Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Coffield Unit - Texas

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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.

[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Health Risks from Asbestos in Old Prisons

I was placed in a cell here in ad. seg. housing, which is unhealthy with escaping toxic fumes (paint chipping, amosite/brown asbestos, from cement, and some of these cells have contaminated ceiling tiles.) Kept me tired, minor headaches, diarrhea, at times difficult to breathe. So to our People incarcerated in these 'Old Prisons" shall educate ourselves on these Hazard chemicals.

From the book: Silent Killers: Radon & Other Hazards by Kathlyn Gay: Asbestos deadly fibers, natural mineral fiber in rocks, patching compounds, textured paint, wrapping for heating ducts and water pipe insulation, floor & ceiling titles, roofing shingles, cement, plaster (strengthen concrete and sound proof) etc. Well just a small note and big thanks on the readings.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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You Can Break The Man But You Can't Break The Man's Spirit

At the end of March 2016, an incident took place on the Coffield Unit in Tennessee Colony Texas that paralyzed an unarmed inmate from the neck down. The use of extreme force is beyond this measurement as this inmate was already locked in a cage, secluded from population and apparently no threat to anybody or himself. As I relive this harsh reality please bear with me because of the circumstances of imprisonment I don't have all the names or dates as I relate this sad but true story.

A prisoner was ordered by a correctional officer to turn around, bend over on his knees, and put his forehead on the ground. He replied "no... I only put my forehead on the ground for Allah. Please just take me to my lock up cell." (It is against our beliefs as Muslims to prostrate our heads on the ground to anyone but God.) The officer then said "if you give me what I want then I will give you what you want" and then smirked as he said it. This interaction was cut short as higher rank officials came and he was now just told to turn around so they could handcuff and escort him to a temporary holding cage and he complied and was put in what we call the "Legal cage." Mind you, all this is visually on camera and all has been recorded except audio.

Now this same officer from earlier was assigned to escort him to his lock up cell and upon this action he followed up with the same orders as to, "Turn around bend over on his knees and put his forehead on the ground." He replied again "No, I only put my forehead on the ground for Allah (SWT)!!!" The officer then said "Are you refusing to obey an order and not in compliance so I can properly escort you? Like I said give me what I want and I'll give you what you want." Upon hearing this he realized this was more of a sexual gesture and became hostile toward this officer for his remark and yelled "No, I only bow my forehead on the ground for Allah (SWT)!!! Just put me in handcuffs and take me to my lockup cell."

The officer then took his mace out (or what we in here call gas) and began emptying his whole can of mace into my friend's face until his can was completely empty. He began screaming and saying "Why did you spray me?" The officer then called in a use of force on his walkie talkie. Another and bigger can of mace was then brought and they began spraying him again directly in his face.

As this was taking place the assistant warden named "Cooper" happened to walk up and my friend began his plea "Warden Cooper this man wants me to bend over, put my forehead on the ground just so he can handcuff me. I told him that I will let him put the handcuffs on me and escort me to any cell but me putting my forehead on the ground and bending over is beyond extreme. Please Warden Cooper can you help I'm burning and covered in mace." The warden then turned to the officer and said, "keep up the good work, you're doing a good job." Then Warden Cooper abruptly walked off. The guard then began his rant "See I'm god back here as you can see the Warden just gave me the go ahead. So do as I say."

Just as this officer finished his threats a team of officers arrived suited in extract gear and a use of force camera on. The officer with the camera on told him "you are not in compliance for us to properly escort you therefore a use of force is needed so what is your statement?" He said, "I'm not refusing, just put the handcuffs on me and take me to my cell." The officer said, "is that your statement?" He did not respond. The correctional officers then opened up the door, grabbed and picked him up over their heads and slammed him straight on his head. Mind you he's a small guy at 5'9" and 150lbs. He went limp and they then hogtied him and handcuffed him as the officers dragged him into the Infirmary.

To my friend's recollection, once in the infirmary he heard the nurse say, "we're going to have to send him to UMTB Hospital" right before he passed out. Three (3) days later he awoke in a CAT scan machine and all he could hear was the noise from the CAT scan machine. Once the CAT scan was over he was slid out and then told the nurse "Ma'am can you please take these straps off me so I can get up and walk." The nurse looked at him and said, "Baby there ain't no straps on you, you are paralyzed from the neck down."

