Independent oversight of Texas prisons: Fantasy or reality?

by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington, Chief Spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement
Published first in the SF Bayview, May 8 ,2019

In 2013, imprisoned journalist, activist and Freedom Fighter Kevin “Rashid” Johnson arrived in Texas after being transferred from the Oregon Department of Corrections. Johnson, who is the Minister of Defense for the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter, immediately became the target of a coordinated campaign by the state of Texas to silence his voice and to harm him both physically and mentally.

It wasn’t long after Rashid’s arrival that he was transferred to the infamous Bill Clements High Security Unit, located in Amarillo, Texas. While housed there, Rashid witnessed the murders, suicides and mysterious deaths of numerous prisoners housed at the facility.

Rashid wrote essay after essay detailing the grisly abuse of the mentally ill and other vulnerable prisoners housed at the unit. In 2014, I had heard enough. With the help of Professor Victor Wallis, Ph.D., I submitted a packet of information and letter to then First Lady Michelle Obama. In them, I described the mistreatment of incarcerated U.S. military veterans and the “mysterious deaths” of prisoners housed at the Bill Clements Unit.

I was surprised when I received a letter in April 2015 from U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney Brian Buehler informing me that the packet of information and letter, which I had sent to the White House, was actually read by Michelle Obama and she had forwarded the letter and other information to Buehler at the Justice Department!

This is the background story to what has now become a campaign in Texas to establish an Independent Ombudsman Office that will monitor the actions of this extremely unethical, unjust and corrupt prison agency known as the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ).

A Black legislator in Texas named Jarvis Johnson, a Houston Democrat, has filed House Bill 363, calling for the creation of an Independent Ombudsman Office. What actually is being proposed is that the current TDCJ Ombudsman Office be moved and placed under the purview of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards.

There are some serious problems which exist within the current Ombudsman Office. Not only have we seen on-going acts of cronyism, nepotism and obstruction of justice tactics when family members and friends of prisoners submit complaints, there are also noticeable structural, systemic and institutionalized racism and bigotry hardwired into the mainframe of this prison agency.

Lorie Davis is the director of the TDCJ Correctional Institution Division. Davis has actually promoted, sanctioned and condoned retaliation and intimidation of prisoners whose family members and friends utilize the Ombudsman Program. But it is much deeper than just that.

Lorie Davis has created a culture within TDCJ by which jailhouse lawyers, also known as “writ-writers,” are subjected to manifold reprisals for their peaceful and legal activities. Activities which are supposed to be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s First and 14th Amendments!

The state of Texas is down here attempting to purge minorities from voting rolls – so please, miss me with all that talk of our vote meaning nothing!

Davis has also created a toxic work and living environment for both prisoners and employees. Patriarchy and the misogynistic behavior of high-ranking male officers in the employ of the state of Texas have become the status quo inside Texas prisons. Davis can feign neither innocence nor ignorance, because too many human and civil rights violations have happened on her watch!

I actually have been working closely with one of Rep. Johnson’s staff members in order to provide historical evidence to clearly show that the current TDCJ Ombudsman Office has not only violated the public’s trust but has completely ignored serious complaints by those who have incarcerated loved ones inside facilities operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

One key point we have been trying to make is this: Many of the complaints have led to multi-million dollar civil lawsuits filed against this unscrupulous prison agency, and Texas taxpayers continue to foot the bill when these multi-million dollar settlements are handed down – by federal judges!

At the end of the day, our goal is to create an office that will provide transparency, accountability and meaningful investigations, as well as oversight of a prison agency that has lost the confidence of citizens and taxpayers. Texas has the largest state prison system in the country and establishing an Independent Ombudsman Office has the potential to promote an environment where prisoners may be treated with dignity, respect and humane living conditions.

Rep. Johnson has told me in a letter that he believes that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is one of the key foundations which make the United States unique from other countries.

Prisoners should never be afraid to exercise their right to free speech. If there’s one message I’d like to give to college students all across the United States it is this: You cannot say that you belong to or represent a political party if you don’t get involved in the process!

