Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out 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.

[Censorship] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Conditions in Polunsky

I have recently come across your publication and would like to request the Texas Pack. I was told that the Texas Pack would greatly assist me in writing an effective grievance.

We have some issues that need to be addressed. We are dealing with unsanitary conditions, lack of maintenance, and as of 1 March 2020 we will no longer be able to receive greeting cards from our friends and families, further restricting our correspondence with the outside.

I would like to thank you in advance for your time and consideration with this request.

[Mental Health] [Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]

Texas Unit Denying Access to Gym Facilities


Recently I read one of you printouts and was very interested in getting one. I am enclosing some stamps that I hope will cover the mailing cost.

I am not sure if you can provide me with a bit of information but I am going to ask anyway…

Here on the William P. Clements Unit we NEVER have access to gym rec. ALL the gymnasiums have been taken over by staff for other uses. Building 3’s gym is for prisoner property… Building 4’s gym is for the craft shop that is NEVER open (staff shortage)… and building 8’s gym is for religious gatherings.

I don’t know if the TDCJ had a recreation policy change eliminating gym use for prisoner recreation, or if this is just something done on this unit. I am hoping you can let me know something.

Right now I am on G4/medium custody. We are only given 2 hours of day-room per day. No job assignments, other than field squad, which doesn’t exist. No educational programs. No religious services. Going to the law library is a tortuous experience because the staff member in there will do everything she can to keep a man from studying policies about TDCJ.

I don’t know if you can get the TDCJ Administrative Directive about general population recreation and let me know about the gym’s and about out-of-cell time for medium custody; but I’d be grateful if you can let me know something about this.

If this unit is in violation then I’ll be able to file the grievances, then get the courts to assist in correcting the violations.

Hope to hear back soon. Enclosing seven new stamps.

Thank You!

Take Care! Stay Healthy!

PS: I only have six stamps right now; will do more later. Thanks!

[Abuse] [Hobby Unit] [Texas]

Staff Ignoring Assaults

I just want to thank you for the Texas Pack. It’s quite sad the things that are kept from us so that we ignore the corruption. Let me tell you what’s going on with me.

I did a I-127 to appeal a case and 40 days passed without me hearing from the grievance lady. Your packet came today and pretty much walked me through what I needed to do next, because I had no clue. The case that I’m appealing lowered my custody level to G4. This goes to the next set of problems I’ve encountered.

I did an Offender Protection Investigation (OPI) because an offender who was also G4 was Gun Ho on kicking my ass. They failed to investigate properly, then said “unsubstantiated evidence” even though officers seen what happened.

It’s so much that happened with not enough room to write. But I’ll keep it basic.

They moved me to another dorm. And a few days ago I got assaulted by another offender. That’s right man, hit on my right eye with a scratch under my eye. The officer that seen it said nothing about seeing it, yet she called an “ICS.” The offender that did it was G2 status and should not have been mixed with G4s. OPI was done that rank did not want to do. So a fighting case was wrote. The other offender denied of course and “I folded.” That was my statement. I walked out with a march and they allowed the offender to go to work.

Now they have me on a unit transfer, but this offender has not been held accountable for her action. How do I press the issue on this when no one is talking?

Before I walked out my building I had no marks, but as soon as I step outside in less than 2 minutes I’m being escorted to medical.

PTT from MIM(Prisons) responds: This report shows how much effort Texas prison staff put into protecting prisoners. Seeking protection from staff offers predictable results. Sometimes they’ll listen, and sometimes they’ll transfer you. That’s if you’re lucky. Most of the time they pretend they didn’t see it, never got the grievance, etc.

If we want to end the assaults, we can ask ourselves: what are the core issues causing these assaults? When that’s clear, we can ask: will staff do anything to address those core issues? It would probably benefit them to do so, but decades of practice shows they likely won’t put in the effort to make that kind of difference.

