To live and die in Texas prisons – California News

To live and die in Texas prisons – California News

by Noah ‘Comrade Kado’ Coffin with Keith ‘Comrade Malik’ Washington

Should you or a loved one ever have the great misfortune of being tried and convicted in the state of Texas, your sentence, no matter how great or small, could very well be a death sentence. If you are resilient, strong of mind and body, then perhaps you would survive the conditions: deadly heat, toxic water, squalid living quarters and ill prepared food – and struggle through the conditioning: slave labor, consistent degradation, dehumanization in a variety of fashions – bowing down to insulting, offensive verbal abuse from staff, group strip searches, zero privacy.

This Oct. 6, 1986, Newsweek cover story is about the same Eastham Unit where Comrades Kado and Malik are confined.

However, even then you face lasting effects both mental and physical. Think high blood pressure, H. Pylori, harmful bacteria from dirty water, exposure to lead and arsenic. Then too, there’s the inevitable depression, social disorder derived from long term isolation, to name only a fraction that survivors will face. Should they escape with their lives, one could question whether their quality of life had been reduced such that years of their future have been reduced. Essentially, two years served now could mean 10 years of life expectancy lost – a heavy price for any “offender,” to be sure.

What brings my voice to protest this day is a matter at hand that could very well mean life or death. Eastham Unit is one of the oldest prisons in Texas and the fact is quite evident from the interior: rusted out bunks, the old plumbing – a source of toxic metals in our water – red brick walls collecting…

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