Monday, May 1, 2017

"To Cause A Disruption"- Written by: Spencer Butler

“To Cause A Disruption”
By: Spencer Butler

During the month of September after waiting for a copy of the September 2016 Issue of Prison Legal News, I finally decided to write the mailroom here at the French Robertson Unit and inquire if the publication was being held and if so for what reason(s).
                Within a few days I received a response stating it was on hold with no other reason, so I then wrote the mailroom back asking wy it was on hold and the response was “due to questionable content” and would be held until the review is completed by the MSCP. (mail system coordinators panel)
                Then on 10-11-16 I received a correspondence denial form for the Summer 2016 Issue of the Inside Books Project Newsletter stating it was being denied because it “would advocate prison disruption”.  On 10-25-16 I received a publication denial notification concerning the Inside Books Project Newsletter being denied specifically because “page 10 contains information on a work stoppage which could cause prison disruption.”
                The rule that is being used to deny these publications is on page 120 of the Offender Orientation Handbook which states © “It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots, or security threat group activity.”
                The Prison Legal News has been in circulation within the Prison System for many years and the editor, columnists and many of the contributing writers are currently or have been incarcerated, so I’m sure they know what is and is not allowed,  (correspondence related) in the prison system.  Prison Legal News as you can tell is a LEGAL publication, so once again I’m sure they know what we as prisoners can legally receive in the mail.
                In regards to the rule I previously mentioned I would like to concentrate on a word and that word is solely.  According the Merriam- Websters Collegiate Dictionary 11th ed the word solely is defined as 1.  Without another 2. To the exclusion of all else.
                The denial form for the Summer 2016 Inside Books Project states the denied issue is on page 10 therefor showing it is NOT written for the sole purpose of anything because with there being 10+ pages the word solely does NOT apply.
                The Prison Legal News publication usually has around 70+ pages and the articles are on several different issues therefor showing once again the word solely does not apply.
                When it states it could cause disruption what could cause a disruption is frivolous rules that are made up, don’t apply and are not used to restrict what little freedom we have as prisoners.
                The issue the denials were based on is a September 9, 2016 peaceful workstoppage that was nationally planned throughout the prison system and the reason this, amongst several other work stoppages have been done in the past and will continue to be done in the future is because of the slavery we as prisoners are forced to do or we are punished.  We receive no pay or good time for our work or any type of earnings, therefor the peaceful work stoppages are done for the purpose of obtaining better treatment, medical, good time, etc.
                If we were treated better and shown some form of appreciation maybe the workstoppages would not happen, so to get to the root of the problem what “could cause prison disruption”; it’s the treatment that inspires us as prisoners to commit to executing and planning the work stoppages that “could cause prison disruption”.
                But plain and simple: the capitalist, imperialist, slave masters that call theirselves the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are where the possibilities of prison disruption originated from.  Not inmates peacefully protesting this by refusing to be slaves.

"How to Build- Things to Build On" - Written by: Spencer Butler

“How to Build- Things To Build On”
By: Spencer Butler

Amendment XIII (13) passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, Ratified December 6, 1865.
     Section 1
“Neither slavery no involuntary solitude, except as a punishment for crimes where of the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

               As prisoners we fall under this amendment of the United States Constitution because and only because it benefits the Prison System and the capitalist political and governmental farce that exists in this country.

                There are several other amendments that are not upheld because they might bring about benefits to us prisoners.  A perfect example is Amendment 1:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise there of; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO PEACEFULLY ASSEMBLE and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

                This amendment does not say it pertains only to a certain or specific people, race, religion, or station in life… it says PEOPLE!!!

               As prisoners if we attempt to assemble in any form or fashion we are further locked away in confinement and what few privileges we have are taken away.

