Tag: Eastham Unit
All of my life, I have wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. We have been taught to want for my brother what I want for myself. In this moment in history, I want freedom for ALL political and politicized prisoners. Kwame Shakur is the co-founder and chairman of the New Afrikan Liberation Collective, and he has begun a Prison Lives Matter movement which is holding a remarkable event in Indiana on July 18, 2018. The theme will be “Prison Lives Matter: In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela.”
What I have discovered is that the state of Texas has conspired with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to downplay and cover up toxic and contaminated water supplies in state-run prisons as well as the rural communities which have found themselves in close proximity to these toxic sites. It is not just the prisoners in Texas who are suffering the ill effects. I have also discovered that what is happening in Texas is not unique.
South Texas is testament to the conditions and effects of a rapidly changing climate. Monstrous storms, unprecedented temperatures late into winter time – what has occurred as result of these conditions? The number of birds and bugs now present here on Eastham Unit is astounding. Thousands of roosting birds leave an inch layer of excrement on the recreation cages’ concrete floor nightly. The roach, ant and spider population has grown, which brings me to the topic of this exposé.
In Texas, prisoner lives don’t matter, and nothing illustrates this point better than the decision by the federal government to abandon over 2,000 prisoners at the federal prison complex in Beaumont during Hurricane Harvey. My friend, journalist Candice Bernd of Truth-Out, wrote a heart-wrenching piece which detailed the horrendous living conditions prisoners were forced to contend with during and in the aftermath of Harvey.
Should you or a loved one ever have the great misfortune of being tried and convicted in the state of Texas, your sentence, no matter how great or small, could very well be a death sentence. If you are resilient, strong of mind and body, then perhaps you would survive the conditions: deadly heat, toxic water, squalid living quarters and ill prepared food – and struggle through the conditioning: slave labor, consistent degradation, dehumanization in a variety of fashions – bowing down to insulting, offensive verbal abuse from staff, group strip searches, zero privacy.
So let’s take a look at the work we are doing: 1) attempting to amend the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, 2) abolishing prison slavery and, in my case, 3) exposing the pervasive problem of toxic water supplies in Texas and Pennsylvania! Yes, I did say Pennsylvania! We have seen retaliation and obstruction of justice tactics by employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.