Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Texas Prisons

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www.prisoncensorship.info 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.

Allred Unit (Iowa Park)

Beto I Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Bexar County Jail (San Antonio)

Bill Clements Unit (Amarillo)

Billy Moore Correctional Center (Overton)

Bowie County Correctional Center (Texarkana)

Boyd Unit (Teague)

Cameron County Detention Center (Olmito)

Choice Moore Unit (Bonham)

Clemens Unit (Brazoria)

Coffield Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Connally Unit (Kenedy)

Cotulla Unit (Cotulla)

Dalhart Unit (Dalhart)

Daniel Unit (Snyder)

Darrington Unit (Rosharon)

Dominguez State Jail (San Antonio)

Eastham Unit (Lovelady)

Ellis Unit (Huntsville)

Estelle 2 (Huntsville)

Estelle High Security Unit (Huntsville)

Ferguson Unit (Midway)

Formby Unit (Plainview)

Garza East Unit (Beeville)

Gib Lewis Unit (Woodville)

Hamilton Unit (Bryan)

Harris County Jail Facility (Houston)

Hightower Unit (Dayton)

Hobby Unit (Marlin)

Hughes Unit (Gatesville)

Huntsville (Huntsville)

Jester III Unit (Richmond)

John R Lindsey State Jail (Jacksboro)

Jordan Unit (Pampa)

Lane Murray Unit (Gatesville)

Larry Gist State Jail (Beaumont)

LeBlanc Unit (Beaumont)

Lopez State Jail (Edinburg)

Luther Unit (Navasota)

Lychner Unit (Humble)

Lynaugh Unit (Ft Stockton)

McConnell Unit (Beeville)

Michael Unit (Tennessee Colony)

Middleton Unit (Abilene)

Montford Unit (Lubbock)

Mountain View Unit (Gatesville)

Neal Unit (Amarillo)

Pack Unit (Novasota)

Polunsky Unit (Livingston)

Powledge Unit (Palestine)

Ramsey I Unit (Rosharon)

Ramsey III Unit (Rosharon)

Robertson Unit (Abilene)

Rufus Duncan TF (Diboll)

Sanders Estes CCA (Venus)

Smith County Jail (Tyler)

Smith Unit (Lamesa)

Stevenson Unit (Cuero)

Stiles Unit (Beaumont)

Stringfellow Unit (Rosharon)

Telford Unit (New Boston)

Terrell Unit (Rosharon)

Torres Unit (Hondo)

Travis State Jail (Austin)

Vance Unit (Richmond)

Victoria County Jail (Victoria)

Wallace Unit (Colorado City)

Wayne Scott Unit (Angleton)

Wynne Unit (Huntsville)

Young Medical Facility Complex (Dickinson)

[Campaigns] [Jordan Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 32]
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Grievance Victories are Won Through Unity

I would like to inform you of a small but major win for your comrades who have recently joined you over at the Jordan Unit. I was on that unit two years. The entire time I was there I listened to people tell me how they fought the rec issues there constantly to no avail. This was my first flaw; I believed we could not win.

I realized this two years later when I was moved to another wing where the conditions were worse. This prompted a totally different response out of me. I researched the policies myself along with the prior grievances others had filed. I learned several things. One was that we were dealing with tyrants, and two, the people who were filing grievances had been ill-informed and were not formatting them appropriately. Their information was jumbled, they failed to utilize policy numbers, etc. This allowed the administration to play the crazy card.

Long story short, myself and three others went to different individuals educating them on what was and had been going on so that they understood. We got every grievance signed and dropped, and we organized two demonstrations. In one protest we converged on the rec yard simultaneously as a show of solidarity, and once told to disperse we dispersed into smaller groups simultaneously, and once told to disperse again, we went back to what we were doing.

The importance of these steps is to allow the administration to understand: 1) We are together, united on this issue, all peoples, all races; 2) We are structured; and 3) We are willing to follow orders. This is the reason for converging, breaking down into smaller groups, and then dismantling.

The second demonstration was an intentional 23-hour lockdown that drew the administration out to talk to us personally. We learned the policies they were leaning on, and their intended avenue of grievance, and in less than 45 days our first wave of grievances came back denied. And as they said they would do, they took their avenue of defense. But within one more week our last grievance succeeded, and two years of problems were settled in less than 45 days with the appropriate initiative.

