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Incarceration Nation

Their Crimes, Our Punishment

Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s state-wide deadly use of force cover-ups

By Jason Renard Walker

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has a very secretive state-wide deadly use of force policy. This unwritten policy’s designs give guards the ability to beat and kill prisoners, while facing minimum, if any, punishment themselves.

The Clements Unit in Amarillo; Robertson Unit in Abilene, Ferguson Unit in Midway, Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Telford Unit in New Boston, Allred Unit in Iowa Park, Ellis Unit in Huntsville, and Polunsky Unit in Livingstone, all in Texas, have been confirmed through my research, and each unit’s own paperwork, to utilize this same deadly conduct.

Essentially, this is a felonious state-wide conspiracy, given that guards often transfer prisons for a variety of reasons. And regardless of what TDCJ unit it is, the abuse of prisoners, and their conspiring to cover them up, occurs in the same fashion. Often receiving a mandate of approval from the same Step 2 grievance investigator and Ombudsman complaint investigator that oversees complaints on several units.

During my 13 years’ stay in Texas prisons, I’ve witnessed many uses of force on inmates. Some, the individual drew on themselves; some crafted by ranking guards for retaliatory reasons. But I have yet to see any that didn’t run afoul of the “use of force plan” policy that can be read in any TDCJ law library.

Words like “minimum use of force necessary to gain compliance,” “by placing the offender” and other soft phrases are riddled throughout the manual, casting the illusion that prisoners are handled with the most professional care during a cell extraction.

Not only does TDCJ policy forbid guards from choking, punching, kicking, or assaulting prisoners out of ill-will and malice, it specifically instructs guards not to hog-tie or twist a prisoner’s legs together then apply leg restraints.

It also has steps on how to decontaminate a prisoner who has been sprayed with chemical agents and what to do when witnessing prisoners are in the vicinity and exposed to chemical agents themselves.

If any citizen in the public was to first read TDCJ’s “use of force plan,” then watch a use of force that the administration deemed in compliance, it would shock their conscience to discover how often guards run afoul of it and abandon using the policy altogether. And their oversight’s complicity in covering them up through rubber-stamped replies to complaints filed by concerned citizens.

During my stay at Polunsky Unit, spanning June 2021-October 2021, I saw and learned that 12-Building Captain Carter (who is supposedly gang affiliated) and the administration were engaged in promoting and covering up a murder and beatings of prisoners by Sergeant Schwarz, Lieutenant Sliger, and other members of the cell extraction team.

This is how it works

Polunsky Unit’s 12 Building, home to TDCJ’s Death Row, and 11 Building, are places where prisoners are single-cell-housed, unable to go back and forth without restraints, and at the mercy of random guards for their most basic needs. It’s a common hotspot for abusive cell extractions.

It’s a coward’s paradise for guards who enjoy assaulting prisoners under the color of law and getting away with it clean.

What needs to be scrutinized is the fact that the administration is very aware that the cell extraction teams are assaulting prisoners and writing false disciplinaries to justify the use of force. Coincidentally, days or a week or so after the prisoner is badly beaten, he is shipped off to another prison, sometimes hundreds of miles away from Polunsky. I was only there four months, and three verifiable accounts of this happening occurred between July 2021- September 2021 in Polunsky’s 11 Building. One account I witnessed myself, and the other two were recited by a prisoner who’d spent several weeks in 11 Building. It’s possible more occurred!

All three involved Sergeant Schwarz, who’d also been fingered by another prisoner as being involved in a use of force that resulted in a prisoner dying in the last year or so.

By shipping the prisoner to another prison quickly, the chances of him filing a complaint or pursuing a lawsuit is lessened, since a unit transfer is sometimes good enough for him. Likewise, if he does insist on getting outside help involved, this new prison has no way of adequately investigating the claims. They’ll simply relay his complaint back to the unit and go along with whatever response they email back. Or they’ll claim to have closed the investigation since the prisoner is no longer there.

The warden and the Unit Classification Committee (UCC) are the only two entities authorized to have a prisoner transferred or make the recommendation. The State Classification Committee (SCC) can override these decisions.

This can only suggest that the UCC and wardens are well aware that these unit transfers are being done to clean house, save face and block the beaten prisoner from passing word to his associates, who may rebel and riot in response. A state-wide deadly force cover-up!

On July 22, 2021, I, and several other prisoners, witnessed Marquis Kingsbury #2303732 get gassed and beaten by Sgt Schwarz, Lieutenant Sliger and other cell extraction team members.1

Days after the beating, he was transferred to another prison.

Several policy violations occurred but were obviously covered up, namely:

  1. A ranking guard assisting in the use of force without body armor, making it obvious they knew Kingsbury wasn’t a threat.
  2. This same ranking guard gassing Kingsbury then immediately rushing in the cell. Making it obvious Kingsbury wasn’t asked to follow an order or gassed for refusing.
  3. This same ranking guard never giving Kingsbury any orders because the cell extraction was a staged beatdown from the start.

In my initial report, I named a Lieutenant Corbett as one of the assaulters. Warden Dickerson claimed that Corbett wasn’t involved. That leaves Lieutenant Sliger (Popeye) who looks similar to Corbett. In any event, it was one or the other.

Abuse - the cultural norm

Listening to prisoners from various prisons talk about their experiences with cell extractions, and their similarities to mine, brought me to the conclusion that the deadly use of force methods are the same state-wide—the cover-ups, a cultural norm.

Here are a few examples given to me by several prisoners:

  • In the spring of 2019, inmate Montgomery was slammed in the Ferguson Unit hallway by several guards. He suffered broken ribs and other injuries that required medical staff to revive him several times. He died as a result and had blue lips while being hauled to the infirmary. He was still alive when he went to the hospital.
  • Between November 2020—February 2021, Ferguson Unit’s Lieutenant Norman, a sergeant and two guards beat an “old school” Black inmate to death in his psychiatric observation cell because a female guard had told them he’d been masturbating in his cell. At the time he was on suicide prevention watch.
  • Several months ago at the Eastham Unit, an inmate was beaten to death by the cell extraction team.
  • The Allred Unit and Clements Unit both had an inmate who died by the hands of guards. Clements Unit’s Captain Patricia Flowers was responsible for gassing an inmate to death last year during my stay there.

In many instances, I’ve seen guards get promoted following an incident involving them and the serious injury or death of an inmate.

These rogues aren’t showing signs of slowing down, despite some getting fired and others held criminally responsible.

Until prisons are abolished in their current state, sadistic-minded guards will always have a safe haven to engage in their criminal deeds; surrounded by barb-wire fence and bricks, and inaccessible to the public.

Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people

Write to:

Jason Renard Walker #1532092

Alfred Hughes Unit

Route 2, Box 4400

Gatesville, TX 76597



1 https://sfbayview.com/2021/08/black-texas-prisoner-gassed-brutalized-in-solitary-confinement-cell/