Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

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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)

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)

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)

Jester III Unit (Richmond)

John R Lindsey State Jail (Jacksboro)

Jordan Unit (Pampa)

Lane Murray Unit (Gatesville)

Larry Gist State Jail (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)

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)

[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 68]
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Texas Bans Mailing its own Grievance Manual to Prisoners

tdcj griev manual censorship

We just got word that the Texas Department of Criminal inJustice (TDCJ) has denied delivery of the TDCJ Offender Grievance Manual to one of our subscribers in Texas. Not just at the unit level (we were not informed of the censorship at the unit level by Polunsky Unit mailroom staff, in direct contradiction to TDCJ's own policies)(1), but the Director's Review Committee even upheld the censorship of the grievance manual. The Director.

Well, what could possibly be the reason given for censoring TDCJ's own manual which was written for "offenders"? Couldn't tell you. All the notice says is it was "received in contradiction with BP-03.91, Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules." Don't forget, BP-03.91 doesn't just say that this item is denied delivery to this particular subscriber. It says that this item is banned in the entire state for all time. Just like [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztl├ín, our "Defend the Legacy of the Black Panther Party" study pack, and multiple issues of Under Lock & Key (at least including Nos. 63, 57, 54, 51, 45, 35, 32, 28, and 27).

You might be wondering why MIM Distributors is sending in the grievance manual anyways. It's a TDCJ document, after all. And according to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, the grievance manual ought to be available to prisoners.(2) Well, in September 2014, a memo went out that removed the grievance manual from all TDCJ law libraries.(2) Why would they do this? Don't know, they didn't say. TDCJ's grievance system is notoriously ineffective and deliberately obstructive. And Texas is historically one of the worst states when it comes to brutal national oppression. Seems to be part of those overall patterns.

We did have a "victory," so minor that it's even embarrassing to use that word. The Director's Review Committee Decision Form actually listed the name of the item that they censored! Wow! We didn't have to go hunting around in the list of mail we sent to this subscriber, guessing which item was censored based on the date we mailed it out. This is often a very difficult detail to pin down, considering how much mail we send in and the weeks- and months-long delays in the TDCJ censorship procedures.

So, we've been protesting the ineffective grievance process in Texas for almost ten years. The grievance manual was hidden almost 5 years ago. And now we can't even mail in the grievance manual. We do plan to appeal this censorship to the Director's Review Committee, but often our letters to them go unanswered. In the short term, we need people (and lawyers!) in Texas to put pressure on TDCJ to stop obstructing prisoners' access to the grievance system. Ultimately we need to overthrow this totally bunk injustice system and the economic system it protects.

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[Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas]
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Choked to Unconsciousness by CO

I am writing on account of a correctional officer stripping me nude, placing me in handcuffs, slamming me, choking me unconscious for no reason on video trying to kill me. Any help would gladly be appreciated. See:[Case no.] in Bowie County, TX, to view this video admitted into evidence. The correctional officer turned his back toward the camera while choking me, but video shows me unresponsive afterwards.

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[Organizing] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 66]
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Sack the Sack Lunches

I've always been revolutionary-minded, but it's a struggle here in Bill Clements Unit. Here's one example that happened early last month. I work in the laundry. Well all of us are waiting for them to call for chow (lunch), but all of a sudden the C.O.s running chow forget to feed laundry! So the chow C.O.s tell the laundry C.O. that they are going to give us sack lunches. All of a sudden, this is the sad part, a bunch of my fellow coworkers are going back into the laundry. Well a few of us spoke up saying we've been working and are NOT going to accept a sack lunch. Eventually they opened the chow hall for us. Well I guess this is all for now. Again thank you for all you do.


MIM(Prisons) Texas Coordinator responds: Small incidents like this one might seem inconsequential to many people, like those guys who just went back to laundry when told they were gonna get sack lunches. These are small wins that make a huge impact on people's minds, though. Showing people little successes like this whenever we can helps plant seeds in their consciousness about resisting oppression and standing up for themselves. It was a completely fair argument to make, that the C.O.s made a mistake and should fix it. So rather than get hung up on how sad it is that so many people just were going accept the sack lunches, i think it was really great that so many people got to see what having a backbone looks like in real life. Inevitably, this is what inspires people to grow their own backbones and start standing up for themselves. Thanks for this awesome report.

