I want to lace some of you up about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice - Correctional Institutional Division (TDCJ-CID), just in case you ever get the itch to come to Texas. It is a great state but the courts are kangaroo, the Texas court of criminal appeals ignores pro-se (pro-per) filings and TDCJ-CID treats prisoners (now called offenders for effect) exactly like barn yard animals. This prison system is so oppressive that they recently took away our pillows. The following is a list of oppressions that Texas inflicts on prisoners:
You can not purchase anything from an outside vendor. There are no care packages, and no conjugal visits, and you can not purchase your own television. TVs are in the extremely loud and noisy dayroom where everyone argues and/or fights over programs which is usually Jerry Springer, soap operas, or basketball. The Texas prison units are not air conditioned, and the old brick units and some (most) of the sheet metal units are cockroach and mice infected, filthy pigsties. The unit I'm on routinely had black mold on the kitchen and shower walls. Speaking of kitchens, prisoners clean and make all the food - 90% of Texas prisoners take no pride in anything they do - they do not wash their hands.
This prison system is one nasty filthy place. Every summer there are many staph infection outbreaks. Some even have the resistant type called M.R.I.S., and we just got over a Norovirus. Showers are at 6am so you go to bed after 90-100 degree weather sweating. Clean clothes are given only Monday thru Friday. If you went to a hospital environment on Friday (chain leaves at 3am, you get back at 9pm/10pm), you are contaminated with bacteria and/or viruses, etc... but you still get no shower or clean clothes until Monday, Tuesday if the Monday is a holiday. Waiting on transfer transportation, you must leave your coat in the main building and walk to the back gate, pouring rain and/or freezing cold, it does not matter. If there is a shack, it will not be heated. Guards have thick fur lined coats and sit in a hot brick shack sipping hot coffee while grinning. In the dorms in the summer, it is so hot that the fans run 24/7 for almost 5 months. These fans are industrial barrel fans. They are so loud that if you close your eyes you can imagine being on an old propeller airplane - 24/7 for 5 months! This has to be causing ear damage. Complaints to any state or county agency (health department, etc) are diverted, ignored, or just sent back to prison officials identifying you/me as the whistle blower.
Parole? Forget about it. The records and classification department of the prison system scans the prisoner file when you first get here, evaluates your sentence and any and all allegations by anyone, and then codes your file to tell the parole board not to seriously consider you/me for parole until the "coded amount of years" has been completed. It may be the entire sentence. Getting a "serve-all" is commonplace, and get a "serve all via 1 yr, 2 yr or 3 yr, continuous denials" is also common place even for model prisoners who has completed all individual treatment programming and has full family support. Interstate compact transfers and paroles are rare. Prison staff are "guards" not trained peace officers like California. Most TDCJ-CID guards are off the welfare roll, Nigerians who barely speak English, wanna be police officers who fail the psych exam, and huge ego power trippers who get their rocks off making life as miserable for inmates as possible. And then you have actual gang members - bandana flying gang members. As a lung and bronchial tube cancer patient the prison and medical system deliberately tried to let the cancer kill me - waiting for 1 1/2 years to even get me to a hospital, and 3 years to start actual treatment.
All this is just the tip of the iceberg. And in Texas there are no pro-bono attorneys to speak of. The ACLU of Texas provides no help for Texas prisoners unless it will generate news media coverage, I am assuming to get more donations.
If you come to Texas, remember that its a good 'ol boy state and the highway signs that say "don't mess with Texas" is not talking about littering, as advertised. On a final note, the Texas government code has a section that states that no state, county, or city government has to answer any correspondence from anyone "incarcerated" (convicted or not).