Ombudsman report tallies Inmate complaints

    Check out the TDCJ Ombudsman report for 2017.

    Visitation remains the perennial main source of complaints (6,389), with another 1,424 prisoners complaining they weren't being housed in accordance with medical restrictions (48 were reassigned). But 955 offenders complained of threats or intimidation by other inmates (offenders were reassigned in 140 cases), while inmates complained 720 times of physical abuse or threats by staff (26 of those cases were referred to the Office of Inspector General). In related non-news, we're still waiting for the TDCJ Annual Statistical Report for FY 2017, which ended in August of last year.


    March 22

    Subject: Hot Water - Plane State Jail Building B4-1

    This communication is to report issues regarding the lack of hot water at the Plane State Jail, Building B1-4. It is being reported to me by inmates at the facility that there has been no hot water at the facility in that building for over a month.

    There are a couple of rumors circulating as to the status of necessary repairs, 1) the part is on order in order for the repair to be made, 2) there are no funds available to procure the necessary part(s) to remedy the situation.

    A phone call to the facility today confirmed that the issue still exists. The captain that I spoke to indicated that there is a schedule in place permitting the inmates to go to other dorms to shower during the outage. This is questionable as to the effectiveness of such given the communication received from inmates at the facility.

    A letter (email) has been sent to OMBUDSMAN ( requesting that this issue be looked into and resolved.

    Not sure what, if any, assistance your organization can provide in this matter, but wanted to at least report the situation to you.

    Thank you in advance.
    Reverend Kevin Johnson

    July 12, 2016

    TDCJ, in particular, Lane Murray Unit, is infamous for their “cross action” ways, in which the prison officials write bogus disciplinary cases, utilize threatening language consumed of epithets, abuse their authority, retaliate by destroying inmates’ personal property, tearing up cells during cell searches, utilize excessive “use of force,” deny inmates release to population even though they meet the requirements, and deny us rank, medical and/or psych assistance. The list goes on and on at the unit unanimously nicknamed “Miserable Murray.”

    These prison officials are corrupt. When we write grievances or have our family contact the warden, we face retribution for our reports of abuse. When we make a staff complaint, we face retribution for our reports of abuse.

    Living in the misery of Ad-Seg causes much psychological damage. Justice needs to be served.

    Investigations and surveillance and/or substantive monitoring needs to begin immediately. Gatesville, Texas, is a prominent area for racism. And the prisons have made it a duty to hire their worst racists. Ninety percent of the prison officials are in fact racist and disrespectful.

    Lane Murray Unit is extremely tainted with corruption and the dire need of an ombudsman is evident. These officers are continually bullying, taunting, ridiculing and humiliating inmates, sexually harassing and underhandedly convicting inmates writing disciplinary cases that are lies. Gatesville, Texas, is an area submerged in evil and hatred that wants inmates to basically die. They’re biased against inmates because of a crime we did or did not commit.

    Living in the misery of Ad-Seg causes much psychological damage. Justice needs to be served.

    I am writing seeking justice, help and assistance, fighting the cause for women in Texas prisons. I suffer daily for the wrongs I have or have not committed along with other women who don’t deserve “double jeopardy” punishment and abuse. Just being in prison is punishment enough.

    We need help! The slavery of prison must end. Women in prison face abuse by the hands of those who are supposed to screen us for security, not inflict harm.

    About me: I am an offender housed in Ad-Seg at Lane Murray Unit for four years and counting. I’m currently a Stat-4 Level One, and I’ve been major case free for two and a half years, meeting all the requirements to be released from Ad-Seg, but yet I’m still held in captivity for unjustifiable reasons.

    Send our sister some love and light:
    Britney Gulley #1601283
    Lane Murray Unit
    1916 North Highway 36-Bypass
    Gatesville, Texas 76596

    April 2016

    Texas Prisoner Strike?

    "Inspired by a growing wave of prison strikes in Alabama, Georgia, and California," Texas prisoners reportedly will engage in work stoppages next week as part of a strike action being organized by the International Workers of the World, according to a press release Grits received today.

    See here for details.

    One would expect units with striking prisoners to end up on lockdown, but who knows what will happen? Their stated demands include:

    1. Meaningful application of work time credits
    2. Repeal $100 medical copay
    3. Right to an attorney on habeas claims
    4. Independent oversight of TDCJ
    5. Humane living conditions (including air conditioning, better medical care, etc.)

    Oct. 4, 2013

    I think you should share this with all who visit Polunsky Unit in Livingston.
    It's a warning. I would hate to see this happen to anyone else.

    On July 20th, 2013, My 16 year old daughter and I drove to Polunsky unit to visit a Pen Pal on Death Row. When we were in the entrance being search, my 16 year old daughter was sent into a room to take her Bra off and go through the detector. The female girls behind us went through the metal detector and it went off. They WERE not required to do what my Daughter was required to do.

    I questioned the Correctional Officers in the entrance about this. They would not answer. I thought it was unfair. We went to our visit and left. The next day a Major from Death Row called and questioned me. I told him the truth. My pen Pal wrote me and told me I had been removed from his visiting list and banned from Visiting any inmate at Polunsky Unit. I have been visiting Death Row for 20+ years. I have never threatened or cursed at anyone. That is what TDCJ Polunsky Unit staff claims. Makes no sense that after 20 years of visiting Death Row that I would be banned.

    Never had a problem. Be careful if you visit Polunsky. I would hate for this to happen to anyone else. I have appealed twice and heard nothing from TDCJ.

    Michael Denson
    Catholic Death Row Ministry

    August 1, 2013

    Inmates Complain About Prison Water Problems
    By: Robert Price

    Several days without showers and claims of toilets that don't flush.

    Severe water restrictions at a South Texas prison have some inmates crying foul.

