In solidarity, Prison conditions

WE MUST FORCE TEXAS PRISON OFFICIALS TO SHOW COMPASSION TOWARD Paulina and Miguel!! 

By Comrade Malik
deputy chairman
New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter)

Peace and Blessings to all of my Comrades throughout the United States, Europe, and Canada!!  I send out a clenched fist salute and an Anti-Fascist ‘HELL YEAH’ to Turning the Tide our comrades in Anti-Racist-Action-Los Angeles.

Miguel Flores and his mother, Paulina Gracia

Alright, by now some of you may have heard that my comrades and I have been trying to convince the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (sic!) to approve a Contact Visit between Miguel Flores, a prisoner 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 isn’t good.

At this time I’d like to give all of you a few more details so that you can understand exactly why I got involved in the first place.  Paulina is in her early 60’s, she is weighing about 75 pounds right now.  The Doctors have installed a medi-port in Paulina’s chest up by her clavicle.  The purpose is so that they can administer pain medications, chemo-drugs, as well as antibiotics.  Paulina is very weak and has been making regular visits to the hospital.

For those of you who didn’t know, I lost my mother around 8 years ago right around this time of year—it hurts very much to lose your mom when you are trapped inside one of these slave kamps and gulags.  AS a humyn being and a son you really want the chance to hug your mom and tell her how much you LOVE her and APPRECIATE all she has done for you!!  I NEVER GOT THE CHANCE TO DO THAT!!

I don’t speak about this or my personal life very much because these are painful memories.  These are memories which I have sought to suppress!  It is memories such as these that have led many of us housed in Solitary Confinement in Amerikkka to engage in Self-Harm and other Self Destructive behaviors.  Helping Miguel and Paulina is therapeutic for me!!  To see them be united—even if just for an Hour or Two is a worthy cause.  It helps me work through my own grief—SO THIS IS PERSONAL COMRADES!!  Miguel and I have become friends and even Comrades as I’ve been able to awaken something inside of him that he didn’t even know existed!!  Revolutionaries are not Borm they are MADE!!  Can y’all dig that??  Miguel wants to learn how to be an Abolitionist and a Servant of the People!!  Comrades, in reality, we should not have to force Texas Prison officials to show some compassion and empathy toward Miguel and Paulina but that is all these oppressors understand!!  SO WE GONNA HAVE TO SHOW THEM THE POWER OF THE PEOPLE!!

My close comrade and friend—Julie Schneyer of Blue Ridge ABC, Marisa Evans of Pittsburgh ABC, and Sloan Rucker the Free-World Media Rep and spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas-Movement as well as a wide range of Anarchist, New Afrikans, and Freedom Fighters all across the Nation have begun to organize a Campaign which seeks to FORCE THESE OPPRESSORS to allow Miguel and Paulina an opportunity to HUG each other, maybe cry together, and just ‘BE’.  Is anything I am saying making any sense to you??  This may be their last opportunity to touch one another!!  You know Comrades, the World has gone ALL WRONG DOWN HERE IN TEXAS!!  Donald Trump and Mattis told everybody that the Violent Caravan Mob was invading from the South—and thus far all we have seen are wimmin and children being GASSED and 7-year-old little girls from Guatemala wind up DEAD in the Custody of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security!!  I’ve already shared my strategy with Comrade Julie, Marisa, and Sloan who has been visiting me regularly—BUT WE NEED MORE HELP PLEASE!!  I keep telling folks that it is going to take way more than just throwing Money at the problem, WE MUST GET INVOLVED!!!

It is going to take a BIG ASS COLLECTIVE EFFORT in order to reach the Governor of Texas as well as Texas Legislators and Media Correspondents!  There is Power in the people!!  SI SE PUEDE!!  (Yes We Can).

I believe in all of you, and I think y’all believe in me, SO LET’S JOIN TOGETHER AND MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People!!

Some Key contacts for you to get at!!

  1. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott

Email: agency_constituent_responses@gov.texas.gov     (there is an “underline” mark between agency & constituent)

  1. TDCJ-Executive Director—Bryan Collier

Email: exec.director@tdcj.texas.gov

Phone:  (936)295-6371

  1. TDCJ-Public Information Officer—Jeremy Desel

Email: Jeremy.Desel@tdcj.texas.gov

Phone: (936)437-6055

WE DESPERATELY NEED MEDIA COVERAGE AND IT WILL HELP US IF YOU WILL CONTACT—Staff Reporter Keri Blakinger of the Houston Chronicle and ask her to cover this STORY!  Her phone# (713)362-7559.

