Due to changes in TDCJ policy meant to minimize inmates’ ability to report on the human rights abuses happening in TDCJ and their ability to stay in contact with their loved ones and supporters, this page will undergo some changes before the 15th of the month. The new policy is in the offender handbook,on pg 24, #4 under general rules.
“4. Offenders are prohibited from maintaining active social media accounts for the
purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others, through a third party or otherwise.”
Obviously,this site is not a personal account for any inmate; it is a page for a magazine and artistic project and I refuse to take it down for that reason as countless media outlets frequently publish work by prisoners as is their, and our, right to do so. I do not agree with this rule regardless of whether it applies to us, as it is clearly censorship and it adds an additional way for TDCJ to punish prisoners and their loved ones for simply talking about inmates or “soliciting” pen pals, support, etc. TDCJ officials have so far refused to clarify which kinds of accounts and actions will be punishable under this policy, but did suggest pen pal sites would be punishable, that prisoners would receive a major case for violations, and that free world people would be banned from visitation/contact if they were maintaining accounts for prisoners. The pen pal page has been taken down for the time being until this issue is resolved, but I will continue to encourage people to contact prisoners and please contact me for addresses if you are interested. I have temporarily removed other personal information to protect the people involved, but will continue to maintain the site. I plan to edit many of the posts and then re-post them. Hopefully this rule will be quickly clarified or nullified. I will not allow them to intimidate us into no longer sharing what is happening in Texas prisons.
For more on the controversy surrounding this new rule, here is an excellent post by Grits for Breakfast explaining that the rule is almost certainly not going to stand up legally and that it harmful to the idea of successful re-integration as well : http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.de/2016/04/ban-on-surrogate-social-media-for.html?spref=fb&m=1
I encourage readers to contact the Board of Criminal Justice, who oversee the prison system, and demand an end to the human right’s abuses happening in Texas Prisons. Here are three ways:
Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Po box 13084 Austin, TX 78711