Thursday, December 11, 2008

Texas not adequately monitoring SAFP program

The Austin Chronicle says criticisms of the state's Substance Abuse Felony Punishment (SAFP) program are falling on deaf legislative ears, airing complaints that female SAFP inmates are routinely called misogynist names and allegedly subject to tortuous treatment methods, citing a Nov. 13 Senate hearing that took limited testimony on the topic.

Earlier this year, following the initial reports of inmate charges, Whitmire's committee announced that this interim hearing would focus on SAFPF procedures. But by August, specific mention of SAFPF had dropped off the hearing agenda. Asked why, a committee aide said: "There's not enough evidence. ... We're not going to hold hearings based on your article" – or based on the growing pile of inmate testimonials, apparently.

At last month's Senate hearings to review, among other things, the state's privately run prisons and related programs, Whitmire was caught off guard by the testimony of Kerry Wolf, former inmate of the Hackberry "special needs" SAFPF unit in Gatesville. "Obviously, you've come to support SAFPF," the senator began. "Did it work?" Wolf answered, "I was appalled by the human rights abuses and torture that went on in the name of treatment." She'd sat through tighthouse herself. "I saw inmates who were already mentally fragile losing their minds, running around, tearing out their hair, falling out of chairs onto the floor, having seizures, fainting, or hallucinating," Wolf said. As for "peer-driven" therapy, she told the committee, it was "Lord of the Flies run amok."

But Wolf was the lone SAFPF critic that day. A dismissive Whitmire implied that she'd been out of SAFPF too long for her testimony to matter, sighing in relief, "Ohhhhh ... there's been a lot of changes since then" (Wolf was in SAFPF from 2001 to 2002). Whitmire quickly lost interest, and during most of her testimony, he fidgeted and whispered to an aide. Michael Giniger took the mic and promptly discredited Wolf. "I am vice president of Gateway Foundation, the organization that this woman claims tortures people in our SAFPF facilities, which we don't. I ... tell you as I told you before, the SAFPF programs that are offered here in Texas ... are by far the best offered in the country." He pointed to 2003 "outcome studies," conducted by the Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council, which showed "astonishingly good outcomes." Unsurpris­ing­ly, Whitmire didn't point out that those studies also covered the years when Wolf was at SAFPF. Wolf left the hearings in tears. "I can't stand to listen to this," she said.

I have no way of knowing what's going on inside SAFP treatment programs, but I can say with certainty there's a significant problem if there have been no outcome studies to measure the program's effectiveness since 2003. Why in heaven's name not?

I realize Tony Fabelo's now-defunct Criminal Justice Policy Council did the last study and that agency no longer exists. But it's pretty much nuts to me that nobody at TDCJ or the Lege insisted that ball get picked up - how can we not be analyzing Texas' main in-prison treatment program to see if it works or if it needs improvement?

Texas has expanded its treatment capacity significantly since 2003, largely on the premise that evidence based treatment practices will reduce recidivism. I tend to agree with that premise, but it's just a hypothesis until tested in the real world, and we can't measure and test whether the program works or not if no one is comprehensively examining SAFP outcomes - the same can be said for the new treatment programs installed in 2007.

I hope Sen. Whitmire is right that complaints of abuse are dated or overstated, but the exchange at the November hearing revealed a shortcoming in the state's oversight of treatment programs that needs to be addressed in a more systematic, ongoing way.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have commented previously on the Substance Abuse treatment initiative approved when Governor Ann Richards was in Gov Perry's position.

The SAFP and IPTC programs were curtailed (and in some cases destroyed) by lack of funding, lack of support,Austin-based administrative misconduct, and political position changes.

I worked with (not for) the Gateway Company to initiate the first "Dual Diagnosis" treatment program. The Gateway personnel providing treatment, and the program was outstanding!

I visited the Kyle Unit, south of Austin, where some of the inmates had been transfered from my unit (TDC/TDCJ)and were undergoing the program. This was during the first year of the initiative. I separated myself from the main visitors group and talked with some of the offenders I knew concerning what they thought about the program. Each of them told me that for the first time they thought they had the "tools to make it in the"free world". These were all repeat offenders.

Most of the programs provided for the incarcerated have limited resources and are there because "They are required". The "Therapeutic Community" model worked! We were keeping stats on the "graduates" pertaining to reincarceration. We had a 60 percent success rate (Those that did not return to prison). The stats were short term, not sufficient for any emperical study, however the program was the best I have ever been knowledgeable of in my 40 plus years in the criminal justice/mental health fields.

Retired 2004

Cat said...

I've known a number of people who went through the SAFP program. Upon release, they all said/advised the same, "if you have a choice between SAFP and jail/prison time - choose jail." The stories recounted about methods and practices used, especially in the women's unit, were pretty horrific and would be considered psychological torture by anyone.

JTP said...

Grits,

Is it appropriate that the Senator is affiliated with Gateway Foundation or is that a potential conflict of interest?

Please explain.

Anonymous said...

The comments by CAT about horrific methods and practices being in reality psychological torture sounds like the Bush administration initially swearing that torture wasn't used at Guantanamo. Called torture "treatment" doesn't make it such. The thread could be expanded beyond the SAFP and IPTC programs quite easily. I am thinking about the Grits thread called "Pew urges community supervision strategies to improve public safety". It could be blamed on lack of oversight of field agents, but that wouldn't began to get at the root of the problem.

