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)

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)

[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 72]
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Orientating USW Organizing Strategy in Light of Texas Victory

In Under Lock & Key 71 we promoted a campaign in Texas’ Allred Unit for phone access and video visits during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The campaign won this immediate goal, although the campaign included a list of 15 demands that included an end to long-term solitary confinement, good time credits, releases related to COVID-19, the right to vote and more that were not addressed. Below one of the leaders draws some lessons from the campaign. Both of the excerpts below are from discussions among USW leaders on current conditions for organizing in prisons.


A USW comrade in Texas: Seven days after the phone zap all prisoners in Restrictive Housing Unit (RHU), even those on level 3, began receiving free phone calls weekly. The admin bought cordless phones, there is one on each pod. Each day one section gets calls. There are only 6 sections per pod, so 1 day of the week is ‘stuck out phone call day’ for those who may’ve gotten moved, downgraded etc. So the zap and the strike were a success, but I also observed some keen lessons. Oh, before I say that let me say that the above arrangement is supposed to last until the OTS bluephones are installed. This is what we’ve been told, although I don’t believe it.

Now the lessons: #1. A more profound respect for the necessity to remain underground. This coincides with #2 which is that the masses, both those within the organized body (the rank & file) and outside that body, are EASILY pacified with the simplest reform because for most lumpen the “invincibility” of the state and admin remains intact. Therefore if in the event the admin actually budges in any way it is considered a monumental victory and complacency sets in. That’s what I’m dealing with now surrounded by masses on the “outside of the body.”

Backtracking to #1, I find myself surrounded by masses on the outside now because the admin was made privy to my position and influence among the active protagonists (Team One). As you know, I was isolated, rehoused. Since then some captives have used their outside contacts to apply pressure to admin – this resulted in the discontinued practice of isolation of dissidents on level 3 pods. Consequently I was moved again, and although things are favorable here in most ways, the point is that the admin’s success in separating the cadres has circumvented my attempt to mobilize peers to push the movement forward.

However, I truly think that once the ‘free’ calls are taken away, and it goes back to $15 for a 5 minute call, and no OTS phones have been made available, people will see exactly what I’ve been preaching to them the last 3 months or so, then the material conditions will be ripe again. In the meantime, I’m working on developing new cadres.


MIM(Prisons): The comrade above reported on repression and bad-jacketing efforts by the state, but has worked against them through mass contact and political education. While the focus of the campaign became the immediate goal of phone access during COVID-19, the demands highlighted much bigger concerns, including the end to long-term solitary confinement, which MIM(Prisons) has spent a lot of time campaigning for over the years. Another USW Leader addressed the issue of organizing around immediate, minor reforms in the USW leaders meeting while discussing local conditions in eir prison:


USW comrade N: The most pressing issues at this facility are of course important to all who feel strongly about them (i.e.: phone access to loved ones during the lockdown). However from an organizers’ perspective, these are not battles in which we can effectively push anti-imperialism forward, much less Marxism-Leninism-Maoism (MLM), without veering into reformist practices of little tactical or strategic value. I am aware that arguments on principle can be mounted to the contrary, but absent a practicable, totalizing strategy for revolution domestically being put forward by an MLM organization that is actionable in the here-and-now (notwithstanding the exemplary work MIM(Prisons) has exhibited in their particular field of operations), we cannot effectively utilize many of these prison struggles as a proper springboard to corresponding actions in other areas, actions which do not translate into long-term pacification which benefits their prison administration in an objective, cost-to-us, benefit-to-them analysis.

If we cannot muster the resources and external manpower to mount a facility or state-specific campaign for a tactical reform to push our agenda and continually imprint firmly in the minds of all incarcerated that we have their best interests in mind, it may be advisable to abstain from participation lest credit for the reforms go elsewhere and becomes politically-neutered, or, worse yet, the system co-opts the struggle as its own and touts its successes (ie. The First-Step Act). Otherwise, we are gaining no more than sporadic traction amongst those we are attempting to revolutionize, and then only of a transient nature. We should not be trying to ‘improve’ American prisons, much like we should not be attempting to cut a bigger portion of imperialist profits from Third World super-exploitation for the lower class, yet still relatively privileged, citizens of empire.

