Prison conditions

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN TEXAS PRISON FILES FEDERAL LAWSUIT CITING RETALIATION AND RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION!

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a Human Rights Activist, Environmentalist, Jailhouse Lawyer, and Freedom Fighter currently incarcerated in Texas. (Eastham Unit Ad-Seg located in Lovelady, Texas)
In 2015, Malik was housed at the Pack I Unit, a prison located in Navasota, Texas and the center of a current legal battle which seeks to force the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to install air conditioning at the facility.

While housed at Pack I in June thru September 2015, Mr. Washington (known to his friends as ‘Malik’) discovered the presence of high levels of ARSENIC in the water supply. Malik, who has become an accomplished journalist, began to expose the toxic water.

Malik also witnessed the mistreatment and abuse of elderly and infirm prisoners who were housed at Pack I. The abusers being TDCJ employees. Malik who is also an orthodox sunni muslim witnessed and was personally subjected to horrible acts of religious discrimination.

With the help of a dedicated network of Free-World Activists, Scholars, and Media Correspondents Malik was able to File Grievances while his supporters filed Formal Public Complaints with the TDCJ Ombudsman Office. (All of these actions are well documented.)
In a blatant act of retaliation for engaging in what the US Supreme Court has described as ‘Protected Conduct’, Malik was Transferred to a Maximum Security Prison with a Gang Problem. The Unit also has the distinction of being the largest prison in the Texas System. It is the HH Coffield Unit located in Tennessee Colony, Texas.

Upon his arrival on the unit in September 2015 Malik was informed by leading members of the Prison Muslim Community at Coffield that TDCJ Employee Chaplain Akbar Shabazz had phone the unit and ORDERED THEM not to allow Malik to speak at any Muslim Services and that Malik was not to be allowed to hold any position in the Muslim Community. It is noteworthy to mention that Malik has been the Muezzin on many Units. The Muezzin is the person who makes the Call to Prayer or Adhan before Salat (prayer). Not only did this TDCJ employee infringe upon Malik’s Religious Practice, he went further by telling the Muslim Inmate Leaders that Malik was an Islamic Extremist and a ‘Troublemaker’ who should be watched very closely. In essence this slanderous activity placed Malik in harm’s way.

This was only the beginning of a long history of reprisals against Malik for exercising his Free Speech Rights or attempting to Access the Courts or teach others to do so.

Many Prison Abolitionists know that on September 8th 2016, one day before the largest Prison Work Strike in history, Malik was placed in solitary confinement and charged with a Riot that never materialized. Malik still languises in Ad-Seg locked in a small cage 23 to 24 hours a day!

Recently in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division: Malik has filed a Civil complaint (Lawsuit) against TDCJ – CID Director Lorie Davis as well as a long list of TDCJ employees which includes Chaplain Akbar Shabazz. In the Lawsuit Malik alleges that TDCJ employees engaged in an elaborate conspiracy to violate his Civil Rights, infringe upon his Religious Practice and Retaliate against him for filing grievances and Federal Lawsuits. The lawsuit also addresses the Toxic Water issues at Eastham:

(https://nationinside.org/campaign/prison-ecology/posts/complaints-launched-over-toxic-conditions-at-texas-eastham-unit-prison-2/)

The Cause# 6:17-cv-00401-RC-KNM. (Eastern District of Texas)

The Case is being supervised by Chief US District Judge Ron Clark and has been assigned to US Magistrate Judge K. Nicole Mitchell. Judge Mitchell will be handling all hearings of Pre-Trial matters and she will be submitting all recommendations for the disposition of Malik’s petition to US District Judge Clark.

At this time, Malik and his Support Network is sending out a plea for Legal Representation. We would like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Constitutional Rights, as well as the Texas Civil Rights Project to review Malik’s allegations against TDCJ as we have seen a pattern of practice in which TDCJ conspires to retaliate against all prisoners who engage in ‘protected conduct’ and attempt to Access the Courts.

Malik is a Jailhouse Lawyer who is well versed in Constitutional Law, but he is no match for the State of Texas Attorney General Office which has employed unscrupulous tactics in the past in order to sabotage Malik’s litigation efforts.

