by Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington
It is well documented that I, Keith H. Washington, TDC No. 1487958, and members of my support team have advocated on behalf of fellow prisoner Miguel Flores, TDC No. 2084651, and his mother Paulina Gracia in order to convince TDCJ prison officials to approve a “special” contact visit between the two. Paulina has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
As a result of my very peaceful and LEGAL advocacy efforts, Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes has recently attempted to threaten me for publicizing events which occur inside the Restrictive Housing Unit and he has designated me recently as a prisoner who should be VIDEOTAPED with a digital camera whenever I leave my cell!
These extraordinary measures, which have included degrading STRIP SEARCHES in areas not meant for this, were a direct result of my advocacy for Miguel and his mother Paulina. The timing of Warden Sifuentes’ retaliatory actions should be noted.
On April 4, 2019, Warden Sifuentes was contacted by TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier and encouraged to grant a two-hour special contact visit to Miguel and Paulina. The very next day, on April 5, 2019, at approximately 10 a.m., Warden Sifuentes summoned me to his office in order to vent his displeasure in regard to my advocacy efforts while also issuing a barrage of veiled threats should I continue to engage in the exercise of my First Amendment free speech rights.
Warden Sifuentes engaged in acts of coercion and intimidation in order to dissuade me from exercising my First Amendment free speech rights. Although I have no history of aggressive, violent behavior – NO STAFF ASSAULTS, NO ESCAPES, NO CELL PHONE POSSESSION, NO HOSTAGE TAKING, NO WEAPONS, not even a code 20.0 on my record!
Warden Sifuentes insists that these precautionary measures, which are usually only reserved for the most violent offenders, are necessary although the McConnell-RHU has state of the art Panasonic network surveillance cameras. In my time on this unit, I have had no problems with any correctional officers or offenders. I have no problem going to rec or shower or commissary.
This is in clear violation of state and federal laws which prohibit retaliation against offenders for engaging in legal activities and is in violation of TDCJ’s own Board Policy 3.81. I do cite P.D. 22 rule 22b and case law: Guajardo v. Estelle, 580 F.2d 748, 758 (1978).
Warden Sifuentes is retaliating because I contacted Texas Rep. Jarvis Johnson! Rep. Johnson’s response is reproduced here.
Ultra biased and prejudiced State Classification Committee hearing
On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at approximately 10:30 a.m., I was escorted to a TDCJ State Classification Committee hearing. I noticed immediately that the video camera that has been used recently to retaliate against me for my recent human rights advocacy on behalf of Miguel Flores and his mother Paulina Gracia was absent!
Strange, I thought to myself. Perhaps my comrade and friend Xy (Zye) from Austin ABC made that phone call to the warden like she said she would in order to address the arbitrary use of this video camera as well as the overt retaliatory restrictions on the number of visitors I may have visit me per week. Apparently, the warden doesn’t want Huntsville to know.
This particular hearing was to determine whether or not I would be released from Ad-Seg. Many of you who have been following my case may be aware that I have been housed in Ad-Seg, now known as Restrictive Housing for nearly three years – ever since the day before the National Prison Work Stoppages of Sept. 9, 2016. A couple of remarkable things happened during the hearing.
The hearing was chaired by a white female TDCJ employee by the name of Ms. J. Turner. She was the State Classification Committee representative from TDCJ headquarters in Huntsville, Texas. Ms. Turner was accompanied by Major Kody Schur of the McConnell Unit and a case manager from the McConnell Unit named Ms. V. Inmon.
When Ms. Turner, the chairperson, asked me did I have anything to say, I told her: “I’m ready to conform and go to GP” – GP being General Population. At that moment, Major Kody Schur blurted out: “Stop lying to the woman! You can’t be trying to go to population after that letter you tried to send out about the warden!”
Major Kody Schur blurted out: “You can’t be trying to go to population after that letter you tried to send out about the warden!”
Actually, this outburst was not just unexpected, but very, very inappropriate and unprecedented. It is obvious that the major’s intent was to make a dramatic show in order to sabotage any chance I would have for a fair and unbiased review of my case by Ms. Turner.
The letter Major Schur was making reference to was a letter that I had just mailed out the night before to a comrade and friend who had visited me recently. That visit was actually right on time for many complex reasons. Allow me to explain.
The day before the visit, I was summoned to the office of Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes. At this meeting, Senior Warden Sifuentes proceeded to attempt to threaten me for engaging in human rights advocacy for Miguel Flores and his mother Paulina Gracia.
Senior Warden Sifuentes proceeded to attempt to threaten me for engaging in human rights advocacy for Miguel Flores and his mother Paulina Gracia.
Basically, the warden was telling me to stop writing articles about him and other high ranking TDCJ prison officials or else! I suppose sabotaging my release from Ad-Seg (Restrictive Housing Unit) was an example of the “or else.”
The emotional outburst from Major Schur brought me to the conclusion that my letter probably didn’t make it off the unit. This is not a surprise. I have been alleging mail tampering and blatant censorship of my writings for months, but up until now, I had no specific information about exactly who it was messing with my mail – only speculative assumptions.
It is noteworthy for me to mention that this was the most that I’ve ever heard Major Schur speak since I arrived here last year! He has done an excellent job putting up a facade and staying behind the scenes while all the time he has been a key person in the on-going campaign of harassment, retaliation, retribution and illegal censorship.
To her credit, Ms. Turner interrupted Major Schur and said: “This is my classification hearing. Now allow me to proceed.”
As Ms. Turner proceeded, another key piece of information was exposed. Ms. Turner did acknowledge that I was most certainly approved for release from Ad-Seg in June of 2018. This was the first time that TDCJ actually acknowledged this!
Then she asked me why I was abruptly returned to Ad-Seg from the Ramsey I Unit. I said, “I don’t know.” Once again Major Kody Schur chimed in and said, “I don’t know how he ended up at Ramsey I, but Tracey Bailey overruled his release and then we got him.”
For those of you who don’t know, Tracey Bailey is a person from my past. She was the warden of the Estelle Unit in Huntsville, Texas, at the time her officers were found to be beating and maliciously abusing elderly, infirm and terminally ill prisoners.
Now Tracey Bailey is a deputy director and was responsible for my initial placement in Ad-Seg in 2016. There most certainly is something foul going on down here in Beeville, Texas.
Ms. Turner’s response to this revelation was: “There you go!” as if to say. “Well, that’s enough reason for me to deny your release now!” Then she proceeded to deny my release from Ad-Seg and with no further explanation said: “See you in six months Mr. Washington.”
She proceeded to deny my release from Ad-Seg and with no further explanation said: “See you in six months Mr. Washington.”
Sisters and Brothers, the bigotry, retaliation and arbitrary prolonged confinement in solitary is unconstitutional! I am requesting that you help me contact members of the media as well as state and federal legislators. We need help from the National Lawyers Guild as well as the ACLU. Please focus on TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier’s office TODAY!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! All Power to the People!
Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3100 S. Emily Dr., Beeville TX 78102.