Sunday, December 20, 2015

Symposium on Police, Jails and Vulnerable People

The tragic death of Sandra Bland put a human face on the troubles lurking within the "pretrial" stage of criminal justice--policing and the decision to effectuate a custodial arrest, the bail decision, jail safety and the impact of incarceration on the mentally ill. The profound sadness and frustration over her death has galvanized legislative hearings and more are planned.

By all accounts, the next legislative session promises to bring some important criminal justice reform. For a preview of some of the most pressing issues, a group of academics, including yours truly and another Grits writer, Michele Deitch, have organized a major symposium called, "Police, Jails, and Vulnerable People: New Strategies for Confronting Today's Challenges."

The program, to be held at the University of Houston on January 22nd, was a joint effort by the UH Law Center and the UT at Austin's LBJ School of Public Affairs. Remarkably, the event also draws on support from seven other academic institutions, including four other law schools (UT Austin, SMU, TSU, South Texas), two criminology programs (UH Downtown, UH Clear Lake), and a program on mental health (Hogg Foundation at UT Austin). The agenda features an all-star cast, with speakers from around the country and the UK, as well as at least four Texas legislators and other state and local officials.  And, in the spirit of the holidays, the program includes free CLE for attorneys, including an hour of ethics. Seating is limited, so registration is highly recommended.


Anonymous said...

Vulnerable people--would that be the thugs or their victims?

From Dallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Dallas said...

The symposium is an important step toward creating a more equitable and efficient system. Thank-you GFB and congratulations on your being able to participate. Let's hope that there will be effective systemic changes.

From Dallas said...

@ 10:22 PM - Interesting comment. The sarcasm reflects the us-versus-them mentality of officers and the total lack of understanding of mental health issues. It also reflects the unwillingness of a group of Texans to respond to the plight of the many mentally ill who end up in prison, rather than in hospitals - the result of historical events that have lead to the closing of many psychiatric facilities.

Anonymous said...

Dallas, Anon 10:22 is probably not even an officer. This Blog doesn't attract the attention of too many officers. As far as the understanding of mental health issues, many correctional officers pushed the legislature for more resources and diversion of the mentally disabled from prisons. Increased mental health training under HB 1855 was lobbied for by the correctional employee's union.

Many issues addressed about the prison system today have come from correctional employees risking retaliation from corrupt government officials. The more you educate yourself on Texas politics, the more you will discover the correctional employees in Texas have been extremely progressive in bringing changes to the system. If you spend 5 minutes doing a quick Google check on prison air conditioning issues, you will find this issue was heavily pushed for by prison employees.

From Dallas said...

@ 4:01 AM - Oximoron: progressive and TDCJ used in the same sentence - not to be offensive, but the statement 'correctional employees in Texas have been extremely progressive' does not reflect the harsh reality that TDCJ staff, wardens, and supervisors are not, have not, will not be progressive about social issues or criminal-justice issues.

The changes TDCJ employees want to make are strictly for their own self-interest, not that of inmates or society in general, a criteria which, in my vocabulary, defines the word 'progressive'. It can be argued, I grant you, that that their own self interest and that of inmates sometimes overlap, but this is a far cry from the statement that officers are 'progressive' about anything. Unless, of course, your idea of the word 'progressive' differs from mine. Perhaps you meant to say "active". The great makority of TDCJ staff is not political active, either though. You are right in stating that they don't even read this blog.

To clarify and not to be pedantic, here's the meaning I assign to the word 'progressive': (of a group, person, or idea)

1. adj. - favoring or implementing social reform for the benefit of society, or new, liberal ideas. i.e. "a relatively progressive governor";

2. noun - a person advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas. synonyms: innovator, reformer, reformist, liberal, i.e. "he is very much a progressive".

I'd have my head chopped off if I were to call a TDCJ sargeant or major a 'liberal' (synonym of progressive). I'd be fired if I labeled a warden.

With all due respect, many (not 'all', of course) TDCJ employees are functionally illiterate - not to offend, but to make what I believe to be a statistically valid point. Their diplomas indicate they finished high school, but their reading is at about third grade level, if we are lucky. Ask any teacher within the system. The point here is not to embarass anyone, but to point out that it is difficult to teach mental health issues, or to have a meaningful legal discourse, at this level. I say this with respect and compassion. Many states require correctional officers to have some college, Texas needs to do the same. It is terrible unfair to place officers in positions they are unable to handle properly. Brutality follows frustration.

Government officials will retaliate against TDCJ employees whistleblowers, yes. But many of these officials are indeed TDCJ employees too, which span all the way from lower to higher ranks. Note: these same employees, who complain about being retaliated against if they speak out, will not hesitate one second to retaliate against those inmates who file grievances. It's a merry-go-round.

It's funny I never hear TDCJ staff, wardens, or higher level officials endorse outside review and supervision. They want to police themselves and it is not working too well. Repeat, it's not working.

Anonymous said...

Look what happens when psychiatrists file false claims> - Look what happens when UTMB psychiatyrists and physicians don't show up for work:

Hoops! Nothing!

Anonymous said...

Dallas, you are confusing the politics of the agency and the politics of the employees. Agency administration are NOT PROGRESSIVE in bringing reforms, but they don't represent the same interest as the employees. There are professional lines drawn when it comes to discussing issues with inmates inside the prison. Don't confuse those professional boundaries with "Us versus Them."

Politically speaking many times groups such as TIFA, TCJC, TPPF, and AFSCME (Officer's Union) agreed on the same political agenda (please reference the Legislative webpage). Cooperation among groups is why criminal justice reforms have worked in Texas, even when TDCJ's administration opposed the reforms. 3 prisons in Texas were closed because all the parties agreed to closed them, except for TDCJ's administration.

Trolling about officers and lumping them together as ignorant clearly exemplifies people such as yourself take an extremely biased point of view. I encourage people such as yourself to stay out of the reform policy area and leave these issues to the professionals who can formulate evidence based practices and not some opinion based on a CO talking bad to you ten years ago. You or your family may have experienced an issue, but your personal biases should not impede progress.

From Dallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Dallas said...

@ anon 6:36 AM - 'Thank-you. You just made my point when you stated: 'I encourage people such as yourself to stay out of the reform policy area and leave these issues to the professionals.' It's clear that you want no oversight and no accountability to ever take place. You wish to silence dissenting voices when they do not belong to your good o'l boy and girls network.
Do not presume to know me or my motives.
Conflicts of interest do exist within the political arena and I am glad to see groups occasionally coming together for the common good.
As long as TX refuses to render correctional officers, wardens, staff, and higher-ups accountable, I will keep my "very biased" opinion that this state of affairs clouds the credibility of all.
As to my lumping together all officers, I did clearly indicate: "not all." Sorry you do not like this fact: functional illiteracy exists in many rural areas in Texas and in the rest of the country.
A high school diploma is not enough to perform some of the officers'duties. Many other states require college because they are aware that a better educated force means an ability to train better.
Let me add: New York just came up with a great idea which will probably be rejected by Texas and officers'unions:
"New York promises to keep better track of abusive prison guards. Criticized for a lack of accountability, state officials say that — after months of inquiry by our reporter — they have now begun “electronically logging” complaints against corrections officers to better monitor accusations of misconduct. Beset by inmate lawsuits, state lawyers say they want to reduce “litigation risks” by paying closer attention to patterns of staff abuse. Tom Robbins reports on a long-ignored early-warning system. THE MARSHALL PROJECT."
New York is worse that Texas in their civil rights violations, I am not comparing here. I am just presenting an idea whose time has come. What is regrettable is that they are reforming their system to avoid costly litigation, not because it is the civilized thing to do.
Do you want me to keep quiet? Sorry to disappoint you. You can't intimidate me like you probably do with inmates and their families. This is my last post here.

