Justice Is As Justice Does

Eventually, I’m going to continue with my history of the problems the TDCJ has in keeping its “treatment industrial complex” running, but first I wanted to bring up a few things that have meant a lot to me, like my chapters on executing the innocent and super seg. There’s more that needs to be said about medical in order to show the Texas taxpayers how the Puppetmasters steal from even the families of the women and men incarcerated in Texas.

But something very important has come up that I feel needs to be given immediate attention, because of what I wrote about in my two chapters last year called “Sloppin’ the Hogs”. I talked about the kitchen here and how most of the food that was being sent here for the prisoners to eat- particularly by the regional food bank- was being eaten either by the staff, or being outright stolen by the warden, a man named Beard. They would donate different types of meats, drinks, desserts and other things we otherwise never got. I also spoke about how Beard had stolen a bunch of turkey legs that had been sent here for the prisoners to eat, and how we got one batch of them, but that while the turkey legs kept coming, we never ate them again. Beard was telling everyone he had given some of these turkey legs to another warden. Other officers were telling us of big barbecues he was throwing at his house for friends and officers he wanted to “reward”.

Well, guess what happened? Finally, FINALLY! The Office of the Inspector General, which does internal investigations inside the Texas prison system for malfeasance or abuse, started investigating this thieving-ass warden, and they’ve been watching him for some time. Now, it looks like they caught him with his red hand in the Food Bank cookie jar. As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Well, it’s no surprise to us, because we have known this thieving bastard has been stealing our food the whole time. When this man first showed up here, he came with his horse in tow. He put the animal in the horse barn and said things were about to change. He initiated the darkest chapter of the Stevenson Unit’s history to date.

Upon his arrival, as with any new warden, everyone inquired about what kind of man he was. Wardens move from unit to unit often, and there’s almost always some inmate who has been under these administrators at some point in their career at other units. We heard that he had been in the system for thirty years and that he was “a convict boss”. Now, when I hear this, I can’t help but cringe, because this usually means that he is from the days when TDCJ used the turnkeys to beat and kill prisoners they didn’t like. Plus, think about the mentality and the personality of a man who actually likes it when someone is calling him “bossman”. Go ahead and tell me this isn’t a scene straight out of Paul Newman’s classic, “Cool Hand Luke”, or worse, “Roots”. Here I am, the one in prison, and I can see the madness and craziness of this- other human beings groveling around calling another human being “bossman”. I have traveled the world, and nowhere have I seen such delusional men as the ones who get called “old convict boss”. And what’s even crazier, there are actually prisoners who think that these types of officers and administrators are the “good” ones. Let me assure you, these prisoners are also deluded. And don’t you forget, this isn’t a movie, this is real life. And this isn’t the “Cool Hand Luke” days, it’s the 21st century.

Now this old “convict warden” shows up with his old convict horse, “Trigger”- yes, “Trigger”. Apparently, this thieving bastard has seen way too many Roy Rogers movies, and he thinks of himself as the Lone Ranger. The only difference is after a week of eating dirty greens and row beans, Tonto would have shot this S.O.B. Oh, and he probably would have eaten Trigger, too.

I want everyone reading this to picture in your mind. Here is our new warden. He’s wearing a straw cowboy hat, pointed-toe cowboy boots, dark glasses, and there’s a toothpick sticking out of the deep corner of his mouth. My first thought was, “God! Where did they find this guy?” He could have played the sheriff in “Smokey and the Bandit” for cryin’ out loud. Right away, everyone started thinking, Where did they get this clown? I kept waiting for him to open his big mouth and hear that classic Mississippi draw, “What we have he-ah, gentlemen, is fel-yah to communicate!” And as funny as it may sound, I’m afraid it was all too true.

Anyway, here he comes inside the prison, and he got all the field bosses together saying he wanted them to fire up those fields. There isn’t much land to work with here. In fact, the nine years I’ve been here, no other wardens had tried to get prisoners outside working in the fields except to clean up weeds and brush from time to time.