Be you a Democrat, Republican, Green, Socialist or Democratic Socialist – don’t ever let anyone tell you that your vote or your voice is insignificant or that it doesn’t count! That is a lie! The state of Texas is down here attempting to purge minorities from voting rolls – so please, miss me with all that talk of our vote meaning nothing!

If it meant nothing, these sneaky politicians and powerbrokers wouldn’t be trying to defraud and sabotage our rights! Please stay tuned, sisters and brothers. There will be much more for me to report from the Lone Star State!

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 and on the site of the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement.
Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3100 S. Emily Dr., Beeville TX 78103 (or via Jpay.com).

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Why does Texas governor Gregg Abbott and the GOP in Texas want to suppress the minority vote?

By Keith “Malik” Washington

Received: April 14, 2019

The host of Connect the Dots, a radio program which airs on KPFT 90.1 FM Houston, Texas, has a saying that I absolutely love! He says that “the people are smarter than you think!” That host being Abdul Hamid Mohammad, a long-time servant of the people who lives in Houston, Texas.

Recently, I commented on the scandal in which acting Texas Secretary of State Mr. David Whitely had conspired to purge the names of literally tens of thousands of potential voters from voting rolls in the State of Texas. Whitely claimed the voters were non-citizens. Well, we found that that isn’t exactly true.

The U.S. House of Representatives has been discussing legislation that would offer more protections to our voting rights. It seems that the Republican Party all over the United States is engaged in an ongoing conspiracy to sabotage and obstruct the voting rights of the poor and minorities as a whole.

For the past month, I have been studying an incredible book by Greg Palast entitled The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: A Tale of Billionaires and Ballot Bandits. I believe I have found the reason why Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and other members of the GOP are so passionate about placing David Whitely in charge over the voting process in Texas, but Mr. Palast did such a wonderful job illuminating the facts, I’ll just allow him to inform you as I quote a passage from the book. Mr. Palast says:

“In just twenty years, the number of non-white voters has nearly doubled to a fourth of the electorate. And in the last election, the number of white voters actually fell by two million.”

  • Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, p. 24

However, that really does not answer the question as to why Texas Governor Gregg Abbott and the GOP in Texas want to suppress the minority vote – does it? No! It does not! So please allow me to show you a little more. Mr. Palast discusses in further detail the results from the last Presidential election (from Interstate Crosscheck: The Ballot Box Death Star):

“Why would Republicans do this? Why would the political party founded by Abraham Lincoln attack racial minorities? It’s simple arithmetic. Here’s the color of American voting:

71% of Hispanic Americans voted Democrat

73% of Asian Americans voted Democrat

84% of Native Americans voted Democrat

93% of African Americans voted Democrat

But only 39% of White people voted Democrat.”

Well, Governor Abbott, you have some explaining to do my friend! And what about those sneaky little Judge appointments? Remember Governor Abbott, the people are smarter than you think!

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 and endprisonslaveryintexas.wordpress.com.
Send our brother some love and light:
Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958,
McConnell Unit,
3100 S. Emily Dr.,
Beeville TX 78103

Social death in Texas

Revolutionary greetings comrades and fellow workers!

When we discuss the term “social death”, especially in the context of the Prison Abolition Movement, we are talking about the severance and cutting off of a human being from all ties to (free) society as we know it. I would like to share my experiences.

I was first incarcerated in Texas in October 2007, so I am now approaching 12 years of incarceration. As soon as I arrived at the Harris County Jail, I fell off into a deep depression. I know that my depression had a lot to do with my drug addiction. Right from the beginning, everyone I knew began severing ties and literally “throwing me away”!

I was being held on a charge of bank robbery (with a note). The first person I reached out to was my former Public Defender Peter J. Bray. Peter worked for the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Houston, TX, which was headed by Marjorie Meyers. Peter was not nasty, but he did tell me: “Mr. Washington, there is nothing I can do to help you. The U.S. Attorney said that they have no interest in picking up your case and that you will do your time in the custody of the State of Texas. Good luck, Mr. Washington.” And then he hung up!

