“Why Prisons Exist” By Michael Kimble

There's not much that I can say that hasn't been echoed many times before
about the prison industrial komplex, other than to keep explaining how and
why people end up in prison.
     It's hard for some people to wrap their brains around the fact that
generations of high unemployment, poor education, racism and discrimination
to a very large degree causes criminality.  Study after study by social
scientists have shown us that unequal distribution of wealth , education
and political power also determines which sectors of society will accept
criminal activities as a means of survival.  No person gets the chance to
decide what socio-economic status they are birthed into, so society is
culpable to some degree.
     But we must not stop there in explaining why prisons exist and who
ends up in them.  Just as people of color have experienced systematic
discrimination, marginalization and violence simply because of the color of
their skin, so have gay, queer, and transgender people.  Being openly gay
makes you an automatic target for any homophobe out there, because you're
different.  Gay people are discriminated against in housing and employment.
 Many gay youth are homeless due to family problems in dealing with their
being gay.  Some of these youth end up in prison, opt out by way of drugs,
or commit suicide.

"most people realize that crime is simply the result of a grossly
disproportionate distribution of wealth and privilege.  Imprisonment is an
aspect of class struggle from the outset.  It is the creation of a closed
society which attempts to isolate those individuals who disregard the
structures of a hypocritical establishment as well as those who attempt to
challenge it on a mass basis.  Throughout its history, the U.S. has used
its prisons to suppress any organized efforts to challenge its legitimacy
(think about COINTELPRO).
     The purpose of the chief repressive institutions within the
totalitarian capitalist state is clearly to discourage and prohibit certain
activity and the prohibitions are aimed at very distinctly defined sectors
of the class-and-race sensitized society.  The ultimate expression of law
is not order- it's prison.  There are hundreds upon hundreds of prisons and
thousands upon thousands of laws, yet there is no social order, no social
peace.  Anglo-Saxon bourgeois law is tied firmly into economics.  Bourgeois
law protects property relations and not social relations''.
-George Jackson

Simply put, prisons are constructed to suppress all attempts to challenge
the status quo, be it by way of sexuality or by way or organizing for the
destruction of the state.
     I remember reading a quote from a warden at Marion USP in Illinois on
the purpose for what many consider the first control unit: "The purpose of
Marion USP is to control revolutionary attitudes in prison and in
Enough said.

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Updated Address for Sister Amazon

Eva Contreraz C45857

PO Box 799003 (B6-227L)

San Diego, CA 92179-9003

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July 2013 Update from Amazon of Gender Anarky

(JULY 2013)

Peace, Greetings & Blessings to all those who love.  I want to send a short
message out at this time--