Anonymous said...

I am the person who testified before the senator in the article you posted, Grits. There are literally PILES of pages of testimony from women in these programs who were abused and mistreated, called vicious names by "counselors", subjected to tactics developed by Synanon in the 1960's before it was discredited, etc. I did what I felt I had to do by speaking out about what I saw (my full story can be seen in the online version of the Chronicle, under "Letters from women at SAFP", a link under the main article.)though I fully expected to be called a liar by SAFP personnel and was not disappointed. There were many women who begged me to speak out as I was leaving, but I was too fearful. Having finally done so, I can begin to put the experience behind me.

Syllogod said...

I was in the SAFP program at the Johnston Unit from May 6, 2007 through November 3, 2007. We went on "tighthouse" on July 3 and did not receive a hot meal for 26 days. We were fed a biscuit with peanut butter and one hard boiled egg if we were lucky. These bag "lunches" were brought to our pods. We had 10 minutes to eat. From 4:45AM until 8:45PM we sat in chairs, facing white walls, around the room. We were not allowed to speak and must look forward at the wall. If your head bent down, you looked to the side, or spoke to anyone, you would be forced to sit in the corner on a cement floor with a toothbrush and bucket of water and scrub the same piece of floor for 3 hours looking at your reflection. This is in no way therapy. I am clean and sober today but not because of SAFP. I still have nightmares about the treatment there. I arrived in Dallas at the Salvation Army on Nov 3 with 8 other men. Only myself and one other man lasted the 3 months in the halfway house. I don't know where they get the 60% success rate. I only know of 3 people out of 30 or so that are still out of prison or not on the run. I wish I could testify about what really went during those three months.

fav.or.it said...

i went through SAFP the hackberry unit in gatesville i did 10 months i do not know what i really learned besides how to sing pump ups other than that i would had rather took big girl prison and came out on porole than staying on probaition for 5 more years paying these out ragous fines

sent from: fav.or.it

Anonymous said...

I was in Walker Sayle in Breckenridge, TX and I learned quite a bit since I did the work! I am a substance abuse therapist now and still can see the value in the program!!

dopray777 said...

Horrors at Hackberry SAFP unit. 1999 to 2001-I was there. Annonymous is obviously out of touch because these "Operations" are still in use and abusing to this day. Treatment Center, yeah rt
It was despicable, the male guards convieniently watched over the womens dorms day and night from a booth 15 feet above the dorm where we changed, showered, used the uncovered restrooms and slept. By the 2nd month I was there, the "Psych" had me on so many drugs, my family didn't recognize me at my first visit. (They were forced to leave by armed guards when they complained) I was there for alchohol. Us "clients" were made to treat the other "Clients" with hostility and vulgar confrontations or we would be punished. I'll expand at a later time on the cruel and extremely unusual punishments on my next post. I recvd 30 days in solitary confinement for coming to the aide of a seizure sufferer. I held her head still so she didn't bang it on the metal dorm dividers. My charge "Dereliction of Govnt Property". I was placed in the kitchen as further retribution and they had a gal I remember well in there with Hepatitus C, Martha, she collapsed loosing her bowels and the guards would not call Medical OR let us help her. They took her out on the back dock, dropped her body down and came back in. I freaked out on them verbally so I was put in the pantry for 6 months. No human contact (except the guards)and barely enough food or sleep until they needed my help in the Kitchen Christmas time. See, that is when they allow churches to bring in fruits and veggies and pies. While in the kitchen then, one of the girls who I knew, sadly had AIDS. She was cutting the newly rcvd oranges and cut herself, bleeding all over the oranges. She was screamed at, beratted and made to go to the kitchen office till after everyone ate, no medical care again. I wrote to the TX State Board of Health. They were investigated, I was "expelled" after 10 months in a nine month program. The top dogs from Gateway (SAFP) and a TDCJ Captian came to my revocation hearing in McKinney, Tx and I was sent to TDCJ. I was revoked and given 10 but appealled AND requested "shock Probation" from my Judge which I was granted after 6 months more incarceration. One more thing before I go, when it was very cold outside, they guards decided to do a contraband search in our dorms about 4 am I guess. We were awakened and hurried out in our underware to the gym across "campus", when we got there we were ordered by male guards to strip to nothing, squat, cough and pull our butt cheecks apart while they squatted and then rubbed their hands through our hair. Anybody read Anne Franks Diary? Then you get it. Prison is a breeze in comparison to the physical, emotional and psychological warfare going on in this place they call safe p and much more helpful. Many other horrendous things happened but I am exhausted recounting what I have. I'm glad I found you. What can we do to help others from this crime against humanity??????

fav.or.it said...

The court is talking of sending my 26-year-old daughter to either 15 years TDCJ or a SAFP. She has been clean for a year. They're sending for getting beind on her probation fees.
My question is this: My daughter has severe asthma...we almost lost her five years ago. She was on life support for a week. Which is her best chance of survival...SAFP or prison? I don't think she stands much of a chance in either.

sent from: fav.or.it

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Timothy Cole died of asthma in prison so it's a real concern.

SAFP is used in state jail felonies so the amount of time spent inside would be a lot shorter. That's probably a better bet than a 15-year sentence which would put her in a regular prison gen pop.

The same health care provider provides services at both SAFPs and regular prisons in TX.

