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[United Front] [Grievance Process] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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How can i help get grievances heard in Texas?

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.

Other key points of emphasis are the excessive censorship and mail tampering and its socio-political nature. With the recent escape & man hunt We’ve found that censorship due to supposed security threats has picked up. MIM materials have been the target of much excessive censorship.

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.

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[Hunger Strike] [Abuse] [Campaigns] [Granville Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 78]
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George Floyd Day - Juneteenth Strike 2022

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.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Racism] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Racist Double-Standards and Censorship in the Allred RHU Mailroom

Dear MIM:

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 any system 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!

In the week following Juneteenth we have received letters from all across Texas reporting on similar censorship of our mail. We need your help combat these attacks on prisoner organizing and basic rights to communication and affiliation.

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[United Front] [Campaigns] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 78]
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Juneteenth – The Last Day of Oppression

The North Carolina United Front for Peace in Prisons (NCUFPP) is not a gang – it’s a variety of lumpen organizations united in peace in prisons. No one is over or under anyone in the NCUFPP and we respect and recognize everyone’s credentials/status.

Dear brothers and sisters,

Why do we oppress one another as we are being oppressed by the fox tactics of the divider and conqueror?

They’ve programmed many of our fore-fathers to accommodate in the destruction of our people (the oppressed nations). If we do not band together we will never win. The lone wolf may become timid, but together the pack has courage and we are strong.

Without the United Front the ocean will eventually swallow the land. Give the Man an inch and he’ll take a mile. First our recreation; then our picture-mail; batteries; and now tissues – what next? Everything else like visitation, rations, haircuts, supplies, and property – they take and give back when they feel like it.

When the “Man” (or should we say “children”) don’t get their way, they’ll throw a temper tantrum and turn to violence and criminal behavior. Well according to Huey P. Newton (and the U.$. constitution) we have the right to defend ourselves, don’t we?

We must never encourage their violence among any prisoner because it’ll encourage the man to continue their violent ways among other prisoners (comrades) and citizens of society in the outside world in our homes. If he’ll assault the other prisoner/prisoner group he’ll do it to you too. The man shouldn’t be consulted to; spoken to; nor indirectly lead to assume anything about another prisoner. And we all know that woofing in front of the police is dry-snitching.

We’ve noticed that these children are spraying/gassing comrades for knocking on the window for necessities such as tissues and then attack them and placing them on sanctions (taking their property). While there is no call buttons here for prisoners to use when they need necessities, this shit is out of order. But don’t let it get you down. Take a break; enjoy yourself; set back; and relax. Save your energy for Juneteenth. The last day of our oppression. Listen for the Juneteenth memo on the yard/seg!

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[Civil Liberties] [Political Repression] [Download and Print] [Censorship] [Campaigns] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Repression of Juneteenth Boycott Organizers has Begun

With just a month remaining before the first series of actions around the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, we have received reports of repression of activists by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ).

One of the hearts of this campaign comes out of the brutal Allred Restrictive Housing Unit(RHU) where people have spent decades in isolation. We’ve recently learned that one organizer at Allred hasn’t received half a dozen letters we’ve sent em over the last few months. Eir outgoing mail is also delayed or gone missing. This mail tampering is illegal. We wrote the warden of Allred to stop this censorship.. If he doesn’t stop it, we know this political repression is intentional from the top of the TDCJ to suppress our boycotting of Juneteenth.

We are asking others to join our letter writing and postcard campaign in support of the rights of MIM Distributors and these activists in Allred to freely communicate. The pdf below can be downloaded, printed on card stock and cut into four postcards. Then you can ask people to sign them, put a postcard stamp ($0.40) on them, and drop them in a mail box. Over the next couple months we want to show TDCJ that people outside are paying attention and supporting the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative. This is one way to do that. You can also call Warden Jimmy Smith @ (940) 855-7477 (**069).

protest Allred censorship of activists mail
Click image to download pdf and print postcards.

Stevenson Unit in Texas has also stepped up censorship related to materials about the Juneteenth boycott. The TX Team One Primer was censored for the reason:

“Page(s) 4 contains information advocating prison disruption.”

Prisoners are very limited in what they can do when their grievances are ignored. Most actions will lead to repression. A boycott is the most passive action. There are no calls to violence nor do the plans threaten security in any way. Just a peaceful demonstration of solidarity, demanding some basic humyn rights be applied in Texas prisons. Yet this is being outlawed by the state.

Even worse, in eir most recent update, one comrade in Stevenson reported that:

“last night I was placed in handcuffs and marched off to solitary confinement, the place from where I currently write. I woke this morning to find I’m being charged with 2 new rules violations: 1) Attempt/threat to assault a correctional officer and 2) Assault of a correctional officer.”

