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)

[Legal] [Jester III Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

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.

chain
[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
expand

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!

chain
[Censorship] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

September 9 Day of Unity Marked by Censorship

I come to you with information concerning the Texas Department of Criminal In-Justice's new tactic recently being used on this particular plantation in the mailroom. We are now dealing with due process denial without the use of notification of current issues of Under Lock & Key, specifically No. 45 July/August 2015, being "on hold" pending further review. This to me is new. And others here in segregation/SHU have not noticed this before either.

Today, 9 September 2015, I finally got an answer to a request to mailroom supervisor who generally allows me and others issues regardless. But I had wrote asking if there had been a problem with issues 45 and 46 because I have yet to receive either. On this day of prisoner unity she advised me that Huntsville (headquarters) placed a hold on issue 45. Not a denial but a hold. No longer are individual mailrooms denying subs of any type. It would seem they've began to target us for as far as she knows, MIM(prisons) is the only one whose publications are subjected to this on her printouts.

I've got a small assortment of random issues of ULK from 2011-15. And most are consistent to national and world current events. What troubles the pigs right now is the current awareness on social media of police brutality and the black lives matter campaign. I do not see liberal or conservative opinions in newspapers being scrutinized and "on hold" or denied, no other news or world report publication is being denied. It is the anti-imperialist Maoist publications being targeted. I am rather new to the cause and collective struggle, not the knowledge though. Am I just now experiencing something "old" but new to me here in TDCJ?

chain
[Education] [Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 47]
expand

Message to Clements Unit: to Continue to Exist We Must Resist

Folks are dropping dead like flies here in Clements Unit. Due to a faulty grievance system and benign inspector general investigations, the whole entire unit staff are literally getting away with murder. It seems like when one pig gets in trouble he/she gets promoted. Take officer (now Sergeant) Garret E. Rockholt for instance. In 2013 he cold cocked a prisoner in the medium custody unit of this prison. Not only was he caught red-handed, this incident gained him praise and eventually got him promoted to a Sergeant in the Ad-Seg building where he walks around with his chest out boasting about his charades as a former Officer.

Next we have Officer (now Sergeant) Desmond Finney. As an officer he had a reputation for beating and slamming handcuffed prisoners. Notably, one ended up with black eyes and another had a tooth knocked out. Not only was he beating our peers but he also denied several the chance to eat whenever he worked the pod. Now this clown has been promoted to Sergeant and the deck for corruption is constantly getting stacked.

These are just a few examples of the rewards for bad behavior that need to stop. But comrades it's going to take more than just words and hope. Unity is key and unity is mandatory with any effort towards changing prison conditions and prison behavior. We can't afford to let differences between one another dictate how pervasive things get and we need to focus on how to liberate one another. As comrade Mao said, "to gain public opinion and seize power."

Since 2013 we've had one peer murdered, one left to die, one found in his cell where he'd already been dead for several hours, one left with a broken arm and another a broken finger. None of these instances were peer-on-peer attacks; they were all due to the intentions and neglect by the very pigs that are supposed to prevent these things from happening. It's obvious that we can't count on them to protect us, so the only obvious alternative is to protect each other collectively and with honor.

Getting involved in study groups and reading, learning, and teaching the works of Marx, Lenin, and Mao is sure to create an understanding of how to lead. So if you haven't begun to study and don't know where to start, if you've read this you just began.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Study groups are an excellent way to build unity and political leadership. Getting people to agree that unity is good is pretty straightforward, but building a long-lasting movement that's strong enough to stand up against all obstacles put in our way requires deep political study. We run correspondence study groups and also support prisoner-led study groups behind bars. Write in to get materials for either of these methods of study.

For prisoners of the Texas Department of Criminal inJustice (TDCJ) there is also an activist pack which has info on the various campaigns United Struggle from Within has running in TDCJ. This activist pack doesn't just contain information to help fight for your rights; it is a great organizing tool to share with others in your facility to get people working together and building tangible unity.

