Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Hughes 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] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Dirty Games with Grievances in Hughes Unit

I am having problems with the grievance system here at the Alfred Hughes Unit as well as the Law Library. Another problem is that I am (G-5) Closed Custody and confined to my cell 24/7. There really is no difference from Closed Custody & Administrative Segregation here at the Hughes Unit. The only difference is that with Closed Custody you have a cellie to which they then came to call it General Population. But either way you're confined 24/7.

OK so because I'm confined to my cellie I have to write I-60 request forms to the Law Library to be allowed to receive research materials. These laws do what they want by only sending out 10% of my requests. The rest of my I-60s they merely ignore and never send. The grievance department received my grievance but lies by saying it was received late. So I put another Step 1 Grievance to the original. Now they returned that one not even filled out, with no signature, no date received, no date returned, no boxes checked, no next step, or resolution process to follow. I mean nothing, empty.

They are playing dirty games with denial to access to the Law Library and lying about my grievances and what actually happened. The first grievance I had a Sgt. Turner actually take it to the Grievance Department because they didn't even come to our pod to pick up our Step 1s. So I have a witness that it did get taken to them on time. The second Step 1 Grievance I actually had Officer Nash take it from my hand and place it into the Grievance Investigator's hand in front of me, so he is also a witness to the fact.

I don't know if you recall, but I sent you a money order and in return you mailed me 2 packets of materials to help fight my grievances. Thank you by the way. I wrote some bad ass grievances, but now they don't want them to go through. Do you happen to have a grievance I can use for denial of access to the courts/Law Library and how do I write up the Grievance Department when the rules state I can't grieve the Grievance System? I will donate some more money to your organization for some more help and materials that will put a stop to these a$$hole$. This is Illegal but I can't do anything from my confined cell. I only have my pen and paper to protect myself. OK, so I have a typewriter also.

I need your help please. I don't have people in the world besides organizations like yours. Now the building states they are short staffed now for the next 1 1/2 months and won't be allowing recreation, few showers, etc. For the last 2 weeks the entire building states they are out of I-60s, Step 1s, Step 2s. They say to just write it on regular piece of paper but we just came off lock-down and restriction: we don't have any of these materials to keep wasting on something that we can't win. I had to buy a few supplies from the SSIs. Now I can finally make store tomorrow, I hope! What the hell do I do? I sent back that form you mailed me that asked if I received your materials that you had been sending.

Will you please help us fight these people? They are fighting dirty and we are confined to our cells. Like I said I will make more donations to you for more materials or something. What do you think? I have spoken to lots of Officers, several Sgts all with no help to my issue of denial. Now I am waiting on Lt Summers to come and speak to me. I really doubt he will even come. I have written to both Majors, and two Wardens with no replies in two weeks. These people don't play fair at all. I feel fucked by not being able to do anything to protect myself and others. I write for other Inmates as well but I feel like a failure for not being able to make ends meet... I will await your response as I don't know what to do next.

chain
[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Campaign Materials Received but Confiscated

I wanted to thank you for sending the items that I had requested per my last letter to you [the TDCJ Offender Grievance Manual, Texas Campaign Pack, Sworn Complaint Form, PD-22 Codes]. FYI we just went through our lockdown. The Officers came to shake down my cell and took all your magazines you sent to me. I had been using all your information to write grievances and letters. I guess I must of done some good for them to take it all.

chain
[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Lockdown, no Rec, no Law Library at Hughes Unit

We were just been released from a 2 month lockdown because a new Warden had stepped in and wanted us to know hes the boss. We were not given clean clothes for 30 days straight. We received johnny sacks for 5 weeks straight before getting our first trayed meal. We all lost weight!

I filled grievance after grievance. The Grievance Investigator never even showed up for the first month. We had to buy our grievances and I-60's from other Inmates because the Staff told us they were out.