There were things I felt could have been handled differently when I look back, but this is the first of many fights to come. The battle cry is far from over. I'm at a new place now, and we will see what experiences are to come. The grievance process as we all know is not always a working thing. How could it be? So in my eyes it is only a method of exhaustion when applicable. So we use it not only for our benefit but for the benefit of all those who stand beside us in the fight no matter what parts they play because they may not be as informed.

The main thing I learned is that the big fight is not our petty battles, but the fight we wage with ourselves. I met many people who could give 1000s of excuses why we couldn't win and not one reason we could. There are those who even believed that they deserved to be treated with no respect because they are incarcerated. And all I could think is, "Wow! How do we get to that point in our minds?"

So to all those that stood by in the fight I send one message: The fight must go on. It must continue even in the face of adversity, partiality, difference, and wanton tyrannical practices. This is the only thing that is certain. And that certainty is found in necessity of sacrifice. There are no exceptions, not for me, not for you, not for anyone. Prepare to give it all every single time until it becomes practice, and hope for an inch. Because unfortunately this is usually how it is gained, one inch at a time. And when we begin to see far enough, we realize that our fights were not to reap immediate benefits, but an investment in tomorrow. Our jobs are simply to keep the fight alive so that someone, anyone, may receive a return on the investment.


MIM(Prisons) adds: We agree with this comrade's message of the importance of unity, and the reality that we can only expect to win small victories through our day-to-day battles. We know that the grievance system in Texas and elsewhere is set up to defeat prisoners' complaints. But the USW campaign to demand our grievances be addressed is helping with small battles like those described by this prisoner. At the same time, we must keep in mind that these small victories are part of a larger battle against imperialism as a system. And we can't expect to win that overnight, but we can build, and educate, as this comrade says "as an investment in tomorrow."

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[Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Texas Grievance Retaliation and Successful Tactics

I have a lot of things to catch you up on in regards to the never ending struggle against the oppressors who run the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). I've been moved. I have been "mashing the gas!" on these oppressors: pressing them on their abuse of mentally ill prisoners, religious discrimination towards Muslim prisoners, and extremely poor quality food and unsanitary conditions at Estelle High Security Unit.

These folks have sent me to a unit where the food is excellent, known as "the friendly" Wynne unit. I'm still trying to reconcile the "friendly" tag with a place that holds an overwhelming number of elderly men who should be free! Or how "friendly" it is to have humyn beings locked in cells in which I can touch both walls standing in the middle of the cell. I'm in a very small dog kennel, but the food is good. This is still torture and my comrades on Estelle are still being beaten, and fed slop. I firmly believe this was a ploy to disrupt my operations.

A few of us sent grievance petitions to TDCJ Executive Director Brad Livingston, Chairman of Texas Board of Criminal Justice Oliver Bell, and other agencies, including legislators. All correspondences sent to any TDCJ upper level administrator were re-routed to the risk management office and central grievance office.

In the streets we call this activity "short stopping." TDCJ is doing all they can to thwart our efforts to expose the abuse and injustices being perpetrated against us. So we had to go around and through them. I hooked up with a like-minded comrade, he modified the grievance petition to fit our unique circumstances, and we did a mass mailing to legislators, media, prison activists, ACLU, and DOJ civil rights.

That was March 18, 2013. Three days later I was shipped. I'm told I may go back soon. At first I was like "shit." I hate Estelle and all the pigs who work there, but I love to fight them and I've been lighting their ass up. And now I have help. So warm the bus up! I'm ready for round 2, 3, 4 and 5.

On or around March 9, 2013 another comrade of mine attempted suicide on the Estelle High Security Unit. This comrade, who I have watched deteriorate mentally, was removed from his cell by Lieutenant Pope. Lt. Pope beat my comrade half to death, with his fists! My comrade was taken to a hospital in Conroe, Texas where he was placed on the intensive care unit as he clung to life. No one wants to hold these people accountable for their heinous crimes but I get written up for an extra sock!

