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] [Connally Unit] [Texas]

Fighting TB Exposure and Medical Neglect in Texas

I did receive your 2 page legal packet a while back and am very disappointed that none of the legal packets I've requested were sent to me. Your small packet is correct and I know it but I still need the things requested. I also need the name and address (again) in which I am to send donations to. It's wiser to put that into in everything you produce off the rip. I've been suffering retaliations that have consisted of depriving me of my property for the sole purpose of destruction so don't waste time, please, with your actions.

You people talk about being down with our struggle, which is real, and I thank you for actually being a part of the struggle. My struggle has changed for the worse as the prison officials conspired with medical staff to expose me to a prisoner who had active tuberculosis in which I've contracted the air borne disease. As a retaliation, I've been neglected medically due to my legal position and advocacy. This shit's real down here in Texas. I'm suffering any and every retaliative adverse action you can think of, from staff placing gang hits on me an attempting to bring gang members contraband as they've duly attempted to orchestrate the hit or allowing it to take place, to seizures of my property for the purpose of deprivation and destruction, to exposing me to tuberculosis infected prisoners whom I've contracted the air borne disease from, to medically neglecting to treat me as a "TB" carrier which is causing my symptoms to worsen due to medical neglect as a conspired action to punish me.

I have been advised by numerous staff and medical personnel that if I will drop my lawsuit and stop filing grievances, I will be given medical treatment, and IF I continue to file legal work (lawsuits and grievances), I will be left to die in this prison system as they will continue to deny me medical care or treatment. This shit's Real Comrades. This ain't no Game!! My Life is targeted and I'm (still) fighting but I need (Real) distance not just talk of assistance or advocacy. I'm a good standing member of the "Texas Prison Justice League" for over 2 years now and they ain't allowing me to participate in any of the ongoing programs as many "white offenders" are allowed to participate in.

I'm the same exact kind of Black Man 2Pac Shakur was so "still I rise" in my struggle, but I need Real help cuz, not just fancy intros. Real talk! Breeds correct revolutionary actions.

I need your newly upgraded version of the (Texas grievance packet) cause my property was destroyed. I need every piece of legal material I've priorly requested. I need real contacts to serious contacts whom will contact me back and help me right now. Fuck ACLU and NAACP cause they are bullshitters whom just talk and they are money hungry and don't care. My life is on the line literally and I need the name of the guy whom filed the lawsuit against Connelly Unit, concerning rec denials in which y'all advertise in Under Lock & Key March/April 2016, No. 49 because I'm now on Connally Unit being retaliated on and I need more info on what kind of unit I'm dealing with. I have Black Panther running through my bloodline so my fight is more than meaningful and more than personal.

I'd like to join his lawsuit and push it to a class action to add the inadequate medical care system and the failure to protect from prisoner on prisoner assaults and staff assault which I'm currently experiencing. I'd like to help the prisoner step his legal skill up. He's wasting valuable time, wasting paper and effort and with 10 or 8 more civil rights groups who (say) they are about that life, when they really aren't. I can show him what he needs to do is file a writ of mandamus after he amends his complaint and adds regional directors and executive director Brad Livingston and file an injunction order against them two added parties. He's taken the steps to file the civil suit, but he needs a little help pushing it. Concerning these matters, "We are walking alone"!!

Comrades, I'm coughing and having severe night sweats because of the tuberculosis that is not being treated, so don't waste time with delays. My life is important and my life is on the line every single day as I live this struggle that all of you talk about thing down with. If you could see my struggles live a lot of you would cry in tears because the system I'm fighting is so, so fucked up and is nothing close to rehabilitations.

I've watched many, many comrades fall off and give up due to retaliations and racist influences. I fear no man!!, and I don't just advocate for me alone. I'm about my money, but I ain't got the money yet, nor change, so I keep going harder. I don't have shit!! No pen pal, no support system, no money. However, I do have the heart of a lion, the mind of a fox and the character of a kind. I need (real help). I also need all of the legal things I've requested in order to keep my fight alive. I'm not attempting to be rude, but I am real.

[Abuse] [Censorship] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]

Texas confiscating magazines more than 6 months from print date

I am writing now to inform you of a new tactic TDCJ is using. We have been on lockdown and yesterday they searched and ransacked what little property we have. They confiscated 16 magazines from me, all political including 5 issues of ULK. I was told to throw them away or I would receive a contraband case. The reason is because the magazines were 6 months from date of print. I told them I contested this because I have never seen the rule posted anywhere and it is not in the offender handbook. They got angry with me when I told them I am still entitled to due process and that the policy should be posted somewhere. They gave me a pink slip that stated an officer confiscated 16 magazines because they were 6 months from date of print. Later the sgt called me out and asked to see my pink slip. He tore it up and returned the magazines.

