Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

Got legal skills? Help out with writing letters to appeal censorship of MIM Distributors by prison staff. help out is a media institution run by the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. Here we collect and publicize reports of conditions behind the bars in U.$. prisons. Information about these incidents rarely makes it out of the prison, and when it does it is extremely rare that the reports are taken seriously and published. This historical record is important for documenting patterns of abuse, and also for informing people on the streets about what goes on behind the bars.

We hope this information will inspire people to take action and join the fight against the criminal injustice system. While we may not be able to immediately impact this particular instance of abuse, we can work to fundamentally change the system that permits and perpetuates it. The criminal injustice system is intimately tied up with imperialism, and serves as a tool of social control on the homeland, particularly targeting oppressed nations.

[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.

[Abuse] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]

Following Protocol on Dead End Path

Greetings MIM/ULK,

I am writing this short letter to send you some updates to sever addresses from the Texas Activist Pack that have changed since printing. They are as follows:

… All of my copies of complaints with cover letters to TDCJ Executive Director, PO Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342 have been forwarded to the Ombudsman, who, in turn, sent me a pre-listed sheet stating they “do not accept mail from inmates.” It’s a dead end loop with this address.

… I want to give you an indication of what I am going through at the hands of these pigs. I have been subjected to sexual harassment by homosexual correctional officers. And when I complained, I was punished by the corrupt security staff Captain Cory Webb for making a false complaint.

All my efforts to contact the free world authorities - County Sheriff and District Prosecuting Attorney to file a criminal complaint of my Civil Rights violations have been stopped. Copies of this coimplaint to Governor Gregg Abbot, Senator John Whitmire, U.S. Department of Justice, Washington DC have gone unanswered with the cover letter. I am being censored??

Finally out of retaliation I am deliberately being harassed, retaliated against, charged with false TDCJ policy violations and straight out lies by the grievance investigator(s) Doyle Davis. My mail is being delayed and tampered with by the law library staff Garland Goodrum who processes the indigent mail – because I have filed many grievances against the medical department, security staff and his drinking buddy Doyle Davis.

The medical department is deliberately delaying my sick call requests up to 40 days before I am seen by a medical provider. The medical department is being managed by staffing nurses that are NOT registered by the Texas Medical Board or the Texas Nurses Board. I do have documentation (letters) to prove this.

At the moment I am seeking legal representation to file a 1983 Bivens Civil Complaint for the sexual harassement and deliberate denial and delay for medical care at this unit. I will at a later date send you an update on these two issues. Look forward to receiving the next ULK issue.

[Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas]

Repression in Connally Unit Texas

I recently landed here on Connally Unit, and I can already see tha tthe unit is sliding back to its old ways. I have only been here 2 weeks, and showers only get ran on one card which is 4 days, and not on the other card, so that’s 4 days of showers and 4 days of no showers,. I’m in “G5” which is closed custody (lockdown with a celly), it’s one step less than ad seg.

We getting jacked on “sides” and some of our main course on breakfast, such as we get one or 2 pancakes when we are supposed to get 3, plus 2 sides, when we only getting one side. It’s not every breakfast, but 2 out of 3 breakfasts we get jacked. In 2 weeks we only got milk twice (watered down), and never gotten coffee at all, most chows are no drinks available.

We’re locked in a cell all day, so everything comes to us. Rec been ran 1 time in 2 weeks. I only been here 2 weeks, came from Bill Clements, which that unit has turned completely around for the better, but it took a dead person to be found in high security to prompt a change and a outside force to ensure plus a infestation of rats. I’m only allowed to grieve one issue every 7 days, so it’s a slow process on getting change started.

[Medical Care] [Texas]

Medical Danger Forces Complacency

I am a type 1 diabetic and whenever you get a major disciplinary case in administrative segregation, you will be on commissary restriction (can’t buy any food) and will lose your custody level for 60 to 90 days. So for 60 to 90 days you can’t buy food from commissary.

Now being a type 1 diabetic, whenever my blood sugar goes low the only way to treat it is with a source of sugar. Even if I have some commissary in my cell because I lost my level 1 custody level they can and will take all of my level 1 property (all my food) until I get my level 1 back, which can take 60 to 90 days.

Now that means I am in a cell with no food. In that situation I can’t treat a severe hypoglycemic reaction (low blood sugar) and waiting for help can cause me to have seizures and go unconscious. It can lead to a coma or death if untreated. And because of this I stay out of the way so I won’t catch a case to put myself in that kind of situation.

