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 TDCJs 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 TDCJs 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! Second you must be willing to have your background checked thoroughly. So Serious Inquiries ONLY!
*** ATTENTION *** ATTENTION ***
Texas T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is putting together a scrapbook about solitary doors. 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
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.$. prison movement. Texas has an opportunity to do what California failed to do. In California, an alliance of lumpen leaders and reformist organizations settled the Ashker suit against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.(1) Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. will not be following suit, and will be taking this battle to trial with the goal of ending, not reforming, long-term solitary confinement in Texas.
As the Texas prison movement continues to grow, we must build broader awareness and support for this battle, especially among the most affected masses who are willing to dig in and fight for this. The largest prison strikes in history precluded the battle against the Security Housing Units in California, and yet the battle was lost. We must put politics in command and rally the prisoners and people of Texas to put an end to torture.
Notes: 1. Wiawimawo, September 2015, Torture Continues: CDCR Settlement Screws Prisoners, Under Lock & Key No. 46.
Have you ever opened the door to a hot oven and felt dizzy and overwhelmed from the intensity of the heat hitting you in the face? That is how it feels for people incarcerated at Augusta, Nottoway, and Buckingham Correctional Centers every summer, but especially during the current heat wave sweeping the country.
But get this: prison staff at these facilities do not experience excessive heat conditions because the areas in which they work and frequent — the control booths, school areas, medical department, education department, administration offices, etc. – are all equipped with air conditioning (AC).
While the U.$. 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.
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.
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.
download PDF below
print 2-sided on cardstock
cut into 4
add $0.40 stamp (or more)
go to event or public space and ask people to sign their name, city and state
explain the Junteenth Freedom Initiative to them
hand them a flyer (above) or Under Lock & Key
ask for a donation to pay for postage & printing
drop postcards in mail box (don’t mail them all at once we want a consistent stream of cards coming in)
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:
Beto I Unit
Christina Melton Crain Unit
Estelle High Security Unit
Mountain View 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.
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
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.
Juneteenth boycott and voice demands starting 19 June 2022
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
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.
Styled Name: F Martinez, Doll, Pineapple Pictures, et al. Versus Members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, et al.
Greetings! I am the leading plaintiff in the above styled and numbered case. I filed this lawsuit on my behalf and others similarly situated prisoners in TDCJ. I also represent the interest of Doll, Pineapple and other commercial vendors.
The reasons in filing this lawsuit is to challenge the constitutionality of the rules 1(C) and IV(A)(10)(11) of the “Uniform Offenders Correspondence Rules” (BP-03.91)
Rule 1(C) which limits to receive ten photos per envelope is unreasonably and arbitrarily applied to deny catalogs, brochures, and flyers from commercial vendors. Rule IV(A)(10)(11) which totally bans “sexually explicit images” coming into the general population all in disguise of rehabilitation purposes.
On or about 17 June 2022, I filed in court a “motion for temporary restraining order and preliminary injuction.” I hope that the court grant me this motion and temporarily enjoin the defendants from enforcing these rules until the merits are decided in trial or through the summary judgement process.
Anybody interested in copies of the complaint and the “TRO” motion may request copies form the court. To request the price fees you may write to the clerk of the court at:
U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division Clerk of the Court 601 Rosenberg Street, Rm 411 Galveston, TX 77550
I, Nino G, vow to promote unity in an organized fashion to secure the rights of all inmates in the state of Georgia, and to find solutions of our daily problems of peace and identifying the real oppressors, and exercise our power through grievances and lawsuits instead of brute force or intimidation tactics.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Comrade Nino G. Leads the group Loyalty Ov3r Royalty (L$R) in a Georgia prison to build the United Front for Peace in Prisons. The UFPP is a project created in 2011 by a council of anti-imperialists in prisons faciliated by MIM(Prisons). The project is an effort to unite all those who can be united around the common interests of the U.$. prison masses. The project is a culmination of various formations of prisoners primarily lumpen organizations (aka “gangs” or “sets” or “crews”) who seek to abandon the gangster mentality for a revolutionary anti-imperialist outlook.
Revolutionary greetings to u all! We hope everyone is prepping for the upcoming action(s) of Juneteenth, and otherwise doing well. Comrade FireWater posed a question, “How can i help Tx TeamOne with a class action suit to have Our grievances heard or to get independent oversight of the grievance system?” i’ve decided to share Our answer with all of you as it may be helpful to the Tx lumpen populace at large.
In the past few months, Tx TeamOne’s founding committee has been forming working relations with a few liberal and petty bourgeois groups for progressive improvements within the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ). These groups include some elected officials, christian sympathizers, lawyers, radio personalities, and policy groups.
One such group is Tx Prison Reform (TPR), with whom one of Our founding committee members was able to conduct an extensive interview, establishing the basis of Our and the prison masses possible working relationship with this group. The interview will be published in their monthly newsletter and We hope to share it with u all as well. TPR is focused on the destruction of Restricted Housing Units (RHU), but is also collecting grievances and other forms of documentation to showcase the foul nature of TDCJ.
