View Full Version : Trouble At Mt. View Unit, Texas Womens' Death Row


DaveMoff
01-15-2010, 02:18 PM
On December 21st, for reasons currently unknown, the administration at the Mt. View Unit in Gatesville Texas completely rearranged the Womens' Death Row. Work-capable and non-work-capable inmates, who have different status under prison rules and the Texas Death Row Plan, have in the past stayed in separate parts of the unit. They have now been moved without regard to status, with prisoners presenting disciplinary problems celled next to those who have been model prisoners, friends separated and moved next to inmates who have caused them problems, etc. etc. The entire situation is a violation of a number of TDCJ regulations and has the potential to cause serious trouble for several of the women at Mt. View.

I post this in the hope that some will be willing to be of help in correcting this. Some of you, I believe, know some of the women at Mt. View; others, I hope, will simply act out of conscience. Here is an overview and some possibilities for action, from an e-mail sent by a friend:

"Here are the phone number and names of the Regional Director and Asst. Directors for you to call. The calls to the wardens at Mt. View are falling on deaf ears. They are lying and donít care if they are going against policy. If the Regionals do nothing, administrators at the state level should be contacted.

Here is what is going on:

1. They have moved everyone around on D-Row, mixing work-capable and non-work capable together. This is AGAINST POLICY.

2. They are no longer allowing the work-capable to have church on Sunday night or bible study together on Tues night.

3. Major Fuster brought a tour of bigwigs through there last week and outright lied to them, telling them one side of D-Row is work-capable and the other side isnít. Major Fuster and Sgt. Bailey are the ones responsible for all the changes in living, working and rec. activities.

All of these policies are in the Death Row Plan, and are being broken at Mtn View. Please call the number below and complain about these wrong-doings.

Region 6: Phone-512-671-2575

Fax-512-671-2579

Director-Gilbert Campuzano

Asst. Director-Susan Wilburn

Asst. Director-Bruce Armstrong"

If anyone wishes to take action, please let me know (privately if you prefer) of any results you may get.

forbritt
01-19-2010, 02:32 PM
I called region VI and they asked if i had called the unit already. when i called the unit, sherry, the warden's secretary informed me that neither warden was available (warden black is hardly ever available- she's like the ghost warden) and tried to connect me to sgt. bailey. well that kind of defeats the purpose. i will be calling back daily. if anybody else wants to try mountain views # is 254-865-7226. ask to be connected to the warden's office and only speak directly to them.

On December 21st, for reasons currently unknown, the administration at the Mt. View Unit in Gatesville Texas completely rearranged the Womens' Death Row. Work-capable and non-work-capable inmates, who have different status under prison rules and the Texas Death Row Plan, have in the past stayed in separate parts of the unit. They have now been moved without regard to status, with prisoners presenting disciplinary problems celled next to those who have been model prisoners, friends separated and moved next to inmates who have caused them problems, etc. etc. The entire situation is a violation of a number of TDCJ regulations and has the potential to cause serious trouble for several of the women at Mt. View.

I post this in the hope that some will be willing to be of help in correcting this. Some of you, I believe, know some of the women at Mt. View; others, I hope, will simply act out of conscience. Here is an overview and some possibilities for action, from an e-mail sent by a friend:

"Here are the phone number and names of the Regional Director and Asst. Directors for you to call. The calls to the wardens at Mt. View are falling on deaf ears. They are lying and donít care if they are going against policy. If the Regionals do nothing, administrators at the state level should be contacted.

Here is what is going on:

1. They have moved everyone around on D-Row, mixing work-capable and non-work capable together. This is AGAINST POLICY.

2. They are no longer allowing the work-capable to have church on Sunday night or bible study together on Tues night.

3. Major Fuster brought a tour of bigwigs through there last week and outright lied to them, telling them one side of D-Row is work-capable and the other side isnít. Major Fuster and Sgt. Bailey are the ones responsible for all the changes in living, working and rec. activities.

All of these policies are in the Death Row Plan, and are being broken at Mtn View. Please call the number below and complain about these wrong-doings.