Out of 100 people out there I was the only one who protested magazine confiscation and risked a disciplinary case. My magazines and issues of ULK are important to me because they are a tool I have to educate interested people. So have you heard of this policy in TDCJ before? Has anyone else wrote to you about 6 month old magazine confiscation? I bet Prison Legal News would be interested in this. So I just wanted to inform you of this. Something about it strikes me as wrong. A lot of peoples various magazines have been thrown away in recent days. I am in slavery and work for TDCJ for free so I have no income. When my family spends 40-50 bucks on a subscription that is a lot of money to me. I am also very thankful for ULK. Please look into this issue.

[Abuse] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas]

Hostil Environment, Grievances Tossed at Polunsky

While incarcerated here at the Polunsky Unit, G4's Level Offenders are repetitively being harassed, in the form of stop & frisk which generally lead to being restrained and to PHD (lock-up) on bogus and trumped up disciplinary infraction. Almost all these events happen while proceeding to the chow hall for breakfast 0400 hour. Whereas 95 percent of prisoners are Black offenders being harassed for no apparent reason beside wanting to eat.

Also, Prison Officials have created a hostile environment and continue to endanger prisoners lives through their constant threats & abuse of power to lockdown mass of inmates behind one prisoner who violated a single infraction. These forms of social control have lead to prisoners policing prisoners and threatening each other with physical violence if prisoner cause unit to go on lockdown.

The grievance system here does not work for the prisoner. When filing such grievance that can stand on its own merit, it is hardly ever we will receive an answer, or for that matter it being acknowledged. It is common practice for the Grievance Investigator to throw-away grievances and deliberately disregard the rules regulations and the safety of prisoners.

Therefore, I have taken the matter up with my family and asked them and offenders to have their family to contact TDCJ OMBUDSMAN about grievances being thrown away.

It is the responsibility of the OFFENDER GRIEVANCE PROGRAM, ATTORNEY GENERAL AND REGIONAL DIRECTOR about the conspiratorial practice to violate inmate's First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment Rights to file grievance and your administrative exhausted. This report of prisoners grievance only precede me a standardized response that amounted to nothing. The prisoners are not so much afraid to file lawsuits, but they know that the deck is stacked against them so why waste $400 filing fee. Goes to say, "if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything."

[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]

Denied Showers and Clean Clothing at Coffield

On the Coffield unit we are currently on our bi-annual lockdown/shakedown. During this time, we only receive showers three times a week, with clothing, socks and boxers only issued on a prisoners shower day (Mon, Wed, and Fri). However, while policy allows showers and clothing only three times a week (with the exception of lockdown workers), prisoners are required to be issued clean socks and boxers daily. The administration is failing in this regard.

To top matters off, prisoners are being limited to three minutes in the shower before the water is cut off. This adds to a total of 9 minutes of shower time over a seven day period. Factor into that situation the Texas heat and you have a recipe for ripe, unhygienic, hyper thermal prisoners roasting, possibly to death, in lockdown cells.

I have written to the building major about this and will file a grievance in the next few days. Enclosed is a copy of my letter to the major and I will keep you updated on any grievances and/or other feelings.

Major De La Rosa
RE: Offender showers, necessity issue, and impermissible offender conduct

Dear Sir:

On 01 June and 03 June, offenders on P3 were given only three minutes to shower. After the elapsed time, officer Garcia ordered the offenders working in the necessity issue room to turn off the water supply and told the offenders remaining in the shower to exit after the water had been cut off.

Clothing was issued on a one-for-one basis, which meant that each offender only received one pair of boxers and one pair of socks on their shower day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).

Allowing offenders only three minutes to shower, for a total of nine minutes over a seven day period, is unreasonable, unhygienic, and ruing extreme summer temperatures, potentially deadly.

Policy requires that offenders be given clean boxers and clean socks seven days a week. Under the current practice, offenders are given undergarments only three days a week.

A.D. 03.02 "Impermissible Offender Conduct" prohibits any offender from granting or denying access to any activity, which includes showers. By ordering the offenders in the necessity issue room to turn off the water supply, denying shower access to the offenders in the shower room, officer Garcia has impermissibly recruited offenders as enforcers.

