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[Control Units] [Legal] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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End RHU & All Solitiary Confinement in Texas

On 10 January 2023, a new legislative session convenes.

Several state representatives have committed to utilizing proposals from Texas prisoners to implement reforms. Rep. T. Meza has stood out with her zeal to end solitary confinement throughout Texas’ prisons and jails. She previously introduced a bill along those lines that didn’t make the floor. However, this session with more support from her colleagues, and with a litany of Texas citizens concerned about this, things look to possibly end differently.

In conjunction with the efforts of state politicians on the 10th of January, supporters of this campaign will be protesting on both sides of the walls. Around the state prisoners are showing their support by hunger striking. People on the outside will protest in Austin at the state Capitol.

Lastly, there continues to be civil lawsuits filed against TDCJ and its practice of indefinite solitary confinement. One of Our comrades has filed suit and that’s been reported on in previous ULK’s.(1) There is also Hanson v. Barnett, CA No. 1:21-cv-629-RP-DH, an extensively detailed complaint filed in the Western District of Texas, Austin Division.

We encourage all similarly situated people to file 1983 lawsuits, and if you need advice or assistance the address to Tx Team One’s legal representative is: 113 Stockholm #1A, Brooklyn, NY 1121

UPDATE As we go to press prisoners are wrapping up week 2 of the hunger strike. The TDCJ has verified 72 participants, while supporters say at least twice that number are on strike across the state prison system. In their defense the state also says that the number of prisoners in isolation has decreased from 9,186 in 2007 to 3,172 in 2022.(2) We say that is still too much torture!

Texas Prison Reform, the prisoner organization, gave the state 90 days notice before initiating this latest action in their campaign. In that statement they mirror their demands off the infamous Ashker v. Governor of California case, which settled for some minor reforms in how people are put in the Security Housing Units rather than abolishing the practice altogether. Abolishing torture is a winnable battle, that continues to gain attention and support. Anything less than a complete ban on solitary confinement across Texas prisons and jails is a failure of basic humyn rights.

Notes: 1. see ULK 76 for the original announcement, and updates in subsequent issues of ULK. All articles are online at: https://www.prisoncensorship.info/campaigns/TX/end-indefinite-restrictive-housing-in-tdcj/
2. Ed Pilkington, 19 January 2023, Texas prisoners continue hunger strike in protest against solitary confinement, The Guardian.

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[Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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Tx Team One & JFI Updates

In previous writings we’ve utilized the principle of self-criticism to critique the communications operations that We, Team One, previously had. Therefore, we’re enthused to announce not only new tactical methods of communication, but a new address as well.

Tx Team One
PO Box 720597
Houston, TX 77272

Also, in conjunction with the JFI campaign and in partnership with outside supporters, We’re presently soliciting contributors for a book project. This project will be a collection of personal experiences of prisoners who are working or have previously worked an industrial job in Texas prisons (TDCJ).

This work contributes to the portion of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative that deals with prisoner workers’ lack of payment and the practice of state coercion. Any and all prisoners who would like to contribute their personal experience via written word should write tot he above address. Those considered for publication will receive a reply.

Those committees and individuals who’ve written us in the past, but did not receive a reply, should write to our new address with your contact info.

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[Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [United Struggle from Within] [Abuse] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 80]
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TDCJ's Repression of it's Political Prisoners Leads to Devastating Effects Among the Wider Prison Population

[UPDATE: In late December we got confirmation that the fees for the suit were paid by a comrade in Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support. We no longer need people to contact the judge, but are still collecting postcard signatures and can use your help.]
[NOTE: At the end of this article the author asks you, the reader, to contact the Judge about the TDCJ blocking court fees for a prisoner’s lawsuit to fight censorship. This is part of an ongoing campaign. We are also asking people to print and gather signatures on postcards that you can download from the campaign page along with fliers to use in outreach around this campaign to oppose political censorship in Texas.]