Region 6: Phone-512-671-2575

Fax-512-671-2579

Director-Gilbert Campuzano

Asst. Director-Susan Wilburn

Asst. Director-Bruce Armstrong"

If anyone wishes to take action, please let me know (privately if you prefer) of any results you may get.

DaveMoff
01-19-2010, 02:39 PM
Your experience sounds much like that of others who have contacted me. The unit does not respond at all and the region refers you to the unit. We are looking into contacting someone a bit higher on the totem pole. As soon as I have any information, I will pass it alone. Meanwhile, folks, please keep those calls coming in. Even if you are being ignored you are still almost certainly being heard!

Just fyi, in years of attempting to speak to the Mt. View warden on various matters, I have never gotten past a secretary and have never had a call returned. I do believe the best hope for any action lies with the administrators at a more senior level.

mammastalkin
01-19-2010, 03:09 PM
Pass along who to contact next, Dave. We're just treading water as it is.

forever1
01-25-2010, 08:40 AM
For some reason, I assume the Warden's at ALL Units think they're too good to talk to anyone like us. Somebody needs to start sending / calling complaints to someone in Huntsville or Austin. I sure get tired of the 'no returned phone calls' or 'he is in a meeting' or 'he is unavailable'. OR I suppose you could call every hour on the hour daily till you get someone on the phone...

mammastalkin
01-25-2010, 10:03 AM
Doesn't it make you wonder if they really exist?

JJS811
01-31-2010, 05:24 AM
Figure heads... A bit like our Queen really, there to wave and smile, cost the tax payers a fortune is salary, but not a lot of substance.


Doesn't it make you wonder if they really exist?

DaveMoff
01-31-2010, 11:52 AM
At this point I have been unable to find anyone who has done anything but give me the runaround. Our words may be heard, but....who knows?

I have been told that people are contacting Huntsville at this point. Not getting any better results, but with enough noise, sooner or later some should "trickled down".

The age-old question rises again: "who will guard the guards?"

saracmc
01-31-2010, 08:41 PM
Dave & Friends,

Maybe this would help??? State of Texas House of Representatives, Corrections Committee:

Address
EXT E2.110
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768-2910

Phone
(512) 463-0796

Texas State senate would have a similar committee. Maybe they'll listen and take action...??? I'll try this week, too...

Also, there's a branch of Dept. Justice that oversees issues facing inmates incarcerated in state prison systems. Recently, a Mississippi friend had some positive and very hopeful contact with someone there. Please send me a PM, and I'll try to get that contact information...

DaveMoff
01-31-2010, 08:47 PM
Sara--thanks so much for the info and please check your Inbox!

DaveMoff
02-08-2010, 05:18 PM
I am advised that people concerned in this matter should write to Warden Octavious Black at the Mt. View Unit (2305 Ransom Road, Gatesville, TX. 76528) as well as to various officials in Huntsville. Here are a couple and if you can think of any more....shout it out!

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Office of the General Counsel
Melinda Bozarth, General Counsel
209 W. 14th Street, Ste. 500
Austin, TX 78711
512-463-9899

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Facilities Division
P.O. Box 4011
Two Financial Plaza, Suite 400
Huntsville, Texas 77340
Contact Number:
(936) 437-7200

Kim Vernon, Director
Texas Department of Criminal Justice
State Counsel for Offenders Division
2503 Lake Road
P.O. Box 4005
Huntsville, TX 77342-4005

TDCJ-Correctional Institutions Division
Ombudsman Office
P.O. Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
(936) 437-6791
(936) 437-6668 fax
ci.div@tdcj.state.tx.us

The last deals with "Issues from the public relating to secure facilities (prison units, state jails, and substance abuse felony punishment facilities), and any specific concerns regarding offenders confined in these types of facilities."

Please folks.....get the word out if you can--copy as many offices as you can and as I said, if you can think of anyone else....let them know too. I am informed that "things are getting worse" so there is some urgency involved here.

You folks in countries other than the U.S.--please consider contacting your nation's chapter of Amnesty International.

mammastalkin
02-09-2010, 05:52 AM
Thanks for this, Dave. You are a true friend to those in need. I will get some letters out. Have you contacted any newspapers--such as the Chronicle?

