Tuesday, January 7, 2014

CDCR Implements New Brainwashing Tactic, [possibly] Mandatory 'Journaling,' as Part of Step-Down Program

This piece was written as a follow up to two previously published essays (see: Legislative alert: CDCR’s Step-Down Pilot Program is in fact systematic, mandatory brainwashing  and: Creating Broken Men, pt 2) on the mandatory brainwashing by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) of thousands of people confined in Secure Housing Units (SHU’s). 
-------------------------------
A recap of the discussion we started here:

1. One of our brothers who has been in the SHU for 25 years was taken to the review board and they attempted to bribe him with the promise of transfer to another prison and contact-visits in Step 3 of CDCR’s Step-Down-Program (SDP) if he agreed to participate in Step 2 for six months – most centrally the “self-directed journal” outlined in Section 700.2 [p.42-45] of CDCR’s “Security-Threat-Group-Pilot-Program” – their hope being if he does it, then countless other younger, more vulnerable prisoners can be herded into this brainwashing program. He of course refused.

2. We had an opportunity to review one of the journals (The Con Game) and it’s even worse than we thought – well, more accurately, it’s exactly what we knew it would be: a blatant character invalidation and brainwashing tool.

3. Most disturbing of all, they’ve announced a director’s rules change to provisions of CCR Section 3040, which introduces mandatory brainwashing for EVERY PRISONER IN CDCR – called “cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)” – and attaching it to this same regulation that governs mandatory work and education assignments while confined to CDCR.

I think I may have been unclear as to what we were speaking of as it relates to these journals. “Interactive journaling” (for which “The Change Companies” has a registration in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) is just one component of the “Cognitive Restructuring ” [or “brainwashing”] Program” described in paragraph 700.2 of the Step-Down-Program (SDP) p.42-45.

The 21 Journals are simply the first phase of  “… an integrated, cognitive behavior change program…” If this first Journal theme is any indication, the primary purpose of these Journals is “character invalidation,” validating conservative authoritarian views as “responsible thinking and beliefs,” and developing a psychological profile by which to alter the core psychology of the subject.

There is much more involved in this, but these primary components are necessary in any form of brainwashing. What makes this so insidious is they use language that actually seeks to characterize sociological phenomena like poverty or educational underdevelopment as absolutely irrelevant factors in the subject’s decision to violate the state “law” or rebel against personal property – and it’s solely and completely the subject’s “fault;” and this runs contrary to all objective sociological and economic research and evidence available. For example, the Journal The Con Game begins by stating:

“Changing your criminal behavior is a tough job… in order to begin making positive changes to the way you think and act, you must first break through your con game. This journal will help you recognize your faulty beliefs and encourage you to change your behavior. .. Be careful! Answer honestly. Don’t be a victim of your own con game.”

It goes on to a section “Don’t fall for myths… that support the con game,” which is a collection of conservative, right-wing political views on social issues overly simplified and couched in unambiguous absolute language.
For example:

“ Myth: Criminals are the victims of society. They are products of dysfunctional families, abusive childhoods, bad neighborhoods, poor schools, and an unfair economic system. “My criminal behavior isn’t my fault. I just learned to survive the best way I knew how.” Truth: Each person is responsible for his or her own thinking and behavior. Many people grow up in difficult circumstances and lead responsible, crime-free lives. Task: Explain how you have practiced this myth in the past.”

The real truth is, both of these views have a direct impact on the viable choices and ultimate decisions of the underclass whether “the law” is a barrier to their survival. The choice between starvation and theft is an easy one – the human imperative of survival will always win out. There are not “many” people who grew up in underclass communities who lived “crime-free lives” -  the underground economy in most underclass communities is as legitimate as the “mainstream” economy. This is a sociological fact. This absolutist view – this black and white notion of human survival in capitalist America is the sole province of the conservative right and simply ignores empirical socio-economic data and proof.

