Friday, December 18, 2015

Guards say Texas prisons a 'living hell,' and other stories

I finally created bios for all of Grits' new contributing writers. See here. And here are a few odds and ends which haven't made it into independent Grits posts but merit readers' attention heading into the weekend:


Anonymous said...

Grits, it's encouraging to see you've attracted such talented contributors. It would be great if you had a link to submit a story idea that a guest contributed put together.

sunray's wench said...

It's good to see the TDCJ guard speaking out about the heat situation in the state's prisons - given that inmate families have been speaking out about it on the guards' behalf as well as the inmates' behalf for years now. Perhaps they are starting to see that it doesn't have to be a "them v us" situation.

Anonymous said...

The officers are on record and have been speaking out about this issue for the last several years. Interviews with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, AP, and NPR were done by the officer's union years ago helping to bring international pressures on the State. An Amicus Brief has filed last year by the officers in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on the excessive heat issue.

For years after the Estelle v Ruiz stipulation, the courts were flooded with too many fraudulent cases by inmates that resulted in tort reforms limiting actions that could be taken by courts on injunctive relief. While most inmate actions filed in court remain fraudulent, some aren't.

The atmosphere of "Us verses Them" was created through fraudulent actions which continues today. Most inmates need to realize they are not lawyers and report any alleged abuses to trained advocacy attorneys / groups if the alleged abuses are serious. Inmate families should support groups such as Texas ACLU and Texas Civil Rights Project with funding to help pursue professional advocacy.

There is no "US versus Them," only "Professional versus Unprofessional." Officer training (or lack of), proper applicant vetting, psychological testing, proper recruiting, and proper pay to attract a large enough applicant pool are the real issues that need to be focused on when it comes to officers who exhibit poor people skills. Correctional officers need to possess a very skillful ability to communicate with some of the most hostile individuals known to man. There is no "Us versus Them," only inability to communicate on ones level. The underfunding that continues to occur in the prison system is not the fault of the officers, but society as a whole who seeks to take revenge instead or reform ones actions. We live in a very hateful society which must learn heal instead of harm, but time must be served, as that is a reasonable punishment, not torture.

Anonymous said...

I only have personal knowledge of TDC personnel's interactions with my son and from reading about a Stanford University study where one group of students was put under the supervision/control of another group.

It appears to me that inmates [how i hate the word offender!!] and guards are the opposite faces of the same coin.

I can see the problem, not quite smart enough to know the solution.

At the same time, recent interactions with TDC have left me grateful and speechless by the fact they [TDC] actually responded in a timely, and correct manner to solve a situation regarding my sons incarceration. The situation was possibly brought about by TDC staff retaliation - not saying it was, just saying possibly.

Anonymous said...

To: 2:45 AM You state: There is no "Us versus Them," only inability to communicate on ones level."
-----------------I beg to differ, sir or madam. ---------------------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; ----------
As to my calling you "guards" instead of "officers". I am being polite. A better epithet, at least for the sadistic ones in your midst, is one I recently learned: wann-a-be-cops rejects.

Anonymous said...

From the above: "....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." This is manslaughter my friends, if not deliberate murder by neglect." The officers who perpetrated these horrific crimes need to be prosecuted. And they want more money instead? The arrogance!

Anonymous said...

Here is the fulll text:
Shannon Nealey commented on Suicides and attempts on the rise in Texas prisons | Dallas Morning News

"This has been a long and growing concern. Problem is, society doesn't care about these people; prison is nothing more than society's garbage can. No one cares what happens to trash once it's thrown away; this is the same thing.

Inmates are very vulnerable and often subjected to cruel treatment by the correctional officers. Their medical complaints often go
unaddressed and this leads to death in many cases. It is widely believed that inmates are faking mental illness or they fake illness to get out of their cell or to get attention.

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.

Change has to be made. Something has to be done. Yes, they are inmates...but they are still people, too."

Unknown said...

FIVE TIMES that she can recall? What about the times that she cannot recall? What about the times that she wasn't there? And this at one unit? What would the actual figure be of you multiply by the number of units? This is insane! Is this America or North Korea?

Anonymous said...

