acts which include planning, organizing, threatening, financing, soliciting or committing unlawful acts, or acts of misconduct.”

The interesting thing about this definition is that it does not specifically use the word inmate or prisoner, but identifies any individual, group or association engaging in unlawful acts.

Photo of Anthony Robinson Jr in 2015

Anthony Robinson Jr in 2015.

The majority of employees at La Palma Correctional Center who work on Compound 3 fit the description of a Security Threat Group due to their unlawful conduct, but who investigates them or makes them answerable? Certainly not themselves. Yet I am being targeted for my work; a work that was created to build a constructive Humanity; while these prison officials are rewarded for work that assaults the very fabric that makes us human and seeks to destroy lives.

The subjective nature in which prison officials design and define prison regulations is intended to create a barricade around themselves whereby they can target and freely fire upon prisoners – hitting them with rule infractions that add time to their sentences, taking away privileges that help connect them to their families etc., all the while, protecting themselves from the ricochet of fairness that keeps them safe from their own bullets when they conduct themselves in a likewise unlawful manner.

I am being targeted for my work; a work that was created to build a constructive Humanity; while these prison officials are rewarded for work that assaults the very fabric that makes us human and seeks to destroy lives.

“Consciousness is the key to one’s deliverance from oppression of all types. Prison writers are the visionaries who take the prison experience and translate it to others in prison and outside of these concentration camps. The prison theoretician sees those paths which are not yet cut and injects theory into our world so that others can build on these thoughts.” – Jose H. Villarreal

We cannot ignore the continued torture existing in facilities that are operating in cruel and inhuman ways and whose actions are not just targeted against prisoners but the public as well. Case in point: The STG coordinator, Nathaniel M. Freeman, has informed me that the beautiful sista A. is a target. She is con­sidered a BGF “facilitator” because she writes and corresponds with some prisoners who they considered to be affiliated. This is a great miscarriage of justice as it is used to further isolate those prisoners who A. seeks to help in work that seeks to uplift.

STG Coordinator Freeman asked me the other day as he came to hit my cell again: “Are you still going to publish any articles in the Bay View and organize work strikes?” he said, hinting at the reason I was being targeted in the first place.

For those of us who have faced the definition of our inflictions through the experience of our treatment in prison, we are striving to come up with practical strategies to bring about results that add meaning to not only our lives but the lives of others.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who do evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.” – Albert Einstein

The man in prison who has the courage to see past the barb wired dynamics of his circumstances and bring his humanity to the surface to be of service to a cause beyond himself is a standing miracle against a strong current. And we can’t stand alone.

For too long we have been isolated even when articles are read or voices are heard and responded to. Isolated in terms of results, because as many of my ideas and articles that are read, the work requires the ability to procure human resources. Without funding for The New Underground RailRoad Movement, we are stuck on one track.

In my experience, the “enemies of humanity” are the good people who have become comfortable reading and listening, but never doing. Those prison officials who are oppressing us have amassed a huge stockpile of resources and it would be impractical for us to assume that we can combat them without a remnant of the same.

Our biggest resource has always been the faith of the people who know that the historical arc will bend towards justice. But we are tasked with putting forth an effort to help it along the way.

Right now I am at a pivotal moment in my time in regards to having an opportunity for early parole consideration under the Youth Offender SB 261, and the mere scrutiny of this STG retaliatory witchhunt has the potential to greatly hinder any chance that a board will release me to parole, and the officials targeting me know this.

This is the assistance I need in moving forward: I need to raise funds in the amount of $500 to pay the cost of registering my non-profit The New UnderGround RailRoad Movement, and I need any volunteers who are good at researching to contact me. The material I will be needing is commercial liens process, how to set up a charitable trust, secured party filing, and tracking down bid bonds.

Thanks in advance those supporters who will reach out and do! Please contact Mr. Anthony Robinson Jr., P-67144, LPCC MB-119, 5501 North La Palma Road, Eloy, Arizona 85131.