     First, thank you so kindly to all who keep in touch with me with your
concern, love and support that is so meaningful to someone undergoing the
real hardships of the daily grind of prison life that ever strains our
human capacity in so many damaging ways, abodes of dehumanization and
degradation.  Our suffering is visible and invisible, obvious and subtle.
 None of us are immune to the constant physical and psychological assaults
on us by prisoncrats.  Even I falter at times, so your comfort is so
meaningful to me.  It really matters and I love you all for it.
     Some of you have not heard from me for a while and that's because I've
been transferred.  I'm back in Donovan prison in San Diego, after doing a
program in the Dept. of Mental Health, where I was sent due to incidents of
genital self-mutilation through the years for want of sex-change surgery
that the prison dept won't give trans women in men's prisons.  The doctors
at the DMH recommended surgery for me, a really great development in and of
itself.  They have an independence that prison psychs don't have. I've made
a formal request for surgery, but this is where the problem lies.  The
prison department does not have to follow the recommendation and will not
give surgery.  A prior request for surgery was denied.  But there is some
separate development.  My information is that one of the girls won her
lawsuit for surgery but the prison department appealed it and it is now in
the federal appeal court.  A similar case in another state prison is on
appeal by the prison dept there.  So we've made some progress.  Yet another
federal court ruled that prisons can't refuse to treat transsexualism with
hormones and/or surgery if the doctors they hire to evaluate trans
prisoners recommend it.  This ruling came out in March when the U.S.
Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the ruling.  Legally, this case
can serve to persuade the appeal courts in the other two cases to adopt the
same logic.  It is practically a given at this point that all prisons will
eventually be required by the federal courts to provide surgery to trans
prisoners who are recommended for it by qualified doctors.  This would
include me, but we are still some years from that day.
     Things are not the same here as when I left in NOvember.  I got back
on June 25th.  I have been in the hole ever since.  The prison claims I now
have two enemies on the yard and so i must be transferred and remain in the
hole until then, a process that takes months.  I believe this is
retaliation and a set-up to get rid of me due to the hunger strike
resistance here of last year.  I have asked to reconcile with these alleged
enemies, which is when both agree that there is no longer animosity and
they can be safely housed on the same yard.  In fact, I did this when I
came here last year.  BUt they wont do it this time around.  I am to appear
before  a classification committee next week for transfer. I am doing what
very little I can under the circumstances.  But in all practicality, I will
be transferred.  It is at their discretion.  Any challenge would be a fight
that cant be won.  The best thing is to roll with it.  The sooner I leave,
the sooner i'll be out of the hole.  I can and will fight the situation and
my new location and if successful, I will be transferred back here.  This
is the most tactical course and at that time supporters in society can join
the effort.  Each battle has its time and place.  We will decide these
factors, no one else.  We will decide them to the best of our advantage.
     At this time I do need some help in another way.
     I am resigned to being in the hole for several months to come,
throughout summer.  I am not allowed my personal property in the hole and
have nothing.  I don't have writing gear to keep in contact with those I
write to or their addresses.  I do need writing paper, envelopes and
stamps.  I do a lot of other writing, so paper is important, lots of it.
 everything can be sent in a plain non-padded manila envelope.  Three
writing tabs max is cool and long #10 envelopes.  In addition, I need
reading material.  Anyone can send print material like zines, books,
newsletters, magazines, downloadeds.  It is best to note "distributor"  or
''books to prisoners'' on the return address.  I have a healthy interest in
news of world events as they occur, especially where fags are concerned,
military operations, and events in the middle east.  I also love doing
crossword puzzles from "USA Today'', LA TIMES and NY TIMES.  Photocopies or
clippings can be sent.  I read wide, so almost any subject of reading
material can be sent.  The only thing is no nudes.  pictures can be sent
but not polaroids.  I really need this and will love you so much for it.
 Or hey, just write :) 
     It gets very depressing in these holes.  They are intentionally
structured and operated in crude fashion.  The most glaring issue is the
unpainted cells.  They are grey concrete, faded and dirty walls, an
oppressive sight that bombards the mind all day.  it's like living in a
cave.  They are very small which makes me struggle with my claustrophobia.
 After over 30 years in prison, I do have psych issues; No one can survive
that long without them.  I'm highly claustrophobic.  I'm a mental health
patient.  I've done half my time in the holes of various prisons off and on
through the years and decades.  I get chronic and severe depression and I
often experience anguish and anxiety.  I have the symptoms of post
traumatic stress disorder.  I am diagnosed as hypo-manic or bipolar and can
go from peppy to blue in an instant.  I sleep only 4 hours a night, usually
two at a time, with the light on because the dark makes me anxious
and claustrophobic   I have nightmares.  I feel trapped,  and desperate at
 times and have emotional breakdowns and crying bouts.  I've tried suicide
several times through the decades, ended up in a community hospital to keep
me alive.  Even Amazons in the trenches are human beings and have our
weaknesses.  But I'm keenly focused on survival and believe i'll make it.
     I want everyone to know that I love you.  I need your love at this
moment, I'm not too proud to say it.  Thank you ever so much for a part of
yourself.  Im my own way I pray for your peace and well being.

