SCI Dallas is up to the same nonsense that SCI Camp Hill was trying to pull. The mail sent from Free Society Community Library was confiscated due to copyright laws. Specifically, they said: “Copied publications should be denied due to copyright laws per central office.” They are saying anything that has been published is prohibited for imprisoned people to have. I can’t even get my own work then!

So, they’re saying that imprisoned people cannot receive any published materials even though the DOC mail policy 803 says we can receive materials from the internet? They also confiscated zines that True Leap Press sent that clearly say anti-copyright! Anything that is published online or off has a “copyright” to them.1 So they are prohibiting us from all these materials.

Ironically though, an imprisoned person can go to the library here and copy pages from any book he or she wants to and that is okay.



note from blog admin:

[1] Contrary to what the prison claims, Title 17 USCS section 107 says:

Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use: “Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A [17 USCS sections 106 and 106A], the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.”

Thoughts on Extraction

When Ruthie Wilson Gilmore and I sat down for a conversation, we spoke about how the PIC not only exploits the labor of imprisoned folx (mainly via reproductive labor of the prison), but also extracts value from us. I came to this conclusion because I knew that our labor wasn’t the only or even major source of value the PIC was after. The PIC extracts our lives, our life time. Ruthie helped me to see each person as a territory that the PIC extracts value from via a time-space hole that imprisonment creates. Incarceration creates a mechanism through which money/capital can flow through a person and into the pockets of the PIC. This all sounds abstract. I know. But since coming to SCI Dallas, I clearly and concretely see how extraction, not exploitation, is the big game the PIC is using. And we need to get hip.

I am housed on a Veterans Service Unit (VSU). This is one of four blocks within the PA DOC prisons system that partners with the Veterans Services Administration (state and federal). Currently imprisoned people who have served in the military, no matter how they were discharged, are eligible for the services on these blocks. Most of these people don’t work. But they still provide value to the PA DOC/PIC. How? Programming.

The PA DOC receives state, federal and private funds for creating these types of programs and keeping them filled. Almost every prison in PA has a therapeutic community (TC) for drug/alcohol treatment. Money has been flowing to the PIC via imprisoned people in these programs for decades. But now, DOCs are getting hip and creating more programs (usually centering on mental health) in order to extract more value from imprisoned people. We don’t need to work to be of value to the PIC. Just being here and being “diagnosed” by their staff makes extraction possible and valuable.

PA has created an alphabet of solitary under the mental health programming name. Thousands of people are in these programs and capital/money is flowing through them and into the PIC. These funds could be and should be used to provide non-coercive, community based services. But the PIC is gobbling up more and more of them. Mental health, substance and alcohol treatment, reentry services, elder care programming is ramping up behind the walls. We don’t have to work. All we have to do is be imprisoned and we become of value.

Some of us are experiencing exploitation. We don’t program, but we work. Most imprisoned folx don’t work but those of us who do are being exploited. These places couldn’t run without us. But many more people are experiencing extraction. Remember, many programs are mandated for parole purposes. Working isn’t. Some of us experience both. And what is even more disturbing is that many of these new programs use the labor of imprisoned folx to succeed. On my block, there is a program almost everyday. Only once a week does a DOC employee run the groups! Every other group is run by a DOC trained imprisoned person. All sign ups and paperwork too! The staff don’t even have to show up!

Extraction is going to become the dominate game. With fewer jobs available (most of us didn’t work anyway) and less out of cell time since COVID, programming is the way to create value and keep imprisoned folx running. And what makes it more sickening is that many imprisoned people are fooled into thinking these programs are the way to success, happiness, peace and safety.


These observations help me to see extraction as the major mechanism of the PIC. While this is more easily seen and accepted outside the walls, exploitation has been the major topic behind the walls. Even though most people don’t work in here. And work is becoming less important. They are using fewer people to work. And they are giving us less hours. A shift in the kitchen used to be 6-8 hours. Now it’s 4-6 hours. It is a rare person who gets paid for an 8-hour shift.

People out there see how extractive the PIC is. Offender-funded punishments are common. Remember Ferguson? What do we think e-incarceration is all about? But people don’t realize extraction is happening in here too. And it is taking money, programs and services from our communities and sending them through imprisoned people and into the pockets of those vested in the PIC.