If we are to engage in any prison organizing, then censorship battles concerning our political ideology, the UFPP and the Re-Lease on Life programs should take center stage. I find it harder to advocate quality-of-life reforms which are not linked to a totalizing revolutionary strategy outside the walls. Our goal is to radicalize those on the inside, for subsequent outside work. As for our comrades who do not have the luxury of a release date, or have sentences which essentially translate into the same, their best hope for release lies not in reforms but with an all-sided MLM revolutionary organization planning their release through eventual Peoples’ War. It goes without saying that for them, and for everyone suffering under American imperialism, the sooner, the better.

*In case it may not appear as such, all of the above is written in the spirit of “Unity-Struggle-Unity.”


MIM(Prisons) adds: Comrade N echoes MIM(Prisons) in calling for campaigns around censorship battles, building a United Front for Peace in Prisons and developing Re-Lease on Life programs. Ey reflects our general practice in shying away from inherently reformist campaigns; ones that do not contribute to our long-term goals and projects. We include the struggle against long-term isolation on that list, which Team One included in their demands, but was perhaps dismissed as a throwaway demand.

Our comrade in Texas suggests that organizing may start up again when the state doesn’t keep its promises. And we should note that it can be hard to separate out UFPP development work from reformist campaigns. Formations like Team One serve to unite different lumpen formations for common cause. 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. At this point we rely on the leaders of Team One to make that determination.

We think both the comrades here are contributing greatly to work on the ground and to developing the knowledge and line of our movement overall. We can also say that only focusing on the reformist campaigns, without the longer goals, is not going to change anything in regards to ending oppression and injustice. Scientific leadership liquidating its demands in the masses is an error that will not get us anywhere good either. We’ve seen many who say they unite with our goals but argue that the masses aren’t ready for them so they hide their true politics. This is called tailism, and it has not proven effective in building the communist movement.

Finally, Comrade N makes the point that we need a broader communist movement to be guiding our work in a strategic way. The fact that we are just a prison ministry focused on prisoner support, without a larger organization/formation to be guiding our work leads us much more susceptible to the trap of reformism. This is why it is important for us to be involved in the development of a broader communist movement in this country and to link up with other forces that have the correct orientation around key questions for communists.

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[Grievance Process] [Abuse] [Ellis Unit] [Texas]
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Locked Down and Threatened with Psych Eval for Complaining About Food

I filed a grievance on food service here on the Ellis Unit followed by an Ombudsman complaint. I was put on lock down by the investigating officer (Captain Wiggins) for no valid reason. Kept there for seven days, while the “investigation” was done. After that I was threatened by Captain Livas saying he would lock me up again, justify it by ordering a psych eval on me and then move me around every two days to “fuck with me.” He then forced me to sign a statement saying I had no complaints.

I would like the Texas grievance packet and state-level petition/grievance campaign info.

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[Idealism/Religion]
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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:
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[COVID-19] [Civil Liberties] [Daniel Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 72]
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COVID-19 Sheds Some Light on Prisoners' Lack of Recourse

I’m writing to ask if there is a way to receive the grievance petition for Texas. As for here all grievances are answered the same. The lawsuit that was in federal court due to COVID-19 was thrown out for not exhausting administrative remedies. Also here at this unit we are not allowed to wear N95 masks. We do not have any rights here.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is commenting on the fact that grievances are constantly denied in Texas, like so many prison systems in this country. Yet, without the proper paper trail of going through all levels of the grievance process, your lawsuits are deemed invalid thanks to the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act(PLRA) of Bill Clinton. Before the PLRA there was actually a semblance of checks and balances applied to conditions in U.$. prisons. Since then that has not been the case, and abuse and humyn rights violations occur daily, unchecked. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped bring that to the attention of the general public.