The building is on lockdown schedule and it is understood that some activities will be restricted. However, showers, necessity issue, and the impermissible use of offender enforcers are not included in any of the policies that have been suspended.

[prisoner name]
[Abuse] [Censorship] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]

Texas harassing jailhouse lawyers

I am writing to send you back the unconfirmed mail form showing that I have not received any of the letters/documents on these dates in the mail. My mail from you and other places like your organization is not coming to me because the information is very much useful to me due to the upcoming civil suit so if the mail isn't legal then I may not get it just like the dates you sent my mail and I did not receive.

I'm a jailhouse lawyer for National Lawyer Guild out of New York so you can pretty much see why I'm having problems getting indigent supplies so I can send out legal and regular mail. This unit is harassing/retaliating against me for complaints and grievances against the unit administration. I was placed in 11 bldg transient being treated like I committed a crime and was handcuffed everywhere the officers took me and took all my recreating inside/outside, chapel services, law library sessions, medical appointments, and kept me in a cell for 24 hrs for 33 days. I'm still being denied to see a medical provider since April 2016.

This unit is overcrowded in violation of Ruiz v. Estelle court order/ final judgment and has reached our 100% capacity. I'll be very lucky if you get this letter and mail form that you sent me.

[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 56]

Struggling for Unity Through Study

The real task before us is to convince prisoners that struggling for pecuniary aims solely is to struggle for nothing more than a piece of the imperialist pig pie. I myself don't give a fuck as to whether prisoners get paid or not, just as I was not concerned with the whining "Occupy Wall Street" labor aristocracy complaining when their opulent pig lifestyles were compromised by the "Great Recession" of '08. Good! But I am encouraged there are some stirrings of dissent from Texas prisoners regarding conditions of confinement. It is before us now to harness and direct this dissent into revolutionary channels.

Since beginning this letter I have been approached by a prisoner housed in my wing. This prisoner, "Ivo," avowed themselves to be communist. Ivo receives ULK. Ivo was born in Honduras, but raised in the United $tates. Ivo is a Guevarista. I have initiated and opened a channel of dialog with Ivo and a Black prisoner, "Mississippi." Mississippi has preferred access to the MLM - MIM materials I have available. I have broached the subject of forming a study group with these two. The idea was received rather coolly by both. The three of us are to meet this weekend to discuss it. Ivo says they have serious reservations concerning the MIM line. When we meet I will inquire of their position regarding MIM's 3 main principles. As for me, as it is for MIM, these principles are fundamentally decisive.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We print this letter as an example of the hard work required to build unity. This comrade demonstrates how to build common ground with others, and then studying together to discover areas of disagreement and build greater unity. Of course there will be times when we find that we have disagreements too significant to continue working together. For us (and for this writer) those questions are summarized in our dividing line questions. Any other differences we consider to be non-divisive and things we can struggle through or put to the side in the interests of united action and the greater anti-imperialist movement. We also need to keep in mind that those who disagree with these dividing line questions are not enemies just because of that disagreement. At this stage in the anti-imperialist struggle these folks are still potentially valuable allies in the united front against imperialism, even if they are not communists.

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

Stories of Regular Threats Prisoners Face at Estelle

The 11th day of May, 2016, one Nigerian prison guard, Chinoso Uguwu, refused to provide a cell ingress and egress as required. Uguwu and I became embroiled in a heated verbal confrontation.

Uguwu: "I fuck your mother! You are goat's penis, fucker of your own mother!" No biggie. Just another day in the life...
But, Uguwu: "I promise you this, Boko Haram will kill you! This I promise!"

I immediately went to the picket officer working my assigned wing relaying the incident to them, asking them to identify Uguwu as Uguwu refused to identify himself.

The picket officer could not identify Uguwu.

En route to the midday feeding I approached one Sgt. R. Eisneros informing the Sgt as to the incident at issue, asking the Sgt to identify Uguwu. Cisneros assured me I would be provided Uguwu's name posthaste.

Returning from the midday feeding I approached an officer working my assigned wing's corridor ("The Gauntlet"), officer G. Flowers. I informed Flowers that Uguwu had threatened to have me executed at the hands of Boko Haram, a Nigerian affiliate of Al-Qeada. (None of the amerikan prison guards was familiar with Boko Haram). At this juncture Uguwu interrupted stating to Flowers, 3 hours after the fact, they had written a disciplinary report on me for threatening to inflict physical harm on Uguwu, a TDCJ officer. Flowers then did restrain my hands behind my back and began to lead me to an isolation cell in an isolation wing.