We hope to develop activist packs for other states where comrades are fighting similar struggles. In Texas the campaigns center around the inability to have grievances properly addressed, a $100 medical copay for healthcare, and a limit on indigent envelopes to 5 per month. If you have an idea for a campaign and resource that can be developed in your state, write in to get involved. If you're in Texas, you need to get this Texas activist pack! It's costly to print and mail so if you are able to send us a donation, that would be greatly appreciated.

chain
[Abuse] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas]
expand

Ferguson, a Condemned Unit

I've told every CO or ranking officer about my sink not working. I haven't had any drinking water in almost a month. I've been in this cell without a light for about 3 months. They are lazy and won't do anything unless they have to. This unit should have been closed down years ago. The plumbing sucks everywhere. The medium custody blocks are always dirty with discarded food, trash, bird crap and so on. The environment we live in is completely nasty.

I used to write grievances and found out real quick they don't work at this unit. The COs and ranking officers and wardens come together and tell their stories and everyone believes them. The grievance people believe every word they say and don't do any other investigation. It's not right. People give up writing them cause they get discouraged. I know cause I'm one of them. But I'm sick of them always winning even when they are in the wrong. I would like some help and advice on how to write them up. Please help me?

I also just found out that our property has been in the gym since 2 July and people's property was stolen. That's why we haven't got our property back. The windows on C-block where I live are broken and left there in the frames, putting us at risk of being cut.

chain
[Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]
expand

Attacking From All Angles

I have been in the Texas state prison system for 35 years. I am President of the Aryan Rebels organization. We are not based on racial ideology and we will work with any person, group or organization to establish peace and unity amongst all people. You state on the bottom of page 2 to contact you for additional materials to educate our members. I would greatly appreciate it if you could please send me such.

I do believe in the five principles you set for the United Front for Peace in Prisons (UFPP). I have been in prison since the age of 20, and I am now 55. In the years I have been down I can truly say that the biggest problem amongst prisoners is their conflict with each other. I have tried to teach this principle to youngsters coming into the system many times. Sometimes it takes hold and sometimes it doesn't. Here in the Texas prisons mostly everything that has been taken away from us such as the canned goods in the commissary, belts, etc. we did it to ourselves. Our enemy is the government.

At the beginning of April 2015 I filed a Section 1983 Civil Rights lawsuit against the Director of TDCJ in Federal court. Two weeks later I received a letter from an attorney with the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama regarding the possibility of his organization getting involved. This letter was given to me at 8:30 a.m. and had been opened.

One hour later a male guard came to my cell and told me to "strip out for cell search." I was handcuffed and taken to the one-man shower. A female guard named Kelly J. Sooter came into the section with a red chain bag and she and the male guard went inside my cell where they stayed for over an hour. When I was escorted back to my cell I noticed my New Balance tennis shoes were gone. My Civil Rights law books, Jailhouse Lawyers Manual and Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook, my hardbacked dictionary, 11 novels, 8 typing ribbons (4 were brand new), my headphones and nail clippers were all gone. I asked the male guard (Seth G. Kelin) why they were taking my property and he replied "I have never had any problems with you. But it's plain that someone higher up is pissed at you about something or other. I'm only doing what I'm told."

I got my typewriter out to file a Step One Grievance and then noticed a few pieces had been broken on it in the search, so I had to file the grievance by hand. I also wrote a letter to Warden Barry L. Martin here at the Clements Unit and told him what went down. I requested the return of my property and Civil Rights law books but so far nothing has been done. I already have the 42 U.S.C. 1983 Civil Rights forms filled out and ready to file. I'm just waiting on my Step One and Step Two grievances to go through the process, as I know they will be denied as always is the case.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We appreciate that this comrade does what they can to defend their rights as well as build unity in Texas prisons. This report is an example of many challenges we face in doing just that. When trying to educate our fellow prisoners, they sometimes are on board and sometimes aren't. When we attempt to use the legal system to protect ourselves, the administration flexes.

We try to use the legal system to our advantage whenever possible, but ultimately we know that's not going to bring an end to our oppression. From the rubber stamping of grievance denials to the nepotism within the criminal injustice system, the cards are clearly stacked against us.

We've given up on the idea of reforms for any meaningful change (and anyone who has studied even a little Amerikan history should be able to provide examples of this failed strategy). Instead we know we need to overthrow and dismantle the entire Amerikan government and the economic system that supports it. That's a long-term goal, and in the shorter term we work to build unity amongst prisoners toward that goal.

