Filed under: Central, Incarceration, Political Prisoners, Repression
Jason Renard Walker is Deputy Minister of Labor for the New Afrikan Black Panther Party and one of the contributors to the Fire Inside zine. In a previous article published on It’s Going Down, he exposed the murder of a fellow inmate, and the staff negligence that led to the death, and discussed how the administration had responded to his attempts at whistle-blowing by raiding his room and confiscating everything he had. In this update, he tells how public pressure and solidarity following that article led to the administration backing off, and reveals some of the other tactics that have been used to retaliate against him since then.
The value of having support beyond these prison walls is invaluable. The prison administration knows this as well, which is why they set rules and guidelines that can only be fought and petitioned outside of their protracted prisoner grievance and appeal procedures.
If they are individually challenged from within, staff of all ranks can and will use each other’s “written-in-stone” integrity to escape punishment. One example of this is the grievance procedures.
During the investigation of our complaint, a sergeant, lieutenant, captain, or grievance member will collect evidence. Since most Texas prisons are in redneck and desolate areas, a majority of the staff know and hang out with each other.
Simply speaking, a friend will approach another friend; collect their statement, which will normally be a denial of the allegations; then the investigation is closed, and our claim found unsubstantiated since “no evidence was found to support your claim. Staff denied your allegations.”
This in itself frustrates and discourages many prisoners from filing complaints. In many instances, most of these prisoners don’t have someone on the outside willing to do more than send them the occasional birthday card and money.
This is one way prisons have been able to effectively escape scrutiny and public-supported prison reform for years. Things are going undocumented.
There’s No Support Like Outside Support
On January 23rd 2018, all of my legal and personal property was confiscated, under the guise that it was improperly stored, and an excessive amount. But this wasn’t true at all. The reason for the confiscation was a retaliatory response to an article I wrote on January 18th 2018 about the staff’s role in a prisoner being killed the day before.
This particular article never reached its destination, so I wrote another that did and was circulated throughout the world.
I note that I never received a disciplinary case for unauthorized storage of property (35.0 level 3 offense), nor was it sent to or documented by the property officer. Instead it remained in the supervisor’s office until the complaints poured in, as I will explain.
On January 24th 2018, I contacted an outside source who then made a call to the warden, which prompted Officer Ayo and Sergeant Aleman to quickly fill out and sign a confiscation form that stated “improperly stored”, “excessive amount” and “books and magazines” as being what was taken. No actual inventory was ever conducted.
I was given a copy of the confiscation on January 25th 2018. My legal property was returned this same day.
On January 31st 2018, I was removed from school and sent to the property room. My items weren’t in the storage area, but rather sitting along a wall and public place where everyone has access to roam. Everything had obviously been gone through, and a bible I had important addresses in was gone (no big deal).
The property officer never inventoried or documented the confiscation. Her focus was on having nothing to do with it as she stated to the fullest degree. “Look, here’s everything, I ain’t signing nothing, keep me out of it” she nervously stated.
After putting everything up and, to their surprise, officials seeing it all fitted within the limitations of being in compliance, I was sent to see Joe M Lopez.
He explained that a Chris Vance and others were simultaneously filing complaints to the Ombudsman about my property. I wrote a statement saying that the problem was resolved. Lieutenant Lopez, or “J.Lo” as his ranking counterparts call him, sent me back to school.
On February 1st 2018, during my morning class, J.Lo pulled me out and into an empty room. His tone was demanding, aggressive, and straight to the point. “What the hell is this shit, who the fuck is Brian Buck?” he yelled, inches away from my face, while showing me a stack of individual Ombudsman complaints.
He claimed that the warden was getting on his ass because he couldn’t explain why my property was taken for being excessive and improperly stored, and then given back without me receiving a disciplinary case, or any of it being properly documented. “All of them about the same shit, you better make them stop” he said, while pointing a finger in my face and then rudely dismissing me.
I assume that the warden’s investigation didn’t turn out as J.Lo had expected. On February 2nd 2018, I was approached by J.Lo and Sgt Aleman while I was in my cell. The purpose was to con me out of my copy of the confiscation form. “Hey, where’s that pink copy I had you sign?” Aleman said.
Knowing what they were up to, I stated that I put it in the same bag that contained the original and file copy. In fact, the former and latter were left in the property I got from the property officer. Remember, she didn’t want any involvement in the property actually being taken, so I put several books in this bag with the form, and told J.Lo to send it back to the property room. As of 2/3/18, those particular items are still in the supervisor’s office. I still have my copy.
