Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Estelle High Security Unit - Texas

Postage is one of our biggest expenses. Why not send a book of stamps or two to POB 40799 SF, CA 94140 next time you're at the post office? help out

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] [Medical Care] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Denied medical treatment and disability services in Texas

I fell June 2 Jamming my wrist in the wall I have one arm with no climbing and no reaching over my shoulder. Our lockers are overhead I have been denied a medical locker that sit on floor for 10 months. IDS has asked for me to be given one. After 23 days I was given an x ray June 25. Nothing done. I went to Galveston hospital in Aug 2018 on another matter. I showed the doctor my swollen wrist again. Nothing was done or said on sept 19, I was given a lay in for medical. I was issued a wrist splint and told I would be going to Galveston hospital. I filed a grievance only to have it returned the next day stating that my time to file had expired. I should have filed when the X-ray was done. I was reassigned to Estelle Unit last Nov to get a hearing aid. This hasn't happened.

I have been refused brace and limb - citing no medical indication for it (I have one arm). I have been delayed all services from ADS. I am also hearing impaired, talking book program, etc. My caseworker states I am trying to get her fired when I asked for these services after 10 months. I do want it fixed so she can't work for city, county, state, or government again.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Denial of medical care at Estelle

I was sent here November of 2012 to get a hearing aid. Ten months later, I am still waiting on a hearing test, which is set for October. Until this happens, I am denied all programs from ADS (Assistive Disability Services), talking book program, just to name one.

I am amputated right arm above elbow. I am refused brace and limb as no medical indication that it is needed.

I am also denied a medical floor locker. Again, I have one arm and can't use the overhead lockers with the following restrictions, no climbing, reaching our the shoulder due to aneurysm on the left arm. ADS requested the box. This was denied by the law library staff. I fell while trying to place my property in overhead locker on June 2. It took 12 days to see medical staff and another 12 days to get an X-ray. By that time, my wrist had healed wrong with a big knot on it.

These issues and other have been addressed by the ombudsmen (unit captains) which is a cover up in itself. They are not picking on me, it is like that for everyone here at Estelle Unit.

The Law Library doesn't have law books on a shelf, it has no shelfs. You have to know what case law you want. Without the full name and cite, you get nothing.

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[Abuse] [Medical Care] [Mental Health] [Theory] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
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Disabilities and Anti-Imperialism

disability in prison

[Co-authored with PTT of MIM(Prisons)]

Nowhere is the necessity for the societal advancement to communism more apparent than in the realm of disability considerations. No segment of society, imprisoned or otherwise, is in greater need of the guiding communist ethos proclaimed by Marx: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." This humynist principle applies to no demographic more than the disabled.

When communist society is realized, the intrinsic worth of each and every persyn and their potential to contribute to society will be realized as well. In return, communist society will reward the disabled population by adequately providing their essentials and rendering all aspects of society open and accessible for their full utilization. In a phrase, communism will respect the disabled persyn's humyn right to a humane existence. We communists strive for the elimination of power structures that allow the oppression of people by people. The disabled population, as well as all peoples that have hystorically been subjugated by the oppressive bourgeois system of capitalism/imperialism, can then work toward the implementation of a truly democratic society.

Considering MIM(Prisons) recognizes only three strands of oppression in the world today (nation, class and gender), able-bodiedness is a cause and consequence of class, and in countries with more leisure-time it is intimately tied up in the gender strand of oppression. This essay intends to analyze disability as it relates to class, gender, and the prison environment.

Disability and Class

In the United $tates the greatest source of persynal wealth is inheritance. It can be said the ability to create and maintain able-bodiedness may be inherited also. For the most part, class station is determined by birth. By virtue of to whom and where a persyn is born, their access, or lack thereof, to material resources is ascribed. The bourgeoisie and labor aristocracy have access to nutrition and healthcare the First World lumpen and international proletariat and peasantry do not. The likelihood of a positive health background renders the labor aristocracy and other bourgeois classes attractive prospects to potential employers, lenders, etc. This allows them to continue to enjoy nutrition and healthcare not common to the lumpen, proletariat, and peasantry.

It would be extremely uncommon to find a First World lumpen, an international proletarian, or a peasant with a membership to a health and fitness club. This privilege is reserved for the bourgeois classes, including the petty-bourgeoisie and its subclass the labor aristocracy. This, of course, further enhances the prospect of maintaining good health, and compounded with employer-supplied healthcare, does act as prophylaxis against the onset of debilitating and degenerative physical ailments.

It would be unreasonable to ignore the possibility that a member of the bourgeoisie might be genetically infirm, or a labor aristocrat debilitated by an accident. But, due to their class position, these classes are better prepared and equipped to minimize the adversities resulting from such an unfortunate occurrence.

Able-bodiedness may also affect upward class mobility. An able-bodied First World lumpen that can find employment might enter the ranks of the labor aristocracy. A blue collar labor aristocrat may be promoted to a managerial position, and so forth. Of course other factors, such as national background, do play a role in one's mobility (or stagnation for that matter), but disability also plays a significant role.

