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.
Today our Unit is officially being taken over by a private prison company called MTC. We were being operated by La Salle Corrections before. This Unit is really not designed to house state prisoners, therefore we are being denied numerous services & privileges that we would have on a normal unit ran by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division. Most of us have been sent here due to the heat-related lawsuits. Probably the number one thing that would help us all at this Unit is better access to a better stocked & updated law library. As it is we are only allowed three inmates in the library at a time & it is very difficult to even have our I-60 requests returned to us.
All of the services here are overwhelmed by the recent influx of TDCJ prisoners. Dental, mental health, medical records, the barber shop etc are all behind and unable to provide adequate services to us. Our outside recreation yards do not have toilets no shade nor cold water & when they do call outside rec we are only given 30-45 minutes once a day. We will see if things improve under new management. The new warden is a female named Rodriguez. She showed up at our dorm at 6:30 AM yesterday to say hello & look around while they were serving chow … I have fallen back on writing my grievances because I was driving myself a little crazy & I also believe that grievances are the reason that I have been transferred all over the state & sent to a Unit where I am not allowed to have my typewriter anymore. TDCJ is supposed to be issuing tablets to all of its Units within 18 months but it is unclear if we will get them here at the Willacy Unit.
Ten comrades in Texas’s William G. McConnell Unit signed and submitted a petition to Mrs. Emma Guerra, Investigator II with the Texas Department of Corrections and Justice (TDCJ) on 25 October 2021. The letter does a good job of citing grievances that have not been responded to as well as retaliatory actions by staff for filing said grievances. They also cite the relevant policy from the TDCJ grievance procedures and inmate handbook.
We have not succeeded in organizing a statewide coordinated campaign around the grievance system in Texas, but it remains an important campaign at the local level for pushing back against abuses and organizing others around a common cause as these comrades have done at McConnell. With their well-documented petition, perhaps they have a vision for how to unite others across the state for this common cause.
This letter is being sent to you on behalf of Texas TEAM ONE, a prisoner-led organization committed to organizing us captives of Texas as a class, and collectively struggling for human rights. While We do not believe that the fight behind enemy lines is Our end all and be all, We do believe and hope that by inspiring the masses of TX captives to collectively organize, learn and demand their rights, along with establishing independent institutions for Ourselves, that We can slowly but surely develop Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) into a quasi-university, turning masses of socially alienated delinquents into empowered activists for change, productivity, and revolution.
To begin this process of ‘transforming the criminal mentality into a revolutionary mentality,’ We need YOU to join your fellow prisoners in mobilizing the masses for collective direct action.
As you may know, Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday in amerika. On this day many will sing the praises of Our oppressors or otherwise negate the reality of the lumpen (economically alienated class), that according to amerika’s 13th amendment We are STILL SLAVES. While We do not wish to nullify the intensity of the exploitation and oppression that New Afrikan people held in chattel slavery faced, We must pinpoint to the general public, those upcoming generations of youngsters looking to follow Our footsteps, that to be held in captivity by the state or feds is not only to be frowned upon but is part and parcel with the intentions of this amerikan government, and its capitalist-imperialist rulers. We say NO CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH until the relation of people holding others in captivity is fully abolished!!
Furthermore, as you may also know there has been in recent years a national push to end all forms of extended isolation/solitary confinement. As usual Texas remains stubborn, still holding thousands of us in cages in an inhumane and illegal manner. We, TX TEAM ONE, seek to work with all Our fellow captives to finally bring the torture that is long-term isolation to an end.
Strategically, if We are to ever be able to utilize these prison colonies as cadre-development schools/universities, it is of paramount importance that We remove this tool of repression out of the state’s toolkit. For decades this environment now called Restrictive Housing Unit(RHU) has been used to strategically alienate the best of the best of Our lumpen class. Those who will not capitulate to the destructive and oppressive roll of the state. Political prisoners, writ writers and socially influential captives find themselves in long-term isolation as a form of retaliation, and to maintain the ignorance perpetuated within the daily prison environment. It is past time now that We all, no matter our affiliation or way of life, We must NOW begin to work together to the detriment of Our keepers.
