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)

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)

[Censorship] [Stiles Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 44]
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Texas Denies Prisoners All Access to Paper and Envelopes

I'm writing because here in Texas the legislature or some "committee" got the bright idea to forbid prisoners the ability to purchase stationary materials (writing paper, typing paper, envelopes of all kinds, and carbon paper) from outside vendors. This really is felt by those who do legal work and those who refuse to support this state. We are now obligated to further support it by purchasing stationary from commissary.

Before this rule was adopted and enforced, one could purchase stationary items from the outside. This was especially good while on a unit lockdown when one needed paper (especially in litigation), because one could do an outside purchase and still get the paper. On a unit lockdown all movement comes to a halt! No commissary, nothing. So no commissary, no paper.

Now, of course, this system has a rule where after seven days on a lockdown one can use the state's "indigent" process, even having funds in one's account. But what the rule states, and what the indigent supply supervisor (usually the law library supervisor) does, are two different things. Let's say it's a four week lockdown. So the first week is "free" or s/he doesn't have to worry about filling out stationary requests. Then week two comes along and all those requests come in. Now the supervisor claims that there's "too many" requests and can't get around to sending the requester their "assigned" indigent supply envelope (ISE). There goes week two, with no paper. Now, each building has their "assigned" request day so this wise ass stupid-visor knows which day is the building's request day. S/he then sends the ISE on the day that the requests are to be made — there goes week three. Week four, you finally make your request, but you come off lockdown, with no supplies sent, and you haven't written in a whole month. Then you have to wait to go to the store.

By the time any grievance is heard the stupid-visor now has his goons kicking down your door searching all your "legal work" under the guise of "probable cause" of written contraband, but really it's retaliation. After all your shit has been ransacked and possibly stolen, in the end you've been fucked good with no claim upon which relief can be granted.

eCommDirect usually allows people on the outside to purchase commissary items for prisoners, but they are not allowed during a lockdown. And if you're in a custody level of what's known in Texas as a G-4 or closed custody there are no eComms allowed any time anyway.

So what does the system do to stop you if you're a writ writer? Make you a G-4 or closed custody. And you can be disciplined for anything! The way the rule reads, an open bag of chips is "contraband" cause it's not as you bought it! Everyone with a little sense will know that the prison system disciplinary process is only a means of control.


MIM(Prisons adds: Beyond just the disciplinary process inside prisons, the entire prison system, from denial of writing materials, to long-term isolation, is set up for social control. There's nothing rehabilitative or corrective about the Amerikan criminal injustice system. Denial of paper and envelopes is a clever way for Texas to try to stop people from using the grievance and legal system to address injustices. It is no surprise that many prisoners turn to physical violence when all other avenues are cut off. But in the face of this increased repression we call on all prisoners to come together, build unity and peace and join a broader movement to fight both these specific injustices and the broader imperialist system. United we can have an impact and build for revolutionary change!

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[Gang Validation] [Control Units] [Darrington Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 43]
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Denied Recreation in Ad-Seg

We are placed back here in Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg) for being part of a security threat group (STG), a supposedly "confirmed" gang member. I was placed in Ad-Seg in 2002 for corresponding with other prisoners in another unit who were already confirmed. I got out of prison in 2004, and have just recently come back this past year, and once again I find myself placed in Ad-Seg even though I am not part of a gang. I have tried to write to the gang officers and even wrote a history report about my association in the past. I was told I would go to a G.R.A.D. program that's designed for ex-gang-members. I have yet to hear anything.

During this time in Ad-Seg, we are supposed to receive an hour of exercise (recreation) per day. Well I have been here on this unit going on 6 months and have been to recreation only twice. I have written a Step 1 grievance only to be told that they would get to us when staff permitted. They claim to be under-staffed. But general population gets their daily recreation, and they have enough staff to allow them to shake our cells down every other day during showers. There are other units that are really under-staffed, yet their Ad-Seg blocks receive their hour of recreation. It's sad because some of us need the exercise for medical reasons, and all of us need it for mental issues. Constantly in the cell all day every day is really a mind battle and a severe health issue.