Disability and Gender

Gender only comes to the fore after life's essentials are secured, thereby standing out in relief on its own aside from class/nation. In the First World leisure-time plays a major role in gender analysis. MIM(Prisons) defines "gender" as:

"One of three strands of oppression, the other two being class and nation. Gender can be thought of as socially-defined attributes related to one's sex organs and physiology. Patriarchy has led to the splitting of society into an oppressed (wimmin) and oppressor gender (men).
"Historically reproductive status was very important to gender, but today the dynamics of leisure-time and humyn biological development are the material basis of gender. For example, children are the oppressed gender regardless of genitalia, as they face the bulk of sexual oppression independent of class and national oppression.
"People of biologically superior health-status are better workers, and that's a class thing, but if they have leisure-time, they are also better sexually privileged. We might think of models or prostitutes, but professional athletes of any kind also walk this fine line. ... Older and disabled people as well as the very sick are at a disadvantage, not just at work but in leisure-time. ..." - MIM(Prisons) Glossary

This system of gender oppression is commonly referred to as "patriarchy," which MIM(Prisons) defines as:

"the manifestation and institutionalization of male dominance over wimmin and children in the family and the extension of male dominance over wimmin in society in general; it implies that men hold power in all the important institutions of society and that wimmin are deprived of access to such power."(1)

Professor bell hooks's description of patriarchy in eir work The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love has also contributed to this author's understanding of gender oppression:

"Patriarchy is a political-social system that insists that males are inherently dominating, superior to everything and everyone deemed weak, especially females, and endowed with the right to dominate and rule over the weak and to maintain that dominance through various forms of psychological terrorism and violence."(2)

Professor hooks's definition of patriarchy not only recognizes terrorism as a patriarchal mechanism, but that patriarchal forces do not intend only to oppress, dominate, and subjugate females or even just females and children, but patriarchy's pathology is to hold down anything it regards as weaker than itself. Patriarchy is a bully.

Children are one of the most stigmatized and oppressed groups of people in the world. Patriarchal society considers children physically disabled due to their undeveloped bodies and therefore susceptible to patriarchal oppression — regardless of the biology of the child. This firmly places children in the gender oppressed stratum. Due to disabled people's diminished bodies (and/or cognizance), disabled people can be categorized similar to children subjected to patriarchy, ergo, disability falls into the gender oppression stratum as well as class.

Patriarchy and Prisons

U.$. prisons are, from top to bottom, patriarchal structures. Prisons are institutions where the police, the judiciary, and militarization have crystalized as paternalistic enforcer of bureaucracies of patriarchy; prisons, the system of political, social, cultural and economic restraint and control, are fundamentally patriarchal institutions implemented to enforce the status quo — including patriarchal domination. Disabled prisoners in Texas have long been labeled "broke dicks," illustrative of their "less-than-a-man" status in the prison pecking order.

There are laws mandating disabled prisoners not be precluded from recreational activities, or any other prison activity for that matter. Yet enforcement of these laws are prohibitively difficult for disabled prisoners, especially prisoners with vision or hearing disabilities, or cognitive impairments. The disabled have few advocates in bourgeois society; they have virtually none in prison.

The likelihood that prison officials discriminate against and abuse disabled prisoners is readily apparent. What is most disheartening is able-bodied prisoners are often the perpetrators of mistreatment against disabled prisoners, frequently at the behest of prison administrators so as to procure favorable treatment. In fact, the most telling aspect of the conditions of confinement imposed on disabled prisoners is the abuse of the disabled prisoners at the hands of able-bodied prisoners. The able-bodied prisoners are quick to manhandle and overrun disabled prisoners in obtaining essential prison services which are commonly inadequate and limited. When queued up for meals, showers, commissary, etc. the able-bodied prisoners will shove and elbow aside disabled prisoners; will threaten to assult disabled prisoners; and have in fact assaulted disabled prisoners should they complain or protest being accosted in such a fashion. All this invariably with the knowledge and/or before the very eyes of prison administrators and personnel.

It is far too common for the victims of sexual harassment and assault in prisons to be gay, transgendered, and/or disabled. Whether the perpetrator be prison officials or fellow prisoners, this practice is condoned by the culture of patriarchy and the hyper-masculine prison environment.

In the Prison Justice League's (PJL) report to the U.$. Department of Justice titled "Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Use of Excessive Force at Estelle Unit" the PJL outlined the routine and systematic abuse of disabled prisoners by prison personnel at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Regional Medical Facility for the Southern Region, Estelle Unit.(3) Prisoners assigned to the Estelle Unit per their disabilities are regularly and habitually denied medical treatment for their disabilities, ergo oftentimes exacerbating the causes and effects of the disabilities which brought them to Estelle initially; are denied auxiliary aids so as to accommodate their disabilities as required by law; are physically assaulted by prison administrators and staff, or their inmate henchmen; and with egregious frequency are murdered at the hands of state officials.

Since the PJL's report and subsequent Department of Justice investigation, there has been a bit of a detente in the abuse visited upon disabled Estelle prisoners by prison personnel. But the pigz are barely restrained. Threats of physical violence directed at disabled prisoners are still a regular daily occurrence, and prison personnel assaults on disabled prisoners are still far too common.

