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.

[National Oppression] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 28]
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Texas Guards Encourage Oppressed Nation Fights

On or around 31 July 2012 there was a small scale race riot on the Estelle Unit which is located in Huntsville, Texas. Sad to say it was Brown on Black and a New Afrikan prisoner was killed. As a member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party I hate to see two oppressed groups going at each other while the oppressor remains unscathed and ignored.

Nevertheless, the extremely reactionary prisoncrats took this opportunity to show us what they're all about. About one week after the incident we were placed on a special disciplinary lockdown and fed "Johnnies" seven days a week. These weren't any normal "Johnnies," they were concentration camp like rations. An example of one meal that actually sparked a group demonstration across all color and race barriers was: 1 corn dog, a small biscuit with a sliver of peanut butter and jelly and 10 or 12 raisins! I myself wrote a letter to the Assistant Warden, Steven T. Miller, shedding light on the sub-par meals and asking him if the administration was using food (or the lack thereof) as a means to torture prisoners or as a draconian behavior modification tactic.

Once the administration became aware that the focus was now on them they immediately prepared and delivered more food and I have never ever seen that response before. However, I must say the meals being served were way beneath the caloric intake requirements set forth by the ACA (American Corrections Association). This particular incident took place on 15 August 2012 and it was the last meal served that day.

There is an ugly under-current of racism that exists here in Texas prisons. Many white male officers take pleasure in seeing Brown men and Black men attack each other. As conscious people in struggle against prisoncrat imperialists, we must realize we do ourselves a great dis-service by attacking each other. It is not just about white male officers in Texas, it's about all of them that wear these confederate-army-gray uniforms. They beat us, degrade us, dehumanize us, and refuse time and time again to set us free. Who is the real enemy?

Lastly, one of the main keys to maintaining the peace amongst oppressed groups is respect! We can't talk to each other any kind of way, and we can't treat each other any kind of way! Remember that violation of the rules of respect among human beings can be deadly.

Would you believe that one month prior to this race riot and death white male officers were caught encouraging prisoners to make "shanks"?! The New Afrikan prisoner was killed with a homemade shank! These officers in Texas are very wicked.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It is a sad result of the criminal injustice system in Amerika that oppressed nations must demand the right to peace. But as this, and many other stories from behind bars demonstrate, this is the reality we face. And this is why the first principle of the United Front for Peace in Prisons is Peace. The United Front is fighting to unite the oppressed: "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression."


Correction from the author 9/31/2012: The dead prisoner in this report was not New Afrikan, he was Mexican.

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[Abuse] [Connally Unit] [Texas]
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Forced to Drink Contaminated Water in Texas

[MIM(Prisons) has received several letters from prisoners about the water situation at Connally Unit in Texas. The water is apparently contaminated and is unsafe to drink. As a result, the prison has shut off the water to the cells, creating dangerous conditions for prisoners who have no access to alternative water sources.]

11 June 2012 - The enclosed mandatory notice about our water [which informs prisoners that water must be boiled prior to consumption] was not sent to prisoners at the John B. Connally unit until after about two weeks of having our water supply turned off and on from time to time. Going without water for days is not only abuse but a human rights violation. Prisoners were consuming this hazardous water without any knowledge of it being contaminated! Now they advise us to boil our water before we consume. These people are either stupid or are literally trying to kills us, because we have no appliances to use to boil water.

Another prisoner wrote:
Now that we have this problem with the water they won't give us dayroom time. Just imagine being in this cell 24 hours a day with no sink water, no flushing water, and, the most important one, no drinking water. Personally I don't think that's right at all. We need some justice, but what do you think we should do to get this to improve? For one thing, we need unity in this unit!

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[Prison Labor] [Organizing] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting Trickery and Abuse by Texas Prison Industries

Without a doubt, prison is a microcosm of "free world" society and with that being said, revolutionary-minded men and women who are serious about combating oppression face similar struggles that "free world" comrades face. Earlier this year, on this unit I sat down with two of my comrades to discuss how we could awaken and revolutionize the minds of the proletariat on this particular unit. The proletariat group we were specifically interested in were those who worked in the Prisons Factory/Textile mill on this unit.

