Isolation and Torture in Texas
For eight days during December 2011, I was placed in a cell completely nude, and without any state or personal property what-so-ever, while outside temperatures fell down into the low 20 degree range, after having my face and head completely shaved at the direction of TDCJ officers. I was forced to sleep nude on the concrete floor, even as my cell was flooded by ice cold rainwater due to a leak in the ceiling, and the section exhaust fan was operated at night time increasing the ill effects of the cold temperatures.
My cell and person were subjected to a thorough search every two hours around the clock for the entire period by a team of TDCJ officers armed with tear gas, pepper spray, and billy clubs. The coercive language, verbal abuse and repeated threats of use of force and chemical agents upon refusal to exit my cell for shake-downs, or other failures to precisely follow orders, was constant. During the cell searches human feces was tracked all over the floor and bunk by officers and was never cleaned up, nor were cleaning supplies provided.
Security checks requiring a verbal or visual response were conducted every 30 minutes and cell lights were left on 24/7, inducing sleep deprivation. Blinds were installed over my cell door windows inducing sensory deprivation, and near constant banging, hammering, grinding, yelling and other sudden and loud noises created a barrage of audio-assaults that was contestant and nerve-wracking. On several occasions I was inappropriately punished with sub-standard food-loaf in place of regular meal trays, not justified by any offense, and I was forced to eat by hand after defecating while unable to clean myself due to a lack of soap, towels and toilet paper.
All recreation, showers and legal communication were denied. I was never charged nor convicted of any disciplinary offense and I assert that these actions by TDCJ officers, and at the authoritative direction of TDCJ prion administration, violated commonly accepted standards of custodial care as well as my civil rights under both the federal and Texas state constitutions, and, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.
I filed grievances on the abuse and ill treatment, however, I never received an official response, thereby denying me my constitutional right to due process and concurrently derailing my efforts at obtaining relief and administrative resolution.
MIM(Prisons) adds: This torture is often used by prison officials as punishment for prisoners who are fighting abuse and injustice, in an attempt to break their spirit and end their attempts to seek justice. This prisoner is now planning to file a civil rights lawsuit, after his attempts at administrative relief failed, and so we are happy to see that the torture did not stop him. But we know that these conditions, especially when faced long term in control units across the country, cause serious physical and mental harm. This is why the campaign to shut down control units is a critical battle for prisoners across the country.