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.

[Prison Labor] [Tennessee] [Florida] [Texas] [ULK Issue 84]
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Tennessee Bans Slavery - So What?

This year Tennessee banned all forms of slavery in the state. Now I’m trying to find out how to fight to get fair wages for work. If you can send info on how to fight that, that would be great.


A Florida Prisoner writes: Do you guys know the steps California prisoners took to gain their liberation from being treated as slaves under the 13th Amendment of the Constitution? I need to know the steps they took because I would like to initiate these same steps in the Florida prison system to see if we can also gain our liberation under the 13th.


A Texas Prisoner writes: This is a plea for us to come together in a prolonged effort to get the Texas Legislature to end slavery in Texas by removing the exception clause from the Texas Constitution. This is what we’re asking each and every one of you to do: From now until the Texas Legislature convenes, write to your state Representatives and Senators and ask them to convene a special session or whatever it takes to remove this clause. You should also write to Sunset Advisory Commission PO Box 13066 Austin, TX 78711.


Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) responds: In the November 2022 elections the vast majority of Tennessee voters voted to amend their state constitution to read:

“Slavery and involuntary servitude are forever prohibited. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an inmate from working when the inmate has been duly convicted of a crime.”

We print the first two comrades’ questions for others to answer. We’ve been asking for years what the point of these campaigns to amend the Constitution is? How does this get us closer to liberation, not to mention just benefiting prisoners in the short-term? An attempt to search for increases in prisoner wages in Tennessee just brings up articles on massive increases in C.O. pay (prior to the above amendment).

As for California, the Constitution still says slavery is okay for the convicted felon. So there’s been no “liberation” in that regard. California prisoners are required to work or engage in other programs deemed rehabilitative by the state. While California legislators have cited cost concerns for not supporting amending the Constitution, it is not clear that states that have changed their constitutions in this regard have had financial impacts (especially by requirements to pay prisoners higher wages).

If our readers have information to the contrary or examples of these campaigns leading to anything, please write up an article for ULK. But we know from a historical materialist understanding that slavery has only been ended through class struggle, not by voting or writing your Senator.

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[Digital Mail] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 84]
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Challenging Constitutionality of Digital Mail, and related reports from Texas

On 20 October 2023 I filed a complaint challenging the constitutionality of the Texas Prison Administration’s contracting with a private sector, for-profit company in Dallas, Texas to digitalize all TDCJ-CID prisoner’s incoming personal/general correspondence and photographs for posting to the SecurusTech tablets issued to us in May 2023. I paid the full filing fee as well as the administrative and service fees.

I submit this information and the following to ULK for the following reasons:

  1. To seek unity across state and federal prison systems currently under digitalized mail policies.

  2. To provide fellow prisoners in all prison facilities with details on my challenge to digitalized mail so that we can coordinate a nationwide attack, and perhaps get an inter-state class action lawsuit that will be moved to the u.$. Supreme Court.

  3. To hopefully secure a Pro Bono assistance of attorney to ensure all the bases are covered.

While I was able to cover the initial $500 cost to file the complaint by sacrificing renewal of several magazine subscriptions and commissary “luxuries”, I do not have the financial ability to hire counsel or investigative resources, nor any further admin fees so I am going to need help.

The complaint’s Constitutional challenge relies on numerous First and Fourteenth Amendment issues of freedom of speech and due process, to wit:

1. Exaggerated Response:

TDCJ-CID administration claims the ban on physical mail is to stop the drugs/contraband that come through USPS mail. However, physical mail may account for less than 1% of incoming drug contraband, and such drug-laced articles of mail can be easily detected, isolated, and removed using the K-9 drug detection units that are maintained on every TDCJ-CID unit. Everyone, including the prison administration, knows that almost 100% of the drugs and contraband that enters prison facilities gets in through one of only three ways:

A. Corrupt admin/security employees.

B. Outside trustees picking up “drop” packets outside the security fence and bringing or passing them to inside trustees.

C. Private sector deliveries to the prison (kitchen and office supplies, or vendors for guards’ food orders and commissary supplies) having “special” cartons containing hidden contraband.

Yet, the prison administration takes almost no measures to check these primary sources for drugs/contraband.

2. “Chilling” and/or blocking legitimate freedom of speech and expression:

As a published op-ed columnist and essayist whose work has appeared in two syndicated newspapers, and on several internet sites that are operated by 501.3-c organizations, my readers range from Junior High students to nursing home residents, Democrats, Republicans, members of every other political party, housewives, secretaries, police officers and bartenders.

Often my readers want to write me but the venues I am published in rarely publish contact info, so readers google me to find out I am confined at a certain prison facility then google the facility to determine its address then send their letters to me there.

Prior to the digital mail policy, I received their letters (about 8-12 per week). After the policy, I have received NONE. The unit mailroom return to sender all “personal/general” mail that comes for a prisoner without explanation. Hence, this blocks my readers’ letters to me and “chills” their desire to communicate (they probably think I refused their letters). Students and the elderly who write me often don’t know to go to the prison website to check correspondence rules.

3. Denial of due process prior to restriction of mail:

I am a Naturist. I don’t use drugs, nor have I ever had anything to do with drugs. I have never been accused of, charged with, nor found guilty on any drug-related behavior in any administrative or criminal hearing, and have never been accused of or found guilty of smuggling/attempting to smuggle or posses “contraband.” That is, yet.

Without any form of due process I have been denied my lawful privilege and right to receive property sent to me (i.e. the physical letters and photos).

Physical letters and photographs have a sentimental “keepsake” value beyond any monetary valuation.