We are reaching out to Civil Rights Lawyers everywhere who will be willing to come to Texas and aid our brother in Struggle.

 

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a humyn rights activist currently incarcerated in Texas. He is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. Malik is a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan 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 write him directly at:

 

Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington

TDC #1487958

Eastham Unit

2665 Prison Rd. #1

Lovelady, Texas 75851

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Prison conditions

Muslims & Jews in Texas Prisons need Legal Aid!

By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

Peace and blessings sisters and brothers!

I want to take this time to clarify some important issues regarding the recent dismissal of my lawsuit which relates to the growing of our Beards and the wearing of Kufis and Yarmulke prayer caps inside facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) (reference: Keith Washington v. Bryan Collier, et al. Civil Action No: 6:16-cv-1139-RC-JDL)

First, I want to state for the record that the Albritton Law Firm located in Longview, Texas has exceeded all of my expectations in regards to this lawsuit. We won on many issues and forced policy change which promotes a more inclusive, diverse, and tolerant environment inside Texas prisons.

Allow me to describe this in more detail in order to provide a clearer picture:
#1 With regard to the beard issue, TDCJ now has a policy which permits all prisoners to grow a fist length religious beard upon request. This includes Muslims and Jewish prisoners.
#2 TDCJ no longer requires prisoners to shave our beards on an annual basis! (This policy change was a direct result of this litigation.)
#3 In reference to the Kufi and Yarmulke issue; TDCJ now has a policy which permits all Muslims and Jews to wear religious headgear throughout all TDCJ facilities. However, the Attorney General of Texas and TDCJ interjected some deceptive language!! The only Kufi and Yarmulke we can wear must be purchased from the prison commissary!! I have a serious problem with this new policy and so should you. Here’s why: 70% of the prisoners housed in facilities operated by TDCJ are indigent – they have no money and TDCJ refuses to pay or compensate
prisoners for the labor they perform.

So the question presents itself: “If we have no money, how can we purchase a Kufi or Yarmulke and enjoy the Tenets of our faith?”
Sisters and brothers, TDCJ and the state of Texas cannot craft a policy which discriminates against prisoners who are indigent or have no money!! Moreover, there are hundreds if not thousands of Muslim and Jewish prisoners in Texas who have received approved Kufis and Yarmulkes for free (no charge) from non-profit religious organizations. We have these items in our possession but Texas in trying to monetize our right to practice our faith and extorting our family members!
The new policy on religious headgear is blatantly discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. We also may have a 1st Amendment – Free Exercise Clause Violation here. This specific issue was outside the scope of Albritton’s representation of me in this particular civil lawsuit. With that said, other prisoners are stepping up to the plate and challenging this policy as we speak! TDCJ and the Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton continue to craft policies which smack of antisemitism, islamophobia, and xenophobic tendencies.

Albritton Law Firm can’t do all the fighting alone. We desperately need help from Muslim and Jewish lawyers from organizations such as CAIR, the ACLU, the ADL. I am requesting that there be interfaith cooperation on this subject. We need your help.

Dare to struggle, Dare to win, All Power to the People!

——–

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison
Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing
Committee and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan 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 write him directly at:
Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington
TDC #1487958
Eastham Unit
2665 Prison Rd. #1
Lovelady, Texas 75851

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End Prison Slavery, Prison conditions

Re-distributing the Pain (2018) Shut ‘em DOWN!

By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

Chief Spokespersyn
End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement
I.W.O.C. member

“The Black Panther Party is a revolutionary Nationalist group and we see a major contradiction between capitalism in this country and our interests. We realize that this country became very rich upon slavery and that slavery is capitalism in the extreme. We have two evils to fight. Capitalism and racism. We must destroy both racism and capitalism.”

-Dr. Huey P. Newton

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!

Let me make something perfectly clear to the exploited lumpen prisoners in Amerika and our free-world supporters:

The only time these folks give a damn about what happens in these Slave Kamps is when the Slavery Business ceases to be profitable or beneficial to the oppressor.

Contaminated water does not move them! Deaths from deadly extreme heat does not move them! Not even the ever-rising number of prisoner suicides pricks the conscience of the oppressor.

