February 5, 2015

    A Solitary Failure: The Waste, Cost and Harm of Solitary Confinement in Texas

    Check out a new report from ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project assessing the state's use of solitary confinement.

    Texas prisons keep too many inmates in solitary confinement for too long — sometimes years — damaging their mental health and placing communities at risk when the prisoners are eventually released, a study by civil rights groups concluded.

    Released Thursday, the report criticized Texas for keeping 4.4 percent of its inmates in solitary confinement — 6,564 in September 2014, or more than the combined prison population of 12 states.

    “On average, prisoners remain in solitary confinement for almost four years; over 100 Texas prisoners have spent more than 20 years in solitary confinement,” said the report by the ACLU of Texas and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

    And although the practice can lead to mental damage, in 2013 the Texas Department of Criminal Justice released 1,243 inmates “directly from solitary confinement cells into Texas communities,” said the report, titled A Solitary Failure.

    Read the full report Here.

    June 20, 2012

    Support Humane Alternatives To Solitary Confinement

      Tell Senator Cornyn solitary confinement damages people.

      It must be reserved for extreme circumstances, such as for people who pose an active and ongoing threat to prison staff and other prisoners.


      Dear ACLU of Texas Supporter,

      Did you know that at least 25,000 people are held in solitary confinement every day in this country, many of whom are not even violent or dangerous?

      The majority of people in solitary are severely mentally ill or cognitively disabled, and many are thrown in the hole after breaking minor rules or even after filing grievances.

      Congress is finally addressing the issue by holding the first-ever Congressional hearing on solitary confinement on Tuesday, June 19.

      Tell Senator Cornyn to support better alternatives to solitary confinement.

      Solitary confinement is a bad idea because it:

      * Wastes taxpayer dollars: It costs Texas 45% more to house prisoners in solitary than in conventional prison. Furthermore, building solitary confinement units costs two to three times more than conventional prisons.

      * Jeopardizes public safety: The vast majority of prisoners are eventually released from prison. Those who have spent time in solitary struggle even more than other former prisoners when returned to society. This means higher recidivism rates.

      * Is inhumane: As a result of being placed in solitary, many prisoners exhibit severe and chronic depression, self-mutilation, decreased brain function, hallucinations, and revenge fantasies.

      Take Action: Support Solitary Confinement Reform.

      Click Here for Senator Cornyn Contact Form

      Our limited public dollars should be spent on proven alternatives that lead to greater rehabilitation and pave the way for successful reentry and reintegration.

      ACLU of Texas
      Texas Liberty Blog/It’s Time for Texas to Rethink Solitary Confinement
      ACLU of Texas
      P.O. Box 8306
      Houston, Texas, 77288


      I am writing to give you an update on the activities and any pertinent information in the struggles for AD SEG Reforms.

      So far there isn't Any AD SEG Reform. No surprise! As there haven't been any house bills written yet, there is still opportunity.

      So, we are still contacting Representatives and lobbying for change.

      Although Hundreds of letters have already been sent, more is what we need to help these Representatives understand that indefinite AD SEG/isolation is torture.

      The neglect and abuses have become so mainstream that all thoughts of rehabilitations are forgotten. This lack of legislative interest and guidelines regarding rehabilitation, set the standard and reflect in the attitude of staff.

      Included in this post are the names and contact information for Texas House of Representatives correction's committee. We encourage you to contact them and educate them with firsthand experience and/or knowledge of this torture. The unprepared release back into society with side effects of long term isolation is dangerous and unconscionable.

      There is lots of new (outside) public interest in organizing for change in TDCJ throughout Texas.

      AD SEG Reform isn't most popular, but we are the most adamant.

      Unity4Texas now has a website, Click HERE to read more.

      Also can be found with a link with Texas Prisoners Network Support at Ad Seg Reform [see top of page].

      Also soon an AD in Prison Legal News for organizing more contact information and advocating AD SEG CHANGE

      Texas House of Representatives Corrections Committee Members:

      Jim McReynolds (Chair),
      Jerry Madden (Vice Chair)
      Kirk England,
      Harold Dutton,
      Terri Hodge,
      Lois W Kolkhurst,
      Marisa Marquez,
      Armando Martinez,
      Ralph Sheffield,
      Sid Miller,
      Solomon Ortiz Jr.

      (Please note that Jim McReynolds and Jerry Madden are previous corrections committee members)

      The main number for all of the House of Representatives
      is 512-472-8288.
      The address for all House members is
      Box 2910, Austin, Texas 78711.