Kevin said...

My girl was granted Shock Probation if she agreed to attend SAFP. All the horror stories she has heard she is fearful of accepting this alternative, And after reading comments on this thread and others, I am also feeling uncomfortable with this. Are there any recent stories of treatment in these facilties? She has already spent 6 months at the Woodman Unit before now, and is enjoying here stay in County before the program begins. I could really use some input...should she refuse and take her chance with parole on a 10 year sentence, or go through SAFP, with all the additonal headaches after the program???

Anonymous said...

tell ya one thingh i was in breckenridge facility walker sayle unit and id never do it again it is a mind game it messes with your head i ve been clean for 3 years now and transfered my probation to michigan in wich im raising my 11 month old son myself he drives me to stay clean i attend aa and na meetings regullarly safp sucks a lot but guessed it worked cause i will never go back

Anonymous said...

I've been a CO at the Johnston Unit Safpf since it openned in 95'. The treatment sanctions mentioned are tools similar to tools used by parents to redirect children's behavior. the tighthouse mentioned above no longer exists. In tight house offenders sat in chairs for between 20 and 50 minutes depending on the weather conditions. They were allowed bathroom breaks at the end of these times. Once a day, usualy they marched around the compound for excercise. The horrors these "inmates" speak of just don't exist. They want to continue to do what they want to do whenver they want to do it in spite of the attempts by excellent professionals whom I work with to give them the tools to become contributing members of society. I've learned the tools taught during all my years there and they've helped me to improve on every aspect of my own life. But alas, where there's an addiction there's always a way.

Anonymous said...

This goes out to the CO at the Johnson County SAFP Program...
I have read all the comments posted here and although I am appalled at such atrocities as were mentioned I felt a sincerity in your posting as to the methods... I belive in mind over matter. If a person walks into the program with a mindset of rebelliousness then their perception of the conditioning that are probably lined out in SAFP will be perceived as a set up for failure. I've been to prison before on a 10 year stretch... I successfully completed parole and am a productive member of society today. I would have gladly accepted 9 months over 10 flat years...ANY DAY! I think that the success of pulling through what runs close in my understanding to a military style of training...exercises in accountability amongst peers, depends on the invidual. I achieved a college degree in Criminal Justice while I was away and am pretty active inside the arena of TDCJ politics and Prison Advocacy today... There is an appropriate approach to treatment...punishment...rehabilitation. I think our society of prisoners are somewhat spoiled in some basic areas with regards to expectations of what PRISON really is. It is Punishment for crimes committed against society. If there is ONLY torture going on in SAFP then why are there numerous accounts of positive gain coming out of other former SAFP clients?
You have a mixed population of clientele that go and come out of SAFP. The strong and the weak. Weak in mentality, weak in determination to look stright down into the barrel of what SAFP is setting out to do> one client at a time. I believe that any offender that walks into either a SAFP or Gen Pop Unit has a responsibility to themselves 1st before they walk in> A DECISION to make it work for the overall benefit of the very [self] they want to successfully bring back home to their families. I made a decision before I left the county jail> "Walk in there>Prison, and take every positive approach and step forward to survive the ugliness and embrace the goodness that does exist inside of any bad situation or surrounding." I walked out a stronger person...And I am FREE today...Not every CO in TDCJ is corrupt...and for those that are...I promise you [they will] reap what they sow. To all those who are about to walk in to SAFP or Prison...Walk in prepared to be humbled and reconditioned> for the better or for the worse> It is ALWAYS upto the prisoner. "Mind over matter..." It's how I got through 10 flat years. Be blessed...everyone.

Anonymous said...

If even a fraction of the people, and I mean "people" comming out o these programs consder them Torture then the programs are a FAILURE. Thre is NO excuse for this kind of reputation in a PUBLIC institution.

Sneekatoka said...

Sneekatoka-I was in the johnston unit 99-2000.I was realeased in june of 2000,I to suffer from post tramatic dissorders.I witnessed the ugliest side of humanity I ever care to see,it was horrible.The counselors had evil pets&constantly changed the rules to suit their own needs.if you were accused of a missconduct,guilt had nothing to do with,you did it&the more you stand up for yourself&it will get progessively worse on you,to the point of being railroaded back to your co.for some real prison time.All the councelors pets relapsed or ran off in the ttc houses,how poetic.I heard of two different post safpf suicides,I have no reason to doubt it.I myself am very f@$%ing tough,but it still affected me bad,I suspect everyone is a piece of shit until proven otherwise from then on.Don't worry you too will get to see the not so lovely side to human nature&group/mob lack of inteligence,when our society collapses.60% succes my ass,more like 3.6% if that.I no longer use hard drugs ie.-meth.,cocaine,heroin,tobacco,or alchohol,but I smoke marijuana daily&apoligize to no man for it.I have been meth free since 3-19-06,praise GOD,no tobacco since 4-19-07,I am no longer an addict to these things,I'm free.I toke becuase I like it& it helps me put the nonsense in perspective.Safp could never brake me or my spirit&I will never conform to the collective stupidity of the pod,f-pod,or society , I do as I please,& adhere to my beliefs,regardless of society or the law.Prohibition didn't work in the past&is failing now,prohibition is bringing the cartels to your town.Rehabilitated,Nigger Please,what I learned from safp,if your gonna do it,go big&fast shut your mouth&never argue w/ an idiot&never truly trust anyone but JESUS,GOD BLESS&don't get caught!!!!!

jamiefromtx said...

