In order to abolish slavery in Amerika we must acknowledge that it still exists!

By Keith “Malik” Washington, Chief Spokespersyn of End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement
[we received this via email from an outside supporter]

Peace and blessings sisters and brothers!

We cannot continue to make conscious decisions that ignore our past because those thoughts make us feel uncomfortable. Slavery happened here in Amerika and it is still happening, especially in Amerika’s numerous slave kamps and gulags which most call prisons.

I studied the Presidency of Barack Obama very closely and I noticed he constantly embraced an elitist or exceptionalist narrative when speaking of the United States. Former President Obama would give “the world” the impression that the US was a bastion of humyn and civil rights protections. When in reality the opposite is true – Amerika is just better than most at covering up the abuse and mistreatment of its citizens.

In an interview conducted by journalist Kamala Kelkar of the PBS Newshour Weekend, my friend and humyn rights attorney Ollie Jefferson said: “We have human rights violations here as much as in other countries”. Attorney Jefferson has spent most of her legal career working with immigrants so it goes without saying that she is very familiar with the criminal justice system in Amerika.

When we speak of prison slavery in Amerika, we think of forced labor and involuntary servitude and no-one says that this is not happening. However, there are other elements of slavery – the unsavory and despicable elements present in and out of Amerika’s prisons.

The torture, the sex slaves, the indentured servants, the political prisoners, the so-called eco-terrorists and the framed-up Muslims right here in Amerika.

The state of Texas hates it when I get to beating my ‘drum’ because the oppressors know there is nothing they can do to silence me. The tactic they have embraced is censorship claiming my words represent security threat information. I expose human and civil rights abuses, I engage in political and legal discourse in hopes of raising the public’s awareness.

The State sees nothing wrong with the current system, in their eyes all is well – but is it?

Let’s take a look behind the iron curtain and allow me to introduce to you Texas prisoner Omar Valdez. Omar has served approximately 24 years and 6 months on a 25 year sentence! Omar has spent approximately 22 years in solitary confinement right here on the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas. Omar has been denied parole over 11 times! Omar has spent years not incurring disciplinary infractions with the hope that the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles would give him a chance to rebuild his life. They didn’t!

The Prison Legal News had a front page article in February 2017 entitled “TRAPPED: California wastes tens of millions of dollars a year keeping people in prison long after they’ve been rehabilitated – denying parole for arbitrary reasons and destroying lives in the process” by Sam Levin of the East Bay Express.

Now I want you to replace California with Texas and I want you to listen to Omar’s words and ask yourself “can’t we do better”? Without further ado I present to you Omar Valdez!

“Mr Malik, greetings, it is a pleasure to meet you. I appreciate you and folks like you who get out there on the ‘front lines’ fighting the good fight.

My name is Omar B. Valdez, TDC# 726686. I reside on the Eastham Unit located in Lovelady, Texas. I’ve resided here for the past 2 ½ decades! I’m serving a 25 year aggravated sentence for the charge of murder. I’ve been locked up since October 3rd, 1992. I arrived here on Eastham Unit on March 4th, 1996, and I’ve been here ever since! I have never left this unit.

I am in Administrative Segregation due to my previous gang affiliation. I have been a non-active ex-gang member since 2002. I made this choice in order to better my life and increase my chances of making parole. This did not help. TDCJ ignored my communications, my pleas fell on deaf ears!

I came to the realization long ago that no matter how good I did, it would have absolutely no bearing on my freedom. Nevertheless, I’ve continued to keep a very low profile and follow the rules. I’ve gone years at a time without incurring any disciplinary infractions. Sometimes 5, 6, even 10 years with not one infraction, to no avail. I received denial after denial after denial.

On January 30th 2017, I came up for parole for the 12th and final time. On March 10th 2017, I received my answer – parole denied – serve all! Well, now it’s June 2017 and I discharge my 25 year sentence on October 7th 2017, just a few months away.

TDCJ has given me no education, no job skills, nothing except solitary confinement and torture for over 22 years here on Eastham Unit.

There are limited resources we have back here in Ad-Seg. Unless you have money to pay for outside college courses, you are out of there. I would have thought that by now, after all these years, TDCJ and the State of Texas would have come up with some really incredible in-cell programming for us – they haven’t!