To 7"06 AM - "In response to: I can see the problem, not quite smart enough to know the solution."
Here are some suggestions which I have previously posted in this forum and I will continue posting everywhere, until or unless I am not allowed to do so:
- MANDATORY THERAPY for the many abusive, sick, psychopaths employed by the system, so that the good ones don't leave after a few months of employment, and inmates are safer?
- Requiring that officers have at least 2-yr college? The salaries are not really that low for rural Texas, especially if you consider the benefits. Turnover is due more to job dissatisfaction bec/ of poor peer-relations, back-stabbing, fear, and poor communication.
- Rendering these very well-paid health professionals accountable for really doing their jobs? Their salaries can reach 6-digits.
- Criminally prosecuting guards for the abuses? For retaliatinbg? For murders? (Read the post about the ex-officer who witnessed at least 5 cases of neglect resulting in death-by-medical-neglect)
- Requiring that UTMB psychiatrists and physicians show up for work instead of spending most of their time running a separate private practice often 60 or more miles away from the unit they are paid to serve with salaries up to 200K? thus leaving their health care duties to low-level nurses or to poorly-staffed offices?
- Not allowing horrific and approved cell extraction methods that scare the bejesus out of patients? Or pepper-spray and beatings?
- Making sure that Senior wardens show up for work at the unit, instead of running their own ranch while receiving quite lucrative salaries?
- Increasing the food budget from $.58 cents per meal to a realistic figure, so that prisoners are not served unedible, nutrient-poor slop which increases mental health and physical problems?
- Increasing health-care budget to more than $1.67 per day per patient?
- Developping a system of outside oversight and accountability?
- Rendering UTMB accountable for providing the care and the meds they are contractually obligated to provide?
- Appointing judges at the 5th Circuit Court of App. who will prosecute civil rights violations?
- Doing away with the requirement that inmates must file at least 2 grievances begore their attorney can sue TDCJ even for wrongful death? When an inmate is dead, s/he cannot file grievances. When they are alive, they know their grievances may cost them their life, so many don't file. Others can't because they are functionally illiterate.

Anonymous said...

To 7:55 AM - Quoting: "This has been a long and growing concern. Problem is, society doesn't care about these people; prison is nothing more than society's garbage can. No one cares what happens to trash once it's thrown away; this is the same thing." - Well, this time they have thrown away the wrong "trash".
If the pen is indeed mighter than the sword, the friends and family members of one "piece of trash" will keep on writing, and writing, and writing until each REAL piece of trash working for TDCJ/UTMB are looked upon with the disdain they deserve, and until somebody decides to wake-up and prosecute them with the full extent of the law.
In the meanwhile, the cat is out of the bag. TDCJ can no longer hide behind the lies and cover ups. When a conservative newspaper like the DMN runs stories, WFAA continues the task of exposing the truth, and, GFB stays on course as it has always done, something is up or something is new. Perhaps a new civil rights movement? Perhaps some politician needing votes will embrace prison reform, for real this time? Perhaps the feds are keeping an eye on things? Perhaps the families will no longer believe what the wardens tell them? Perhaps TIFA (Texas Inmates Families Association) will grow more teeth and DEMAND that retaliatory behaviors end? Or perhaps nothing will happen. But this family will keep on writing. You buried the wrong trash TDCJ. You killed the wrong inmate UTMB. See? You CAN NO LONGER RETALIATE. Without the ability to retaliate, you have lost your paws. TO THE FAMILIES OF DECEASED INMATES: I am sorry for your loss, PLEASE SPEAK UP! To officers who have already quit: PLEASE SPEAK UP! We have no other tools but our voices. Only when politicians hear an uproar, they will no longer be able to look the other way.

Anonymous said...