My first court appearance, I was informed that I was looking at 25 to LIFE! I was shocked and began experiencing hallucinations and hearing voices. I had no free-world support at the time. My former fiancée and I had separated. She had become an employee with the federal government. In fact, she was at the Pentagon with the Defense Intelligence Security Agency (DISA). I had actually encouraged her to accept a scholarship from the Department of Defense, and while she was in graduate school, I supported her financially and morally. I was actually financially stable at one point in my life! My former drug habit ruined my life!

So, I am in the county jail for approximately 7 months before I sign a plea deal for a non-aggravated sentence of 20 years, I’d be eligible for parole in 2 years so I took the deal! There was a problem. I had an outstanding charge in Galveston, Texas, and I kept telling my court-appointed attorney, who was named Brett Podolosky, about it. Brett turned out to be my enemy and not a friend. He told me not to worry about it! I knew better, but there was nothing I could do. When you are an indigent prisoner in the state of Texas, you have to take what you get, and the system is not set up for you to retain quality legal representation. I’ll never forget “good ol’” Brett Podolosky!

I don’t like to admit this, but I sought psychological counselling and help while I was housed at the Harris County Jail. At the time, a new Sheriff named Adrian Garcia was in charge at the jail, and he had instituted a new mental health program which gave Sheriffs training and education in regard to mental health issues and how they impact the prison population. The Harris County Jail had also opened a new housing wing for prisoners at the jail should they experience a crisis. I actually believe that this new program instituted by Sheriff Adrian Garcia saved my life! I am not embarrassed to say that! I am now a serious and dedicated advocate for the mentally ill and physically disabled, and if anyone studies my work, they will clearly see I spend a lot of my time focusing on these issues.

As I began to seek treatment for mental illness, I began to embrace my Islamic Faith more seriously. I grew my beard out. In fact, I wore a huge beard while living in the city of Houston, Texas, and I attended a Mosque regularly in the 3rd Ward called al-Muhayman Masjid on Cleburn Street right around the corner from the SHAPE Center. This is significant, because here we are 12 years later and my comrade and friend L. just met death penalty abolitionist Gloria Rubac, of the SHAPE Center, and Comrade Gloria said that her daughter is a parole attorney who can help me! That is pretty amazing for a guy who was thrown away and forgotten about 12 years ago! But I digress.

The dedicated and compassionate employees with the Harris County Psychiatric Center helped me snap out of my depression, and I continued to embrace my Islamic Faith, and held on to that.

In March 2008, I was transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and arrived at Garza West, which is located in the Kennedy and Beeville area. As soon as I got off the bus, a TDCJ employee said in a loud voice: “Does anyone have a problem with shaving their beard or cutting their hair?” I raised my hand. I was the only one to do so. The officer approached me, and mind you I’m not a little guy, I was about 6’4” and 260lb at the time, with a huge-ass beard! The officer asked “What’s your story?” I said, “I am a Muslim, we are instructed by our Prophet to grow our beards and trim our moustaches.” The TDCJ employee said “Well, I will tell you that if you don’t shave that beard, we are going to put you in a cell and about 4 or 5 of my buddies are going to beat your ass and force you to shave, so what do you want to do?” At the time I chose to shave!

It is important that I tell you this part of my story, because not only was my incarceration taking me literally out of society, it was attempting to destroy my identity! Destroying my Muslim identity! At that reception center at Garza West in South Texas, hundreds of us were stripped naked, showered, fingerprinted, photographed and shaved bald. Then we were given identical prison uniforms and a number! From that point up to right now, I have been treated like an animal and not a human being! Texas reminds you everyday that you are a subhuman. “Your lives mean nothing to us, we don’t care if you live or die, you are a slave and are treated as such!”

So here I was, 12 years ago. No family or community support. No clergy. No money. And very little hope.

Twenty years is not a life sentence, and I have always been an extremely optimistic person – I am not a quitter! So I began to fight in my own way! At first, I assimilated. I was a “happy slave” and a person who hustled to stay alive. I got a job in the kitchen and sold sandwiches. I was good at hustlin’. But, I was also a Muslim, and as I got more and more involved, some of my brothers told me that, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, they wanted me to suspend my thievery from the kitchen. I complied, because I love being a Muslim and I love Allah!