Anonymous said...

to: 6:36 AM who tells Dallas not to confuse professional boundaries with us vs them. This was posted somewhere else:

"---------------------When guards and other staff refer to inmates as "POS", and this is a common occurrence at all the units, they in fact create an us-versus-them climate. --------------------------
When inmates are belittled, ridiculed, called names, laughed-at; constantly told that they are liars and never believed; viciously "extracted" from cells by 3 armored guards, with batons and pepper spray at hand, even when it is not necessary and there is no real dangers to staff; when inmates are abused, their heads slammed on the concrete while hog-tied, or sexually assaulted - and this too occurs often, by guards, other inmates, or staff AND EVERYBODY keeps quiet and covers up; when cameras, designed to document use of force, conveniently "malfunction"; when medical care is denied even under dire circumstances by guards and wardens who are deliberately indifferent to the plight of inmates; when an ex-guard publicly states in a comment to the Dallas Morning News:---- "What really needs to happen here is that the officers need to learn to listen. They are not medical professionals and therefore cannot make a determination regarding medical attention. I can recall five times an inmate died because the correctional officers and clinic employees blew them off and ignored their requests for medical attention. My job was to collect the bodies of deceased inmates and prepare them to be picked up for burial or donation or whatever and it was SRO in the morgue at one time; ------- when other guards publicly show disdain towards inmates, hate, arrogance, feelings of superiority in their comments in public forums; when the guards' justification for their abuses is the refrain: "If you cannot do the time, don't do the crime" as if the guards themselves are there to provide additional, arbitrary punishment; when guards give major cases for very minor offenses, over and over, just as a form of harassment; when guards resent inmates for having a "free" roof over their heads and three meals a day and throw this in the inmates' face almost daily; when guards make sick inmates crawl on the floor, just for fun and do not call for a wheelchair; whe guards welcome a mentally ill inmate, transferred to Skyview or other units, with a head-shave just to humiliate him, then laugh; when guards do not "believe in mentall illness" but just in "the fact" that "these "these POS claim to be sick to manipulate us"; when they state: "if they don't look sick, they are not sick"; when guards take pleasure in confiscating inmates-bought fans in the summertime just because they can, or take away property for weeks, or delay giving mail; when they make sure than a stronger inmate beats up a weaker one to send "a message" to the one who filed a grievance; when the horrors described in the report “A THIN LINE” The Texas Prison Healthcare Crisis and The Secret Death Penalty, by the TEXAS CIVIL RIGHTS PROJECTS are ignored and the abuses are allowed to continue; ----------

From Dallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DEWEY said...

" CLE for attorneys, including an hour of ethics...." (Sarcasm) Disclaimer: I DO know some good, ethical lawyers.

Re: Anonymous (just above this comment): I spent five years in TDC as an inmate. What he/she said is true.

Anonymous said...

Yes, indeed it appears to be posted from someone that's been there up close and personal and apparently has a heart and soul.

The only thing missing is the factual warning that inmates eventually get out. As for those killed by guards, well, there is a little thing called family & friends. As for the cherry on top, if you happen to know a guard, rethink hanging out with him, or her, because you never know when the guy, or gal behind the counter will recognize his tormentor. Revenge could be served in the form of a weekly (I'll have the usual) piss and poop burger, or worse, all depending on the crimes committed against a captive audience.

Regarding the post's topic 'symposium', I look forward to it and hope that it sincerely includes real reform incentives starting from the moment of arrest to verdict & beyond. If there is a God, he / she will direct the meet & greet & share party to address the plea mill industry and the unqualified criminal defense representatives it relies on to do its bidding that results in: over crowding, needless cost, deprivation of Rights, ineffective dabbling, etc...

Anonymous said...

TDCJ employees over 38,000 employees. With any large agency, issues are going to occur. There are extremely good officers who save inmate lives and there are bad officers who end up becoming inmates themselves. Most officers do their jobs without trying to cause any unnecessary problems. As far as a mass conspiracy between 38,000 employees, that are not subject to a criminal violation for speaking out, this is extremely doubtful. The agency for the most part holds officers accountable and this can be reflected by the fact almost 9,000 TDCJ employees were disciplined in fiscal year 2014. The real issues that needs to be address is why were 9,000 employees disciplined??? There is a clear breakdown in the agency. Applicant vetting, training standards, and screening needs to be seriously be looked at. Most officers in the agency would support outside oversight on issues such as hiring, training standards, and disciplinary oversight. Currently there are several layers of oversight which include an Office of Inspector General, who report directly to the Governor appointed Board of Criminal Justice, Internal Audit, ACA, and TDCJ's Obudsmen's Office.

Inmate families can make the most impact by supporting advocacy groups such as TCJC, Texas ACLU, and Texas Civil Rights Project who have professional advocates who know the landscape of this massive correctional agency. Trolling against the officers is a waste of time and fails to solve the problems of the agency which were created mainly by the Texas Legislature.

From Dallas said...

Speaking out about about officers' misconduct is not trolling. It may sometimes be excessive and repetitive, but it is not trolling when it presents factual information, even if this info is from the individual and perhaps biased perspective of someone on the outside.

The perspective of those on the inside is equally repetitive and biased.

Both insiders and outsiders suffer from cognitive dissonance as their views are firmly rooted on their own experience, and are often inflexible. Two sides of the same coin, but inmates are the weaker element. Families are helpless and often broke.

The TDCJ ombudsman's office takes months to address issues and has no teeth. Families are fed up and have learned not to trust their office. Only now and then they achieve a reprimend or so. When this happens, often there is internal retaliation against inmates at the unit. Emergency situations , when the life of an inmate may be at stake, are not handled by them.

OIG and the Board Of CJ, to my knowledge, have not adequately responded to the plight of inmates. If they had, unnecessary deaths and some horrific behaviors, originally reported by The Texas Civil Rights Project, would not still be going on. The Dallas Morning News has done an expose' as well. Comments show that abuses are still going on.

Hardly no officers nor staff have been prosecuted for using excessive violence or causing un-needed deaths. Some of their behavior is criminal and has gone unpunished.

There is no system of keeping an electronic monitoring and a list of grievances filed against officers. There needs to be one. Each complaint needs to be made a part of their HR file, even if deemed to be bogus. Only and only then one can see what's really happening.

