Mailed: 01-21-20 (Tuesday)
My name is DeCarlos Montray Garrett, and I'm serving 144 years for 2 aggravated robbery convictions out of Houston (Harris County) Texas. I'm currently assigned to the Allen B. Polunsky Unit, which houses Texas' Death Row. My custody level is Restrictive Housing, which is a new/nicer way of saying Administrative Segregation...I'm almost 46 years old. And I've been incarcerated over 30 of those 46 years. With 19 straight this time...
I start this story describing my dispositions so that you will understand that I've been through almost everything that a person can go through in here. The only things I haven't done are have sex with another man, become an informant, or die! (obviously) But I have been abused. And the systematic abuse I'm going through at the present is akin to the treatment political prisoners get and go through.
The State of Texas has integrated a surveillance department on it's maximum security units, which include video surveillance, voice surveillance (over the state controlled phones), and added surveillance to all incoming and outgoing mail. I say added -- because the unit's mailrooms already provides that function. The surveillance department gets involved when the goal is to apply "pressure."
I've been involved with several seizures of contraband such as cell phones, drugs and money. So, I completely understand why a person such as myself might be "watched more than others." But when imposing their punishments, they've decided to expand the punishments to anyone who writes or visits me. For example, I have a great friend whom I hope to marry one day name Robin. She was taken off of my visitation list back in 2008. At no time has Robin done anything to threaten the security of the
1 penal institution! Matter-of-fact, she has never once "got to visit with me"! Yet people who's family or friends have been caught bringing drugs or having sex -- get them replaced onto their visiting lists in less than 2 years. All of Robin's and my own requests over the years have been denied. But she isn't the only one that was removed from my visiting list. They've removed four people from my visiting list! It would be easy to say -- well, they must have all been involved in something against the rules. No, the only reason why they were removed from my visiting list is because of their support... We are allowed to have 10 people on our visiting list at all times. Everytime I've gotten into trouble and was asked to snitch, but wouldn't, they systematically remove whoever I was getting the most help/visits from, off of my visiting list. Not because they were involved in my prison activities but because that's the only punishment they think will affect me.
Now that I can't get visits anymore, they've started to deny my mail. I can't write to or receive mail from my brother. And in a 8 day span (January 9th to January 17th) I was denied 3 letters from 3 different people. And denied the right to send a letter to 1 person. (That's 4 denials in 1 week!)
I've had Robin to e-mail the Ombudsman office no less than five times in the last 4 months. And each time that she does, this Surveillance Department starts to holding my mail. The postmark is typically 2 or 3 weeks old by the time I get a letter mailed the traditional way. And not once has the ombudsman responded to her complaints. Although it's obvious that they contact the unit about applying "more" pressure.
I was placed in Restrictive Housing (Administrative Segregation) in October for a non-violent drug infraction. This was my first write-up in over 15 months. So, the charge does not justify me being housed at this level. The only way a person can be housed or placed in Restrictive Housing (Ad. Seg.) is if you are a escape risk, commit a violent offense, or are a security threat -- as evidenced by repeated serious disciplinary cases -- recently. You cannot be placed at this level based on your past disciplinary history, unless it's a recent disciplinary history of serious cases. None of these justify me being placed at this level.
Every human is subjected to change. Be it change in lifestyles, change in body due to aging, change in mentalities due to learning or devotional. Well, I've accepted this change in prison environments without much complaint. I'm single cell now, and don't have to deal with my cellmate's snoring or farting all night. But what's come with this move is to be housed on the building that houses the most active death row in U.S. History. Why is that important? It's important because of Tilwen Green.
I barely knew this guy. He moved to our section about 5 days before he was killed. (On December 5, 2019) And because of these officers insensitive look on inmates lives, it's nothing to them. The OIG didn't investigate. No prison officials investigated. He was 2 doors down from me, and I witnessed him begging for his life for about 12-14 hours, after being given a insulin shot for the first time. He was in an incredible amount of pain! After he died that evening, when we realized that no one wanted our statements, we wrote grievances. They sent them back unprocessed. We sent them "as they were" to State Senator John Whitmire. He never answered. So I had Robin to contact his family. Last week she did so, and they've expressed
3 an interest in finding our what happened from me. Of course the symmetry is that--my mail has started to be denied. Both the incoming and the outgoing! At first it was just disappearing without explanation. No reason to document it because some of the mail was letters that weren't able to be recorded. However, I've asked my people to only write to me through Jpay now. It's recorded on the computer and therefore I can check it out to make sure that I've received everyone that was sent. The last time I checked, I saw where they threw away 6 of that last 10. The benfit is that I was able to determine that. And had Robin to file another complaint about the ones that were missing.
A lot of my problems have to do with this mail room and the surveillance department. And by getting involved with this guy's death is only inviting more "pressure." But I would rather be denied my rights than to forget about a person who was denied their life. He wasn't killed by violence. He was killed by neglect, indifference & insensitivity. A mentality these officers have adopted when working with these death row guys. Who are here one day and gone the next. That's not who I am. My comforts mean nothing to me if it's in exchange for my silence.
You can add that to the other 3 things I've listed that I haven't done. 1) I haven't had sex with a man; 2) I haven't snitched on anyone; 3) I haven't died!... And 4) As long as I'm alive, I'll never sell out my principles! "Never-sell-out!"
Thank you for reading this. If you'd like to contact me, please do!
APWA, Thank you for this avenue! I'll be sending more--on other issues!
(pg. 4 of 4)
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