In solidarity, Prison conditions

#MeToo Stories from inside Texas Prisons! Part II: Justice Denied & Unequal Education Opportunities

by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington Chief Spokespersyn
End Prison Slavery in Texas -Movement-

“Luckily, Rita Brown, a white revolutionary from the George Jackson Brigade, a group based on the West Coast, was among the four or five “niggah lovers”. She was a feminist and a lesbian, and helped me to better understand many issues in the white women’s liberation movement………………………………… We agreed that  sexism, like racism, was generated by capitalist, imperialist governments and that women would never be liberated as long as the institutions that controlled our lives existed. I respected Rita because she really practiced sisterhood, and wasn’t just one of those big mouths who go on and on about men.”

-ASSATA(An Autobiography)

by Assata Shakur, pg. 254

In Texas, a Baylor University-Fraternity President named Jacob Anderson gagged a female co-ed, he then sexually assaulted her and when he was done violating her, he left her unconscious body on the lawn outside. Jacob Anderson discarded this humyn being like she was a piece of worthless trash. She did not deserve this.

Law Enforcement and the Criminal Courts in Texas also refused to acknowledge this young womyn’s humynity! The charges against Jacob Anderson were reduced to unlawful restraint and he served absolutely NO JAIL TIME! This shocked me when I first discovered it. It happened quite recently and I am pleading that you the reader of this article/essay google the referenced story about Jacob Anderson and the on-going investigation of sex abuse scandals at Baylor Univer­sity. Please study it! Get angry and then use the Anger to fuel your protest against Baylor University and the korrupt Kriminal Just­ice system in Texas.

This is Part II of a multi-part series, which highlights some of the issues and struggles encountered by wimmin inside Texas Prisons. This series is for all wimmin in Texas Prisons and beyond. The Media and mainstream activists in Texas are not going to tell the stories that I am going to tell! They are not going to tell the stories in the way that I tell them! You see, there is a silent and unwritten pact of collusion between the Media and this patriarchal and misogy­nistic Kriminal Justice System in Texas. To be fair to the mainstream journalist who happens to be wimmin and report to aggressively on these issues, there are very real reprisals and repercussions that have the potential of ruining a reporter’s career.

One can not become too passionate about exposing the impotence and ineffectiveness of the Judges, the Police, or the Prison guards and High Ranking Prison Administrators who condone the mistreatment of wimmin in Texas. However, there is not much the ‘Powers that be’ can do to me, I’m at the bottom and as Assata has said so eloquently: “We have nothing to lose but our Chains!” As for my sisters? I will not be silenced!

In Part I of this series I recounted the stories and misdeeds of men such as Former TDCJ Warden Kevin Mayfield, Sergeant Eddie Collins, and Ranking Officers at the Eastham Unit located in Lovelady, Texas.

Men who had established a pattern of using intimidation tactics and coercion in order to Sexually Harass and in some cases even assault Female TDCJ employees!

I was privy to much of this information because many female TDCJ employees knew I was a published writer and journalist, they knew I had connections with members of the media, so under the condition of anonymity, they shared their stories with me. I honored my word by protecting their identities but I had no agreement with these Ranking Prison Employees who violated not just these wimmin but the Public’s Trust!! They shall be placed on ‘Front Street’ where they belong!

I mean that is what we all should do in-order to eradicate and smash PATRIARCHY in Amerika!

JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/GETTYIMAGES

The problem that I believe that we must come to grips with in Amerika, is that a womyn, a reputable, educated, and highly accomplish­ed womyn like Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, can relay her story of abuse to the World on National Television and still that courageous and fear­less womyn still did not receive JUSTICE!

This is a pervasive and systemic problem, which deserves attention. Now allow me to set forth a thought-provoking ‘If/Then’ statement:

“IF the voice of a womyn like Dr. Ford is not listened to or given any credibility or ‘weight’ in the Kourts or in front of the U.S. Congress, THEN who expects anyone to believe that a womyn locked up in a Texas Prison has the chance of demanding justice when faced with similar or worst acts of abuse, assault, or discrimination?’

What if the incarcerated womyn is Black or Hispanic?

You are following me here, aren’t you? Now allow me to give you an update on some of the bad actors I reported on in Part I of this series.