The layers of oversight you describe are all internal layers. Advocates propose external oversight for obvious reasons.

Many families and advocates are supporters of TCJC, Texas ACLU, and Texas Civil Rights Project. Others, know nothing about them. Others, because these organizations are considere "liberal" do no trust them. I do. --- These organizations, even when reached, cannot handle day-to-day abuses and misconduct.

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals does not seem to be interested in prosecuting civil rights violations of inmates.

Trolling, if it is happening, may be a sign of the pain and frustration felt by family members or returning prisoners. They have no other place to go to expose what's going on.

Trolling may also also a response to the cliches, one-liners, lies, denials, etc. that tdc and staff give continuously to the inmates, to the public, to the media and to each other when addressing grievances.

From Dallas said...

Continues from above: "As far as a mass conspiracy between 38,000 employees, that are not subject to a criminal violation for speaking out, this is extremely doubtful." - I don't know what you are referring to here.

There is indeed a code of silence within the force.

It is not a conspiracy, but an unwritten code. It is needed to avoid retaliation by an officer against another, especially in times of need. "I watch your back if you watch mine" is also a silent code.

Some officers have reported official retaliation as well. Ask officers who have quit and are able to speak out. They'll tell you.

Whistleblower protection has been proposed because is needed.

Anonymous said...

Here we go:
Patterson seeks damages--compensatory, presumed, nominal and punitive--attorney fees and court costs. He is represented by attorneys William Pieratt Demond and Meagan Hassan of Demond & Hassan PLLC in Houston.

Houston Division of the Southern District of Texas Case number 4:15-cv-02922

Anonymous said...
GALVESTON -- A Galveston County man is suing a hospital and a doctor, alleging a botched medical procedure left him partially deaf.

Glen Davis filed a lawsuit Nov. 12 in Galveston County District Court against Dr. James Hunderup and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, alleging negligence.

The suit seeks compensation for past and future medical bills, past and future pain and suffering, past and future mental anguish, and past and future physical impairment.

Davis seeks damages of at least $250,000, a trial by jury, plus court costs and attorney fees. He is represented by attorney Gregory Allen of Houston.

Galveston County District Court Case number 15-CV-1204

Anonymous said...

Incarcerated dialysis patient sues surgeon over infection and injuries
Carol Ostrow
Jul. 9, 2015, 2:32pm 0 0 0 27

A Henderson County resident filed a lawsuit against a Huntsville doctor asserting medical negligence in a case dating to 2011.

John Crocker of Athens sued Dr. Dave Khurana in Galveston County District Court on July 6, alleging liability in a series of medical procedures that he claims caused critical infection and injuries between 2011 and 2014.

According to the suit, the plaintiff was diagnosed with renal failure in late August 2011 and referred to Khurana for treatment. After surgery to implant a catheter, he began home dialysis in October 2011.

The suit states that due to an alleged violation of his pre-existing parole status, Crocker was remanded to a state hospital in Huntsville on April 18, 2013, by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. While negotiating continued dialysis treatment, Crocker claims, he discovered that his catheter no longer functioned, having caused him to develop peritonitis at the implant site in May 2013.

The suit states that the patient’s infection was an aggressive strain of E. coli and staph; and that following additional surgery, his pain worsened and fluid leaked from his wound continuously for three days, impeding further dialysis.

According to the filing, a CT scan revealed that Crocker’s bladder had been punctured during surgery; he underwent yet another procedure. When he recovered sufficiently, he claims, he was denied his previous treatment method and forced to endure aggressive hemo-dialysis provided by the prison hospital for almost a year until his April 24, 2014, release.

Alleging negligence, severe physical pain, mental anguish, impairment, and medical expenses, Crocker blames the defendant for substandard care. He claims that Khurana failed to flush and properly maintain the peritoneal catheter, resulting in infection and multiple surgeries.

The plaintiff seeks up to $250,000 in compensation for damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney’s fees, expenses and costs. The plaintiff is represented by Dale Trimble of the Trimble Firm in Conroe.

Galveston County District Court case number 15-CV-0676.

Anonymous said...
A Fannin County woman and a Montgomery County woman are suing over claims they were sexually assaulted while inmates under transport between facilities.

Debra Thomas and Natalie Davis filed a lawsuit Oct. 8 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas against Community Education Centers Inc.; Fannin County, Texas; Greg Garrison; and William Clifford Isaacs.

Anonymous said...

The above three lawsuits clearly indicate a need for changes to be made. A lawsuit does not indicate guilt, but when there is smoke there is probably fire.

Anonymous said...

Those lawsuits ONLY indicate someone sued. You can Google "Walmart Lawsuits" and find just as many lawsuits.

Inmates don't even have to pay a filing fee to sue the state and have countless hours to access fill-in-the-blank forms in prison law liabraries containing thousands of dollars of legal books. Inmates have filled so many fraudulent lawsuits over the last several years, the courts don't even have time to take most inmate litigation seriously.

The sad thing about inmate litigation is most of its fraudulent when there are real issues they could sue the state on such as:

1. Lack of security (lower than average officer to inmate ratios)
2. Poor dietary issues. (I.E meals containing mostly carbs)
3. Lack of access for mental health care. (I.E low mental health staffing ratios and no available counseling)
4. Unconstitutional facility conditions (Lack of proper climate control, rundown facilities, poor lighting, leaking sewer pipes, broken windows, unsealed windows)

TDCJ has serious liability issues when it comes to their funding and as a result of poor funding they cut too many corners. The agency can and should be held liable for failing to properly train staff and have accountable raining. Large prison systems such as California and Michigan require over 600 hours of training before officers start. TDCJ only requires 240 hours of training to become a correctional officer and usually NO ONE FAILS... Low academy failure ratios should be challenged in legal proceedings, as training standards are lacking.

From Dallas said...

@ 3:57 AM - Well said. I will address your item n.2. Poor diet.

Texas prison diet is not just poor in nature. It is deadly. It is not only high in carb and lacking enough protein, vitamins, and micronutrients, but it also contains high levels of a certain type of soy protein made by Monsanto (=GMO-+ pesticides) and then processed by Archer Daniels (=high aluminum levels and other metals). It contains oxalates and phytates in exessive amounts. EVERY SINGLE MEAL SERVED IN TEXAS PRISONS IS LADEN WITH THIS TYPE OF DEADLY SOY. EVEN THE MILK.

Some prisoners in other states (See Michigan and Florida) have tried to sue, but Monsanto will fight any lawsuits with claims that its soy is safe, just like the tobacco industry used to do.

Proponents of soy-based products sell it as a cost saving product that lowers fat content in foods. Prison foods are not outright replaced. It is stretched and ‘enhanced’ by adding large amounts of soy to them.

