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[Abuse] [Texas] [ULK Issue 40]
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Texas Prisons Kill People with Heat

Mouth Sewn Shut
"The mission of the Institutional Division is to provide safe and appropriate confinement, supervision, rehabilitation, and reintegration of adult felons, and to effectively manage or administer correctional facilities based on constitutional and statutory standards" - Texas Government Code 494.001

For those of us housed within the prisons operated by the Texas Department of Criminal inJustice (TDCJ) we know this statement is nothing more than well-worded lies!

Recently the University of Texas - Human Rights Clinic came out with a report "Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons." The report pretty much proves what many of the lumpen already know: conditions inside Texas prisons in the summer violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. TDCJ keeps telling the public they have policies in place to combat the heat. However, Brian McGiverin, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project, said during a news conference on the topic, "Fourteen inmate deaths are strong evidence the prison agency's measures don't do enough to beat the heat's health risks." He continued, "The response that their policies are adequate today is ridiculous."

Senator John Whitmire, the chairman of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee, had this to say on the topic: "But I can tell you, the people of Texas don't want air-conditioned prisons, and there's a lot of other things on my list above the heat." The "other things" were education, health care, and rehabilitation programs, but never has this racist pontificator said he was committed to ceasing the senseless murder of Texas prisoners by TDCJ employees! Whitmire, who has been in the Texas senate over 30 years, continues to turn a blind eye to the systemic abuse and discrimination of prisoners housed in TDCJ facilities. We suffer from racial discrimination, religious discrimination, sexual assaults, vicious beatings and abuse, and Whitmire continues to play good ol' boy politics.

For complaints on specific prison issues I found a strategy that's been working. I've been having family members file Ombudsman complaints via email. They can file formal public complaints on a wide range of issues and these complaints must be placed online for the public to view. We have been experiencing a lot of success! All that PO Box 99 shit to Huntsville is a waste of paper and time. Do it online and put these assholes on Front Street.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is just one example of the rampant abuse of prisoners in Texas and across the country, that is well documented and exposed in ULK and on our prisoncensorship.org website. But we aim to do more than just expose the brutality of the Amerikan criminal injustice system. Our goal is to organize and educate to make meaningful change. In the short term we fight battles like the campaign to have prisoners' grievances addressed so that we can create better conditions for our comrades behind bars. But in the long term we know that no Amerikan politician is ever going to fundamentally change the system of injustice. It will take the oppressed joining together to demand change to put an end to imperialism before we can hope to end the criminal injustice system. Get involved in this long-term fight today!

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[Abuse] [Religious Repression] [Texas]
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Federal Judge Exposes Discrimination Against Muslims Held Captive in Texas Prisons

Hang DOC KKK
In a much-anticipated ruling, Federal District Judge Kenneth Hoyt struck down Texas Deparmment of Criminal inJustice's (TDCJ) attempt to terminate the Brown vs. Beto consent decree. The Brown vs. Beto case goes back to 1969 and it stemmed from a federal action brought by a TDCJ prisoner, Bobby Brown, who fought hard against the racist oppressors in Texas who would unmercifully beat any prisoner who declared himself a Muslim. At the time Brown was a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and it was members of the NOI and Fruit of Islam who provided material support, legal support, and physical security to Brown and other Muslim prisoners who were victims of religious discrimination and racial hate. It is noteworthy to mention that even in the year 2014 over 95% of the Muslims in TDCJ are New Afrikans (Black). There is a racist dynamic to Texas's ongoing oppression of Muslim prisoners.

The Brown vs. Beto consent decree was put in effect in 1977 and it provided a wide array of rules and policies geared toward destroying any obstacles to Texas prisoners' right to practice Islam if they hoose. In 2012 under the auspices of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, TDCJ and the state of Texas petitioned the court in an effort to terminate Brown claiming they had policies in place which provided ample opportunities for Muslim prisoners to practice their faith. This was a lie and a ruse concocted by the racist oppressors to show onlookers an illusion of freedom. In reality, TDCJ has established rules and policies which infringe grossly upon Muslim prisoners' right to practice. We are monitored as if we all are potential terrorists; our visitors and volunteers are harassed and overly scrutinized; TDCJ Correctional Officers regularly disrespect the Muslims and bait them in physical and verbal confrontations. This is the reality on the ground!