I also must report, a Texas state representative Dr. Alma Allen (Black womyn) has proposed House Bill 877 that would create a grievance oversight committee separate from TDCJ. This is great news but I don't think it is going to pass. [As of December 2013, HB877 has been pending in committee since March 2013. - Editor] The chairman of the Texas senate criminal justice committee, Mr. John Whitmire, also the most senior senate member, says he doesn't want to create another bureaucratic entity. But the system is fucked up. On the real, he doesn't want "outsiders" observing the abuse and lack of accountability that is so prevalent in TDCJ. It is out of control. The grievance program is a sham. I have suggested they scrap the entire system and fire or re-assign every grievance investigator in Texas. These people are "oxygen thieves" who are complicit in heinous crimes against humanity. We will never be treated fairly nor have our grievances addressed in a just manner as long as this cronyistic, nepotistic, obstruction of justice filled grievance program is in place.

In reference to the pigs attacking a mentally ill man, well I'm still waiting! Remember this incident happened December 28, 2012. It has been 3 full months and no justice, just coverups and lies. I've even challenged the oppressors to a polygraph. Hell no they don't want none of that. I guess not.

Strategy for Grievance Petition and Abuse Issues in Texas

Texas hates negative publicity, period. So it is imperative to flood the media and internet with details of mistreatment, abuse, and serious brutal acts of violence aimed at prisoners. Always include name, date, time, who, what, where, when. Who to write:

1. Concerned Christians for Inmates
PO Box 101094, San Antonio, Texas 78201-9094
210-737-2600

As a rule socialists and communists do not promote religion. However, these are some "Gangster" Christians why go hard in the paint to address prisoner abuse. They are going to make somebody answer the tough questions. And they are going to go the extra mile. They know no boundaries. If you have been the victim of serious physical abuse by TDCJ employees, copy all the dirty details and get at CCI ASAP.

2. Kathy Griffin Grinon - Host
The Prison Show!
KPFT - 90.1 FM
419 Lovett Blvd
Houston, TX 77006
713-526-5738
JAM KPFT, A pacifica station.

Kathy is a former prisoner. She is super connected in the political realm and specializes in human trafficking and prostitution issues. She will expose these oppressors but you have to stay on it. She is super busy, but if you get her attention, look out.

3. Austin American Statesman
Attn: Mike Ward - Journalist/writer
305 S. Congress, Austin TX 78704

Mike has written pieces on prisoner abuse and prison issues in Texas for a few years. Truthfully, he is just one more option. But if your story is news worthy, he will do an exposé. Media attention is like mothers milk to me. Learn to use it in your favor.

4. Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
PO Box 12068
Austin, Texas 78711
512-463-0345

5. House Committee on Corrections
PO Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
512-463-0796

Hit these two simultaneously. The briefer you are the better. But pack your letter with details and heinous acts of abuse. Give it to them raw and uncut but use your intellect to articulate the wrong and ask for an investigation and accountability.

6. Have family or loved ones file formal citizens complaint with
TDCJ-CID Ombudsman
936-437-6791
Find online: tex.gov.org

You can't file a formal citizens complaints with the Ombudsman, but your friends, comrades, and family can file on your behalf. Make sure to have details (who, what, where, when, how) and by all means include the pig's full name and rank. Ask to be kept abreast of the investigation and notified when resolution is achieved. This is important, be sure to follow up.

Lastly any serious civil rights issues that have to do with prison conditions physical abuse by guards vs prisoners and religious discrimination, don't hesitate to write:

DOJ-Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section PHB
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington DC 20530

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[Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Revolutionary Spirit Kindled by Isolation and Political Repression

In this environment (prison), I am a prison activist. I was placed in high security because I got fed up watching prison officers abuse and mistreat elderly and disabled prisoners on Estelle Unit. I went to Unit Classification Committee and I made a threatening "political statement." That direct action landed me in high security.

When I came to Estelle in 2011 I had never ever been in any serious trouble; I was the "model inmate." But something changed when I observed the abuse and foul treatment of the most vulnerable prisoners. I became more politically aware, and my former cellmate gave me a copy of Under Lock & Key. I was impressed with the cerebral, scientific, and pragmatic approach to facing these prisoncrats. I discovered that people listen to me and respect my opinions. I stepped up my commitment to Islam, giving Katbahs and hosting Tawleem, speaking more.