Another recent example of the persistent difficulties disabled prisoners face, even with the courts on their side, can be seen in the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) recent settlement negotiated with the Montana Department of Corrections (MDC), after it neglected to fulfill Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements from a 1995 settlement, Langford v. Bullock. In 2005, the ADA requirements were still not met, and despite the Circuit Court's order requiring Montana to comply with the 1995 settlement, it is not until 2017, and much advocacy later, that negotiations are being finalized between the ACLU and MDC. We can't dismantle systems of gender oppression one quarter-century-long lawsuit at a time. That's why MIM(Prisons) advocates for a complete overthrow of patriarchal capitalism-imperialism as soon as possible.

Another patriarchal aspect to be observed in prisons is ageism. As children are included in the gender-oppressed stratum, so should the aged. As the able-bodied prisoners' ability to work subsides due to age in the First World, especially in the United $tates where the welfare state is minuscule and the social safety net set very low, the propensity for a once able-bodied persyn to be relegated to the ranks of the lumpen is intensified. As the once able-bodied persyn becomes aged and disabled, their physical, as well as mental, health becomes more and more jeopardized, accelerating the degeneration of existing disabilities as well as increasing the likelihood of creating the onset of new ones (e.g. the First World lumpen are notorious for developing diabetes due to poor diet and lifestyle issues).

Disability as a Means of Castration

Holding people in locked cages is an acute form of social control. Solitary confinement creates long-lasting psychological damage. And prison conditions in general are designed (by omission) to create long-lasting physical damage to oppressed populations. Prisons are a tool of social control, and exacerbating/creating disabilities is a way prisons carry this through in a long-term and multi-generational fashion.

Prisoners, who are a majority lumpen population, are likely to already have unmet medical needs before entering prison, as described above in the section on class. Then when in prison, these medical needs are exacerbated because of the bad environment (toxic water, exposed asbestos, run down facilities, etc.); brutality from guards and fellow prisoners; poor medical care including untreated physical traumas, improper timing for medications (see article on diabetes), and just straight up neglect.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's battle to receive treatment for hepatitis C, which ey contracted from a tainted blood transfusion ey received after being shot by police in 1981, is a case in point. Mumia belongs to an oppressed nation, is conscious of this oppression, has fought against this oppression, and thus is last on the priority list for who the state of Pennsylvania will give resources to. And medical care under capitalism is sold to the highest bidder, with new drugs which are 90% effective in curing hepatitis C coming with a price tag of $1,000 per day. In a communist society these life-saving drugs will be free to all who need them.

Disability in the Anti-Imperialist Movement

The fact that people with disabilities will be treated better after we take down capitalism is obvious. Our stance on discrimination against people with disabilities in our society today is obvious. What is less obvious is the question of how we can incorporate people with disabilities into the anti-imperialist movement today, while we are so small and relatively weak compared to the enemy that surrounds us. This is an ongoing question for revolutionaries, who are always pushing themselves to be stronger, better, and more productive. After all, there is an urgency to our work.

Our militancy tends to be inherently ableist. With all the distractions and requirements of living in this bourgeois society, we have precious little time to devote to revolutionary work. We are always on the lookout for things and people that are holding us back and wasting our time, and we work diligently to weed these things and people from our lives and movement. Often when people aren't productive enough, due to mental or physical consequences of capitalism and national oppression, we can't do anything to help them — especially through the mail. No matter how sympathetic people are to our politics, and how much they want to contribute, we just don't have the resources to provide care that would help these folks give more to overthrowing imperialism. Often times all we can do is use these anecdotes to add fuel to our fire.

Disabilities amongst oppressed people are intentionally created by the state, and a natural consequence of capitalism. If we don't take any time to work with and around our allies' disabilities, then we are excluding a population of people who, like the introduction says above, are in the greatest need of a shift toward communism. We aim to have independent institutions of the oppressed which can help people overcome some of these barriers to political work. At this time, however, the state is doing more to weaken our movement in this regard than we are able to do to strengthen it.

[Of note, the primary author of this article has devoted eir life to revolutionary organizing in spite of being imprisoned and with multiple physical disabilities. Even though it is extremely difficult to contribute, it is possible!]

Notes:
1. From MIM(Prisons) Glossary, Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy, Oxford University Press, 1987, p.239 Appendix.
2. bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love, Washington Square Press, 2004, p. 18.
3. Erica Gammill & Kate Spear, Cruel & Unusual Punishment: Excessive Use of Force at the Estelle Unit, Prison Justice League, 2015.
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[Legal] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 55]
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Expose Texas Denial of Access to Courts

Estelle Unit operates a "cite only" method of providing prisoners access to courts, requiring prisoners to submit "cite specific requests" to Access to Courts (ATC) officials in order to receive legal research materials. Courts have repeatedly ruled cite-only access fails to satisfy constitutional de minimis, explaining it is unreasonable to expect a doctor of jurispridence to request cites by note, let alone a pro se laypersyn prisoner.