With Great Love and Tears,
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Callout for stories about organizing against gender violence within the prison system

One current project of PRAGV is to document the history of prisoners organizing against rape, trans/homophobic violence and sexual exploitation at the ends of the prison administration & other prisoners, and the existence of prisons themselves. While some of efforts at this are more well-known outside the prison system [Men Against Sexism in 1970s Washington, Gender Anarky in California], organizing resistance to these conditions within prison is widespread throughout the United States but unfortunately remains undocumented and ignored by many.  If you or a loved one/friend/family member/penpal have stories about these efforts within the prison [or psychiatric] system and are interested in submitting them to be publically published along with the accounts of others, please send your stories/memories/experiences to genderanarky [at] gmail.com.  Let us know if the author of the piece  would like to remain anonymous or have a name attached to their writing.  If the author is a current prisoner and interested in receiving mail from others, please send us a short bio and address and we can add it to the site along with their writing.

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Write to Michael Kimble!

Michael Kimble is a gay black man and anarchist doing a life bid in an Alabama.  He can be reached at:

Michael Kimble # 138017; M-60
Alabama State Prison
3700 Holman Unit
Atmore; AL 36503

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URGENT: Call in to support Amazon’s release from Department of Mental Health custody!

From Gender Anarky


In a recent correspondence with Amazon, it has come to our attention that Amazon is being held against her will in especially restricted circumstances in a facility of the Dept. of Mental Health against her wishes.  The conditions of this facility are, of course, doing nothing to improve her mental health and the increased harrassment by staff, poor living conditions, and increased restrictions within this unit have only increased her depression and suidical thoughts.

Call Warden Randy Grounds of Salinas Valley State prison and demand that Eva Contreraz, C4585, be released from Department of Mental Health custody according to her wishes and in the meantime be given a cell with running water immediately!  Salinas Valley State Prison’s number is (831) 678-5500.

“It’s time to take it to the trenches in the tyrannical prison system and equally tyrannical Dept. of Mental Health that currently hold me against my will in this prison.  I’m sending this S.O.S. to anyone in society who would care to take some action on my behalf.

I previously explained how I ended up here.  I kicked off the war with these pigs as soon as I got here and was immediately subjected to discrimination as a trans woman and other mistreatment.  At Donovan prison, where I came from, I had maximum program privileges, with yard, dayroom, and groups daily.  This program is a highly restricted lockdown setting that normally, under prison rules, one is put in for rule violations, as a means of punishment.  All of this surprised me when I got here. I hadn’t broken any rule.

I was on ‘cuff status’: I could not come out to the yard or dayroom and was handcuffed with two escorts when taken anywhere, even to the showers a few feet away.  This is how it is in the hole, the supermax lockdown prisons.  To put me in these conditions, the rule book requires due process procedures: a documented disciplinary accusation with a copy to me, an investigator and assistant for my defense, a hearing before a lieutenant, a copy of all reports and the disposition for my record and to appeal the action taken.  I was given none of this, either here or at Donovan.  In essence, though I was sent here for mental health diagnosis, I was stuck in a hole for nothing, without legally required due process precautions.  This is tyranny, not constitutional or democratic government.  Not that I believe in either, but if they say I have it coming as a matter of their law and I am being forced to live under their law against my will, I want it.

I am being held in the DMH against my will, in a mental health program.  I must consent in order for them to put and keep me here.  I objected to being transferred here at Donovan but was railroaded anyway last November.  An appeal of that action is still in process.  I have asked to discharge, but they refuse to let me.  I’ve been evaluated for years and decades in prison for the need for sex-change surgery, which the prison dept. refuses to give me or any other trans prisoner in need of it.  The doctors have concluded in a recommendation for surgery.  This was months ago.  I asked for discharge, since my recommendation is in and I am through here, but they won’t let me go, insisting that I ‘finish the program’ of months and months of doing nothing but sitting in a cell.