DaveMoff
02-09-2010, 10:18 PM
A newspaper seems like a fine idea. I'm not sure how to present this to the general public as a matter of concern, however--unless you know a bit about how things are on the inside, this might appear to be a triviality. Wont' discourage anyone from trying, mind.

I appreciate the compliments, but I am just a messenger. The true heroes...they're the ones who pick up and carry the message, multiplying it and giving it strength along the way.

Some of you folks know my motive. There are few more powerful, heartbreaking though it can be at times.

Tracy
02-11-2010, 05:12 PM
Dave...I live close to Gatesville and get the local news. They had a story on tonite that they are probably going to close the unit.

www.kwtx.com (http://www.kwtx.com) should have the full story that was on a few minutes ago. They are alking about moving them to Marlin, maybe.

I know it's not much help...but local news. All the best in trying to find out information.

DaveMoff
02-11-2010, 05:41 PM
Thank you--that is most interesting indeed. Will see if I can get any further information.

DaveMoff
02-22-2010, 12:58 PM
For those of you who are following this: the situation has not improved and has indeed worsened. If anyone is making calls or sending letter, please continue doing so. I do not know of any new people to contact but follow-ups to those I have mentioned cannot hurt.

From what I have heard, a deliberate effort appears to have been made to place several women who have personal conflicts next to each other. This is leading to a lot of fighting and other disturbances, which is troublesome to everyone in the unit including staff. I find it impossible to believe that this step was taken for any good reason.

JJS811
02-23-2010, 12:22 AM
Hi Dave,

There is talk that the Mt View Unit is closing. I saw (I may even have posted) an article to that effect recently. It can only be hoped if this is the case, the new facility will allow things to settle and calm down. If it isn't bad enough being on DR, they are now attempting to make life worse placing the woman in situations that are liable to cause disruption. Of course that will be so they can then tell the world just how bad these woman are. The majority will believe it, not knowing the whole situation has been contrived. It really is a sad and sickening situation.

Edit: I apologise I have just noticed Tracy has posted the news about Mt View closing above.


For those of you who are following this: the situation has not improved and has indeed worsened. If anyone is making calls or sending letter, please continue doing so. I do not know of any new people to contact but follow-ups to those I have mentioned cannot hurt.

From what I have heard, a deliberate effort appears to have been made to place several women who have personal conflicts next to each other. This is leading to a lot of fighting and other disturbances, which is troublesome to everyone in the unit including staff. I find it impossible to believe that this step was taken for any good reason.

DaveMoff
02-23-2010, 01:19 PM
Must admit that I have wondered if there is some larger agenda here. Creating trouble at the Mt. View unit could be a way of "justifying" closing the unit or moving some of the population to a newer prison. The fact that people are being cruelly used and possibly placed in danger in the process does not seem to matter to the powers that be. As you say, the popular belief is that these women are monsters and since most of them have appeals pending, why not encourage that belief? Sick beyond words, but I do suspect that this may be at least part of what is going on.

ibexHunter
03-30-2010, 05:23 PM
Has anyone heard anymore on this topic?

DaveMoff
03-30-2010, 07:24 PM
Out of all of the letters I sent, I received a single reply, which arrived yesterday. Warden Octavious Black of the Mountain View Unit writes: "I am in receipt of your letter concerning the offenders housed in Death Row. Your concerns are acknowledged but any issues with the housing will be addressed by policy. The Mountain View Unit Administration cannot make decisions based on personal preference of the offenders".

Not sure what to call this, but "clueless", "B.S.", and "smokescreen" come readily to mind. Might be interesting to circulate copies of this letter around to some of the other people within the system....am considering it.

Joy
03-31-2010, 07:31 AM
Sounds like the Texas two step.... I would even circulate it to the papers.

Out of all of the letters I sent, I received a single reply, which arrived yesterday. Warden Octavious Black of the Mountain View Unit writes: "I am in receipt of your letter concerning the offenders housed in Death Row. Your concerns are acknowledged but any issues with the housing will be addressed by policy. The Mountain View Unit Administration cannot make decisions based on personal preference of the offenders".

