My name is Bilal Hassan Muhammad II, inmate number 9602939. I’m illegally detained pretrial at El Paso County Jail Annex, El Paso, TX.
First off, I wanted to truly apologize to our listeners of Prison Radio, as I have not given any commentary for some time now. To explain why, I believe it’s necessary to give some background about what has been occupying my time and the hardships that have been taking place here at the jail recently. I’ve been fighting starvation and malnourishment for most, if not all, my stay here going on eight years. There have been many points in time when I did not have any food whatsoever for up to eight days.
The Torah requires me to consume only orthodox kosher foods. State and federal law requires the jail to furnish me with such a diet, which also provides me with adequate nutrition, but the jail simply refuses to do so. So I am forced to live off purchasing kosher food items from the weekly jail commissary, which there are not a lot of set items to choose from. Nor do I have many, if any, healthy kosher options to choose from. And all the items in the weekly commissary are outrageously expensive. In comparison, you would only pay a fraction of the cost at your local grocery store or convenience store.
This being so, I cannot afford commissary all the time, and even if I could, that would still not allow me to stay healthy. For example, I can spend $150 on commissary, and that might not even last me five days. Then for the remaining two days I would go without any food til the next commissary order. Either way, whether I have commissary or not, results in malnourishment, as my body never gets the proper amounts of essential protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals. Since this has been going on long term, my body has developed thyroid disease and many other health complications, not to mention the psychological and neurological negative effects this entails.
There is a lot on my plate, and I’m dealing with emotionally, legally, mentally, spiritually, and financially. I have been fighting the federal lawsuit against the jail since 2019. Jail medical was giving me a small food [inaudible], for me that was portioned three times a day, which helped a little in terms of nutrition and allotting commissary expenses. But that was stopped recently for no reason. The same time I settle a lawsuit had motions which led up to dismissal. And I believe the jail cut my nutrition to hamper my ability to prosecute the motions and appeal.
All this started about, or a little before, I stopped giving my commentary. The lawsuit is to enforce various civil rights, especially my religious and nutritional rights. But the federal district court has been very hostile towards me, and has all but directly said to me that I have no rights, no rights, nor do I have the right to adequate nutrition, contrary to what the law demands.
To put this in context, the district court has already dismissed my lawsuit two or three times, which I have appealed to the US Court of Appeals 5th circuit, and I’ve won every single time. The suit was then remanded back to the District Court. I call this unjust tactic used by the district court “judicial pingpong”. And this is basically how it’s played. My suit gets wrongfully dismissed and I, being the ball, and served to the appellate court, and then get paddled back to the district court and so on and so forth.
Most people give up due to delay and cost. The district court has been wearing me down over the years by playing this game of ping pong, so recently I’ve been more malnourished than I normally am. I am dealing the District Court motions in designing my appeal, to be honest with you all this has gotten me down a lot.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.