Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out 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.

[Abuse] [Luther Unit] [Texas]

TX officer to prisoner: shut the f up

A little on a problem I am having. Recently one of the ranking officers on my unit got in my face and told me "shut the fuck up bitch," now, I am very respectful to these officers and I didn't even snap back at the officer who did this. I would really like to know what I can do against this officer legally in response to this incident. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

[Censorship] [Michael Unit] [Texas]

Need for Legal Battles

Dir Sir or Madame:

I am ... confined in the Michael Unit of the TDCJ.

On 3/16/17 I received from the Michael Unit mailroom a "Publication Review/Denial Notification" refusing to deliver to me the above-referenced publication based upon a finding that "it contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots, or security threat group activity." At the place for Remarks, "Pg. 13 contains info that could cause a prison strike and prison disruption."

Instead of seeking the least restrictive measures of censorship, like, for example, marking out the offensive language, they refused to deliver the publication summarily citing to TDCJ-ID policy and procedure BP-03.91, the same rule used to reject delivery of biblically-based religious materials sent to me by my sister.

I appealed the denial to the Director's Review Committee (DRC) whose address is PO Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. On 3/29/17 I received the "DRC Approved/Upheld Denial on 3-28-17." However, that denial was not signed so I have no idea who is personally responsible and accountable or if this is - as commonplace - a summary, arbitrary, and capricious disposition of my appeal, similar to the practices generally experienced when using the TDCJ-ID administrative grievance process required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act.

Nevertheless, I will not be receiving the publication, and, notwithstanding my notice of anticipated litigation to prison authorities, am notified that "the publication will be destroyed within 60 days of the initial denial." And, again, I am not notified of the identity of the person(s) who will engage in this illegally destructive and criminally culpable conduct designed to deny and impede my rights both to the publication and access to the courts. Thus far, my efforts to report the criminal acts and conduct to civilian law enforcement authorities and the State and Federal prosecutors' office under Texas Penal Code, Section 39.04 and Title 18 U.S. Code Section 242, have proven to be futile.

Accordingly, I am asking you to engage your expertise and resources in the litigation of this unlawful censorship to which you have standing to complain and request that you name me as a complaining party litigant. The proper venue is in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas sitting at Tyler, Texas.

I will at all times make myself available to you and to any legal representative whom you choose. I retain all evidence of my claims but, as I'm sure you know, is subject to confiscation, loss and destruction by prison officials and their employees.

In closing, I am reminded of a passage I read somewhere. "Acts without words are open to all kinds of interpretation and words without acts are hollow promises [or just lies]," The ball is now in your park. I need your help. Anxiously awaiting your response.

[Legal] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 55]

Expose Texas Denial of Access to Courts

Estelle Unit operates a "cite only" method of providing prisoners access to courts, requiring prisoners to submit "cite specific requests" to Access to Courts (ATC) officials in order to receive legal research materials. Courts have repeatedly ruled cite-only access fails to satisfy constitutional de minimis, explaining it is unreasonable to expect a doctor of jurispridence to request cites by note, let alone a pro se laypersyn prisoner.

Recently I was told by law library staff a case I cite-specifically requested didn't exist. I called bullshit stating the Texas Criminal Practice Guide, John Boston's and Dan Manville's Prisoners' Self-Help Litigation Manual, and Manville's Prisoners' Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual don't lie. I was then threatened with disciplinary action. I invited such, desiring the denial of access to courts be documented. The next day when admitted to the so-called law library I was confronted by the ATC Supervisor in possession of the case at issue, and all kinds of papers for me to sign, validating I had in fact received the cite in question.

The very same day the above phantom caselaw was produced, I requested another case by cite, and again told the case didn't exist. I then set a trap. I have repeatedly trapped and caught ATC pigs claiming specifically-requested case citations did not exist which do indeed exist. Case in point: I requested a denial of access to courts case per the Estelle "cite only" method. I was told the case did not exist. I waited a short period, then requested the supposed nonexistent case be Shephardized, a method of cross-reference. At the next day's so-called law library session the Shephardized download was presented to me showing the case in question had been published in 1997. Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Dumb blank faces blinking back at me.

MIM(Prisons) responds: The oppressors will never give the oppressed the tools to overcome their oppression. This anecdote is an example of exactly why we believe we need to build a revolutionary movement to force the state to give up its power, so we can put an end to Amerikkka's prison system!

This article referenced in:
[Legal] [Texas]

Railroaded by criminal injustice system in Texas

I am writing to you to let you know how things are in Texas and their mistreatment of minorities and indigents in the criminal justice system. The right to an indictment is no longer a right anymore. If you are charged with a criminal offense and if you are indigent and a minority, you will be approached by an attorney outside the court room he will lie and say he is appointed by the court, even though statute states your right to an attorney under the 6 th amendment starts upon indictment in Texas unless waived. But these lawyers force you in trial court by producing a fabricated indictment that was not returned by any grand jury. And these judges and DA are sentencing you to their slave camps.

There is no way a person without funds can defend themselves these lawyers are paid by the court, even if you tell them you want to defend yourself the judges won't even let you do that, they try to force you into a jury trial and the case isn't capital, they have the jury already picked out you can't win.