On March 14, 2012 I witnessed an officer slam the fingers of an elderly blind Latino man in a chow hall doorway. I wrote it up, Step 1. I wrote Senator Whitmire and Mr. Oliver Bell at the Office of the Inspector General. I was very angry at the injustice. And then the retaliation began: bogus and fabricated disciplinary cases, threats, and before I knew it, I had 50 days commissary and recreation restriction. I was devastated. There was a collusive and concerted effort to shut me up and set me up. However, instead of breaking a man they helped awaken a revolutionary! My main focus is to maintain this same passion, energy and fervor when I am released.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade's experience speaks directly to a contriction of oppression: on the one hand, oppression keeps a certain population down; but on the other hand, the oppression leads that population to resist and rebel. One of our jobs as revolutionaries is to tap into that urge to resist and rebel, and to guide it in the most productive way possible. We need to reach these people and plug them in to campaigns and strategies that fit into our revolutionary objectives. Under Lock & Key will always be a medium to recruit new comrades into the struggle, and to push that resilient warrior spirit in a direction that will fight oppression everywhere.

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[Recidivism] [Release] [Texas]
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Parole Programs Hinder Re-Integration

I acquired my GED and then enrolled in college and studied economics; macro economics, micro economics, public speaking, business administration and small business management. This is when such were free to Tax-us inmates. Then Klinton passed the laws in 1995 to pull Pell Grants, and further punish us by implicating behavior modification level I, II, and III programs.

When I got released from TDC I was transferred to another cage called ISF, a mini-prison Inner Sanction Facility in a distant desert city in Texas. Then they placed me on a program called SIPS (Super Intense Parole Supervision) with a leg bracelet and electronic monitoring, and they imposed the rule that I couldn't meet or talk with any [groups of men, i.e. lumpen organizations] or they'd violate me. They completely isolated me.

I became gainfully employed after 9 days of being at the ISF and I saved all monies earned. They charged me 25% of my weekly check to be harassed and fed a cold bologna sandwich. I petitioned District Parole for permission to obtain my residency. They kept me on SIPS so I had to pay for a land line so that the security company ADT could monitor my whereabouts.

I worked approximately 2.5 years as a laborer and applied for grants to attend college. I graduated with a 3.95 GPA and I went on to become a sub-contractor and parole detested that I was finally beyond minimum wage earnings. They imposed guidelines claiming that, due to being a possible terrorist, I should be kept in one location. So I had to quit jobs where I earned more than poverty level, and had to find a job in a non-relevant industry to satisfy their requests.

I was rearrested 9 times for faulty batteries in the bracelet monitor, which were not my doing or fault, but marred my record as a recidivist. I only have been arrested two times but they use the technical arrests to further discredit me to make me look like a dangerous re-offender.

I was brought back to the Texas Department of Corrections in 2009 and was immediately placed in the security housing called Expansion Cell Block High Security (ECBHS). I, like other comrades here, have been stripped of all earthly possessions and marked as a threat for what we believe. But our minds are ours to control.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As we described in an article on overcoming release challenges, there are many hurdles facing prisoners who are released from prison, even for those not faced with restrictive parole supervision. MIM(Prisons)'s Re-Lease on Life Program attempts to help prisoners prepare for life on the streets with the goal of keeping our comrades political active once they are outside of the structured environment of the prison. Get in touch with us if your release date is coming up within a year so we can start planning and preparing.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Texas Pigs Break Policies to Torture Prisoners

I am writing to update you on my current situation and the goings on around the gulags. On 1/23/2013 Delta wing was hit unexpectedly with a shakedown during which I was found in possession of a large shard of glass. This is a level three offense so I was left in the dayroom for several hours awaiting placement on L wing. Around 5:15pm John Ellis, who the porkchops bow to as a sergeant, brought four of his cronies to escort me to L wing. I have had words with Ellis in the past and he has threatened to smash me.

When we get to L wing I was greeted to murmurs of disapproval and a couple of porkchops who knew me shaking their heads and saying "there goes the peace and conformity." This brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye as it's good to know I haven't been forgotten. The porkchop assigned to the position of turnkey was asked by Ellis what cells were open, to which he responded quickly "121 is open". Immediately I realized it was a set up and mentally prepared for a physical assault. It was not a physical assault but a mental assault. 121 is the hotbox, a small cage with plexiglass surrounding the outside designed for mental torture and abuse. My placement in the hot box was proof that the porkchops disregard their own rules and regulations as possession of a weapon is not behavior that merits placement in the hotbox. Ellis did this in an attempt to break my concentration and push me into conformity. Ellis said "121 sounds good" and the rest of the porkchops conformed to his intentional breaking of TDCJ policy.

