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] [Garza East Unit] [Texas]

Fabricated Disciplinary Reports in Texas

First of all, thank you for your work on the behalf of prisoners here in Texas, as well as everywhere.

I wanted to inform you of a trend I've noticed here in my unit of ignoring our rights when going through disciplinary procedures. When we are being charged with a violation, we are ordered to sign on the place to waive our rights to a 24-hour notice of our hearing. We are also not given an opportunity to circle an option to attend our hearing. Both of these are rights that are being ignored. The cases are then run with no opportunity for us to speak in our own defense. (See documentation.)

Furthermore, when a grievance is written, at both Steps 1 and 2, they are returned with no investigation done and a standard answer. (See documentation.) Note the X's where I am ordered to sign, the absence of me circling that I did or did not want to attend my hearing, the almost word for word similarity of the Step 1 and 2 answers. Also, on the second report they circled no to show that I declined attending, but I did not circle "no."

Just thought your readers might want to be aware of what they face. I would still like to receive a Texas Activist Pack as I am using a cellmate's and he is leaving. Thank you.

TX Step 1 Step 2
Step 1 and Step 2 grievances regarding due process for disciplinary.
Disciplinary reports showing manipulation and forgery, forcing prisoner to waive eir right to a hearing and due process access.
[Release] [Prison Labor] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]

Can't Parole Because No Disciplinaries

Originally, I wrote you being interested in the study. But I have looked up the meaning of "Maoist" it says communism, and the things I have heard about communism hasn't been in good light. Can you explain to me what a "Maoist" is? Cause you see, I know in fact that dictionaries can be misleading. And further, from what I'm reading of your introduction letter, you are fighting for the right things. Besides, I'm down with fighting against any tyrannical system and political repression.

Texas is truely a state of political repression. They have started by taking tobacco, then porn magz, then stationary, & now action pictures that don't show any sexual parts. The parole system is monopolizing and slavery oriented. You will find that most parolees have had many major disciplinary cases in the last 6 months to a year & still was allowed to parole. But those prisoners who are working, doing what they are suppose to be doing, and staying out of trouble and case free are mostly being denied parole. Parole denials almost always use the same excuse each time, but the most extraordinary is the ones where prisoners are denied due to so called "manipulating" the system because they've remained disciplinary case free for 2-4 years. They say it's impossible for a prisoner to do that because the system is made so that you will get disciplinaries. What!?!

So, I find that I'm interested in being a part of your movement. Especially concerning the "Indigent Supplies & Mailing limitation." They have gone from 5 letters and supplies per week to once a month. Talk about repressions.

[Abuse] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]

Texas, McConnell Medical Neglect and No Due Process

Here at the McConnell Unit things have been real tough for us prisoners. In January 2016 an inmate died of an aneurism after being denied medical attention. During the investigation they blamed on the inmate that he refused medical attention. That's a lie because the inmate is the one who requested medical attention.

I myself on 28 January 2016, at around 1 p.m. all of a sudden almost blacked out while I was in the dayroom. Immediately my whole body broke out in a sweat, fever, trembling, chills, broke out in fever blisters on my fingers, real bad nausea, on my feet broke out in red patches, and my eyesight would get very blurry on and off. I was allowed to go to the infirmary. At the infirmary I was first seen Nurse Vicky Crumbliss, who, after looking at my ears and throat, was very alarmed. She said that they were very very red. It looked like I was coming down with something. But what I'm about to tell you is what's most shocking of all.

The nurse then tried to convince me that I was a diabetic. When she couldn't convince of that, she went and brought another nurse by the name of Ms. Snyder. When they couldn't convince me that I was a diabetic (which until this day I'm not) they went and got the P.A. Echavarry (who's got a grudge against me because I've 2 different complaints with the Texas Board of Examiners in Austin, TX). Well, to make a long, long story short, I was forced to take 500mgs of Metaformin for 4 days because supposedly I was a diabetic. But on February 1 I was seen by another P.A., Ms. Corbett. She took me off the meds. She said, straight out, "you are not diabetic!" She didn't know what I was sick of but yet refused to do any lab work to determine what I was sick of.

