I began a Juneteenth protest in April on the 23rd. I went on hunger strike on the 28th, but broke it 2 days later to get my strength up after being threatened by Sergeant Couper.
19 May 2022 – I began a second hunger-strike for 8 days. On the 3rd day of the strike, I was taken to a dirty holding cell in receiving – with ants, no bunk, and poop caked up inside a broken toilet. I was only allowed a bible, one sheet, and one blanket. They placed the old raggy mattress on the floor where I was to sleep for the next 5 days.
No incoming or outgoing mail; no human contact; no offer of food; and no vital-signs, weight, or sugar was checked (nurses documented false reports). May 23rd, in medical, when the nurse asked why I wasn’t eating, I told them, “because it’s ‘George Floyd Day’, Get Your Knees Off Our Necks.”
26 May 2022 – I went on S.I.B. [self injury behavior watch] and was given an even worse mattress that smelled of feces. No one checked on me.
27 May 2022 – I was shipped to the Emergency Room at Central Prison. A level-one bone-marrow cancer had intensified the damage to my body. Some negotiations were made and I broke the fast. However, while I was on the IV a nurse came in at shift change and snatched the IV out of my arm and told me and my officers to get out.
One Month Earlier
April 23rd, I was attacked by Sgt Couper because I had asked for a roll of tissue (I had been asking for 24 hours). Sergeant Couper said he needed to search my room for tissues then pulled out his mace and tried to find an excuse to mace me. When I cuffed up he resorted to violence by snatching my arms all the way out the trap, then opened the door and threw me head-first into the back wall, then applied torture techniques, such as bending my fingers & choke holds, while tightening the restraints.
I was eventually taken to receiving and left on the floor with the restraints for 4 hours. I had lost feeling in my arms, wrists, and shoulders.
Sergeant Couper continues to harass and retaliate against us; intercepting grievance appeals and managing investigations for disciplinary reports that he has officers fabricate against us. But “We Reap What We Sow”. On 9 June 2022, he got served!
“Power to the People”
By the United Front “T.R.U.C.E.” of the People’s Army
T.R.U.C.E. (Teams of Revolutionaries Uniting to Combat the Enemy)
MIM(Prisons) adds: On 30 June 2022 there was a phone/email zap to Granville Correctional Institution to support the strikers and to call for an end to the physical abuse by Sergeant Couper. Staff responded by saying that Warden Roach was not in that day to take calls and that there was no physical abuse going on there. Emails to the Warden and Director of Operations were not responded to.
I write this in an effort to educate and bring into understanding one successful method of overcoming malfeasant administrators at their own game when they write a fraudulent disciplinary case on you – even though your actions fail to fulfill the elements of the charged offense while the Agency staff lie in support. Utilizing the Time Lapsed Video (TLV) camera footage evidence when cameras are installed on your unit.
In brief: After gaining authorization from the Floor-Boss I zipped upstairs to another cell, delivering a legal document (E.D.-02.01 TDCJ Ethics Policy) to an inmate. Within six second, I was back on the One Row Run. The units O-3 (warden) confronted me upon my coming down ordering me to return to my cell (we were being let out to go to showers).
In the course of returning to my cell of assignment, I encountered the Floor Boss going the other way. I asked him to inform 0-3 that he had given me permission to deliver the document to another cell as we passed each other. Three seconds later, this 0-3 came up from behind me grabbing my wrist and puts handcuffs on me while proclaiming “I’m tired of you ‘Mother Fuckers’”. While walking me the rest of the way to my assigned cell: the 0-3 yanked the cuffs backwards, forward and side-to-side in efforts to get me to go off – too smart for the 0-3: I didn’t go off.
I immediately filed a grievance against this 0-3 for Non-Provoked Aggravated Excessive Use of Force, implementing penal codes, PD-22 Rules, and E.D.-02.01 “TDCJ Ethics Policy” standards in slamming this malfeasant warden.
Nine days later: following the 06-01 “Grievance Investigation Sheet” was presented to this 0-3 the warden initiated disciplinary charges against me claiming that I was Out-of-Place and Created a Disturbance. Yeah, done in retaliation. Success demands that I be found guilty; and my Grievance was shot-down by the unit’s 0-2 warden.
