2005. 20th DECEMBER PROTEST UPDATES
Please be patient with me while I prepare these entries; then if they make it through the COINTELPRO agents in the mailroom, my people must type this out, and download it for your viewing. I’m slowly finding a balance between fighting the general oppression within these Murder Row walls, the Courts and my suppressive court-appointed attorneys. There are times when I don’t want to look at a pencil or paper; but I know it’s vital—not only to my existence, and the existence of all lumpen peoples (who virtually make up the Death Row populace), but to keep you informed. For people are only manipulated through their ignorance. And to help you counter this manipulation (anything that promotes your acceptance of this attack on our dignity, thus the dignity of humanity), I will pace my cage til I get blisters on the soles of my feet, seeking enough equilibrium to pick this pencil back up, painting enlightening word-pictures of human struggle in an inhumane setting.
Today is it. Richie and Sgt. Brown’s (1st shift, 2nd card) Monday. I have my appeal (step -2 grievance) to the decision made in the excessive use of force grievance I received last week (see thru 12-16-05) prepared. I waited ‘til this card to file this appeal because it’s the card and shift that’s been giving us most of our grievance problems. Today we’re going to see if we can get some grievance officers to follow policy and make their rounds.
When floor-officer Marberry came around doing count, I asked him if he could be on the look-out for the grievance officers because I had a grievance to file. By now, Marberry was well aware of our grievance problem. I remind him so he could be a witness should grievance officers fail to make their rounds today.
Anyhow, some time passed when grievance office supervisor, Worthy, came on the pod, walked to the picket, signed paperwork stating that he made his rounds, then left the pod, never making his rounds. The good thing about this was officer Marberry witnessed it. My evidence! Before I go on, on one occasion, grievance officer Byrd (older, tall, white female) was making her rounds. I stopped herm asking for her name (which she was reluctant to give), and why it was the first time I’ve ever seen her, She said, “ you liar!!! We come to the pod everyday!” as if she was possessed or something. I didn’t know if I should back away from the bars or what. I told her that all I can do is tell her what I see, and “if yall do come to the pods, yall don’t make yalls rounds.” Then, she stormed off; and now I see why.
I had officer Mayberry call for some rank. Eventually, Sgt. Brown came to the section with Marberry. Once they came to my cage, Sgt. Brown told me that he called Worthy (grievance supervisor) and assured me he would be coming back. Small progress. Sgt. Brown has been thoroughly briefed of the Grievance Joke. As I elaborated on certain concerns with our conditions, Worthy, a tall, boyish-looking white male came to my cage. Sgt. Brown quickly used this (Worthy’s arrival) as an opportunity to leave. I could tell he was hearing my words, but not paying heed to them anyways.
I asked Worthy how often they were suppose to come around. He told me “everyday,” except there were two female officers from the grievance office that work under him (Byrd and Martin), who will come around on days mailroom officers Pierce and Hadley (who he deputized as grievance officers) didn’t. I told him that Grievance officers, Byrd and Martin, came around every blue moon. Then, I asked him why he came on the pod, signed the paperwork, and left without making rounds to pick up grievances that prisoners—like myself—needed filed. He said, “I don’t have to listen to you inmate!” Pigs respond to prisoners in this manner to degrade them; to deem them undeserving of their individual name. I guess this is worst than me demoting Sgt. Goins to “pig” status; because at least I allowed him to keep his name! Anyways, I gave Pig Worthy my grievance and told him “I tell you what, you just make sure my grievance gets filed, that’s what you do.” As he walked off, he said, “you think you’re running something! Yeah…I got this (talking about my grievance).”
I thought to myself that enough people were aware of my filing a grievance today, should Pig Worthy attempt a magic trick with my grievance, I will hopefully have somebody to corroborate my facts. But, I’m not naïve either. I know what the statement “We take care of our own” sown on the back of all these officers caps mean….
Strength, vision & solidarity
Insert Date ]
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351
WARDEN HIRCH PETITION
Dear Warden Hirch,
Since the beginning of the DRIVE Movement, Texas’ Death Row Warden (Warden Hirch) has been on E-pod, F-section (Level-3) thrice. Warden Hirch’s first interaction with DRIVE cadre went as follows:
Comrade Blanton: For no penological reason, on 11-20-05, Sgt. Goins had all of my property taken from me. Property that wasn’t used to threaten the safety and security of your establishment-
Warden Hirch: It’s not your opinion that counts, it’s mine!
Comrade Blanton: I’m not speaking of an opinion, I’m speaking of policy.
Warden Hirch: My opinion is policy!
In Warden Hirch’s second walk-through of Level-3, the following interaction occurred:
Comrade Foster: What can be done to help us get cleaner laundry?
Warden Hirch: You’re getting what everybody else gets.
Comrade Foster: Don’t you feel conditions can be improved here?
Warden Hirch: Yes, but I’m not going to use all our resources to help make you feel comfortable.
Comrade Foster: It’s not about comfort, just fairness.
Warden Hirch: Well, you shouldn’t have come to death row. It’s a lot of taxpayers that could give a sh*t less what you have, and think you have too much!
Comrade Foster: Our grievances are coming up missing.
Warden Hirch: We get hundreds of grievances yearly, why is it only you?!!
Comrade Foster: Level 3’s, not 2’s are being denied winter clothing.
Warden Hirch: The rules say no clothes. You get no clothes.
During the above walk-through, comrade Blanton explained in detail to Warden Hirch the grievance procedure prisoners endure; then showed him evidence of his own grievances that were thrown away. Warden Hirch told comrade Blanton he would have one of his lieutenants come and get the information from him, and as of yet, comrade Blanton has still been unable to file grievances.
Despite a broken system through which prisoners may address grievances, DRIVE comrades still strive to discuss the deplorable conditions on Death Row with Polunsky Unit’s administration. And, as Warden over Death Row, you have an obligation to not only ensure the safety and security of your staff, but prisoners as well. This means you have to ensure policy works towards these ends.
As Warden, you are in a leadership position. You are supposed to epitomize professionalism, for your staff follows your lead. You being “Warden” doesn’t place you above prisoners. It does place you above injustice. Because, if the Warden’s attitude is indifferent towards injustice, how much more will the staff be, whom are enforcers of policy? Your attitude, documented in the above interactions with DRIVE comrades only validates the conditions of which they speak.
We encourage you to step up to your position and lead, but in a more professional manner, devoid of any personal feelings other than those you should feel when you hear of your policy being broken. If you can’t rise to the occasion, then maybe you’re in the wrong position. We also encourage you to partake in more fruitful interactions with the prisoners of which you oversee jurisdiction, and sincerely address any policy violations you’re made aware of.
Understanding over indifference,