Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out

www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

Allred Unit (Iowa Park)

Beto I Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Bexar County Jail (San Antonio)

Bill Clements Unit (Amarillo)

Billy Moore Correctional Center (Overton)

Bowie County Correctional Center (Texarkana)

Boyd Unit (Teague)

Cameron County Detention Center (Olmito)

Choice Moore Unit (Bonham)

Clemens Unit (Brazoria)

Coffield Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Connally Unit (Kenedy)

Cotulla Unit (Cotulla)

Dalhart Unit (Dalhart)

Daniel Unit (Snyder)

Darrington Unit (Rosharon)

Dominguez State Jail (San Antonio)

Eastham Unit (Lovelady)

Ellis Unit (Huntsville)

Estelle 2 (Huntsville)

Estelle High Security Unit (Huntsville)

Ferguson Unit (Midway)

Formby Unit (Plainview)

Garza East Unit (Beeville)

Gib Lewis Unit (Woodville)

Hamilton Unit (Bryan)

Harris County Jail Facility (Houston)

Hightower Unit (Dayton)

Hobby Unit (Marlin)

Hughes Unit (Gatesville)

Huntsville (Huntsville)

Jester III Unit (Richmond)

John R Lindsey State Jail (Jacksboro)

Jordan Unit (Pampa)

Lane Murray Unit (Gatesville)

Larry Gist State Jail (Beaumont)

LeBlanc Unit (Beaumont)

Lopez State Jail (Edinburg)

Luther Unit (Navasota)

Lychner Unit (Humble)

Lynaugh Unit (Ft Stockton)

McConnell Unit (Beeville)

Michael Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Middleton Unit (Abilene)

Montford Unit (Lubbock)

Mountain View Unit (Gatesville)

Neal Unit (Amarillo)

Pack Unit (Novasota)

Polunsky Unit (Livingston)

Powledge Unit (Palestine)

Ramsey I Unit (Rosharon)

Ramsey III Unit (Rosharon)

Robertson Unit (Abilene)

Rufus Duncan TF (Diboll)

Sanders Estes CCA (Venus)

Smith County Jail (Tyler)

Smith Unit (Lamesa)

Stevenson Unit (Cuero)

Stiles Unit (Beaumont)

Stringfellow Unit (Rosharon)

Telford Unit (New Boston)

Terrell Unit (Rosharon)

Torres Unit (Hondo)

Travis State Jail (Austin)

Vance Unit (Richmond)

Victoria County Jail (Victoria)

Wallace Unit (Colorado City)

Wayne Scott Unit (Angleton)

Wynne Unit (Huntsville)

Young Medical Facility Complex (Dickinson)

[Idealism/Religion]
expand

No Way As The Way

[Hook]
My way might not be your way
But it’s okay
It’s alright, your way might not be my way
But it’s okay
It’s alright


[Stic.man]
Yea, I used to go to church
But the church didn’t quench my thirst
Mama taught me to put god first
But she never tried to block my search
I was curious, young but serious
Why's religion so mysterious
Why is black life so hard?
They say you’re not supposed to question God
Well is it okay to question the pastor?
Was it passed down from the slave-master?
It was only the truth I was after
But I never could get a straight answer
So I couldn’t relate to the sermon
Put down the bible, then I start learning
About life, didn’t know where the path would lead
But I had to get off my knees


[Hook]


[Stic.man]
I build with the Five Percenters
On the God within us, it’s no limits
Study the Metu Neter from Kemet
All saw, I remembered
Smoke herb with the Rastafarians
Grew my locks became a vegetarian
Following the Tao, building with the Baba Laos
Jewels being handed to a innocent child
My mind is a Buddhist temple, the truth is simple
I try to be principled
Walking with a warrior spirit
Ain’t nothing like learning from first hand life experience
I’m a realist, that’s all I deal with
Respect the truth, that’s all I build with
A child of the universe
My religion is life and it’s just as valid
I strive for balance


[Hook]


[M-1]
I gotta admit, I don’t know
In the end which way it’s gonna go
Why we sit by the project window,
Instead of living off the land with my kin folk?
Is there even a master plan?
An unseen hand? Is God a man?
Some say that’s sacrilegious
Same folks selling us lies about Christmas
Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny
Just so the capitalists can make money
They say God will take care of it
But you a terrorist if you say the same thing in Arabic
It’s so hypocritical
It’s a miracle, listen to the message in the spirituals
Wade in the water, I’m following Ms. Tubman and Nat Turner
I'm praying for my freedom
and heading for the border


[Hook: x3]
This article referenced in:
chain
[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

Texas Censorship Rule (BP-3.91) Being Revised

TEAM ONE acronym

On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:

“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”

In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.

a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take effect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.

a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:

“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit" photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted."

MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.

a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)

a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.

a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.

a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.

a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.

Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.

Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.

[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]

This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.

We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.

This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.

Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.

Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?

Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.

Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?

If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.

We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.

Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.

The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.

…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.

chain
[Abuse] [Stiles Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

TDCJ Stiles Unit Ignoring Respite Areas, Heat & Respiratory Illness Rules

Dear MIM,

I’m writing this letter on behalf of all Texas prison inmates who have been denied access to respite areas here at the Mark W. Stiles Unit or anywhere within TDCJ-CID agency state wide.

In United States District Court, Southern District of Texas in the Houston Division, Keith Cole et al. v. Brad Livington, TDCJ Director, et al.; Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-1698, a class action lawsuit, at page 769 it states:

Respite Training and Education

All inmates, both those assigned and not assigned jobs, will be trained on the importance of respite and how to access respite. Training will include:

  • Respite means cooling off for a period of time in an air conditioned place;
  • Inmates are allowed to access respite 24/7;
  • The education wing is now a dedicated respite area;
  • Inmates do not need to be sick, injured, or feeling bad to access respite, rather they may do so to cool down whenever they wish;
  • To access respite, inmates can make the request for asking correctional officers if there are problems ask to talk to a ranking correctional officer;
  • Impress that no one will be retaliated against for asking for respite, and;
  • Education about why respite is important to protect ones health. The training will follow a script and there will be a time for questions from the inmates. A training circular will be distributed that mirrors the respite notice. There will be a sign-in sheet for inmates to confirm training and receipt of the circular.

Also, a new poster has been developed and will further emphasize these same points. The poster will be placed in common areas accessible to inmates, it clearly states that an inmate may request access to respite areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not being required to be feeling ill. It further states that if an inmate is feeling ill, he should alert staff so that medical assistance can be obtained. The poster also gives the inmates a description of the expectations regarding their behavior in respite, stating that inmates:

  • Regular access respite any time during the day or night, do not need to be sick, injured, or feeling bad to access respite, rather they may do so to cool down when ever they wish;
  • Should use respite regularly because it helps the body thermoregulate;
  • Should be aware that heat is dangerous and heat illness can occur suddenly when temperatures are high;
  • Should ask staff for medical staff attention if they actually feel ill due to heat;
  • May talk quietly in respite;
  • May bring a cooling towel;
  • Will be provided a chair, and must remain seated;
  • May not engage in horseplay or arguing;
  • May not create disturbances;
  • May not save chairs for other inmates, and;
  • Must be properly dressed (pants and shirts).

The TDCJ’s Respite Area policy is not being honored here at the Mark W. Stiles Unit even though there are designated areas such as:

  • Medical Department waiting cage,
  • Offenders General Library, Windham School District Department
  • Law Library Department
  • Education Department
  • Chapel

Note: The Law Library Department, Education Department and the chapel will only be used as a respite area after normal hours at other areas are over.

The current warden has modified or ignored all of these rules. The warden has ordered that all inmates at the Mark W. Stiles Unit must get a pass to have access to respite area and each pass per inmate is only good for 30 minutes. When 30 minutes expires such inmate must return back to their living area buildings to obtain another pass.

These wardens are playing physicians in practicing medicine without a license in the way that they are violating this policy. It don’t have to be hot for another human being in the Texas prison system to be affected by heat related symptoms. There are many drugs that lower heat tolerance, ranging from anti-convulsants to beta blockers. These drugs may disrupt the body’s ability to sweat or thermoregulate, make the body more sensitive to sunlight, or otherwise make people more susceptible to heat illness, and need more respite than thirty minutes broken up by having to go get another pass every time.