However, the main point Judge Hoyt made in his ruling was that TDCJ has purposely constructed rules which made it impossible for Muslims in Texas prisons to practice. Moreover, he stated the agency has established a practice throughout the system where they show preferential treatment to Christian prisoners while marginalizing, ridiculing, and obstructing Muslims from practicing their religion. All this amounts to a blatant violation of the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. Judge Hoyt ruled that Brown will remain intact and told them to make the necessary changes ASAP.

Instead of rectifying the problems in Texas state Attorney General Gregg Abbott is ordering an appeal of the judge's ruling. So there is an overt collusive effort by the Attorney General and the Executive Directory of TDCJ to violate Muslims' U.S. constitutional rights. This is the type of violation the Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division is supposed to protect U.$. citizens from suffering, yet they have hesitated to get involved! It reminds me of that young Black man who got beat in the face with a hammer by Georgia prison guards. We must come to the understanding that these imperialists, whether they be white or Black, Democrat or Republican, do not have a vested interest in the lumpen underclass who are trapped in Amerikkka's Gulags.

I can not tell you how many grievances I have written citing Religious Discrimination and they have come back with that same old bullshit reply: no policy violated, no further action warranted! And the entire time these racist oppressors were violating my constitutional rights! This once again highlights the corruption and hypocrisy of TDCJ! This grievance program in Texas is a sham and a farce.

I urge all of you reading this piece to join United Struggle from Within, and fight these racists! Expose the abuse, murders, and violation of civil and humyn rights. We must make a collective push to call for an all-out investigation of TDCJ and the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee as they too are culpable in the rampant, systemic, and pervasive abuse of Texas prisoners.Comrades, I want you to understand that racism is a byproduct of capitalism/imperialism. Unifying in order to smash imperialism provides a serious blow to racism. Texas as a whole is an imperialist stronghold and the overt racism that exists throughout the state is a testimony to that!

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[Abuse] [Georgia State Prison] [Georgia] [ULK Issue 40]
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Georgia Prisoners Ready to Fight Negligence and Corruption

Canteen
This prison degrades all to the lowest form. We are repeatedly refused showers, recreation, and medical attention after being abused by supervising officials. They are running in on us at 3am in full riot gear while we are resting in what peace we can get around here. The Certified Emergency Response Team (CERT) is run by a new sergeant and he is pepper spraying prisoners who pose no threat. He is ordering his subordinates to "shoot first and ask questions later."

We are being subject to excessive rectal searches just to take a shower. Our food is cold, spoiled and inadequately prepared. We don't receive beverages and staff talk over, sweat on, and handle our trays with no gloves, hair nets, or face masks.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Me and my fellow lumpen comrades are definitely determined to sink this "titanic" along with other negligent and corrupt entities within the state. Always remember a closed mouth doesn't get fed. It's time to fight back with our minds, pens and comradery! Believe me that there's only so much that we are going to take laying down! Free all my like-minded brothers of the same struggle.


MIM(Prisons) adds: There is a growing movement of prisoners and lumpen organizations in Georgia standing up to the abuse and unjust conditions in the prisons in that state. Part of this work requires educating and organizing, and for this we need leaders like this comrade. Leaders are willing to put in the work exposing the conditions, and educating fellow prisoners about the need for unity and building for legal and non-violent actions that will further the anti-imperialist movement. United Struggle from Within (USW), the MIM(Prisons)-led prisoner organization, needs more comrades to step up and take on leadership roles behind bars. Get in touch with us for more information on working with USW.