      In Solidarity,

      WE Need Your Help!

      We have been advocating for Texas house of Rep. Terri Hodge to refile an AD SEG reform; and we recently have received word that she WILL file an AD SEG REFORM BILL; problem is she will exclude anyone labeled STG and as is true with my loved one, he was NOT STG before they tagged him; I am positive that he is not alone in this; and regardless indefinite isolation is torture.

      We need help in changing REP Terri Hodges mind that this is not a Racial issue or a security threat group label it is TORTURE and they are men who are not disciplinary cases sitting in isolation for 10 to 20 years becoming the security threat the politicians claim them to be.

      Here's her email and snail mail plus phone numbers


      Capitol Address:
      Room E2.818,
      Capitol Extension
      Austin, TX 78701
      (512) 463-0586
      (512) 463-8147 Fax
      District Address:
      4032 Swiss Ave.
      Dallas, TX 75204
      (214) 824-1996
      (214) 828-2330 Fax

      Black gangs in Texas prison system are excluded from being required to attend the GRAD (Gang renouncement and disassociation) as their STG is considered self defense groups. The waiting list for GRAD is over 4 years and the chances of getting through the program and getting any schooling are 1 in 4 at best so these men are sitting in isolation without even a future of any kind. The Guards prey on the disassociated gang members and there is a recent by-product in Texas prisons of this GRAD program.

      The NEW Pepsi generation "Tango Blast" is a new gang of all races that extorts and snitches on every other gang; labeling unaffiliated men as gang members while protected by personnel. They don't have the rules of old school gangs and while they aren't committing murders yet, they are part of the problem not the solution.

      Texas has no telephone access for their solitary confinement prisoners so any kind of communication re: emergency response reqiured; is scrutinized by the GI gang intelligence officer-same officer labeling non members STG and it may or may not get off the unit and has been up to 8 weeks to even leave after being mailed.

      I myself am constantly amazed at the illegal and audacity of Texas TDCJ officials.

      Please contact Ms Hodge and encourage her to see the full picture of indefinite isolation. I have several letters from inmates regarding mental stability and lack of medical help. One psych patient ceiling has leaked water for over a year, drip...drip...drip... that would drive anyone nuts and this is 24-7.

      I believe it actually has a name "Chinese water torture" many of the prisoners are just resigned that nothing can be done to change anything and if they speak out they will have it worse!

      Si Se puede..YES WE CAN!!
      Mini Sunshine
      Unity 4 Texas Campaign


      Hello and Blessings to you in this New Year!

      Thank you so very much for your letters of support, help and continued interest.

      Unity 4 Texas is information gathering to help fight the fight for AD SEG Reforms.

      We Need Actual Cases and STEP 2 Grievances, insights and perspectives would also be helpful.

      We want to convey the inconsistencies in their own rules;
      criminal malfeasance- wrongful conduct of a public officer/official,
      dereliction of duty,
      non-compliance with procedural rules,
      making false official statements/falsifying logs and documents,
      cruelty and maltreatment.

      So we are addressing:
      Matinence issues - of non working toilets for 3+weeks,
      no lights in cells for 3+ months.
      Days with the of lack of a mattress to sleep on in completely cement cells.
      The 1 hr daily (Ruiz v.Estelle) Recreation and the lack thereof and relating to the falsification of the records pertaining to REC.
      Unsecured mail handling- the loss of mail in coming and out going,
      the holding of mail for weeks instead of the 24 hr guidelines,
      the denied mail for STG content that is not and is even to the point of harassment. The confiscation of property with complete disregard for rules and regulations as providing the offender a confiscation slip.
      Uses of excess force i.e.:
      after the extraction team has removed offender from cell,
      they are handcuffed and shackled/ camera turned off,
      then the offender is taken somewhere off the wing and beaten.

      Healthcare issues,
      complete neglect esp ecially of serious injuries or prisoners with previous health issues being in cells next to gassed cells,
      or CO's neglect to respond to health emergencies or even causing health emergencies.

      Torture is a High Profile topic currently in the U.S. politics today.

      As is economics, so the timing to unite for AD SEG REFORM is now.

      Another true example of torture in Texas - Psych. patients are locked down in indefinite solitary confinement where reputable studies for decades have proven how detrimental isolation is to Humans' mental health.

      STOPMAX/Unity 4 Texas was on the Houston radio kpft Ray Hills' Prison Show live, although we weren't well received we got our name out there with a little information and an invite back!

      The more unreasonable we are treated, the more reasonable we seem and the harder we will persevere.

