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)

[Abuse] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]
expand

Following Protocol on Dead End Path

Greetings MIM/ULK,

I am writing this short letter to send you some updates to sever addresses from the Texas Activist Pack that have changed since printing. They are as follows:

... All of my copies of complaints with cover letters to TDCJ Executive Director, PO Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342 have been forwarded to the Ombudsman, who, in turn, sent me a pre-listed sheet stating they "do not accept mail from inmates." It's a dead end loop with this address.

... I want to give you an indication of what I am going through at the hands of these pigs. I have been subjected to sexual harassment by homosexual correctional officers. And when I complained, I was punished by the corrupt security staff Captain Cory Webb for making a false complaint.

All my efforts to contact the free world authorities - County Sheriff and District Prosecuting Attorney to file a criminal complaint of my Civil Rights violations have been stopped. Copies of this coimplaint to Governor Gregg Abbot, Senator John Whitmire, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC have gone unanswered with the cover letter. I am being censored??

Finally out of retaliation I am deliberately being harassed, retaliated against, charged with false TDCJ policy violations and straight out lies by the grievance investigator(s) Doyle Davis. My mail is being delayed and tampered with by the law library staff Garland Goodrum who processes the indigent mail — because I have filed many grievances against the medical department, security staff and his drinking buddy Doyle Davis.

The medical department is deliberately delaying my sick call requests up to 40 days before I am seen by a medical provider. The medical department is being managed by staffing nurses that are NOT registered by the Texas Medical Board or the Texas Nurses Board. I do have documentation (letters) to prove this.

At the moment I am seeking legal representation to file a 1983 Bivens Civil Complaint for the sexual harassement and deliberate denial and delay for medical care at this unit. I will at a later date send you an update on these two issues. Look forward to receiving the next ULK issue.

chain
[Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
expand

Repression in Connally Unit Texas

I recently landed here on Connally Unit, and I can already see tha tthe unit is sliding back to its old ways. I have only been here 2 weeks, and showers only get ran on one card which is 4 days, and not on the other card, so that's 4 days of showers and 4 days of no showers,. I'm in "G5" which is closed custody (lockdown with a celly), it's one step less than ad seg.

We getting jacked on "sides" and some of our main course on breakfast, such as we get one or 2 pancakes when we are supposed to get 3, plus 2 sides, when we only getting one side. It's not every breakfast, but 2 out of 3 breakfasts we get jacked. In 2 weeks we only got milk twice (watered down), and never gotten coffee at all, most chows are no drinks available.

We're locked in a cell all day, so everything comes to us. Rec been ran 1 time in 2 weeks. I only been here 2 weeks, came from Bill Clements, which that unit has turned completely around for the better, but it took a dead person to be found in high security to prompt a change and a outside force to ensure plus a infestation of rats. I'm only allowed to grieve one issue every 7 days, so it's a slow process on getting change started.

chain
[Medical Care] [Texas]
expand

Medical Danger Forces Complacency

I am a type 1 diabetic and whenever you get a major disciplinary case in administrative segregation, you will be on commissary restriction (can't buy any food) and will lose your custody level for 60 to 90 days. So for 60 to 90 days you can't buy food from commissary.

Now being a type 1 diabetic, whenever my blood sugar goes low the only way to treat it is with a source of sugar. Even if I have some commissary in my cell because I lost my level 1 custody level they can and will take all of my level 1 property (all my food) until I get my level 1 back, which can take 60 to 90 days.

Now that means I am in a cell with no food. In that situation I can't treat a severe hypoglycemic reaction (low blood sugar) and waiting for help can cause me to have seizures and go unconscious. It can lead to a coma or death if untreated. And because of this I stay out of the way so I won't catch a case to put myself in that kind of situation.

I also know you can't do that to me. I have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I don't know how to challenge this so they can change the policies across TDCJ as a whole. I can only think about all the other type 1 diabetics in TDCJ getting fucked over like this. My family sends me money to make sure that in the event I have a low blood sugar I can treat this. I can't do anything about this. This is part of what being a diabetic is.

chain
[Medical Care] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
expand

Medical Copay Revolving Door

I am writing with a texa$ prison medical copay update. Here on the Alfred D. Hughes plantation, the medical department's Senior Practice Manager Valencia Pollard-Fortson's attitude is that every procedure is a valid charge. Aspirin, bandaids, blood sugar checks, clipper shave, whatever. You're going to be charged $100. Her idea is if you charge 10 people a day for sick call, that's $900. Because only one will do the paperwork for 90 days to get his money back. Now they've gone a farther step.

In Ad-Seg/SHU building, we cannot buy fingernail clippers off store. To be caught with a pair is a major offense. We have to submit a sick call request to medical to trim our nails. Even diabetics who must keep toenails trimmed. Well, that sick call costs $100.

