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)

[Abuse] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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Contaminated water and other dangerous conditions at McConnell

Here, on the McConnell unit there are so many issues that we are dealing with and attempting to gain a collective response to that it has taken up the majority of our time. First, on Thursday August 4, 2017, there was a water contamination notice posted, which consisted of not consuming the water, at all (i.e. showers, drinking, washing face, brushing teeth etc.) until further notice. The boil notice stated that the only way the water could be consumed was if it was boiled (i.e. a rolling boil) for at least two minutes. However, the problem with this stipulation is the fact that the ONLY way we can boil water is if we 'rig' our hot pots, which is a violation of TDCJ policy. This makes us vulnerable to our appliances being confiscated even though we have been given permission to boil the water.

This also brings about the fact that if we don't boil the water before we drink it, shower in it, and brush our teeth with it, then we are being made susceptible to CRYTOS, which is a parasitic germ that is known to cause cancer and other organ failures. This has been advertised on every news station around this area, yet we are still being made to drink it or dehydrate!! We are supposed to be provided with ice-water three times a day during summer months, yet because of the water shortage we are often just given tap water.

The administration is so accustomed to doing whatever they want that our complaints go in one ear and out the other. We have waged a grievance petition attacking our overall conditions here on this unit and we will see how many are willing to stand up for their rights or lay down and be trampled over.

This is only one of several issues with the conditions here on the McConnell unit... There is mold that has set in the walls and has begun to make prisoners have breathing conditions such as dry coughs and lack of breath.

When it rains here, all of the cells are flooded with rainwater. Our bunks are soaked and the floors are covered with water.

I would like to learn and be a part of the United Struggle from Within, because I believe that many of the prisoners here have the propensity to make a difference if only they were shown the way. Most think that there is no hope in doing anything when 'they are going to still just do what they want'. But I KNOW better and am familiar with the results of a unified effort!! I am committed to working with MIM (Prisons) to expand our influence and organizing in here as well as out in the communities we will one day return to.

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[Medical Care] [Estelle 2] [Texas] [ULK Issue 59]
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Epidemic of K2 Overdoses at Estelle, Throughout Texas

popular drugs by state

6 September 2017 — I am writing this letter to inform you of the recent adverse reactions of offenders to a new batch of a K2-styled substance. About a month ago a new batch of "2uece", "K2" or "tune" arrived on the unit. I was in the prison chapel and overheard a conversation that 9 people that day had been taken away in an ambulance. A few days later I saw 2 people fall out at work in the kitchen after smoking it. The user will experience temporary paralysis, unable to move or even speak. Users will watch their "friends" pass out, then laugh at their friends and continue smoking the same K2. Another prisoner bragged to me of his smoking prowess. He said, "I already had 3 people who smoked this shit with me get stuck. They think they can smoke like me." Later that day after having that conversation, that offender collapsed, unconscious and was rushed to medical. He may have died for all I know.

Then the next day as I was leaving the shower area, they shut down the hallway for an emergency and they were carrying 2 paralyzed prisoners to sickbay (medical). I personally have seen more than 20 people carried away in stretchers this past month. I would estimate well over a hundred people have been transported to the hospital due to this new K2. I further estimate 1/2 the entire unit are users. About 80% of the people I work with smoke. Unlike other products such as ice cream, that might get contaminated with listeria and recalled, with this so-called "2uece" there is no recall. People will continue to sell it and smoke it, and there will be more adverse reactions. Shame on the local media for not reporting this! Shame on TDCJ for not locking down the prison, instead being more concerned with the Estelle Unit textile plant profits!


MIM(Prisons) responds: In our survey of ULK readers about drugs in prison, K2 (Deuce, 2euce, Spice, or synthetic marijuana) stood out as the most popular drug. While in the chart below, other drugs aren't too far behind in number of mentions, K2 was often highlighted as the #1 choice, with one Texas prisoner stating that everything else there is now irrelevant. Suboxone was the other one that really stood out, because it was less familiar and being reported a lot. Suboxone is actually used to treat drug addiction to opioids, but has more recently proven to be addictive itself even though it does not have the same effects on your body that opioids do.

3D"popular
# respondents who listed each drug as one of the most in demand. Data from 62 respondents from 17 states.