There are also reports identifying offenders with heat and/or sunlight sensitivity restrictions, and unit courtroom staff will provide unit security staff with this Medical Heat Restriction List, which identifies offenders who have a heat restriction and is supposed to require security staff to perform wellness checks, in accordance with Administrative Directive 10.64, ‘Extreme Temperature Conditions in the TDCJ.’

Here at the most corrupt unit within TDCJ, the Mark W. Stiles Unit, the respite area and heat related symptoms policies are not followed. In the 11 building restrictive housing area where there is no ventilation system functioning nor any open windows, offenders can not get a cool down shower or access to the respite area, only because the Unit is short handed in staff and all the cool down showers and respite areas are set aside for general population offenders and not those in restrictive housing.

There are offenders in the restrictive housing area that have asthma, use a CPAP machine, or have other respiratory needs/illnesses. Staff will use their chemical agent on an offender which will effect all innocent bystanders, and won’t take anyone to medical even if they do recognize or notice breathing issues owing to the use of the chemical agent. Offenders have to get the attention of the authorities some other way, and once an offender is at the medical department and tells the nurses or other medical providers what’s going on, we can only get medicines or treatment that the security staff approve of, not what we might actually need.

So basically us offenders with heat sensitivity or any respiratory issues are walking dead at the Mark W. Stiles Unit. Please help us investigate and organize against this corrupt TDCJ unit, we in the Texas prison system don’t want to die.

chain
[Abuse] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
expand

Texas Prison Pigs Steal Donations For Prisoners!

TDCJ has done it again selling their prisoners’ donated gifts to themselves for a profit when it is against the Texas government’s code of law!

Dear MIM,

Once again! I do take the pen in hand on the behalf of all Texas prisoners because TDCJ has broken another of its own law. TDCJ has now stopped selling and issuing the clear whirlwind fan to their prisoners because a company has donated TDCJ numerous fans for their prisoners as a gift. But these new version of donated fans are being sold to us Texas prisoners for $22.50 out of the TDCJ-CID units’ commissary and through the e-comm direct. But the thing with these donated gift fans is that they are much smaller and the fan itself do not produce much air, like the clear whirlwind fan that actually do and you can actually feel the cool air relief especially through the hottest months of the summer. Unlikely the whirl wind fan you can actually take it apart to clean the dirt and lint, but you can’t with these donated gift fans that are glued very tightly. These new fans won’t last long.

The state of Texas has a government code law that prevent them from selling any donated items, food, or materials to its own state’s prisoners for profit. TDCJ has done this very same thing back in the 1990s era when J.C. Penny’s and Flores donated TDCJ prisoners tennis shoes and thick windbreaker jackets. TDCJ sold the tennis shoes to us prisoners in commissary and gave the windbreaker jackets to the officers and their own families. Both JC Penny and Flores eventually had to sue TDCJ over it and settle out of court. But it’s deja vu all over again. TDCJ believes they are above the law and Constitution when it comes to prisoners’ rights. A lot of them believe that as prisoners we lost them once we were sentenced.

The actual company whom did donate them smaller versions of fans as being a gift most likely did it for the tax write off and don’t even know that TDCJ’s own commissary is selling them to us prisoners instead of issuing it to prisoners for free. A lot of prisoners who had actually purchased one is trading it to those who can’t go to commissary for the old indigent whirlwind fan. Please do look into this donated fans since it is being sold to us Texas prisoners instead of issued to us as a gift by such company.

chain
[Abuse] [COVID-19] [Telford Unit] [Texas]
expand

Fighting for adequate food, shower, recreation in Texas

Me and my fellow prisoners are also going through the struggle here at Telford Unit 12 Bldg. We are being denied showers, which are supposed to be given daily. We’re also being fed inadequate/insufficient sack meals resulting in less than 2200 calories that we are at least to receive. This morning we were fed 2 pancakes with a small portion of peanut butter/jelly and prunes?? We were then fed a peanut butter/jelly sandwich along with a beef sandwich for lunch. This makes no sense! Because it actually costs more to make sack lunches and sack lunches are only supposed to be fed during lockdowns. The state of TX has farms and even a trade in agriculture to provide sufficient amounts of food, even has factories for processing food from animals of these farms. Not to mention the state budget and federal funding. There should be no reason we are being fed insufficient amounts of food.