The u.$. Supreme and lower courts have held uniformly that copies/digital images of a document/photograph are not the same as the original. Ergo, sending me or any prisoner digital copies of their letters and photos (or even copies) is not giving them the property their letters/photos constitute.

The u.$. Constitution requires a due process seizure hearing before government can seize a citizen’s persynal property, whether that property is land, a vehicle, or an article of mail having value to the citizen.

Note: If the government, at such a hearing, can produce legitimate evidence that I have attempted to smuggle contraband/drugs through the USPS mail into the prison, then and only then would it be legally justified in enforcing a “digital mail only” rule upon me.

4. The digital mail “blanket” policy is overly broad:

The number of prisoners who attempt to smuggle drugs/contraband through the USPS mail is minuscule. 99% of prisoners would never even consider such a foolish act. Even prisoners who use and traffic drugs and other contraband generally don’t use the mail because (a) the volume of drugs that can fit in a letter doesn’t justify the risk and (b) it’s much easier to get large amounts of drugs brought in by one of the other venues.

All the digital mail policy does is punish hundreds of thousands of prisoners who don’t smuggle drugs or contraband in the first place. It’s analogous with fining the entire town’s citizens for excessive noise because there’s one “pothead rocker” playing eir stereo too loud.

Most prisoners use the USPS mail in a legal, rule abiding manner and never try to smuggle through the mail. First and Fourteenth Amendment rights are fundamental, and mail digitalizing policies abrogate those rights in an overly broad and exaggerated response to a security issue that would be more easily (and economically) dealt with in a less intrusive manner.

These four points (and their consequential points) are the primary basis of my complaint.

Do prison authorities have a legal right to impose and enforce mail digitalizing for security reasons? Yes. But only in a reasonable manner necessary to address the specific security problem without punishing prisoners who are not a party to the problem. Officials can not punish innocent prisoners nor strip them of constitutional rights merely because a tiny fraction of the prison population is causing a problem.

So if anyone wants to get on board to help get this issue litigated properly, get in touch with me ASAP. Today is 18 November 2023, don’t delay.


A comrade at Bridgeport Unit reports: I would like to inform you of a change in the Law Library Holding list as of November 2023 the Law Library has taken the PD-22 Rules of Conduct out of the Law Library. It seems as if any ammunition we can use to fight with they want to destroy it somehow. The other problem is this digital mail is taking forever to get to one’s tablet. I have received numerous letters that are 2.5 to 3 months old. This has become a problem for many. I did receive newsletter #83 in the month of November 2023.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have reported on the history of censorship of TDCJ’s own documents in previous issues. While we had encouraged comrades inside to challenge this legally, one comrade has informed us that ey believes this to be a faulty strategy. We are not lawyers, so we provide these ideas for consideration:

TDCJ has the discretion to withhold, or delay, any administrative documents they may or may not deem to be challengeable in public information act. There is a logical reason behind certain “administrative documents” not to be made available for Texas residents (i.e. friends and families, including incarcerated prisoners off of general population). I’m sure by now that these certain “administrative documents” are not censored. For items or certain materials that are being withheld – whether it be a policy, procedure, regulation, or rule – it is a fact that a governmental department is not obligated to disclose public information. Governmental departments are obligated to disclose public information at the requestor for inspection and review. See Tex. Gov’t Code, Sec. 552.221 through Sec. 552.235. They are not censoring. They are REMOVING it. Trickery word.

Filing lawsuits in federal court pertaining to the items or materials being complained under the claim of censorship is supporting and encouraging those administrative suits in being DISMISSED (or dismissed with prejudice). Giving away $350-$400 for free without meaningful merit to be heard or read…

Please refer incarcerated people in Texas to search out an author by the name of Raymond E. Lumsden on numerous books: The Pro Se Section 1983 Manual; The Habeas Corpus Manual; Ask, Believe, Receive; The Pro Se Guide to Legal Research & Writing, etc. These books are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and FreebirdPublishers.com.


A comrade in Allred Unit reported: Just today I received your mail confirmation letter via my tablet. The letter is dated 14 September 2023, so it is taking over 2 months to get our mail and we cannot print it out. TDCJ rules on Digital Mail say that if a document requires an inmate’s signature it is supposed to be sent to the unit’s Law Library. I doubt that they will give it to us if it is not legal work though. They would not allow applications from transition houses in until recently “Forgiven Felons” got permission to send theirs in.

MIM(Prisons) adds: The digital mail is making it harder for us to even track censorship by not allowing prisoners to fill out and return forms, not to mention blocking opportunities for support upon release!, or receive notices from the institution as described below.


A comrade at Ferguson Unit reported: When you sent the ULK 82 & 83 bulk mailings they initially denied them entry, without giving me notice. They don’t even send such institutional forms like that via regular mail, it went electronic and i don’t have a tablet since September so i didn’t even know until early December when i finally got them to budge and print out the electronic mail. This mail shit is absolutely showcasing the inadequacy of these state actors and the exploitative corporations (Securus/JPay).


Warriors in White, a non-profit org supporting restorative justice wrote: Our newsletter was blanket-banned across the entire TDCJ system due to a change in mail policy, which required all mail to be sent to a central mail processing facility. This new policy was approved on 23 June 2023 but not updated in unit law libraries until 4 August 2023. No reason has been provided. At the end of October 2023, we received clearance and approval to again distribute the newsletter. But again, no reason for denial, and no notification for denials and newsletters returned has ever been provided.

Secondly, all TDCJ residents now rely on Securus tablets to receive mail. As of the end of October 2023, most are still receiving mail postmarked throughout August into the first week of September 2023. TDCJ policy clearly states all mail is to be processed within 72 hours (3 days), through the mail processing facility.

