Prison conditions

Suicide Epidemic & Deadly Extreme Heat Continues to be Downplayed and Ignored inside Texas Prisons! 

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

“We have a responsibility to do what’s right so no one else has to suffer and die in our custody. That’s our responsibility…. We should look at this as a ministry — that they (Texas prisoners) are rehabilitated, not annihilated.” -Texas Representative Carl Sherman Jr. (D) Desoto 

The death toll inside Texas State Prisons continues to rise with no relief in sight. There is such a thing as Perception Management and “controlling the narrative”. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice employs a Public Information Officer named Jeremy Desel. Mr. Desel’s job is to misinform and mislead the public in regard to the conditions inside Texas Prisons. Managing the public’s perception of this unscrupulous State Agency is a very important job. 

For literally decades journalist Mike Ward co-operated with the State of Texas. Mike Ward used his platform to keep our loved ones blind, deaf, and dumb to the truth. The arrival of journalist Keri Blakinger balanced things out slightly but even Ms. Blakinger has her limitations. 

A close friend of mine who is currently housed at the H.H. Coffield Unit which is located in Tennessee Colony, Texas informed me that in the past two months there have been over 6 successful suicide deaths. 

These deaths prompted a visit to Coffield unit from TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier and other so called high ranking officials. It was only a couple months ago that Keri Blakinger of the Houston Chronicle reported that TDCJ was experiencing a 20 year high in respect to prisoner suicides. 

My friend who has been incarcerated for over 30 years blames the recent spike in deaths on a combination of deadly extreme heat and an uncontrollable K-2 epidemic. Synthetic marijuana is routinely brought into Texas Prisons by TDCJ employees looking to benefit from the illegal sale of the item among prisoners. 

I have no influence or status among prison guards nor do I ever wish to have any among this portion of the Texas workforce which co-operates enthusiastically and willingly with those who enslave us. 

However, I do have some influence among our fellow prisoners. So I have a question I’d like to pose to Texas prisoners as well as their loved ones in the free world:

“Would you choose the profits from your K-2 sales over the lives of your homeboys? Will you provide their families with comfort and financial stability now that they have died?”

For some it is easy to remain silent on this topic- I will not be silent! Synthetic marijuana use affects the body’s thermo-regulation mechanism. Can you imagine a 120℉ cell temp feeling like 150℉?!

Senator John Whitmire, a Democrat from Houston, Texas is the chairman of the Texas Senate Criminal Justice Committee. Senator Whitmire refused to support or acknowledge pieces of legislation filed this past session that would have mandated state jails and prisons be kept between 65 and 85 degrees.

This Bill that would have alleviated the inhumanely hot conditions inside Texas prisons was authored by Texas Senator Carol Alvarado (D) Houston and Texas Representative Terry Canales (D) – Edinburgh. I actually sent Representative Canales a thank you card for his part in filing this Bill. You should know that Terry Canales also tried to deliver hygiene items, food, and water to children trapped in facilities operated by Customs & Border Patrol.

For years Senator John Whitmire has ignored his colleague’s attempts to address injustice, abuse, and inhumane conditions inside Texas prisons. If Senator Whitmire won’t listen to his own fellow legislators, why should anyone expect him or his staff to listen to an imprisoned activist like me? I think it is time the public at large send Senator Whitmire a clear message during the next election cycle!

There is a very good reason why I support the people’s Right to Vote. Your Vote is your Voice! In 2020 oppressed people in Amerika must literally and figuratively SCREAM!

There is some “House Cleaning” and “Senate Cleaning” that must be done in Texas – I’m Ready – Are you? End Prison Slavery! Prison Lives Matter! No pay – No work! Freedom over Everything! Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win! All Power to the People – Free Jason Renard Walker!

 

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 and an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 34481-037, 

 

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End Prison Slavery, In solidarity

JUNETEENTH: June 14-17 4th annual Fight Toxic Prisons Convergence and June 19 2nd annual End Prison Slavery Day

Time to turn up and turn out!

by Comrade Malik 

Originally published at SF Bay View April 6, 2019

Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons

“By anarchist spirit, I mean that deeply human sentiment which aims at the good of all, freedom and justice for all, solidarity and love among the people, which is not an exclusive characteristic only of self-declared anarchists, but inspires all people who have a generous heart and an open mind.” – Errico Malatesta, Umanita Nova, April 13, 1922

Peace and Blessings, Sisters and Brothers!

Wow, how time flies. Four years ago, I was at the Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, when I discovered that the prison unit had high levels of arsenic in the water supply! The oppressors at the Texas Commission on Environ­mental Quality called me a liar. The fascist pigs who operate the Texas Department of Criminal Injustice retaliated. If it wasn’t for the mutual aid and solidarity of Panagioti Tsolkas and a few other dedicated free world supporters, the toxic water would have been ignored.

Sisters and brothers, people of color are disproportionately housed in prisons all across the United States of Amerika. Many of these prisons are plagued by toxic water, black mold, radiation or, as in the case of many prisons in Pennsylvania, they are located in close proximity to toxic sites, such as coal ash depositories which contaminate water and air breathed by the human beings forcibly housed at these toxic prisons! Contact fighttoxicprisones@gmail.com.