Thirty four days after the occurrence (the time limit is 30 days) the administration illicitly ran this disciplinary case – taking four & 1/2 hours – where the C.O. I called as a witness in my defense was blatantly compromised (suborned) by the 0-3, the charging officer. on camera in front of me and several others.
After a 30 minute conference with the Hearing Officer: The C.O. came and got me to return to the hearing officer’s office. Where the C.O., of course, lied while supporting the lies of the 0-3’s that ensued.
At the hearing as well as in my grievance I repeatedly gave notice that the TLV, when viewed, will show absolute support to all my standings while revealing the malfeasance of this 0-3. At no time did the disciplinary hearing officer view this TLV footage evidence. The video was acknowledged, yet, misrepresented by my counsel.
Of course I was found guilty, maxed-out on the punishments, G-5ed, and then I was shipped to another unit. Being the hardheaded individual that I am, while knowing I am not guilty of the lies I was charged with, I filed in the local Judicial District Court for an injunctive order and successfully gained an order from the court directing the TDCJ’s Executive Director to ensure that the TLV footage evidence of the occurrence; with the suborning of the C.O. video, be preserved and not done away with. The Court bench warranted me for this action.
By the time I finished processing back into the TDCJ the disciplinary hearing’s guilty finding was – miraculously – overturned. Who’d of thunk!?! Presently, in that same District Court, I have filed a Cause of Action against the TDCJ Agency for retaliation. Naming each person involved in this fraudulently run railroading of that case premised solely on lies and retaliation. Naming each individual as “Persons of Incident.”
You see, all too often, the TDCJ Agency will: in the course of “Taking Case of Our Own,” intentionally ignore the TLV footage evidence. Herewith, I have figured out how to force them to acknowledge the video footage evidence as well as achieving accountability for their illegal conducting: getting liability to duly attach on their heads.
The TLV cameras are there to record the truth. I here have opened the door so many have overlooked. Use the cameras to reveal their malfeasance in office. For a small donation I am certain that MIM will be glad to forward a printing of the TDCJ E.D.-02.01. The Ethics Policy is an extremely powerful Executive Directive when quoted in your grievance. It scares them so much that they removed it from the Law Libraries Holding’s list back in 2015.(1)
notes: 1. for a list of documents not being provided on the law libraries holdings list, see Censorship of TBCJ, TDCJ Policies, Procedures and Rules
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!
This is my first issue of ULK (#77) and I am writing in regards to the Suboxone and drug use within the prison system here in Maryland. K2 and Suboxone are in high demand. They are the most popular of all of the drugs here. I would say Suboxone is the most popular because of the “trips” that come with the K2. It is my belief that they allow drugs to come in for the money. They get the money for the urine test, for the search task forces and the intelligence agents they use to combat the contraband problem. And when they get the money, it’s misappropriated.
A recent example of this was the wine sniffing dogs. It was a big deal, it was all on the news. They played it up as alcohol was such a big problem so they needed these dogs. But the crazy part is that I have never seen a dog come through sniffing for wine. So where did that money go? Honestly if a prisoner is making wine, he doesn’t have a lot of places to stash it anyways. So there’s really no use for the dogs in the first place. It’s all for the money. The prison staff are just making shit up so that they can steal the money.
Now speaking on the statement made by the person from Allred’s RHU, with the increase of contraband came a decrease in unity. That is one of the major effects of capitalism; division. Not only will debts drive a wedge between debtor and supplier, but the competition between the peddlers will create a divide because each dealer wants to monopolize the sections. This will create beefs between gangs and organizations. Then the increase in violence will only justify the prison’s request for more money from the state. It’s the same way on the streets, the prison system is just a microcosm of the streets.
Now let’s talk about the drain of ambition as an effect of the drug. No longer will the prisoner seek self-developmental programs, nor will he choose to blow the whistle on the prison system’s injustices. He becomes content on doing dead time, with his Xbox, T.V., and tablet. There are many issues that spawn from drugs. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine a lawsuit attacking the constitutionality of the Texas Parole System being filed in every U.S. District Court in Texas, by 100 or more prisoners. Well this is exactly what the Khufu Foundation is attempting to do. However, it can only be done with MASSIVE Prisoner participation. The Texas Legislature does not meet again until 2023, and any hope of them changing this system is slim to none. Thus, it is up to the Prisoners to effect a change.