To show the level of resentment of TDCJ staff who are certainly entitled to their opinion, here's what some TDCJ officers posted of Facebook in the "Texas Department of Criminal Justice Employees" forum, a PUBLIC forum, thus I feel free to post their names as they seem to be in the public domain by their own choice:
---- 1. Matt Tapia Difference school kids typically have to pay for lunch. "Offenders" get 3 square meals free... _-_"
---- 2. Janet Chaffin I tell a complaining inmate when he complains about his current housing situation '' if you don't like the accommodations you should not have made the self made reservations then!.
---- 3. Charles E. Witte Alot do, another FREE government program, that costs the tax payers. Need a program where they have to work to earn the right for free . Everything they get, they have to earn meals, a bed, shower, tv, and such. No work, no pay, sleep on floor, water & bread 1 meal, beans and bread the other, no free health, and no free education.. Make them learn they have to earn what they want in order to live. No free rides. Everyone else free has to earn what they want, so be it for prisoner.
---- 4. Suzi Woods Some offenders agree with me that they have it far better than some who pay for less.
---- 5. James Hale well eva it maybe that way where ur at but the ones im familiar with your comment is bullshit . The way the guards talk to them inmates im surprized all of them dont get there dam head chopped off . When i went down there sewers live here was written on the back of the chair . you had 5 minutes to eat or take showers . Everytime i called the dispatch was a fuckin asshole and i havent done a fuckin thing . Even a CPS worker said that was the biggest mess of employees that she had ever seen . everything that happens to them holyer the though guards its prolly deserved
---- 6. Victor Santamaria I used to work for TDCJ , yes it gets hot in prison unit . In some the units they do have air-conditioner . It's a prison unit not the Hilton hotel, yes it does get hot in there but who ready fault is this , it's person that did the crime has to put the time in. There ones that put them self in there . The prisoners have better then the homeless people , the have a roof over there heads , three meals a day , they have clean prison uniforms, they watch tv , at the Texas tax dollars expense. The prisoners needs to stop crying because it's to hot , they should think about it before they murder , rape , robbery and so on . They should suck it up .
The comments speak for themselves. There are many other TDCJ or officers' forums, some are restricted and not public. It's interesting to go there. Facebook, Linkedin, DOC Associations, etc.
Have fun, go there and get to know them. The US vs THEM attitude is alive and well.

Anonymous said...

The syntax and grammar in the above posts clearly show we must give a well deserved raise based on their educational level. Or may be not. Minimum wage seems more appropriate. Calling the guards is a raise in status.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say "calling them guards" is a raise in thei social status.

Anonymous said...

My gadget keeps on dropping letters. Sorry again. their, not thei.

Unknown said...

It must be the universe paying you back, since you are criticizing their spelling. Just kidding.

Anonymous said...

Please, read carefully and take note. Look at the post 8:49 AM.
Go down to item marked number 5. A guard writes in his fb post that in the back of the chairs, probably in chow hall, was written: "sewer lives here".
".... The way the guards talk to them inmates im surprized all of them dont get there dam head chopped off . When i went down there sewers live here was written on the back of the chairs . you had 5 minutes to eat or take showers."
This man is also reporting that the way guards talk to the inmates is derogative and that their behavior can provoke attacks.
It also clearly reports that inmates had only five minutes to shower or eat their meals.
I thank this officer for telling it the way it is. I don't know his intentions but I appreciate his telling. THIS IS ABUSE FOLKS!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yap, hurry up before they cancel the posts.

Unknown said...

Now watch that site on facebook going from being open to the public to becoming a private forum open only to its members. I will be surprised if this were not to happen by noon today.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sunray's wench said...

@ Anon 2.45

In your world there may not be a "them v us" mentality, but with the majority of TDCJ officers I have had contact with over the past 11 years there certainly is - they are proud of it and it is indoctrinated into them during their training (though for some, I strongly suspect the indoctrination was not required). There are of course some highly professional officers, but they appear to be in the minority.

Anonymous said...