But let the prisoners in Amerika wake up tomorrow morning “With it on their mind!!” I’m talking about one mind and one determined purpose!

Let those prisoners rise up collectively and say: “We refuse to work anymore and help maintain a system which degrades, dehumanizes and exploits us!”
WE WANT FREE!!

OH-All of a sudden “The Game” will change I promise you it will change FAST!

Florida is just the beginning!

We won’t be telegraphing every move we make. Now sit back and ponder on that Capitalist Pigs!

In 2018 it’s time to redistribute the pain. This is a National Call to Action to All Prisoners in Amerika and the United Kingdom Withdraw your Free Labor and Shut ‘em Down!

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

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In solidarity, Prison conditions

In Texas Prisons African National employees are the most Honorable and Dedicated!

OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 01/25/2018

Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington

TDC #1487958

Eastham Unit

2665 Prison Rd. #1

Lovelady, Texas 75851

In Texas Prisons African National employees are the most Honorable and Dedicated!

From Texas Prison insider, workers’ rights and abolition amidst poor conditions and insufficient funding

Lovelady, Texas: Peace and Blessings Sisters and Brothers! It is very rare that you will hear the TRUTH about what is actually happening behind these concrete walls and razor wire. The Public Information Officer for TDCJ Mr. Jason Clark continues on his path of deceptions and lies. In the aftermath of the suicide death of Benjamin Larue at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas there was a massive upheaval of prison employees from the Highest to the Lowest ranking officers. However, the group that was unfairly targeted the most were the many hard working and dedicated Nigerian and Kenyan officers who work in the Ad-Seg section of Eastham Unit. It is true that the officer working the wing (G-line) when Ben was found dead was a Nigerian National named Asongkeng Ngu. But what is happening in Texas prisons has been going on far too long and it is time we shed a discerning light on the problem!

The upper echelon of TDCJ prison administrators are white men and women. Many of you hear me use the words Racist or White supremacist when I talk about TDCJ administrators but that is not the correct terminology in what we are experiencing here and in so many other units where African Nationals are employed by this Prison Agency. Xenophobia is the operative Word!

Senator John Whitmire was actually very instrumental in bringing the African Nationals to TDCJ in order to bail the agency out of a horrible employee shortage of which it is still suffering from, because of low pay, poor working conditions and low morale. I’ve been to over 18 prison units in the past 10 years and I can tell you that the African National employees who work for this prison agency are some of the most honorable and dedicated workers I’ve ever seen! They rarely ever are involved in smuggling in contraband and they follow the TDCJ rules and policy to the best of their ability! I’m sick and tired of seeing this xenophobic prison agency discriminate against these WORKERS!

There are many overt and covert ways the Prison Agency discriminates against its African National employees. One thing I’ve noticed is the jobs or work assignments given to Africans in respect to the work assignments given to White and Black American Employees. A lot of this is ‘Taboo’ within the Agency and you would be hard pressed to get any employee to be forthcoming and talk about the ‘secret practice’ of discrimination against African employees. What is truly amazing about the African employees is their high level of education. Most, if not ALL, of the Nigerian and Kenyan employees here at Eastham have Advanced Degrees.

We have Civil Engineers, Pharmacists, Doc tors, Biologists and more! However, because of Racism and discrimination in the work environment in Texas and many other States across America, the Africans are hindered from realizing their ‘Dreams’ and forced into servitude to a Prison Agency which treates them as low class citizens!

I am no fan of any prison Agency in America, in fact, I am an abolitionist, but I am a champion of the WORKERS.

A lot of the African Nationals are here on Work Visas and I wonder, does this keep them from getting involved in the Correctional Officers Union!??? Lance Lowry is the President of the Union and I always hear him complaining about employee shortages but I never hear him speak up for the African Nationals who have done an incredible job helping TDCJ weather this storm that has come literally and figuratively. I am talking about two specific things here:
1) The massive budget cuts approved by the 85th Texas Legislature are taking a horrible toll on this Prison Agency.

2) Hurricane Harvey has created a horrible situation for a grossly underfunded agency.

I would like to see Investigative Journalists and Civil Rights Lawyers and Activists to conduct anonymous interviews with some of these hard working and honorable Africans in order to expose what is really going on up in these slave kamps and gulags.

