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.

[Medical Care] [Terrell Unit] [Texas]

Forgery of Grievance and Denial of the Right to Grievance

To Whom it May Concern:

Greetings, I am writing in hopes you may be able to help and/or advise me. It is my intention to file suit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) director and employees concerning TDCJ failure to address grievance issues such as:

  1. Denial of insulin to insulin dependent diabetic

Transport Officer Mr. Ballew stated in the court hearing on 30 January 2019 that I must provide my own insulin during transport. I filed grievance #9019034096 on 6 February 2019 concerning this issue and unit grievance office claims to have closed this grievance on 1 January 2019. I must pay for a copy if I want to see the response given. (How is it possible to close grievance before it’s filed?)

  1. When I was released from the UTMB hospital and transferred to this (the Terrell Unit) I requested my property from the Carole Young infirmary unit be sent to me. I was told it was sent to the Byrd Unit and to date I have not received any property from the Byrd or Carole Young Units and my grievances step two, dated 12 April 2019, has been completely forged including the signing of my name to the document as if I wrote it.

It is my intentions to bring suit under violation of government code S.504 rehabilitation act for the following reasons:

I am denied to participate in TDCJ and UTMB programs and services or the benefit of those services provided to all other prisoners.

UTMB Galveston hospital orders that I take insulin three times a day. Note: I am not a type one or type two diabetic. I do not have a pancreas after it was surgically removed leaving me a severe diabetic with an auto-immune deficiency. My life depends on insulin and when I am not receiving insulin as ordered I am denied the right to complain through the TDCJ grievance program.

I request you send me the additional resource application to the federal courts and a copy of TDCJ grievance codes manual and any additional advice or information you may provide will be helpful. Also know that I talked with the Terrell Unit Assistant Warden Mr. Antony Patrict about these issues and he said “Sue me!” And the grievance office refused to allow me to complain about the forged grievance from 12 April 2019.

[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Hobby Unit] [Texas]

Hobby Unit not Run by TDCJ Rules

Can you please send me a Texas Pack 2019? I am at Hobby Unit and things here are in very bad shape. Guards doing what they want to inmates. Pulling our property to the day room and letting other offenders have what they want. Officer hitting inmates for no reason. Our grievances not getting answered.No water, no in and outs for water.

This place is not run by TDCJ rules. Please help me with sending me the Texas Pack so I can write someone for help. Thank you.

[Release] [Texas]

Paroling to Private Facility, Can't Work

I'm writing this that I need help. I'm at a Geo Inc / TDCJ contract facility. They are violating my freedom for I made parole and can't get my SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) while I'm here at this halfway house / prison. Forcing us to do labor and not paying us, while we are on parole. Plesae help me, to see what I can do. Thank you.

[Abuse] [Telford Unit] [Texas]

Dangerous Heat, Electrical Problems, and Medical Neglect at Talford Unit

I was in I Pod in a cell that ended up having an electrical problem, which is a Facility Maintenance issue and should have been fixed A.S.A.P. Whenever the floor officer would come around for count and the picket boss would turn on the cell lights, it was knocking my power out. And not only mine but 3 other's beside mine. There are two people to each cell and no power means no fan; and it doesn't take long to start overheating in a prison cell in the Texas heat!

When it first happened, me and my celly along with the occupants of one other cell refused to go back into the cell when they put everyone up at night. So 4 of us sacked the day-room. The officers and Sgt understood, and got our power back on after about 30 minutes. So we went back in. There was a note put in the picket to not flick cell lights on. But every day, whoever was in the cell during count was stuck with no power because they would turn cell lights on despite the note. Sometimes the power would be returned relatively fast, about 10 minutes. But more often than not, the COs would finish count, which meant the power would not return for another hour or two.

I have cardiovascular disease and am on a *heat restriction*: I cannot be housed on 3rd Row because of this. I seen nothing was being done about the power outages so I wrote an I-60 to the warden which got put in the mail early Friday morning. The following Monday I was moved out of the Faith Based Pod and to another Pod, which caused another issue because I was put on a top bunk which is a risk because of the fainting I sometimes experience due to my heart condition. I told Medical; they said my bottom bunk restriction expired. I explained to the nurse the heart condition and symptoms. The nurses can issue a 3 day pass plus a follow-up with DA. But instead she was negligent and said there was nothing she could do and gave me a sick call request. I turned that in a week ago and am still on the top bunk.