    The Texas Department of Criminal Justice confirms the on-going water problems started last week at the Connally Unit in Karnes County. That's about an hour southeast of San Antonio.

    Prison officials say the worst of the restrictions were lifted a few days ago. Tanker trucks are now providing inmates with drinking water.

    But family members of inmates say their loved ones are being treated like animals.

    "It's bad for me," says Marie Avila, whose son is an inmate at the prison. "Having my son in there and going through all this -- not only my son, but all the inmates in there."

    "He's paying for what he did," says brother Johnathan Avila. "But also, don’t treat him worse than a dog."

    Prison officials say water could be fully restored as early as Friday.

    The Connally Unit had similar water problems last summer, which officials say prepared them for this time.

    Inmates Complain About Prison Water Problems

    June 15, 2012

    Laundry, Food and Supply
    Tony D’Cunha
    823 Cline Street
    Huntsville TX 77340

    Dear Mr. D’Cuna,

    Over the past few months we have received and inordinate number of inmate complaints from the Beto Unit, mostly concerning the poor laundry services.

    Inmates complain that when they request clothing after bathing they are issued what amounts to “rags.” They are issued shirts and pants that have been shoddily repaired numerous times. Some shirts and pants still have unrepaired tears.

    Others have all manner of stains, such as grease and paint stains. From the reports we’ve received, it is apparent that the Beto Laundry Services issues clothes from a “common source” according to size, rather than issuing each inmate four sets of shirts and pants and a personal laundry box number, which is the practice on many other units, such as the Ellis, Eastham, and Powledge units.

    Can you please explain to us why inmates on some units receive four personal sets of clothes and inmates on other units must accept clothes from a “common source.” Should not all TDCJ inmates be treated the same? We will greatly appreciate your timely attention to this matter.

    Joan Covici and Michael Jewell
    Board Members, Texas C.U.R.E.
    Co-Founders, Con-Care services

    An Audit Report on the Department of Criminal Justice's Complaint Resolution and Investigation Functions

    September 2008
    Report Number 09-004
    Overall Conclusion

    The Department of Criminal Justice (Department) substantially complies with its policies and procedures relating to investigating and resolving offender and employee grievances, investigating complaints, and processing allegations of policy violations and criminal behavior. The Department also conducted Offender Protection Investigations in accordance with its Safe Prisons Plan and ensured that offenders were safely housed.

    Most of the related programs that auditors reviewed had adequate policies and procedures, and the Department substantially complied with required timeframes for processing complaints, grievances, and inquiries.

    However, the Department could improve documentation and review controls to ensure that:

    (1) data entered into automated systems is accurate,
    (2) offenders are aware of current program updates and revisions, and
    (3) complaints and inquiries that are referred to other divisions or prison units and state jails are properly tracked.

    The Department's Offender Grievance Program, Health Services Division, Office of the Inspector General (OIG), Safe Prisons Program, Ombudsman Program, and Human Resources Division coordinate their activities to resolve allegations, complaints, and grievances.

    Department divisions and the OIG also made appropriate referrals to properly address complaints and grievances. However, the Department could strengthen certain coordination activities between its divisions and the OIG.

    Auditors administered 1,641 surveys to offenders incarcerated at seven state-operated or privately operated prison units and state jails (units). Results indicate that offenders are not always aware of the offender grievance process and are concerned about issues such as retaliation and the appearance that grievance staff members lack objectivity and independence. Also, survey results indicate that the Department's efforts to increase awareness of the Safe Prisons Program have been effective; however, improvements are needed to increase offenders' awareness about how to access the OIG and how to file a complaint about medical services.

    Auditors also administered 673 surveys about the employee complaint and grievance process to Department employees at prison units and state jails, parole offices, and other Department offices. These survey results indicate that a majority of Department employees are aware of the complaint and grievance processes and how to obtain assistance from human resources staff.

    Auditors also communicated other, less significant issues to the Department in writing.

    To download the report go Here.

    June 18, 2008

    Ombudsman is a useful tool for inmate families who know what an 'ombudsman' is

    At a brand new blog called TDCJ and Your Loved One, a recent post focused on how to get help for family members on the inside for day to day matters and gives contact information for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice Ombudsman.

    Seeing this reminded me of an incident yesterday in the neighborhood that's worth relating: A young mother approached me to ask if it were possible for her Mom, who's locked up in Gatesville, to get out to attend the funeral of her father, the girl's grandfather.

    "Maybe," I said. "Do you know what an 'Ombudsman' is?"

    Sheepishly, she allowed that she'd never heard the word in her life. I explained the concept and we came inside to look up their information online. Later that evening she came back to excitedly tell me that it had worked, that the Ombudsman was able to secure a furlough for her Mom and she'd be able to attend the funeral.

    What's more, my young friend told me while literally giggling with joy, the Ombudsman was helping get furloughs for her two brothers who were also in TDCJ to attend the funeral. Her delight at this news was infectious; her father is deceased and what remains of her nuclear family have not all been in the same room for years. I was happy for her, even if the reunion must take place under such a grim circumstance.

    The incident made me think that the term "Ombudsman" may be a tad arcane for use in TDCJ's context. Maybe the name ought to be changed to something average people understand, like the "Help Desk."

    Contact Info:

    Ombudsman Coordinator
    General Issues concerning the agency's operation and policy and procedures.

    P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
    (936) 437-8035 (936) 437-8067 fax

    TDCJ-Correctional Institutions Division
    Ombudsman Office

    Issues from the public relating to secure facilities (prison units, state jails, and substance abuse felony punishment facilities), and any specific concerns regarding offenders confined in these types of facilities.

    P.O. Box 99, Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
    (936) 437-6791 (936) 437-6668 fax

    Posted by Gritsforbreakfast
    Labels: TDCJ



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