If you like what you’ve read thus far, We ask you to join us in mobilizing the captives on your unit, We are looking forward to Juneteenth 2022. On that day We wanna statewide general strike. Depending on ones level of custody We will organize different plans of action.
If you’re interested in this campaign and wish to take a stand, We need you! Female, Male, LGBTQ, Black, Chican@, Mexican@, White, multi-ethnic! We need all of you!
As We scribe this message We are and have been on hunger strike for two weeks in protest against those above mentioned injustices, along with others. Those of Us Souljahs on the Allred RHU have been battling this system and building our level of experience and organization. We summed up the many lessons learned, and the main one is that We must GET ORGANIZED on a statewide level, pop city to the isolation tombs, as one strong and organized body We can effect change and build Ourselves and those of Our peer group into NEW PEOPLE. If you wish to organize with or under the banner of TX TEAM ONE We encourage you to connect with us directly at the following address: TX TeamOne, 113 Stockholm #1A, Brooklyn, NY 11221.
We Look Forward to Hearing From, and Working With, YOU
Dare 2 StruggleDare 2 Win
Tx TeamOne Allred Committee
Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. 12 Point Program
An end to racist practices and policies that allow prisoners to be held indefinitely in conditions of solitary; Restrictive Housing Unit.
We want ALL STG confirmed prisoners to be allowed the opportunity to return to general population if and when they have maintained a satisfactory disciplinary hystory.
We want a mandated LIMIT on the amount of time one can remain in RHU-solitary confinement; We want this mandate in line with the international standard put forth by the U.N.’s ‘Mandela Rules’, which limits said confinement to fourteen days.
We want those who are in RHU to be allowed the opportunity to stimulate their intellect through literacy programs, education programs, life skills, job training, parenting classes, drug & alcohol treatment, arts/crafts programs, support groups, and the building of unions and political formations, all in accordance with Texas state law (Tx.Gov.Code§ 501.009 - Volunteer Organizations), captives should be free to exercise these rights without state interference or obstruction.
We want ALL discrimination against prisoners to CEASE; this is in accordance with Texas state law (Tx.Gov.Code§ 501.001).
We want an independent agency established that will fully investigate grievances and citizen complaints against the governmental institution of TDCJ and its agents.
We want an end to unpaid labor in TDCJ.
We want parole requirements capped off at 35%.
We want captives to be afforded meaningful goodtime/worktime.
We want an end to death by incarceration (death penalty, life without parole, virtual life sentences).
We want life terms capped off at 25 years.
We ultimately want an end to the social and economic relations and political policies that create the conditions of mass class control and national oppression (mass incarceration).
We are asking that any TX prisoners who wish to commit themselves to Our program, to use the above 12 points to inspire activism, and to develop peers in a revolutionary manner via trial and error, to contact us:
TX TeamOne/ 113 Stockholm, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221
On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:
“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”
In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.
a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take effect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.
a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:
“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit" photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted."
MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.
a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)
a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.
a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.
a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.
a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.
Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.
Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.
[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]
This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.
We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.
This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.
Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.
Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?
Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.
Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?
If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.
We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.
Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.
The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.
…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.
I been wanting to write this letter for about a year now. Society needs to be aware of what’s really going on behind the walls of prison. On March of 2020 I wrote an article that was printed on the pages of your newsletter. It was called ‘TDCJ: Your staff are bringing in the drugs, and it must stop’(see ULK 73). Since the print of the article, I’ve become a target of harassment and retaliation. Administration and C/O’s here at Coffield Unit are a part of a Good Ol’ boy system that use these types of methods, to make the prisoner pay when the truth is being exposed.
A shakedown team was put together by Warden Garcia. When the team comes across a prisoner, who refuses to be extorted for information (something that can place the prisoner’s life in danger), they will harass/retaliate, even falsify government records, in order to place the prisoner in the worst part of the prison as a form of punishment for not cooperating. It happened to me, and I will go into detail later in the letter.
There wouldn’t be drugs or cellphones in prison, if corrupt C/O’s didn’t bring them. Can prisoners just walk out of prison, score drugs, take a detour by Wal-Mart, pick up a couple of cellphones, then return to prison? How is it that this type of contraband finds itself inside prisons? Governor Greg Abbott needs to answer these questions. Since the last article, nothing has changed. A constant flow of K2 (a drug laced with roach spray), Meth, Cocaine, Heroin, pills and cellphones, flow through the prison. In 29 years of my confinement, I’ve seen my share of things but nothing like whats going on today, in the prison system.