Besides capital, legitimacy is being bestowed upon the PIC. It continues to offer itself as the “solution” to social problems. State, federal and private funds are flowing into prisons. These death making spaces are passing themselves off as life enhancing. Besides state and federal money, I have witnessed nonprofits like LOOP get into the game, partnering with the DOCs in a number of states to provide programming, often dependent on imprisoned people’s labor.

We have to talk more about the role of extraction in all of this.



Phone Zap To Exonerate Stevie Wilson From False Misconduct Charge



Phone Zap for Stevie!

Email Zap for Stevie!


Stevie Wilson, an incarcerated writer, organizer and educator at SCI Dallas, has been asking for weeks to be moved off his block because the first shift COs have been harassing him since he arrived at SCI Dallas recently. Stevie has made all of his outside comrades aware of this for some time. On 3/21/23, one of the COs that has been harassing Stevie escalated his harassment of Stevie by falsely accusing him of “threatening a CO.” The misconduct was initially supposed to be informal, not affecting Stevie’s parole. But Stevie was never placed on the call out list by the Unit Manager, and as a result, was never notified of his chance to attend an informal hearing. At this point, it turned into an official misconduct, which if convicted, would prevent Stevie from receiving parole. 

Another CO attended the hearing and testified on Stevie’s behalf (which is virtually unheard of), confirming that Stevie was not on the call out that day. But the fix was already in. After realizing that she made the mistake of not putting Stevie on the call out, the Unit Manager actually went into the computer and ALTERED the records to make it look like Stevie had been on the call out list. Yet, even with the CO testifying on Stevie’s behalf that the Unit Manager had not put him on the call out that day, it was not enough to find Stevie not guilty. Using the fabricated call out from the Unit Manager as evidence, the Hearing Examiner found Stevie’ guilty of the misconduct.

As so many prisoners have told us, prisons do their worst under the assumption, based on years of practice, that no one outside finds out, or no one outside cares what happens inside. Make these calls and emails and shut down their phones so they know that we see them. 

Please share this document with anyone you think might take 5 mins to make a call or email today (3/31/23), this weekend, or this week. We want as many calls and emails as we can get.

Phone Zap for Stevie!

SCI-Dallas: 570-675-1101, ask for superintendent Kevin Ransom… if they won’t transfer, talk to the person who picks up

SCRIPT: I am calling to ask why Stephen Wilson (LB8480) was found guilty of a class 1 misconduct [they will deflect or say they have heard this before or haven’t heard of it]. The misconduct is completely unfounded and I demand Stevie be found not guilty. The CO who falsely accused Stevie of the misconduct is someone who has been harassing Stevie ever since he arrived at SCI Dallas, and that CO made up the allegation against Stevie to escalate his harassment of Stevie. [that we know another CO testified at his hearing on his behalf, go for it!]. I also demand that Mr. Wilson be moved from the Veteran’s Unit and to another block. 

Email Zap for Stevie!

PA-DOC Main Office:,


To PA-DOC re: SCI Dallas,

I am writing to demand that Stephen Wilson (LB8480)’s misconduct from 3/22/23 be overturned immediately. The misconduct is completely unfounded. The CO who charged Mr Wilson with the misconduct has been harassing Mr. Wilson since he arrived at SCI Dallas, and made up the allegations against Mr. Wilson as a way to continue harassing him. 

What’s more, the Unit Manager on Mr. Wilson’s block fabricated evidence against Mr. Wilson that led to the misconduct. Among other things, the Unit Manager did not place Mr. Wilson on the call out list for March 22, 2023, but she then went back into the computer and entered the call out retroactively. This is unacceptable, and is easily proved.

At Mr. Wilson’s hearing on March 29th, 2023, a CO testified that the Unit Manager had fabricated that evidence, yet the hearing examiner still found Mr. Wilson guilty based on the fabricated call out slip from the Unit Manager. This is unacceptable. I demand that you rectify this horrible injustice immediately by reversing the finding against Mr. Wilson, and moving Mr. Wilson from the Veteran’s Unit (he is not a veteran) and to another block. 



Abolition and Co-optation

Prior to the 2020 murder of George Floyd by a state agent, I was aware of people and organizations that described themselves as abolitionists, but promoted policies and goals that contradicted abolition. One example is Just Leadership USA which called for the building of new cages in New York City boroughs. Abolition is about shrinking the state’s ability and capacity to punish, control, cage and surveil. Abolitionist never support the building of cages. Like many others, JLUSA often claimed to center the leadership of formerly and currently imprisoned people. The truth is these organizations don’t center the leadership of currently or formerly incarcerated people. Hiring us, even placing us in upper administrative positions, doesn’t mean our leadership, concerns or priorities are being centered. What is centered by these organizations is the wishes of their funders. And the formerly incarcerated people they hire must support the line of these funders to stick around.

