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.
Dillard v. Davis, et al. Civil Action No. 7:19-cv-00081-M-BP News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E.-Legal Representative 113 Stockholm, #1A Brooklyn, NY. 11221 #endrestrictivehousinginTDCJ more about Plaintiff at https://wireofhope.com/prison-penpal-daniel-dillard/
TDCJ Officials DENIED Summary Judgment in fight to END restrictive housing in Texas
On 2 August 2022, Chief Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn rendered an Order Accepting Findings, conclusions and recommendations of the United States Magistrate Judge.
The Honorable Magistrate Judge Hal R. Ray Jr. submitted the findings, conclusions and recommendations on 17 June 2022, effectively denying TDCJ’s officials qualified immunity defense and finding that continuous confinement in TDCJ’s version of solitary confinement is INDEFINITE under the unconstitutional Restrictive Housing Plan. A date for trial has not been set though it was also recommended by Magistrate Judge Ray Jr.
The time is now for pre-trial preparations and the Plaintiff and Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. are requesting that individuals that are being held in TDCJ’s Restrictive Housing please submit their testimony, artwork, poems and writings to the contact info above. We want to hear your stories about what you have suffered in TDCJ’s Restrictive Housing. Anyone who wishes to participate in the trial must first submit their testimony to Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. first. Serious inquiries ONLY! Secondly you must be willing to have your background checked thoroughly. So once again, Serious Inquiries ONLY!
*** ATTENTION *** ATTENTION ***
Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is putting together a scrapbook about solitary. Submissions would go to the above address also, along with permission to publish your material. Submission should be turned in NO later than November 30th 2022.
Texas Together Ending All Mass Oppression aNd Exploitations
MIM(Prisons) adds: We have distributed copies of this press release to a number of prisoners in Texas, but need help doing so. If you know someone suffering in RHU, please share this information with them ASAP.
The campaign against long-term solitary confinement is a campaign against torture and a campaign against political repression. It is perhaps the most important struggle in the U.$. prison movement. Texas has an opportunity to do what California failed to do. In California, an alliance of lumpen leaders and reformist organizations settled the Ashker suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.(1) Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. will not be following suit, and will be taking this battle to trial with the goal of ending, not reforming, long-term solitary confinement in Texas.
As the Texas prison movement continues to grow, we must build broader awareness and support for this battle, especially among the most affected masses who are willing to dig in and fight for this. The largest prison strikes in history precluded the battle against the Security Housing Units in California, and yet the battle was lost. We must put politics in command and rally the prisoners and people of Texas to put an end to torture.
Notes: 1. Wiawimawo, September 2015, Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners, Under Lock & Key No. 46.
At the O.L Luther Unit we just had our annual Lockdown/Shakedown during which we were forced to sit outside with limited shade and denied respite. A close friend of mine, a 62-year-old prisoner, repeatedly told officers that he was feeling unwell and needed access to respite. After he was promptly denied respite he suffered from heat exhaustion and had to be taken to the hospital where they had to perform an emergency operation to install a pacemaker, even though prior to this he had never suffered from cardiac issues.
I feel that this incident is indicative of the type of behavior that is perpetuated inside TDCJ. A blatant disregard for the well-being of those incarcerated is the modus operandi of these facilities as well as denying respite during category 4 level heat they are also restricting access to ice. When we tried to address the issue with grievances, the responses we received were flat out lies. They maintained that we have continual access to ice for our drinks and commissary purchases. Despite the fact that several of my comrades here have received unjust disciplinary action for the simple act of trying to get ice.
While we are denied ice, in violation of their own directive (A.D. 1064) which states that we are guaranteed ice during times of elevated heat, the C.O.’s (capitalist oppressors) have their own cooler just for ice and it is kept under lock & key to prevent our access. This level of hypocrisy is inexcusable. We are currently trying to initiate a 1983 civil suit to demand A/C and access to ice. Thank you for allowing me to express my grievances. Stay strong comrades.
UPDATE FOR AUGUST 2022: Now that Juneteenth 2022 has passed, please use this updated flyer and these updated postcards now address the censorship across the state of Texas in recent months. We need your support to keep increasing the pressure to fight this censorship of political speech.
Download and print this flyer to hang or hand out.
We are also asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and activists in Allred to freely communicate. There has been a rise in mail censorship as organizing has progressed.
download PDF below
print 2-sided on cardstock
cut into 4
add $0.40 stamp (or more)
go to event or public space and ask people to sign their name, city and state
explain the Junteenth Freedom Initiative to them
hand them a flyer (above) or Under Lock & Key
ask for a donation to pay for postage & printing
drop postcards in mail box (don’t mail them all at once we want a consistent stream of cards coming in)
On 19 June 2022, prisoners across Texas abstained from celebrating the federal Juneteenth holiday until real freedom is attained by the oppressed in this country. Instead they organized, studied and made their voices heard for the demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, including:
End Solitary Confinement! End Restrictive Housing Units(RHU)!