These journal-authors continue to seek to impose a supply-side solution to a demand-driven problem; this covers 2 very different types of social behavior: predatory crimes (robbery, home invasion, car-jacking) and market-based crimes (drug trafficking, prostitution, illegal gambling, etc.) – neither can be significantly reduced from the supply-side. “Supply & demand” in this case is a question of social conformity vs. human need. “Supply” in the case of ‘predatory’ crimes is the number of people (poor) beyond the threshold of social conformity due to economic need and “demand” is the relative socio-economic conditions and/or desperation compelling them to act to relieve that economic distress.

As long as the conditions (social & economic, i.e. poverty, disproportionate concentrations of wealth, lack of opportunities, hopelessness, etc.) which compel low income populations to commit predatory crimes exist, there will be enough of the poor willing to “break the law” to meet their needs….  And they know this.

At the same time, there has never been a single case in history where a black market was defeated from the “supply”-side. From prostitution to prohibition, from gambling to illicit drugs – the story is the same. Supply-side controls act, much like price supports in agri-commodities, to encourage production and increase profits. At best a few mid-level intermediaries get knocked out of business. But as long as demand persists, the market is served more or less as before. In the meantime the failure to “win the war” on this or that vice becomes a pretext for increasing police budgets, expanding law enforcement powers, pouring more money into the voracious maw of the prison industrial complex, and apparently funding wholesale brainwashing programs to condition guys to believe none of this is true and it’s just all their fault.

These journal-editors go on to explain your “barriers to change…” They state, 

“If you want to make lasting, positive life changes, you will want to carefully cultivate your thoughts and behaviors. The first step is to recognize those negative or criminal traits... If you don’t make a strong and consistent effort to change these beliefs and behaviors they will continue to lead you towards … criminal activities.”

They list 8 “barriers” (entitlement, insecurity, manipulation, selfishness, lying, cutting corners, superiority, and dominance) then ask you to read their descriptions of each, admit you conduct yourself like this, then “Give an example of how you might think of act this way.” This is a classic character validation – to successfully complete this section you must state you are an insecure, entitled, manipulative, selfish, lying, superior, domineering, corner-cutter – a piece of scum.

They go on to state: 

“Go over your answers you have given in this section, now use the space below to describe those areas you are willing to change today to drop the con game.”

Now men like us don’t even think this way, and to be honest, this process is aimed at these youngsters, not us.

The journal-editors go on to ask you to explain (give an example):

-          You are good at convincing people of your point of view
-          Are you good at coming up with things people want to hear most?
-          Are you successful at getting people to trust what you say when you are lying?

As this goes on and on, basically you have to explain how you’re a manipulative liar – classic character invalidation; they even ask you to admit you’re like a reptile:

“A chameleon is a reptile that can change its color so as to blend in with its surroundings. How has your past behavior been similar to the actions of a chameleon? Explain.”

Et cetera for 22 pages. They even go so far as to instruct you to ignore your instincts to resist this conditioning, stating:

“Feelings of fear and doubt are part of being human. As you begin to make positive changes, these feelings will appear from time to time… It will be helpful if you fully accept who you are today… you have an opportunity to continue along the path toward responsible thinking and behavior. Maintaining positive change requires you to concentrate on continually challenging your beliefs and actions. All the work you are doing will allow you to reach a point of inner peace. Accept the real you, not the “con” you.”

Just the words themselves are chilling. I am a revolutionary, a progressive, a righteous man – my beliefs and actions are just and correct, they would subject much younger, less developed, and more impressionable men to this process transforming them into docile, subservient, broken slaves parroting the ideas and beliefs of the Tea Party Republican caucus.

Again, this is just the preparatory stage, conditioning the mind of the subject to accept he is just a scumbag because he was born a scumbag and his only hope is to acknowledge this, denounce himself and adopt their predetermined set of “responsible beliefs, thinking, and ideas” and you don’t have a choice in the matter.

This matter is so sick, they accompany the words with imagery designs to impress upon your subconscious mind the brainwashing objectives they seek you to adopt. As I told you in a previous communique “The Change Companies” have their copyright registration notice on page 2 which includes a trade-marked “process.” However, it has been redacted. It looks like this (see ill.):

A covered -up trademark "process"
So they don’t even want us knowing what process is being used against us. This is one of the reasons we need to get as much information as we can on “The Change Companies.” 

