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[Religious Repression] [Civil Liberties] [Grievance Process] [Connally Unit] [Texas] [ULK Issue 78]
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Grievance Tips & New Grooming Policy in TX

In ULK 76 you printed an article by the Connally Committee of Texas T.E.A.M. O.N.E. titled “Connally Unit Denying Grievances & Retaliating”. I cannot vouch for the retaliation from here in High Security, but as for not responding to grievances and being chronically understaffed, I can vouch for.

I filed 2 grievances back in early April and have had zero response to them. I found a good cite in Prison Legal News June 2022 edition. It says, “A prisoner’s administrative remedies are exhausted when prison officials fail to timely respond to a properly filed grievance.” (Haight v. Thompson 763 F. 3d 554 (6th Cir 2014)) According to this, if they do not respond to our grievances we can go on to a §1983 Civil Action.

My suggestion to TEAM ONE here at Connally is to go ahead and file §1983 Lawsuits with hand-written copies of your Step 1’s and try to file a Step 2. But your remedies are exhausted when TDCJ fails to respond to your grievances. They have 40 days to respond to a Step 1 or file an extension. If it has been more than 40 days and you have no answer, your administrative remedies are exhausted. I’m sending a handwritten copy of my Step 1 into the District Court this week. They will file, stamp it and assign it a document number and I’ll use it as evidence in my case.

As far as being understaffed, I can certainly agree with the writers of that article. Every end of the month into the first of the month this place is a ghost town. We are locked in our cells and fed sack lunches.

We did recently win a small victory as far as the grooming policy goes. AD-03.83 & SM-06.16 (Rev5) were updated on 10 May 2022 to allow male prisoners to grow long hair and wear pony tails. There were a lot of §1983 lawsuits pending on this subject. I’m still not totally satisfied with the updated policy because TDCJ reserves the right to force cut our hair for disciplinary reasons and they do not do this to the women. Growing our hair is a religious right, not a privilege to be revoked so I still have it listed in my lawsuit.

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