Many in free-world society are not aware of what we endure in these places. Brother Malik has only been here a few months, but I’ve been here for over 20 years to please allow me to enlighten you.

I understand this is prison and I’ve paid my dues for my crime, but does that justify me being subjected to live in unsanitary conditions? Rats and roaches all over the place, having to drink this contaminated water. At one point a couple of years back we were told TDCJ didn’t monitor or test the water properly for over a year.

Eastham Administrators put together an Inter-Office Communication which said “if you are experiencing a negative reaction of some type, put in a sick call, etc etc” Imagine that I said – they wait a whole year before informing us? Then they frequently post “boil notices” – how do we do that? We have no means to do that. So what are we to do? Go without drinking water? Thus far God has blessed me not to have had any serious problems, but I’ve experienced problems in my throat, like I lose my voice from time to time or I can’t talk too loud or I start choking and coughing. I don’t know if it is from the contaminated water or these chemical gas agents they keep using on us!

I do all I can to avoid the infirmary because they’ve shown me nothing but carelessness and negligence time and time again. UTMB don’t care about us – period. (UTMB is the University of Texas Medical Branch.)

I’ve seen a lot here at Easham. I’ve seen inmates get infected with TB, and I’ve seen folks get prescribed the wrong medication and it turn fatal. One time I saw a female sergeant coax a guy into committing suicide. Sad to say, but he was successful! Now that same sergeant is a Lieutenant right here at Eastham. Boy, if these walls could talk…

It has been hard to maintain my sanity all these years. Truth is one has to have a strong mind and strong will, otherwise it easy to be consumed by these walls. I’ve lost so many loved ones during this stretch. I lost both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, I lost my son and my sister! It hurts, you know? I’m paying for my crimes dearly.

So very soon I’ll be spit out into society at the age of 50. I have minimal job skills and education. I must ask all of you “what does this say about the Texas system? About their administrative segregation units? About the parole system? Thank you for your time and concern.

Respectfully, Omar Valdez TDC #726686”

Well, sisters and brothers, I really don’t have a lot to add to Omar’s story. It took some courage for him to come forward and speak out. I think a lot of us are tired of hearing people like Jason Clark and Robert Hurst, the spokespersyns for TDCJ, feed the public a bunch of deceptions and lies. As another session of the Texas Legislature comes to an end, the slavery continues inside Texas prisons.

Dare to struggle, dare to win.

All power to the people.

P.S. Breaking News! – Update

On May 18th 2017, 3 hours after Malik put the finishing touches on this essay, Omar B Valdez was notified by TDCJ staff that he is going to a pre-release program at the Estelle High Security unit in Huntsville, Texas! Omar vows to never return to prison. Let’s hope he can honor his words. After 24 years and 8 months in a Texas prison, the deck is unfairly stacked against him! Although he is elated to be leaving a couple of months early, he says the system is still very dysfunctional and broken.

In solidarity, Comrade Malik

Bio

Keith “Malik” Washington is a humyn rights activist currently incarcerated in Texas. He is a co-founder and chief spokespersyn for the End Prison Slavery in Texas Movement. Malik is a proud member of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and he is the Deputy Chairman of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party (Prison Chapter). Malik has been instrumental in calling for the abolition of legalized slavery in Amerika and he is very active in the Fight Toxic Prisons campaign.
You can view his work at comrademalik.com or write him directly at Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington TDC# 1487958 Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road 1 Lovelady, Texas 75851 (936) 636-7321 ext. (**009)

At no other time have more inmates been isolated or locked down in Nevada prisons in over a hundred years than during this time when McDaniel has taken over

Letter sent to us to send for:

Mr. Senator Tick Segerblom
3540 West Sahara Avenue, Suite 352
Las Vegas, Nevada 891025816

Presenter of Senate Bill 107

I am writing you in response to responses made to the press by E.K. McDaniel (deputy director of NDOC), as well as comments of “facts” you made to the same article(by Matt Woolbright and the Associated Press).

Firstly the comments by Mr McDaniel could not be more misdirected or blatant lying to the public in regards of housing in Solitary Confinement. At no other time have more inmates been isolated or locked down in Nevada prisons in over a hundred years (per ratio of incarcerated percentages even) than during this time when McDaniel has taken over.