When the cell door was closed Ellis told me to "have fun in the shit water." Two nights earlier an HIV positive prisoner flooded the cell with water mixed with his blood, urine, and feces. To be honest I noticed water, but floods are typical on L wing. That night my request for cleaning materials was ignored. The porkchop working the wing was Casey Ellis and he refused to bring me my property and I was forced to sleep in boxers on a metal bunk with no type of clothing or covering, and the temperature dropped to around 30 degrees.

I woke up and started making noise by kicking on the door. When I was finally successful in getting the attention of a porkchop he threatened to spray gas on me. When he realized I was calling his bluff he asked me what I wanted and I told him I needed my property. He then told me he was under orders by John Ellis to not give me anything, but because it was their Friday he would personally inventory my stuff and get it to me before he left which he did. The next night I asked everyone who walked by for cleaning supplies but no one would give them to me. That morning I finally got someone to listen to my demand to be moved out of 121, and I was put in a regular cell.

After describing the specific abuse brought down on me, I'd like to bring attention to the contradictions within the Ad-Seg policy (AD) - 03.50 as authorized by Rick Thaler CID Director.

Section IV 2. states "Indoor recreational areas shall be equipped with a minimum of one exercise mat, one chinning bar, a game table, a toilet, and a drinking fountain." I have been on the Coffield Unit over three years and have not seen an exercise mat ever. There is a urinal but no toilet, therefore defecation is a process of torture because a prisoner who may need to defecate cannot and is forced to hold it for an hour or until the prisoner gets the attention of the wing chop and then the chop may refuse to let him out. Further, several of the Ad-Seg wings including Delta and L wing have either non working urinals and/or a non-working sink. It is also per policy that the outside recreation yards are furnished with basketballs, which they are not, as the porkchops are known to stand in the hallway and continuously dribble the balls.

This now brings me to Section IV F "wholesome meals." The policy states "administrative segregation offenders shall have access to nutritional meals in accordance with the food service policy. Safety precautions shall be followed in serving meals pursuant to PO-07.006 administrative segregation officer." There's no such thing as a nutritional meal on Coffield, the supposed diet for a healthy meal is usually an undercooked hamburger or pork patty and a small serving of undercooked vegetables. The regular trays are no better because the kitchen workers steal our food, bag it up and sell it back to us and the SS help them get over on us. Now I don't knock the hustle, but steal from porkchops not the prisoners. I'm doing a lot of research through TDCJ policies for more potential grievances to which I'll keep you informed on the outcome.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade does a good job of exposing the abuse at the hands of Coffield Unit pigs. And we need to document their violations of their own policies, and use those policies to try to gain some livable conditions for our comrades. The grievance system is one battle we can sometimes use to win these victories. Though as is documented by our Texas fight to get [url-https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/TX/16] our grievances recognized, all too often the prison ignores legitimate grievances. Under Lock & Key is a good tool for exposure of this type of information, but our work doesn't stop there, we must educate everyone around us about the need to fight back, and the ties between the oppression in prison and the criminal injustice system as a whole, and the underlying system of imperialism. This is our day-to-day job as anti-imperialists.

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[Education] [National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 31]
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Education in Texas, a Scandalous Affair

school closed prison open
Every ill-conceived notion and manipulative scheme to sabotage the success of the lumpen under class is embodied within the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

For the past 3 months a common front page headline article in the El Paso Times has been associated with a cheating scandal involving El Paso Independent School District (EPISD) "trustees" and various school officials and administrators. In truth, this scandal and scam has been marinating for years, not months. There is concrete evidence which shows TEA was aware that something was not right in El Paso but for whatever reason whether it be cronyism, nepotism, or a hidden political agenda, the scandal was kept quiet.

However, when the Department of Education and the Department of inJustice, represented by the FBI, got involved, a shocking scheme was revealed. EPISD educators and administrators were trying to game the federal accountability system by "disappearing" certain students who did not perform well academically and didn't score well on certain standardized tests. In some cases, EPISD administrators not only kicked poor performing students out of school, they did not offer them an alternative. Further, it was discovered that these crooked "trustees" would sic ICE agents on the predominantly Latino children, not just kicking them out of school, but deporting them out of the country! This ensured that they would not be around to tell it!

