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Murray Unit, Gatesville, Texas

2 years in solitary / ad seg


May 23, 2024


Photography by TEXAS LETTERS

Dear Texas Resident,


you want to know who we are? We are the person behind you in the checkout line, the one who assisted you at the bank, the manager you just spoke to on the phone, the one in the military fighting for your rights, the neighbor you just waved at, and the parent next to you at the PTA meeting. 


I am now the remorseful woman who has caused others emotional / mental pain. Yet, here I sit 21 years later still incarcerated. Trying to bond with grandchildren I’ve never held and the family I haven’t hugged in years. Solitary confinement has deepened the chasm of disconnection between my love ones and I. Another struggle to add to a list that grows with each passing year. While a fight may send some to prison, it is the fighting we must do just to hold onto a mustard seed of our identity and sanity.


Solitary, a menagerie of humans. Life in this dungeon is a place that exist in the United States. So why did people act surprised when they learned the government was torturing the prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay? When the Republic of Texas has been allowed to for years. 


Texas has the highest number of tortured prisoners in solitary. Maybe a brief description of my daily lyfe will paint a better picture. Please take three deep breaths and open the door to an earthly hell.


I am in a cell with a metal bunk, plastic mat, metal desk with stool and a toilet/sink combination. I can take 5 steps from the bunk to the door which has a sliver of mesh, of which I can look out and see the cages, that we are locked in when we get to go to recreation. I am required to stay in this cage 24 hours a day. Due to staffing shortage our recreation hour has been reduced to Tuesdays and Thursday only. No one cares about us. Even some of our general population peers shun us. So how can we expect the outside world to care? 

The only way we can be released is if someone from Huntsville, Texas, State Classification approves it. The State Classification reviews us every six months. In May and then again in November. Our anxiety levels are high. Wondering if we’ll get the “powerball number.” What factors do they consider for release from this dungeon? I can only tell you what they DON’T consider. They DON’T consider: 


a clear disciplinary record. 

a good conduct report from solitary staff

recommendations from the mental Health clinicians and the Psychiatrist for release

our stated readiness to comply with all rules and regulations

our completion of the Restrictive Housing Step Down Program (a class to prepare us for re-integration into general population)

our denouncing of all/any gang affiliation

our desire to further our education

our hunger to attend religious services

our need for human contact


On May 13, 2024 I had my first and hopefully last State Classification Review. I have been in solitary 2 years 24 days. There are others who have been here longer. I defended myself against a male officer who is known to be inappropriate with female inmates and staff. It was my first time ever assaulting a staff member. 


I walk into the room expecting to see at least 4 people from Huntsville. It’s not. There is one man, wearing a hat from Buckees Truck Stop, a well worn t-shirt, jeans and grimy tennis shoes with velcro straps. He looks old enough to be John Deere’s best friend and classmate. This man, who obviously doesn’t believe in oral hygiene nor utilize T.D.C.J.’s dental plan, is responsible for determining if I and others deserve to be released from solitary. 


How can someone who doesn’t take pride in their appearance be allowed to make life decisions for others? He denies us all. I’m in prison inside of prison. Does anyone out there care?


Still a human being, 

Aisha Bailey #1212562


or send cards/letters to:

P.O. Box 660400

Dallas, Texas 75266-0400


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