Miguel Flores TDC #2084651 is housed here at the McConnell-Restrictive Housing Unit in Beeville, Texas and his mom Paulina Gracia lives in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Your phone calls and emails made on their behalf are greatly appreciated—like I said, this is going to take a Massive Collective Response—-Comrade Malik in Texas”

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End Prison Slavery, Prison conditions

ComradeMalik LIVES!!!

by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

Peace & Blessings Sisters and Brothers!!

I have some really good news to report and I think we all could use a little good news. With the Mass Shootings and Wild Fires and the Loss of Humyn Lives–We all could use a small sign of HOPE.

You know a lot of the people throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, as well as the Middle East and Asia who have been following ComradeMalik.com and the Prison Abolition, Struggle in Amerika–these people are ACTIVISTS! And those who are not Activists are very passionate humyn beings who care about Humyn Rights!

My comrade justin adkins and I are Humyn Rights Activists!! We are FREEDOM FIGHTERS. So when the Texas Department of Criminal Justice charged me with a Major Disciplinary Infraction for violating their Social-Media Policy (Code 45.0) in August 2018, we began to FIGHT! I reached out to people like you as well as my closest comrades and friends throughout the U.S. and Europe. I said to all of them:

“Hey, this is an attack on our First Amendment Free Speech Rights!!

ComradeMalik.com does not meet the criteria or definition of a Social Media Site. These people are trying to SILENCE MY VOICE OF PROTEST!!! I NEED YOUR HELP IN FIGHTING THIS INJUSTICE!!” I mean this was my message to THOUSANDS of people. For Months there wasn’t any movement on the case. I was kept in a very restrictive and punitive section of this Ad-Seg Unit. I lost all my privileges!! I was denied access to a radio for months and as you all know the same people who wrote the case were the same ones tampering with my Mail! I was prohibited from purchasing any food items and to add insult to injury I STILL AM BEING STRIP SEARCHED AND FILMED WITH A DIGITAL CAMERA EVERY-DAY!!!

So when people wonder why I was HUNGER STRIKING RECENTLY, NOW YOU KNOW!! Well, on November 12, 2018, I was summoned to the office of Senior Warden Phillip J. Sifuentes here at McConnell Unit. He said that he had some GOOD NEWS for me. Apparently, TDCJ’s Disciplinary Case Supervisor a Ms. Stacey Crowley and the Texas Attorney General’s Office informed Senior Warden Sifuentes taht the Major Disciplinary Case I received in August 2018 for violating TDCJ’s Social Media Policy had been officially OVERTURNED! All of the Good Time I had lost and the LINE CLASS that I had Lost have been Returned to Me!! This is very Significant!! First and foremost I want to Thank GOD for giving me the Patience, Intellect, and the Will to RESIST OPPRESSION! Secondly, I WANT TO THANK ALL OF YOU!! My Comrades and Friends who openly and some anony­mously Fought and Continue to FIGHT on my behalf!!

Comrades, I must tell you this: NOW IS THE TIME THAT WE MUST PUSH AND ADVOCATE STRONGLY FOR MY RELEASE FROM AD-SEG AND THEN BEGIN TO FOCUS ON PAROLE AND FREEDOM!! PLEASE CONTACT TDCJ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR BRYAN COLLIER AND REQUEST A “SPECIAL REVIEW” BE DONE OF MY CASE SO I CAN GET OUT OF AD-SEG!

I believe in Mutual Aid and Solidarity and I Believe in YOU!! TELL THE WORLD THAT ComradeMalik.com LIVES!!!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win,    All Power to the People!!

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End Prison Slavery, In solidarity, Music, Prison conditions

IN AMERIKKKA–THE POLICE ARE TRAINED TO PERCEIVE BLACK MALES AS: “THE BAD-GUY”!

by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington
Peace & Blessings Sisters and Brothers! I’m Back!! Well actually I never left. I have a provocative topic to discuss with all of you today and if possible I would like some feed back for a change.

How many of you have heard Pro-Gun and Pro-National Rifle Association folks say: “The best way to stop a “bad guy” with a gun is a Good Guy with a Gun!!”