Remember I spoke about in my other chapters how the prisoners used to be treated in the fields with beatings from the turnkeys, how they were stuck naked in little tin or metal boxes until they passed out or even died, that they were forced to work in heat way over one hundred degrees, and how the officers made inmates fight each other for their entertainment? Because of those times and the black mark they left on the Texas prison system, most wardens had the field slave-type treatment exactly where it needed to be, in the past. Unfortunately, what we found out was that this new warden we had gotten had come up through the ranks as a field boss. Now it all started coming together. I understood why this man showed up with his horse. I could see why he looked and acted like a movie character. I understood why his first words were, ”Things are fixin’ to change.”Of course he was one of the old convict bosses. You see, these men get into these positions of power, like sergeant, captain or warden, and they don’t ever want to use their positions to better the prison system. They usually see these places as a place to exercise control, to manipulate and to steal for their own benefit. In my thirteen plus years of incarceration, I have yet to see one of these people really come in and even try to make changes that would better the prison they were assigned to. These wardens and their ranking officers even use these positions to screw over the officers working under their care.

Watching these people through the years has truly amazed me. I see how these positions go to their heads. And this Beard fellow was no exception to the rule. In fact, this man was out of control when it came to our food. If you go back to those two chapters I wrote last year, everything we thought was happening- everything we told you was happening about them stealing our food- it was the TRUTH!

All of the kitchen captains we have ever had here have taken the food that was sent here each month to feed the prisoners, and instead, they would feed it to the officers, the rank, the administrators, and the other staff that works here. Here’s what the law says about the TDCJ’s responsibility to feed its inmates:

The department shall ensure that inmates housed in facilities operated by the department are fed good and wholesome food, prepared under sanitary conditions, and provided in sufficient quantity and reasonable variety. The department shall hold employees charged with preparing food for inmates strictly to account for a failure to carry out this section. The department shall provide for the training of inmates as cooks so that food for inmates may be properly prepared.

--Texas Government Code Section 501.003

There’s another section of the law that says that the TDCJ can operate Officer Dining Rooms, but they MUST serve the exact same food as is being served in the Inmate Dining Room. So, when I walk down the sidewalk after getting a tray that has giant turnip greens, stem and all, complete with worms attached to the leaves, and that same crap has been served the last 15 days in a row, does that sound like “reasonable variety”? Or if I see Ms. Salle come out of the ODR with a giant raisin cookie, but there’s no raisin cookie in the chow hall, is that “the same food”? They eat fried chicken while we eat “green bean casserole”. They eat chicken fried steak while we eat “pork noodle casserole”. And every time they do it, THEY ARE BREAKING THE LAW! And yet, you want ME to somehow live here, watching this, and knowing the rules, to respect you? To reform, and become- what?- more like you?

Every month, there are hundreds of pounds of sugar sent here. Do you want to know why it’s sent here? EVERY DAY, according to the state-wide menu, every single tray given to an offender at breakfast time is supposed to have a tablespoon full of sugar on it so we can sweeten our coffee or cereal or oatmeal. I’ll have nine years done on this unit, and never... NEVER! have we had sugar served on this tray, not once. Now, I’m not great with math, but maybe you can help me out. That’s NINE YEARS times 365 days... let’s see, that’s 3285 tablespoons. Now, there’s 1,380 inmates on this farm, so that’s a mere 4,533,300 tablespoons of sugar. I THINK each tablespoon represents a half ounce, and if you figure that out, that becomes 141,665 pounds of sugar, or almost 16,000 pounds of sugar PER YEAR that just vanishes into thin air. Does ANYBODY in this state care that they are paying tax dollars for 16,000 freaking pounds of sugar every year that is disappearing without a trace? ANYONE? Why? Where is it going?

The kitchen captains make sure a big chunk of it goes to the 0DR, of course, for all their sweet tea, cakes, pies, cookies, and puddings- none of which can be found in the chow hall, making it all illegal. But even with this, there out to be bags and bags of sugar left over? Where in the hell is it going?

If this wasn’t bad enough, here comes ol’ Beard. This man was so out of control with his stealing, we couldn’t even get the little grade-school-type trays we eat off of filled up. There’s five slots on the tray, and each one is supposed to have something in it like veggies or beans or something, but we’d get the main, a side of boiled potatoes, and cornbread, day after day. Want “reasonable variety”? How about mashed potatoes? Or fried? Eh, that’s too much work. You get boiled. This is not only against Texas law, it’s a violation of the federal guidelines we’re supposed to be following. But, as I’ve said over and over, the TDCJ doesn’t care a whit about their own rules, and they don’t give a damn about state laws, and they are downright belligerent against following federal mandates. They truly and completely believe they are above the law. They think this prison system is theirs to do with as they please, with absolutely no consequences whatsoever.