According to the TDCJ Mail System Coordinator, there is a staff shortage at the facility. Additionally, MSC has claimed they were unprepared for the amount of mail received at the new facility. This is quite hard to believe, when the TDCJ, in decades past, has logged every single piece of mail through its system both on computer and in paper log books.

According to the TDCJ Ombudsman, all mail is being processed within the 3 day limit and there are no staff shortages at the mail processing facility. According to Securus, they are unaware of any mail processing problems, and that “all mail is processed within 5 days unless it includes photos or pictures, in which case it may take a little longer.”

Further, the TDCJ is clamping down on peer-to-peer legal assistance. If you have a Securus tablet which receives programming from the Freedom Radio Legal Show on 106.5 The Tank, that info has been banned from the tablet due to overwhelming listener response. While gratefully received, TDCJ will no longer accept requests, etc. addressed to the legal show, one of a long list of new restrictions. So if you sent a newsletter request to Freedom Radio for a Warriors In White newsletter subscription, the Polunsky Unit mailroom has been destroying all requests since the beginning of June 2023 to the present. If you know someone who applied for the newsletter please resend your request to WIW-DOM PO Box 301, Huntsville, TX 77342. Please do not send legal questions to the PO Box as we are not ready for those yet.

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[Prison Food] [Abuse] [Control Units] [Police Brutality] [Political Repression] [Bill Clements Unit] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 84]
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How the Prison War Looks in Texas Ad-Segs

“[A]ll over the world now the institution of the prison serves as a place to warehouse people who represent major social problems.” - Angela Y. Davis

Looking at the incarcerated world around us, it is no wonder the numbers of New Afrikan and other darker hued people who are captive is so high. It is no wonder why the level of illiteracy is most highly concentrated among the incarcerated. It is no wonder the level of schooling is low among the captive population. It is no wonder why there is more money invested in mental health services behind bars than in free world facilities.(1)

All this means that when we imagine our resistance against prison systems we must see prison as being more than just the place where people who commit crimes are sent. We have to begin to analyze the interconnected and multi-layered oppression within prison.

A key feature in warfare is physical violence. In prison, “official” physical violence is documented as use of force. The most use of force and most excessive use of force in Texas takes place at Bill Clements, specifically amongst its PAMIO program participants. PAMIO, for those who do not know, is a psychiatric program designed for those in Ad-Seg.

If you follow the logic, Texas residents with psychiatric illness are more likely to be held captive by the state, while in captivity they have a greater chance to be held in Administrative segregation (Ad-Seg). While in Ad-Seg their psychiatric state is likely to deteriorate and they are likely to face “official” physical violence at the hands of their captors at greater numbers than those without documented psychiatric history.

Conditions At Clements

Our situation at Bill Clements Unit Ad-Seg or ECB, Extended Cell Block they call it, has not improved. Although less deaths we are seeing a rise in starvation, torture, neglect, and unsupervised migrant workers running the prison as they see fit with little to no training. Regardless of what administration says. These Africans on this unit have not been taught day rules, standard operating procedures, and have zero regard for this so called rule book. And why shouldn’t they when there is no enforcement and or reprimand on the side of TDCJ.

During the last shakedown, a state-wide attempt to catch contraband, they had me in a cage outdoors for 2 hours while they tossed my cell. Guards and inmates watched me in handcuffs while Major Pacheo instructed Field Boss Shrader to steal all my electronics and commissary food items – over 200 dollars worth. All this I believe is because my toilet hasn’t worked for months and I keep requesting maintenance but it never comes. Same with the broken shower and the water leak resulting in a wet floor. I have receipts for all the electronics and commissary items they stole, and I listed all this and the witnesses on grievance – they put the witnesses on chain! Nobody goes on chain unless it’s to Montford Psych or hospital.

The second week of December we were allowed to shop commissary, the second time in 4 months. Breakfast chow consisted of two tablespoons of scrambled eggs with a quarter inch of grits and applesauce. In total it was 4 spoons of food. For lunch and dinner we had a cheese sandwich. They back-doored commissary with a shakedown and stole what we purchased.

I was allowed 1 hour out of my cell twice this year. The “weekly” library ran 9 times. Average time to see a mental health professional is 9-12 months. Delivered mail can sit in the mail room for over 6 months. They are understaffed and don’t have enough people to properly run the facility. Once they tried to put some beef on dough and call it pizza, it was not cooked and the meat was bad. Raw dough and spoiled meat. No shit. No exaggeration.

Not feeding us is not only to starve us but to keep us from relaxing. We are constantly fasting involuntarily. The hunger keeps us anxious and irritable, to put it mildly. In my pod of 60 I have seen 12 people lifted out on stretchers this year, nobody checking for a pulse or performing CPR. That’s 1 per month on average. This cell is worse than the third world POW camps I visited during my time in the USMC. The corruption is so bad with so many hands in the cookie jar that one cannot even get a judge to hear them out about violations. TDCJ just ignores our requests and cites their lack of staff as to why they have nobody to process the documents.

War in Ferguson

On November 16th all the interconnected elements of prison war worked together on the Ferguson unit as five officers, unprovoked and without cause, entered the cell of two men demanding they submit to a complete strip search and handcuffs. When one of the captives asked why, he was immediately hit in his face with closed fist by CIT Gates while SGT Vasquez grabbed the captive’s head and slammed it against the concrete wall, causing injury. The captive fell to the ground and was kicked, his head was banged against the floor repeatedly. Afterwards he was dragged to the run, outside of the cell, where he was continuously kicked in his face and was even stood on. The entire time other captives were yelling in protest for the guards to stop, but they refused. While on another row, but hearing what was happening, I began launching projectiles from my cell. Eventually this caused the guards to cease their beating. They escorted the beaten man away, then returned minutes later to handcuff and escort me.