While housed at the Eastham-Ad-Seg Unit in 2016 thru 2017 I did encounter many High ranking Male TDCJ employees who used their position and “Status” to oppress, intimidate, and sexually harass lower-ranking female employees.

I think the most stunning revelation was that a Major named Blake Norman had been secretly attempting to coerce wimmin employees into granting him “sexual favors”. What was so shocking about this was that Major Norman portrayed himself as a bible thumping Christian brother!! Norman was also an Islamophobe who initiated a special investigation which placed me under the scrutiny of the Department of Homeland Sec­urity and as a result of bogus, fabricated, and trumped up ‘Secret Information’ compiled by the Central Texas Fusion Center, I was placed at the McConnell-Restrictive Housing Unit.

Nevertheless, KARMA caught up with Blake Norman in a big way. One of his victims filed a complaint with EEOC and the OIG Office

and after a fact-finding investigation was performed by the Office of the Inspector General Major Blake Norman was demoted to Sergeant!

Norman was also transferred. However, this is actually quite troubling. Here we have a persyn caught red-handed with using his High Ranking position to exploit and take advantage of female subordinates! The TDCJ-C.I.D. director is Lorie Davis and Davis is the highest-ranking womyn in the Agency. She could have easily sent a strong and clear message by firing Norman–but she didn’t! So Lorie Davis remains complicit in perpetrating the misogynistic and patriarchal culture

which is so very pervasive in Texas Prisons. And this Patriarchal Kulture is insidious and reaches into every aspect of this Korrupt and un-ethical prison agency.

I have established a history of proclaiming THE TRUTH, however, down here in the State of Texas, “They can’t handle the Truth!!” Dare I tell the story of Black Female Warden Sandra Allen and how her white male colleagues conspired to get rid of her for making the mistake of requesting that a man with a pacemaker walk through a metal detector!! I mean I don’t mean to champion the cause of the pigs who operate these prisons. Nevertheless, I have witnessed white male officers -Wardens even do much, much worse and absolutely nothing happens to them!! I’ve watched these Wardens and Majors beat a humyn being to death!! And no justice was meted out—not one bit of justice.

So White Suprematism is also an all too familiar occurrence inside Texas Prisons. ‘We Take Care of Our Own’ is the motto of TDCJ KKKLan Members.

Now let’s turn our attention where it belongs, inside to our incarcerated sisters!

In December 2018 the Prison Legal News published an article by journalist Kevin W. Bliss that references a report by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics. The report focuses on the rising number of Sexual Abuse Allegations inside Amerikan prisons and Jails. Allow me to quote an excerpt from the article:

” A July 2018 report by the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics found the number of alleged incidents of sexual victimization among state and federal prisoners increased 180 percent from 2011 to 2015. However, the number of substantiated claims grew just 63 percent during that same period.”

These statistics present a question that begs to be asked: “Are the incarcerated wimmin who report sexual victimization predominantly liars? OR is the reporting apparatus and system of investi­gation failing to acknowledge the abuse?”

From my study of this issue inside Texas Prisons, I have come to the conclusion that the reporting mechanisms are flawed and that there is a system of retaliation and intimidation in place in-order to dissuade our incarcerated sisters from making any reports at all in regard to sexual abuse, assault, or victimization especially when a TDCJ employee is the one victimizing them!!

I know many incarcerated wimmin in Texas who have been victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault but when they try to report the abuse, they are subjected to a manifold of reprisals by High Ranking Prison Administrators who co-ordinate their retaliatory actions with lower-ranking staff members. As we are in the midst of a Legislative Session in Texas, this topic most certainly must be explored and thor­oughly investigated.

Some of these incarcerated wimmin who have been victimized attempted to have their family members or friends utilize the TDCJ Ombudsman Office TO NO AVAIL.

Approximately 12 years ago, the Texas Youth Commission was racked by a Sexual Abuse Scandal. There was no reliable means for children incarcerated in TYC facilities to report Sexual Abuse!

That changed in 2007 when Texas State Senator Borris Miles (D) Houston helped craft legislation that would create an Independent Ombudsman Office for TYC. [2/21/19 see update on Borris Miles below]

The purpose of establishing an Independent Ombudsman Office was to promote transparency and accountability of the Youth Authority, which had plunged into an environment rife with chaos and dysfunction. Senator Miles had a genuine concern to provide a ‘security blanket’ for children who found themselves inside facilities operated by TYC.