Oh Ms. dopray777,

If you didn't learn anything at Safp you should have at least learned to be honest especially with yourself. I was there for 10 months during the time you say you were there.

I am now a LCDC and have one class to go until I receive my Bachelor's of Social Work degree. I could not have done this without my experiences at Hackberry.

I think the thing that many people are missing is the main point of SAFP. It stands for Substance Abuse Felony Punishment. Noone lands in SAFP by mistake. You must have committed a felony to be there and your charge must be alcohol or drug related.

I know that I could have been sent to a regular TDCJ unit. I am still grateful that I was not.

I say get real, get honest and take responsibility.

tony said...

Oh my God I left S.A.F.P. on July 22nd of 2009 I spent 7 1/2 months there yea I wanted to leave on the Six month mark but Lets not be a (king cry baby) PULL UP RIGHT NOW SIR ok heres the scoop I owe my life to those people. I now have everything I so carelessly smoked up back. I went from living in the woods or under a bridge to living in a brand new house on the golf course i got a swimming pool in my back yard.THose people taught me the tools necessary to live productivly in my society.The assistant program director whose initials are A.B.cares ,and if you are on here taking a Victim Stance I guess you didnt learn your 21 major thinking errors.Im not scared to leave my name on here either Its Tony Hinshaw and I want to say thanks to all the C.Os and counselors that helped me learn the tools i know now. Yea alot of people cry and say ohhh they were soo crue well if you cant do the time dont do the crime quit whineing.I have been to state jail twice before this and got out and went right back to the same old crap as before. I am currently going to school to become ann L.C.D.C. and the type of therapy the use is called cognitive behavioral therapy and it was actually revised in 1990 it used to be just behavior therapy but now they want you to think on your own instead of whining like a kid. Thank you Mr. Simms Ms. Boles Ms Sharp Ms. Smith And the whole treatment team in Bulding II for giving me the abilty to reclaim all that I lost
sincerly Tony Hinshaw

Anonymous said...

Naseer Mazboudi speaking on SAFPF. SAFPF is a horrible program, it has some value to it as far as literature and learning of some factual information about drugs, but honestly I could've quit drugs on my own. The entire time I was there the counselors kept trying to convince me that I needed SAFP to become sober, and I was so limited in my self expression that I reached the point where I was so mentally brought down that I started believing I was less of a human being than I actually am. The counselors there automatically assume they know your life better than you do, and I'm college educated (University of North Texas/Denton), and there would be stuff that counselors less educated than me would say that would have no logic to it whatsoever. And, if you stand up and try to defend the truth - because just because someone has an LCDC doesn't make them good for the job. And yet people's lives and "recovery" depends on the performance of their jobs. For anyone that was at the Johnston Unit when Ms. Boles was a counselor, you were probably very aware of how emotionally immature she was. She always would take things out on other people that had nothing to do with them and punish people for absolutely nothing. Constantly judging people without looking deep into situations and rewarding them with punishment. It's FUCKED UP. How do you expect someone to recover from drug addiction when you make them feel guilty for things they didn't even do. If I felt that guilty to this day I probably would still be doing drugs but honestly when I got out of SAFP i resorted back to using Heroin (not consistently, I didn't even become addicted again, just occasionally) and then I totally quit on my own. Something I could've done more easier without SAFP. I saw a lot of good people go through that program and get treated less than human beings by people who are horrible at working their jobs. I actually just talked to one of my friends the other day who just got her LCDC and we were talking about how to re-innovate those fields of work so people can actually get recovery and not a bunch of low-life's venturing out their life problems to today's criminals.

Thank you for your time,
Naseer Mazboudi
www.erasablerecords.com

Anonymous said...

Naseer Mazboudi, continuing: Basically, what it comes down to is simply this: If you're a criminal and you're in Safp, that's enough for the counselors to make you feel like everything you believe in isn't validatable, regardless if it's "addiction-thinking" or not. I still remember thinking errors, cognitive thinking, and all of that bullshit, but when I was in Pod 3/Dorm 1/"Shark Tank"/Johnston Unit in 2007, the majority of the people in my pod claimed that they couldn't even wait to do drugs again. The judge who sent me to Safp, Judge Charles Sandovall of Collin County was fired 2 years ago for being an overly-the-top-harsh judge for people with smaller cases/people who aren't career criminals such as myself. My family is wealthy and we hired an expensive lawyer to defend me on my first error of my first charge on probation. I really hope that one day, people will honestly be REIMBURSED with money for going through this program but there's no way to tell. These people have everything on lock. I remember some of the theraputic stuff we would do we weren't allowed to do during visitation. But, by all means, I assure all of you, I'm about to start my career, and I'm going to do everything in my power to expose the flaws and manipulative thinking that the people who run this have. You people are fucked up and what you're doing to people is absolutely wrong, and INHUMANE. It's already sad how mentally unhealthy most people who go to SAFP are to begin with, and you people just brainwash them into thinking you have the ONLY resolution in the entire world to help them get clean and sober. I'm pretty sure MOST people who go to SAFP end up going back to jail, in fact I could guarantee it if there were actual legitimate numbers. You people are going to burn in hell.

Erick W. said...