What prompted this discussion was the arrival of a new plant manager who was implementing a new oppressive system. Now I want you to remember in Texas, inmates are not paid anything! Some years ago when the feds took over Texas prisons, a question was put forth to offenders "would you like to get paid for your labor or would you like to receive good time and work time credits toward your sentence?" Offenders were bamboozled and hoodwinked into choosing good time and work time credits. I say offenders were bamboozled and hoodwinked for this reason: I have seen numerous men who had time slips that have shown a combination of flat time, good time, and work time exceeding their sentence length! In some cases I have seen time slips in which offenders have served, or more accurately been credited, 150% to 200% toward completion of their sentence. Why are they still here? I thought Texas Department of Criminal Justice had told Uncle Sam they would honor an offender's good time and work time credits. Comrades - they lied!

So with this and other relevant factors considered I came up with an idea for a "flier" to be posted up on every housing block on Estelle urging Black men, Brown men and white men to stand up. Basically I was calling for a work strike to protest the 10 hour work day and the austerity campaign implemented by the new plant manager. Please note in 2011 the Textile Factory at Estelle Unit made about $1.8 million. How many deodorants, toothpastes, or "zim-zims" and "wham-whams" do you think the prison workers received for their labor? Zero, nada, zilch!

In the aftermath conditions improved slightly inside the factory. Prisoners still aren't paid a penny and are treated like scum. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat. With the application of the dialectical problem solving method as well as employing some "covert" tactics the struggle continues, it's just not "televised," or telegraphed.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend the scientific process undertaken by this comrade to think through the contradictions within the prison and figure out what strategies and tactics will be most effective in pushing the movement forward. This is the discussion and debate that we must undertake within each state and prison.

While the proletariat in U.$. prisons is a small minority (see previous articles on prison labor), these types of organizing strategies are useful in many situations where prisoners are employed in running the prisons themselves.

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Texas] [ULK Issue 27]
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New Prisoners Isolated as Security Threat in Texas

The control units here were designed for prisoners the state couldn't control physically. Later it became a place for those it couldn't control mentally as well. Example: I was placed in Administrative Segregation immediately upon my arrival in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) because of tattoos. These were used to confirm me as a member of a Security Threat Group (STG). I don't deny I am a member of [an organization]. However TDCJ made it a rule violation to be a member of any STG. All members are placed in isolation, no matter if they participated in clashes or not. I was never given a chance in population nor is any other confirmed member of any STG. We are all judged on the actions of others who are/were incarcerated.

If an organization will give over a list of its ranking structure and work with the state, then the label of STG may be removed. Prisoners can return to population if they participate in Gang Renouncement and Disassociation. Yes, it's a program and they attempt to program the individual. It's straight up brain washing.

All organizations (or gangs as they call them) were in population somewhere. Only by their own actions should they be segregated, admitted to the Special Management Unit or ADX.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Across the country prisoners are placed in isolation based on labels the prison imposes on them. Often this has to do with who the prison administration thinks they associate with, and nothing to do with the prisoners' behavior as described above. Either way, these isolation cells are torture, causing many to become both physically and mentally sick. MIM(Prisons) is keeping one of the most comprehensive counts of control units as a part of our campaign to abolish control units. To help collect statistics for your state write to us for the control unit survey.

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[Organizing] [Campaigns] [Texas]
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Grievance Petition Spreads in Texas

I got the grievance petition, and I need more. 350 copies is only enough for 35 people, and I've got 144 on my pod x3 pods my building x8 so send me some more please.

Also, I got a reply from the state bar of Texas. They sent info on how to complain about your [state-assigned] attorney that we can use for the grievances in TDCJ.

I did get a response in person from the grievance regional investigator in a personal interview. They basically told us to keep filing grievances and they will work on problems.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We commend this comrade for his ambitious work to spread the Texas grievance petition to every prisoner in his institution. But it is quite costly for us to make so many copies and send them in so we need to encourage everyone to make their own copies if possible. We know that sometimes this will not be possible, and if this is the case for you please explain why and we will try to supply you with the necessary copies.

