Letter to send to TDCJ
Before sending the following letter, please read underneath the ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED, It will give you more understanding
sample letter to send to the following please write separate letters to each of the following, or fax also put your name and address and sign and date your letters, thankyou also you can send to any other addresses that you feel maybe able to help, maybe state reps and others
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
PO Box 99
Huntsville TX 77342
Deputy Executive Director
PO Box 99
PO Box 99
This is a sample letter, that you can change or adapt to your own words
It seems that the situation deteriorates more and more at the Polunsky Unit. The living conditions are already very difficult and do not respect human dignity; a minimum right to be accorded to all. Riots take place regularly every day due to protests of prisoners certainly, but every day, a shocking and unnecessary rule is imposed to oppress some more prisoners. Be aware that some staff do not accept the idiocy and absurdity of a person's behavior and excessive unhealthy named Mc Mullin, the new Major! It is time to react and make the right decisions to curb the escalation of violence and harassment at the Polunsky Unit. Deprivation of personal effects, drastic reduction in food, delay in the mail, excessive use of tear gas, cut hot water, manic behavior of some staff are... well recognized. However, it is not necessary to add more to what is already inhuman. Keep in mind that these are men and women convicted, innocent perhaps for some of them, and serving their sentences or await death, the punishment was given and is applied. Needless to treat them worse.
As an authority, you must set an example to be credible in the eyes of all. Be aware that the spotlight is focused on Polunsky Unit more and more... I personally ask you to take immediate actions to stop this unacceptable situation.I appreciate your attention to this critical matter and look forward to hearing from you.
ISSUES TO BE ADDRESSED
T0: TDC –CID Administration FROM: The Death Row Inmate Population.
and Ranking Officials over Death Row
Texas Death Row Inmates are banning together and protesting in various ways as never before. This is because of New pseudo policies, which as should be noted the VAST majority of staff members disagree and see as pointless and counter-productive. In fact, it seems that the only 2 people pushing the heightened level of oppression are Major Smith, and Assistant Warden Lester, but not limited to them. In the history of Texas Death Row there has never been so many Use of Forces and staff assaults in such a short period of time. This is the result of one thing and one thing only; the sudden dramatic rise in extreme psychological and physical violence that is being forced upon us. We just wish to be left alone and allowed to peacefully exist without being viciously attacked as the Texas Death Row inmate population has been lately.
Every ranking official involved with the Death Row building operations will be given a written copy of this list of “Issues To Be Addressed” and all issues will be discussed with them extensively. This has been done repeatedly unofficially. With this document, all ranking officers will be officially notified. If they so choose to violate TDCJ-CID policy, American Corrections Association (ACA) standards, state and federal law they will do so of their own free will, knowingly, willingly, and with intent, The issues to be addressed are detailed in the following pages.
POLUNSKY DEATH ROW STAFF
Warden Simmons, Asst. Warden Butcher, Asst. Warden Lester, Major Smith, Captain Dickens, Captain Bolton, Captain Miller, Lt. Newberry, Lt. Tully, Lt. McGee, Lt. Worthy, Lt. Duff, Lt. Cabiness, Sgt. Belknap, Sgt. Timmons, Sgt. Valentine, Sgt. Ferris, Sgt. Andrews, Sgt. Macias, Sgt. Beverly, Sgt. Williams, Sgt. Mc Daniel, Lt Helm, Sgt. Ancina, Sgt. Griggsby, (All C.O´s will be made aware of the issues as well).
Board Policy (B.P.) 3.9I, Administrative Directive (AD) 3.72, Use of Force Plan, PS-22, Death Row Plan and many other TDCJ policies-extensive, state laws (TX – Government Codex, etc.), extensive federal law (Hudson vs. Mc Millan, 503 U.S. I ( I992 )). An extremely detailed and exhaustive list of TDCJ-CID policies, ACA Standards, state and federal laws is available upon request.