Since 2020, this situation has become more common. Organizations claiming to be abolitionist attach themselves to formerly or currently imprisoned people and use them to promote reformist goals. Most often, these organizations work in only two areas: litigation and electoral politics. For some reason, they believe elected officials will lead us to freedom. For some reason, they believe the most conservative branch of government, the judiciary, will grant us freedom. Don’t they know that whatever they give they can take away? Don’t they know freedom is not something given? Don’t they know history? Right now, the voting rights that elected officials and the courts granted in the 60s and 70s are being taken away all across the country? We will never obtain freedom begging politicians and judges for it.

These same organizations spend little, if any, energy organizing communities. And let it be known, mobilizing people for rallies and marches isn’t organizing. It’s mobilization. There’s a time and place for mobilization, but what we need is organizing. Like Malcolm X said, and Saidiya Hartman reiterates, we are not outnumbered, we are out organized. We need to be in the communities, connecting with people, listening to them, assisting them in obtaining what they need not only survive, but thrive and do this work. And I am talking about communities on both sides of the walls. If we are going to build a mass movement that demands freedom, that expands the meaning of freedom, that obtains freedom, we have to organize.

These people and organizations that promote legislating our way to freedom distract us from true paths to freedom. We must be vigilant. A person or organization doesn’t have to be abolitionist to be against policing, prisons, racism, sexism, ableism, imperialism, homophobia, transphobia or any other oppression. But when a person or organization claims to be abolitionist, there are expectations. There are principles and ethics that need to be upheld. We cannot allow these people and organizations to co-opt abolition, truncate its vision and distort its call.

Abolition is for and by the people!

Letter from SCI Dallas

I don’t have my property with me. I went to the library today, searching for some text that could nourish me until I received my property or books from comrades. As I perused the shelves, I realized how absent my communities are from what was available. There were no works on abolition, Black queer studies, Black studies, feminism, queer/trans liberation, disability justice or community organizing. I searched by topic and author. I searched specific titles. Nothing. This is how the PIC wants it to be. This is how fascists want it to be. I usually don’t depend upon prisons libraries for reading materials. But what about those who do? Where do they find affirmation? Where do they find sustenance for their spirits?

Moments like this make real the connection between censorship on both sides of the walls. People and their experiences are being erased. People and their concerns are being silenced. I remember the feelings of home and hope when I first encountered Joe Beam’s In The Life. That book gave me life. I was struggling. I felt alone. I felt despondent. One book changed those feelings. One book opened the world to me. In prison, marginalized people cannot find the materials that affirm them, that connect them to the world, that tell us we belong.

As I took in the purposeful absence, the shutting out, of marginalized voices in the prison library, I questioned why people and organizations partner with the state, the biggest purveyor of censorship, and believe they are providing imprisoned people with opportunities for transformation. The state denies imprisoned people the materials we need to grow. The state will never provide or allow materials that call it into question, that encourage critique of racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy or ableism.

This trip to the library encouraged me to dig deeper and find ways to get the materials we need to live, to build community and to effect real transformation.




Banned Book Week

Banned Book Week has arrived. It’s a time when the pervasiveness of censorship is highlighted. But is seems that each year, censorship behind the walls is forgotten. Imprisoned people live with censorship 52 weeks a year. We are denied access to knowledge and punished for producing knowledge. Our families and friends must overcome numerous hurdles to send us reading materials. One mistake and the package is denied. It is much easier to obtain drugs, weapons, or sports equipment behind the walls than a book. Why is that? And who benefits from these restrictions?***

Knowledge is power. And prison officials don’t want imprisoned people to have power. When an imprisoned person begins to study and understand the conditions of their life, a seed of change, of transformation, is planted. A learned imprisoned person is an affront to the prison industrial complex. That person understands who the enemy really is. That person understands the power of collectivity. That person connects with those around them and works to change themselves and their environment.***

The prison doesn’t restrict just any materials. It focuses on materials that effect transformation. It focuses on mobilizing texts. It focuses on texts that center the experiences of marginalized folx. These texts provide insight on not only how to survive racial capitalism, but also how to thrive outside of it. This is why political education and those who promote it behind the walls are targeted by prison officials. In every long-term solitary confinement unit you will find some of the most politically aware imprisoned folx. The assault upon knowledge behind the walls is relentless. And the campaign to counter it must be too.***