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Abuse] [United Struggle from Within] [Oregon]
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Downloadable Grievance Petition, Oregon

Oregon Grievance Petition
Click to download a PDF
of the Oregon grievance petition

Mail the petition to your loved ones and comrades inside who are experiencing issues with the grievance procedure. Send them extra copies to share! For more info on this campaign, click here.

Prisoners should send a copy of the signed petition to each of the addresses below. Supporters should send letters on behalf of prisoners.

Director of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC)
2575 Center Street
Salem, OR 97301

U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, PHB
Washington DC 20530

Office of Inspector General
HOTLINE
PO Box 9778
Arlington, VA 22219

And send MIM(Prisons) copies of any responses you receive!

MIM(Prisons), USW
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140

*PDF updated May 2012, July 2012, July 2014, and October 2017*

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[Abuse] [Control Units] [Hays State Prison] [Georgia]
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Georgia Implements new Control Unit Program

I am writing to inform about the tier II program Georgia has started at all level 5 security institutions. This program is suppose to be a disciplinary management program, but in reality it is a cover up to keep prisoners on lock down.

There are 13 criteria that identify prisoners to be placed into the program, but since they've started this program there are prisoners who do not qualify but who have been placed into the Tier II program. The real reason the program was started is to keep certain organizations on lock down. The majority of prisoners in this program (90%) are African Americans. The other 10% are ones who have rebelled agains their system somehow so they were placed into the program.

You can be in the program up to two years at one camp and even if you complete it at one camp they'll send you to another camp that has the Tier II program and place you back on lock down.

At Hays State Prison inmates constitutional rights are being violated, they are refusing us recreation, our procedural due process has been violated, they are not feeding us 2800 calories a day, and they serve us cold food at all meals. Recently Hays State Prison guards have started carrying tasers. The officers let a prisoner kill himself, and if you piss one off they'll neglect feeding you or put something in your food.

In addition, the grievance system they have is bogus. Even if you word your grievance correctly and you have them dead to wrong, their reply will always be 'your grievance has been denied due to the fact upon investigation of this matter such and such say or nothing was found to be out of order.' When really no investigation was run, because they never talk to your listed witnesses or talked to you personally.

This is one institution that needs to be closed down. There is so much going on. The only reason certain things don't take place for now is because of the tactical squad that's running the institution, but when they leave it's back to beating on prisoners and other such cruel and unusual punishment.

The prisoners here are filing lawsuits but it's a process that takes time. Hays State Prison is practically starving prisoners and they violate constitutional rights as well as standard operating procedures of the Georgia Department of Corrections.


MIM(Prisons) responds: It's important that our comrades report on new programs like this Tier II system in Georgia because this is the sneaky way that states are now renaming long term solitary confinement. Also known as control units this isolation in and of itself is very harmful to people. As this comrade reports, Georgia is taking the repression further by restricting food and carrying out other abuses, and then denying prisoners the ability to grieve these violations of law. Georgia does not yet have a grievance campaign, but we hope that one of the many active comrades in that state will soon take up the challenge to create a grievance petition specific to this state so that we can push that campaign as another tool in our fight in Georgia.

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[Abuse] [Salinas Valley State Prison] [California] [ULK Issue 39]
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Inspired by Prisoner Standing up Against Oppression

Since I arrived here in Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), I have personally observed officers oppress prisoners. One prisoner who is disabled was jumped on by these officers, and these officers falsified reports to cover up their use of unnecessary force. Well, he filed 602 (grievance) after 602 on these officers, and he has not allowed the tricks and oppressive tactics to stop him. They placed him in the hole and he managed to get out in 3 days. And now these same officers realize that he is not going to stop, and have turned to getting at other prisoners to get him off the yard, all because of his 602 filing and the direction he is taking against them.

Other prisoners have mentioned how this person always has the officers around him, as to feed into the officers agenda, but that's just not true. This prisoner would be minding his own business, and they start provoking him, so he turns around and uses law back at them. One time officers told him he was a "rat for 602ing all the officers," and he told the officers he would 602 them if they violate him. They responded that they are not afraid of the 602, but when he asked them if they are afraid of "the grand jury" they changed their tune, and demeanor.