Eighty percent (80%) of young people in prison are terribly addicted to drugs, that C/O’s bring in. The only difference between correctional officers and prisoners is the uniform. They themselves are criminals. This type of thing needs to be brought up next time some politician out there screams “We need more prisons”. ‘Go to Texas prison with a bad drug habit, leave worse when you get out’. That should be the politicians slogan.
TDCJ proudly states “We are an agency of rehabilitation and positive change”, the best lie being sold to the public. The only thing TDCJ higher-ups care about, is that government funding. At the moment Coffield has a sky high suicide rate due to all the drugs. This place is completely out of compliance and under-staffed. Prisoners are left in dayrooms (that have no toilets) for hours and have to use the restroom on shifts because there’s no one to let them in the cell to use the restroom.
Hours pass with no security checks, a clear breach of security. A few days ago there was an audit on the unit, C/Os from other units were called in, so they could pass the inspection. As soon as the inspectors left, the C/Os from other units left behind them. There’s no outside recreation, the water is getting prisoners sick, but plenty of K2 to keep the prisoners “Dumbed down”, so there won’t be complaints.
Society needs to realize that prisoners will return to neighborhoods out there. How can prisoners, whom are sent to prison to rehabilitate themselves, accomplish that goal, when the good law-abiding correctional officers, bring poison, to make them worse? These same prisoners will be released, will reoffend, commit worse crimes, due to a drug problem that got worse in prison. How many crooked C/Os have been indicted, for the victims of suicide and drug overdoses, that have died in Coffield, due to the drugs these C/Os bring in? This system and its C/Os are the problem, something people in high places, refuse to admit to the public.
For years our families got blamed for the drug flow coming into prison. When COVID-19 arrived, visitations got shut down and the truth was exposed, as to who really brought the dope in. Over a year, no visitations yet the dope was delivered on time. The truth is K2 is sprayed on just about anything, or brought in liquid forms. Meth, heroin, cocaine and pills can easily be hidden on C/Os that bring it for a nice hefty price. A $20 cellphone now goes for $2000 OR $2500 each.
So let’s put this together: the proposed solution is a pig team that goes after prisoners who PURCHASE contraband from C/Os. This helps the Warden shift the blame and cover who the real crooks are, and everything’s blamed on the prisoners. This way the truth is not exposed and questions never need to be answered.
For my writing about this type of corruption, I am now under fire by the warden and administration. Enclosed are copies of complaints filed with the Ombudsman’s office due to harassment/retaliation against me. The Ombudsman’s office claims to be an independent entity, that investigates family complaints against TDCJ officials - (NOT TRUE). In reality, they work hand-in-hand with TDCJ officials.
“Due to a lack of evidence, your allegations could not be substantiated.” (Lack of evidence? There are cameras all over the unit, that record video) If Ms. Melodee Blalock would have performed a proper investigation of the date and time the incidents occurred, she could have retrieved video that would have placed C/O Brewer at my cubicle/cell destroying my property. She just wouldn’t go against the Good Ol’ boy system.
Violations of misconduct by staff, when confirmed (Notice the words “When confirmed”) are addressed in accordance with established administrative procedures. Such decisions are considered confidential (Notice the word ‘Confidential’) and not released to the general public. TDCJ and Ombudsman both work as the outside cops. When a C/O has violated policy or harassed a prisoner, a wall of silence instantly goes up and things are quietly swept under the rug.
The reply my sister received means: Even if C/O Brewer is guilty, it will be covered up by the good ol’ boy system that’s designed to never admit wrong. I was housed at the dorm area from 2017 till 2021 with no altercations of this sort. After I wrote the first article, full retaliation was enforced. When it got really bad, my sister filed the complaint. 46 days after filing, the same C/O Brewer, who the complaint was filed against, showed up at my cubicle with his supervisor SGT Hom, to place me in handcuffs.
