Prisoners Report on Conditions in

McConnell Unit - Texas

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. 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] [Legal] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
expand

Texas refuses to give access to policies

I really do appreciate your help. But I have another favor to ask you. For a long time I have been trying to get a copy of the TDCJ Policy so that I can better understand how to fight every case that be written up against me. Cause these peoples will write peoples up for no reason at all. You can't imagine how corrupted this system is. They don't let us get access to the most important policies that we need to be able to fight for our rights. I am a 12 hour worker in here in this prison a day. And sometimes my supervisor don't feed me telling me they don't have to feed me a hot meal. Just a Johnny Sandwich. Which isn't right at all. So if you can please provide me this policy concerning TDCJ, I will appreciate it very much.

chain
[Abuse] [Campaigns] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
expand

Trying to Defend Rights in Texas

As of now, several other prisoners and I are having major problems with our grievances not being processed. The reason given for not processing the grievances is "issue not grievable." One of my grievances was against a Corrections Officer (CO) who refused to issue confiscation papers after taking something from a prisoner. The other one was against another CO who forced me to stay in the day room with my commissary (when it's strictly against policy). In that grievance I cited such policy and it was immediately (the very next day) sent back to me with the excuse "issue not grievable". So, I've send a letter to the Administrative Review & Risk Management (ARRM) Division Administrator. I still haven't heard back from them. Still waiting. But I won't at all be surprised if I don't get an answer. I know very well how these people work. Please send me some grievance petitions.

In your March/April 2016, No.49 news letter you published an article by a South Carolina prisoner, "One More Doctor Replaced". Very interesting article. Because here at the McConnell Unit we have a P.A. Erie Echavarry that would do anything in his power to deny prisoners as much medical care as possible. I've filed grievances and complaints with the Texas Board of Examiner's in Austin, Texas. But to no avail. Things have gotten worse, especially for those of us who file complaints against him. You will never see the end of medical negligence. And the worst thing of all is that you will stay stuck seeing the evil P.A. Echavarry. I was told that I don't have a say in who I get to see.

The Texas Board of Examiners responded that there was insufficient evidence to substantiate my allegations against P.A. Echavarry. I'm not the only one who's filed complaint's with T.B.E in Austin, TX against this P.A., and nothing is being done about it. Is there anybody that you can refer me to that can help me in regards to this matter?

I was at the Connally Unit. I know how bad the food is over there. Here at McConnell is no different. The food is 100% inadequate. While we are served casserole about 98% of the time, which is mainly noodles more than anything else, the officers are fed ribs, fried pork chops, chicken, or chicken fried steak. Some days they eat Mexican food such as chalupas. This is even though the law is that they are to eat what we prisoners eat. With the exception that the chicken be baked or fried, the same with fish, and chicken patty, or burrito etc.

But it's very rare that these officers eat what we prisoners eat. It is a known fact. On my next letter I will try to have documentation to send you to this matter.

I try my best to fight these injustices, even filing "Citizen Complaints" with the Ombudsman. But lately, either the Ombudsman is not taking into consideration the complaints that have been filed with his agency, or here at the McConnell unit they are disregarding them. I helped a friend file one through one of my nieces, Which he hasn't heard anything of yet. It's been already 2 weeks now. Well, i think this will be all for now. Until next time.

chain
[Release] [Prison Labor] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
expand

Can't Parole Because No Disciplinaries

Originally, I wrote you being interested in the study. But I have looked up the meaning of "Maoist" it says communism, and the things I have heard about communism hasn't been in good light. Can you explain to me what a "Maoist" is? Cause you see, I know in fact that dictionaries can be misleading. And further, from what I'm reading of your introduction letter, you are fighting for the right things. Besides, I'm down with fighting against any tyrannical system and political repression.

Texas is truely a state of political repression. They have started by taking tobacco, then porn magz, then stationary, & now action pictures that don't show any sexual parts. The parole system is monopolizing and slavery oriented. You will find that most parolees have had many major disciplinary cases in the last 6 months to a year & still was allowed to parole. But those prisoners who are working, doing what they are suppose to be doing, and staying out of trouble and case free are mostly being denied parole. Parole denials almost always use the same excuse each time, but the most extraordinary is the ones where prisoners are denied due to so called "manipulating" the system because they've remained disciplinary case free for 2-4 years. They say it's impossible for a prisoner to do that because the system is made so that you will get disciplinaries. What!?!

