Greetings to all reading this advisory
My name is Ricky L. Long,
founder of the Texas Prison Labor Union
Please allow me to, as briefly as possible, highlight the evolution of The Texas Prison Labor Union (*T.P.L.U. hereafter). Myself, a prisoner in Texas, and Mr. Willie Milton, also a prisoner, founded the T.P.L.U. in 1995. The T.P.L.U. was established in order to provide Texas Prisoners, the Families of prisoners and interested others with a much needed socio-political forum from which to promote established principles of social justice, consistent with human rights.
The primary directives of the union are aimed at reform in the area of prison labor, early on however, we recognized that the scope of advocacy, had to be widened to include measures to advocate the many human rights abuses that are common to the Texas Prison Complex. In response to this need, the T.P.L.U. established two special committees, The Special Committee on Human Rights (Consisting of 8 Individuals whom are not incarcerated) and the Special Committee on Legal Affairs. (When fully operational, consisted of 200 Jailhouse Lawyers), designed to work together to advocate human rights complaints and to otherwise assist prisoners with certain administrative matters.
During the establishment of the Union's committees, I thought it necessary to firmly establish the fundamental social premises from which to derive guidance for all the Union over-all and the committee programs specifically, in executive Board meeting, establishing that:"
...the T.P.L.U. recognizes the inherent dignity and inalienable rights of all the Human Family and the principle that the recognition of, and adherence to fundamental human rights is the basis of all freedom of all humans and requisite to peace in the world. That disregard and contempt for human rights has in the past and continues to result in barbarous acts which shock the conscience of society. We recognize that such acts are in fact a daily occurrence within the Texas and National prison Industrial complex, as such the T.P.L.U., in formally asserting it's faith in the dignity and worth of all the human family states that the mere fact that an individual is incarcerated, in no manner whatsoever, diminishes the individuals worth and dignity as a human being, nor the requisite that all persons should be treated with the dignity and respect. Human Rights should be respected and strictly enforced by those in authority. The T.P.L.U.,acting as guardians of Human Rights, in an effort to further the social premise that the reduction of needless suffering of all the human family, without regard to status in society, advances the quality of life and marks the progress of a maturing society..."
The T.P.L.U. and it's membership has worked diligently to develop programs and services that both advances and actively promote human rights within the State and National Prison Complex and within the communities wherein prisoners, families, friends, supporters and interested others unite to form a political base. I understand that Humanity, Justice, Freedom and equality must co-exist equally within a free democracy to flourish and grow.
There are many aspects to the T.P.L.U. structure, but none new. I have founded the T.P.L.U. on solid, proven social premises in order to establish a National Movement that is not confined to prisoners or State boundaries. We have assisted other states, such as Missouri, Alaska and Utah in establishing Like organizations. Those that have undertaken this task have and continue to suffer the many retaliations and abuses heaped upon them by the various administrations and have deemed it appropriate to close shop. Missouri is not one such organization. The M.P.L.U. has stood strong primarily due to it's internal leadership and external support. The T.P.L.U. has expanded to include a National Federation opportunity to all others who wish to join us in the movement.
I have read a number of e-mail responses to this site, most have been supportive but a few have been seriously caustic and anti human rights. I offer my sincere apologies to any that I have harmed as a result of my offense for which I am incarcerated and I am truly regretful and have done my best to turn my life around and offer something to society. I too fully appreciate that all the human family should be accorded the same dignity and respect and understand that such respect was disregarded by prisoners in cases, others were harmed physically or by taking personal property of others. The United States has chosen incarceration as a method of punishment for errants, thus incarceration IS the punishment imposed by and through the judicial system, the end result of which is an individual that has rehabilitated and ready to re-enter society as a productive member.
We cannot expect a person to leave a penal institution who has been abused and brutalized for a number of years and denied the respect of basic Human rights and become a productive citizen, indeed, in this case all that we can expect is anger bordering on rage and contempt. Keeping in mind that someday, the majority of those currently imprisoned in the American Prison Industrial Complex will some day be released to society. These people will be your neighbors, can you then in good conscience support those who abuse and brutalize prisoners and if you do, can you expect anything less then contempt from those prisoners whom have been subjected to such abuses and brutality?
If imprisonment is going to remain the accepted method of punishment for errants in our society, then we need to take a serious look at just what is happening in and with our Penal systems and demand that imprisonment achieve it's stated goal of rehabilitation. The State of Texas spends Hundreds of Millions of Tax Dollars each year maintaining the prison complex and the Tax payers of the state have a vested interest in ensuring that their tax dollars are spent wisely and are achieving the stated good, if not, the tax payers have a right to demand change. The T.P.L.U., while being a "Human Rights/Labor Rights" advocate, seeks to educate the public on the true nature of the Prison Complex in Texas so that the Public can make educated decisions as to the future of the system and it's current operations. We urge others to become involved in the T.P.L.U., assisting us in advocating Human Rights of all peoples.
For more and continued information(s) about the T.P.L.U. and the current conditions of the prison complex in Texas visit this site often. I plan on publishing a monthly news update and posting other relevant materials.Stay strong and fight to win...we certainly do!
For more information on how you can help, please write:
Ricky L. Long #490671
Fm 2054 Box 4500
Tennessee Colony, Texas