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.
I have to praise my fellow prisoners at the Allred Unit for challenging the injustices that have been happening to all alleged/suspected STG’s. I have been unjustly confirmed as a member of the “Mexican Mafia of Texas” since 1986. But, was suspected prior to that year. And all, because I was one of the few prisoners that got tired of correctional administrators in the 1980’s using some prisoners to conduct their dirty work for them. This is where, I believe, that I became suspected as an STG member. Which is why I have a lot of respect for my fellow prisoners that stood their grounds along with me at the Ferguson Unit in 1983, until I was shipped in 1985.
Back then I was a young person. So fighting was my type of show, my true colors. But now as an older adult I have a different mindset. Don’t get me wrong I can still get my boxing game on, only if I have to defend myself. But now I believe that a pen and paper is mightier than a sword.
This is why I believe that the only way that we’ll end all types of violence or hostile activities is for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division(TDCJ-CID) to be open to “STG” prisoners being released to the general population with unit level agreements between all “STG” members of different groups.
At this moment there are two types of renouncement programs. The first is known as Reg. GRAD for ex-members that enrolled not considering that the form they signed is unconstitutional because those individuals incriminate themselves and probably others. The second renouncement program is called “Population Release - GRAD.” And they have to allegedly incriminate themselves and others, and renounce all gang activities. But, I believe, that if the two types of GRAD groups are combined together that would open up the other STEP DOWN the prison violence by releasing “STG”s with a different kind of mindset. Because the majority of these two GRAD programs at present time are full of young set-minded street gang individuals.
I believe I am being set up by someone in the Unit’s “Security Threat Group Management Office”, with ex-members of different groups that have enjoyed “general population” for decades. They target those who don’t believe in the constitutionality of the now existing renouncement programs due to 2 reasons:
the incrimination of each enrollee and the incrimination of others; and
the “waiver of liability” for the TDCJ-CID
These are two serious violations of the 1st, 5th, 6th, 8th and 14th Amendments of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 19 of the Texas Constitution.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a familiar story for those of us who were part of the struggles against SHU and validation in California over the last decade. We encourage the comrades in Texas to study the lessons from that struggle and develop proper leadership so that the masses are not led into the same dead ends as they were in California where SHU still exists and the list of STGs was greatly expanded.
Ultimately, making organizations of the oppressed illegal is reflective of the class nature of the state. It is only by replacing the current bourgeois state with a proletarian one that we will see the oppressed allowed a true path to redemption. It is only in a proletarian state that the oppressors and exploiters will be seen as the criminals rather than the poor and struggling. We must keep this goal in mind as we organize for the state to recognize basic bourgeois rights to free speech and association.
There are no rights, only power struggles. The second the oppressed let up as they did in California, the oppressor is there ready to tighten the screws back down. That is why we must build strong, independent organizations and not put all our energy into short-term battles.
In the recent history surrounding Texas prison reform there has been an erasure surrounding the plight of those held captive in solitary confinement as it’s practiced by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s(TDCJ) Restrictive Housing Units(RHU). There are numerous groups and persyns who proclaim that they advocate for the interests of the Texas prisoner class, but their class interests prevents them from aligning themselves with the objective struggles of this prison system’s cast-a-ways in RHU.
Many of these groups whom i’ve had the choice opportunity to dialogue with via correspondence, or have spoken to captive representatives of these groups, have fallen into the keeper’s trap of the ‘violent’ offender as the new boogey man. This line of thought ultimately concedes that those of us trapped in these isolation tombs deserve such conditions, that we’re beyond redemption. Sometimes, such persyns spew the rhetoric that We in solitary are actually well-off, and living a privileged existence. They say, ‘your food is brought to you, your laundry, and everything else’ They assert that all We have to do all day and night is basically chill, and We should be appreciative. Some officers express a form of jealously, that We don’t pay bills, yet have a handful of privileges, and seemingly unlimited downtime.
What people like this do not understand is that solitary confinement as it is practiced via TDCJ’s RHU, is an artificial environment. By artificial this means that it is an unnatural habitat. It is unnatural to relinquish all civil and domestic responsibility from humankind. We must also pose the question as to whether or not such circumstances are productive for the individual or the society? Of course not! Who benefits from the cultivation of a sub-class of people who’re forcefully and entirely dependent upon everyone else in the society, and do not provide any sort of productive function in return? When humans cultivated civilization the world over and social responsibility was entrusted to those of the peer group, these responsibilities were not merely for the betterment of the social cohesiveness, but also for the better and more balanced function of the individual as well. In short, humyns need to be engaged in meaningful and proactive activities in order to function at their highest levels of consciousness.
