Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

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www.prisoncensorship.info is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

Allred Unit (Iowa Park)

Beto I Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Bexar County Jail (San Antonio)

Bill Clements Unit (Amarillo)

Billy Moore Correctional Center (Overton)

Bowie County Correctional Center (Texarkana)

Boyd Unit (Teague)

Cameron County Detention Center (Olmito)

Choice Moore Unit (Bonham)

Clemens Unit (Brazoria)

Coffield Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Connally Unit (Kenedy)

Cotulla Unit (Cotulla)

Dalhart Unit (Dalhart)

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] [Formby Unit] [Texas]
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Prisoner Loses Eye Due to Neglect

I was recently brutally attacked causing me to lose my left eye. Medical left me sitting in the medical holding cell for almost five hours with my eye out of the eye socket for much of the time. I can't get any information from these people here and I'm unable to gather the needed info to file a proper suit. I've been harassed so much. Even on this unit I went eight days without my medication causing me to lost 90% of any light (there is no sight, only light) in the eye and still I'm having issues with this medical. I saw Office of Inspector General and never heard anything back from them.

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[Abuse] [Eastham Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 49]
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Lead and Copper in Eastham Water

I received the Texas Grievance Pack you sent to me, and I am able to assist other Texas prisoners here on this unit in some issues which we are facing. Though none is as serious as the fact that a few months ago we prisoners on Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas, were and still are having to drink contaminated water which is tainted with at least lead and copper! The Officers here on this unit do not drink the water but we prisoners are forced to as we are trapped here like rats in a wet box. At least the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TECQ) put up a public notice concerning this. So now we know and are aware that we are slowly being poisoned. This is the most pressing issue we are facing here. It is one thing to pay for your wrongs or crimes by doing time, but to also have to be poisoned by the state erstwhile is something else entirely.


MIM(Prisons) adds: From the projects to reservations to prisons to indigenous peoples in rainforests, poisoning oppressed people slowly through contaminating an essential nutrient to humyn life — water — has long been a tactic of national oppression. In the pages of ULK we have long been reporting on contaminated water at various prisons across the country.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on lead:

"Lead can affect almost every organ and system in your body... Lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:
Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension
Decreased kidney function
Reproductive problems (in both men and women)"(1)

Below is information from the Minnesota Department of Health on Copper in drinking water:

"Copper is a reddish metal that occurs naturally in rock, soil, water, sediment, and air. It has many practical uses in our society and is commonly found in coins, electrical wiring, and pipes. It is an essential element for living organisms, including humans, and-in small amounts-necessary in our diet to ensure good health. However, too much copper can cause adverse health effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, and nausea. It has also been associated with liver damage and kidney disease."(2)

The EPA enacted the Lead and Copper Rule in 1991,

"The treatment technique for the rule requires systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps. If lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 ppb or copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 ppm in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the system must undertake a number of additional actions to control corrosion [of pipes]."(3)

If possible, find out the level of lead and copper in your pipes and if it exceeds the amount recommended by the EPA you may be able to start a campaign in your facility around this shared problem. The EPA is a notoriously bureaucratic organization (and part of the U.$. government that perpetuates the destruction of oppressed nations) so finding relief from them is unlikely. In the fight for survival pending revolution, avoiding known poisons might be a campaign to take on and use to build unity.

Notes:
1. http://www.epa.gov/lead/learn-about-lead#effects
2. http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/eh/water/factsheet/com/copper.html
3. http://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule
This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Religious Repression] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]
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Religious Repression in Texas

We are now able to wear beards for religious reasons, but here on the Polunsky plantation, higher ranking officials have threatened to take job assignments from certain offenders (i.e. those working in 1 bldg around administrative staff/personnel and those working in the kitchen). I've also heard of them taking offenders out of the draft shop if they grew a beard.

Their tactics have worked because many prisoners have cut their beards due to these threats. I've remained solid on my beliefs and what I stand on...to hell with their threats because if a man won't stand for something he'll fall for anything. Besides this, business is as usual around here, being oppressed with only a few prisoners fighting against this oppression.

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[Campaigns] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 52]
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Lawsuit Filed Against Corrupt Grievance System

I have an active case in the Federal Courts suing the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for violation of BP-03.91 Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules, and the corrupt grievance system denying prisoners access to courts. I have filed a lawsuit under 42 USC Section 1983 against TDCJ.

If you would like to help me stop this corruption aimed at Texas prisoners, send any grievances, unsworn declarations, and other process documents you may have that can be used as evidence in the two above mentioned U.$. Constitutional violations to MIM(Prisons). Be sure to write "Dunham v. Wainwright, et al. Case No. 1:15-cv-1018-RP" on the top of each document. Your evidence will help prove deliberate indifference because it shows officials knew of the problems and failed to act. MIM(Prisons) will then forward your documents to the Court Clerk at Clerk Court, United States District Court, c/o Case no. 6:15 cv 869, 300 Willow Street, Suite 104, Beaumont, TX 77701-2217.