Recently I was told by law library staff a case I cite-specifically requested didn't exist. I called bullshit stating the Texas Criminal Practice Guide, John Boston's and Dan Manville's Prisoners' Self-Help Litigation Manual, and Manville's Prisoners' Disciplinary Self-Help Litigation Manual don't lie. I was then threatened with disciplinary action. I invited such, desiring the denial of access to courts be documented. The next day when admitted to the so-called law library I was confronted by the ATC Supervisor in possession of the case at issue, and all kinds of papers for me to sign, validating I had in fact received the cite in question.

The very same day the above phantom caselaw was produced, I requested another case by cite, and again told the case didn't exist. I then set a trap. I have repeatedly trapped and caught ATC pigs claiming specifically-requested case citations did not exist which do indeed exist. Case in point: I requested a denial of access to courts case per the Estelle "cite only" method. I was told the case did not exist. I waited a short period, then requested the supposed nonexistent case be Shephardized, a method of cross-reference. At the next day's so-called law library session the Shephardized lexis.com download was presented to me showing the case in question had been published in 1997. Priceless. Absolutely priceless. Dumb blank faces blinking back at me.


MIM(Prisons) responds: The oppressors will never give the oppressed the tools to overcome their oppression. This anecdote is an example of exactly why we believe we need to build a revolutionary movement to force the state to give up its power, so we can put an end to Amerikkka's prison system!

This article referenced in:
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[Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Noxious Gas and Hot Air in Estelle

Frequently the Estelle living areas, recreation yards, dining rooms, etc. are inundated with a maloderous, gaseous vapor that causes a burning sensation of the throat and lungs, difficulty breathing, resulting in a persistent cough. I randomly polled 25 prisoners from the general population and it was unanimous — they all confirmed the noxious gas and resulting symptoms.

It is my intention to submit to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality a joint letter from Estelle prisoners complaining of this environmental contamination. I have had some prior dealings with the TCEQ. They're bullshit. But it is the place to start.

TCEQ is for some inexplicable reason not listed in the legal directory found in the prison so-called law library. I submitted a request to the unit Access to Courts (ATC) Supervisor requesting TCEQ's address. Though answering this request was well within the ATC Supervisor's responsibilites and duties, Estelle ATC directed me to contact TDCJ ATC central. Which I did to no avail! I also requested the address from the unit mailroom supervisor. I have yet to receive a response.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Fighting uphill legal battles at Estelle

The Estelle Unit operates a constitutionally deficient “cite only” method of providing prisoners access to courts. The only way a prisoner can present this issue to a federal court is, pursuant to the PLRA, show actual harm. Basically, this means a prisoner must have presented a claim in court that was defeated due to the insufficient cite only method of providing access to courts. I'm lying in wait. Per the cite only method, it can take 72 hours or more to receive the requested research material cited – if it is ever to be obtained at all. Consequently, what would normally take weeks at the most to research, due to the cite only access, takes months.

The 14th day of August, one officer L. Bowers confiscated two affidavits sworn to by prisoners that had witnessed disciplinary incidents that was to accompany a 2254 petition. Bowers claimed the documents weren't mine though my name was all over them. So after posting this correspondence, I will be drafting a motion to preserve documents to be submitted to the court – for all the good it's gonna do me, but the motion will become part of the permanent record.

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[Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Stories of Regular Threats Prisoners Face at Estelle

The 11th day of May, 2016, one Nigerian prison guard, Chinoso Uguwu, refused to provide a cell ingress and egress as required. Uguwu and I became embroiled in a heated verbal confrontation.

Uguwu: "I fuck your mother! You are goat's penis, fucker of your own mother!" No biggie. Just another day in the life...
But, Uguwu: "I promise you this, Boko Haram will kill you! This I promise!"

I immediately went to the picket officer working my assigned wing relaying the incident to them, asking them to identify Uguwu as Uguwu refused to identify himself.

The picket officer could not identify Uguwu.

En route to the midday feeding I approached one Sgt. R. Eisneros informing the Sgt as to the incident at issue, asking the Sgt to identify Uguwu. Cisneros assured me I would be provided Uguwu's name posthaste.

Returning from the midday feeding I approached an officer working my assigned wing's corridor ("The Gauntlet"), officer G. Flowers. I informed Flowers that Uguwu had threatened to have me executed at the hands of Boko Haram, a Nigerian affiliate of Al-Qeada. (None of the amerikan prison guards was familiar with Boko Haram). At this juncture Uguwu interrupted stating to Flowers, 3 hours after the fact, they had written a disciplinary report on me for threatening to inflict physical harm on Uguwu, a TDCJ officer. Flowers then did restrain my hands behind my back and began to lead me to an isolation cell in an isolation wing.

En route to isolation, Flowers led me past the 1/8 mile "Gauntlet's" central desk. Where I was accosted by a lieutenant and two of the lieutenant's henchmen: J. Pittcock and L. Bowers. Upon arriving at the central desk I was immediately met with threats of physical assault by the lieutenant, Pittcock and Bowers. (Bowers seemed to be fixated by the fact I was in restraints.) After acknowledging their threats by stating I didn't care what flew out de pie hole. Whatever de thinkin' 'bout doin' done been tried before. I ain't gonna say de won't do it, but I promised de wouldn't get away with it. Yadda, yadda, yadda... In response the lieutenant stated: "I don't give a fuck what's on your travel card." (Being a "Ruiz Litigator, Litigious/Radical Offender" is both a blessing and a bane. This is the bane.) They, the lieutenant, Pittcock, and Bowers, would escort me to isolation themselves, relieving Flowers while promising me the "ass whoopin' of my life" once arriving at the isolation wing.

