Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Back Gate Back to Regular, Excellent Publishing Regimen

Though their remodeled site does not have permalinks, making it impossible to link to individual stories (please guys, fix this and you'll get a lot more traffic from me, at the very least!), The Back Gate, a blog operated by Texas prison guards, has published some excellent, informative posts in the last couple of weeks, including an item by a Sergeant who was accidentally pricked with a prison tattoo needle (pictured) during a cell search. He describes the torturous wait for medical test results to come back, and how the preventive treatment regimen changed his life for months thereafter.

Virtually everyone who goes to prison comes back with one or more tattoos, though all of the required equipment is considered contraband. In New Mexico under Republican Governor Bill Richardson, state prisons actually set up tattoo parlors inside the walls to reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C through dirty needles. With medical costs rising, that might be something to think about; it's not like the current system has eliminated the practice of applying prison tats.

Another Back Gate story informs us about a Farmers Branch-based company called Unique Performance that used Texas inmates to build muscle cars. The vehicles were allegedly fraudulently marketed and never delivered to hundreds of customers around the globe. Another Back Gate story lets us know about an instance where a company using prison labor wound up competing directly with a local company for contracts, drawing political backlash that included intervention by Texas legislators and Ag Commissioner Todd Staples.

Good stuff from our friends at TBG. Visit them for more.


Anonymous said...

scott, BG also deserves credit for their message boards. when interested civilians (families of incarcerated) began to post on their site
the correctional officers had a hissie
fit...instead of saying shove off, the BG set up a message board for civilians...mostly family/friends of prisoners,but a place to get information in a format that is much more professional than some of the prison family support sites..many co's interact with the family members answering questions and explaining the system. A real service to the families.

So they give you hard news of TDCJ, provide a place for corrections employees to vent and they have a forum
for the families of inmates...all done by an avid reader of their sites as well, I agree, the accolades from you are well deserved.

Anonymous said...

Scott, just one thing I want to pick up from your post: you say "virtually all inmates come out with one or more tattoos". I dont think that's true. Many inmates know the dangers of infection in prison, not just from tattoo guns but also the barber shop equipment and just being in a confined place with so many other people where staf infection is common. Many inmates had the tatts BEFORE they went inside.

BackGate is doing a great job.

Anonymous said...

i went into prison w/o tats, and stayed that way for 10 years until i got out. i didn't want (and still don't) hep c or the guys i know who got tats and the accompanying diseases, i feel sympathy and hope they get the health care they need. to anon at 02:14...WTF?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Would y'all agree that "most" people who go to prison come back with tattoos? I've actually never known anyone who went in clean who came out without one - except perhaps in a brief SAFP stint or something - but maybe that's just me. It's also just a casual observation, not anything I have data or first-hand knowledge about - I'll accept, for sure, it was an overstatement.

Anonymous said...

scott ~ I'd settle for "many"