I have never seen anyone who was not afraid of the officers, despite what they have already done to him. The amazing thing is he stays to himself and is laid back and shares law with others. I never once seen him involved in any altercations, verbal or physical, with other prisoners. Some officers don't want to even touch him during searches, and I overheard one say this is because he loves his money and job.

This is inspiring to me, because I have watched the officers throw everything at this prisoner and he is still not dissuaded. And now the divide and conquer tactic of paying another prisoner to take care of their problem is what they have resorted to.

I hope MIM(Prisons) is able to convey what I am saying, because I see the teaching from the United Front for Peace in Prisons statement of principles in his walk, and just some of the fruits of these principles that he is reaping, too. I know the officers hate him because I personally hear them talking bad about him.


MIM(Prisons) adds: This is a great portrait of a prisoner fighting his own battles in prison and through this fight inspiring others. He exemplifies the Peace principle of the UFPP: "We organize to end the needless conflicts and violence within the U.$. prison environment. The oppressors use divide and conquer strategies so that we fight each other instead of them. We will stand together and defend ourselves from oppression." Drawing the hatred of the prison officers is a good sign of success, though of course we always want to minimize the suffering of our comrades and help them gain as much room to organize and survive behind bars as possible.

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[Campaigns] [Abuse] [Polunsky Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 39]
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Texas Petitions Fall on Deaf Ears, Need to Shift Campaign Target

We here on Polunsky Unit are receiving the ULK and copies of the grievance petition. We are engaged in the fight on a very small scale. Hundreds of petitions have been sent to the central grievance office, Administrative Review and Risk Management Division (ARRM), Executive Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), and recently TDCJ Board Chairman Oliver Bell, but to no avail. Grievances are not submitted and grievance investigators claim to not have received them. Those that do get processed/submitted are not properly investigated and receive the standard response of "insufficient evidence to substantiate your allegation."

The KKKlantation Warden Gary Hunter is in collusion with grievance staff to trash/destroy any grievance/appeal that may get action if we proceed to the Step 2 level, that is if the Step 2 does not land in the hands of Regional Director Richard Alford who has been Assistant Warden and Head Warden on this KKKlantation within the 12 years that I've been here.

There is another struggle against Helen Sheffield (Sgt. of Safe Prison/Extortion). She confiscates personal property of offenders accused of extortion, running gambling businesses, stores, inappropriate relationships with female guards, etc., and destroys property if the offender refuses to snitch for her. This is all done under the watchful eye of Senior Warden Hunter and Assistant Warden Kenneth Hutto.

If any comrades in Texas can assist us in our fight against Sgt. Sheffield and her theft and unlawful destruction of offender property, please feel free to engage in this struggle.

To all comrades of USW in Texas, we must come up with a new direction to take this grievance campaign (new addresses, etc.) to send grievance petitions to because all the former names/addresses have failed us. My suggestion is the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) or ACLU Texas. We comrades on the Polunsky KKKlantation have chosen to forward our petitions to the DOJ.

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[Abuse] [Polk Correctional Institution] [North Carolina]
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HCON Abuses Fall on Deaf Ears, NC Prisoners Demand Grievances Addressed

[The following is text from a grievance submitted 18 September 2013 to the North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services that was accepted and then rejected without explanation. NCPLS is under contract with the NC Department of Public Safety to meet the legal requirement of access to legal resources for prisoners. As a result NC prisoners are not provided with law libraries. Meanwhile NCPLS repeatedly denies help to our comrades who have been writing them for years about the abuses like those described below. Combined with the obstructionism of the department staff handling grievances, North Carolina prisoners have become frustrated with the injustice and responded with hunger strikes and a campaign to demand that grievances are addressed in the state prison system. We have edited the text from the original grievance for clarity. - MIM(Prisons)]

Dear Prisoner Legal Services,

I have been housed in High Security Maximum Control(HCON) North Carolina State Prison. HCON is long-term isolation with single cells including blocks A,B,C and D, housing 96 prisoners total.

