Despite numerous attempts to resolve

Dillon, Kyle

Original

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Despite numerous attempts to resolve the following issues through contacting and informing this units administrators C only cosmetic responses, if any, have been the answers to our pleas for constitutional and humane conditions of confinement. As anyone can make any kind of claim we will endeavor to substantiate all claims with fact and lw being as specific as possible so there is no confusion about the conditions we live under and why it is a right to be free of such conditions. I. FUDD Per Texas Government Code §5U1.DD3 Foofl/"The department shall ensure that inmates housed in facilities operated by the department are fed good and wholesome food prepared under sanitary conditions, and provided in sufficient quantity and reason- able variety. The department shall hold employee's charged with preparing food for inmates strictly to account for a failure to carry out this section. The department shall provide for the training of imates as cooks so that fond for inmates may be properly prepared." The Eighth Amendment gives the right to be free from "cruel and uusual punishment", this also protects our right to humane conditions in prison and guarantees us "basic human needs" like food. There are several housing blocks uhere meals are served on the housing block. Pans of cooked food are braught to the block and served onto trays from a steam table. This stem table regularly has pests on it like rats, roaches and flies and is never cleaned before our food is placed in it. The main kitchen is regularly being closed to spray for pests. The regularity of this attests to the unsanitary condi- tions where all te units food is prepared. All summer you can watch flies land on the food on the steam table while it is being served. Flies vomit on their food prior to eating so by extension we are eating fly vomit. There are no pest control measures to keep these pests from contaminating our food. The trays our food is served on are stained with mold and mildew staining the blue plastic brown and black. This comes from stacking the trays in a pile strait out of the dishwasher while they are hot and wet creating a perfect dark humid enviroment for such growths. These trays are kept in circulation despite the health hazard it presents despite letters to Food Service and grievances.xAfter all that it seems a small matter that the cooks cannot cook. All pasta and rice is boiled to mush. water is added to many of our main courses to stretch the ingred- ients. Even the simplest meals like corndogs and chicken patties are raw or burnt. No one is being held "strictly to account" for any of this. II. MEDICAL‘ Dn a daily basis M—F inmates that have to be escorted to medical are being denied going to their appointments even though they were issued an Official Uay—In Pass to go to their appointment. This uit does NUT have the facilities nor the staff to properly care for the Closed Custody and Administrative Segregation population and give them the medical care they are entitled to by a Supreme Court decision in Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 1UA(1976) which covers "denial or delay of access to treat- ment" This is also a "basic hman need" per the Eighth Amendment. Several grievances on this topic have come back announcing that the units administration “is aware of the situation and is monitoring it." So the unit is aware that our constitutional rights are being violated and their response is to "monitor" it. This staffing issue that denies us access to medical also .contributes to us being denied several other activities we are entitled to as well. III. RECREATIDN This unit is among the oldest that TDCJ—ID has open still and it has the smallest cells of all the uits with each cell measuring roughly 5'X 8' (4D2') and the bunk and toilet occupy over half the available floor space leaving very little roomto exercise or even move. To put it in perspective, these cells are smaller than most peoples bathrooms and we live in them for 23—2A hours a day. This makes recreation even more vital to our continued health mentally and physically. There are 78 1—man cells on each Ad Seg block and only 13 recreation cages per 2 blocks. To recreate one entire block 6 rounds of 1-hour rec would have to be completed. There is only one dayroom per housing block of 78 cells. Recreation is also concidered a "basic human need" per the Eighth Amendment so the denial of recreation is cruel and unusual punishment. Then when we do get to go PAGE 1 OF 6 "outside" the sky is blocked by a tin roof over the entire recreation area so one can go months or even years without being able to stand in the sunshine. The rec yards are infested with pigeons that live in the supports of the tin roof and they see our rec area as their bathroom. So we have the choice to stay in our tiny cell or play in bird feces which is prone to carrying diseases and birds themselves are prone to mites and other parasites. The prisons efforts to "clean" the rec yards concists of sweeping away the feces on the ground or spraying or scrubbing with water. None of these does anything to remove the feces from the fencing or sanitize the area at all. Often the basket balls provided will be covered in bird feces too. TDCJ-ID policy found in their Ad Seg Plan instructs how much recreation we are supposed to receive. This uit is never able to comply with this policy and give us the adequate amount of