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.

[Campaigns] [Terrell Unit] [Texas]

Texas Still "Losing" Grievances

I am writing just to touch base with you. I am staying busy: have three 2254s before the courts, two civil rights suit, one recently filed, the second in its third year of litigation and is now before the 5th Cir. I am researching to build another 11.07 Habeas Corpus and memorandum of law. I am pondering on litigating against the grievance system here they “lose”, “didn’t receive” …. don’t conduct an actual investigation, as in a C.O. took legal material out of my subsequent storage box (“legal box”) but not a single listed witness was interviewed!

Thank you for sending me your publication, keep it up, it’s a welcome source of good information.

[Abuse] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas]

Agribusiness Abuses

I haven't wrote in a few. I wanted you to know I'm still here. So much has went on at this unit. We're strugglin with no one sticking together. I am part of a agribusiness work crew. I have never been so abused in all my life as at Ferguson Unit. Fed so small amounts of food, us that are indigent are doing really bad.

[Abuse] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Punished for Broken Door Lock in Texas

Recently, two friends of mine were locked-up behind a faulty locking mechanism. For 3 months these guys made reports to maintenance about the cell door constantly reading "un-locked" when in fact it was locked. On one night, after rack-up, their door was opened by the duty officer. She claims there was paper stuffed in the door. She wrote up a case and these guys were found guilty. And now that they are gone, that cell door still has problems. There never was any paper and the right to due process was violated due to the fact that none of the defendants' evidence was allowed in court. These guys had one Sgt. and two C.O.s who were willing to testify on their behalf. None of it was allowed.

[Stiles Unit] [Texas]

Successful Chow Hall Campaign

I would like to take this time to share with the readers a very good and strong effort that brought about a positive change.

About 6 months ago I started asking these young inmates on Stiles Unit 8 Building to make a copy of a Step #1 Grievance I had wrote challenging the sanitation of the 8 Building makeshift kitcken that used three (3) barrels to wash, rinse, and sanitize trays, because the makeshift kitchen does not have a dishwasher in it. Well my Grievance came back and all allegations that food service violated policy and procedures was denied.

However the good news is I thought I knew how to write a good Grievance until February 2019 when I got the copy of the Texas Pack. I rewrote the Grievance in a friend's name and today 8 Building and J and L Pod Medium Custody go to the main chow hall to eat lunch and dinner. Yes, they still feed breakfast in the makeshift kitchen and I challenged that.

A week ago I thought I had died and went to heaven because I received a pack of Grievance Complaint forms (petitions to have our grievances addressed). I also received ULK 66. To my comrades in the struggle I say keep fighting and to MIM I say thank you.

[Abuse] [Powledge Unit] [Texas]

Wheelchair Dorms Living in Filth in TX

Please send me the Texas Campaign Pack, enclosed are 7 stamps. Also, please send me several of the petitions for the piss poor way this unit answers every one of my grievances. This unit that I am on is committing crimes against the elderly, the handicapped, and the mentally impaired on a daily basis, and also crimes against humanity in general. I've been on this unit for 8 years and I have seen, with my own eyes, shit that would make you cry, or puke. I know things about some of the rankers that is enough to put my life in serious danger.

We, the offenders in the wheelchair dorms, need help. The Justice Department needs to interview several of us and examine these dorms and see the filth, black mold and scum that we wallow in daily. The roach infestation is so bad that our diapers and other medical supplies are really being contaminated. We don't have anywhere to store medical devices, supplies, or meds except on the floor in trash bags up under our bunks.

MRSA & MSSA are spreading like wild-fire, and still, nothing is being done. The medical department has a theft ring going on. First they steal my money from my trust fund, for non-chargeable visits, then after I notice it's gone (after going to the commissary), and they've collected interest off it, then they give it back. They wake us up at every count (all night long, by beating on the cubicle walls, just to see if we are still alive.) And, to file a grievance is nothing more than a joke.

Trust me, I'm at my boiling point, and I don't give a shit about more time. This is my last attempt to find some kind of help. I'll close for now and try to maintain long enough to hear your response.