There are negative side effects that an excess of this refined and unfermented soy in a diet can cause. The refined soy being sold and widely used in the USA is not at all the same as the limited intake of fermented soy products used in Asia. Little mention is made of facts about the neuro-toxin (brain damaging) chemicals that soy beans are first soaked in to be ‘refined’ or that these chemicals attach to the soy and are also being ingested with each serving of soy foods. Unfermented soy products do not have warning labels stating that they are extremely high in estrogen-like chemicals that are damaging to both males and females; that they can cause severe allergic reactions; that they can lead to long term brain damage.

From Dallas said...

Continuing the discussion just posted above:

Here is a little truth about high-soy protein diets and the health issues that can stem from a steady diet of soy based products and a brief outline of side effects that are common signs of soy allergies and indicators of too high of a soy intake in the diet.

** Soy has an extraordinary amount of estrogen in it – every 100 grams of soy protein you consume has as much estrogen as a high-dose birth control pill.

** Soybeans contain hemagluttins (hee-ma-glut-ins) which cause red blood cells to clump together. (Increases risk of blood clots)

** Soy contains goitrogens (goy-tro-jens), which can frequently lead to depressed thyroid function. (Goiter; Common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, fuzzy thinking, low blood pressure, fluid retention, depression, body pain, slow reflexes)

** Most soybeans are genetically modified, and they contain one of the highest levels of pesticide contamination of all foods.

** Soybeans are very high in phytates (fy-tates), which prevent the absorption of minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, all of which are needed in our bodies. Symptoms of iron deficiency symptoms include: fatigue, pallor, hair loss, irritability weakness and brittle or grooved nails. Zinc deficiency symptoms include dandruff, eczema, sleep disorders, white spots under finger nails and light headedness.

** Finally, in an effort to remove anti-nutrients (ingredients that block our bodies from being able to absorb minerals and nutrients properly) out of the final product, the soybeans are taken through a series of chemical processes including acid washing the soy in aluminum tanks. This leaches high levels of aluminum, a toxic heavy metal, into the final soy products. Many soy foods also have toxic levels of manganese. (Both lead to Alzheimer’s/Dementia)

Other side effects can include –

- Gastro – intestinal problems, including diarrhea, cramping, excess gas, stomach pains and nausea.
- Acne and other skin conditions, like eczema.
- Itching or hives.
- Swelling (bloating, swelling of feet, hands)
- Nasal congestion, asthma, shortness of breath
- Canker sores or fever blisters in/around mouth
- Conjunctivitis; pink eye
- Fever, fatigue, weakness, and low blood pressure
- Periodontal disease
- Feeling cold all the time
- Anemia
- Low thyroid

Other names for soy -Soya, soja, soybean and soyabeans, Soy protein (isolate and concentrate), vegetable protein, textured soy flour (TSF), textured soy protein (TSP) and textured vegetable protein (TVP)

Go to:

From Dallas said...

@ 3:57 AM - Well said. I will address your item n.3. Mental health: you are correct. We need more and better staff. In addition, there are other serious problems, addressed in other posts, which I am validating.

1. Psychiatrists: paid up to $185 K per year: do not show up for work in many facilities. Probably because they are allowed to maintain a private practice elsewhere, as it has been reported on this blog and in other forums. It is easy to verify: Google their names and see if they are practicing somewhere else.

2. While trying to advocate for an inmate, for three months I tried to reach a few licensed counselors at two units. I was told by more than one nurse that they were absent. Nobody replaced them in the meanwhile.

3. Counselors and nurses mindset: not all mental health practitioners or nurses are created equal. There are two main types working for DOCs: those who maintain their integrity, and those who eventually adopt the well-described-in other posts attitude of us versus them. The latter become uncaring. At the basis of any useful counseling process is the counselor-client relationship and collaboration. When these are missing, counseling is useless.

4. Lack of supervision. Staff needs to be supervised. It is isn't. Deaths have occurred because of medical neglect and lack of supervision and follow-up.

5. Delegating mental health duties to LVNs with no training in the field. Although roles vary, there are two types of nurses: a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) who have one year of training and no college degree, and who must work under the supervision of a licensed professional, such as an RN or a physician, and RNs, who have better training and often a college degree.
The problem is that many RNs and many physicians are not there to supervise the LVNs.
Many RNs take excessive leave. Some, not trained in mental health, are assigned mental health duties that go beyond their level of experience.

6. Crazy TDCJ or UTMB rules: if an inmate is ill and stays in his cell, thus missing what they call "pill window", where they often stand in line for more than an 30 minutes to get their meds, they are punished by their being deprived of meds all together. This is insane and illegal. It is malpractice.
When you withdraw psychotropic meds, the patient can have a variety of withdrawl symptoms ranging from seizures to behavioral problems. When these meds start again, they will take nore time to work. If an ill inmate is in line, but does not stand straight and tries to sit, he is punished with several methods which may include solitary or an occasional beating. Lower punishment forms are ridicule, being yelled at, or harassment.

I have no more room here. You can figure out the rest. Other posts have reported downright physical and mental abuse of inmates.

Anonymous said...

Damn Dallas, you my friend are not only on top of the truth, you have effectively slapped the living shit outta the mouthy-ass commenter committing from the Bird-Walk or Sally-Port.

Please tell us & them / them & us a little about Salt Peter and sleep deprivation tactics. Hopefully, the information you provided above and elsewhere will assist the Inmates & Employees (the ones that consume it via free meals and the ones getting off on sick crap like sleep deprivation) in suing TDCJ in a class-action. Then, we can learn the full names of those responsible for creating and condoning an un-safe / deadly workplace and home environment. I personally wish the Feds would take it back over on their own instead of waiting on a law suit.

Fwiw. When your employer knowingly creates and supports policies and rules designed to inflict physical harm and mental anguish on those you are charged with guarding against harm and escape, you have the moral right to quit. When the criminal scheme has the same exact effects on the employees, you have the moral right to quit in mass. When your employer's egregious criminal actions cause a client, (or inmate) to fall ill and die (become paralyzed or brain dead, it's too damn late in the game to quit. Now, you and those in which you conspired with are deemed criminals along with your employer.

Anonymous said...

Doses of Salt Peter and nightly sleep deprivation is initiated and conducted in the city & county jails. They must share the same Vendor(s) and attend the same training classes in order to mirror one another. Cruel and Unusual punishment used to be illegal, how times have changed. Maybe Dallas knows what's what.

From Dallas said...

@ 12:50:00 PM - Thank-you for bringing sleep deprivation to our attention. It is a very important topic as it has anenormously dangerous effect on the mental and physical health of prisoners. It has not come to my attention that sleeep deprivation is purposely inflicted on inmates. If it is, please, speak up. Regardless, it is an enormous problem which I could discuss at length.

To keep it simple, this is what I know.

In most units:

1. Breakfast is served at 3: 30 AM. To get to breakfats inmates must get up at 3:00 am as there is a line. Many don't go. The prison saves money on meals.

2. Pill window times vary. Most are around 4:30 AM. Some are in the afternoon. If you are trying to take a nap, it's better if you don't because if you can't wake up, they'll take the medicines away. Chose: A. sleep and miss pill window, or B. go to pill w. and do not sleep.