The Texas Attorney General handling this case for the defendants is Gloria Chandler, PO Box 12548, Capital Station, Austin, TX 78711. Please feel free to send her ALL of your complaints so that she may realize the wide range and depth of behavior and activities. I doubt she is receiving enough complaints at the present time. MIM(Prisons) will also be forwarding your complaints to the Attorney General, and be sure to again write "Dunham v. Livingston et al. Case No. 1:15-cv-1018-RP" on the top of your complaint.

Since filing this case, state employees' actions under color of law has put me in fear for my life. I need your support so they know I am not in this alone.

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[Abuse] [Luther Unit] [Texas]
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Freezing Showers Leading to $100 Medical Copay

At Luther Unit, the showers are extremely freezing. We are subjected to get in this water or go without showering. We are called out for showers at 6 a.m., and at this point it is still cold outside.

The medical fee of $100 will be subtracted from your Trust Fund account if you send in a sick call request, but it's due to this temperature of this cold shower. Some officers who know of this are scared to speak up because it's seen as showing favoritism to offenders, which is a blatant lie. Offenders are scared to file I-127 grievances due to the retaliation of the Safe Prison Sergeant Myles.

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[United Front] [Texas]
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Anti-Sectarianism in the United Front

I would like to say thank you for the support you guys put out for us in prison. As much as we don't want to give leverage to these parasites, we have to realize what we're up against. By analyzing current events and the possibility of change to happen, we have to accept failures in order to gain grounds. The path we choose now will determine where we're headed. It can be seen everywhere that the old system ain't working. As much reforms are placed on the table, the crumbs are repacked and tried again. No matter how different it's made, it's the same old ideas. The boiling point has been exceeded and riots are getting more intense. This will happen when the people decide their own fate. A hero is not needed, only the spark which will light the way for others.

I emphasize decolonizing ourselves and making the connections between our oppression and imperialism. Being a person of color, I know where I stand. Therefore I do agree on the five pillars of the United Front for Peace in Prisons. I'm an anarchist and belong to a First Nation. The liberty tree branches touch certain ideas we agree upon. By coming familiar with other struggles outside our own lines we can connect the dots that lead to a common enemy. By placing the teachings of resistance in several minds, we can prevent it from being destroyed by placing it in one basket, which will help us prevail into the unknown future.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome this comrade into the United Front for Peace in Prisons, especially as an anarchist and a member of a First Nation. We aim to unite all who can be united against imperialism. Sectarianism (prioritizing your group over the entire people) leads to divisions between Maoists and anarchists, which are unnecessary in our fight against our common enemy.

We also agree with this comrade's emphasis on educating many people rather than building up single ideological leaders. Building up the political competency of all of society is one of the keys to success of our revolutionary struggle. If we rely on a single leader, or a single party, for guidance, then we will inevitably be led astray when that leader is no longer around, whether by natural death or assassination. Spreading political study to as many people as possible helps protect our struggle and helps people to be masters of their own future.

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[Texas]
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AMBI Statement of Unity

The name of this organization is the AMBI Foundation. The purpose of this foundation is to bring prisoners to full awareness internally. Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a way of making prisoners believe that they have no rights, but, if brought to full awareness, real eyes will realize real lies. The AMBI Foundation is under the guidance of MIM(Prisons). We recognize, understand, as well as apply the five United Front for Peace in Prisons principles. Our foundation is based on them.

Peace - We believe in peace, because without it, there's no unity amongst inmates.
Unity - We believe in unity because only when we unite will we actually see change as well as growth
Growth - We believe in growth simply because it's power in numbers.
Internationalism - We believe in this because we fight for freedom from discrimination as well as equality, we must practice what we preach.
Independence - The system does not and will not serve us. AMBI also stands for A Movement Built Independently

Those are all important as it is the forefront of our organization.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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A lie ain't nothing for the state of Texas to Tell


Sitting in a Texas Pen
Fed like it's 1908
For we are given skimpy trays
So we have to lick the plate

They try to say we are well fed
I tell you that's a lie
Tortillas to hide our scrambled eggs
Make grown men want to cry

One hot dog on our largest part
Slot two slices of bread
The last three slots will stop your heart
So you might just wake up dead

I've eaten better homeless
And I'm not too proud to say
I've had more food out of dumpsters
Then what Stiles puts on your tray

I came here weighing 222
I now weigh 151
The only way that I'll get more food
Annie get your gun

No these are not my greatest words
But I'm about the starve to death
I've seen people feed more to birds
But in Texas, I'm out of breath

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[Legal] [Jester III Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 47]
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Indigent Mail Restrictions Silences Prisoners

The prison oppressors have maliciously transferred me to Jester III Unit here in Richmond, Texas. I have filed numerous grievance complaints and indicated filing a Section 1983 civil lawsuit, due to prison staff violating my Constitutional rights.

I had to wait about 15 days before I was allowed to write to you all, because the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) indigent program only allows me to mail out 5 personal letters a month. Once I have submitted the 5 letters, I'm forced to wait until the next 30-day period starts. I have filed a grievance, and hope a class action lawsuit is presented to the court so that I can join in.