I'm an old hand at this and am good at exhibiting a nonplussed demeanor in the face of such adversity, but ice cold trepidation was running through my veins. I thought the end was here.

Before arriving at the isolation wing I was escorted to the prison infirmary per a pre-isolation physical. Throughout the physical the lieutenant, Pittcock, and Bowers described in graphic detail the imminent beating I was to receive, Bowers going so far as to tightening the manacles restraining my hands behind my back to a painful degree.

The attending nurse during this physical would not clear me for isolation placement due to high blood pressure. (I am currently being treated for low blood pressure. I was very pissed and very afraid. Fight or flight mode). Pittcock ordered the physical to end instructing the nurse to write me up for disobeying an order for not lowering my blood pressure!

Gotta luv it!

Once arriving at the isolation wing I found it difficult to concentrate due to apprehension and all the commotion in the isolation area. Seems my arrival was anticipated. Miraculously, I was deposited in an isolation cell unmolested, though Pittcock lingered to inform me, had they been in charge they would've had me "aired out." I responded I had fully expected such, feigning disappointment.

About an hour after being placed in isolation the lieutenant appeared - apologizing! (the blessing) The lieutenant instructed I would be released from isolation and allowed to return to my assigned housing location after shift change as they did not want me to return to my wing while Uguwu was still in attendance; and a disciplinary action would not be pursued against me per the incident at issue.

Approximately 14:30 hrs, I was released form the isolation cell, but rather than being allowed to return to my assigned housing unit, I was placed in an administrative segregation shower located in the isolation wing. I remained in the Ad-Seg shower until 21:30 per the orders of Sgt. K. Owens and Lt. W. Wyatt. This shower was damp, inundated with black mold and reeked of mildew and urine. It was like being confined to an old gas station bathroom along Route 66.

I was served the evening meal there. The 28th day of May 2016, at the evening feeding, a Nigerian officer working the dining room serving line absolutely refused to serve me a dinner tray. I then noticed Uguwu in close proximity surveying the scene. I then went to a kitchen Sgt. who did provide me an evening meal. As I was partaking of the evening meal Uguwu approached me again threatening: "I am coming for you, and when I get you, don't cry."

I informed the kitchen Sgt. and, of course, filed an administrative grievance outlining Uguwu's transgressions. As of this writing I have yet to be notified of any remedial action taken.

As I said, another day in the life...

The 2nd day of June 2016, Officer Okocha threatened to pepper spray me for attempting to read Okocha's name plaque per forthcoming administrative grievance. Okocha pulled and aimed a canister of pepper spray at my visually impaired eyes, ostensibly because I was too close (approx 5 ft.) to Okocha. During this encounter, Okocha was screaming unintelligibly attracting the attention of a Sgt. that ordered Okocha to stand down.

These are common occurrences at the Estelle Unit. A hospital unit housing many disabled and impaired prisoners, infamously for assaulting and abusing the prisoners assigned here!

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[Medical Care] [Control Units] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Injury, Insult, Disability, Isolation

Please remember that I am visually impaired, currently being treated for glaucoma, photo sensitivity, etc. Also, it has been commented on more than once that for a visually impaired persyn I seem to have no difficulty drafting correspondence. My patent response is I have, over the course of my life, drafted thousands upon thousands of holographic documents and correspondence. I can literally do so with my eyes closed. I am also a touch typist.

Since the 14th of this month I have been confined to an isolation cell devoid any light whatsoever except the modicum of light entering the cell from the hallway - by which I am writing this letter.

First, no sooner did I set the date per this letterhead than I was approached by a mailroom official informing me the book Settlers: Mythology of the White Proletariat had been denied. It seems Settlers is on a permanent denial list and is unappealable. This will be the first literature denial I have ever not challenged, or failed to prevail over, but I have stretched myself so thin I need to regroup. By my estimate, the propensity of prevailing per a challenge to this denial is less than good.

The reason for this denial is racial content and depictions of rape. Some years ago I received through the mail Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. Go figure. I could not bring myself to allow this important tome to be destroyed. Recognizing the scarcity of resources, Settlers will be returned to MIM Distributors.

I did receive the Ricketts' Prisoners of Liberation. I am anxious to delve into Prisoners, especially being absolutely isolated. All I can say is thank you so much for sending Settlers and Prisoners. I'm just so sorry I was unable to receive Settlers. Look for it to be returned in the next couple of months.

On November 13 the majority of my property was stored, including my legal materials, correspondence supplies, study items, etc., and I was transported from here, the Estelle Unit, to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) John Sealy Hospital, Galveston, per ophthalmology consultation for prospective eye surgery. I brought stamped envelopes, 1 writing tablet, 1 ink pen, the book On Trotskyism, MIM Theory magazines 6 and 10, and minimal hygiene items. I also included MIM(Prisons)'s most recent communication to me. My intent for including correspondence materials and MIM(Prisons)'s items is apparent.