TDCJ spokesperson Jason Clark can continue to tell you that all is well and that the Agency treats all of its employees equally but I promise you as this media release circulates there will be many Africans thanking me for attempting to shed light on the injustices they suffer through every day when they don this confederate army gray prison uniform in Texas. Until next time, I leave you all in Peace.

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan 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 write him directly at:

Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington

TDC #1487958

Eastham Unit

2665 Prison Rd. #1

Lovelady, Texas 75851

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Prison conditions

Eastham Unit Water Supply Shut Completely OFF! (Infrastructure Decay and Deliberate Indifference lead to Human Rights Violations – Again)

By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

“Hasan (Shakur) was the hardest worker I ever met. He founded organizations, sat on boards, and planned antiviolence concerts in the community. He put out a newsletter a hell of a lot more regularly than many groups on the outside. He helped numerous organizations with strategic planning. He pushed everyone around him mercilessly. And he did all this from a cell the size of a bathroom, with the held breath of murder’s stench on it.”
-Walidah Imarisha, exerpt from page 110 Angels with Dirty Faces

Hasan Shakur was the first minister of Humyn Rights for the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (prison chapter). The State of Texas murdered Hasan. They took his body from us. Recently I have been feeling Hasan’s spirit looking over my shoulder – nudging me – prodding me to do more. His legacy was to serve the People until Death overtakes us. I WILL uphold that legacy!

It’s Saturday – November 4th – 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 4 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 feces, urine, and humyn excrement.

By day #2 the pungent odor of humyn waste pervades the entire building. I could hear my fellow prisoners and comrades screaming and banging: “Bring us some fxxxing water!” Courtesy and decorum has been thrown completely out the window. A female officer named Ms. Scott was supposed to come around in the evening of day #2 with buckets of water to pour inside our toilets. She never showed up!

These buckets of water act as a kind of “courtesy flush” providing a temporary reprieve from the ubiquitous smell of raw sewage in our living area.

By day #3 the smell is unbearable but like many I’m locked in this cell 24 hours a day. The entire unit is on lock-down undergoing a bi-annual “shakedown” which is common at all Texas prisons.

Actually it was a horrible coincidence that a major pipe burst 2 days after the lockdown began. Prison workers have been slaving around the clock attempting to locate and fix the busted pipe(s). I have a birds eye view of their work area. They have been using a jackhammer to break up the concrete on the Ad-seg-rec yard.

In July 2017 Journalist Candice Bernd of Truthout.org interviewed me about the problems we’ve been experiencing here at Eastham concerning Toxic Water. I told Candice that the service lines at Eastham are corroded and have deteriorated badly. What we are experiencing here is infrastructure decay and neglect that could have been prevented.

Around 9am on Day #3 (Friday – November 3rd) prison guards finally arrive on my housing wing in order to provide the much needed “courtesy flush.” I try to watch how the officer pours water into my toilet – I’m worried that fecal matter and urine will splash on my bunk. The cells are very small here and I did have presence of mind to fold my mattress away from the toilet. As I turn my head to try and watch a prison guard named C.O. Galloway tells me to face the wall. I half-heartedly comply – I’m handcuffed, in shower shoes and out-numbered 7 to 1. I’m a big guy but you’ll never hear anyone say: “Washington is stupid.”

When I’m placed back in my cell the smell is worse than before the so-called “courtesy flush”. I do my best to wipe up the feces and urine that has splashed on my floor.

In regards to the provision of clean drinking water, we are at the mercy of the prison guards. Now in the summertime when the heat index reached 110°F-130°F we may have received water 4 times a day, maybe!!

With the water cut completely off they showed up Twice!! There is more beating and screaming throughout the day, it’s not just my prison block, the entire prison population is angry and frustrated.

Prior to the busted pipe incident, the Ad-seg supervisors – Captain Francisco Villegas and Assistant Warden Gregory Vaughn had been walking around regularly harassing prisoners over petty violations. I haven’t seen neither of them this week! I have heard horror stories about the toxic water here and the water being cut-off for weeks at a time. The last bad incident was in 2014. Awarder Reeves was here at Eastham.

