A report from South Texas: In the wake of another mass shooting in nearby Uvalde, the pigs and their masters are engaging in the usual finger-pointing and recrimination but one thing is clear: the cops are cowards who are quick to shoot unarmed people, but become conveniently “policy-orientated” when they are faced with a disturbed young man wielding an AR-15 assault rifle slaughtering defenseless children.
I’m not really in the habit of blaming the consumers of this toxic system called “democracy”, but these poor children were already the “walking dead” after only a few years in the classroom. The lame-ass governor and the fascist Ted Cruz and their clique call it a “massive system failure”, but those who have been paying attention will immediately see the system works exactly as it was designed to operate: the state of Texas is the NRA torchbearer but ranks dead last in mental health treatment. In fact, the single biggest mental health care facility in the state is Harris County Jail.
Those who are waiting for a legislative solution better stop dreaming and open your eyes to the reality nobody is going to save us or free us unless we liberate ourselves and that can only happen if we organize and think and act strategically with our comrades and fellow travelers. It all begins with educating ourselves and arming ourselves with the necessary facts and tools to accomplish our goals and make the world a better place.
Here in Texas among the prison class it’s a real challenge to create solidarity as the cell blocks are constantly flooded with mind-numbing substances along with the disputes and rivalries and materialism that comes along with it. I’ve made very little progress in my effort to “kill the ‘bossman’ in your head” – not actual physical violence, but to actually banish the word “boss man” from our vocabulary when addressing these pigs.
I’m attempting to show the direct line from slave plantations through “convict leasing program” all the way to the modern system of mass incarceration, and how the term “boss man” helps keep us linguistically and psychologically in bondage. So we need to banish the term, thought, idea of “boss man” from our hearts and minds if we ever want to be free.
So my Juneteenth Freedom Initiative direct action is only days away and I will be peacefully protesting the lie that "slavery was abolished when in fact it’s alive and well in forced prison labor programs all over the United Snakes of America. As you can see from the enclosed denial forms, almost all your subsequent mailings have been denied. I am appealing the censorship and will keep you posted. At this point I am largely in the dark with regards to progress in other facilities, but I ask your assistance in helping me to challenge this censorship. In the meantime, I await further info/instructions.
PS: It is increasingly clear to me that so-called “Aryan” white supremacist groups are expanding and enjoying cover from prison officials. We need to focus on this and build Brown and Black alliance/solidarity along with white fellow travelers (very few of them), but I’m sure they are around. But my point is, these Aryan reactionaries are tools of the state and should be viewed as such. Recent headlines about “Right-Wing Domestic Terror Threat” are propaganda designed to increase even more police/surveillance state apparatus that will be used to control us, not them. That’s how they justify this shit with headlines to “combat neo-nazi terrorists” when in fact the plan all along is to keep their foot on our necks.
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!
The Florida mailroom staff who seized the pamphlet checked two reasons for impounding it:
“(15)(i)is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, rebellion, organized prison protest, disruption of the institution, or the violation of the federal law, state law or Department Rules”
“(15)(p)otherwise presents a threat to the security, order, or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or the safety of any person.”
Since the pamphlet is actively preventing harm to the safety of any person and actively training people to stop breaking the law or engaging in destructive behavior, we must wonder what are the “rehabilitative objectives” of the Florida Department of Corrections.
MIM(Prisons) appealed this.
Texas on the other hand did not give MIM(Prisons) the opportunity to appeal, as required by Federal law, and only notified us of the censorship after the review committee’s final decision, which, like Florida, cited the “Entire publication contain security concerns.”
The reason they cited:
“Publication contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve a breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots or security threat group activity.”
It’s also no secret that the oppressor prefers us to be drunk and high, rather than thinking clearly and doing good for ourselves and our people.
Prisoners can help by getting our Censorship Guide and appealing any censorship as the comrade in Texas did. People on the outside can help by volunteering to help us appeal and hold these state agencies accountable. Legal expertise with these issues is also something you can contribute.
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).
“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."
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.
Dear Comrades, I have read updates, in the ULK winter 2021, No. 75, and feel the need to clarify things. The nomenclature used in BP-03.91, and the definitions provided within it, are being bent and ambiguously used by both prisoner and TDCJ staff alike. The policy itself is so ambiguous, one would have to guess at how to uniformally enforce it.
The only difference made in the new policy is how ‘sexually explicit’ is defined. I am enclosing a verbatim copy of BP 03.91 as it is currently worded on this date. I witnessed an arbitrary enforcement of this policy on the Michael Unit and have even heard improper incorrect references, by mail staff on the Coffield Unit of what was ‘sexually explicit’. This shows me that even TDCJ staff are ill-informed about what the policy is and its purpose. I had written the Texas Board of Criminal Justice a few months back and they referred my letter to the, now in-house, Ombudsman office. I would encourage all ‘brothers in white’ to familiarize themselves with the policy by reading it themselves in the unit Law Library. (as well as reading ALL of the policies that are currently in place. Simply request the ‘Index of current TDJC policies’).