For the prison system to function constitutionally, there must be a system in place that works. The continuous rejection of parole based solely on the commitment crime does not justify the denial, and is constitutionally unacceptable. Thus, the Khufu Foundation is calling on those hundreds of prisoners who have been repeatedly set-off for 1D and 2D, SERIOUS NATURE OF OFFENSE and CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR PATTERN to file Civil Rights Lawsuits for Declaratory and Injunctive relief.
Every human, town, state, and country has a History. History is a fact that can never be changed, but redeemed. What is rehabilitation? It is a redemption of a past history of conduct. The Texas Legislators claim that incarceration “is the punishment” for the crime committed, and the parole system is the rehabilitation. Yet, without a workable parole system, without the intervention of “Board Members”, a prisoner is continuously punished by the system which is unworkable. The fact is, the Texas Parole Board needs to be dismantled and replaced with a workable Parole System. The Khufu Foundation has compiled a Template Lawsuit based on the following, along with a Memorandum of Law:
“While the U.S. Supreme Court has not defined the minimum process required by the Due Process Clause for a denial of parole under the California system, it made clear that the requirements were satisfied where the inmates were allowed to speak at their hearings and to contest the evidence against them, were afforded access to their records in advance, and were notified as to the reasons why parole was denied.” – see Pearson v. Muntz, 639 F.3d 1185.
I am the Plaintiff in the lawsuit against members of the TBPP, as well as the litigator in another cause against them: Hicks V. TBPP, 6:22cv134 Armour V. TBPP, 6:22cv33 in the Eastern District-Tyler Division. This is an update to enjoin each of you who read this and have received multiple set-offs to file your own lawsuit and/or file motions to join these. Also, know that there has been an order to Replead issued in Armour v. TBPP with the Court alleging that TBPP is protected by the Eleventh Amendment. Thus, I urge you to name Chairman David Gutierrez and Rissie Owens as defendants.
I will be arguing that the TBPP is not protected by the 11th Amendment in light of the Ex Parte Young doctrine, which states:
“In determining whether the doctrine of Ex Parte Young avoids an 11th Amendment bar to suit, a federal court need only conduct a straightforward inquiry into whether the complaint alleges an ongoing violation of federal law and seeks relief properly characterized as prospective.” Const. Amend.11 - See Verizon MD. Inc v. Public Service Commission of Maryland, 535 U.S. 635, 122 S.Ct. 1753 and McCarthy ex rel Travis V. Hawkins, 385 F.3d 407, 412 (5th Cir. 2000)
Next, please find enclosed my letter to the Court in F. Martinez, et al., v TBCJ, et al., 3:21cv337. Please send a copy of my letter along with my name to the Plaintiff in this cause for it is very important that he not settle unless he gets something in writing from the Court. TDCJ will rock one into believing they are going to do the right thing; and they will do the right thing for just long enough for you to think all is well until one of their people violates someone then you find out there is nothing in writing that binds them. Examples: Ruiz and Brown.
The Khufu Foundation is currently seeking to hear from those who have been repeatedly set-off, and is asking them to file this lawsuit. If you would like a copy of this lawsuit, send a SASE and 3 stamps to:
THE KHUFU FOUNDATION 910 LONEY ST. FORT WORTH, TEXAS 76104
MIM(Prisons) adds: We do not know anything about the Khufu Foundation and cannot vouch for them if you choose to send them stamps. However, this campaign for parole reform is in line with some of the demands of the Juneteenth Freedom Initiative and we thought some of the legal strategies herein might be useful to others. We are not lawyers. We are revolutionaries.
As revolutionaries MIM(Prisons) does not spend time working for parole reform. We do work to build independent institutions such as our Re-Lease on Life program to help comrades be successful and stay involved in the struggle when they are released. If you have an upcoming release date or parole date, it’s never to early to start working with us.
I was impressed with the research behind the articles about Suboxone in ULK 75 and 76. I first heard of this substance four years ago when individuals showed up on the yard (at Richard J. Donovan) that were using it. Someone I associated with informed me that it was like methadone and that it was highly addictive. I know that guys here at California Medical Facility are using Suboxone whether it’s prescribed to them or not. In fact, illicit drugs of all types are available here, even during the quarantine lockdown when there were no contact visits allowed!