I spent 6 months at the walker sayle saf p unit and was released from there on july 13, 2010. It was the worst six months of my life. I hated the counselors. TDCJ officers treated me like i wasn't even human. I did learn some stuff there but not much. I did go through the "tight house" sanctions where you can't go to sleep til 9 pm and have to wake up at 4am. you can't talk at all! no tv, no games, and 45 minutes of recreation time 2 days a week. Oh yea they still have it they just changed the name to "therapuetic reflections" I have been out for five weeks however and have not used. so i got one thing out of it. oh yea they make you go to a ttc house afterwards. ha what a joke!! i am currently there they offer no help with transportation to work or to find work. you are required to have a job but no bus system or public transportation of any kind offered in white settlement????? Saf p is the reason i'm clean today however i wish the state would have sent me to a facility to get some real help!! not just a bunch of behavior modification because that's what saf p is. it's not a treatment facility

Anonymous said...

Are you people kidding me? You all need to "pull up". SAFP IS BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION and you were all sent to SAFP, NOT because you were mailed a golden engraved invitation by the local Judge to go out and break the laws of society. But because you did break the law AND if you were sent to SAFP and not a regular TDCJ unit, then you were also influenced by an illicit substance during the time or times that you committed your offense. (and some poor Judge thought that you deserved a second chance rather than prison) Your behavior needed to be modified and you were unable to do it.

So, yes.....to all you whiners go ahead and continue to break the law, steal from your family members and hurt everyone in your lives due to your addiction. And this time head to a real unit. See how that works out for ya!

I have another suggestion for you all. Utilize the coping skills that you were given while in treatment. Change your past behavior patterns, continue to identify your thinking errors and hang with the winners.

You CAN change your life. I did.

Sarah said...

To Anonymous on that last comment,
Personally having done a year in Burnet, yeah, it sucked. But I won't dare tell anyone they are whining when they tell their horror stories about what "really" happend! YOU weren't there when these things happend TO THEM. I can see 2 sides of SAFP, I was sexually harrassed/mentally abused, and drivin like a horse to no end, and I wont ever forget being locked in a freezer for hours by a CO and never knowing what I did...but also, I put my "big girl panties on", and made the best of it...I wasn't a success story for a while, I went back to meth. But now I've been clean for 3 years, all on my own...My counselor was honestly a really good woman, to whom I still talk to occationally. Like someone else had commented earlier, it's all a mind thing! and with God, all things are possible...It's not like they can keep you in there forever ;)

jtswisha85 said...

i to was at the johnston unit from march 2007 till october 2007 and yes there is a level of tourture in there,but hey if u did a crime you do the time now i dont agree with some of those cos in tdcj especialy that one named sharp any way i went thru that tight house it was no joke looking at the wall for 22 hours eat nothing but peanut butter biscuts cup of water a small one at that but even thru all the torture i came out such a strong minded person alot smarter and learned alot in there, yes i did relapse but i no longer involve my self in doing drugs and selling them so the program helped alot even with all the torture it jus needs to be improved and the corrupt guards thrown out then it would be perfect well almost well any way im done speaking of this

Anonymous said...

has anyone ever looked up syanon on the web ? there you can see where this program they call theraputic community comes from ! have we truly become a human race that could call this help ? one comment said it was the same things parents would do to kids ?the theory behind charles dederichs claim (he later admited he didnt know how to cure any one) was that an addict was not an adult but a kid who had not grown up. the abuse is still going on today ! when did abuse ever help us out as humans ? if one person died through this why have we allowed it to continue?when you say dont do the crime and you will not have to worry about what goes on behind the wall the truth is there.but who ever said we as americans are ok with unhuman treatment while you are there paying for a crime ? what person doing their job as a juror was told the facts about where they were sending them ?why is hateful,angry tactics considered treatment ? is this why the prisons are insured to stay full ? how does one detox from their programs ?from what i have read 10 yrs later and some are still going to therapy ! if you have never been locked up,the abuse sounds hard to believe.could it be the bigger shock is we are closing our eyes and heart to these storys not wanting to know, in the middle of the justice system,where we have put our faith in,crimes are commited on those we have sent to pay the price,crimes much worse than why they are sent.is this how our history will read ?

Anonymous said...

google synanon and you will learn what program was adopted that tdcj uses to change addictions of people believe me the guidlines are still being used with threat of added time.in one article under gateway.com a young man slit his wrist believing it was the only way out ? at the end of his writ- ing he is still grateful for the courage it took .....

Anonymous said...

