TDCJ Expands Repression of Their Own Policies
Back in November 2022, MIM Distributors sent a copy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) PD-22 codes to a prisoner at Smith Unit. The PD-22 codes are the “General Rules of Conduct and Disciplinary Action Guidelines for Employees.” The prisoner was notified that this was “70 pages misuse of state property.” That’s funny because MIM Distributors paid for the printing and mailing of this material the TDCJ claims to be their property.
After the comrade appealed this, the Director’s Review Committee (DRC) upheld the censorship, but changed the reasoning to “received in contradiction in BP-03.91.” As we reported recently, we have already stopped mailing in the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) because of rampant censorship of this TDCJ document.
Since the 5th revision of the BP-03.91 was released on 25 June 2021, we have featured in ULK a series of articles on the newly revised policy including promoting phone zaps, protests, and lawsuits. The focus for many was the limitation on non-nude photos, and this was the subject of multiple lawsuits. MIM(Prisons) and TX TEAM ONE recognized the broader implications of these changes and supported this campaign. But now that most seem to be getting their sexy photos okay are people going to stand up for the right to access public documents?
The relevant section of BP-03.91 (rev. 5) is IV.A.13:
“Contains records or documentation held by the TDCJ that are not listed in the attachment to the TDCJ Public Information Act Manual Chapter 2.”
It is not clear to us at this time what this includes and does not include. This clause dates back to at least (rev. 2) published on 11 February 2010. Which explains why the TDCJ has been censoring the OGOMs we send in since it was officially removed from law libraries in 2014.
While many prisoners write to us asking for legal help, we aren’t lawyers and we don’t offer legal help. We need your legal help. We need comrades in the TDCJ to get to the bottom of these issues, file lawsuits and lead campaigns. This is a very winnable battle that serves the interests of all prisoners in Texas. What we do do is support prisoners organizing against imperialism. If TX prisoners are ready to fight this we’re ready to push this campaign forward to stop the censorship of public documents and advance the campaign to get grievances addressed in Texas.