Also, this facility is holding a food sale to “raise money for the Special Olympics.” The offering of a chicken sandwich, potato chips and a cookie for $22.00 doesn’t seem like a good deal to me. Especially considering that only a small percentage would go to the Special Olympics and that 10% goes to the “Inmate Welfare Fund”. Is this a scam or what!?
An article in San Quentin News on a similar fund raiser reads:
“Prisoners spent $63,000 with 10% of the profits going to a charity.”
I see these sales as another scheme to extract money from prisoners and their families and friends and that the real benefactors for these “charities” are the CDCR.
There is another article in the same newspaper on the GTL tablets that are being pushed on us. I’ve read some of the specifications for these tablets and they are of course cheap pieces of crap. They are entirely dedicated to make GTL money pure and simple. How do companies like GTL get away with it? Here is some key points from the article:
"GTL is the phone service provider for all CDCR prisons…. According to Prison Legal News (PLN), GTL has had to pay out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits over the years for alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA).
"In October 2020 a New Jersey judge approved a $25 million settlement agreement between GTL and New Jersey prisoners who paid up to 100 times the actual phone rate between 2006 and 2016, according to PLN.
“The company has also been sued for charging unlawfully inflated prices for collect calls made by incarcerated people throughout the U.S.”
MIM(Prisons) adds: We whole-heartedly agree with this comrade’s assessment of these money-making schemes. We call this extortion, prisoners are forced to pay higher prices for things because there is no other option for them.
The Chik-Fil-A sandwich with waffle chips and a cookie that CDCR was charging $22 for is about $8 on the street. They’re charging prisoners almost 3 times the normal price! If $2.20 is going to charity, where’s the other $12 going?
For more on the topic of tablets, see “A Strategic Objective to Disrupt and Surveil the Communication Between Prisoners and Our Loved Ones” in ULK 76. The article on GTL tablets claims they offer “secure email”, which is a joke because we know GTL and CDCR staff can read anything you send on those things. In other cases, companies have charged prisoners for things like ebooks that are free in the public domain. GTL loves it because they charge prisoners extortion-level subscription fees for very restricted content, and CDCR loves it because it increases the ease of surveillance. The article also promotes the tablets as pacifiers, like suboxone, to keep the prison population docile.
I’m just writing to say hi and thank you. I got my latest issue of Under Lock & Key no.76. I love your newspaper even though I don’t agree with a lot of the stuff you say about Suboxone. I’m on it myself and there’s nothing to do in prison, so a lot of people use drugs.
I had overdosed 3 or 4 times, but always had a celly who brought me back. Then, I had a celly I stabbed so I no longer could have a cell mate. If I were to overdose again I’d probably die. They started giving us Suboxone and I stopped using heroin – I no longer want or need heroin or meth or anything else. My suboxone is perfect.
I’m sending you 7 more stamps – I’ll send them whenever I can. I know you guys are a non-profit and can use all the help you can get.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We thank this reader for this perspective. In past articles, and again in this issue, we address the spreading use and abuse of Suboxone in prisons, both state-authorized and not. This occurs despite Suboxone being marketed as a tool to help with addiction. Our point is not to say that people who have found Suboxone helpful are wrong to use it or wrong that it can help. But like so many drugs under capitalism it is overly-prescribed, and abused widely without prescriptions in the black market. This serves a couple interests: the pharmaceutical companies profit interests, and the oppressors’ interest in social control.
We promote bigger solutions to the problem of drug addiction. Whether Suboxone is a tool some people need in today’s world we have not taken a position on. But we can say that through revolutionary organizing and liberation from imperialism we can overcome, and virtually eliminate drug addiction without the use of drugs like Suboxone.(2) As this comrade says, many people do drugs in prison because there is nothing to do. And things that people might be engaged in that would keep them off drugs are often discouraged or punished, such as political organizing. The comrade also found that being able to have basic social interactions with people that cared about em also got em to stop using drugs. This supports our position that long-term isolation is torture.