Ever since I got here, I’ve been constantly at odds with these pigs.  They have disrespected my trans state, with negative attitude and derogatory comments, and I’ve retorted right back.  More mistreatment.  Being couped up in the cell for prolonged periods has had negative psychological effects on me, as it would anyone, especially as I am claustrophobic and given to panic attacks in such conditions, which includes moaning, depression, crying, etc.  I feel like I will die any moment and get a death wish just to end it.  My medical/psych files note that in such living programs, I ‘decompensate’ (have adverse psychological symptoms).  This includes suicidality or suicide ideation (e.g. a death wish).  Yet I was put in such an environment unnecessarily.  I am having all these reactions and symptoms in the cell, fighting as much as my battered body can muster.

I also become more aggressive to the pigs.  Last month, I was in the hole (no difference) for threatening the guards, for a week.  I am now in the hole again for more conflict with them.  My water had stopped working three days ago due to plumbing problems.  It would take days to have it fixed.  I asked to be moved to a cell with working water, but they wouldn’t do it.  I don’t think I’ll be getting out this time.

Now, rather than discharging me from here, whenever, they are considering sending me to a new prison for DMH prisoners that is opening in July.  Everyone who is here is going then.  Once there I can be held for months, years.

So please zap the warden here as to: why I am being maintained here when I’ve been treated and have a treatment recommendation and am not being discharged back to Donovan; why I am being harassed and provoked by the staff for being a transsexual; why I am being held in a cell with no running water; and why I am being handled by staff who have no training working with mental health patients, aggravating my mental health condition.

This might get some action, improve things for me, and get me discharged.  Meanwhile, I’ll be maintaining, doing what I need to get through each day and keep my sanity in this cruel place.

Thanks ever so kindly.

Sister Amazon”

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What’s the T with the Girls?: a Report by Sister Amazon, May 2013

From Gender Anarky


Peace and Greetings to the Sisterhood!

I wanted to talk a little about things here in the California prisons with the queens, to bring everyone out there onto the yards and behind the scenes for a look-see, as a lot of you are our supporters and we do want to account to you.  I can’t say I know it all, because no one has that kind of knowledge in an expansive , complex prison system as this one, with 33 prisons today, 21 of which I’ve been through in my 32 years straight of imprisonment.  The situation is always changing back here, from day to day, even hour to hour.  I say this especially about the girls overall, because at times things with us move faster than with others.  I am sure that many out in society do not have a clue to the hard reality for us in these prisons, among ourselves as opposed to how things are going for us opposite the cops, etc.  A lot of you out there have never been to prison, and not one like the California system, which has in the area of 300 transsexual females in the men’s yards, more than ever before in the history of this system and about the largest population of girls than in other prison systems.  And the girls keep coming, as young as 19, first time in prison.  And so this will at least give you an idea.

Anyway, it is also a new day in that many of the girls are aware of the need for unity among ourselves for our survival and well-being on the yards. , and have taken steps to actually unite and identify as girls who will stand up for ours and throw it down however we have in order to get our message across that in simple terms we are not to be fucked with.  Not all of the girls who are active like this have political motives and agendas.  Rather, it is a more gut-survival consciousness in the dog-eat-dog world of prison, no different than life on the street.  The girls are raw, crude, straight up from the gutter (slums, ghettos, inner cities, reservations, rural poverty, barrios, etc.) and care nothing for politics, only the minute to minute reality we live in.  They are hard girls and can be extremely violent.  They know only survival, whatever it takes, and it takes many forms in prison.

