Texas Reform Updates
In March 2016, I sent a letter to Representative Borris Miles about not having a law library at the Wheeler Unit. I also filed a grievance on the indigent mail getting 5 letters a month sent out instead of 5 per week. It was sent back saying that it was too old to file on.
I filed some legal work with Rep. Borris Miles because the other unit where I was before didn't have a law library. The Wheeler Unit is only a few yards from here and they don't have access to the law library or access to the courts which is a Federal violation. Below is part of my letter to Rep. Miles.
"I am writing this complaint to state from the evidence that I have, which is some I-60s, inmate request slips, which I wrote requesting to go to the law library to do some legal work, and was denied twice because Ms. J. Lara stated that we didn't have law library sessions at this unit [Wheeler], because the law library which don't have NO BOOKS just a few stuff not enough that you could actually use to complete legal work with. To the other request, her response was that I was afforded with what they had, but every time a request is put in by somebody it is denied. We have a full size library about 300 yards from this Unit at Formby Unit. I have requested to be transferred over there where I can have legal access to the law library so that I can have access to the courts also."
You can print this, just leave my name out, because I would have trouble here and be retaliated against because of it. If you get this letter please write back and let me know that you got it because mail don't always make it to where it's supposed to go to. So please answer ASAP when you get this so I'll know that you received this.
If you have a grievance manual I would like to have one if possible. I am in the processing stage of writing Rep. Miles about the grievance process. They need to have grievances looked at by somebody outside TDCJ, besides the grievance investigator here, because we don't think the Warden even sees Step 1, because the same answer comes back on every Step 1, saying not warranted for further action. So this inital decision is all on it and it's been typed on every Step 1 and then Huntsville looks at Step 1, copies this answer on Step 2, and sends it back to us, agreeing with the answer on Step 1. And we use Texas Penal Codes on it and it states clearly that state law is being violated by employees and it's covered up within the Unit. So legal action can't be taken. Send me a few of the petitions and grievance manual and I'm filing with others about this also.
I also saw in ULK 51 that you said the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook is banned in Texas. I checked with the mailroom staff here [Formby Unit] and they said it is approved on this unit as far as they know. Please make this correction in ULK.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We've gotten confirmation from multiple sources that the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook is *not* banned in Texas at this time. Thanks to this contributor, and others, who help us to stay informed.
We wrote about the need to connect the battles this comrade is fighting with the larger picture of revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist economic system in our article "Texas Comrades Need to Step Up" in ULK 52. Reiterating that call, we also encourage this comrade to see how futile it is to call for an outside review board to oversee the grievance process. Even if a review board was put in place, it would be run by the criminal injustice system or their allies, because that is who has the power in this country. And the whole process will start all over again with lawsuit after lawsuit filed and dismissed, and won and reneged. Revolutionaries can't afford to bang our head against this wall while people are dying the world over, and their liberation is being stalled by Amerikkka's runaround.
We should struggle for some reforms, as that's all we can do right now at this stage in our struggle where we are too weak to struggle any other way. But we need to focus on reforms that will have the greatest impact on our organizing work, which centers around building independent institutions of the oppressed and building public opinion for socialism. Is an "outside" review board an independent institution of the oppressed? No, it would just be a facade of the state, and a false victory. If we want to have our grievances answered, we need to build unity, and come together to demand our grievances are answered. Of course there are many ways and many steps to unity, but this would be an independent institution of the oppressed to defend ourselves and build for the future where we're not begging prison administration to please treat us like humyn beings.