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)

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[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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ULK supporters need help fighting gang label

I'm the comrade in the fight who wrote about the Alford Hughes Unit putting us on file to be a gang called "ULK." When I wrote this I was pulled out of my cell in segregation. The gang officer, another officer and mailroom staff messed with me by not letting me eat and not getting me out of my segregation cell to go to dayroom or shower. They put down VR and just walked by my cell all the time because I wrote a letter to Under Lock & Key. I know if I do something to one of the officers I will get more time.

I sent Step Ones and Step Twos out and have written to the world, my family and lawyers. Officers lie to the people and say I have been lying about all this and they send my mail back without letting me know. I've been jumped on by officers when they found out that I'm a subscriber to Under Lock & Key and because of what I believe in.

I was going to visit last weekend but because they jumped on me I was not let out of my cell. They told my family I was on visit. My mom didn't believe it and she was told if she did not leave they will call the cops on her. I don't see why they are able to do this to prisoners.

When I told them something they didn't like they put me in a cage about 2 by 3 and a foot tall with glass around, not able to go to the bathroom. All I could do was sit on the floor with spiders running around over my feet biting me. I was in it for 5 days with no shower just because I wouldn't tell them what they wanted to hear.

The Texas prison officers label ULK recipients gang members in Texas. What should I do to fight this? I could use help from any comrades who can help.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Throughout history it has been illegal for oppressed groups to organize or educate themselves. This is true in the united $tates today despite the First Amendment. Going up against the state as an individual is a losing battle, that is why collective action is the only way to put an end to these sorts of abuses.

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[Culture] [Texas]
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Chicano Rap & Language against Assimilation

I thought to write with respect to your no. 10 issue I received and appreciated very much. In regards to the main topic, hip hop, of which I am no fan, it gave a good insight as how dominant Anglo culture preys on an underclass and or minority group. Although the Anglo culture is the most prevalent in its influences, the capitalists (the Anglo class), have no respect even to its own race when it comes to the dollar sign$.

Having been born in the 50s, and part of the Chicano civil rights movement of the mid 60s and early 70s, my Raza had had enough of the Anglo suppression of our being and culture. What the Anglo race wanted of us through the South West was cultural assimilation, period! It didn't work for the majority of us, with only a few assimilating into an Anglo society. However, it is those few who assimilate that cause me concern, who follow those that went before them in their deliberate knowledge of the Anglo assimilation process.

Prior to my incarceration in 1990 "rap" music was already making itself known in the major metropolitan cities in Texas. As my years of incarceration progressed during the 1990s, I was seeing and hearing a lot of my Raza mimicking the talk (language) of a hip hop culture that was permeating throughout the free world and penal institutions. And that they were not able to speak, much less understand their own language, Spanish (or the more subtle Spanglish, Cali, or Pachuco), caused me great concern in seeing that the culprit of this subtle form of Anglo assimilation was the Anglo capitalist which controls the media, in its effort to destroy any culture other than that of its own.

Although I now see "Chicano" rap originating out of California as a form of pushing back against the Anglo assimilation process, the Anglo capitalists controlling the media has not embraced this form of Chicano "expression" (nor latino "rap" in general). The writer/reviewer of the essay "Hip Hop: Living Culture or Commodity?" did a good job in showing how a capitalist and dominant Anglo society destroys other cultures at all costs. But in having read the essay I didn't see that it addressed that Anglo commercialization of mainstream "hip hop" has an agenda to also destroy ones cultural language as well.

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[Spanish] [Culture] [Texas]
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Hip Hop en la Esfera de Acción del Estado

Mostrarlos como groseros y depravados...tener miembros detenidos por acusaciones de mariguana. Investigar conflictos personales o animosidades entre ellos. Manda artículos a los periódicos enseñando sus depravaciones. Use narcóticos y el sexo gratis para entrampar...obtener especímenes de sus escrituras. Provocar rivalidades entre los grupos de objetivo que pueden resultar en muerte. Tácticas FBI COINTELPRO documentado a ser usado contra músicos políticos.(1)

Yo sostengo que es malo en cuanto nos concierne si una persona, un partido político, un ejército o una escuela no es atacada por el enemigo, pues en ese caso, eso significaría definitivamente que nos hemos bajado al nivel del enemigo. Es bueno si somos atacados por el enemigo, ya que demuestra que hemos trazado un límite claramente de demarcación entre el enemigo y nosotros. - Mao Zedong. Ser Atacado por el Enemigo no es Algo Malo Sino Algo Bueno (26 de Mayo 1939)

Un indicación del potencial revolucionario de hip hop es la reacción del estado burgués. El verano pasado, policías arrestaron a Paradise Gray del x-clan (clan equis), y el Zulu Nation (Nación de Zulus), quien juego un papel grande en darle forma al hip hop en los primeros años. Arrestaron a Gray mientras que el estaba filmando una demostración contra el alto burguesismo.(2) Paralelizando algunos esfuerzos de Tupac discutidos abajo, Gray esta actualmente trabajando con 1Hood para promover paz entre la nación de juventud oprimida en la ciudad de Pittsburg, PA. No hay nada que el gobierno le tiene más miedo que cuando los oprimidos paran de matarse los unos a los otros.