Upon hearing this he shed tears relentlessly like never before. He recalls laying in the bed and a fly would land on his forehead and he couldn't even swat it away. The agony of laying in a prison hospital (as they eventually transferred me to one) and not having proper assistance because of the low regard for us as inmates was unbearable, but something he had no choice to bear. Not being able to feed himself, bathe himself or at the very least use the bathroom himself as he had to wait hours on end for prison hospital staff to change his diapers.

One day he was laying there and out of God's good Grace a Muslim (a Muslim woman) walked in and she said "I was making Salat and Allah (SWT) told me while in Salat that there is a Muslim in this hospital that needs a Qu'ran." Hope was conceived on the day. The doctors gave my friend an option, if he did the surgery then there was a chance he might walk again but if he didn't go through with the surgery then he would never walk again. As Muslims it is upon our belief that we only bow to Allah (SWT) so he chose not to go through with the surgery. Six (6) months later when me and my brother crossed paths again he was being wheeled in a wheel chair to Jumu'ah and I began to call him. As we were in each other's presence we began to cry, and he said "I never thought I would be able to make Salat again," and then gave all his might as he struggled to stand and hugged me as we continued to shed unconditional tears. He said "I just learned how to walk again two (2) weeks ago. This morning I woke up in tears from the cramps I felt all over my body and it being so cold. I didn't know if I would make it to Jumu'ah but Allah (SWT) is Akbar." (God is the Greatest).

I was on medical chain to the prison my brother was at and only there from Thursday to Monday. So if he hadn't went to Jumu'ah then we would have never crossed paths. I also seen that the officers broke both of his wrists from when they slammed him on his forehead. My brother can't even wheel himself around because his wrist and motor skills or let alone put his gloves on himself. He now also has to wear glasses because his eyes are too sensitive to the light from the overuse of mace as they burned a layer of his eyes away, in fact on the day he seen me he slowly took his glasses off and sacrificed to endure the pain as he squinted and said, "I want to look at you." They also damaged his memory and he still couldn't control his bowel movements. Through all this he never received a disciplinary infraction because in the end they the quote-unquote correctional officers knew who was wrong. The magnitude of this wrongdoing is that the NAACP Southern Division appointed a lawyer to my brother's case. This sad case shouldn't go unheard to prevent this kind of stuff from ever happening to anybody else.

In physical reality, a man is broken but in spiritual reality his faith never wavered as my brother gave up his physical for what he believed in spiritual. In greatness that belief didn't change on the day of the incident and even in a wheelchair it still hasn't changed now as I write these very words. The moral to this sad but true story is, he is still Muslim and he never stopped praying or gave up his Salats (prayers) as he was paralyzed in a hospital bed and his faith actually became stronger through this trial and tribulation as he said to me when I seen him again "Don't give up Islam."

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[Campaigns] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Texas tossing out grievances

I'm writing today because I'm in the process of helping a small group file complaints against officers at the Coffield unit for harassment, assault, and threats, unnecessary use of force. Could you please send me five sworn complaint forms because I don't have access to a copy machine. Also I need 20 to 30 copies of the grievance campaign form. Our grievance at the Coffield and Beto units are being thrown away, not being investigated right, they are just signing off on them, and not sending out witnesses statement forms.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Denied Showers and Clean Clothing at Coffield

On the Coffield unit we are currently on our bi-annual lockdown/shakedown. During this time, we only receive showers three times a week, with clothing, socks and boxers only issued on a prisoners shower day (Mon, Wed, and Fri). However, while policy allows showers and clothing only three times a week (with the exception of lockdown workers), prisoners are required to be issued clean socks and boxers daily. The administration is failing in this regard.

To top matters off, prisoners are being limited to three minutes in the shower before the water is cut off. This adds to a total of 9 minutes of shower time over a seven day period. Factor into that situation the Texas heat and you have a recipe for ripe, unhygienic, hyper thermal prisoners roasting, possibly to death, in lockdown cells.

I have written to the building major about this and will file a grievance in the next few days. Enclosed is a copy of my letter to the major and I will keep you updated on any grievances and/or other feelings.