I am personally calling on PEOPLE OF COLOR in Atlanta, Georgia, and Mobile and Birmingham, Alabama; I’m calling on folks in South and North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and my home state of Texas to come on down to Gainesville, Florida, June 14 through 17, 2019, and come see what the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons is all about.

Our sisters and brothers who are incarcerated need more of our people to take an active interest in these environmentalist movements. This Convergence in Gainesville is not just for anarchists; it is for all human beings who believe that together we can save our planet from imperialist multi-national corporations who seek to destroy Planet Earth and us along with it if we allow them to do that!

Come on Down to Gainesville and learn how to FIGHT TOXIC PRISONS today!

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

International call to action: 2nd annual day of action and solidarity with those who are fighting to end prison slavery in Amerika and throughout the world on June 19

by Comrade Malik, Chief Spokesperson, End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement

Revolutionary Greetings, Sisters and Brothers!

It’s that time again and I am sending out this call to action in order to encourage everyone who is passionate about abolishing all forms of slavery and involuntary servitude to come together in one united action of revolutionary solidarity on June 19, 2019, and protest against the enslavement, degradation and dehumanization of Amerikan prisoners and all human beings throughout the world who are subjected to any form of slavery or oppression!

As many of you know, June 19 is the day when Black people in Texas celebrate the freedom of their Ancestors, our Ancestors, who were held in SLAVERY for approximately two years after the entire nation acknowledged the Emancipation Proclamation. But the slave owners in Texas ignored this federal law.

June 19 is the day when Black people in Texas celebrate the freedom of their Ancestors, our Ancestors, who were held in SLAVERY for approximately two years after the entire nation acknowledged the Emancipation Proclamation. But the slave owners in Texas ignored this federal law.

This year’s call to action has special significance as the world’s eyes are trained on South Texas, where tens of thousands of asylum seekers from Central Amerika come to the United States seeking a safe haven but instead have found mistreatment, abuse, racism, and slavery. The legislative and criminal justice system in Texas continues to create the foundations for institutionalized racism and bigotry.

Do you realize that the U.S. Army had to ride into Galveston, Texas, in 1867 and announce that slavery had been abolished.

The state of Texas was so hell-bent on maintaining their slaves and profiting from slave labor that the U.S. Army had to show force to make Texas eliminate the practice of slavery. But it is still alive! Prison slavery is something that is being practiced and perpetuated in every state in the union and it has been codified by the most powerful legal document in the United States, the U.S. Constitution.

We must continue to call for the exception clause – or slavery – clause in the 13th Amendment to be struck down! We must finish the abolitionist work! Remember, sisters and brothers, that this is an international campaign which seeks to address the misogynistic practices of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as the genocide waged against Palestinian people.

The bigots who operate Texas prisons wish to silence my voice. I refuse to remain silent! On June 19, 2019, stand with us!

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, 3100 S. Emily Dr., Beeville TX 78103.

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Prison conditions

Horrific Conditions for Live-Stock Animals in Texas Prisons Exposed

by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington

“Instead of supporting the hidden cruelties of factory farms and slaughterhouses, each of us can choose to act with compassion by boycotting animal agriculture.”

–Vegan Outreach

[The film, Cowspiracy, documents the enormous impact the meat and dairy industry has on the environment and climate change. One really should eat vegan to really be an environmentalist. –Mark M Giese, typist]

My name is Keith ‘Malik’ Washington. I am an investigative journalist, an environmentalist, and human and civil rights activist. I am one of the most outspoken critics of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. What sets me apart from many criminal justice reporters is my status.

I have been incarcerated in Texas for 10 years. I have been housed on 18 prison units operated by the State of Texas and TDCJ.

I am intimately familiar with the day-to-day operations at the agency.

For years I have written essay after essay which exposes the inhumane conditions forced upon prisoners who find themselves trapped in a Texas prison. However, as an activist, my perspective has expanded significantly.

In 2017, I now see the detrimental impact the sprawling prison system in Texas has on the immediate environment. There is an ecological dynamic here which has been ignored.

Texas prisons (TDCJ) operate an extremely lucrative agriculture business which includes vegetable crops, cattle, hogs, and chickens. I have written extensively about Texas Correctional Industries and the exploitation of free prison labor in Texas. I have drawn the connection between profits and the corrupt parole system in Texas.

We all know good time and work time credits mean nothing to Texas prisoners–we are slaves and forced into a life of perpetual involuntary servitude.

But what if I told you the state of Texas and TDCJ have established a multi-million dollar agribusiness which subjects animals to horrific and cruel conditions which would shock the world? Would you remain silent? Allow me to give you a glimpse of hell.

Welcome to Wynne Farm!

In February 2014, I was released from long-term solitary confinement (ad-seg). I did 22 months in a very small cage. I was released to the general population on the Wynne Unit, aka the Wynne Farm which is located in Huntsville, Texas.