recreation dictated. IV. EXTREME TEMPERATURES "Ventilation is a fundamental attribute of ‘shelter’ and ‘sanitation’ both of which are basic Eighth Amendment concerns." Minifield v. Butikofer, 298 F.Supp.2d 90B, 904 (N.D.Eal.). Many courts have held that inadequate ventilation violates the Eighth Amendment or contributes to an unconstitutional combination of conditions. Brock v. warren Bounty, 7W3 F.Supp.23B (E.D. Tenn. 19B9)(jail officials violated constitution by subjecting inmate in cell with virtually nonexistent ventilation and extremely high temperature and humidity). Each housing block with cells is built bak to back with a pipe chase dividing them. In front of the cells is a wall comprised mostly of single pane windows with red brick dividers for structural support. The housing block that face each other were placed far enough apart to allow for air flow between the wings and through the five rows of opening windows. The tin roof above the rec yard previously mentioned that covers the retrofitted rec yard was installed between these wings and stands above 80% of the open windows retarding air flow intended by the designers of this uit. In the summer the super heated tin roof helps bake us in our retrofitted cells that inhibit air flow even more and it doesn't even start to cool off util 6 or 7 a.m. during the worst of summer. Many of us sleep on the bare concrete floor or directly on the steel bunk because it is too hot to lay on a mattress. To help the air flow a single fan is placed on the end of the 27 cell run about 10' or so before the cells start for the whole run which is about 140-150‘ long. No air flow can be felt in a cell past about 6—cell. The average heat index is 10° higher than it is outside. Being given cold water twice a day A is supposed to fix all this. Guatemala hasA/C in their prisons, are they that much ahead of the United States? Prisoners have died in Texas from the heat and heat related injuries are a constant concern every year yet nothing is being done to fix this life endangering problem that has been ruled to be an Eighth Amenment concern for cruel and unusual punishment. People face criminal charges for leaving their pets in similar extreme heat. Do humans deserve any less than animals? Then in the winter we have to cover our cells with sheets, blankets, paper and cardboard or whatever else we can find and bundle up with all the clothes we can get our hands on. For the poor guys who don't have anyone sending thm money to buy inmate-made long underwear from the state run commissary at extortionist rates, (The inmate labor is 'free' by the way. So we make clothes for the state to sell to us and all they pay for is the cloth and thread.), for those of us unable to be extorted we have to make do with inadequate state clothing that is not meant for such conditions while the officers walk the block in parkas, hats, and gloves. he live in such freezing temperatures, they only have to do 12-hour shifts. People keep their cell lights on day and night for the meager heat it produces doing anything we can think of to get warm. V. INFESTATIDNS It is uncommon to not kill at least half a dozen roaches aday, mostly around breakfast for some reason. Rats, mice, ants, flies, birds and cats can be found all over this unit in alarming numbers contaminating our living and recreation areas and for some of us our work enviroment. Palmigiano v. Garrahy, A43 F.Supp. 956, 961(D.R.I. 1977)("The entire structure is massively infested with cockroaches, rodents, mice, and rats, each of which carries diseases throughout the prison.") Hoptowit v. Spellman, 753 F.2d @ 7B3(vermin infestation was inconcistent with level of sanitation required by the Eighth Amendment). The PAGE 2 BF 6 pipe chases are sanctuaries for pest infestation as they are almost never cleaned. Une inmate who was in the pipe chase said it reeked of rat piss and said roaches were everywhere. There is no way to prevent roaches from entering our cells from the pipe chase. These retrofitted Ad Sag cells were cobbled together by inmate welders and are impossible to clean short of a steam pressure washer to get into every nook and crack the addition of angle iron, metal mesh and steel plates added to each cell. , There are simply too many places for pests to live and the "chemicals" pest control comes around and sprays do not have any chemical odor and roaches play in the stuff and don't die. It is as if the chemicals are being watered down so that the whole uhit can be sprayed without going over budget on chemicals. The result is ineffective sprayings that have no effect on the pest population. The feral cats live mostly around the kitchen back docks eating handouts and leftovers spreading whatever parasites they are carrying where our food is prepared. The birds as stated live worry free above their toilt (our rec yard). The ants can be found marching imperiously up and dow the run collecting whatever can be found, which is alot sad to say. The number of different pests infesting this place is truly shocking, it is worse here than in condemned appartments I have seen. UI. SANITATION Due to the abysmal sanitation we have the afore mentioned infestations. A severe or prolonged lack of sanitation can vio- late the Constitution.(h2 U.S.G.§1997(e)). Inmates have a right to a basic level of sanitation where they live Anderson v. County of Kern, 45 F.3d 1310, 1314(9th Cir. 1995) and work. Diagre v. Maggio, 719 F.2d 1310, 13fl2(5th Gir. 1983).