I began to become very interested in the law, because I received a letter from the City of Galveston, Texas. The letter was from the District Attorney, and it said that I had an outstanding charge for aggravated robbery! Remember Attorney Brett Podolosky? He said don’t worry! Brett Podolosky still practices law in Houston, and he gave me very bad advice! Boycott him!

The good news is that I went to the Unit Law Library, and filed a motion for a speedy trial. In 2010 I finally adjudicated those charges, and I did not receive a charge for aggravated robbery! I received the exact same sentence I received in Harris County, and the Prosecutor counted most of my back time and she ran my time concurrent and not consecutive. That means they did not stack the sentence! Judge David Garner in Galveston gave me a second chance. If it wasn’t for Judge Garner I’d be doing 40 years instead of 20! So I do have many things to be thankful for.

Malik with raised fist and beard, in february of 2019
Malik with raised fist and beard, in february of 2019

There are many people who know me now because of my activism and my journalism inside Texas prisons. You will notice that I wear a large beard now. I fought for this beard! I fought to regain my identity!

The State of Texas promotes social death no matter what they may lie about and say. In reality, the prison agency TDCJ does not want our families and friends looking too closely at what is happening inside these slave kamps and gulags, because the agency can’t really stand intense scrutiny. There are psychologists employed by the state that come up with strategies and plans to break down the resistance of their charges. That is what ad-seg is all about! That is why you hear many of us use the term Control Units. This is part of the program of mass incarceration! Anarchy and anarchists are completely and wholeheartedly opposed to this authoritarian strategy used to break humans! Prisons are not making big money on a grand scale! No, this is something else, this is about social control!

After I regained my Muslim identity, I had to fight to regain my social identity and my rightful place in society! Anyone can go back to society and fall back into the same old pattern of drug use and crime, but how many go back to their communities as human and civil rights activists, organizers, freedom fighters and, most importantly, servants of the people?

Some of you may have heard about Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s book, entitled Defying the Tomb. Defying the tomb isn’t just about surviving prison and solitary confinement, it is about thriving in this atmosphere, and completely changing the conditions inside and outside these prisons, with our final goal being abolition!

You see, I began talking about social death, but the end-game is social life! I am becoming successful because I chose social life over social death! Even though the deck continues to be stacked against me, it is my determination and the compassion and dedication of a growing number of free-world folks who are collectively saying with their actions: No! No, State of Texas, we will not let you take Malik! We are re-claiming him as one of our own!

You have to understand that once society wants you back, no-one and no entity can hold you! The people will eventually free you! And once you are free, you have responsibilities to fulfil. Your freedom comes with a price. Don’t betray the movement! Choose social life over death! Abolish prisons now!

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 and endprisonslaveryintexas.wordpress.com.
Send our brother some love and light:
Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958,
McConnell Unit,
3100 S. Emily Dr.,
Beeville TX 78103

Texas State Republicans Promote and Support Voter Suppression

#STOPDAVIDWHITLEY

By Keith ‘Malik’ Washington
Received: March 14, 2019
See the latest on this story, published in the New York Times on May 29th, announcing Whitley’s resignation!)

Peace and blessings Sisters and Brothers!

Without a doubt, the Right to Freedom of Speech and the Right to Vote, in my opinion, are the two most important Constitutional Rights that minorities and oppressed people of every Race, Nation, and Creed MUST ZEALOUSLY FIGHT AND STRUGGLE TO PROTECT!

Mr. David Whitley is the Acting Secretary of State in Texas. Whitley was appointed and is currently supported by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Whitley, a Republican, has created a list of approximately 90.000 names of Texas residents which he has classified as non-citizens who should be unceremoniously purged from Voting Rolls.

After a thorough and fact-finding investigation as well as a couple Lawsuits, it was discovered that THOUSANDS of these so called NON CITIZENS are actually predominantly legal naturalized citizens who absolutely should not be purged from Voting Rolls!