Well, I want you to try an experiment with me. I want you to close your eyes and picture a handsome, Blond haired, Blue-eyed, white male. He has a white T-shirt on with the words USA#1 and he has a pair of blue-jeans on with a Gun holstered to his belt!

Now place that guy–that image you just created and place him to the side–don’t erase him–keep your eyes closed and try to concentrate.

Now picture a handsome, dark-skinned black male. His hair is neatly braided in corn-rows, he has brown eyes and is clean shaven. He has a black T-shirt on that says: #BLACK LIVES MATTER! He has on a pair of blue-jeans with a Gun holstered to his belt!

Now with your ‘Minds-Eye’ place both these images that you have created next to each other and look at them good!

How do you feel? Which one is the ‘Bad-Guy’?? Be honest! Let me ask you something: Do you think our Subjective Feelings are reliable when making such determinations without any further info? I mean do humyn beings have the ‘Gift’ of just being able to look at a person and assess the ‘Threat’ that person poses to our safety and security??

Now it is time to talk about E.J. Bradford in Hoover, Alabama!! E.J. was an Honorably Discharged Veteran of the U.S. Army. He was a BLACK Man with a conceal carry gun permit, a man who LOVED PEOPLE! A man who wanted to protect people but he was murdered by Hoover Police who mistook him for the ‘Bad-Guy’! In reality E.J. Bradford was the GOOD GUY! But now he is DEAD!! Why is that??

The Mayor of Hoover, Alabama prematurely announced to all that would listen, that E.J. was the ‘Bad-Guy’ that his courageous officers had killed!! I mean “He ‘looked’ like the ‘Bad-Guy’ to the Cops didn’t he???” A Black Guy with a gun must be a threat Right?? WRONG!!! Do Black Lives Really Matter in Amerika??

In Amerika–Racism is Real!! In our Law Enforcement Agencies from the very Top at the F.B.I. all the way down to the Local Cop in
‘Mayberry-USA’ Racist attitudes and negative perceptions of Black Males and ‘Arab Looking’ males Like Me is a SYSTEMIC PROBLEM!
Why the hesitation in releasing the VIDEO in Hoover, Alabama??

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation can make a copy to share with the public folks!! RELEASE THE DAMN VIDEO!
Let US determine with our own eyes what Police saw which prompted them to Murder E.J. Bradford in cold blood! But y’all won’t let us see it, will you?? No, you won’t!!

It’s not just racism that we are confronted with, it is the Culture of the COVER-UP within the Fraternal Order of Police as well as inside Prisons and Jails throughout the United Snakes of Amerikkka! They Close Ranks and Erect a Blue-Wall of Silence when they have taken Black Lives or even Australian Lives!!
OH HOW QUICKLY WE HAVE FORGOTTEN ABOUT JUSTINE!! Justine in Minneapolis, Minnesota killed by a cop in her pajamas!!
The Police Commissioner and the Mayor screams: WE DON’T DO THAT!!

OH! You don’t do that?? Ok, then tell me why those cops in Chicago, Illinois are on Trial Right Now??! The cop–Van-dyke murdered Laquan McDonald!! His colleagues LIED, FALSIFIED DOCUMENTS, and Tampered with Evidence all in an effort to cover-up the Murder of LaQuan!! But Y’all don’t do that!!? ARE WE ALL STUPID? NO, WE ARE NOT! These are not isolated incidents sisters and brothers. There is a pervasive and systemic problem that exists! It’s down here in TEXAS! It’s Right Here in the Prison I am at Right Now! I see it in the eyes of the Warden, in the way, the Parole Board Continues to Deny my Release–year after year after year! I’ve been kept in solitary, denied programming, given fabricated and bogus disciplinary infractions, baited into physical and verbal confrontations, housed with neo-nazis and white supremacists–with the hope I’d get into a Fight–so I can be LABELED-VIOLENT, BLACK, AND MILITANT!!

I mean I fit the ‘Profile’ don’t I?? Large Beard, Olive Skin, Dark eyes, heavy eyebrows, the ‘Classic’ Middle-Eastern Look! He must be a ‘Terrorist’! The narrow-minded thinking of TDCJ employees!

In order to STOP THE HATE, we must as a Nation as a People start looking deeper at humyn beings!! Did Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary look like a ‘Threat’? What about Ian David Long in Thousand Oaks?
What about this Fields Character who murdered the beautiful Freedom Fi2hter Heather HPY?K7 Seems we keep missing something!!