There was no assault. In fact this comrade is not even supposed to be housed on the second floor because of eir health conditions. Ey believes this is retaliation for the appeals ey filed against the censorship of literature sent by MIM Distributors. Meanwhile, MIM Distributors was not given the opportunity to appeal, and only received the final decision from TDCJ.

As our comrade in Stevenson Unit so eloquently concluded,

“They will never succeed in snuffing out my flame and their attempts to silence the truth only causes it to roar even louder! They cloak themselves in legitimacy and the trappings of power because deep down they know they are weak and the system is crumbling – to be swept aside along with all the silly liberal reformers and we build a better world over their ruins, a new society based on equality and respect and compassion and truth and justice and”love" – a human society fit for fully involved and determined human beings at peace with themselves, each other, and the world around us."

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[Civil Liberties] [Campaigns] [Legal] [Telford Unit] [Allred Unit] [Michael Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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JFI: More Join Lawsuit to End RHU Torture in Texas

Organizing is spreading around the Dillard v. Davis, et al. Civil Action No. 7:19-cv-0081-M-BP lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s use of long-term solitary confinement. Prisoners held in Allred Unit, ground zero for the Restrictive Housing Unit, and Michael Unit have filed motions to join the class action suit.

A comrade in Stevenson Unit wrote to say that there are only 12 restrictive housing cells there and they are only used very short-term. But ey is sharing the motion and other campaign materials with contacts inside and outside to support those in RHU fighting for their humyn rights.

Shutting down long-term solitary confinement is one of the key campaign demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative, calling for a boycott of Juneteenth until real freedom is attained in this country. The lawsuit points to the irreparable harm on mental health caused by long-term solitary.

Anyone who is in a Restricted Housing Unit in Texas can use the linked example motion to join this lawsuit. The motion should be sent to all three addresses listed at the end of the attached PDF. Please download and distribute to those you know in Texas torture chambers!

28 May 2022 UPDATE from Tx TEAM ONE member - Telford Unit: I have submitted my interest in becoming a co-plaintiff to all inhumane conditions in all Ad-Seg/RHU buildings, especially on this unit, and the inhumane/treatment and living conditions endured by all alleged STG prisoners. Because for almost forty (40) years, those of Us that are considered STG’s have been in these living conditions.

I have already written to the Eastern and Northern Districts, United States District Courts. And I have also written to the United States Department of Justice.

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[Hunger Strike] [Campaigns] [Granville Correctional Institution] [North Carolina] [ULK Issue 77]
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North Carolina United Front for Peace Juneteenth Action Support

SIB Short Staff

There’s been a shortage of staff on super-max. One reason being too many prisoners are in S.I.B. (self injury behavior) watch and must be monitored. Once observation and receiving cells are filled to capacity then guards must (individually) sit outside the housing cells of any other prisoner on S.I.B.

Phone Zap

From experience in what may have been S. White’s 1st successful protest in 2019 Oct, outside support via phone zap was effective. All morning this tied up the prison’s phone line until the prison took the phone off the hook. The outside supporters then phone zapped Raleigh. So Raleigh called the prison asking why the phones were off the hook.

There was 9 to 16 comrades in the prison on hunger strike and multiple people on S.I.B. By lunch 5 comrades were called by Captain Henderson to receiving and asked what they wanted. All of us already had grievances being processed about other things. S. White also sent copies of an anonymous missive to the administration with the policies that were being breached.

Juneteenth

For the memorial celebration of the Juneteenth we are participating in the traditional fast (meal refusal) for breakfast and lunch; and 10-20 S.I.B.s.

At North Carolina’s HCAU we want phone calls (iPad), TV news (iPad), spider-free outside recreation cages built large enough for more than one person, more food, real hygiene, heater fixed for winter, sally-port swept and mopped at least once a month, lights off in the day time, and case workers and fee recommendations for release from HCON on or after the second 6 month term (infraction free). Feel free to add to the list (every grievance will differ reflecting the demands of each comrade).

We’ll like to have outside support phone zap at this institution. Write MIM to stay updated. We do not expect any assistance from any boot-licking reactionaries satisfied with the man and any conditions of solitary confinement. Shall your days be numbered.