I mentioned that there might be a hidden political agenda at work here and there is. In 2011, during the Texas state legislative session, Texas lawmakers decided to cut $5.8 billion dollars from the public school budget. These budget cuts placed many school districts that serve minorities in dire straits; they just did not have the financial resources to teach the children or pay quality teachers. During this time Governor Rick Perry was eyeing a bid for the Republican Presidential nomination and in his best imperialist oppressor moment, he refused to accept any federal government stimulus money or allow Texas independent school districts to compete for money in a new initiative called Race to the Top. Perry outright lied to the media and said Texas educators don't need any federal money to educate children in Texas. The Federal government changed requirements and regulations for Race to the Top funds and allowed independent school districts to apply themselves for federal money instead of relying on racist, crooked-ass politicians like Governor Rick Perry to represent them. As a result of the rule change, Texas led all states in the United $nakes in applications for federal money geared toward education. Looks like old redneck Rick is out of touch with what his constituents really want and need. Or is he?

While Governor Rick Perry is fully aware of the lumpen's need for a quality education, it is not his intent to provide quality education for the lumpen under class. Better education would derail Texas's pathway-to-prison strategy. Do you really believe that Black and Latino men and wimmin have the market cornered on criminal behavior? Comrades, so many times it is our social and economic conditions that lead us to the penitentiary. MIM theorists have been telling us this for years!

In 1793 political scholar William Godwin criticized the whole idea of a national education system. He states in his inquiry concerning political justice that: "the project of a national education ought uniformly to be discouraged on account of its obvious alliance with national government. Government will not fail to employ it (education) to strengthen its hand and perpetuate its institutions...Their view as instigator of a system of education will not fail to be analogous to their views in their political capacity..."

We have taken a quantum leap here. We are not just talking about the flawed system of mis-education in El Paso or Texas as a whole. I am telling you that there is a serious flaw in the national education system in the United $nakes and this should be enough to convince a comrade to study Maoism seriously.

But I'm not done with redneck Rick yet. I want to reveal a couple more facts about what he has got cooking in Texas. Comrades, with a prison system that is overflowing with Blacks and Latinos, what particular slot is redneck Rick trying to get the poor lumpen underclass to fill? Moreover, what particular slot is this pig's poor education system trying to get them to accept?

Recently, 600 independent school districts in Texas took the State government to court stating they were not being given adequate funding to educate children, and that this neglect by the State amounted to a serious violation of the U.S. Constitution. The court ruled in favor of the school districts! Furthermore, it was found that Texas's inability to provide adequate funding for schools was unconstitutional.

Governor Rick Perry has recently been making trips to California attempting to lure businesses to Texas citing Texas's low tax rates and easy-going regulations for large corporations. Nevertheless, Perry ignores the cries of the lumpen for adequate funding for education. His actions speak volumes: "My allegiance is to the imperialist corporations, I could care less about educating the lumpen under class, they might wake up to my real agenda!" I suspect these are the thoughts of Governor Perry.

Today, February 22, 2013, activists from Houston, TX prepare to travel to Austin, Texas, the state capitol, in order to lobby and protest in reference to the $5.8 billion that was cut from education in 2011. The battle cry for the lumpen in Texas seems to be "If you don't fight for what you want you deserve what you get!" As the great James Brown would say "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud!"

Notes:
1. EPISD School Board Scandal, December through January 2013 - The El Paso Times, 2012.
2. Exerpt form Enquiry Concerning Political Justice, 1793.
3. Connect the Dots Radio Program Hosted by Minister Robert Muhammad KPFT, 90.1 FM, February 20, 2013. Interview with BaBa Fanah.
4. KPFT, NPR local news, Houston TX, February 5, 2013.


MIM(Prisons) responds: As we reported in an article in Under Lock & Key 30 on national oppression in education, on average, Black and Latino high school seniors perform math and read at the same level as 13-year-old white students. Money available for school districts with a majority of the students from oppressed nations is far less than what is available for white school districts, and segregation is on the rise again in Amerikan schools. So we are not surprised to see this story about Texas denying money and education to oppressed nation children. The court decisions in these cases have gone back and forth, and we can't count on them to rectify the problem.

While the differences in funding between schools based on national composition is damning, this is just a symptom of the problem. The campaign to increase school funding is dominated by the petty bourgeois labor unions who utilize oppressed nation children in their campaign for higher pay. As this prisoner points out, the schools will still be run by the government and deliver the education they want. This will not address the needs of the oppressed or create anti-imperialist change. We need to use the school situation as a tool to educate youth about national oppression and the need to join the fight against imperialism. Just as we run independent study programs for prisoners across the United $tates, the youth need independent education programs that teach them what they need to know to create a better world.