I was escorted to a segregation cage, which had no restroom or running water. I was stripped searched and left in those conditions, under extreme heat without relief (water, fan, restroom break), on a hot July day. I was there from 9 am till 4:30 pm. I was denied water and was forced to urinate in bottles that an SSI had to sneak to me.
Just one example of the injustice prisoners have to endure at the hands of the oppressors. Which politician, with a nice desk, watches over the oppressors, who enjoy violating prisoners rights and get off on abusing their power? I will continue to expose a corrupt system that’s in real need of prison reform. And to accomplish that goal, the prison reform needs to start with its own C/Os.
I see parole March of 2022, after 2 three year set-offs. If something happens to me, comrades the answer as to why, is in your hands. Thanks to each of you. May God walk with each of you.
I’m writing this letter on behalf of all Texas prison inmates who have been denied access to respite areas here at the Mark W. Stiles Unit or anywhere within TDCJ-CID agency state wide.
In United States District Court, Southern District of Texas in the Houston Division, Keith Cole et al. v. Brad Livington, TDCJ Director, et al.; Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-1698, a class action lawsuit, at page 769 it states:
Respite Training and Education
All inmates, both those assigned and not assigned jobs, will be trained on the importance of respite and how to access respite. Training will include:
Respite means cooling off for a period of time in an air conditioned place;
Inmates are allowed to access respite 24/7;
The education wing is now a dedicated respite area;
Inmates do not need to be sick, injured, or feeling bad to access respite, rather they may do so to cool down whenever they wish;
To access respite, inmates can make the request for asking correctional officers if there are problems ask to talk to a ranking correctional officer;
Impress that no one will be retaliated against for asking for respite, and;
Education about why respite is important to protect ones health. The training will follow a script and there will be a time for questions from the inmates. A training circular will be distributed that mirrors the respite notice. There will be a sign-in sheet for inmates to confirm training and receipt of the circular.
Also, a new poster has been developed and will further emphasize these same points. The poster will be placed in common areas accessible to inmates, it clearly states that an inmate may request access to respite areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, not being required to be feeling ill. It further states that if an inmate is feeling ill, he should alert staff so that medical assistance can be obtained. The poster also gives the inmates a description of the expectations regarding their behavior in respite, stating that inmates:
Regular access respite any time during the day or night, do not need to be sick, injured, or feeling bad to access respite, rather they may do so to cool down when ever they wish;
Should use respite regularly because it helps the body thermoregulate;
Should be aware that heat is dangerous and heat illness can occur suddenly when temperatures are high;
Should ask staff for medical staff attention if they actually feel ill due to heat;
May talk quietly in respite;
May bring a cooling towel;
Will be provided a chair, and must remain seated;
May not engage in horseplay or arguing;
May not create disturbances;
May not save chairs for other inmates, and;
Must be properly dressed (pants and shirts).
The TDCJ’s Respite Area policy is not being honored here at the Mark W. Stiles Unit even though there are designated areas such as:
Medical Department waiting cage,
Offenders General Library, Windham School District Department
Law Library Department
Note: The Law Library Department, Education Department and the chapel will only be used as a respite area after normal hours at other areas are over.
The current warden has modified or ignored all of these rules. The warden has ordered that all inmates at the Mark W. Stiles Unit must get a pass to have access to respite area and each pass per inmate is only good for 30 minutes. When 30 minutes expires such inmate must return back to their living area buildings to obtain another pass.
These wardens are playing physicians in practicing medicine without a license in the way that they are violating this policy. It don’t have to be hot for another human being in the Texas prison system to be affected by heat related symptoms. There are many drugs that lower heat tolerance, ranging from anti-convulsants to beta blockers. These drugs may disrupt the body’s ability to sweat or thermoregulate, make the body more sensitive to sunlight, or otherwise make people more susceptible to heat illness, and need more respite than thirty minutes broken up by having to go get another pass every time.
There are also reports identifying offenders with heat and/or sunlight sensitivity restrictions, and unit courtroom staff will provide unit security staff with this Medical Heat Restriction List, which identifies offenders who have a heat restriction and is supposed to require security staff to perform wellness checks, in accordance with Administrative Directive 10.64, ‘Extreme Temperature Conditions in the TDCJ.’