Another thanks to this reader for sending 7 additional stamps. July 4th is our annual Fourth of You-Lie fundraising campaign, where we ask all of our subscribers that are able, to send us 7 stamps for their annual subscription to Under Lock & Key. To say we are a “non-profit” is a bit misleading as non-profits generally have grant money and paid staff and such. We have none of that. Our “staff” is our comrades who also fund all our work from our pockets. So yes, we can use the help. And small contributions from lots of supporters is the kind of mass base we need to make our work sustainable.
Texas has been overtly operating a slave trade for decades. You may be surprised to know that people still wrestle with distinguishing the difference between being incarcerated and being enslaved. This is why after the countrywide prison demonstrations of 9 September 2016, Bennu Hannibal Ra Sun of the FREE ALABAMA MOVEMENT said that he noticed a dragnet pattern after 15 to 20 interviews where they kept asking why we refer to incarceration as slavery. From that point on he required media to read the 13th Amendment before he would allow an interview.
Incarcerated, Imprisoned or Enslaved?
To be clear, incarceration is the act or process of confining someone; imprisonment. To imprison simply means to confine (a person) in prison. So far, we haven’t delved into treatment that would call for the loss of the right to vote, bear arms, live in certain communities, adopt a child or be forced to provide free labor.
Both incarceration and imprisonment utilize confinement as a form of punishment. Slavery, on the other hand, is 1) A situation in which one person has absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of another; and 2) The practice of keeping individuals in such a state of bondage or servitude.
Here, the word servitude comes into play and involuntary servitude is: The condition of one forced into labor – for pay or not – for another by coercion or imprisonment. This is where you see that the imprisonment is a means to the labor.
Under the first definition of slavery provided above was the usage of a word that most only know to refer to a human being. However, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, an entity (such as a corporation) that is recognized by law as having the rights and duties of a human being is the second definition of person.
We now know that slavery can be a scenario in which one corporation has absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of a human.
The word corporation would usually bring to mind Amazon or Walmart but those are small fish in a bigger pond. A corporation is sort of a person and a government is a sort of corporation. The city/county you are from was incorporated into your state which was incorporated into the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA through its Articles Of Incorporation. This is why the corporation, which is the U.S. of A. has an office for the president, vice president, secretaries and staff members etc., who are members of the EXECUTIVE branch of our governments which are corporations that have absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of others via their institutions of slavery.
Felons Are The New Niggers
As the author and educator Claud Anderson, Ed. D. stated on page 66 of his book Black Labor, White Wealth:
"Black enslavement must be a constant reminder of the ramifications of a lack of collective unity, strength and self-determination.
It is incumbent that you come to discern that those who are economically challenged are subjected to prosecutions at a far higher rate than the upper class, imperative for us to acknowledge that though those subjects are predominantly Black, as a class, they are multi-ethnic and as such, convicted felons of all backgrounds have become the new Blacks; ones relegated to niggerdom.
For example, in Texas in the year 2000, Latinos were nearly twice as likely as whites to be incarcerated,(1) but shocking is the fact that in 2002 Latinos were a larger portion of new prison arrivals than either Blacks or whites (33.9% Latinos, 32.8% Blacks, 32.2% whites)(2) yet sadly, a smaller portion of the releases. They were going in at a higher rate but coming out at a lower one.
These numbers for Latinos are alarming in light of how bad Blacks were treated during the period from 1986 to 2000 where spending only increased 47% for Texas Higher Education but a whopping 346% for Texas Corrections.(3) This maneuver caused Blacks to be sent to prison 7 times more than whites for drug offenses, making Blacks 81% of the whole state’s prison growth for drugs.(4)
Additionally, the number of Black youth imprisoned for drugs during roughly the same period rose by 360%, however, for young whites imprisonment for drug offenses declined by 9%.(5) With that knowledge it becomes apparent that the 360% increase in Black bodies was the Return On Investment for the 346% accretion in correctional spending.
The result was that in 2003, Black Texans were incarcerated 5 times as much as whites.(6) Texas had managed to have 66,300 Black males in prison and only 40,800 in the Texas Higher Education system.(7) This, regardless of the fact that in 2002 whites and Blacks, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reported to be dependent on a substance at similar rates. (9.5% of Blacks and 9.3% of whites).