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]
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Abuse and Censorship at Wynne

I really appreciate you for informing me of this policy for an appeal of all rejected publications from different units, but this unit I'm on (Wynne) isn't given a person or persons and opportunity to appeal our right to have ULK 63 at all. I hope and pray that we win this case in receiving all of Under Lock & Key pamphlets with no problem. There is no riots or strikes or disruptions going on at this prison that I'm on at all, period. These old folks are just waiting to die and the authorities aren't making it easy for us to just do our time. Some are getting parole while others are dying and suffering a beat down handcuff beating.

These officers are out of line handling us old people the way they treat us, slam to the ground while in handcuffs, you grieve the incident and are retaliated on when no life flight going over the railing from the third tier. You might survive the fall and you may wish you didn't make it because you be in so much pain. Old people's bones heal very slowly.

Some of us like to have some help from the outside world to get political news to read on all what's happening around the nation and to stay connected to the free world even though you'll never be able to go back to the world ever again.

Reading the notification to the Director's Review Committee 11/2/2018 for Under Lock & Key No. 63 on my denied yellow paper says Reason C, page 1 and 5 advocate prison disruption/strike. But reading what's on these pages of that booklet there's nothing of that such. See they have taken all the manual's out of the law library on procedure to fight them when they are wrong in wronging one of us on their own policies.

These pages in ULK 63 said "publications shall not be rejected solely because the publication advocates the legitimate use of offender grievance procedures, urges offenders to contact public representatives about prison conditions, or contains criticism of prison authorities."

This don't have anything to do with reason C at all. There is no material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons, through offender disruption such as strikes, riots or security threat group activity at all period. So TDCJ denied the publication because they didn't like what they was reading and denied it out of spite, but the law is the law and they is not exempt from the law (DRC) and it is going down.

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[Legal] [Terrell Unit] [Texas]
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Helping Each Other is Only Legal Assistance Behind Bars

I do not know how I'll be received, I don't see myself as a revolutionary, I've been fighting the state for religious rights in two separate Civil Rights suits. I've also been assisting others with various legal issues, from Appeals, Habeas Corpus, Grievances, Divorces, Civil Rights suits etc. I do these things to help those in need because it is the right thing to do.

Our Law libraries are archaic and we are on our own to do research and file anything, no help from Law Library staff, just each other. The policies and practices in the Law Library are designed to hinder us, not to help. So, any information or materials that would be helpful, please consider me when distributing it. Thank You!

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Health Risks from Asbestos in Old Prisons

I was placed in a cell here in ad. seg. housing, which is unhealthy with escaping toxic fumes (paint chipping, amosite/brown asbestos, from cement, and some of these cells have contaminated ceiling tiles.) Kept me tired, minor headaches, diarrhea, at times difficult to breathe. So to our People incarcerated in these 'Old Prisons" shall educate ourselves on these Hazard chemicals.

From the book: Silent Killers: Radon & Other Hazards by Kathlyn Gay: Asbestos deadly fibers, natural mineral fiber in rocks, patching compounds, textured paint, wrapping for heating ducts and water pipe insulation, floor & ceiling titles, roofing shingles, cement, plaster (strengthen concrete and sound proof) etc. Well just a small note and big thanks on the readings.

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[Censorship] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]
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Illegal Censorship of Subscriptions

I often never receive my Popular Mechanics magainzes or my Bud K Knives catalogs I've subscribed to. I'm not denied them, they just don't get here to me. I've written to both numerous times and never have heard back from them. They also often lay blame on the local post office for various reasons as well.