("depriva— tion of facilities for elementary sanitation“ violates Constitution.) The runs were we live have food spilled on them with every meal served and they are supposed to be swept and mopped after every meal. They never are. Roaches and ants live on our runs with impunity. Stuck in ou calls like we are there is nothing we can do about this unsanitary practice. Grievances and other official complaints have done nothing to correct this problem. we are supposed to be issued cleaning chemicals to main- tain our cells weekly but only receive such once evey few months if that often. Dur showers are not cleaed regularly and it is 26 of us per shower. 26 people using one shower makes for a verry disgusting shower. Most of us bathe in our sink in our cell to avoid the germ infested shower. I've already covered the lack of sanitation concerning the steam line on the block so wont rehash it though it is central to the poor sanitation on the housing blocks that have them. uhen the inmates do mop the runs all they accomplish is spreading the md out evenly. The rus are so caked in dirt and filth the only way for it to get clean(er) is for us to flood the run with toilet water and for the imate workers to squeegie the run clear of water and then mop. That is the only times that the run gets even relatively clean, when we flood with toilet water. Months of food and dirt are on the run right now caked on feeding the pest populations. VII. PERSONAL HYGIENE Items like soap, razors, toothbrushes and combs are all things we are entitled to per the Eighth Amendnent "basic human need" clause yet have to go to extreme lengths to aquire on this unit. Every other TDGJ unit simply passes these items out to everyone on a regular basis with a set schedule for issuance. Not the Ferguson uit. "Failure to regularly provide prisoners with clean bedding, towels, clothing and sanitary mattresses, as well as toilet articles including soap, razors, combs, toothpaste, toilet paper, access to a mirror and sanitary napkins for female prisoners constitutes a denial of personal hygiene and sanitary living conditions." Dwson v. Kendrick, 527 F.Supp. 1252, 1288—89(S.D.w.Ua.1981). we never get enough razors or soap for everyone on the block ever. It would be a simple matter to deliver our weekly issuance of soap and a razor with the roll of toilet paper that gets passed out each Thursday. This is what most TDCJ units do and it works great, everyone gets what they are entitled to and the unit runs more smoothly because inmates don't have to act out to get a supervising officer called to the block to deal with a disturbance due to imates being denied their constitutional right to personal hygiene items. itis easy to deduce that this is being done deliberately to save money and stay under budget. For 78 inmates 40 razors might be delivered to the block. what are we supposed to do? Share these disposable razors? Unless unit supply truly doesn't know how PAGE 3 OF 6 to count we are being deliberately shorted soap and razors which adds to the general unsanitary conditions on this already disgustingly filthy unit. Getting a comb or toothbrush from the unit takes nearly an act of congress. I had Sgt. Gonzales ask me, an inmate, if TDCJ still issued combs to inmatesldnen I asked her to help me get one. That a supervising officer doesn't know that these items are still available attests how long they have been denied to us. we are entitled to these these and supervising officers don't even know they exist or how to get them. Then there is the chronic denial of cleaning chemicals to maintain our cells. we get cleaning supplies less often than all these other items combined. we are left with the decision of using our soap to wash our body or our cell when we do get it. VIII. NEGESSITIES Per Texas Government Code §5D1.UD4 Clothing "The department shall peovide to inmates housed in facilities operated by the department suitable clothing that is of substantial material, uniform make and reasonable fit and footwear that is substantial -nd comfortable. The department may not allow inmates to wear clothing that is not furnished by the department, except as a reward for meritorious conduct. The department may allow inmates to wear underwear not furnished by the department." willims v. Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 825(Ath Cir. 1991)(alleging of deprivation of coats supported Eighth Amendment claim). Reece v. Gregg, 650 F.Supp. 1297, 13U5(D.Kan. 1985)(laundering of uniforms once a week and blankets once eve. three months insufficient to satisfy constitutional standards). Hets start with t.e fact that we get issued a single blanket once a year to use for the entire winter (from about Sent.-Apr. or so) with no exchange or washing. The single blanket is so insufficient that I sleep under mine with it folded in two curling my 5'2" self into a ball to try to stay warm. For the winter of 2015-17 Ad Beg wasn't even issued jackets despite Ad Sag Plan policy that specifies the issuance of such. For the winter of 2017418 we were given the absolute worst jackets on the entire unit with entire patches of insulation missing, zippers broken, cuffs shredded and other arious damage. These jackets were not of Wmiiform make" and would not be given to a homeless person. All too often such is the .ese with te laundry department on this unit. The laundry captain deliberately discriminates against Ad Sag blocks by sending JS the worst damaged and destroyed clothes and sheets along wi.h touels and blankets. Then our laundry items are never