It is our understanding that they do have this same “process” being used in other states, but only California is making it compulsory. If someone wants to subject themselves to systematic brainwashing techniques – by all means feel free; the U.S. has become ever more complacent in accepting behavior modification in their daily lives in everything from weight loss and anger management – to stopping smoking – but these things are both mild and most importantly voluntary – what we’re talking about here is a radical, 4 year long (1 year at minimum – if you start in step 4) alteration of the core psychology of tens of thousands of prisoners to reflect the attitudes and beliefs of authoritarian conservatism, of the state and interests of its ruling class (to be docile, submissive to authority, long suffering toward exploitation and socio-economic disenfranchisement, and above all to not seek any change in the system itself – to ask their status and role of oppressed man/woman).

I sincerely do not believe anyone has looked into the legality of this program – no more than they looked off into the NSA’s practice of spying on every American in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world either.

The COMPAS Program

The “Compas Program” (which is part of the “cognitive behaviorial therapy” initiative they’ve just made mandatory for everyone in CDCR with a release date) begins with a “compass assessment” quiz which’ answers will be used to not simply discern which brainwashing components to employ against the subject – but to build a forensic profile of the subject’s friends, family, and community. 

“Compas” stands for “Correctional Offender Management and Profiling for Alternative Sanctions.” This is truly sinister and diabolical what is going on here in California.

Some samples of questions this COMPAS assessment asks to people who have to do these journals:

Family of origin:
Question 3) How is your relationship with parents (parental figure) and / or siblings?

Peers:
Q. 11) In the last couple of years before this incarceration, how many of your friends / aquaintances were taking illegal drugs?

Substance abuse:
Q. 22) Did you use heroin, cocain, crack or meth as a juvenile?

Residence / Stability:
Q. 24) In the last 12 months before this incarceration, how often did you move?

Social environment:
Q. 34) In the neighborhood you lived in before this incarceration, did some of your friends or family feel they needed to carry a weapon to protect themselves?
Q. 37) In the neighborhood you lived in before this incarceration, was it easy to get drugs?

Education:
Q. 39) What were your usual grades in High School?

Vocation:
Q. 51) Thinking of your financial situation prior to this incarceration, how often did you have conflict with friends/family ove rmoney?
Q. 56) Thinking of your financial situation prior to this incarceration, how often did you have barely enough money to get by?

Leisure / recreation:
Q. 65) In your leisure time prior to this incarceration, how often did you feel bored?

Social isolation:
Q. 69) "I felt lonely."

Criminal personality:
Q. 82) To get ahead in life you must always put yourself first.

Anger
Q. 83) Some peopel see me as a violent person.
Q. 86) If people make me angry or lose my temper, I can be dangerous.

Criminal attitudes
Q. 88) A hungry person has a right to steal.
Q. 89) When people get into trouble whti the law it's because they have no chance to get a decent job. 
Q. 92) When things get stolen from rich people they won't miss this stuff because insurance will cover the loss.
Q. 96) Many people get into trouble or use drugs, because society has given them no educatioj, job or future.

With this information they compile a profile to determine which brainwashing techniques and programs will best achieve the ends they seek - and then enroll you forcibly. If you refuse, they write you a 115 for "Refusing a direct order" - or in case of the Step-Down-Program  - leave you in Step 1. 
No better representation of authoritarian excess exists than CDCR's brainwashing programs.

Not only do CDCR want to be able to march into those Legislative Hearings in February trumpeting how they have this program underway and men are going for it – they want to use men like us to convince all these other men that it’s okay to submit to this also.

Written on Dec. 18th 2013 in a letter to the webmaster. 
----
What you can do:

Protest this making mandatory of psychological "therapy" that collects all personal information and uses it to manipulate the person in prison even more:

Write today January 7th (or just write and make your opinion known!):

There will be a public hearing on this on Jan. 7, 2014, at 10-11 a.m. in the Kern Room at 1515 S St., North Building, Sacramento.

To: CDCR Regulation and Policy Management Branch P.O. Box 942883 Sacramento, CA 94283-0001
RPMB@cdcr.ca.gov

Re: CCR Title 15, Section 3040 new rules changes relating to Section 700.2 of the Step Down Program [p.42-45]