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After seven years of solitary confinement, I’m heading to population … and snitch school?

November 18, 2017

by Jason Renard Walker, Deputy Minister of Labor, NABPP

The snitch school Jason describes sounds similar to the Step Down Program devised for California prisoners tortured for decades in solitary confinement when, due to three mass hunger strikes and a major lawsuit, they won release to general population. This drawing strongly contributed to enabling them to make the transition without losing their dignity and integrity. Fernando Bermudez, the artist, is no longer on the Bay View mailing list nor can he be found on the CDCR inmate locator, so let’s hope he’s made his way to freedom! – Art: Fernando Bermudez, formerly identified as B-53002 and housed in the dreaded supermax, Pelican Bay State Prison SHU, on the Short Corridor in cell D1-122.

After spending over seven years in solitary confinement, I was finally given the opportunity to go back to the general population through a re-entry program. But this opportunity came at a price.

On Oct. 30, 2017, I was awakened by Officer Graham during business hours and was told to pack one bag of property. I was being transferred. The rest of my property, I was told, would be packed later and sent to me. Whether they send everything or not remains a mystery.

Among the items left behind were legal books and paperwork, commissary, all of my political and organizing material and the transcripts to a book I wrote and was in the process of having edited for publishing, amongst other stuff. The problem lies in the fact that my property wasn’t inventoried before I left but was still where I’d left it.

I recommend that all of my readers call the property officer at the Bill Clements Unit – 281-595-3491 – and request for my items to be shipped.

Despite no longer having to suffer the consequences of being caged all day in a small box, I still have to bear witness to cross-acting pigs who provoke and have it in for many of us.

As I left the Clements Unit, I thought it would be the last time that I would see or hear about a helpless prisoner being assaulted in solitary by guards, but this wouldn’t be the case.

On Oct. 30, 2017, I was transferred to the Robertson Unit in Abilene, Texas, as an overnight layover. As the bus pulled up to the Ad-Seg building, we were forced to wait on the hot and sweltering Bluebird (bus) until an ongoing cell extraction was complete.

After an hour or so wait, many guards in full-body riot gear, a nurse, and a smiling camera operator walked a facially gassed, limping prisoner into the Ad-Seg building. The Robertson Unit operates much like the Clements Unit in both corruption and pig brutality, so I wasn’t surprised to see that the prisoner had blood on his boxer shorts.

Once I was put in a cell, reality set in. One of the most racist and flagrant guards I’d met in my entire life, Officer Sanders, confronted, denied feeding, and taunted the abused prisoner for hours. “I punch hard, don’t I nigger bitch,” he proudly stated – which was in response to the recent cell extraction, and many previous ones.

One of the most racist and flagrant guards I’d met in my entire life, Officer Sanders, confronted, denied feeding, and taunted the abused prisoner for hours. “I punch hard, don’t I nigger bitch,” he proudly stated – which was in response to the recent cell extraction, and many previous ones.

Since the building’s water didn’t work, we went an entire stay on one cup of water.

This only validates how systemic abuse and corruption is throughout TDCJ. After finally arriving to the Ramsey Unit, near Houston, on Nov. 1, 2017, and going through a series of interviews and question answering, mind manipulation began.

Sgt. Hughes, a cowardly Uncle Tom kinda guy, who behaves and responds much like a guard I described in a previous article, Darius Reed, was the first to approach me. Using a variety of “serve your master” techniques in efforts to mold me, this windbag spoke for what seemed hours.

“If you got any problems with my staff, talk to me,” he stated. “I run this shit; I’m the go-to man,” he lied.

His whole routine was devised to soften me into altering my journalism since, in fact, what kind of influence I’d have on my peers was the center of every interviewer’s lecture. But these discussions served little if any purpose as I let them do the talking and avoided inquiries on published articles and future ones.

Concerning the program, from what I’ve observed, it consists of a series of groups and classes. They watch videos, listen to an instructor and re-enact scenarios that focus on putting one in a no-win situation where they’re accused of something someone else did, know who the culprit is, and are threatened with a disciplinary case.

In situations like these, most of us will stand firm and not snitch, but from the looks of these classes they are designed to train us into snitching in efforts to avoid petty sanctions.

They watch videos, listen to an instructor and re-enact scenarios that focus on putting one in a no-win situation where they’re accused of something someone else did, know who the culprit is, and are threatened with a disciplinary case. In situations like these, most of us will stand firm and not snitch, but from the looks of these classes they are designed to train us into snitching in efforts to avoid petty sanctions.

All of this seems to be the administration’s attempt to revolutionize the GRAD program and make it mandatory for anyone who wants to get out of solitary and close custody (double celled solitary).

So assumingly, whether you go to GRAD or not, a part of reintegrating requires one to be taught how to snitch with little regards to our health and safety. All the while safe prisons personnel are openly admitting to a group of us that we don’t have to put our name on any snitch notes as long as the accused is identified – giving one the option to egregiously remain anonymous – and go about undetected.

While I don’t believe promoting and culturing one into snitching will help them remain in the general population, in any event my transition to the next phase of prison life has just begun.

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! All Power to the People!

Send our brother some love and light: Jason Renard Walker, 1532092, Ramsey Unit, 1100 FM 655, Rosharon, TX 77583. Jason is Deputy Minister of Labor for the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP).

 

One thought on “After seven years of solitary confinement, I’m heading to population … and snitch school?

  1. Zoe Wyse

    I couldn't possibly agree more with you that it is hard to see what purpose is served by encouraging people to identify other people who have done minor things wrong. Certainly if someone is engaged in doing something egregiously harmful to others or is planning to do so, then that needs to be communicated to people in a position to stop the action. However, a culture that encourages people to identify other wrongdoers rather than to focus on their own sense of responsibility, compassion, growth and development is not a healthy culture. A culture in which people in positions of authority go out of their way to be unkind to those around them is also not a healthy culture.

    I am very sorry you are in this situation. I am glad you are writing about it and hope that things will improve for you. Thank you for sharing your story because it can inspire others to advocate for change, each in their own way. I believe everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. You deserve this as much as anyone.

    A book you might enjoy about perseverance and dignity in the face of sometimes nonsensical and abusive practices is "Life and Death in Shanghai" written by Nien Cheng. If you have any access to reading materials, I would recommend it. It provides a great role model of recognizing ridiculousness and persevering without harming others or losing one's own humanity. I wish you the very best in life and hope that you will someday get to live the life you deserve to have.

    Reply

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