3. Lunch is served around 11:00 AM. If you went to breakfast, you may miss it if you sleep. Nobody wakes you up for chow or pill window.

4. Dinner is around 4:00 PM. If you try to go to sleep, you will awaken again, and again (see below).

5. Inmates are woken up to allow "count" at least 3x a day. If you are asleep, you must wake up to be counted.

6. During the day and night noise-levels are extremely high:
- metal doors that slam every other minute
- inmates and gaurds talking loudly
- some inmates scream in physical or psychological pain
- you hear and will always remember the noise made by the metal keys carried by guards. If you have been abused by guards, the noise of an approaching guard can be terrifying.

7. Drama (exctractions, use of force, disciplinary interventions, etc) is ongoing. You can't sleep when you are on high alert. When these episodes are over, you can't sleep because of the adrenal rush, the anger, the fear, the fantasizing about retaliation and the general psychological arousal keep you awake.

8. If one is not awaken by the count downs, cell inspections where they put your cell and all your items in disarray, can wake you up at any time, day or night. After that you can't sleep.

9. Lights on: during the day the lights are on. One can't sleep.

10.You'd think inmates have all the time in the world to sleep, but they can't do so for a healthy, prolongued period of time because of what I have described above.

If you do the math, you will see that, even under ideal conditions, most inmates will be sleep deprived. After a few days, weeks or months, many go psychotic, lethargic, or become angry and violent. When they do, they are severely punished. Continues in my next post.

From Dallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Dallas said...

They may respond by "freezing": emotionally numb, terrified even if they do not realize it or show it, in state of prolongued stress, they develop PTSD, anaedonia, psychosis, paranoia, anger issues; other mentally debilitating forces creep slowly in. When an inmate is released, s/he can't figure out why they can't sleep, they can't work, communicate, and never feel whole again.

Some survive psychologically, most don't. They may resort or go back to alcohol and drugs to cope. Recidivism is high. Families and friends may become angry at the returning inmate who should be happy to be free.

What also creeps in is "learned helplessness". You are so used to the idea that you can't control anything in your envirnment, not even your sleep, that you become covertly convinced that you are totally helpless. One becomes emotionally and physically paralized. Many are unable to perform basic skills like cooking, bathing, paying bills. They may strike out in anger, for nothing. Their families don't understand why the have become "so lazy" and neither do their probabion officers. Many mental health professionals are equally clueless.

I am not sure TDCJ allows sleep-deprivation on purpose, although the way they operate clearly shows their disregard of this serious health issue and create an impossible to emotionally survive environment.

If one considers that this is where we house the mentally ill, one cas clearly undestand the magnitude of this problems which is hardly ever addressed.

Again, thank-you for bringing it up.

BAD FOOD, DANGEROUS HEAT LEVELS, BAD WATER, SLEEP DEPRIVATION, LACK OF MEDICAL CARE. Too many civil rights violations that amount to cruel and unusual punishment in my book.

If you want to read a good article describing how and why sleep deprivation is form of torture, go here:

Here's an excerpt:

" ... In fact, prolonged sleep deprivation is an especially insidious form of torture because it attacks the deep biological functions at the core of a person’s mental and physical health. It is less overtly violent than cutting off someone’s finger, but it can be far more damaging and painful if pushed to extremes.

Why is this? Start with the fact that sleep is a basic biological necessity for all humans, indeed for all creatures on the planet. There is some natural variability and flexibility in the sleep cycle, hence people can go 24 or more hours without sleep in the right circumstances, without any lasting harm other than additional “rebound” sleep the next time they are able to sleep normally. However, if a person is deprived of sleep for longer than that, several mental and physical problems begin to develop.

The first signs of sleep deprivation are unpleasant feelings of fatigue, irritability, and difficulties concentrating. Then come problems with reading and speaking clearly, poor judgment, lower body temperature, and a considerable increase in appetite. If the deprivation continues, the worsening effects include disorientation, visual misperceptions, apathy, severe lethargy, and social withdrawal.

For ethical reasons, professional researchers have never pushed the deprivation process beyond this point with human subjects. Researchers have used animals for more extreme experiments, and the inevitable result is that prolonged sleep deprivation will eventually kill a creature. Various behavioral impairments accumulate along the way as the deprivation continues, but if the experiment is pushed far enough the final result is always a widespread physiological failure leading to death. The cumulative effects of sleep deprivation go beyond the loss of this or that specific function to a precipitous, ultimately fatal decline in all functions."

I hope to have adequately responded to your question.

From Dallas said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
From Dallas said...

Reposting: The guards who commit several other atrocieties are very likely guilty of also taking pleasure in depriving inmates of their sleep. I got two emails from folks who know who I am and saw my posts on GFB - These folks were on the inside and verified it happened to them. I believe them.


This is still me: Dallas, using foul language. Well, it felt good.

Anonymous said...

PS. Where do they learn this stuff? It takes a lot of creative thinking to be this perverted. The Academy?

Anonymous said...

I like this from anon a while back.

"Fwiw. When your employer knowingly creates and supports policies and rules designed to inflict physical harm and mental anguish on those you are charged with guarding against harm and escape, you have the moral right to quit. When the criminal scheme has the same exact effects on the employees, you have the moral right to quit in mass. When your employer's egregious criminal actions cause a client, (or inmate) to fall ill and die (become paralyzed or brain dead, it's too damn late in the game to quit. Now, you and those which you conspired with are deemed criminals along with your employer."

Thinking of the Nazis who blindly followed orders.
Many have already said it: there are no good guards. They are all accomplices of a criminal entreprise.

Anonymous said...

Please take the blinders off and examine the entire picture. Cultures are created by leadership. TDCJ culture has evolved from what the Texas Legislature and the Texas Governor's Office fund. Officers didn't create this system or choose the level of its funding. Many correctional officers come from the same neighborhoods and schools most convicts come from. Many officers eat the same crappy food the inmates eat. Many correctional officers have family members locked up in TDCJ.

TDCJ is one of the few criminal justice agencies in Texas where the majority of the officers are minorities and almost 40% of the officers are women. The real question you need to be asking is why does the WHITE MALE DOMINATED DPS get all the criminal justice resources, training, pay, and equipment funding. Does DPS have un air-conditioned patrol cruisers they transport inmates in?

Before trolling about TDCJ officers you need to be factual and realize who is really in charge of the prison system. No one disputes bad things have occurred with over 38,000 employees working to keep Texans safe, but when you attempt to make this out to be a mass conspiracy between everyone employed in the system, you will not find much sympathy. Good officers have lost their life while making sure inmates get what they are constitutionally required to have. Society has little respect for the custodians and keepers of the penitentiary who are there to ensure the safe operation, care, custody, and control of an extremely hostile culture.

You need to remember inmate cultures often finds practices such as rape, murder, aggravated assault, and robbery as a socially acceptable. This doesn't mean every inmate in prison supports this type of behavior.