We need to be able to name (and overcome) reasons for why sometimes our attempts to educate younger prisoners works, and sometimes it doesn't. As social scientists, and the vanguard revolutionary organization working within U.$. prisons, it's our responsibility to address these barriers to our success. Bourgeois influence in this country is strong, so we don't expect to win everyone who's locked up over to our side. But in addressing these barriers in a systematic way, rather than leaving it to chance, we are more likely to have success, and more quickly.

We are working on this exact project within the context of our forthcoming book on the lumpen class. So far for this book we have completed a class analysis of the lumpen in the United $tates, which we are distributing as a draft chapter of the book. The next concept we aim to tackle is incorrect ideologies amongst the lumpen, which are some of our main challenges to organizing the lumpen around projects that are otherwise in their interests. All prisoners have a material interest in an end to prisoner-on-prisoner violence, even if they are benefitting from this violence now. Incorrect ideologies and bourgeois influence are what we need to overcome to build he UFPP to its fullest capacity.

chain
[Abuse] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas]
expand

Many Abuses at Ferguson Unit

Below is a description of many problems at Ferguson Unit:

  1. segregation and gang violence
  2. illiteracy
  3. drug addiction
  4. obstruction of grievance process
  5. arbitrary parole denial and obstruction of parole process
  6. pre-release units used to house paroled prisoners long-term
  7. censorship of legal mail
  8. denial of outside recreation
  9. lack of clean or adequate clothing
  10. undersized meals
  11. inadequate law library and court system

The problems in Texas jails are endless. Everybody either has a problem, doesn't care, is scared, gave up, or there's not enough prisoners who care to make a difference. First off, we are still dealing with race issues. Inmates against other inmates. Units are still blacks on one side, Spanish on the other and whites get in where you can, and a lot of them be friends with the Mexican side. If a white or Spanish inmate be on the black side, he is in a black gang. Then gangs are our second problem. Every race color group are against the other race gang. There are about nine different black gangs, about five different Mexican gangs, three white gangs, and so our problems in these two areas are endless. People only listen to their own race or gang.

Another major problem we prisoners are facing that I keep finding out is a lot of us can't read or write that well. Without being able to read or write, they can't file grievances or lawsuits. It is hard to help because a lot of peoples are not going to tell you they have this problem.

Now it is sad to say but we have a lot of prisoners who are dope addicts. All day long they want to get high, walking around here like zombies. They are smoking on what they call "K-2," but this is some homegrown spray chemicals they are putting on what it appear to be sticks and grass. This drug is being called Toon. It is spreading across Texas prisons like crazy. I seen people vomit, sell their body, sell everything they got, steal and fight other inmates when they are high and/or want to be high. Toon is the new craze because you can be high all day long by inhaling two short puffs. People also smoke it because their urine will not come up dirty.

Anyone who writes a grievance knows the warden who answers them is always biased against prisoners. 95% of the Step 1 responses always say the same thing ("insufficient evidence") and the problems do not get addressed. No prisoners are getting questioned if they saw what had happened which was reported in the grievance. The Warden will claim he talked to the officer and the officer said he did not do what he is accused of. The Step 2 responses will always side with whatever the warden said on the Step 1.

Before I forget, a never ending problem we are facing is parole. Parole is the biggest joke in Texas. When I was sentenced to TDCJ the judge said "I sentence you to 60 years TDCJ." Your work time, good time, and school time must add up to your halfway sentence (30 years), just to see parole. Now TDCJ says a whole new thing than what the judge told me and from what the statute states. TDCJ tells me if I want to make parole, I have to do 30 years flat; work time, school time, and good time will be calculated toward your full sentence. In reality I have over half my sentence done on paper and am supposed to be up for parole, but the parole board does not go by the Texas legislature.

I know an inmate who had a 30-year sentence for aggravated robbery. His case is considered a 3G offense due to the fact that a weapon was used, so he will have to do half his sentence just to see parole. In reality, if his work time, good time, and school time equals his halfway mark, he is supposed to see parole. He got 22 years flat time done on his 30-year sentence. He got two associate degrees and was working on a masters degree. The reason he did not make his first parole, when he did 15 years flat was due to "the nature of his offense." Now, you know and I know the nature of your offense does not and cannot change. It is your initial conviction.