I say that this is a result because the increase in Black bodies to the plantations ensured a decrease in their eligibility to become any part of the legislature that makes laws or police officers, prosecutors, grand jurors, trial jurors, parole or probation officers, judges or justices.
On the flipside of that, and just as significant, is that if the Black man and the law collide, the institution has created a system to where as he interacts within the criminal justice machination there is a lesser likelihood that the police he may come into contact with is Black. Or the prosecutor who decides to charge him or the grand juror who decides to indict him or the judge who calls the shots in the courtroom or the trial jurors who convict him or the appellate justices or the parole/probation officers; the last three who are in the business of ”keeping individuals in a state of bondage or servitude”.
We went from being either a free (white) or enslaved (Black) man in the slave era to being either an upstanding citizen or a convicted felon, ethnicity be damned. The poor white and Latino populations, who are more likely to be convicted than their upper-to-middle-classes, are subjected to the same societal pitfalls and social stratification.
This is what Claud Anderson meant in his warning about not forgetting about the lack of unity and strength during Black enslavement, if we don’t bind together to stop this institution, the system will chain us together to feed it.
Monopoly Money (All Around The Board)
For all the prison stockyards that overpopulated Texas in the 1990’s there were mainly two styles: a maximum security template that holds three to four thousand prisoners and a medium security template that holds around two thousand. So, whereas these prisoners couldn’t vote, they became a part of the hosting county’s population, a sure gerrymandering and census incentive for when the federal government doles out X amount of dollars to districts based on population.
These prisoners are paid nothing though they produce many goods that are sold. They are paid nothing but they spend millions of their families’ dollars on commissary. There is only one place for prisoners to purchase hygiene, food, correspondence materials and a few articles of clothing, all of which are produced by prison labor, like shorts, shirts, thermals, socks and shower shoes and then sold back to them at exorbitant prices.
Prisoners who want to make a phone call are not afforded the luxury of choosing a carrier. They provide free labor and their family spends millions accepting overpriced phone calls contracted with a corporation called Securus.
These prisoners can also receive emails and funds from their families who Spend millions to send both through a company called Jpay who is owned behind the same corporate veil as Securus.
Imagine if Walmart could lock its customers in the store. To hell with a discount, they could price gouge and be certain that those suckers would fight each other to get on the phone to have their families send millions for them to buy every item in the store. They wouldn’t be able to keep anything on the shelves, no matter that most is of poor quality.
There simply isn’t a more loyal consumer base or promising commodity where the institution has created for itself a way to circumvent the free market to monopolize on the misery of the involuntary but free labor force.
We, the Texas Liberation Collective, are not lost on the fact that Texas has the expense of feeding and housing its prisoners because all slave owners have had to do the same. All livestock has to be alive to produce, be sold or traded. we are more focused on the fact that the prison population of Texas exists by design. As stated in Part One of this series, there was not a crime wave in the decade of the state’s prison boom to account for the expansion of the slave state itself.
What we endured was a bull market in the stock exchange and guess who orchestrated it? We could say that politicians and corporations were responsible but it would be saying the same thing as the two are mutually inclusive. State Senator Ted Cruz (R) works to advance the interests of the corporation he works for, it’s called Texas and its enslaved Latino population is of no concern to him.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a subsidiary of sorts called Texas Correctional Industries (TCI) which the Lone Star State created in 1963 during the Civil Rights era. TCI is governed by the Texas Board Of Criminal Justice (TBCJ) and has nine members who are appointed by the governor, five of whom are currently lawyers.
Based on the legislative language that created the TCI, the board is endowed with the authority to determine prisoners’ pay for their labor, though to date they have opted for NO PAY and involuntary servitude:
“The board may develop by rule and the department may administer an incentive pay scale for work program participants…Prison industries may be financed through contributions donated for this purpose by private businesses contracting with the department. The department shall apportion pay earned by a work program participant in the same manner as is required by rules adopted by the board under section 497.0581.”
If you’ve been told that some prisoners do earn wages if they work for private companies through the Prison Industry Enhancement Certification Program(PIECP) please be aware that the conversation isn’t held without an exaggerated depiction. Truthfully, in 2017 though TDCJ had over 145,000 prisoners, according to Jason Clark, TDCJ’s Chief of Staff in 2019, there were only about 80 prisoners who were allowed to partake in the PIECP, a number that was well below a waning one percent of the Texas prison population.
