Ad-Seg Drives Self-Mutilation, At Least 6 Dead in 60 Days

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[Deaths in Custody] [Control Units] [Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 81]

Ad-Seg Drives Self-Mutilation, At Least 6 Dead in 60 Days

What I consider to be the most important topic since my last report is death. There have been 6 deaths that I’ve seen in the last 60 days here at the Bill Clements Unit. Keep in mind, I never leave my cell so for me to see them means it took place within the 40 or so cells I can see. There were a couple more we didn’t get confirmation on whether they died or not, but I find it strange that no check of vitals or attempt at resuscitation were made.

Of the suicides/dead bodies I’ve seen “carted off” so to speak two in particular bother me. One, because I spoke to this person every day and watched as they took all his property and left him in an empty cell and actually laughed at requests for crisis or suicide prevention. He was taken out of cell with dried blood across the waist line and burnt to a crisp from the fire inside his cell. They interviewed me as part of investigation, and I tried to explain the conditions. It doesn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling that they will improve. I’d hate to think he died for nothing. He was a good man, a father, and my friend. Now he’s dead. Would he be alive if he were not locked in isolation in Ad-Seg? Yes. Period.

The second one that bothers me is the guy behind me and over one cell who tried to cut his hand off they say. When he was cut and howled for help, they went thru a lengthy process of running a team spraying 5 cans of gas in increments and running in and whopping his ass until he bled out. I didn’t time it, but 18 minutes is what word is on the pod.

A third they say cut his own head off. I don’t know what to say about that other than they took the body out.

In addition to the suicides there are an alarming number of us cutting and self-mutilating and hurting ourselves. Some do it to purge. Some do it to get out of cell as it’s their only option to exit the cell alive, and some don’t know why.

We are/were husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, etc. who committed a crime and were sent to prison. Neglect, abuse, and further were not part of the sentence yet that is where we are. We’re fucked up back here! That’s what I’m trying to tell you. We need exposure and HELP!

The very instant you take me out of this cell and I breathe the air in the hallway or at medical, normal feelings and behavior returns. But on the wing in the cell is pain and suffering.

Note we have not had our hour out of cell or time in outside rec yards not once this year and only once in last 120 days did some of us get rec.

Food is still in my mind one of the most important issues. While over 50% of our meals are Jonny Sacks, consisting of one peanut butter and jelly accompanied by a 2" x 2" piece of food loaf. The occasions when we do get trays of cold food I still measure it and it only fills a coffee cup partly. The measuring spoons they use apparently aren’t slotted spoons so we get spoon fulls of water. Today I measured with my tablespoon: 3 tablespoons of main course gravy and what looked like cat food, 2 tablespoons of black eyed peas, 2 tablespoons of green beans and a small piece of cornbread. That’s it! Filled my coffee cup half way and didn’t begin to fill my tummy. Other than holiday trays we haven’t seen a dessert on a tray in over 8 months. This is not the diet they request funding for, nor the diet they report to our people that they clam to be feeding us yet it is what we get.

MIM(Prisons) adds: In a recent book on the history of Texas prisons, Robert T. Chase reports in the 1940s that the:

“…near ubiquity of self mutilation had”spread" across the prison system. “Many men had cut off their fingers, mutilated their feet and cut the tendons of their legs in hopes of getting shipped from this institution” [Darrington]… The prisoners claimed that they could not “stand the beatings of the guards and took this way out to keep from being killed in the fields by the guards.”"

As described this was largely in response to the brutality prisoners faced when working in the fields at that time, a practice that is no longer the norm. Today the most brutal conditions prisoners face are usually in solitary confinement. The torture has shifted from primarily physical to primarily psychological. Yet this response of self-mutilation as a way to escape continues.

Solitary confinement is a form of torture used for political repression and social control. This comrade’s report highlights the inhumanity that it brings. The deaths from suicide and beatings is only secondary to the deaths from K2 and fentanyl. We have continued to work to bring exposure to these issues while supporting those organizing against them. The campaign to shutdown the Restrictive Housing Units and all forms of long-term solitary in Texas is an ongoing and high-priority campaign. Texas holds the largest number of people in solitary of any state, and a higher percentage of its prisoners are in solitary than most.

NOTES: Robert T. Chase, 2020, We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners’ Rights in Postwar America, University of North Carolina Press, p.79-80.