My daughter is currently in Hackberry unit - Gatesville. She was sent to this "special needs" facility after her week-long stay in ICU at a hospital close to the Burnet Unit, where she was originally sent for the SAFP program. She was found in her bunk, non-responsive, eyes open and staring into space. I won't go into all the horrors my daughter suffered while the doctors tried to find out what was wrong with her. They did every test they could, and all turned out normal. They finally called in the Psychiatric team, who diagnosed that my daughter was in a catatonic state due to the chemical imbalance in her brain and severe psychological stress. See, my daughter is Bipolar, and when she was at the county jail in Rockwall, awaiting a bed at SAFP, they removed her from all her meds, cold turkey - even her Bipolar prescrip. They told her they could wean her off if she wanted to stay in county jail an extra six weeks, but telling my daughter "if I were you, I'd refuse the medication" - which is what my daughter did. See, SAFP won't accept the medication my daughter was taking because it's "too expensive", so instead of offering to put her on something else, they just removed it altogether. The dr. started her back on her Bipolar meds, and she did slowly come out of it. But we all thought she wasn't going to make it, even the doctors at the hospital. Afterward, she was sent to Skyview, the state's psychiatric hospital, for "evaluation". This consisted of her being thrown into a room with no clothes for the first 2 days, and never seeing or speaking with a dr. Somehow, they came up with the diagnosis of my daughter not needing her meds because she "showed no symptoms of Bipolar Disorder" - of course not, because she had just been taken off the meds AGAIN a few days before. Now she is at Hackberry, with no meds, and from what I can tell, no hope of getting on meds. My daugher tells me there are inmates there who actually sit and talk to themselves constantly, and the dr. there will not give her medication. Is this humane treatment? NO. Myself and my whole family are in constant fear that my daughter will again go into a catatonic state, and this time will not survive.....

jenab0121 said...

I spent 10 months at the Hackberry unit from Sept 07-June 08 for a drug felony. Although i had heard horror stories about Safp, nothing could have prepared me for what was to come. I commited a crime and so i knew a punishment was to follow. What i was not expecting what the inhumane treatment that was given to me by the tdc officers. Although i disagreed with some of the practices by the counselors, I can't say they were all bad. Ronnie East was an amazing counselor & i truely believed he tried his best with us. As for the officers, i think they were nothing more than people who didn't go far in life so they picked a job that doesnt require much education or skills. Then they are put in charge of people who are already in a bad state of mind and make it 10 times worse. The one that i can't forget was a big bossy bitch named Ms. Washington. She hated me from the beginning cuz i did not fear her. So what did she do?? Tell my mother,grandmother & 9 yr old daughter during visitaion that i wasnt doing well & would probably end up coming back. What a great lady she was! I have been sober for 3 years now and i can say that my hatred of safp is what has kept me from returning,,,not because i use my thinking errors

Anonymous said...

I was in the Breckenridge, TX SAFPF Summer of '98 through Spring of '99, it was a 9-month program at the time. Fighting or violence of any kind was not tolerated. Typical day was GED class or some kind of labor in the morning, lunch, then group discussions and class about addiction, recovery and relapse prevention. The councilors were in recovery too and they knew what they were talking about. I hated having my addict/alcoholic behavior called out but it probably saved my life. This was my introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous and I still attend 5-6 meetings per week. I was a drunk and a speed freak when I went in. Now I work, support myself and can even vote now that I am off probation. Last comment, the guards are pretty stupid. How could I forget that.

Anonymous said...

rtf... i was at walker sayle in the late 90's. after we left and i ws forced to live in a halfway house so they could bill the state another sixty thousand dollars all the crackheads went right back to smoking crack. they pad their sucesses by loading the program with pot smokers and problem drinkers. being told that you were homeless, unemployed, had probly commiitted murders and just forgot. singing stupid songs and memorizing ... still remember the crap today.. we are here because life had become unmanageable. herre in this mirrror.....get the point. two people died from treatment and some of the guards were sadistic. i was stripped naked in public and yelled at because i would not say that i was jacking off in a field. funny unless it you. the inmates make up things about each other to get each other in trouble and laugh. my favorite was encounter. at first scary then i became expert at humiliating and yelling at people. if it was a friend we would act like we were mad as hell at one another. act as if be as if....remember.. you had to give the sick staff what they wanted or you were locked down. and to those people on here who loved it and are into drug counciling...ur safe p superstars. get a real job.

JNorth63 said...

This really isn't to anyone in particular because I don't have any resentments towards those at the Johnston Unit,nor do I agree or disagree with what I 've read here. I guess all I can leave is my experience because I don't know anyone else's. Having said that,I'm sorry for the things some of you went through!
Here's my side...I realized this program like probation I've been on for over 10 yrs now is a generic model for 100's of people at a time. It also assumes that the participant believes they Have a problem with drugs and or alcohol which is accompanied by criminal behavior and that having recognized this fact, want help. Some people that I ran across during my march to august stay in 2010 were not addicts or alcoholics,but got caught enough x's to warrent more severe consequences. Me,I've eluded trouble more than I can say,legal trouble.When I went before a Judge and agreed to SAFP it was because I already knew I was in a fight for my life and I chose to go rather than being free and my probation re-instated. I can only speak for me when I say that if anyone's the kind of addict/alcoholic I am there is no one day having a couple beers with a meal and it staying that way for a year or more.One day it won't be enough,I'll do more or something different.The only hope I have is complete and total abstinence. Otherwise one day while I'm innocently D or D ing the condittions will become favorable and the storm will return. I've invested a lot of My time before the State of Texas made me go to meetings or anywhere else to find the answer to this cycle that always tears my life apart and hurts others. Street level addicts need to be reminded to groom themselves daily.Need to be reminded to pick up after themselves daily. Need to consider how their actions affect others before they act...the list goes on.I would find it offensive to be told to do anything that might tarnish my outer self image while inside they feel worthless.I want to end this with a point or two. First,there were times I felt trapped between staff and inmates because fear was used in the form of loss of future freedom and none of us ever trusts another inmate with our freedom. 2 When I gave up on God there over not being chosen for a Christian program involving freeworld food. I began to participate in addict behavior knowingly. What's been proven to me is I don't have to be getting loaded on drugs or drinking to behave the same way.I can get loaded on guilt shame and remorse the same as too much ice cream...I just need to asking myself why and who else am I hurting.