Here at the most corrupt unit within TDCJ, the Mark W. Stiles Unit, the respite area and heat related symptoms policies are not followed. In the 11 building restrictive housing area where there is no ventilation system functioning nor any open windows, offenders can not get a cool down shower or access to the respite area, only because the Unit is short handed in staff and all the cool down showers and respite areas are set aside for general population offenders and not those in restrictive housing.
There are offenders in the restrictive housing area that have asthma, use a CPAP machine, or have other respiratory needs/illnesses. Staff will use their chemical agent on an offender which will effect all innocent bystanders, and won’t take anyone to medical even if they do recognize or notice breathing issues owing to the use of the chemical agent. Offenders have to get the attention of the authorities some other way, and once an offender is at the medical department and tells the nurses or other medical providers what’s going on, we can only get medicines or treatment that the security staff approve of, not what we might actually need.
So basically us offenders with heat sensitivity or any respiratory issues are walking dead at the Mark W. Stiles Unit. Please help us investigate and organize against this corrupt TDCJ unit, we in the Texas prison system don’t want to die.
TDCJ has done it again selling their prisoners’ donated gifts to themselves for a profit when it is against the Texas government’s code of law!
Once again! I do take the pen in hand on the behalf of all Texas prisoners because TDCJ has broken another of its own law. TDCJ has now stopped selling and issuing the clear whirlwind fan to their prisoners because a company has donated TDCJ numerous fans for their prisoners as a gift. But these new version of donated fans are being sold to us Texas prisoners for $22.50 out of the TDCJ-CID units’ commissary and through the e-comm direct. But the thing with these donated gift fans is that they are much smaller and the fan itself do not produce much air, like the clear whirlwind fan that actually do and you can actually feel the cool air relief especially through the hottest months of the summer. Unlikely the whirl wind fan you can actually take it apart to clean the dirt and lint, but you can’t with these donated gift fans that are glued very tightly. These new fans won’t last long.
The state of Texas has a government code law that prevent them from selling any donated items, food, or materials to its own state’s prisoners for profit. TDCJ has done this very same thing back in the 1990s era when J.C. Penny’s and Flores donated TDCJ prisoners tennis shoes and thick windbreaker jackets. TDCJ sold the tennis shoes to us prisoners in commissary and gave the windbreaker jackets to the officers and their own families. Both JC Penny and Flores eventually had to sue TDCJ over it and settle out of court. But it’s deja vu all over again. TDCJ believes they are above the law and Constitution when it comes to prisoners’ rights. A lot of them believe that as prisoners we lost them once we were sentenced.
The actual company whom did donate them smaller versions of fans as being a gift most likely did it for the tax write off and don’t even know that TDCJ’s own commissary is selling them to us prisoners instead of issuing it to prisoners for free. A lot of prisoners who had actually purchased one is trading it to those who can’t go to commissary for the old indigent whirlwind fan. Please do look into this donated fans since it is being sold to us Texas prisoners instead of issued to us as a gift by such company.
Me and my fellow prisoners are also going through the struggle here at Telford Unit 12 Bldg. We are being denied showers, which are supposed to be given daily. We’re also being fed inadequate/insufficient sack meals resulting in less than 2200 calories that we are at least to receive. This morning we were fed 2 pancakes with a small portion of peanut butter/jelly and prunes?? We were then fed a peanut butter/jelly sandwich along with a beef sandwich for lunch. This makes no sense! Because it actually costs more to make sack lunches and sack lunches are only supposed to be fed during lockdowns. The state of TX has farms and even a trade in agriculture to provide sufficient amounts of food, even has factories for processing food from animals of these farms. Not to mention the state budget and federal funding. There should be no reason we are being fed insufficient amounts of food.
I did my duty and filed a grievance on this issue to see it partially taken care of, but it’s a matter of time until we are fed wholesome foods, and hot meals in sanitary conditions continually. Another issue is the denial of recreation. During the pandemic they took the basketballs away, which made it to where we could only stand around and converse/congregate. Which isn’t much actively being involved. We are supposed to receive out of cell time (recreation) at least two hours a day. Meaning being involved in some activity. I requested from the warden to have the return of the basketballs only to have my request not adhered to. I will also be filing a grievance on this issue. The coronavirus is no longer an issue as we have seen people going out in public without masks, packing basketball parks, basketball arenas, and football stadiums. There are some of the issues I have been plagued with here at Telford. Furthermore, I have been retaliated against through the commissary violating due process. They have also denied phone calls which we received at least once a month during the pandemic, but are trying to arbitrarily take it away. These are some issues being worked on.