It is through this mis-information and mis-direction that Ely State Prison is completely locked down except ½ (half) of a workers unit. It is not because of violence that this prison is permanently on isolated lockdown, because even with only less than 24 men able to leave their cells (as where the rest are on 24 hour lockdown) ESP continues to be the only prison with a death rate of at least one man per year caused by the inability to leave their cells.

This is only a small fraction of the argument that can be made in regards to the comments made in this article. Another being – segregated inmates do not have everything general population does. See AR733. Inmates are allowed a TV – or radio – however this becomes a game of power and abuse to the offenders. 

McDaniel’s ½ truths don’t tell you that for any rule infraction the TV or radio is taken away for 60 days more and so on goes the game. Any infraction is another 60 days. Inmates can go years without any appliance. The same game is applied to food, books, showers. For example: inmates lose an average of 20 LBS while in “Disciplinary Segregation.” The portions are half and if an inmate has any altercation (verbally, because there’s norecreation yard for days, weeks on end), then his food is withheld for a week! Ely State Prison is so isolated without overview, that abuses of Constitution and Human Rights are rampant in this prison.

However – you claim inmates are not paced in Isolation for months and years. Sir, bluntly spoken you have no clue what you’re talking about. Don’t go to Lovelock and presume you know how I tis for all NDOC prisoners. That kind of comment, made from blind ignorance, is just… well is a farce of grotesquerie.

I myself have spent 10 out of 14 years in Isolation. There are men who have spent the last 15-20 years in Isolation. The only reason being the Administration claims that there are others they will hurt, or want to hurt them. With this excuse ready able to be given by your ignorance of how people in prisons are truly being abused and are being punished – that is the only excuse they used.

I have been in ESP for almost 15 years. 12+ years have been spent in lockdown. .This form of confinement is still Solitary Confinement. Having one other man that you must live with 24/7 with no jobs, schools, group therapy, or contact without restraints is still isolated confinement, Sir. Try living in your bathroom for the next 12 years with no one but another stranger as company. It makes for a violent, paranoid, uncertain situation, Sir. Men are dying or beaten into a hospital bed, simply because they can’t leave when/if an argument breaks out.

You may argue it’s because we are the worst of the worst. This too is a misdirected and misinformed argument, Sir.  Even still, if we are all the worst of the worst, then locking us up in a cell with 24/7 living isn’t much more than putting two rabid dogs together now, isn’t it? Statistics tell the truth here, Sir. No other prison is locked down like this one. Yet only Ely State Prison continues to report deaths. Each year. This is Isolation, Sir. Over 800 inmates on 23-24/7 lockdown. No classrooms, no group interaction – no way to correct or give help to make an inmate learn to do & be better.

Further – there are men in ESP lockdown that did nothing more than give a dirty urine or had a fist fight or were informed on with noevidence, that they were bad guys. They will go home very soon and yet they are forced to be confined and isolated with murderers, rapists and violent criminals so labeled by this abusive system.

The issue Sir is that the Isolation Confinement – whether it is Solitary or Double cell Confinement is the cause of more problems. The system would work if it was being worked. There are those who get flushed through at a normal rate – giving the appearance of a productive system. But there are those such as myself who have had no group interaction (like any social society) in more than 11 years.

I have lost most of my facial recognition skills – my ability to voice complete and comprehensive discussions. My sleep patterns are extreme and my ability to tolerate spacial acceptance is very low. These are only some of the effects long term confinement causes.

Yes, I will be straight forth – I am a convicted murderer. However, my cellmate is a petty burglar sent here for fighting. This is the issue. There are no programs to teach me to be a better person. How can we learn to live better lives? When I do good I’m still locked down – I am still chained any time I leave my cell. I have not touched grass in 12 years. I amin prison, I was convicted. But am I supposed to learn and be better? If so – what good does this solitary confinement do?

What exactly do you know of Isolation Confinement?

If Solitary Confinement is defined as 16 hours per day in a cell, then what is the limit on double cell confinement? Is 23 hours 7 days a week for 12 years good enough to meet your criteria to constitute a problem?

When you really understand what it’s like to be confined, then I hope you folks do what is right and begin to make changes and put your $ where your mouths are to help us learn to be humans not animals in cages.

Sincerely,

An inmate confined at Ely State Prison (name known to NV PW, email was sent to Mr Segerblom earlier today, but for now we want to keep name of author private for fear of retaliation)