                As prisoners if we receive any form of publication, letter, etc. that mentions a peaceful assembly concerning the slavery the constitution places on us it is confiscated and/or denied without the option to appeal. (Petition the court for a redress of greivances.)
             Why is it that the government can pick and choose which amendments are to be followed and which ones do not?  It’s because absolute power corrupts absolutely and the government is controlled by money, power, and greed.
              The Constitution is changed and manipulated on a daily basis.  Sometimes it is changed for the better because certain needed changes are voted and FOUGHT for, so maybe we as prisoners need to stand up and fight for the changes we want and need rather than waiting for them to change on their own and then complaining when they don’t!

                A house isn’t build because someone needs a place to live!  It’s made by building a foundation first and continuing to build on that foundation, so why don’t we build a foundation of strength, unity, hope and motivation and build a house of change, purpose, integrity and honor?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"This Too Shall Come to Pass" - Written by: Spencer Butler

Until recently I slaved for the Department of Criminal In-Justice Garment Factory, but due to a peaceful work stoppage, I was locked up in the SHU (Secure Housing Unit) and no longer work.

The TDCJ (Texas Department of Criminal Justice (in-Justice), makes no sense if you are of sound mind, but if you agree with slavery it makes perfect sense.

While in the Garment Factory everything from thermals to t-shirts are made and stamped with TCI (Texas Corporate Industries) which means made by inmates, for inmates.

These items, We, as inmates, slaved away making are placed in a Commissary Store and then are sold back to us.  For making these items and millions of dollars annually for the TCI we get no good time, a thank you, or even a discount on the items we make.  This my friend is Capitalism at its finest or slavery.  Whichever you prefer.

As the Slave Drivers used to crack the whip on the back of Slaves when they refused to work are slowed down, the Slave Drivers of today crack the whip of confinement, loss of privileges or a sentence of suffrage against us if we fail to comply with their demands.  Even if these demands violate our Constitutional Rights, We are still expected not to blink an eye but continue to slave away.  Who gives Them the right? No one, that's who!  And just like the racial slavery of the 1800's came to pass, prison slavery will also come to pass.  But only if we resist!

Sunday, January 22, 2017




AUSTIN, TX – On Sunday, Jan 22nd 2017 at 4pm, immediately following the 44th Roe v Wade rally, Prison Abolition Prisoner Support (PAPS) will hold a press conference at the Texas Capitol to address the injustices faced by inmates – men and women, in Texas and nationally – who participated in the 2016 inmate strikes.
Texas prisoners went on strike in April 2016 to demand adequate medical treatment, an end to the $100 medical co-payment and for all prisoners to get hepatitis c treatment; better living conditions, such as no more toxic water, mold, and an end to long-term solitary confinement; “good time” work credit to be automatically counted when a prisoner has a parole board hearing;  those who file a habeas corpus brief to be appointed a qualified attorney; and that the Legislature form and appoint a committee with true oversight powers over the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. When the strike went national on September 9th, 2016, prison officials were ready. They put all units that were likely to strike on pre-emptive lockdown in order to ensure Texas prisoners did not participate in the nationwide protest, billed as the largest prison strike in US history.

Two notable Texas prisoners were retaliated against for their ideological role in the 2016 strikes. Keith “Malik” Washington was one of the first to call for strikes. On September 9th, 2016 he and fellow incarcerated workers were not able to work stop due to threats from correctional officers. Even though no strike action occurred, Washington –deeply committed to non-violence -was charged with inciting to riot, placed in administrative segregation (solitary confinement) and moved to Eastham Unit, notorious for toxic water.

Kevin “Rashid” Johnson, who has written many articles about the prisoner strike, including for the San Francisco Bay View, and has consistently been a whistle blower regarding wrongful deaths in Texas prisons, was tear-gassed in his cell on Dec 21st 2016 and was left without his property – including his blood pressure medication - for at least three days.  Although the warden claims this was due to Johnson refusing to return hand restraints, questions remain: why would Johnson have wanted to be handcuffed in solitary confinement? It seems far more likely that Johnson was gassed in retaliation for his organizing and his political writings.

Johnson received disciplinary action when his letter was posted to a website by a supporter.  The April 2016 TDCJ Offender Orientation handbook states, “Offenders are prohibited from maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others, through a third party or otherwise” – however, this letter was posted to a website and not to social media.