The injunctions that I have knowledge of, filed against the BP-03.91, argued on the ambiguous nature and verbage of the policy. Images that cause ‘sexual arousal’ are inherently broad. (Hell, I had caught a girlfriend of mine, masturbating to Metalacolypse!)
While arguing the ambiguity of the policy is one undeniable argument, I suggested to a team of litigants to also attack the apparent objective of the policy. To curb anything that ‘sexually arouses’, well, anyone! Banning officers from ‘outrageous’ or ‘extreme’ hairdos, make-up, jewelry, etc. tight pants, or even suggesting that female officers not work in male prisons (no male officers in the female prisons) but even then you would not be able to curb even same sex arousal. It is in applying this argument that we see just how illogical it is to curb ‘sexual arousal’. Exacerbating the ridiculousness of the argument will force them to define and refine the definition of the policy and there is no way that you would be able to legally define ‘cleavage’ as censorable under the First Amendment.
While these are my own thoughts and opinions, I do hope to help as many comrades in their legal efforts. This isn’t something that a phone call will fix but we can change things with well-thought-out litigation. It takes time, but most of us have nothing but time. Intellectuals fight with their words. Learn to use them and wield them with effective effort.
At the current moment i am not involved in any active litigation as my time and energy is currently invested in criminal matters, however, I try to keep up with what is going on to know our environment. I want to thank ALL of you who keep us connected through organization, correspondence, etc. Without you we would most likely be more lost to the cause than anyone could imagine. The support you provide is priceless.
Nothing worth fighting for is ever easily won. Policies are a fraction of the fight. Laws are another. But the biggest fight we face is ignorance. Our own and of the population. This is readily apparent in the policies and laws we find ourselves fighting against. It is a reason for the mission of MIM.
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.
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.
Peace and Blessings to the Revolutionary Souljahs Around the Globe. I’m writing you because the Missouri Department of Corruption has found a way to censor “Prison Legal News and Criminal Legal News”. I believe that it’s retaliation for my activism. However, I’m not the only one that had their issues taken by Deputy Division Director Jason Lewis and Ryan Crews. Maybe they want us reading Dr.Seuss and Mickey Mouse!
Anyway, the Struggle continues and the Damus are mobilizing here at Potosi Correctional Center for the “Greater Good of the Multitude”, We are cleaning our own house so that we can put things into perspective and form some type of “solidarity” with the other Lumpen here in misery! Things must change for the Black, Brown, and Red! We have been getting slaughtered all over the globe and all we do is “march” chanting “Black Lives Matter”. If Black Lives Matter, then “why are we still marching?”. I do understand that there is a time for war and for the “fight to end oppression”, but how much longer must we sit by and allow the enemy to oppress us? We are many and must unite to combat the deaths of our Brothers, Sisters, Uncles, Aunties, Cousins, Husbands, and Wives!
I am the plaintiff in the lawsuit against members of the TBCJ and TDCJ, (#3:21-CV-00337), filed in December 3, 2021.
I also represent the interests of ‘doll’ and ‘pineapple pictures.’ Since the strong opposition to enforce the BP-03.91 rules it seems that the TDCJ is no longer enforcing rules 1(C) and IV(A) (10) (11) of the BP-03.91. At least not in this unit.
However, I will not withdraw the lawsuit until I get the relief I requested in my lawsuit: “declare that rules of the BP-03.91 violates inmates and outside commercial vendors’ Constitutional rights of the First Amendment and enjoin defendants from enforcing the rules.”
Fellow prisoners who would like to support the lawsuit need to write to the court:
Cause # 3:21-CV-00337 Styled: F Martinez, Et Al., VS. The members of the TBCJ, ET.AL. United States District Court Southern District of Texas Galveston Division Clerk of the Court 601 Rosenberg street, Room 411 Galveston, Texas 77550.
Although prisoners can not write me directly to provide me with a copy of the letter, I would like to know who has done it. Please send a copy to MIM(Prisons) and let them know if you grant them permission to forward me your name and TDCJ # or not.
i am taking the time to write this because i would like the readership to know the truth about what’s been going on recently at the TDCJ Allred unit in regards to COVID-19 and targeted repression of socio-political leaders.
Many of you reading this are already aware of the spike in COVID infections related to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Here at Allred, particularly in the restrictive housing unit, which houses some six hundred plus people in conditions internationally recognized as inhumane, there has been a dangerous and life threatening pattern of administrative negligence in regards to the effort (lack thereof) to quell the spread of this aggressive virus.
Back in August of 2021, captive persyns held on the Allred RHU and other units held a hunger-strike protest. One of the issues raised and forwarded to unit, regional, and state level administrators was, ‘#10- follow all CDC COVID-19 protocols’. Even after people have literally starved themselves, the unit administration still has refused, and neglected to implement, and re-implement basic CDC COVID guidelines.
On January 6th, Comrade Ozomatli, co-founder, and key figure of the TX TeamOne organization, was strategically targeted for harassment, by way of an unlawful search and seizure, and purposely exposed to COVID-19. On the above date Ozomatli was taken from his cell and placed in a holding cage in the building’s main hallway for five hours!
i am not too good with math and measurements, but i know the cage in question is absolutely too small to place a full grown human in for that amount of time. There is no where to relieve ones self, not anywhere to comfort ones self. Regardless, Ozomatli remained in this holding cage while a multitude of agents of repression searched his usual abode. i raise the question, what possibly could they be looking for, and not find if it were there, in such a small space, for such an extended period of time?
