Mona’s Diary 4/18/2020: An Open Letter

Here is a letter Mona recently sent me and asked me to share with you. It is dated October 31st, 2019 and it reads:

“There were people before us and people now who set the precedent (advocate pioneers) of trying to ensure that we are treated with not only humanity but with dignity and legal protection. People who refuse to accept the evil of the moment and are fighting back every single day. There has to be optimism in that. Why else would they work so hard if they didn’t believe that something other than the way things are wasn’t just necessary, but possible?
Stand for something or continue to be treated as if you are nothing.I will continue to fight for what I believe and I am just getting started. The administrators of the Texas Department of Correction value fear over grace. Most officers spend their days at work tormenting the female inmates by being cruel and unmerciful. Some inmates are terrified of telling anyone what is happening so they are put in some horrific situations. The shower in the segregation section located at the Crain Unit’s reception (the first hall to the right when entering the PHD [pre-hearing detention] areas coming from the direction of the chow hall) consists of two shower cells. Only the first operates normally, the second is adjacent to a room that is used for whatever purpose the officers decide to use it for.There is a metal plate in the wall that can be removed and replaced by hand. Some of the women have been watched by officers through that hole and handed things in exchange for allowing various male guards to watch as they undress and shower. The guards deny the inmates food, showers, and accost the inmates for sexual favors. I myself have been housed there and witnessed an inmate being led from her cell just before dawn into that particular room and then 20 minutes later returned to her cell by the same male guard unaccompanied by anyone else. The male kitchen bosses are constantly receiving sexual favors from the female inmates in exchange for make-up, pills, food, and money that’s brought into the prison. Mr. Allen brings store bought items to the women of Mexican descent. Mr. Arellano, who works at reception, usually asks for sexual favors in exchange for passing things from inmate cell to cell at receptions A-Hall, B-Hall, PHD, and segregation, and he threatens to cross them out if they report him [“crossed out” refers to a situation where a prisoner is unfairly moved from a more favorable location, job, etc. to a less favorable one by correction officials as a form of punishment]. Mrs.Maya in the count-room or unit classification [who decides where inmates are housed and how they are counted] usually takes orders from the guards, lieutenant, and sergeant to move a particular inmate if that inmate has upset them or reported some type of abuse. Should an inmate upset any rank or official they will be crossed out, written up, or harassed with the threat of going to G-4 status [isolation]. The majority of the female inmates are afraid to speak outor report any verbal or physical abuse due to the retaliation that occurs after the abuse is reported.

Destiny [Mona’s girlfriend] was crossed out here at Crain Unit, which caused her to be transferred to another unit because of her “prior cases”. If an inmate aquires a certain amount of “cases” or offenses, whether they are major or minor, they will go to G-4 [isolation]. Crain was aware that if they G-4’ed Destiny, it would bring to light the retaliatory measures they use. The officials at Crain unit were under investigation because Destiny’s mom called the Ombudsman and the Human Resources Departments to report the abuses Destiny was being subject to. In turn, the Human Resources Department and the Ombudsman opened cases to look into the allegations. The officials at Crain also got a call from Senator Whitmire’s office, inquiring about the allegations made by Destiny’s Mom. So the officers at Crain automatically started writing Destiny up for out of place cases [meaning Destiny wasn’t standing in the right place for the daily count count]. On October 31st, 2019, they transferred her to Lane Murray Unit. When Destiny was housed at Hobby Unity, before she came to Crain, she was G-4ed when her mother reported the physical abuse Destiny received at the hands of an officer when she was handcuffed. City, state, and federal officials never interview the inmates during such investigations. They only listen to administration. The administration know what questions are coming and they always have well planned out answers. They even relay false quotes to the investigators that they say were given by the prisoner in question. Regardless of whether the inmate is right in any given situation, the guard is always right and the inmate is wrong, no matter what the allegation or accusation may be. What matters is the “paperwork.” However the paperwork is all black and white, no other shades. And in order to obtain the truth, all shades have to be considered. “Anything” looks good on paper and everything can be made to appear bad. For instance, every inmate is a number, not a name.I just received my mail today (10/31/19) that arrived here at the prison on 10/17/19 from jpay [a privately owned service provider that is most prisoner’s only option for correspondence]. It took me from February to August to acquire a pair of underwear from the laundry room. I had to literally drop an I-60 [an official request made by prisoners for services and essential goods] to the warden after exhausting all the other avenues. Then, I was verbally abused for doing so, still didn’t get the underwear (that day). Needless to say the minor casualties (misfortunes) that occur in prison have major repercussions. Many inmates are losing parole dates due to vidicatative retaliatory actions taken by the guards, simply because they can. That puts the power of freedom in the hands of people that have no conscience, which makes them the classic example of a sociopath. The very ones who are responsible for assisting the correctional institution in rehabilitating individuals and releasing a more productive citizen into the society . Rehabilitation being the key word not abuse through misrepresentation and oppression, mental and psychological torment meant solely for retaliatory purposes.
This, to whom it may concern, is just the tip of an iceberg for, it would take hours to describe the physical abuse that I, alone, have witnessed first hand; (Adventently as well as inadvertently).”

-Mona

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