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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[COVID-19] [Grievance Process] [Abuse] [ULK Issue 77]
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Super Bowl Sunday: A New Holiday on San Quentin’s Death Row

On February 13th, 2022 it was announced via PA in East Block that there would be no yard due to holiday feeding. There was no state or federal holiday. It was just another Super Bowl Sunday. We’re being fed bullshit!

The deal is for second watch disrespectful sows to get an A.M. 7/11 lucky break before coming back to pass out lunch and dinner. Doing that might take an hour and the taxpayers eat the rest (comes with free-loading). Some of the second watch disrespectful sows will then join third watch and the game kicks off into overtime. The TV is set up in violation of 15CCR3394 distractions and the potluck tailgate assists close proximity in defeating the chance of a stable cohort – a violation of 15 CCR 3271, but no penalty?

As satirical as it may sound, this writing is an excerpt of events which did occur on San Quentin’s death row in East Block. Similar events as described above occurred in 2021 on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day 2022. Deliberate indifference to your right to yard, your health, or anyone’s safety in general means NOTHING to these disrespectful sows and the court has acted more like a referee paid off by the opposing team.

Want your rights back?

A suggestion to those warehoused on San Quentin’s death row:

  • Refuse housing cage staging and/or indoor congregate waiting rooms.
  • Preemptively and immediately submit a 602-1 staff misconduct grievance against AW specialized housing for denying you safe access to appointments, visits, etc. simply because you refuse to ignore HC guidelines to practice social distancing – NOT possible in a holding cage/congregate waiting room AND an ultimatum in violations of 15 CCR 3271 if a valid concern exists.
  • If response implies no indoor close proximity concern is valid, then demand normal outdoor daily yards program be reinstated in a 602-2 follow up grievance.
  • Advise your PCP/MH clinician in writing on CDCR 7362 of your decision to follow HC guidelines to social distance and that custody refuses to comply resulting in you being denied safe access to HC/MH services and programs. Keep the yellow copy of that 7362 form for an official record.

*Doing this in conjunction with grievances citing other ways your card is being arbitrarily taken is a from of non-violent protest. SQ/CDCR’s response (or lack of one) creates an official record for future use.

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[Censorship] [Grievance Process] [Street Gangs/Lumpen Orgs] [Coffield Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 77]
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Criminal Gangs Controlling Mail and Punishing Grievers in TX

Quick update on BP 03.91 – Yesterday, while at the law library, one prisoner recently received an order of photos that had been previously banned. This happened months after our legal group filed injunctions in relation to BP 03.91 and how it arbitrary enforcement wasn’t congruent with its parameters. What is even more eye opening is how staff and administration keep taking (and breaking) property. All grievances come back with “your allegations could not be substantiated.”

Some are fighting back small. Dragging the administration through many small litigation claims will weaken their resolve on bigger ones. The grievance system is a joke. While staff continue to bully prisoners around, by throwing away their property in the shakedown, confiscating their religious items, and cutting down their eating, showering, and dayroom times. Texas prisons are becoming more and more run by inmates who utilize drug connections with officers. Recently I had a sergeant who tried to intimidate me into recanting a grievance which I wrote about prisoners passing out mail (a new “hustle” some STG’s have turned up on by holding certain mail “hostage”). When I didn’t relent, he sent one of the gang members to talk to me. How do you threaten the life of a lifer? SMH These kids don’t get get it.


MIM(Prisons) adds: As staff shortages become the excuse to abuse and deny prisoners basic necessities, we are receiving reports of prisoners being used in this manner to deliver mail, do counts, even utilizing department walky-talkies to assist staff. In the short-term this is being used to further divide the prisoner population by granting some the role of the slave catcher and granting them benefits. But this also indicates a crisis in the TDCJ that will create new opportunities as the state loses control over day-to-day operations.

The police state may prove to be over-extended if they cannot get enough Amerikans to run the machine. With pigs dying from covid-19 at higher rates due to their bad hygiene, retiring faster, and refusing to go to work in the biggest prison systems in the world, we will certainly be seeing shifts in the near future in the terrain of the U.$. criminal injustice system.

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

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[Grievance Process] [Campaigns] [McConnell Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 76]
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Grievance Campaign in McConnell Unit, TX

Ten comrades in Texas’s William G. McConnell Unit signed and submitted a petition to Mrs. Emma Guerra, Investigator II with the Texas Department of Corrections and Justice (TDCJ) on 25 October 2021. The letter does a good job of citing grievances that have not been responded to as well as retaliatory actions by staff for filing said grievances. They also cite the relevant policy from the TDCJ grievance procedures and inmate handbook.

We have not succeeded in organizing a statewide coordinated campaign around the grievance system in Texas, but it remains an important campaign at the local level for pushing back against abuses and organizing others around a common cause as these comrades have done at McConnell. With their well-documented petition, perhaps they have a vision for how to unite others across the state for this common cause.

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