Interview with Relative of Beaumont Prisoner:
Trapped in a Hell of Floodwaters and Inhuman Treatment

September 4, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper |


While there are some places in areas of the Texas Gulf Coast devastated by Hurricane Harvey that have received at least some aid, many others have received little help—including the federal prison at Beaumont, east of Houston, which has been inundated and where prisoners have not been moved out and are being held under outrageous, dangerous conditions. Revolution/ talked on Saturday, September 2, with Andrea Hasberry, a Black woman whose husband is one of those prisoners. On Sunday, she posted an email from her husband with the latest on the prisoners’ situation (see end of article).

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Revolution: Tell us what’s been happening with your husband.

Andrea Hasberry: I had talked to him the day that the Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast, and I usually talk to him all day long. You know, we got family there to make sure he got money on his books, so we’re able to talk to him. The way the email is, if you post the email, say for instance at 1 o’clock, he won’t be able to see it till 2 o’clock—I have no problem with that, as long as I get to talk to him. Well, the last one I got from him that Monday was at 8 o’clock [in the evening]. When I get ready to go to bed I always say good night, and he’ll send me a text back saying good night, get the grandbabies ready for school, whatever. Then it became 10 o’clock and I hadn’t heard from him. I said, well, there’s a storm going on, what’s going on, ’cause I hadn’t heard from him. I stayed up, and it was 12 o’clock and I still hadn’t heard from him. So I said, well, he probably done fell asleep, or they got them on lockdown, you know, trying to keep the faith.

The next morning I got up and I still hadn’t heard from him. I got a little worried. I seen one of my friends post on Facebook, “If you got any federal family members down there, let’s pray for them. I been calling and calling and getting no response.” I did the same thing and still didn’t get no response. I said, well, the lines are still probably down, we just need to wait it out, wait it out. So I waited, waited. Tuesday, I waited. Thursday, I waited. And then I finally got a message from him. My husband is not the type of person… everything is always OK, everything is always OK. So if he speak out about something, it’s got to be bad. So when he starts sending these messages, I could tell that something was really, really wrong. I asked him, are you sure this is what’s going on?

Revolution: What was he saying in his messages?

Andrea Hasberry: Well, the first message I got from him, he say that they just turned the electricity back on, let me explain to you what’s going on. He said, baby, last night, a guy had passed out. Because I guess they hadn’t been able to get no food and stuff for a certain amount of period of time. He said the guy had passed out. He said, so he go and told one of the lieutenants… and the lieutenant told him he don’t want to hear about that—that some of the guards’ family have lost their homes and stuff like that and they lost their property, so they don’t wanna hear that [what the prisoners are facing]. So I said, oh my god.

The next message he sent, he said that [some officials] was there—and he said that he talked loud enough for those people to hear, and nothing happened. Then he was explaining that there was three feet of water in here, and it looks like sewer water. He said there’s bugs and things rolling around in it. He said they move us up to the second floor. On the second floor, there’s more people than there’s supposed to be. He said there’s no running water. At that time, he said, they’re only giving us two bottles of water. He said, what’s two bottles of water gonna do? We hadn’t had any clothes since about Friday, I have no clean clothes. But it’s no use putting on clean clothes because if we step out, we’re gonna be stepping in water. Oh my god, I really broke down then ’cause I had got really, really scared. What is going on?

Revolution: There are over 1,800 prisoners there, is that right?

Andrea Hasberry: That’s only in the low-security, where my husband is. It’s called FCI [federal correctional institution]. And in the FCI you have USP, you have medium, you have low, and then you have people that are in the camp. The USP people are people that are “high-risk” people, they have more than like 20-30 years. People in medium are people that have 20 years or less. When you’re in the low, you have five years or less. If you’re in the camp, that means you’re not a risk factor. They don’t have any fencing to stop them from moving around… When I talked to him that Monday, he said that the water was up to their level, and when I still didn’t hear from him the rest of the night, I said, oh lord… that means that these people cannot get out. Then my cousin called me and said, the water is going higher and higher and higher. And she said, have you heard from my husband? I said I still hadn’t heard from him. That’s just when I broke down… I just got really, really scared.