TDCJ parole board called the person he robbed 15 years ago and asked, "The person who robbed you is up for parole, how do you feel about that? Do you want to deny his parole? If you do not have a ride, we will come and pick you up and you can speak at his parole hearing." Of course the person he robbed didn't want this brother to be released.

His second chance at parole was denied for the same reason. His third denial was was because the parole board stated, he "manipulated" the system. He was not getting any cases. When you stay out of trouble, they think you are getting over on them, so you must be doing something you're not supposed to be doing. His fourth denial was because he was a "suspected gang member." The parole board plays these types of games with the prisoners in Texas. They will come up with any and all kind of reasons to deny you release. When we do make parole we do at least 90% of our time. We end up serving 8 or 9.5 years flat on a 10-year sentence, or 18, 19, 19.5 years on a 20.

If the public looks on the computer, you can see the people who make parole are not actually at home, but in reality are held at a pre-release unit. On paper they are at their house but they really not. Texas just making more money from prisoners at these pre-release units. I had a homeboy gave all his belongings away because he made parole. He thought he was going home. He went to a pre-release unit for 2 years, and then they took his parole away from him and sent him back to the Ferguson Unit to do the rest of his time. At the pre-release unit, the computer had it that he made parole and went home.

Another problem is the mailrooms are taking it upon themselves to tell you what you can and can't have. They are censoring too much mail. They are denying anything they feel you should not have. They are opening up sealed legal mail and reading it. They are denying legal materials.

We are required outside recreation for 2 hours every day for 5 days a week. Ferguson Unit refuses to run outside recreation. The officers are writing down in the rec log that they run outside rec every day when in reality they are not. We can't get any sun on our skin.

We only have one set of clothes. You have to turn them all in just to get another set. We are required to have two sets. The problem with one set of clothes is, when you turn your only set in, in return they will give you a set of pants that may have holes in it, paint stains on the front or on the back. The shirts will be the same way. Then they want you to go to visit to see your family like this. If you're going to take a picture, you are out of there.

Another problem is how they feed us. We are not getting our daily 2000 calorie intake. The serving spoons are not be the right sizes and they water everything down. They only give you enough food to make it to the next meal.

Another major problem is the law library. They took away all the major books that you can use to help yourself fight your case effectively. They took the Texas constitution away, the CSS: Covous Juris Secundum, Texas Civil Statutes, property code and many more. They do not have a book on how to do a writ. Now how are you suppose to file a writ, when you do not have a sample to go on? They also do not have a motion book, criminal or civil. How do you know what to file or how to go about it? All the books they do have are outdated. They will only go so far back on the computer to let you read a case. When you shepardize a case, they will send you all over to something you did not ask for. They refuse to let you see any bills and acts and will tell you they can't get that for you.

On the unit I'm in, they only run two law library sessions a day. One at 3:45 a.m. and another at 11:45 a.m. Only certain people will be put in at 11:45 a.m. while the majority will be scheduled at 3:45 a.m. Why at 3:45 a.m.? Because they know nobody wants to go at that time, so a lot of people just don't show up. If you look at the law library schedule, it will say it runs sessions for 3:45 a.m., 6:45 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:45p.m. but they're just not going by the schedule.

Another major problem is the court system. I remember writing the district clerk in my county asking about my case and/or obtaining legal documents. He wrote me back stating he does not have to respond to prisoners because we are locked up and that if I want to hear from him I will have an attorney speak to him for me. He wrote down a Texas government code that states the same thing. I wrote him back explaining to him that I can't afford an attorney and that I'm fighting my case pro se. He wrote me back and still stated the same thing.

The fun never stops for a Texas inmate.

chain
[Abuse] [Texas]
expand

Provocation and Prosecution

On August 19, 2013 I was assaulted by TDCJ-CID officer K. McInnes. This officer sprayed me in the face with chemical agent for nothing. As a result, I defended myself and I was locked up for "assaulting an officer without a weapon with serious injuries." I was placed in 11 building, solitary cell, and not allowed to decontaminate myself. No investigation of the offense report (I-210) took place, no officer came and obtained my statement for the offense report, and I did not find out about the case until I was served by the substitute counsel. No one has brought up the fact that the officer assaulted me from the beginning by spraying chemical agent in my face for nothing, which resulted in my actions.