So this report also shows the importance of prisoners building their own peace in prisons. We have a slightly different approach to ending these assaults than this writer. This might sound crazy, but what we’re working toward is helping prisoners build a culture of comradery and peacefulness on their units, so that this kind of behavior is not tolerated among the prisoner population.

When this comrade asks us what we think ey can do to end the assaults, we don’t advocate for more punishment from admin on the people committing the assaults. We advocate for building bridges, improving communication, and standing together in a United Front for Peace in Prisons.

That work is NOT EASY. But if we want to end assaults in prisons, and if we want to build a society that isn’t centered around unnecessary violence, then we have to commit to doing the hard work. No one is going to hand us a world free of oppression and exploitation. We have to build that ourselves. And that’s a beautiful thing. To be alive and have the opportunity to contribute to the future in this way.

MIM(Prisons) does everything we can to help support prisoners in this task, including providing education opportunities, organizing materials, and resources (like the Texas Pack). What of those materials and concepts would improve the situation with these prisoners who seek to cause you harm? Grievances and OICs aren’t working, and probably will never really work. So what do WE need to do about it?

[Abuse] [Texas]

Blind Prisoner Discriminated Against in TX

Dear Sir/Madam

First of all, I’m diagnosed as being legally blind by an ophthalmologist and an optimist alike. I use special design magnifiers to read and write as I am doing now. I’m a patient of the talking book program and am a Muslim whom practices the faith of Islam.

I have filled both step one’s and step two of the Texas criminal department of Justice offenders grievances which I and other disabled state prisoners are being discriminated either by their disabilities or religious beliefs or such policy that we are not allowed to read as patients or monetary which I do have their unconstitutional violation responses and helpful other evidences. As well grievances no 2019001726 steps 1/2. I’m an indigent Texas prisoners and yes I know you are not a lawyer or a paralegal but you know people whom are that can considered an possibilities a class action law suit?

The address to the Texas disability officers has turned me down too many times before that why I’m going out side of the box.

[Organizing] [Beto I Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 70]

Ambivalence in Texas Prisoner Organizing

I have been trying to organize a new group but I am failing. People here want things done but don’t want to do it themselves. I help with what I can. They don’t want to grievance the officers because they are worried about retaliation. In short, they are scared of a case and not making commissary.

I am fighting them and putting paper whenever I can. Shortly after I received my packet of Texas campaign materials, I got a frivolous case for failing to go to work. I was on my way to my wing from work and didn’t make it out the door. I had two offenders, a sergeant, and a kitchen captain as witnesses. The lieutenant running the case said that he didn’t give a f*** and that I was guilty. This was in May.

I filed a Step 1 but never got an answer. I did a I-60 request for the Step 1 grievance number. I got it with a request for a 40-day extension, 89 days after I filed the grievance and 11 days after I requested it, but predated for the week before I requested it by I-60. I did file a Step 2 without the Step 1 attached (I never got the Step 1) in October 2019.

I can’t wait to hear from Huntsville and the Ombudsman over all of this. Since I have no family out there, they are trying to ignore me. I refuse to go away.

In the meantime, I will keep writing and fighting this injustice $ystem that we are in. I will keep sharing my Texas Pack. I could use some group information that might help me if I can get one going again. They want to but don’t want to. I don’t get it.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade for sticking up for eirself, and “staying committed even when your homies ain’t with it” (shout out to Dead Prez). Even though it can be totally baffling and frustrating when people want to but don’t want to, know that you’re not alone in facing that challenge. Prison life is designed to make people ambivalent (or even completely disinterested) and handling that ambivalence is all part of the process of building for revolution and a new society. Accepting it as just part of the process can help us to not get frustrated by it.

We had a lot of discussion about the topic of how to organize people who are ambivalent in ULK 66, which was on the topic of Recruitment and Retention for Revolution. We are sending this comrade a copy of that ULK and a few more to study and share. And we encourage everyone to continue to send us updates on what it’s like in the facility where you’re held. We publicize conditions reports on our website, and conditions reports about organizing help us consolidate and support the national liberation struggles developing inside United Snakes prisons. In Struggle!

