Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. 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.

[Mental Health] [Michael Unit] [Texas]

Crazy Making at Michael

I throught it was bad where I was at on the expansion cell block Gib Lewis Unit. I am on a different unit (Michael) where they have 12 buildings that they use to single-house "offenders" that they segregate. I am here to partake in the new program for mental health that's suppose to transition us from seg back to general population. But I'm STG (security threat group) and will still have to go to another program (GRAD) in order to get out of seg. What I'm saying is this: The way building 12 is set up, if you're not a psych patient when you get here, it'll sure test your mental stability.

For one the way it's set up (built/designed) the pods, in order to get a pig's attention you have to bang on the door and yell. It's not me to do that. People do it but others just start fires or flood because these pigs are so lazy that even when you tell them something they just walk off and don't do nothing. So it'll really push your mentality. So many have already broken and I have to deal with it all! But I stay occupied by being practive and fighting back the right way. They have my body locked up. But they will never have my mind!!!

[Campaigns] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Texas Polunsky Unit destroying property, denying grievances

I would like to request a grievance petition for Texas. My experience with the grievance process, for the past 22 ½ years, is getting worse & more fraudulent in nature with systemic cover-ups of correction officer's wrong doings. Especially when it comes to offenders personal property issues for theft claims. This units Polunsky Unit, which houses Death Row, is notorious for confiscating, destroy or stealing offenders property without just-cause or going through the proper administrative procedures.

The Grievance Coordinators: Linda S. Martin, Investigator III & Ashley L. Crawford, Investigator II routinely destroy filed grievances. Every grievance I've filed in the last 22 1/2 years, never have I been interviewed by a grievance investigator. Therefore concluding that no matter the allegation presented by an offender, their co-workers, the correctional officer, wrong doing will always go "unfounded".

[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Telford Unit] [Texas]

Texas Telford Unit Warden Denying all Grievances

I am seeking first the grievance petition for the state of Texas. Why? Well here in Texas it seems that every complaint on the unit goes to the Warden, at which time he will make sure that every one of them is denied. Even when you have proof of the events.

Here we have two main problems I would like to run by you to see if you can point in the right direction. One is that the mail room here holds mail for two working days, before it is mailed out. At times this will cause a delay in legal stuff going out. Or if you get mail on Monday and you mail out on Tuesday, it will not go out until Thursday. I have proof of this in writing and thru phone calls from my wife and daughter.

Next if we file on any of this we get a denial on the step one. When we file the step two it will sometimes get delayed so that the time has ran out. Next the officers who you wrote the step one on will be able to read it. And then come to work and do the following. Shake down your cell, trash your living space. This is all on video.

Also our mail will be left inside the staff bathroom for days at a time without being turned back in. At times it will get trashed, and when a complaint is made it is denied by the warden here. Even with proof that it is going on. We need some help here in more than one way. I have a step one where an officer lost my photos of family, then come to find out they where given to another offender. At which time it was on video and a statement was written. This was denied as well.

[Abuse] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas]

Texas Clemens Unit freezing, harassment and other abuse

I do not have an organization but the principles are something I hold to. I don't believe the way Texas treats its prisoners is legal at all. We face extreme conditions especially at the Clemens unit. The main building has had windows broken for 2 years. It freezes in there. Now I'm at this poor excuse they call a "trustee" camp. Its the same way, we are in small metal dorms it's freezing cold my dorm. 2 dorm never gets fixed only 3 and 1 dorm because this is the original dorm here.

It's not right how COs threaten us. if I knew codes from the PO22 I would write them up for all the violations like unauthorized taking of personal property. I try to write grievances but I get harassed every time. Our legal library is in distress it has nothing needed and everyone already knows TDLU doesn't want us to have a grievance manual. If there is any help you can provide to my struggle in this rabbit hole system I would greatly appreciate it and be able to help people around me due to this units population being mainly under 25 years old we don't really have anyone that's been through this before.