I did my duty and filed a grievance on this issue to see it partially taken care of, but it’s a matter of time until we are fed wholesome foods, and hot meals in sanitary conditions continually. Another issue is the denial of recreation. During the pandemic they took the basketballs away, which made it to where we could only stand around and converse/congregate. Which isn’t much actively being involved. We are supposed to receive out of cell time (recreation) at least two hours a day. Meaning being involved in some activity. I requested from the warden to have the return of the basketballs only to have my request not adhered to. I will also be filing a grievance on this issue. The coronavirus is no longer an issue as we have seen people going out in public without masks, packing basketball parks, basketball arenas, and football stadiums. There are some of the issues I have been plagued with here at Telford. Furthermore, I have been retaliated against through the commissary violating due process. They have also denied phone calls which we received at least once a month during the pandemic, but are trying to arbitrarily take it away. These are some issues being worked on.

chain
[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

Campaign to End Solitary Confinement & Repeal B.P. 3.91

The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,

“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)

Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.

TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).

Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )

“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. "Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)

As a study on sensory deprivation by a team of 4 Harvard psychologists conducted for the CIA revealed:

  1. The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
  2. The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
  3. The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
  4. Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.

“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”

It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).

What is BP – 3.91?

Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.

While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.

TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.

What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?

At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.

That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:

Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.

REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.

But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?

Solidarity Actions

Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.

On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.

Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.

chain
[COVID-19] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

Warden Retaliates Against Grievances, While TDCJ Creates Hostilities Among Prisoners

I want to thank you for sending me the newsletter. I’ve been getting fellow prisoners together to help change the ongoing troubles we’re having here on the John B. Connally Unit. I’ve had my mom email the Ombudsman due to the fact that the Warden stated everyone filing a grievance on his officers actions or the units conditions will find themselves in building lockup, facing disciplinary.

So we can’t write a Step 1 or 2 cause they are getting stopped by the officials. Right now we’re on lockdown due to a racial riot that happened due to the guards making our environment ‘hostile.’ A lot of the guards don’t be wearing they mask; and they haven’t been vaccinated, yet they lock us down when one or two people take down our mask.

We try to get an ‘informal resolution’ but they refuse to talk with us. Sgt. J Sandoval stated “fuck you, we don’t care.” Exact words. When they put us on 23 hour lockdowns they make it into a 26 or 28 hour lockdown cause they don’t want to let us up. Some of the guards are 19-20-21 year olds who’ve been an officer for 2-3 months, and they get rank and misuse their power. I’ve also written the Ombudsman and my mom emailed him.

The riot was Brown vs. Black cause the Blacks don’t wanna wear they mask and were tired of going down behind one or two people. Last night everyone had enough, grievances don’t get addressed. They write bogus cases for going to respite for heat restriction. TDCJ policy says we’re allowed respite 24 hours 7 days a week even during count yet when we go to respite, Sgt. Reed and Sgt. Sandoval write out of places cases when policy says we’re allowed respite. Also, August 1st TDCJ is trying to take all our pics of females away and calling pics of women in lingerie or exotic poses ‘contraband.’

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

Campaign to Stop Censorship of Non-nude Publications and Photos in TX

PHONE ZAP STARTS 1 AUGUST 2021 more info

In the past few years censorship in TDCJ has reached epic proportions. In March 2020, the board on criminal justice enacted new restrictive policies regarding mail correspondence, greeting cards, and receiving monies. After a year of wide-spread resistance to this fascist policy, an exposé was written by Kerri Blessinger of the Houston Chronicle’s criminal justice department along with an inside comrade of the National Freedom Movement - TX Chapter.

The public outcry that resulted from this article which spoke specifically to the denial of greeting cards, moved TDCJ officials to annul this restrictive policy and now captives are again allowed to receive cards.

If the story ended there, things would be all well. Unfortunately, TDCJ officials have sought to retaliate against the prisoner population by instituting even more arbitrarily restrictive regulations.