When i initiated the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative (JFI), and the fliers for that action began to find their way into every prison in Texas, Allred Unit’s Warden Jimmy Smith commanded the unit mailroom supervisor to place me on a ‘watchlist’ – purportedly to provide a greater level of scrutiny to my outgoing mail.

This measure first began to disrupt communication between cadres and myself throughout the state. The state has policies and courts have upheld bans on such communications under the cloak of a fear of gang organizing.

The watchlist measure intensified and all reading materials were made to go through a months long process of scrutiny. Texas has a part of its Mailroom Operations policy that they need not announce to a prisoner when a publication has arrived at the unit, even when it is subject to further review. This results in reading material being sent and one not knowing of its existence until it is officially denied. At the point of denial, We’re supposed to be allowed to appeal through the grievance procedure. What i’ve experienced , however, is that the unit grievance investigators don’t allow me to grieve a Director’s Review Committee decision. My battle with the UGI subsequently slows up the exhaustion of administrative remedies.

Eventually, the watchlist measure intensified to the point that ANY material from MIM(Prisons) was purportedly denied at the command of the DRC in Huntsville. This political police tactic is what led to the state-wide censorship of the Revolutionary 12 Step Program. The 12 steps is an anti-drug abuse and anti-reactionary program that is definitely needed in the Texas prison system. The state has upheld this censorship with the vague statement, ‘may incite inmate disruption’.

In recent times Texas has made national headlines due to the governor’s reactionary policies that repress social and political narratives that counter dominant narratives and positions. This trend, which tarnishes the First Amendment so-called rights, has made its way into the Texas prison system.

To understand how this has occurred one must have knowledge of connection, the family tree of repression if you will, that connects Jimmy Smith(Allred Warden), Brenda Kelley(Allred mailroom supervisor), Tammy Shelby(Mailroom system coordinator’s panel-chair), and the DRC, to Texas’ highest levels of government.

When a governor is elected in Texas they appoint people to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. The TBCJ is charged with making Board policies, revising them, and thus make the overreaching rules and regulation that determine the day-to-day lives of over a hundred thousand captives.

The Governor also appoints the Director’s Review Committee (DRC), which is charged with, among other things, determining the content that can/cannot enter or leave prisons. The DRC is the ultimate authority on matters regarding denials of mail, publication, visitation.

We should be asking the questions: where is the transparency, and democratic decision making in the selection of TBCJ and DRC officials? These positions are handed down to careerist politicians who’ve made their living on the backs and misery of the prisoner class and Our families. In the future comrades must organize an outside force to force Texas to remove the veil between these backdoor chambers of power and the common public. We need readily accessible information on these so called public officials and representatives of the people.

So We have a clearly reactionary governor who’s appointed a clearly reactionary Board and review committee. In Texas the only way to overturn a DRC decision is through litigation, and therefore most censorship bans last indefinitely.

While Jimmy Smith and the other prison careerists play prison politics, in an effort to quell dissenters and self-determination of the prisoners, there is a fatal drug wave crushing Allred Unit. As i write this in late October 2022, 7 prisoners have died this month due to overdose.

The Revolutionary 12 Step Program is currently at the point of training cadres to be able to facilitate the program at their locale. The censorship of this program, in conjunction with the indefinite solitary confinement of many cadres, act to circumvent what could otherwise be a highly effective and influential peoples’ initiative. And therein lays the problem, at least from the administrator’s perspective, they seek to circumvent the rise of any influence among the prison population. Instead of differentiating between types of influence, their practices put a blanket on ALL influence and influential people or initiatives among the prisoners, and seeks to disrupt them.

Of course this can’t be done totally, and what results (as what resulted in previous generations of the Prison Movement) is that the mass influence of the prisons and prisoners falls in the hands of the most reactionary prisoner forces. The admin elects to deal with the lesser of two ‘evils’. It has seen that the reactionary forces are easier to contain, to appease, to divide and conquer, in contrast to an awakened, drug free, unified and determined population.

