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)

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)

[Organizing] [Texas]
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Phone System Profits in Texas

Thought to enclose a prison newspaper article about the installation of an offender telephone system. I was getting ready to dispose of the paper when I noticed this article more or less coincided with your issue on money for profit in the prison system. It doesn't take a dummy to figure out the profits the provider and the prison system will make. A lot of money will be made as there are over 150,000 prisoners in the system. The paper appears to imply that only those in protective custody in the control units and the general population will be able to use these phones, that's still a lot of other prisoners the state and its provider will make a killing on money-wise. And as my comrades in Texas said, prisons are a business.

I have been in and out of the prison system in Texas since the mid-70s and from agriculture to industry, TDC will continue to thrive because it is the state legislators who will continue to provide the necessary funds to keep the prison thriving. What's so scary about the above mentioned scheme is in every state, and the few of us who voice our outrage in exposing it face the state or federal government lackeys trying to silence us. This we can not allow. We must keep it strong and our voices must continue to be heard.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Texas]
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Abuse and Neglect in Texas Prisons

I have been imprisoned for 12 years. Believe me when I tell you that Texas prisons are not paying prisoners for the hard labor, and this is just one of the many problems they have. Two of the biggest problems are poor medical care and lack of control over the correctional officers.

Let's start with medical. Most of the staff are poorly trained, only here for the pay and benefits. I have personally witnessed RNs and doctors do things that would start a malpractice law suit in the free world. I have seen prisoners have heart attacks, and it took medical 10 minutes to get to them. All the while staff stood over them doing nothing. A co-workers in the kitchen had a hernia, medical department scheduled him for surgery 9 months down the road when he was discharging his sentence in 6 months. He walked around constantly in pain and couldn't sleep. One of my cellies was a seizure patient. Because the medical department could not get his medicine balanced he had more seizures than normal. Doctors prescribe the wrong medicine and prisoners get really sick. I could go on and on.

Because there's no outside oversight these types of things keep happening. Now to the correctional officers. They have the mentality that the uniform gives them the right to talk, treat and do as they will to prisoners. they do just that on a daily basis at all the units in the system. Some will cuss at you, even when you give them respect, because they know nothing is going to happen to them. On two different units I've seen prisoners get gassed, handcuffed, beat until they are bleeding and can't walk, all over a piece of contraband, or because the CO didn't like how the prisoner responded to a question.

Female COs tell supervisors a prisoner said or threw something at them, just so they could see the prisoner eat up, and then stand there laughing. I saw a prisoner in handcuffs, when he initially went to seg he was fine, when they brought him back out 10 minutes later he was bleeding from the nose, eyes were bruised, and limping. Found out later that night that he was beat with a walkie-talkie and pushed down the stairs. Medical was told he fell. This came from a CO. Two weeks later that supervisor was fired.

You constantly see bogus disciplinary cases because an officer doesn't like a prisoner, and wants to see them receive some type of punishment. Most of the time it's recreation, cell or commissary restriction, loss of good time, and loss of class depending on the case. These bogus cases create a lot of problems especially when it's time for a parole review.

There has got to be something that can be done to bring some type of constant oversight from the outside to make sure the state is held responsible for what the staff does. Until this happens the prisoners are basically sitting ducks for abuse. We were sentenced by a judge to do time, and to rehabilitate ourselves, so we can return to society as a free and productive citizen. That can't be done when you have out-of-control correctional officers constantly causing you trouble.

MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with this writer that the prisons only pay lip service to rehabilitation while actually making it very difficult for people to return to society as productive members. The criminal injustice system is not about rehabilitation or even punishment, it is a system of social control.

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[Religious Repression] [Abuse] [Texas]
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Build Unity and Non-violence

This is your fellow brother in the struggle for equal rights. I am sitting here reading your latest ULK 8 about state by state labor data, and I would love to commend you for another exceptional publication. I never knew so much kickbacks, and in house cooperation was going on from state to state. I completely agree with all the brothers who help to inform unenlightened brothers such as myself. I try desperately to inform a lot of the other brothers. The harsh treatment and neglectful respect for one another continues to tear unity apart.