Set to take effect on 1 August 2021, the newly amended Board Policy(BP) 3.91 will effectively ban ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings, and images that We could possibly receive. This amendment bans any items showcasing thongs, lingerie, buttocks, sex toys, or bodily fluids, as well as photos that hides someone’s face.

Nearly all publications and photos one gets are subject to this rule. Harmless publications such as US Weekly, OK, National Geographic, Muscle Fitness, etc can/will be denied due to this rule. Accordingly, this denies TDCJ captives their visual stimuli, in the case of isolated captives in RHU/solitary such persyn will have NO visual stimuli at all.

The politicized prisoner collective known as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is calling ALL prisoners in teKKK$a$ to join Us and the souljas on ALLRED seg in Our campaign. We are striving to amass 75,000 grievances on this issue. Included please find a sample of a step 1, shortly We will distribute a step 2 and a petition to be sent to TDCJ Director of CID and the Chairman of TDCJ. We must showcase a show of solidarity as teKKK$a$ captives.


Offender Name:____________________ TDCJ#___________________ Unit:_________________________ Housing Assignment:____________ Unit where incident occurred:______________________

who did you talk to?_________________________When?________________ What was their response?________________________________________________ What action was taken?________________________________________________ sample: BP-3.91, amended on 6/25/21, goes into effect on 8/1/21, and effectively bans ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings and images that we could possibly receive. This edict is in direct violation of our First Amendment rights against censorship, and fails to satisfy the four-part Turner test as TDCJ officials have failed to justify this policy.(see: TURNER V. SAFELY, 482 U.S.78(1987))

TURNER QUESTION ONE: Is the regulation reasonably related to a legitimate, neutral government interest? These magazines are non-nude, and are commonplace with no age requirement to purchase them. Thus, TDCJ cannot possibly believe such magazines may cause disorder or violence, or will hurt a prisoner’s rehabilitation. Prisoners have a right to non-obscene, sexually explicit material that is commercially produced, MAURN V. ARPAIO, 188 F.3d 1054(9th Circ.1999).

TURNER QUESTION TWO: Does the regulation leave open another way for you to exercise your constitutional rights? No. As an Ad-Seg inmate, the only visual stimuli we receive are pictures and magazines. Yet the very images that are being banned are the EXACT same content any observer can see on TV. Newspapers have circulars with bra sales, etc. Effectively banning those as well. BP-3.91 destroys our ONLY visual link to the outside world.

TURNER QUESTION THREE: How does the issue impact other prisoners, prison guards, or officials and prison resources? BP-3.91 treats ALL inmates, especially Ad-Seg, like sex offenders and pedophiles, creates unrest throughout the prison population, and punishes non-sex offenders, while GP sex offenders still see images that arouse them on TV. It punishes normal inmates while missing the intended targets.

TURNER QUESTION FOUR: Are there obvious easy alternatives to the regulation that would not restrict your rights to free expression? Yes. Restrict these BP-3.91 original to the Grievance DEPT. on (date) copy to my records BP-3.91 is too vague, encompassing a littany of correspondence (see: Alello V. Litacher, 104 F. Supp. 2d1068, 1045-81(W.D.Wis.2000) which struck down similar ban). BP-3.91 actually says, “Any photo that conceals or hides the face of the individual photographed in a manner that prevents identification of that person.” What penological interest does this serve? And during a pandemic when people are still wearing masks?

Action Requested: That the DRC and TDCJ repeal or annul BP-3.91 in its amended form as it does NOT pass the supreme court’s TURNER test.


ALL TDCJ inmates should file a grievance on this issue, it affects all genders and sexualities as pics with an erection will not be allowed. The paper trail begins now, and We may have to file a class action on this issue. By all means, COMBAT GENOCIDE!!

UPDATE: Grievance officers here are saying this is not a grievable matter. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We suggest that if others run into this problem they should write i60 informing the GR.DEPT that the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) says that policy is grievable, due to the fact that We are grieving the unit’s interpretation of the new board policy. Prisoners should also see Thornburgh V. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401 (1989). Be sure to attach the returned step 1 to i 60.