For those wishing to donate funds, go to: westernunion.com/corrections, pay to: ConBfections Corp of America, code city: Trustcca, state: TN, senders account: ROBINSON 1548443.

Power to the people who recognize their power!

Corporate in-humanity

It’s hard

when on your journey

you have to walk around yourself

so that you won’t fall into the holes in your heart.

I feel every engagement concerning another

human being as intimate, but find that people are more

comfortable being wedded to insecurities that guard

them from expressing God.

Most friendships are temples made from mud

and are exposed when the dry season ends and the rain

marches in …

I pray to chains about my dream of walking

on the sunny side of a better vision, and these bars

answer, quoting some policies that were written when man’s

mind was separated from God.

It’s hard when on your journey

you have to guard your mind from the acidic

perspectives of custodians who are profiting

off of men losing their faith; they would rather

build prisons than bridges,

bars than scholarships,

fences than faith,

barbwire than bonds,

laws than love,

jurisprudence than justice,

regulations than realities,

sentences than sincerity,

populations than persons,

penalties than penance,

guards than grace,

recidivism than relationships,

policies than philosophy,

slaves than survivors.

I fight every day to keep God relevant

in a prison that feeds on the hymns of

humanity like breadlines that stretch for miles

and invite employees to line up with bowl in hand

to catch the prayers of prisoners that the

corporate hand smacks down …

An open letter to the enemies of humanity

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Irish statesman Edmund Burke

“Constructive notice” is a term used in law that explains or proclaims: Ignorance of the law may not be used as a defense for breaking the law.

Well, what of humanity? If a construct such as the law, which was created by man, can set a bar for such a standard of bearing responsibility in a legal sense, should not humanity’s bar be at least met at the same level or a higher one – a level that proclaims “Constructive Notice of Humanity”?

It is a term in society where the people are expected to take notice of the atrocities and inhumanity being perpetuated around them and act in responsible ways to end oppression where they see it, enabling the values that they deem fundamental to be expressed beyond the myopic extension of their own doorstep and into the field of dreams of their neighbors and fellow human beings.

Responsibility means the ability to respond. People are under the false assumption that going to school, working a 9 to 5, and “staying out of the way” is being responsible. No, in this day and age where the dynamics of exploitation and oppression are so prevalent in society, “staying out of the way” is part of the problem.

“Constructive notice” is a term used in law that explains or proclaims: Ignorance of the law may not be used as a defense for breaking the law. Well, what of humanity?

When a cause comes along or when an issue needs to be addressed, too many people in America are “staying out of the way,” only to live long enough to see that same issue adversely affect the lives of their children. Oppressive realities do not go away because we ignore them; they, like cancer, only metastasize when we do nothing about them. Oppressors – and prison officials – like bullies, only become more aggravating when no one stands up to them.

In February STG Coordinator Nathaniel M. Freeman, along with SORT officers Reed and Francisco, ran up in my cell armed with pepper spray, excessive shouting designed to intimidate or threaten, and the musk of inhumanity, forcing me to crawl from my bunk to the floor, placing my arms and legs behind my back in hog tie fashion, at which point they placed plastic restraints on my hands excessively tight, cutting off blood circulation, dragging me out of my cell in my socks.

STG Coordinator Nathaniel M. Freeman took personal property, letters, literature, address book and paperwork outside of my presence without properly inventorying items and allowing me to sign off on verifying them, as the California Code of Regulations dictates.

They are reviewing material to see if they can trump validation charges against me, the supposed reason being that a Mr. Terrance White had written me in response to one of my articles. This letter I never received because the corporate carpetbaggers in the mailroom, B. Triplett and P. Hirsh, confiscated it.

Send our brother some love and light: Anthony Robinson Jr., P-67144, LPCC MB-119,  5501 N. La Palma Rd., Eloy AZ 85131.