Active political prisoners and prisoners of war are the exemplary prisoners among the masses. They are leaders. Texas’ desire to conserve ideological, and social hegemony over the population has and will continue to cost people their lives.

In the civil case, Owolabi V. TDCJ Allred Unit, et al., 7;22-cv-00094-0, one such political prisoner has challenged political censorship of the Revolutionary 12 Step Program, and other communist, revolutionary nationalist, anarchist, and abolitionist materials.

The sitting Judge, a George W. Bush appointee, for the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas is Reed O’Conner, who has a reputation as a highly conservative Republican reactionary. O’Conner has moved to dismiss the case, not on the basis of the case alone, but due to prison officials withholding and delaying the processing of the check for court fees. Unit prison officials have ignored the plaintiff’s request to have the check processed. The Plaintiff has informed Judge O’Conner of this problem, and filed a motion for extension. The court has yet to respond to the plaintiff’s motion.

We’re asking all those among the public who have an interest in stopping political censorship in Texas, to contact the Court, inform Judge O’Conner and the Clerk of the Court that the Allred Unit is refusing to process the check for court fees.

Contact info for the court is here: https://www.txnd.uscourts.gov/judge/district-judge-reed-oconnor

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[Campaigns] [Black Lives Matter] [Parole] [Work Strike] [Organizing] [Alabama]
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Free Alabama Phase 2

rally at AL capitol to free prisoners
About 100 supporters rallied outside the Alabama Capitol on 14 October 2022

The Free Alabama Movement has declared their recent organizing a success, with over 15,000 prisoners participating and prodding response from the governor during the campaign season.(1) They have announced the next phase of their struggle for reasonable paths to parole and release. It involves the drafting and proposal of a state bill. The Alabama Legislature opens on 3 March 2023, and prisoners have planned to launch a campaign to promote and support the proposed bill at that time.(2)

Following the recent actions, a damning report came out substantiating the prisoners demands:

“July 2022 was the deadliest month on record in Alabama prisons. Thirty-two people died in Alabama prisons in July — the most since at least January 2000, the earliest month for which data is available online. More people died than were granted parole that month.”(3)

The Free Alabama Movement concludes in their recent statement:

"On September 26, over 15,000 people stood up for freedom in the Alabama prison system. That’s 10,000+ new soldiers, warriors and generals to the ranks who had NEVER participated in a shutdown before. Most of them didn’t know they would be challenged by the ADOC at the core of our most basic human need: food. This is a real struggle against a system that is well funded and has been in existence for over 100 years. We gotta act like we want freedom, and move with the understanding that that will be a test of your will and spirit to achieve something great.

"Understand the mission brother and sisters. A call has been made for us to stand again. We cannot miss our assignment and expect change.

“Dare to struggle, dare to win.”

Notes:
1. Free Alabama Movement, 23 October 2022, “Fifteen Thousand Stood Up on September 26, 2022”.
2. Free Alabama Movement, 24 October 2022, “A Path to Freedom”.
3. Evan Mealins, 18 October 2022, “July was the deadliest month on record in Alabama prisons. Here’s what we know”, Montgomery Advertiser.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Political Repression] [Allred Unit] [Hughes Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 79]
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Illegal Censorship in TX Persists as Resistance Grows

Biden punishes prisoners for not celebrating Juneteenth

MIM Distributors has confirmed at least 135 pieces of our mail that have been censored by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) in 2022. However, the vast majority of our mail goes unaccounted for, so we know that the actual number is in the many hundreds.

Censorship in Texas is not new. The TDCJ banned our book [email protected] Power and the Struggle for Aztlán for many years. More recently it was brought to our attention that that decision had been reversed and a number of comrades were able to receive the book. However, Allred Unit has censored the book 4 times in 2022. The bourgeois state has always repressed political speech that is opposed to its oppression.

Most of the censorship in 2022 has been triggered by and targeted at organizing efforts around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. In particular letters with updates on the campaign and plans to boycott the holiday. The most censored letter actually was mostly reports on censorship by the TDCJ itself.