These is an assortment of girl associations on the maximum security wards, which are the most volatile yards.  They are dedicated to our safety and security and defense from being beaten, raped, robbed, scapegoated, and other kinds of abuse by prisoners and cops.  They all come from the same social category, the class of socially disinherited, though the cities may be different, and they are multiracial in composition.  For example, there are the Gender Anarky girls, who are among the most violent, going to the hole for stabbing, slashing, and fighting cops.  You have the Crazy Bitch Club, which is equally militant and is integrating with Gender Anarky.  There are the Gangster Girls, who are widely fanned out and are street active and have done mutual defense work with Gender Anarky.  Then there’s the Lonely Queen Riders, a highly organized group that has done sensational acts of bloody violence on the yards.  All do vigorous recruiting.  All have an elaborate communication network for prison-to-prison contact.  All are armed.  Among the gayboys there is the Gay Boy Gangsters, a relatively large group that is very active on the yards.  The group has been around for a while, before some of the girl crews came up, and so there are some girls in it.  But as the girls began to organize, some of the girls stepped back from the group and joined them, as in the case of Gender Anarky and the Gangster Girls.  This is critique that Gender Anarky is competitive in its policy of recruiting girls from other crews.  There are boy crews that have some girl members, usually because their husbands or lovers are in the crew, and there is some static that Gender Anarky tries to recruit these girls.  Or these girls spinoff on their own, as with the Loyal Queen Riders.

The girl crews associate with each other.  There have been times of disagreements and static between some, problems resolved at the table and not taken to the yard.  Some of the girls are lesbians, in fact most are, and have had cross-group affairs and marriages, living as cellmates, and this strengthens ties, creating alliances.  Some girls have bumped shoulders with the gayboys, and there exists an unease between them.  But it understood that it is best such problems don’t end up on the yard, because we essentially have the same cause and enough people to deal with it as it is, and the more united we all are, the more powerful and respected.

The cops can be a problem everywhere.  Some give the girls a hard time just because we’re girls and they hate that.  Some are neutral to us.  Some sympathize with us and treat us right and do us favors, give us slack if we’re in a spot.  You get a mix at each place.  If it’s not something they’re doing to us, then it’s just their negative attitude, a big deal in these places, psychological: it messes with our mind, especially as they control everything we do.  Some girls, including myself, have physically fought them, went to the hole and court for ‘assault on staff’ and some were given more time in prison for it, on top of the standard two years in the hole for that kind of thing.  These are always occasions where cops provoked the girls, since we are perceived as weak and/or lacking in what it takes to be respected off the top, compared to the way they treat the men, dogging us or unnecessarily mishandling us– grabbing, gripping, shoving, slamming– and the defensive reaction is only natural in such moments, especially if you are concerned for your dignity as a human being.  Big consequences, yeah, but it’s just another day for us back here, and if we worried about consequences, we’d have trouble making it from day to day, no peace of mind.  It is also that some cops are attracted to the girls– both male and female cops flirt, get silly.  It get this more from the female cops on the occasions in which it has happened to me, which was quite brazen and went far beyond the norm.

Elsewhere.  Sex-change surgery for girls in prison.  I apologize for not having hard facts on this one, but circumstances are what they are.  The system still does not allow us to have surgery, either through it or at our own cost, and the hormone therapy program does not address it.  (We all get hormones, whoever wants them.)  My current information is that one of the girls won her lawsuit for surgery (several girls have such lawsuits in the federal courts here) and that the prison is also obligated to pay for it.  So the department appealed the ruling and now it’s in review court.  No telling when a decision will be out.  If the appeal court rules against the prison department, there will most likely be a Supreme Court showdown.  Meanwhile, a high rate of girls are mutilating their genitals these days for want of surgery.  I’ve been doing it since the 1980s, periodically through the decades and twice the last year.  I’ve assured my psych team here in the Department of Mental Health that if I don’t eventually get surgery after all my efforts, I’ll do it myself, “absolutely.”  They have recommended surgery for me after reviewing my long medical/psychological history of genital self-mutilation and suicide attempts due to gender conflict that almost left me dead, the real thing, not a cry for help; I was far beyond that point.  But the DMH and prison dept. are separate entities, and although the rules provide for outside diagnosis of prisoners for treatment recommendations, they also provide that the department does not have to go by the recommendation.  For me, this is the sticking point today. Why in the world send us for diagnosis in the first place, then?  It is beyond ridiculous, it is silly.  And it is just one more tragic illustration of the idiot reasoning of the prison complex that is designed to make us suffer endlessly and inhumanely by every legal loophole.  It is a not so subtle tyranny.

