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SIGN NOW: Protect Jason Renard Walker, Prison Journalist



From inside the Texas state prison system, Jason Walker established himself over seven years as a prison journalist whose investigations into wrongdoing were picked up by newspapers on the outside, including an expose published by the Houston Chronicle. But his writing has now put his physical safety at severe risk.

PEN America is urging supporters to sign our petition to Texas state prison authorities demanding that Walker’s safety be protected by granting his request for ‘safe keeping status.’

Walker’s whistleblowing journalism exposed not only the ordinary brutality of incarceration but criminal activity, including a white supremacist gang dealing K2 and the group’s connection to guards as the primary conduit for drugs entering the prison. His article led to Walker being violently assaulted by the same gang in five different prisons. Walker’s safety became even more of a concern when his exposé of grievance procedure irregularities by prison staff was picked up by the Chronicle and led to multiple firings.

In his last facility, Walker, who has written a book, Reports from within the Belly of the Beast, was placed in a cell with a white supremacist gang member, potentially a sanctioned strategy designed to allow the gang to assault or kill him. 

Terrified, Walker attempted suicide which, by protocol, forced him to be moved to Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s (TDCJ) mental health unit. Without intervention from the state, he will be transferred back into the general population–perhaps as soon as this week. He has applied for ‘safe keeping status” voluntarily, an indication of his fear for his life since it will restrict the time he can spend outside of his cell and his access to educational and recreational opportunities.

Safe keeping status is normally reserved for people who have been sexually assaulted or were state’s witnesses–and at risk of being attacked by other prisoners. 

Walker is eligible for parole in December 2023. With less than a year left to serve, putting his life in danger by returning him to the general population would be a direct violation of the mission for Texas Corrections to “provide safe and appropriate” housing for its incarcerated population. 

By signing the petition below asking the Texas Classification Committee to grant Waker’s request for safe keeping status, you will not only stand with him to protect his life but demonstrate your support for the freedom to write and free expression. We urge you to amplify your support by sharing this petition on social media. 

Letter to:

Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Correctional Institutions Division
Timothy Fitzpatrick
Director, Classification and Records
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Phone: (936) 437-6231
Fax (936) 437-6276
[email protected]


Texas Department of Criminal Justice
Correctional Institutions Division
Melissa Bennett
Manager II
Chairperson, State Classification Committee
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Phone: (936) 437-6571
Fax: (936) 437-6276
[email protected] 


Texas Board of Criminal Justice
Office of the Independent Ombudsman
PO Box 99
Huntsville, TX 77342-0099
Phone: (936) 437-5620
Toll Free Hotline: (833) 598-2700
Fax: (325) 223-1334
[email protected] 


Dear Director Fitzpatrick and Manager Bennett, 

We the undersigned ask you to support Jason Walker’s bid for safe-keeping status in order to protect him from retribution of white supremacist gangs inside Texas prisons. Walker’s journalism has been found valuable by several news outlets, including the Houston Chronicle, and the violence from gangs represents a legitimate threat to his life. 

Safe-keeping status is designed for such a situation and if TDCJ fails to grant this status and Walker is killed, his death will be as a direct result of the failure to keep him safe in custody. We ask you to grant this status as a matter of urgency. 

Most sincerely,