In 2019 Senator Miles has teamed up with Texas State Representative Jarvis Johnson (D) Houston in order to create a similar Independent Ombudsman Office to oversee the operations of the Texas Department of Criminal InJustice (sic!). If you are a womyn incarcerated in Texas and your family or a friend has made use of the current TDCJ Ombudsman Office and are dissatisfied with the results, then I highly recommend that you have your loved ones contact Texas State Senator John Whitmire (D) Houston and tell him about your experience and why you feel it is absolutely necessary that the Legislature create an Independent Ombuds­man Office or better still, an Independent Oversight Committee with authority to conduct investigations and enter these prison facilities un-announced!

I know our incarcerated Sisters in Texas have some horror stories to tell and now it is time for your VOICES to be heard! You may feel passionately enough about the topic to contact a journalist who is interested in reporting your story and if that is the case, then I suggest you contact staff reporter Keri Blakinger of the Houston Chronicle. You can mail Keri Blakinger a sealed letter marked Media Mail at the following address: The Houston Chronicle, Attn: Keri Blakinger-Staff Reporter, 4747 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77027.

I would like to clarify that Texas State Senator John Whitmire is the Chairman of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee and he and his colleagues have the authority to approve a Congressional Hearing on the recent legislation crafted by Senator Miles and Representative Johnson. So it is imperative that we collectively show Senator Whitmire that there is a public interest in the creation of an Independent Over-Sight Committee or Independent Ombudsman Office. I will provide the Senators contact address if you should be interested in writing him: Texas State Senate, Senator John Whitmire, P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Station, Austin, Texas 78711.

I encourage you to get involved now.

Ironically, I recently mailed a letter to Texas State Representa­tive Jarvis Johnson and it was illegally intercepted by mailroom supervisor Janet Salles here on the McConnell Unit.

My letter to Rep. Johnson was specifically concerning the new legislation he and Senator Miles have crafted regarding the Independent Ombudsman Office. My support network has filed a complaint with the current TDCJ-Ombudsman Office and they have requested that the Depart­ment of Public Safety and the F.B.I. investigate our allegations of obstructing Access to a Public Official! This will be a good test case to see if the current Ombudsman Office can be Transparent and Effective when posed with serious issues. This actually is not the first time that this Mail Room Supervisor–Ms. Salles and her assistant Ms. Cherrill Merrell have attempted to hinder or interfere with my Access to a Public Official. I attempted to write Senator Whitmire in the summer of 2018 when I was filing my Civil Lawsuit over the inoperable HVAC System here at the McConnell Unit. TDCJ has established a pattern in which it uses any means at its disposal to keep a prisoner from blowing the WHISTLE!

The final issue that I would like to shed a discerning spotlight on are Gender Disparities in Educational Programming within TDCJ.

I became interested in this topic when I read the summer edition of the newsletter for the Texas Inmate Families Association better known as TIFA. This past summer Jennifer Erschabek the director of TIFA and her colleague Lauren Johnson provided some disturbing information that exposes horribly inadequate educational opportunities for incar­cerated wimmin in comparison to the opportunities offered to their male counterparts in Texas State Prisons.

The information in the newsletter was so good that I am going to repeat it right here for you verbatim! And please remember sisters: “knowledge is POWER!” The TIFA Contact Newsletter says:

According to recent reports, TDCJ provides many more educational opportunities to men than women. Indeed, the differences in educational programming offered to men versus women in TDCJ are stark. For example, men have access to 48 different technical education courses that include horticulture, plumbing trades, welding, and various automotive specialties.

Men can also receive apprenticeships to train for careers as cooks, assem­bler technicians, combination welders, and automotive specialists. By contrast, women have access to less than half the technical education courses men can take, and only one apprenticeship opportunity in cooking. Yet these courses prepare people for a range of different careers when they leave TDCJ.

Even more glaring are the differences in post-secondary education programs offered in men’s and women’s units.