According to Guajardo v. Estelle 432 F.Supp 1373, prison officials must furnish postage and stationary to indigent prisoners weekly, without a waiting period. By denying me communication with my family, friends and advocates, it hinders me from informing people of the extreme mistreatment I'm constantly subjected to here.

I respectfully request the recent issue of Under Lock & Key be mailed to my new address, plus any study material to help me teach the 5 principles of the United Front for Peace in Prisons (Independence, Internationalism, Growth, Unity, and Peace) within the prison environment. I greatly appreciate my beloved comrades' assistance and highly need support. I will write to you and other comrades in the struggle as much as is possible or allowed.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is all too common that laws are set, but that the problems continue because prison officials simply don't follow the laws. As this correspondent writes, there are already legal standards for how indigent correspondence should be handled in Texas. Yet the Texas Board of Criminal Justice modified TDCJ's correspondence rules in opposition to this law.

In communication with Mumia Abu-Jamal, in Mumia's book Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the U.S.A., Ed Mead explains this phenomenon well:

"[The courts] may order that you have more peanut butter on the main line but they're not going to do anything significant or fundamental in terms of serving the public interest. And that is the limitation of jailhouse lawyering, you can get yourself out but there will be another one to replace you. You can get a friend out; there will be another one to replace him. You can file a prisoner rights suit but they'll just not enforce it... or if it's enforced, after a while it just dissipates, like a puddle of water evaporating and nobody really notices that it's gone."

For those issues that people notice are dwindling away, such as the restrictions on indigent mail in Texas, what role can lawsuits play in ensuring these rights are protected? Our correspondent would like to join on to a Class Action suit on this issue, and surely there are plenty of Texas comrades who would be interested in something similar. Ed Mead breaks it down:

"[T]he courts are a part of the State's apparatus of repression... and the State is the means by which one class suppresses the interests of another class. And since the police and the prisons are a part of that and the courts as well, none of these enforcement mechanisms are going to abolish themselves. Once you get beyond the point of litigating over 'we want more peanut butter on the main line,' if you're looking for substantial issues, then the courts aren't the place to go...

"And the way I look at it is that the prison is the factory that turns out the product. And that product is angry people who are released to the streets full of rage, which gets taken out on their family members, their neighbors, and the community. And to try to treat individual products that the factory spews out, it's spewing them out faster than you could possibly fix the problem. You need to focus on shutting the factory down. And the courts aren't going to be of any assistance in that."

In the context of our anti-imperialist organizing, we see lawsuits as having two functions. First, they can be a way to organize people by bringing them into political struggle, and demonstrating the limitations of the injustice system. Second, when successful, lawsuits can help to make space for this revolutionary organizing. Lifting the severe restrictions on indigent correspondence would definitely be better for people who are submitting articles to Under Lock & Key, participating in our correspondence study groups, or just keeping their ULK subscription active. And we're sure that most of our comrades behind bars don't just write to us! But even if this restriction were lifted, as it should be, there would just be some other injustice being thrown our way. Or eventually the law would be "forgotten" and we'd have to go to court over the same thing, again.

Ed Mead is a former prisoner, jailhouse lawyer, founder of Prison Legal News, and long-time revolutionary. Ey presently publish the newsletter The Rock and recently had eir autobiography published by Kersplebedeb. With Ed's vast and long-time experience in the anti-imperialist prisoner-focused movement, ey has this to say about putting our legal efforts into a broader context of struggle: "The main thing is to put jailhouse lawyering in a context of class struggle. And when you put it in that context its limitations become abundantly clear."

Mumia reflects on Ed's perspective on jailhouse lawyering,

"For this one man, jailhouse law was a doorway into other realms of social reality, where the courts, for all their pomp and ceremony, were largely irrelevant to the larger social struggles rippling through society. What Mead learned was that jailhouse law was simply a means; it was not an end. It had, in Mead's view, severe limitations."

To move beyond these limitations, we expand our scope. While this legal system fails us, we instead aim to set the stage for communist revolution on these shores. We have various campaigns and projects centered around this goal, which we report on regularly on this website and in Under Lock & Key.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Shower Guards Mock and Harass

I'm currently locked up in Texas on the notorious Coffield Unit. A very good friend of mine showed me a letter he received from you all and I was very impressed! You guys fight for rights of inmates. If that's the case, then this unit i'm on would make you empty out the contents of your stomach on the ground when you saw it.

The entire outside world has no idea what's going on here. I would like to tell you about a particular occurrence that happens quite often here. I work in the showers. This unit is very old and there are no showers on the wings. A vast migration of inmates happens every morning for those who want to shower. There are two shower bosses who are especially cruel. There are many crews who need to shower prior or/and after the masses shower. When these small groups of people come in, that's when these two bosses have their fun. When they're working alone, they're bad. When they are together, they cease to be human.

They will make dudes beg and beg to shower to no avail. If lucky they will wait an hour standing naked before the water will be turned on. Then the water is cut off before they have a chance to rinse off. Then the laughing and pointing fingers begins. Us shower workers just shake our heads in disbelief at what is going on in front of us. Then they are denied clean clothes. They wear their filthy clothes back to the wing and are forced to come back later for clean clothes. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is unlawful!

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