Sunray, there are not, in my opinion "high professional officers". It is wrong to generalize I know. But once they are hired, stay there and keep their mouth shut not to get fired or killed, they change from decent human beings to part of a corrupt and toxic system. The only good officers are the ones who left in disgust. Some officers may not even realize that the system gradually changes them. They may mean well. They may suffer in silence when they see the stuff that goes on. But they still keep their mouth shut. Many go home and drown their pain in liquor, pretending nothing is going on. Don't fool yourself. Their loyalty is to the system. The money comes from the system. They are indoctrinated to support the system.
Those professionals you talk about are nothing but better actors than others. If they correct a wrong, they do it mostly to protect the system. They don't give a damn about the inmates. If they did, they could not and would not psychologically survive. The Stanford experiment was interrupted when they realized this.
They have to detach to be able to make it. This is not the healthy detachment of professionals, though. This is a form of dissociation. They have two persona. Once they do that, the desensitization and the brainwashing take root. Eventually they too become toxic. Many studies, besides the Stanford experiment, support this. If you need to deal with them, you need to pretend you respect and believe them. You say "yes sir", "yes ma'm". Be careful, though, about trusting them. If you go from one to another, you have just touched different parts of the same poisonous snake. When you forget this, you will slowly become brainwashed too. If you don't believe this, remember that "it is not what one says, but it is what one does that counts."
Wardens' and officers' behavior, when in public, is incongruent with what really goes on. They tell you one thing, or perhaps they do you a small favor, but then, everything goes back to the same routine which is hell for the inmates.
Incongruent behavior is a sign of lying.Ask an FBI agent.
Intermittent reinforcement (being nice one time and not ten other times) is designed to bamboozle you. Just like the slot machines in Las Vegas. These machines make you win a bit, but in the long run you lose. It's called intermittent reinforcement and it is a form of brainwashing. Guards are skilled in this form of manipulative behavior. Wardens and public officials are master manipulators.
I apologize for the rambling and I recognize that this my own personal opinion which is based of 22 years of experience with the system. I respect yours as your experience may be different than mine. I pray that you and your family are safe. Holidays blessings.

Anonymous said...

@ sunray's wench. You got it: I strongly suspect the indoctrination was not required.
Not required. Many are already that way when they apply for the job.

sunray's wench said...

Too many Anons, I have no idea if that was one person answering or another - PLEASE just pick a random username and stick with it, no one will know who you are, but at least folks like me can keep some track of the conversation!

Anonymous said...

Prisons are just a reflection of our society inside a micro-culture. There are good officers and there are bad officers. The officers don't set the budget for prisons. If there are too many "Bad Officers" than better applicant vetting, training, and standards need to be demanded from our elected state leadership. People who make poor decisions usually have a history of making poor decisions. Abuse and ignorance are a trait you can observe in one's past. Why would you hire or promote an individual with a history of poor decision making or abuse?

Reason:....... "Money."

Some of your elected leaders wish to turn their heads the other way while allowing a corrupt and broken prison system to exist. Correctional officer positions must be filled and the state will hire just about anyone to maintain bare minimum staffing levels.

The fact remains budgeting priorities don't go to prisons. Texas leaders would rather waste state resources on the border political theatre than to fund basic government operations such as prisons. The political drama on the border is a waste of money when transnational gangs are just using our prison system to recruit and train people to engage in organized crime when they reenter the freeworld. Inmates can learn the basics of producing domestically produced crystal meth and how to distribute it through their gang.

We can blame the officers for the problems in the prison system, but the true scope of the problem for years has been the Governor's Office and the Texas Legislature. Ignoring the problem or shifting the blame will not make it go away.

Problem = "Bad Officers"

Solution = Don't hire them.

It doesn't get any simpler than that.

Unknown said...
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Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Agreed: the Governor and the Legislature are ultimately responsible. The rest, though, is not quite that simple. It's the whole system that needs revamping. Pouring more money into the system, without revamping it, is a waste. There are many rules in place which are broken daily and nobody is prosecuted.

Most rules are geared toward protecting the corruption within the system. Staff would fall in line if they knew that they can't get away with evil-doing. Wardens and medical staff would show up for work and inmates would not die from abuse and neglect. Firing is not enough. Prosecuting those who commit atrocities would keep many in line. No consequences equates to permission to "do as you please".

So, no. It's not just the salaries. Wardens make decent salaries and they are corrupted regardless. Medical staff earn excellent salaries and they are basically worthless. I am tired to hear that money is the main problem when it comes to abuse of inmates and cover-ups.

Allocating more funds to restructure the dirty rat holes and to place AC or large fans in the facilities is a MUST. They have reduced the food budget to an unacceptable bare minimum. The Ferguson unit and other older facilities need to be shut down as they are old, musty, have toxic mould and are a disgrace. The water wells in certain units bring arsenic-containing water that inmates drink daily. This needs to be fixed and it takes money.

However, lack of money does not, under any circumstance, justify breaking the law by officers who abuse and/or neglect prisoners. Blaming low salaries is just another way to divert attention to the real problem. Each State employee, regardless of the salary they receive, is responsible for following the rules, showing up for work, and for not taking the arbitrary punishing of the inmates into their own hands with the horrific results which have been documented and reported.