I am in G-5 Closed Custody which means I can't leave my cell. These people have and are denying us access to the Law Library. They're only sending what they want and when they want. You name it and its happening here. We are still being denied recreation yard time. I am in a bad faith based POD. We were being refused that until recently.

chain
[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Denied Out-of-Cell Rec and Adequate Food at Hughes Unit

I am writing regarding an issue that affects my friend who is imprisoned at the TDCJ Unit A.D. Hughes in Gatesville, Texas. Prison Administrators at this unit are continually denying the inmates and convicts in Administrative Segregation (AdSeg) any amount of time out of their cells to exercise or shower as well as continually providing the inmates and convicts with nutritionally inadequate meals thus violating State and Federal Law. These issues are causing damage to their mental and physical health in addition to indirectly creating a risk to public safety.

My friend is in AdSeg where the inmates and convicts are already confined for 23 hours each day in a cell the size of a small closet which was designed to create maximum isolation from human contact. Their only break from this type of confinement is one hour out-of-cell exercise the State and Federal Courts ordered TDCJ to provide during incarceration (Ruiz v. Estelle, 679 F.2d 1115 1151-52 (5th Cir., 1982)). An hour of out-of-cell exercise or activity was ordered each and every single day because of the risk to the mental and physical health of all inmates and convicts who are subjected to uninterrupted confinement in a tiny four-wall cell. This serious issue is well established and recognized.

However, at the Hughes Unit prison, officials are habitually and continually disregarding the established laws. For instance, in the four and a half month period from April 2018 through August 2018, there was no out-of-cell exercise provided to inmates and convicts in AdSeg on 156 of those days. This isn't a new development or the result of an emergency situation. Over the last several years, out-of-cell exercise has been canceled at a similar rate on this unit. Administrators at the A.D. Hughes Unit have not been consistently complying with State of Federal Laws—at best they are complying half the time.

To make matters worse, on about half of that time, administrators are providing inmates and convicts in AdSeg meals that are calorically and nutritionally inadequate which is also a violation of State and Federal Law. Approximately one fourth of all meals served consist of just two sandwiches and nothing more. The first sandwich has only a single slice of processed lunch-meat, soy patty or other similar meat-type product. The second sandwich has about a spoonful of peanut butter. The two sandwiches combined contain about 500 calories. There are never any fruits of vegetables or any other food required for a balanced diet made available to the inmates in AdSeg. It is impossible for these two sandwiches that are provided every now and then to maintain a person's health. Sometimes the convicts at the Hughes Unit could be forced to eat nothing but these sandwiches for months at a time, but only if there was a disciplinary lock-down and we are to be on a 2,500 calories daily dIet.

They got out-of-cell time only 95 times. There is no valid reason for the issues to be happening on a regular basis. Inmates and convicts are given the excuse that there is a lack of staff to provide out-of-cell exercise or to serve proper meals when they question these issues. While this may have been true in some instances, there are many days where exercise was denied while there was adequate staffing on the unit. The staff are choosing to cancel out-of-cell exercise because they don't feel like performing their daily work-time duties. When staff wants a day off they just ask the ranking officer in charge to declare a staff shortage and then they sit around on the unit during their shift doing nothing but collecting payment for a job they aren't performing—money provided by taxpayers. No one is holding TDCJ-CID unit administrators, or these staff members, accountable for their behavior mainly because it takes place all the way down the line from the executive director down to the CO II.

Even when there is a genuine staff shortage that fact doesn't absolve prison administrators of the responsibility of doing whatever is necessary to fully and adequately staff the prisons. Indeed the very essence of their duty is to create and maintain prisons that comply with all relevant laws. The chronic staff shortage is due in part to halfhearted measures taken to hire new employees: when new employees are hired they are often fired on trivial pretexts in order to keep staffing levels artificially low to save money on the prison budget.

It is always important to remember that these inmates and convicts will eventually be paroled or serve their sentences and be released back into society. There is a growing awareness that these types segregation units are incubators of mental illness and further criminality; even when run properly, which they never have been and never will be. Prison administrators' disregard for the inmates and convicts' rights and well being here at the Hughes Unit is only making the problems worse, but only because they wear a different color uniform than us that puts them as bias against us from jump street. After mistreating and antagonizing the convicts for years, TDCJ-CID administrators will just release them back into society, leaving an unsuspecting public to deal with the resulting fallout. Prison administrators at the Hughes Unit are putting us all at risk with this type of unlawful behavior.