The states of California, Nevada, Colorado and Georgia differed from the rest of the states in not really mentioning K2 or Suboxone. Instead in those states the combination of crystal meth (ice, sk8), heroin and alcohol were popular.

Many of these drugs are a serious health risk, and we address opioids in a separate article. However, K2 seems to deserve special attention right now due to the prevalence and risk. The risk is partially due to the variability in what you are getting when you purchase "K2", as the comrade alludes to above. While it is referred to as "synthetic weed" because of the receptors in the brain that it acts on, it is very different from weed with very different effects. In the prisons where it was reported as easiest to get, our respondents reported death from drugs at their prison 50% of the time. In contrast, the prisons where K2 was not listed among drugs easiest to get death was only reported 19% of the time. This difference was statistically significant. While this correlation does not establish a definitive link with K2 as the cause of excess deaths, anecdotal responses like the reports above and below seem to indicate that is the case. In the last two years, news stories about group overdoses from bad batches of spice have become frequent. Our correspondents talk about people being "stuck" when they are on K2. This drug can be completely disabling and can lead directly to death.

The K2 epidemic is not limited to Estelle Unit, but is across the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) system, where our respondents consistently listed it as the most common drug. As the map above shows, the problem extends to many other states.

A comrade in Larry Gist Unit in Texas reported on 14 September 2017:

"I want to file a lawsuit against the Sr. Warden and American Correctional Association (ACA) who pass the Unit Larry Gist inspection because the speaker communication do not work and about 7 to 10 prisoners died smoking K2 from heart attack and other sickness. Speaker communication is very important and maybe if the speaker communication had been working 1, 2 or 3 of the prisoners that died could have been saved."

A comrade at Telford Unit in Texas reported on 23 August 2017:

"My brothers in here have fallen victim to K2, which is highly addictive. They don't even care about the struggle. The only thing on their minds is getting high and that sas. I mean this K2 shit is like crack but worse. You have guys selling all their commissary, radios, fans, etc. just to get high. And all these pigs do is sit back and watch; this shit is crazy. But for the few of us who are K2-free I'm trying to get together a group to help me with the struggle."

We had a number of surveys filled out in Texas, all of which put the majority, if not all of the blame for the drugs entering the TDCJ on staff. Prisoners are a vulnerable population due to the degree of control that the state has over their lives. The injustice system leads to a disproportionate number of people in prison with substance abuse histories. It is completely irresponsible and tragic that people are then put in conditions where there is an epidemic of dangerous, unregulated drugs when they enter prison.

Under a socialist society, where we have a system of dictatorship of the proletariat, with those in power acting in the interests of the formerly oppressed peoples, individuals responsible for mass deaths through negligence or intentional actions will be brought to justice. Prison administrators who help bring in drugs known to kill people need to face the judgment of the people. These deaths are easily prevented.

In the meantime, we commend the comrades at Telford Unit who are starting to organize support for people to stay out of this epidemic that is affecting so many Texas prisoners. It is only by building independent institutions of the oppressed, which serve the people, that we can overcome this plague.

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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 60]
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Successes Against Retaliation in Texas

Just a short letter to let you know that I received your Texas Pack, which I found to have lots of needed information in it. The issue of the July/August Under Lock & Key was DENIED because of something on page 11 of the publication. I appealed the denial and lost, but I mailed it home for future reading.

I am a victim of harassment and retaliation, which stems from my constant filing of complaints and grievances, condemning the unprofessional actions of unit officials and officers. I've had to endure some pretty rough times because of my never-ending flow of complaints. Unit officials have conspired to file false disciplinary infractions against me in hopes of silencing me or discrediting me. During my last stint of incarceration (1997-2003) unit officials told me that if I didn't stop filing complaints, that they were going to make my time hard. They filed an infraction of "assault on an officer," which had me thrown in solitary and stripped of my trustee status and good time. When I continued to file grievances against the unjust actions they had taken against me, I was once again charged with "assault on an officer" (my foot accidentally bumped an officer's foot). They were trying to prove that I couldn't beat them. Well, I eventually got one officer fired for harassment and retaliation, and a Lieutenant was allowed to resign and return in six months. When he returned, he was sent to another unit, (where I had also been sent to) and had to work as a regular CO for six months before he could apply for his rank back.