Not sure what to call this, but "clueless", "B.S.", and "smokescreen" come readily to mind. Might be interesting to circulate copies of this letter around to some of the other people within the system....am considering it.

ibexHunter
03-31-2010, 08:00 AM
Man, that is horrible, what a cop out. I guess it doesn't surprise me that they would shake things up like this for some alterior motive, but it is never fun to see actually happen. I hope people are keeping up on this.
Thanks DaveMoff, I appreciate the info.

pj663
03-31-2010, 03:03 PM
Just speaking from experience dealing with the california CDC you have to beat them with their own rules and regulations. If they violated any of the Texas Prison Regulations then you will have to incorporate that into your letters. What you want personally will go in one ear and out the other.

DaveMoff
03-31-2010, 04:04 PM
The problem, at this point, is that they are NOT obeying their own rules, regulations, or policy. They are, however, telling anyone who asks that they are, and that appears to be good enough for the powers that be. My letters have without exception asked that the situation be brought in line with TDCJ policy and the TDCJ Death Row Plan. NO personal desires have been mentioned or expressed in any way.

The old question comes to mind once again: who guards the guards?

pj663
03-31-2010, 04:20 PM
I hear you Dave but are you reciting in details those regulations? Because if not that's where they are nailing you at by saying that any concerns will be addressed by policy only. So for example if one concern is that the inmates are being moved next to inmated that knowingly have conflicts what regulation could you recite saying that such moves would create a hostile enviroment therefore per texas policies etc??? If you can show me the regulations I would be glad to help.

DaveMoff
03-31-2010, 04:38 PM
The major regulation involved is in the TDCJ Death Row Plan and specifies that Work-Capable inmates are not to be housed with non Work-Capable (I can get you the paragraph and number if you want). No idea if there is a reg requiring that inmates who have personal conflicts are to be separated--I'll just have to have a look!

pj663
03-31-2010, 05:03 PM
You can possibley use this one:

E. Security Measures:

5. At any time that a problem develops with a particular offender in Death
Row, the Death Row supervisor shall ensure that the problem is identified
and addressed as soon as possible. Unresolved problems are not to be left
to escalate into larger problems.

So if these inmates are being housed knowing that a conflict can take place then the supervisors just cant sit on it hoping that it will go away. It's a lot to read but I guess my point is to make sure that you can prove that they are violating a policies by reciting the regulations if it's available.

DaveMoff
03-31-2010, 05:08 PM
Much appreciate it--thanks!

pj663
03-31-2010, 05:12 PM
No problem Dave I'll keep researching if you think about it they are compromising the safety and security of the inmates by placing them in hostile enviroment that knowingly can cause problems and possible harm to the inmate and or staff.

Joy
04-02-2010, 04:20 PM
If you could prove something like this, who would you go to to get help? Ombusdman?

=pj663;5312370]No problem Dave I'll keep researching if you think about it they are compromising the safety and security of the inmates by placing them in hostile enviroment that knowingly can cause problems and possible harm to the inmate and or staff.[/quote]

mammastalkin
04-02-2010, 04:32 PM
The ombudsman in TX doesn't help anyone but the TDCJ. Their job is to get you off the phone IMO. Maybe the lawyer could help? Problem in TX as we've discussed before is that they claim something is a threat to the security of the facilty and the courts will let them do anything. Not enough people care to force them to follow their own regs. Hell, they don't even follow the federal regs half the time.

pj663
04-02-2010, 04:43 PM
I would get Brad livingston,Oliver Bell and Oscar Mendoz(Deputy Director )involved. The Ombusdman to me is a wasted position. Just my thoughts.

pj663
04-02-2010, 04:48 PM
Another thing is the ombudsman can only take your concerns research them for validity then make recomendations. They dont have the power to make changes. They have to go through a chain of command starting with the Warden. If you dont get results from the warden then you have to raise the stakes and take it to the Director, Chairman or Chief Deputy.

DaveMoff
04-02-2010, 05:23 PM
Certainly there is an Ombudsman's office that is supposed to attend to matters of this sort. Whether they actually do anything is another matter--I truly have no idea and can only say that my letter to the Ombudsman's office received no response.

(wrote this before reading the additional responses above--sorry!)