I was housed in solitary two cells down from the victim. I had the opportunity to speak with him for the first time, find out first hand what took place. He also shared with me his history of intellectual disabilities, and mild history of psychiatric illness. He had been adopted at a young age and raised in the foster care system. Our time near each other came to a close after the pressures of solitary confinement pushed this brother to attempt suicide. Days later as a result of this incident I was notified by the Ferguson Unit Warden Wheat that I would be reassigned to Administrative Segregation, under trumped up charges of assault on staff with a weapon.

Attempts to appeal the reassignment to Ad-Seg have been hampered by Unit Grievance Officer D. Turner not allowing my appeal of classification to go through.

I have personally reported the unprovoked excessive assaults these same clique of guards have taken part in in the five months I’ve been on Ferguson. There is a culture of unmitigated brutality here and the slightest show of counter-force is excessively punished. Warden Wheat has been made aware of this clique of pigs constantly assaulting people without cause, he has ignored or punished reporters.

Prison is War. Prison is Violence. Administrative Segregation is the highest form of it, where prisoncrats are allowed to hide you and abuse you away from any and all scrutiny. A tool that is used to throw away resisters in the prison battlefield. End RHU!

Sources: (1) Angela Y. Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle, pp. 23-24.

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[Drugs] [Deaths in Custody] [Abuse] [Peace in Prisons] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 84]
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ULK 83 Correction: Murders Weren't About Drugs

Dear MIM-ULK Editor,

Your Fall 2023 edition, at page 11, published the article “Prisoners Punished for Drug Problems in Texas”. The article began:

“On 6 September 2023 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prison system mandated a statewide lockdown due to the number of deaths related to drugs: a total of 16.”

This “related to drugs” statement IS A LIE fabricated by prison administrators to cover up the TRUE basis for the 16 murders, and cast the blame and causes for the killings on solely the prisoners, with no accountability on the government. Drugs had little to nothing to do with the murders!

I am on the McConnell Unit – 5 of those 16 murders occurred here; the highest murder rate of any TDCJ-CID facility. There were, also, 3 sodomy sexual assaults. 5 murders and 3 rapes in one 12 month period. NONE of them drug related per se.

From reading the article and its various contributors’ focus; I am making an informed deduction that the fellow prisoners who contributed based their deductions solely on the TDCJ-CID “Public Information Office” press release propaganda alone, with no real knowledge of the truth. I dug deeper and actually investigated.

The FACTUAL causes of the murders was total absence of any meaningful Classification and Housing Policy/Practice to separate categories of personality types; coupled with the administration’s practice of imposing 24/7 lockdowns due to shortage of personnel; and, feeding high-carb, starchy meals that meet caloric amounts but are devoid of bio-necessary nutrients.

Of the 5 murders and 3 rapes over 12 months here at McConnell Unit, one murder was committed by a prisoner high on K-2 and one of the rapists was drunk on “hooch”. The other 4 murders were NON-drug-related – the killers and victims were incompatible personalities placed in an 8’x12’ closet-sized cell and, at the time of the murders, having to spend 24 hours a day in the cell together. Nerves got frayed, personalities clashed, someone died. All three rapes occurred under similar circumstances: cellmates who were under a prolonged in-cell period due to “Staff Shortage”; one a dominant predatory personality, the other a passive victim – the predator gave in to his nature, the victim got sodomized.

In EVERY murder and rape, it could have been avoided had TDCJ-CID enforced a legitimate and meaningful classification, Housing Policy and Practice that separated prisoners into housing with compatible personalities and dispositions. However, classification is almost universally based on:

  1. age range;
  2. physical size; and,
  3. disciplinary history.

While TDCJ-CID policy states various other factors for the classification as well, actual practice uses only the above 3. Cell assignments usually keep the occupants within a similar age and physical size, but the overall cellblocks will contain ranges in age from 18-98 and people ranging from 5’2”, 100 lb to 6’6”, 350 lb. We’ll get a 19-20 year old first offender with 10-12 disciplinary cases in prison for a few theft cases put in a cell with a hard-core Gangsta on his fifth trip to prison for domestic violence/armed assault.

Since state law does NOT allow for any kind of public oversight NOR citizens’ investigations of conditions and administrative practices in the prison facilities, TDCJ-CID can fabricate whatever tale it wants to explain the murders and rapes – hence, put the blame on drugs, gangs, etc. and deny itself any blame.

I realize ULK Editors MUST rely on prisoners’ reports to even know what circumstances are behind the walls. However, it’s prudent that you fact check what the prisoners say, because the vast majority of Texas prisoners actually take “Official Reports” as truth and never even question what they hear on the news!

CLUE: Anytime an Official Report points its finger solely at prisoners to assign blame, and/or gives excuses that open a door to imposing harsher or more restrictive “security” measures – the odds are the Official Report contains lies and is little more than “Perception Management” propaganda to deceive the public.

Courts will not pry into prison operations; they always defer to the “professional knowledge of prison authorities” and accept whatever fabricated “fact” the prison administration offers. When any public organization tries to monitor inside prison conditions, they are blocked. And, the prison administration always has “Brown Nose” prisoners willing to sing whatever song officials want in exchange for privileges.

Prisons are for the most part “black holes” where the light of truth is concerned – truth is sucked in and hidden while only the darkness of lies is visible.

TDCJ-CID has about as much transparency as the CIA – and, until Congress adopts a Law, or the people put in the state Constitution something that imposes citizen oversight (by independent organizations), TDCJ-CID will remain a near-opaque agency.