But on February 3 after one of brothers called to complain that I was being denied the proper medical attention I again saw P.A. Echavarry who was very pissed off, and supposedly scheduled me for some lab work (that was not done until this past March 17, 2016). Which is kind of too late now because I've gotten better from whatever had me sick which started on January 28 and lasted for almost a month.

On a daily basis prisoners are written up on bogus disciplinary cases. For example: A friend of mine got written up a bogus case that allegedly he painted his cell table and window red and blue. Even though his cell mate spoke to Assistant Warden Putnam and confessed that he had been the one who had painted the table and cell windows, my friend still got written up and punished and they gave him restrictions on commissary, recreation, suspended contact visits, and dropped his line class status.

I helped him file both Step 1 and 2 grievances and we submitted evidence of his cellmate confessing at the disciplinary hearing. Both my friend's Step 1 and 2 grievances response stated that "there were no due process violations and that punishment was within agency guidelines."

Can you believe that? Here at the McConnell Unit we need someone to advocate for us. Our civil and constitutional rights are violated. I just helped my friend file a citizen's complaint. Hopefully that will help get back his line class. I could go, on and on. I thank you, for all of your help!

[Abuse] [Wynne Unit] [Texas]

4 Days of Confinement and Confusion

Can you tell me what the basic needs that a prison must provide you with? I'm asking because I was recently locked up in solitary confinement (PHI) for 4 days without toilet paper, light, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, or writing material. I had to eat any food with my hands, and I had never had a hearing of any kind. I was not found guilty of any infraction. Nor was I told why I was being locked up in pre-hearing detention/solitary confinement, until the 4 day when I was released from these conditions .

[Medical Care] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]

Medical Abuse in Texas

I'm writing to request information and a guide to challenge TDCJ's medical co-payment. I am dealing with them trying to retaliate against me by charging me for services that are clearly exempted, i.e. falling from the top bunk and seeking medical attention for my knee and head right afterwards. I've been serving time for over 21 years and never really needed to know how to file anything against them properly until now.

I'd also like to ask if you know of anyone, yourself or other organization, that can help me in filing a 1983 lawsuit against TDCJ for their deliberate indifference and negligence in treating me. I wrote a Step 1 grievance on January 28 telling them that I was having trouble getting in and out of the top bunk, having fallen and hurting myself a number of times, and that there was no safe way to climb up (there's no steps or ladder in these old units) and requesting a bottom bunk or to be moved out to the camp. On February 10 I fell again and wrecked my knee and slammed my head into my fan.

I sought medical attention (for which I'm being charged) and was seen as a walk-in and had an accident report done. Then was told I'd be referred to the provider and be seen in 2-3 days. They refused to give me a bottom bunk then, even though I could barely walk and couldn't get up into my top bunk. After talking to various rank and being told only medical could give me a bottom bunk (and the nurse said it had to be swollen or broken before they'd do that), and to figure it out, I took a fall that night and spasmed my back, locking it up so that I couldn't sit up or even walk. Medical assumed I was faking and told me to get up and go back to my cell and again refused me treatment. I was locked up and disciplined for three weeks and subjected to a variety of retaliations.

After I wrote all of this up and sent letters to the Warden and Office of Inspector General, they finally let me see the provider and she ordered x-rays. The x-rays showed my ankle is fractured. Although so far I'm only being treated for one, the other ankle and shin feel the same way. They've put me in a walking boot and referred me to Galvaston, and put me in a bottom bunk as far as possible in the pod. So I'm forced to climb up and down four flights of stairs multiple times a day.

I know very little about the law or proper legal issues. I'm trying to learn right now, but could really use some help. I've given up asking these writ writers in here cause they can never agree on anything. From what I can find, this is a simple, cut and dry case. I've been keeping copies of everything I've written so far, but I don't know what else to do. I don't care about "getting paid," I just want them to fix these cells like they're supposed to. There are 116 units in this system and this is the largest, yet most all the others have steps and handles and tables to get up and down the top bunks. Guys like me who are big (I'm 6'5'' tall and weigh 280 lbs - I was over 315 lbs last year) are at risk and hurting themselves and it seems like nobody cares.