Many of u may be familiar with Tx CURE. If so you’ll know the Tx branch has been M.I.A. for awhile, but now has been reorganized by a recently released TDCJ ex-prisoner. This persyn was a leading figure behind the RACK II air conditioning lawsuit. Ey hasn’t established an actual mailing address but we have the help of a family law attorney who’ll send mailings to the head of Tx CURE. Right now, We’re looking for documented complaints regarding major issues in TDCJ. These grievances will be read in front of and by the Tx legislator at the next session. The persyn from Tx CURE will be persynally speaking on behalf of Tx inmates.
The issue of the grievance process is not a new one to us nor the state officials. The grievance system in Tx and in fact many prison systems around the country were the direct result of the Ruiz Litigation (Ruiz v. Johnson, 37 F. Supp. 2d 855 (S.D. Tex. 1999)), and since it was instated the same issues have been present. Accompanied with your grievances you should write an official statement which may also be read for/by the legislators and others. This statement should articulate the need for independent oversight of TDCJ grievance system, and make specific reference to Representative Jarvis Johnson’s 2019 House Bill which called for said oversight but has never been heard by the House. We want the 2019 House Bill 363 heard and approved by the Texas House of Representatives.
For those who don’t know the demographics are slowly but surely shifting. Due to national gentrification, the thriving industries in the state, and no state income tax, among other things, Texas is becoming younger, darker, richer, and slightly more progressive, particularly among youthful citizens. An essential contradiction in Tx is that of the rural vs. urban population and the culture wars, and fight for resources this intensifies. Urban populations tend to be darker, more liberal/progressive (not revolutionary though) and lean left of center on prison issues among others. Bernie Sanders’ organization “Our Revolution” has been pushing campaigns by petty bourgeois, Democratic Socialist elements around the country for the last several years and now this present election cycle they have several candidates who’re challenging the districts of the old guard Democratic Party establishment. These districts are in both rural and urban areas but mostly rural, which if successful will shift state electoral bourgeois politics for the next decade or so.
A key point of emphasis for these so-called New Left Democrats is Prison Reform. This will open organizing doors for revolutionaries within the walls and those who support us.
i share all this because elements from the New Left Democrats and some from a more moderate approach have championed and made possible a new committee to ‘Study Tx Criminal Justice Issues.’ They’re excepting documentary information from now until October on a wide range of issues covering initial interaction with police, to jail policies & conditions, Grand Jury issues, sentencing, and finally prison conditions. Below i will include their addresses along with those of the lawyer, and the groups i mentioned have been establishing working relationships with.
p.s. We’re also happy to announce the present development of a Tx TEAMONE committee in Smith Unit.
Jerney Coe Law Office/423 S. Spring Ave/ Tyler, TX 75702 Tx Prison Reform/ Box #671/ Kaukana, WI 54130 Fairchanges/2407 S. Congress Ave, Ste E-434/ Austin, TX 78704 (send reports on current conditions, at least 3 recommendations for change, deadline 7/4/2022) RealLife Ministries/ Box #328/ Forney, TX 75126 (also does RealLife Radio, write to find out where you can tune in) Dist. 141 - Senfronia Thompson/ 10527 Homestead Rd/ Houston, TX 77016 (Interim Study Committee on Criminal Justice reform ahead of legislation)
i hope this information is useful.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree with Triumphant that a shift in demographics and elected officials could create more space for prison organizing. In theory an independent review board could create space for organizing as well. However, there is no historical example of such in the United $tates. Police review boards have never been effective nor independent. How could they be? The point of the criminal injustice system is to leverage the force of the state against those that pose a threat to the bourgeoisie’s and the state’s interests. This is a bourgeois dictatorship afterall, just like the rest of the world today.
Revolutionaries should campaign on the issues. If petty bourgeois reformers are willing to do the work to set up review boards and oversight and change rules, good for them. We should support them in doing so by campaigning on the issues that matter to us. As Triumphant mentioned, censorship and torture units (RHU) are among these issues. If we can campaign on these issues in ways that align with and support the bourgeois reformers that is a good thing. If revolutionaries take up the mantle of electoral politics and bourgeois reform, that is a very bad thing that leads to a never-ending cycle of oppression.
I began a Juneteenth protest in April on the 23rd. I went on hunger strike on the 28th, but broke it 2 days later to get my strength up after being threatened by Sergeant Couper.
19 May 2022 – I began a second hunger-strike for 8 days. On the 3rd day of the strike, I was taken to a dirty holding cell in receiving – with ants, no bunk, and poop caked up inside a broken toilet. I was only allowed a bible, one sheet, and one blanket. They placed the old raggy mattress on the floor where I was to sleep for the next 5 days.