The conditions of TDCJ’s solitary confinement debilitate rather than rehabilitate thousands of people each day. i’ve spent 8 1/2 of the last ten years in solitary confinement. At no point in this time frame have i ever had the opportunity to take part in any form of organized instruction. i entered these isolation tombs as a politically ignorant cast away. i’ve evolved, and redeemed myself via my own independent efforts, without the interference or assistance of my keepers. Despite the state’s stated mission to have the best interests of the general public at heart, their true motives and intentions for their warehousing of so many prisoners is clear. This class of people who at any time find themselves confined in RHU are intended to be kept in an unending state of dependence and politico-economic alienation. This is even, and especially, after release. It is with this notion that i assert that it is this class of prisoners whom embody ‘paper-citizens’ in amerika, as coined in the ‘New Afrikan Declaration of Independence’.
New Afrikan revolutionary nationalist political prisoner Mutope Duguma articulated one profound statement, ‘Ask yourselves why is it that so many New Afrikans who have a strong political line just happen to be locked up in solitary confinement units. We know they are not terrorists, We know they are not gang members & We know that they are not criminals.’
The organization and movement proactively mobilizing Texas’ captive population is known as Tx TEAMONE. We’re an organization founded for and by the captives themselves, not by opportunistic outside (or inside) elements, but by proletarian conscious prisoners. One of Our main tactics in Our Mission of elevating the socio-political commitment and awareness of Texas’ lumpen class, is the prisoner-led mobilizing for the abolition of solitary confinement as it’s practiced by TDCJ’s RHU.
A Case Study on Why RHU must Go!
Beginning with the general and moving to the particular, a conscious observer can readily notice that around the empire, from state to state, politically active prisoners are being held in the most barbaric, and unthinkably repressive conditions imaginable. Almost invariably these captives are sitting in solitary confinement cells. The few that aren’t are being shipped from state to state, sea to shining sea in a federal effort to ostracize these captives from their political base(s).
Solitary confinement advances the same purpose within each prison facility. A politically active captive’s political base begins with their peers whom are also in captivity. The productive revolutionary behind the walls is the one who’s successful in organizing their peers behind a revolutionary program. (think; Attica; Angola BPP etc) Therefore, the tactical use of solitary confinement to quell revolutionary organizing has been a re-occurring reality in prisons around the world in the imperialists’ task of keeping the masses of people blind, deaf, and dumb to the socio-political truths of Our collective predicament as oppressed nation people in the era of imperialism.
Whether We look to Califas, where revolutionary New Afrikans were kept warehoused in SHU’s, or in Indiana were Bro. Kwame Shakur is being tortured in a SHU, or the domestic exile of Shaka Shakur, or the thousands of unnamed, lower-profiled politically active prisoners, New Afrikan or otherwise, it is clear that long-term and indefinite solitary confinement is being utilized to strategically remove political dissent off the face of the amerikkkan empire.
In tekkk$a$, there is a long hystory of not only warehousing political dissenters, but assassinating them. In June of 2000, innocent death row captive, Shaka Sankofa s/n Garry Graham, was murdered by the state of tekkk$a$. Not only had evidence came out that Shaka was innocent but he, unlike most of death row prisoners or prisoners in general, had become politicized while in captivity. Garry Graham revolutionized his self into Shaka Shakur, a New Afrikan revolutionary. Consequently, tekkk$a$ saw him as better off dead than alive as a freedom fighter. Six years later Shaka’s comrade Derrick Frazier, aka Hasan Shakur, another innocent Black captive whom while on tekk$a$’ death row revolutionized his self into a New Afrikan ‘revolutionary socialist to the 10th power’. He too was subsequently executed on Black August 31st 2006, while serving as both the founder of the Human Rights Coalition-TX chapter, and Minister of Human Rights of the then-named New Afrikan Black Panther Party. Lastly, yet not for lack of more victims, there is the case of Sandra Bland, a New Afrikan womyn and activist who was mysteriously found dead in a tekkk$a$ county jail.