Additionally, facts show per policy that I was wrongfully charged with the offense of "serious" injuries when there were none. Policy states that serious injuries are sutures, stitches, fractures, or hospitalization. See AD 04.11 Security Precaution Designators. There were only bruises and a headache with no hospitalization.

As you should know I was found guilty by a biased disciplinary hearing officer. I was punished to the max, but as a result of this action I did over one hundred days in the same solitary cell, and refused my property even though I was not given property restriction. All grievances were denied, even though the answers and actions taken were against policy.

On 21 August 2013, I filed by sending my criminal complaint with affidavit to the Anderson County District Attorney against the TDCJ-CID Officer K. McInnes for assaulting me. On 3 October 2013, the District Attorney referred my complaint to the Office of Inspector General in Huntsville, Texas. As a result, I was read my rights by the Michael Unit OIG Officer Campos, which resulted in criminal charges being filed on me by TDCJ-CID or the State of Texas for "assault on a public servant." I was offered 17 years on this charge, but it is enhanced to 25-99 years or life, because of my priors. All this comes about because I filed criminal charges against the officer for her actions, which were unlawful.

I seek your assistance, because I have no family or friends that will help me, and I have no funds on which to hire an attorney on this matter. And I have no money to file a suit in this matter either, because I am barred from filing suit without the full payment, as a result of the Prison Litigation Reform Act. I need your help as soon as possible, because my next court date is set for 26 October 2015, and I have been notified by the state counsel that after this date the case will be set for trial.

chain
[Religious Repression] [Hamilton Unit] [Texas]
expand

Undermining Religious Freedoms

As of 1 August 2015, Texas is allowing offenders to grow a "religious" beard. I am assuming they lost a lawsuit. I'm certain it's not out of the kindness of their hearts. However, when I put in a request to start the process of being able to grow a beard I was told I could not work in the front office. I have been the officers' barber pretty much on every unit I have been assigned to. The people in charge gave me a chance to take my name off the beard list. I told them no thanks and I was promptly placed on field squad and my housing was changed. The chaplain at our unit also will not allow offenders to work for him or be on church set up crew if growing a religious beard. The chaplain himself has a mustache. I was also told I did not have approval from the warden to go off-unit with a beard. I am a G1-S2 custody level (outside trustee) and have been for 2 1/2 years. More craziness and oppression in Texas.

chain
[Medical Care] [Stringfellow Unit] [Texas]
expand

Texas Cuts Prisoners' Medication to Save Money

Here on Springfellow Unit several issues are occurring that need to be addressed. Disciplinary is out of control! On this unit due process means absolutely nothing when it concerns officers writing disciplinary cases against prisoners. There are numerous bogus disciplinary cases written, and that is why there is no due process. According to the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures for Offenders Handbook, officers shall first attempt to resolve the issue informally. This is never done here on the Springfellow Unit. When I personally pulled out the rule book and showed one of the officers the proper due process, the officer tried to confiscate my copy of the rules. Even the Major and Captain questioned me on where I received this handbook.

The medical department's Physician's Assistant (P.A.) has a long history of not only removing prisoners' medical restrictions that are supposed to be permanent due to chronic illness, but they also are cutting prisoners' medications by 2/3 in order to save money. I was told personally by P.A. Patricia M. Lecuyer that it's due to the cost of the medication. Naturally this means that they are putting cost over properly caring for the prisoners. The reason their high cost of medication is so far up is due to the $100 co-payment. Prisoners who are charged the co-payment for something as simple as receiving Cold Busters (which by the way happens so often) are submitting more and more sick call requests for everything you can think of just to make sure they're getting a hundred bucks worth of whatever they can. Indigent prisoners are doing this because they can receive medication without having to pay the co-payment, and then selling the medication to other prisoners who do not want to pay the co-payment for something as simple as the common cold. Due to all this, those like me who really need the medications to manage my respiratory system (i.e. COPD) and high blood pressure are being reduced by 2/3 the amount of medication.

chain