It has gotten so bad that I hardly stand by a fellow brother because all they do is talk about sex, drugs, violence and gang banging. I left that lifestyle alone almost 3 years ago and I try to keep myself away from that environment. I try to talk and show your publication off but not too many want to read it.

I took a stand of non-violent protest against all injustice becaues what you say is right. I believe violence will not solve these problems that are going on. Here on my plantation in Texas, within the last 8 months these officers killed 2 prisoners and fractured, or cracked one African-American frontal lobe of his skull. I was threatened by a Sgt saying "your grievances don't work so stay out of the way."

I have been denied my religious service of Islam multiple times and there is no help in sight by the administrators. There are times when I come in from my work detail "field squad" manual labor and they have pork for chow. I am a muslim and can't eat pork so they give us 2 slices of cheese instead. I was forced to go out and engage in manual hard labor in my boots which were hanging on by a thread. Both of my boots were torn off and barely together when a C/O and Sgt said it will be a case if I don't turn out for work. I was forced to endure twigs and other stuff puncturing the bottom of my feet to comply with regulations.

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[Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Texas Prisoner Framed and Provoked

I'm on lockdown at the Allred unit. I've been placed on high security for the time being for assault on a correctional officer. But the truth is I was actually the one assaulted. These cowards (officers) are abusing their authority by participating in criminal activities and covering up their unlawful behavior.

On March 15, 2009 I was forced to defend myself which resulted in physical violence. Sgt. J. Davis approached me on my way to the recreational area and took an altered t-shirt from me and started talking trash to me about a bogus cause he and one of his female officers wrote on me. I tried to plead my case and explain that the case was not legit, because I wasn't nowhere around to receive a case. When the case was written I was in school, but Sgt. Davis continued to harass me. So, I told him that he can write all the cases he wants I don't care, if that's how he chooses to wage war that he was a weak strategist.

Sgt. J. Davis said "Oyea! Well how do you like this!" Sgt. Davis then assaulted me by hitting me in the face with a closed fist, busting my upper lip. That's when I defended myself. I was then assaulted again by another officer named Moore, and sprayed with chemical agent and slammed on the floor. After being placed in restraints and sprayed I was kicked in the face.

Since then I've had all my property stolen, I've been threatened by numerous officers, and been placed in closed custody (high security). I had one officer threaten to poison my food in front of other officers. They just laughed about the shit! I've filed grievances and other complaints on staff, so far the O.I.G. has contacted me, and are currently investigating my claim. I really don't trust the O.I.G., or any other prison authority figure, is there any advice you could give to help me and my current situation?

I do apologize for not writing sooner, but this is why I haven't been able to respond to your newsletters as quickly as I should. Your Under Lock & Key (news you can use) has really motivated me. I need the motivation right now, so thank you, MIM, and the rest of my oppressed brothers and sistahs that contribute inspiring and important information to Brothers like me.

Under Lock & Key makes my time a lot easier, and I'm starting to understand the prison environment a little bit better.

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[Medical Care] [Abuse] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Step up to expose and fight brutality

I am here in the Allred unit in Texas. I was reading a homie's Under Lock & Key paper back in Connally Unit and I would like to give thanks to him for putting me on this kind of work. I was reading that article about Peace in the Streets and I would like to comment on it. It's time to step up and help our people move up in this oppressed world. I've seen a lot of things that go on this side of the walls at Allred Unit.

For example, me and my cellie were going through shake down one day, and before we got to the front I told him not to disrespect them because these pigs are so dirty that they will mess us over. So we went through shakedown and everything went right, and then in a heartbeat this pig slammed him right on the ground with his face down. I told them we need to get medical down here for him and the only thing they said was he asked for it. So that's why I ask my people in the struggle to please not put yourself in that situation because what I have seen in these walls is like what happened to that prisoner Larry Cox in Huntsville TX who died due to shortage of medical staff in 2007.

I think about how many people die behind these prison walls and nobody knows what's going on. It's time to step up because we've been oppressed all this time.