The evening of Nov 13 at approximately 6 p.m., the transport bus bringing me back to Estelle was rear-ended at a high speed by a UTMB John Sealy doctor in an SUV on a cell phone. The transport bus was at a dead standstill. The doctor did not apply an ounce of pressure to eir brakes. The SUV's engine was pushed back 3 feet or more. Fortunately the doctor walked away. Seated at the back of the bus I sustained neck and back injuries.

At approximately 7 p.m. I was returned to the John Sealy Hospital, admitted, subjected to spinal cervical imaging, held overnight, and discharged the next morning with an ordered treatment regiment and a prescription for pain medication. Neither of which has been implemented as of this writing.

Late morning, November 14, I was wheel-chaired to a transport bus awaiting to return me to Estelle. UTMB medical personnel placed a bright yellow band on my right wrist designating me, in bold lettering, a fall risk. As such, it was ordered I be handcuffed singularly.

Arriving at the Estelle Unit at approximately 3 p.m., awaiting my return was a medical staffer with a wheelchair so that I would not be at risk of falling as ordered by UTMB doctors. Once taking a seat in said wheelchair, a prison guard ordered me out of the chair. In response I informed the Sergeant that I had sustained neck and back injuries via an auto accident, UTMB doctors had deemed me a fall risk, indicating the bright yellow wrist band, UTMB doctors had ordered I be ambulated via wheelchair, and the Sergeant was devoid the authority to supersede a medical directive. The Sergeant then again ordered me to remove myself from the wheelchair threatening me with physical assault and disciplinary action should I fail to comply.

As a visually impaired prisoner I have been issued, among other adaptive aid devices, a visual disability orientation cane. Pursuant to being ordered from the wheelchair, rather than using my cane to orientate myself with my surroundings, I used the cane for physical support while attempting to walk to the prison edifice proper, causing me to fall several times. Said Sergeant disallowed any persyn, neither security staff or prisoner, to assist me. Once inside the prison proper, and beyond the scrutiny of the belligerent Sergeant, a non-ranking guard did allow me to ambulate via wheelchair to my assigned housing unit.

When returned to Estelle from Galveston, I was issued no bedding (i.e. 2 sheets, 1 blanket, as required). Arriving at my assigned cell, the bunk I was assigned had no mattress. I advised all guards working my assigned prison wing, as well as all ranking officers on duty, as to the situation, notifying them all that less than 24 hours prior I had suffered neck and back injuries incurred in an auto accident. All my attempts to obtain a mattress and bedding were met with indifference by prison staff.

At approximately 11 p.m., one Sergeant Mims, a 3rd shift supervisor, entered my assigned prison wing. I approached Mims informing em as to my predicament, and was again met with indifference. I reluctantly informed Mims that I would bring the property in my possession to the wing dayroom and remain there until I was provided a mattress and bedding, suggesting to Mims that, since I had been injured, perhaps they could place me in the infirmary until I could be provided adequate bedding, or appropriate housing could be located. Though the dayroom was open for prisoner access, Mims stated if I entered the dayroom they would place me in lockup. I then invited Mims to place me in lockup so the entire travesty would be formally documented, ergo substantiating my prospective filing of an administrative grievance, and forthcoming litigious action. Mims then ordered me to place my hands behind my back so that I could be restrained thusly. I advised Mims it was required my hands be manacled in front as I am visually impaired, necessitating the use of a visual disability orientation cane so as to effectively maneuver throughout the prison. Mims repeated the order to place my hands behind my back. In compliance, I dropped my cane, placing my hands behind my back. Mims did restrain me and led me to the prison infirmary for a pre-hearing detention physical.

I've not seen my orientation cane since. Keep in mind, Estelle not only encompasses the High Security Unit, it is also the regional medical facility for the southern region of TDCJ.

I was placed in PHD (i.e. isolation) devoid any of the required criteria authorizing such. I was placed in isolation with nothing but the clothes on my back. Again, there was no mattress or bedding. Just a bare, steel bunk. No toilet paper. No water (The water faucet didn't work. I was denied water for 4 days as I was on a hunger strike [11 days] and told if I ate I would be provided water.). After 4 days I placed my mouth directly on the faucet and sucked in an effort to obtain water. I must have removed some sort of plumbing obstruction by this means (yuk!) as I did create a trickle of water that I captured in a Styrofoam cup finally provided me. The isolation wing windows and outside vents were open, bringing the temperature in isolation cells down into the 40s. I had nothing but the clothes on my back, and the shoes on my feet.

The night of the 14th, morning of the 15th, I spent sitting upon a stainless steel commode. I had been without sleep for approximately 80 hours due to being transported to Galveston, the auto accident, being poked and prodded all night at the hospital, being transported back to Estelle, and not being afforded appropriate housing. Sitting on that steel commode, in frigid temperatures, I began to hallucinate. I had the most marvelous conversation with my significant other of 15 years. That has been my best experience since being incarcerated. I must've been talking out loud. A guard came to check on me and seeing the condition I was in, after 15 hours (I have a talking wrist watch) in isolation, I was brought a mattress from an unoccupied isolation cell. It had been there the entire time. Some time after this a prisoner in isolation that had 2 blankets sent me one. They, I believe a Black persyn, stated when sending the blanket: "Black, white, brown, red, yellow, we all gotta stick together," which was encouraging - especially for Texas.