Since I've been in this new pod I found out they still haven't fixed the maintenance problem of the previous one. There was a 57 year old American Citizen from Pakistan there in the cell next to mine and his cell was also affected by the power outages. He was on psych meds and heat restriction. He had an anxiety attack when the power was knocked out and was locked up for threatening to kill the CO. In my eyes, this was really a provoked issue because the safety and health hazard arose from a failure to properly maintain the facility. This could have been, or still may be, fatal to someone.

It is very hot 24/7 in TX prisons in summertime. A few months ago, a 29 year old inmate at the Robinson Unit died of heat stroke. This seems to happen every year during summer. At what point is it considered homicide? Murder? To me that's exactly what it is.

I've been spending a lot of time in the Law Library. I plan to write grievances on these issues.

[Medical Care] [Telford Unit] [Texas]

Medical Neglect at Telford Unit

I hope this letter finds you all in the best of health & spirits. As for myself, I'm not doing too good! I am in a great deal of pain in my back and testicles due to nerve pain. I was seen on 7-31-19, I believe, and a non-formulary [drug] was requested but denied. I was told by the provider that if I didn't receive the pain medication in a few days to send an I-60 (Request to Officials) to be seen again. I did so on the fourth of August; I still have not been seen. I've also filed grievances and sick calls. It is the prison's policy as well as UTMB (contracted medical care), for inmates to be seen within 10 days of being evaluated by a sick call nurse. I've seen the sick call nurse 3 times already. I turned in my carpel tunnel splint because it was sabotaged when I forgot it on rec. yard. Medical still hasn't provided a replacement even though they have them in their supply stock.

I'm sending you this letter because I wanted to see if you can contact Health Services in Huntsville, Texas (936-437-3618) and report this for me. There should be at least one medical practice manager on this unit, but there isn't and as a result I'm being denied medical care. I'm also in need of the book Protect your Health & Safety or something like that; an inmate told me about it a while back, but since I'm indigent and halfway through my sentence I was hoping I wouldn't need it. I was mistaken.

They allowed my jailhouse lawyer's manual and Texas supplement issue to be stolen last year when I was raped and they lied to me saying it was in my property and I signed the property papers only to find out it was not in there. Can you please help me with the protect your health and safety book ro refer me to someone who may be able to help me?

[Abuse] [Michael Unit] [Texas]

Fighting Suicide and Drug Abuse in TDCJ

I am bringing you an update from inside this Texas Gulag or should I just say Konzentration Kamp, to be exact.

I received my last package from you: the writing tips, more about MIM, how to start a Study Group and the material for the study group I just enrolled in. As I look over all the material, I already started scoping out cadres I will offer the Study Group to. But I want to first build a curriculum before I actually start this group. I have pulled two soldiers to the side, teaching them with what I got. And as we advance in our study group, I will offer my comrades to be a part of the positive peaceful movement I want to establish within this battlefield with the sole purpose of eradicating the criminal mentality and promoting a revolutionary state of mind which will help bring both Unity and Change within our prison conditions. The Militia, a group of conscious, mature-minded men. So stay tuned on updates of the building of this brotherhood of leaders.

In other news, the suicide rate in TDCJ was up 40% in 2018. Yearly suicide attempts have nearly tripled since 2009 going from 700 to 2,000. This is due to the lack of rehabilitation if you ask me: Texas has more prisoners than any other state yet they offer no counseling. I see a lot of suicide attempts; a lot because of the Slave Job (Texas Prisoners still don't get paid for work). No good time, work time, nothing. But they are making a killing through TCI. Here on the Michaels Unit, we teamed up with Administration to start a Suicide Prevention Squad which allows us to offer the people an ear to talk to and even a voice to give feedback.

K-2 is like crack now. If they give us K-2 and flood the inmate general population that will give us more to fight about while distracting us from what's important. Like issues stemming from over-crowding, or how we are still battling inhumane conditions due to the torching heat. When we ask for respite in designated areas, it's still too crowded. They already got down on some of those brothers under the Heat Lawsuit that was won. TDCJ was supposed to Air Condition certain units, they did, but are already having issues with the cooling system. It's still hot as hell with no solution to this issue. Then to top it off, a lot of brothers under the Lawsuit were shipped to other units. I thought they were protected under the Lawsuit.

[Campaigns] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]

Conditions at Clements

I am reaching out to you today because I would like to request a Texas Grievance Guide and any other material pertaining to fighting the Texas prison system. At this time, I believe I'm being harassed because I have been moved 6 times in 2 months — the last time moving for 24 hours to one cell and then moving me back to the same exact cell that I had previously been in. Do you have any material that covers situations of this nature? I would very much appreciate any assistance you could provide. Thank you and keep up the fight

[Abuse] [Ellis Unit] [Texas]

Lack of Training COs Creates Safety Risks at Ellis Unit

Things on the Ellis Unit are still at the total Cluster Fuck level thanks to the Administration which seems to do that which log-jams movement of Inmates and the flow of that movement necessary to a well-run unit.