End Mass Incarceration!
Stop Mail Censorship!
Transform the prisons to cadre schools! Transform ourselves into NEW PEOPLE!
Updates Since Juneteenth
The response from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) was swift and coordinated. MIM(Prisons) sent hundreds of update letters to comrades in Texas during the month of June, and almost all of them appear to have been censored.
Prisons where our letters were censored for “inciting a disturbance” or “riot” include:
Beto I Unit
Christina Melton Crain Unit
Estelle High Security Unit
Mountain View Unit
We are still receiving and compiling censorship notices from June. Needless to say, there was a coordinated effort to block our letters across the state, and they were really worried about the Juneteenth boycott. Of course, there was nothing about organizing a riot in our letters. But the imperialists will consider a boycott a “disturbance” worthy of violating Constitutional rights. Biden said we must celebrate Juneteenth, so now we face the consequences of his goons in the TDCJ.
The censorship at Allred Unit had been going on for months prior. This is the worst RHU in the state, where a lot of the JFI organizing began. Therefore we began a postcard campaign to protest the political targeting of mail and of certain prisoners at Allred. One comrade there received 22 mail denial notices in one day in May! Another comrade in Allred wrote:
“I been denied 2 newsletters & 1 letter that ya’ll sent my way. [everything we’ve sent this comrade] I highly appreciate ya’ll. I’ve sent them home. This only confirms that Texas don’t want us to know. Your news letters were denied for tha reason of ‘inciting a disturbance’.”
“I asked the mail room lady if anything sent from this address will be denied and she said, ‘Yes.’ Just like that, freedom of speech denied.”
This campaign is ongoing, as the censorship continues, and we ask outside supporters to get involved. Mail from prisoners in Allred is often delayed a month or more, so updates on the launch of the JFI have not yet come in from some of the organizers.
Outreach during June included flyering and postcards on the streets, hundreds of update letters sent to TX prisoners and radio interviews in Texas and on Free Aztlán on 96.1 KEXU in Oakland.
One Texas comrade reported:
“The Juneteenth Freedom Initiative flyer was displayed for several weeks here. On Juneteenth, no movement due to low staff and no special holiday meal. The officers dining room had ribs, BBQ chicken and brisquet with all the fixins, and these were supposed to be delivered to each officer on duty. However, most were stolen en route. The warden and kitchen captain were pissed.”
The JFI was initiated by TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E who has continued to lead organizing efforts inside. Others, including Prison Lives Matter, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee Local 613 #1, the Texas Liberation Collective, and United Struggle from Within cells, have joined the call. On the outside, MIM(Prisons), Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, and the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement have been providing support.
Per the plan below, laid out by TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E. the next phase of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative for prisoners is to file petitions with the Department of Justice. If you need a sample petition, write us to get a copy. This petition is not specific to Texas.
Prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in Texas can also join the Dillard lawsuit against the TDCJ. If you need a copy of the motion to join, write us.
Outside supporters can best assist organizers inside by joining our campaign against censorship. We want to continue to let the TDCJ know that people outside are paying attention and not willing to accept this political repression. We will be following up with a lawsuit on behalf of an affected party in Allred and MIM Distributors. You can help in the following ways:
calling or writing letters to the TDCJ, and to Allred Unit in particular
getting others to sign postcards protesting the censorship
As you may know, Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday in amerika. On this day many will sing the praises of Our oppressors or otherwise negate the reality of the lumpen (economically alienated class), that according to amerika’s 13th amendment We are STILL SLAVES. While We do not wish to nullify the intensity of the exploitation and oppression that New Afrikan people held in chattel slavery faced, We must pinpoint to the general public, those upcoming generations of youngsters looking to follow Our footsteps, that to be held in captivity by the state or feds is not only to be frowned upon but is part and parcel with the intentions of this amerikan government, and its capitalist-imperialist rulers. We say NO CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH until the relation of people holding others in captivity is fully abolished!!
Comrades have been organizing around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative(JFI) for almost a year now, and we just completed phase 1. Prisoners in Texas and North Carolina took up the campaign. Instead of celebrating Juneteenth, boycotters worked to get out the voice of the incarcerated in TX and NC.
Previous campaign materials include more demands and more details. Add your own demands that speak to your local conditions and make the JFI demands heard by the masses and the oppressors. Don’t just boycott, organize.
