Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. 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.

[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.

[Abuse] [Michael Unit] [Texas]

Rotten Food in Texas Michael Unit

I personally said that to do some time in any Texas State prison is to do time in one of the nastiest and scariest places. I am not talking about gang affiliation, I am talking about the condition that we are living in and how we get treated worse than animals. I was on a farm that was infested real bad with rats and mice. Then a few years later, I got transferred to a nastier, dirtier unit infested with roaches and ants. We eat ice-cold food. They are supposed to feed us a hot tray, no no no, like I just told you, ice-cold food and beans or corn. And the vegetables are always spoiled. I have complained many, many times. I have had to tell inmates what is going on. Why we let them feed us like animals, but I came to find out that this is a program for inmates with mental problems. So now I know how they don’t care about us; feeding us and treating us that way.

[Medical Care] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]

Medical Failures and Discrimination at xx

I have been incarcerated 27 years now and most of my time I’ve spent on “Safe keeping.” We are usually discriminated against by both inmates and officers. I have experienced verbal insults and threats and shortened food in the chow hall. Complaining does no good and the grievance system is a joke where the complaint comes back “officers deny all allegations.” I guess some people feel the need to vent their frustrations out on others to relieve their own problems, but I wonder why people can’t treat others properly.

Medical here is strange; we wait in a cage for hours to see a “provider” who offers aspirin or other generic medication at the cost of $100. I have seen many times where they misdiagnose a prisoner or even find no problem when the person later finds out he has cancer.

[Abuse] [Robertson Unit] [Texas]

Denied Hygiene and Correspondence at Robertson Unit

Dear fellow fighters for Justice and for what’s right. By the time this Missive reaches you I hope and pray that it finds you in the best of health and spirits; that you are being blessed abundantly above all you could think or imagine. I am writing to you in regards to the Texas Pack. This current administration (i.e. wardens, majors, sgts, etc) are blatantly disregarding all guidelines and protocol set forth by the A.C.A. (American Correctional Association) and TDCJ itself.

Here at French Robertson Unit we just came off a 30 day lock-down and were denied hygiene and correspondence privileges per the Administrative Directive (AD-03.31). Some offenders have received major disciplinary cases and don’t have the opportunity to attend their own hearing. Due process violation. I could give you a laundry list of things and violations committed but I would need more postage! The crux of the matter, unembellished, is that the wardens and ranking staff are in direct contravention to guidelines TDCJ adopted and instituted. These established rules and principles are for the protection and enforcement of private rights for the employees and officers, as well as for the offender population. I humbly ask that you send me the Texas Pack.

[Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas]

Choked to Unconsciousness by CO

I am writing on account of a correctional officer stripping me nude, placing me in handcuffs, slamming me, choking me unconscious for no reason on video trying to kill me. Any help would gladly be appreciated. See:[Case no.] in Bowie County, TX, to view this video admitted into evidence. The correctional officer turned his back toward the camera while choking me, but video shows me unresponsive afterwards.