Tags Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Tag: Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Clements Unit prisoners in three buildings’ close custody wings were awakened in the early morning of May 1, 2020, by the loud sounds of ranking guards telling them to get dressed and step out of their cells.
“Dear U.S. Attorney General: For over 100 years, citizens born and naturalized in the U.S. who have been convicted of crime have endured the inhumane indignity of being stripped of our citizenship and right to vote through felony disenfranchisement by way of the United States Constitution’s 13th Amendment. Additionally, citizens who have been arrested or continue to be housed in jails and prisons nationally in all 50 sovereign states have been subjected to the conspiratorial practice of police and/or prison officials who violate our First Amendment right to free speech as well as political association through on-going censorship practices that limit what we can read or write and to whom.” – Excerpt of grievance crafted by North Carolina Department of Correction prisoners Randy Watterson and Joseph “Shine White” Stewart
Indiana is the fifth state in which I’ve been imprisoned since 2012. Over this eight year period, I’ve been bounced from Virginia to Oregon, then Texas to Florida, back to Virginia, and now to Indiana. All in response and efforts to repress my involvement in exposing and resisting the routine abuses that pervade US prisons.
Lorie Davis has created a culture within TDCJ by which jailhouse lawyers, also known as “writ-writers,” are subjected to manifold reprisals for their peaceful and legal activities. Activities which are supposed to be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments!
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.
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!
On Oct. 4, 2015, at the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit located in Beeville, Texas, prisoner Jarvis Dugas, No. 1386881, was preparing for a visit with his mother. Dugas, who is known to his friends as “Homestead,” is a Black man who is mentally handicapped and physically disabled. He walks with a pronounced limp. Dugas’ mother, Regina Strange, is a former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She is all too familiar with the overt tactics of mistreatment, abuse and degradation associated with the corrupt prison agency and because she knows that, she regularly visits her son Jarvis.
By now some of you may have heard that my comrades and I have been attempting to convince the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (sic!) to approve a contact visit between Miguel Flores, an imprisoned artist housed here in Ad-Seg with me at the McConnell Unit and his mom, Paulina Gracia, who has an aggressive form of leukemia. Miguel’s mom has cancer, and the prognosis is not good. Normally, prisoners in segregation are not allowed contact visits. This is going to take a massive collective response. I believe in all of you, and I think that y’all believe in me, so let’s join together and make this happen!
A settlement has been reached in the Pack Unit lawsuit, and air conditioning will be installed temporarily during the summer months, until the Texas legislature allocates funding for the installation of permanent AC units. Last year, I attempted to file a motion on behalf of myself and all Texas prisoners who are similarly situated to the prisoners at the Pack Unit. The Texas Civil Rights Project, based out of Houston, requested that I withdraw the motion because it had the potential of delaying relief for Pack Unit prisoners.
We continue to see and hear lies coming from U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies in respect to their hyper-surveillance of groups and individuals who are New Afrikans and who engage in constitutionally protected activities such as protests, rallies, marches, litigation and political efforts. With this essay, I seek to give a detailed explanation into the ongoing campaign of retaliation and harassment the members of the NABPP-PC have been subjected to.
Many try to separate anti-imperialism from our Prison Abolition Movement. They avoid talking about capitalism and how it relates to “legalized” slavery or mass incarceration in the United States. I won’t be making that mistake. The capitalist oppressor who operates and oversees the prison industrial slave complex is only “moved” by profits or, more accurately stated, the lack of profits!
During early 2018 prisoners across Florida are gonna “laydown” in nonviolent protest of the intolerable conditions in Florida’s prisons. The objectionable conditions being protested include unpaid slave labor, compounded by outright price-gouging in the system’s commissary and package services, and the gain-time scam that replaced parole, which, coupled with extreme sentencing, has created overcrowding and inhumane conditions.
It’s Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017. I am trapped inside a Texas prison known as the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit. Eastham is the oldest maximum security prison in Texas. The water has been shut completely off for four days! We can’t shower, we can’t wash our hands, and worst of all – we can’t flush our toilets, which are full of human excrement. By Day 2, the pungent odor of human waste pervades the entire building.
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.
I don’t know about you, but this entire state of affairs concerning Comrade Rashid just is not sitting well with me. Rashid uncovers the abuse and murder of prisoners in Texas and then the state conspires with Florida DOC to place him in a worse place and in harm’s way? Hell no! Why isn’t this story on the front page of the USA Today? I mean, somebody must be willing to do an exposé detailing this story. I’m extremely grateful for the Bay View but we can do more.
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.
The North American African’s visceral response to the Lone Star State, Texas, is complex, yet not complicated. If ever a geography was seeped in policies that inhibit the freedoms of Black and, more recently, Brown people, Texas is that state or should we say country? Like California, another country with a GNP reach beyond these shores means that what happens in Houston impacts the nation, whether citizens realize this or not. Hurricanes are not unusual to the region, yet Hurricane Harvey dumped more water on the region than expected and caused much displacement and damage.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is denying Texas prisoners the ability to send or receive mail in light of Tropical Storm Harvey. Although Houston is a major mail hub for Texas, this does not explain why prisoners in areas of the state unaffected by the flooding – for example, Clements Unit in Amarillo – would be denied access to mail. In a press release, TDCJ stated that five Texas prisons have been evacuated.
A federal judge in Houston ordered a geriatric prison in Texas to help inmates overcome extreme heat and rising summer temperatures, referencing climate change in a groundbreaking ruling this week. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison deemed it cruel and unusual that state corrections are aware of dangerous and lethal heat risks – at least 23 men in Texas prisons have died from the heat in the last 20 years – yet have failed to impose safeguards.
In an amazing and quite shocking turn of events, federal Judge Keith P. Ellison from the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, has ORDERED the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to install air conditioning at the Wallace Pack Unit, located in Navasota, Texas. The prison agency has 180 days to comply. Most of this ongoing struggle for human rights has been published right here in the San Francisco Bay View, but please allow me to refresh your memory.