Last year the F.B.I. created this Black Identity Extremist designation!! How many of these ‘so-called’ B.I.E.’s have you seen involved in Mass Shootings here in Amerika?? Like I said, it all starts at the top!! It’s time to ask some thought-provoking questions and we must demand answers. For instance: “What type of ‘Images’ does the F.B.I. use in Quantico, Virginia when they train Law Enforcement Officers how they should respond to ACTIVE SHOOTERS?? Oh! Another ‘Secret’ huh? YOU FOLKS CONSPIRED TO SHUT ME UP, BUT I’M NOT GOING AWAY! and guess what?? I’M NOT BY MYSELF ANYMORE!! There are Tens of Thousands of us who are tired of the Stereotypes and the False Narratives!! Since when was it accepted to pummel wimmin and kids with TEAR GAS79?If ONLY IN TRUMP’S AMERIKKKA!! I just have one thing to say: SEE YA IN 2020 Donald!!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!!!

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End Prison Slavery, In solidarity, Music, Prison conditions

Demand Safe Housing for Trans Prisoners at Allegheny County Jail!

By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington and justin adkins

Peace and Blessings!!

On Thursday- October 25th, 2018 dozens of protesters assembled outside of the Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and they were demanding safe housing for Transgender Prisoners who’are currently housed at the County Jail. There have been too many violent assaults of trans prisoners who have been thrown into cells with men who seek to degrade them, dehumanize them, and sexually assault or even rape them!! I’m mad— as hell. I spent most of my childhood in the City of Pittsburgh and I’m proud of that.

However, I have a message for the Mayor of Pittsburgh and ALL members of the Pittsburgh City Council: What if you were the parent of a Transgender humyn being? What if they went to jail for something like unpaid traffic tickets or drinking in public or some innocuous offense?? How would you feel if your loved one was thrown into General Population at the Jail and they were beat up badly and sexually assaulted?? Wouldn’t that hurt you?? Aren’t we better than this? remember when I was a Kid in the City of Pittsburgh and we had a Bad Ass Baseball Team–the Pittsburgh Pirates were Incredible and Willie Stargell was Our Super Star!! The Black Female R&B Group Sister Sledge had a smash hit called: WE ARE FAMILY!

Everybody in the City was feelin that Song and we looked out for one another!! Yeah, I’m talking to PITTSBURGHERS Now!! You should listen to me!!! Transgender people are fantastic humyn-beings and we should be sensitive to the fact that a Trans Prisoner can easily be victimized in the wrong setting. I think we can create safe housing for Trans Prisoners which is not Solitary Confinement!! I’m currently housed in one of the most oppressive prison systems in the United States-I’m in Texas! And although the State of Texas leads the nation in the amount of citizens it incarcerates, Texas has begun to comply with Federal Law and has respected the RIGHTS of Trans-Prisoners to be housed in a Healthy and Safe environment. The Prison Rape Elimination Act better known as PREA is not just for Texas Prisoners it also applies to Pennsylvania Prisoners!! The Allegheny County Jail is out of Compliance and out of step with the evolving standards of decency in a MODERN HUMANE SOCIETY!! PROTECT AND RESPECT ALL TRANSGENDER HUMYN BEINGS!! Get your act together Allegheny County Jail!!

WE SHALL NOT REMAIN SILENT–Dare to struggle, Dare to Win, ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!! (ALL the People).

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Prison conditions

Comrade Malik speaks from inside the South Texas Gulag – McConnell Unit Ad-Seg

Originally posted on incarceratedworkers.org

Revolutionary Greetings Comrades! Today is August 26th, 2018. I’m holding on, not sure if my pleas for help are making their way out. Things keep on getting progressively worse here.

I arrived here on June 25th, 2018. I was classified a Level 1 in security class and a 5-4 Line Class in excellent standing, with nearly two years clear disciplinary record.

In fact, I was actually released from ad-seg on the 21st of June, 2018.

I walked the prison hallways of Ramsey I Unit in Rosharon, Texas for one single day!

Y’all should have seen all the hugs I received from Muslim brothers and other well-wishers who hadn’t seen me in person for a few years. It sure felt good – one day of quasi-freedom. Then I was literally kidnapped! Texas initiated an extra-judicial rendition program against me on U.S. soil!

Sisters and brothers, what is going on here at McConnell Unit is a well-coordinated, highly illegal, and malicious campaign to retaliate against me for filing civil lawsuits – but that ain’t all!