This is why USW comrades have written grievance petitions in over a dozen states to appeal to various state overseers to restore a semblance of justice to these prison systems. While the victories have been isolated, it has led to concrete organizing around concrete conditions faced by prisoners as a class. These injustices demonstrate the bad faith of the current system that offers no real solutions for the oppressed.

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[COVID-19] [Daniel Unit] [Texas]
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Grievance Campaign Takes on COVID-19 Practices at Prince Daniel Unit

I’d like to say thank you for your support while we are here behind these walls, at Prince Daniel Unit in Snyder, Texas. These officers have it in their mind that we don’t have any rights. They delay my mail and even send it back to sender. I’ve been grieving this issue, and no response. Also here you have several C.O.’s who don’t wear their mask. C.O. Gauna doesn’t wear her mask, and constantly turns on bright lights while we sleep just to be annoying, and when I complain, her famous saying is, “You should have never been locked up”. Another C.O. who does the same, his name is Wilcox. And I’ve written Step 1 and Step 2, with no good answer.

We are racked up one row and they let two row out sometimes. There are only 5 people in day room. Showers are not cleaned. If you are an SSI/Porter, your job is to clean on your hour out and get dirty without taking a shower and rack up. When you come out on your next hour you still have to clean. Per Mayor Durben, Capt. Hoover doesn’t have anything signed by the warden or director of TDCJ about one row, two row. But we all go to rec and to eat at the same time. I would like a grievance petition for Texas, so I can share here with my brothers.

So in the Echo it stated that phone visits are $10 for one hour. The video visit. What about those who can’t afford those visits? Shoot, here at Prince Daniel Unit prices are going up in commissary and we are forced to buy what they want us to, because they’re always out of items. The crazy part is that warehouse is 15 minutes from here, and we have 52 workers who work there and live here on The Unit. I guess you just have to stay out of trouble to get out. But hell, nobody is making parole. What can we do? Well brother sorry for the complaining. Until next time

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[Hunger Strike] [Campaigns] [Control Units] [Political Repression] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 71]
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Hunger Strike in Allred Unit Wins Promise of Phone Contact with Family and Friends

[UPDATE: Phone Zap/Petition campaign targeted around 14 September 2020]

I would like to update you all on what’s been transpiring the last month here in tekkk$a$. The last time i wrote i believe i mentioned my organizing of a hunger strike. We were initially set for the national date of Black August 21st through Bloody September 9th. However, due to the advent of the social uprisings in the wake of George Floyd’s lynching, We collectively decided to begin on the imperialist’s independence day. Due to receiving word thru inmate moles and rats, the Senior Warden Jimmy Smith, called one of our committee members out along with another participant. This committee member laid our just demands down. The most immediate of which was access to communication with loved ones via telephones being put on each dayroom. (This is for isolated-solitary-restrictive housing) and an alternative to visitation (video visits) and TV for audio/video stimulation, rehabilitation, education, cultural socialization classes or functions, and a clear path for release from isolated solitary RHU confinement. In addition, there were a few smaller, in-house demands. These were the main ones though.

Of course the warden attempted to negotiate without us actually striking. This was 1 July 2020. The committee member wasn’t hearing it. On 2 July 2020 all phones (in general population) were suddenly out of order. Of course this was a tactic by the fascist pig power structure to keep this in house as much as possible. We committee members were ahead of them; 2 weeks prior, we had provided 250 stamped envelopes, written memos, and passed them out at 30 a piece on five out of six total pods. These went out to an array of media outlets.

On 4 July 2020 we began with 141 hunger strike participants out of about 600 prisoners on the building. This was a multi-national, multi-organizational collective campaign. The committee is composed of 2 [email protected], 1 New Afrikan and 1 Anglo-amerikan.

On 5 July 2020 Gang Investigators (G.I.) searched every strikers’ cell. It was merely an intimidation tactic, because all they did was inventory the commissary for those who had any. 2 people ended their strikes for the time being due to not wanting the G.I. in their cells. So we were down to 139. By policy (Management of Offender Hunger Strike G.53.3) after 72 hours (9 meals) without eating, a hunger strike becomes “official.” This means medical will begin getting vital signs, urine samples, and weight at this time.