NOTE: TDCJ-CID employees are subject to being charged criminally and/or held civilly liable in state and/or Federal Court for violations of state and/or Federal law. (TDCJ-CID policies and ACA standards are based on state and federal law). Polunsky unit staff members have been committing these violations daily.
In accordance with TDCJ-CID policy, ACA standards, state & federal law the Texas Death Row inmate population would like to bring the following issues to the attention of the ranking staff members in change of the security operations of Death Row. The following list of problems can easily be resolved by on-site ranking staff members and we respectfully request that they do indeed be resolved in an expedient manner. The issues of relevance are as follows:
Unsanitary Conditions on the pods:
Staff members have not been following policy concerning the cleaning of the pods. We request that adequate cleaning supplies be provided an appropriate number of S-S-I´s be assigned to cleaning duty and the pods be properly cleaned and sanitized per policy, there should be no mould in the showers, backed up drains, caked on dirt and dust on the dayroom bars and filth on the floors furthermore, there should never be a single day where an officer comes up with some unjustified excuse for not having the pods cleaned properly.
Necessity Items 1:
Soap and bippy (scouring powder) used to be passed out weekly without exception, and extra soap and bippy would be kept in the picket and passed out as needed for example if an Officer, while rushing to serve chow, accidentally spills the thick greasy liquid that accompanies many tray items which happens quite often, the C.O would give the inmate extra soap and bippy to clean his food slot and door. Recently, soap and bippy has not been passed out, For a decade, since Death Row has been on this unit, this has never been a problem until recently
Necessity Items II (clothing):
Recently, the necessity items that have been passed out have been exceedingly dirty and dingy. Death Row is issued a pair of boxers with 2 strings on each side no elastic, these boxers usually are issued with some or all the strings missing or are too small in the thigh area. They issue General Population inmates’ regular boxers with elastic. The boxers issued to death row serve no purpose in maintaining security and should be discontinued. Also, previously we were allowed to keep our jackets and blankets year round and they would be washed about every 3 months. Because of the way the AC/Heating systems functions it is sometimes extremely cold in our cells during the summer when blankets are taken, we’re left with only the two thin sheets that’s issued to us. Our jackets are the only protection from rain when on the outside recreation yard. (Regardless of the season. We request our jackets and blankets! be given to us year round.
For 10 years never once was the handcuff removal slots closed when inmates are showering, until recently. The exhaust vents in the showers do not work correctly when the slots are closed and this creates a terribly oppressive situation where the showering inmate cannot breathe correctly. Several inmates have passed out in the shower and many have vomited or become nauseous. There is absolutely no valid reason to close the slots on the showers. Furthermore the open slot is where people place their clothes. Now, the only options are to either place ones clothes on the filthy shower floor where they will get soaking wet or have the C.O.´s violate policy and place the items on the dayroom bars or hang them out on a door fixture.
Problems with ingoing and outgoing mail have dramatically increased recently. Mail is being held in the Mailroom for outrageously excessive amounts of time. TDCJ –CID policy (correspondence rule B.P. 3.91) states that incoming and outgoing mail is to be processed and delivered within 24 hours (48 hours for inmates under specific official security threat watch) We respectfully request that the mail problems be immediately resolved.
Property officer Martinez: The problems with C. O. Martinez are so very extreme that she is a major problem in and of myself and this deserves to be listed as a major issue. Ms Martinez is incapable of engaging in her job in a professional manner. She routinely violates TDCJ-CID policy. As a matter of what seems to be natural course for her. She is responsible for unjust confiscation of property as well as unjust denial of release of property (during visitation and/or otherwise). Ms Martinez routinely holds property released and sent via mail for extremely long periods of time. We respectfully request that she be immediately be replaced by an officer who can carry out property duties with an appropriate degree of professionalism. TDCJ-CID policy – specifically A.D. 3.72 – clearly states that “Access to each property room shall be limited to the assigned property officer and other limited personnel designated by the warden” (A.D 3.72 SEC. IV B.2). In previous years the other personnel was always the small number of ranking officers on the Death Row building (i.e Sgts, Lts and the Captain assigned to the building). Now, the Major has given the property officer sole access and control over the property room. This is the root of the main problem concerning property issues. And this has been extremely demoralizing to ranking officers. We respectfully request that the limited number of death row supervisors be given 24 hours 7 days a week full property room access. It might seem strange to that we are requesting something that all the ranking officers and C.O’s have been vocally in favour of, but we are simply thinking rationally and trying to resolve problem and prevent future problems from occurring.