I believe that J.Lo and Aleman had planned to destroy the original confiscation form, then claim the event never happened, but couldn’t until they get my copy.
What drew me to this conclusion is the fact that, as soon as they left, a prisoner told me that he heard J.Lo say “I’m fucked without that copy, my rank’s on the line.” But the troubles that J.Lo and his cronies face is a result of people’s power, and your willingness to help me in a situation that they are usually able to justify.
From HIV to Hep C
If it isn’t one thing it’s another! I’ve never had any phobias about taking STD tests, and have regularly taken HIV and Hep C tests for years – each time they’ve been negative, including the most recent.
On January 30th, 2018, I was removed from class and rushed to the infirmary. The fake news, the nurse told me, was that I’d tested positive for HIV. By coincidence, I had my last HIV results handy, which she viewed and then looked up on the computer. After arguing to debunk this myth, she claimed that I had Hep C, and had tested positive for it on July 25th 2016.
Knowing that my last Hep C test was negative, I asked her to show me the blood test results and lab reports that say I’m positive. She assured me that she looked at and verified them before sending for me, “so no need to beat a dead horse” she said.
In contradiction, to cause paranoia, she showed me a digital copy of a Hep C notification form that had my signature forged on it, for “7/25/16”. But wouldn’t show me the lab reports, which are negative.
She loudly gave me a staged pep talk about “being positive for Hep C”, which she repeated over and over again until gossiping guards and prisoners were heard discussing it by another nurse, who closed the door to the room I was in.
This was obviously done to spark rumours about my health condition, while causing prisoners to avoid socializing with me. I’m currently undergoing the Hep C treatment process. But one of the smarter nurses told me, during a visit on February 2nd, that “I don’t know what’s going on, but your lab report shows Hep C negative.”
I recently filled out a Protected Health Info form (PHI), and listed Professor Wallis and Dr John Dulley as having authorization to collect medical record for the years 2014-2018. I recommended that my HIV and Hep C records, lab reports, and relevant records be collected to expose this attempt to cause emotional and psychological distress.
The Book Stealing Peeping Tom
Since I arrived at this unit on November 1st 2017, I’ve had problems with the mailroom handling my mail incorrectly and stealing my books. In fact, I immediately sent the mailroom supervisor, Dinah Hoffman, a request asking them to make sure all of my legal/media mail was handled correctly. I received a reply back that stated that mailroom polices are followed.
In the month of December, I was expecting a total of four books. One was W.E.B. DuBois’ Black Reconstruction in America, which I received on December 28th; the second was Mao Tse Tung’s Selected Works Vol III, which I received on December 7th; the third was Charles E Jones’ The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, order #111-7725366-2998647, which I never received; the fourth was Assata Shakur’s Assata: An Autobiography, order #111-1341081-9582636, which I also didn’t receive.
After contacting the book buyers, I learned that the Panther book was expected to reach me December 6th, and Assata’s book was sent December 12th. Hoffman sent me a reply to this complaint, which stated “our records showed you receiving: 1 book on 12/7/17 (not Amazon) & 1 book on 12/28/17 (Amazon), if you haven’t received it you’ll need to contact the send to track if for you.”
I had the senders do just that, which revealed that the books never made it out of the mailroom, despite reaching their destination. I also have a copy of an order # to Amazon’s book mailing log for these particular books.
As for my media mail! Following my most recent prisoner death exposé being posted and used in part by mainstream media journalist Keri Blakinger and her counterparts, media mail from the managing editor of Socialism and Democracy was supposedly opened in error, but not before the contents were read, and an enclosed letter denied.
Following this, on January 31st 2018, a letter from the editor of Socialist Viewpoint was opened, read, and sent to me as general mail. They claimed that the address wasn’t listed in the Gale directory, so I recommended that the editors check to make sure this is true. They were listed in the Gale directory when I received mail a month or so before.
But in any event, the recent exposure of the prisoner’s death is a big reason why outgoing mail gets intercepted and incoming mail highly scrutinized – even if it requires the mailroom to break their own rules.
Thanks to everyone who played a role in amplifying my voice.
Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people.
Jason Renard Walker #1532092
2664 FM 2054
Tennessee Colony, TX 75886