TAKE ACTION - IMPORTANT By Tony Medina
Latest from Tony – April 28, 2011
We have told you about the harassment of the men on Polunsky Death Row. This is a pattern that has become worse in the last few years. Most recently things have become so bad that I have personally heard men I’ve known for years start to ask themselves why they keep going. Simply put, the administration over death row has started a campaign to harass and punish us, not for breaking long standing rules, but just for being on death row! The new rules are so petty, yet do so much unnecessary harm in increasing our isolation, that they cannot be taken any other way!! The other abuses are way out of order. The most recent proof of this is an action taken last week. As prisoners, we have to LIVE in this place. The so-called rank and the officers go home everyday, but we LIVE here. There are MANY guys here who can not afford to have books sent to them, or magazines or newspapers. SO, we share. Death Row is a unique community within the prisons system, because we often share with others we do not even know. Something you do not find in Population! BUT, now if we are caught passing a book to a man who needs something to read, both people could go to Solitary for 3 months! 90 Days because someone needed a book to read to take his mind off being on death row! They do not treat the population inmates like this, this is AGAIN targeted directly towards death row. As with the other problems, we, the guys on death row, are asking for your help. We're asking you to call the people in charge, we're asking you to sit down and write the ombudsman of TDCJ and other responsible officials, and voice your protest at how we are being treated. Please contact the persons listed below.
- IN HEART AND STRUGGLE
Full addresses and contact details are:
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Region I Director’s Office
1225 Avenue G
Huntsville, Texas 77340
Phone: (936) 437-1770
Fax: (936) 437-1988
TDCJ-Correctional Institutions Division
P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Correctional Institutions Division
P.O. Box 99
Huntsville, Texas 77342
Phone: 936-437-2101 (Livingston) or 936-437-2169 (Austin)
Fax: 936-437-2123 (Livingston) or 936-437-6325 (Austin)
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
P. O. Box 13084
Austin, Texas 78711
An example letter is below, but feel free to amend this in any way:
Dear Mr Thaler
I am aware of increasing reports of harassment and ill-treatment on the Death Row wings of Polunsky prison, Livingston. I should like to remind all parties responsible for the administration and policy of that unit that inmates are held there on the instruction of the Court, pending final determination of the fairness and right of sentence, and prior to execution in some cases. It is not and never has been the direction of the Court that punishment, beyond secure and safe detention, should be permissible by penal authorities, other than reasonable and humane enforcement of equally reasonable and humane prison regulation.
Harassment and excesses of punishment imposed on prisoners have a direct effect on their mental and physical health. That is not permissible under US law and is in contravention of International law. An example of current practice is that inmates on death row are no longer permitted to give or exchange books with each other. Death Row is a unique community within the prisons system, because inmates often share with others they do not even know. Something you do not find in Population! BUT, now if they are caught passing a book to a man who needs something to read, both people could go to Solitary for 3 months! 90 Days because someone needed a book to read to take his mind off being on death row! General population inmates are not treated like this, this new policy is clearly targeted directly towards death row. For what gain or purpose?
It is the requirement of every penal establishment to adhere to standards of practice and policy that reflect an appreciation and concern for humane and lawful detention under State, Federal and International Law. I respectfully request that you exercise the powers of your office to effectively investigate, oversee and review current practice at Polunsky, to make public your findings, and to effect a change of policy which will improve conditions on death row.