chance said...

i went to walker sayle safp and was release june 22, 2010. i can honestly say that shit was FUCKED UP!!! crazy ass mind games, more politics than DC, and dumbass meth heads who get a cardboard badge and think they run shit. too many chiefs and not enough indians. the counselors are jokes, except for the random real person who actually gives a shit. but, i did meet some really good people and surprisingly had a few good times in there, go figure? the whole program is a joke, everyone knows it. all the classes are so half-assed its amazing. really the whole system is a fucking scam, all about the money. and they will striaght up tell you that if you ask them. the drug war is a lie, programs like SAFP are no better than soviet re-education camps. i played the fucked up mind games, did my part, faked it til i made it, got to the halfway house, bullshitted those people ( not too hard considering they were mostly dumbass ghetto trash themselves) did my community service, finished my time on probation and now im a free man!! fuck the police, fuck SAFP, fuck the drug war! although, looking back, i am definitly a stronger person for going through all of that, but would i do it again or even put my worst enemy through it? HELL NO!
hey hey hey, smoke weed. everyday.

oh and Erick from a few comments above, wassup brotha!! 5 dorm! hahah fuckin eh

Anonymous said...

Really people if you have not returned to SAFP or to prison than something must have worked. The point of the program is not to cure you of your addiction, but to make it really uncomfortable for you if you use again. By the time you spend 6-9 months in a program do you really think an addiction can be cured. No certianly not, it is a process that is life long. As for the inhumane treatment I did not hear anyone say that they were mistreated in the last few years. Certianly not by a counselor, but by CO's and medical personel, so who controls them. That is the ones that need to be spoke out against because SAPF is only a guest in TDCJ's house. SAPF is like some have mentioned on this site, to help people change negative behaviors. Most of the horrible treatment I believe come from you wanting to make an excuse for why you shold place blame on someone else. Noone told you to go to SAFP that there was no other option, you took what you believed to be the easy way out. Boy I guess you though that stopping an addiction that you had from 1-10-15-20 years would be a cake walk. Those CO's who look at client's as offenders are the ones that make SAFP a bad program.

Anonymous said...

I was in the Walker Sayle Unit in 2002 and I can say it's a joke. They have these so-called counselors they took advantage of you because they knew they were safe.
I played their fucked up mind games.These women really thought they had it made but they did not know shit.If I had to do it all over again I would take my time in prison because this place is a joke.Out of all the CO's their was one lady that treated us with respect.Out of all the counselors there there was only one that I would say she was a good lady and really did care.Mrs.Overton is straight cool as Ice Cream. She does care about her clients. But the other old hags there were there for one thing and that was to belittle you and get apay check

Anonymous said...

My daughter was in the Henly unit, and is Bipolar. She was not given her meds and has had a terrible breakdown. She was sent to jester IV, and now is in Skyview. Has been there 3 weeks. No one will let me see her, or let her call me. One day they tell me she seems a little better, and I drive 3 hours to see her, and am turned away because they said she is doing badly again. Since she has been out of SAFP so long, they say she may be kicked out and is at risk of a bench warrant. I am in fear of what is happening to her as well as what will happen since she is not completing her SAFP program. Can anybody tell me what I can do to help her?

Anonymous said...

just recentley got out of walker sayle unit, about 4 months ago, i did 6 months on a state jail felony. I figure i'd write a little something for anyone that might be curious about the experience, this time last year i was doing searches trying to read up on the place but really didnt find anything worth a damn. To start, depending on your county you may go through a transfer unit, but its simple and only boring, lasting about a week, then once you get to safp youll be sent to your dorm, which is a large room filled with 60 or so other guys. Its basically a big room with bunks all over, then the dayroom/grouproom with a tv and some hard ass benches. My first thought when walking into the dorm was "well, this sucks". But i remember thinking about how much cleaner it was than county. The place is routine man, its the saaaaame shit everyday. And 99.9% of it is not enjoyable, youre gonna hate it, at least thatll be youre instinct. Its a drama factory, they try to play mind games,(they as in the councilors) turn you against eachother, then tell you you better work together or youre gonna pay, etc. Its all rediculous. You will see some guys handle it better than others. Its really all about staying tough mentally, stay positive, make that your main priority, do your time, mind your OWN business and stay out of the drama n dont associate with the morons. The time will pass. You will meet some really great people, i was very suprised to see just how many good hearted people are locked up.(this being my first experience with jail of anykind). Its a shame that in that situation/environment, a man isnt judged by the kindness of his heart, but judged merely by his prescence at the facility. You will be treated like you are less than human(for the most part), but your attitude determines how much so. Always be respectful, no matter the situation, it WILL make your time much easier. All in all, it was a stressful event, not horrible like some might say, but def something i dont wanna repeat, but i am grateful for the experience. I was able to really think about how blessed my life really was, and how i have so many things to be grateful for, whereas before i went, i took everything for granted. Of course the safp program had nothing to do with that. That was a concious choice i made, to spend my time their focusing on the good in my life and how i wanted to live. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I spent 6 months at walker sayle mid 2010 -2011 in 7 dorm and i would never do it again a couple of counselors were complete man haters i worked the program in a way they didnt c coming i drew my way out i have stayed out of trouble since they call it stinkin thinking i dont care wut it smells like it wus bs 2 treat ppl tha wy they did punish others over another mans choices it wus trash but hey like they say work the program their actually stupid when u knw and use their method to sucker them and make them fools they treat ppl like shit and expect u 2 do what they want hardly no sleep and when they take luxury store you eat trash

Anonymous said...