I also know you can’t do that to me. I have protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act. I don’t know how to challenge this so they can change the policies across TDCJ as a whole. I can only think about all the other type 1 diabetics in TDCJ getting fucked over like this. My family sends me money to make sure that in the event I have a low blood sugar I can treat this. I can’t do anything about this. This is part of what being a diabetic is.

[Medical Care] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]

Medical Copay Revolving Door

I am writing with a texa$ prison medical copay update. Here on the Alfred D. Hughes plantation, the medical department’s Senior Practice Manager Valencia Pollard-Fortson’s attitude is that every procedure is a valid charge. Aspirin, bandaids, blood sugar checks, clipper shave, whatever. You’re going to be charged $100. Her idea is if you charge 10 people a day for sick call, that’s $900. Because only one will do the paperwork for 90 days to get his money back. Now they’ve gone a farther step.

In Ad-Seg/SHU building, we cannot buy fingernail clippers off store. To be caught with a pair is a major offense. We have to submit a sick call request to medical to trim our nails. Even diabetics who must keep toenails trimmed. Well, that sick call costs $100.

Say January 1st you go to medical for chronic care. It’s charged $100. Then you go January 15th and again January 28th. You file a grievance Step One with medical about copay of January 1st. It’s denied February 10th. You file a Step Two appeal to Regional Medical Supervisor. It’s granted March 13th. Your monthly invoice will not show up until April 15th showing March 13th $100 was refunded for medical copay of January 1st. BUT a new charge for January 15th appears and the $100 is taken on March 13th. You start all over again, stretching out for months just like I’m doing now on a charge from March 2016. These pigs are determined to keep your money.

MIM(Prisons) responds: There are many tactics the state uses to enact medical neglect, and to create and exacerbate long-term health problems for prisoners. In some states they just throw the sick call in the trash. But in Texas they are frustrating people using the financial angle. Our Texas Campaign Pack has instructions for how to fight against the $100 medical copay. We can use this information to make ourselves a little bit stronger while we struggle to overthrow the horrible social and economic system that makes such an exorbitant copay possible in the first place.

[Organizing] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 56]

No TX Pack Tactics Have Worked

I greatly regret to have to inform you that my Under Lock & Key No. 51 (July/August 2016) was denied and appealed here on the unit level on 14 September 2016. That said denial was upheld on 3 October 2016. I look forward to each issue of Under Lock & Key and I already miss this one dearly.

I would like to inform you that I have tried several things listed in the Texas Pack but to no avail. As for the Offender Grievance Program/Administrative Remedies, there are no such things in existence. But what we do have is Administrative Criminal Victimization. I have written the U.S. Department of Justice concerning many issues and I get the same response letter every time. No help.

I’ve also tried going through the ARRM Division Administrator concerning the denial of a Step 2 grievance but got no response. I have also written to several of the contacts that are listed in the Texas Pack and have gotten no response from them either. I have also filed a Sworn Complaint with the District Attorney here in Coryell County and got no response.

You have educated me a great deal on how to stand when nothing else I have tried seems to work, and these people are not open to reasoning of any type. I just wanted for you to know that I haven’t been sitting in here doing nothing after requesting the information that you have sent me to date. I am one of the very few that are willing to stand up for themselves when his or her Rights are being violated and here is the situation that you just have to understand: today’s inmate/offender is broken. The State has broken the spirit of those that had one to begin with and they are content with the way things are and the way that they are being treated. And that, I am sorry to say, is a cold, hard fact.

In Solidarity, Spark Plug

MIM(Prisons) responds: The U.$. prison system has been somewhat effective at breaking the fighting spirit of people it deems threatening to the status quo, as this writer and many others in Texas attest. But our present system just can’t help pushing the limits of how much it abuses people. In response to this abuse, new people are turned into revolutionaries every day. And once you know, you can’t unknow. Texas comrades need to be there to direct the discontent into productive projects as it arises, lest these potential comrades fall to defeatism.

We knew going into it that the tactics in the Texas Pack are likely ineffective on an individual level. But some people have seen some relief, even though it’s sporadic. An important aspect of this project is that everyone who signs up for a Texas Pack also gets a subscription to this newsletter. While they are seeking remedy through the administrative and legal channels outlined in the Texas Pack, they also have the opportunity to learn more about the reasoning behind the project, and the other campaigns United Struggle from Within and MIM(Prisons) are working on. Then through the pages of ULK we can develop our struggle on a broader scale than just filing grievances and writing letters. Keep on struggling! Keep your input coming!

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