MIM(Prisons) responds: In Under Lock & Key 41 we published many accounts of gang validation being used as a tool of social control. The STG designation is held over the heads of prisoners who are often among the most politically active, and then used as an excuse to isolate them from others. It is irrelevant to the prison administration whether or not these "confirmed" people actually affiliate with a criminal organization. And in some places, working with MIM(Prisons) is considered criteria for classifying people as a security threat. We publish accounts like this one to demonstrate the ongoing conditions of torture in these isolation programs, and the arbitrary use of the STG label. But in reality we do not trust the criminal injustice system to decide who is a threat to security; the biggest security threats are running the Amerikan government and its military and prison systems.

This article referenced in:
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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 42]
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Texas Hides Grievance Manual from Prisoners

I have late breaking news to report regarding the Texas offender grievance manual. There was a memo sent out to all Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) prisons from the Access-to-Courts Supervisor, Frank Hoke. Here is the note as written:


Effective immediately the offender grievance manual will no longer be available in the law library. As such, please remove all copies of the offender grievance manual from your shelves. Make a note on your holdings list it has been removed and in its place write 'summary of significant changes to the offender grievance program.' The next revised holdings list will not include the offender grievance manual. In addition, cut out the below notice and post it in your law library for offender review. Should you have any questions, please contact the office at 936-437-4816.

Added: Emergency grievances that are repetitive in nature or have been previously identified and or addressed in another grievance will not be considered an emergency grievance and will be processed as a regular grievance. If at any time grievance staff cannot determine the grievance is repetitive in nature, the grievance will be processed as an emergency grievance according to the guidelines established in the offender grievance operations manual.

Added: 3rd party allegations of sexual abuse. Note: allegations of 3rd party sexual harassment will not be addressed and removed. The term 'specialty grievances' has been removed. Non-emergency grievances shall be processed as regular grievances subject to all screening criteria

Revised: time limits: disciplinary appeals and step 2 grievances shall be processed within 40 days of receipt from offender

Added: grievances that do not describe a reported use of force that was excessive or unnecessary do not warrant any further action and shall be considered non-grievable *enforcing*: 1 issue per grievance

9/30/14 9:24am authority: Frank Hoke.

I am letting all comrades know about this because it affects us all, and now we have no access to what the grievance codes are, the rules of the grievance manual, etc. This is a step in the wrong direction.

I did receive some letters back in response to my grievance petition. One came from Congressman Lloyd Doggett who wrote "Thank you for sharing your concerns with me. I am honored that you have the confidence in me to assist you with this matter. However since Congress has no jurisdiction over state issues I have forwarded your communication to the honorable Susan King Texas State House of Representatives, PO Box 2376, Abilene, TX 79604. Again thank you for taking the time to write me." Administrative Review & Risk Management sent a note when they received the grievance petition. They marked "please utilize the offender grievance procedure to address your concerns." The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) mailed an interoffice communication to me that an OIG investigation will not be conducted in response to the grievance petition.


MIM(Prisons) responds: After four years of campaigning to demand grievances be addressed in Texas, we now have the prison administrators taking action. This action is not to address prisoners' grievances, as their laws and procedures require, but rather to stop prisoners from finding out what the rules say. Fortunately, we already have an extensive guide to fighting grievances in Texas, which we distribute to prisoners, and it contains all the information needed from the TDCJ's grievance manual. We won't let this administrative move slow down the Texas campaign. In response we call on all Texas prisoners to make use of our grievance pack to fight the system on every violation of rules and regulations. File grievances and demand they be addressed. Flood the prison and the appeals system with legitimate grievances and show them that removal of their rules will not stop this fight. Write to MIM(Prisons) for a copy of the Texas grievance materials.