Mientras que a la cultura popular le gusta ver Reality Rap (Rap en Realidad), ahora conocido como Gangsta Rap (Rap de Gangster), en el comienzo de la corrupción última de hip hop, la verdad es que pioneros Ice-T, NWA, y Tupac estaban desenvueltamente opuestos al estado y recibieron mucho calor por eso. Cancelaron sus conciertos, postergaron sus discos, censuraron sus canciones y se enfrentaron con constante vigilancia y hostigamiento regular.

Mientras que las formas de arte que se originaron en la cultura de hip hop han sido cooptadas por asimilación de los medios de corporaciones para servir al estado mismo, la amenaza potencial de una cultura que se queda con raíces fuertes en las naciones oprimidas sigue. John Potash sacó una documentación con detalles de la historia del estado usando COINTELPRO contra músicos, conectándolos en operaciones contra revolucionarios que precedieron y que frecuentemente los inspiraron. El describe como el NYPD organizó la primera unidad - rap con entrenamientos por COINTELPRO, y luego fueron a entrenar a otros policías metropolitanos por todos lados del país. Su libro se concentra alrededor de la vida y muerte de Tupac Shakur.

El padrastro de Tupac Shakur era, en el pasado, de los Black Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación de los Negros) y médico revolucionario, que se volvió prisionero de guerra, Mutulu Shakur. El era uno del número de ancianos influyentes en la vida de Tupac mientras que el creció que eran parte del movimiento del Black Power (poder de los negros). En las juntas con Tupac el dice que el empujó a Tupac a que cuestionara y definiera a la tal thug Life (Vida Maleante), que, con el tiempo, ellos hicieron juntos un código de 26 puntos que fue aceptado por los Bloods y Crips, y otros más tarde, en la cumbre de la paz en 1992 en la ciudad de Los Angeles.(3) Esto indució a una operación mayor de contraespionaje fijando como objetivo a los involucrados, Mutulu incluido que ha estado enjaulado en un centro de control federal desde entonces.

Sanyika Shakur, un ex-jefe de los Crips (Azules), era uno que estaba inspirado a sostener estos esfuerzos. El también fue objeto para aislamiento en la sistema de prisión en el estado de California dónde es esta sentado actualmente (tal pacificadores son supuestamente "peor de los peores" que llenan estas celdas de tortura). Así como el señalo, el gobierno tenia razón para estar involucrados por los esfuerzos para unir a los jóvenes Negros y Latinos ya que las organizaciones de las calles de South Central estaban reclutando más gente jóvenes cada año que los cuatro fuerzas armados de los estados unidos combinados.(4)

La investigación detallado de John Potash sobre 2Pac y otros músicos y líderes, enseñan, claramente, conexiones entre operaciones negras por el gobierno y la represión de esos que movilizaron gente oprimida. El papel primario que Tupac juego en la enemistad del "East vs. West" (El este contra El oeste) en la escena del hip hop era irónico después de su trabajo para unir grupos guerreando en Los Angeles. Pero Potash pinta un retrato de manipulación mandado por el estado que llevó a Tupac que a jugar en el plan de ellos.

Potash traza el uso de sexo y drogas para manipular a ambos activistas y músicos como se describe en el documento del FBI citado arriba. El cargo de asalto sexual formulado contra Tupac es un ejemplo de esto.(5) Death Row Records, quien el pinta como un frente del FBI, mantuvo a Tupac nadando en bebidas alcohólicas y marihuana, así como el FBI hizo a su madre, cuando el era un niño, usando a un traficante que se hizo muy cercano a ella. Igualmente, Death Row cambio a Dr. Dre, que una vez canto, "Ey, yo no fumo marihuana o sess porque es conocido hacerle daño a los sesos de un hermano," a una publicidad gigante de marihuana con su solo álbum estreno, "The Chronic". En la década que siguió, el uso regular de marihuana fue aumentado significativamente entre jóvenes Negros y Latinos, con problemas grandes de adicción discapacite, quizás sea el incremento de la potencia de la droga.(6) Hoy, marihuana y bebidas alcohólicas están alabados constantemente por los raperos.

En sus últimos días, Pac estaba sobrio, leyendo Mao y piensando en unir a los negros alrededor del país. Pronto lo mataron y nadien fue acusado con el asesinato aunque en ese momento el estaba observado de cerca por multiple agencias del estado, así como Biggie en el tiempo de su asesinato.

