January 24, 2014

TDCJ’s Offender Grievance Program

TDCJSealFrom: Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Introduction
An effective grievance program extends far beyond the staff of the grievance department. It involves an ongoing commitment by both staff and offenders at every facility to solve problems. The grievance program also provides a variety of supportive and protective functions by giving the offender an alternative to confrontation and an outlet for frustration and aggression. The program offers the offender a less formal alternative to litigation, thus saving taxpayers the cost of defending the agency in court. Grievances, when taken collectively, provide a wealth of insight into the daily operations of each unit that is helpful in maintaining a safe and secure environment for staff and offenders.

The current offender grievance process facilitates problem resolution at two distinct administrative levels. The first, commonly referred to as Step 1, allows the Warden to identify and resolve issues at the unit level. The second level, known as Step 2, affords an offender the opportunity to appeal the Warden’s decision. Step 2 grievances are sent off the unit to the Central Grievance Office in Huntsville, Texas for
review. Once the two-step process has been completed, the offender’s administrative remedies within TDCJ have been exhausted.

During Fiscal Year 2012 Texas offenders located in TDCJ units across the state filed a combined 216,258 Step 1 and Step 2 grievances, which represents an increase from the previous fiscal year. Approximately 26% of all Step 1 grievances were appealed to the second step, indicating that effective problem resolution is occurring at the unit level.

Grievable Issues
√ TDCJ policies and procedures
√ Actions of an employee or another offender
√ Harassment and/or retaliation for use of the
grievance procedure or access to courts
√ Loss or damage of pers
onal property by TDCJ
√ Basic care (things that TDCJ has control over)

Non-Grievable Issues
x State or Federal Laws
x Parole decisions
x Time-served credit disputes
x Matters for which other formal appeal
mechanisms exist
x Any matter beyond the control of the Agency

Remedies which are available through the Grievance Procedures
√ Restitution of property, either monetary or
compensatory;
√ Change of policy, procedures, rule, or practice;
√ Corrections of records;
√ Other relief, as appropriate

Remedies which are not available through the Grievance Procedure
x Requests for disciplinary
action against employees.
x Requests for consequential or punitive damages

View/Download the Full pdf. 

November 22, 2013

Have a loved one in jail or prison ?

If you or anyone you know has information regarding abuse of your loved ones inside jail or prison   contact me at the address to your right, we are an organization dedicated to securing the safety of your loved ones.

         Please contact Jimmy Ferguson -

        tcocfounder@yahoo.com


February 4, 2014

Exonerations On The Rise, And Not Just Because Of DNA

2013 was a record-breaking year for exonerations in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.

David Ranta speaks with reporters after being freed by a judge in March 2013. Ranta spent more than two decades in prison before a reinvestigation of his case cast serious doubt on evidence used to convict him in the shooting of a Brooklyn rabbi.

NPR – “At least 87 people were set free for crimes they did not commit last year, the highest number since researchers began keeping track more than 20 years ago. Some of those people spent decades in prison before release.

And it’s no longer just DNA evidence that’s driving exonerations, the registry’s report finds. It’s because police and prosecutors have been more willing to investigate themselves.

“It’s taken a while for people to begin to believe these unfortunate and very distasteful facts,” says Samuel Gross, a University of Michigan law professor who edits the registry, a joint project between Michigan and Northwestern University’s law school.

“The number of exonerations — and the number, in particular, of ones where police officers and prosecutors have initiated the process or cooperated in the process — has grown dramatically,” he says.

Conviction Integrity Units

Only one-fifth of the exonerations last year relied on newly tested DNA. More than 30 percent occurred because law enforcement agencies reopened a long-closed case or handed over their records to someone else who wanted to take a look.

Gross says that’s a sea change from just 10 years ago.

“The sharp, cold shower that DNA gave to the criminal justice system has made us realize that we have to re-examine other cases as well,” he says. “That was a serious wake-up call, because that showed we made mistakes in a lot of cases where it never occurred to anybody that a mistake had been made.” Full Story 

December 17, 2013

The Torture Chamberz Texaz Callz Prisonz

Originally posted on Moorbey'z Blog:

Kevin Rashid Johnson blows the whistle
On October 21, 2013, I visited Kevin Rashid Johnson. He is being held in solitary in an administrative segregation unit in AmarilloTexas. This was his first visit in three years.
The young gifted artist and writer said when asked if he wanted to leave Texas; “100% yes. This is the worst brutality I have ever seen, but right now I need to stay so we can shine a white hot spotlight on the conditions here.
The very next day on October 22, 2013, Christopher Woolverton, an inmate in the cell next to Rashid was pepper-sprayed and left to die.
Prison Radio has joined a burgeoning campaign of support for Kevin Rashid Johnson, a courageous young man whose art lifts the spirits of so many despite the intolerable cruelty he and others face.

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December 10, 2013

LA County Sheriffs Charged with Systematic Abuse, Corruption in Federal Case

Reason – “According to the Los Angeles Times, 18 current and past members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have been charged with abuse of inmates, misconduct, and obstructing an investigation. Here’s the U.S. attorney leading the case:

“The pattern of activity alleged in the obstruction of justice case shows how some members of the Sheriff’s Department considered themselves to be above the law. Instead of cooperating with the federal investigation to ensure that corrupt law enforcement officers would be brought to justice, the defendants in this case are accused of taking affirmative steps designed to ensure that light would not shine on illegal conduct that violated basic constitutional rights.”

So what sorts of things did the officers do? In one case, they arrested the husband of the Austrian consul who was visiting the jail and then, when the consul herself complained, they cuffed her for no legitimate reason. And there’s this:

One of the indictments details three separate incidents in which prosecutors alleged that a sheriff’s sergeant encouraged deputies he supervised at the visiting area of Men’s Central Jail to use excessive force and unlawful arrests of visitors.

Visitors were taken to a deputy break room, which could not be seen by the public, and beaten by sheriff’s officials, the indictment said. One visitor had his arm fractured…” 

Full Story Here on Reason

December 10, 2013

Christmas Protest At The Jail

Xmas

December 9, 2013

Kids in Juvenile Detention Sexually Victimized by Staff

The Young Turks – “The government says 1 in 10 youths at juvenile detention facilities around the country reported having been sexually victimized by staff or by other youths.

The study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that among the more than 1,300 youths who reported victimization by adult staff, 9 out of 10 were male juvenile detainees reporting sexual activity with female staff members.”*

The Department of Justice has found that rape is running rampant through juvenile “justice” facilities, with the kids being victimized by the staff. What does this say about current hiring methods, and how can the sexual victimization be stopped?”

May 23, 2013

Abusing Prisoners Decreases Public Safety

Originally posted on A Solitary Torture:

An interview with author and former prisoner Shawn Griffith

Angola 3 News

If given the attention it deserves, an important new book is certain to make significant contributions to the public discussions of US prison policy. The author, Shawn Griffith, was released last year from Florida’s prison system at the age of 41, after spending most of his life, almost 24 years, behind bars, including seven in solitary confinement. Facing the US PrisonProblem 2.3 Million Strong: An Ex-Con’s View of the Mistakes and the Solution was self-published just months after Griffith was released from what is the third largest state prison system in the US, after California and Texas.

This new book’s thoughtful analysis and chilling reflections on what author Shawn Griffith experienced while incarcerated is a remarkable illustration of why the US public must listen to the voices of current and former prisoners who have stories that only they…

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