Thank you for the attention you’ve given to this reality of life in Texas prisons.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We thank this comrade for the additional information on the situation on the ground. We explain our perspective and our reliance on on-the-ground correspondents in every issue of ULK in a box titled ‘On “Objective” Reporting.’

The main point of the article being responded to was that the TDCJ was enforcing a statewide lockdown for a problem that they caused. We know there is massive drug addiction plaguing the imprisoned population in Texas and many other states right now. So in these regards we had the facts straight, and made it clear that it was the staff to blame.

That said we appreciate the additional information this comrade provides on the causes of the deaths and violence. We would not say that celling certain personalities together are at the heart of the violence. And we certainly wouldn’t blame predatory behavior on an individual’s “nature.” There are plenty of contexts in which different people can live together without killing each other. It is the particular oppressive and stressful conditions of U.$. prisons that lead to these tragedies and lost lives. As this comrade mentions, solitary confinement and poor food are serious stressors on the body, especially the brain. It is our experience that the drug economy is a big contributor to conflicts as well. This is not blaming the prisoners, this is blaming the state for promoting the current drug epidemic as a means to divide and pacify the oppressed.

The principal contradiction that defines the prison system is that between the captive and the captor. It is in the interests of the captor, who is the minority, to distract and divide the captives. This must come first, before things like ignoring celling protocols can become operative in a way that leads to deaths. A united prisoner population would not be manipulated by celling strategies.

That said, we agree that policies regarding who is celled with who can reduce these conflicts in our current situation. More importantly, we agree that some kind of outside oversight and pressure is necessary to change the ways of those who would be enforcing such policies. It is only through building true independent institutions that we can begin to apply such independent pressure in a way that serves the people by preventing these oppressive tactics.

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 84]
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Resourceful Responses to Two Articles from ULK 83

Re: “Prisoner Put in Solitary for Organizing Political Education in Ohio”, by an Ohio Prisoner

Greetings comrade,

While I wish I could do more to help you combat the political repression you are experiencing within the Ohio gulags, I am sending MIM a leaflet in hopes that it may help you as a replacement for your “self help litigation manual” that you mention was (intentionally) lost. Comrades @ Midwest Books to Prisoners have formatted Columbia University’s “Jailhouse Lawyers Manual” (JLM) into zines (one chapter per pamphlet) and will send you 3-5 per request, for free. I hope these pamphlets will help you get around the pigs not allowing you to order books from the SHU.

|1321 N. Milwaukee Ave | PMB #460 | Chicago, IL 60622

Re: “Prisoners Punished for Drug Problem in Texas” by a Texas Prisoner

Though I will not pretend to know what goes on within the oppressive behemoth that is the TDCJ (being that I am going on 3 years here in a county jail in the Bay Area), I read recently after receiving ULK 83 a news snippet within the newest edition of the anti-authoritarian/anarchist website ItsGoingDown’s newsletter “IN Contempt #34” that might shed some light on the reasons behind the Sep. 6th lockdown for Texas’ gulags. I copy it verbatim:

The Texas-wide prison lockdown that began in September has now been lifted [this newsletter was posted Nov. 2nd 2023]. The lockdown was officially described as an effort to combat drugs, but some prisoners have questioned this and suggested it was actually an attempt to suppress prisoner unrest after a particularly brutal staff beating at Coffield Unit. From a Texas Tribune article:

“On Sept. 5 an inmate [sic] at the Coffield Unit stabbed a correctional officer [sic] in a high security unit. TDCJ officers [sic] responded to this incident with excessive force and prison system spokesperson Amanda Hernandez told The Texas Tribune established protocols were not followed. After an internal review of that incident, seven correctional officers [sic] were fired and another six officers [sic] resigned….”

I’m not 100% sure what the spokesperson for TDCJ meant by “established protocols were not followed”, but from the expansive reporting of Texas TEAMONE and others within TDCJ, we know that “excessive force” is standard operating procedure for Texas pigs.

MIM(Prisons) adds: We too distribute chapters of the PLM through our Serve the People Free Political Books to Prisoners Program. See page 2 for more info on how to to get books. Also see the other response regarding the Texas lockdown for more info on what was behind it.

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[Drugs] [Medical Care] [Abuse] [Prison Food] [Bridgeport Unit] [Bill Clements Unit] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 83]
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Prisoners Punished for Drug Problem in Texas

On 6 September 2023 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prison system mandated a statewide Lockdown due to the number of deaths related to drugs: a total of 16. They think that will stop the flow of drugs, but you and I know that it will not. You and I know that as long as you have officers that are willing, it will continue.

…Most here are having to do all of their sentence, and some have said fuck it, I will continue to get high. They don’t have to worry about going to jail, cause they are already in jail. But it seems to be that the only ones making parole are the ones that consistently stay high. Do you think that if more were making parole that would cut down on some of the drugs being used?


Choper reports from Bill Clements on the same day: The Bill Clements Unit has been continually operating at 20% to 30% short of staff for three straight years now. In Ad-Seg I have had my 1 hour out of cell 4 times in 2 years. We have had spaghetti sauce and beans 2x per day every day for 90+ days. Commissary always has an excuse why they don’t run and library runs roughly 6x per year instead of weekly.

The wardens and majors and rank walk through and focus on taking down pictures and string lines. Micromanaging the small shit instead of handling real issues like starvation and excessive suicide. There is no medical provider on staff here so don’t run medical. No mental health. Prescriptions run out long ago and nobody to refill.

Today we are on lockdown because they can’t control contraband: this itself is an admission of failure by staff. I mean you can’t manage 20-30% staff? WTF would they do with 100% staff? Their incompetence is killing, literally killing us. As in deaths. A lot of them.


