Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials stall inmates' efforts to file for stimulus relief fund
By Jason Renard Walker
November 3 2020
On September 24, 2020, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California issued an order certifying a nationwide class of incarcerated state and federal prisoners and granting the plantiff's motion for preliminary injunction.
The injunction required the U.S. Dept. of Treasury, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the United States of America to stop withholding CARES Act stimulus funds from prisoners or any class member on the sole basis of being incarcerated.
Prisoners are now eligible to receive up to $1,200, plus $500 per qualifying child.
The deadline for prisoners to file their 1040A 2020 income tax return forms was October 30, 2020.
Knowing this, Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) officials have deliberately stalled inmates' efforts to beat the deadline, by first withholding three pieces of mail received by the mailroom on October 16, 2020, containing a total of ten 1040A 2020 forms, and then notifying me they were denied on November 2, 2020, well after the reconfigured deadline of October 30, 2020.
Professor Azzurra Crispino, who is a civil rights activist, and two of my supporters sent the forms for the sole purpose of giving needy prisoners a chance to file before the deadline.
The reason for the denial was not documented on the contraband denial forms, they were deemed non-appealable, and the staffer who made the denial refused to sign their name and tell me who they were.
Given that some prisoners have never held a steady job, they complained to me that they didn't know their social security number, and requests to the law library and classification department for it have gone ignored. Other prisoners complained that their requests to the law library for 1040A 2020 forms have gone unanswered as well, as mailroom staff and grievance staff haven't picked up and processed mail and complaints for the past ten days. In fact, I filed two grievances (actually placed them in the collection box) in this same time frame. As of November 2, 2020, the box remained full of unprocessed complaints. According to TDCJ's own policy, grievances and outgoing mail are to be picked up every business day by mailroom and grievance staff.
Their failure to act on their own rule has denied many prisoners their right to timely file for stimulus relief funds. Please jam the warden's office and demand the rationale as to why this problem is ongoing.
Jason Renard Walker #1532092
9601 Spur 591
This complaint is in regards to Jason Renard Walker #1532092, a prisoner at Clements Unit in Amarillo. On October 5 2020, his cellmate received a disciplinary case for possessing contraband.
On this same day, Walker's property and his cellmate's property was confiscated and placed in the property room. As of this writing, Walker hasn't received any of his property. He is not on property restriction, nor is he in Pre-Hearing Detention.
Walker's effort to grieve this matter has gone nowhere, as his grievance was placed in the box on 10-27-2020. As of 11-2-2020, the grievance office hasn't attempted to pick up the grievances out of the grievance box.
His property includes: typewriter, hot pot, radio, headphones, night light, co-ax cable, size 12 Reebok shoes, over 120 books, legal mail, legal paperwork, law books, magazines, family photos, a lot of correspondence materials, and commissary.
Also, the staff that inventoried his property admitted he had so much that they didn't document his paperwork since it was going to the STG office. Guards also accidentally put his nail clippers, two bowls, lotion, and random photos in his cellmate's property. Walker knows this because his items are documented on his cellmate's inventory form.
To remedy this complaint, please return Walker's property stated in this complaint, or provide the rationale as to why he can't have it. Since the guards didn't document Walker's, or his cellmate's property, properly, please look through his cellmate's property to ensure nothing in it belongs to Walker. His cellmate doesn't have commissary, photos, nail clippers, or two bowls.