Wynne Unit is the headquarters of numerous TCI light industrial factories and it has a large agriculture element which is maintained by prisoners.

The crops, which include corn, peas, watermelon, squash, and green beans, to name a few, are cultivated by prisoners on medium custody.

I was assigned to medium custody for 6 months at the Wynne Farm in 2014. I went into those fields to work outside the gate 3-5 days a week.

In close proximity to the fields at Wynne Farm is a large egg-laying operation. And this is where I caught my first glimpse of modern-day animal cruelty in Texas prisons.

I smelled the large hen (chicken) warehouse before we actually got right up on it.

It was May 2014, a beautiful day outside. The building was made of grey metal and aluminum. It was an old building. As I looked inside, I saw numerous cages. Hens were packed like sardines. Underneath the cages were virtual mountains of bird feces.
The egg-laying hens were packed in these feces-filled cages. I saw dead birds in the cages–some were green–obviously very sick and shaking badly.

The cages are so small, hens cannot turn around or spread their wings. Our job was to remove the fecal matter. The smell of ammonia was very strong. Some birds I noticed had burns on their feet and legs, this from being housed in filth.

TDCJ benefits greatly from being immune to any oversight of any regulatory agency.

This lack of oversight is not just relegated to TDCJ’s agriculture business. Prisoner rights activists have cried out for years for an independent oversight committee which has the authority to enter these prison plantations. Transparency and accountability have not been a part of the TDCJ business or management model. Hopefully, this essay will provoke a much-needed conversation.

After doing a vast amount of research, I learned that the cages TDCJ uses on Wynne Farm are called “battery” cages. They are typically less than half a square foot of floor space per bird but TDCJ goes far beyond any industry standard and stuffs in 2 or 3.

Many birds at Wynne die of asphyxiation and dehydration. Decomposing corpses are found in cages with live birds every day at Wynne.

One hideous presence I saw at Wynne Farm were large well-fed vultures. These carrion-eater sit in large groups on top of the hen building at Wynne. It’s hard to miss them and it is a telltale sign that something is very wrong there.

Recently, I learned Eastham Unit has a similar egg-laying operation and I received details. The operation produces approximately 80 000 eggs per week. It is a 24-hour-a-day operation, the lights never go out.

TDCJ makes approximately $100 000 a week just from the eggs here at Eastham.

Eastham also has 3000 hogs, 600 sows, and it ships for sale 21 piglets a week. I have a word about accuracy in reporting. I cannot tell you what the conditions are like for the birds at Eastham Unit nor can I tell you how the hogs are treated. I do recommend that we demand to be allowed on the Wynn Farm immediately.

I spent some time on Coffield Unit last year which is located in Tennessee Colony, Texas. There are 3 large units in the area which raise hogs. I can tell you that the pigs on Coffield, Michaels, and Beto Unit are subjected to abuse.

I have gathered firsthand reports of pigs being kept on concrete slabs which create deformities of pigs’ legs. Pigs like to root and dig in the dirt and mud and this staging on concrete obviously prevents that.

But I discovered something quite shocking about TDCJ’s various hog and cattle operations.

While housed at Coffield Unit, I discovered large quantities of coliform bacteria were regularly found to be present in the water system. I’ve discovered raising animals for food causes more water pollution in the US than any other industry because animals raised for food produce 130 times the excrement of the entire human population. 87 000  pounds of fecal matter per second.

Much of the waste from factory farms like those TDCJ operates as well as pig slaughterhouses like the one on Michaels Unit produces toxic runoff which contaminates streams, rivers and ground water.

Toxic water is a pervasive and systemic problem in the entire state of Texas. So not only is TDCJ abusing animals, it continues to be a major polluter of our environment. The time to act is now.

No matter how much evidence we produce or how many thought-provoking questions we ask, the Agency of TDCJ will continue to misinform the public and violate the public’s trust.

We must seek out the companies doing business with TDCJ’s agribusiness and then expose them and boycott them.

First, we contact the Freedom of Information Foundation for Texas and request their help in finding out who us buying eggs and hogs from TDCJ. Then we respectfully ask these companies to stop doing business with TDCJ until the agency cleans up their act.

Texas will not listen until we start affecting their bottom-line profits; that’s the language the system understands.

Our cries for humane conditions for humans have been routinely ignored–here is and example:

Prisoners housed in Ad-Seg don’t work and it costs a lot to house us in solitary. Many prisoners have died on account of the deadly extreme heat in Texas prisons.

Young pigs are vulnerable to extreme heat. Young piglets generate profits for TDCJ.

A couple years ago, TDCJ invested $175 000 for a cooling system for the pigs. The pigs are being preserved for slaughter so TDCJ can benefit. TDCJ does not have any concern for animal rights or human rights. Its main focus is profits by any means.

It is time we take a closer look at what is really going on inside Texas prisons. As activists who are on the “front lines,” we have a duty to confront those entities who abuse and mistreat animals as well as pollute our precious water supplies.

I can only ask that you amplify my voice so that it is heard beyond these walls. I will continue to struggle.

P.S. Visit www.10billionlives.com

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