I’ve been in Ad Seg since 1993 till present time. I am currently in a program called Mental Health therapeutic Diversion Program that is suppose to help me with mental illnesses and effects caused by being in prolong isolation from being in Ad Seg so long; But I’m in worse conditions than Ad Seg, including prolong isolation. I’m still under Ad Seg conditions. Things that are different from Ad Seg (when I first got to this program in 2018) were T.V.s (But TV’s were taken away from dayroom in Oct. 2019) and counseling classes once a week for one hour; But I graduated the program in April 2019 and no more counseling classes after that. They were suppose to start CMI classes for graduates, they did start but only ran about 5 classes in 2019 and stopped running them because short of staff. Basicly everything else is the same As Ad Seg. Single recreation, handcuffed everytime I leave my cell, single cell - etc...Since I’ve been in this program I’ve been in cell alone 24 hours a day 23 days out of each month on average. That’s including visit, classes, and recreation. It has been about the same in Ad Seg from about 2010 till present time. Since that time they have been short of staff, and that has been the main reason they’ve been using to not run recreation, shower, or classes. This is the worse place I’ve been at. Everything that could be wrong is wrong: the food is always cold, small portions, something is always spoiled, trays are not properly cleaned, they don’t use gloves or hair nets when feeding, give milk about twice monthly; they serve us samething almost every day; pancakes, cornbread, noodles, potatoes and grits. Most of the time they are short of staff there for cancelling recreation and showers, and classes. Laundry Every 3-days exchange of clean boxers, sox, and towells; cells leak water everytime it rains and from pipe chase: hard to get anything fixed when they break which is often: Toilet, light, sink, leaks, power out lit. It’s always cold in winter, Hot in summer. Exhaust vents don’t work which makes it extremely Humid: smoke, chemical agents, Human waist, smells stay longer in our cell. Someone is always lighting fires officers just let it burn out, never check for health problem caused by fire/smoke. They dont follow fire drill protocol. Its hard to get Medical attention especially on emergancies. I’ve had about 20 seizures since I’ve been here (3-2018) and they’ve only pulled me out twice to medical to get treatment. Officers are not properly trained to run the regular operations of this program nor to deal with mentally ill people officers do what they want to do Administration allow them to mistreat us and Abuse us and not disciplining them for violations they commit. grievance cooridnator loses grievances and inappropriately denies grievances to be processed. Medical does not do its daily medical round checks Mental health denies us one on one counseling, and doctor patient confidentiality. Comissary is always out of stock of the main things. There’s a limit on everything. Mail is always late 10-30 days from postmark, mail is lost a lot; It is always filthy/dirty in dayrooms, outside recreation yard, and runways. Its infested with Rats, Roaches, Ants, Spiders. There is a lot more that is wrong with this place I could go on and on on this. I would Rather be anywhere else than here even in an old red brick unit like Wynne unit where I was at for 18 yrs. I was put in this program with the help of my friends Liliane and Stacie, Two friends that strated writing to me from a story they read about me in Solitary Watch. They both called the unit and spoke with warden about Mental illnesses I was suffering from, bad conditions I was in. That’s How I was sent to this program. I still have alot of struggles with mental illnesses at the present time. I believe I could get better with a better environment, betty counseling and therapy that I’m not receiving in here. The only thing I’m receiving for my mental illnesses is medication that most of the time doesn’t work/help. I think its because Im all day in my cell and the poor conditions of this building I sleep about 15 hours a day. Any simple task causes me to get tired and go to sleep. I cry alot sometimes to don’t know why I’m crying. I get bad panich attacks when I’m around people in a crowd-when I’m on chain in a buss full of other inmates-if I’m in a room with a crowd. There has been several times where officers escort me into a Room full of officers, and once door is closed I started to cry. I also panich, get anxiety when socilizing, especially with people I don’t know. I’m always paranoid and suspicious of people especially guards and people that work in TDCJ, doctors, nurses, counselors etc….I get a strong sense that they are trying to harm me. I hear voices but they are not bad all the time, when they are I start to cry and feeling bad. I