Mon. Sep 24th, 2018

Texas Prison Report: Deceptions, Lies and Misappropriation of Funds at the W.G. McConnell Unit

by Keith “Malik” Washington

Peace & blessings, sisters and brothers!

Today is September 4th, 2018, the heat and humidity inside my cell has reached a level which has caused me to feel dizzy, and I have been experiencing migraine headaches.

Senior U.S. District Judge Hilda Tagle denied my request for an Emergency Preliminary Injunction. One of my main requests was that she order TDCJ to fix this inoperable and malfunctioning HVAC system here on the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit.

The specific area which has been affected the worst by the faulty HVAC system is F-Pod. F-Pod consists of 6 separate sections, A through F. Sections D, E & F have the worst living conditions on the unit, and sadly most of the inhabitants are Black and Latino males.

Invidious racism is a dark and dirty secret being covered up and masked down here on the McConnell Unit.

During the month of August 2018, while we were waiting on U.S. District Judge Tagle to answer my request for emergency intervention, Senior Warden Philip Sifuentes of McConnell Unit and TDCJ Region IV Director Miguel Martinez were formulating a plan to usurp and circumvent my request to have the agency fix this HVAC system, which has left prisoners to deal with inhumane conditions of confinement.

Here at the McConnell Unit, located in Beeville, Texas, the heat is a problem right now! McConnell Unit has cell-phone jammers, and possession of contraband cell phones has not been a major problem. However, Sifuentes and Martinez recently conspired to over-state the threat.

Instead of bringing contractors in to fix the inoperable HVAC system, Sifuentes decided to bring in contractors to install cell-phone blocker upgrades! So here we are in the midst of super humid and hot temperatures. Prisoners here in McConnell Ad-Seg are sealed in cement ovens, and these oppressors spend $87,000 (eighty-seven thousand dollars) on cell-phone blockers?

And then, to add insult to injury, they charge that balance to the TDCJ Maintenance Department, which is now over budget, and has no money to fix the HVAC system, which has us suffocating and laying on the floor just to seek relief!

What we need down here is a Public Information Request and the comptroller in Austin to start investigating these violators of the public’s trust!

This is not the first time that TDCJ resorted to deceptions and lies in order to withhold humane living conditions from Texas prisoners.

Just recently, Jolie McCullough from the Texas Tribune reported that the $20 million estimate the prison agencies’ expert claimed it would take to install air conditioning at the Pack Unit in Navasota, Texas, has now gone down to $4 million – imagine that!1

But you see, Sisters and Brothers, when these unethical liars were in the midst of the Federal Civil Lawsuit where prisoners were challenging the unconstitutional conditions of their confinement, the State of Texas said and did anything it could to mislead and misinform “the Trier of Fact”! Will Judge Hilda Tagle be fooled? We shall see!

Dare to struggle, dare to win!

All power to the people!

Keith “Malik” Washington is co-founder and chief spokesperson for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement, a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, an activist in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign and deputy chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter. Read Malik’s work at ComradeMalik.com. Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, McConnell Unit, 3001 South Emily Drive, Beeville, TX 78102.

1 Jolie McCullough, ‘Texas spent $7 million to fight against A/C in a prison. It may only cost $4 million to install.’, Texas Tribune, August 29, 2018, https://www.texastribune.org/2018/08/29/texas-prison-heat-air-conditioning-cost-drop/

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