Warden Reeves lied to the media and prisoners families claiming Eastham unit was passing out bottled water to prisoners during the 3-4 week shut down of the water supply. I think the Texas Department of criminal justice has a special training course for high level administrators: Professional Lying 101. Most likely the instructor of the course is Chief TDCJ Spokespersyn Jason Clark! Clark has perfected and actually mastered the finer points of fabricating lies and misinforming the public and media about prison conditions.

Day #4 (Saturday – November 4th 2017) We have visitation today and I’m hoping prisoner rights activist Azzura Crispino shows up like she said she would. Journalist Candice Bernd was my first visitor in 6 years!! I suppose many folks think I get plenty of visitors – I don’t. Considering my current circumstances I can’t stress enough the importance of visits in order to smash the deceptions and lies being fed to the public.

At 7am on Day #4, the water is turned back on. The water pressure is very low and that is not a good sign. At 9am I ask the officer working G-Line (where I live) Officer Duke if the water in the sink is safe to drink. He says “I don’t know. I’m not going to drink it.” Around 12pm I ask another TDCJ employee, a white female named Sergeant Martin who has a reputation of being fair and a ‘straight shooter’ in other words she tries to tell the truth which is rare as hell up in here. So I ask about the water coming out the tap in my cell. Sergeant Martin said “They are saying that there is sand in the water and that there is still a broken service line they have to try and find. The main reason they turned the water on is so y’all can flush your toilets but I’m not sure if the water is safe to drink.”

Historically when the water pressure is low, high levels of bacteria are present and the Texas Commission on

Environmental Quality issues Boil Notices! However, we cannot boil our water and the TCEQ has never had a vested interest in our health, safety, or welfare.

I made a vow that if I was ever here at Eastham and they cut the water off for an extended period of time that I would ‘scream’ like hell until my friends and comrades from Fight Toxic Prisons showed up at the front gate with media correspondents and signs which Demand the Closure of Eastham NOW!!

After 4 days with no water you would think that offering us showers would be a top priority but that is not what has happened!

Candice Bernd raised a very interesting point in her recent expose about the toxic water and other inhumane living conditions at Eastham Unit. US Magistrate Judge Keith Giblin is presiding over the Civil lawsuit filed by Eastham prisoner William Wells TDC#[text appears to have been erased]. Judge Giblin doesn’t think the problems at Eastham are serious. In fact, I believe he said the problem we are experiencing were “Routine” – nothing about what is going on here at Eastham is “routine.”

We have had to contend with corroded service lines which continue to leach high levels of lead and copper into our water supply! Many of us have contracted an incurable stomach ailment caused by a bacteria in Eastham’s water known as h. pylori!!

Just a couple of months ago Dr. Owen Murray who oversees TDCJ’s Correctional Managed Health Care Division told a flat out lie to PBS Newshour Journalist Kamala Kelkar when she inquired about the presence of h. pylori in the water supply. In fact, let me quote exactly what Kamala told me:  “Dr. Owen Murray, vice president for offender health services told me that they do not test for or diagnose h. pylori and also said that there has not been an issue with stomach problems at Eastham or any other unit.”

The University of Texas Medical Branch and employees working for TDCJ are lying to the media and the public!!

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey we have seen an increase contaminated water supplies in South East Texas.

Prisoners in Texas are considered less than humyn, we are mistreated, abused, dehumanized, marginalized and silenced. We desperately need media exposure and legal aid in order to combat and confront these professional liars and violators of the public’s trust.

Operating a prison system without any meaningful oversight has opened the door for the delivery of inconsistent standards which have led to humyn rights violations.

Please don’t ignore us. We are humyn beings!

Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win

All Power to the People.

Addendum

It is absolutely imperative that I maintain integrity and truthfulness as well as objectivity in my reporting about conditions inside these $lave kamps and gulags.

With that in mind, I report that at 6pm on Saturday November 4th 2017 the prisoners housed in Ad-seg on my line (G-Line) were offered the opportunity to take a shower. I did take a shower! I must also add some more information about the quality of the water here at Eastham. Many people do not realize that it is not just prisoners who are being affected by the contaminated water at Eastham. Recently correctional officers have come to me to report that they have been diagnosed with cryptosporidiosis!! Cryptosporidium comes from Animal-Fecal matter in the water supply!! Eastham raises chickens and hogs! This toxic run-off created by the animals is contaminating the groundwater! TDCJ, UTMB, and TCEQ are engaged in an elaborate cover-up which is harming prisoners and correctional officers. We Must Not be Silent!!