Many comrades reported that the censorship of the infamous June 8th JFI Campaign Update letter was appealed automatically by the TDCJ. We received dozens of letters stating the censorship was upheld by the Director’s Review Committee(DRC) on appeal because the letter was “inciting a disturbance.” Yet all the letter called for was to boycott the holiday and instead spend it advocating for a list of demands including an end to long-term solitary confinement, censorship and unpaid labor. In other words, peacefully advocating for your rights has been made illegal for Texas prisoners. That is why we say prisoners in this country do not enjoy full citizenship rights.

Meanwhile, of the dozens of notifications that we received, none of them specified what the item was that was being censored, or what about the item was objectionable. When we wrote the DRC to point this out we received no response. Similarly, our letter to Allred Unit warden Jimmy Smith regarding blanket censorship went unanswered. This is a violation of caselaw, such as Crofton v. Roe (9th Cir. 1999) 170 F.3d 957, which concluded:

“Unsupported security claims couldn’t justify infringement on First Amendment rights.”

One comrade in Stevenson Unit who had achieved a reversal after appealing a recent censorship reports:

“I received the enclosed notice that the Director’s Review Committee reversed the unit denial of 5 pages that could incite a disturbance mailed to me from MIM. I am now in possession of your MIM Censorship pack, and I can’t seem to find any mention of riotous propaganda, or anything other than helpful caselaw in the struggle to uphold 1st Amendment rights. Systematic denial by the piggy is surely taking place because they don’t like the expression of political and social views that are protected by the 1st Amendment right against arbitrary government invasion. Oh well, life’s hard. Harder if you’re stupid.”

Another comrade who won an appeal was convinced that our letter contained more contents because all ey got was an Unconfirmed Mail Form listing what we had sent em recently. Nope, that’s all that was in the letter that was originally censored for “containing information to incite a disturbance.” The only appeals that have achieved reversals so far have been for Unconfirmed Mail Forms(UMFs), our censorship pack, and a copy of the Bill of Rights. However, these reversals were not applied consistently, in other instances UMFs and our censorship pack was censored after appeal to the DRC.

While most of our censored mail was destroyed, one comrade in Allred had there’s sent back to us. In the letter “An Address to Tx USW, All TeamOne Committees, and Tx inmates”, the TDCJ seems to have highlighted where the letter mentions the “Juneteenth Freedom Initiative.” Specifically it is the sentence that calls for filing complaints and petitions to the DOJ. We mailed out copies of such a petition with ULK 78. This is the type of activity the TDCJ is calling “inciting a disturbance” in order to censor our communications.

While Under Lock & Key 78 seems to have reached many in Texas, we are still seeing an almost complete censorship of mail from MIM Distributors in prisons like Allred Unit and Hughes Unit. We’ve been told there is a whole shelf for mail from MIM Distributors in the Allred mailroom now.

Earlier this year, we reported on egregious censorship of a 12 step rehabilitation program and the TDCJ’s own Grievance Operations Manual.(1)

MIM Distributors and our subscribers within the TDCJ have exhausted all administrative remedies with our appeals, letters and grievances. The TDCJ is not interested in following the law on it’s own accord. Therefore we have begun to step up outside pressure on two fronts.

  1. the legal front by filing a lawsuit
  2. the public opinion front via our postcard campaign

Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support(AIPS) has been reaching out on the streets of Texas and elsewhere to bring this story to the masses and gather signatures on postcards we are sending to the TDCJs DRC to voice opposition to this illegal practice of handling our mail and communications.