Upon seeing me, he called me a "bitch," which I immediately wrote up. This time, there happened to be a Major that did not put up with officer harassment and retaliation, and he immediately got both of us in his office and made the officer apologize to me and promise to leave me alone. I was falsely charged with several disciplinary infractions after I filed a grievance against an officer for calling me a "black son of a bitch," back in January of this year. When I refused to drop my complaint, I received a major disciplinary for being "out of place" (not attending a law library session, which is voluntary).

A couple of months later, I received another major case for "failure to obey an order" (another trumped up charge) and after being found guilty of it, I was stripped of my general population status and re-assigned to G-4 (medium custody). The whole purpose of charging me with the major infractions were to 1) get me transferred from the unit and 2) discredit me so that my complaint against the officer for use of slurs/hostile epithets could be viewed as a lie against that officer. I was shipped off of the unit and all attempts to have something done to the officer who called me a black son of a bitch were ditched.

After arriving here on this unit to be locked away for 6 months on medium custody, one of the ladies who was part of my Unit Classification Committee (UCC), disagreed that I should be classified as medium custody, because the charges were weak. Now I am hoping that the two major infractions that I received earlier this year have no bearing on whether I make parole. There are NOT a lot of guys who are willing to stand up for their rights like me. I recently wrote a letter to Senator John Whitmire, informing him of the issues we are plagued with over here at this century-old unit. Just last week, we had not one, not two, but several pipes burst, leaving us without clean water to drink. Half of the building had NO WATER to flush their toilets, and there were restrictions on showering.

I'm continuing in my fight to bring attention to all of the ruthless officers that continue to oppress us behind these walls. Please let me know what I can do to help your cause. I am indigent, but I'm able to write and get things out.

I'm sure you all know that as of September 2017, solitary confinement in TDCJ was abolished. The inmates at the Pack Unit in Navasoto, Texas found help with the heat during the summer by way of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals when they affirmed class certification. Judge Keith Ellison ordered TDCJ to put air conditioning in the Pack Unit, which was found to be a "hot box" to the inmates housed there. Instead of putting air conditioning in housing areas, TDCJ shipped the inmates to cooler quarters in other facilities. The reaffirmed class certification paves the way for inmates' lawyers to try and win a permanent injunction.

Also, inmates throughout TDCJ have won the right to wear 4-inch beards, and Muslim offenders are supposed to be able to wear their kufis all over the unit, yet state officials are trying to stonewall us (yes, I am Muslim) from doing it. Now, I've heard that on some of the more hardened units, officials would rather allow the wearing of kufis rather than risk any type of rebellion. The unit I'm on is NOT one of them, yet I'm working to get some type of wording on WHY we aren't being allowed to wear them here. The case citing is Ali vs Stephens, 822 F.3d 776 (5th Cir. 2016) U.S. App LEXIS 7964. Until next time, stay strong.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are a number of seasoned comrades in Texas fighting and winning, in spite of harassment and retaliation from TDCJ staff and admin. We encourage others to look to this comrade's work for an example of eir bravery, dedication, and successes!

The Texas Pack that MIM(Prisons) distributes is a good jumping off point for people who need basic information on filing grievances and fighting against some of the most common things prison staff do to take advantage of us. Most of the information in the Texas Pack ought to be in the law library by any reasonable standard, and even TDCJ's own policies and procedures. Since the TDCJ isn't following its own rules, and not informing prisoners of what those rules are and the process to have them enforced, we have compiled this information. Send a $2.50 donation to our SF address, or a contribution to ULK, to get the Texas Pack.

Another aspect of this author's experience that we want to draw attention to is how eir work impacts the quality of life of other prisoners on eir unit. Getting a guard kicked off the unit, suspended, or being told to tone down eir harassment, serves not only this author but also the prisoners around em. Same goes for the impact of lawsuits (for better or worse). So if you're reading this and a guard isn't harassing you, know that it's probably because of all the people who have fought on your behalf ahead of you. Maybe now it's time to start contributing to help others!

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[Medical Care] [Texas]
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Texas stealing prisoner's money for free medical services

On Sept 23, 2017, I was transported to a local hospital by EMS, concerning chest pains. I spent several hours in ER before being returned to my unit, the Boyd Unit.

On Sept 26, 2017, I saw our PA (provider) concerning my trip to ER. Again on Sept 27, 2017 I saw another provider concerning same trip to ER.