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[Lopez State Jail] [Texas]
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Texas Heat Continues to Kill

It is true the heat here is unbearable. In July of this year we had a prisoner die from the heat, shortly after coming from recreation. The guards said it was because he was old but everyone knew it was because of the heat. Sometimes temperatures reach 107 degrees inside. To punish us if we don't rack up or if we're talking shit or maybe if we don't got our shirts on, the guards turn off the fans in the dayroom and they don't unlock the igloos so we can put water in them, just so they can hit us where it hurts.

We file grievances on them and nothing is ever done. As of right now we still don't have normal recreation since summer just because someone died, but that still doesn't stop people from falling out inside the dorm. I alone have seen at least three people hospitalized because of the heat, who knows how many in total here at Lopez.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We've been hearing from across the state of Texas that the heat is killing and injuring prisoners and the prisons are doing nothing to address the danger. We can expect relief from the heat as the weather moves towards winter, but this will only provide a temporary change to new problems, and the heat will come back next summer. For those fighting these and other dangerous conditions in Texas, write to request our grievance pack to help demand that our grievances be addressed.

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[Education] [Organizing] [Texas]
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Utilize Cyber Space and Social Media to Expose the Corrupt Texas Pigs

Comrades, consider all the murders of people of oppressed nations in Amerika: the Trayvon Martins, Andy Lopezes, Renisha McBrides, and Michael Browns. Now consider the media attention and the fact that even though some attention was given to the racist security guards and police officers who were involved in these heinous acts, was justice rendered?

In Texas, finally we have woken up to the fact that attempting to ask the closed loop fraternity of oppressors to fix this corrupt grievance program is not the proper strategy to fix the problem.

In the mean time, numerous prisoners have been beat and murdered by Texas Department of Criminal inJustice (TDCJ) pigs hiding under the blanket of qualified immunity. The Office of Inspector General has been a willing conspirator in the cover-up of abuses of prisoners and Senator John Whitmire, the Chairman of the Texas State Legislatures Criminal Justice Committee, is the Chief of culpability when it comes to murders being un-investigated and obstruction of justice tactics made the status quo! Senator John Whitmire is a closet racist and cast in the same mold as the Dixiecrats of the South circa 1960 and 1970.

It is true, Texas State Representative Dr. Alma Allen from Houston fought hard to have House Bill 877 (HB877) passed during the 83rd legislative session in 2013. This is the TDCJ Independent Oversight Committee bill which Whitmire wouldn't support stating that “We already have policies and committees in place that do that.” Bull shit Whitmire!

Comrades, we must make a concerted effort to expose TDCJ prison employees and hucksters like Whitmire in the media. Let the public see exactly what is going on up in here and let the public decide whether the system is just or corrupt. What we do is start drafting brief, informative, and concise e-mails and blog postings and ask a family member, friend, or fellow comrade to post or send emails to particular sites and addresses.

For instance, Huntsville, Texas is the home of numerous TDCJ prisons and modern day slave camps and gulags. Huntsville has a newspaper called The Huntsville Item which occasionally reports on issues that take place within TDCJ. I've started to send short news clips and blog blasts to the Huntsville Item detailing abuse that I've witnessed or been victim to: [email protected], attn: news room. Put their ass on blast right in their own back yard!

But there's more!

The Houston Chronicle is the largest most circulated newspaper in the state of Texas. Chronicle staff writers Mike Ward, Anita Hasson, and Dan Schiller all focus on criminal justice issues and have exposed many instances of abuse inside TDCJ but they are or seem to be protectors of the pigs! Nevertheless, they are opportunistic journalists and love a juicy tale of murder, intrigue, and corruption, all salient subjects present inside the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice. I encourage you strongly to have brief but informative packed emails sent to them also! Houston Chronicle staff writer email addresses: [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]

The Texas Observer is a left leaning “Journal of Free Voices” which publishes a monthly magazine. I've also been developing a rapport with them.

