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During my previous seven years living in environments such as the Clements Unit, it felt like I’d seen more suicide attempts (several successful) and prisoner death cover-ups than I’d seen my own reflection.
It is our intention to transform “prison slaves” into respected and productive members of the international proletariat movement. As a proletarian, YOU, the sister or brother sitting on your bunk, or in your cubicle, or in the day room reading this essay – YOU are a WORKER and not a SLAVE. Your lives matter, and you have great potential to be an extremely productive and successful member of the new society we are struggling to create.
As white fists swung at me and dirty cheap boots kicked me, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Fred Hampton, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser and many other influential Black figures flashed across my mind. It was like a revelation or a spiritual awakening advising me that this racially motivated attack by white cowards, as Black cowards shielded witnesses from seeing the volley of punches thrown, is how agents of repression respond to resistance.
On the front page of USA Today for Dec. 27, 2018, we saw a shocking headline: “Grave discovery unearths legacy of Black convict labor.” The unmarked graves of 95 “prison slaves” were found on a construction site in Sugar Land, Texas. These Black men, ages 14 to 70 years old, were our ancestors and the first victims of what we have come to know as prison slavery in Amerika! These contract convict laborers were subjected to this form of slavery because the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still allows slavery. Only the name has been changed. Slavery is still alive!
Jason reports within the past year, prison guards are turning up the way they retaliate for his published exposés and activism. From false charges to legal property theft and now physically unprovoked beatings. Jason is urgently requesting help in beating an attempted frame-up. Below is a suggested script that you can use to make complaints to the TDCJ Ombudsman, as well as Ellis Unit Warden Kelly Strong, Regional Director Wayne Brewer and TDCJ Director Bryan Collier.
I’m sad to report that I was attacked and beaten by clansman as Black guards watched. I sent out a report on this but left out info I felt would cause the message to be banned, delayed or thrown away. This attack was in response to my November Bay View piece that circulated around the prison like wildfire. Until I don’t have hands to write and eyes to see and a tongue to speak, I will continue to expose such attempts to repress my freedom of speech.
In this article, Jason Walker discusses the latest in a long series of attempts to punish him by framing him with false charges. He asks that people contact Ellis Unit warden Kelly Strong to please investigate Mr. Walker’s grievances thoroughly and to ensure that these cases are conducted in a proper fashion, with no further violation of his due process rights. Phone zap, email, expose the misconduct of disciplinary counsel substitute A. McMillian and the Ellis Unit’s lack of due process protection.
The incidents described in this piece give context to the historical and contemporary art of abuse, inflicted on prisoners from the torturous isolation chambers of the Eastern State Penitentiary during the 1820s to the 1971 Attica rebellion and beyond. The documentation of the past and present grieved events of prison-controlled torture blaze a paper trail that shows abuse by guards is a lot deeper than being inadvertent or isolated events.
The number of K2-related deaths in Texas prisons is mounting, year after year. Due to this drug being undetectable by prison drug-testing kits, it has become a favorite drug of choice for prisoners and prison officials who profit handsomely from smuggling it in. This has caused other common prison drugs, like cocaine, marijuana and meth, to be discarded by prisoners who now have the ability to get high without worrying about failing drug tests.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely, or however the saying goes, which is how the District Attorney’s Office in Dallas County, Dallas, Texas has been operating from the early 1990s up to today. It’s highly possible that these same corrupt tactics have been used way before what I’m about to describe, but I choose to focus on the documented events I was able to witness and research. This includes an outright wrongful conviction campaign by D.A. Jason January.
Odd as it seems, seeing prisoners left for dead or killed by guards is nothing new to me. The reason this may seem odd is that each death was during my seven-year stint in solitary confinement, and I was a prime witness or in earshot of a direct witness. It seems that the Ad-Seg Transitional Program (ASTP), where I am now, is no exception where the killing of prisoners is concerned, as I was recently in the proximity of another. And, of course, another cover-up.
After randomly being awakened in the early morning, boarded onto the TDCJ transportation bus, then shipped to the Ramsey Unit, a prisoner told me that the experience was like “being snatched from a dungeon and sent to a new wave slave plantation.” The statement he made is a reality that many prisoners housed in close custody units and solitary confinement cells throughout the state of Texas are experiencing, on a whim.
One of the most important ways that a tiny 0.01 percent of the population controls all of society is through its police, military and prisons. These are some of the fascist institutions within capitalism that, through its control of mass media, can shape and mold how the contradictions between the capitalist class and working class are viewed. These views never expose the truth about how capitalism is a predatory system that has to be destroyed entirely if the working class is to prevail.
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 in which we must 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.
Many courts have held that a serious medical need is “one that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily recognize the necessity of a doctor’s attention.” See Brown v. Johnson, 387 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Circuit, 2008). Being denied medical care at the Clements Unit Maximum Security Prison in remote Amarillo, Texas, is so common that the average prisoner here can expect to be denied some form of medical care during his stay.
In a year where Islamophobia is at an all-time extreme in Texas prisons, I think it is a perfect time for me to shed light of the injustice Muslim brothers are facing here at the Clements Unit. I am not Muslim myself, but I am against the oppression of all humans no matter how unpopular their social standing is. Since I have been in solitary confinement at the Clements Unit, I’ve witnessed the administration fail miserably at recognizing brothers fasting during Ramadan.
It is well known among staff and prisoners that if we file a grievance without any physical evidence, their failure to admit the allegations results in our claims being dismissed. Simply enough, they lie during any investigation. Outside pressure and exposure is one aspect that can counter this, which is what Rashid has been doing for years. Staff are now realizing this, too, and are retaliating to cause disruption and preserve their practices.