ACCOUNTABILITY and LACK OF OVERSIGHT are the main problems here.

When was the last time that ANYBODY HAS BEEN PROSECUTED FOR NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE, MEDICAL NEGLECT, MANSLAUGHTER, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT OR EVEN RAPE OF INMATES AND JUVENILES, DEFRAUDING THE STATE BY NOT SHOWING UP FOR WORK or FOR DERELICTION OF DUTY WHILE COLLECTING THEIR PAY CHECKS? How often are officers fired for covering up for those who use excessive force, needless harassment, arbitrary discipline? When was any officer arrested for bringing drugs into the prisons?

Only rarely you see an officere go to prison for egregious violations of already existing laws. The higher-ups, however, remain UNTOUCHABLE. So, yes, money is a problem, but it is not the main or only problem. Accountability and no-tolerance for cover-ups would go a long way, even with the existing budget.

Anonymous said...

Dallas, the flaw of the system is its reactive instead of proactive. Sending officers to prison is not the answer. I agree corrective behavior needs to occur, but when you fail to vet, train, psychologically screen, and supervise officers the system itself needs to be held accountable. That's the problem with our criminal justice system... The flaw of our society is we seem to think prison fixes all the problems.

Let's start by placing the voters in prison for choosing the leadership in Austin. Next lets place the politicians in place. Next we can place the people who didn't vote in prison. We should give them the most harsh sentences.

Prison time clearly is not the answer to fixing a broken system. The state can't even keep the officers they have. More proactive actions should be taken to resolve this issue. Clearly the prison system is over populated when it comes to financial appropriations. A prison population reduction is the first issue that needs to be addressed on this overly expansive prison system. Less inmates requires less staffing. Finances become less of an issue owner you are having to vet fewer officers.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon 3:36 AM - The law applies to all citizens. You place people in prison when they break the law, and you are advocating that State employees who beat, maim, neglect and murder inmates not be rendered accountable? Are you serious? I guess you are. A double standardard does not seem to bother you.
I agree that we need to reduce the levels of incarceration.
Officer retentention would be higher if we got rid of the bad apples who make the life of prisoners and staff miserable. Good people don't want to work with assholes.

Anonymous said...

Boston civil-liberties lawyer Harvey Silverglate estimates the average American commits three felonies a day. I'm not advocating for officers to get away with rule violations, but prison for every rule infraction is too harsh. Serious legal violations need to be prosecuted, but non-serious violations should be handled through other disciplinary means and that includes loss of employment. TDCJ and Texas county correctional officers need a uniform correctional officers license, that way licensing suspensions can occur to punish serious offenses and ensure violators doesn't just go work for another agency.

Anonymous said...

"MANDATORY THERAPY for the many abusive, sick, psychopaths employed by the system, so that the good ones don't leave after a few months of employment, and inmates are safer?"

Really??? Why would you hire them in the first place if they are that bad? Applicant vetting and screening would be simpler.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have some extreme anger issues. Don't let your emotions overrun you to the point you make poor decisions and extremely poor messaging.

FYI "guards" are people who watch bank vaults. Inmates are humans, not bank vaults. Officers manage human populations, not bank vaults. I would hope TDCJ hires "officers" and not people watching bank vaults. Inmates are not big chunks of metal.

Stereotyping every officer and use of epithet is only trolling the issues and not properly addressing them. Prisons are full of abuse and don't think for one minute inmates aren't some of the biggest abusers in the system. While most inmates and officers just do their time, abuse occurs from both sides. New female officers in prisons are subjected to some of the worse sexual harassment I've ever seen. The "Us verses Them" mindset was created by the inmate culture who play games on staff for entertainment and other munipulative reasons. Most officers wish to mind their own business, but are consistently harassed by jerks, manipulators, con-artist, and real sexual predators.

Unknown said...

@ 04:01:00 PM

Please, don't bite commenters' head off for using the word 'guard'. The title of the GFB article is "Guards say Texas prisons a 'living hell,' and other stories". Newspapers use it all the time too. Not all officers are offended by this term. I believe you you when you say that female officers are harassed by inmates who, to be honest, often masturbate at their sight.

Unknown said...

