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Gangs in OH

Earlier this year I found myself locked down in a series of segregation units, ultimately being placed in administrative control. I was charged (and found guilty) of an all encompassing violation that reads: "Participating in or organizing, whether individually or in concert with others, any gang or disruptive group activity including but not limited to, possessing, displaying, wearing or using the materials, passwords, insignia or signs of such gang or group." The gang activity in question was the gathering of prisoners needed to litigate a class action lawsuit. The materials in question were pieces of the lawsuit which outlined the egregious conditions under which we were all being housed.

More and more, this comprehensive, all-inclusive charge [of gang activity] is being used to squash prisoner demands before these demands are given even a modicum of thought. By silencing the outspoken prisoner, prisoncrats are crippling the grievance process. Prisoners are becoming more weary of pointing out errors and discrepancies in procedure because the end result is harsh retaliation that leads to placement in segregated control units at best, and administrative control units in maximum security penitentiaries at worst.

The staff in the prison where I was incarcerated affirmed that I could in fact solicit support for a class action lawsuit, that by doing so I had not violated any of the prison rules or regulations. But if I organized in any way then I would be charged with participating in disruptive group activities. This is clearly a Catch 22.

The end result is that not only are prisoncrats violating a prisoner's right to access to the courts, but they are also laying traps in an all-out effort to trample on and suffocate those of us who are already having trouble breathing.

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