The prison show on KPFT 90.1 FM actually has a Facebook page which I highly recommend you have your friends, family and comrades visit and post short messages that detail abuse and the inadequacy of this important and useless grievance program!


Murders but no accountability

Comrades, too many prisoners are being killed by TDCJ employees and the murders are being justified as necessary use of excessive force by sadistic, brutal, and criminal TDCJ employees. As I said earlier, the Office of Inspector General is condoning and sanctioning these murders of the lumpen, so on top of our media strategy we must start contacting the Texas Rangers and the Public Integrity Unit in Austin, Texas.

The Texas Rangers are one of the oldest most advanced law enforcement agencies in Texas. Outside of the FBI the Rangers are the top pig organization in Texas. When we coordinate our efforts in such a manner as contacting the media and these Rangers, playing it out in the public domain, I promise you we will get some action right out of the chief imperialist pig oppressor Brad Livingston, TDCJ Executive director.

The public integrity unit in Austin investigates corruption of those who hold public office. So all those board of pardon and parole officials who've been taking bribery money from so-called parole lawyers in Texas watch out! All those Texas correction industries employees who have been engaged in deceptive business practices stealing tax payer dollars and promoting the slave plantation system in Texas – watch out!

Comrades, please understand that this info I am giving you has the potential to create a major disturbance in the corrupt practices of TDCJ. The oppressors don't want you to utilize this information but if we can get a significant number of comrades to embrace this strategy it will strengthen our position.

MIM(Prisons) is correct when it says the TDCJ independent oversight committee would bring progress for our fight against abuse and injustice. But remember this is a long protracted struggle that will go on for years. The key is to unify behind this strategy. We need actors not rappers.

Address: The Texas Rangers, PO Box 4087, Austin, Texas 78773-0600
The Public Integrity Unit, PO Box 1748, Austin, Texas 78767


MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this letter because it gives us a chance to address the question of how to build public opinion. We agree with this comrade that it can be useful to send information to various media outlets to expose injustice. Sometimes they will cover our struggles, if not for the reason of actually supporting these struggles. But we do need to be very aware that media is not unbiased. Mainstream media is beholden to advertisers and so very much biased in favor of capitalism and the criminal injustice system. This means that when this media does cover our struggles, it will usually be with a slant or perspective that is counter to ours. Is it useful to have the media cover a prisoner hunger strike over bad conditions by interviewing the warden and letting him have a forum to tell the public how the prisoners are wrong and conditions are good? Of course, getting our side of the story in the hands of this media may get the struggle covered with at least a bit of our perspective. That is a good thing, but we cannot rely on mainstream media. This is why MIM(Prisons) publishes Under Lock & Key. The oppressed need our own media reporting from our perspective. USW88 left out ULK as a place where people should send their stories, but we must always keep this in the front of our minds: any story or news worth sending to the mainstream media should be sent to ULK first. ULK is the most likely place it will get printed!

Ultimately we need to distinguish between our short-term goal of achieving reforms to improve the living conditions of our comrades behind bars, and our long-term goal of eliminating the criminal injustice system. The first goal may sometimes be aided by broad publicity brought to the atrocities going on behind bars. The second goal will only be accomplished with an organized communist movement with solid anti-imperialist principles. We will never get anti-imperialist education printed in mainstream media. And so we can use these avenues tactically for short term battles, but we should not rely on them for anything more. And all of our work needs to be in the context of our long-term goals: even reforms should serve as educational tools for our comrades and potential comrades to explain why we will never be able to reform away imperialism.

As for the strategy of contacting the Texas Rangers, this is a historically very reactionary arm of the law enforcement with roots in the repression and murder of [email protected] We definitely don't expect them to take action on behalf of the oppressed . Exposing the criminal injustice system actions to this criminal “law enforcement” agency is a bit like reporting a corrupt pig to the pigs. Action is almost never taken. And further, those reporting the information to the Texas Rangers have now given over their name and contact info for future repression. Rather than encourage people to put their energy into this tactic, we suggest more work writing articles about what's going on behind bars and in the streets, from the perspective of the anti-imperialist movement.