The Boycott is just the first phase and launch of this campaign by and for all Texas prisoners.
Juneteenth boycott and voice demands starting 19 June 2022
present petition to the Department of Justice Special Litigation division (write in to get a copy if you still need one) – everyone should mail copies of their own signed petition to the DOJ following Juneteenth 2022
if (2) fails to bring proper response, we will petition the United Nations – date To Be Determined – watch for announcement in Under Lock & Key, we will be requesting testimonials and collecting statistics to back up our arguments on each campaign position and submit them as evidence to bolster the recent guilty verdict of the We Still Charge Genocide, International Tribunal 2021 where mass incarceration and solitary confinement were ruled to be vital tools in the U.S. campaign of genocide for centuries against Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples of this continent.
Styled Name: F Martinez, Doll, Pineapple Pictures, et al. Versus Members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, et al.
Greetings! I am the leading plaintiff in the above styled and numbered case. I filed this lawsuit on my behalf and others similarly situated prisoners in TDCJ. I also represent the interest of Doll, Pineapple and other commercial vendors.
The reasons in filing this lawsuit is to challenge the constitutionality of the rules 1(C) and IV(A)(10)(11) of the “Uniform Offenders Correspondence Rules” (BP-03.91)
Rule 1(C) which limits to receive ten photos per envelope is unreasonably and arbitrarily applied to deny catalogs, brochures, and flyers from commercial vendors. Rule IV(A)(10)(11) which totally bans “sexually explicit images” coming into the general population all in disguise of rehabilitation purposes.
On or about 17 June 2022, I filed in court a “motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injuction.” I hope that the court grant me this motion and temporarily enjoin the defendants from enforcing these rules until the merits are decided in trial or through the summary judgement process.
Anybody interested in copies of the complaint and the “TRO” motion may request copies form the court. To request the price fees you may write to the clerk of the court at:
U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division Clerk of the Court 601 Rosenberg Street, Rm 411 Galveston, TX 77550
In Under Lock & Key 76 we published an article on how to file for the suit Clay v. Director of IRS Mnuchin No4:21-CV-08132-PJH if you did not receive the $3,200 stimulus checks while in a Texas prison during the pandemic. Here is an update from the initiator of this suit for anyone who has filed.
The IRS is seeking to deter and retaliate in order to lessen payments of rebate refunds by stating that a $5,000.00 penalty will issue if filer does not [withdrawal] the form 1040s filed to receive EIP. The filers need to send the IRS letter to the 9th Court of Appeals as instructed in ULK 76. Tell them to attach the letter.
They are doing this because the “fluid recovery scheme” is exposed so they can’t use it. Now they seek to use “retaliatory scare” tactics by this notice stating a $5k penalty and criminal charges for a 1040 that they don’t clarify why such is seeking benefit not entitled to or what deficiency is apparent.
In recent years many have explored the myth of “the West” and “Western Civilization”, connecting them to racist views of humyn society. Often this was in response to right-wing white nationalists rebranding their common cause from the “white race” to “Western civilization.”
Yet, the term “the West” is used every day in a variety of news sources, some claiming to be proletarian news services. It is used by MIM in a number of older documents, and you even see it crept in to the last issue of Under Lock & Key in our discussion of Ukraine.(1)
The West and Militarism
The Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to have brought the term even more to the forefront, which could explain why it ended up in our article on the subject, despite our understanding the problems with the term. “Western unity” today is synonymous with fighting Russia. Ukranian President Volodymor Zelensky has helped make this true in the Amerikan press.
There are reasons to refer to “the West” instead of the more accurate term “NATO.” NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a military pact between countries to defend each other with very clear membership. NATO exists clearly in space and time. It was formed in 1949, as the U.$. and Britain focused their aggression towards the Soviet Union following the defeat of fascism. NATO will not exist forever, with many calling for it to be dissolved now.
The meme of “The West” on the other hand is ahistorical, and even vague in terms of who is included. President Zelensky is making a hard push to put Ukraine in “the West”, when it was very clearly part of the USSR that NATO formed to oppose.
Zelensky has repeatedly called on “the West” to impose sanctions against Russia, to send military aid to Ukraine, and to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine. All of these feed the militarist war machine that imperialism depends on to stay afloat, especially in times of economic crisis. Yet the imperialists are not even willing to do all the things Zelensky calls for because they know the risk of inter-imperialist war it will bring.