Please investigate this matter and see to it that prison officials at the Hughes Unit provide the AdSeg inmates and convicts with a minimum of an hour of out-of-cell recreation every single day as well as showers on a daily basis and nutritious meals as ordered by State and Federal Law.

chain
[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Denial of medicine, grievances and nowhere to turn in Texas

As I write you this letter, I'm sitting in G5 closed custody after standing up to an officer denying me medical and medication. The substitute counsel never helped me nor came back to speak with me. The captain lied and said I refused to attend my hearing. So they ran major court without me. We have cameras here and I can prove they are lying. But who do I contact? I've written the warden, but they ignore my letters and I-60. I never receive a grievance back. The law library is refusing to answer any of my I-60s. The officers have come into my cell and packed my property only to take some of my legal transcripts, returned I-60s, and medications, lay-ins and other personals. They went into my legal manila envelopes and took documents. They threw away my legal envelopes, combined several containers of legals into other folders mixing things up and getting them out of order.

What do I do? Who do I contact? No one on this unit will answer an I-60 concerning the issue. I need your help to start me in the right direction to help myself and my fellow brothers beside me. I don't have any outside sources or family to help.

chain
[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Deprived of food in Texas

I need to know my rights as a offender in Texas. I was locked in my cell without food due to a malfunctioning door. When I informed the guard as he walked by, he just shrugged his shoulders and kept walking.

chain
[Medical Care] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
expand

Medical Copay Revolving Door

I am writing with a texa$ prison medical copay update. Here on the Alfred D. Hughes plantation, the medical department's Senior Practice Manager Valencia Pollard-Fortson's attitude is that every procedure is a valid charge. Aspirin, bandaids, blood sugar checks, clipper shave, whatever. You're going to be charged $100. Her idea is if you charge 10 people a day for sick call, that's $900. Because only one will do the paperwork for 90 days to get his money back. Now they've gone a farther step.

In Ad-Seg/SHU building, we cannot buy fingernail clippers off store. To be caught with a pair is a major offense. We have to submit a sick call request to medical to trim our nails. Even diabetics who must keep toenails trimmed. Well, that sick call costs $100.

Say January 1st you go to medical for chronic care. It's charged $100. Then you go January 15th and again January 28th. You file a grievance Step One with medical about copay of January 1st. It's denied February 10th. You file a Step Two appeal to Regional Medical Supervisor. It's granted March 13th. Your monthly invoice will not show up until April 15th showing March 13th $100 was refunded for medical copay of January 1st. BUT a new charge for January 15th appears and the $100 is taken on March 13th. You start all over again, stretching out for months just like I'm doing now on a charge from March 2016. These pigs are determined to keep your money.


MIM(Prisons) responds: There are many tactics the state uses to enact medical neglect, and to create and exacerbate long-term health problems for prisoners. In some states they just throw the sick call in the trash. But in Texas they are frustrating people using the financial angle. Our Texas Campaign Pack has instructions for how to fight against the $100 medical copay. We can use this information to make ourselves a little bit stronger while we struggle to overthrow the horrible social and economic system that makes such an exorbitant copay possible in the first place.

chain
[Organizing] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 56]
expand

No TX Pack Tactics Have Worked

I greatly regret to have to inform you that my Under Lock & Key No. 51 (July/August 2016) was denied and appealed here on the unit level on 14 September 2016. That said denial was upheld on 3 October 2016. I look forward to each issue of Under Lock & Key and I already miss this one dearly.

I would like to inform you that I have tried several things listed in the Texas Pack but to no avail. As for the Offender Grievance Program/Administrative Remedies, there are no such things in existence. But what we do have is Administrative Criminal Victimization. I have written the U.S. Department of Justice concerning many issues and I get the same response letter every time. No help.

