Halting OGOM Distribution Until DRC is Challenged
For years we have offered the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ’s) Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) for sale to Texas prisoners. As we’ve reported previously, the manual has been removed from all Texas law libraries. The OGOM is a crucial reference for prisoners to understand and utilize the grievance process to address staff abuse and misconduct. Yet the TDCJ has deemed it illegal for us to mail it to fellow prisoners at their own cost.
Of the many copies we’ve sent to Texas prisoners in the last two years only one was confirmed received. A third were confirmed to have been censored by the TDCJ. The rest are of unknown fate because almost everyone we sent the OGOM to never wrote to us again.
Since we have been told by the TDCJ countless times that they will not allow us to mail their own manual to prisoners (and since this has not proven an effective organizing tool – almost everyone we send it to never contacts us again) we are not going to mail this publication again until someone can successfully challenge the decision by the TDCJ.
We did have one comrade who requested the OGOM on the premise that they will file a lawsuit once it is censored. The OGOM we sent was censored in November, appealed, and denied by the Director’s Review Committee on 6 February 2023 with the justification of “in contradiction with BP-03.91”. The comrade should be prepared to go to court now that the appeals process has been exhausted per the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). We will report any updates on this battle in ULK.
UPDATE: As we go to press in April 2023, the last OGOM we mailed out was received by the prisoner who ordered it. We are glad to hear it. But for now we are sticking with our decision above.