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[Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Retaliation for Exposing Vicious Beating

On December 28, 2012 at approximately 8pm, I and many other prisoners housed here at Estelle Unit High Security witnessed a heinous act of violence. Four TDCJ employees viciously beat a mentally ill Black prisoner whose hands were cuffed behind his back. Some prisoners wrote grievances, and some wrote their family members to complain about the inhumane and barbaric behavior of the officers. In the months and weeks that followed I have witnessed one of the most devious and calculated programs of retaliation that I have ever seen anywhere.

Lieutenant Deward Demoss who works on this High Security Unit has undertaken the task of targeting prisoners who spoke out against the beating. He has instructed the officers under his supervision to write fabricated and bogus disciplinary reports on specifically "pre-chosen" prisoners. Then Lieutenant Demoss goes further by violating prisoners' due process rights by faking investigation and hearing entries on paper work. The coup de grace is when Lt. Deward Demoss actually runs court on the prisoner who has been "set up" by this modern day Agent of Repression! Yes, comrades, this is an example of the type of pig Ward Churchill and Jim Vanderwall warned us about.

However, all is not lost. Many prisoners have responded to this unethical and criminal behavior by writing numerous Step 1 and Step 2 grievances. Letters have been sent to the ACLU, state legislators, and the media. Prison officials have even knocked out the local Pacifica Radio affiliate, KPFT, to sabotage prisoners access to the fearless free voices on KPFT who champion prisoner issues. Stay tuned for more reports from the front lines.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is not the first time Deward Demoss has been called out in Under Lock & Key for his work at Estelle prison. We know the problem isn't really about one individual, replacing Demoss will not change the fundamentally oppressive criminal injustice system. This prisoner is correct to call out the responses of filing grievances and publicizing the violence and subsequent retaliation. The pages of Under Lock & Key are open to all who work to expose injustice in their institutions. We encourage everyone to take an example from this prisoner and build both publicity and resistance to the repression. And then we must take it one step further and educate all involved about the role individual oppressors and actions play as a part of the imperialist system as a whole. Through this education and organizing we can build the anti-imperialist movement.

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[Abuse] [Texas]
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Isolation and Torture in Texas

For eight days during December 2011, I was placed in a cell completely nude, and without any state or personal property what-so-ever, while outside temperatures fell down into the low 20 degree range, after having my face and head completely shaved at the direction of TDCJ officers. I was forced to sleep nude on the concrete floor, even as my cell was flooded by ice cold rainwater due to a leak in the ceiling, and the section exhaust fan was operated at night time increasing the ill effects of the cold temperatures.

My cell and person were subjected to a thorough search every two hours around the clock for the entire period by a team of TDCJ officers armed with tear gas, pepper spray, and billy clubs. The coercive language, verbal abuse and repeated threats of use of force and chemical agents upon refusal to exit my cell for shake-downs, or other failures to precisely follow orders, was constant. During the cell searches human feces was tracked all over the floor and bunk by officers and was never cleaned up, nor were cleaning supplies provided.

Security checks requiring a verbal or visual response were conducted every 30 minutes and cell lights were left on 24/7, inducing sleep deprivation. Blinds were installed over my cell door windows inducing sensory deprivation, and near constant banging, hammering, grinding, yelling and other sudden and loud noises created a barrage of audio-assaults that was contestant and nerve-wracking. On several occasions I was inappropriately punished with sub-standard food-loaf in place of regular meal trays, not justified by any offense, and I was forced to eat by hand after defecating while unable to clean myself due to a lack of soap, towels and toilet paper.

All recreation, showers and legal communication were denied. I was never charged nor convicted of any disciplinary offense and I assert that these actions by TDCJ officers, and at the authoritative direction of TDCJ prion administration, violated commonly accepted standards of custodial care as well as my civil rights under both the federal and Texas state constitutions, and, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.