03:18:00 PM
I totally agree: "TDCJ and Texas county correctional officers need a uniform correctional officers license, that way licensing suspensions can occur to punish serious offenses and ensure violators doesn't just go work for another agency."
I don't believe anybody is advocating prison for minor officers misconduct. Often though, officers' negligence and abuse cause deaths. Other times, the use of excessive force is unconstitutional and violates civil rights. If you read the reports of The Texas Civil Rights Project, you will understand.

sunray's wench said...

I agree with From Dallas about the use of the word "guard", it's a generic term and is not intended to be derogatory.

And I don't disagree with Anon@4.01 that some inmates also have a "them v us" mentality, but that usually does not extend to officer's friends an family in the way some officers apply it. It should be possible to separate effectively those who do not behave themselves while in prison from those who do, and treat accordingly so that consequences can be clearer. At the moment, blanket restrictions and punishments are applied which does nothing to encourage good behaviour.

The officers don't make the rules though, and there is much that needs fixing in TDCJ and TX criminal management in general that installing air con wont touch.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

FWIW, "prison guard" is descriptive. "Correctional officer" is politically correct bureaucrat-speak.

Anonymous said...

@ GFB 8:3:30 AM

And wanna-be-cop-reject is in response to guards calling inmates and their families POS, then proceeding to act accordingly in treating them like garbage, to the point of writing in the back of chairs, in at least one unit, 'sewer lives here' with the apptoval, consent, and the appropriate disregard of wardens and higher-rank, which proves that they too are wanna-be-cop-rejects. In other units shit like this happens daily, nightly, by the hour. They were not hired to do this.

Their effort to improve public relation by having the wanna-be-cop-rejects ask a family member who visit the facility: "how was your visit?" or "have a good visit, mam sir; adds to the insult. While one may answer "fine, thank-you", what they probably want to say is "f-u too sir/mam".

Now whoever posted here before that there are troll here, can call me a troll too and tell me that this non politically correct post hinders your efforts at improving prisons' conditions. I hope this much: that you at least ask that they paint the god damn chairs and remove the insults.

Signed: Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth (the new troll)again @ sunray wrench

I like you and I like you understand, but please, stop making excuses for the guards. I agree that we need for a lot of rules to be changed, In the meanwhile, we can work at enforcing the existing decent rules, as some were inactyed.

There is such a thing like Stockholm Syndrome. It happens when the abused make excuses for the abusers. Many retrning prisoners suffer from it. I do not know you and I wish no disrespect. I hope, though, we can stay focused on reality here.

Fuards don't make the rules, but they don't even follow the common-sense rules on the book like:
- don't retaliate?
- Don't humiliate? (you may get killed when that guy you called POS turns on you).
- De-escalate instead of provoking by giving bogus cases? (if you don't get killed, inmates will lose respect and manipulate you or lie even more thn they already do. Or they will call rank and embarass you. They'll make your job a living hell/ Do you blame them? Give and thou shall reive lol)
- Don't beat the crap out of inmates, sick people, visibly handicapped prisoners just for because you get bored with your job or just because you can?
- Don't go around the hallways laughing like idiots and sharing funny stories like "I got that POS to shit his pants when I yelled him. Then I made him clean it up. He was even crying. That was so funny!" Really? What do you think other inmates will feel when they hear that because you talk so loudly you could not hear a train pass by.
- Eat your lunches with fruit, fresh salads and dessert in front of inmates who will never see an apple while incarcerated? - have you ever heard of sensitivity?
- Make medical diagnoses "s/he is not sick. He don't look sick to me": you are not doctors.
- Deny medical visits based on your diagnosis? Or because you are just having a shitty day?
- Ask or proceed to do extractions (you know what I am talking about) when really you could have waited a few minutes for the terrified or psychotic inmate to cool down.
- Turn the temperature down to 50, proceed to put your jackets on, and enjoy looking at inmates shiver like a leaf in the fall wind because you know they have no sweaters or jackets. Then enjoy the view or perhaps laugh, give high-fives, lol.
- Make these POS lives more miserable by playing mind games.
- Cover up your fellow wann a be cop reject's wrongdoing, or better, let him know that "he was right as that POS surely deserved what was coming."
- instigate one inmate against another
- come up with many more creative way to harass.

See? They can't lie to me. In my book there are no excuses, there are really none. I am not a scholar so explanations are useless. I focus on what is.