The TCI sweatshops are dispersed throughout 37 prison plantations and its free labor force – or free labor by force, shall we say? – manufactures a plethora of goods from wooden state signs, license plates, police utility vests and bedding, steel kitchenware, up-to-date ergonomically designed office furniture, park equipment, security fixtures, food service equipment and they also refurbish school buses and computers, grow crops and tend to over ten thousand head of cattle.
In the spirit of Texas, TCI’s total sales for fiscal year 2014 were valued at $88.9 million, FY 2017 it was $84 million. Outside of the minute headcount of laborers in the PIECP, the state makes these hundreds of millions from the blood, sweat and tears of a forced-into-labor labor force who is subjected to some form of penal castigation should they refuse to relinquish their labor upon demand.
The punishment may be a combination of the following restrictions:
No access to the phones, no access to the recreation yard, commissary restriction, cell restriction, personal property restriction, loss of good time and/or work time credit, loss of visitation privileges, loss of custody level which can result in being removed from general population and placed in 21 or 23 hour lock down housing. Receiving any of this retribution could result in being denied educational programs and most significantly, parole.
Juneteenth and Dale Wainwright
How ironic, yet not surprising, that Texas is shamelessly known as the last state to free the slaves —— a disgraceful fact that spawned the celebration called Juneteenth, its own holiday - yet they still haven’t freed the slaves, thus deeming Juneteenth and its celebrators a farce.
Texas and its misled sympathizers have no justifiable reason in acknowledging Juneteenth today in the same spirit that the slave negroes of the Frederick Doug- lass era had no justifiable reason in acknowledging Independence Day.
Here, we dare raise other ironies but how ironic is it that just as millions of slaves parted Africa from a slave port called Goree Island, many of us enslaved here after inception and diagnostics were shipped to and through a slave port called Goree Unit? But even more.sickening and insane is that just as some Africans sold their own into slavery, the TBCJ at one point was chaired by (Wait! I refuse to call this man Black, but he is definitely…) an African-American!
That’s right, you eased on down the red bricked road to peek behind the corporate veil to see who whitey was that refused to pay the slaves and when you raised the curtain there stood Dale Wainwright celebrating Juneteenth with a fat slave- raised burger. He made Texas history by becoming the first African-American elected to the Texas Supreme Court, but he will go down in history for being the Supreme House Negro of the twenty-first century.
He was managing partner in the Austin office of Bracewell & Giuliani, the firm where former NYC mayor and Trump prop-man Rudy Giuliani is a partner.
Another former member, Eric Gambrell, contributed to the campaign of and was appointed by Governor Rick Perry. He’s a corporate lawyer and partner at Akin Gump, a large lobbying and law firm whose clientele has included big dogs like Amazon, Pfizer and even the slimy privatized prison giant formally-known as Corrections Corporation of America.
Whether you make them or break them, law is big business in the Texas organizational construct and some of the biggest capitalists.are…lawyers.
In Part One of Exposing The Lone Star Chamber (Of Enslavement) we detailed how district attorneys bypass and usurp the authority of Texas grand juries to rubber-stamp what is purported to be an indictment but fails to constitutionally vest a district trial court with subject-matter jurisdiction. Thus, the lives that filled the stockyards were kidnapped under the watchful eyes of congress and company.
Here, we have hopefully assisted in helping you know slavery when you see slavery in the same way that you would know that a pig with lipstick on is still a pig.
In Part Three of this series, we will examine some intricate details of the Texas slave trade and question how in the age of Black Lives Matter, the age of Prison Lives Matter, and with all the professed social and criminal justice warriors and reformists, the Lone Star Chamber continues to broker these bodies shamelessly and unchallenged.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We welcome comrade Ice Immortal Askari to the pages of Under Lock & Key. This well-researched piece touches on some recurring themes in our newsletter. The first is the interplay of class and nation in the U.$. prison context. As our comrade points out the disproportionate targetting of New Afrikans and Raza, as well as First Nations, by the injustice system, ey sees prisoners of all nationalities in the same boat. This is generally our line as well, we must unite the imprisoned lumpen class across boundaries. But we also must recognize the particularities of different nationalities in this country, and recognize the importances of national liberation struggles in the dismantling of U.$. imperialism.