[Civil Liberties] [Abuse] [Billy Moore Correctional Center] [Texas]

Prisoner Beaten in Texas for Long Rastafarian Hair


I am writing this scribe from segregation (SMA), the reason being because I will not cut my hair. I am practicing Rastafarianism and as of September 1st, 2019, Amerikkka’s legislature passed laws contenting to hair growth of 9 inches as long as your travel card reflects Native American, (as if that represents a religion and not a nation) or “Rastafarian.” My card has reflected “Rasta” since August. It was previously “Nation of Gods and Earths” (NGE) But Texas’ private facility Billy Moore(MTC) does not accommodate so I switched to another that I knew they wouldn’t understand let alone provide for.

My calculations were correct, all I had to do now was wait and see which little piggy would be so much of a control freak that they take “lawfully sanctioned” religious expression as a personal challenge and seek to champion a crusade. I caught a big one. I won’t go too much in detail because if they weren’t reading previous kites, they are definitely tuned in now. It ended with me being assaulted and sprayed with chemical agents and no one can explain how and why it escalated in the first place. The pigs tried to draw me off sides through intimidation, harassment, and after I filed grievances behind cases that I was told, by my prized stuck pig I would get. But due to well written grievances, I never did, nor did I get the grievance response retaliation. They couldn’t win, and I had the unit laughing at them, so they geared up for a final showdown. I admire Malcolm more than Martin, but I respect them both. I am the dream and the hope of the slave, as Maya would say, so you must know when to incorporate strategies against our oppressors.

[Campaigns] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]

Laws Exploit Loopholes in Grievance Procedure

The issue that I'm working on here at the Clements Unit is what the laws here call "time out." By the way, I received the Texas Pack and it has been a huge help. I can't thank you enough.

Anyways, when a law decides to harass an inmate, and gets a response he don't like, they place you in restraints and escort you do the Administration building, and put you in a holding cell with no restroom. There ain't no PHD(?) cells on that building. And they leave you in there for hours.

So while you're gone, your property is just wide open for grabs. Officers hate to inventory property but they quick to lock you up. So when you file a grievance, grievance staff try to save these laws by screening the complaint, and putting the wrong grievance code. So the objective is to stop all that deliberate indifference, and stop the due process violations and make it better for the next man. And the Texas Pack is one of the tools I needed to get me started.

If officers put as much effort into inventorying your property as they do locking you up on PHD, we wouldn't have to file property claims. But no, they use your property loss as a retaliation act.

So what I did is, on my complain (I-127), my opening statement made it clear that I was filing on the guidelines outlined under grievance code #515 (property lost/missing/stolen/damaged). Because if you don't state the grievance code, the investigator may put a different code. Grievance codes 512 through 515 consist of issues about property here in Texas.

Also, I was going through my past complaints (I-127s) and the action you request to resolve your situation could change the grievance code number. So be careful, and make sure your resolution request runs consistent with your statement of complaint. Because if you file a harassment complaint, and you request that a case be overturned, the grievance will be graded as "improper." "Staff harassment" is grievance code #812, but if you mention that you want the case he wrote you to be overturned, then it changes the issue. Then the complaint conflicts with the resolution, so therefore the grievance becomes "improper."

And I'm sure that is mentioned in the grievance manual that Texas hides. So inmates become frustrated because they don't understand and give up. Then the law wins again. Much love to MIMP and all my fellow inmates.

[Hunger Strike] [Campaigns] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]

Initiated Hunger Strike on Tuesday November 19, 2019

I have exhausted myself mentally and physically, trying to exhaust my remedies by forms of letters, requests, verbally and grievances. All my efforts have failed due to corruption within the system, my unit, and those who don't respond to any forms of correspondence.

On 31 October 2019, we were placed on annual lockdown. On 19 November 2019 shakedown made it to our building and section. The officers came in to [my row] and took [my row and section] to the gym to be searched of their properties and person. They were allowed to be present during the search of their properties.