Here officers are also saying that we can’t grieve it because the policy isn’t effective yet, and we can do so on 8/1 when policy goes into effect. This policy must be resisted on all fronts on all units. [By the time you receive this it will be in effect.] A separate, more extensive petition has also been submitted to the Deputy Executive Director and a phone zap was scheduled to occur on 1 August by outside supporters.

chain
[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

An Ongoing Discussion on Organizing Strategy

What’s up comrades, friends, and supporters? i wanted to provide a response both to USW Comrade N’s and MIM(Prisons)’s commentary that was published in ULK 72: “Orientating USW Organizing Strategy in Light of TX Victory.” Really, my comments are more general rather than a direct disagreement with either Comrade N or MIM(Prisons).

First, ‘N’ asserts that “from an organizers perspective, these are not battles in which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less MLM.” The comrade mentioned phone access as an example of a battle ey was speaking of.

i’ll argue that the above assertion is incorrect and unscientific. MLM, dialectical materialism, is universal, meaning it can be applied to all phenomena. Further, dialectics shows us the true interconnected nature of social phenomena and if we acknowledge that is true, than how can we then deem that prison struggles aren’t aligned with anti-imperialism? Like MIM(Prisons) added, “with the correct leadership, and keeping our eyes on bigger goals like the UFPP, and uniting others around a list of more impactful demands, reformist campaigns like phone access could be productive.”

As organizers, we are focused on inspiring commitment within the masses. Looking at the psychology of the masses under imperialism, we’ll observe that the most effective way to capture the masses attention is to organize around their immediate interests. The more mature and in-depth communist outlook will develop in stages as study and struggle continue. However, the first hurdle is to establish principled unity in furtherance of an objective/program.

Our most pressing strategic goal as anti-imperialist/Maoist organizers behind enemy lines, is developing cadres to re-enter society with the ability to be impactful in the “free world” anti-imperialist struggle. This is our link to a totalizing revolutionary strategy outside the walls. The quality-of-life reforms are connected to the strategy of cadre development because PE (political education) is made up of 3 parts. Those 3 parts are 1) organizing, 2) educating and 3) mobilizing. So in undergoing/providing proper PE we must study and practice organizing, educating, mobilizing. We must observe the knowledge-practice-knowledge method in all aspects of our development to ensure we achieve our highest potential. So there’s an identity between study and struggle, they go hand-in-hand and because we’re not in a ‘revolutionary situation’ our struggle, or practice, will undoubtedly include (some) reforms.

However, it must be noted and articulated to the masses involved in that struggle that whatever particular battle is being waged at the moment isn’t the end-all be-all, but is only a tactical maneuver that was set in motion with the strategy in mind of advancing the organizational, educational and mobilizing capabilities for all involved. The real crux of the issue is never the demands in the prison setting. The real crux of the issue, as it pertains to linking a totalizing revolutionary strategy, lies in the practical experience gained by the masses in asserting their collective power. For, how will we seize state power if the people lack the strategic confidence to assert their power? We have to increase the collective practical experience of contesting the state as a united body. From a lead organizer’s perspective, putting campaigns into motion, communicating internally, advancing understanding of self and the people, practicing discipline, teaching discipline etc., all this does what? It prepares you for your return to the semi-colonies and general public with experience in organizing, educating, mobilizing people to assert their collective power. The differences in context have little effect on the objective advancement of a comrade’s development.

Additionally, we must also account for other aspects of the fundamental contradiction within prisons, which is badge versus captive. In our efforts to organize, educate and mobilize, the badge is not gonna remain still or unmoved. The badge, like the bourgeoisie on the outs, is gonna utilize both coercive and brutal methods to maintain complacency with the social order among the social classes, or in this case the captives. Also, we must acknowledge that the lumpen is a vacillating class anyway and in prison the masses of lumpen will vacillate between escapism, complacency, underground capitalism, etc. anyways. Therefore, acknowledging that these currents will continue with or without our efforts of revolutionary organizing because we still operate under imperialist, bourgeois dictatorship, it is imperative that we exercise every opportunity to advance our aspect of the fundamental contradiction in prison. In doing so, we work towards manufacturing conditions within prison that will be more conducive to our anti-imperialist goals.