struggle to keep a conversation with someone. Can’t keep up with what they are saying and hard for me to think what to say. I get stressed out when people talk to me or when I try to talk. Its hard for me to have a conversation in person. Have lost alot of friends because of this difficuty. They think I don’t want to be friends. When I’m awake, it’s hard for me to stand still or focus on something for certain amount of time. Only two things I could focus without getting tired or falling asleep is Read and watch T.V. I can’t sit for over 20 minutes or my lower back and sides of my waist start to hurt bad. I think thats from sitting on floor too long for about 18 yrs at Wynne Unit, had no table and chair to write or do my arts and crafts etc..Had to use bottom bunk as table and sit on floor to write and do art. I’m very jump, any kind of noise, or people moving too fast causes me to freak out and have a panick attack. I Hallucinate. Hear voices, see things and people that others don’t see, and that cause me to cry, get mad, paranoid or get panick attack. Sometimes I could tell what is real and what’s not. I believe most of is real, especially the things that have to do with my medical problems in the past, my letters getting lost, officers trying to hurt me or take my life for complaints and grievances I’ve filed in the past. I still struggle to keep my cell clean and myself clean groomed. That is how I am at the present time. If I were to come out of prison right now, I would have to be put in a state hospital because my condition is still bad and I can’t take care of myself in here much less out there with adjusting to life of everyday Living out there. There was a time when my condition was worse, before I got here. I didn’t communicate with anyone at all or came out of my cell for anything. I can’t remember much of that time or exactly how long I was like that. (between 2013-2018) Friends that have known me for a while and that were around me were making complaints for me to get some help. After awhile of that not working, one of my friends Reagan wrote a story about me in my name to Solitary Watch. People that read that story started to write to me. It was when I met Liliane (2017) from Switzerland. She came to visit me saw how bad my condition was at visit couldn’t stop crying and it was hard for me to talk. She made complaints for me to get treatment. That was the only way to get medication even though I had obvious signs of mental illness and have a history with mental illness. In Ad Seg it’s extremely hard to receive mental health services/treatment, especially harder when we don’t have outside help from family and friends to make complaints, which I didn’t have until I met Liliane. Now that I’ve been identified as a person with mental illnesses I can’t get proper treatment to make me well in this program. Because of short of staff I can’t get physical therapy, occupational therapy, TV therapy, one on one counseling therapy, group class therapy- all things I’m supose to be getting, but do not get because of short of staff. I believe I would never had gotten this bad if I wasn’t kept in Ad Seg so long or not been put in here at All. I was doing good in population with treatment and therapeutic programs I was in. I was getting medication for my mental illnesses. I was under Mental Health Care while I was in population. I believe I could have been a productive and successful in my life If I would have been allowed to stay in population I wanted to get GED, get a vocational trade in computers and get college courses. Instead I was denied all that in Ad Seg. I know being locked up in a small cell in prolong isolation is extremely bad for a normal person that doesn’t suffer with mental illness, Its extremely worse for a person like me who has a History of mental illnesses before I came to prison. I can’t function normal like I once did before I came to Ad Sef when I was young. (20 yrs old) I was able to manege my depression, voises and paranoia with what the program offered me. I use to be able to do more; write letters more often, do more arts & crafts, exercize, work, play games on a daily bassis. I can’t do 10% of what I use to do. At the time they were putting me in Seg I was thinking I would be able to do alot more Art work and write more often because of the extra time to myself but it was the opposite. I completely quit doing art work. I struggle to keep up with letters to the few people I write and most of the time I’m late at answereing. I noticed that other people had the same problem later on: At first I thought it was just me, but its a common effect to most people. I still struggle to keep my cell clean and my self clean and groomer. I still try. I lose thing alot. Seg, restricked Housing, and this program I’m in, is at it’s worse I’ve ever experienced in its conditions especially this place.
