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)

[Spanish] [Texas]
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Organizando una huelga en Ohio

Yo soy un compañero encarcelado en una prisión de máxima seguridad del estado de Ohio. Actualmente estoy en la unidad de celdas especiales de 23 horas de enceramiento llamada 4B. En este momento nuestro patio esta en una huelga de hambre y de actividades; por lo cual hemos juntado nuestras ideas e iniciativas para expresar nuestra insatisfacción con el trato administrado por el oficial del segundo turno (2pm a 10pm).

Ahora, esta huelga no fue organizada por mi, y ni fui participe en el planeamiento u organización de esta. Pero unidos por el encarcelamiento, yo como todos mis otros compañeros de patio nos sentimos en la obligación de organizarnos y oponernos en contra de las acciones opresivas administradas por este reacción, y el sistema policial en todas sus formas.

La razón por la cual estamos en huelga es por que el oficial del segundo turno en repetidas ocasiones no ha cumplido con su obligación de recoger el correo que nosotros vamos a enviar; así mismo en mucha ocasiones el le ha entregado el correo al preso equivocado, y a menudo el se ha negado a pasar papeles o notas informales y otras institucionales formas de comunicación (estando nosotros en las celdas de aislamiento, estos son nuestras únicas formas de comunicación). Este mismo oficial no ha hecho la lista de comida en muchos días; como musulmán no como carne y tengo otras preferencias en mi dieta, por esta razón hemos perdido comidas sin ninguna opción lo que esta generando mas indignación.

Este mismo oficial a tratado de encender un conflicto racial entre las personas de color y las personas de piel blanca, haciendo comentarios y chistes raciales tratando de dividir (esta prisión esta alejada de la zona rural en donde muchos de los guardias de la prisión no están acostumbrados a la diversidad de culturas y a los diferentes colores de piel. Aquí los oficiales de la prisión respaldan los grupos de la supremacía blanca y la hermandad árida). En los días pasados los prisioneros de este patio lo han puesto trabajo; pero estas actividades no son nuevas en esta prisión o en las demás en general.

Hemos tratando de hablar con los oficiales superiores para destapar nuestro descontento con las acciones administradas por este oficial (quien en realidad es una representación de la naturaleza del sistema penitenciario, o es mas del sistema americano). Nuestra lucha no cesara, los presos de piel oscura y clara seguiremos defendiendo la lucha en la cara del cerdo baboso. Así nadie se ha hecho para atrás, aun en el medio de la oposición la cual ha venido en mucha formas. Por ejemplo el oficial rocío mace por la rejas del techo las cuales están todas interconectadas en este patio; y su escusa fue el maze venia de otra celda.

Por todo esto, mi intención al escribir esto es la de señalar el hecho de que el sistema de opresión no entiende mas que la lucha unida revolucionaria. Ellos lo único que entienden son a la agresión y las acciones (el poder del pobre organizado). Siempre y cuando no nos demos cuenta de nuestro poder a través de un esfuerzo concentrado los opresores seguirán ganado. Nosotros debemos jugar su mismo juego. Piensa!

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[Education] [Hobby Unit] [Texas]
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Education Program but No Classes Available in Texas

I'm writing this letter because I'm upset with the Texas Prison education system. Here in the Hobby unit they lack the space in classrooms and the counselors seem to not care because the seats that could be put to good use by someone who really wants to better themselves are being given to and occupied by people who don't want to be in school.

I completed one of the three vocations that I am allowed to take through TDCJ in July of 2008. I have been waiting since then to take another vocation, one of which is offered here, but they are steadily putting people in the class who don't want it.

I'm due to see parole anytime from now until April so I qualify to take the vocation but still have not been put in the class.

I'm outraged because we are supposedly sent to prison to rehabilitate ourselves, however we are denied the fundamental materials necessary to do so.

I received my GED October 2005 and that was the last time I took what Texas prisons call an EA test to see what educational level you are at. I'm a 9.5 on a D level and I've been trying for almost a year to be scheduled to re-take my EA so that I can bring my score up to an A level so that I can attend a college vocational. I've been told that I'm on the list for almost a year now.

Although the Texas prison system has an educational program, they do not want us to better ourselves. This is unacceptable for society.

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[Organizing] [National Oppression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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GRAD program in Texas

In your November issues of ULK5 I read the article written by a Texas prisoner "Segregation in Texas" and am appalled by his ignorance as far as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) aka "Texas Department of Criminals" is concerned.

I myself am an ex-gang member, and I got into the GRAD program (without snitching), and do you know why? After 23 years of being a gang member in the prison system, I saw how the oppressors were using me to oppress others. By using me and other gang members, the oppressors in uniform do not get dirty while we get our time jacked-up or may even receive death for doing what the man in uniform wanted me to do. Not only that, but it gives the imperialists an excuse to build more control units for the idiots that are doing their dirty work.