[Abuse] [Michael Unit] [Texas]

Conditions Terrible at Michael Unit

I recently got shipped to the Michael Unit 11/21/16 due to myself being jumped by a white supremacist gang member because I told his people that I messed around with him on 10/7/16. The law library SSI snitched on us. I received a major disciplinary case. On 10/20/16 I was jumped to where I fell and lost my balance. Sgt. Anderson did the OPI and I was placed on D-Line at Eastham 10/25/16 and I went before UCC and Ms. Phillips-classification recommended that I be shipped. During the almost 5 months I was at Eastham, the drinking water was severely contaminated. My stomach was hurting me. Mr. Garrett French Co IV and Mr. Rains didn't bring all my property back on 10/25/16. I filed a step 1 grievance. They failed to provide a notice of extension. My step 1 is due on Jan 2017. D-Line used to be where they placed G4 transit folks waiting a house. They got rid of it and made it into seg.

There is an infestation of flies in the chow hall and outside. They refuse to solve the water crisis. Dayroom was 1-4 7 days a week daytime, except weekends 6-8am. One of the weekends was outside Rec. Mon-Fri 7p 9p dayroom. Restriction was on Wed night.

I arrived on Michael on 11/21/16. 5 of us comrades waited in 7 bldg for over 8 hrs. They placed us in transit housing in 12 bldg which is for level 3 Seg offenders. They treated us like Seg offenders placing us in handcuffs to the showers, and outside Rec. We had a 2 day shakedown Nov 29-Dec 1.

The unit is very disorganized. They installed a lot of security cameras. There was days in 8 bldg where we were given johnnies. The unit is short of staff. I sent sick calls, many don't return until after 48 hrs or so. I am still waiting for Ms. Coburn or whoever from Medical Records to lay me in. The Michael Unit has been opened almost 30 years.

They don't keep a stock of I-60s, grievances (step 1/2), sick calls at the desk. Officers work 12 hr shifts A card (1 card) B card (2 card). They have hospice in 10 bldg. There are comrades that are differently abled that are placed on 3 row instead of being the ground flood. The unit is not ADA compliant.

8 bldg hasn't had outside/inside recreation in over 3 weeks. On 12/29/16, our bldg was denied dayroom however we went to chow in the morning. We had a johnnie at last chow.

On 12/25/16 at 8:30, I dealt with Ms. Charlotte Bussey, Rd. She told me to stop dropping sick calls. My medical care wasn't important. I sent a sick call to Ms. Coburn in Medical Records. No sick call came back. I was told to send a sick call to Ms. Israeli. The Michael Unit Medical Staff is severely disorganized. My claim they are short staff. I question their credentials.

On 8 bldg there is an infestation of roaches all over. They don't supply plenty of pine oil, bleach, etc to keep them from coming. Spiders hang out in the cells. I plan on mailing the petitions to the state reps/senators in Texas as they step into office. All 50 state reps and 31 state senators will receive it. I will let you all know the results of the mailer. We must press the issue also president Donald Trump needs to know what's going on. On 7 bldg, they have general population 64 medium custody mixed in. Michael Unit has a safekeeping wing. They won't allow me to life there because I been in general population over 6 years. The comrades state that it is hard to get into safekeeping.

[Campaigns] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]

Texas tossing out grievances

I'm writing today because I'm in the process of helping a small group file complaints against officers at the Coffield unit for harassment, assault, and threats, unnecessary use of force. Could you please send me five sworn complaint forms because I don't have access to a copy machine. Also I need 20 to 30 copies of the grievance campaign form. Our grievance at the Coffield and Beto units are being thrown away, not being investigated right, they are just signing off on them, and not sending out witnesses statement forms.

[Abuse] [Larry Gist State Jail] [Texas]

Unsanitary Food Conditions

Hi. Well vatos, the grievance department is fucked up and the kitchen is fucked up. I filed a I-127 [grievance] on both chow-halls, because they have a wire fence that covers the serving [area]. The fencing barriers must be removed because it's always dirty, filthy, with rotten, spoiled, with bad smelling food. When inmates reach underneath with our trays to be served and pull our trays back underneath, rotten, spoiled and bad smelling food falls on our trays.