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[Education] [Texas]
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Sharing the Revolutionary Message, Opening Eyes

To my komrades at MIMs, I would like to thank you all, firm and true to our cause members, seeing and making progress with the lumpen and other oppressed groups. I just received your Under Lock & Key March 2009 issue, and I was pleased to read the many different views and struggles around Amerika (prison system) which not only inspire me but allow for me to understand that this octopus of a capitalist system is still at war oppressing people and nations. The revolutionary mindedness that I have built upon since receiving your publications, going on two years strong, has given renewed strength and encouragement not only to me but to all those seekers wanting to be and who are a part of your movement. My highest respects!

I myself have been reaching to the masses in here and out in the free world trying to maintain unity and strength and by doing so I’ve come to see that so many prisoners who are locked up with me don’t have that kind of support from outside people. So what I have come to do in light of that has been giving your information so that they may find encouragement and mental support through your organizational work.

Not everyone I’ve come across understands the oppression that they face because for some reason they truly believe they are given this life of pain and slavery behind the choices they have come to make. I try my best to express to them that it is the fucked up politics of this government that has us doing these things, and some come to see and understand and others choose to ignore and accept everything that comes their way. Man! It’s crazy how some people think in here.

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[Control Units] [Texas] [ULK Issue 9]
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Real Revolutionaries Locked Down in Texas

It’s been nearly 17 years since I was removed from the streets of San Antonio, Texas. In many ways I truly consider it a blessing. I was a gang-banger in every sense of the word, til one day I was arrested for a gang-related shooting. Even within the confines of the Bexar County Jail on into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice system I continued to represent my hood to the utmost.

Somewhere along the lines deep within my soul I began to view life from a different perspective. I began to see others for who they truly are, my human brothers. I elevated my understanding from being Mr. Do-Dirty loc to Mr. Shakwamu. Through all of this I pursued further education so now I hold three associate degrees and I’m awaiting unit transfer to begin work on my Bachelors degree.

The reason for my correspondence is because after reading several articles which were published in your periodical I notice an alarming trend among people who write in (in particular Crips and Bloods). Many brothers feel the unnecessary need to reveal who they are in these organizations, not truly understanding that they've marked themselves for the administration. I can’t speak for other states, but in Texas I don’t care who you say you are, you will not get locked up unless you are a serious threat to the system. I look in the dayroom from my cell and see the brothers who claim to represent these revolutionary ideas and none can accurately tell me what it means to be a revolutionary.

This is why many Crips and Bloods are not in segregation in Texas. In truth they are treated like kids. It’s appalling how a brother can openly declare himself an enemy of the system (only in title) and yet the system doesn’t feel the need to protect itself from him. Brothers need to do some serious soul searching and self-evaluation and find who they truly are. It’s only a matter of time before we find that who we perceive we are now is merely a façade.

MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade is right that the politics behind who gets put in segregation is very much tied to who the system sees as a threat. At the same time, various prison systems are pitting different oppressed nation groups against each other and against whites, and locking people up selectively in solitary to fuel these battles. All revolutionaries should strive to make the best use of their time behind bars. This means not giving out information to the pigs that they can use against you. Being a revolutionary is about work and study, and revolutionaries can make the best use of their time in general population.

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[Prison Labor] [Choice Moore Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 8]
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Work, Money and Good Time in Texas

I live in a "transfer facility" known as the Choice Moore Unit, in Bonham Texas. This facility houses 1,200 prisoners in eighteen 68-man dorms. Being that this is a transfer facility, people will stay here about 2 years before we are actually integrated into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's prison system. This facility is known as a "farm" because it's main operation is the farming fields around our facility. The majority of the prisoners work either in the fields, kitchen, laundry, or go to school.

There are only a few classes here, and all of them are not vocational. The classes provided are: cognitive thinking changes, GED, and voyagers (which is a religious class). The rest of the jobs here are: supply room, kennel/horse worker (for trustees), dorm janitor, administration helper, inmate commissary, and that's about all. None of these jobs pay us and from what I understand, TDCJ does not pay any money to prisoners. The TDCJ pays us by gaining us "good time" credits and "worktime" credits.

