Friday, September 15, 2017

TDCJ Media Round Up

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Interviews with Ricco Garcia, Pamela Starsia and Azzurra Crispino in front of Texas Department of Criminal Justice building as they are eventually successful in delivering the administrative filing to TDCJ:



This was after being initially denied access to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice offices to deliver the administrative filing. There is only one person who is allowed to accept mail at TDCJ, evidently, and their office doesn't have a lobby or a receptionist:




For additional information on sanitation at TDCJ read our #PortaPottyGate Blog, and watch our video below.












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Thursday, September 14, 2017

#PORTAPOTTYGATE


#PortaPottyGate Explained on YouTube


Here are the photos as well as the links to the photos.  Zoom in for a very clear picture.  There are 8 photos of each unit that show a complete 360 view.  There are also a few photos where we zoomed in to conduct a count the number of portable toilets in each facility.

GIST UNIT

















Stiles Unit






Harvey Floods Inmates Round-Up

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE

Interviews with Ricco Garcia, Pamela Starsia and Azzurra Crispino in front of Texas Department of Criminal Justice building as they are eventually successful in delivering the administrative filing to TDCJ:



This was after being initially denied access to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice offices to deliver the administrative filing. There is only one person who is allowed to accept mail at TDCJ, evidently, and their office doesn't have a lobby or a receptionist:




For additional information on sanitation at TDCJ read our #PortaPottyGate Blog, and watch our video below.












BUREAU OF PRISONS

Video of the action at the BOP Regional Office in Grand Prarie, TX



Christine Hopkins delivering PLAN's administrative filing to BOP:












COVERAGE

http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/12/opinions/prisoners-pet-irma-opinion-jones-jackson/ 


http://www.dallasobserver.com/news/north-texas-families-protest-conditions-in-storm-damaged-texas-prison-9866262

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/09/11/texas-congressman-why-didnt-beaumont-prisons-didnt-evacuate/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/26/us/hurricane-harvey-prison-evacuation.html

https://www.democracynow.org/2017/9/8/texas_prisoners_are_facing_horrid_conditions 

https://www.newyorker.com/sections/news/weathering-a-hurricane-in-prison/amp

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41874-no-toilet-no-ventilation-prisoners-describe-horrific-conditions-in-harvey-s-flood-zone

http://m.beaumontenterprise.com/news/article/Van-with-six-drowned-family-members-father-12177433.php

http://www.houstonpress.com/news/austin-congressman-joins-civil-rights-group-on-beaumont-prison-probe-9781022

http://m.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Texas-prisons-take-hit-from-Harvey-complaints-of-12172438.php?cmpid=fb-mobile

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/harvey-beaumont-prison-deaths-rumors-mistreatment-12174531.php

http://www.chron.com/news/houston-weather/hurricaneharvey/article/Harvey-beaumont-prison-inmates-speak-out-texas-12167587.php

http://www.chron.com/news/politics/texas/article/Two-more-state-prisons-evacuated-due-to-Hurricane-12105584.php

https://www.buzzfeed.com/albertsamaha/prisoners-face-horrifying-conditions-limited-water-after?utm_term=.loL5mPE4p#.ndJD3a4bE


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FAMILIES AND INMATES SEEK REDRESS FOR TDCJ WRONGDOINGS

Prison Abolition Prisoner Support (PAPS)
Media Contact: Azzurra Crispino
iheartpaps@gmail.com  (512) 710-PAPS (7277)