On 7 July 2020 we all were supposed to be pulled out per policy. However, on each pod, more than half of the strikers weren’t pulled out. I wrote a grievance, and flooded the tier out that night. I was told medical had to catch up on some people the next day. This was a lie. On the next day, 8 July, i was still not on medical list, along with about 3 or 4 others on my pod. I can’t account for the other pods on that date.

This refusal of medical was an administrative tactic utilized to:

  1. discourage the participants, so that those of less determination will quit our mission

  2. To keep the reported numbers as small as possible. After 72 hours the unit must report all the numbers to the prisonkkkrats in Huntsville daily.

I scribed an urgent communique to others of the committee , and it was then passed down to all the participants. The communique basically outlined how we were to conduct our own independent 1095 for this specific reason. It called on the people to stay encouraged, and also our counter-tactics if/when such things continued.

On that same day, 8 July, I was in the dayroom for my out of cell time. I hijacked the dayroom, forcing pigs to come down and speak to me directly. A particular Sergeant whose pretty fair came down and i informed him of the problem. A nurse, whose very favorable to prisoners had previously informed me that Major Washington, an Uncle Tom, was in charge of viewing security cameras to verify whether we were taking trays. Therefore he was the one falsifying state documentation. I informed the Sergeant of this directly. Also that there would be a mass of LIDs (life in danger) filed on the Major and all rank who i’ve informed who do nothing. The Sergeant took a list of each persyn who was being neglected medical attention.

The next day, 9 July 2020, while in the dayroom again the nurse i mentioned above informed me that i and the other comrades were still not on the list. I was infuriated to say the least. All the day rooms were hijacked. The Warden was on the building i was told, but eventually i fell out. Upon this development, various ranking pigs, medical and other pigs cautiously entered the dayroom while i lay motionless on the floor. I hear SGT Barbara Atteberry threaten me while pulling her riot baton. I hear a comrade who is known for severely hurting pigs threaten her in return. The kkkaptives began going crazy. Burning things, flooding the tier. The dayrooms is still hijacked and of course the shouting of expletives is the soundtrack. After this reaction to her threatening me, i guess Atteberry changed her mind. I was rolled out in a wheelchair, when after finally getting my vitals taken, Atteberry told me i would be going to suicide cell if i didn’t get off strike. I refused. Yet the “pretty fair” Sergeant vetoed her decision and i was eventually put in my cell. I told the pigs i wasn’t satisfied because there were others who hadn’t been pulled out.

Later that day, certain committee members were pulled out, “investigated” by regional Gang Investigators due to a pig and agent provocateur-circulated rumor that a conspiracy to murder prison guards in the “free world” and in the prison if we didn’t receive our demands was in play.

On 10 July i was finally placed on the medical list. During this time i’ve been denied books, letters, pictures, law library materials. Other prisoners were being denied chronic medication such as blood pressure, seizure meds, psych meds as long as they’re on strike.

Also around this time, we began being told that phones have been approved. We’re skeptical of this information. I neglected to mention on 9 July at about 12 midnight nine pigs came to each door ordering those with commissary to relinquish it or they would be taken off strike and gassed. This was a Lt. Mason leading the charge, under orders from Head Warden J. Smith. Most didn’t fall for the banana in the tail pipe and gave up their commissary. We did lose 60 souljas however. This reactionary tactic is of course outside of rules and regulations, not to mention the sensory deprivation caused by the harassment of interrupting sleep not 1, not 2, but 3 times to get one’s commissary finally at 5:00 AM.

We filed all manner of complaints, yet the admin dangled the commissary in front of our faces saying “You’ll get it back when you get off strike.” Most stayed on.

Fast forward to 23 July, we finally ended the strike in abeyance after a diplomatic decision was reached within the Team One organization and the committee met with J. Smith. We were given a communique on TDCJ letterhead saying that TDCJ leadership was requesting phones in each RHU dayroom statewide and video visits as an alternative for visits during COVID. This is being requested to the TBCJ (Texas Board of Criminal Justice), which meets every August to determine new board policy. Upon a 30-45 day abeyance we will re-assess our material conditions and if need be implement stage 2 of our plan.