exchanged on anything approaching a consistent schedule to be exchanged for clean necessi.ies. Clean by the way is a relative term. I can get these sheets cleaner with 2 bars of state soap by washing them in my toilet. Sheets do get cleaner when one rashes them by hand than when machine washed by the laundry department. This really makes no sense to me but it is a fact. our zlothes when we do get them are ot clean and are in bad repair more often than not. I have personally went months with the fame pair of sock and had to make a hand~made sewing needle to darn them as I wore holes in them on t.is concrete floor. IX. GRIEVANGE DEPARTMENT bent to was.e time, paper and ink? write a grievance to the grievance department. Texas Government Code §ED1.UU8 Inmate Erievance System(a) states that "The department shall develops and maintain a system for the resolition of grievances by imates oused in facilities operated by te department..."" It goes on for several more paragraphs but the point is that state law zritten to comply with the First Amendments guarantee of our right"tc petition the government xmsxgmvxxmmsmm for a redress of -rievances" is on the books and not being followed. Offender Grievance Doerations Dperations Manual policy is TDCJ policy uritten to comply with state and federal law. "Grievances filed through an official grievance process are constitutionally lrotected."Jackson v. Gain; 864 P.2d 1235, 12hB—h9(5th Cir, 1989). then our grievances aren't "lost" in the mail (behueen the grievance office, the mailroom and the cell it's being returned to) it will 99% of the time have a nonsensical frivolous flesponse that denies everything we allege. in the grievance(I~127 a.k.a. Step1)NdX no matter how factual the incident forcing us to file a I-128 form(Stsp2)- The response on that will invariably say that we were appropriately notified in our Step 1 and no further action is reouired. All the above issues that have been described have been presented to the grievance depart— mes PAGE A U? 6 I I I I I went and shown deliberate indiffierence each and every time. Our pest problem does not exist despite the hundreds of roaches I have killed personally. The bird faces that you can go look at on the rec yard right non doesn'tflexisti he are afforded t.is method of resolving our complaints to help the unit run more smoothly and reduce tension betueen officers and inmates. It cannot be denied that many inmates are violent and without a legitimate outlet for complaints concerning staff they will turn to violence to solve their grievances on their own making this a very dangerous .lace for inmates and staff alike. he have a right to this system and state lau orders the department to develops and MAINTAIN a system for the resolution of grievances. dike on the Allred unit where .4o of the grievance investigators ere married to Captains of Borrections that worked that Lmit there is a conflict of interest where you have the government agency investigate itself. TDBJ cuts the checks for these Grievance Investigators. Does anyone really expect them to bite the hand that feeds them? This is uhy we cannot get any suh~ stantive responses to our grievances. Government agencies never investigate themselves unbiassedly. lmates will never get their grievances answered in a substantive manner with TDCJ employee's responding to grievances about their spouces, bosses, and coworkers, the people they eat with during their break and but a smoke from. X. GOOD TIME Texas is one of the few states that does not pay its inmates for the labor they are forced to do under threat of discipl- inary action. Even the wage of 25¢ an hour is a great improvement over the "Good Time" we are currently being"p id". Good Time is a false token that is supposed to be added to our flat (day~for—dav) time to add up to our total sentence so we can get out sooner. Texas Penal Code §31.D#(e)(1) covers "theft of service” "A person commits theft of service if, with intent to avoid payment for service that he knees is provided only for c-“,ensation he intentionally or knowingly secures perforance of the service by deception, threat, or false token." Good Time is a deception and a false token at the same time. I ear a person with 112% of his time done and was not allowed to leave until his flat—time equalled his sentence. This is supposed to be our compensation for working and it is a false token without value, a deception to avoid payment for the work we perform expecting compensation. Slavery is abolished for everyone BUT the goverment. Even parole councilors when they are being honest will tell us good time is worthless. So thy give it to us if it is without value if not to decieve us? The entire system of good time is nothing but a method the state uses to commit theft of service. XI. GENDER DTSCQIMINATIDN TDCJ has a double standard for grooming. If you are a female you can wear your hair l0Ht- Tf you are a male you cannot. Supposedly males are more prone to escape and long hair is supposed to facilitate this. There are no hmeaeaudth male prisoners named Repunsal in them. TDC3 policy xpressly prohibits discrimination. The PD 22 Rode 21 .iscriuination— Violation Havel 1 "Discrimination or harassment based on color, race, religion, sex(gender)... is prohibited."There is no substantive difference between a TDE3~ID male unit and a TDCJ~TD female unit that long hair is not a security threat for females but it is for males. TDC3 used the same for us having facial hair that they give for us having long