I been here over over 9 months in 23/24 hours locked down and face years here. What follows is a brief summary of the problems prisoners (WE) have here. Us prisoners always try to address our problems with the officers. They ignore inmates on our daily needs when we have a concern to be addressed for whatever matter.

We have to beat on our cell doors and windows to get officers attention because the call button of all cells was removed from the rooms. Then some officers most of the time take up to 45 or so minutes to appear in our window. An extremely loud noise beating on cells windows for a day long and night on the daily basis does disturb the peace of other prisoners as well as staff members also.

The high official Mr. Muns, Polk Correctional Institution Superintendent, and Mr. Ryan Irvin Assistant Superintendent of HCON fail to address officers behavior to have them do what their job requires them to do.

Prisoners throw human waste (shit mixed with piss) at staff members or prisoners set cells on fire to get things done by staff, which results in the prisoner being indicted on street charges.

It's not right all this happens on the daily basis and the matters are still not handled. All that happening in special house building is out of order. It makes an unsafe housing situation for prisoners and state staff.

The prisoners' behavior causes lack of medical attention we're suffering in special housing. Medical staff denied us medical emergency when declared most of the times. For example, nurse Mr. Berry, on September 15, 2013 denied me medical emergency I declared for high blood pressure and chest pain.

When we do get a nurse to respond to a medical emergency they are all being performed inside the prisoners' cells, which is also incorrect because cells are unhygienic and contaminated. It's unconstitutional.

Meanwhile, prisoners who submitted sick calls forms are facing months delays to be screened or be seen by doctor Lightsey Joseph. It take up 2 or 3 months without any concerns been fixed still. Most of the time prisoners sick calls are addressed outside the prisoner patient presence by doctor Lightsey Joseph. Mr. Mitchell Lawson nurse supervisor fails to properly train nurses personnel and he is liable.

On occasions staff members abuse their authority in many ways by messing up prisoners' meals or playing our emotional sense. Our food trays serve poor amounts of food. We starve. Mr. Carl Miller food service manager is in charge.

All prisoners clothes we use are damaged clothing. So bad they cause itching, are uncomfortable and unhygienic clothes and we are being force to use them.

For special house prisoners all outgoing or incoming mail are being obstructed by Ms. Jacqueline Maxey S.T.G. Sergeant, including reading all family or friends mail. Prisoners sometimes can't reach the North Carolina Department of Public Safety main office in the outside world to put our concerns in head official hands. So they're dirty ways can always be hidden, to save their hides. We can't reach our loved one.

Special housing staff intentionally misdeliver prisoner mail to different prisoners for that very purpose to cause harm to the prisoner himself or family members or friends. Or prisoner grieve whatever matter is... our grievances are not addressed or give a joke answer at step one. Grievances soon get dismissal always. Mr. Orlando Brown is also liable for prisoners' mail clothes issues.

Prison official also punish inmates in the prison by feeding us Nutraloaf for a 7 day period. Nutraloaf is a mix of beans, oatmeal, grits, collard greens etc... Which is cruel punishment along with taking all inmate property mattress, clothes, blanket, sheets. Except the clothing we wear for up to a 7 day period.

Us prisoners should not suffer these punishment when charges are filed and served more prison time and visa versa. It is double jeopardy.

All these should not be outside issues. They are institutional matters because Polk Correctional Institution higher official Mr. Muns and Mr. Ryan fail to fixes the special housing problems by first addressing their lower officers' behavior. Instead of giving more hard work to the Court of Justice as also affecting groups of prisoners sentences and making an unsafe and unhygienic housing for both prisoners as well for staff members also.

Just get lower officers lack of doing what they were hired for to do their work.

Finally, Mr. Muns also Mr. Ryan fail to understand, balanced, and excellent neglected to mention the typical hours for lower officer workers is 12 hours a day, 2 to 3 days a week. Staff are overly tired, burned out officers workers will make errors causing harm to prisoners in many ways to neighbors, and to themselves the prison staff is under staffed.

