The Voice of the Anti-Imperialist Movement from

Under Lock & Key

Got a keyboard? Help type articles, letters and study group discussions from prisoners. help out
[Revolutionary History] [Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Security] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

A Message to the Movement

In the forthcoming piece We would like to point out the particular inter-connectedness of many of the enemy-states’ recent counter-offensive to Our collective progress. When We speak to ‘progress,’ we’re speaking to the strategic goal of establishing a national prison movement - a revolutionary oriented prison movement. A national revolutionary prison movement that is intrinsically connected with a national revolutionary oriented united front on the outside. In this piece We’ll attempt to illuminate to the reader that recent and present ‘security’ and censorship methods enacted by the enemy-state are indeed counter-offensives and are intrinsically inter-connected both outside and inside.

Any conscious observer will readily concede that in recent years, particularly within the prisons across the empire there has been an increase in censorship tactics. In some cases these methods border on extreme.

For all intents and purposes We can understand that the current prison movement took its first primitive steps forward towards nationalization with the hystoric hunger strikes organized in California from 2011-2013. The underlying blueprint for these actions, the Agreement to End Hostilities, showcased the way forward for many around the empire. Furthermore, and what’s harder to measure, is the amount of inspiration that those actions initiated.

We have a small window into this reality, as it has been recorded that prison officials in other states, by the advent of the third and final strike, began pleading with CDCR to settle the issues the comrades in Califas raised, as they had began dealing with similar unrest in their state’s prisons.

Here it may be necessary to pinpoint that the prison movement as We know it today didn’t begin in 2011. Rather there have been other organizations that have connected the functions of prison to the human rights movement. A notable organization is the Human Rights Coalition led by elder BLA and BPP veteran political prisoner/prisoner of war Russel Maroon Shoatz. [Rest in Power, Shoatz died on 17 December 2021, at age 78, less than 2 months after eir release from prison with cancer.] However, beginning with the Califas hunger strikes there was a substantial qualitative leap forward in both participation and interest, inside and outside countrywide.

Moving forward towards the 2016 National Prison strike; the collective action, along with its subsequent 2018 sequel, did wonders in nationalizing the Prison Human rights movement gaining corporate media attention and subsequently grasping the attention of previously uninterested parties. Some of these parties were prison officials, C.O. unions, police unions, and others intrinsically woven into the criminal injustice apparatus. Others were concerned persyns: a new generation of abolitionists began to spring up, usually deriving from the college campus sector. The spokesperson of the national prison strikes, Sis. Amani Sawari, along with imprisoned activists within key organizations like Jailhouse Lawyers Speaks, Free Alabama Movement, and many in Califas helped bring the key “Ten Demands” of the National Prison strike to the mainstream as these issues began to be debated among presidential candidates throughout 2019 and 2020.

Before We move on it is important to pinpoint here that the Prison Human Rights Movement, has had and continues to have much stratification within its ranks. The first and major stratification point derives from differences in political line surrounding the role of the movement.

Similar to the days of the Civil Rights movement, when the question of ‘non-violence’ was seen by some as a philosophical or theological commitment, while for others it was simply a tactic, one to be discarded if/when it proved un-useful. The current prison movement has many of the same components. While there are many more revolutionary oriented groups/persyns who see the success of the prison movement with the advent of voting rights, or other prison reforms. Instead many of these groups agree that prisons can not be reformed, as it is an intrinsic part of the state apparatus. These groups agree that revolutionary consciousness and commitment are the most meaningful things that can come of the prison movement.

Simultaneously, in recent years there has been an upsurge in radical activity on the outside. Much like in the prison movement there are many youthful combatants, and much decentralized activities. The fact that these movements have risen parallel among each other should not be considered a coincidence, nor should the corresponding and parallel counter-offensives be seen as unrelated coincidences.

As BlackLivesMatter and abolitionist praxis protests arose around the country, particularly in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, reactionary lawmakers (persuaded by reactionary constituents) began implementing new repressive laws to quell protest. Federal lawmakers, led by the Trump-Pence duo led the way and most states followed suit. Such laws, or rather counter-offensives, included making the blocking of traffic, as had been done repeatedly in recent years, a first degree felony. In states like Tekkk$a$ that means that such protests would be punishable with sentences of 5-99 years!

Also, in a move to revamp Black Liberation era counter-offensives, federal legislators (followed by various states) felonized crossing state boundaries to partake in protests. Some students of the movement may recall that this measure was first enacted against Imam Jamil Al-Amin, the former H. Rap Brown of SNNC, BPP, and RNA at the apex of the Black Liberation struggle.

These are only a few key examples of the criminalization of radical dissent as it pertains to those on the outside. However, C.O. unions, DOC headquarters, and various reactionaries began their countervailing efforts on radical and revolutionary forces on the inside first.

In the almost immediate aftermath of the 2016 National Prison Strike, DOC’s around the empire all began complaining of the same issue: an illusionary influx of drugs coming through the mail. Reading from the limited research materials i have in my cell, it seems that the counter-offensive attacking prisoner mail under the pretext of a major drug influx began in 2017, and the first states to initiate this offensives were Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida. States like Tekkk$a$, initiated a different sort of attack on prisoner correspondence by severely limiting indigent mail in 2015. However, relating to the “influx of drugs” ruse, many other states have since followed suit. Another related component to the attack on prisoner mail is the wide spread switchover to digitized mail services. States have begun denying all physical snail mail and mail that have implemented this repressive tactic have also by and large prevented prisoners from receiving books from “unauthorized” vendors, basically mandating that reading material be sent from a sole approved vendor.

All these measures described above are ‘on trend’ among the various states around the empire, meaning these measures are likely to be making their way to a prison near you. What We’re experiencing now is a proving ground for the state, in which they’ve been observing to see which countervailing measures will stir the masses the most, which ones will survive the initial jailhouse lawyer onslaughts.