A Connally Unit prisoner wrote on 25 September 2023: I am currently G5 custody level being held at Connally Unit in Kennedy, Texas at a Texas State Prison (TDCJ). We are currently on lockdown. I believe all TDCJ is under lockdown. Apparently they are cracking down on narcotics and any other form of contraband. We have been on lockdown since Wednesday, 6 September 2023. Correction, that was an annual lockdown. We had a restriction lockdown on 24 August 2023, and we have been on lockdown ever since.

Our last commissary day, the last time we actually hit, was on August 21st. I believe we are supposed to go every 30 days or so, at least a hygiene store and we haven’t had any of that! The first restriction lockdown was placed (not formally but rumor goes) because someone snitched gave TDCJ staff heads up about some contraband and people involved. Who and what I am not sure. I am not allowed out of the cell except for showers! Up until recently they was not running showers regularly.

We received tablets (all G5 custody) on Tuesday, 19 September 2023. Since then things have gotten way better! Showers run more regularly, food comes at reasonable times. We get cold water runs! The food portions are better than before. The fires have stopped! You know, I am not sure if visitation is now open. The terrors have since stopped though! What a relief. Ok, so the terrors began on the 1st day of restriction lockdown (8/24) I couldn’t see much and didn’t know what was going on but they raided (shookdown) a couple people’s cells in 8 Building L pod 3 section. We was never informed that we was placed on restriction lockdown or why. I found out gossip from another inmate.

Since day one, no showers, no cold water runs, no heat respite, (I don’t believe G5’s get any respite) small food portions and they would run late. It is extremely hot in Connally. It is even hotter back here. Connally Unit is a down south Texas max security unit. There have been multiple times I have passed out due to the heat, woken up with major headaches, bloodshot eyes, and chapped lips!

…They shook us down on September 9th, Saturday. They didn’t finish the whole building til 15th or 16th, which is about when we got our dearly beloved SSI’s back!!! The suffering ends, partially… When they shook us down – cell search – they took the whole section out cell by cell in cuffs, and placed half the section in one side multi-purpose room and the other half in another multi-purpose room.

We came back to a Great Mess! Haha, I don’t mind the mess, I had to re-organize my belongings anyways. I wonder why they would ask us to place our things, all of our property, neatly on our own bunks, mattress like this and that, come back to our things mixed up?! Comical! One dude went hysterical, yelling at the laws and complaining about coffee spilled on all his property! Clothes, sheets, family pictures, etc. Then, here come the fires! Multiple inmates was angry, each with their own complaints. By this time the guards had given up on putting out the fires. Which is unpleasant, adding heat literally to the already hot building and smoke. Many times I had to cover up not to breath the toxic carbon monoxide! The section gets so full of smoke it’s completely black. I figured the best thing to do was place one fan by the door blowing outwards and a fan by the window blowing hot air in. I would have to place a wet towel on the door to keep smoke from coming in. Every day was something new, every day an issue appeared! Every day a fire was made, some two, some three at a time, two or three times a day… The last fire was put out by an officer, a sergeant.

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[Heat] [Political Repression] [Abuse] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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Murderous Heat and Retaliation in Texas

I have received a few publications this year. Some from The National Lawyers Guilde, The Coalition For Prisoners Rights, and two MIM publications. Of course, there are a tremendous amount of struggles taking place. How could there not be? We as prisoners are after all being punished.

Punishment means, according to U.S. interest and interpretation of the word by the Supreme Court, that states are granted permission to impose upon their prisoners “harsh conditions”, and that ultimately prisoners have “no right to comfort”.

Texas has definitely taken advantage of the fact that they are granted permission to punish prisoners. I know this for a fact because I am a prisoner in Texas prison. I can not speak for any other state. I have only personally experienced, and still am experiencing, life inside a Texas prison compound. I have been confined/hostage for going on 10 years. I have been in TDCJ-CID for about 7 1/2 years.

Yes, there are a lot of things I have witnessed and because of that a lot I can report about and or discuss. The majority of this information has actually already been brought to the attention of some outside the prison. Consequently, most people in the free world could care less. The imprisoned lumpen are a hated class and the public has been conditioned to believe that prisoners deserve their punishment and harsh living conditions.

I disagree with those who think we deserve punishment. Harsh conditions in Texas involves being enslaved, pinned against your cellmate, exposed to the elements, exposed to insects and vermin, mental anguish, denial of mail etc.. It truly goes on! How could any conscious human be deserving of punishment, that by design, is intended to defeat you, break you down, and cause long-term fundamental changes within you. Long-term changes that are not for the betterment of yourself or humanity.

TEXAS’ MURDEROUS HEAT

The harsh condition that I am going to now write about is one that I have not seen in any of the ‘prisoners struggle’ publications this year: extreme heat within Texas prisons. This is a real problem, a problem that not only imposes harsh conditions and punishes prisoners, but as history has shown, sometimes even executes the prisoner!

Under information and belief and from what I have heard on F.M. radio news, prisoners, forced into this Texas punishment compound, have actually been executed this year by being forcefully exposed to the harsh condition of extreme heat in Texas. Many more, including me, have been physically assaulted by this tortuous and murderous heat. Heat that causes physical illness and or Death!

Sadly, those who have been conditioned to hate prisoners most likely take extraordinary pride in the fact that their state, Texas, punishes its prisoners literally to Death. As the saying goes: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS!

Well, I have recently filed a §1983 over this deadly and dangerous heat here at the McConnell Unit. See Civil Action No. 2:23-cv-00201 filed in U.S. Dist. Court Southern Dist. Texas Corpus Christi Div. Will I prevail? Most likely not because T.X. claims to have in place adequate heat mitigation measures, and T.X. prisoncrats do an exceptionally well job at covering up illegal conduct.