      We are still "at it" lobbying for Rep.Terri Hodge to refile an AD SEG REFORM Bill regarding the duration of placement in solitary confinement.

      HUNDREDS of letters have been sent to REP. Hodge and members of the corrections committee that stalled the last 2 bills 78th R HB 27 and 79th R HB 1423.

      Here is a list of those representatives on that Corrections committee to contact and encourage to support a bill next time it is filed:
      Jim McReynolds,
      Jerry Madden (chair),
      Rene Oliveira,
      Scott Hochberg,
      Delwin Jones,
      Pat Haggerty,
      Jim Dunnam

      Dear REP_________,

      P.O.Box 2910
      Austin TX 78768

      As of the end of Jan '09 not much has been filed and/or committee member changes announced but we will keep you posted.

      Rep Terri Hodge actually filed two bills in NOV 2008

      By: Hodge H.B.A No. A93 A BILL TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to the restoration of good conduct time forfeited during a term of imprisonment.

      SECTION A1.AA Section 498.004(a), Government Code, as amended by Chapters 249 and 321, Acts of the 74th Legislature, Regular Session, 1995, is reenacted and amended to =20 read as follows:
      (a)AAIf, during the actual term of imprisonment of an inmatein the department [institutional division] or in20a transferfacility, the inmate commits an offense or violates a rule of thedepartment [division], the department may forfeit all or any part of the inmate's accrued good conduct time. The department may [not] restore good conduct time forfeited under this subsection.
      This Act takes effect immediately if it receives a vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to each house, as provided by Section 39, Article III, Texas Constitution. If this Act does not receive the vote necessary for immediate effect, this Act takes effect September 1, 2009.
      By: Hodge H.B.A No. A94 A BILL=20 TO BE ENTITLED AN ACT relating to the application of laws awarding credit to an inmate fortime between release on and subsequent revocation of parole,mandatory supervision, or conditional pardon.
      SECTION 1. AA Not withstanding Section 11, Chapter 856, Acts of the 77th Legislature, Regular Session, 2001, the change in law made by Section 7 of that Act to Section 508.283, Government Code, applies to the calculation of the remaining sentence for an inmate whose release on parole, mandatory supervision, or conditional pardon is revoked regardless of whether the revocation occurred before, on, or after September 1, 2001.
      SECTION 2. AA This Act takes effect September 1, 2010.

      In Solidarity/Y La Lucha,
      Unity 4 Texas
      P.O.Box 1177
      A.F., UT 84003
      National Stopmax Campaign
      1501 Cherry St.
      Phila.,PA 19102-7119



      Enclosed is time sensitive information.

      Currently we are putting together a mailing list of contacts (registered voters in TX) and asking for volunteers in contacting Texas House of Representatives and Senate members; and that as constituents we want support for a house bill to be filed in Jan.'09: regarding the duration of placement in ADMINISTRATIVE SEGREGATION; (basically a reclassification of AD SEG).

      As you will note this Bill authored by REP.Terri Hodge has twice been filed and never made it out of Corrections Committee. We found a lot of resistance to AD SEG change in TEXAS.


      The Objective is to express wanting to change and address AD SEG issues To get Rep. Terri Hodge to re-file an AD SEG REFORM BILL HB 1423 with the 5 year no major case addendum.

      THEN, we can get

      So contact your representative and support AD SEG REFORMS Even AD SEG offenders family have been programmed that G.R.A.D. is the only way out of SEG. There is currently a lawsuit filed against G.R.A.D. Offenders are confined to AD SEG on waiting lists for YEARS. Some may never get to the program.

      We are organizing for Texas "STOPMAX"(grass-roots is Unity 4 Texas) in 2009 with several other Texas advocacy groups and Naima Black; AFSC/StopMax National Coordinator

      On Jan.9th, 2009 at 9p.m.
      "The Prison Show" with Ray Hill 90.1 fm Houston
      for a live interview with STOPMAX

      STOPMAX information
      About the Campaign:

      The STOPMAX Campaign, sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), works to eliminate the use of isolation and segregation in U.S. prisons.

      Our Strategies:

      Our strategies include research, grassroots organizing, public education and policy advocacy to abolish solitary confinement and/or reduce its use.