Again, it must be understood that the major drug influx cited by (all) these state DOC’s is illusionary. That isn’t to say drugs aren’t in prison, but they’re flowing in the same frequency as prior to 2016 (national prison strike). So why now? Why suddenly the state-to-state focused attack on prisoner correspondence, and the digitizing of mail, only after 2016? The answer points to a New-COINTELPRO type program (NCTP). Part and parcel with this NCTP is the widespread, coordinated countervailing attacks against progressive and revolutionary prisoners. From Califas, Oregon, Nevada to New Mexico, Indiana to Pennsylvania; from Virginia to North Carolina, South Carolina to Florida, Alabama to Tekkk$a$, dissident prisoners are under attack. These attacks range from down right malicious assaults to poisoning of food/water supplies, from permanent solitary placement to the systemic silencing of these militants. In places like TDCJ’s Allred Unit, which Texas uses to isolate and torture political prisoners and captive journalists. They’ve employed a specialized individual, ex-military/ex-cop, to survey ‘specific inmates’ mail and book deliveries. Is it clear yet?

As the 2020 summer uprisings raged on into the late fall in some areas of the empire the Trump-Pence regime had already began laying the foundation to begin the mass warehousing of political dissidents on the outside utilizing some of the new laws mentioned above. As these protests raged on, political radicals have filled up prisons and jails around the empire. Do you all understand what this could mean for the prison movement?

The last time in movement hystory that We experienced a mass influx of militants and revolutionaries entering the prisons was during the Black Liberation era (late 1960’s into the 1970’s). Atiba Shanna, and the New Afrikan Prisoner’s Organization did a superb job illustrating the effect political prisoners entering the prisons in mass had on the already bubbling prison movement:

“As a result of the repression exercised upon the struggle taking place outside the walls in the late sixties and early seventies, leaders and activists in these struggles were captured and imprisoned. These were the political prisoners and prisoners of war. Their initial imprisonment was a result of consciously motivated political actions.

“The escalation of struggle outside the walls also resulted in a significant increase in the number of politicized prisoners already inside the walls… We can admit that the economic and socio-psychological ties that these politicized prisoners had with the oppressive system were such that they represent the most conscious element among us - the most conscious, that is, of the presently waging undeclared war between themselves and those who rule. Thus, they are the most receptive and responsive to the need to become ‘the people in uniform.’ BUT, their politicization resulted primarily from their being members of oppressed nations!” (1)

The people who are responsible for holding people in cages, and keeping us in cages, are acutely aware of the possible and very likely culture shock that is to overtake U.$. prisons that experience an influx of political radicals. Never forget that in the time frame mentioned above by Comrade Atiba, that the activities of the BLA and other similar formations eventually led to the U.$. moving to build more newer, more ‘secure,’ and high tech prisons designed to keep Our political prisoners and prisoners of war within them, and to prevent anymore political prisoners of war from arising from among the captive populace.

Therefore i concur that We’re currently experiencing such countervailing efforts by the enemy-state so that they may monitor captive militants, their networks and families (with the design to turn them into captive militants themselves) and prevent the rise of a more militant, more ideologically consolidated, more revolutionary national prison movement that is intrinsically inter-woven with a more militant, ideologically consolidated, more revolutionary outside united front.

By this point We hope it is clear that just as the prison movement and the movement on the other side of the walls have a dialectical relationship; the enemies on both sides of the wall also have a dialectical relationship, they also work together to the detriment of Our progress. As more revolutionary oriented comrades advance the national prison movement forward, repression will increase in intensity. We must begin to operate in a way that one’s struggles become all Our struggle. If comrades in one state are being overly repressed We must band together in multiple states, letting the pig power structure know “WE SEE YOU AND WE WON’T STAND FOR IT: 1LOVE 1STRUGGLE!” We must reach such a level of organization and operation, and We are on the cusp of it NOW. I encourage progressive and revolutionary captives to begin dialoging, corresponding, with each other. Seek out the means to do so. We must keep each other abreast to the local happenings from unit to unit, state to state. Comrades that is why publications like Under Lock & Key, San Francisco Bay View, and others are so important. However, We aren’t utilizing these platforms to their greatest extent if We aren’t constantly sending in reports, articles, informing other comrades on what’s happening. And We must also begin to support these institutions more effectively as a whole. I challenge all ULK subscribers to raise at least 10 stamps to mail to MIM(Prisons)! Which state can raise the most funds? TX where ya’ll at!? Those 10 stamps can go a long way towards prisoner organizing and educational efforts.

RE-BUILD TO WIN

1. Notes from a New Afrikan P.O.W. journal #1 by Atiba Shanna

chain
[Gender] [Censorship] [Drugs] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Gov. Abbot Pledges to Eliminate Rapists while Porn is Forced on TX Prisoners

While Governor Abbot has enacted a full on assault on women’s rights here in Texas, I heard him defend his decision to not even allow young rape victims to have an abortion. His reasoning was that he has plans to end rape in the great state of Texas (and I have plans to win the powerball lottery). This is almost as good news as was President Nixon announcing that he was, “Not a Crook”, or George H.W. Bush promising, “No new taxes.” But what would you expect from a guy who cannot manage to keep the electric on in a state that makes its fortunes in the energy business?

So it should surprise no one to know that Gov. Abbot’s Texas Department of Criminal Justice(TDCJ) has enacted extremely stringent mail room policies (BP-3.91), which has prisoners and their family members up in arms! (see: Texas Censorship Rule (BP-3.91) Being Revised, Under Lock & Key No. 75) These restrictive policies were put in place because family members of sex offenders complained that their loved ones were not able to get the rehabilitation that they need while in prison because of all the drugs and photos of women in their underwear that all of the other prisoners possess. What does TDCJ do? They pass a rule that not only prevents sexually explicit photos from entering this prison it also does not allow any crayon, marker, colored paper, or greeting cards and many books and magazines are denied.

I myself had my Men’s Health and National Geographic magazines denied for “sexually explicit content,” and just today I was denied the opportunity to even read a letter from my aging, almost 80-year-old mother because it was written on colored paper. I was also recently denied a drawing, from a church member’s son for the same exact reason and he is only 7.