No incoming or outgoing mail; no human contact; no offer of food; and no vital-signs, weight, or sugar was checked (nurses documented false reports). May 23rd, in medical, when the nurse asked why I wasn’t eating, I told them, “because it’s ‘George Floyd Day’, Get Your Knees Off Our Necks.”
26 May 2022 – I went on S.I.B. [self injury behavior watch] and was given an even worse mattress that smelled of feces. No one checked on me.
27 May 2022 – I was shipped to the Emergency Room at Central Prison. A level-one bone-marrow cancer had intensified the damage to my body. Some negotiations were made and I broke the fast. However, while I was on the IV a nurse came in at shift change and snatched the IV out of my arm and told me and my officers to get out.
One Month Earlier
April 23rd, I was attacked by Sgt Couper because I had asked for a roll of tissue (I had been asking for 24 hours). Sergeant Couper said he needed to search my room for tissues then pulled out his mace and tried to find an excuse to mace me. When I cuffed up he resorted to violence by snatching my arms all the way out the trap, then opened the door and threw me head-first into the back wall, then applied torture techniques, such as bending my fingers & choke holds, while tightening the restraints.
I was eventually taken to receiving and left on the floor with the restraints for 4 hours. I had lost feeling in my arms, wrists, and shoulders.
Sergeant Couper continues to harass and retaliate against us; intercepting grievance appeals and managing investigations for disciplinary reports that he has officers fabricate against us. But “We Reap What We Sow”. On 9 June 2022, he got served!
“Power to the People”
By the United Front “T.R.U.C.E.” of the People’s Army
T.R.U.C.E. (Teams of Revolutionaries Uniting to Combat the Enemy)
MIM(Prisons) adds: On 30 June 2022 there was a phone/email zap to Granville Correctional Institution to support the strikers and to call for an end to the physical abuse by Sergeant Couper. Staff responded by saying that Warden Roach was not in that day to take calls and that there was no physical abuse going on there. Emails to the Warden and Director of Operations were not responded to.
Your last three mailings were denied by the mail room. The Last one, received on 5/25/22 stated “Denied: one letter. Content inciting a disturbance. DRC – non appealable list (offender cannot appeal).” The next two denials arrived on the same day (6/6/22): “One newsletter and one packet. Contains content inciting a disturbance.” I did appeal these last two decisions.
Apparently, when a prisoner attempts to assert his rights, the mail room calls it “inciting a disturbance!?” These are the same racist dogs who can get away with denying me a photograph of my ten-year old nephew who was innocently posing while making some silly hand signs, calling that “gang related.” The kids are being kids and their hand signs have absolutely nothing to do with gangs! Had it been white kids posing in similar fashion, instead of calling it “gang-related,” these racist mail room employees would’ve called the photograph “cute.”
These are the same racist muthafuckers who loved it – and applauded – when that comic figure (D. Trump) was separating all the kids from their parents at the border, you know, that as long as it is not their kids who are being treated so inhumanely, they obviously do not care about our kids, right!? And what’s so fucked up is that when the white ‘lady’ who delivers the denial papers arrives to our cell, she pretends like she’s really upset that I would even want to receive these MIM publications. She practically turns her back on me as if I were being so un-American, or something!
But I have news for her, and anyone else of her ilk. I don’t want part of anysystem that snatches babies out of the arms of their mothers, or a system that allows their police forces to murder people of color with impunity, while these same fuckin’ cowards refuse to enter a school where kids are being massacred! And while the trigger-happy cowards are quick to murder unarmed civilians, none of the recent sick and deranged school shooters (or other mass murderers) have been killed by police! Why not? Because the cowardly police officers were “too scared” and chickenshit to engage the “active shooters.” Plain and simple. And each time these police officers take the stand at someone’s trial, where they will lie and perjure themselves (as they are wont to do), they will recite their “highly trained” credentials, but where are all these “highly trained” credentials when the little kids in a school are being massacred and need help?
And their “exceptional training,” without fail, goes out the window when these same police officers take the stand, not only do they (conveniently) “forget” vital details during vital parts of their trial testimony, they lie about who handled what piece of evidence, whether or not they used gloves to handle the evidence un-dated and un-sworn “supplemental reports” appear out of nowhere to “assist” these liars and “refreshen their memories” etc. And as the famous attorney Gerry Spence once remarked (an attorney who has practiced law for over 50 years), he has never been involved in a case where police did not lie or plant evidence, or engage in some other illegalities, in other words, like me, he has never met an honest cop! And like me, he’s not saying they’re not out there, I just haven’t ever met one.
MIM(Prisons) adds: Outside supporters, please join our campaign to protest censorship in Allred RHU. This censorship has ramped up in response to prisoner organizing. This is politically-motivated repression and it is illegal. You can call, write a letter, or better yet print out our postcards and get others to sign them to let them know what’s going on in Texas prisons!