Now I'll tell you about the Texas Department of Criminals. We prisoners in GRAD chose to call our gang affiliation history. Since then we have been labeled snitches (by TDCJ employees), by the same people who advertise how the prison system wants to help us rehabilitate. TDCJ employees know what goes on between prisoners because gang members have a habit of bragging, so when we denounce our gang affiliation the Gang Investigator (GI) tells you everything he knows about ranks and members all around the prison. At times the GI knows more than gang members. After being placed in the GRAD program, the same TDCJ staff go and instigate trouble between gang members and ex-gang members. That keeps the fuel on the fire and keeps prisoners at each others throats. Then TDCJ goes to the tax payer and asks for millions in tax dollars to build more control units.

December 4, 2008 and December 6, 2008, the thieves in the Governor's administration and TDCJ asked for a total of $506 million for the renovation of the prison hospital, for the medical contractors, and for walk-in metal detectors, wand detectors, surveillance cameras and x-ray machines. For the latter, the Texas department of criminals executive director is seeking an immediate $33 million. It is their own employees who bring in the contraband, but in the newspaper prisoners are the criminals.

Those of us who step back away from our gang membership are punished by the prisons. We face denial of meals (since I've been in GRAD I have been denied food 7 times). If we don't bark or beg for our meals we don't get fed. By law we should be allowed to recreate 1 hour daily, five days a week, but we are lucky if we get 1 hour a week. We get our water turned off by TDCJ employees just to try to get us to go off, and if we go off we have to go through the process all over again. We get verbal threats by staff. We get one or maybe two clean towels a week. We get old sheets that are cut in half. We don't get soap, tooth powder, grievance forms, or medical attention. We get strip searched by female guards, and if you are like me fighting the system, your mail is given to other prisoners or is denied.

The wing where I am housed is the only wing in the whole unit that is constantly freezing so that staff refuse to work this wing. We have to wear a t-shirt, jumpsuit and jacket in our cells during the winter. The air vents are so loud that you think you are standing next to a train (this is psychological torture). In the summer time the heat is turned on which makes you feel as if you are standing in the middle of the desert.

For 23 years I worked to please the oppressors by abusing the weak, oppressing others, and that is why I decided not to allow these people to tell me to do their dirty work while they sit back and earn money while I rot in these human warehouses.

Right now I am in a struggle with the medical department because they refuse to treat my illness. I am hypoglycemic and my blood sugar drops. Without the proper medication or diet I will lose my vision, which is happening slowly but surely. The way the grievance committee (kangaroo committee) puts it, I have to go into a coma so they can treat me. If more prisoners stood together as we used to in the 70s and early 80s, others would not have to go through these kinds of treatments. While we continue to fight each other they are building more control units. While we continue to fight each other we are forgetting the real purpose.

MIM(Prisons) adds: This issue of Under Lock and Key carries strong messages about the need for prisoners to stop fighting one another. We know that programs like the Texas GRAD system are used in many states to turn prisoners against each other by forcing them to snitch or be punished. But we also know that prisoners are turned against each other even before they enter these types of programs, fomenting conflicts between rival groups, and using prisoners to carry out violence against other prisoners in exchange for small favors. It is up to each prisoner to figure out how to best use the system to break away from the senseless violence and coming together with other prisoners to put their energy into the anti-imperialist struggle for peace.

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[Elections] [Texas] [ULK Issue 6]
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Response to ULK Obama article

Thank you for responding to my letter and sending me the copy of your newsletter. I found the articles very informative and inspiring. I also enjoyed the many letters from the various prisons around and was surprised how many of them spoke to issues I myself am concerned with.

I would like to point out here my agreement with the article about Barack Obama. I think the very prophesy of that article is already coming true. He promised "change" for Amerika, but look at the people he surrounds himself with. Look at the cabinet posts he has appointed. It is the same old inside Washington D.C. bunch, the same powers behind the scene supporting the same oppressive imperialism that keep the poor poor and abused. The hope that many felt would come by the election of a Black man to the presidency is raped by the realization that Amerika actually elected a "half-white man" to the presidency.

I am new to Marxist, Maoist philosophy, but I feel in my gut what these stand for, and I consider myself a thinking man. I am starved for information, so please keep me on your mailing list. And any books or literature you could send to help me understand more, will be greatly appreciated.

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[Control Units] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 7]
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Life in danger after being labeled a gang member

I am here in Allred Unit in Texas. I was reading a friend's Under Lock and Key paper and it caught my eye when I was looking at the article about segregation in Texas. I can't believe it, but it's all true the way security threat group classification works in Texas prisons.