Una lección grande para tomar de "la Guerra del FBI contra Tupac y los Líderes Negros" es que el gobierno tiene una estrategia de neutralizar líderes poténcialas que ellos usan una y otra vez. Para contraatacar esto, activistas necesitan que estar cocientes de las estrategias y formar estrategias para contraatacarlos. Como un individuo, Tupac estaba, fácilmente, manipulado, pero hasta un partido disciplinado como las Panderas Negras fueron manipulados participando en una división similar de costas este contra oeste que se pudo haber evitado. En ambos casos, el FBI tomó una ventaja de las contradicciones internas entre la gente involucrada. Bueno, mientras que estudiar tácticas del FBI es una manera provechoso para defendernos mismos, más importante, tenemos que poner políticas en mando para hacer un movimiento que sea difícil hacer caer fuera de curso.

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[Abuse] [Robertson Unit] [Texas]
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Unsanitary conditions in Texas

I'm a prisoner confined in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. I'm launching this complaint concerning the unsanitary conditions of various areas of the French Robertson Unit in Abilene, Texas.

12 Building segregation recreation yard is the second most unsanitary area of the facility. The urinal is seldom cleaned and always seems to be backed up. The stench resulting from this condition is overwhelming and can be smelled at a distance of at least fifty yards. I have informed the security staff, as well as its supervisor, yet the problem remains unattended. The tables and weight case are also unsanitary, covered with bird droppings and littered with trash. This is an atmosphere that is in violation of state health codes.

8 building kitchen is absolutely the worst. On more than one occasion I have spoken to the Lt. and Sgt. about there being roaches in the food carts, food being served on dirty dishes, and food being served cold. Yet the kitchen area itself has not been properly cleaned or disinfected or sanitized.

The dayrooms are never mopped, neither are the runways, and the windows aren't sanitized.

Expose the system!

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[Organizing] [Texas] [ULK Issue 14]
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Pigs bribe prisoners to snitch

Reading ULK 9, I see the same struggles are at the somewhat same level. Some worse than others. The same tactics these pigs use everywhere. I use the term pig freely because there are prisoner pigs also. Those who deem themselves righteous only to stab you in the back and work with the pigs here in Hughes Unit.

For a time these ranking officers were using what they called a snitch box. This box contained soups, chips, pouches of chili, radios, and hot pots. Word spread around that these items could be yours if the information was useful. The more valuable, the more you got. Then people who never make store started having radios, hot pots, commissary. These pigs sold their souls for more petty shit. This tactic has been used in wars. Those in need were kept away from what's theirs, but given to those who work with the government.

I'm in Administrative Segregation. These people claim that I'm a confirmed member of a Security Threat Group. I won't admit to it and I won't sign up for a program for something I'm not a part of. So here I am. Been here since 2005. This time here I've come to learn about myself and start to take different approaches in everything. These people hate to see smart people use their own system against them. I'm still trying to learn and grow more. What you all send me in this ULK gives me an extra push. So thank you comrades!

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Michael Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Unity fighting for humane living conditions

On behalf of my brothers here at the Michael Unit, Latinos, whites and Blacks have put our differences to the side and come together to speak out at the administration about our living condition here in segregation.

There's no air circulation in the cells. Officers have come to verify this problem, yet administration has yet to respond to our situation. During rainy days our cells flood due to cracks in the walls. This has been written up yet no response. There's no shower crew, and the showers are rat, spider and roach infested. Due to these conditions a lot of us have broken out in rashes and have been bit by spiders. The only thing we are being treated with is hydrocotisone 10% cream and anti-fungal cream.

We are now putting together a file for our verification. We get no response. this task is not easy because we are shaken down every 3 days in the day or night.

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[Medical Care] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Brutality leads to death

I would like to reach out to my fellow prisoners, by this true and law breaking story. This happened in the wee hours in the morning.

I lived just on the opposite side and above and several doors down from a man who you might call a mentally challenged prisoner. He was heavily medicated since first coming to this wing. Over periods of time, he would have his outbursts, beating, banging on the walls, door, etc. Even at times rubbing feces on and around inside his cell. At times not eating meals.

Late last night this prisoner was brought to a stand up cage made out of fence. It's a 3x3 cage, 7 feet tall. He was brought to this cage because he took abundant amounts of pills. So then a nurse came to speak with him and he was given a cup of charcoal to drink. It coats the stomach and intestines. Several hours later he was moved to a cell unknown exactly to us, but he died.

You must keep in mind that we live on a super-seg prison in TX. One of the most high secured. This is a 24 hour lock-down unit. How did this challenged prisoner get or accumulate these pills that were so detrimental to him? The nursees pass out AM and PM meds. They are supposed to watch each prisoner swallow their meds. They fail doing this, only because they think it's a burden of time on their hands.