The State of Texas has a sordid history of Voter Suppression as well as Voter Intimidation and historically, it has been REPUBLICANS attempting to sabotage and obstruct the RIGHT 2 VOTE of minorities that many times vote DEMOCRAT!

SCARE TACTICS AT THE POLLS, REDISTRICTING MAPS, AND BLATANT PRE-ORCHESTRATED ACTS OF VOTER SUPPRESSION HAVE BECOME THE NORM IN THE STATE OF TEXAS. It would seem that Texas is in the same league as North Carolina when it comes to cheating the most vulnerable communities out of their opportunity to Vote.

In late February 2019 a Federal Judge in Texas ruled that the Voter Roll Purge attempted by Whitley and friends would be put on hold. Not long after that, at the Texas State Capitol, a small committee of Texas State Senators voted to advance David Whitley as the nominee for the Secretary of State Position. The Vote was 4 Senators in FAVOR and 3 Senators AGAINST. REPUBLICANS voting along party lines were in FAVOR of Whitley, while the 3 DEMOCRATS voted AGAINST Whitley. I don’t believe I need to say anything else — but I will.

Sisters and Brothers, I am requesting that you help us create a TWITTER STORM. In fact, we need a TWITTER TSUNAMI in order to HALT the confirmation of David Whitley to the position of Secretary of the State in Texas. (#STOPDAVIDWHITLEY!)

A fellow Activist and Changemaker by the name of Amani Sawari and her organization Jailhouse Lawyers Speak received a 2019 Roddenberry Fellowship in order to promote their GAME CHANGING campaign known as Right-2-Vote! I firmly believe that blocking Whitley from becoming the new Secretary of State in Texas and defending the Voting Rights of our Latinx sisters and brothers as well as other oppressed people is in-keeping with the work that Amani and I am committed to doing this year. Furthermore, there are 19 other Activists and Changemakers across the United States who I know will be very interested in aiding us in this endeavor. 19 Activists who also received Roddenberry Fellowships.

You see Sisters and Brothers, I am in Texas which has the largest prison system in the United States. Texas uses its so called criminal justice system to cage and enslave a disproportionate number of people of color. One of the purposes is to disenfranchise a broad swath of minority voters — voters who do not vote REPUBLICAN!

However, the ‘GAME’ gets a lot uglier and more complicated when we observe our Governor Greg Abbott attempting to strategically place one of his CRONIES who is known to suppress the votes of Latinx and minorities in a position that would place him in charge of the voting process in Texas!! We must fight against this.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has the largest Political War Chest of any Governor in the United States and Abbott is absolutely willing to use that money and his influence to crush and silence the voices of Texas’ most vulnerable communities. It is not enough for Abbott to create an unequal playing field, he wants to ensure that we are under-represented so that Laws and Policies which would help pull us up out of poverty and free us from prison never see the light of day!!!

Abbott and his Attorney General, Ken Paxton, are masters at gaming the System. Did anyone notice that Paxton’s wife Angela has filed a piece of Legislation that would expand the powers of the Attorney General which in effect would absolve Ken Paxton of his pending CRIMINAL CHARGES??? Thought we missed that, Ken and Angela? We Didn’t!

It is going to take a massive collective effort to push back against these attempts to infringe upon our voting rights. Please, do your own research on the topic and then — HELP US FIGHT!!

I WILL NOT REMAIN SILENT!! Will You?

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

Comrade Malik Speaks: I am nearly at my breaking point! Please intervene!

“…there is an underlying issue here on this unit and Lieutentant Javier Muro has established a pattern of attempting to harass and intimidate Muslim prisoners!”

Comrade Malik with fist raised, panther logo

By Keith “Malik” Washington

10/3/2018

Peace and Blessings, Sisters and Brothers!

Today is Wednesday, October 3, 2018.  I woke up this morning and went to outside recreation. Before being escorted to rec the officers came to my cell with a male Sergeant named Espinoza.  He had the video cam-corder in his hand and I was asked to submit to a strip search. I complied. These strip searches are humiliating and degrading!