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[Abuse] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas]
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Punished for Reporting Abuses at Ferguson

I am at a really bad unit named Ferguson Unit at midway Texas, about 20 miles from Huntsville, TX. At this unit I have shown the rules, policies, procedures, practices, of T.D.C.J. with other offenders saying, "Oh well, we have been punished for made up rules, given cases, violating our rights in every way. Grievances do no good even the bosses tell the others who, what, when, on them." Yeah it causes many problems for me. The pigs get away with so much that the oh well offenders (OW) let them talk them up. At an inspection, a group asked if we seen any roaches, rats. We said no. But this one guy said there was. The inspector said "oh that's why they only wanted to show this dorm." The L.T. here stated "oh yeah tomorrow you're on lock down." We are. The food is all mush soups. Types of food portions so small that I see us that do not have commissary, are about sick. One hot dog, one sandwich, food unprepared or clean.

Here is a kicker. I came here to repair equipment because I am an equip mec for 30 years, professional. I seen a lot that this farm shop was selling parts to equip that it was not put on, or put in trash. I wrote the main O.I.G. (Offender Inspector General). It was all turned on being my fault, and to mind my business. Wow, I was talked to really bad still watching them break the laws.

I did everything I could to be sent to a different work camp. We are abused, fed mediocre food. They strip us out multiple times going out to work. Search us multiple times, the bad is other (oh wells) oh drown us. Us that would file grievances, or lawsuits they try to beat us up.

They see I don't back down, I seem to not get it through their heads if the unit don't get stopped from violating their rules, policies, the more they are restricted from little freedoms. They are blind.

I've spoke to many about this with same issue, no one wants to stand in unity. This is the worst unit I have been on.

Here's the problem. The unit has all kids with few older guys. The kids are doing so much stealing from kitchen doing this and that! Going dorm to dorm. Really doing free will. Without realizing if it was not for someone like me they would not have any type of T.V., radio, so much as their house. What am I to do? No talking to them.

We spoke to a SGT Andrew Sey about why we're on lock down and made to get up at 6AM on our day off to clean a dorm that has SSI. "Because if someone tells Huntsville inspectors B.S. on us, you can't write grievances on us because we can lock the dorm down for not being clean." Our Dorm is the cleanest I've seen. This unit that abuses us in ways that they believe we can't do anything about. The kitchen C/O Stubble Field has these same guys feed us so they give 3/4 scoops of portions. Pans are not on a warmer, uncooked, nasty to eat.

The pigs use things like "this is a disciplinary unit". I said what did I do to be put on disciplinary? I've seen nothing about some sidewalk rules in no T.D.C. It's just this unit. How can I get help? I've written every rights group there is with no help or any reply.

I am forced to repair the equipment, threatened by them. They do it in ways that shoulder the policy. How can I fight this unit's every grievance, every I60, they use other offenders against me for doing it.

I'm asking you for help! Any new forms I could use to guide me to file them, I can't seem to word them well. The food, the abuse, at the end of everything I've done nothing works.

We are made to get up at 4AM lights on, say name, number and then at other counts the dorm C/O wakes you up. Then cross count also. These C/Os enforce rules that do not exist. The inmates follow them like dogs, they let them put things in their ear.

Do you in any way have forms for me to copy on my own as in about abuse, food, C/Os, I need help wording how to write it legal, I want to file a suit. Last year during shakedown they burnt us up in the sun naked out of spite for hours.

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[Abuse] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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Beaten by pigs in Texas

I got jumped in some seg office. Yeah man, they fucked me up pretty bad. Shit, I woke up in the ER down in Huntsville. They beat the brakes off me while I was in handcuffs. There were five or six of em. All white! One of them fools was sitting on my back pony-style punching away at my head and face. The shit was so bad (I heard) that some sistas who saw that shit were crying rivers of tears. Many these people just grabbed me out of the hallway took me to an empty seg fofice and called me a nigger about a thousand times. After they did me bad, this one racist ass mutherfuckah came back over to me while I was laying there in handcuffs and put his knee on the side of my head and started crushing away. The whole time he was on my head with all of his weight, rocking back and forth like he was on some "Immah finish me a nigger off type shit."