I'm here in Seg at Allred. It started back in San Antonio Texas. I went to court for my charge and the DA was talking about me being a suspected gang member, which I am not at all. My case was not strong so I took a 3 year sentence. I got to the prison and the Security Threat Group label is waiting for me like a hawk. They start asking me all these things about my past. I told them I am not part of anything. They said it's on my travel card from court. I did all I could to make them understand the card is wrong. But they pulled me out in front of the other prisoners and so the prisoners started thinking I am somebody. So my only chance was to ask for help.

Not only do the prisoncrats think I am a gang member, but now these other guys think I'm a member or ex-member so my problems got worse. Some of the prisoners planned to take me out so my only chance was to tell the prison administrators that my life is in danger. When I told them this I got segregation under investigation. They transfered me to another unit. When I got to the new unit I told them I can't go to population so they told me I will stay in pre-hearing detention and wait for the prison to make a decision. They finally shipped me to an ex-gang member unit and then transfered me to population. I got jumped and beat up real bad. Then they told me that if I don't tell the prison that I'm an active gang member they will leave me where I am. To protect myself I have to claim something I am not. If I claim I am a gang member I can go to Seg.

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[Spanish] [Texas] [ULK Issue 6]
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Pornografia y su censura

En general la pornografía es censurada en prisiones para mantener el control en las prisiones con el propósito de ejercer poder. La pornografía ciertamente no lleva a ningun problema de seguridad en las prisiones, ni de ningun modo pone en peligro el poder de la estructura. Y todos sabemos que los guardias, tanto como hombres y mujeres, usan la sexualidad para presionar a los prisioneros. En respuesta a nuestro articulo ULK4, sobre este tema, demasiados prisioneros respondieron describiendo muchos casos donde los guardias usan la sexualidad para controlar a los prisioneros. Pero de ninguna manera quiere decir que la pornografía sirve como un proposito progresivo para los prisioneros.

Nosotros nos oponemos a la pornografia porque se trata de re-enforzar la opresión de genero. Pornografía del romance capitalistico donde las condiciones de la cultura hace que las personas tengan relaciones enfermas de genero. De la theoría MIM 2/3 Genero y Revolución Feminista, "Una de las maneras que la sexualidad del hombre es instituida es por medio de la pornografía. Robin Morgan dijo: 'Pornografía es la theoría, violación es la practica.' Pornografía es el medio de justificación sexual y violencia contra la mujer. Su mensaje es 'Una mentira contra la mujer, que vivimos para satisfacer y servir al hombre, y que nuestro placer profundo se encuentra en esclavitud y sobornación..."

También en MT2/3 "Los que apoyan el derecho de pornografía son los que apoyan el derecho para degradar a la mujer y venderlas de tal manera. En otras palabras la pornografía no tiene valor si muestra a la mujer haciendo cosas poderosas, importante, y cosas sin valor. Su valor esta en connección con enseñar a una prostituta lista para ser violada. MCO suguiere que estas personas que apoyan estos derechos son las mismas personas que argumentan que las prisiones muestran tratos humanos y su rehabilitación trabaja."

Aun si la pornografía esta prohibida en prisión, la pornografía seguira estando presente afuera de las prisiones, perpetuando, y re-enforzando la opresión de genero en nuestra sociedad. MIM(Prisiones) se opone a la pornografía en esta sociedad, pero en este momento nos oponemos a la censura que a la pornografía. Ni la pornografía ni la literatura de politica debería ser prohibida por los trabajadores de prisión, que son empleados como armas del estado. Por esta razón estamos dispuestos a unirnos con los que producen pornografía que estan en contra de las censuras en prisiones, mientras nuestro punto sigue firme la pornografía no debería ser protegida por la constitución sobre un dictador de una sociedad baja donde el habla esta protegida para servir los intereses de la mayoría de la gente en este mundo. Estamos peleando en contra de la censura en prisión, no a favor de asegurar la entrada de pornografía en prisión.

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[Control Units] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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Abuse in Texas adseg

I'm a texas prisoner housed in Administrative Segregation on the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, TX. I have undergone severe mistreatment and harassment from numerous officers and supervisors by way of tampering with my food, denial of food, bogus disciplinary cases, and physical assaults. Just recently, in November, I was attacked while handcuffed behind my back and tear gassed by an officer, because I expressed my frustration of having been left inside the shower over an hour. I filed a grievance and all supervisors are aware of this misconduct. But they've only turned a blind eye to this officer's behavior, and condone further abuse by this staff who continue to harass and threaten me. This same staff is part of the same group of staff that has preyed upon me since 2006. And they all wait for any opportunity to catch me off guard.

I recently left this unit for 8 months, and returned with every intention to make things right with the staff, but they only seek my demise and condemnation. And to make me out to be the kind of person that I'm not. Sympathy is not what I seek. But respect is what I demand. Here the other day the same staff that had assaulted me on the 9th was permitted to search my cell for 30 minutes and he wrote down all the names and addresses of my family and relatives living inside the Dallas and Tarrant County areas of Fort Worth, Texas; and threatened to bring harm against them or have it done by someone else. Then he wrote me a disciplinary case in an attempt to hinder my progress.