Major De La Rosa
Coffield
RE: Offender showers, necessity issue, and impermissible offender conduct

Dear Sir:

On 01 June and 03 June, offenders on P3 were given only three minutes to shower. After the elapsed time, officer Garcia ordered the offenders working in the necessity issue room to turn off the water supply and told the offenders remaining in the shower to exit after the water had been cut off.

Clothing was issued on a one-for-one basis, which meant that each offender only received one pair of boxers and one pair of socks on their shower day (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).

Allowing offenders only three minutes to shower, for a total of nine minutes over a seven day period, is unreasonable, unhygienic, and ruing extreme summer temperatures, potentially deadly.

Policy requires that offenders be given clean boxers and clean socks seven days a week. Under the current practice, offenders are given undergarments only three days a week.

A.D. 03.02 "Impermissible Offender Conduct" prohibits any offender from granting or denying access to any activity, which includes showers. By ordering the offenders in the necessity issue room to turn off the water supply, denying shower access to the offenders in the shower room, officer Garcia has impermissibly recruited offenders as enforcers.

The building is on lockdown schedule and it is understood that some activities will be restricted. However, showers, necessity issue, and the impermissible use of offender enforcers are not included in any of the policies that have been suspended.

Sincerely,
[prisoner name]
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[Medical Care] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Medical Abuse in Texas

I'm writing to request information and a guide to challenge TDCJ's medical co-payment. I am dealing with them trying to retaliate against me by charging me for services that are clearly exempted, i.e. falling from the top bunk and seeking medical attention for my knee and head right afterwards. I've been serving time for over 21 years and never really needed to know how to file anything against them properly until now.

I'd also like to ask if you know of anyone, yourself or other organization, that can help me in filing a 1983 lawsuit against TDCJ for their deliberate indifference and negligence in treating me. I wrote a Step 1 grievance on January 28 telling them that I was having trouble getting in and out of the top bunk, having fallen and hurting myself a number of times, and that there was no safe way to climb up (there's no steps or ladder in these old units) and requesting a bottom bunk or to be moved out to the camp. On February 10 I fell again and wrecked my knee and slammed my head into my fan.

I sought medical attention (for which I'm being charged) and was seen as a walk-in and had an accident report done. Then was told I'd be referred to the provider and be seen in 2-3 days. They refused to give me a bottom bunk then, even though I could barely walk and couldn't get up into my top bunk. After talking to various rank and being told only medical could give me a bottom bunk (and the nurse said it had to be swollen or broken before they'd do that), and to figure it out, I took a fall that night and spasmed my back, locking it up so that I couldn't sit up or even walk. Medical assumed I was faking and told me to get up and go back to my cell and again refused me treatment. I was locked up and disciplined for three weeks and subjected to a variety of retaliations.

After I wrote all of this up and sent letters to the Warden and Office of Inspector General, they finally let me see the provider and she ordered x-rays. The x-rays showed my ankle is fractured. Although so far I'm only being treated for one, the other ankle and shin feel the same way. They've put me in a walking boot and referred me to Galvaston, and put me in a bottom bunk as far as possible in the pod. So I'm forced to climb up and down four flights of stairs multiple times a day.

I know very little about the law or proper legal issues. I'm trying to learn right now, but could really use some help. I've given up asking these writ writers in here cause they can never agree on anything. From what I can find, this is a simple, cut and dry case. I've been keeping copies of everything I've written so far, but I don't know what else to do. I don't care about "getting paid," I just want them to fix these cells like they're supposed to. There are 116 units in this system and this is the largest, yet most all the others have steps and handles and tables to get up and down the top bunks. Guys like me who are big (I'm 6'5'' tall and weigh 280 lbs - I was over 315 lbs last year) are at risk and hurting themselves and it seems like nobody cares.

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[Medical Care] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Medical Treatment and Medical Negligence

I have been having trouble with the medical treatment I have been given since entering the system, to include mis-diagnosis and further injury after this. I have twice been charged for treatment of illness/injury caused by neglect and the negligence of the medical department. Not only am I being charged, I am being refused surgery to correct an injury because it is not life-threatening. But it is definitely causing a lot of misery/discomfort and diminished quality of life.