One comrade observed:

“Going to the masses with these postcards was very eye opening. Conceptually I knew many of the theories of how different classes of the oppressed nations react to building revolution differently, but to see how that plays out with my own eyes was something else. For example, many of the petty-bourgeois student types were more likely to scoff at or dismiss prisoner organizing out of defeatist attitudes at best (such as how censorship/repression is so big in prisons therefore we shouldn’t try at all) or take up bourgeois ethics and “justice” at worst (believing many prisoners “deserve” to be there). Many of the common labor aristocrat types tended to be more supportive, but also was discouraged in not being able to see the movement in Texas prisons right in front of them – expressed in attitudes of “what do they have to do with us here?” The oppressed nation lumpen (homeless, lumpen organization members, etc.) on the other hand were much more eager to sign the postcards in support of the comrades in Texas despite them being in another state. They knew how repressive the inju$tice system was in either out of personal experience or through their close friends’ personal experiences; and many expressed how even if all of our comrades in Texas was 100% guilty of the most heinous of crimes that the imperialists had no right to judge them expressed through sayings of “cops are the real criminals.”

“Going through these personal experiences with the different types of masses can become pragmatism itself on this comrade’s part, which can become dangerous, so we should remind ourselves of the whole picture of what Chairman Mao said in eir essays”On Practice" and “On Contradiction.”

Yes, mass work like this is how we learn how the masses will respond and engage in different campaigns, but we shouldn’t be too quick to draw broad conclusions based on a little persynal experience. Another comrade reported:

"There’s so many people from all nations who are personally oppressed by the Texa$ Criminal Injustice system, who with the right political education will be prepared to join the movement. There’s no doubt in my mind as a supporter from the outside myself that there will be many more ready to put in the work, in the near, near future. The reception to the Allred censorship campaign has been nearly all positive so far, and many people of the oppressed nations here have told me persynally that they’ve been looking for something just like Under Lock & Key to educate and organize the people.

"Keep on the pressure from the inside, you have millions more to come and push from the outside, we just have to keep our heads on tight, stay determined, and struggle on.

“ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!”

For the voices of the oppressed inside to be heard, we must increase the voices of support on the outside. We call on our readers outside to print out some postcards and fliers, and copies of this article and hit the streets today.

You can view the growing list of confirmed censorship in Texas on our website.

Notes:
1. MIM(Prisons), April 2022, TDCJ Upholds Censorship of their own Grievance Manual, Under Lock & Key 77

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[Control Units] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 79]
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TDCJ Officials DENIED Summary Judgment in Fight to END Restrictive Housing in Texas

Dillard v. Davis, et al. Civil Action No. 7:19-cv-00081-M-BP
News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E.-Legal Representative
113 Stockholm, #1A
Brooklyn, NY. 11221
#endrestrictivehousinginTDCJ
more about Plaintiff at https://wireofhope.com/prison-penpal-daniel-dillard/

TDCJ Officials DENIED Summary Judgment in fight to END restrictive housing in Texas

On 2 August 2022, Chief Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn rendered an Order Accepting Findings, conclusions and recommendations of the United States Magistrate Judge.

The Honorable Magistrate Judge Hal R. Ray Jr. submitted the findings, conclusions and recommendations on 17 June 2022, effectively denying TDCJ’s officials qualified immunity defense and finding that continuous confinement in TDCJ’s version of solitary confinement is INDEFINITE under the unconstitutional Restrictive Housing Plan. A date for trial has not been set though it was also recommended by Magistrate Judge Ray Jr.

The time is now for pre-trial preparations and the Plaintiff and Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. are requesting that individuals that are being held in TDCJ’s Restrictive Housing please submit their testimony, artwork, poems and writings to the contact info above. We want to hear your stories about what you have suffered in TDCJ’s Restrictive Housing. Anyone who wishes to participate in the trial must first submit their testimony to Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. first. Serious inquiries ONLY! Secondly you must be willing to have your background checked thoroughly. So once again, Serious Inquiries ONLY!

*** ATTENTION *** ATTENTION ***

Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is putting together a scrapbook about solitary. Submissions would go to the above address also, along with permission to publish your material. Submission should be turned in NO later than November 30th 2022.