i think it is logical to pose the question that, if the deceased freedom fighters had not been politically active New Afrikans, would they’ve still met the same fate? For We know and it has been substantiated by the recent International Jurist’s verdict, that there has been/is a systemic genocide against New Afrikan, and indigenous people in north amerika. We also know that those who possess a revolutionary orientation are the people’s only hope of defeating this genocide, and of course this reality renders such political prisoners as prone to enemy attack and sabotage.
tekkk$a$ has warehoused and isolated political prisoners in what is now called RHU for decades. Revolutionary Chican@ political prisoner Xinachtli has been in such a predicament for over 20 years. Xinachtli was signaled out for assassination by sheriffs in Brewster County tekkk$a$, for his legal advocacy for a Chican@ death row prisoner who in turn wasn’t killed by the state. Xinachtli defended his self by disarming the pig sent to murder him and for exercising his humyn right to self-defense this comrade has languished in prison for over two decades, most of which in solitary confinement.
Recently officials of tekkk$a$’ prisons have identified Texas TEAMONE cadre as ‘enemy combatants’ and singled key members out for indefinite solitary confinement (for those who weren’t already serving indefinite terms), unprovoked cell raids, in which the only confiscated materials are ones’ outside contact information. Cadre have been victims of harassment by illegally confiscating typewriters of journalist comrades, illegally disappearing mail, and upping the level of publication censorship – specifically that which is politically orientated.
In a recent twist, this writer was recently sentenced to ‘life without parole’ in solitary confinement. After some officials had elected to release Triumphant from solitary, those in the know regarding ey’s political orientation and activity demanded this comrade be retained in such conditions. Even going as far as scratching out the handwriting which stated that Triumphant shall be released. When asked for the reasoning for said continued confinement, officials listed ‘LWOP’. Of course this sentence, placed on Triumphant’s shoulders unjustly, will not remove itself from reality in six months when the next arbitrary hearing is to take place. Therefore, the state has announced that it intends to confine, isolate, and destroy, yet one more New Afrikan political prisoner in order to perpetuate amerikkka’s genocidal campaign against the oppressed nations of the globe.
In case it still is not clear to you. All freedom fighting peoples, those outside and inside, have in their best interest to work with TX TEAMONE as We struggle to politicize tekkk$a$’ captive population, while doing just that We are even more determined and justified in Our quest to abolish long-term and indefinite solitary confinement in TX prisons and prisons around the globe.
Styled name: F. Martinez and all inmates similarly situated in TDCJ-CID, “Doll” and “Pineapple Pictures” versus members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, TDCJ-CID, Director, Members of the MSCP, Members of the DRC, and mailroom supervisor at the Terrell Unit.
I am writing you in regards of the lawsuit filed on 3 December 2021, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division.
I am the leading plaintiff and I am representing all inmates similarly situated in TDCJ, Doll and Pineapple Pictures, both outside vendors.
The reasons in filing this lawsuit is to challenge the unconstitutionality of rules 1 (C), IV(A)(10)(11) of the “Uniform Offenders Correspondence Rules” (BP-03.91) of the TDCJ-CID.
Rule 1(C), which limits to receive ten photos per envelope, and rule IV(A)(10), which is a total ban on “sexually explicit images” coming into the general prison population, and rule IV(A)(11), which bans any altered photos, all in disguise of rehabilitation purposes. I am challenging these rules under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
I am writing you to request your support of this lawsuit by notifying the inmates in TDCJ, publishers, outside vendors of commercial photos and catalogs, and all persons affected for the enforcement of these rules in the TDCJ-CID.
Inmates may join to the lawsuit by writing letters to the U.S. District Court to the following address:
U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division 601 Rosenberg Street, Room 411 Galveston, Texas 77550
They need to include the styled name and number cause above written.
My problem on Hughes Unit and living in 12 Building Ad-Seg/Restricted Housing Unit is that we are not able to go to commissary (store) until 30 December 2021. We are not able to buy Christmas cards and envelopes and stamps to write our families. They are not serving us the 2100 calorie count each day. Without commissary we’re dead. I’ll fight these cats, do whatever it takes.