The response [to my grievance]:

"Neither constitutional nor federal law prohibits the use of fencing barriers in offender dining facilities. For sanitation reasons, the barriers used in the Gist Unit offender dining halls are cleaned after each meal. Hence, any food found spilled on the barrier occurred during the meal currently being served and does not pose a health or sanitation concern. Nonetheless, you can help contribute to the aesthetics of the dining hall by mindful consideration of the serving space allotted via the barrier entrance way. For security reasons, however, this barrier will not be removed." by Assistant Warden Ortega

[Abuse] [Organizing] [Eastham Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 54]

Eastham Unit Water is Poison!

Revolutionary greetings comrades, it has been a while since I reported from behind enemy lines. As Donald Trump enters the oval office I don't see any other choice than to partner with MIM(Prisons) in order to educate and organize the lumpen underclass. My comrades and I are actively engaged in a battle which seeks to abolish prison slavery as well as shed a discerning spotlight on toxic prisons.

I arrived on Eastham Unit located in Lovelady, Texas in November 2016. This was my second transfer since the September 9th national actions. I've been placed in long-term solitary confinement because of my organizing surrounding that and other campaigns.

Eastham Unit is one of the oldest prisons in Texas. The plumbing has deteriorated and corroded in such a way that dirt and sediment from the soil leaks into the water supply producing a foul stench in the water. The offensive smell of the water was the first thing I noticed. Officers here liken the smell to boiled eggs and burnt rubber. ULK 49 (March/April 2016) published an article on contaminated water at Eastham Unit and we know the contaminants to be copper and lead!

My application of historical dialectical materialism has taught me the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) misinforms the public about conditions inside its numerous slave kamps and gulags. But moreover, I have discovered a collusive and conspiratorial relationship between state agencies like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and TDCJ.(1)

Wallace Pack Unit located in Navasota, Texas is the case in point. The arsenic levels in the water were at least double the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard and the TCEQ knew this for quite some time. But it wasn't until Panagioti Tsolkas of Prison Legal News exposed the contamination that conversations began. However, it took the actual prisoners at Wallace Pack Unit, with representatives from the NABPP-PC to take their destiny into their own hands and file complaints with the federal court.(2)

Already I see a shroud of secrecy and the overt signs of an elaborate cover-up concerning the water at Eastham Unit. Prison officials, who are easily identified as members of the labor aristocracy and bourgeoisie imperialist pig class, do not have a vested interest in the long-term health of prisoners.

Prisoners at Eastham Unit must fight back! The first thing we do is file a Step 1 (I-127) grievance form. Then simultaneously, those that have friends and family must request they file a formal public complaint online with the TDCJ Ombudsman office (e-mail address While these are marinating we start a letter campaign to the Prison Ecology Project, P.O. Box 1151, Lakeworth, Florida 33460.(3)

Behind enemy lines, I will be doing what I can do to attract media attention and free world help but without comrades actively filing grievances about the water I will be on the front line by myself and the oppressor will claim I am just creating lies. A favorite pig tactic.

Even if you've filed on this poison water in the past, please consider filing again. A huge support network is following our work as we combat toxic prisons. I had a discussion with one of the pigs who works here. The subject was the closing down of Eastham because of the poison water. Here is what he said: "You think you can get the state to shut this unit down on account of the water? They don't care about that – what they care about is those 800 acres of corn we got in the ground in them fields!"

Comrades, I couldn't say a damn word! Because it will be the lumpen prisoners who will be picking that damn corn! I must echo the words of the Free Alabama Movement - "Let the crops rot in the field." And what do you think would happen to that corn if the public knew those corn fields were being irrigated with poison water!? Knowledge is power isn't it?

