TEXAS CITIZENS UNITED FOR REHABILITATION OF ERRANTS
LINKS TO KINDRED
IN THE NEWS
San Antonio Express News
Eva Ruth Moravec, 5/2/2013
The Allan B. Polunsky unit, which houses Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s death row inmates, has been named the No. 2 worst prison in the country by Mother Jones.
In an 11-part series that began on Wednesday, the news organization compiled the list based on “three years of research, correspondence with prisoners, and interviews with reform advocates concerning the penal facilities with the grimmest claims to infamy,” the story states.
At Polunsky, in Livingston, some 300 prisoners are housed independently and locked down 22 hours a day, according to Mother Jones. ”With no access to phones, televisions, contact visits, they remain in essentially a concrete tomb until execution day—a stretch of at least three years for the mandatory appeals, and far longer if they opt to keep fighting. Some have been known to commit suicide or waive their appeals rather than continue living under such conditions,” the story reads.
Mother Jones also based its Polunsky ranking on statements made by exonerated death row inmate Anthony Graves, who testified on solitary confinement before a Senate Judiciary Committee last year.
“I had no television, no telephone, and most importantly, I had no physical contact with another human being for at least 10 of the 18 years I was incarcerated,” Graves said. “ Today I have a hard time being around a group of people for long periods of time without feeling too crowded. No one can begin to imagine the psychological effects isolation has on another human being.”
A TDCJ spokesman declined to comment on the Mother Jones story.