This Black Sgt. T. Gladley on 2nd shift suited up and ran in on me. By saying I refused to strip out. And Ran in on me and stomped me all around the head, stating that he was gonna stomp the tumor out my head. And they hide the use of force camera where nothing could be seen. Please help comrades.
I have survived the ongoing mental, physical and sexual abuse first in Texas CPS state schools, state hospital and in Texas state prison. Most recently I have endured beatings by James V Allred Unit guards and gangs, as well as sexual assault, extortion of personal property and threat of physical and sexual assault. The Allred Unit has covered up for their administration and guards.
Sgt. Taylor and CO Surny stomped me, then tried to press charges on me. Then officer Rachal sexually assaulted me in a pat search. It was covered up by internal affairs at Allred Unit.
Then officer Odum threatened to stick his dick down my throat then told me he will stomp my queer ass. I reported him only to be retaliated on by his two ranking uncles: Major Stewart and the other Stewart, by having cases written on me and getting guards to jump me and extort me out of legal work.
On TDCJ’s Allred Unit in the last 3 months there have been 6 prisoner deaths. Four of these were suicide, and there was one suicide attempt yesterday, in which a prisoner was caught hanging before he died. Two prisoners were killed due to incidents stemming from the drug trade.
The main issue pertaining to suicides is the culmination of a multitude of things which all revolve around prisoners being warehoused inside cells with nothing constructive to do, having to deal with guard harassment, along with the other things that come from being robbed of a life.
In an effort to confiscate all the pics/mags of wimmin the admin had begun shaking down peoples’ cells. They did all the population buildings, and during that time auditors from the American Correctional Association came to the unit and reprimanded the wardens saying they were acting against CDC guidelines and made them cease the shake downs. After the audit they tried to resume them, but prisoners had families make complaints to regional director who came to the unit and made sure things were shut down. Those of us in RHU were never met with an attempt to shake us down.
Revolutionary salutations to all Texas USW comrades, leaders, supporters, and those reading this wonderful newspaper for the first time. In issue #75 there was some dialogue regarding the BP 3.91 and i would like to speak to some things.
Comrades, as you all read in the last issue, Allred RHU went on hunger strike in protest not only against B.P.-3.91, but also the illegal use of solitary confinement as practiced via RHU, and we also fought for other pressing issues. Due to this action, on September 8th i was pulled off the outside rec yard, and brought to a cage; this cage is very similar to the one illustrated by the comrade in the last issue. Me and another New Afrikan brother were the only two of all the strikers who went through this. After standing in the cage for about 30 mins to an hour I was informed by an inmate worker that “they takin all yo shit.” By this i assumed he meant food/beverage items of which i only possessed empty condiment bottles so I had no worries. Half an hour later, the property officer and a lieutenant come to escort me. They tell me i will have to send property, particularly books, home; i have too many and they may not be given to another prisoner. As they say this i have heated words with the property officer, and have to be escorted by a major and some others. They bring me to the office and outside my property (all of it including state property) is slung everywhere. I’m irate to say the least.
It is at that time that i entered an office with regional director David Blackwell, along with three unit wardens. Here is a brief overview of what was said pertaining to the B.P.-3.91 policy.
So this policy was supposedly pushed for by these “family groups”. He mentioned Texas Inmate Families Association(TIFA) as the main culprit. Supposedly one of the TIFA members has a brother who’s a sex offender(S.O.), and she learned that he was allowed to write pen pals who sent her brother sexually charged letters. Further investigation led the sister in question to observe that he could also view/receive pictures of women as long as the female wasn’t showing her “parts”. This woman was immediately concerned that her brother was not being allowed the proper environment to rehabilitate his behavior, and this is what led to the rule change.
In case you don’t know, every week, like clock work, TIFA and other family groups like the Families for Air Conditioning in TDCJ, have phone/zoom conferences with the executive director and other top personnel. In these conferences these groups are having influence on policy changes and other things that affect us here in prison. The issue is that these groups are not in contact with the masses, which in this case is US, the captives. TIFA has a $25 membership fee yearly, and imprisoned people can join. However, imprisoned voices are a minority, and are/will be over rode by the petty-bourgeois/labor aristocrat elements which dominate this terrain and don’t allow prisoners to practice any level of self-determination. Even worse is that these groups (TIFA in particular) do not even reply to inquiries from prisoners. The pigs mentioned above provided me with their info to contact and begin dialogue. I’ve wrote, I’ve e-mailed, I’ve DM’d, and have gotten no response. This is on trend as we of TX TEAM ONE have repeatedly contacted them in the past during our previous 3 hunger strikes in the last 4 years, not including this year’s. Never have we received any reply. So what does this tell us?