A significant step in this struggle is getting prisoners recognized as environmental justice communities by the EPA, so that prison facilities can be forced into compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.(6) However, the state of Texas has created laws and policies that keep the EPA out of its toxic prisons so we must create a public outcry in order to knock the doors down! Apply Pimp C's "Knockin Doorz Down" as needed! UGK for life!(7)

Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people!

1. Keith 'Malik' Washington, "Prison officials, ACA inspectors ignore contaminated water in Texas prisons," San Francisco Bay View (National Black newspaper), October 21, 2015.
2. Panagioti Tsolkas, "Is Texas poisoning prisoners with contaminated water?" September 2015, Prison Legal News.
6. TCEQ fax# 936-437-7379. If you file a brief complaint it will help us!
7. Pimp C, "Knockin Doorz Down" music video, . Contains themes of building peace and unity among Houston rappers in spite of the FBI's attempts to divide them.

MIM(Prisons) responds: It is great to have clear steps in order for any tactical work to be successful, so we highlight this campaign as one with a clear path broken down into small steps, making it easy to get involved and mark progress. While we struggle on these reformist campaigns, we also know that they are unlikely to be successful. But that is all part of building public opinion for socialist revolution. In a socialist system, as in China under Mao, people's needs were valued above profits and prisoners were not poisoned via their water supply.

People should not be forced to get heavy metal poisoning just because they are in prison (or because they live in an oppressed nation community as what happened in Flint, Michigan). The EPA, one of those bandaid organizations of the United $tates government to give people something to focus on instead of straight up revolution, is unlikely to categorize prisoners as environmental justice communities, and also unlikely to enforce their policies in prisons in Texas. Even if they did, to enforce environmental policies on Texas prisons is a decades-long struggle, while hundreds of thousands of people will be forced to drink poisonous heavy metals in the meantime.

Still, we support this campaign and encourage our readers to get involved. It may win some improvements in water quality that will have a significant impact on the health of Texas prisoner. Even if the campaign fails, it is a good example of how futile petitioning the U.$. government agencies generally is. If the campaign succeeds, it will likely only be with caveats which undermine the overall campaign, which we can point to as an example of the futility of reformism. Either way, Texas prisoners come out better organized and better poised for the only struggle that has shown any success in valuing peoples' well-being, and that's the revolutionary struggle toward socialism and communism.

[Medical Care] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]

Petty Repression for Reaching Out

I'm writing to give yall some more info on how Warden Strong runs her administration. I sent out another leter to Texas-CURE informing them on some things that she had the security there at Wynne Unit doing, such as writing major cases for things like rubberbands and paper clips. In other words, things they put in our hands every day to work with.

Another one of her things is to lock up people with anonymous I-60s for escape. It's what they used to lock me up for the letters i was writing people like yall, ACLU, and other Civil Rights projects all over the U.S. Now mind you I am doing a non-ag 8 year sentence for DWI and had just seen parole for the second time. Then to add insult to injury her offices stole, or let be stolen, around $50 of commissary and i have yet to get back my lock ($13.25), multi-plug outlet ($7.50) and there was some other little stuff: cups, spoons, and such. In all around $70 something dollars worth of stuff.

I would like to add a few lines about what UTMB Hospital is up to. I have had sinus issues all my life and they are now saying that they will no longer provide sinus sprays and eye drops to me. It's just another way they are trying to screw over the tax payer by making us pay the $100 fee for medical treatment.

[Abuse] [Darrington Unit] [Texas]

Sexual harassment at Darrington in Texas

We are in a sad situation on Darrington Unit, they have a strong buddy-buddy system, male officers sexing with the female officers for favoritism. Then the woman over our grievance department is married to our disciplinary hearing officer... yeah - really true facts.

I did make parole back in March 2016 and it got taken from me; however, I passed the torch and gave the package to another comrades. I have gotten three majors by one asst. warden, then two by two different captains. I have this correctional officer always telling me to suck his penis, so when I filed my step 1 grievance, Darrington Unit Administrative retaliated by writing me two cases offense report I-210 on 29.0's, which stop me from making parole.