It has come painfully to my attention that safety of Inmates is far from central to this administration's focus. There is a training academy for New Boots attached to this Unit where they are trained and then they are attached here in an OJT status. It used to be a standard that only a CO 5 would be allowed to conduct OJT training for these cadets. NOW, it only needs be a CO 3 to qualify as an OJT trainer.

On its face this seems acceptable, yet, when one ascertains that a graduating Cadet from the training academy is typically awarded the status of CO 3, it becomes clear that this is typical of Texas' treatment of its inmates, both physically as well as through the parole system. What may appear to be acceptable, or even positive developments is actually intentional watering-down of long-established policies—such as rehabilitation programs—meant to help inmates reintegrate society.

The point I'm leading to is that now the training of cadets has regressed to the point of the "blind training the ignorant" giving no notice of the liabilities that come with donning the prison officer's uniforms.

To further break this breach of the Mission Statement of the TDCJ Agency's Conventionalized System of Rules & Policies: these ignorant trainees [OJTs] are being shown hands-on training on this red-brick prison by a newly graduated CO 3, blind to most of the safety necessities. As an example: concerning the door-rolls; these blind CO 3s are showing the ignorant OJTs that it is permissible to stand at the picket—110 FEET from the furthest cell door—and bellow down the run to "stand clear" in notice that the doors are opening. A majority of these OJTs' voices cannot carry the required 110 feet to the last cell door to give adequately safe notification leaving many of the cell occupants ignorant of the imminent hazard. The doors are, more times than not, slammed open against their stops. I n m a t e B e w a r e!!! The same process in performed when it is time to close (slam) the doors.

Contrast this to the tacitly understood Unit Policy of the Floor boss walking the run and giving civil notifications akin to "Prepare for door-rolling" as (s)he scrutinizes each door's safety; once at the end of the run, this CO is to call back to the Picket Officer to open the doors; this Picket Officer then "parrots" this order; hence, all Inmates are duly notified and safety is honored.

I have made issue of this deliberately indifferent disregard and watering-down of the Conventionalized System of Rules & Policies because the tip of my left thumb was **ripped off**, along with the nail, because no notice was duly issued and the doors were closed silently... until the inveterate SLAM!!! I had to wait for the door to re-open to retrieve the 1/2 inch of my thumb-tip.

Obviously, I am not impressed with this trend toward the disregard of Inmate safety. I must repeat here, that which I continue to proclaim to those around me, "We MUST start pulling together and submit grievances en masse on issues akin to this one in order for the Agency to take notice and correct these back-sliding measures and tactics implemented at the unit level which are ever so slowly but surely watering down the duties and attachability of liabilities required in keeping COs within compliance with the Conventionalized System of Rules and Policies.

Ever since the Feds relinquished control over the TDCJ Agency to Texas Gov't, Texas has slowly removed every safety program bit-by-bit while touting how well they are doing in keeping prisoners in prison—huh!—protecting the state's population from the dangerous elements which they have trapped in an environment that is not-to-be-published to the citizenry of Texas. Why this? Because, with all of the successful rehabilitation programs removed, the primary thing TDCJ is producing is hate-filled animals who will negatively express themselves once confronted with the free world. This is in direct contradiction with the Mission Statement(s) of both the TDCJ Agency and the ID units themselves.

After all, the TDCJ Agency is a traded stock on the U.$. Stock Exchange in New York. Just think of what the stock holders will do if/when an "Agency-wide Sit-Down" happens? How quickly will Slave/Inmate demands be met? Texas Inmates hold more power than most of them realize...

[Medical Care] [Powledge Unit] [Texas]

Fighting Inadequate Medical Care in Harris County

Harris County has killed 6 diabetic prisoners in the last 3 years due to denial of adequate medical care and this must be stopped.

I am recruiting others who are active in civil rights litigation and I am currently working to organize prisoners with hepatitis C who the prison has refused to treat. The Edwards Law Firm in Austin believes this should be of public concern and needs to be litigated as a class action lawsuit against TDCJ/UTMB Correctional Managed Care to get prisoners treated to prevent the further spread of hep. C within the prison system and to the public from improperly treated inmates upon release.