Revolution: What have you heard about the current situation?

Andrea Hasberry: [My husband] said, I got out of the place and I went to the nurse and I told the nurse and the doctor that the two bottles of water is not enough for us. And they’re only giving us two johnnies a day, it’s not enough. We get a johnny bag in the morning with peanut butter and jelly in it. And the other food we get to eat is a baloney sandwich. Some of those people there that are diabetic, that’s not enough food for them. My husband gave me this number and told me to call the mother of the guy that passed out, the guy that’s diabetic. They said because the water is in different places, they can’t get the medication until Monday. So they gave him some type of pill to keep his blood pressure under control. But the lady called me this morning, the guy’s mom, said he had called her this morning and told her his blood pressure is still up high…

Revolution: Have you heard of the situation with other prisoners or other relatives?

Andrea Hasberry: I have different people call me and say they still haven’t heard from their family members. I have a family—not a biological family but I call him “family”—M, he’s over at the medium. He said that where they’re at over in cells, they’re in medium [security]—not in cubicles like where my husband is. And there’s water all over there… Some of the guys in the low [security], they work, and they able to move around. One of the reserve [army soldiers] asked some of the guys in the low to go over to medium to take johnny bags there. Those people are in cells. And one of the guys there was asking, can you email his relative, we can’t get out of our cells. So this is what’s going on.

Revolution: So the prisoners are still in a very dangerous situation…

Andrea Hasberry: Yeah, that’s what my husband says. There’s people in there with staph infections, and more…


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The following is an email message that Andrea posted on Facebook, sent by her husband Sunday afternoon.

These are the present conditions at Beaumont FCI as of 8/25 and 9/3 and the conditions at the medium and high are more severe. I have been on lockdown since 8/25/17 with approximately 156 Prisoners for no violation of prison rules, etc. under the following conditions: 1st dy. I was given 33.8 fl. oz. of water. 2nd dy. I was given 50.7 fl. oz. of water. 3rd dy. I was given 84.5 fl. oz. of water and the 4th day I was given 67.6 fl. oz. … no ventilation [fresh air]; no Air Condition; not being allowed to leave the Unit for fresh air or recreation; the UA unit water is shut off; thus, no shower/bathes; no water to dispose of human waste; feces and urine; Prisoners are defecating in trash bags to prevent the excruciating smell of their own human feces; UA-Unit is stagnating with the smell of human feces, human urine and unwashed bodies. Since 8/25/17 prison staff has issued Prisoners three small bars of soap and no toothpaste, etc. I am provided t.i.d. [three times a day] staple of: Lucy Peanut Butter 57 gr.; two tortillas, honey bun/cake with no ingredients on the package, etc. UA-Unit has: 5 toilets and 1 handicap toilet; 5 latrines; 15 showers and 1 handicap shower; 12 face bowls and 1 handicap face bowl. UA-Unit houses a multitude of handicap Prisoners: 3 in wheelchairs; approximately 6 in walkers. All of the handicap Prisoners are required to use one handicap shower, toilet, and face bowl. There are insufficient toilets, handicap; toilets, face bowls and handicap face bowls for 156 Prisoners confined to this insufficient space. The staff have brought in 8 waste disposals for each bldg. that have combined feces and urine disposals. When seated on the defecating stool the urinal disposal is approximately 12 inches from your face; moreover, there are approximately 700 Prisoners assigned to the 3 bldgs.; therefore, 700 Prisoners have to utilize 8 waste disposals; however, wheelchair bound Prisoners cannot utilize the waste disposal without the assistance of other Prisoner—it is above staff’s to assist Prisoners with anything! Medical staff do not visit UA-Unit to check Prisoners’ medical complaints. Only diabetic Prisoners and Prisoners ingesting hot medication are seen by medical staff daily. UA-Unit houses Prisoners with the following medical conditions: heart diseases, stent implants, diabetes, possible cancer…; Prisoners with Staphylococci; a multitude of elderly Prisoners extending in age to 76 years. Prisoners’ uniform and linens have not been washed since 8/25/17. Staff have not issued cleaning detergents and water with which to wash the cubes and Unit.



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