Tomorrow if all correctional officers in Texas didn't show up for work at the 109 prison units what type of utopia do you seriously think would exist? Most inmates and their families would be begging for officers to come back once they saw the fallout from the hellish culture. Lets not push to open up the gates of hell to find out how bad prison life could really get without officers. If you really care to make prisons better the key is to properly fund the institution, increase hiring standards, and increase resources for staff development.

Anonymous said...

06:45:00 PM

- The statement: "Many correctional officers come from the same neighborhoods and schools most convicts come from." is true, and we know it is.

And If:

- "Inmates' culture often finds practices such as rape, murder, aggravated assault, and robbery as a socially acceptable." and I believe this to be true also.


There are little cultural differences between the inmates and the officers. WE ALREADY KNOW THAT TO BE TRUE, AS THEIR BEHAVIORS ARE SIMILARS. This has been demonstrated by the facts reported by the posts. When someone pointed out that both inmates and some guards are culturally illiterate, somebody protested. When we point out that many guards are plagued by a certain sociopathic attitudes, we are told we are wrong. When we make the point you made we are labeled racist. We finally agree though on one main point: inmates and guards are culturally similar and often they behave in a similar manner.

So, let's continue with another syllogism that naturally and logically follows from the one above:



we render citizens accountable for breaking the law and we fire them or send them to prison when they do [regardless of the cultural influences you recognize exist]


Guards are made of the same stock, but have a duty as custodians and keepers of the penitentiary to ensure the "safe" operation, care, custody, and control of an extremely hostile culture [your words].


When guards don't assure safety, but are guilty of the atrocities listed above, they need to be rendered accountable just as the pals they grew up with are rendered accountable. If that includes being fired or going to prison, that be it, [regardless of the cultural influences you recognize exist].

Basically, the world of poverty, illiteracy, abuse, racial strives, gender and race discrimination these folks grew up with, made them similar in their sociopathy, functional illiteracy, and their being prone to violence [this is what I get from your post].
Yet, society makes no excuses when these folks break the law. They are sent to prison (perhaps they should not be, but this is the way it is.) -
Guards, police officers, etc. need bo be held accountable BY THE SAME STANDARDS.

This is what the whole country is up in arms about. Baltimore, New York, Ferguson

I truly do not wish for officers to actually go to prison. I wish for the risk to be there, and then for everybody to make sure that they don't.

Disclaimer: ACTUALLY I WISH ALL PRISON WALLS WOULD COME DOWN TO BE REPLACED BY A MORE HUMANE SYSTEM OF ACCOUNTABILITY. This is a notion so far away from any consideration, that is not worthy of discussion as the refrain would be: "We don't live in Norway!" - God help me, don't I know it!

Accountability and asking for consequences is not utopia. IT IS THE FOUNDATION UPON OUR LEGAL SYSTEM, IS FOUNDED. This is necessary to maintain order and prevent abuse of citizens, INCLUDING INMATES AND FELLOW OFFICERS.

When Texas was under Federal supervision, reforms, then deemed impossible, were made. When there are successful lawsuits, everybody tries harder to get in line. So, this is a possible task.
It is only impossible if we make excuses or deflect the subject.

---The culture and mentality of guards may not change, but the fear of losing their jobs or being prosecuted, will help them think twice before they decide to hurt inmates.

While the guards are not solely responsible for the mess we are in, they must be rendered accountable for what they are indeed responsible. Deflecting the argument by pointing out that other government agencies are also involved, is shifting blame and trying to deny one's responsibility.

Anonymous said...

@ 06:45:00 PM
You rhetorically ask: "Tomorrow if all correctional officers in Texas didn't show up for work at the 109 prison units what type of utopia do you seriously think would exist?"

Here's my answer: no utopia - we may get a revolution. (This is not a wish, nor it is a threat.) - or may be not: we may get real changes. I don't know.

Doing what is morally correct is what I know. If I were a guard, I'd quit if I witnessed and could not report abuses. I quit the most lucrative job of my life when I saw other people getting screwed over.

If we got a revolution, it'd get nasty. Revolutions are unpredictable. Heads may be chopped. Blood will be spilled. Storefronts will burn. However, after the guillotine, Liberte' - Egalite' - Fraternite' arose from the graves; after the Boston tea party and several bloody civil wars, we got the Constitution. After civil disobedience and many lynchings, we got (almost) rid of American apartheid.

Today we have Ferguson and Baltimore. In Texas, we had Ruiz vs Estelle and the feds supervising.

Let's all pray it does not get that far.

So, my questions to you are:

Do you want a revolution in Texas? Do you want the feds here? Do you want millions of dollars spent on paying for lawsuits? Obviously not. AND NEITHER DO WE. Yet, we need to advocate for morally, legally, and constitutionally based behavior. The alternative is worse than a revolution.

You and I seem to have similar objectives. We differ in the way we need to achieve them.

Calling me a troll shows you are not getting my point or you are not willing to listen. You wish that I go away. You can't hear me as you are filtering your eyes and ears with your own agenda, which seems to be to protect the guards at all cost.
I don't hear you either as I think you believe that guards' accountability will be counter-productive, or that exercising their moral right to quit will cause a disaster. I don't believe that.

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE. Another thing we have in common.

We are talking in circles. Thanks for the exchange, though.

Anonymous said...

It's not a conspiracy. It's a culture.
A culture marked by immoral/amoral abuses, silence, and cover ups.
Americans are basically morally decent people.
In the long run Americans rejected racism, in the long run we may also be able to collectively reject police brutality, gulag-like prison and their immoral cultural characteristics.
If this is utopia, we are doomed.

Anonymous said...

You still miss the point that the funding and laws are set by the Texas Legislature and Governor's Office.

You elect the leaders who created this culture you speak of. Any revolution you speak of should occur through the ballot box.

The Russian Gulags existed because the political establishment wanted them to exist. The guards in the Russian Gulags only took their orders from the political establishment.

Massive underfunding, lack of vetting, lack of training, and lack of accountability are NOT the fault of the "guards", but your elected political leaders who want it his way. It would be better for you to troll about Greg Abbott and David Dewhurst than to waste your breath trolling about the "guards." TDCJ is a political monster which you fail to understand is controlled by the elected establishment in Austin and not some government bureaucrats in Huntsville. If you don't believe me, than just follow the money.

Anonymous said...

@ 07:20:00 AM

I totally agree: Massive underfunding, lack of vetting, lack of training, and lack of accountability are NOT the fault of the "guards". We have been saying all along that we need "systemic" changes from top to bottom. What does this have to do with the fact that "some" officers take it upon themselves to be sadistic bastards?

What we don't seem to agree on here is that, although it is not the fault of the guards that they are not vetted, trained appropriately, not even properly select in the first place, and not rendered accountable, THEY ARE STILL RESPONSIBLE WHEN THEY PURPOSEFULLY INFLICT PAIN ON HELPLESS INMATES.

They did not grow up in a vacuum. They know it's not right to sadistically write on chairs "sewer lives here" (just an example), or that hog tying an inmate and then slamming their head on the concrete when they are helpelssely barely breathing is wrong. That hiding an inhaler until the guy dies is homicide. Are they that dumb?