I've also tried going through the ARRM Division Administrator concerning the denial of a Step 2 grievance but got no response. I have also written to several of the contacts that are listed in the Texas Pack and have gotten no response from them either. I have also filed a Sworn Complaint with the District Attorney here in Coryell County and got no response.

You have educated me a great deal on how to stand when nothing else I have tried seems to work, and these people are not open to reasoning of any type. I just wanted for you to know that I haven't been sitting in here doing nothing after requesting the information that you have sent me to date. I am one of the very few that are willing to stand up for themselves when his or her Rights are being violated and here is the situation that you just have to understand: today's inmate/offender is broken. The State has broken the spirit of those that had one to begin with and they are content with the way things are and the way that they are being treated. And that, I am sorry to say, is a cold, hard fact.

In Solidarity, Spark Plug


MIM(Prisons) responds: The U.$. prison system has been somewhat effective at breaking the fighting spirit of people it deems threatening to the status quo, as this writer and many others in Texas attest. But our present system just can't help pushing the limits of how much it abuses people. In response to this abuse, new people are turned into revolutionaries every day. And once you know, you can't unknow. Texas comrades need to be there to direct the discontent into productive projects as it arises, lest these potential comrades fall to defeatism.

We knew going into it that the tactics in the Texas Pack are likely ineffective on an individual level. But some people have seen some relief, even though it's sporadic. An important aspect of this project is that everyone who signs up for a Texas Pack also gets a subscription to this newsletter. While they are seeking remedy through the administrative and legal channels outlined in the Texas Pack, they also have the opportunity to learn more about the reasoning behind the project, and the other campaigns United Struggle from Within and MIM(Prisons) are working on. Then through the pages of ULK we can develop our struggle on a broader scale than just filing grievances and writing letters. Keep on struggling! Keep your input coming!

This article referenced in:
chain
[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

No Vitamin D at Hughes

The unit I'm on hardly ever gives us outside rec and we never use the gym. But every day there is an officer in the picket that watches our rec yard and the rec yard on the other side of the wall from us, which is medium custody. Due to them already being medium custody and the officers know they'll go off cause they're already locked down most of the day, they give them rec outside. But not us. The sun is a source of vitamin D for our skin.

The help I need is to write this up on a grievance, but I need any kind of cases, policy, whatever you have access to that I don't have, including proof of medical study, to show being outside is good for you. Several people want to file on it but don't have anything to cite in our grievances because they never give us rec in the afternoon. If we are lucky we get it in the early morning or night. Please help with whatever you can send ASAP. Thanks for your help again.

chain
[Abuse] [Censorship] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
expand

Texas confiscating magazines more than 6 months from print date

I am writing now to inform you of a new tactic TDCJ is using. We have been on lockdown and yesterday they searched and ransacked what little property we have. They confiscated 16 magazines from me, all political including 5 issues of ULK. I was told to throw them away or I would receive a contraband case. The reason is because the magazines were 6 months from date of print. I told them I contested this because I have never seen the rule posted anywhere and it is not in the offender handbook. They got angry with me when I told them I am still entitled to due process and that the policy should be posted somewhere. They gave me a pink slip that stated an officer confiscated 16 magazines because they were 6 months from date of print. Later the sgt called me out and asked to see my pink slip. He tore it up and returned the magazines.

Out of 100 people out there I was the only one who protested magazine confiscation and risked a disciplinary case. My magazines and issues of ULK are important to me because they are a tool I have to educate interested people. So have you heard of this policy in TDCJ before? Has anyone else wrote to you about 6 month old magazine confiscation? I bet Prison Legal News would be interested in this. So I just wanted to inform you of this. Something about it strikes me as wrong. A lot of peoples various magazines have been thrown away in recent days. I am in slavery and work for TDCJ for free so I have no income. When my family spends 40-50 bucks on a subscription that is a lot of money to me. I am also very thankful for ULK. Please look into this issue.

chain
Go to Page 1 [2]