TDCJ thinks they can stop drugs and sexually explicit content from entering into prisons by trampling all over the First Amendment, but the sad fact of the matter is that outlawing and strict policing laws cannot and will not ever stop people from doing what they want to do. It hasn’t worked with the drug nor anti-sodomy laws and it darn sure won’t work inside of TDCJ while they have low-paid, over-worked, understaffed employees looking to make a buck.

Well, Governor, if you’re not too busy stalking abortion clinics or sifting through citizen’s personal mail, you might want to check out what all of those locked up sex offenders and gang bangers are doing here. Since you don’t feel it profitable to sufficiently staff your prisons so that prisoners have healthy activities like outside rec and mental health support groups to engage their minds, you leave them to lounge around in their rubber sandals all day, soaking up the wonderful air conditioning, selling their psych meds, smoking K2, tobacco and meth and snorting and overdosing on oxycontin, suboxone, percocet and alcohol while they eat cheese puffs and have guards scroll through the seemingly endless selection of partial and full nudity labeled shows on the On-demand cable TVs.

The really tough thing for Gov. Abbot and the unit Wardens is that it is against the rules for prisoners to operate or even touch the remote controls. So either their officers are not following the rules or they themselves are choosing to force this kind of programming on a captive audience. This is exactly why they don’t allow prayers to be read over school intercoms any more, because you cannot avoid hearing it even if you want to and believe me, there are some things you just cannot un-see or un-hear.

Here there is no escaping second-hand smoke, nor the scorn of porn, no matter how many mothers’ letters the mail room denies.


Wiawimawo of MIM(Prisons) adds: We’ve been pointing out the false logic in recent waves of censorship and digitizing of mail across this country, with evidence that drugs in prisons have not been reduced, which was the stated aim of these policies.(1) Now with BP-3.91 aiming to eliminate material that might prevent sex offenders from recovering we find out that the policy is used to censor educational material, holiday cards and letters from children while prisoners are watching porn on TV all day whether they want to be or not.

We like the connection this comrade makes to Abbot’s great plan to ban abortion and eliminate rapists. Below we print another story about gender and rape in prisons from a comrade who has been studying MIM’s writings on gender. This adds to the critique of Abbot by pointing out how all sex is rape under patriarchy, as well as pointing to the intimate relation between porn and profits that prevent rape from being eliminated under capitalism. The tying of pleasure and power to motivate the consumer class to keep capital circulating in the economy is so important to the bourgeoisie that rape has become an unavoidable feature of capitalism.


A California prisoner writes: After reading the MC5 paper Clarity on what gender is, I was a bit confused about MacKinnon’s line that all sex is rape. It took me a few days to comprehend what she was trying to say. First if something does not make sense, check your premise.

Her statement didn’t add up because my premise was that she was making a statement, when in reality her line is a metaphor of patriarchy (oppressive culture where men dominate). I recall feminists using a similar line in South America, “You are the rapist.” And I believe this is what MacKinnon was trying to say. This is a metaphor of the dominance of men in gender oppression.

It really became clear for me at “pill call.” I was waiting in line for my pills and on the other side of the fence some other prisoners were waiting in line for pills. One group was nuts to butts and a second the same. Both groups were standing 6 feet away from a sex offender as if he had some sort of contagious leprosy.

It is at this point a nurse walks by and the first group starts murmuring obscene comments amongst each other about her body. The second group started panting like a bunch of wild dogs and talking among themselves about the girl’s body. Meanwhile the isolated sex offender said nothing.

Everyone in line had something disgusting to say about the nurse except for the one man that everyone else is pretending to be better than. There is no doubt in my mind that every single one of those disgusting animals would be a rapist if it was just them and her in a room alone, thus giving merit to the feminist line “you are the rapist” and clarifying MacKinnon’s line “all sex is rape.”

Those men that so quickly became something less at the mere sight of a female are taught by an endless barrage of television commercials exploiting a woman’s beauty, that women are objects. Every time anyone wants to sell something in this capitalist culture the object is next to a beautiful woman, thus the object for sale is automatically associated with a woman as an object, similar to hypnotism.

Some of the men were probably only acting like wild animals just to fit in because they think that objectifying the woman is what is expected of them. However, that is somehow worse than the one who really is only seeing an object, because a mindless animal who can’t think for himself is always worse than a self-thinking man of reason.

From a woman’s perspective she truly must feel oppressed living in a world where all men act like disgusting animals. Truly she must feel like “all sex is rape” because all men act like rapists. As a reaction, women are past the point of tolerance and a lot of men are now doing serious time in prison for nothing more than what the capitalist system teaches them to do. For the liberation of women it becomes necessary for men to become oppressed, especially so here in Amerika where the answer to every conflict is a life sentence in prison.

Revolution from my perspective is never accomplished by half measures of compromise (small talk, legislation, reform, etc). Rights are never granted, they are won.

We all, female and male, must unite to win our right to be treated as a human being. We all must fight for our liberation. The monster that is the U.S. government cannot be reasoned with, cannot be reformed, every time we win 1 step, we lose 2. It is now all or nothing. For all of us that are oppressed the time is now. We must rise not for ourselves, but for a better future.


final comments by Wiawimawo: This comrade’s assumption that any of these men would have raped the womyn if given a chance contradicts eir assumption that some are just following along in the act. But this reinforces the point that rape is a systematic thing, that even if each of those men would not have raped that womyn if they found her alone, they participated in the culture of rape.

We’d also point out that many females do not “feel like all sex is rape”, and we argue that this is the case in the oppressor nations because of the gender privilege females have here they are gender oppressors, or men.

If Gov. Abbot’s big plan for ending rape is to lock up rapists, this will fail on two accounts. One is that Amerikan prisons do not reform or rehabilitate, which is why we are building our own independent institutions of the oppressed. But more importantly, rape is not about individual choices and behaviors, just like all crimes that are epidemic in imperialist society. Our culture creates rapists every day. It is only by transforming the relations between humyn beings that we can eliminate rape. And as mentioned above, capitalism is so dependent on selling sex, it is only through overthrowing capitalism that we can begin to make real strides in this transformation.