RETALIATION

As of right now, I am being retaliated against by TDCJ Prison guards on the McConnell Unit. I seen this coming because there is a gang of ‘punishers’ who are employed at the McConnell Unit. Sometimes you know who they are by the Patch that they wear on their vests. This Patch is a picture of the comic book character Punisher’s emblem that is superimposed on to either a Texas Flag or an American Flag.

Since filing grievances, when I attempt to get a officers name, I am rudely denied and often threatened with a case. Even though officers are required to give their names upon request, rank does not enforce this upon their subordinates at all!

On July 30, 2023, I requested names from several officers, all in the presence of a sergeant, I was refused their names then written a fraudulent major case by the sergeant Samantha Ramirez. This was the second fraudulent case that was written on me since filing grievances about the heat.

In addition to the fraudulent major case, a hearing was ran on me without me knowing about it or having a chance to confront the accuser. I found out that a case was ran on me when prison classification changed my custody level from g3 to g4 status requiring me to live in a more restrictive housing assignment and forfeiting any of my immediate chances at getting moved to a prison closer to my C.O.P.D. dying Mother. Due Process does not exist for me at this ‘Government Blacksite’

Even more, I have had my life threatened by these vigilantes, denied medical, denied showers, denied recreation, denied dayroom, denied access to phone calls, denied my diet food trays, etc, and I am sure it. It is not over with.

This shit is really going on! I will continue to keep in contact with MIM. Good bye for now!

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[Deaths in Custody] [Heat] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]
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State (Texas) of Emergency

Dear Comrades,

In June 2023, 32 Texas prisoners died, none of which were associated with heat supposedly, the New York Times reported. Of those who died, at least five, including a 34-year-old and a 35-year-old, died of reported heart attacks of cardiac arrest in uncooled prisons when heat indexes broke triple digits, according to a Texas Tribune analysis.

Texas hasn’t officially reported a heat-related prison death in more than a decade; the last death reported was in 2012.

Statistically that doesn’t add up nor is it true. In 2022 a study published in JAMA Network Open determined than an average of 14 heat-related deaths occurred each year between 2001 and 2019 in Texas prisons that don’t have air conditioning. The study found that no deaths were associated with heat in the prisons that had air conditioning during this time period. About 70% of Texas prisons don’t have air conditioning during this time period in inmate living spaces, the Houston Chronicle reported in May. There are about 128,000 prisoners in Texas and only 42,000 have cool beds (Therapeutic cool housing).

Texas has 100 prisons (facilities); 31 had air conditioning in all housing areas as of May, and 14 had zero air conditioning in the housing areas. The remaining facilities have varying degrees of air conditioning.

The living conditions in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) lacking air conditioning is very oppressive, dangerous, and aggressively unlivable in the sweltering heat.

TDCJ implemented a policy in which the prisons have “respite areas” with air conditioning. These “respite areas” can be in the unit chapel, medical, or an education room which enables prisoners to sit in to “cool” off temporarily. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (College Edition) defines “respite” as a temporary suspension of the execution of a person condemned to death. That sounds like the definition of TDCJ!

Here are the Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas (which also houses Deathrow prisoners for the state of Texas) I’ve witnessed prisoners wetting the cement floors in their cells and laying on it to get relief from sweltering temperatures.

The Texas prisons were built purposely without air conditioning. TDCJ is a $3 billion industry and has no capacity to air condition its prisons.

Texas prisons are made of concrete and steel which gets extremely hot. Temperatures inside some of the uncooled Texas prisons regularly surpass 110 degrees, topping out at a heat index of 149 degrees in one unit, according to a Texas A&M University Study using data collected between 2018 and 2020.

Comrades please understand the “respite areas”, cool showers, and ice water access is not giving daily as “policy” directs. Prisoners regularly sustain disciplinary punishment trying to acquire the cooling privileges because it is not guaranteed.

Texas has the remedy to combat the problem that only costs money. It is a simple math problem, not a complex issue. Easy solution to save humans from dying of sickness and heat-related illnesses. TDCJ saves millions in revenue each year off the free labor of prisoners but won’t invest any money to accommodate the lives of the prisoners they extort from.

TDCJ is still stuck in its 19th century blueprint and seems to be biased to the 21st century methods of air conditioning. This is a very serious problem that will turn fatal as record breaking temperatures continue to rise. If death occurs it will only be covered up and blamed on something else.

Rather than designate money specifically for air conditioning the state budget that takes effect September 2023 allots $85.7 million to TDCJ, which can be used for cooling measures, the Texas Tribune reported. Don’t hold your breath on this comrades.

In these summer months and beyond, TDCJ units are like makeshift ovens, literally. The cells are heated chambers that bake and roast human beings to exhaustion.

This matter is a state (Texas) of Emergency. To those who view this subject as that… please help.

I am drenched with perspiration as I write this. Being a prisoner in Texas is the true definition of blood, SWEAT, and tears.

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[Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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A Petition to End the Horrific Conditions in the Coffield Unit!

IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MOST GRACIOUS, THE MOST MERCIFUL WE ARE HUMAN TOO!

Please accept this as a call to all GOD-FEARING PEOPLE to call on the Texas Legislature to convene a Special Session to correct a potentially vital situation here on the Coffield Unity.

The following is a brief narrative of what is taking place. The Coffield Unity was initially designed to house 2,000 men, however, at last count there was 4,300. Consequently, staff is daily operating at 31% to 21% capacity. This creates an environment of absolute chaos. Prisoners are crowded into dayrooms for hours at a time (after meals and showers) without adequate access to toilet facilities. The dayrooms are equipped with only urinals. This has resulted in men defecating on themselves, or defecating in sacks or on paper or other items of discarded clothing etc., then throwing it out the window.