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[Abuse] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]
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Texas Pig Beats Prisoner, Lies About It

On 10 August 2014 at approximately 1:35 p.m., Dakota Davidson, a white male prison guard who works at the Wynne Unit located in Huntsville, Texas, brutally attacked a white male lumpen prisoner. During an in and out egress Davidson initiated a verbal conflict with the prisoner. The prisoner asked Davidson "what are you going to do, hit me?" At which point the pig began to punch the prisoner in the face and head until he was knocked to the ground. The prisoner was really stunned and caught off guard by this violent attack. The guard actually sat on the prisoner's chest and beat him unmercifully. When ranking supervisors showed up, Davidson could be heard saying "stop resisting! Put your hands behind your back." This was all game to give the appearance that the prisoner was the aggressor.

The prisoner was handcuffed and taken to the disciplinary wing (B-Wing). Davidson actually wrote a disciplinary report claiming the prisoner assaulted him. All this played well for the corrupt ranking officers and investigative staff who didn't bother to look into it thoroughly. Unknown to them, an eye witness decided to come forward. In spite of the witness affidavit, the prisoner may do 6 months on medium custody for being a victim. We need to expose this incident to the public.

Beatings such as this are all too common in Texas prisons. But it is the culture of coverups and corruption which keeps sadistic officers like Davidson employed with this agency. Cronyism, nepotism, and obstruction of justice is the Texan way.

All power to the people!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with the author on the importance of exposing incidents like this, both to help the individual prisoners demand justice, and to educate people about what really goes on behind bars in the Amerikan criminal injustice system. But we are under no illusion that eliminating the culture of coverups and corruption will get rid of sadistic officers. It's the criminal injustice system that turns COs sadistic and corrupt, if they were not already. Only by eliminating the criminal injustice system will we do away with sadistic and corrupt officers. The first step is building public opinion and uniting allies in this struggle. Become a field correspondent for Under Lock & Key if you are in prison, and send us news about repression and resistance where you're locked up.

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[Dalhart Unit] [Texas]
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Officers Boast About Death of Prisoner

I'm writing in regard to the article in ULK 39, "Demand Justice for Prisoner Death in Texas." All officers mentioned in this article are still employed here except for Gambriel and Jackson. The other officers continue to boast about the incident that occurred.

On another note. If we grieve a staff member, say for example staff use of slurs/hostile epithets, if the staff member states the incident did not occur, then the grievance is not referred. This exact statement is in our grievance manual, Section V.9.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is updating us on a murder committed by Texas guards, for which they still go unpunished. The Texas prison administration ignores grievances against staff when the staff denies something happened, effectively eliminated prisoners' ability to lodge complaints against the staff. The guards are policing themselves and prisoners are often left helpless to challenge abuse.

This is one of the reasons we encourage Texas prisoners to join the campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. While having our grievances addressed will not fundamentally change the injustice of the Amerikan prison system, we may save a few lives and fight for better conditions. At the same time we can use the campaign to educate others about the need to organize for fundamental change to our society. Write to us for a copy of the guide to filing grievances in Texas. Share it with others, and build a broader anti-imperialist movement to shut down the criminal injustice system.

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[Spanish] [Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 43]
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Las Prisiones de Texas Matan de Calor a la Gente

“La misión de la División Institucional es proporcionar seguridad y apropiada reclusión, supervisión, rehabilitación, y reintegración de criminales adultos, y para efectivamente dirigir o administrar instalaciones correccionales basados en estatuos estandares constitucionales.” Gobierno de Texas, código 494.001.

Para los que estamos alojados dentro de las prisiones operadas por El Departamento de In-Justicia Criminal de Texas (TDCJ), sabemos que esta declaración no es más que mentiras bien-redactadas!