This is the short version of events. I want the comrades within the walls to know that We truly have power in unity and determined action. Comrades must also reach out to these support orgs and individuals. Network. Get your voice and vision out there. In the words of Nas: “We stronger now, my peoples the time is now!”

[24 July 2020 this comrade was rehoused where ey is further isolated in a unit with active COVID cases and faced regular tampering of eir mail since then.]

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[COVID-19] [Allred Unit] [Texas]
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Sick & Elderly at Risk to COVID-19 in Allred Unit

Greetings from the All red (neck) Unit.

I was transferred here in March 2020, right when we were getting put on “Limited movement/social distancing,” temporarily for the Coronavirus. It has only gotten worse since then. Before I even got housed, I helped an old prisoner to lift his mattress from the floor to his bottom bunk. He has sleep apnea and COPD and had been without his CPAP for months. He was too weak to lift his mattress.

Then I got housed with a 60-year-old who is obese, crippled, has thyroid problems, diabetes, heart and liver problems, severe COPD and right now is being “treated” for pneumonia and we are on “medical lockdown” because the virus is here now. His breathing has gotten worse and he developed a cough so they put him in G-5 housing, which they are using for Corona patients.

He has been without the use of his BIPAP breathing mask since before I landed here in the High Security Building, which they call, “The Island.”

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[COVID-19] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 71]
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Mishandling of COVID-19 in Texas Prisons

I am writing to inform you of the Ferguson Unit’s mishandling of COVID-19, which is common throughout the state of Texas. One unit (Pack Unit) has a lawsuit on it already in court as I write this. I’m trying to get in contact with that lawyer to take my case too.

My cellie was the first one to test positive on July 6th. They came and moved him to solitary per policy. While the guards dressed in full PPE waited for him, I stood next to him in only boxers. When I asked, “what about me?” I was ignored. Do you think they moved me? Do you think they tested me? Do you think they even gave me a bar of soap to clean the infected cell with? No, to all. I filed a Step 1 grievance on it and you can guess how it came back.

To make it worse, they moved him into the cell with me after only 12 days of being quarantined. I filed a Step 1 on this – no response yet. I filed a Step 2 on the first part when I got a copy of the rules that they are suppose to be following: CMHC Infection Control Manual B-14.52.

“Offenders that are close contacts of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases should be placed in medical restriction.”

“Thoroughly clean and disinfect all areas where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases spent time.”

“Offenders should be kept in medical isolation until at least 3 days (72 hrs) have passed since recovery defined as resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and improvement in respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath); and at least 14 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.”

You can see for yourself how they broke the rules. They didn’t stop there. They did a mass test of the unit, which is about 2,500 prisoners. Around 380 positives came back. They didn’t know what to do, so they cleared one row out here on B-block and housed some of them there with two and three row not having COVID! The block is already infested with rats and roaches. I mean, I got roaches crawling on me at night – it’s not a clean environment to begin with. I filed a Step 1 on all that too.

I’m not letting this pass. I’ve wrote the media, ACLU, and advocacy groups. The public needs to know how we are mistreated in here! Any help or ideas are welcome.

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[COVID-19] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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COVID-19 Explodes at Coffield in June, 80% non-symptomatic

My unit has been on lockdown for 41 days as of this day, 27 July 2020. We all was tested on 2 June 2020 with all negative results. But on the 16th of June prisoners started to get sick so we went on lockdown. The out breka caused a second testing for COVID-19, which at this time about 1000+ cases came back positive. Of those, 800+ with no symptoms and about 200 with symptoms so that what going on on the Coffield Unit.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 71]
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A response to "Ambivalence in Texas" from ULK #70

Revolutionary Greetings,

After reading your article i was moved to share some insight from persynal experience. Comrade, each locale is somewhat unique, yet there are universal tactics of organizing and consciousness raising that are applicable wherever.