We’ve already seen the differing interests in this conflict playing out. The strongest example might be Germany, the dominant imperialist power in continental Europe, and their economic connection to Russia, which has made them much more hesitant to join actions that the United $tates is quick to take against Russia. Meanwhile Germany has moved to significantly increase its military for the first time since WWII, loosening its dependence on the United $tates for military action. In most of our lifetimes, the so-called “Western” countries have been united politically and economically. But this has not and will not always be the case.
The West and the Ancient World
We won’t repeat others summaries of the history of the concept of “the West” here. But it does appear with the wars between Christians and Muslims in the Middle Ages, later being used to distinguish between areas dominated by the Western reformist church and the Eastern orthodox church.
Just as New Afrikans today may take up the study of ancient Egypt to learn about their “roots”, euro-Amerikans may study ancient Greece with the same goal. In reality, ancient Egypt and Greece (in certain periods) were actually connected and learned from each other. They were more similar to each other (and more geographically close to each other) than the actual ancestors of most New Afrikans or euro-Amerikans. Both are caught up in a mythology that links them to an ancient society based on racialized concepts of continents.
The idea of Europe as its own continent is also a myth that stems from this history and the fact that our knowledge in the United $tates is dominated historically by Europeans. And today, U.$.-cultural dominance helps shape the memes that take on global significance.
Europe is a region in actual space, however, unlike “the West”, which often lumps Western Europe with occupied regions of North America and Oceania today. In a sense, “the West” is almost describing something real. Throw in Japan, and you’ve got the advanced imperialist countries of the world.
The West and Freedom
A more modern concept of “the West” starts from the fight against fascism and morphs into the fight against communism. “The West” claims to offer freedom and democracy instead.
On 5 July 2022, a Ukrainian court banned the Communist Party of Ukraine and ordered all its assets seized by the state. This is a party that got 13 percent of the votes in the 2012 general election. This follows the ban of a number of other “socialist” or “left” parties in the country for being “pro-Russian.”(2)
On the Fourth of July, the city of Akron, Ohio issued a 9PM to 6AM curfew preventing people from leaving their homes except for work or emergencies. This was on a night when masses of people stayed out all night partying and lighting fireworks in most cities across the country. The curfew was issued because cops shot unarmed 25-year-old Jayland Walker the night before with 60 bullets. The young Black man died Fourth of July morning.
Through May and June MIM(Prisons) sent hundreds of letters, petitions and legal documents to prisoners across Texas leading up to a planned boycott of the Juneteenth holiday on June 19. The weeks leading up to the Fourth of July our mailbox was full of letters from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and from prisoners in Texas, notifying us that our mail had been censored because it promoted a disturbance or a riot.
Prisoners in Texas are being tortured in long-term isolation, forced to work without pay, and facing all sorts of abusive conditions including lack of food, dangerous temperatures and lack of yard time. Jayland Walker was shot 60 times over a tail light. Yet boycotts and demonstrations have been deemed illegal in Texas and Akron, Ohio in response. In Akron 50 people were arrested after protestors were sprayed with tear gas because police said they “cannot condone property destruction.”(3) This is the behavior of the oppressor, of the imperialists.
The West and Language
The more modern framework of the North versus the South developed as an improvement on the West/East concept. The “North/South” framework is more geographically coherent (with the exception of Australia and New Zealand) and is defined economically. It also avoids the racist exclusion of Japan and the “three tigers.” Though it could play into some theories of geographic determinism, which can mirror racist conceptions of history.
Regardless, North/South terminology was developed to be “valueless” and as such becomes a euphemism for what is really going on: some countries are exploiting other countries. And we have perfectly good terminology for “the West” or “the North” in this context: imperialist countries. As anti-imperialists, we must expose imperialism and its crimes at every turn and not hide it behind euphemisms that reference geography or pseudo-scientific concepts of race over materialist understandings of political-economy.
On the other hand of the dialectic of imperialism we have the oppressed nations, or the exploited countries, or the semi-colonies or neo-colonies, depending on the context. Arguably these terms are also better than the First/Third World language we have often used historically.(4)
As a general principle, our writing guide reminds us not to use euphemisms and not to use passive language. Like “the West” these styles creep into our writing because they are common in the bourgeois press. We should consciously combat this by being clear about the relationships of oppression and exploitation and who is doing what to whom.
Whether it relates to religion, philosophy or democracy, all historical concepts of “the West” are related to justifying invasions or imperialism in different forms.
In ULK 76 you printed an article by the Connally Committee of Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. titled “Connally Unit Denying Grievances & Retaliating”. I cannot vouch for the retaliation from here in High Security, but as for not responding to grievances and being chronically understaffed, I can vouch for.