1. A Texas Prisoner, March 2021, TDCJ: Your Staff are Bringing in the Drugs, and it Must Stop, Under Lock & Key No. 73.

chain
[Censorship] [Security] [Civil Liberties] [Economics] [Virginia] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones

When I first came to prison in 1995, there were hardly any for-profit corporations doing business inside Virginia prisons. Almost all services including medical care, dental care and the commissary were provided by the state. This began to change in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with the introduction of corporations like Prison Health Services to provide substandard prison health care and keep the commissary filled with high priced commissary items. Prisoners’ communication would also be outsourced to JPay, another for-profit company.

The Virginia Department of Corrections administration implemented a series of policies to manipulate us and our loved ones into accepting JPay as our only method of communication. On 6 August 2013, A. David Robertson, the Chief of Corrections and Operations, issued memorandum #073-2013, advising the prisoner class that effective 1 October 2013, our loved ones can no longer send us money orders through the postal mail and that they can only send us money through JPay, which requires our family to pay exorbitant transaction fees. If money orders were received in the mail after that day they were returned to sender.

On 7 May 2014, Robertson issued another memorandum, #033-214, advising the prisoner class that effective 1 July 2014, we can no longer receive more than 5 photographs through the mail. If a letter arrived at the prison containing more than 5 photographs, the entire letter including the 5 photos were returned to sender. This may seem small, but again this was subtle manipulation for acceptance of what was to come.

Perhaps the Virginia Department of Corrections most draconian policy implementation was detailed in a 13 March 2017 memorandum issued by the then warden of Sussex State Prison. In this memo we were advised that effective 17 April 2017,

“all incoming general correspondence, that is U.S. postal mail, will be photocopied at a maximum of three black and white photocopied pages front and back will be provided to the offender. The original envelope, letter and all enclosed documents will be shredded in the institutional mailroom. The entire correspondence and all enclosed items, including photographs, greeting cards, newspaper articles, etc. that exceed the established photocopy or size limit will be returned to sender.”

What this memo did not mention is that during the process of copying and scanning incoming postal letters from our loved ones, a digital copy of the letter along with the name and address of the person who sent it is uploaded and cataloged in a massive database. This policy was implemented under the guise of preventing the flow of drugs into these prisons, however the real motivation for this policy is reflected in the following one-sentence reminder listed in this memo:

“Individuals will still be permitted to send an offender secure messages, photographs and other attachments through the JPay system as it is currently authorized.”

Many prisoners and our loved ones view the amenity of exchanging emails with our loved ones as incredibly convenient. As a conscious prisoner I recognize that it also makes it easier for prison officials to censor and disrupt our communications and conduct surveillance and intelligence gathering on prisoners and those we communicate with. According to the Virginia Department of Corrections operating procedures 803.1, which governs offender correspondence and JPay emails inside all Virginia prisons, our incoming and outgoing correspondence is not supposed to be withheld for longer than 48 hours. However, our incoming and outgoing JPay emails are routinely withheld for several days or weeks at a time. Sometimes they are held for months at a time.

Operating procedure 803.1 prohibits prison officials from opening and reading our outgoing correspondence absent an approved mail cover from the warden, and reasonable suspicion that the correspondence violates state or federal law, or threatens the safety of the facility. However all incoming and outgoing JPay emails pass through a screening mechanism, whereby the prison’s mailroom staff and intelligence officers sit behind a computer monitor and read the personal and intimate words of prisoners and our loved ones, which, like our photocopied letters, are then cataloged and stored in a massive database.

Operating procedure 803.1 also prohibits the censorship of offender correspondence unless the censorship is based on legitimate facility interests of safety and security. However, JPay makes it easier for mailroom staff and intelligence officers to sit behind a computer monitor and with the click of a mouse block or censor the outgoing emails of prisoners complaining of prison conditions as well as incoming emails of loved ones containing information about the Black Panther Party and other progressive and revolutionary movements from the 1960s and 1970s.

The U.S. Supreme Court in Procunier v. Martinez (1974) ruled that:

“Communications by letter is not accomplished by the act of writing words on paper. Rather it is effected only when the letter is read by the addressee. Both parties to the correspondence have an interest in securing that result. As such, censorship of the communication between them necessarily impinges on the interests of each.”

This U.S. Supreme Court ruling and prison policies of surveillance and censorship listed above reveals that the fascist and repressive nature of prisons extend beyond these prison walls and adversely impacts those of you in the community. This should give human and civil rights activists, including our loved ones, additional motivation to work in solidarity with incarcerated freedom fighters to challenge these Constitutional violations via civil litigation.

Ultimately, what we need to do is develop a collective inside/outside analysis and strategy to dismantle the U.S. imperialist prison system.

All Power to the People!

chain
[Censorship] [Civil Liberties] [North Carolina] [Wisconsin] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Letters to NC Prisoners Denied by TextBehind

The state is tightening its control on free communication and association in prisons across the country by imposing digital monitoring systems, and in some cases banning hard copies of mail.

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety has begun using a company called TextBehind to handle their mail and push people towards their digital communications platform. This allows the company to extort people to pay whatever prices they want just to send their loved ones a message, while the state gets to monitor every word.

MIM Distributors began sending mail to TextBehind last month only to have it returned unopened. It turns out TextBehind does not process letters from organizations, only from individuals. As an organization we would be required to set up a corporate account with non-public pricing schemes. In other words, as a member of MIM(Prisons) I cannot just put a stamp on an envelope and drop it in the mail for a comrade in NCDPS custody anymore. This is a blatant violation of our First Amendment rights to speech and association. At this time it appears that newsletters and books are still allowed through the prisons, but we will not be able to correspond with you directly, send you study guides or other information persynalized to you if you are being held by NCPDS.