I wish I had a camera where I could record everything in here, how it looks like, daily life and what I do. It wasn’t always this bad. From the time I was put in Seg till about 2009 we would go to recreation everyday almost every month and when we would go on lockdown for shake down, it would only be for about 7 to 10 days max since about 2010 we started to go on lockdown 30 or more days everytime about 4 times a year since then I haven’t been able to go to rec a week straight, and an average of 7 days a month. This year its been an average of once a week. When we started to have problems with recreation in 2010 I think its when I started to struggle bad to mage my mental illnesses and just got out of control little by little. I was struggling before then but not as bad as between 2010-to present time; and during that time I lost both my parents. I had no family support, even the few friends from outside lost contact with me. I got really bad with depression, anxiety, hearing voices, paranoid all the time. I just kept getting worse and suddenly I started to experiance seizures on a regular bassis about the same time. At first they were mild, it slowly got worse until I was given medication. I din’t know I was having seizures. I was complaining to medical that something was wrong with my heart and that I had experianced this in the past but not as bad. I discribed how I would feel my chest arm and leg would jump move violently for several seconds, leave me scared with my heart beating very fast, I had this sense if I moved my heart would explode, not able to move and would fall asleep or lose consciousness. I don’t know why it started to get bad like that. Think it had something to do with being locked up in prolong isolation. Eventually my blood pressure started to get very low on regular bassis. (98/71) around that range. Think part of the reason because of my disorder with thyroid. I have hype-thyroidism and think my thyroid was damaged from being exposed to extreme temperatures at Wynne Unit and Gib Lewis Unit , where it would get extremely cold, to the point nothing could keep me warm. Ad.Seg. restricked housing and this program is all the same. It seem like a place where guards and Administration are given permission to mistreat and Abuse inmates at all levels without being disciplined or caught. They have access to all our resources to do what they want; like medical, mail, grievances, mental health etc...They have complete control over these resources to falsify records, destroy records as evidence against any wrongdoing. They can commit crimes and cover it up or destroy any incriminating evidence. It’s a common practice And they get away with it because there’s no outside agantcy to monitor them. TDCJ will not let them into Ad Seg, not even inspectors that come to do the inspections for grants, audits, etc...They target people who give them trouble, who write grievances, file lawsuits, people that are mentally ill, who don’t have outside help from family and friends. For instance, I have witnessed things like this, when a person is targeted, they use a use of force on them and end up causing serious bodily injury. Broken bones, deep gashes etc...that requires Hospitalisasion stitches etc...Medical will co-conspire with security to falsify records and write in paper work the individual had no broken bones, has no serious injuries other than bruises and scratches etc...and will put that person back in his cell with no medical treatment, confiscate all his property so he wont write to family, friends, or grievances and complaints to OIG. If he gets a visit they’ll say that he refused his visit. They will refuse to feed him meals and if he is able to get writing material to write his family and complaints they will intercept it or it will just disappear. They will get away with it. This happens to someone every day. This is how they get away even with Deaths. I’ve seen this happen alot to friends and people around me. I have also experienced some of these things. About 1999 officers planted drugs in my cell for being witness involved in prison litigation and incidents that happened to friends. About 3-times while waiting for a parole Answere for possible release, was given false cases to be denied parole. Alot of my mail was going missing, people stop writing to me because they weren’t getting my letters, was being denied medical treatment for medical problems I was having, was abused and assaulted by doctor, grievances were going missing. I had this trouble constantly from 1999-2007 until a friend filed a lawsuite for me on all these incidents. I still experience it off an on for writing complaints or being involved in prison litigation. In 2018, I was given a false case an officer planted a weapon in my cell while I was on hunger strike and being involve in litigation work, that messed up my chances for parole release for the 4th time. They have access to our parole eligibility information and use that to retaliate and harrass us by targeting us for false cases or planting contraband in our cells when they know we are up for parole review. I have seen alot of people die mostly of suicide or of denial of medical treatment. I’ve seen people die fast that have a chronic disease like Hep-C-Diabities or cancer. Most recent friend that I saw die was my friend “Waco” Joe Landrum. On record it shows they put that he died of overdose with pills. He was suicidal but we witnessed gaurds denying him medical attention/treatment; which him and his neighbor were trying to get medical attention to get treatment a day befor he died. He had obvious physical signs that he needed medical attention. He had a big knot on his forehead, bruises on his face a big gash on his nose and eye busted lip from falling and hitting himself on the toilet/sink - he was also shaking real bad - and couldn’t talk-in coherent. Officers that pulled him out saw this and it was their duty to take him to medical whether he wanted or not because of his obvious condition and he had a history of suicide. But gaurds didn’t and let him die.
This is what life is for me in here. It’s hopeless and I feel the bad effects of these conditions in my physical and mental Health. I struggle to visualize me being any healthier than I am now even when I get out because of so long suffering from mental illnesses and physical ailments. I sense I’m deteriorating badly mentally + physically and there’s alot of people in here like me. I see them every day - the system know this and are not doing anything about it, but let it continue as people continue to kill themselves and harming themselves intentionally or by not being able to care for themselves like me. I don’t just Hope for myself, but for all people in my same situation to have a better chance at life. Its obvious TDCJ can’t gives us that even if they wanted to - they don’t have enough staff to operate all the prisons they Have - And that effects us the most Because we are isolated and are not allowed to work where in general population, they at least be out there cell 12 hours to work, go to school go to chow hall to eat. We are just stuck here in cell with nothing to put our minds to - there’s alot to do but not able to do things but sleep or pace the floor. I wish I could be out in free world or at least free to move around physically. This is what life is for me in here.
Polunsky Unit, Livingston, Texas
27 years in solitary / ad seg
September 5, 2021
Words by ROGER UVALLE
Photography by TEXAS LETTERS