Letter to TDCJ Ombudsman

The following is a sample letter that can be sent to the Ombudsman at the Texas Department of Corrections and Justice (sic!). Please switch it up a bit, put things in your own words, and add any other relevant points you feel should be made. A list of links to documents about the December 21st assault and destruction of Rashid’s property can be found at the bottom of this letter.


Ombudsman, TDCJ
P.O. Box 99
Hunstville, TX 77342-0099

To TDCJ Ombudsman,

I wish to register the strongest complaint against the assault committed by staff at the Clements Unit on inmate Kevin Johnson (#1859887).

I attach his own affidavit, along with a corroborating statement as to what transpired. We have also received 4 other corroborating statements from witnesses, and we have even received a sample of the gas-contaminated sheet from Mr. Johnson’s cell.

Not only was Mr. Johnson gassed, but much of his property, including legal materials and commissary items, was taken from him and/or destroyed, and his requests to be decontaminated after the gas attack were denied.

I am aware of the exposés that Mr. Johnson has written about similar past attacks on other inmates, which in at least two cases resulted in the deaths of those attacked.

The conduct of prison-staff is, to say the least, unworthy of a civilized society. The vicious treatment of Mr. Johnson is part of a clear pattern. There is evidently a culture among prison staff that encourages such sadistic behavior. You cannot fail to be aware of this. It has nothing to do with “corrections.”

Being put in prison is itself a punishment. It is not a license for prison-staff to administer further punishment of their own. What they have done — both to Mr. Johnson and to the earlier victims that he wrote about — constitutes a violation of basic human rights. It cannot be justified by invoking petty infractions, and it can certainly not be justified by the embarrassment caused by exposure of similar earlier violations.

I would like to commend the one guard, Britta Townsend, who had the integrity to acknowledge what she had witnessed (in the attached corroborating statement). I hope you will assure that she is protected from any possible measures that might be taken against her by her colleagues or her administrative superiors.

As for other necessary steps: Kevin Johnson’s cell should be decontaminated; his legal materials and other papers should be returned to him; his commissary items should be replaced; and he should receive any necessary medical treatment.

All this addresses only the most immediate needs. The larger question is how to stop guards from treating prisoners the way they do. Obviously, those who committed this attack should at the very least be disciplined. But a thoroughgoing re-education program would also be needed. This will have to be a topic of continuing public concern.




More Posts About the December 21st Assault and Destruction of Rashid’s Property


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