On the one hand, men can earn up to a Master’s Degree through the college and university partners that TDCJ contracts with. They can also earn an Associates of Applied Science or vocational certificate in any of 15 different trades, ranging from Automotive Technology, to Industrial Design, to Substance Abuse Counseling.

Women, on the other hand, may only earn up to an Associates Degree, or seek vocational certifications in one of only two fields: Office Administration or Culinary Arts/Hospitality Management. These differences are not only blatantly unfair as it pertains to the number of opportunities available, but also represent a reductive and outdated view of the role and capacity of women in the workplace.

Providing comprehensive educational programming to both men and women is a vital component of the rehabilitative process. It offers hope for a better future and empowers inmates to gain the skills they will need to succeed when they leave TDCJ. In severely limiting women’s access to educational programming, TDCJ has turned a blind eye to the long-term needs of the women in its care, and reinforced antiquated gender stereo­types in the process.”

Sisters, you have to admit the Texas Civil Rights Project and TIFA did an incredible job with this report and making it available to the Public at Large. It most certainly got my attention and it should be getting the attention of every Texas Legislator who sits on the Senate

Criminal Justice Committee or the House Corrections Committee this Legi­slative Session. What the Prison Agency of TDCJ has done is systematically set our incarcerated wimmin up for failure once they are released! How can TDCJ-CID director Lorie Davis not be aware of the deleterious effect her policies are having on wimmin? Or possibly she is aware? This won’t be the first time poor people and wimmin of color have been dealt a un­fair hand by the State of Texas! WE CAN NOT ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE ANY LONGER!!

The Texas Civil Rights Project is conducting a study in regard to these Gender Disparities in Educational Programming within TDCJ. If you are a womyn incarcerated in Texas and you are being refused access to cer­tain educational opportunities because you are a womyn then once again, I highly recommend that you contact some people who are interested in hearing your VOICE. Please Contact: The Texas Civil Rights Project

Attn: TDCJ Educational Programs, 1405 Montopolis Dr., Austin, Texas 78741. Sisters, the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement is currently search­ing for wimmin incarcerated in TDCJ who are interested in becoming Freedom

Fighters, Journalists, and Political Activists. I encourage you to have your family or friends to contact our Free-World spokeswomyn–LAVENDER–at: sillymongoose@protonmail.com YOUR VOICE AND YOUR LIFE MATTERS!

[UPDATE 2/21/19]

Comrade Malik speaks out about Borris Miles: https://comrademalik.com/2019/02/21/we-will-not-be-quiet/ after Sex and the Senate piece by Mary Tuma was published: https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/2019-01-25/sex-and-the-senate-what-will-it-take-to-curb-sexual-harassment-at-the-texas-state-capitol/

Malik still is 110% in support of the proposed independent ombudsperson office

SOURCE LIST FOR #MeToo Essay!

  1. Baylor University-Fraternity President Jacob Anderson receives no Jail-Time for Sexual Assault! (National Public Radio December 2018)
  1. #MeToo Stories from inside Texas Prisons! Part I (comrademalik.com) by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington April/May 2018
  1. Brett Kavanaugh & Dr. Christine Blasey Ford Scandal Source: The Week–Dec 21/Dec 28, 2018 Volume 18 Issue 904-905
  1. BJS Report Finds Prisoner Sexual Abuse Allegations Continue to Rise by Kevin W. Bliss —-Prison Legal News –December 2018 Volume 29 No. 12
  1. Advocates Say Timing is Right for Independent Oversight of Texas Prisons. by Hannah Wiley/ Texas Tribune—November 26, 2018
  2. Gender Disparities in Educational Programming within TDCJ by The Criminal Justice Reform Team at the Texas Civil Rights Project
  3. Texas Civil Rights Project for providing the info on inequalities of Educational Opportunities. Source: TIFA Contact –Vol. 23 No. 3 (July 2018)
  4. The Official Newsletter of Texas Inmate Families Association. GIVE EVERYONE SOME CREDIT!!

 

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement; he is a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and the Deputy Chairman of the New African Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter).

Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons cam­paign. You can view his work at comrademalik.com or you can read articles and essays that he regularly writes for the San Francisco Bay View-National Black Newspaper. You can read his articles at: http://sfbayview.com/?s=keith+malik+washington or you can write Malik directly at:

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