[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 50]

Medical Copay Extortion Adjusted

I received the information on the study group/cells which I go over several times a night, then engage my neighbor here in Ad-Seg/SHU in good conversation. At times others quit talking, and conversation don't resume until directly after I am forced to sit down after standing on cold hard concrete a few hours. I have severe nerve damage from diabetes as well as this cement box environment. But I do hit the door at least 4 times a day to continue or expand the topics I read in past issues of ULK I have, or the more recent materials you have sent like "The Tyranny of Structurelessness" and "Commitment is the Key." I have got two young men reading many of my past issues of ULK that I have received from you and inherited from others over the years.

Forming an actual study cell on this 14-man section of the pod is hit and miss. The Security Threat Group Office has a very broad but vague description of who and what constitutes an STG member/group. And this being a highly militarized zone in central texa$ with Ft. Hood and an Air Force base nearby; many who discharged or were drummed out come to work here, with severe cases of hate toward prisoners in general. A few target anyone deemed anti-american or anti-capitalist.

What I see are quite a few who support the xenophobic racist Trump, even a few people one would not expect such as several black and mexican officers! I do not capitalize their race/color or call them New Afrikans or Chican@ because they are not to me, supporting a vile individual like Trump. I have attempted to find out why they support him. It's the rhetoric he spews that they believe in. More jobs, make america great, stronger military presence overseas, etc. Because of my reaction and comments I have lost meal trays come slop time, or been "forgotten" for medical lay in, rec or even shower time. Even my mail gets misplaced for days or given to the wrong person on another section!

Oh, an update on medical co-payment in texa$ and University of Texas Medical Board (UTMB) Healthcare. As of 1 February 2016 TDC prisoners are not charged medical copay for the dentist UNLESS it is for teeth cleaning. So texas comrades let it be known on your facilities. This came directly out of the mouth of UTMB Dentist of the Year for 2016 quoting the director of texas healthcare in TDC and the director of TDC dentistry.

As of April 2016, I am currently battling a new TDC move on medical copay. If you do win your initial grievance Step 1 or Step 2, they now go back on your records previous 24 months and look for things to charge for that were overlooked the first time. I have a grievance filed specifically countering that. When I hear a response I will inform all my comrades at MIM(Prisons).

MIM(Prisons) responds: We appreciate this comrade updating us on the medical copay campaign, and we are not surprised that TDCJ is going back thru medical records to see what they can charge for. It's just another example of the eternal dead end of reformism. As revolutionaries, we work on reforms presently so we can lay the groundwork for our more broad political organizing. We recognize the need for a complete change in the system that capitalizes off of humyn suffering, and we are always striving toward this goal.

Subscribers should keep sending us updates on the several campaigns we are supporting all across the United $nakes.

[Abuse] [Stringfellow Unit] [Texas]

Old Construction Contaminating the Air

Since early January there has been a lot of reconstruction going in in this old building. A lot! There is dust and other materials in the air from the workers scraping old paints from the walls, and the grinding of metal, etc. Needless to say, these acts have polluted the air. Not many guys are complaining, or talking about this matter so far, but I know that having to breathe in contaminated air for weeks can't be so healthy. So, I want it to be known, and I intend to write to other outside organizations in hopes of letting my words spread.

[Abuse] [Ferguson Unit] [Texas]

Texas Ferguson Prison: Brutality and other Abuse

Here's some conditions I and others go through around here. When asking for a ranking officer, we are denied. Mostly when we ask for grievances on the block, they have none, or lie and say they don't. Inmate brutality, guards using unnecessary force always, putting their hands on us. They don't give us cleaning products to clean the cells or toilets. They make us buy them off commissary. I hardly ever go to the store, so I can't. We hardly ever go to the Rec Yard. I know they are violating our rights and its not right.

They also pass out mail without checking inmate IDs, & other people get our mail. I just got a grievance back from the warden on the subject. He don't even care. I also need anything else you have that will help me in TX prisons.