Like I said, I blacked out wit this fool on top of my head. The crazy part is that I have witnesses that saw this fool beat for me right out of the hallway. But anyway, they did the old assault on an officer case to try to cover for what they did. Man I aint' never had no assault on an officer case. And I been coming to this place since 1985.

I been having real problems with headaches, nose bleeds, forgetting stuff and a lot more. They shipped me to this unit after they ran me through the ringger (court). I been dropping sick call request forms for three months now and they still ain't seen me for injuries. Th handcuffs that they were dragging me around by, done fuck up the nerves in my wrist and hands. I cannot even sleep at night cause the pain is unbearable at times. I be thinking about moving on with my life but my shit ain't right. So I got to file suit on they ass. Them fools almost killed me.

Comrade, man, I am 51 years old. And I was 50 when they done that stupid shit. I got a little over three years left on my ten year sentence. I had a few talks with some old heads that's been on that unit Eastham and they all said the same thing, it's a racist ass unit. And they just assault blacks just for the thrill of it.

I am writing y'all with an emergency stamp cause these folks be blocking my use of the indigent mail system for three months now. Making all types of bogus claims. I done filed three different grievances. It's been a real struggle. But anyway imma get back with y'all on this stupid ass not cause this ain't attorney client privileged. Whenever I do get indigent supplies I'll hit you up with a real letter. They got me in Seg G5 status. This some crazy shit. For beating me the fuck up!

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[Abuse] [Legal] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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McConnell Abuse and Lawsuits Update

There's quite a bit going on here at the McConnell Unit. A lot of retaliation going on against prisoners.

Supposedly there's a lawsuit pending against TDCJ that will be ruled on by March 2018. Regards to sleep deprivation. And because of that a lot of retaliation has been going on against us prisoners. Like for example, we get woken up at the middle of the night (between 12am and 2am) for roster bed book count time, which some guards (officers) will go way over board by forcing every prisoner to get out of bed to show, present his ID and face. And or they will turn on all of the lights to the whole Pod and leave them on until counts cleared. Some days they'll do that throughout the whole day. No such policy exists that says that the lights are to stay on until count clears. Or the officers will come and wake up whoever's cubicle number is on the list to be searched at around 1am to do the search. When policy specifically says that searches should be done by rack up time. Which on most days it's by 10:30pm Sgt. Ukandu was asked about it and I can't believe the response that he gave. He said, that because they are always short of staff it is why that they can't really follow policies. In other words it's okay for them to violate policies because they are short staffed. What do y'all think?

Lately I've been having a lot of problems with a guard that's been stalking, intimidating, retaliating, and harassing me. I've just filed my 6th or 9th grievance against her. Last year it got so bad that I filed a complaint against her with the Office of the Inspector General, and she was kept away from this building for almost a year. But now that she's being assigned over here against she's at it again. Now this time I've gotten my family involved. I had one of my brothers call Internal Affairs, O.I.G., and Ombudsman. See what happens?

Also I've been retaliated by the mailroom staff. For example, before I bought the book Murdered Innocents, I wrote the mailroom supervisor and asked her if the book was allowed to come in. She answered me back and told me yes, it was approved to come in. But now that I bought the book she's telling me that I can't have the book because it's denied. But the good thing is that I saved the I-60 form where she told that it was approved. So I've already filed my Step 1 grievance with that evidence. The thing is that the mailroom supervisor (Ms. Salles) denies the publications on the basis that they are personally offensive to her and not per TDCJ policy.

If you have any information that might be of help to me in regards to these issues, I appreciate very much if you could send it to me. Thank you!

I've heard a lot of prisoners say that they have filed sworn complaints with county District Attorney against TDCJ officers but never get a response back from the DA.

On this month of December there were some auditors here at the unit. I think that they were here for about two or three weeks. They were running chow real smooth. And one day one of the sgts was running chow and somebody asked him a question (I didn't hear exactly what they asked him) and Sgt. Said "Well, we have to show these people that yes, we do serve chow (hot meal) every meal." What does that tell you?

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