Say January 1st you go to medical for chronic care. It's charged $100. Then you go January 15th and again January 28th. You file a grievance Step One with medical about copay of January 1st. It's denied February 10th. You file a Step Two appeal to Regional Medical Supervisor. It's granted March 13th. Your monthly invoice will not show up until April 15th showing March 13th $100 was refunded for medical copay of January 1st. BUT a new charge for January 15th appears and the $100 is taken on March 13th. You start all over again, stretching out for months just like I'm doing now on a charge from March 2016. These pigs are determined to keep your money.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are many tactics the state uses to enact medical neglect, and to create and exacerbate long-term health problems for prisoners. In some states they just throw the sick call in the trash. But in Texas they are frustrating people using the financial angle. Our Texas Campaign Pack has instructions for how to fight against the $100 medical copay. We can use this information to make ourselves a little bit stronger while we struggle to overthrow the horrible social and economic system that makes such an exorbitant copay possible in the first place.

chain
[Organizing] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 56]
expand

No TX Pack Tactics Have Worked

I greatly regret to have to inform you that my Under Lock & Key No. 51 (July/August 2016) was denied and appealed here on the unit level on 14 September 2016. That said denial was upheld on 3 October 2016. I look forward to each issue of Under Lock & Key and I already miss this one dearly.

I would like to inform you that I have tried several things listed in the Texas Pack but to no avail. As for the Offender Grievance Program/Administrative Remedies, there are no such things in existence. But what we do have is Administrative Criminal Victimization. I have written the U.S. Department of Justice concerning many issues and I get the same response letter every time. No help.

I've also tried going through the ARRM Division Administrator concerning the denial of a Step 2 grievance but got no response. I have also written to several of the contacts that are listed in the Texas Pack and have gotten no response from them either. I have also filed a Sworn Complaint with the District Attorney here in Coryell County and got no response.

You have educated me a great deal on how to stand when nothing else I have tried seems to work, and these people are not open to reasoning of any type. I just wanted for you to know that I haven't been sitting in here doing nothing after requesting the information that you have sent me to date. I am one of the very few that are willing to stand up for themselves when his or her Rights are being violated and here is the situation that you just have to understand: today's inmate/offender is broken. The State has broken the spirit of those that had one to begin with and they are content with the way things are and the way that they are being treated. And that, I am sorry to say, is a cold, hard fact.

In Solidarity, Spark Plug


MIM(Prisons) responds: The U.$. prison system has been somewhat effective at breaking the fighting spirit of people it deems threatening to the status quo, as this writer and many others in Texas attest. But our present system just can't help pushing the limits of how much it abuses people. In response to this abuse, new people are turned into revolutionaries every day. And once you know, you can't unknow. Texas comrades need to be there to direct the discontent into productive projects as it arises, lest these potential comrades fall to defeatism.

We knew going into it that the tactics in the Texas Pack are likely ineffective on an individual level. But some people have seen some relief, even though it's sporadic. An important aspect of this project is that everyone who signs up for a Texas Pack also gets a subscription to this newsletter. While they are seeking remedy through the administrative and legal channels outlined in the Texas Pack, they also have the opportunity to learn more about the reasoning behind the project, and the other campaigns United Struggle from Within and MIM(Prisons) are working on. Then through the pages of ULK we can develop our struggle on a broader scale than just filing grievances and writing letters. Keep on struggling! Keep your input coming!

This article referenced in:
chain
[Abuse] [Wallace Unit] [Texas]
expand

Beaten by guards until memory is lost in Texas

On Sept. 27, 2016 an inmate here at Wallace Unit (TDCJ) was smoking fake weed(K2) he supposedly got aggressive and beat up his celly. After which officers became alerted of the problem. Supposedly they sprayed him with three cans of gas after which they claimed he kept coming forward (in my opinion unlikely). So they tackle him to the ground with great force (multiple officers involved) and it doesn't stop there they continue to beat him while he is in handcuffs with metal sticks until he is K.O.... After this he is taken to the ER where he dies of a heart attack and is revived. Later he comes back to the unit barely recognizable and on top of that with little to no memory of his life, he asked for his mom who has been dead for 2yrs. They shipped him off the unit.

chain
[Abuse] [Legal] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
expand

Texas refuses to give access to policies

I really do appreciate your help. But I have another favor to ask you. For a long time I have been trying to get a copy of the TDCJ Policy so that I can better understand how to fight every case that be written up against me. Cause these peoples will write peoples up for no reason at all. You can't imagine how corrupted this system is. They don't let us get access to the most important policies that we need to be able to fight for our rights. I am a 12 hour worker in here in this prison a day. And sometimes my supervisor don't feed me telling me they don't have to feed me a hot meal. Just a Johnny Sandwich. Which isn't right at all. So if you can please provide me this policy concerning TDCJ, I will appreciate it very much.

chain
[Abuse] [Boyd Unit] [Texas]
expand

Dangerous heat in Texas

I spent 24 out of 34 days with no air circulation inside 8 cell in 11 building (solitary confinement) toward the end of June & most of July. The windows are not designed to open, just to allow the blazing sun in, which we aren't allowed to block. Normally air is drawn out of the cell and fresh non cooled air from outside is pumped in. Well, it went out 3 times leading to 24 days of breathing stale air. You sweat night and day even with the 8" fan (purchased off commissary) blowing at your face. I developed a rash and jack itch as a result of likely sweating & for wetting down my sheet every hour, night & day & climbing under it to cool down.