I agree with you that many rules by decree of your shitiness wardens-in-chief and higher ups need to change and that we need real funding.

Signed Elizabeth

Unknown said...

"Fuards? is this a typo or a new epithet for guards?

Anonymous said...

Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages/prisoners express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors.
Also called capture-bonding, it is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with the captors, or having sexual desires for them.

Although originally it referred to hostages in kidnapping, today it is used more liberally in other contexts i.e. prisons.

Inmates can suffer from this. It is a covert defense mechanism aimed at psychological survival.
In reverse, officers can bond to inmates and have sexual relationships w/ them - this is still abuse as it is a relationship between a weaker person (the inmate) and one in power (the officer).

Anonymous said...

While emotions may drive some people, logic and evidence based practices are things to follow when fixing issues in a criminal justice system.

The solution to the problems TDCJ is extremely simple:

1. Don't hire bad people.
2. Don't hire officers with a history of poor decision making.
3. Train the officers using evidence based practices.
4. Implement a fair system of rule compliance and enforcement.
5. Implement the use of body cameras that can record audio.

sunray's wench said...


I'm not making any excuses for the unprofessional officers. I don't deny that any of the things you list have happened - too many times I hear people talking about them so at least some of it must be true. But the structure of the housing, activities (or lack of) and the absense of a desire to help inmates become productive citizens from the day they enter TDCJ is as big an issue as the bad behaviour of some of the staff. If overall inmates are seen as an inconvenience or a threat, then there is no incentive for either side to improve.

Unknown said...
"The Chronicle found eight cases in which inmates were choked, punched or kicked by detention officers and then ended up facing felony charges for alleged crimes against staff members, even though jailers were later disciplined for misconduct in connection with the same incidents - either for using excessive force or failing to report the incidents. Three of the eight, including Evans, were convicted and went to prison."

Unknown said...

The Chronicle found that when jailers file charges against inmates, they are typically reviewed and accepted within a day by the district attorney's office intake division. But the sheriff's internal investigation into the actions of jail staff can take an average of eight months, according to disciplinary reports from the last five years - sometimes finding misconduct or inconsistencies well after an inmate has been convicted of a related charge.

"Official final reports and an investigation should be done before that prisoner's case is resolved," said defense attorney Joe Owmby, who formerly headed the DA's civil rights division when it was known as police integrity. "Because it's not fair that an IAD investigation make take 30 days, and neither the prisoner nor the prisoner's lawyer has any idea that maybe it was this guard's fault, because they haven't concluded their investigation."


Anonymous said...

06:36:00 AM
How many citizens have been screwed over besides the 8 reported cases?
Let me guess.....
And this is not a conspiracy when even the IAD is involved?

Anonymous said...

EL PASO, Texas (CN) - Exonerated in the murders of two teenagers after almost 20 years in prison, Daniel Villegas claims El Paso police suppressed evidence of his innocence, coerced a false confession and "completely corrupted the investigative process."
Villegas, 38, sued El Paso, former Chief of Police John Scagno, investigators Alfonso Marquez, Scott Graves, Earl Arbogast, Joe Laredo and four other officers who worked on the case, on Thursday in Federal Court.
He claims the officers used threats of inmate rape, death by electric chair and actual physical assaults to coerce a false statement from him and other teenagers who corroborated their bogus account of the 1993 crime.

And this is not a conspiracy? I know, it's not TDCJ by what the heck? Its government employees regardless.

Anonymous said...

Dallas, no one disputes there are many well documented cases where individuals acted illegally or unethically. Unethical behavior exist in all professions. I can Google "teachers" and find the same level, if not more ethical behavior in their profession. I don't believe for one minute there is a mass conspiracy among teachers looking to sexually assault students.

Here is a realistic breakdown of our criminal justice system from a 50 year insider I once listened too:
10% of the officers are crooks looking to score money, abuse people, and take advantage of the system.

75% of the officers are followers who do the minimum to get by and not cause waves.

15% of the officers are model officers who comply with the rules and go above their call of duty.

Dallas, you are focusing on the 100% when in realty it's the 10% you are talking about. This model fits TDCJ as well as most other criminal justice departments. This model even fits the inmate population.