On Oct 2, 2017, I became aware that my inmate trust account was assessed $100 co-pay and $22.46 removed. Half of my current balance.

This is, as you know, in violation of Gov. Code 501.063 and TDCJ's administrative directive AD-06.08, stating that an inmate will not be charged for emergencies or follow-ups. The two visits to PA were indeed follow-ups to the emergency.

I have filed Step 1 grievance, and regardless of outcome will file Step 2. Someone needs to take notice of how this is happening. I have also wrote to the US Dept of Justice.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting false cases and theft of legal material in Texas

I thank you for all the help that I have received in the past & will continue to help out as much as I am able to in the future. Hopefully when all is said & done with my litigation I will be able to send another donation to you. My main issues are dealing with: (1) not being allowed to grow my beard for religious reasons of my faith; (2) for the Administration causing me to lose all my property in the world at the passing of my mother due to their retaliation over me grievancing them on the denial of my beard; & (3) of them taking all my Uniform Commercial Code legal books, notes, letters, etc. that I had accumulated over the past 15 years of study & research. They took my Federal West Law books, & my mother's death certificate to prevent me from using them.

Then they wrote a fraudulent case on me & even stated that I did not do as the write-up stated yet still punished me as if I did do something. They have the nerve to state that T.D.C.J.-I.D. has a "policy that denies the possession of U.C.C. material" which they are not able to produce cause it doesn't exist period. Then they write up a fraudulent charge of me supposedly coming to the law library to present a fraudulent financial statement to be filed, (which by the way is the only felony on the books that they can give you for utilizing the U.C.C. process), when that wasn't taken up by anyone.

The "Law Librarian" who was behind it all wrote a fraudulent disciplinary case against me of committing a felony while in T.D.C.J., which I have never been indicted nor have I ever made an attempt to file anything. She even admitted this at the disciplinary hearing, yet in T.D.C.J. they do what they wish to do no matter of the right or wrong involved, cause no one will take them to court. But they messed up when they made me lose everything that my mother had been keeping for me & by taking my actual legal law books from me that I had purchased. As I try to tell them "there is no way you will make me or a Federal Judge believe that a policy (that doesn't even exist), will supersede FEDERAL LAW." Anyhow I thank you again for all your help & efforts that you have put in for those as myself in here. Continue to keep up the Good Fight for all of us, as I will myself.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]
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Denied care for Sickle Cell Anemia in Texas

As of this moment, as I mail you this notation I'm also sending a letter to an address from your packet: Texas Civil Rights Project, 1405 Montopolis Drive, Austin, Texas 78741-3438.

I am a sickle cell anemia patient and I've written numerous requests to render meds, (600 or 800 ibuprofen) but was ignored. I had a sickle cell crisis in October and was unconscious and unresponsive on my cell floor. Prison staff was called to the emergency and walked off twice before finally taking it serious the third time and coming to my aid.

If you know any attorney that's willing to assist me in this situation it would be greatly appreciated. I am going to file a suit… that's not even a question. I would like legal assistance because the camera's footage will need to be gathered and I don't want that to suddenly vanish.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Fighting medical co-pay and mail services in Texas

I always enjoy your newsletters, because they are always full of a lot of helpful information.

Lately I've been very busy helping prisoners filing grievances due to the fact that a lot of inmates are getting charged the $100.00 co-pay for chronic illnesses. On some we've been successful and on others not so much. But the most important thing is that I never give up. But then the sad thing is that the person I'm helping gets discouraged. And will ask me not to continue the legal process.

There's a lot of mail tampering by the mailroom staff. That's another thing that I'm working on right now. And also a lot of denial of access to postal services. For example: I've asked the mailroom (via I-60 form) supervisor that how much it would cost me to send a letter to a certain address in Mexico by registered mail? But to no avail have gotten no response. And I've written the supervisor twice. If there's anyone that can help me with any legal information to help me fight this injustice, I would greatly appreciate the help. Thank You!

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[Abuse] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]
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Warden harassing wives visiting in Texas

On July 2nd, 2016 my wife came from Texarkana to the Wynne Unit in Huntsville, Texas. What happened after our four hour contact visit is as follows:

Pam (wife) was leaving the unit. She had her car searched by a male TDCJ guard who accidentally pushed the lock button and closed the door (with the keys inside). "Pam is mentally disabled" and became sick from the heat after standing by her locked car for over an hour while someone looked for a clothes hanger. The guards allowed her to cool off inside.