UPDATE: We just had a package of ULKs returned to us from Roanoke River Correctional Institution saying, “This facility DOES NOT accept friend and family mail directly” and that we must send mail to TextBehind. But TextBehind does not accept publications, only letters that can be scanned. So it seems mail to NCDPS is being blocked on all fronts.

Pigs Bring in Drugs, While Prisoners Mail Suffers

related news from a Wisconsin prisoner:

First thing first, I am still in Wisconsin. They are making all of us have our families and comrades send personal letters and photos to the Phoenix, Maryland PO Box (189) to inspect them for drugs such as K2, even though drugs, cell phones and other contraband items come from the fascist pigs that work in these imperialist gulags. Newspapers, books, publications are still to be sent here.

chain
[Censorship] [Legal] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Lawsuit Against Members of the TBCJ and TDCJ re: Mail Policy

Cause #:3:21-CV-00337

Styled name: F. Martinez and all inmates similarly situated in TDCJ-CID, “Doll” and “Pineapple Pictures” versus members of the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, TDCJ-CID, Director, Members of the MSCP, Members of the DRC, and mailroom supervisor at the Terrell Unit.

Dear Friends,

I am writing you in regards of the lawsuit filed on 3 December 2021, in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas, Galveston Division.

I am the leading plaintiff and I am representing all inmates similarly situated in TDCJ, Doll and Pineapple Pictures, both outside vendors.

The reasons in filing this lawsuit is to challenge the unconstitutionality of rules 1 (C), IV(A)(10)(11) of the “Uniform Offenders Correspondence Rules” (BP-03.91) of the TDCJ-CID.

Rule 1(C), which limits to receive ten photos per envelope, and rule IV(A)(10), which is a total ban on “sexually explicit images” coming into the general prison population, and rule IV(A)(11), which bans any altered photos, all in disguise of rehabilitation purposes. I am challenging these rules under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

I am writing you to request your support of this lawsuit by notifying the inmates in TDCJ, publishers, outside vendors of commercial photos and catalogs, and all persons affected for the enforcement of these rules in the TDCJ-CID.

Inmates may join to the lawsuit by writing letters to the U.S. District Court to the following address:

U.S. District Court
Southern District of Texas
Galveston Division
601 Rosenberg Street, Room 411
Galveston, Texas 77550

They need to include the styled name and number cause above written.

Thank you for your support and assistance.

chain
[Censorship] [Hunger Strike] [Political Repression] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Regarding the BP 3.91 Revision

Revolutionary salutations to all Texas USW comrades, leaders, supporters, and those reading this wonderful newspaper for the first time. In issue #75 there was some dialogue regarding the BP 3.91 and i would like to speak to some things.

Comrades, as you all read in the last issue, Allred RHU went on hunger strike in protest not only against B.P.-3.91, but also the illegal use of solitary confinement as practiced via RHU, and we also fought for other pressing issues. Due to this action, on September 8th i was pulled off the outside rec yard, and brought to a cage; this cage is very similar to the one illustrated by the comrade in the last issue. Me and another New Afrikan brother were the only two of all the strikers who went through this. After standing in the cage for about 30 mins to an hour I was informed by an inmate worker that “they takin all yo shit.” By this i assumed he meant food/beverage items of which i only possessed empty condiment bottles so I had no worries. Half an hour later, the property officer and a lieutenant come to escort me. They tell me i will have to send property, particularly books, home; i have too many and they may not be given to another prisoner. As they say this i have heated words with the property officer, and have to be escorted by a major and some others. They bring me to the office and outside my property (all of it including state property) is slung everywhere. I’m irate to say the least.

It is at that time that i entered an office with regional director David Blackwell, along with three unit wardens. Here is a brief overview of what was said pertaining to the B.P.-3.91 policy.

So this policy was supposedly pushed for by these “family groups”. He mentioned Texas Inmate Families Association(TIFA) as the main culprit. Supposedly one of the TIFA members has a brother who’s a sex offender(S.O.), and she learned that he was allowed to write pen pals who sent her brother sexually charged letters. Further investigation led the sister in question to observe that he could also view/receive pictures of women as long as the female wasn’t showing her “parts”. This woman was immediately concerned that her brother was not being allowed the proper environment to rehabilitate his behavior, and this is what led to the rule change.

In case you don’t know, every week, like clock work, TIFA and other family groups like the Families for Air Conditioning in TDCJ, have phone/zoom conferences with the executive director and other top personnel. In these conferences these groups are having influence on policy changes and other things that affect us here in prison. The issue is that these groups are not in contact with the masses, which in this case is US, the captives. TIFA has a $25 membership fee yearly, and imprisoned people can join. However, imprisoned voices are a minority, and are/will be over rode by the petty-bourgeois/labor aristocrat elements which dominate this terrain and don’t allow prisoners to practice any level of self-determination. Even worse is that these groups (TIFA in particular) do not even reply to inquiries from prisoners. The pigs mentioned above provided me with their info to contact and begin dialogue. I’ve wrote, I’ve e-mailed, I’ve DM’d, and have gotten no response. This is on trend as we of TX TEAM ONE have repeatedly contacted them in the past during our previous 3 hunger strikes in the last 4 years, not including this year’s. Never have we received any reply. So what does this tell us?

It tells us that the class divide is very profound in the TX prison movement, even on the “left”. It tells us that at this present juncture we can not collaborate with such reformers in any concrete way. Our movement MUST be prisoner-led.

Speaking specifically to the BP-3.91 issue, from observation one can see that these pigs are picking and choosing when/where to enforce this rule. THE RULE DID PASS! Initially we were told that it hadn’t, that’s not the case. Not only did this Director tell us so, but as i scribe this, Allred Unit has been under rolling lock down and the pigs (from what We in RHU are being told) are solely focused on pics, mags, etc. We in RHU haven’t been hit yet. Last week the ACA came to the unit. An audit. The pigs were verbally reprimanded (the wardens were) by ACA personnel for even operating the lockdown/shake down while they are/were still supposed to be under COVID protocol. This is a violation of CDC guidelines, which is one of the things we called attention to during the strike. The ACA demanded the wardens to cease the shake down. They did so for the week the ACA was here, yet today (9 November 2021) We’ve heard that they’ve resumed on the ECB building, and are to be coming here next. U.S. weekly and Cosmopolitan have been denied here.