My first word of advice is to be less focused on those who are oblivious. Some elements are comfortable simply languishing while their life is dictated by those outside of themselves or their class. Remember, the amerikkkan experiment creates such a phenomenon and these elements are not individually at fault for their slavish obedience. At least not fully at fault.

Comrade, there is a simple yet profound adage, “organize the resistant.” See, we want to be the mind behind an already loaded gun, not having to load the gun and also pull the trigger. Simply put, observe your peers. There will be rebels in every grouping. This rebellion won’t always be of the revolutionary variety, yet this is why as Maoist, scientific leaders we’re to be the brains of the operation. Influence these cats. Provide direction.

Looking at the current uprisings surrounding police terrorism and systematic racism you will identify your own place in the overall picture. See the masses are energized by their own blatant oppression. Such constant oppression, combined with the economic downturn spurred by COVID-19 has unleashed a justifiable rage against the machine. However, single issue reform groups such as Black Lives Matter, mislead and misdirect the resistance and energy of the masses.

This is where the Maoists are to step up and take our place in history. Where the reformers, and integrationists, who false-flag as revolutionaries, misdirect and mislead, it is our duty to properly lead and direct the resistance and militant energy of the masses. Take that rage and organize into revolutionary productivity. Feed their imagination by allowing them to envision a communist society. Provide concrete formulas and programs that will get us from point A thru B and all the way to Z (communism). When it is being laid out like such, and the masses see your sincerity, that’ll add on.

Now, coming back to the individual organizer/influencer level. Again, seek unification with rebels. Those who’re already fighting the power in some form or fashion. Not everyone writes grievances, nor does everyone have to. Do not get caught up in having political allies meet you on your terms, meet them half way.

Secondly, in Texas, like most prison systems, the lumpen organizations and tribes largely dictate the flow of the prison activities. Therefore as an effective organizer you should make it a priority to build some form of communication line with the most influential members of each group. When you step to them be sure to have an effective plan of action outlined, or at least the beginning of one. Seek their input. In this plan of action you should:

  1. identify the specific problem you wish to solve
  2. articulate how said problem negatively effects these potential allies
  3. in your articulation, illuminate the reality of our collective identity as a prisoner class (this is important because it is the basis of your unity)
  4. Provide a list of possible campaigns y’all may partake in collectively, while illuminating different specific aspects of your struggle, such as there are those who can/may write formal complaints, those who can aid with outside support, some who can aid in physical protest, etc.

Furthermore, specifically when it comes to grievance campaigns, realize that some times you have to do all the work. Write multiple copies of grievances and pass them out to people explaining what the mission is and make it easy for them where all they have to do is sign the paper. After a while, people will become inspired by your sheer determination and raise their own level of contribution. But never, ever, focus entirely on what is not being done by the masses. Instead focus on what you’re not doing to inspire their actions.

For example, you can come to the masses which surround you with something similar to this:

  1. Announce the grievance campaign and what it’s about.
  2. Set a number such as 100 as the goal for grievances on a set issue.
  3. Write the master copy of the Step 1 yourself
  4. Circulate it around the cell block, around the building, at education, religious services, etc
  5. Again make it easy on them, provide copies.
  6. Articulate a set plan of action beyond the grievance campaign. What is it leading up to!? Because, justifiably Texas captives have no faith in the grievance system and thus see it as pointless.
  7. A good plan of action: organize grievance campaigns on all major issues. 1. new mail policies 2. new restrictive policy regarding funds 3. sanitation, etc.

Afterwards you should seek a federal investigation by the U.S. DOJ. The address is in your Texas Pack. Have all the participants mail in copies of all grievances, petitions etc.

Be mindful of the strict limitations of such an effort. The comrades at my locale have done this specifically and i’m currently awaiting the results of a federal inquiry. In conjunction, you may want to build off the unity and momentum by organizing actions that are more direct so to speak.

In conclusion, comrade, i hope some of this will be useful to you and others.

chain