The American reformers who first devised the penitentiary believed that criminals could ‘reformed’ through solitary confinement, labor and religious indoctrination. The use of solitary confinement and isolation-sensory deprivation began at Philadelphia Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820s. What was actually discovered was that conditions of sensory deprivation caused mental deterioration and psychosis. Leading writers like Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin, upon touring the penitentiary, spoke out against its conditions of mental torture. As Dickens observed, “I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body.” The U.S. Supreme Court ultimately rules such solitary confinement ‘mentally destructive’ and outlawed it.
It stated, “A considerable number of prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition, from which it was next to impossible to remove them, and others became violently insane; others still committed suicide, while those who stood the ordeal better were generally not reformed, and in most cases did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of sufficient service to the community.” (see; RE Madley, 134 U.S.160,168 (1890) )
Since that time, however, solitary hasn’t ceased. This is even after courts and legislators in the 20th and early 21st centuries have outlawed even the new and more ‘scientifically’ designed forms of solitary confinement.
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. was founded by persons who have endured years and decades of solitary in the forms of SHU (aka EOB) and Ad. Seg. (now called restrictive housing).
Many modern courts have found that the same conditions and injuries to prisoners from confinement in modern control units as did the high court of 1890 in the Madley case. see e.g. Madrid V. Gomez, 889FSupp.1146 (1995)
“Mant, if not most inmates in SHU experience some degree of psychological trauma in relation to their extreme social isolation and the severely restricted environmental stimulation in SHU. This court concluded that confinement under such conditions may press the outer bounds of what humans can psychologically tolerate. The psychological consequences of living in these units for long periods of time are predictably destructive, and the potential for these psychological stressors to precipitate various forms of psychopathology is clear cut. Another court found that isolating human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total. Davenport V. DeRoberts, 844F.2d 1310, 1316 (1999)
As a study of sensory deprivation by a team of 4 psychiatrists at Harvard conducted for the CIA revealed:
- The deprivation of sensory stimuli induces stress
- The stress becomes unbearable for most subjects
- The subject has a growing need for physical and social stimuli
- Some subjects progressively lose touch with reality, focus inwardly, and produce delusions, hallucinations, and other psychological effects
Segregation is the modern form of solitary confinement. Segregation inmates are almost completely deprived of the commonplace incidents and routines of prison life. In theory, RHU is not a punitive measure. In practice, it can only be described as punishing.
It is with the preceding information that TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. has been inspired to put our lives on the lins in the most literal sense, by refusing the necessary nutrients for survival, and good health. This coming Black August 21st, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of George L. Jackson, TX. T.E.A.M.O.N.E. will be leading the masses of TDCJ’s Allred Unit in a hunger strike to protest and bring attention to the fundamental injustice that is embodied in the mere use of isolation-solitary confinement. We ask the inside community to join us in struggle as we already have a case in the courts challenging TDCJ’s use of RHU. We ask the outside community to join us in solidarity. (Solidarity actions will be listed at the end of this pamphlet.)
What is BP-3.91
Board policy 3.91 has recently been revised and is set to take effect August 1st. These revisions seek to create an asexual environment in prison. If the penal system has its way, all publications or pictures which may possibly cause arousal will be considered contraband.
While We recognize the needs of some to rehabilitate themselves from what may be considered perverse sexual behavior, the same can not be said for all, nor even most, prison captives. For factually speaking, each individual inmate has individual needs in regards to the realm of recovery and redemption.
TDCJ, when it benefits their agenda, seems to agree. For, in recent years, they have mandated that each captive complete an “individual treatment plan”. All captive persons must complete the plan prior to their release on parole or risk remaining in prison.
What penological reason does BP-3.91 serve?
At the date of this writing TDCJ has refused to state any reasoning for this policy amendment. This refusal in itself is unlawful, by the standard set by the Supreme Court’s Turner case. That aside, since they’ve left the reasoning up to interpretation, let’s interpret it:
Why on Earth would anyone want an asexual environment? One where, in theory only, sexual desire doesn’t exist? We say in theory only because factually speaking, no matter the variations of sexual expression, desire and arousal are as natural as breathing. What then happens when large masses of people are warehoused, cut off from all social stimuli, as we are in RHU? Frankly, this act falls in line with historical missions of the American establishment, in terms of genocide, a slow and deliberate depopulation of outcasted sectors?
Remember eugenics? The selective breeding of persons in order to weed out unwanted social characteristics that were thought to be founded in ones genetics. Remember forced sterilization of both women and men who were largely held captive, were mentally unequipped, or otherwise considered a liability to the social order. This BP-3.91 is aligned with this grim history. But that’s not all! BP-3.91 will ban any material which depicts a person with their face covered! We are still in the middle of a pandemic. Enough said.
Those outside persons who’re not local should call the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on August 1 at 512-475-3250 demanding BP-3.91 be annulled as it has been revised, as it is an unlawful use of prison censorship.
On August 24 supporters should call the Executive Director of TDCJ at 936-437-2101. On the 24th we will have been on strike for 3 days, which makes it official. Demand that TDCJ begin to rectify it’s inhumane confining of RHU inmates indefinitely and without meaningful review. Express your support for the hunger strikers on Allred.
Those who’re local to this region: we ask to come out in droves to support our cause via an outside noise demonstration at the grounds of the Allred prison colony. We NEED and appreciate your support.
TX T.E.A.M.O.N.E. Triumphant