TDCJ has be me classified as a High Profile Inmate but no one here has actually told me why I have been placed on High Profile status!  The only reasons I’ve been given is “you have lawsuits.” However, this supports by argument that the prison agency TDCJ has been retaliating against me for accessing the courts!

Last year I won a civil lawsuit when I challenged TDCJ’s unconstitutional beard and religious headgear policy–while I was litigating that suit I was not subjected to this humiliating treatment.  So why now?? Why the video camera??

After my recreation time in a cement box cage a female Sergeant named Dorian Garza shows up with the cam-corder.  I ask to speak with her before I am ordered to strip naked. I explain to her that I am a devout Muslim and it goes against everything I believe for me to strip naked in front of a woman who is not my wife but the extra indignity of stripping naked while she films me is more than I can bear.

Sergeant Garza agrees!  She orders her officers to strip me and after they are done she returns with the cam-corder to film me.  I am taken to my cell in order to pick up my shower items–towel, face cloth, soap, shampgoo and shower shoes.  I tell Sergeant Garza that I’ll be five minutes.

However, I am left in the shower for an hour!!  While in the shower Lieutenant Javier Muro conducts a search of my cell.  He takes my mostly “state” items, extra necessities… He leaves me with only one sheet, takes down my clothes line–no big deal.  But there is an underlying issue here on this unit and Lieutentant Javier Muro has established a pattern of attempting to harass and intimidate Muslim prisoners!

Up to this point I’ve been silent on this topic, just watching and waiting.  Nevertheless, these ongoing strip searches coupled with the fact that a Muslim I’ve known for ten years reached out to me for help, has pushed me over the edge!!  I am requesting an organized response here! I want at least 1,000 free world friends to contact Texas Senator Eddie Lucio Jr., TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier, and Texas Representative James White and ask them specific questions and this time, sisters and brothers, we must demand answers and solutions to these issues.

Please, I really need your help on this:

  1. Why did TDCJ state classification committee member Kelly Enloe approve of my release from Ad Seg yet I have been returned to Ad Seg with no excuse?

  2. What was the reason for dismissing me from the Ad Seg Transition Program?

  3. Upon arrival at the McConnell Unit why have I been classified as a High Profile Inmate?  What behavior or historical data is TDCJ using to justify the humiliating strip searches with cam-corder?

  4. Does TDCJ train their officers to be tolerant and respectful of prisoners who practice Islam or follow the Judaic faith?  Does the Agency monitor instances of religious discrimination and harassment of the prisoners?

    Sisters and brothers, I have never ever been “the boy who cried wolf.”  I am known throughout the nation and even in some parts of Europe as being a truthful and respected authority on the conditions inside Texas prisons.  There is a Muslim here on McConnell Unit named Phrory Gamble (TDC# 1426500). His Muslim name is Abdur-Razzaq and he has been on hunger strike for a couple weeks!  I was just notified two days ago. Something is wrong! I’ve known this brother for nearly 10 years and he is not someone who engages anything like a hunger strike unless something is extremely wrong!!

The name that keeps popping up is:  Lieutenant Javier Muro!! The McConnell Unit has recently been placed on what I believe is semi-annual lockdown so we need some concerned citizens to call up here immediately and talk to Senior Warden Phillip Sinfuentes in order to ascertain what the problem is!!  McConnell’s phone number is (361) 362-2300.

I also suggest all of you contact the TDCJ Ombudsman as well as TDCJ’s C.I.D. Division and request statements be obtained directly from Phrory Gamble and myself in order to get a true grasp of the situation here.

I always say that the best antiseptic for injustice is sunlight. TDCJ has been doing a lot of dirt in the dark for far too long.  We need media exposure!