To even begin to analyze this question We must first point out that the incident on January 6th was the second such incident targeting this same comrade in the last few months. Previously the only thing confiscated were the comrade’s contact information written down on various papers and inside books. On January 6th, the comrade’s entire cache of persynal property was confiscated, and he would remain property-less for a week.
During this ordeal, Ozomatli was placed in danger, recklessly, of catching COVID-19. Agents of repression who escorted him from and returned him to his cell weren’t following proper COVID guidelines. Afterwards, in the matter of days, a new COVID outbreak ensued on the RHU building, and unsurprisingly the outbreak has been largely centered on the pod which Ozomatli inhabits. When other prisoners on other pods show symptoms they’re re-housed on the same pod as Ozomatli. Furthermore, prisoners are being constantly moved around, leaving and being brought to the unit and thus constantly exposing more and spreading more and more COVID. Daily so-called ‘integrity checks’ are still in operation, along with unnecessary cell extractions, and are also inducing the spread of COVID.
Administrators are refusing to test or even symptom check prisoners, as was done in the mid 2020 days of the pandemic. There’s this untrue belief that the pandemic is over, despite the fact that less than 70% of people (prisoners & guards combined) are vaccinated. An untold number of prisoners have mass filed grievances, but of course appealing to the same source of Our predicament has rendered little to no results.
i would be remiss if i didn’t acknowledge the underlying political undertones of Ozomatli’s being harassed, and also pinpoint other similar patterns adhered to by the unit administration sometimes at the behest of the state level agents of repression.
Ozomatli, as i have said, is a leader with the Texas TeamOne Organization. TeamOne is an organization of politicized prisoners dedicated to politicizing prisoners and consolidating those in TX into a class that can actively struggle for its interests, as well as, and more importantly, reinsert people into the larger society as assets to communities which are all too often neglected in the realms of social, political and economic development.
Ozomatli is an abolitionist, a Chican@, and a leader that leads by example. Thus it goes without saying that Ozomatli’s very existence as a Chican@ revolutionary imprisoned in tekkk$a$‘s gulags, is seen as a threat to the enemy-state and the prison administration, and this is the underlying politics of his harassment. Ozomatli has recently been working with other comrades and formations, independent of his work with TeamOne, in mobilizing a Texas prisoners’ political action committee, it is during the time span of this work in that sphere that the administration has targeted him.
The clearly politically motivated repression tactics, in a supposedly ‘free’ country, do not stop there. i myself have been a constant target for similar tactics of intimidation, and retaliation. i have been ‘sentenced’ essentially to LIFE in TDCJ’s RHU. This repression came on the immediate back of Our collective hunger-strike effort in August (thru September 9th). i was seen in absentia by the State Classification Committee four days later. i was denied release to general population, after having been without any disciplinary incident in over four years time. The reasons given for this miscarriage of justice was that i am staff assaultive, and prone to possess weapons, and the main one, written in large bold letters, was the fact that i am currently serving an unjust sentence of Life Without Parole. The third reason was provided as the main reason for my denial of release. The catch is that i can not, on my own accord, alter my sentence therefore this decision summarily acts to confine me in isolation for the remainder of my sentence (life).
Of course the timing and the fact that these issues have never been previously brought up at these hearings, testifies to the fact that the decision is a retaliatory measure being used to quell the momentum being built up among the captives here and around the state. IT WILL NOT WORK!
Other measures of retaliation such as illegal mail tampering/disappearance are common place. Outgoing letters of even a neutral nature take up to two months to even leave the unit, and incoming mail, including books and other packages have the same waiting time. The former mailroom supervisor was made to resign for ‘undisclosed reasons’, yet mailroom negligence, and deliberate tampering continues even under the watchful eyes of one, Major Murdock, whose been made to keep eyes on mailroom staff.
By no means is this all the repressive tactics utilized by administrators, nor is it only TeamOne affiliates, or political prisoners. For the sake of time however We will hold these slights as a small example. it is important i say that none of this is meant to discourage activism and justified rebellion. In fact the contrary is the intent. i assert here that if more of the captive populace took liberatory ideals and practices more seriously We could actually begin to pose a threat, not only to the prison institution, but the established order as We know it. As George said:
“If we can reach each other through all of this, fences, fear, concrete, steel, barbed wire, guns, the hystory will commend us for a great victory won…” - Soledad Brother
As a sign of solidarity, We call on the public to report the administrative negligence surrounding Allred’s handling of COVID-19 to the following; (prisoners should write complaints regarding their own units):
Dept. of Health & Human Services, region6, regional director Marjorie McColl Petty 1301 Young St. ste#1124 Dallas, Tx 75202 or call 214-767-3301
Also, outside supporters should be sure to make a report to the following:
David Blackwell, regional director-region 5 @ 806-296-4500(ext 400)