[Legal] [Abuse] [Texas]

Texas steals prisoner property ignores laws

I was recently informed of your publication Under Lock & Key and would like to receive it. I would also like to receive your Texas Pack. For the second time I am aware of TDCJ employees who have used the excuse that uniform commercial code (UCC) is contraband to confiscate prisoners trust property of all kinds. Also, they commit theft of legal notes and commercial study materials and write disciplinary charges resulting in placement into medium and closed custody. Their actions are in violation of the First Amendment and in dishonor of court decisions:

Walter Jones v. Michigan DOC Patricia Caruso et al, 2007 Dist Ct Lexus 72469 Case No. 05-CV-72817-DT

Walter Jones Plaintiff Appelle v. Patricia Caruso et al Def. Appellant 569 F 3d 258 2009 U.S. app. Lexis 13371; 2009 Fed U.S. Ct of app 6 th Circ. No. 05-72817

The following case was from TDCJ Ellis Uni, therefore they are aware of their actions: Harry Kerley v W. Stephens, Civ No H-14 Case 4:14-CV-03491, 2015

From this list of what was taken from me I think you will agree there has been a violation. Step 1 and 2 grievances are useless, just as they were in the Kerly incident and many others. I believe we need a class action law suit. Can you provide information on this or perhaps some legal specialist contacts.

Per usual in these instances of theft the TDCJ officers are acting under "color of law" by using govt forms declaring the property taken as UCC related materials however they do not provide itemized lists of what exactly they have taken.

[Abuse] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Texas ignores pleas for help, allows suicide

I got your pamphlet from the man who killed himself. I was his neighbor. When it happened he cried for help. In they walk by him like he was not there. For 2 days he cried tears. He cried saying help me! Help me! Sorry I had to get that off my chest.

My wife had to get a lawyer to deal with all the BS that's been going on. I have a 6 year sentence. I'm not from TX. I'm from LA. My court appointed lawyer tricked me in to signing for time. He told me that I was signing for him to represent me. I had told him that I couldn't see without my glasses. Then he said that. So I appealed it. They gave me a court appointed lawyer.

I been messed around by the TX system. They play by their own rules. But I like what you are saying.

[Education] [Darrington Unit] [Texas]

Kicked out of school for no reason

I have been a subscriber to ULK and frequently writer to MIM(Prisons). On December 21, 2016 TDCJ moved me here to the Darrington Unit to attend the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Originally only 29 students were picked for this year for the class of 2021, me being among them. The Heart of Texas Foundation who bankroll the operation were angry so TDCJ quickly acted to fill up the class to 40 students. I was thoroughly vetted and had been attending class for over 3 weeks.

February 9, 2017 during class Dr. Phillips the person in charge of the Darrington extension, and assistant Warden Denheim pulled me out of class and said they felt I was "not ready for the program." I asked them if it was due to my grades, behavioral or disciplinary problems. They said no. This is highly inappropriate and I have not been given due process. According to the application I signed I can be removed by TDCJ for disciplinary reasons after a disciplinary hearing or be removed by Southwestern after an appropriate review process. I asked them if this had to do with my case or recent media correspondence with reporters Mike Ward and Jonathan Tilove of the Austin American Statesman. They said no.

[Abuse] [Beto I Unit] [Texas]

Assault, writeups and "lost" property in Texas

I was assaulted at Beto Unit in Oct of 2016 and was caused serious bodily injury resulting in being shipped to UTMB in Galveston by ambulance, a four hour ride. I had multiple facial and skull fractures. It is now February and I've been moved around to different units and my jaw is still broken and the solution is to put me on a diet so as I don't have to chew.

I have been written up for refusing to work due to physical discomfort and pain as a result of the assault and broken jaw. I have been placed on restrictions and placed in segregation. Not to mention loss of rec time and line class. I feel that I have a good case against the state, I just don't know where or how to start.

The state also "lost" and "accidentally" destroyed some of my property. I have written grievances on this and I'm waiting for a response. We are not allowed to send out stamps or stamped envelopes anymore so I understand if the help you can give me is limited. Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks you for your time and consideration.

[Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]

Noxious Gas and Hot Air in Estelle

Frequently the Estelle living areas, recreation yards, dining rooms, etc. are inundated with a maloderous, gaseous vapor that causes a burning sensation of the throat and lungs, difficulty breathing, resulting in a persistent cough. I randomly polled 25 prisoners from the general population and it was unanimous — they all confirmed the noxious gas and resulting symptoms.

It is my intention to submit to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality a joint letter from Estelle prisoners complaining of this environmental contamination. I have had some prior dealings with the TCEQ. They're bullshit. But it is the place to start.

TCEQ is for some inexplicable reason not listed in the legal directory found in the prison so-called law library. I submitted a request to the unit Access to Courts (ATC) Supervisor requesting TCEQ's address. Though answering this request was well within the ATC Supervisor's responsibilites and duties, Estelle ATC directed me to contact TDCJ ATC central. Which I did to no avail! I also requested the address from the unit mailroom supervisor. I have yet to receive a response.

[Medical Care] [Eastham Unit] [Texas]

Rat Infestation and Black Mold

Conditions on Eastham are horrible. It's very old and dirty. The pipe chases are infested with rats! They live in the hollow area of our toilets where they fight and breed all night! The black mold and dust in the pipe chase has also spawned a lot of upper-respiratory infections in prisoners here. There is absolutely NO oversight or accountability.