Jorge Garcia sent us this card after his recent parole denial. He is in solitary despite good behavior, and was devastated to learn that he will not return home to his daughter and aging mother this year. Jorge hopes to find a pen pal to keep him connected with the outside world. He also likes books and making art! If you’d like to make a new friend please send Jorge a message!
Jorge Garcia #1372972
2665 Prison Rd #1
Lovelady, TX 75851
Receiving the Death Penalty, by the state responsible for handing it out and using it more than any other(Texas),has changed many former things about me and my life. Many of those were things none of us truly control, like the death or abandonment of close friends and family, or the mistakes we make as humans, and the pain of regrets unchangeable, no matter the passing of time.
Time in prison anywhere is hard in every facet of life. The lack of support from friends and family strains the heart and the mind, while lacking financial support leaves me without the essentials we all need in life to survive. Spending time in solitary for 22 hours a day will make the strongest of men struggle to maintain their sanity. You are in a constant battle with yourself to survive, while being powerless to do for yourself psychologically or physically, in a box, alone… with time.
As a man in the world I would do whatever I could to make the money I needed to survive. On Death Row we have no jobs and no hope to do for ourselves, and it’s a hard pill to swallow to rely on others for help, yet without it you’re the definition of helpless and the example of life without.
Without support you have no materials to write, or postage to mail, and without those alone you lose your voice, the most essential and powerful part of us all, taking with it my hope for healing, and redemption from those I leave behind. With it though, a man can write those he loves and the lawyers he needs, or buy art supplies to express himself when words alone would fail. We can buy hygiene products to maintain what remains of our self-worth and our dignity, and have the ability to buy food that will sustain my body while providing some comfort, neither of which the food we’re served ever can or will do.
I am in the final stages of my appeal for life and my time is running out for me to see my son who I love and miss. So… Today, I am asking for your help, for support, and for friends who will STAY when my days get short, my nights get cold, and what’s left of my life here wanders away, letting me know that I was loved when I needed it most. I wish to feel in the end I was worthy of help, while society says I’m worthless and takes from me my final breath, from a man that life misunderstood yet hoping in the end…
Erick Davila 999545
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351
In order to encourage spreading love and friendship this holiday season, we have re-posted our pen pal connection page for our friends on the inside. Many of the people listed are in solitary confinement and/or have no family support. Here are three people who have recently been added or updated:
We also recommend checking out the links to other pen pal sites on the right hand side of our page!!
Since this is our holiday season post, here are a few more things:
We have two holiday wishes this year; the first is that you join abolitionists in Houston for a yearly holiday card signing and get-together. We will have pen pal info here as well.
See the event here: Holiday cards to Death Row
The second wish is that our contributor Nanon Williams will come home soon. Ballistic experts have stated that Nanon was not the shooter in this Houston case from 1992, and his conviction has been overturned several times, but the appeals court has blocked his release. We are asking you to help show that his life matters and encourage Texas politicians and the new Houston DA Kim Ogg to bring him home. Nanon should not die in prison, or spend another year, month or day wrongfully incarcerated!! See petition below:
Two great books worth buying this month:
.Brian Stolarz, who helped innocent man Alfred Brown get off of TX death row, has written an incredibly interesting book about the case, trial, and struggle to bring him home. It is frankly hard to put down: Grace and Justice on Death Row
. Gerald Marshall and several other Texas death row inmates recently contributed to a book of poetry and art that is now available: Creativity in the Midst of Chaos: Poetry and Art from Texas Death Row
Look out for some more posts coming soon!
RIP Antonio “TonyTone” Williams
“An eighties baby raised in the era of dopeboys, crack fiends, and kickdoor burglaries.
A young lion of Acres Homes, nurtured on street corners by uncles and old heads who’d yet to succumb to violence or the 3 strikes laws.
Little Antonio: all ears & energy. While his schoolmates were busy being teenagers he was trapping out of motel rooms, paying rent to his own mother, surviving shoot outs, and watching out for his younger brothers.
A black boy with an immeasurable will to live, he was. He & I met on Death Row– the last stop in the Pre-School to Prison Pipeline. I laughed when he introduced himself as TonyTone. He was trying to be serious, but a chipped front tooth diminished his attempt severely. I laughed louder; he began to laugh too. Later he would joke that my gap tooth was far funnier than his chipped one, and that he could not help but laugh.
Our friendship was solidified a few years later while playing chess. Tony was one of the best chess players I’ve played. We both gambled on the game, but rarely did we gamble against each other. I asked him one day, as we were preparing to play, did he want to bet per game. He was quiet for a few moments, then looking directly at me he said, “Friends don’t hustle each other, bro”.
TonyTone was a friend.
I remember when he left for his court hearing. Weeks earlier we talked for the first time of his daughter, and his desire to be there with her. He left Death Row filled with hope. He had survived the streets, and had become a writer, poet, and a legal mind in prison. He was a beautiful, unbreakable man who deserved far more than the short life he received.
Long Live TonyTone!
—Kichwa, Texas Death Row Inmate
Potrait of TonyTone, picture from MECA Dia De Los Muertos altar in Houston, October 2016.
Howard Guidry #999226
3872 FM 350 S.
Livingston, TX 77352
Antonio “TonyTone” Williams, passed away under disputed circumstances in Harris County Jail in February 2015. TonyTone was formerly on Death Row and had been transferred to county jail for a hearing about new evidence in his case. Two witnesses had recanted their testimonies, citing police intimidation as their reason for falsely testifying against him at trial.
The Chronicle reported “The two women who saw the shooting from a second floor patio said they were told to identify Williams despite their claims that the killer was a man named Keith who had dreadlocks with blond tips, according to court documents…” While awaiting a ruling which could have overturned his sentence, he was allegedly found hanging in his cell by his shoelaces. TonyTone’s friends immediately felt that he may have been targeted by another inmate or staff due to his strong spirit of resistance. The only reason they can imagine he would have become suicidal is due to medical neglect, as he has previously been taking anti-depressants which he was denied in county jail, and mixed with the effects of solitary confinement this may have triggered a man who was known as “someone who would never give up” to become hopeless in Harris County Jail. His death was never given a fair investigation, but whether it was murder, or a reaction to negligence and torture, the Sherriff’s office is responsible for the conditions which led to this young man’s death. We must fight to make sure there is a future where there are no more senseless deaths in our jails and prisons. Prisoners rights are human rights, and their lives should matter to us too.
— the editor
” I added color to show the darkness and despair in here and how a letter and/or music can bridge this and bring some life and hope to prisoners.”
Write to Jorge:
Jorge Garcia #1372972
2665 Prison Rd 1
Love Lady, TX 75851
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