The legal standing they’re trying to stand on with this move is that if they were to target specifically sex offenders with this rule while not applying it to the masses of the prison population who are not S.O.s then they open themselves up for suit by the S.O.s for discrimination. What it boils down to is We’re gonna have to come together and fight this through litigation. Simple.

We encourage others who are SERIOUS about litigating this issue to contact us. While our writers within TEAM ONE are busy challenging RHU confinement, We can possibly put all Our heads together to formulate a way forward. All those who’ve filed step 1 & 2, and look to move forward towards litigation should reach out to us: Tx TeamOne/ 113 Stockhom, #1A/ Brooklyn, NY 11221

chain
[Censorship] [Political Repression] [Grievance Process] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
expand

Connally Unit Denying Grievances and Retaliating

First, on B.P.-391 in Texas, there are units that are fighting this policy, yet here on Connally Unit they are taking and denying everything they can and they are not allowing us to appeal anything. We’ve written a bunch of grievances and they all got returned saying that the issue is not grievable, and when we file step 2’s, they are all getting thrown away. We have no wins here on Connally.

Second, we’ve contacted the TDCJ ombudsman on multiple ranking officers and regular officers. In doing that we are getting retaliated on and harassed. They are cell searching and destroying our property, tearing our pics, denying us our privilege of commissary, rec or day room. We’ve sent multiple grievances on these officers and they never come back. The wardens are letting them retaliate on us and not doing anything about it! The Connally Unit is steadily short staff only on their Fridays and payday. Right now we’re short staffed and when we asked a question about what’s going on, they put us on 23-hour lockdown – for asking a question. They are playing with peoples’ lives and freedoms here on Connally Unit. We can’t grieve officers because they always come back saying “this isn’t grievable.” We’re in a no-win situation here!


MIM(Prisons) responds: If they won’t let you grieve, then it’s time to come together with all who can be united there and get creative. We’ve been fighting the grievance battle for years. It is only a tactic. It will never solve comrades’ problems overall because the rules are only applied when they want them to be.

chain
[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

Texas Censorship Rule (BP-3.91) Being Revised

TEAM ONE acronym

On 1 August 2021, supporters on the outside began a phone zap to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to protest a new policy that restricted many forms of imagery in the media prisoners received through the mail (Board Policy - 3.91). MIM(Prisons) also began distributing fliers to Texas prisoners, who were writing us from all over the state about this new policy. By 23 August 2021 we received the following update from a comrade in Texas TEAM ONE, a leading organization in this campaign:

“We’re hearing that BP-3.91 has been halted. Supposedly they’re to revise it again to make it more sensical, but it’s not in effect as of this date. However, mail room staff here have been holdin on to all materials, which fall under that policy. They are giving no record of receiving the mail, just holdin it until the policy is amended. So that’s an issue.”

In other facilities they seem to not be acting on the new policy at all.

a comrade in Telford Unit reported: …the policy never took place. The complete ban of publications is outright unconstitutional. I have written several grievances concerning publications. TDCJ-CID will never ban harmless publications (U.S. Weekly, Muscle Fitness, OK, National Geo, etc.). They have no right to and it will only cause problems for the TDCJ-CID. Being that the policy did not take effect 1 August 2021 I ask prisoners to give it no attention. Instead be happy about the victory of being able to receive post cards and not arbitrarily have your peers/loved ones self addressed stamps ripped off your letters that way you may know who is corresponding with you.

a comrade at Michael Unit wrote on 4 October 2021: I need a quick reply to Texas’s BP 3.91(Rev 5) step 2 grievance. My step 1 said:

“An investigation into your allegations has been conducted. It was found that Board Policy 03.91 revised the definition of”sexually explicit” photos. The revision was approved by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice. Inmates are given the opportunity to appeal the denial of all sexually explicit images denied through the Director’s Review Committee. No further action warranted.”

MIM(Prisons): It is not clear to us if a new policy has been approved as implied by this response from a TDCJ official. What is clear at this time is that the masses mobilized quickly around this issue and the state is responding to that mobilization. Below are reports from some others organizing on this campaign, closing with excerpts from a longer statement by a new comrade explaining the hypocrisy of the new policy and encouraging everyone to stand up for what is right.

a comrade in Stevenson Unit: In regards to the new censorship policy, comrades I shared the sample grievance from Under Lock & Key 74 and directed others to file a grievance with DRC @ PO Box 99 Huntsville, TX 77342-0099. One comrade was given his car mags back after being confiscated by the mailroom. This was after filing the sample grievance you provided me! :)

a Texas comrade: We have already grieved BP-3.91 and we stand with those in Allred sacrificing to end solitary confinement even though there is no solitary here on this medium security unit.

a comrade in Jester Unit: I wanted to let you know everyone is grateful about the “Grievance Against Criminal Board” on the (pictures, magazines, and kill-shots) filed by your organization. I will send you my grievance next week, but not before I get some more signatures and people involved. Please find postage within this letter in support.

a comrade at Hughes Unit reported on 28 September 2021: I have 62 grievances filed on the 3.91 BP that is. I’m working on more. And I’m aware that I’m getting help from some female staff as well and they are putting together a form of unity to get rid of this bullshit B.P.-3.91 for their safety is a risk. They shaking us down as I speak for magazines. Women can’t show cleavage or nothing. And it’s sad.

a comrade in Hutchins Unit: Impede the correction, rehabilitation, and treatment of a prisoner, how? Relating to incoming pictures of “sexually explicit women” this is only understandable if enforced upon a sex offender therapy program… As a general population prisoner, rehabilitation and treatment is almost non-existent. TDCJ can only claim correction if it considers this is obtained through prolonged idleness. Prisoners are housed in their dorm where in most cases they only leave for meals and sometimes rec. There is little to no programming or opportunity to rehabilitate through education or vocation but TDCJ is worried about the content of our publications. Sounds like deliberate indifference to their priorities.