Keith ‘Malik’ Washington is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan 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 write him directly at:

Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington

TDC #1487958

Eastham Unit

2665 Prison Rd. #1

Lovelady, Texas 75851

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Prison conditions

Prisoner Lives Matter Too – But Not In Texas!

By Keith “Malik” Washington

“To cooperate passively with an unjust system makes the oppressed as evil as the oppressor.” – Dr Martin Luther King Jr

Peace & Blessings Sisters and Brothers!

This month of October 2017 marks the 10th year that I have been incarcerated inside prisons and jails operated and maintained by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Many things have changed in those ten years, but many things have stayed the same. The “lock ’em up and throw away the key” philosophy is still prevalent in the state of Texas. I watched closely as prisoner rights advocate Jennifer Erschabek fought passionately to reform the broken parole system in Texas. The Texas legislature has no desire or will to change the system. Texas State Representative Senfronia Thompson, a Democrat from Houston, Texas, agreed with Ms Erschabek that the parole system needed reforming, and she authored a bill, HB2120 that would have given more prisoners in Texas a realistic chance of freedom. The bill died in committee.

In Texas, prisoner lives don’t matter, and nothing illustrates this point better than the decision by the Federal Government to abandon over 2000 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.

As far as the state response to Hurricane Harvey, I have to admit TDCJ did a very good job evacuating state prisoners and moving them out of harm’s way.

However, I recently returned from a Federal Bench Warrant in order to attend a Federal Civil Court proceeding. While en route to Court, and during the many days it took me to return, I discovered some horrible things.

I traveled to many other prison units in mid to late September 2017. I spoke directly to prisoners who were traveling on buses and vans with me. One glaring issue and topic which continued to come up throughout the course of our conversations is the shocking increase of prisoner deaths inside facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Many of these deaths are attributed to an epidemic of synthetic marijuana usage, which has created chaos for both prisoners and staff throughout the State of Texas.

The problem seemed to be extraordinarily pronounced at the Beto I Unit located in Tennessee Colony, Texas. I spent about 1 week at Beto awaiting my transfer back to the Eastham Unit which is located in Lovelady, Texas.

The Senior Warden who is in charge of ensuring the safety and security of both his staff and the prisoners in his care is Mr Norris Jackson. In my opinion, Warden Jackson has failed miserably in protecting the lives of prisoners, and he should be removed by the agency immediately.

Here is what I have discovered:

In the past 2 months, there have been approximately 10 prisoner deaths on the Beto I Unit. The cause of these deaths has been varied, but are in line with a pattern and a trend my free-world friends have noticed across the penal state:

  1. K-2 (synthetic marijuana) and the psychotic episodes associated with its usage is causing deaths at Beto Unit.

  2. Employee abuse, medical neglect and deliberate indifference are causing deaths on Beto Unit.

  3. Prisoner-on-prisoner assaults and suicides are causing deaths on Beto Unit and many other Texas prisons.

The bottom line is prisoners in Texas are dying at an alarming rate. I need help from media correspondents in order to uncover the details.

Contrary to the popular belief among prison administrators in Texas: prisoner lives do matter!

Sisters and brothers, no matter the race, religion or gender of a persyn, a humyn life is precious to me!

I can introduce you to caring and thoughtful prisoners at Beto I Unit who can provide you with the much-needed details concerning these deaths so we can collectively save some lives.

Lorie Davis is the director of TDCJ’s Correctional Institution Division, please let’s ask her why Warden Jackson continues to fail in preserving and saving the lives of prisoners.

Saving lives should be Job #1, don’t you think?

If you are interested, please contact me or one of my dedicated free-world comrades.