To effectively move toward this goal we are assisting prisoners with hep. C in filing grievances for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs through denial of treatment. After exhausting their administrative remedy (step 1 & 2 grievances) a letter is drafted to "Edwards Law" requesting representation and requesting to become a class member or representative in the proposed litigation.

This litigation could bring about change in the TDCJ/UTMB Correctional Managed Care system (CMC).

We are also organizing prisoners in coordination with Edwards Law to do a class-action lawsuit against TDCJ/UTMB CMC for denial of dentures and partial dentures. An issue raised against Harris County in Baughman v. Garcia, 254F.Supp.3d 848 (S.D.Tex.2017) which resulted in a settlement on the dental portion of the care and the issuance of partial dentures to the plaintiff.

The issue of TDCJ/UTMB CMC was raised in three Houston Chronicle articles which brought forth the need for the class-action lawsuit and the attention of Edwards Law. See: Houston Chronicle "Policy That Bites", September 26, 2018"; "Prisons to Hire Denture Specialist" October 6, 2018; "Toothless Texas Inmates Denied Dentures in State Prison" September 23, 20187 at

Despite what the articles say TDCJ/UTMB CMC has not changed their policies regarding dentures and Edwards Law agrees it is going to take a class-action lawsuit to achieve this.

I have a First Amendment Rights lawsuit going against Harris County: Baughman v. Harris County, case no. 4i18-CV-960 in the United $nakes District Court for the Southern District of Texas. The case deals with unconstitutional mail-room policies and Freedom of Speech; as well as Due Process under the Fourteenth Amendment where proper notice is required and right to appeal adverse decisions to reject incoming or outgoing correspondence and publications.

[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]

Dirty Games with Grievances in Hughes Unit

I am having problems with the grievance system here at the Alfred Hughes Unit as well as the Law Library. Another problem is that I am (G-5) Closed Custody and confined to my cell 24/7. There really is no difference from Closed Custody & Administrative Segregation here at the Hughes Unit. The only difference is that with Closed Custody you have a cellie to which they then came to call it General Population. But either way you're confined 24/7.

OK so because I'm confined to my cellie I have to write I-60 request forms to the Law Library to be allowed to receive research materials. These laws do what they want by only sending out 10% of my requests. The rest of my I-60s they merely ignore and never send. The grievance department received my grievance but lies by saying it was received late. So I put another Step 1 Grievance to the original. Now they returned that one not even filled out, with no signature, no date received, no date returned, no boxes checked, no next step, or resolution process to follow. I mean nothing, empty.

They are playing dirty games with denial to access to the Law Library and lying about my grievances and what actually happened. The first grievance I had a Sgt. Turner actually take it to the Grievance Department because they didn't even come to our pod to pick up our Step 1s. So I have a witness that it did get taken to them on time. The second Step 1 Grievance I actually had Officer Nash take it from my hand and place it into the Grievance Investigator's hand in front of me, so he is also a witness to the fact.

I don't know if you recall, but I sent you a money order and in return you mailed me 2 packets of materials to help fight my grievances. Thank you by the way. I wrote some bad ass grievances, but now they don't want them to go through. Do you happen to have a grievance I can use for denial of access to the courts/Law Library and how do I write up the Grievance Department when the rules state I can't grieve the Grievance System? I will donate some more money to your organization for some more help and materials that will put a stop to these a$$hole$. This is Illegal but I can't do anything from my confined cell. I only have my pen and paper to protect myself. OK, so I have a typewriter also.

I need your help please. I don't have people in the world besides organizations like yours. Now the building states they are short staffed now for the next 1 1/2 months and won't be allowing recreation, few showers, etc. For the last 2 weeks the entire building states they are out of I-60s, Step 1s, Step 2s. They say to just write it on regular piece of paper but we just came off lock-down and restriction: we don't have any of these materials to keep wasting on something that we can't win. I had to buy a few supplies from the SSIs. Now I can finally make store tomorrow, I hope! What the hell do I do? I sent back that form you mailed me that asked if I received your materials that you had been sending.

Will you please help us fight these people? They are fighting dirty and we are confined to our cells. Like I said I will make more donations to you for more materials or something. What do you think? I have spoken to lots of Officers, several Sgts all with no help to my issue of denial. Now I am waiting on Lt Summers to come and speak to me. I really doubt he will even come. I have written to both Majors, and two Wardens with no replies in two weeks. These people don't play fair at all. I feel fucked by not being able to do anything to protect myself and others. I write for other Inmates as well but I feel like a failure for not being able to make ends meet... I will await your response as I don't know what to do next.