People in the TDCJ system are really forced to work, and here's why: If a person refuses to work, they get a written major case for not working. Once brought to a disciplinary hearing and found guilty, you lose commissary privileges, recreation privileges, and go down in line class status (line class is what gives you privileges, % of work time/good time credits, and is used for classification reasons also.) If after a period of time you were assigned another job and refused to work again, you would be written up for a major case again and the consequences continue to get worse. If continued refusal to work happens, you may end up on a max unit in the "hole" doing all your sentence. Here's another aspect of what happens to us here. Any major or minor case will be forwarded to your parole board. The parole board uses major cases (any case whether petty or not) to give offenders one year set offs, up to 3 year set offs, until they can be up for parole again. So basically any case write-up in here is like being sentenced another year.

Let's say I make 100% of my work time credits and I go up for parole and never had a write up for misbehavior. Now I get a 2 year set off from parole, even with no cases and 100% of my work credit done. Now let's say a guy had 30% work time, 25% good time credit and 2 major cases and he's up for parole. Somehow they let him go home on parole. Parole here does what it wants and all the good time and work time is just for show on paper. They do not actually honor it.

Now for crimes considered "aggravated," they make people do half their time before they are eligible for parole, but they do not get good time credits. They do, however, get work credits. But like I said, it's all for the look - we really don't get shit. A person can get 100% work time and be at half his sentence and not get released on parole (so there's no pay). People can have 3/4th of their sentence done flat time and have 150% work time credits, but still be made to serve all their sentence (there's no pay again). My point is, we do not actually get any pay or reward for working and are therefore slaves to this and for this system.

This article referenced in:
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[National Oppression] [Michael Unit] [Texas]
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Unite to Fight the System

I’m writing from the Michael Unit plantation in Tennessee Colony, TN. For the past few months we here at the Michael Unit have been having racial altercations, and it isn’t even the summer yet. It’s been mainly behind frivolous stuff: “wasted energy on a wasted cause.”

I’ve tried time and time again to get my Latino and Black brothers to open their eyes to the real struggle. Why fight each other? The system should be the ones you’re fighting. The more we stay divided, the more we can’t win our fight. It’s crazy!

Here in Texas, our unit comes through every few months and separates Mexican and Mexican cell mates and the same with whites, and integrates them with Blacks, when they know none of them can live together, and know something will happen because they have nothing in common.

This system is designed to divide and conquer the masses. If only everyone would open their eyes and realize what they were doing, then maybe somethings would change for the better.

I used to be one of the ones who was for my people and you couldn’t tell me different. If it wasn’t Raza I didn’t care. It’s fine and all good if you love your culture, but it’s time that we break down the walls of ethnicity and look at the big picture. It’s us against them and without knowing this, then we will always lose. It’s not a white, black or brown thing, but a struggle thing.

I just hope someone will spread the word about the big picture. It’s not “let’s make it better for our race.” It’s “let’s make it better for everyone.” We are the ones living in the trenches of poverty, blindness and no hope. And if we don’t change, this struggle will never defeat the system.

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[Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Mistreatment in Texas prisons

I'm sitting here on the Connally Unit in ad seg for assaulting an officer. I honestly have to say I did. Why? Because he threatened me. He said "when I put these handcuffs on you, and you go to 12-building, it's not going to stop. That's where it will all begin." Then he said "Besides, I used to work on 12-building." No one would let someone place cuffs on him after he made such a statement. I asked him to get his supervisor and he didn't. So I tried to go around him. He cut me off.

This female officer was standing right there listening to him threaten me. I knew this was getting out of hand so I asked Mrs. C, can you get your supervisor. That's when the officer pushed me up against the wall and he started twisting my left arm. That's when it all went down. I was only defending myself against his assaults. I never did anything aggressive to him.

The female officer didn't want anything to do with it because she knew this officer was in the wrong. She just walked away. The unit wrote her up for not helping out this officer. I guess that she didn't want to get in to wrong doing. That's what made her quit working on this Unit.

Another incident like this happened while I was here in ad seg. A prisoner was in his cell when they shot gas in his cell, one canister after another. Then they ran in on him as he was choking and they beat him up. They busted his head.

When you try to do the right thing by writing a grievance they retaliate on you. And sometimes they won't feed you. As soon as the grievance gets back to you it says something like "officer denies the allegation, grievance denied." Or it might say "no further action taken." This grievance thing is a joke to them. That's why officers do as they want, because the unit wardens will go right along with them.

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