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[Control Units] [Gang Validation] [Security] [Texas] [ULK Issue 27]
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More Orgs Labeled "Security Threat" for Raising Consciousness

Recently I was informed that my naci├│n is now considered a Security Threat Group (STG) here in the state of Texas. Not because we are doing anything that's criminal, but because the system knows that we have the potential to make change possible for all, which they see as a direct threat to their institution. For years we have been around, but now they see more and more of us getting tuned in to our doctrine, becoming aware of the de-humanization of the system. So it seems that they want to slap us with this label. Recently in an article published in ULK there was a fellow Black Panther, who is here with me, informing you all that the Gang Intelligence staff have also classified them as an STG in the state of Texas.

All I can say to those manitos and manitas doing time representing [these groups]: there is nothing new under the sun! Keep underground not because we have a sense of guilt, but because by watching and studying history we made ourselves a threat and now the system is ready and waiting to take us out just like it does with so many others. The war on STG is real and the tracking mechanism they use is serious, inside and out.

¡Trucha! Always be aware and make the right decisions.

Remember, just because you are in general population doesn't mean that the future is going to be the same. This goes for all the lumpen class. Prepare yourselves for that ripple effect because the war on so-called STGs is going to get much more repressive.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade is right that the prisons throw around the "security threat" label as an excuse to lock down conscious prisoners organizing against the system. We get many letters talking about this happening in states across the U.$. In addition, the "security threat" label is used to keep Under Lock & Key out of prisons. This censorship is so common that every issue of ULK finds many copies returned to us, in some cases banned from entire facilities.

This writer gives good advice to be very careful about what information we reveal. We don't need more good comrades locked up in segregation just for their lumpen organization affiliation. Don't make it easy for the pigs. Don't give them any information.

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[Organizing] [Bill Clements Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 26]
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Prisoner Hunger Strike in Texas

19 April 2012 - Greetings comrades in struggle. Here in Texas at Clements Unit I am engaging in a hunger strike in protest of the gang of racist officers systematically targeting New Afrikan prisoners with hate as a mechanism to control or punish us. I've sent in numerous grievances and complaints to the administration to no avail.

I'm in the high security building as an administrative segregation prisoner for a weapon planted in my cell by one of these racist officers. They have done cell searches to steal my legal documents, destroy my property, defile my religious books and prayer rug, and leave obscene drawings of monkeys or apes being hung or impaled with a KKK cross. They have been doing this to the New Afrikans here for a while and are getting more and more violent and vindictive.

As a political prisoner, I've been targeted not only because of my ebony hue, but for my constant struggle to enlighten these slave-mentality prisoners to unite and take a stand. I've been told by Sergeant Mondragon and Correctional Officer Ruiz that they will make sure I die in this cell. Captain Boland, Major Hardegree, Lieutenant Hancock and Warden John Adams have created this kind of fractal injustice as there is not one New Afrikan officer/employee on 2-Card/1st Shift High Security.

Comrades this is only the beginning of my hunger strike - 2nd day - and wish for your support and solidarity to keep me strong and vigilant. I can only hope to force a change and get outside recognition to the abuse and hate crimes committed by these racist gangs in the guise of correctional officers.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We stand behind this comrade's fight against racist injustice. But we don't fight to add more Black officers in the prison. We know oppressed nation pigs are still pigs. This kind of integration is not progressive. We encourage our comrades to explore all non-violent methods of struggle, including hunger strikes when necessary. But these actions should not be taken without building necessary support for success. Even in California where thousands of prisoners joined the hunger strike, the victory has resulted in few immediate changes, while at least one comrade died in that struggle. These movements require careful planning by an organized leadership and time spent building mass support.

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[Rhymes/Poetry] [Texas]
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Tax-Us Prisinner

We are the ones who verbally say the least
Comrades who march from the east
Challenging what southerners accept as the norm
We rain on their parade, like an unsuspecting storm

Beyond colors, a nation of one
Time is short, so much to be done
Blood and bullets worked in the past
Knowledge and education are meant to last

We are comrades who possess the plan
to overthrow and change this capitalist land
The politicians are dangerous to our own
Devious acts we don't condone

Bogus laws, misled justice
If we don't unite now, they'll imprison all of us
We fondly believe it's a tragic fate
Unite now, before it's too late

Real criminals go free, while we rot in jail
In capitalism, even freedoms are for sale
Pen and paper are the weapons to use
If we pull together, we definitely won't lose