FAMILIES AND INMATES SEEK REDRESS FOR TDCJ WRONGDOINGS

AUSTIN, TX: In response to public outrage at the Texas Department of Criminal Justice's mishandling of inmates during Hurricane Harvey, Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network or PLAN (administered by the Delaware-New Jersey chapter of the National Lawyers Guild) will be issuing an administrative filing with Texas Department of Criminal Justice located at 209 W 14th St, Austin, TX 78701 Wednesday September 13th at 10:00am.  Concerned citizens will be present to show support for the filing.
Three weeks after Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast, families and friends of inmates housed in Texas Department of Criminal Justice are still fighting for accurate answers and redress regarding TDCJ’s emergency evacuation procedures. TDCJ evacuated roughly 5000 inmates from flood areas in Rosharon and Richmond TX, but chose not to evacuate inmates in Beaumont.  The three units that family and inmates state should have been evacuated are LeBlanc, Stiles and Gist. LeBlanc is a pre-trial detention center, where prisoners filed more than 130 lawsuits in late 2008 alleging that prison conditions following Hurricane Ike violated their civil rights.  It would seem TDCJ has not learned from the past.  Inmates at LeBlanc report standing water in their cells, the same as they did during Ike. Conditions are similar at Stiles and Gist, which are on the same road.  
Inmates report standing water in certain parts of their unit, and that they were without electricity or water for days.  Without water, they were unable to flush cell toilets, which became pungent and unsanitary. TDCJ reports of providing portable toilets are disputed by prisoners, who widely report that those toilet facilities are for staff use only.  FEMA aerial photos indicate the portable toilets provided were insufficient for the number of people at the unit.  Inmates claim there was at least one day without any access to drinking water and many days with only two bottles per person, despite sweltering heat, no air conditioning, and very limited ability to sanitize.  They were not able to shower or get a clean set of uniforms for 10 days.  While TDCJ claims that meal service was uninterrupted, inmates consistently report multiple skipped meals or insufficient meals, resulting in some prisoners being unable to hold down medication that must be taken on a full stomach.  After mounting public pressure, inmates at Stiles Unit reported a hearty lunch on Labor Day, but went back to previous lack of food immediately after.
    Family members looking for answers were very skeptical of TDCJ’s updates, and with good reason.  The filing states that PLAN has received credible reports that at least one person in photographs released by TDCJ about post-Harvey conditions include a staff member no longer employed by TDCJ. There are also reports that the video released by TDCJ of staff distributing water to prisoners was filmed earlier this year during a maintenance-related facility water shut-off. “I along with other family members of the inmates in the Beaumont units would like for TDCJ to be held accountable for violating the rights of our loved ones and that the policy and practices be changed so this doesn't happen to any other inmate,“ said Lindsey Disheroon, whose husband reported standing water in his cell at Stiles Unit during the aftermath of Harvey.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: FAMILY MEMBERS, LAWYERS, CURRENT AND FORMER PRISONERS
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Monday, September 11, 2017

INMATE FAMILIES TAKE ACTION IN AFTERMATH OF HARVEY

                          
        Help Our Loved Ones             Prison Abolition Prisoner Support
                        Media Contact: Rachel Vergara        Media Contact: Azzurra Crispino
                                  918-954-2596                                      512-710-727

INMATE FAMILIES TAKE ACTION IN AFTERMATH OF HARVEY

GRAND PRAIRIE, TX: Families and friends of inmates are gathering in white shirts for peace at the regional office of the Bureau of Prisons located at 344 Marine Forces Dr. Grand Prairie, TX 75051 at 2:30pm on September 11th to demand improvements in conditions their loved ones face in the aftermath of Harvey and attempt to communicate with BOP officials directly.  This coincides with the Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network (administered by the Delaware-New Jersey chapter of the National Lawyers Guild) issuing an administrative filing with the BOP documenting and demanding redress of many of the same conditions family members are protesting in the aftermath of the BOP refusing to evacuate inmates.
After Harvey hit, power and water supply at the prison complex was cut off, leaving inmates without running water, proper sanitation, or air conditioning.  Although portable toilets were eventually brought to the unit, they were insufficient for the number of inmates and overflowing, causing unsanitary conditions.  Inmates have resorted to voiding in plastic bags because of the lack of proper sanitation. Prison officials have been turning the water on once a day only to allow the men to flush the toilets, while telling them not to drink the water.  Inmates have been receiving between 2 and 4 small bottles of water a day, which is insufficient for the heat and sanitary conditions. Some inmates report drinking the toxic toilet water.  There have been consistent reports of lack of food and inmates have not received clean clothes since before the storm hit.  
Family members are demanding the BOP:  evacuate all units in Beaumont until proper steps are made to address contamination, mold and other health hazards, as well as restoring access to clean drinking water; publicize all internal correspondence regarding disaster relief; resume communications for ALL prisoners, including those in administrative segregation, and outside supporters and media; allow reporters to tour facilities; give proper medical care to inmates including tetanus shots, blood work and physicals to ensure prisoners are treated for any infections they may have contracted; clean clothes; and meals that meet the Bureau of Prisons national menu standards.  Those unable to make the rally are asked to call 972-730-8600 to voice these demands.
Conditions in Texas Department of Criminal Justice units may be even worse than in federal facilities. Prisoners Legal Advocacy Network will also be issuing an administrative filing for TDCJ facilities, with additional protest actions to follow.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: FAMILY MEMBERS, LAWYERS, INMATES, SUPPORTERS
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http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/41874-no-toilet-no-ventilation-prisoners-describe-horrific-conditions-in-harvey-s-flood-zone

