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.

[Abuse] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Texas ignores pleas for help, allows suicide

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

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

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

[Education] [Darrington Unit] [Texas]

Kicked out of school for no reason

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

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

[Abuse] [Beto I Unit] [Texas]

Assault, writeups and "lost" property in Texas

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

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

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

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

Noxious Gas and Hot Air in Estelle

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

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

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

[Medical Care] [Eastham Unit] [Texas]

Rat Infestation and Black Mold

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

[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.