Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Can you do layout? Help out by laying out pamphlets and study packs to mail to 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)

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)

[Medical Care] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
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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.

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[Organizing] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 56]
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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:
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[Abuse] [Wallace Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Abuse] [Boyd Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 53]
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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.

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[Legal] [Garza East Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 52]
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Texas Comrades Need to Step Up

This issue of ULK is being mailed to 48 states, yet over one third are going to Texas prisons. This can be attributed in large part to the void we've been filling with our Texas Campaign Pack, which has led to a huge influx of subscribers in that state. TDCJ has hidden its own grievance manual from prisoners since 2014, and more recently has effectively eliminated all access to the law library in many facilities. The MIM(Prisons) TX Pack helps people fight back and provides needed resources and information.

Yet when looking through the incoming mail, we notice some themes:

  • Most people are focused only on their individual struggles.
  • The end goal for most writers is prison reform.
  • There is a huge lack of engagement with politics.

    Of course there are a number of exceptions to these themes, but the quantity of letters without political content is overwhelming. The vast majority of writers are only interested in getting the Texas Pack from us. Their engagement with the rest of our projects (even reading ULK, which is sent automatically to everyone who writes us) is a relative rarity. Those who report receiving the TX Pack and thank us for how helpful it is are mostly only using it to work on their own grievances. Some share it with others, but most don't seem to be using it on campaigns together. Of the huge number of people who have been invited to our intro study group across the state, very few actually participated.

    If our subscribers in Texas want everything they learned in the Texas Campaign Pack to actually be put to the best possible use, there are a few key points that have to be considered:

    • Individual actions are small. The impact of a single successful grievance may feel huge to one persyn for at least a small period of time. But we must think bigger than our individual struggles. Especially when most of these struggles are unsuccessful.
    • Reformism is very limited. Those in power stall at every opportunity. So while we might see a few victories, it'll always be just enough to keep us motivated to bark up the same wrong tree for another several decades. In order to end what makes oppression possible and profitable, we need to put an end to the capitalist economic system. We've tried reforming it for hundreds of years. Is this what you expect it should look like by now?
    • Apply principles of revolutionary theory for an end to oppression. The only way to achieve an end to this ongoing oppression is to learn some principles about revolutionary science. We need to know what has worked in the past, and what hasn't. We need to learn lessons from history for how we can build our present-day movement to be as successful as possible at putting a quick end to capitalism and all its atrocities the world over. This takes hard work and dedication, and is the only way for future generations to come out from under the boot of the oppressors.

    Once we learn some revolutionary theory, the next step is to put it into practice in our organizing work. Tons of people write to us about how difficult it is to find people in Texas who are interested in politics or coming together to protect themselves from abuses by staff. This is because, despite all the atrocities in TDCJ facilities, TDCJ achieved a delicate balance between privileges and punishment, that keeps the population complacent but not so repressed that they are inspired to step up and do something about it. This dynamic has been going on for eons. The perfect example of this is people who have given up filing grievances because the grievances go unanswered, and instead they just watch TV. If not for the TV or other distractions/privileges, unanswered grievances should lead someone to want to take further action to protect their humynity. By restricting indigent mail and eliminating law libraries in many facilities, TDCJ is signing itself up for some contempt amongst its wards, but only if those who are politically conscious take the next steps to educate and organize.

    The most basic organizing steps to try:

    1. Share the TX Pack with others, and have them write to MIM(Prisons) to get on our mailing list.
    2. Write grievances together. Even if for individual issues, build your collective knowledge about what makes a grievance successful. Don't let the administration give you the runaround.
    3. Unsuccessful grievances are part of the process. We don't expect to actually have victories with these grievances, but we file them to go through the process of administrative remedies, and build unity through action. When the grievances come back rejected, use them as tools to show how backward the administration is, and how the grievance system is set up to fail.
    4. Meanwhile, build political consciousness: Study articles in ULK, and broaden your perspective of how the prison struggle fits in with the struggle of the internal semi-colonies, and oppressed nations worldwide.

    MIM(Prisons) offers a multitude of ways we can support you in your organizing. We can provide lit and study guides if you want to start a study group. We also recently revamped our Prisoners' Legal Clinic, and you can use your legal expertise to help others with their cases and help them learn some revolutionary theory. Our literacy program is coming up too, so maybe tutoring others in how to read and write in a Serve the People Program is a role you can play. Or if you're an artist or writer you can contribute articles for ULK, which then gets mailed to people all across the country. If you have access to funds, send us a donation so we can continue sending the TX Pack and ULK in to the large number of subscribers in Texas.

    In sum, Texas prisoners need to step up. We all already know that filing individual grievances is a joke. The Texas Campaign Pack has info for how to make the most of individual grievances, so we can have a few more successes, but the administration can still just toss out or ignore whatever they don't feel like dealing with. TDCJ headquarters in Huntsville is no better. We hope our comrades in Texas who have been so diligently putting the Texas campaign info to good use will make this connection to the bigger picture and adjust accordingly.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Legal] [Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 52]
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Perseverance and Commitment in Texas Lawsuits

It has been a while since I've sent you anything due to all the time involved with fighting the Texa$ Legalized Mafia (Texa$ Department of Criminal (in)Justice) in Federal Court. But I've got to the point that I had to make a report on the advances I've made in our struggle.