So, I find that I'm interested in being a part of your movement. Especially concerning the "Indigent Supplies & Mailing limitation." They have gone from 5 letters and supplies per week to once a month. Talk about repressions.

chain
[Abuse] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
expand

Texas, McConnell Medical Neglect and No Due Process

Here at the McConnell Unit things have been real tough for us prisoners. In January 2016 an inmate died of an aneurism after being denied medical attention. During the investigation they blamed on the inmate that he refused medical attention. That's a lie because the inmate is the one who requested medical attention.

I myself on 28 January 2016, at around 1 p.m. all of a sudden almost blacked out while I was in the dayroom. Immediately my whole body broke out in a sweat, fever, trembling, chills, broke out in fever blisters on my fingers, real bad nausea, on my feet broke out in red patches, and my eyesight would get very blurry on and off. I was allowed to go to the infirmary. At the infirmary I was first seen Nurse Vicky Crumbliss, who, after looking at my ears and throat, was very alarmed. She said that they were very very red. It looked like I was coming down with something. But what I'm about to tell you is what's most shocking of all.

The nurse then tried to convince me that I was a diabetic. When she couldn't convince of that, she went and brought another nurse by the name of Ms. Snyder. When they couldn't convince me that I was a diabetic (which until this day I'm not) they went and got the P.A. Echavarry (who's got a grudge against me because I've 2 different complaints with the Texas Board of Examiners in Austin, TX). Well, to make a long, long story short, I was forced to take 500mgs of Metaformin for 4 days because supposedly I was a diabetic. But on February 1 I was seen by another P.A., Ms. Corbett. She took me off the meds. She said, straight out, "you are not diabetic!" She didn't know what I was sick of but yet refused to do any lab work to determine what I was sick of.

But on February 3 after one of brothers called to complain that I was being denied the proper medical attention I again saw P.A. Echavarry who was very pissed off, and supposedly scheduled me for some lab work (that was not done until this past March 17, 2016). Which is kind of too late now because I've gotten better from whatever had me sick which started on January 28 and lasted for almost a month.

On a daily basis prisoners are written up on bogus disciplinary cases. For example: A friend of mine got written up a bogus case that allegedly he painted his cell table and window red and blue. Even though his cell mate spoke to Assistant Warden Putnam and confessed that he had been the one who had painted the table and cell windows, my friend still got written up and punished and they gave him restrictions on commissary, recreation, suspended contact visits, and dropped his line class status.

I helped him file both Step 1 and 2 grievances and we submitted evidence of his cellmate confessing at the disciplinary hearing. Both my friend's Step 1 and 2 grievances response stated that "there were no due process violations and that punishment was within agency guidelines."

Can you believe that? Here at the McConnell Unit we need someone to advocate for us. Our civil and constitutional rights are violated. I just helped my friend file a citizen's complaint. Hopefully that will help get back his line class. I could go, on and on. I thank you, for all of your help!

chain
[Abuse] [Organizing] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 42]
expand

Building Unity Fighting National Divisions in Texas

On a daily basis, we here at the McConnell Unit experience backlash for any and every thing we do to stand up for ourselves. I have been at a receiving end for some time. I have now been confined as a "security threat group (STG) member or leader" and am constantly being watched by the pigs. I am a considered a confirmed gang member despite ten years without any major disciplinary cases, gang involvement/activity, or fights.

Now, because of that my mail has gone missing, and has been denied without my knowledge. The mailroom staff has to notify and give you a pink paper to let you know your mail was denied and for what reason. My family has received two of their letters returned to them as "denied" yet I have never been called to the mailroom as per policy to be advised that I am being denied a letter. Plus the last thing I received from MIM(prisons) was the three past issues of ULK. As you can see I am targeted. I am used to it.

I spoke with the Gang Investigator two weeks ago. I told him that I am not gang related, have never been, and his response was plainly "we can start the process to get you off file, but it will take a year." This is after I have already gone through the process twice in ten years.

I have been pushing hard on our section for unity and peace amongst Latinos and Afrikan Amerikans. There is a lot of racial hatred on this unit, and no one seems to want to get along. Since 2007 I have tried and tried to make peace between two races who are always at each others' throats. I put up articles from ULK on a common area bulletin board so all these brothers can open their eyes to what they are too blind to see. I speak individually to different people and tell them they have the power to change the minds of these new "inmates" coming in and teach them that they are not inmates, they are human beings! Furthermore color is not a factor. All the pigs see is white uniform. All we see is skin color. And that is wrong, brothers.

We need to realize that together as one solid voice we can move mountains. We can be heard! We can achieve. Stop looking at each other with malice and hate. The pigs will take all your property, destroy your pictures, confiscate your commissary, and lock you up under false pretenses, yet some will overlook that only to fight the next brother because he owes a soup (25 cents) or changed the TV channel. Open your eyes! All of us!