The relentless human rights and abolition works that I’ve been doing with the help of some very dedicated ABC collectives throughout the U.S. and Europe, along with my comrades at IWOC & IWW – well folks, I’ve been labeled Public Enemy #1!

When I first arrived here, Senior Warden Philip Sifuentes kept moving me just about every 3 days – F-61, B-79, F-45, and then the torture chamber F-82! F-82 was badly smoke damaged with black soot, and it became a burning hell-fire inferno at night when that cement releases a torturous thermal attack on your body – it hurt me.

I am so very thankful for all of the phone calls and emails y’all made on my behalf to get me moved downstairs to F-74. It’s for from comfortable, but I will survive! I always do! Thank Allah!

I’d like to give a special revolutionary salute to Comrade Julie Schneyer of the awesome Blue Ridge ABC Collective in Asheville, North Carolina. Julie gave the corrupt and unethical Warden Sifuentes an earful – regularly! Her work, coupled with the radio support from the Final Straw Radio, made one helluva difference, but we got a lot more work to do!

I’m being isolated and silenced! I’ve tried to send out pleas for legal help and mail room supervisor Janet Salles and STG [Security Threat Group] Sergeant Joe D. Mireles have been literally picking specific letters to throw away! My mail is being blocked!

On July 5th, 2018, I was convicted of attempting to solicit help from Professor Victor Wallis for ending a lengthy essay about my conditions with the words “On August 21st we rise”.

When I tried to appeal this bogus case, Unit Grievance Investigator Jessica Garcia “lost” my grievance – corruption! I’ve reached out to Julie Schneyer and Calvin Burnap about this and still no response – it’s been weeks since I wrote them, something is wrong!

I don’t feel safe here, comrades! When the oppressors start intercepting your outgoing mail, that is a big red flag – it spells DANGER! Can y’all hear me?

I hope y’all can get me moved from this place! Obviously, this entire move was a set-up. I’m strong, but not invincible. Something unjust & illegal is going on here!

Dare to struggle, dare to win, all power to the people!

Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3001 South Emily Drive, Beeville, TX 78102.

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Prison conditions

Imprisoned human rights activist and journalist Keith Malik Washington teams up with Texas CURE for Prisoner Fan Fund Drive

“There are two kinds of pain in this world pain that hurts and pain that alters.”

Denzel Washington (actor) an excerpt from The Equalizer 2

Peace and blessings sisters and brothers!

It is August in Texas and climate change is real and not a hoax!

Some of you may read this quote from Denzel and be like, “hmmm, that’s different.” The point I want to make perfectly clear is that the extreme heat inside Texas prisons is hurting human beings! And what is remarkable is that I am witnessing harm being done to prisoners and prison guards who happen to work for the State of Texas! I’m currently housed at the McConnell unit which is located in Beeville Texas. Now I have been friends with Joan Covici he and Michael Jewell of Texas CURE for approximately seven or eight years. In 2012 during a deadly heat wave, an immature TDCJ Lieutenant unplugged my whirlwind fan which was plugged up to the pipe chase. The pipe chase is a small utility closet outside of a prison cell here in Ad-Seg (solitary confinement).

At the time I was on level III disciplinary housing wing and Estelle high security located in Huntsville Texas. Electrical outlets had been removed from all cells on 1-row for “security reasons” the HVAC system at Estelle had just gone out during a deadly heat wave which had just claimed the lives of two prisoners on July 1, 2012. On July 2, 2012, the very next day, this Lieutenant unplugged my fan and the fan of all 1-row prisoners house on C wing high-security unit. That young lieutenant is now a major on the Eastham Unit!

After this incident, I immediately wrote a letter to Joan and Michael in they intervened and advocated on my behalf and many other prisoners housed at Estelle.

The executive director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice at the time was Brad Livingston. Texas CURE encouraged Mr. Livingston to craft a new policy which is still in place today! All level III prisoners in Texas may have their fans plugged up in the pipe chase!

I am saying all that to say – is that sometimes humyn beings must come together in order to make smart decisions that will save lives!

Hello? Brian Collier… Lorie Davis, can you hear me now?

A life is precious, whether it be the life of an old convict like me or green as the grass TDCJ correctional officer who is trying to make an honest days pay for an honest days work – although I definitely don’t agree to their career choice -Prison guards are people too!