Recientemente La Clínica de Derechos Humanos de la Universidad de Texas saco este reporte; “Mortal calor en prisiones de Texas.” Basicamente el reporte prueba lo que muchos de los grupos ya saben: Que las condiciones dentro de las prisiones de Texas en el verano violan la prohibición de la octava enmienda contra el castigo cruel e inusual. TDCJ sigue diciendo al público que ellos tienen tácticas en el área para combatir el calor. Sin embargo, Brian McGiverin, un abogado del Proyecto de Derechos Civiles de Texas, dijo durante una conferencia de noticias sobre el tema; “catorce muertes de prisioneros son fuerte evidencia que las medidas de la delegación de la prisión no hacen mucho para vencer los riesgos de salud ante el calor. El continúo, “la respuesta de que sus tácticas son adecuadas hoy, es ridícula.”

El senador John Whitmire, presidente del Comité de Justicia Criminal del Senado de Texas, dijo esto sobre el tema; “Pero yo puedo decirte que la gente de Texas no quiere prisiones con aire acondicionado, y hay muchas otras cosas en mi lista muy por encima del calor.” Las “otras cosas” eran educación, cuidado de salud, y programas de rehabilitación, pero este racista pontificador jamás dijo que el estaba comprometido aponer fin a las muertes sin sentido de prisioneros de Texas por empleados de TDCJ! Whitmire, quien ha estado en el senado de Texas cerca de 30 años, continúa poniendo ojos ciegos al abuso y discriminación sistemática de prisioneros alojados en las instalaciones de TDCJ. Sufrimos de discriminación racial, discriminación religiosa, asaltos sexuales, azotes y abusos violentos, y Whitmire continúa jugando a la política de los buenos viejos amigos.

Para demandas en asuntos específicos de la prisión, yo encontre una estrategia que ha estado trabajando. He estado promoviendo que miembros de familia de los lumpen presenten demandas al ombudsman por internet. Ellos mismos pueden presentar demandas públicas formales sobre una amplia variedad de asuntos y ahora estas demandas tienen que ser puestas en la internet para que el público las vea. ¡Hemos estado teniendo mucho éxito! Toda esa mierda de P.O. Box 99 a Huntsville es un desperdicio de tiempo y papel. Háganlo en internet y pongan a esos culeros en la calle frontal.

MIM(Prisons) agrega: Esto es solo un ejemplo del incontrolado abuso de prisioneros en Texas y a través del país, eso esta bien expuesto y documentado en ULK y en nuestro sitio web prisoncensorship.org. Pero tenemos la intención de hacer más que solo exponer la brutalidad del sistema de injusticia criminal Amerikana. Nuestra meta es organizar y educar para hacer un cambio significativo. A corto plazo peleamos batallas como la campaña para poner demandas de prisioneros dirigidas a que puedan crear mejores condiciones para nuestros camaradas detrás de las rejas. Pero a largo plazo sabemos que ningún político Amerikano jamas estará fundamentalmente yendo a cambiar el sistema de injusticia. Esto tomará a los oprimidos a unirse juntos para demandar un cambio para poner un fin al imperialismo antes de que podamos terminar el sistema de injusticia criminal.

!Envuélvete en esta pelea a largo plazo hoy!

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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 40]
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Fighting Deadly Texas Heat Through the Legal System

Between the years 2007 and 2011, 13 prisoners died from the heat in Texas prisons. Two wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in a Galveston Federal Court accusing Texas prison officials of negligence in the deaths.

Scott Medock, an attorney for the Austin based Texas Civil Rights Project, which filed the suits with Austin attorney Jeff Edwards, called some east Texas prisons "death traps."

The Constitution does not require prisons to be maintained at a comfortable temperature. However, if there is extreme heat or cold, prisoners' Constitutional rights are affected. Extreme heat can violate the Constitution. Refer to: Brock v. Warren county 713 F. Supp 238 (E.D. Tenn. 1989) - Maddison County Jail Inmates v. Thompson 773 F. 2d 834, 838-39 (7th cir. 1985) - Hamilton v. Love 328 F. Supp 1182, 1190 (E.D. Ark. 1971).