An update on other matters:

Before I close, I’d like to provide an update on sexual harassment of female officers who work at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas.  While at Eastham, I noticed Major Blake Norman exhibiting perverted behavior toward female subordinates! He was also a hater of Muslims!  Well, sisters and brothers, the chickens have finally come home to roost. Major Blake Norman was demoted to the rank of Sergeant and transferred!  Norman had a big influence on me being sent to this hell hole in Beeville, TX. Hopefully he will learn to respect all wimmin!! Karma is real!  Hell yeah! 🙂

Dare to struggle, dare to win.  All power to the people!

This was posted on IWOC’s Incarcerated Workers site, and on the SF Bayview.

 

Deceptions, lies, & misappropriation of funds at the W.G. McConnell Unit

by Keith “Malik” Washington

Peace & blessings, sisters and brothers!

Today is September 4th, 2018, the heat and humidity inside my cell has reached a level which has caused me to feel dizzy, and I have been experiencing migraine headaches.

Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle denied my request for an Emergency Preliminary Injunction. One of my main requests was that she order TDCJ to fix this inoperable and malfunctioning HVAC system here on the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit.

The specific area which has been affected the worst by the faulty HVAC system is F-Pod. F-Pod consists of 6 separate sections, A through F. Sections D, E & F have the worst living conditions on the unit, and sadly most of the inhabitants are Black and Latino males.

Invidious racism is a dark and dirty secret being covered up and masked down here on the McConnell Unit.

During the month of August 2018, while we were waiting on U.S. District Judge Tagle to answer my request for emergency intervention, Senior Warden Philip Sifuentes of McConnell Unit and TDCJ Region IV Director Miguel Martinez were formulating a plan to usurp and circumvent my request to have the agency fix this HVAC system, which has left prisoners to deal with inhumane conditions of confinement.

Here at the McConnell Unit, located in Beeville, Texas, the heat is a problem right now! McConnell Unit has cell-phone jammers, and possession of contraband cell phones has not been a major problem. However, Sifuentes and Martinez recently conspired to over-state the threat.

Instead of bringing contractors in to fix the inoperable HVAC system, Sifuentes decided to bring in contractors to install cell-phone blocker upgrades! So here we are in the midst of super humid and hot temperatures. Prisoners here in McConnell Ad-Seg are sealed in cement ovens, and these oppressors spend $87,000 (eighty-seven thousand dollars) on cell-phone blockers?

And then, to add insult to injury, they charge that balance to the TDCJ Maintenance Department, which is now over budget, and has no money to fix the HVAC system, which has us suffocating and laying on the floor just to seek relief!

What we need down here is a Public Information Request and the comtroller in Austin to start investigating these violators of the public’s trust!

This is not the first time that TDCJ resorted to deceptions and lies in order to withhold humane living conditions from Texas prisoners.

Just recently, Jolie McCullough from the Texas Tribune reported that the $20 million estimate the prison agencies’ expert claimed it would take to install air conditioning at the Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, has now gone down to $4 million – imagine that!1

But you see, Sisters and Brothers, when these unethical liars were in the midst of the Federal Civil Lawsuit where prisoners were challenging the unconstitutional conditions of their confinement, the State of Texas said and did anything it could to mislead and misinform “the Trier of Fact”! Will Judge Hilda Tagle be fooled? We shall see!

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 also at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3001 South Emily Drive, Beeville, TX 78102.


1 Jolie McCullough, ‘Texas spent $7 million to fight against A/C in a prison. It may only cost $4 million to install.’, Texas Tribune, August 29, 2018

All Hands on Deck: Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!

Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas–until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.

This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).

Here’s what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).

Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program–this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!


We are extremely concerned for Malik’s safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!

  1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik’s current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!

Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 —  ask to be connected to the senior warden’s office/receptionist–try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message.

Sample Script: “Hello, I’m calling because I’m concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately.”

Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net

  1. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.
    exec.director@tdcj.texas.gov

(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

  1. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik’s health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don’t need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

  1. File a complaint with the Ombudsman’s Office (the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

Ombudsman@tdcj.texas.gov

  1. Write to Malik! Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

Keith H. Washington

#1487958
McConnell Unit
3100 South Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78103

Or via Jpay.com!

For more information about Malik:

https://comrademalik.com/ and this site: Endprisonslaveryintexas.wordpress.com