The first meal provided me was breakfast, the morning of the 15th. The guard serving trays spit in it. Thinking I was visually disabled rather than impaired, they spit in my food right in front of me. The breakfast tray was white paper that I could discern. The offending guard was in the hallway light directly in front of my cell. Rather than seen, I heard the guard spit into my food. Much like the pig that kicked Mumia into the Black Panther Party, this incident prompted me to commence a hunger strike.

Initially, my hunger strike demand was for adequate bedding, but as the days wore on, expanded to include being reunited with my extensive legal books, documents and papers; my correspondence materials (14 writing tablets, 14 stamped envelopes, 15 ink pens); hygiene items; and my political literature. After a week I was allowed my shower shoes, toothbrush, and toothpaste. I was informed this was all that was allowed a PHD confinee. As the statue designation would indicate, PHD is implemented prior to disciplinary hearing. There are no prison rules or regulations depriving a PHD prisoner possession of their property. I have been in PHD several time before and always have had possession of all my property until after a disciplinary hearing when disciplinary sanctions may restrict access to certain property items.

Rather remarkably, on November 25, I was allowed to order and receive commissary purchases: correspondence supplies (including a greeting card), soap/shampoo, fingernail clippers, and coffee, all items denied me from my confiscated and/or stored personal property. When the property officer delivered my shower shoes, etc., I inquired why I was not allowed correspondence materials so that I might contact my significant other. Their answer: "I don't know. I don't want to get involved."

Interestingly, my commissary receipt shows I am in transit status rather than PHD. The property officer claimed I am in administrative segregation level III, just shy of high security. This, absent a disciplinary hearing.

On November 23 I was approached in my isolation cell by an administrator informing me I was charged with several disciplinary infractions. This persyn did not introduce themselves as my counsel substitute (C/S, advocate) per the disciplinary at issue. It seems Mims's claims I threatened to inflict bodily harm on them by stating: "if I go in that dayroom, there's going to be problems for y'all tonight - I promise you that." Had I said what Mims claims, which I didn't, it's not much of a threat. Pretty lame. Mims also claims I failed to comply with a direct order by not putting my hands behind my back to be restrained. Again false. Finally, Mims stated I was a threat to institutional security cause they had to summon backup staff and a video camera per a "potential use of force." Gotcha! There was no backup, and there is no video.

Uh-oh.

Stupid motherfucker.

Mims writeups are nothing more than attempts at creative writing, resulting in poor fiction.

The C/S delivered me with disciplinary notice 10 days into my PHD confinement. Understand, all, each and every time constraint in which to process and adjudicate a disciplinary action, had elapsed. On November 24 I was ushered before a disciplinary captain (DHO, Disciplinary Hearing Officer), at which time I categorically contested the entire disciplinary process from the beginning. I was summarily ejected from the hearing.

The next morning I was again brought before the DHO. When I again protested the disciplinary procedure, the DHO and C/S attempted to repress my dissent. In retort, I proclaimed the disciplinary hearing to be my hearing. The DHO then stated they could conduct the hearing without my presence. I countered: "This is my opportunity to be heard, is it not Captain Martinez?" Martinez then leaped from his seat and charged me as if to attack. Standing over me in a menacing manner, Martinez ordered my escorts to, "Get him outta here before I put him outta here!"

Rest assured, comrades, I was nonplussed. I can only assume the hearing at issue was held in absentia, though I've yet to be notified as to any outcome.

In regards to the hunger strike: though I still have not received my legal/political papers, including addressed, after receiving a mattress, blanket, and correspondence materials via commissary purchase, I broke my strike on November 26, a total of 11 days after embarking on such.

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[Organizing] [Abuse] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Formula for Fighting Abuse in Texas

On June 29, 2013 a Black Texas Department of Criminal Justice Correctional officer with the last name Ford used his handcuffs on a Latino/Mexican prisoner as if the handcuffs were brass knuckles. Officer Ford punched the prisoner repeatedly in the head. Fellow prisoners who witnessed this heinous act requested to be given witness statements. Captain Vincent, Lieutenant Sutton, and Sergeant Landrum refused to produce witness statements. This is just one more incident adding to a long list of human rights abuses and violations that have taken place on the Estelle Unit located in Huntsville, Texas.

We have found through our experience that the Grievance Program is corrupt in Texas prisons. Nevertheless, in order to maintain a record of the incident and preserve the right to file 42 US 1983, total exhaustion of administrative remedies is a must per the corrupt PRLA law. I and many comrades in Texas and beyond have written the U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division - Special Litigation Section. I've gotten back the same form letter response over 6 times! They ain't doin' shit! The abuse continues.

Handcuffs being used as brass knuckles!!? Ranking supervisors refusing to pass witness statements!!? These are criminal acts. There is an ongoing conspiracy to cover up said illegal acts in Texas prisons.