Prisoners with heat restrictions are in "grave danger" of serious injury and possible death. To win a Section 1983 lawsuit you must show that staff officials acted with "deliberate indifference" to your health risk. "Deliberate indifference" exists when an official knows about a serious danger to a prisoner and yet is "indifferent" (unconcerned, uncaring) to that danger. You can use the fact that the conditions were "longstanding, pervasive, well-documented, and/or expressly noted" by officials in the past to prove indifference. It is enough that the official acted or failed to act despite his/her knowledge of a substantial risk of serious harm. There are several kinds of circumstantial evidence that you can use to prove an official's deliberate indifference. These include copies of grievances and appeals, copies of informal notes and letters (I-60s) that you wrote to officials, and you can explain in a declaration exactly when and how you told officials about risk in prison.

As a general rule, officials may not refuse to respond to a substantial risk of serious harm on the grounds that it would be too expensive to fix it. Cost is not a defense to Constitutional liability.

The Eighth Amendment to the U.$. Constitution, among other things, protects convicted prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment. The conditions of confinement must not involve the wanton and unnecessary infliction of pain, nor may they be grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime warranting imprisonment (Rhodes v. Chapman 452 US. 337, 347, 69 L.Ed. 2d 59, 101 S. Ct 2392 (1981).) Whether conditions of confinement are cruel and unusual must be determined from the contemporary standards of civilized decency that currently prevail in society. At a minimum, the Constitution requires the state to provide minimally adequate living space that includes reasonably adequate ventilation, sanitation, bedding, hygienic materials and utilities (Grubbs v. Bradley, 552 F. Supp 1052, 1122 (M.D. Tenn. 1981).) Constitutionally adequate housing is not denied simply by uncomfortable temperatures inside cells, "unless it is shown that the situation endangers inmates health" (Smith v. Sullivan, 553 F. 2d 373, 381 (5th Cir 1977).) TDCJ may be held liable under Section 1983 if deprivation of prisoners' Constitutional rights were the result of "custom" or "policy" (Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 463 US 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S.Ct. 2018 (1978)).

Texas prison conditions do not meet Constitutional standards!


MIM(Prisons) adds: We print this caselaw for prisoners to use in filing grievances against the dangerous heat conditions in Texas. We have received many reports on the battle against this health risk. Get involved in this fight, file grievances, document the situation, and write to us for the Texas grievance guide.

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[Middleton Unit] [Texas]
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Inadequate Water in Texas Oven

My fellow comrades, with the heat climbing in the 100s here in Texas our only hope for relief is an early winter. Here at the John Middleton Unit in Abilene, Texas we are forced to live in metal sheds which have 54 prisoners per pod. We are given 20 gallons of cool water twice in a 24 hour period. Once at 6am and once at 6pm. The water lasts about 1 hour at most. The lines are long as are the tempers short, which of course equals disasters. Tempers flare, arguments explode and fights are the result of being stored in these oven boxes left to bake.

As of a result of many heat-related deaths of prisoners throughout Texas I believe change is forthcoming. Remember Texas prisons are behind in times so change will eventually happen. In the meantime we prisoners must deal with these horrific conditions and find a way to survive. But survive we will. Keep writing and keep your head up.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As another prisoner reported recently, the University of Texas Human Rights Clinic recently released a report concluding conditions inside Texas prisons in the summer violate the Eighth's Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Many are involved in the fight against this dangerous situation. We echo this comrade's call to all prisoners to keep documenting the conditions, and keep fighting. We need to build unity around these battles for reforms, while we educate folks about the criminal injustice system as a whole and its role as a tool of social control for the imperialists. We can not only win reforms, but we can build a broader movement to challenge the entire system.

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