En route to isolation, Flowers led me past the 1/8 mile "Gauntlet's" central desk. Where I was accosted by a lieutenant and two of the lieutenant's henchmen: J. Pittcock and L. Bowers. Upon arriving at the central desk I was immediately met with threats of physical assault by the lieutenant, Pittcock and Bowers. (Bowers seemed to be fixated by the fact I was in restraints.) After acknowledging their threats by stating I didn't care what flew out de pie hole. Whatever de thinkin' 'bout doin' done been tried before. I ain't gonna say de won't do it, but I promised de wouldn't get away with it. Yadda, yadda, yadda... In response the lieutenant stated: "I don't give a fuck what's on your travel card." (Being a "Ruiz Litigator, Litigious/Radical Offender" is both a blessing and a bane. This is the bane.) They, the lieutenant, Pittcock, and Bowers, would escort me to isolation themselves, relieving Flowers while promising me the "ass whoopin' of my life" once arriving at the isolation wing.

I'm an old hand at this and am good at exhibiting a nonplussed demeanor in the face of such adversity, but ice cold trepidation was running through my veins. I thought the end was here.

Before arriving at the isolation wing I was escorted to the prison infirmary per a pre-isolation physical. Throughout the physical the lieutenant, Pittcock, and Bowers described in graphic detail the imminent beating I was to receive, Bowers going so far as to tightening the manacles restraining my hands behind my back to a painful degree.

The attending nurse during this physical would not clear me for isolation placement due to high blood pressure. (I am currently being treated for low blood pressure. I was very pissed and very afraid. Fight or flight mode). Pittcock ordered the physical to end instructing the nurse to write me up for disobeying an order for not lowering my blood pressure!

Gotta luv it!

Once arriving at the isolation wing I found it difficult to concentrate due to apprehension and all the commotion in the isolation area. Seems my arrival was anticipated. Miraculously, I was deposited in an isolation cell unmolested, though Pittcock lingered to inform me, had they been in charge they would've had me "aired out." I responded I had fully expected such, feigning disappointment.

About an hour after being placed in isolation the lieutenant appeared - apologizing! (the blessing) The lieutenant instructed I would be released from isolation and allowed to return to my assigned housing location after shift change as they did not want me to return to my wing while Uguwu was still in attendance; and a disciplinary action would not be pursued against me per the incident at issue.

Approximately 14:30 hrs, I was released form the isolation cell, but rather than being allowed to return to my assigned housing unit, I was placed in an administrative segregation shower located in the isolation wing. I remained in the Ad-Seg shower until 21:30 per the orders of Sgt. K. Owens and Lt. W. Wyatt. This shower was damp, inundated with black mold and reeked of mildew and urine. It was like being confined to an old gas station bathroom along Route 66.

I was served the evening meal there. The 28th day of May 2016, at the evening feeding, a Nigerian officer working the dining room serving line absolutely refused to serve me a dinner tray. I then noticed Uguwu in close proximity surveying the scene. I then went to a kitchen Sgt. who did provide me an evening meal. As I was partaking of the evening meal Uguwu approached me again threatening: "I am coming for you, and when I get you, don't cry."

I informed the kitchen Sgt. and, of course, filed an administrative grievance outlining Uguwu's transgressions. As of this writing I have yet to be notified of any remedial action taken.

As I said, another day in the life...

The 2nd day of June 2016, Officer Okocha threatened to pepper spray me for attempting to read Okocha's name plaque per forthcoming administrative grievance. Okocha pulled and aimed a canister of pepper spray at my visually impaired eyes, ostensibly because I was too close (approx 5 ft.) to Okocha. During this encounter, Okocha was screaming unintelligibly attracting the attention of a Sgt. that ordered Okocha to stand down.

These are common occurrences at the Estelle Unit. A hospital unit housing many disabled and impaired prisoners, infamously for assaulting and abusing the prisoners assigned here!

[Environmentalism] [Pack Unit] [Texas]

Pack Unit Violates Ground Water Monitoring Law

I have papers showing that the prison on this unit violated the Ground Water Rule. TDCJ Pack Unit failed to collect the required number of triggered source bacteriological samples for fecal indicator monitoring of the ground water system during the last year. This monitoring is required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Drinking Water. They are in violation of the drinking water all over the system. I wrote the U.S. Department of Justice Special Litigation Section. I got a letter from the Chief of that Department, no results.