Right now many of these prison units in Texas are super hot! There are thousands of prisoners who have loved ones who can help purchase one of these life-saving whirlwind fans. There are also officers who sit at their duty posts drenched with sweat who also could benefit from a cool breeze every once and awhile. You see these prison guards can’t speak to Y’all, but I can!

I am pleading with you today to look deep inside your heart and consider making a donation to the cast Texas CURE fan fund!

Think about the lives you may alter and change in a positive way. Some prisoners languish in these super-heated environments thinking that no one really cares – so why should they change their outlook on life?

My life changed dramatically because Texas CURE cared about me!!

Now I am leading a movement which seeks to Abolish Prison Slavery and Amend the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution.

We will share with you all the info you need. Please donate today and tell them, “Comrade Malik sent you!”

May God bless you all Today – PEACE

DONATE NOW!

You can help bring such joy to an indigent prisoner by donating $20.00, the price of a fan, to the Texas CURE Fan Program today. Money donated is used only for fans. Texas CURE is a 501 (C3) nonprofit organization. Donations are tax deductible. Since our inception, we have purchased 10,000 fans for indigent Texas prisoners

Please help, Send donations to Texas CURE Fan Program, P.O. Box 38381, Dallas, TX 75238-0381  

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Prison conditions

Deadly Extreme Heat & Deliberate Indifference inside Texas Prisons: The Culture of Neglect and Abuse Continues