Texas Together Ending All Mass Oppression aNd Exploitations

____ abolitiontoday.org ____ spiritofmandela.org ____ @EndAdSegTX ____


MIM(Prisons) adds: We have distributed copies of this press release to a number of prisoners in Texas, but need help doing so. If you know someone suffering in RHU, please share this information with them ASAP.

The campaign against long-term solitary confinement is a campaign against torture and a campaign against political repression. It is perhaps the most important struggle in the U.$. prison movement. Texas has an opportunity to do what California failed to do. In California, an alliance of lumpen leaders and reformist organizations settled the Ashker suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.(1) Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. will not be following suit, and will be taking this battle to trial with the goal of ending, not reforming, long-term solitary confinement in Texas.

As the Texas prison movement continues to grow, we must build broader awareness and support for this battle, especially among the most affected masses who are willing to dig in and fight for this. The largest prison strikes in history precluded the battle against the Security Housing Units in California, and yet the battle was lost. We must put politics in command and rally the prisoners and people of Texas to put an end to torture.

Notes: 1. Wiawimawo, September 2015, Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners, Under Lock & Key No. 46.

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[Environmentalism] [Abuse] [Campaigns] [Nottoway Correctional Center] [Buckingham Correctional Center] [Augusta Correctional Center] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 79]
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Shut Down Prisons with No Air Conditioning During Dangerous Heat Wave as Global Warming Advances

Have you ever opened the door to a hot oven and felt dizzy and overwhelmed from the intensity of the heat hitting you in the face? That is how it feels for people incarcerated at Augusta, Nottoway, and Buckingham Correctional Centers every summer, but especially during the current heat wave sweeping the country.

But get this: prison staff at these facilities do not experience excessive heat conditions because the areas in which they work and frequent — the control booths, school areas, medical department, education department, administration offices, etc. – are all equipped with air conditioning (AC).

While the U.$. and other parts of the world, like Western Europe, are experiencing unprecedented deadly heat waves, people trapped in prisons, jails, and detention centers not equipped with AC in the areas where they housed are suffering exponentially from these sweltering conditions.

For instance, if it is 100 degrees for those of you on the outside, the temperature is always several degrees higher for those of us confined in prisons not equipped with AC. With the lack of AC, poor ventilation, substandard medical care, unsafe drinking water, big slabs of concrete that trap heat, antiquated sewage systems that regularly back up and spew raw sewage into the cells and housing units, and the persistence of COVID-19 which is still spreading and infecting people at these facilities, all of these conditions on top of record high temperatures create unbearable conditions that are tantamount to the kind of cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the eighth amendment to the U.$. constitution. Sick and elderly people confined under these conditions suffer the most.

So, is there a need for an intersecting movement for prison abolition? The short answer is “Yes,” because when environmentalists talk about how climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and how the impact of this is felt most by people in Third World countries least responsible for climate pollution, the ways in which climate change impacts people in confinement are often left out of conversations about climate justice. This is a blind spot that will cause incarcerated and detained people to suffer and die in silence and invisibility during future heat waves.

Of course, I believe prisons in general should be abolished and demolished, but right now, due to the immediacy of the current situation, we need prison abolitionists and climate justice activists to unite, and once united, collectively raise your voices to bring awareness to this issue and demand change to prevent the needless suffering and death of incarcerated human beings amid record high temperatures due to global warming.

One way you can do this is by signing and sharing this online petition to close Nottoway, Buckingham, and Augusta Correctional Centers.

This petition can be used to raise awareness about this public health crisis and as the foundation for a state-wide campaign to shut these prisons down.

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[Campaigns] [Download and Print] [Censorship] [Control Units] [Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E.] [Texas]
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Juneteenth Freedom Initiative Flyer

UPDATE FOR AUGUST 2022: Now that Juneteenth 2022 has passed, please use this updated flyer and these updated postcards now address the censorship across the state of Texas in recent months. We need your support to keep increasing the pressure to fight this censorship of political speech.

