EBPS: A Letter from the Recent Ohio Prison Uprisings

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Originally from: FIREWORKS

At East Bay Prisoner Support we correspond with people in prison, sending in radical literature, sharing stories of rebellion on the outside, and hearing stories of rebellion on the inside. One of the most inspiring correspondences we’ve had recently has been with the accused members of the Army of 12 Monkeys at Mansfield Correctional in Ohio. Sean Swain, James Dzelajlija, and Leslie Dillon wrote to us:

Toward the end of last summer, flyers and booklets started circulating around the compound that were put out by a prisoner resistance group calling itself the Army of 12 Monkeys (A12M). The booklets were instructional manuals on orchestrating guerrilla warfare against the prison industrial complex from the inside. They included hundreds of tactics, from jamming locks with staples to cutting staff phone/ computer cords with nail clippers to organizing institution-wide work stoppages and riots. These things were EVERYWHERE. Numerous copies were distributed to all 16 pods on the compound. They called for all prisoners to resist- whether individually or as a group- the administration that’s keeping us all in cages and away from our loved ones. It was truly a beautiful and exciting time, because people responded! Graffiti’d “12’s” started appearing on walls.

The locksmith was seen daily changing locks and doorknobs all over the prison. Computers were getting fried by having salt water squirted into their motherboards.The biggest thing I saw was the kitchen/ chow hall being flooded by guys who jammed potatoes into the water drains under the traps on the floor.

Of course the slave masters didn’t think so. Can’t have us chattel running around, fucking up the plantation and all that. Staff cracked down pretty hard. Lockdowns. Cell searches. Gauntlet shakedowns. Pepper spray loaded paintball guns. Bean Bag launchers. Lots of violent assaults on prisoners. It was crazy. Then the 3 of us were carted off to the hole.* We’ve been here for 131 days and counting. Recently 3 others were apprehended for A12M activity. Shawn Marshall and two others whose names I don’t know.

Information gets back here from time to time. The A12M is still creating havoc for the Mansfied C.I. staff, Just today we discovered that 40 inmates from the Lake Erie Correctional Institution, 2 hours away in Cinneaut, Ohio, will be emergency transferred here to the Mansfield C.I. SMU for a riot caused by the A12M there. The Army of 12 Monkeys is spreading. The urge to resist and gain freedom is becoming infectious within the Ohio Prison System!

Swain, Dillon, and I are waiting on 5B Supermaximum Security placement hearings… Information about this A12M stuff can be found at seanswain.org and anarchist news.org. Check it out. Not much else to report on that I know of, other than that being in the hole* sucks. I’m cold, I’m hungry, and I’m bored. I could really use a pen pal. Someone who a) isn’t my family and b) is down for revolution.

-Blackjack

After we received this letter from Blackjack we got word that Leslie Dillon admits to being the head of the Army of 12 Monkeys at Mansfield Correctional. He says he knows there were no other members at the prison and in particular that James Dzelajlija and Sean Swain were not members of the group. It is yet to be seen whether this statement will successfully stave off further prosecution of Dzelajlija and Swain as members of the Army of 12 Monkeys.

JAMES DZELAJLIJA #A530144 MANCI PO Box 788 Mansfield, OH 44901
SEAN SWAIN #243205 MANCI PO Box 788 Mansfield, OH 44901
LESLIE DILLON #A416607 MANCI PO Box 788 Mansfield, OH 44901
SHAWN MARSHALL #A461448 MANCI PO Box 788 Mansfield, OH 44901

*The hole, also known as the SHU (Security Housing Unit or Special Housing Unit) or the SMU (Special Management Unit) is solitary confinement. In the hole, prisoners are only allowed outside their cells for 1-1/2 hours a day, and even then are kept alone. They are fed through small doors in their cells. There are generally no windows and only metal and cement furniture if any. They are under constant video surveillance. Because the prisoners are unable to file grievances, the guards are entirely unchecked and violently abuse those inside to a much greater degree than in lower security units. In California there are Security Housing Units in Atwater (between Turlock and Merced), Corcoran (between Fresno and Bakersfield), Tehachapi (outside Bakersfield), and at Pelican Bay in Crescent City in the northwest corner of the state.

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