This letter is on behalf of all wheelchair and/or handicapped offenders here in Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional Institutions Division(TDCJ-CID) on the Mark W. Stiles unit.
I’m in an Assistive Disability Services (ADS) wheelchair that’s covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through its Americans Corrections Associates (ACA) Standards. I had received a major disciplinary write up for refusing to go into a regular cell with a cell mate because it’s not a wheel chair handicap accessible approved cell.
What’s a wheelchair handicap accessible cell you ask? It’s the following:
The in-cell locker must be at chest level while sitting in a wheelchair, not on the floor.
The in-cell shelf must be at chest level while sitting in a wheelchair, not way too high out of reach way above the walls at the top bunk area.
The in-cell stool by its table is not supposed to be there so a wheelchair can roll under the table and use it.
The in-cell toilet/sink area is supposed to have handicapped rails to grab onto when transferring from the wheelchair.
The in-cell bottom bunk/bed area is supposed to have handicapped rails to grab onto for supports when transferring from the wheelchair.
The entrance at the doorway of the cell is supposed to be wide enough to fit a wheelchair.
No wheelchair offenders are allowed to have a cell mate, to prevent them from being taken advantage of.
The general population day rooms are supposed to have a table lacking stools to allow wheelchair offenders to have equal access and share the tables. The day room’s rest room area is supposed to have rails to grab onto as in the cell.
Wheelchair offenders are supposed to have 24 hours access to a wheelchair and/or handicap shower due to bodily discharges of feces and urine and the need for changes of clothing.
The above mentioned wheelchair and/or handicap accessible cells are nowhere to be found for handicapped offenders on the Mark W. Stiles Unit. Don’t get me wrong – there are a handful of single handicap cells in its 7 buildings, but most of the offenders in them aren’t even handicapped nor in a wheelchair. Buildings 11, 12, 3, 4 and 8 don’t have any single handicapped cells at all. So wheelchair offenders are being forced to live with a cellmate.
There have been 2 murders of wheelchair handicapped offenders by their cellmates. The Stiles Unit administration knew about the danger but still allowed handicapped offenders to live with non-handicapped ones, creating the 2 murders.
Right now on 12 Building restrictive housing area we have several of the wheelchair handicapped offenders living in their pod’s day room areas because their wheelchairs are too big to fit through the entrance to any cell. But since I’m the only wheelchair handicapped offender that protested against this and refused to go into a regular cell that is not wheelchair accessible, I received a major disciplinary write up only for exercising my disabilities rights.
The TDCJ state classification committee are the ones in charge and are consistently approving wheelchair offenders to be transferred to the Mark W. Stiles Unit, going against their medical restrictions and ignoring their disabilities.
Several of the wheelchair offenders do accept this form of discrimination due to the fact that they do not know the laws or prison rules, and they fear getting a disciplinary like I did or being placed in 11 Building restrictive housing, which is used as a form of retaliation and harassment. In restrictive housing it can be difficult to get medication or get to medical appointments because of the need to be escorted everywhere and TDCJ is very short handed in the Mark W. Stiles Unit. TDCJ is shorthanded here because of corruption uncovered among its own officers in the Unit.
A class of wheelchair and/or handicapped offenders are suffering because the lack of appropriate cells is not being fixed, and my request form involving over 20 inmates is being ignored by the authorities. My Americans With Disabilities Act grievance under board policy 03.82 VII A 4,5 and VIII has been denied 3 times by the unit grievance investigators. Please! Investigate TDCJ wheelchair handicap offenders needs.
The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,
“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)
Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).
Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )
“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. "Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)
As a study on sensory deprivation by a team of 4 Harvard psychologists conducted for the CIA revealed:
The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.
“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”
It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).
What is BP – 3.91?
Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.
While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.
TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.
What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?
At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.
That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:
Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.
REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.
But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?
Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.
On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.
Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.