by Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington, End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement
On Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, at approximately 9:45 a.m., a bloody fight broke out between two Asian prisoners at USP Beaumont. The fight took place on 1 Building Unit AB, which was the location of a bloody and vicious race fight that sent five prisoners to the hospital on Aug. 15, 2019. That incident resulted in a month-long lockdown.
The fight on Oct. 4 caused the warden of the FCC Complex to place the USP on a weekend lockdown. That meant no showers, no visits, no programming, and peanut butter and jelly and cheese sandwiches. This has become a regular occurrence here at USP Beaumont.
The management model being employed here is not sustainable. Not only are we on a perpetual state of lockdown status; now the administration has initiated a $25 spending limit on commissary in response to a fight between two prisoners from the same “car.”
A “car” is kind of like a “clique” or geographical location. For instance, you have men from Texas here; thus, a Texas “car.” The two prisoners who fought on Oct. 4 were Asian; thus, the Asian “car.”
But that does not justify this group punishment being implemented by the administration. Everybody suffers!
Prior to my arrival here there had been two suicides at USP Beaumont, and they prompted the removal of the previous warden. He was replaced by our current warden, Mr. Larry Shults.
What is remarkable is that one of the prisoners who committed suicide was an Asian man who had written a detailed letter to the Federal Bureau of Prisons Regional Office in Grand Prairie, Texas. This letter explained that the conditions at USP Beaumont were having a detrimental effect on his mental health. No one listened! Conditions such as:
- Numerous excessively long lockdowns
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Lack of programming
- Substandard food (cheese and PB& J sandwiches daily)
- Apathy among staff
- Showers every three days – maybe!
Today is Oct. 7, 2019 [see note below], and I am here to tell all of you: Absolutely nothing has changed! Apparently replacing the warden was a knee jerk reaction, as things have only gotten worse, not better. The administration does not care to listen to our grievances.
I LOVE LIFE! I have so much to look forward to, but I can tell you that there are no realistic opportunities for success here at USP Beaumont and even someone like me who has every chance for success once I am released can easily be brought down by the depressing and stressful environment cultivated and maintained here at USP Beaumont.
As I said before, the reasoning for the lockdown on Oct. 4 was because two Asian prisoners got into a fight on their housing unit, AB Building 1. What is happening here at USP Beaumont is a psy-op program where prison administrators are attempting to get a conditioned response from prisoners.
The administration knows there are going to be fights – that is common at a USP – but they want to “train” us to fight on the yard. On the yard, the prison guards can utilize their shock grenades, rubber bullets, shots fired recordings and all the digital surveillance cameras. The administration wants a video show that they can present to the public and legislators in order to justify the funding for these slave kamps and gulags.
The BOP continues to lie to the public at large claiming that rehabilitation is provided, but the reality is our lives are being ruined and destroyed. Our communities continue to suffer. We are being warehoused and treated inhumanely. This is my reality. This is our reality. Something must change!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People!
Comrade Malik is a reporter and an abolitionist. Write him at: Keith H. Washington, 34481-037, USP Beaumont, P.O. Box 26030, Beaumont, TX 77720.
Dec. 19 update
The Federal Bureau of Prisons relies on secrecy and misinformation in regard to its communication with the public about the operation of its prisons. The BOP does not want the public to know that it is initiating oppressive and inhumane security practices at their facilities.
This year of 2019 has been marked by a spike in racial violence among federal prisoners. I believe some of the rhetoric and atmosphere created by President Donald J. Trump has helped stoke the flames of racial hatred all over the United States, and our prisons are a microcosm of free world society.
One reactionary response taken by federal prison administrators has been to stop serving meals in the dining halls inside United States penitentiaries (USPs) all across the nation. Now in numerous if not all USPs, prisoners pick up their meals outside the dining hall in styrofoam trays and take them back to their housing unit to eat them.
Another Constitution-violating, reactionary response by administrators has been to confiscate, throw away or block any outgoing mail which describes unconstitutional or inhumane and abusive conditions inside the penitentiary. While I was housed in the Special Housing Unit at USP Beaumont in Texas, Head Warden Larry Shults directed the Special Investigation Service Department to literally throw away my mail that I attempted to send to the editor of the San Francisco Bay View.
My colleague and friend Mary Ratcliff told me that she did not receive any of my essays or articles that I sent to her via snail mail while I was housed at USP Beaumont. These McCarthy Era tactics are the new normal in Amerika, especially inside federal prisons, where prisoners have few if any rights at all.
Please, in the year 2020, support our incarcerated journalists, activists and freedom fighters. Send a resounding message to the Federal Bureau of Prisons that free speech rights of all prisoners must be respected.
Comrade Malik was able to send this update via CorrLinks, BOP’s email system, as he is en route to USP Pollock in Louisiana, his new assignment. He and his supporters are questioning why he is assigned to maximum security prisons when he had no violence on his record and why he can’t be assigned to a prison in California, when that is where a home and job await him. His new address is expected to be: Keith Washington, 34481-037, USP Pollock, P.O. Box 2099, Pollock LA 71467.