Without getting into specifics, I was treated for cancer in 2011-2012 and after 1 year of trying to get properly diagnosed, I had chemotherapy and two surgeries. After my last surgery, I was forced to return to work and, despite complaints, developed a hernia on my surgery site. I have seen a surgeon twice since 2012 and have been declined for surgery and only given work restrictions.

I have a lot of complications developing from this and twice the medical department has charged me for treatment. I would like some help in the procedures to properly grieve these issues and prayerfully get relief. Thank you for your assistance.

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[Medical Care] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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No Prosthetic Services for Amputee

I am an amputee prisoner on a non-ADA-compliant Unit, Coffield. I have been trying to get prosthetic services for 1 year 2 months now. I have tried UTMB provider, ineffective grievance system, even less effective is the chain of command. Wardens Rupert, Cooper, and Richardson sign off on the grievances to cover ALL the issues wrong with this unit: solitary, overcrowding, much needed better medical system, unsanitary eating utensils, mail room opening of legal mail, etc.

I have been writing to a disability lawyer and building design access for disabled, all the way up to Governor Abbot, Director of TDCJ Brad Livingston, every possible department in TDCJ, even the regional director. But my prosthetic issue started out as a minor height adjustment. My condition(s) now have become painfully severe to walk or stand in line for long periods of time.

This medical area holds 27 but has up to 50 prisoners with TB, AIDS, insulin open sores, bandages bloodied and needing change. I have grieved every medical issue. Some grievances are never returned, others are signed off as "complaint noted" but NO good results.

The whites wanted to lay it down and refuse work, the Mexicans were strong in their backing of this, but waiting for the rest of the population to join in, and it just petered out. No unity here, everyone is down for theirs. Here is some paperwork you can print in your newspaper.

prosthetic docs
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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Shower Guards Mock and Harass

I'm currently locked up in Texas on the notorious Coffield Unit. A very good friend of mine showed me a letter he received from you all and I was very impressed! You guys fight for rights of inmates. If that's the case, then this unit i'm on would make you empty out the contents of your stomach on the ground when you saw it.

The entire outside world has no idea what's going on here. I would like to tell you about a particular occurrence that happens quite often here. I work in the showers. This unit is very old and there are no showers on the wings. A vast migration of inmates happens every morning for those who want to shower. There are two shower bosses who are especially cruel. There are many crews who need to shower prior or/and after the masses shower. When these small groups of people come in, that's when these two bosses have their fun. When they're working alone, they're bad. When they are together, they cease to be human.

They will make dudes beg and beg to shower to no avail. If lucky they will wait an hour standing naked before the water will be turned on. Then the water is cut off before they have a chance to rinse off. Then the laughing and pointing fingers begins. Us shower workers just shake our heads in disbelief at what is going on in front of us. Then they are denied clean clothes. They wear their filthy clothes back to the wing and are forced to come back later for clean clothes. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that this is unlawful!

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Texas Pigs Break Policies to Torture Prisoners

I am writing to update you on my current situation and the goings on around the gulags. On 1/23/2013 Delta wing was hit unexpectedly with a shakedown during which I was found in possession of a large shard of glass. This is a level three offense so I was left in the dayroom for several hours awaiting placement on L wing. Around 5:15pm John Ellis, who the porkchops bow to as a sergeant, brought four of his cronies to escort me to L wing. I have had words with Ellis in the past and he has threatened to smash me.

When we get to L wing I was greeted to murmurs of disapproval and a couple of porkchops who knew me shaking their heads and saying "there goes the peace and conformity." This brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye as it's good to know I haven't been forgotten. The porkchop assigned to the position of turnkey was asked by Ellis what cells were open, to which he responded quickly "121 is open". Immediately I realized it was a set up and mentally prepared for a physical assault. It was not a physical assault but a mental assault. 121 is the hotbox, a small cage with plexiglass surrounding the outside designed for mental torture and abuse. My placement in the hot box was proof that the porkchops disregard their own rules and regulations as possession of a weapon is not behavior that merits placement in the hotbox. Ellis did this in an attempt to break my concentration and push me into conformity. Ellis said "121 sounds good" and the rest of the porkchops conformed to his intentional breaking of TDCJ policy.

