Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

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

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)

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)

[Campaigns] [Medical Care] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
expand

TDCJ Shifting Policies, Still Gouging Prisoners and Families

Included with this letter is a clipping from The Echo, TDCJ’s prison newspaper. The clipping shows how TDCJ and the Texas Board of Criminal (In)justice is continuing to try and bill us inmates and our families for the services they have the constitutional obligation to provide.

As you can read in the article, they are going to charge inmates $13.55 per inmate-initiated visit, not to exceed $94.85 ([we used to be charged $100 annually on medical visits, so] we save $5.15 a year). What a deal! NOT!

The TDCJ is trying to save money by using this method to discourage offenders from using medical services. On my unit, H.H. Coffield in Tennessee Colony, TX, our medical services are severely inadequate, often requiring months of wait just to see a provider. This is a unit with over 5,000 prisoners and the medical staff and MHMA staff are present in severely insufficient numbers. Correctional officers are short-staffed too, operating at only 66%. The unit is also over-populated, which causes inmates to suffer the effects of extreme heat. What is more, they are putting two inmates in cells designed for only one person (45 sq. ft. of space – even though TDCJ lost a lawsuit requiring them to provide the federally-mandated minimum of 60 sq. ft. per offender).

Some of us are fighting in courts but lack support from the outside as well as support from our brothers on the inside. It’s as though they like having their rights trampled and being servants to an abusive master.

Please update your Texas Pack to include this information. I also have a copy of the Pack Unit lawsuit about the extreme heat that could be helpful to our comrades in TDCJ, which is available for free from Texas Prisons Air-Conditioning Advocates, P.O. Box 9624, Longview, TX 75608.

TDCJ and the State of Texas insures inmates at $10 million each; so when we die in here, they collect that money. The Trust Fund is an interest-bearing trust account. TDCJ and the State of Texas collect that interest and pocket it. They say our families can take a tax deduction for donating money to our trust-fund accounts, but by IRS tax law, that money cannot be treated as taxable income, because only non-profit organizations can receive money and offer their IRS tax-exempt code to donors. My family has tried to use it, only to be rejected because TDCJ is listed as a “for profit” institution.

chain
[Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Ellis Unit] [Texas]
expand

Typewriter Supplies Seized for Helping Others with Grievances

It is October 2019, and I am forced to send this hand-drafted communication due to an act of retaliation by the property officer, Ms. Scott, on this Ellis Unit. Ms. Scott took from me eight of my purchased commissary typewriter ribbons, two of which were staged in my typewriter, with two print wheels of different font sizings. Thus turning my $225 typewriter, which took me 9 months to save up for, into an expensive paper weight.

I wish I had someone out in the world who would/could call, advocating on my behalf for returning my personal property. It was taken in retaliation for my drafting grievances for prisoners subjected to the same by the property C.O., C.O. Scott. If I must litigate for my property’s return I will go all out.

Yes, I have it in my blood to help those in need of it. And I do just that when I can. I do the best I can with what I have; always studying and collecting viable information from every source available. That is one reason these guys come to me for advice and legal draftings. The administration is aware of this, and this is why they collusively have crippled my typewriter as they have.

They are forcing me to initiate a writing campaign to Congressmen seeking readings of my grievances against them in their violations [brought to the state by way of the 14th Amendment] of my 1st, 4th, 5th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.

Another one I am compelled to notify is the U.S. Attorney General and the Department of Justice. There are no less than a dozen inmates on this Ellis Unit whose step two grievances are in severe default; being 60 days beyond the extension by the OGP (offender grievance program). Therewith voiding any certification bestowed on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Agency’s Grievance System. Allowing us to circumvent the PLRA’s prerequisted administrative remedies so as to go straight to the federal court, because Texas has no court designated program that inmates might seek relief through.

MIM(Prisons) adds: There is a dire need for people on the outside to do public advocacy work for our comrades inside, which is a need that MIM(Prisons) members can’t take on. To this end, MIM(Prisons) supports Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support (AIPS) chapters around the country. Contact us to get involved!

chain
[COVID-19] [Pack Unit] [Texas]
expand

Coronavirus Has Entered Pack Unit

As you might know, there is pending litigation in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) here at the Wallace Pack Unit in Valentine v. Collier 4;20-cd-01115 over the COVID-19 virus, under-protection from this virus.

Well, as of today (15 April 2020) it has infiltrated this unit due to the fact that staff here has not done their job.

This class action lawsuit is being handled by Edwards Law Firm and has been assigned the same judge that handled the Cole v. Collier case.

  Edwards Law Firm
  Attn: Scott Medlock
  1101 East 11th Street
  Austin, TX 78702

I can keep you updated as needed so that all my brothers and sisters are aware that staff has failed in protecting us in prison once again.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]
expand

G-2 Status Denied to Lifers and Over 50 Prisoners in Texas

Greetings. Sorry for the mix up but my unit is so chaotic that I can’t honestly remember when I wrote last! No I did not get a copy of the appeal grievance letter but I was informed you would file for one! Most importantly yes I do want a copy of the grievance manual! … it has been crazy here (Polunsky) from celebrities (K.M.K.) to multiple deaths - lethal injection - inmate on inmate - officer negligence. To the unit putting out a short of staff S.O.S. We have other officers from all around pulling shifts and the reg. staff keep quitting due to the unjust action, overworkload, and underpayment. In short the manual is in dire need and would be greatly appreciated by not only myself but others that make an attempt at combating the injustice and harsh conditions here.

Another major issue that needs to be looked into is the G-3 status (lifers or 50 yrs + over) inmates with stacked time or I.W.O.P. that have completed the required 10 year G-3 status, are being placed back on G-3 status and are told they will never receive a G-2. The G-3 status restricts inmates to certain and/or no jobs and keep them from attending vocation or college class educations. A law was passed concerning a group of G-3 sex offenders because one raped, beat, and killed a guard on another unit but that law applies to sex offenders that are G-3 only. This unit has taken many G-2 and placed them back on G-3 but those offenders have over 10 years done, and no recent disciplinary offense. That is just one of the many issues we are fighting. Again thank you and you all are appreciated.

chain
Could not find requested file
chain
[Censorship] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]
expand

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.

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

Texas Unit Denying Access to Gym Facilities

Greetings!

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!

chain
[Abuse] [Hobby Unit] [Texas]
expand

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?

chain
[Abuse] [Texas]
expand

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.

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

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 www.prisoncensorship.info, and conditions reports about organizing help us consolidate and support the national liberation struggles developing inside United Snakes prisons. In Struggle!

chain