Remove crime and corruption from your sight
Standing in solidarity, it's our right
Each of us harbors a leader deep within
Improve ourselves, but they'll never permit us to win

To comrades in the state of Tax-us, it's a wake up plea
Even locked down, we can seek to be free
This is national oppression induced by the man
Masking themselves as the Kool Kolored Klan

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[Abuse] [Campaigns] [Stiles Unit] [Texas]
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False Charges and Grievances Ignored in Texas

I'm writing to you in hopes of receiving relief or at least a thorough investigation into the matter of a grievance I filed. It's an appeal to a disciplinary case I received on November 2, 2011, for allegedly "Threatening an Officer," which was completely false and untruthful.

At approximately 3:00AM on November 2, Officer Nwanko let inmates out for breakfast. Because he didn't give prior notice, as standard procedures, a lot of inmates were caught unaware. Officer Nwanko was closing prisoners in their cells for not being ready. A college class I was taking started at 5:00AM I explained this to the officer but was ignored. It was during this time that other prisoners who were stuck in their cells were hollering to get out for chow and AM lay-ins, and were cursing the officer. Officer Nwanko proceeded to let out 3rd row, then left. On his way out the door, another prisoner made a comment for which I was written up.

After he finished letting all the inmates on the pod out, he went to the front desk and called for rank. Officer Nwanko explained that someone made the threat, but had no knowledge who the offender was that made the threat. He stated "When I was leaving, 35-cell (my assigned cell), was trying to get back in to get a school pass, ask him." Because of this statement, I was called to the front desk where I was then confronted by Lt. Davis and Cat. Graham, who both ask me about the threat made to the officer. Lt. Davis wanted to know who made the threat against the officer. When I had no knowledge, Lt. Davis made it quite clear that unless I told them what they wanted to know, that I would be locked up, and charged with threatening an officer. The officer was instructed to write the case, knowing this to be false and untruthful.

During my disciplinary hearing, the charging officer didn't have his story straight. The security tape will refute his testimony which the hearing officer relied on in finding me guilty of the charged offense. He stated that as he came down from third row, I intercepted him and proceeded to follow him. I requested that the security tape be made available for review, for that day and time that this alleged threat was made against this officer by me. The footage will refute the charge and discredit the charging officer's false testimony. The hearing officer refused my request for this security tape to be presented in my defense.

I never threatened this officer, nor approached this officer at any time, as the tape will substantiate. Despite the credible defense evidence of the existing tape, I was found guilty by the officer. The appeal process was equally unsuccessful. This greatly affected my chances for parole consideration, as the board relies heavily on what the "papers" say not on truth/or ones claim of innocence. Any input by you will be appreciated.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This comrade sent a copy of his grievance petition looking for our assistance. Unfortunately MIM(Prisons) doesn't have the resources to help with each individual battle against injustice like this one as there are so many going on in the Amerikan prison system. But we encourage everyone to participate in the campaign demanding our grievances be addressed as a systematic way to deal with this problem. Of course addressing grievances still won't put an end to the injustice in the criminal injustice system. But it will help prisoners like this one shorten their time behind bars and create more organizing space for anti-imperialists building the movement behind bars.

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[Campaigns] [Texas]
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Fighting Unjust Grievance Denials in Texas

I just got my issue of ULK24 today. Not sure if it's the one they tried to deny or not. But I got it. I wanted to write to ask about this grievance campaign on page 12. I see Texas listed here, but have not heard of any inter-state attempt to rectify the grievance problems. So, could you please tell me of this and possibly who to contact?

I am struggling to keep our basic rights here. Yet, our prisons have been known to steal grievances (as they did to me last February on a solid case against them), scratch out lines written on step ones, hold step ones for extra time to ensure it's impossible to file a step two, and lastly they grade/investigate step two grievances here instead of sending them up the ladder to Huntsville, as policy says they must.

So I would like to hear more of this Texas campaign. Can you help me gain a better understanding of this and who I need to contact? I'm up for release this year and will take this fight to the outside world with me.


MIM(Prisons) responds: This grievance campaign has been growing since the initiation in California. We now have petitions for seven states, including Texas, which comrades are using to fight unjust grievance systems. Write to us for a copy of a generic petition that you can customize for your state if we don't already have a campaign in your state.

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