I filed grievances on the abuse and ill treatment, however, I never received an official response, thereby denying me my constitutional right to due process and concurrently derailing my efforts at obtaining relief and administrative resolution.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This torture is often used by prison officials as punishment for prisoners who are fighting abuse and injustice, in an attempt to break their spirit and end their attempts to seek justice. This prisoner is now planning to file a civil rights lawsuit, after his attempts at administrative relief failed, and so we are happy to see that the torture did not stop him. But we know that these conditions, especially when faced long term in control units across the country, cause serious physical and mental harm. This is why the campaign to shut down control units is a critical battle for prisoners across the country.

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 31]
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Texas Lawsuits Dismissed, Keep Filing Lawsuits

Since my earlier letter I have now come across many prisoners who are existing members. It is encouraging to know that other prisoners want a revolution recharge to Texas's prison environment. In my past years of confinement, in the units I have been assigned to, not many prisoners saw the need for revolutionary prison reform. On this unit, I am coming across more prisoners who are seeing the need and attempting through civil litigation to see this reform come about.

Texas still wants to deny prisoners the right to have the government redress our grievances for violations of our constitutional rights. The right of a prisoner to petition the government exists in theory only, but not in practice.

The poorer and less educated prisoners have to face a two-front battle just to get into court. As an indigent prisoner I have to fight access to courts officials just to get the legal correspondence supplies that I need to litigate my claims. After I get them into court I have to battle court authorities and judges just to keep them in.

When I write to judges of my treatment by officials I face retribution by other prison officials. Judges and court authorities want to deny my right to exercise my claims in court under proper due process and equal protection rights. If I had funds, family or friends who could help me out with legal correspondence supplies, then the prison officials would not be able to place me in a figurative full-body straitjacket.

It is so bad that many prisoners' claims being filed in court are being stolen right out of court by magistrate judges, dismissing lawsuits on which they do not have the right to render a final judgement. When prisoners appeal it, they send it to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. District court judges' judgements are nothing more than a court directed verdict. The rendered judgements do not fit the evidence filed in court in complaints, evidence and exhibits.

Prisoners in Texas have filed so many individual lawsuits that Texas does not want any more to be filed because, whether a lawsuit succeeds or fails, it leaves an electronic paper trail. Texas prison officials are scared that the feds will step in and take their prison system away. This to me is an encouraging sign so I say keep up the good work and soon we can see the Texas prison walls come crumbling down.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this comrade that lawsuits are an important part of our current strategy to fight the criminal injustice system. But this will never bring about revolutionary change, because the legal system is a part of the criminal injustice system as a whole, as this comrade's experience demonstrates. The imperialists will never relinquish control of this critical part of their internal system of national oppression through legal battles. We can use their system against them to an extent, and even win some key battles in the legal arena, but we will do that as a part of the broader struggle which must build for independent revolutionary change.

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[Organizing] [Gib Lewis Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 31]
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Fighting Abuse with Hunger Strike

28 January 2013 - Greetings and respects to you all and my fellow comrades who are enduring the struggle. Keep your heads held high always. They can lock us up physically, but can't lock our hearts, minds and souls away.

I was not able to keep in contact because of these white oppressors. My last issue of ULK was denied due to what the oppressor calls advocating hunger strikes.

I am a Texas prisoner housed in a high security unit, Lewis Unit, in Administrative Segregation. Since 10 January 2013 we have been fed minimal rations of food and it continues to get worse. For example, today we were fed 2 small corn dogs and 5 prunes. It was a breaking point. Some fellow comrades and I have initiated a hunger strike due to the feeding and continual physical abuse of prisoners while handcuffed or during use of forces.

The unity in Texas prisons is almost nonexistent. Most prisoners let the racist pigs treat them like animals. Only a few of us are willing to stand up. We cannot get change with five or six comrades, but we will fight to the death of us to get what we rightfully are supposed to have. On behalf of prisoners in the United States and abroad, I greatly appreciate your dedication to the struggle.


MIM(Prisons) comments: Hunger strikes are one of the few options available to prisoners fighting abuse and harmful conditions. But this form of protest comes with the risk of physical harm to the protesters, and is often handled with force by the prison administration. While prisoners must determine what is appropriate for their conditions, we encourage everyone to put in the time to educate and organize others. Unity may be non-existent in your prison today, but that should make clear what one of your key tasks is. We must educate others while organizing for demands that will unite them around a common cause. Ultimately we want to unite the oppressed in the struggle against imperialism, but we can start by helping them to see the source of their day-to-day oppression in the criminal injustice system.

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