1. I sent a letter (which a copy of is enclosed) to the Medical Practice Manager on my Unit who works for University of Texas Medical Board (UTMB). I was reimbursed $100 of the $400 I owed them. Upon his response I sent him another letter informing him that though I was thankful for that, it was not enough, I wanted it all back. The next day it was done. Enclosed is a copy of the first letter I sent to the UTMB Practice Manager. I only have one stamp right now, so I will send the rest of the paperwork when I get a chance.

2. My lawsuit against the Texas Board of Criminal Justice is going great. The Court shot down the Ass. Att. General Leah O'Leary's Motion to Dismiss and her Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment and gave me until September 9, 2016 to have all my Despositive Motions in. I've already done that and filed two complaints of Bad Faith on the Defendants' part for attempting to defraud the Court on several occasions. I've asked for two separate sanctions ordered and for the Court to order a Default Judgment in my favor. It won't be long and we will get the Revision to Board Policy-03.91 Correspondence Rules repealed.

My next 1983 Lawsuit in Federal Court against the Texas Board of Criminal (in)Justice is going to be over them violating our 14th Amendment right of equal protection under the law, which prohibits sexual/gender discrimination, due to their grooming standard policy. Women who are incarcerated in Texas can grow their hair as long as they want to, but men can't have it very long at all. This is a gender-neutral act and the state is discriminating between the sexes/genders. I've already gotten my informal resolution back from Warden Butcher at Terrell Unit and filed my Step 1 grievance. When it comes back I will file my Step 2 and so on into Federal Court.

Once I finish that one I am going to file against them for slowly but surely denying us due process by removing the tools we need to fight against unconstitutional acts. First in September 2014 they hid the Offender Grievance Operations Manual, and now I read in your latest ULK that they banned the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook.

It is unbelievable how people watched me struggle day in and day out every day with this fight, and started donating paper, pens, envelopes, and documentation to help me. Please send me everything you can on the ban on the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook and the Offender Grievance Operations Manual. Right now I'm in Ad-Seg because I was given 5 bogus major cases and an illegal use of force. They didn't use a chemical agent; they had it on hand but instead just beat me for 30 minutes on tape.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade on eir commitment to continuing eir lawsuits which benefit all prisoners in Texas, even though ey is facing persynal physical retaliation from prison staff.

We know that unfortunately the retaliation is more consistent than the victories. So while we support this comrade's efforts at this stage in our struggle, we also know that legal action alone won't put an end to the litany of abuses. What we ultimately need is to organize for self-determination of all oppressed peoples worldwide, including the internal semi-colonies within U.$. borders. Until we are free from Amerikkkan imperialism, we will always have a need for these lawsuits, and face even worse conditions. In the meantime, we organize, educate and try to carve out space for our survival.

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Clemens Unit] [Texas]
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Clemens Grievance System Fails but TDCJ Headquarters Investigates Complaints

As far as your comment about the Grievance System, well, I gave up on the system a while back. What I do is I will write a letter and address it to Brad Livingston, Executive Director of TDCJ, or Ombudsman, etc. whomever I need it to go to, then I will mail it to my family members and have them email or fax a copy of the letter to whomeever I addressed. That way I get a chance to explain my problem myself. Thus far, it appears that Huntsville (headquarters for TDCJ) has investigated each complaint that I have sent in. I know that not everyone is able to do this, because not everyone has someone on the outside.

Here at the Clemens Unit, some of the problems that I have been working on are:

  1. The state will not treat me for periodontal disease
  2. The laundry department here will not give us clean clothes (uniforms) on the weekends, or on holidays. This time of year, we sweat through our uniform every time we go to the chow hall. After sweating in the same clothes for three days, they smell pretty bad. However, Capt. Teenha Walls would rather not let us have clean clothes, and save the state a few dollars.
  3. There are not enough fans in the chow hall, or in the day room.
  4. The maximum capacity for our day room is 64 people, but there is between 82 to 92 people in our section. So every time that we have lunch, supper, or church, or commissary, our day room is so over crowded that the rank will rack us up because people do not have anywhere to sit.
  5. We have antique doors here that roll manually. People are always getting caught in the doors. People have lost limbs, because the state is too cheap to install the conversion kit simply because it is safer.
  6. TDCJ staff is notorious for not giving us our engress and egress that policy says that we are supposed to get. The standard operating procedure here is to falsify state records.
  7. The light fixture in my cell has not worked for three months, but maintenance will not fix it.
  8. We are supposed to get rec three times a day, but we are lucky to get it once. Then most of the rec equipment is broken, but rank here will not fix it.
  9. We are allowed to go to commissary once every two weeks and spend $95, but we are supposed to put all of our property in a two cubic foot locker. It is impossible to put $35 worth of commissary in that space, much less $95, and all of our other property. Insufficient storage space.
  10. The other day two inmates got into a fight. They were put in lock-up, and the whole wing got locked down. The guys were fighting in the chow hall. Why did the wing get locked down? We didn’t have anything to do with it. The state uses blanket punishment to promote inmate on inmate conflict.
  11. The rank here runs showers starting at about 5:45am. Then we are not allowed to shower after we go to rec.
  12. In the chow hall our trays, cups and spoons are filthy with food residue from previous use.
  13. We have officers that assault inmates then the rank covers it up.
  14. When we get johnnies, we get two sandwiches. One of them has a tablespoon of some kind of meat. The other has a tablespoon of peanut butter and jelly mixed. That is not enough food for a grown adult.
  15. By policy, we are supposed to get twenty minutes to eat, but the staff here barely gives us three minutes.

These are problems that I continue to write Brad Livingston about. Sometimes it takes a while to get something done, but you just have to keep on.

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