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

Comrade Malik

Keith “Malik” Washington is a humyn rights activist currently incarcerated in Texas. He is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. Malik is a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter). Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and he is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign. You can view his work at comrademalik.com or write him directly at Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington TDC# 1487958 Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road 1 Lovelady, Texas 75851 (936) 636-7321 ext. (**009)

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Prison conditions

Black Mold and Toxic Prisons

by Noah “Comrade K@do” Coffin & Keith “Comrade Malik” Washington

This is just an image of mold, not mold specific to Eastham.

Looking at the curling, peeling layers of paint in my neglected cell here on Eastham Unit brings to mind what it’s like taking a look inside an old car that’s been in the junkyard — upholstery tattered and hanging down…Another similarity to the peeling paint and an old weather-damaged relic is not only an eye sore but cause for alarm: the presence of black mold!

The mold, I know, is very dangerous and anyone exposed to it for any length of time is at risk. Problems ranging from respiratory infections to complications with liver or kidneys. My experience as a contractor, and working in the home development field, has spurred Comrade Malik to request that I write the bulk of this article pertaining to black mold.

The 1st thing you should know is that anytime black mold is found present in an establishment, all people are relocated while the black mold is eliminated! Workers using paper face masks will go to such measures: if residential, all sheet rock and insulation are torn out and replaced along with any carpeting even suspected to have had moisture damage. Air ventilation ducts are sanitized or replaced. Industrial strength oil based kiltz primer paint is used throughout the home or establishment. That is before the new material and fresh finish paint. If industrial, with concrete walls (e.g. schools, rec centers), the paint is removed by using bens-o-matic torches and tools to scrape the burning paint. A stone soap and scrub brush are used on the porous concrete and then the above-mentioned precautions are followed.

Should these measures not be followed and black mold is again found in future inspections, the place is condemned! Why not here? Because we are convicted criminals? We are human! We are people too!

From Malik:
Revolutionary greetings, sisters, and brothers! As you can see, Comrade Kado has expertise in this area and it didn’t take 6,000 words for him to hit on all the key points.

Black mold is a pervasive and systemic problem in Texas prisons. It’s one of the results of living in a state where the climate seems to be radically changing to what seems to be a tropical climate, in an area where we have the most prisons. Anyone reading this essay or hearing this report on the radio or internet would scream out in protest if they were forced to live in such conditions.

TDCJ Ombudspersyn Denecia Jefferson recently responded to a complaint by one of the family members of a prisoner right here in Eastham Ad Seg. The complaint cited unsanitary living conditions in the Ad Seg housing areas. Here is a portion of Jefferson’s response: “TDCJ has a number of independent agencies and national audits conducted at each facility on a yearly basis.”

Sisters and brothers, the American Correctional Association is one of the main organizations which come into Eastham and other prisons to conduct so-called inspections, but with a wink and a nod these so-called “auditors” ignore our cells where this cracked and peeling paint and black mold spores have been allowed to grow unabated!

We are humyn beings! We refuse to live in these uninhabitable environments! But without you, our voices will be ignored and TDCJ will continue to lie! I leave you with the words of the TDCJ Ombudspersyn and ask that you take action:

“The auditors have unimpeded access to the facility and security staff cannot obstruct the viewing of any area of the facility. We assure you that staff misconduct is neither condoned nor tolerated by this agency and appropriate action will be taken if it is sustainable.”

From Comrade Kado:
Brothers and sisters of the struggle, this is Comrade Kado, and my comments, my essay, are cut-and-dried: this stuff is dangerous to our health and only because of the fact we are in prison does it go on unchallenged. That is not justice, but injustice. I ask you to ponder some facts surrounding TDCJ’s history of throwing money at attorneys to avoid accountability for problems like the ones outlined in this essay–more money than would take just to fix the problems: installing air conditioning, providing safe and sanitary conditions and medical care, for example).

Make no mistake, it’s not about money, but control. Relent, and TDCJ loses some control and that is not a feasible concept for Texas’ injustice system. Harsh conditions are used as a means to subdue those under control and reduce morale–leavings subjects resigned, deflated…that is why these people fought so hard against the beard. That is why it was such a victory us…In love and rage. Fight the power!!

Noah “Comrade Kado” Coffin
#1795167
2665 Prison Road #1
Lovelady, TX 75851

Keith “Comrade Malik” Washington
#1487958
Eastham Unit
2665 Prison Road #1
Lovelady, TX 75851

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