While organizing around more impactful demands, the badge is still gonna utilize its double-pronged strategy of coercing or abusing. When the latter won’t work, the former will come in the form of cosmetic reforms. Those cosmetic reforms, even when they’re not demanded by organizers, still hold the possibility of pacifying individuals, making them complacent sleep walkers again. My point is that, at present, we can’t escape these tendencies from either side or the results they may or may not render, but we can’t allow these tendencies to keep us on the sideline, all “study” no struggle.

Lastly, i wanna clarify that none of the above is to assert that we should chase after any old reform or ‘change.’ As MIM(Prisons) states, leaders must make that determination, and furthermore, should educate the masses on why we will or will not seek certain reforms or campaigns.

In this process, i’ve learned the necessity of adequate communication with the masses and unity-struggle-unity internally among cadres, as a tool in struggling against a tendency towards tailism. What has come of this is a re-organizing of the TX Team One under a clearer program and a better understanding (a collective understanding) of what our strategic and tactical goals are, uniting the most committed partisans around those goals, and developing these partisan’s PE. We’ve downsized, what one may call ‘purging,’ but i like to call ‘cutting the fat’ and we are working on our next courses of action.

chain
[Drugs] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 73]
expand

The Tragedy of Officer Woods

police are weapons of mass destruction

I’ll never speak ill of the dead. However, if by telling their stories, we can prevent needless suffering, then those stories must be told. There is both beauty and power within our words. If we are to progress from erudite to enlightened, then we are obligated to speak effectively and responsibly. Sometimes, the greatest damage is done by not speaking up or not speaking out.

When I first saw Ms. Woods, I couldn’t help but ask my neighbor “Wow! Who is that?” Oh sure, I’ve seen some very attractive guards down here. But this girl seemed almost too pretty to be working at a prison. My cellie spoke up and said “Do yourself a favor bro, leave that one alone. She’s poison candy. Nice shiny wrapper on the outside… but completely toxic inside.”

I take everything with a grain of salt down here. Surely, this was an exaggeration. I thought these two were just being cynical. Time in here has a way of making people jaded. You’re either going to get better or bitter. Unfortunately, their warnings proved to be both timely and accurate. From the first moment she opened her mouth, the most venomous hatred imaginable spewed out.

For the most part, I wouldn’t have to be around her very much. I’d managed to land a good job at our unit print shop. Four days a week, I’d be gone for 12 hours a day. Guards here work 4 on 4 off. So that even further reduced my chances of seeing her. I figured I could handle just about anything for 3 days. Guess I was wrong.

My very first run-in with her happened on a Saturday. I knew to be at my cell when they called count time. They came through and did their thing. Then the lights turned out. I went into the restroom to finish getting ready for visit. I heard a door pop open moments later, only to be followed by her screaming “10 bunk!” then a string of profanities. Talk about getting caught with your pants down. She walks by while I’m still on the toilet, screaming, “You’re getting a case!”

My neighbor walks over and says “She took your I.D. bro! And your house is thrashed!” Sure enough, I get back to my cubicle and it’s a mess. Everything is on the floor. She wasn’t even doing a search. She simply did it out of spite. By the time I get things almost back in order, it’s about to be lunch. She’s still got my I.D. card, but now she’s nowhere to be found. Great. Hopefully, I can track her down before I get called in for visit.

Sure enough, lunch rolls around and I gotta tell them to punch in my number. “Ms. Woods took my I.D.” The guard at chow hall looks up and smiles, “Sucks to be you!” By the time I get back to the wing, they call me for visit. I leave to find the sergeant to explain that I can’t get into visitation without it. He tells me, “She probably went on break to write you up. Don’t worry about the case. I got you. From now on, you’d better steer clear of that one! Got it?”

The weeks fly by, and I’m fortunate enough to only see her in passing. Oh sure, she’s definitely pretty to look at, but now I avoid her like the plague. All I’m trying to do is stay out of their way.

One day my boss at print shop says “Okay, shut it down. They’re racking up the farm.” We get out to the back gate and they make me sit down. All these guards go running past us headed for one building.

Two guards are talking between themselves, but we can hear over the radio chatter that there has been another assault on staff. Now these guards start to argue, “Look, I don’t care where you put them! But they gotta be out here so that ambulance can come in!”