“Plaintiffs allege that “sweltering temperatures inside buildings where [TDCJ] houses inmates”, including the Wallace Pack Unit, have caused at least twelve prisoners in the Texas prison system to die from heat stroke, and hundreds more prisoners to suffer from heat-related illnesses since 2011/ They (plaintiffs) allege that defendants (TDCJ) have done nothing to lower the temperatures inside the housing areas.
They ask the Court to “[r]emedy ongoing violations of the law and the Constitution by granting declaratory and injunctive relief, as set out in [the] Complaint, on behalf of Plaintiffs, and the class” and to “[p]ermanently enjoin Defendants to abate the risk of serious harm described above by taking steps including, but not limited to, maintaining a heat index of 88 degrees or lower inside the Pack Unit’s housing areas.”1) – Excerpt from Memorandum and Order of Federal Judge Keith P. Ellison in Civil Action NO. 4:14-CV-1698, Keith Cole et al, Plaintiffs, vs Brad Livingston et al, Defendants, United States District Court, SD Texas, Houston Division, June 14, 2016
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. I considered the argument made by the lawyers at TCRP, and I agreed to withdraw my motion. I let the TCRP know that Ad-Seg prisoners housed at the Eastham Unit, and many other units like it, were suffering horribly in the summer months, just like those at Pack Unit.
It has been my hope that lawyers with the TCRP and the Edwards law firm would consider placing Eastham Unit, especially the Ad-Seg section, on their list of probable contenders to represented in the next deadly extreme heat lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (sic!)
It’s Hot in Here!
In early May 2018, Calvin Burnap, Julie Schneyer, Twitch and other members of our support team filed an ombudsman complaint on my behalf and on behalf of every heat-sensitive prisoner housed at the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit. What brought this complaint about was the fact that although I am a chronic seizure patient, who takes the anti-convulsant medication Dilautin, I was being housed on 3-Row and the temperatures were climbing fast in Texas, as we have been experiencing unseasonably hot temperatures here.
Just like in 2017, I and many other prisoners housed at Eastham were noticing TDJ employees weren’t very interested in ensuring we received cold water and ice continuously, as stated by TDCJ Ombudsman Bryan Buck. Furthermore, University of Texas Medical Branch personnel forgot that I should be on the heat restriction list, and should therefore be housed on 1-Row instead of the ultra-hot 3-Row. So our thinking was, “how many others did they ‘forget’ about?”
As a result of the ombudsman complaint, I was moved from 3-Row to 1-Row on E-Line, that was on May 16th 2018. Eastham Unit was on lockdown and the yearly Ramadan Fast had begun. I am an observant Sunni Muslim.
During lockdowns, we are given very paltry “johnnies” or brown bag snacks, which consist of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, a meat sandwich and a couple of raisins or prunes.
By policy, no beverage is provided during a lockdown until one week has expired, but there was a problem! The heat index had been creeping way past 90° F, and TDCJ policy specifically states in AD-10.64 (rev 8) 2) that water and ice shall be provided at meal times – but that didn’t happen.
However, for those of us fasting for Ramadan, things got much worse. On May 18th, 2018, during the Iftar (evening meal), Muslim prisoners received no water, no ice, no cold beverage – nothing, just an extremely paltry “johnnie bag”! The heat index that day was 99° F! This incident was documented.
When you encounter incidents such as this, it is customary for conscious prisoners to utilize the TDCJ Offender Grievance Program in order to resolve such complaints. Eastham’s Grievance Department has established a history of not processing grievances properly, going as far as hiding grievances, refusing to investigate thoroughly, or conspiring with TDCJ employees to retaliate harshly against grievance filers so as to dissuade us from utilizing this corrupt vehicle for review.
It is worth mentioning that Eastham Unit Grievance Investigator Terri Hall was fired in January 2018, and her supervisor Delores Washington was removed by the agency because they engaged in activities which totally destroyed the integrity of the grievance process and sabotaged our access to the courts.
Delores Washington was a long-time TDCJ employee who knew better, but she had been seduced by the younger Terri Hall into engaging in nefarious behavior which enabled the wilful neglect and abuse of prisoners at the Eastham Unit.
What we are dealing with at Eastham Unit is a corrupt culture. A culture which I falsely thought was changing, but the reality is that it is more entrenched than ever, and getting progressively worse as I write this piece. Allow me to illustrate a case in point.
Blatant Deliberate Indifference
On Friday, June 1st 2018, on E-Line at the Eastham Ad-Seg Unit, the inside temperature had fluctuated between 96 and 100 ° F. My neighbor Eric Munoz, TDCJ # 1996614 had been complaining to me about headaches, dizziness, and nausea all day. I am housed in E-1-15 and Eric lives in E-1-16, we talk every day and get along well.
One of our main complaints here at Eastham has been the absolute refusal of the food service departments to provide us with cold water and ice. The problem has been especially bad during the afternoon shift (2pm-10pm), The correctional officer working E-Line on the afternoon of June 1st was Lacilynn Washington – remember that name. By 7:30pm, no ice or cold water had been provided to prisoners housed on E-Line – this is a regular occurrence.
Cold water and ice is the number on mitigation measure that TDCJ claims to make available to prisoners housed in their super-hot facilities. In fact, cold water and ice is the only heat mitigation measure available to ad-seg prisoners at Eastham, yet they refuse us access to that!
And now TDCJ has brought in new grievance investigators at Eastham, Carrie L Whatley, and Deborah A Phillips. They are performing horribly. They are boldly lying in their responses to our Step 1 grievances, stating that there is no evidence to substantiate our claims that ice and cold water are not being provided continuously. Eastham Unit has state-of-the-art Panasonic network surveillance cameras. Somebody is lying, and I can prove it if I can get access to the surveillance camera footage!
At 7:45 pm on Friday, June 1st, 2018, Shift Supervisor Sergeant Michael A Manning conducted his “security rounds” on E-Line. My neighbor Eric Munoz told the sergeant about his headaches and dizziness. He informed the Sergeant about the fact that no cold water with ice had been made available on this extremely hot day on his shift.