I have discovered a "formula" that works very well in reference to combating these oppressors in Texas, especially when they band together in order to cover up blatant acts of abuse and humyn rights violations by TDCJ employees:

  1. Media coverage - form bonds and relationship of trust and respect with journalists.
  2. Prisoner rights activists - we all need free world helpers.
  3. State and federal legislators - you must seek an authority higher than the prison administrators.

This 3 step formula is good for all states but the specifics will change by geographic location. However, at this time our focus is on Texas! Step 1s don't work, Step 2s are a joke. O.I.G.? Impotent. Executive Director Brad Livingston, Texas Board Chairman Oliver Bell, all T.D.C.J. offices and entities operate under the same program and that is cronyism, nepotism, obstruction of justice tactics and cover-ups.

Who is ordering TDCJ to downplay and coverup acts of abuse and barbaric acts of violence aimed at prisoners? Answer: Texas State Attorney General Gregg Abbott! He is at the top of the food chain and remember he is running for Governor in Texas. It is time for the Attorney General's office to be held accountable for all these heinous acts of violence being perpetrated by TDCJ employees with no accountability.

Putting Theory into Practice

I've set forth the formula, now it is time to fill in the blanks so we may test our model.

Media/Journalists

  1. Brandi Grissom - Managing editor/journalist, The Texas Tribune, 823 Congress Ave, Suite 210, Austin, TX 78701
  2. The Texas Observer, Attn: Emily DePrang - Staff writer, 307 W. 7th St, Austin, TX 78701
  3. Austin American Statesman, Attn: Mike Ward - Journalist, 305 S. Congress, Austin, TX 78704
  4. The Prison Show!, Kathy Griffin Grenan, Hank Lamb, KPFT-FM 90.1, 419 Lovett Blvd., Houston, TX 77006

Prison Activist Organizations

  1. Texas CURE, Attn: Joan Covici-Michael Jewell & Friends, PO Box 372, Barleson, TX 76097
  2. Attn: Quanell X & Krystal Muhammad, SHAPE Community Center, 3815 Live Oak, Houston, TX 77004

Legislators - at this time Estelle Unit is starting to register on the radar, let's help it along

  1. Texas State Senate, Senator John Carona, PO Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711
  2. Texas State Senate, Senator Wendy Davis, PO Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711

Comrades, all of this information is meaningless and useless if you do not test it - practice it! Let's consider a quote from our esteemed Comrade Fred Hampton: "You might say, 'well the way I feel, people ought to be able to walk around naked because rape is love.' That's idealism. See what I mean? You're dealing in metaphysics. You're dealing in subjectivity, because you're not testing it with objective reality. And what's really wrong is that you don't go test it. Because if you test it, you'll get objective. Because as soon as you walk out there (naked) a whole lot of objective reality will vamp down upon your ass and take whatever you have. So whenever this happens, this is when people get a whole lot of mistaken ideas. That's why a lot of you can't understand and can't agree with a lot of what we said. You've never tried it." He continues later saying "That's what the Black Panther Party deals with. We're not metaphysicians, we're not idealists, we're dialectical materialists. And we deal with what reality is, whether we like it or not."

The Reality

The reality in Texas prisons is we the lumpen underclass are being degraded, dehumanized, mistreated, and abused. The persons who are in positions to protect us from such abuses are turning a blind eye to our plight. We are being murdered, raped, and beaten by the very people who are being paid to provide safety. The only way to combat this is by shedding light on the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Attorney General's Office who is 100% culpable in regards to these crimes against humanity.

MIM(Prisons) is the tip of the spear. I am only one of many hands wielding the spear. I close with a quote from Chairman Mao: "Our point of departure is to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce ourselves form the masses, to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people." Mao Zedong, On Coalition Government

If we put as much time into this fight as we do on the domino table or the rec yard, change will come in Texas. The comrades in California are a stellar example of solidarity in action. As Eric B. and Rakim used to say "Follow the Leader!"

All Power to the People!

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[Campaigns] [Estelle High Security Unit] [Texas]
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Grievances Denied in Texas

A comrade recently sent a grievance petition to the executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and he refused to answer and rerouted it to the central grievance office. The entire system is corrupt from top to bottom. However in order to get them in court via 42 USC §1983 or Birens we have to keep filing. I've had over 20 lumpen file on this fabricated and bogus case-writing lieutenant and all grievances being returned with same reply: no evidence found - officer denies allegations - no further action warranted. We are going to have to seek outside help: ACLU, media, legislators, etc. I personally have 6 or 7 step 2 grievances pending.


MIM(Prisons) adds: Prisoners in states across the country are building on the grievance campaign to demand our grievances be addressed. In Texas there has been some success with this petition, though we know that for every victory the prison administration will try to take something else away or implement some other repressive policy. To win in court, as this comrade points out, you must be thorough in documenting the problem as a pattern. In addition to using their paperwork, Under Lock & Key is another way to document patterns of abuse for the masses to agitate around a cause.

We currently have grievance petitions for many states. Write to us for a copy and if you are in a state not currently covered by the grievance campaign, we will send you a template for the petitions and you can look up citations and policies specific to your state for reference.

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