I take a diuretic for hypertension, which is known to deplete your body of water. While they don't seem to care about elevated risk to those that take medicine, one would think given the current lawsuit they would move at risk persons, especially in situations like this where in Warden Carter knew the air system was down. (We have a separate super max solitary confinement which is 12 building and has AC in it. So why wasn't I placed in there?)

I've put in a step 2 grievance on this as well as several other issues. I'm sick of being abused by a broken system that fails to impart fairness. If you have anything, or know of some one else I should write, please send it to me in the S.A.S.E. I've enclosed.

chain
[Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 53]
expand

Texas Reform Updates

In March 2016, I sent a letter to Representative Borris Miles about not having a law library at the Wheeler Unit. I also filed a grievance on the indigent mail getting 5 letters a month sent out instead of 5 per week. It was sent back saying that it was too old to file on.

I filed some legal work with Rep. Borris Miles because the other unit where I was before didn't have a law library. The Wheeler Unit is only a few yards from here and they don't have access to the law library or access to the courts which is a Federal violation. Below is part of my letter to Rep. Miles.

"I am writing this complaint to state from the evidence that I have, which is some I-60s, inmate request slips, which I wrote requesting to go to the law library to do some legal work, and was denied twice because Ms. J. Lara stated that we didn't have law library sessions at this unit [Wheeler], because the law library which don't have NO BOOKS just a few stuff not enough that you could actually use to complete legal work with. To the other request, her response was that I was afforded with what they had, but every time a request is put in by somebody it is denied. We have a full size library about 300 yards from this Unit at Formby Unit. I have requested to be transferred over there where I can have legal access to the law library so that I can have access to the courts also."

You can print this, just leave my name out, because I would have trouble here and be retaliated against because of it. If you get this letter please write back and let me know that you got it because mail don't always make it to where it's supposed to go to. So please answer ASAP when you get this so I'll know that you received this.

If you have a grievance manual I would like to have one if possible. I am in the processing stage of writing Rep. Miles about the grievance process. They need to have grievances looked at by somebody outside TDCJ, besides the grievance investigator here, because we don't think the Warden even sees Step 1, because the same answer comes back on every Step 1, saying not warranted for further action. So this inital decision is all on it and it's been typed on every Step 1 and then Huntsville looks at Step 1, copies this answer on Step 2, and sends it back to us, agreeing with the answer on Step 1. And we use Texas Penal Codes on it and it states clearly that state law is being violated by employees and it's covered up within the Unit. So legal action can't be taken. Send me a few of the petitions and grievance manual and I'm filing with others about this also.

I also saw in ULK 51 that you said the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook is banned in Texas. I checked with the mailroom staff here [Formby Unit] and they said it is approved on this unit as far as they know. Please make this correction in ULK.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We've gotten confirmation from multiple sources that the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook is *not* banned in Texas at this time. Thanks to this contributor, and others, who help us to stay informed.

We wrote about the need to connect the battles this comrade is fighting with the larger picture of revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist economic system in our article "Texas Comrades Need to Step Up" in ULK 52. Reiterating that call, we also encourage this comrade to see how futile it is to call for an outside review board to oversee the grievance process. Even if a review board was put in place, it would be run by the criminal injustice system or their allies, because that is who has the power in this country. And the whole process will start all over again with lawsuit after lawsuit filed and dismissed, and won and reneged. Revolutionaries can't afford to bang our head against this wall while people are dying the world over, and their liberation is being stalled by Amerikkka's runaround.

We should struggle for some reforms, as that's all we can do right now at this stage in our struggle where we are too weak to struggle any other way. But we need to focus on reforms that will have the greatest impact on our organizing work, which centers around building independent institutions of the oppressed and building public opinion for socialism. Is an "outside" review board an independent institution of the oppressed? No, it would just be a facade of the state, and a false victory. If we want to have our grievances answered, we need to build unity, and come together to demand our grievances are answered. Of course there are many ways and many steps to unity, but this would be an independent institution of the oppressed to defend ourselves and build for the future where we're not begging prison administration to please treat us like humyn beings.

chain
[Legal] [Garza East Unit] [Texas]
expand

Grievances consistently returned as invalid in Texas

I'm writing to inquire about the "grievance guide." I received this address from the Education-Peer Ed. Instructor. There are times that an inmate or myself find a valid reason to draw up a grievance to bring notice to the matter in question. However the "grievance" department returns the form as "invalid." So is there a specific format or particular details that need to be followed for the grievance to be valid and reach the appropriate authorities, to find a solution?

P.S. I've asked the Law Library Officer and she informed me that such "method" is confidential and not made available to inmates.

chain