From Anarchist News
For more context on the effects of solitary confinement and lockdowns please see the excellent website Solitary Watch -IPBC
We recently received word, and have confirmed from several sources in different facilities, that all the close custody prisons in North Carolina were recently placed on lockdown for an extended period of time. According to one source, this lockdown began (at least at Lanesboro CI in Polkton) on January 20th. Prison administrators called for the lockdown after several (apparently) coordinated attacks by gang members across North and South Carolina.
As of January 26th, one prisoner wrote of the lockdown,
“We are still on lockdown. After many hours of flooding (filling the cells with water) and rioting, our water was turned off and the PERT (Prison Emergency Response Team) came in on us. Several inmates were beaten and taken to the hole. These assaults were inflicted inside the prisoners’ cells outside of the cameras’ view. Our water was turned off from Friday night January 20th to January 25th, and we were not allowed to take showers or come out of our cells at all…We have sustained attacks from this PERT team twice in this month.
None of us really know why we are locked down. Those of us who tried to sway the others to stop working for the prison in the cafeteria and clothes house have found ourselves alone in this struggle to rebel. Prisoners are afraid to go up against the system here at Lanesboro because of the attacks on prisoners in isolated areas hidden from the eye of video surveillance. We have only been informed today that this could be perpetual or last up to several months.
I will be pursuing another 1983 Civil Rights Act against the DOC and encouraging others to do the same until the required numbers are met to qualify for a class action, but in our corrupt system of jurisprudence all I can hope to achieve is congesting the federal court system.
I will and do urge the public to defend our limited freedoms inside of these walls, and force the administration to stop these uncalled for lockdowns. Finally I ask all Jailhouse Lawyers to file 42 USC 1983 Civil Actions against the DOC and the Director. At the end of the day, we prisoners are still human and there is no excuse to be treated less than that.”
Another prisoner at the same facility provided a rough timeline of events leading up to and during the lockdown (which may or may not still be ongoing at some facilities). This prisoner acknowledges that “the Bloods managed a timed riot across the State at almost all close custody facilities and that all such facilities are currently on lockdown. They attacked guards and set fires here (at Lanesboro CI) and several inmates and guards were taken out for medical attention…This has been very exciting. I wish it could have been more disruptive for a much longer period and gotten outside attention.” A different prisoner suggested that these coordinated attacks were part of settling scores internally within the gang across the state, but that the behavior of PERT has caused a collective reaction by prisoners.
The incomplete but telling timeline at Lanesboro is as follows:
11/18 Staff “forgot” to feed us (prisoners on C Block) dinner.
12/08 Four separate stabbings and thefts of Christmas packages.
12/29 Sixteen officers beat an old black man in a wheelchair who is paralyzed on one side of his body, for trying to leave the block to go see the nurse. The prisoner’s name is Juan” and the officer that starts this is named Mr. Pierce. Lt. Miller supervises the beating. In total there are five “code 4”s (inmate disturbance) today, of which Juan is one.
12/30 Today a man was stabbed in front of the dining hall and had to be air lifted out. He almost died and is in critical condition. When the officer came back from the hospital I was astounded at his callousness when he said, “Next time we airlift someone I’m going to stop and get my cell phone so I can take some pics. The view was awesome!”
1/5 Annual PERT team search. They come in and tear everything p – find a few weapons, drugs, and a few people go to the hole for phones but its right back to business after they leave.
1/20 So many code 4’s this morning after breakfast that we lost count. Also at least one code blue (medical code). All upstairs on Moore Unit 2 and one in the Chapel. Now we are on facility lockdown. Multiple fights. Multiple stabbings. Inmates and staff. PERT team came in.
1/21 Locked down.
1/22 Still locked down. Found out today there has been a statewide riot by the bloods. We got word today that the Bloods managed a timed riot across the State at almost all close custody facilities and that all such facilities are currently on lockdown. They attacked guards and set fires here (at Lanesboro CI) and several inmates and guards were taken out for medical attention. We are getting mostly cold-bagged meals and guards are refusing to take our requests for sick calls, medication regulls, and to place our mail in the box for outgoing delivery. There is no canteen.
1/23 Custody Staff in our wind does not feed any of us on special diets our lunch – says they will “look into it” and never come back. Letters containing threats to staff are found on another unit and a man at Bertie CI (in Windsor) is almost killed when coming out of the shower by having his throat cut, o an order comes out of Raleigh that during the lockdown all inmates must shower in handcuffs!
1/24 The PERT comes again as a show of force. They find nothing of consequence but tear up all our property and give us a hard time. Everyone in C-Block on my unit floods their cells and everyone in D-Block sends their food back claiming a hunger strike.
It is unconfirmed to what degree the lockdowns have continued at various prisons. Despite the almost unprecedented level of violence, coordination, and also state repression these incidents have shown, the media in North Carolina has been virtually silent. There are active groups of conscious and radical prisoners at virtually all the prisons on lockdown; though the initial clampdown it seems was catalyzed by internal gang violence rather than prison organizing, the collective resentment towards PERT and the DOC’s draconian policies is growing. As we receive more information we will post more news.
-some NC anarchists against prisons…