We need comrades and allies to join us in campaigns that expose the arbitrary censorship decisions by prison officials. We need comrades and allies to join us in actions that challenge these decisions. We need comrades and allies this week and the other 51 weeks too.




from Stevie

Prison isolates. Prison alienates. Prison severs relations. The prison works to keep the imprisoned disconnected from and unaware of events in the community. I have struggled for some time now against censorship in the PA DOC. Prison is censorship. Obtaining books, magazines, and newspapers is a battle. Receiving a newspaper is particularly hard. So much of the news media has moved online and no longer deliver to the rural areas where most PA prisons are located. Fortunately, I have found a way to obtain the Philadelphia Inquirer. I get it late. But I get it.***

I am trying to keep up with what is happening in Philly, anticipating my release soon and my return to Philly. So much has changed in a decade. But some things have stayed the same. I am psychologically preparing for what has changed. That includes the people who are no longer with us. I have lost family and friends while incarcerated. It is one of the worst things that can happen to someone while imprisoned. The sense of powerlessness, guilt and anger can overpower you. When a loved one dies, we are called to the chaplaincy department to receive the death notice. It is a dreaded walk.***

But with the love and support of allies, inside and outside, I have made it through those dark times. What I worry about is the deaths I missed. All the people who have died that I didn’t hear about. Coming home and hearing the news, however long ago the death occurred, will impact me. It will feel like it just happened. How does one prepare for that?***

More than a month ago, I had my sister search online for the last person I was in a relationship with before incarceration. He loved social media so I figured it wouldn’t be hard. But it was. There was nothing. After digging around some more, she discovered why. He died in 2014. Eight years ago! And I just found out. This is the person who helped me through the most devastating loss I ever felt: the death of my father. I will always love and respect him for his love and support. I wish I could have told him how much he meant to me and how I appreciated what he did. For days after learning of his death, I found myself dazing off and thinking about him. There is so much I wish I could have said.***

Tonight, I was catching up on reading newspapers. I finally received a new batch from the end of August/early September. Reading the August 30 issue, The Region section, I came across a story reporting the death of Michael Hinson, Jr. It broke me. Mike Hinson was something special. I met him as a teen. He was one of a cohort of Black gay men in Philly who mentored me. Or tried to mentor me. I didn’t learn to listen until I grew older. They loved me. They modeled care, connection and community. Along with Tyrone Smith and Hal Carter, Mike Hinson impressed upon me the necessity of community. They didn’t just complain about what the Black queer/trans community wasn’t getting. They created what we needed and told us we can take care of each other.***

Mike was a founder of Colours, Inc.. I remember when they met in a conference room on 12th Street. They didn’t have their own space. And what did they do? They invited young queer/trans people of color to share the space and hold our own support group. That is how Forty Acres of Change Youth Group, a Black and brown queer/trans youth group was started in 1994. From the very beginning, Mike felt youth must be heard and served. Mike was a rare one in that he could mix and mingle in the halls of power, and get stuff done, AND he could bump shoulders in the club with the ballroom kids. Not many people could do that.***

He never forgot his roots. He never forgot his communities’ needs. He was a model of a successful Black gay man. When in his presence, you knew and felt he was someone major, a big shot, but he never made anyone feel small or unimportant.***

Mike Hinson was one of the people I desperately wanted to see me doing well upon release. I want to return to Philly, a place where I committed harm and help people, especially my communities, heal. They say you have to plant flowers where you do dirt. I wanted Mike to see the man I have become. I wanted him to know that the lessons he, Tyrone and Hal taught me are finally being put to use. I have changed over the last decade of my life, but the seeds where planted a long time ago by men like Mike, Tyrone and Hal. It’s been almost two weeks since Mike passed. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye or send a message to be read at a funeral or memorial service. What I do have are the lessons from Mike and his example. What I can do is pass them on. I can show the same dedication and concern for my community as he did. I can work to create better opportunities for young people, especially queer/trans POC, like he did.***

I will hold onto the memories and example of Mike Hinson, Jr.. In the article reporting his death, the header read “An activist ‘superhero’ is remembered.” Mike didn’t consider himself a superhero. He was just doing what needed to be done. That is why he was a rare one. Rest in Peace, Mike Hinson.***