This is how special house crazy is.

North Carolina prisoner legal services could this office put hands on this matters to challenge in court?

I wait for you to hear a trustful and positive respond. Thanks you very much.

Relief sought, to hire the amount staff workers correct by state statute indicate. Fix special housing problems that affects a group of prisoners or close high security maximum control N.C. building. We demand our grievances are addressed. Address all points above in this sorta grievance. Remove Mr. Ryan from office.

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[Abuse] [Legal] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 39]
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Originator of NC Anti-Abuse Lawsuit Down for the Cause

It made me smile to see that Under Lock & Key No. 38 had an article on my civil case. The name of the case is Stanley Earl Corbett, Jr., et al v. G.J. Branker et al., case # 5:13-ct-03201-BO. I filed this case pro se back in 2010. For two years I fought the case by myself, and it took me two years to get the judge to appoint me a civil attorney (NCPLS). Upon them being appointed to my case they asked me to let them use my case to add 7 other prisoners who'd been beaten in similar situations to what happened to me. I told them to add them without any hesitation, then I signed a consent form.

My point in speaking about this is because I could of said "f*** these prisoners," and went to trial, or settled out of court, but I didn't. Why? Because I represent the struggle, and I'm all for a major change in a positive way. So to all these selfish "inmates" (not prisoners) that are only concerned with themselves — We aren't nothing alike! I do this for real, and I'm still taking bumps and bruises because I've been receiving numerous forms of retaliation from these pigs for pursuing my rights. But I'ma ride or die for the cause/struggle. I truly appreciate ya'll exposing this injustice.


MIM(Prisons) responds: Another comrade involved in this case has been keeping us abreast of the consistent progress of this lawsuit. And while the outcome is a limited reform, this letter reinforces the greater significance of this work. By working in the context of class struggle we continue to build something bigger than ourselves as individuals. We're glad this comrade found ULK and has pledged to become a contributor to our work. We're also glad to hear that he received Under Lock & Key No. 38, since every issue for over three years has been put on the statewide ban list in North Carolina. Perhaps comrades' efforts on that front are paying off as well. Despite the repression, comrades in North Carolina are working together to stop abuse.

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[Hunger Strike] [Abuse] [Polk Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 39]
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Hunger Strikers in NC Protesting Basic Conditions

Smash the SHU

On Monday, 19 May 2014, 7 prisoners at Polk Correctional on the H-Con Unit began a hunger strike due to inhumane conditions, and finally some getting fed up with the mistreatment. It is day 4 and 8 comrades refused their breakfast this morning. Some of the demands are:

  1. need brooms to sweep cells
  2. need nail clippers to exercise proper hygiene
  3. need outside recreation
  4. need new trays, ones now are cracked, split, peeling causing us to find plastic in our food
  5. staff need to wear hair nets/change gloves for food preparation and serving
  6. need headphones sold separately in canteen so we don't have to buy a whole new radio
  7. stop taking mattress and religious property as punishment for up to 3 days
  8. special housing cells need to be cleaned daily - currently have blood, bodily fluids in them and comrades are placed in them naked on suicide watch, only given 4 sheets of toilet paper, no hygiene, forced to eat with dirty hands
  9. need a law library
  10. stop use of nutraloaf as punishment
  11. stop keeping us on H-Con 18-24 months before letting us off even without getting write ups
  12. stop using restraints as punishment

These are just some of the most important of 33 demands. I am asking other comrades to join in support and fast or to write to:

Frank L. Perry, Secretary
Division of Prisons
4201 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4201

and,

U.S. Dept. of Justice, Civil Rights Division
Special Litigation Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington DC 20530

or other forms of protest that do not cause you to receive an infraction. Also, pump them fists as we got a victory in the Central Prison Unit 1 case. They have to use a hand-held camera during all use of force, specifically after the use of force or during/until you are put back in your cell and no longer in contact with corrections staff. So hear it, can I get a hell yeah from all my comrades!

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