This same officer already has a documented disciplinary history of abusing other inmates by way of physical assaults, and unlawful use of his chemical agents. But the supervisors continue to fail to take corrective action to curb his misconduct.

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[Education] [Texas]
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Stop being passive and join the fight

As I sit here and watch what the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has done to my fellow man, I can't help but pick up the banner of justice and fight for a just cause.

What I see day in and day out, is a group of men beaten by a system of oppression, with no identity or cause to go on living under the title of "men." Everyone in this system has given up. They are in a state of confusion, with no understanding on what it means to be free. Free from the bonds that the system wants you to be in.

I've noticed that it's not that the system that won't let you educate yourself, they just won't. They are more interested in the idiot box (TV) and being modern day slaves of the system. The average inmate is content with where he is now. The three meals, television and living quarters, a six by nine cinder block cell, is more than some have in the free world. The mentality is that its free food, no bills, and free medications for the taking. It's a pitiful sight.

With thinking like this, the injustice system will never change. Texas is so far behind times that we still don't get good time and work time, but even with this, you are doing 80% of your time. What does it take for everyone to realize we can change this system and break it from the inside out? Without our labor, this system would fold in on itself. Our free labor makes the revenue to run this system. No work, no money.

Anywhere you look and read, the Texas prison system is running at 50 to 60% shortage of officers. As many as they hire, the same amount quit. If no one worked who would replace us and at what cost? They simply couldn't. But Texas doesn't have to worry because the breed of prisoner now is content with oppression. It's a sad sight, but it's the truth.

No one is willing to sacrifice for a better future and your basic human rights. Can't they see we are a force that can't be denied. You don't stop being a man just because you were sentenced to do time. A man will always be a man regardless of the situations he is put in.

It's hard to make them understand. the literature is open for the reading. Education, struggle, sacrifice, and unity is key for success. I'm doing my part to make the movement known. Fear has just been embedded so deep by authority that it eats their whole insides and steals their hope. Without hope, their futures are lost.

All I can say is that, I plead that these brothers (by brothers, I mean all races) open their eyes and stand up against the injustices of the system. If you have a voice, let it be heard and felt. The same fear that the system throws our way, it can be used in return. I hope word goes out to all brothers of the struggle. Educate yourselves to educate others. It is key to further the cause, and stop the injustices of not only our system, but all inustice systems of these united states.

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[Abuse] [Billy Moore Correctional Center] [Texas] [ULK Issue 6]
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Corruption in Texas prisons

Here I sit in the infamous Texas injustice system. Examples of the conditions here at the Bill Moore Unit include watered down food, cornstarch added to thicken our food, and constantly being given less food than we’re supposed to receive according to the menu. When I complain through the official grievance process, the Unit Grievance officer has the exact same answer no matter what the grievance is about “…it has been investigated and no wrong doing has been found. No further action is necessary.”

At night we have a female ranking officer who, during the winter time, thinks it’s funny to turn the air conditioning on while wearing her winter coat buttoned up and saying how warm it is, while the prisoners are forced to shiver with blankets that are too short. The winter coats we’re given are nothing more than long sleeve shirts.

My unit is under contract to be operated by the Correctional Corporation of America, by the Texas Dept of Criminal Justice. This way when the public are given the numbers of prisoners in the Texas prison system, the state can lie and mention only those in the state run prisons and leave out the numbers in the private prisons.

One day soon I hope we will obtain victory and the corrupt corporate and state employees who misuse prisoners and steal from not only us but also the general public will be placed into the prison system where they so deserve to be.

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[Control Units] [Young Medical Facility Complex] [Texas]
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Isolation at Clements in Amarillo, TX

I am incarcerated at the William P. Clements Unit in Amarillo, TX since 2002. In 2007 I got a case for "conspiring to commit assault on an inmate," and placed in Administrative Segregation. We are confined 24/7 and we are supposed to get 1 hour of recreation 3 times a week.

Some will do all their time back here because of their Security Threat Group (STG) status. The department of Corrections has a list they go by to determine who fits STG status, so these men only come up for review once a year.

I was placed in AdSeg for "threat to the physical safety of others" yet now I'm classified a confirmed member of a STG. Yes the group I used to be a member of does not fit the requirements. Not only this, out of ALL other confirmed members of this group I used to belong to, I'm the only one in AdSeg.

This unit has somewhere around 700 inmates in the Expansion Cell Block (ECB). This includes "closed custody" which houses 2 inmates per cell, locked down 24/7 except the supposed 1 hour of recreation 3 times a week. In the ECB there are on 3 pods with 68 cells per pod; the rest of the building is AdSeg. These pods have singles cells. They all have showers in the cells and there are 68 per pod.

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