It tells us that the class divide is very profound in the TX prison movement, even on the “left”. It tells us that at this present juncture we can not collaborate with such reformers in any concrete way. Our movement MUST be prisoner-led.
Speaking specifically to the BP-3.91 issue, from observation one can see that these pigs are picking and choosing when/where to enforce this rule. THE RULE DID PASS! Initially we were told that it hadn’t, that’s not the case. Not only did this Director tell us so, but as i scribe this, Allred Unit has been under rolling lock down and the pigs (from what We in RHU are being told) are solely focused on pics, mags, etc. We in RHU haven’t been hit yet. Last week the ACA came to the unit. An audit. The pigs were verbally reprimanded (the wardens were) by ACA personnel for even operating the lockdown/shake down while they are/were still supposed to be under COVID protocol. This is a violation of CDC guidelines, which is one of the things we called attention to during the strike. The ACA demanded the wardens to cease the shake down. They did so for the week the ACA was here, yet today (9 November 2021) We’ve heard that they’ve resumed on the ECB building, and are to be coming here next. U.S. weekly and Cosmopolitan have been denied here.
The legal standing they’re trying to stand on with this move is that if they were to target specifically sex offenders with this rule while not applying it to the masses of the prison population who are not S.O.s then they open themselves up for suit by the S.O.s for discrimination. What it boils down to is We’re gonna have to come together and fight this through litigation. Simple.
We encourage others who are SERIOUS about litigating this issue to contact us. While our writers within TEAM ONE are busy challenging RHU confinement, We can possibly put all Our heads together to formulate a way forward. All those who’ve filed step 1 & 2, and look to move forward towards litigation should reach out to us: Tx TeamOne/ 113 Stockhom, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221
We’re sending you this letter to seek true help; our offender orientation handbook is being ignored: DayRoom Rule Pg.16 #f.5 – also #1 meaning televisions will also be kept at a low volume. Living Area C.Pg.14 #8/Pg.16 f.#5. We use common sense here – #9 T.V. – volume/radio etc. These T.V.’s never get turned off, and the volume never gets turned down. Yes – loud!! and aggravating at rack up time: Basic Care they ask us to wear our masks, so we wear masks. They ask us to practice social distancing, so we do. But our DayRoom Rule (k) Pg. #57 (the Safety of Persons) are also being ignored.
PD22 – #20 and #23 are truly and deliberately being ignored/General Rules of Conduct, and where we all have asked to get up off the floor and the trash can while visiting on the DayRoom Telephones especially to avoid Covid Cases that has risen by 33% already and winter has not come around yet. We now are dealing with poor security, that causes mental anguish and fear, concerning these violations, we ask for freedom from discrimination – and the right to equal protection: we ask for meaningful help to formerly resolve all of this.
First, on B.P.-391 in Texas, there are units that are fighting this policy, yet here on Connally Unit they are taking and denying everything they can and they are not allowing us to appeal anything. We’ve written a bunch of grievances and they all got returned saying that the issue is not grievable, and when we file step 2’s, they are all getting thrown away. We have no wins here on Connally.
Second, we’ve contacted the TDCJ ombudsman on multiple ranking officers and regular officers. In doing that we are getting retaliated on and harassed. They are cell searching and destroying our property, tearing our pics, denying us our privilege of commissary, rec or day room. We’ve sent multiple grievances on these officers and they never come back. The wardens are letting them retaliate on us and not doing anything about it! The Connally Unit is steadily short staff only on their Fridays and payday. Right now we’re short staffed and when we asked a question about what’s going on, they put us on 23-hour lockdown – for asking a question. They are playing with peoples’ lives and freedoms here on Connally Unit. We can’t grieve officers because they always come back saying “this isn’t grievable.” We’re in a no-win situation here!
MIM(Prisons) responds: If they won’t let you grieve, then it’s time to come together with all who can be united there and get creative. We’ve been fighting the grievance battle for years. It is only a tactic. It will never solve comrades’ problems overall because the rules are only applied when they want them to be.