Juneteenth Freedom Initiative flyer

Download and print this flyer to hang or hand out.

We are also asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and activists in Allred to freely communicate. There has been a rise in mail censorship as organizing has progressed.

  1. download PDF below
  2. print 2-sided on cardstock
  3. cut into 4
  4. add $0.40 stamp (or more)
  5. go to event or public space and ask people to sign their name, city and state
  6. explain the Junteenth Freedom Initiative to them
  7. hand them a flyer (above) or Under Lock & Key
  8. ask for a donation to pay for postage & printing
  9. drop postcards in mail box (don’t mail them all at once we want a consistent stream of cards coming in)
protest Allred censorship of activists mail
Click image to download pdf and print postcards.
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[Control Units] [Censorship] [Organizing] [Campaigns] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Juneteenth Freedom Initiative Phase 2

Texas and Cali prisoners unite

On 19 June 2022, prisoners across Texas abstained from celebrating the federal Juneteenth holiday until real freedom is attained by the oppressed in this country. Instead they organized, studied and made their voices heard for the demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, including:

  • End Solitary Confinement! End Restrictive Housing Units(RHU)!
  • End Mass Incarceration!
  • Stop Mail Censorship!
  • Transform the prisons to cadre schools! Transform ourselves into NEW PEOPLE!

Updates Since Juneteenth

The response from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) was swift and coordinated. MIM(Prisons) sent hundreds of update letters to comrades in Texas during the month of June, and almost all of them appear to have been censored.

Prisons where our letters were censored for “inciting a disturbance” or “riot” include:

  • Allred Unit
  • Beto I Unit
  • Boyd Unit
  • Christina Melton Crain Unit
  • Estelle High Security Unit
  • Estelle 2
  • Ferguson Unit
  • Gist
  • Hughes Unit
  • McConnell Unit
  • Mountain View Unit
  • Stevenson Unit
  • Telford Unit
  • Terrell Unit
  • Wallace Unit
  • Wynne Unit

We are still receiving and compiling censorship notices from June. Needless to say, there was a coordinated effort to block our letters across the state, and they were really worried about the Juneteenth boycott. Of course, there was nothing about organizing a riot in our letters. But the imperialists will consider a boycott a “disturbance” worthy of violating Constitutional rights. Biden said we must celebrate Juneteenth, so now we face the consequences of his goons in the TDCJ.

The censorship at Allred Unit had been going on for months prior. This is the worst RHU in the state, where a lot of the JFI organizing began. Therefore we began a postcard campaign to protest the political targeting of mail and of certain prisoners at Allred. One comrade there received 22 mail denial notices in one day in May! Another comrade in Allred wrote:

“I been denied 2 newsletters & 1 letter that ya’ll sent my way. [everything we’ve sent this comrade] I highly appreciate ya’ll. I’ve sent them home. This only confirms that Texas don’t want us to know. Your news letters were denied for tha reason of ‘inciting a disturbance’.”

“I asked the mail room lady if anything sent from this address will be denied and she said, ‘Yes.’ Just like that, freedom of speech denied.”

This campaign is ongoing, as the censorship continues, and we ask outside supporters to get involved. Mail from prisoners in Allred is often delayed a month or more, so updates on the launch of the JFI have not yet come in from some of the organizers.

Outreach during June included flyering and postcards on the streets, hundreds of update letters sent to TX prisoners and radio interviews in Texas and on Free Aztlán on 96.1 KEXU in Oakland.

One Texas comrade reported:

“The Juneteenth Freedom Initiative flyer was displayed for several weeks here. On Juneteenth, no movement due to low staff and no special holiday meal. The officers dining room had ribs, BBQ chicken and brisquet with all the fixins, and these were supposed to be delivered to each officer on duty. However, most were stolen en route. The warden and kitchen captain were pissed.”