hair and we have the right to have baa s non. No one has used their beard to escape or injure another offender or staff member which renders all the protests they put forth moot- The only difference between male and female units is our respective sexes. The only reasonable conclusion is that TDEJ is pracvicing gender discrimination and is denying males long hair for no other reason t.an because they are male because none of their excuses hold water. Hang hair is not a security risk for females and all Texas prison officers are trained the same and there are no extra security measures in place to deal with long hair on female unite. So what is the problem? Dnly strait up discrimination makes any sense. That is not allowed in todays society. PAGE 5 DE 6 XII. CONTACT MITH THE OUTSIDE MDRLD This will be split into two parts: ’l)\Jisitation and 2)Current events and important items of news. These rights are taken from STANDARD !V!T.'\'Il"!Ul"| RLIUES FTJR T‘-!E TREATMENT OF PRISDNERS and can be researched @ http://www.penalrefo1:‘m.or:,/wp- content/uploads/'2.8’l 5,/D5,/Ml‘.I\£DEbA—PUl_'*E'3 .pdf.. 1 ) "Prisoners are to be allowed regular contact with family and friends, both by correspondence and personal. visits. "l:L=2l.l if an inmate is .indigent regular correspondence means 5 stamps worth of postage per month. Not very adequate .or writing more than 2 people on a regular basis. As for getting visits on this unit if you are i.n Ad Sag. Therre are '2. visitation days each Vweek(Sat-—Sun) and vi.sitati.on runs for hours. Each inmate is a 2-hour visi.t regularly. There are 10 visitation booths for Ad Beg. There are 6 Ad Seg blocks each with 78 cells. That equates to AU 2-hour visits each visitation day for a 468 inmate population. what about the other 388 of us? And that is assuming there is enough staff to run visitation efficiently enough to allow 40 inmates to cycle through those 10 booths. Too often it is like getting to medical and recreation, it doesn't work right. The last time I had a visit my visitor waited inside for me for over an hour!d1ile I had no idea he was even on the unit. I have heard that G-5's and inmates in solitary confinement also go into those same 18 visitation booths making the numbers even worse. Many people that would get visits don't because family and friends don't want to drive all that way to wait outside for hours and not get in; 2)"Prisoners are to be kept informed of current events and important items of news." TDCJ does NOT do this. The only nod to complying to this provision are the tv's in the dayrooms for population inmates. No n-ws papers are circulated with free- world neus, no radio broadcasts are aired for general consumption. Nothing. Again BE have to rely on family and friends to send us funds so we can order our own news papers and magazines and if we share them around they get confiscated and we get a case for "trafficing and trading". The commissary also sells incredibly cheep alarm clock radios for the exorbient rate of $28 each. Antenna sold seperatel . The coax cable screws onto the back of the radio and there is supposed to be an antenna jack on the back wall of each cell but more often than not these are missing or non-functional. For us in Ad Sag we are sdoject to sensory deprivation and a total disconnect from the ucrld we expected to rejoin some day. he have no way to obtain any infor- mation regarding current events or important items of news. Not the weather, not national elections, nothing. Despite continued complaints and official grievances Ferguson has steadily refleed to maintain these coax antennas in the pipe chase so that the radios they sell us will function. There is just too much concrete and steel for any decent signal to ma.e it to these cheap overpriced radios. This is the most affordable means of accessing the neus so have and it is .enied to us for no other reason than t.ey don't want to spend the money to maintain this broken down past infested unit. They don't care how much harm such extended seclusion causes a person, it is job security to these people. Honestly, TDCJ should not only fix these coax cable antennas but should also sell small tvs like those already in cells on some other units" Security approved tv's are already inside the institution, there is little reason to not sell them on commissary and make some more money off of us. In this manner we are denied human contact in every way and are the worse off for it. There are no other units so inept at maintaining the unit facilities and ensuring that the inmate population receives all they are entitled to. These are not all the short comings of the Ferguson unit but are the worst that come easily to mind. As a:d1ole the inmates on this unit are being subject to cruel and unusual punishment in many and varied ways that are barbaric and inhuman. No person in a civilizes society should be subject to such conditions, li ing in a structure that should have been condemned years ago as unfit for human habitation. It is the hope and intent of this information to inform the wide world of what goes on behind he fences and walls in this hidden society. Ferguson unit Ad Seg Inmates (£1/‘V6’/7 0/ 3 /%/2/n5,éy 1/ /7/% Eg1?D 8a/a ' ...._. urge Drive is , g . ,. Midway Texas 75852 33 72 F/7 39¢? [M A _ 4:/V;//};y_j;Ly/y 7~eX4’5‘ /442 Z}//J/7 /=*/ZMW5 PAGE 6 GF 6

Author: Dillon, Kyle

Author Location: Texas

Date: September 14, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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