I filed 2 grievances back in early April and have had zero response to them. I found a good cite in Prison Legal News June 2022 edition. It says, “A prisoner’s administrative remedies are exhausted when prison officials fail to timely respond to a properly filed grievance.” (Haight v. Thompson 763 F. 3d 554 (6th Cir 2014)) According to this, if they do not respond to our grievances we can go on to a §1983 Civil Action.
My suggestion to TEAM ONE here at Connally is to go ahead and file §1983 Lawsuits with hand-written copies of your Step 1’s and try to file a Step 2. But your remedies are exhausted when TDCJ fails to respond to your grievances. They have 40 days to respond to a Step 1 or file an extension. If it has been more than 40 days and you have no answer, your administrative remedies are exhausted. I’m sending a handwritten copy of my Step 1 into the District Court this week. They will file, stamp it and assign it a document number and I’ll use it as evidence in my case.
As far as being understaffed, I can certainly agree with the writers of that article. Every end of the month into the first of the month this place is a ghost town. We are locked in our cells and fed sack lunches.
We did recently win a small victory as far as the grooming policy goes. AD-03.83 & SM-06.16 (Rev5) were updated on 10 May 2022 to allow male prisoners to grow long hair and wear pony tails. There were a lot of §1983 lawsuits pending on this subject. I’m still not totally satisfied with the updated policy because TDCJ reserves the right to force cut our hair for disciplinary reasons and they do not do this to the women. Growing our hair is a religious right, not a privilege to be revoked so I still have it listed in my lawsuit.
I’m writing because I’ve had two or three letters from you denied here at Wynne Unit, they say “the information contains messages of hatred and statements that could start riots”. Of course, I disagreed and wasn’t given the opportunity to appeal it by the Texas Director’s Review Committee.
Secondly, place this in your next issue: I won a §1983 Suit in Texas dealing with the beard and hair policy. Specifically you can wear goatees, dreads, and braids than “they’ve now said one big braid”. The case log is Newman v. Marfo 4:19-CU-00352 and, now I have a retaliation claim which is Newman v. Bowers 4:22-CU-01649 because these officials are still giving cases creating a related injury and causal connection due to this being directly related to my, as well as our, protected conduct guarded by the 1st Amendment Constitutional Right.
Please post this because we only suffered in Texas prisons because the residents are weak and have no real hope and don’t acquire the will to believe we have the power to fight legally without physical contact but, by our minds. I also started another claim for another resident for abolishing the 1996 clause that says if we meet the standard for release, they don’t have to let us go; signed by former President Clinton and Joe Biden. So, when Biden duped blacks to break all those records getting him in office why didn’t he unsign it?
I got a correspondence letter from y’all a couple of weeks ago that was denied for “contents which would incite a disturbance”. First, I asked if the letter was “Media Correspondence” and the chick said “yeah”. So I’m like “Who denied it and why was it opened without my presence?” Of course, she didn’t want to give no name – neither hers or of whoever denied it. So I refused to sign. I did try to appeal, but after refusing to sign I’m sure they just threw it away. So I don’t know if you’re acknowledged as a media correspondent or not, or if they got you some kind of watch list. I know what policy says and if they do it again I’ll grieve that ass hard. I’m sure you been banned ever since you got those Texas Pack’s out. They won’t let that in, or any regular mail you send. But it’s too late.
I did all I could and spread the word in the Allred law library – shit was a hit. They (TDCJ) call it inciting a disturbance, but we all know that it’s all the information we should be entitled to have to fight the negligence, abuse, and misinterpretation of state and federal laws. This unit has a loooong history of violating its own policy and civil rights with impunity. The grievance department, to medical and everything in between, is set up this way. People like me who are in the know and work to expose the corruption are either shipped elsewhere, or if they don’t have outside help, are “rolled” off the unit with an ass whoopin and/or false charges. They do this to protect the “overall safety and security of the institution” that they have going.
I’ve only been here since February 2022 and have been either a witness or victim of every violation but murder. My biggest gripes were that the P4s (safe keeping G4) are religiously discriminated on and refused worship services unless they are of the mainstream faith. The trans-women have no privacy screens to cover their breast in the shower areas. Exposing them to voyeurism when there is no “exigent circumstance”. P4s are stuck in the cell during the peak heat of the day, even the hottest of days, everyday. Respite, and respite showers do not exist during such times. Cold water is only offered if they are lucky enough to have a janitor there to pass it out. The cops sure as hell ain’t doing it. It’s fucked up. I just got off that custody but I still feel for ’em and want to help cause I’ve never seen such animosity and neglect towards a population. There are only a little over 30 P4s on the unit, almost 1/2 are trans women. They should be protected, but instead are targeted. That’s bout all I got for now.