Once they were returned to [my row] and secured, rank and officers changed procedures and pulled all inmates from their cells to the passive rec yard. This left officers and rank to toss cells and property without the inmates present. All other cells were allowed to return to their houses, leaving me in the rec yard 1 hour longer than others.

Once I was allowed to return to my cell, I realized they went through all my legal documents, taking more of my legal and my used typewriter ribbons I was saving as proof of all my legal work, grievances, I-60s, appeals, court filings, letters to everyone.

I called for rank all day and have been refused this request now for 4 days. I told officers on the floor in detail of the illegal theft by shakedown staff. The shakedown crew gave me no confiscation papers, which is theft and against my 5th and 6th Amendment rights of "due process."

All this occurred after I sent out 3 withdrawal slips to file against the unit in the U.S. District Courts. On 11 August 2019, officers had once again robbed my legal documents, legal mail, grievances, new typewriter, family photos, commissary, etc. Again not allowing inventory papers nor confiscation papers. I have been filing Step 1s and Step 2s, only to be given non-conclusive answers, or not given the grievances back in return, unattaching evidence and claiming nothing was attached, etc. You know what they do to us.

At the same time, the law library is denying/ignoring our requests to access any legal materials. Another incident occurred of theft by officers on 24 July 2018, which was the same. They took some of my legal documents, family photos, medications, etc. Long of the short I have gotten nowhere by following procedures, policies, grievances, etc.

I have no choice but to take this stand to my hunger strike. Every time they rob my legal transcripts, free world documents, grievance copies, family photos, typewriter, etc. this affects my fight for freedom, my constitutional rights, civil rights, etc. My state of mind is being driven to a state of depression. This hunger strike is taking its toll as of day 4. Today I sent a letter to Governor Greg Abbott about my hunger strike and reasons. If I don't make it through this peaceful stand, please make sure others don't give up the fight. Thank you for your continued support.

[Control Units] [Eastham Unit] [Texas]

Ad-Seg "Changed" to "Restricted Housing"

I'm writing because I just got your mag, but the mailroom takes its time in getting our mail around to us, especially to us in Ad-Seg. Or wait, they changed the name. It's called "Restricted Housing" (R.H.). Yet, nothing's changed, it's still the same.

It used to be for all STG-gangs, but here in Texas they just put anyone back here, so this place is now full of people that get into fights, don't want to work, or people who do minor stuff out there in G.P., and once here they take years to let them back out.

So because of this, they have changed so much for people like me who has been back here since 88, because I was a gang member (Mexican Mafia). So every time I come back into the system I get put back here. But since 05 I left the gang and have been trying to get into a program called GRAD (Gang Renunciation and Dissociation).

I want out of this "R.H." because there's nothing back here for me. I want to get out to G.P. where I can do something instead of just sitting here doing nothing. Hell, ever since this year started we haven't been given our recreation like we should get, in their Ad-Seg plan. Since the start of this year we've gotten rec once or twice each month!

What sucks is we have no unity here to try and get this back to how it should be, one line might bang and any other ways to get this rank to come talk to us, but all they do is put us on a 24 hr lockdown type of thing (since we're already in lock up) and feed us Johnnies.

I tried going with the grievance, Steps One and Two, but was told we were given the chance to go to rec, and if we don't go that's on us. But how is that since they KNOW Ad-Seg guys can't just walk out of our cells like guys in G.P.?

[Abuse] [Ellis Unit] [Texas]

Suicide, Lockdown and Threats at Ellis Unit

I am going through a lot, I been placed in segregation for no reason. They are extending my stay under false policies. I did no wrong. I look forward to Under Lock and Key, I have received all issues.

A kid killed himself here so we are on lockdown. What these wards are doing is wrong. I have done no wrong. We live in fear here. They use the rules as loop holes to harm us. Falsely file forms to hide their actions. I fear to say too much. I am trying for transfer then you will get the full story.

In fear,

Huntsville TX 77343