We recently came off of a 30-day semi-annual lockdown. B-side on the unit is all lifers and medium custody prisoners. We had not been to store a week before lockdown, and after lockdown (on the 16th of July) we still have not been to commissary. Today is the 26th. So that's 47 days more or less. On the 21st we staged a sit in. We agreed that we in solidarity would go to lunch and all of us would sit down in the hallway until the majors and wardens came to speak to us. Fifty of us inside and out of the chowhalls, all in unity, sat down requesting the wardens to come speak. Sure enough all the lieutenants, captains, majors and wardens came to speak to us.

I told them (at all times) that it was a peaceful demonstration about our mistreatment on many issues but also concerning commissary being denied to B-Side while A side had gone twice to commissary and were fixing to go for a third time. Despite cameras to record us "initiating riots," and threats about being locked up and given disciplinary cases, we stood our ground. (Although some ran away at the first sign of the wardens coming and some did not actually attend the sit-in.)

The main warden speaking told us he would work on getting us commissary. He gave us his word and we in unity and unison got up and went back to our building. Our commissary schedule was dated as us not going to store until the 29th. But thanks to our actions we started going sooner, on the 24th.

We have 3 pods on our building and when we told the other 2 pods to help us they refused. We did it alone. Yet thanks to us they are going to store. Ironic that they believed our actions would be in vain yet enjoy the victory we achieved.

Basically we need to stand together. Not in violence. That only gives them the excuse that we belong in prison. Instead we all need to unite in solidarity. I would rather fight 5 years to live my next 15 peacefully and not mistreated rather than live all 20 under mistreatment and torture! And to all the brothers in here that sit back and take it: Why talk about war stories of you being this big bad "gangsta" out there who takes nothing from no one and give a story of "don't disrespect me" only to sit back and be compliant with the pigs?

Recently a Federal lawsuit against Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) was filed regarding the inhumane heat in the prisons. TDCJ responded that it's not an issue because they employ huge fans, air blowers and cold water as preventive measures to ensure safety. What they didn't state was that only one of those fans works in every section (one sits idle) and the air blowers do not work either. And cold water is hard to get because the pigs don't let us fill the coolers up until they feel like it. So that excuse isn't even true! Open your eyes brothers in Texas. Enough is enough! The fight continues. Don't give up or give in. Never let race be a factor! Power to all people!


MIM(Prisons) responds: We echo this comrade's call for unity across all groups of prisoners so that we can join together in the fight against the criminal injustice system.

Rather than define people by "race" however, we talk about nations. Racism is the idea that there are different biological differences between people. The anti-racists still claim people are separated into different "races" even though they acknowledge that there is no biological or material basis to this claim. The concept of racial differences between people is a product of national oppression that was invented as an ideological justification for colonialism and slavery of the "lesser" races.

We recognize that there are distinct nations within U.$. borders with common language, culture, economics and geography, which face subjugation as a group. So there are different groups within U.$. borders, but we advance beyond the anti-racists by defining those groups materially. The oppressed nations within U.$. borders include at least the [email protected], New Afrikan and First Nations. Rather than trying to integrate these peoples into the oppressor Amerikan nation, like the anti-racists are doing, we work to liberate them from imperialism to take control of their own national territories and form their own independent states, free from imperialism and oppression.

chain
[Campaigns] [McConnell Unit] [Texas]
expand

TDCJ: File Grievance to Fix Grievance System

04/09/2010

This is a response to the grievance petition a Texas participant sent to the TDCJ Ombudsman Coordinator. The same information was mailed as a response from the TDCJ Executive Director as well.

"If you wish to comment on the effectiveness and credibility of the grievance procedure, write a letter or send an I-60 Request form to the grievance investigator on your unit, or file a Grievance regarding that issue...

"If you have already pursued this issue through utilization of Step 1 and Step 2 of the Offender Grievance Procedure; no other administrative remedies are available to you on this issue at this time and you may pursue the matter in any manner you choose outside the Agency."

Basically, the TDCJ administrators claim no responsibility for a grievance procedure that is completely broken. These letters show that they will not grant us what is just without a power struggle. We push forward the campaign for the proper handling of grievances as a means of bringing these lines in the sand into plain view.

History shows that the most effective way to end all oppression — including the oppression of mishandled grievances, and beatings endured because of filing grievances against staff — is to work toward building a communist society. History also shows that the best way to do this is by organizing ourselves into revolutionary factions and building public opinion for national liberation struggles.

chain
Go to Page [1] 2