[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]

Texas Disunity Failing to Fight Unhealthy Food and Lockdown

I'm in the Tx Prison system and we have the worst of everything. We don't get paid; we're supposed to get work time, good time and flat time as credit to our sentence. It's suppose to stand in place of payment and to help us get parole and put us back on the streets. However, if the parole board doesn't feel as though they should let you go they won't. Besides, if you have aggravated time that means it doesn't even count for you or towards your sentence. So some of us are just here until whatever.

The sad part is we as inmates have all the power in the world to better our situation and force TDCJ to improve the system for the better. Unfortunately, TDCJ inmates won't come together for anything unless a certain race feels disrespected. Then you have a lot of drama over something as childish as a seat, bench, table, or TV and it will be an all out riot because a black guy does something to a Mexican or vice versa. But what I don't understand is when a CO will straight up disrespect an inmate in his face several times a day and the only thing that inmate will do is mumble under his breath because he is afraid to get a case. But they're willing to put everything else on the line because they feel disrespected by another inmate, a person in the same screwed-up situation they're in. That's the number one reason we, as TDCJ offenders, are stuck: we on some racial b.s.

Another thing is commissary, that's all that seems to matter when do we go to the store. We can go to commissary today, and tomorrow guys are looking at the schedule to see when we go again. The commissary is so deplorable anyway at least on the Coffield Unit. It never has everything you need and all the items are generic. You have a few exceptions: snickers, twix, m&ms, coca cola, kitkat, chico sticks, lemonbreads, toaster pops, dr. pepper, big red, fanta, bark's root beer. The food items and hygiene items are generic but you get charged name brand prices. And you get treated bad while you're in line trying to purchase the items you need. Because on Coffield the only time you get any items that you need is on Thursdays: you get 1 toilet paper roll, 5 bars of soap the size of matchboxes and then every 3rd of 4th Thursday you will get toothpaste and a toothbrush.

I didn't mention any other hygiene products because the only time you get that type of stuff is when the holiday season comes around and the Kairos people come and pass out those items or when Mike Barker comes and does a show.

Now, onto a problem that needs immediate attention. In TDCJ we go on lock-down at least twice a year because of the TX 7. You may have heard of these stupid dudes. They broke out of prison just to go to Colorado to have a prayer meeting. They had the opportunity to shine a light on what's going on in TDCJ but their agenda was on something else and because of them we go on lock-down which means you're in the cell 24/7 unless you have what is called a key-in and you have a visit. The biggest problem with lock-down is the food, it's totally unhealthy. They may be supplying the calories we need, but none of the nutrition. The "Johnny" sack-lunches will consist of the following:

3 pancakes with peanut butter (no syrup) OR 2 fried eggs and 2 biscuits OR 2 French toasts
1 small cereal/milk (if COs pass it out)
15 to 20 raisins or 5 to 10 prunes (maybe)

Lunch or dinner:
Always a peanut butter sandwich with either:
white or red mystery meat, a bean burrito, a piece of chicken, two corn dogs, a beef link or a wiener, and maybe a half potato
If the CO feels like it, we may get water, or watered-down punch or tea

As you can see we get no vegetables or fruits and we can be on lock-down from 18 to 31 days. I know this is a health concern. The only reason I can't fault the system is because we as TDCJ inmates don't say anything to the administration but we will complain amongst each other. We have a real problem in TDCJ and it's not getting any better.

I'm hoping that I can get your newsletter to show these inmates that we can make a change but we got to start somewhere. These guys don't believe grievances work and I know that they do; of course they don't if you don't file them. I always hear guys say they don't know how to fill them out and I always tell them you didn't know how to fill out no commissary slip to order your items but you figured that out! I'm asking Under Lock & Key to print cases where grievances made a difference.

[Abuse] [Stringfellow Unit] [Texas]

Texas Stalling Grievances

As I am experiencing a current issue with the Grievance process, I would like to join the Campaign that is available in Texas. Right now I have submitted a grievance over Due Process and Access to Courts violations. They have now given notice to an extra 40 days to respond properly which I feel is a stall tactic.