Unless you truly believe that officers are real imbecilles (they are not) you must render them accountable for their egregious DELIBERATE misconduct when egregious disregards for human life happens.

There are different issues here. Let me spell it out again.

- Issue #1. That we need the reforms you advocate from the top is UNQUESTIONABLE. Thus the symposium (God bless them.)

- Issue #2. That reforms must include some sort of better accountability, among many other changes, is UNQUESTIONABLE.

- Issue #3. That officers need be rendered accountable when they sadistically beat, maim, taunt..... (we are not going through the list again are we?) is another issue which can stand all on its own.

The fact that issue
#1 and #2 exist does not invalidate issue number 3. AGREED: they are all related, yet, the third issue can stand on its own as well.

Guards are not imbecilles. They did not grow up in a vacuum. Even if they grew up among bullies and in a culture of violence, they know darn well what's right and what's wrong. Slamming an inmates' head on the concrete, after they hogtie him, FUCK!, IS WRONG. Writing "sewer lives her on chairs" IS WRONG. Laughing when a poor soul shits his pants in fear IS WRONG. I am not going to relist the horrible stuff some of them do.

Are you telling me that their culture is so SAVAGE that they truly can't understand what civilized behavior is? God help us all.

I am starting to believe that you are right. If you are, we are all in deep shit. What does this say about Texas? In Sweden they use the word "Texan" as a derogative adjective when they wish to call someone "an uncivilized brute". Is this who we are in this state? ----- I refuse to believe this.

The only reasons that one should NOT be rendered accountable for their illegal actions are DEMENTIA, BEING COMATOSE, OR IMPAIRED to the point of not knowing right from wrong.

I am starting to believe that you think officers all poor imbecilles.

If their job is too much for them as their training is inadequate, they can quit. Actually, they must quit when their stress levels are so high that they are a danger to themselves and others. Many do. As to what would happen next, it is not their problem. At that point, the legislature will hopefully be motivated to change and to allocate appropriate funding and rules.

As to voting for the right person: who on earth would that be? In Texas even Democrats are mild republicans. The symposium brings hope (Thank-you GFB and all involved.) Many are skeptical significant changes will be made. WHY? Because people like you will fight even the simple idea that guards too need to be rendered accountable. The UNIONS will fight tooth and nail to make sure accountability will not happen.

Bottom line: different issues, different remedies. Some overlapping issues may require similar remedies. Resistance to change hinders progress. Trolls like me don't understand what's going on but they keep on insisting they do.

We can agree to disagree.

Anonymous said...

@ 07:20:00 AM

"The Russian Gulags existed because the political establishment wanted them to exist. The guards in the Russian Gulags only took their orders from the political establishment."

So did the Nazis guards by the way: decades later many were prosecuted for murder.

Are you implying that Texas guards are ordered to beat and maim and disregard human rights by the Governors and the wardens?

If this is true, we do have a conspiracy.

If this is true, guards are accomplices.

If this is true, I am moving to Sweden or Denmark (but they don't give many visas to Texans there).

This conversation is getting more and more bizzarre.

Anonymous said...

"TDCJ is a political monster which you fail to understand is controlled by the elected establishment in Austin and not some government bureaucrats in Huntsville."

I agree TDCJ is a monster. We are all puppets. This is a fascist state.

I'll vote for Bernie, move to Vermont, and desperately look for viable Texas candidates. There are none so far.

Anonymous said...

You seem to imply all "guards" are corrupt and physically abusive, when in fact most "guards" in Texas prisons have never used any type of force against any inmates. Do you really think "guards" want to get physical with an inmate who most likely has AIDS, TB, or hepatitis? You really need to educate yourself about the officer culture and not just go by a few loud mouths on social media.

Most TDCJ officers would love to have the level of funding and the staffing ratios that counties such as Denmark or Sweden have.

You fail to realize like most inmates, most officers want a day without drama and to do their 8 and hit the gate.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

@8:56, they're ordered to lock up thousands in solitary for 23 hours per day without regards to international human rights conventions, for example. And the 5th Circuit, which isn't a bastion of liberalism, has said that excessively hot prisons can constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

If you insist on calling guards "accomplices" for implementing those policies, that's your phrase, not mine. IMO it wouldn't be SO far-fetched except for the fact that, in the case of the heat, the union is backing the prisoners' stance. So, hurrah! If memory serves, ftm, they also criticized excessive use of solitary in the past because of understaffing, but I can't offhand recall when and where - if Lance Lowry reads this, perhaps he can remind me.

So, whether "guards" or "correctional officers" (the phrase Lance also insists on), I don't think our bunch in Texas, based on the positions from their institutional spokespeople, necessarily justify the "why did you sit by and watch?" criticism. They're not an inmates' advocacy group, but neither do they uniformly shirk their responsibility to speak up about conditions. Compared to CO unions in most states, they're arguably the most forward thinking bunch I'm aware of in terms of going beyond pay and benefits to focus on shared conditions that affect both guards and inmates.

Anonymous said...

The people who don't vote have yielded their power to the fascist in this state. The fascist political establishment designed a system where privately held Wallstreet prisons could profit off a cheaply operated prison industrial complex. The private prison model called for warehousing people, paying guards minimum wage with no benefits, ignoring costly inmate medical needs, ignoring inmate mental health needs, and enhancing criminal penalties that target the poor.

A revolt is needed against the fascist Republikkkan leadership in Texas. The fascist Republikkkan leadership in the Texas House and Senate need to be replaced in the upcoming November 2016 election. Mass voter registration needs to occur in our cities throughout the state. We can win against the Republikkkan leadership as we just won against the fascist in the Houston's mayor race.

Anonymous said...

@ 09:30:00 AM - I am reading all the posts and I don't see what you see. Nobody implied all officers use excessive force. It seems that most complaints are about some officers who abuse power. From the posts it looks like there is abuse going on.
It is understable that the majority of officers want to do their jobs in peace and quiet and go home at the end of their shift.

What was expressed and not implied is the idea that if a single officer is abusive and those witnessing the abuse remain silent they are morally culpable. Or, if they work for a system which is abusive, they are also morally culpable.

1. This idea probably comes from our legal history.
Under legal systems where guilt by association is allowed, a defendant could be charged with guilt by association merely for being in the same place with those who were guilty, for not taking affirmative action to stop them, or for not reporting the crime. However, in the US guilt by association is not allowed under our constitution. To be guilty without direct action, a person must either solicit (request), conspire with (agree with), or aid/assist someone else toward a criminal action.
Thus, it can be argued that correctional officers who witness abuse and get paid to assist a government agency in the violation of the civil rights of thers, they are guilty by association. It is more of a moral than legal argument, but its roots are in legal doctrine.