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[Censorship] [Campaigns] [Gender] [Terrell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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BP-3.91 Says No Girlfriend Pix, But Sexualization of Trans Prisoners OK

17 January 2022 – I am contacting you to update you on the BP-3.91 sexually explicit photos etc.

Here on the C.T. Terrell Unit (AKA Ramsey 3) several prisoners just recently received photos in the mail – bikini shots. However, several people have had theirs confiscated by correctional officers. Not many people got rid of theirs. This new law really sucked to say the least. Two lawsuits have been filed by offenders here on this level I. I have read it too.

Here’s the thing, TDCJ currently pays for hormone treatment injections for gender dysphoric offenders. We still shower 50 or more deep in the shower. Transgender prisoners are allowed their breasts, tight pants, etc. However, we are told we can’t receive photos of our own girlfriends wearing thongs. What kind of sense does this make?

Placing restrictions on prisoners’ mail, photos, newspapers, magazines, is a significant interference with prisoners’ rights. This is a blunt response to a problem that is much more nuanced than K2, cellphones, etc. Common sense should dictate that the TDCJ should focus on the bigger problem that they are creating introduction of contraband through the front door.


MIM(Prisons) responds: We agree that BP-3.91 is a blunt tool, and like mail policies across the country, it is being used arbitrarily and to censor political materials and much-needed social interaction with friends and family on the outside. Our line is that we are against porn being used as an opiate of the prison masses; tactics-wise we’re against TDCJ (and bourgeois prisons in general) exploiting the reformist demands of friends/families of prisoners to further censorship and control what gets into the hands of prisoners.

A point this prisoner brings up is the fact that transgender wimmin are allowed to wear tight clothes and even shower with the men in the men’s prisons, despite the reason for this new censorship rule being to take away sources of arousal. The same argument has been made regarding female staff and how they dress and by the comrade who posed some strategic guidance for next steps in this campaign. The point is, that the TDCJ’s stated goal is asinine and unachievable. As another comrade points out, there seem to be some assumptions about only female bodies being able to sexually arouse.

Maoists understand that eliminating rape in our society doesn’t start with the individual: the material conditions that give rise to rape in the first place must first be gotten rid of and then the chance for a mass campaign against anti-people sex crimes will be possible. While individuals will certainly reform under patriarchy, the problem will continue until patriarchy is overthrown.

The TDCJ and the state of Texas claims that this law is promoted to give an environment for sex offenders to rehabilitate, yet they fully know that the rape culture of Amerikan prisons won’t disappear. We see that in this case the role of the TDCJ and the state of Texas is to govern the said material conditions for rape with security for the bourgeois dictatorship as priority; and that there will be no rehabilitation of anti-people sex offenders but more risk and danger for the already vulnerable group of transgender prisoners and LGBTQ+ prisoner in general. For this contradiction among the masses, we tell our prisoner comrades to build unity and solidarity with LGBTQ+ prisoners and promote independent power against the bourgeois state’s arbitrary use of reformist demands from the outside as a tool of censorship.

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[Grievance Process] [Campaigns] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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TDCJ Upholds Censorship of their own Grievance Manual

For many years, MIM Distributors has been providing legal resources to prisoners in Texas, including the Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ)’s own Grievance Operations Manual. In 2010, USW launched the grievance campaign in Texas, developing petitions to notify regulatory bodies when the TDCJ was violating its own grievance process. Four years later a comrade reported that on 30 September 2014 the TDCJ removed the Grievance Operations Manual, which lays out the TDCJ’s relevant code and policies, from all prison libraries(1) where it used to be available for prisoners to reference. Soon after, MIM Distributors began offering this document to comrades who were trying to fight grievances they had against the TDCJ.

In May 2019, we received a report from a comrade that the copy of the Grievance Operations Manual we sent em had been confiscated by a Correctional Officer(C.O.) in the law library!(2)

Turns out, they have continued to step things up a notch to keep this public information out of the hands of prisoners. On 12 January 2022, MIM Distributors was notified by the staff that the TDCJ Grievance Operation Manual was censored at McConnell Unit on 10 December 2021 for the following reason:

“in contradiction with BP-03.91, Uniform Offender Correspondence Rules”

That was all the detail given. And we have not determined any portion of BP-03.91 that could possibly be applied to TDCJ’s own public policies. These types of cases should be easy wins for us. Unfortunately, we do not have the support we used to have to deal with prison administrators and hold them accountable. Outside supporters, get in touch to help us rebuild our capacity to fight these blatant injustices. Comrades inside that are falling victim to this repression, keep filing paperwork and provide us with all the info you can on what is going on.

notes: 1. A Texas Prisoner, November 2014, Texas Hides Grievance Manual from Prisoners, Under Lock & Key 42.
2. A Texas Prisoner, May 2019, Texas Confiscating Offender’s Grievance Operations Manual.

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