End RHU & All Solitiary Confinement in Texas
On 10 January 2023, a new legislative session convenes.
Several state representatives have committed to utilizing proposals from Texas prisoners to implement reforms. Rep. T. Meza has stood out with her zeal to end solitary confinement throughout Texas’ prisons and jails. She previously introduced a bill along those lines that didn’t make the floor. However, this session with more support from her colleagues, and with a litany of Texas citizens concerned about this, things look to possibly end differently.
In conjunction with the efforts of state politicians on the 10th of January, supporters of this campaign will be protesting on both sides of the walls. Around the state prisoners are showing their support by hunger striking. People on the outside will protest in Austin at the state Capitol.
Lastly, there continues to be civil lawsuits filed against TDCJ and its practice of indefinite solitary confinement. One of Our comrades has filed suit and that’s been reported on in previous ULK’s.(1) There is also Hanson v. Barnett, CA No. 1:21-cv-629-RP-DH, an extensively detailed complaint filed in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.
We encourage all similarly situated people to file 1983 lawsuits, and if you need advice or assistance the address to Tx Team One’s legal representative is: 113 Stockholm #1A, Brooklyn, NY 1121
UPDATE As we go to press prisoners are wrapping up week 2 of the hunger strike. The TDCJ has verified 72 participants, while supporters say at least twice that number are on strike across the state prison system. In their defense the state also says that the number of prisoners in isolation has decreased from 9,186 in 2007 to 3,172 in 2022.(2) We say that is still too much torture!
Texas Prison Reform, the prisoner organization, gave the state 90 days notice before initiating this latest action in their campaign. In that statement they mirror their demands off the infamous Ashker v. Governor of California case, which settled for some minor reforms in how people are put in the Security Housing Units rather than abolishing the practice altogether. Abolishing torture is a winnable battle, that continues to gain attention and support. Anything less than a complete ban on solitary confinement across Texas prisons and jails is a failure of basic humyn rights.
Notes: 1. see ULK 76 for the original announcement, and updates in subsequent issues of ULK. All articles are online at: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/TX/end-indefinite-restrictive-housing-in-tdcj/
2. Ed Pilkington, 19 January 2023, Texas prisoners continue hunger strike in protest against solitary confinement, The Guardian.
End Indefinite Restrictive Housing in TDCJ