Why weren't his vitals taken every 15 minutes to watch for elevating blood pressure? Instead, they stuck him back in a cell and allowed him to slip away into total darkness. Why wasn't he taken to a hospital?

His stay to the guards was only a joke, and in fact a way for them to retaliate and finally get their revenge. They blame him for his mistakes. But really, they are pointing their bloody fingers the wrong way. They knew he was a challenged prisoner. So why allow him to accumulate pills to a detrimental level? Where did these pills come from? Only the inside could let this happen.

When the free world investigator showed up to check his cell, he ignored our calls for help. As we screamed desperately for his help about the murder, he shrugged his shoulders and took a few pictures and was gone in a few moments.

Someone is always dying, being an overdose or suicide. How are these things ongoing? They allow us no rights! Here there are days some prisoners don't get food. My mail is on a constant watch. I will speak out about these criminals.

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[Medical Care] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting for Sanitary Conditions in Texas

Since being at Connally Unit, going on a year since I was released from administrative segregation, I can honestly say that conditions are at their worst. I've submitted grievances and nothing has been done about it. For one, we have five showers to each pod, each pod holds 48 prisoners, each shower has only one shower head, and we are limited by the time we receive during day room, which is less than 2 hours a day. These showers are only opened during that time. If you go out to recreation before or after day room, you are not allowed to shower. These showers are locked most of the time during and after recreation. And to finish that off, the temperature of the water can cook a soup.

I am also concerned about our health and the drinking water in the day room that we don't have, with this hot weather, the hottest in South Texas record. Our water fountain has not produced water since the beginning of the summer. Prisoners here have passed out, dehydrated, and have had bad chest and headaches since this started.

We get our mail stolen from time to time, racist staff employees harass and abuse their power and authority as if they have something to prove to the white man (most employees here on Connally Unit are Latinos and Blacks). They like to see us divided, fighting our own oppressed brothers, they want us blind and confused and then on top of that you have these puppets who cater to their masters, by snitching and who help keep us down.

Our food is not properly washed and cleaned such as our beans and greens. Sometimes I find pieces of rock and dirt mixed in there. Our greens are spoiled and have been for the past six months, our bread most of the time is baked with mildew.

Exterminators for mice and ants and other insects have not done their job. Mice get into our lockers and eat our food, the ant eats what's left from that food. Our hygiene is not properly attended to, such as tooth brushes, toothpaste, deodorant, shower slides, etc. Speaking about shower shoes, all this is sold to us through the commissary store, and if you don't receive money from your family, you can't afford to purchase these items because here in Texas you don't get payed for working in prison. In our cell rooms we don't get any kind of chemicals to clean our toilets, sink, floor, walls, bunks, and lockers from germs.

Our showers have fungus on the floor and walls. Just recently they (prisoners working for the system) came with their boss (state employee) and laid down a layer of sand glue to cover up the fungus under it. Just imagine if you have no shower shoes: that causes one to see medical due to foot fungus.

You only have 10 people you can put on your visitation list, and if you receive money from anyone, no matter who that person is, if that person is not on your visitation list and you receive money unauthorized by administration, you can receive, such as I did, a 15.0 trafficking and trading case, which is a major case.

So let us unite our strengths and fight for the oppressed masses, which are many, and not our personal gains and recognition. Let us stand side by side and demonstrate, for a better way of life.

As Mao told us that an army "is powerful because all of its members have a conscious discipline; they...come together and they fight not for the private interests of a few individuals or a narrow clique, but for the interests of the broad masses and of the whole nation."

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[Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 11]
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Response to Legal Help Request

I just got my first issue of Under Lock and Key (July 2009, No 9). Needless to say, I sure appreciated it. The mail room personnel did not censor it, but that does not necessarily mean they won't in the near future. I write to respond to the letter that was written by the Georgia prisoner (Pig Enables Stabbing of Prisoner in Riot, May 2009). Hopefully you will print my letter so our comrade can read it and use the information therein.

First, to our comrade, you've got to file your complaint at the unit level and keep copies of it and any other documents that you file with the administration because you'll need to file a title 42 United States Code Section 1983 lawsuit for a redress of grievances. Write down everything that happened to you, as well as everything else that you have done since to secure medical care, etc., for this will definitely come in handy for your lawsuit. If you've got any witnesses that are willing to help you out by testifying you need to try to keep in contact with them.

Second, you need to do some legal research in the unit's law library to better understand your situation and to go about filing your lawsuit. You can write the district court where the incident occurred and request the necessary forms to file your suit. The district court's address should be in the unit law library (there should be a "venue list" or simply request the address from the unit law library). There's a lot you need to know and do and there's not enough space here to expound.

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