How the Prison War Looks in Texas Ad-Segs
“[A]ll over the world now the institution of the prison serves as a place to warehouse people who represent major social problems.” - Angela Y. Davis
Looking at the incarcerated world around us, it is no wonder the numbers of New Afrikan and other darker hued people who are captive is so high. It is no wonder why the level of illiteracy is most highly concentrated among the incarcerated. It is no wonder the level of schooling is low among the captive population. It is no wonder why there is more money invested in mental health services behind bars than in free world facilities.(1)
All this means that when we imagine our resistance against prison systems we must see prison as being more than just the place where people who commit crimes are sent. We have to begin to analyze the interconnected and multi-layered oppression within prison.
A key feature in warfare is physical violence. In prison, “official” physical violence is documented as use of force. The most use of force and most excessive use of force in Texas takes place at Bill Clements, specifically amongst its PAMIO program participants. PAMIO, for those who do not know, is a psychiatric program designed for those in Ad-Seg.
If you follow the logic, Texas residents with psychiatric illness are more likely to be held captive by the state, while in captivity they have a greater chance to be held in Administrative segregation (Ad-Seg). While in Ad-Seg their psychiatric state is likely to deteriorate and they are likely to face “official” physical violence at the hands of their captors at greater numbers than those without documented psychiatric history.
Conditions At Clements
Our situation at Bill Clements Unit Ad-Seg or ECB, Extended Cell Block they call it, has not improved. Although less deaths we are seeing a rise in starvation, torture, neglect, and unsupervised migrant workers running the prison as they see fit with little to no training. Regardless of what administration says. These Africans on this unit have not been taught day rules, standard operating procedures, and have zero regard for this so called rule book. And why shouldn’t they when there is no enforcement and or reprimand on the side of TDCJ.
During the last shakedown, a state-wide attempt to catch contraband, they had me in a cage outdoors for 2 hours while they tossed my cell. Guards and inmates watched me in handcuffs while Major Pacheo instructed Field Boss Shrader to steal all my electronics and commissary food items – over 200 dollars worth. All this I believe is because my toilet hasn’t worked for months and I keep requesting maintenance but it never comes. Same with the broken shower and the water leak resulting in a wet floor. I have receipts for all the electronics and commissary items they stole, and I listed all this and the witnesses on grievance – they put the witnesses on chain! Nobody goes on chain unless it’s to Montford Psych or hospital.
The second week of December we were allowed to shop commissary, the second time in 4 months. Breakfast chow consisted of two tablespoons of scrambled eggs with a quarter inch of grits and applesauce. In total it was 4 spoons of food. For lunch and dinner we had a cheese sandwich. They back-doored commissary with a shakedown and stole what we purchased.
I was allowed 1 hour out of my cell twice this year. The “weekly” library ran 9 times. Average time to see a mental health professional is 9-12 months. Delivered mail can sit in the mail room for over 6 months. They are understaffed and don’t have enough people to properly run the facility. Once they tried to put some beef on dough and call it pizza, it was not cooked and the meat was bad. Raw dough and spoiled meat. No shit. No exaggeration.
Not feeding us is not only to starve us but to keep us from relaxing. We are constantly fasting involuntarily. The hunger keeps us anxious and irritable, to put it mildly. In my pod of 60 I have seen 12 people lifted out on stretchers this year, nobody checking for a pulse or performing CPR. That’s 1 per month on average. This cell is worse than the third world POW camps I visited during my time in the USMC. The corruption is so bad with so many hands in the cookie jar that one cannot even get a judge to hear them out about violations. TDCJ just ignores our requests and cites their lack of staff as to why they have nobody to process the documents.
War in Ferguson
On November 16th all the interconnected elements of prison war worked together on the Ferguson unit as five officers, unprovoked and without cause, entered the cell of two men demanding they submit to a complete strip search and handcuffs. When one of the captives asked why, he was immediately hit in his face with closed fist by CIT Gates while SGT Vasquez grabbed the captive’s head and slammed it against the concrete wall, causing injury. The captive fell to the ground and was kicked, his head was banged against the floor repeatedly. Afterwards he was dragged to the run, outside of the cell, where he was continuously kicked in his face and was even stood on. The entire time other captives were yelling in protest for the guards to stop, but they refused. While on another row, but hearing what was happening, I began launching projectiles from my cell. Eventually this caused the guards to cease their beating. They escorted the beaten man away, then returned minutes later to handcuff and escort me.
I was housed in solitary two cells down from the victim. I had the opportunity to speak with him for the first time, find out first hand what took place. He also shared with me his history of intellectual disabilities, and mild history of psychiatric illness. He had been adopted at a young age and raised in the foster care system. Our time near each other came to a close after the pressures of solitary confinement pushed this brother to attempt suicide. Days later as a result of this incident I was notified by the Ferguson Unit Warden Wheat that I would be reassigned to Administrative Segregation, under trumped up charges of assault on staff with a weapon.
Attempts to appeal the reassignment to Ad-Seg have been hampered by Unit Grievance Officer D. Turner not allowing my appeal of classification to go through.
I have personally reported the unprovoked excessive assaults these same clique of guards have taken part in in the five months I’ve been on Ferguson. There is a culture of unmitigated brutality here and the slightest show of counter-force is excessively punished. Warden Wheat has been made aware of this clique of pigs constantly assaulting people without cause, he has ignored or punished reporters.
Prison is War. Prison is Violence. Administrative Segregation is the highest form of it, where prisoncrats are allowed to hide you and abuse you away from any and all scrutiny. A tool that is used to throw away resisters in the prison battlefield. End RHU!
Sources: (1) Angela Y. Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle, pp. 23-24.