To prove my point, let’s look at what became of ex-warden Beard. This is what he’d do with every food bank truck that came to the unit. No one else was allowed to open this truck until he was there personally- not even the kitchen captain who is responsible for all food. This was because he wanted to take for himself everything he wanted first. Initially, this asshole had a spot set aside in one of the unit coolers where he would save “his” stuff until he ate it or took it out of the prison. This was too much trouble, or maybe too many eyes were on him, because he started having the truck stop at the “hangar”, an old building out by his place used for storage, and he’d put tons of stuff aside out there. Then, he decided he needed one, two, three, four, and FIVE freezers, purchased on YOUR dime with TDCJ money installed in his house. He proceeded to stuff these freezers with hundreds of pounds of chicken, ribs, giant pans of cakes, and a variety of other meats and goodies. In his “deer house”, which was designed and built by TDCJ inmates, he stored hundreds of boxes of bottles of Gatorade, cranberry juice, and other drink mixes and colas. On top of all this, the man got arrested last year for beating his wife, and somehow, he was allowed to remain here as head warden.

And why not? I mean, this is one of the old school bosses, right? In other words, he was a great thieving bastard who helped the Puppetmasters line their pockets while taking a little dip himself. So what if he’s a wife-beater? They’re going to say she deserved it, anyway.

The Office of the Inspector General had been investigating Beard for some time. Maybe it’s not such a good idea to give your wife a black eye when your embezzling thousand of dollars of state food. When the OIG had a pretty good picture of what was going on, they turned it over to Huntsville, the Puppetmasters. And, yep, they came here and caught Beard red-handed with all these freezers full of meat, and building full of goodies, all of which he’d stolen from the food bank AND the prison. He tried to lie his way out of it, but they caught him out time after time, lie after lie. Since the Puppetmasters couldn’t cover up for him, they had Beard gather all of his personal (?) belongings and leave.

That leaves the big question. Did the people controlling the Texas Department of Criminal Justice file charges on Beard for this malfeasance? No. Did they even FIRE Beard? No. In fact, he retired with all of his 30-years worth of benefits - all of your money, in other words- AND he got to keep all that stuff that he’d probably previously stolen from the state, his personal belongings. And I want to point this out to everyone reading this. If a prisoner is caught stealing something out of the kitchen, he will probably receive a disciplinary case. He’ll be put on cell restriction with no recreation, no dayroom, no commissary. If an inmate is caught with a joint or some other drug, he is taken to the local courthouse and charged with a crime. He will receive another sentence, which, by law, will be stacked on top of his first sentence. But, here is Beard, stealing not just from prisoners but from you, the taxpayers. He was stealing all this meat and other stuff from all the different people- the churches, the kind donors, the stores and other organizations that tried to bless us from time to time, and NOTHING AT ALL happens to him.

What do you think Beard was doing with all that meat, and all those bottles of fruit juice and Gatorade? Well, fat as he was, he wasn’t eating it by himself. He was selling it, of course. But like I said, they believe they’re above the law, and- watch out now- it seems like they are, doesn’t it. Because this man has been stealing for who knows how long, and even though they caught him with his hand in the jar without any doubt whatsoever of his guilt, and even though meal after meal, 1,3800 men went to bed hungry because food that should have been on their tray was either being sold out the back door or rotting away in storage so he and the Puppetmasters could line their pockets, they let him retire on a full-ride from you. Hell, his bank account in Barbados from 30 years of embezzlement should have been plenty for his sunset years.

Will the other ranking officers and kitchen captain be charged for helping Beard? Will they be fired? No. That is why this type of behavior has ALWAYS went on inside the Texas prison system, and they know nothing will ever happen to them. So it goes on throughout the whole prison system.

This is the Puppetmasters world, and in their world, they can manipulate, steal, starve, beat and kill. I have wondered a thousand times, who will have the balls to bring this criminal organization down? Is it you?

The Attorneys
  • Francisco Hernandez
  • Daniel Hernandez
  • Phillip Hall
  • Rocio Martinez