Therefore, impeding correction, rehabilitation, and treatment is only terminology intended for manipulation by and for officials convenience.

Sexually explicit pictures only result in masturbation, which is a healthy alternative to sexual fulfillment and expression. Some men spend decades up to life in prison and to deprive them of such fulfillment could consequently result in homosexual tendencies and/or the rape and/or sexual harassment of prisoners and officers. Such dehumanizing intentions will result in the safety of prisoners and officers being jeopardized.

[MIM(Prisons): A number of writers mention female staff being concerned about the new policy. Of course, we object to this writer’s inclusion of homosexuality as a “dehumanizing” outcome of this policy. Rape is bad, sexual harassment is bad, they are oppressive. Even if homosexual rape and harassment is more the norm in prisons than in society, we should not confuse that with homosexual behaviors themselves being bad.]

This is not a unique problem. Prison officials are quick to slap on the windows newly enacted and revised policies that are overly restrictive, knowing the average prisoner is illiterate, uneducated, and at the least inexperienced in lawfully challenging/litigating.

We are not in the barbaric ages and as a maturing society we develop and become more morally and ethically inclined, including the treatment of prisoners; who we understand engaged in wrongful acts to a greater degree than that of the average person but is nonetheless human and capable of change.

This means as prisoners’ rights come to light and advancement, We are to a lesser degree inhibited by biased civil court systems who in the past ruled all officials actions to be reasonable and acceptable in the name of justice, punishment, and deterrence.

Therefore do not be deterred when intending to challenge the conditions of your confinement thinking that it will be in vain. There is more hope than there ever has been in the past. Instead be optimistic, adopting the perspective that there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Presumably all major prison reformers that paved the way had doubts about a favorable outcome, however, their action in spite of that doubt has resulted in all fundamental change. The conditions we live in reflect such, while they’re not what they need to be they’re not what they use to be.

Stand with me in progression towards the common goal of more humane conditions and treatment. Do not refrain or procrastinate from submitting a complaint and possibly litigating for change; Just as officials do not refrain from arresting, sentencing, imprisoning, and punishing us in all aspects every day. We are held accountable so why should we allow them to manipulate policy and official position to their convenience?

Despite the feeling of helplessness officials intend to instill in us, we are far from that. Statements such as, but not limited to, “these people don’t care what we got to say”, “the system’s too big to fight”, “It’s only possible if you got money”, “This is just part of the game” etc are all excuses adopted by submissive prisoners who are too cowardly to fight. You would fight your fellow prisoner for less degrading treatment, right? I would hope.

Do you dare to challenge our oppressors? Do you dare to organize for progression with your fellow prisoners just as they do against us?

If so, please keep in mind that weapons of distraction are strategically implemented to keep us from achieving such a goal. If we are lost in our own world we won’t have time to envision and investigate their world, their motives, their actions, and how they negatively affect us.

We are distracted from spending time productively. Time is our most valuable asset as it is limited and required to organize and plan action.

Stop preoccupation; stop smoking, stop watching TV, stop gambling, stop gluttony, stop fighting your equals instead of the oppressor, stop idleness, stop procrastination, stop being submissive, stop feeling defeated, and most importantly, STOP investing time into unproductive endeavors and commit to progression and the achievement of an overall goal.

The poor and oppressed make up the majority of the world. We are only separated by knowledge that is accumulated through resources. If we can obtain the proper knowledge and organize with an intended goal we will overpower our oppressors.

…Break the ice and take action. Take it from a 22-year-old 8th grade dropout with seven plus years in the system. I only obtained knowledge through educational literature. I am self-educated and overcame the hindering circumstance of lack of resources and organized learning opportunities. I am only two years into a progressive perspective and actions and exceeded my expectations. Two years ago, education and progression were no where on my agenda. If I can achieve such, so can you. All there is to ask yourself if it appeals to you and if so make it a priority.

chain
[Campaigns] [Censorship] [Control Units] [Hunger Strike] [Organizing] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 75]
expand

Campaign to End Solitary Confinement & Repeal B.P. 3.91

The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could be ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation/sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820’s. But what was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers such as Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed: ‘I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.’ The Supreme Court ultimately ruled such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it. It stated,

“A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” See: In re Medley, 134 U.S. 160, 168 (1890)

Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more scientifically designed forms of solitary confinement.

TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persyns who have endured years and decades of solitary confinement in the forms of SHU and Ad-Seg (now called ‘restrictive housing’).

Many modern courts have found the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Medley case (see: e.g. Madrid v. Gomez, 889 F. Supp. 1146 (N.D. Cal. 1995) )

“Many, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU.” This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer boundaries of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. “Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport v. DeRoberts, 844F,2d 1310, 1316 (1999)

As a study on sensory deprivation by a team of 4 Harvard psychologists conducted for the CIA revealed:

  1. The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress;
  2. The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects;
  3. The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli, and;
  4. Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations and other psychological effects.

“Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory [RHU] is not punitive. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.”

It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put Our lives on the line in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses on TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle, as We already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of the RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity (solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet).

What is BP – 3.91?

Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect on August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications, pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.

While We, T.E.A.M.O.N.E., recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same cannot be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual has individual needs to the realm of recovery and redemption.

TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years they have mandated that each captive complete an ‘individualized treatment plan.’ All captive persyns must complete the plan prior to their release on parole, or risk remaining in prison.

What Penological Reason Does BP – 3.91 Serve?

At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case.

That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:

Why on earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where in theory only sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from ALL social stimuli, as We are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the american establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate de-population of outcasted sectors.

REMEMBER EUGENICS? The selective breeding of persyns in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be found in ones genetics. REMEMBER FORCED STERILIATION of both wimmin and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP – 3.91 is aligned with this grim history.

