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Riot Grenades, Tear Gas and Inedible Pancakes

November 18, 2011

Rioting is going on in the building, so things are a bit insane right now. I woke up choking from tear gas earlier so I want to write this fast before someone else gets gassed and I’m forced to wrap a wet towel around my face and put my blanket and sheet over me (then I would be unable to write).

The ad-segregation general population guys housed here on 12 building, the “Death Row” building, are the main ones engaging in protest actions. The SWAT team/ Riot team has been deployed approximately 22 times in 4 days. Riot grenades have been going off, tear gas canisters fired, CS assault weapon rounds fired. It is insanity, utter complete chaos. The new major and warden that came here recently are absolute maniacs. Even 90% of the officers despise them.

I woke up a little while ago and discovered they turned the hot water off, only freezing cold water is coming out the faucet (which means freezing cold showers). This new major is an absolute MANIAC who thinks “torture Death Row inmates!” On a daily basis, all day, every day. Every day there is some outrageous, nonsensical, asinine new rule. Things have always fluctuated here, but this level of oppression is unprecedented. This maniac was trying to institute a new “rule” making us hand our shower shoes out of the shower slot and then step into them, meaning a person would have to step right into shower scum. A small number of others and myself said “hell no, not happening, come with your riot team or whatever else.” The regular C.O.s and Lts. and Sgts. actually bucked this idiocy also, and it stopped after only 2 days. The staff members have been actually pushing back against McMullen’s idiocy also. Work slowdowns, calling in sick certain days, not enforcing his idiotic new “rules.”

The food cuts have been reported in the media but you cannot imagine what they have been doing here! It’s unbelievable! It was just breakfast and this is ridiculous: I forced myself to eat the nasty little nearly inedible so-called pancakes that are, of course, cold. I drank an ice-cold cup of coffee. Brushed my teeth and looked at my sad little amount of toothpaste. Then shivered and grimaced while washing my face in ice-cold water.

Love, strength and solidarity.

From Polunsky Death Camp

Rob Will

 

**Outraged by what you have read? Do you have a family member or a friend in the Polunsky Unit and want to take action to change the worsening living conditions on Texas Death Row? Contact TDCJ Ombudsman coordinator Debra Booker at ombudsman@tdcj.state.tx.us, telephone number: 936-437-4927. Expose what you know and ask her to investigate the harassment towards prisoners and the new policies of the new Major Mr. McMullen.

 

SAMPLE LETTER

[Date]

[Your name]

[Your address]

[Your telephone #]

[Your email]

Debra Booker

TDCJ Ombudsman Coordinator

P.O. Box 99

Huntsville, TX 77342-0099

(936) 437-4927

Fax (936) 437-8067

ombudsman@tdcj.state.tx.us

 

Madam,

As a [your country] citizen, I’m outraged about the situation going on at Polunsky Unit, which is, as you know, part of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

A friend of mine who lives on Death Row wrote this:

“The SWAT team/ Riot team has been deployed approximately 22 times in 4 days. Riot grenades have been going off, tear gas canisters fired, CS assault weapon rounds fired.” [You can add information about food, cold water, etc.]

Madam, how could this happen in a so-called democratic society?

What is going on at the Polunsky Unit is not only a shame for Texas, but also an unbearable stain of shame for any North American who believe in the value of human life and dignity.

I personally ask you to take immediate action to stop this unacceptable situation.

I appreciate your attention to this critical matter and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[Your name and signature]

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