[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]

Unsanitary, Dangerous, Health-Threatening Conditions at Coffield Unit

To: Head Warden Cato, Coffiel Unit

Re: Unconstitutional Conditions of Confinement at the TDCJ/Coffield Unit, Institutional Division

The Conditions as described herein should be obvious to the trained eye of professional Correctional Staff. These conditions are longstanding and pervasive. I respectfully request to not be retaliated against for the exercise of my constitutional rights. It is well noted in every Circuit and the Supreme Court that "prison officials may not retaliate against or harass an inmate because of his exercise of his First Amendment right to seek redress of grievance."

I. Unsanitary Conditions in Chowhall

The conditions in the chowhall are unsanitary. The spoons, trays and cups are not properly washed and sanitized before and after each use. The trays often have standing water in them, the spoons are greasy and often have food residue on them. The chowhall floor is filthy and there are puddles of standing water on the floor on a regular basis. The staff and inmates who are serving food do not wear gloves. The tables are not properly wiped and sanitized.

The chowhall is known to be infested by cockroaches, mice and birds. The birds are known to eat the cornbread out of the pans in the baking area, and to defecate on the cornbread. It is believed that security cameras in the baking and kitchen areas confirm this. The floor drains in the cooking area are known to back up with raw sewage.

These unsanitary conditions, individually and collectively, may be conducive to the spread of food borne illnesses; these conditions pose a threat to the health of inmates at the Coffield Unit.

II. Sleep Deprivation

The policies of TDCJ/Coffield Unit contribute to and cause the sleep deprivation of inmates. Sleep is recognized as a basic human need. TDCJ's system-wide policy of having Correctional Staff conduct late-night bed-bunk counts deliberately causes sleep deprivation.

Between 11:00 PM and 2:00 AM, inmates are awakened by a Correctional Officer, and are asked to present their Prison Identification Card, or to recite their number.

Furthermore, several times throughout the night, the guards in the Control Picket, or "Rotunda," are blaring announcements on the intercom loudspeakers. This disturbs inmates from their sleep.

Finally, Coffield begins feeding breakfast between 2:00 AM and 2:30 AM. Feeding time may run until 4:00 AM. If an inmate goes to have breakfast they may lose an hour of sleep, or possibly more. They are forced by this ridiculous schedule to choose between sleep or food.

Then between 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM, Coffield begins showering. Thus causing the loss of at least another hour of sleep.

Therefore, because of the bed-bunk counts, loudspeaker blaring, breakfast and showering schedules it is near impossible to get even 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. This sleep deprivation poses a serious risk of physical and psychological harm to inmates.

III. Overcrowding

The cells at the Coffield Unit are too small for double occupancy. The cells were only designed for single occupancy. Hence it follows that the day-rooms are overcrowded and must serve double the number of inmates for which they were designed.

Inmates at Coffield in the main building are confronted with the reality that overcrowding is omnipresent within the confines of the prison. This overcrowding has an adverse effect on all the day-to-day operations of the prison.

The cells at the Coffield Unit and the other older model units have an area of only forty-five square feet, with only twenty-one and a half square feet of usable floor space. So cramped are such cells, that two persons standing, must squeeze by each other in order to pass. This cramped closeness of confined persons causes tension and sometimes leads to fights and violence.

These cells are not equipped with a table or bench to sit on. The top bunks are not equipped with a ladder or steps to assist inmates in climbing up and down. This is an obvious safety hazard.

Some of the obvious psychological effects of such overcrowded confinement are, i.e. the spread of disease, the enhancement of stress, tension, hostility, depression and physical and psychological deterioration.

These negative effects due to overcrowding run counter to the process of rehabilitation, and are the cause of serious behavioral problems.

IV. Day-rooms/Ingress-Egress

The day-rooms are overcrowded, they lack the necessary area required for the number of inmates they house; they also lack sufficient seating. The bathroom facilities in the day-rooms are inadequate: there is only one urinal, one sink and NO toilet.

Hourly ingress and egress moves are not conducted. Per TDCJ Policy, these moves are to be done hourly. However, often times inmates are trapped in cramped, overcrowded and noisy day-rooms without adequate bathroom facilities for 2 or 3 hours at a time without being given the opportunity to go to their cell.

The day-room's whole back wall window panels do not have tint of shade to guard against the hot bright sun. The sun is magnified by the glass panels and shines directly into the day-room, blinding inmates and turning the day-room into a very hot and muggy torture chamber. There are no fans to circulate the air. There are no screens on the windows to keep mosquitoes out. Mosquitoes are carriers of disease.

