Following Policies or Following Whims?
After reading ULK 43 I decided to write for the cause. Seeing the article "Denied Recreation in Ad-Seg" written by a Texas prisoner made me want to expound on the same issues and expose the injustice in Texas prisons as a whole. From general population to Ad-Seg we all take the unfair shake of the hand; from the food on most units, to the disciplinary system, to the grievance system setup, to segregation placement and release. It's all kangaroo! And the chance for changing this seems highly unlikely. The "new" Willie Lynch and Jim Crow still has the masses blind, programmed and divided.
On this unit there are only two grievance investigators yet neither knows any answers to questions about grievances. Some grievances I've filed that have substantial evidence against officers or the system take 90 days to "investigate" and/or come up lost. Others come back with such a general response, it doesn't address the issues grieved. I have over ten grievances with the same response!
There's no need to really comment on the disciplinary system. Anyone who's ever caught a case knows how that turns out 99% of the time. I've never understood how the substitute counsel is supposed to be here to help us prisoners in such a matter when they are employed by the same agency that employs the captain who will find you guilty.
All of the conditions for management and release can be found in the Administrative Segregation Plan in the law library, signed by Director Rick Thaler on 6 March 2012. A lot of us are in segregation for some b.s., and once here they keep us here against policy with lame reasons or some non-violent infraction which has nothing to do with segregation placement anyway. Here are a few helpful things listed in the Administrative Segretation Plan.
I. Definitions A. At no time shall administrative segregation be used as punishment for misconduct. Punishment of an offender shall be assessed and imposed only pursuant to the provisions of the rules governing disciplinary procedures.
VI. Recommendations for Release B. General Procedures
1. The ASC may make recommendations to the SCC [State Classification Committee] for removal of an administrative segretation offender from administrative segregation who is between routine SCC reviews.
2. When considering the release of an administrative segregation offender to the general population, the SCC shall base the decision on whether the offender would still be:
a. A current escape risk;
b. A physical threat to staff or other offenders;
c. A threat to the order and security of the prison as evidenced by repeated, serious disciplinary violations
Grab a look at that policy, then ask yourself and others, does it take keeping a human being in segregation 3, 4, 5, or 10 years for any reason, provided their behavior is not continuously violent? I myself have been in segregation for almost 600 days now, for "possession of a weapon," that was not actually on me but in a cell where me and another prisoner were housed. Anyway, I'm labeled as a threat. I haven't done anything to anybody, haven't caught any violent cases either. When will I not be considered a threat? I'm not even labeled as part of a "security threat group," or escape risk!
To all of us in the struggle I just want to say keep your head high and strong. Learn the rules and know the game.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This author's experience shows that prisoncrats don't have to follow their own rules for responding to grievances, just like they don't need any substantive justification for torturing individuals for years. There are many who spend their time and energy trying to improve the protections for prisoners by enhancing prison rules. We can use this tactic to our advantage to make space for our organizing, but ultimately we wonder what's the big picture? The anecdote above is just one small example of the role of social control of Amerikkkan prisons which has been blatant for decades. And prison reformers have been trying to for decades improve these same prisons' conditions, while doing nothing to dismantle the economic system which requires oppression of groups over other groups. Prisons are a manifestation of that hierarchy, and capitalism is the economic system that we must destroy.