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Solitary for being an anarchist

A prisoner at Pontiac Correctional Centre, Mark Neiweem, has been sent into solitary confinement for possessing literature from the Anarchist Black Cross, and for writing essays on the prison industrial complex. Following a disciplinary hearing – at which he was denied a lawyer – he was given six months in solitary for possessing ‘gang related material’ (anarchist symbols) and for possessing ‘written materials material that presents a serious threat to the safety and security of persons or the facility.

Alan Mills, Neiweem’s lawyer, stated: “I have been doing this kind of work since 1979 and I cannot think of another case where someone has gotten a disciplinary report for something so obviously political as this. At no point did they even ask him, ‘what is anarchism?’”

Prison authorities identified Neiweem as an anarchist have been investigating his activities for several months, even using a paid snitch who gathered information on Neiweem’s plans to start an anarchist collective within the prison. Prison authorities are not claiming he has been plotting to harm the screws or other prisoners, just that his ‘beliefs’ are a threat.

Despite being in solitary and having to experience the usual sanctions which come with such a move – no exercise, no visitors, no mail, and no books – he has been given a cellmate (a white supremacist). Giving someone in solitary conditions a cellmate is an unprecedented move, and it is clear by the nature of the cellmate that it is just another move to antagonise and break Neiweem.

Luther Blissett

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