But that’s not all! BP – 3.91 will ban any material which depicts a persyn with their face covered! Still in the middle of a pandemic! Enough said!?

Solidarity Actions

Phone-zap: Those outside persyns who’re not local should call the TX Board of Criminal Justice on August 1st (512-475-3250) demanding BP 3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.

On August 24th, supporters should call the executive director of TDCJ (936-437-2101). On the 24th We will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify its inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.

Those who are local to this region, We ask to come out in droves to support Our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We need and appreciate your support.

chain
[Civil Liberties] [Censorship] [Allred Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 74]
expand

Campaign to Stop Censorship of Non-nude Publications and Photos in TX

PHONE ZAP STARTS 1 AUGUST 2021 more info

In the past few years censorship in TDCJ has reached epic proportions. In March 2020, the board on criminal justice enacted new restrictive policies regarding mail correspondence, greeting cards, and receiving monies. After a year of wide-spread resistance to this fascist policy, an exposé was written by Kerri Blessinger of the Houston Chronicle’s criminal justice department along with an inside comrade of the National Freedom Movement - TX Chapter.

The public outcry that resulted from this article which spoke specifically to the denial of greeting cards, moved TDCJ officials to annul this restrictive policy and now captives are again allowed to receive cards.

If the story ended there, things would be all well. Unfortunately, TDCJ officials have sought to retaliate against the prisoner population by instituting even more arbitrarily restrictive regulations.

Set to take effect on 1 August 2021, the newly amended Board Policy(BP) 3.91 will effectively ban ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings, and images that We could possibly receive. This amendment bans any items showcasing thongs, lingerie, buttocks, sex toys, or bodily fluids, as well as photos that hides someone’s face.

Nearly all publications and photos one gets are subject to this rule. Harmless publications such as US Weekly, OK, National Geographic, Muscle Fitness, etc can/will be denied due to this rule. Accordingly, this denies TDCJ captives their visual stimuli, in the case of isolated captives in RHU/solitary such persyn will have NO visual stimuli at all.

The politicized prisoner collective known as Tx T.E.A.M.O.N.E. is calling ALL prisoners in teKKK$a$ to join Us and the souljas on ALLRED seg in Our campaign. We are striving to amass 75,000 grievances on this issue. Included please find a sample of a step 1, shortly We will distribute a step 2 and a petition to be sent to TDCJ Director of CID and the Chairman of TDCJ. We must showcase a show of solidarity as teKKK$a$ captives.


Offender Name:____________________ TDCJ#___________________ Unit:_________________________ Housing Assignment:____________ Unit where incident occurred:______________________

who did you talk to?_________________________When?________________ What was their response?________________________________________________ What action was taken?________________________________________________ sample: BP-3.91, amended on 6/25/21, goes into effect on 8/1/21, and effectively bans ANY/ALL publications, photos, drawings and images that we could possibly receive. This edict is in direct violation of our First Amendment rights against censorship, and fails to satisfy the four-part Turner test as TDCJ officials have failed to justify this policy.(see: TURNER V. SAFELY, 482 U.S.78(1987))

TURNER QUESTION ONE: Is the regulation reasonably related to a legitimate, neutral government interest? These magazines are non-nude, and are commonplace with no age requirement to purchase them. Thus, TDCJ cannot possibly believe such magazines may cause disorder or violence, or will hurt a prisoner’s rehabilitation. Prisoners have a right to non-obscene, sexually explicit material that is commercially produced, MAURN V. ARPAIO, 188 F.3d 1054(9th Circ.1999).

TURNER QUESTION TWO: Does the regulation leave open another way for you to exercise your constitutional rights? No. As an Ad-Seg inmate, the only visual stimuli we receive are pictures and magazines. Yet the very images that are being banned are the EXACT same content any observer can see on TV. Newspapers have circulars with bra sales, etc. Effectively banning those as well. BP-3.91 destroys our ONLY visual link to the outside world.

TURNER QUESTION THREE: How does the issue impact other prisoners, prison guards, or officials and prison resources? BP-3.91 treats ALL inmates, especially Ad-Seg, like sex offenders and pedophiles, creates unrest throughout the prison population, and punishes non-sex offenders, while GP sex offenders still see images that arouse them on TV. It punishes normal inmates while missing the intended targets.

TURNER QUESTION FOUR: Are there obvious easy alternatives to the regulation that would not restrict your rights to free expression? Yes. Restrict these BP-3.91 original to the Grievance DEPT. on (date) copy to my records BP-3.91 is too vague, encompassing a littany of correspondence (see: Alello V. Litacher, 104 F. Supp. 2d1068, 1045-81(W.D.Wis.2000) which struck down similar ban). BP-3.91 actually says, “Any photo that conceals or hides the face of the individual photographed in a manner that prevents identification of that person.” What penological interest does this serve? And during a pandemic when people are still wearing masks?

Action Requested: That the DRC and TDCJ repeal or annul BP-3.91 in its amended form as it does NOT pass the supreme court’s TURNER test.


ALL TDCJ inmates should file a grievance on this issue, it affects all genders and sexualities as pics with an erection will not be allowed. The paper trail begins now, and We may have to file a class action on this issue. By all means, COMBAT GENOCIDE!!

UPDATE: Grievance officers here are saying this is not a grievable matter. THIS IS NOT TRUE. We suggest that if others run into this problem they should write i60 informing the GR.DEPT that the Offender Grievance Operations Manual (OGOM) says that policy is grievable, due to the fact that We are grieving the unit’s interpretation of the new board policy. Prisoners should also see Thornburgh V. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401 (1989). Be sure to attach the returned step 1 to i 60.

Here officers are also saying that we can’t grieve it because the policy isn’t effective yet, and we can do so on 8/1 when policy goes into effect. This policy must be resisted on all fronts on all units. [By the time you receive this it will be in effect.] A separate, more extensive petition has also been submitted to the Deputy Executive Director and a phone zap was scheduled to occur on 1 August by outside supporters.

chain