Among other things, the prison dept. may think that if they give surgery, there will be a run on the medical dept for it by a long line of girls, but I wouldn’t be so sure.  In my experience of talking to girls about surgery, 3 of 5 don’t want it.  There’s different feelings about it among the girls.  For example, one girl told me she wants it, but not in prison, because assuming she goes to a women’s prison post-surgery, which would most likely happen, she won’t be able to have sex with men.  She asked me what I was going to do for penetration if I have surgery and go to a women’s prison.  Logically, you do what the women there do– have sex with each other, make a dildo.  But I said that surgery means more to me than having sex with anyone does.  You have to want it that much.  I remember when I got castrated (testicles surgically removed– I always spell it out since most think castration means testicles, penis, the whole package) in 2009.  An ultrasound revealed a mass on a testicle, the result of repeated mutilation.  I immediately jumped on this, expressing a dread it could be cancer, and sued for the removal of both, which the prison caved to before the judge could decide (it had initially refused).  Before it was done, and before the case was even filed, I reviewed the medical and anatomical material on the aftermath of orchiectomy, and it said there will be no more sex drive or desire or ability.  We all love sex.  I value my orgasms.  And this made me think, because I was long decided that whatever it took, I was going to have it, that is, the surgery.  So it was done at a local hospital.  I guess it was about my third day after surgery that I woke up with an erection.  I couldn’t believe it.  I was thinking, “this is not supposed to happen.”  I immediately went back to the material, read the highlight all over again, and said, “This is bullshit!” and threw it away.

Well, having an erection without testicles was one thing.  Could I have an orgasm?  The literature source had already proved itself unworthy.  I still had sensations and erected, everything it said I wouldn’t be able to have again.  (It also said I wouldn’t have any more facial hair growth, another myth- I still had it, though a lot less.) Did this mean that I could still achieve orgasm?  Needless to say, this was all new to me.  What did I know?  I decided that as soon as I fully healed, I would find out.  On D-Day, I masturbated.  I got a full erection.  As I went on, it crossed my mind that maybe at the point where there was supposed to be orgasm there would be excruciating pain instead.  I really did.  I don’t understand what made me think this.  Trust me, by this time, all kinds of things were going through my head.  The surgeon hadn’t counseled me about it.  But everything occurred as it always had, the sensations and intensity building to a peak, and then the explosion– fireworks, stars, volcanoes going off, the Earth shaking.  All of it.  Full, pleasurable orgasm, satisfying.  There was no difference in that regard.  The only difference was that there was no ejaculation, nothing.  It was like a biological woman having an orgasm.  And so, I was left thinking, “Well, I had been willing to give up my ability to have sexual pleasure for my surgery, and yet I came out with it.  Keeping in mind that this was immediately after my surgery.  Today, four years later, I have less ability to erect, but maintain sensation and orgasm ability.

All this brought me to square-two.  Genital reconstruction surgery (my way of referring to ‘sex-reassignment surgery’ and all of its variations) removed the penis entirely.  A clitoris can be constructed from the nerves of the penis, which are preserved for that reason.  According to the *real* literature, the Standards of Care (I had now doctored up), some outcomes are positive for orgasm, some are not.  The surgical techniques in transsexual surgery, and skill, are always improving as medicine and medical technology improve in the area.  For my own reasons, I don’t prefer a surgical vagina.  Penectomy and a clitoris will do for me.

I will be back with more updates as they occur.  do this is Sister Amazon signing off with up to the minute T, and up to the minute, that’s all the T.

Love in Sisterhood,

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Welcome, friends.

The blog portion of this site will be central hub dedicated to updates, writings, and more from friends & comrades resisting gender violence within the prison system.  If you correspond with a prisoner who would be interested in being a part of this project, please let us know at genderanarky (at) gmail.com.

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