The unit warden - Warden Strong - has been called. She questions Pam on who she came to see. The warden's harassment starts the moment Pam says my name. Bad mouthing me to Pam, she then takes Pam to a building to use the phone. The warden instructs her to call my mother. Warden Strong is on the phone with my mother bad mouthing me. When she sees the call is not to her advantage she hangs up on her, turns to Pam and says "She is a b***h isn't she?" Disagreement cost her a ride back to her car. The warden made her walk back.

Back at the car Warden Strong is telling several TDCJ guards that what happened or happens next is not TDCJ responsibility. The warden tells Pam that she needs to break a window, if not she will, or call the Fire Department, or a tow truck to get the car off TDCJ property. With all of this unprovoked harassment/bullying Pam finds a rock, strikes the window several times and when it shatters Pam cuts her hand. At no time during Pam getting sick from the heat, to cutting her hand on the window did Warden Strong allow first aid or provide it. Not even a band-aid.

Pam's treatment by Warden Strong had Pam so upset that she almost ended up in Dallas. Upon her getting on the proper highway she got a ticket for excessive speeding. "Thank God it wasn't worse." At first Pam was afraid to go forward with this. Now she isn't. She is concerned about retaliation to her, our families, or myself.

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[Abuse] [Vance Unit] [Texas]
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Retaliation and punishment for filing grievances in Texas

On 11/10/16 I was accepted to an 18-month Christian parole program. It is on the Carol Vance Unit (Jester 2). On 12/14/16 I saw the PA(Evans) for a sick-call I submitted. On this visit he canceled all my medical housing/work restrictions. Upon information and belief, he does this to every offender with medical ailments.

I went to the IFI Counselors and TDCJ staff for help. They just ran me in circles looking for help. Their response was the same as the PA, Don't worry about it you'll be home within two years.

Before all this happened, I was already filing grievances on the unit due to it falling apart and a lot of officer violations. The main one was over the extreme heat, no cool-down showers, and having to be fully clothed in the main dayroom.

On 4/7/17, I filed a 1983 on the PA (4:17-cv-01076). This was filed before the warden had stopped by my cubicle and warned me to stop filing constitutional challenges (grievances) on his unit because people are starting to follow and because people have been content for over twenty years.

Three days later I file a retaliation grievance against the warden, asst warden, a Lt and a Sgt. I was harassed about where do I work. They knew I refused to work due to the PA and that no one would help me with a light duty job (GED Tutor, Peer Educator, Clerical Job, Full Time Student-correspondence college).

That following Monday I started getting refusing to work cases. I had not got a case in five months until I filed that retaliation grievance.

After my 3rd case I get placed in PHD for 25 days. It took 19 days to get my property. I had no hygiene, stationary, religious material, legal work. My legal work for my active case did not come until 22nd day. Two days later I'm released from PHD. Full of restrictions, S3-S4 line class.

I file my 2nd complaint (4:17-cv-02811) on 9/19/17. As soon as I get to the unit my counselor (Roy Garcia) tells me that I am going to be a GED Tutor now. That same afternoon, Daryll Brooks (program director-ex inmate) tells me that I'm not going to get the GED job and the next refusing to work case you get you will be kicked out of the program. Brooks and warden Troy Simpson will help each other out to remove certain individuals who complain (file grievances).

I am now back in PHD for refusing to work. More restrictions, S4-L1 and G4'd. I'm waiting now to see if IFI/parole is going to let me remain in the program.

I do believe all my legal work was copied when they had my property for 19 days. My legal work was out of order and all my legal aids were missing a lot of pages.

I've written several attorneys for representation to no avail.

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[Legal] [Texas]
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Legal struggles in Texas Ad-Seg

I haven't been in touch in a while. Everything here in prison is pretty much the same thing. It's very hard to do legal work because i have to deal with retaliation from the prisoners and correctional officers. The law library here on this unit for Ad. Seg. is not good at all. A lot of the legal materials i request don't come in or the wrong ones come in and i need these legal materials in order to do research so i can win the lawsuits i am filing. I don't have the time i need to sit down and write everything. i need to file multiple lawsuits because i have to deal with all of the day to day prison life and then on top of that the law library staff do not bring me the legal supplies i need in order to research.

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