http://m.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Texas-prisons-take-hit-from-Harvey-complaints-of-12172438.php

http://m.chron.com/news/houston-weather/hurricaneharvey/article/Harvey-beaumont-prison-inmates-speak-out-texas-12167587.php

https://www.federalprisonblog.com/2017/09/happening-fcc-beaumont.html

Sunday, September 10, 2017

INMATES IN BEAUMONT NOT EVACUATED AND REMAIN WITHOUT WATER OR PROPER SANITATION AS FAMILY MEMBERS DISPUTE OFFICIALS REPORTS

Prison Abolition Prisoner Support (PAPS)
Media Contact: Azzurra Crispino
iheartpaps@gmail.com  (512) 710-PAPS (7277)

INMATES IN BEAUMONT NOT EVACUATED AND REMAIN WITHOUT WATER OR PROPER SANITATION AS FAMILY MEMBERS DISPUTE OFFICIALS’ REPORTS

Inmates in Beaumont facilities continue to be without running water, and many have not showered or been given clean clothes in ten days.  As Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) Executive Director Bryan Collier claims “we did not have water that came into any of our units that were occupied”, family members of inmates at Stiles Unit say this is an outright lie, as there was water in the inmates’ cells on Friday. Lindsey Disheroon reports her husband Clifton Cloer said he was in calf deep water as of Monday afternoon.  Mr. Collier claims he visited the unit himself, presumably accompanying TDCJ Spokesperson Jason Clark, but there are concerns over how thoroughly they toured the facility.  Ms. Disheroon – who is formerly incarcerated - says “if the executive director came to the unit and inspected like he claimed all the inmates would know.”  Did TDCJ officials only view sections of the units that had remained dry?
Although the City of Beaumont was under a voluntary evacuation order, none of the prisons in the area were evacuated.  TDCJ runs Gist, LeBlanc (a pre-trial detention unit), and Stiles, while the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) runs the four facilities in USP Beaumont complex (including satellite camp, low, medium and high security facilities), which suffered an electrical fire three weeks before the hurricane. Harris County Jail, located in downtown Houston, was also not evacuated. 
Across the various Beaumont area units, inmates are without water and food is scarce.  Although port-a-pottys were delivered, in some units they were reserved for correctional officers. Port-a-pottys were insufficient for the number of men housed in the units and were not being emptied, causing some inmates to resort to voiding in plastic bags.  Some stooped to drinking toilet water.  Lunch at Stiles, where inmates welcomed refugees even though they had not been able to make commissary for six weeks, on Monday was a holiday meal.  Most other meals have been insufficient.  Across the way at Gist, “they were not given water today August 4, 2017” said another woman scared of retaliation, after speaking to her loved one over the phone.
Inmates were forced to take medication that is supposed to be taken with food are taking it without and report vomiting.  One diabetic inmate, speaking through his wife who wished to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation on her husband, reported he was supposed to be getting sandwiches but was only receiving bread without bologna or peanut butter, and was choosing to fast as eating only bread would cause his blood sugar to dangerously spike.
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: FAMILY MEMBERS, CURRENT AND FORMER PRISONERS
VIDEO AVAILABILITY: INTERVIEWS WITH FAMILY MEMBERS
AUDIO AND EMAIL OF INTERACTIONS WITH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

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https://papstexas.blogspot.com/2017/09/audio_file.html