V. Lack or Regular Exercise/Outdoor Exercise

Inmates at the Coffield Unit on P3 & P4 are not afforded regular opportunities for exercise, and they are not afforded regular/any opportunities for outdoor exercise, and access to fresh air and sunshine.

Regular exercise, fresh air and sunshine are basic human needs. They are necessary for maintaining one's physical and psychological health.

By contrast, inmates in medium custody are afforded regular outdoor exercise during the afternoon. Likewise inmates in P5 and P6 receive outdoor exercise daily. Only inmates in P3-P4 are singled out and denied outdoor exercise.

Furthermore, per TDCJ Policy, there is supposed to be a recreation schedule posted for inmates to consult. There is no such schedule posted in the cell blocks at Coffield.

VI. Lack of Exercise Opportunities for Inmates with Chronic Medical Problems/Disabilities and Aging Inmates

There are no Exercise Programs for older inmates (late forties and older) or for inmates with disabilities or other medical conditions.

When gym, a.k.a. "indoor recreation" is called, it is extremely overcrowded and it is difficult to get any exercise at all. All Coffield offers is basketball, handball and an overcrowded universal weight machine.

These recreational policies systematically discriminate against and deprive older inmates and inmates with health problems and disabilities from being able to get any exercise at all.

The inmates do not even have an opportunity to walk or jog for thirty minutes to an hour, 3 or 4 times a week.

Inmates who are older, as well as inmates who suffer from chronic health conditions/disabilities form a recognizable class of inmates who are protected under the "Equal Protection Clause", and also the "Americans with a Disability Act".

The discriminatory conduct perpetrated by TDCJ/Coffield Unit are actionable in Federal Court. Furthermore, the conditions described herein are in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution, and constitute Cruel and Unusual punishments.

VII. Conclusion

It is obvious that the Conditions of Confinement deprive inmates of the minimal civilized measures of life's necessities, and subjects them to unreasonable health and safety risks.

These conditions described herein are longstanding and pervasive; they do pose a serious risk of harm to all inmates at the Coffied Unit.

Copies of this letter have been sent to:
1. Senator John Whitmire
2. ARRM, Division, Huntsville, TX
3. U.S. Attorney General, United States Department of Justice, (USDoJ)
4. Human Rights Watch, Austin, TX
5. Texas Inmate Family Association
6. Brad Livingston, Director TDCJ
[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Legal] [Wayne Scott Unit] [Texas]

Step 1 and Step 2 Grievances on Indigent Mail Campaign

Prisoner filed Step 1 grievance in March 2016:

"I file this grievance against the Texas Board of Criminal Justice's revision to the TDCJ Correspondence Rules, effective 1st October 2013. This revision restricts indigent prisoners to five one-ounce domestic letters per month and removes all references to the first 60 days that a prisoner is indigent. Prisoners retain their First Amendment right to free speech (i.e. right to be free from unjustified governmental interference with communication). This revised policy violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments. It is also contrary to standards established in Guajardo v. Estelle, 580 F.2d 748. Guajardo established that 'prison furnished postage and stationary to indigent inmates for special and attorney correspondence and give additional letters per week without waiting period but with right to recoup amounts expended during the first 60 days.' Secondly, in light that general correspondence rules touch on the rights of persons not incarcerated to receive mail, this revision also violates the Constitutional Rights of my friends and family. Finally, there is no legitimate or rational basis (besides administrative convenience) for the increased communication restrictions on indigent prisoners. It is unreasonable, and unrelated to any legitimate interest in security, order or rehabilitation. Thank you for your understanding."

L. Doyle Sr. Warden Wayne Scott Unit responds:

"Investigation of your complaint has found that Ms. Grays, Law Library Supervisor is adhering to the Access to Courts, ATC-034 (Rev.6). No policy violations notes. No action."

Prisoner filed Step 2 grievance in March 2016:

"My grievance is against the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, NOT Ms. Gray the Law Library Supervisor the individual. My complaint in Step 1 was not resolved."

R. Pool, Asst. Program Administrator, Access to Courts, Counsel and Public Officials responds to Step 2 grievance:

"Step 1 has addressed your complaint. The Texas Board of Criminal Justice approved a revision to BP-03.91, Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules, on 08/23/13 that states, "... An indigent offender may use indigent postage to send five (5) one-ounce domestic letters per month to general correspondents and five items per week to legal or special correspondents... Funds expended by the TDCJ for postage and stationary for indigent offender's shall be recouped by the TDCJ from funds later deposited in the offender's ITF account." No further action is warranted."