The key focus on combating these 10%'ers needs to be focused on not hiring them in the first place. Most of these guys have a history of making bad decisions or a history of unethical behavior. Humans are creatures of habit. TDCJ and the Texas political leadership are well aware these 10%'ers exist. When the issue was addressed years ago, instead of combating this issue with the needed resources, a TSA style checkpoint at prisons was created to combat contraband. The contraband checkpoints have done nothing to stop contraband inside TDCJ. The 10%'ers still exist today and so does the contraband.

If successful reforms are to occur in TDCJ, they need to start from the bottom and work their way up. Tomorrows prison leadership is today's new recruit. TDCJ needs to have a better applicant and vetting process for hiring officers. Most other criminal justice agencies are experiencing the same problems. Prisons and police departments need to be staffed. People can't call 9-1-1 to only be told there are no police to respond to an active shooter. Prisons are nothing more than micro-communities in our society.

txbombshell said...

I'm not sure if there is only one "anonymous " in this thread but my response is one of agreement with this comment of the tdcj being a reflection of our society. Just as the inmates are. There are the good, the bad and the ugly in each category. There are definitely some staff,including at least one warden I can name, that are just as sociopathic as the worst inmate. They are sadistic, mean people and they are adept at covering it up.
But most are hardworking, patient and COURAGEOUS women and men, trying to support their families. They are threatened and taunted daily, by some inmates. And sometimes they are treated the same way by some egotistical sociopath that has managed to attain rank. Captain, Major, LT...
So, they do work in hell. For relatively low pay. You could not pay me enough to do that job.
The truly unfortunate part, is that even the best of them, fear retaliation from the rank, if perceived as being "inmate friendly" so, if something goes down, they may not, most likely WILL NOT speak up on behalf of an inmate. Because they need their job.
I've seen it personally, involving my husband while he was at Allred.
What is the solution? I'm afraid there really is none. Evidence disappears, nobody saw anything, ...reflection of society, indeed. Corruption exists and prevails throughout time - like the Cockroach.

txbombshell said...

Your number one solution is great, but, come up with the fool proof way of determining the bad people. They don't self-identify. Especially not when job-seeking.
And, once they are in, cover-up can begin. Case in point. My husband was denied medical attention for 24 hours,resulting in his appendix rupturing. Gangrene had set in, he was hospitalized for 3 weeks due to the complications of appendicitis. He was in ad seg, with a security camera,recording, directly pointed at his door. The warden deleted the recording. Now, answer this question. If the video EXONERATED them of having ignored his requests for medical, would they have deleted it?

Anonymous said...

@txbombshell "What is the solution? I'm afraid there really is none"
yap... there is a solution.
All this if the unions allow it - they won't. They are equally criminally involved in the coverups. They do ask for reforms, for more money, etc, but in the long run they help the guards with the coverups by not allowing that they be fired. Welcome to the madness, while people die, are maimed, or are released into society broken wrecks unable to survive. The warden at Allred needs to be fired. His goons need to be fired. Good luck on that.
PS. Their pay is not that low.

Anonymous said...

Cockroaches? We exterminate them. Those who work for TDC get fatter and fatter while inmates get thinner and thinner or die. Cockroaches don't give a damn about where they leave their crap. I know a couple of wardens at the Michaels unit. They are actually worse than cockroaches.

Anonymous said...

Cockroaches are harmless. Fuards and wardens are not. I like cockroaches better.
Signed Elizabeth *the troll.

txbombshell said...

Re cockroaches, they survive all attempts to eradicate them. They adapt, develop resistance to the methods used to get rid of them, they scurry and hide when the light is shined on them, and they are repulsive in appearance. I think it's pretty on point for those that we are referring to, the bad and the ugly within the system.
As far as a third party, yes. But,then the awarding of contracts amongst their croneys. Remember the Vita Pro scandal and the then Executive Director...
And YES, Warden Richard Wathen needs to be fired!

Anonymous said...

Yes, inmates should not be judged (that is what the courts are for and they have rights....BUT....ask them if they were thinking the same about the people they committed their heinous acts against and all you get is yelling and more anger from them because THEY cannot come to terms that what they did was WRONG. Yes, they deserve proper food, clothing and dwelling environments, but most certainly not better health care, college and everything else that free and law-abiding citizens on the outside bust their butts for and are often denied, so YES, a free ride it basically is for them.