Level II and level III Property:
A dramatic rise in destruction, unjust holding, arbitrary confiscation and disappearance of property, when a person when inmates have been dropped to Level II or Level III has occurred recently. Previously, when a person was dropped to L- II or III he was given all of his hygiene items in his possession at the time of levelling. Now, it seems staff are trying as hard as possible to limit hygiene items. On numerous occasions staff only gave levelled inmates a small portion of their property for example, inmates are giving 2-5 bars of soap leaving the other 20 in the in the property room box. There are two options to curb this problem: 1). When inmates are levelled give them all of their hygiene items or 2). Assign several new staff members to the job of daily bringing inmates replacement items from their property when the inmate runs out. We respectfully request these property issues be resolved.
Hardback books for L-II and L-III Inmates:
There is no written policy that prevents inmates from possessing hardback books on Level II or Level III, in fact, policy clearly state that we are allowed to possess all publications and literature including hardback books on L-II or L-III. for the last 3 years, in clear violation of policy, staff are attempting to prevent inmates from having hardback books on Level. Furthermore, many of the larger books are religious and/or educational, and by policy Religious and/or educational endeavors cannot be restricted due to disciplinary status.
Arts and Crafts:
TDCJ-CID policy clearly states “piddling (craft) privileges will not be considered a leisure activity that may be suspended as a (disciplinary) penalty” (GR–106, pg. 17). Policy states that we are not allowed to purchase arts and crafts items – in accordance with our In–cell Arts and Crafts program, on L-II and L-III but previously we were allowed to keep those items which we possessed when levelled. We request that this be the case again.
Note: If inmates are doing arts and crafts, then they are not causing problems.
This has been a problem that’s been addressed for years to no avail. This is part of larger problem that can only be described as a sort of antagonistic battle between the maintenance department –which is out in general population far from the Death Row building, Death Row inmates and Death Row staff. Quite a number of times D. R. Staff has presented maintenance with a list of all the cells that leak. They will come eventually, perhaps fix a few cells and say they’ve fixed more or all. 12 building, F- pod 63 cell is a perfect example of how quick and easy it is to fix a cell that leaks. F-63 leaked horrendously, Maintenance came scraped off the old paint, soap, and toilet paper people have stuck on the problematic area on the ceiling, back wall! Quickly washed it, and applied a beige sealer to the crack. This only took about 14-20 minutes and completely fixed the problem. We respectfully request that this be done to ALL leaking cells on 12 building immediately.
Levelling Prior to a Disciplinary Hearing:
Until recently Death Row Inmates were never dropped from Level I to Level II before a disciplinary hearing. This new pseudo- policy is in direct violation of TDCJ-CID policy, ACA standards, states & federal law. The only way a person can justifiably be immediately moved to L-II or L-III status is it they fall into one of the following categories: 1) He/she is a current escape risk. 2) His/ her presence would create a threat to the physical safety of other offenders or staff, or 3) It is necessary to maintain the integrity of an investigation, i.e. to preserve the integrity of information either in the offenders possession or another offenders possession. Now, against policy, people are being levelled for the most insignificant cases imaginable such as passing a newspaper (which is not even a real justifiable case). Being levelled is an extreme form of punishment which entails an offender having his recreation time immediately cut in half, his visits immediately cut in half, all of his commissary items taken (except hygiene and writing supplies) including his radio and hot-pot and losing his special visits if they were already scheduled (which can mean friends and family members losing hundreds or thousands of dollars on pre-bought plane tickets) All before being found guilty of any disciplinary infraction. Unjust levelling is not only an assault on the inmate, but an assault on the inmates friends and family.
