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Aug 2, 20

Texas Prisoners Continue Mass Hunger Strike

A report on a continuing hunger-strike in Iowa Park, Texas, where prisoners have issued a set of demands on a wide range of issues.

Update: Strike supporters report that the strike ended on the 23rd and “team one” is going to wait 30 to 45 days to see if any changes are made. Stay tuned!

Since beginning on July 4th, around 141 prisoners (and counting) have engaged in a rolling hunger strike in Restricted Housing at the Allred Unit in Iowa Park, TX. The strike appears to be well organized and large, and the group of strikers, calling themselves “Team One,” has released a 13-point program that addresses a whole range of issues, from immediate improvement of conditions like food trays, TV on Restricted Housing, and educational opportunities, as well as broader changes dealing with parole eligibility policies across Texas, payment for prison labor, and the retaliatory and racist profiling of prisoners being assigned STG or gang status.

Writes one striker:

“Let me bring you up to speed. So on July 1st the head warden Jimmy Smith called out one of the influential souljas. He attempted to ‘negotiate,’ yet was told we’re gonna do what we’re gonna do on July 4th. Our price to quit is to see TVs and phones in our living area—until then, we strike. We had about 141 people at the start. Yet these numbers don’t tell the full story, because I’m coordinating the comrades in intervals/waves. Much like a sports team with starters and reserves. The next day after the comrades’ convo with the warden, all phones on the unit ceased to work. This includes general population, so you see that the pig power structure wished to stop word from getting out.”

Since early July, the administration at Allred Unit has also retaliated by taking away prisoners’ commissary, inspecting cells, denying strikers their own property until they come off strike, and shutting the water off to individual prisoners who have flooded their cell in protest.

As of late July, the hunger strike was ongoing, and prisoners at Allred are asking supporters to email officials with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in solidarity:

Regional Director David Blackwell — [email protected]

Regional Office – [email protected]

Sample Script:

“I am contacting you on behalf of the prisoners on restrictive housing on the Allred Unit. These inmates are on hunger strike and are seeking to be provided ‘less restrictive housing.’ In TDCJ’s RHU Plan, ‘less restrictive housing’ is a clause which can be instituted by warden and regional, and is highly discretionary. Specifically, the immediate requests of the prisoners are that they be allowed access to ‘blue phones’ while in RHU, as well as TVs and participation in educational and rehabilitational programs sponsored by volunteer organizations in accordance with TX – Gov –Code 501.009. Have the phones been approved for restrictive housing? If so when and how will they be installed? During this Covid outbreak in Texas the lack of communication is testing many of the inmates’ sanity.”

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