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Federal judge orders air conditioning installed in Texas prison in response to prisoners’ lawsuit

July 29, 2017

by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

“La lucha sin amor se muere.” (“Struggle, without love, will die.”) – Recently released political prisoner Oscar Lopez Rivera

“Comrade Malik” – Art: Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, 158039, FSP, P.O. Box 800, Raiford, FL 32083

In an amazing and quite shocking turn of events, federal Judge Keith P. Ellison from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, has ORDERED the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit, located in Navasota, Texas. The prison agency has 180 days to comply.

Most of this ongoing struggle for human rights has been published right here in the San Francisco Bay View, but please allow me to refresh your memory. In 2014 a small group of prisoners at the Wallace Pack Unit filed a federal civil complaint challenging the deadly extreme heat that exacerbates their pre-existing medical conditions. It has been proven that the heat in the summer months inside Texas prisons violates the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits prison agencies from subjecting prisoners to conditions that are cruel and unusual.

Almost all of the prisoners who are housed at the Wallace Pack Unit are elderly, disabled or infirm and some terminally ill. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has waged a fierce battle opposing these prisoners who seek humane conditions of confinement. Attorney General Paxton has shown himself to be out of step with the evolving standards of decency in a modern civilized society.

In 2015, I was housed at the Wallace Pack Unit, where I met the lead plaintiff in the civil lawsuit, a prisoner named Keith M. Cole. Mr. Cole is a wonderful human being and a gifted jailhouse lawyer. We remain close friends.

In an amazing and quite shocking turn of events, federal Judge Keith P. Ellison from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, has ORDERED the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit, located in Navasota, Texas.

After I helped expose the presence of high levels of arsenic in Wallace Pack’s water supply, I was targeted for retaliation and unceremoniously transferred to the H.H. Coffield Unit, located in Tennessee Colony, Texas.

This was a tactic and ploy orchestrated by TDCJ in order to silence my voice. But the former editor (now managing editor) of the Bay View, Mary Ratcliff, kept publishing my work. I didn’t realize it then, but God had a plan. And nothing TDCJ did could sabotage or frustrate that plan.

You see, my beloved sisters and brothers, Keith M. Cole is a Black man. I am a Black man. Both Mr. Cole and I are Muslims. We have been shunned, ridiculed, ostracized, put down and forgotten about. Through all my trials and hardships, the Bay View has been there. This was one of the main reasons I never gave up. I never stopped fighting.

I love the Bay View, and if you believe in the revolutionary journalism promoted by this newspaper, please DONATE to help our new editor, Troy Williams, make this wonderful Black newspaper bigger and better. The operative word is sustainability. Please support the Bay View!

Through all my trials and hardships, the Bay View has been there. This was one of the main reasons I never gave up. I never stopped fighting. Please support the Bay View!

Send our brother some love and light: Keith Washington, 1487958, Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Rd #1, Lovelady TX 75851.

2 thoughts on “Federal judge orders air conditioning installed in Texas prison in response to prisoners’ lawsuit

  1. Debria Elliott

    I feel that all should be air conditioned. Downright inhumane. I know they are prisoners but they are human beings. Some of them have made a few minor mistakes They aren’t murderers. Whoever let’s this inhumane thing go on, May God have mercy on their souls

    Reply
  2. Sarah

    I am VERY confused by this article. My understanding is that Judge Ellison ruled it does NOT violate the 8th Amendment but ruled certain class of inmates will have heat restrictions (elderly and certain disabilities). Also, Pack unit is NOT installing A/C. Inmates who qualify are being transferred out of Pack Unit. It seems you are writing the exact opposite of everything the judge ruled. Can you please explain this? I’m very confused. Judge Ellison really let us down by not requiring all inmates to have access to A/C.

    Reply

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