2. Other countries have different laws. In great Britain: "Alex has been charged with a murder committed by a friend in a spontaneous fight; Wayne has been convicted of possessing a firearm he never touched; Joseph is serving a life sentence for a murder he didn't even see. All of them have been convicted using the law of Joint Enterprise under which a person in a group or gang can be held responsible for the criminal acts of others. Joint Enterprise is a 300-year-old law which has been increasingly used in recent years to combat the rise in gang violence.

3. The idea that someone who commits crimes against humanity is legally and morally accountable, even if he was following orders, also comes from history. There have been legal prosecutions of those who participated as guards or who were in command during the holocaust and other genocides, even if Hitler ordered them to commit such atrocities. Texas officers are obviously not even close to witnessing or participating in such atrocities. The idea, though that following orders is no excuse to commit atrocities or aid government agencies in evil-doing, has historical underpinnings.

4. There are also moral stories proposing that, if you see evil and you do nothing, you are morally guilty of sitting-by and watching passively.
For example: "Head football coach Joe Paterno was fired by his university for his failure to intervene upon learning about the alleged long-running sexual abuses by defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. Questions also center on Mike McQueary, who is still employed by Penn State; he witnessed child rape firsthand in 2002, when he was a graduate assistant coach, but did not alert the police." Many feel that there are moral responsibilities to report crimes, even when "it is not our job to do so, or we would fired if we did."

5. There are religious cases: We all agree that Catholic Bishops, if they knew of the sexual abuse by priests, should have reported them and should have fired the priests. Although not found legally liable, their dioceses was required to pay millions of dollars to the victims. Juries felt they were morally obligated to do so. COs are not part of a religious group. The are, however, part of a government that - until we know differently - protects the civil rights of its citizens. The mandate is moral.

I am neutral in my stance on this, although, I would hope that folks who see evil anywhere, will have the courage to stand against it or to separate themselves from it.

If you are responding to 09:19:00 AM, I think he was being sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

Ken Abrahams, a friend of mine, in Why It’s So Hard to Fire an Abusive Prison Guard Union rules:

"Union rules, many of which are plainly absurd (even errors of law are “binding” and cannot be corrected! – who negotiated that on behalf of the public”!?) make it virtually impossible to fire criminals wearing law enforcement uniforms!

Policies like these mock justice, and cost taxpayers billions of dollars; because inmates see that the “grievance” procedure is a total farce, they see that the prison officials will not act, they litigate endlessly! YOU are paying the costs of that litigation, in more ways than one. Federal courts are overloaded, due to inmate lawsuits, and you are paying the financial costs – court staff, judges’ salaries, scores of attorneys who must defend thousands of such cases every year."

Anonymous said...

It's surprising that you don't have any judges or magistrates speaking at the conference.

There's not any good reason that Sandra Bland wasn't released on a PR bond.

And Texas law does not provide for the right to counsel when bail is set. Many other states and the federal system afford a suspect that right. That simple change would make a big difference in pretrial detention rates and level the playing field for the indigent that are caught up in the system.

Robert Burns
Judge, The Criminal District Court,
Dallas County.

From Dallas said...

Poor of even deadly food quality was discussed above on 12/22. The "food" served has another problem. It is low in triptophan, a micronutrient. It also causes gastrointestinal problems which disturb the triptophan process.

This has behavioral consequences as it makes inmates more anxious and more prone to act out.
Please, read this:

Serotonin is a chemical found in the body that acts as a neurotransmitter — it carries a signal from one neuron to another. It is derived from tryptophan, a necessary amino acid in our diet, and is found in various parts of the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, blood platelets, and the central nervous system. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of our body’s serotonin is actually located in the gastrointestinal tract (about 80 to 90 percent of the body’s supply), rather than the brain.

In discussing serotonin’s relationship to anxiety and fear disorders, the serotonin in the brain will be the focus. Serotonin is believed to have many effects on our psychological state. It has a very wide distribution in the brain, affecting many different areas that correlate to many different parts of our functioning. Being so ubiquitous, serotonin is believed to have an influence on aspects of our brain functioning that include mood, social behavior, appetite, sexual desire and functioning, sleep, and memory.

Some researchers have demonstrated that there’s a link between serotonin’s function in the brain and the development of mental disorders. Possible contributors to mental disorder development include the brain producing lower-than-normal levels of serotonin, a lack of receptor sites able to receive the serotonin that has been produced, a problem in serotonin transport, or a lack of tryptophan, the chemical from which serotonin is derived.

Basically, if the food doesn't kill an inmate, it will make him mentally unstable.

From Dallas said...

Continuing the above discussion on diety/tryptophan/serotonin/depression/anxiety/behavior link.

A recent study of serotonin, the chemical responsible for your mood, suggests that the group of conditions currently identified as anxiety disorders may need to be recategorized (to include serotonin-based disorders).. ...
Anxiety disorders are a grouping of several mental conditions whose symptoms cluster around “excessive, irrational fear, and dread,”.... The grouping generally includes panic disorders, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), phobias (including social phobia), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)......

How Does Serotonin Fit In?

Serotonin is a chemical found in the body that acts as a neurotransmitter — it carries a signal from one neuron to another. It is derived from tryptophan, a necessary amino acid in our diet, and is found in various parts of the body, including the gastrointestinal tract, blood platelets, and the central nervous system...... the majority of our body’s serotonin is actually located in the gastrointestinal tract (about 80 to 90 percent of the body’s supply), rather than the brain.

In discussing serotonin’s relationship to anxiety and fear disorders, the serotonin in the brain will be the focus. ... serotonin is believed to have an influence on aspects of our brain functioning that include mood, social behavior, appetite, sexual desire and functioning, sleep, and memory......there’s a link between serotonin’s function in the brain and the development of mental disorders. .....

Anxiety disorders in particular have been strongly associated with low levels of serotonin.....

So What’s The New Information, And Why Is It Important?

According to a team of international researchers, the functioning of the serotonergic system is not homogenous in the group of disorders called anxiety disorders. Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the research analyzed six studies that evaluated the effect of reducing tryptophan (the precursor to serotonin) in patients that had received treatment for an anxiety disorder. This paradigm often results in a severe reduction of serotonin levels in the body, allowing researchers to make observations about the importance of the neurotransmitter in disorders and psychological functioning.

The researchers predicted that reductions in serotonin levels would cause a worsening of symptoms in those patients with a disorder more related to fear (a phobia, for example), but not in those with a disorder more related to anxiety (general anxiety disorder), even though they’re all currently grouped together and treated with SSRIs. Their reanalysis of studies directly confirmed this theory.

"The idea of responses to threatening stimuli causing feelings and emotions related to fear and anxiety, as well as a myriad of subgroups within these responses, is not new,” said Felipe Corchs, ... “However, our study gives an important step toward sub clustering of disorders once it is based on one of the most important neurotransmitters involved in these reactions and in the fact that it was tested in actual psychiatric patients.”

Source: Cochs F, Nutt D, Hince D, Davies S, Bernik M, Hood S. Evidence For Serotonin Function As A Neurochemical Difference Between Fear And Anxiety Disorders In Humans? Journal of Pharmacology. 2015.

Anonymous said...

n be said about guards too.