By the time we get back to our own building, all hell has broken loose. We can hear the warden’s voice on another radio screaming, “LOCK IT DOWN!!” They got one of the halls blocked off. As we walk by to go back in our wing, we can see all these burgundy pools of coagulated blood. This is bad.

Soon as we walk in, they ask me, “Did you hear about Officer Woods? DUDE … he beat the brakes off of her!” I look down at him and ask, “Who?” his eyes get real big when he says “Smitty! I thought y’all knew. Man … he just flipped out! Followed her right out the door into deep space, knocked her out, and then went to WORK on her! After that they say he just walked up to the desk and turned around so they could put the cuffs on him.”

After three weeks of lockdown, we were finally able to go back to work. Then I learned the rest of the story. Seems that while Smitty was off work on his bereavement, Woods went in and tossed his cell. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when she took his pictures off his wall. You see … this poor man had just lost his mother, sister and baby daughter, all in quick succession within about six weeks of each other.

Now, of course, I wasn’t there to see it, but everybody says he got down on his hands and knees to BEG that woman not to take those precious photos. I’m told that even after he explained their sudden deaths, she callously laughed in his face and said “Forget your dead family.” Only she chose to use a different “F” word.

That beating wasn’t what killed her. It was the lifestyle. Reports say that they saved her life multiple times, both on the way to the hospital and in the operating room once she got there. There was extensive reconstructive surgery. Nobody will even know the full extent of the traumatic brain injury. It’s often those scars on the inside, that just won’t heal.

After a few months off, she returned to work. Doctors had done an amazing job, considering the extent of her injuries. Her entire face was pulverized. Oh, she was still somewhat pretty. But those drop dead gorgeous, model-quality features, were long gone. Her nose, eyes and cheekbones weren’t the same. People couldn’t tell if they were dentures or implants, but that smile would never be the same either.

You see … all along, she’d been manipulated and exploited by the gangs. For almost her entire tenure, she’d been smuggling in dope and cell phones. The perverts had simply preyed on her own insecurity. How could somebody so stunning on the outside be completely devoid of the true beauty that only comes from within? The only way prison officials ever found out about her activities was when they busted somebody with one of those phones.

The photos and videos were as numerous as they were explicit. So was all that contact information. It was a treasure trove of evidence. She’d also been prostituting herself. The predators had simply used her, then discarded her like some piece of garbage. Administration walked her off the unit in disgrace.

In the end, the prosecution’s job would be easy. She was facing a long list of criminal charges. I suppose the stress of an impending court trial, along with everything else, simply proved to be too much for her. I was SOOOO HOPING that all those rumors weren’t true. Unfortunately, she really did it. Ms. Woods died of a single gunshot wound to the head. She put the pistol in her mouth – just to stop the pain.

We found out about officer Woods’ suicide in 2019. A few months ago, we found out that Ms. Davis had met a similar fate. We are still unclear as to whether her death was a suicide or accidental overdose. The specifics of each of these tragedies is not nearly as important as the root causes of the problem, which remains the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDCJ does not care about stopping the rampant corruption and injustice here in Texas. Everyone from the newest correctional officers to the top administrative officials are complicit and therefore profits from this malfeasance!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have seen some interesting things in the last year or so. Some prison systems have instituted egregious restrictions on mail claiming it was used to smuggle drugs, and all prisons locked down completely with no visitors for months due to the global pandemic. Yet, reports from prison after prison, from state to state to the feds, have unanimously reported no change in the availability of contraband during these periods.

The imperialists portray ending crime as a great mystery that can’t be solved, a timeless problem that we can only respond to with force and punishment. This is metaphysics, it fails to look at the past, at humyn societies before classes and poverty, at countries who built socialism and virtually eliminated drug abuse, prostitution, theft, hunger, homelessness, etc. These things go hand-in-hand. Our crime-ridden society is not eternal, it stems from our economic system and is reinforced by the cultural ideas that come with such a system. Changing the economic system is hard, it will take determination and sacrifice by many. But once we do, ending so much needless suffering and conflict between humyns is not so hard.

chain