The JFI was initiated by TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E who has continued to lead organizing efforts inside. Others, including Prison Lives Matter, Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee Local 613 #1, the Texas Liberation Collective, and United Struggle from Within cells, have joined the call. On the outside, MIM(Prisons), Anti-Imperialist Prisoner Support, and the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement have been providing support.

Phase 2

Per the plan below, laid out by TX T.E.A.M. O.N.E. the next phase of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative for prisoners is to file petitions with the Department of Justice. If you need a sample petition, write us to get a copy. This petition is not specific to Texas.

Prisoners in long-term solitary confinement in Texas can also join the Dillard lawsuit against the TDCJ. If you need a copy of the motion to join, write us.

Outside supporters can best assist organizers inside by joining our campaign against censorship. We want to continue to let the TDCJ know that people outside are paying attention and not willing to accept this political repression. We will be following up with a lawsuit on behalf of an affected party in Allred and MIM Distributors. You can help in the following ways:

  • calling or writing letters to the TDCJ, and to Allred Unit in particular
  • getting others to sign postcards protesting the censorship
  • contribute to the legal fund to fight censorship

For more information go to: prisoncensorship.info and go to the Campaigns page and Boycott Juneteenth. For info on how to donate click the “Do Something” link.

Background on JFI

As you may know, Juneteenth has now been made a federal holiday in amerika. On this day many will sing the praises of Our oppressors or otherwise negate the reality of the lumpen (economically alienated class), that according to amerika’s 13th amendment We are STILL SLAVES. While We do not wish to nullify the intensity of the exploitation and oppression that New Afrikan people held in chattel slavery faced, We must pinpoint to the general public, those upcoming generations of youngsters looking to follow Our footsteps, that to be held in captivity by the state or feds is not only to be frowned upon but is part and parcel with the intentions of this amerikan government, and its capitalist-imperialist rulers. We say NO CELEBRATING JUNETEENTH until the relation of people holding others in captivity is fully abolished!!

Comrades have been organizing around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative(JFI) for almost a year now, and we just completed phase 1. Prisoners in Texas and North Carolina took up the campaign. Instead of celebrating Juneteenth, boycotters worked to get out the voice of the incarcerated in TX and NC.

Previous campaign materials include more demands and more details. Add your own demands that speak to your local conditions and make the JFI demands heard by the masses and the oppressors. Don’t just boycott, organize.

The Boycott is just the first phase and launch of this campaign by and for all Texas prisoners.

  1. Juneteenth boycott and voice demands starting 19 June 2022
  2. present petition to the Department of Justice Special Litigation division (write in to get a copy if you still need one) – everyone should mail copies of their own signed petition to the DOJ following Juneteenth 2022
  3. if (2) fails to bring proper response, we will petition the United Nations – date To Be Determined – watch for announcement in Under Lock & Key, we will be requesting testimonials and collecting statistics to back up our arguments on each campaign position and submit them as evidence to bolster the recent guilty verdict of the We Still Charge Genocide, International Tribunal 2021 where mass incarceration and solitary confinement were ruled to be vital tools in the U.S. campaign of genocide for centuries against Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples of this continent.
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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Legal] [ULK Issue 79]
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Obtaining Copy of Lawsuit on TX Mail Policy BP-03.91

CAUSE NUMBER:3:21-CV-00337
STYLED NAME: F. MARTINEZ, ET AL. VS MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS BOARD OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE, ET. AL.
RE: COURT FEES TO OBTAIN
Dear Friends:

Greetings, I am the leading plaintiff in the above styled and numbered case. Please be aware of the court fees to obtain copies of the case. Basically they charge 10 cents per copy, and the total fees for the following documents are as follows:

  • The Complaint (no exhibits) 32 pages
  • Motion for TRO and preliminary injunection (no exhibits) 31 pages

It will be a total cost of $6.30 to obtain the above documents from the clerk of the court. You need to send a money order or institutional check to the clerk of the court at:

CLERK, US DISTRICT COURT
601 ROSENBURG STREET
ROOM 411
GALVESTON, TEXAS 77550
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