I am currently battling over the property policy within the TDCJ. As it sits, policy only allows for a closeable container to store property of "no more than 2.0 cubic feet" with no wiggle room in the language. Well the facility I was at provided boxes 2x the allowed size and during lock-down when they shook down and tried to make a few of us send property home due to policy, I wrote a grievance on the ambiguity of the policy. I caught a hellwind of retaliation for it and then was transferred before my two years were up.

In need of the Petition for the Grievance Campaign and if I can get extra copies I would be glad to help spread the word. I do not have the ability to make copies myself. The TDCJ does not provide this service. Thank You.

[Campaigns] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Grievance Black Hole in Texas Polunsky Unit

I read in your publication about another brother here on the Polunsky Prison Slave Farm has issues with grievances too. I have records dating from 2009 on this farm where I am trying to get grievances processed, answered, or returned. A grievance filed here enters a black hole; never to be seen again. I have known and used the P.D.22 codes for years. I also know how to write an effective grievance. I do also share my knowledge with others. The grievance office here believes in their little gang slogan "Taking care of one another." I have recently gone to the effort of writing the Huntsville Central Grievance Office about these issues: missing grievances; falsified answered grievances, and un-returned grievances.

I will file a grievance and when I follow up with an I-60 for response, the grievance officer will state they have no record of any grievance on file. Huntsville replied in a form letter that "grievance records do not indicate receipt of referenced grievance." This X was blotted out and the box for requesting info from the unit investigation was marked. The unit investigator responded they had only a few recorded grievance numbers and none of those listed were the ones I was requesting. Now I can apply for copies through the law library of existing acknowledged grievance at 10¢ per copy. I-60s sent to the law library go unanswered as well. The grievance system on this unit is corrupt and a farce. I intend to file the petition supplied.

[Abuse] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]

Prisoner Deaths, Mail Tampering at Stiles in Texas

It's been a while since I've been in contact with you. I've been pretty busy trying to get help legal-wise and medical-wise over this bus wreck that I was involved in while I was riding in a TDCJ-ID bus. I've been trying to get a copy of the accident report from the Beaumont Sheriff's Dept. Office. I keep getting the run-around by the Sheriff's spokesman and sent to the Texas OIG Investigations Office. I'm now having surgeries on my neck, knees and back. I can't get no attorney to accept my case against TDCJ.

The federal courts will not go against TDCJ here in Beaumont because the Mark W. Stiles Unit hires all the welfare and unemployment people here in Beaumont. Now the Stiles Unit is in violation of the Safe Prisons Act, Ruiz Suit and PREA because the Stiles Unit is 15% under-staffed. There are more illegal drugs being consumed here on this Unit than there are on the outside of those fences. There are offender deaths every week due to these drugs. The grievance system does not work. The Step 1 (I-127) and Step 2 (I-128) are being withheld and answered here on the Unit or thrown away.

I've written to several Civil Rights organizations and haven't gotten any answers. I need to get an attorney that's out-of-state to handle my bus wreck and get me the proper medical help that I need for my injuries. I write my family for help but they receive an envelope with no letter in it. The mail room supervisor Ms. Willis blames the Beaumont Post Master's Office for my letter not being in the envelope. My envelopes are supposed to be sealed when leaving this Unit so the letter should be in the sealed envelope, which it is not. It won't surprise me if you get an empty envelope also. I haven't received any of your issues this year. I need an up-to-date Texas Pack if it's possible and a list of pro bono attorneys in California that practice law in Texas. Please let me know if you received this letter.

[Abuse] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas]

Grievance Malpractice at Ferguson

I'm sorry but I just now received your other paperwork; my unit had been keeping it with the STG (Security Threat Group). I would like to continue receiving information on this "so-called" prison system that's here not to help us Inmates or Convicts out. I've been reading and it's a shame how our family doesn't know what's going on. See I have it a lil harder because I'm a Freemason in the 3° and I've been traveling for 13 yrs and some of my Brethren that work in TDCJ look down at me and I'm only here for capital murder.

I write grievances every week and out of 123 I've written for myself only 2 came back undenied; and only 3 out of the 200+ I've written for other inmates. This Grievance System is nefarious and the officers' malpractice here is opprobrious; the officers walk around here with no repercussions for their atrocious conduct. The crazy part is that we have security cameras up everywhere (no sound); but even though it's all caught on film, there still is no action taken.