Prisoners Report on Conditions in

Hughes 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] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Medical Care] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 57]
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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.

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[Organizing] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 56]
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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!

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[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Abuse] [Censorship] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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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.

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[Censorship] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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September 9 Day of Unity Marked by Censorship

I come to you with information concerning the Texas Department of Criminal In-Justice's new tactic recently being used on this particular plantation in the mailroom. We are now dealing with due process denial without the use of notification of current issues of Under Lock & Key, specifically No. 45 July/August 2015, being "on hold" pending further review. This to me is new. And others here in segregation/SHU have not noticed this before either.

Today, 9 September 2015, I finally got an answer to a request to mailroom supervisor who generally allows me and others issues regardless. But I had wrote asking if there had been a problem with issues 45 and 46 because I have yet to receive either. On this day of prisoner unity she advised me that Huntsville (headquarters) placed a hold on issue 45. Not a denial but a hold. No longer are individual mailrooms denying subs of any type. It would seem they've began to target us for as far as she knows, MIM(prisons) is the only one whose publications are subjected to this on her printouts.

I've got a small assortment of random issues of ULK from 2011-15. And most are consistent to national and world current events. What troubles the pigs right now is the current awareness on social media of police brutality and the black lives matter campaign. I do not see liberal or conservative opinions in newspapers being scrutinized and "on hold" or denied, no other news or world report publication is being denied. It is the anti-imperialist Maoist publications being targeted. I am rather new to the cause and collective struggle, not the knowledge though. Am I just now experiencing something "old" but new to me here in TDCJ?

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[Abuse] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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ULK supporters need help fighting gang label

I'm the comrade in the fight who wrote about the Alford Hughes Unit putting us on file to be a gang called "ULK." When I wrote this I was pulled out of my cell in segregation. The gang officer, another officer and mailroom staff messed with me by not letting me eat and not getting me out of my segregation cell to go to dayroom or shower. They put down VR and just walked by my cell all the time because I wrote a letter to Under Lock & Key. I know if I do something to one of the officers I will get more time.

I sent Step Ones and Step Twos out and have written to the world, my family and lawyers. Officers lie to the people and say I have been lying about all this and they send my mail back without letting me know. I've been jumped on by officers when they found out that I'm a subscriber to Under Lock & Key and because of what I believe in.

I was going to visit last weekend but because they jumped on me I was not let out of my cell. They told my family I was on visit. My mom didn't believe it and she was told if she did not leave they will call the cops on her. I don't see why they are able to do this to prisoners.

When I told them something they didn't like they put me in a cage about 2 by 3 and a foot tall with glass around, not able to go to the bathroom. All I could do was sit on the floor with spiders running around over my feet biting me. I was in it for 5 days with no shower just because I wouldn't tell them what they wanted to hear.

The Texas prison officers label ULK recipients gang members in Texas. What should I do to fight this? I could use help from any comrades who can help.

MIM(Prisons) adds: Throughout history it has been illegal for oppressed groups to organize or educate themselves. This is true in the united $tates today despite the First Amendment. Going up against the state as an individual is a losing battle, that is why collective action is the only way to put an end to these sorts of abuses.

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[Political Repression] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 10]
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Texas Prison Officers Label ULK Recipients Gang Members

Here on Hughes Unit the gang officers put us on file as members of a gang called ULK. A few weeks ago when I was called to the gang offices I was asked a lot of things about your newsletter. I don't see how they can do this when there is no gang called ULK at all. I would like you to let all comrades know about what's going on in Texas and what they do to prisoners who get Under Lock & Key on Alfred Hughes Unit. Once they put us on gang file they can read all mail that comes to us from anyone, and they can withhold mail and send it back to people. Please send me help to fight this.

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[Control Units] [Hughes Unit] [Texas]
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Abuse in Texas adseg

I'm a texas prisoner housed in Administrative Segregation on the Hughes Unit in Gatesville, TX. I have undergone severe mistreatment and harassment from numerous officers and supervisors by way of tampering with my food, denial of food, bogus disciplinary cases, and physical assaults. Just recently, in November, I was attacked while handcuffed behind my back and tear gassed by an officer, because I expressed my frustration of having been left inside the shower over an hour. I filed a grievance and all supervisors are aware of this misconduct. But they've only turned a blind eye to this officer's behavior, and condone further abuse by this staff who continue to harass and threaten me. This same staff is part of the same group of staff that has preyed upon me since 2006. And they all wait for any opportunity to catch me off guard.

I recently left this unit for 8 months, and returned with every intention to make things right with the staff, but they only seek my demise and condemnation. And to make me out to be the kind of person that I'm not. Sympathy is not what I seek. But respect is what I demand. Here the other day the same staff that had assaulted me on the 9th was permitted to search my cell for 30 minutes and he wrote down all the names and addresses of my family and relatives living inside the Dallas and Tarrant County areas of Fort Worth, Texas; and threatened to bring harm against them or have it done by someone else. Then he wrote me a disciplinary case in an attempt to hinder my progress.

This same officer already has a documented disciplinary history of abusing other inmates by way of physical assaults, and unlawful use of his chemical agents. But the supervisors continue to fail to take corrective action to curb his misconduct.

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