Another issue is sleep deprivation. Due to the constant slamming of doors, count times, showers, and other penal activities it is impossible to get a decent nights rest. Also the dining hall is a powder keg. It is often filled to max capacity (without any observable security), with men jumping line, purchasing contraband food, and conducting all types of side deals. Outside recreation is nearly non-existent. The overcrowded showers, dayrooms, and dining hall would be unbelievable to the average observer. Whenever there are important visitors to the unit it is guaranteed the unit will be placed on limited movement, suspended activity, or full lockdown in order to conceal the chaotic nature of daily operations. There is a sophisticated camera system installed in the unit that would verify the truth of all of these claims.

Another extreme situation is the heart, which is exacerbated by the unjust section lockdowns. To explain, due to the age of Coffield and the fact that it is in disrepair, prisoners have figured out how to manipulate the locking mechanisms on the cell doors. Because security staff cannot stop this from happening, they will retaliate by placing those sections on lockdown for several days and subjecting them to the extreme heat, sack-meals, and extreme cell searches.

This is an extreme security risk, which could easily lead to a massive riot, which the “shortage of staff” will not be able to maintain. This is not to mention the extreme and oppressive conditions the men in Ad Seg, or “Restricted Housing”, experience on a daily basis. It is common for these prisoners to go days on end without showers or recreation. They are frequently denied drinks with their meals. Their manner of being fed is totally against policy and food service standards. For example the SSI’s (i.e. the janitor prisoners) are allowed to feed them without security staff present. This means that those prisoners whose food tray slots are not open or rigged must receive their food trays underneath the rusted and corroded cell doors. It is common for fires to burn and smolder on the run for hours at a time without any attempt at putting them out, and still yet unsuccessful at gaining the attention of the security staff. The manipulating the locking mechanisms are also a phenomenon in Restricted Housing. There have been recent incidents of prisoners popping out of their cells stabbing prisoners, dashing other prisoners with feces & urine. There was recently a prisoner who got out of his cell and hit an officer in the head with a fan motor, causing him to be sent out in an ambulance.

As a propose solution, we duly implore you to convene a Special Session to reduce the Coffield population by releasing those prisoners with 20-years or more completed on their sentence (who have received more than one parole set off). This will aid in making the unit in a Single-cell unit as it is being reported to be. The living conditions here on the Coffield unit is unconstitutional and in total violation of the 8th Amendment. The SPCA would not allow dogs to be housed as we are here on the Coffield Unit. We implore you to come and see for yourselves!

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[Campaigns] [Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 82]
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An Update on the Juneteenth Freedom Initative

Since Our last update regarding the J.F.I., and its three phase plan to magnify the genocidal practices, policies and procedures ever present within the Amerikan criminal justice system, there has been slight progress in our phase two, or the national phase of this campaign.

Namely, the U.$. DOJ has begun to respond to the hundreds of grievance petitions and testimonials sent to them last year. U.$. DOJ has shown interest in further investigating incidents of excessive use of force, and lack of staff. This is only what has been reported from Texas comrades, and We hope to hear more from others around the country as responses pour in.

Along these same lines, We have recently begun corresponding with a legal aid organization who has reached out to us, interested in representing prisoner’s litigation efforts which are socio-politically motivated in nature. They’ve expressed interest in assisting us in the J.F.I. campaign going forward, as this partnership develops We’ll keep you all informed.

An Update on Legislation Efforts in Texas

Through the last 180 days a lot of time and energy has been refocused in support efforts regarding legislation beneficial to the Texas prisoner class.

We have been focused on the following bills and resolutions:

  1. HB 2834, relating to minimum wage for inmates in certain work programs.
  2. HB 782, gives authority to trial court to modify a defendants sentence.
  3. HB 812, regarding limitation on use of Administrative segregation.
  4. HB 1362, relating to the use of the death penalty and life without parole in capital crimes for people younger than 21 years old.
  5. HB 1736, relating to conspiracy and law of parties and criminal responsibility in capital cases.
  6. House Joint Resolution 63, regarding the explicit outlawing of slavery and servitude.

In Our efforts to abolish Ad-Seg, there was a book released and passed around to current legislators at the beginning of the session in January. The book, Texas Letters Volume 1, is an anthology consisting of prisoners first hand accounts of their experiences in long term solitary confinement in Texas. Despite these and other efforts it seems as though HB 812 will not pass this session.

In Our efforts to magnify HB 1362 and HB 1736, there is a current publication in the works specifically dedicated to telling the stories of those affected by the Law of Parties and the death penalty and life w/o parole at the ages below 21. Surprisingly, this is a bi-partisan effort. Despite this it has not yet been passed. People on the ground are developing different ways to get the information about this issue disseminated more widely to the public.

On Other Efforts in Texas

Seeing that Our efforts in the legislation campaign have not been fruitful, We’ve channeled Our energy toward more cadre building through establishing Authentic In Manhood, Masculinity and Maturity (A.I.M) and its sub section Political Education 101, a series of seminars giving insight into the basic essentials of revolutionary political and social theory. We hope these efforts bear more fruit in the near future.

An Update on the Forever Protecting Our Community Organization

Since the introductory article presenting FPC to the ULK audience, i would like to inform you that the FPC organization has established a local community garden, promoting food sovereignty, and has begun to launch a program designed to combat open air sex and human trafficking in the local area. FPC has also taken part with other organizations in a memorial for people who’ve lost their lives to police terrorism and gang violence, members of the FPC have been active in mentoring youth in anti-drug and anti-gang counseling providing school supplies, and feeding the people. The organization’s political line continues to mature, and we continue to observe this movement closely.

Dare to Invent the Future

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