Passing between inmates:
For the entire 35 year history of modern Texas Death Row inmates have been allowed to pass items such as books, food, magazines and newspapers amongst each other. Now certain Ranking officers have initiated a new pseudo policy, really a manipulation of policy, attempting to ban us from passing anything amongst each other. Even something as serious as legal material. Attempting to prevent us from sharing books, art, legal material etc with each other is oppressive and we ask that this new pseudo policy be immediately stopped.
Officers passing between inmates:
Death Row officers have always been allowed to pass items between inmates. For example if one inmate is helping another on G.E.D studies and has a large G.E.D book he will ask an officer if he/she can give it to the other inmate. She/he’ll inspect the book for contraband and pass it along. Policy states it’s up to the officers discretion to do so or not. This has changed and officers are receiving disciplinary cases for passing in between inmates.
Violations of food service policy has increased lately. The trays we are served differ from those served to general population inmates. Many of the serving carts are broken and do not heat up the food properly. Preliminary investigation has shown that all of the food carts are broken and some beyond repair. It should be noted that the same food carts are in use that were in use when Death Row arrived here over 10 years ago. TDCJ policy states that we are supposed to be served the exact same thing that is served in the Officer´s Dining Room (ODR) but this does not happen. We never receive the condiments that general population and staff receive. The portions are smaller and on numerous occasions the food has been served spoiled. We respectfully request that these issues to be fixed and monitored, the food service menu be followed, and policy not be violated.
All other inmates in the Texas Prison System are allowed telephone service except those on Death Row and inmates who are in Administrative Segregation (who are there for violating TDCJ rules). We are theoretically allowed only 5 minutes call every 90 days only, if our request is acknowledged which could take weeks and/or months. We respectfully request to be allowed the same telephone access as the general population.
Death Watch Levelling:
Previously, if an inmate who was on disciplinary status (L-II/L-III) received an execution date the ranking staff members would give him the option of immediately being upgraded back to L-I status and if of course the inmate committed any rule violations that warranted him being dropped to L-II or L-III when on Death Watch this would occur. We respectfully ask that this be re-enacted.
Visitation List Changes:
Visitation lists are allowed to be changed once every 6 months. This time frame is unnecessary and arbitrary. It serves no basis for security. We respectfully ask that the time frame be cut down to at least once a month to once every other month.
For years Death Row offenders were allowed to purchase razor’s from the unit commissary and was issued a state razor once a week and/or as needed. Recently this has changed. Razors are no longer sold on commissary and are issued 3 days a week, while the inmate enters the shower and returned back to the officer when he exits. This has created a major health risk. Razors that have been used have been issued back to different inmates and when inmates try to break the razors up, returning every piece to the officer, to ensure the razors won’t be used again, he’s served with a disciplinary case. We request that razors once again be issued to us as before.
The Disciplinary Rules and Procedures are very clear, when an inmate is given commissary restriction as a result of a disciplinary hearing this does not include “legal correspondence materials or hygiene items”
(GR-106 VII. A 1. C.2) These items have been routinely restricted. We request this practice end. Death Row inmates are currently only allowed to spend $85 every 2 weeks (L-1) This includes food, clothing, hygiene and electronic items, After purchasing necessary items like legal material, stamps and hygiene, there’s no money left on the spend to purchase food and clothing. We request that either the spend be raised or that electronic (special purchase items) and legal material not come out of the $85 spend. L-II and L-III offenders only get to make commissary once every 2 weeks with a spending limit of $10 correspondence (including stamps and legal material) and select hygiene items. This rule was enacted when stamps were 27c. Back then $10 was enough to buy the 30 stamps max were allowed every 2 weeks and correspondence material we need. Being that stamps has raised to 44c there’s no way to purchase 30 stamps with $10 and the correspondence material needed. We respectfully request that L-II & L-III offenders be allowed to buy, 30 stamps, no matter the price and $10 in legal material material i.e. paper, envelopes, pens, writ envelopes, etc.