After Sergeant Manning spoke with Mr. Munoz, I spoke with him and asked if he would ensure that Muslim prisoners were provided with ice and cold water when we break our fast, which would be about 8:15 pm that day. I quoted policy AD-10.64 (Rev 8), and Sgt. Manning got on his radio in order to contact the officer who was passing out cold water that evening, CO Miri K Duhon.
At approximately 8:00 pm, Sgt Manning left E-Line.
The entire time Sgt Manning was on E-Line, officer Lacilynn Washington sat on her stool, neglecting her obligation to carry out her required welfare checks. Remember, they have surveillance cameras here. Lacilynn Washington is in her early twenties and is a third-generation TDCJ officer. Her grandfather, grandmother, and father all work or worked for TDCJ. Lacilynn Washington is a white woman – the name Washington is kind of rare of white folks nowadays. How much do you want to bet that former Grievance Supervisor Delores Washington is related to Lacilynn? Cronyism, nepotism, and obstruction of justice tactics are the hallmarks of the prison agency TDCJ.
At approximately 8:15 PM, CO Duhon, the officer passing out cold water, showed up at E-Line’s front door. CO Washington waved her off!
At this time, my neighbor, Eric Munoz, said “Malik, man I don’t feel good – man I need some help man.” I heard a thud. I began to yell for help – other prisoners began to bang and yell loudly.
CO Washington didn’t budge. Now, remember, this is on 1-Row, and all she had to do is walk down the row to see what was going on.
At 8:45 PM, Officer Duhon was finally let on the block to serve cold water, for the first time all afternoon. I personally screamed at Duhon, saying “Ms. Duhon, we got a man down here! We need help!” Ms. Duhon had started serving cold water on 3-Row. When she arrived at my neighbor’s cell, she was visibly shaken to see Eric Munoz passed out on the floor.
Duhon called CO Washington to Eric’s cell, and told her “call for help!” At 9:00 PM, three supervisors showed up at Eric’s cell – Sergeant Curtis Runels, Sergeant Berta L Harris, & Lieutenant Michael S Brown.
They had Eric’s door opened, cuffed him, and helped him into a wheelchair. Eric was taken to the medical department, where he spoke to a physician via video link. One of the main things the physician admonished TDCJ officers about was their failure to make cold water and ice available to prisoners.
However, the unethical Eastham Grievance Department continues to state “there is no evidence to substantiate your claims – no further action warranted.” Their “go to” response to every grievance we file.
What really added insult to injury here was that CO Lacilynn Washington had the nerve to write disciplinary cases for creating a disturbance against prisoners who banged in order to get help for Eric Munoz!
What is really crazy is that CO Washington wrote an incident report against Eric Munoz, claiming that not only was he banging and creating a disturbance while unconscious but that he used profane and vulgar statements against her! When Sergeant Douglas Skaggs read these allegations against Eric, I immediately spoke up and directed Sergeant Skaggs to the surveillance camera digital footage, which would clearly show CO Washington never got up off her behind to investigate the problem.
This is a classic example of why prisoners die of heat stroke inside Texas prisons, and why we continue to plead for the Texas legislature to create an independent oversight committee. A committee consisting of individuals with no historical ties to this unscrupulous and corrupt establishment.
In closing, I would like to state that TDCJ refuses to acknowledge the risks placed on prisoners who take medications or have conditions which compromise their body’s ability to cool itself. It is as if the Pack Unit lawsuit never happened.
I keep hearing Mavis Staples and the Staple Singers, singing loudly: “Let’s Do It Again!” Litigation is the only thing these oppressors understand.
In the Pack Unit lawsuit, the plaintiffs had medical experts on their team. One was Dr Michael McGeehin, an epidemiologist and former Director of the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Allow me to quote Dr McGeehin:
If people in a hot environment were experiencing symptoms like dizziness, sweating, and headaches, Dr. McGeehin testified, “every public health person I know would be alarmed.” He explained: “If you are saying these people are exposed to these temperatures and they are experiencing symptoms in the normal flow of symptoms that lead to heat exhaustion and heatstroke and death or impacting on other systems that may already be compromised, like their cardiovascular or respiratory system, of course, that’s alarming.” 3)
There is no accountability here at the Eastham Unit – that must change now! Will you help me make that change?
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, All Power to the People.
Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3001 South Emily Drive, Beeville, TX 78102.
Postscript:
One of the reasons that officers at the Eastham Unit feel comfortable in violating the human rights of the prisoners in their care, is that they have had the backing of high-ranking administrators.
Senior Warden Billy Lewis, Major James Kent, Major Blake Norman and Assistant Wardens Bruce Johnson & Kenneth Hutto are well aware that the conditions at Eastham pose an extreme risk to the health and lives of prisoners.
However, the culture of deliberate indifference starts at the top. There are officers who have complained about the deadly extreme heat, and they requested to be allowed to purchase special carriers which store ice and cold water.
Eastham has no way to provide ice for prisoners and guards. Senior Warden Billy Lewis shot down the request! He lounges in an office with cold air conditioning while prison guards and prisoners suffer in this inhumane setting.
Right as we speak, prisoners at the Eastham Unit are preparing to file another class action lawsuit which challenges the deadly heat and the toxic water.
Litigation and activism are the only ways to change these conditions inside Texas prisons. The State of Texas has absolutely no desire to recognize our humanity, so we must band together and make our voices heard in Federal Courthouses across the Lone Star State. Regardless of what anyone thinks, prison lives matter!
  1. TDCJ Policy on Extreme Temperatures, Administrative Directive 10.64 (rev 8)
  2. Testimony of Dr Michael McGeehin, cited in Memorandum and Order of Federal Judge Keith P. Ellison
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