I was just released from the johnston unit, where i was sexually abused by a Sgt. now Mr. Davis who still works there, I was told by Mrs. Bowdian that " if we damaged the chairs our children would have to sit on the floor when they grow up", I and other offenders were refferred to as " crack heads" by several staff members. I also seen Sgt. Green hit another offender in the face while the offender had his hands behind his back. Officer Boles now Sgt. Boles likes to make offenders walk around the slab ( diamond) during tunder storms as a form a of punishment in my sake it was for talking in line. Also while I was there a bag of meth was found in the employee parking lot by an Offender on Officer Kemps crew, also during feet off the floor ( bed time ) Officers would come in every 15 minutes to make sure certain inmates were still alive, but the officers would purpusly wake everyone up yelling and flipping the lights on and off, every 15 minutes, I still have sleeping problems and ptsd and relational problems since being sexually abused by Officer Davis, this place is a modern day concentration camp and needs some transparancey to the public.

Anonymous said...

I was also just realeased from the johnston unit and although I see the point in some of their methods and am now living a clean and sober life i do disagree with some of their methods of treatment... Officers there show little or no respect towards the fact that the inmates (clients) are going through detox methods and are learning how to live they do call you all kinds of names such as dope fiends and crack heads. Also although some of the counselors there do actually help and care some (actually most) do not, there is one in particualar Mrs.Emerson who liked to go agianst what the recommended form of treatment was and belittle and scream at people not on her case load she has no business being a counselor. Also it was quite widely known that the counselors often had parties and would get drunk and sleep witht he unit officers and freely talk about it in S.O.D in front of the inamtes. THe state of texas needs to take a look at these counselors and their methods and their own personel life such as random alchohol mouth swabs

Anonymous said...

I was in hackberry. It was the worst experience ever. All the horror stories are true. A girl killed herself in the shower, multiple people trying to slit their wrists, later given a rubber band to "pop" every time they got upset. One counselor sexually assaulted my best friend in the trailer ...officer Hernandez used to have sex with girls in exchange for phone calls home. One officer used to go around during lights out and pull up clients gowns and even sexually assault some. Tight house was the worst, and totally irrelevant to treatment. Half the counselors weren't ever drug addicts so how can you speak on something u know nothing about? U can research drug addiction forever but unless u experience the lifesyle and disease then u will never never know.

Anonymous said...

I was in SAFP from 2002 - 2003. I was sent to Hackberry first due to mental illness, suicide attempts and injury. I was only there for a few weeks before I was transferred (no reason given) to the Henly unit. I cried nonstop for over a week before they 'broke' the rules to give me antidepressants and pain pills. That was THE most horrible and traumatic time in my life by far! Even the other inmates were appalled that I was sent there. I have not been in legal trouble since as I was terrified of going back! This is most certainly "CRUEL AND UNUSUAL" punishment!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

to whom in may concern about the Clyde m. Johnston unit

HA, all ive got to say about this program...? I don't knock the counselors there are a few that could be questionable. but on a REAL topic if any CO's care to take a look at this comment atleast.. lets rewind this timeline to December of 2011 when I initially showed up to the safpf program. begin as it was freezing that day they had me and 4 other male as they call em "green dots" completely naked waiting for shoes and even the slightest piece of clothing. which I can kind of understand for searching purposes. BUT atleast have some clothes ready for your inmates BEFORE you strip them down. is that too much to ask?
oh and another thing I remember this like it was yesterday. December 25 2011 Christmas day. day to celebrate a little right? ( as much as you can in safp) we went in to eat our lunch/dinner because lunch was dinner that day. due to the fact of the holiday. which that's not what im mad at. what im mad at is that they fed every single inmate bad food. the meat wasn't even cooked the sides smelt as though they were cooked in sewage water. and pretty much EVERYONE on that unit became extremely ill... what did they play it as? they told the families that we all had the FLU?! I know what the flu is as does my family. the flu doesn't involve 68 men only 4 toilets and if that isn't bad enough when we had 3 men to be exact soil themselves they made them stay in the soiled clothes they had to put on the pair of clothes for tomorrow to be clean. mind you showers weren't allowed that that time either so we all had to pretty much suffer. oh and throughout my stay we had atleast 5 days(not together thank god) without working plumbing where we couldn't even flush the toilet or take showers. sounding inhumane yet? to ANY counselor that reads this or CO I really didn't mind the way you guys treated me in reality I deserved it in most cases but if your going to run a treatment program learn to spend a little more attention to your employee's in building 2 to be exact is where I was at. I can name 3 officers names in which claimed they were doing drugs the night before. "that they just never get caught"
again THIS is not about the counselors and MOST of the CO's this is about your crappy unit and your need to update.
keep doing what your doing mr. Holman "HELLLLLO" you guys are doing it right just get your stuff in order.

Anonymous said...

i was in safpf
you ever see that movie "dogpound"?
thats what it was like in safpf
haha jk
it did suck though