      Phase One:

      The first phase of the STOPMAX campaign is focused on determining the extent of the use of isolation in a cross-section of correctional facilities: various state Departments of Corrections, the state Departments of Juvenile Corrections, and immigration detention centers. In selected states, we are surveying how many people are living in isolation conditions, who those people are, what conditions they are living in, how they came to be placed there, and whether and how it is possible to exit those units. This research process will result in publication of regional reports. Phase I of the campaign culminate with a national organizing Conference on May 30-June 1, 2008 at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

      Phase Two:

      By compiling an accurate assessment of the current practices and conditions, we will have the basis for Phase II: crafting a solid strategy for statewide organizing to shut these units down. What we learn through this research will help us determine which system or unit has the most egregious abuses, which is the most likely to reform, and what approach (legislative reform, grassroots organizing, litigation) is most appropriate for the campaign. A STOPMAX National report will be also be published. This Phase II organizing period will be an ongoing, three year process.

      So if there is anyone you can refer to us and if anyone wants to help with calling or writing Rep.Terri Hodge and/or their districts Rep.

      It would also help with the National Level of organizing STOPMAX to get Texas at least filing this House Bill again.

      At this time, there are approximately 9000 prisoners in indefinite Solitary Confinement "AD SEG" in TEXAS. (rough estimate) They can't possibly ALL be there with a correct alleged "STG" tag and with no outdate in sight .The Detriments of Long Term Isolation are well documented and offenders being released from long years of isolation are people worse off then when they went in. These are facts but also are the same scare tactics the politicians use for locking them up for so long to begin with.

      Please pass along any or all of this information.

      We Need You!

      We are calling on families, formerly imprisoned people, youth groups, community activists, civic leaders, lawyers, researchers, mental health professionals and concerned citizens.

      In Solidarity,
      Unity 4 Texas
      P.O.Box 1177
      A.F.,UT 84003

      National STOPMAX Campaign
      Naima Black, National Coordinator
      1501 Cherry Street
      Philadelphia, PA 19102-1479
      P 215-241-7137 / F 215-241-7119

      This letter was received by a Texas offender, from the office of the Honorable State Representative Terri Hodge.

      "Our office received your letter concerning HB27 from the 78® session. In 2003, the Texas Legislature convened in Austin for the 78th Reg. Legislative Session. During that session, Rep.Hodge authored HB 27 which related to the duration of placement of an inmate in administrative segregation at the institutional div. of TDCJ. That bill never passed.

      In 2005, the Texas Legislature reconvened in Austin, Texas for the 79th Regular Legislative session. That year Rep.Hodge again filed the same bill, but it was called HB1423. The bill was not passed that year either.

      During the 80th Legislative Session, which occurred in 2007, Rep.Hodge did not re-file the bill. The Texas legislature is currently in its interim, which means we are not meeting. We will reconvene on Tuesday, JAN 13, 2009 to begin the 81st Regular legislative session. At this time, Rep.Hodge is considering what legislation she wants to file. Thank you for your thoughts. Best of luck in the future.

      Clint Magee
      Chief of Staff "-end quote


      We need your help in putting an end to INDEFINITE long term isolation "Administrative Segregation" of prisoners that do not warrant this inhumane treatment.

      We are asking you to please contact by phone or email :
      Texas State Representative Ms. Terri Hodge
      District Address
      4032 Swiss Ave.
      Dallas, TX 75204
      (214) 824-1996
      (214) 828-2330 Fax
      Capitol office
      Room E2.818, Capitol Extension
      Austin, TX 78701
      (512) 463-0586
      (512) 463-8147 Fax
      Rep. Terry Hodge Web Site

      We believe this bill needed an addendum and ask that you suggest a minor change. On line 12 please add ON...
      "And has been five years with no Major disciplinary infraction "
      79R6934 MFC-D
      By: Hodge H.B. No. 1423
      AN ACT
      relating to the duration of the placement of an inmate in administrative segregation at the institutional division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

      BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. Subchapter D, Chapter 501, Government Code, is amended by adding Section 501.114 to read as follows:


      (a) The department shall establish procedures that require the department to transfer from administrative segregation to the general population an inmate who has been in administrative segregation for five or more consecutive years.

      (b) The procedures must permit an inmate who would otherwise be transferred to the general population because of the length of the inmate's placement in administrative segregation to decline the transfer.

      © Procedures adopted under this section are not required to prohibit the department from returning an inmate to administrative segregation because of disciplinary or safety issues related to the inmate.

      SECTION 2. (a) Under procedures adopted as required by Section 501.114, Government Code, as added by this Act, an inmate who on or before September 1, 2006, has been in administrative segregation for five or more consecutive years, must be transferred before September 1, 2007, to the general population. Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to an inmate who under procedures adopted under Section 501.114, Government Code, as added by this Act, declines transfer to the general population.

      SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2005

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