by Keith ‘Malik’ Washington
On Nov. 10, 2016, the state of Texas transferred me and 43 other men to the Administrative Segregation Unit at the Eastham Unit in Lovelady, Texas.
Eastham is one of the oldest units in the state. The conditions there are much worse than at the Telford Unit. The most glaring issue for prisoners and guards alike is contaminated drinking water! High levels of copper and lead have been found in the water supply. The water has a horrible stench to it, like the sulfuric smell you get from roadside excavation projects. And the taste? absolutely repulsive!
I will need the help of our environmentalist comrades at the Human Rights Defense Center’s Prison Ecology Project as well as our comrades at Earth First! Journal. The situation here is similar to the one at Wallace Pack Unit, where there are high levels of arsenic in the water. (See the exposés by Panagiotis Tsolas at https://www.prisonlegalnews.org/news/author/panagioti-tsolkas/.)
This cover of Newsweek for Oct. 6, 1986, features a story, “Inside America’s Toughest Prison,” about Eastham Unit, where Malik is now housed.
The cells here are extremely small; outside recreation is limited to two or three times per week. A lieutenant who in 2012 unplugged the fans at the Estelle Unit during 100-degree weather is now a major here at Eastham. His job is to administer the Ad-Seg unit where I am housed. I described my experience with this officer, James Kent, in a 2014 article in SF Bay View (http://sfbayview.com/2014/03/panther-unleashed/).
Bright spots here are the food and the Muslim community. The food at Eastham is very good, as it was at the Pack Unit, but what is the sense in having good food if the pipes and plumbing have corroded to the point that the water supply is toxic?
The Muslim community here is full of conscious New Afrikan/Black men who stand firm on the square of righteousness. But I am isolated from the entire General Population, and it will only be through the pages of SF Bay View and Burning Spear that I will be able to communicate with the thousands of men and women who have joined the movement to Abolish Prison Slavery and amend the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
Sisters and brothers, I would like to thank all of you who have sent me postcards and letters of support. Please note my new address below.
No matter what dirty tricks the state plays, I will not abandon this fight. Socialists of all creeds, colors and economic backgrounds must unite and form a party that can gain the trust and loyalty of the workers and oppressed masses.
I will need help contacting the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the EPA as I attempt to expose and correct the water problem. I still need legal aid and media help as we push forward the agenda of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee.
The election of Donald Trump should be used as a rallying point to all dedicated servants of the people. During the holiday season, please make a healthy financial donation to my favorite newspapers, San Francisco Bay View and Turning the Tide.
Dare to struggle, dare to win! All power to the people!
Send our brother some love and light: Keith H. Washington, 1487958, Eastham Unit, 2665 Prison Road #1, Lovelady, TX 75851.