The author defines slavery as:
“1) A situation in which one person has absolute power over life, fortune and liberty of another; and 2) The practice of keeping individuals in such a state of bondage or servitude.”
The author attempts to distinguish slavery from imprisonment. But we find this distinction not useful as the expressed purpose of imprisonment is to impose state control over the lives of individuals deemed to have committed a crime. The American Heritage Dictionary provides one definition of slavery as, “A mode of production in which slaves constitute the principal work force.” This is a simple summation of the Marxist definition. We’ve written extensively on this question of prison slavery in the past. And a new summary of our research on prison labor and economics will be available in the next edition of The Fundamental Political Line of the Maoist Internationalist Ministry of Prisons. In short, the motivation for imprisonment is not profiting off of prison labor as was the motivation for slavery in this country or any other country in the world.
The realm of prison labor is a realm where tactical action and organizing can occur. We agree that it is important to the running of these institutions and as such can be used as a means of exerting political pressure.
Telling people they must cook or clean to help maintain the facility they are living in is not an injustice. Having people do productive labor as part of the punishment for a crime against the people is not an injustice. The injustice is who is being put in prison, and for what reasons, and how they are being treated in there.
Amerikans oppose prison labor for the same reason they oppose migration, they don’t want to dilute their inflated wages. So we caution those in the prison movement who try to unite with the labor aristocracy on this issue, when they have consistently stood with the cops and the prison unions throughout history. As we unite along common class interests in prison, we must recognize that our support base on the streets is in the national liberation struggles of the oppressed.
Notes: 1. Coyle, Michael J. Latinos and_the Texas Criminal Justice System: NCLR Research Brief. (2003) Washington, D.C. : National Council of La Raza 2. Findings Of The National Council Of La Raza – (NCLR) 2003: Racial And Ethnic Minorities Over-represented in the Criminal Justice System 3. Cellblocks or Classrooms, The Justice Policy Institute (2002) 4. Findings Of The Justice Policy Institute – Analysis of the National Corrections Reporting Program on Race and Drug Admissions in Texas (2003) 5. Findings of the Steward Research Groups – Commissioned by the NAACP Texas State Conference and NAACP voter Fund 6. Findings of the Justice Policy Institute – Analysis of the National Corrections Reporting Program on Race and Drug Admissions in Texas. 7. ibid
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.
As revolutionary class-conscious partisans within the epicenter of global capitalist-imperialism, our daily struggles consist of a multitude of factors, such as a societal inundation of bourgeois ideology that is close to total. This means that every time your television is turned on or your radio is playing the chances of some reactionary foolishness reaching your senses is greater than the likelihood of a white male becoming the next amerikan president.
Before most people turn-in for the night they tune in for another dose of the corporate state’s media misinformation (most begin their day like this as well!). The talking points are simple and easy to follow and the repetition of the message increases the likelihood of remembrance. Under these conditions what becomes of the formation of independent thought development?
Marx taught us to subject everything in existence to relentless criticism, our sources of information gathering down to the way we choose to utilize technology controlled by multi-national (corporations) we must assess and re-assess our own patterns and those of others among us to conform to the material conditions of our struggle as to devise methods which will allow us to intensify our efforts hence moving closer and closer to ultimately overthrowing this reactionary order.
As Maoists, we cannot differentiate between the working-class masses of Russia and Ukraine. Not only do they share a common culture and historical background, but the fact that we as laboring masses have no country proves true in the current context. The so-called “socialist” international chose nationalism over socialism, reform over revolution, and we walk that same path by choosing sides in a conflict where the people are regarded as bystanders. In the world of Clausewitz this may make sense, but as Marxist-Leninist-Maoists (or Maoists) we understand that the people make their own history.
MIM(Prisons) adds: We saw anti-Russian propaganda ramp up quickly in the last couple months. As the mainstream media continues to villianize Russian imperialism for the same atrocities the Amerikans have committed much more regularly, we aim to serve the majority of the world who has no allegiance to imperialism. Unfortunately, most in this country recognize that they benefit from the imperialist exploitation and ally with the militarist rhetoric.