Inmate Legal Visits:
Excessive Use of Force:
Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in excessive Use of Force (UOF). For example, for the first time a Death Row inmate was assaulted with a “bean bag“ concussion weapon and knocked unconscious, another was beaten with a metal riot baton and another was hit 11 times with the pepper ball launcher (a paintball gun that shoots gas balls), then gassed with two cans of crowd control gas, and sprayed in the face with pepper spray. The Pepper ball launcher shoots gas balls at such a high power when it connects it breaks the skin. The bruises it leaves are atrocious. There have been violations of the TDCJ “Use of Force Plan” as well as the “management and Utilization of state–Issued Chemical Agents” policy SM – 05.03. Furthermore, after a UOF, and indeed at other times, there have been many violations of the “offender management Restrictions” policy SM–01.29. We request that these violations stop and UOF be monitored by a higher office.
Texas is the only state that does not allow its Death Row inmates to have T.V’s. We respectfully request to be allowed to purchase televisions. (Note: General population inmates have T.V.’s).
Pay Raise for Staff:
Administrative officials have consistently spent literally millions of dollars on pointless so-called “security upgrades” to the Death Row building, for example, replacing the outside large security lights with longer extremely expensive gigantic stadium-style lights and repairing the already secure metal barriers/angle-iron between our walls with more metal, all pointless. Yet, the C.O. have not received the pay raises they have been requesting. We ask that all Death Row. C. O.’s be given an immediate 15% pay raise. If millions can be spent on nonsense, then the Administration can spend a small amount on a pay raise for those who work at what has been called “one of the most secure prisons in the U.S.” This would help alleviate some of the oppression that the Death Row staff are suffering from and make this environment better for all of us.. Let us reiterate that we do not hate or even dislike most staff members here, we want this environment to be better for all.
There has been an increase lately of problems with the grievance procedure, including non valid responses to meritorious issues and disappearances of grievances. We request this stop immediately and grievance staff at the Polunsky Unit follow proper TDCJ-CID policy, including the “Grievance Operations Manual”. Furthermore, it should be noted that many inmates feel that because the grievance procedure “is a joke“ their only option is to engage in acts of protest such as Use of Forces and some have been pushed to violence.
I-60 Request Forms are not responded to now about 90% of the time. Once again, the “formal” avenues that are in place are no longer valid at. We do not want to be engaged in protest actions, but we have been forced to because certain staff members have made the formal channels of resolving complaints completely invalid.
Two special shakedown Teams have been created which consist of approximately 7 officers on two separate cards. These teams were created in order to search for weapons, cell phones and drugs, yet their main mission has become to oppress and harass us. The team tears any property up and operate in a rouge and out of control manner. On numerous occasions, they’ve used their power to retaliate against an inmate. We would like them to focus on the main reason they were put together and act in a more professional manner.
Inadequate Medical Treatment:
The Medical treatment here is at such a low grade it’s ridiculous. Sick call slips are not answered and when they are you can’t see a doctor. When a medical problem is brought up the inmate is still told that it won’t kill him or told to take Non-aspirin. On numerous occasions inmates has been prescribed psychotropic medication for pain or some type of physical medical problem. We respectfully request the medical issues be paid more attention to.
All the issues presented above have merit. Most of the issues can be proven by the million dollar cameras that’s now mounted on the walkway ceilings.
We highly request that these issues be investigated thoroughly and fixed until then, The Protest Continues.....
CHRISTOPHER YOUNG. 999508
POLUNSKY UNIT D/row
3872 Fm 350 South
*Any media requests please contact Christopher at the above address"