When the cell door was closed Ellis told me to "have fun in the shit water." Two nights earlier an HIV positive prisoner flooded the cell with water mixed with his blood, urine, and feces. To be honest I noticed water, but floods are typical on L wing. That night my request for cleaning materials was ignored. The porkchop working the wing was Casey Ellis and he refused to bring me my property and I was forced to sleep in boxers on a metal bunk with no type of clothing or covering, and the temperature dropped to around 30 degrees.

I woke up and started making noise by kicking on the door. When I was finally successful in getting the attention of a porkchop he threatened to spray gas on me. When he realized I was calling his bluff he asked me what I wanted and I told him I needed my property. He then told me he was under orders by John Ellis to not give me anything, but because it was their Friday he would personally inventory my stuff and get it to me before he left which he did. The next night I asked everyone who walked by for cleaning supplies but no one would give them to me. That morning I finally got someone to listen to my demand to be moved out of 121, and I was put in a regular cell.

After describing the specific abuse brought down on me, I'd like to bring attention to the contradictions within the Ad-Seg policy (AD) - 03.50 as authorized by Rick Thaler CID Director.

Section IV 2. states "Indoor recreational areas shall be equipped with a minimum of one exercise mat, one chinning bar, a game table, a toilet, and a drinking fountain." I have been on the Coffield Unit over three years and have not seen an exercise mat ever. There is a urinal but no toilet, therefore defecation is a process of torture because a prisoner who may need to defecate cannot and is forced to hold it for an hour or until the prisoner gets the attention of the wing chop and then the chop may refuse to let him out. Further, several of the Ad-Seg wings including Delta and L wing have either non working urinals and/or a non-working sink. It is also per policy that the outside recreation yards are furnished with basketballs, which they are not, as the porkchops are known to stand in the hallway and continuously dribble the balls.

This now brings me to Section IV F "wholesome meals." The policy states "administrative segregation offenders shall have access to nutritional meals in accordance with the food service policy. Safety precautions shall be followed in serving meals pursuant to PO-07.006 administrative segregation officer." There's no such thing as a nutritional meal on Coffield, the supposed diet for a healthy meal is usually an undercooked hamburger or pork patty and a small serving of undercooked vegetables. The regular trays are no better because the kitchen workers steal our food, bag it up and sell it back to us and the SS help them get over on us. Now I don't knock the hustle, but steal from porkchops not the prisoners. I'm doing a lot of research through TDCJ policies for more potential grievances to which I'll keep you informed on the outcome.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This comrade does a good job of exposing the abuse at the hands of Coffield Unit pigs. And we need to document their violations of their own policies, and use those policies to try to gain some livable conditions for our comrades. The grievance system is one battle we can sometimes use to win these victories. Though as is documented by our Texas fight to get [url-https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/TX/16] our grievances recognized, all too often the prison ignores legitimate grievances. Under Lock & Key is a good tool for exposure of this type of information, but our work doesn't stop there, we must educate everyone around us about the need to fight back, and the ties between the oppression in prison and the criminal injustice system as a whole, and the underlying system of imperialism. This is our day-to-day job as anti-imperialists.

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[Abuse] [Coffield Unit] [Texas]
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Deaths in Texas Prisons from Heat and Negligence

Five people on the Coffield Unit have been allowed to die due to heat related issues. Now all of the sudden the administration and staff are "concerned" about the prisoners' well being - bullshit or they would have been doing more to prevent needless deaths long ago. Now Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is doing what they call "inmate wellness checks." This is just a real sad attempt (after the fact) to try to cover TDCJ's ass for their lack of concern effectively causing the deaths of inmates due to heat related illnesses (e.g. heat exhaustion, heat strokes, etc.)

We here are only being allowed to shower Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We should be allowed to shower just to cool off (since all Texas prisons are without any air conditioning). We should also have access to ice and cold water, but all of the above is scarce and this unit is observing "water conservation." The heat of Texas summers is not a new thing and neither is the penitentiary system in Texas.

Now the officers are tormenting us by asking every 30 minutes "are you alright", "are you ok?" most insincerely. Yet we are still made to wear very heavy woven cotton clothes in the summer - the same ones we wear in the winter time. Had they ever been truly concerned the five prisoners would have never been allowed to die of heat related illnesses. It is a real shame that so many people had to die before they even acted concerned, it is still hard for me to understand how they avoid any criminal charges behind these deaths.

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