Texas Outlaws

By Jay Goodman

Now that we’ve seen how prisons in Texas proliferated until there were over a hundred of them, and how the guards that the TDCJ hired in order to fill these prisons were either unable to do the work involved or began using their positions of authority as a springboard for a life of crime, I wanted to take some time and show you just how far the Puppet Masters would go to keep control of their money-making empire as things began to spiral out of control inside the prisons.

It is crazy the lengths these people went to in order to keep the prisons up and running. In my earlier writing, you might have gotten the idea that I dislike all the people who work for the TDCJ, but this would be far from the truth. I have met many good-hearted men and women that have careers in the Texas prison system. These are the ones who come to work and do their job professionally. The problem is that there are so few of them due to the enormity of the prison system itself. This is a state-concocted problem which has its roots in the prison-building explosion of the 1990s that Ann Richards designed and implemented. Instead of keeping new units near population centers where the TDCJ could draw from numerous qualified employees, some genius had the brainstorm to build little units all over the state. This has been an unmitigated disaster.

At every prison I’ve been at, I’ve seen good guards, and they are just so outnumbered by the bad ones that they don’t even know what to do about the problem. Usually, when a prisoner has been at a certain unit for years and years, the officers will see what kind of person they are dealing with, and I have been told by guards that they are sorry for how their fellow officers act on occasion, but the real people that are to blame for everything that has happened and continues to happen are the people who control this madhouse of a prison system. They are the ones I look at with disgust. They perfectly understand what goes on in here, and how it destroys people’s lives. Hell, they have built it into what it is - a modern-day sweatshop right here in the middle of the United States of America.

I saw on the news last week that the President of the United States met with the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un. After the meeting, there was a picture of the North Korean flag hanging next to the U.S. flag. The talking heads on the news network made critical comments, not about Trump trying to bring peace and prosperity where there has only been war and abject poverty, but about the fact that our flag hung next to that of a nation that steps all over its people’s human rights. They talked about North Korean prisoners being beaten, starved and mistreated. They then showed a picture of an American citizen who had been released back to the U.S. only to die four days after coming home, because he’d been so poorly treated while in prison in North Korea. I was deeply troubled by this man’s treatment and his death, but I couldn't help but think how prisoners right here in Texas are being beaten, worked like slaves with no form of payment, forced to live in these cells that reach into the one hundred and twenties in the summertime. I thought of how we are malnourished, how they take advantage of our families. The list goes on and on. I thought, “This happens right here in the Texas prison system. Why isn’t the news reporting on this?”

I have written about the different groups of guards that flooded the TDCJ as the system expanded at such an insane rate of speed. I brought up the drug business that mushroomed inside the prisons. I have seen every drug you can imagine in the different prisons I have been to. I had a cellie here a few years back named Joey Barrera. His brother was in high-security at the Connally Unit. While there, he died from an overdose of heroin. I’ve already explained how an inmate in high-security never leaves his cell without being handcuffed and escorted everywhere he goes. These prisoners never have contact with anyone. All of their visits, even with family, are behind glass, so the only way this inmate in high-security could have gotten drugs was from the officers.

When my cellie’s brother died, I saw how much it hurt him. Even worse, he showed me the letters from his elderly mother. Of course, she was suffering terribly. This man also had a wife and children of his own, but now, the kids will never see their father again. This wife will never hug and kiss her husband. Was it his own fault for using the heroine? Yes, but nobody ever had to answer for bringing the heroine into Barrera. I don’t think anyone ever even heard about this man’s death, because I never saw or heard anything about it on the radio or television. I only knew about it because his brother was my cellie. I seriously doubt if TDCJ even did a true investigation.

The Texas prison system always tries to keep things that will tarnish their image quiet. Of course, when a guard is killed by an inmate, they will make a real show out of it with news networks and press conferences and all the bells and whistles. And they should do the same thing when an inmate is killed, but if that should happen, the TDCJ would look bad, whereas this martyred officer can be paraded before the public with pleas for more money for the prison system.

They’ll tell everyone, “This never would have happened if we weren’t underpaid and overworked. We need more prison guards!” But when the inmates die, you never hear, “We are going to get to the bottom of this. We are going to find out how an inmate in high-security got hold of heroin while locked in a cell 24 hours a day and with nobody having access to him but TDCJ personnel.” Sadly, that will never happen, because the Puppet Masters don’t want all that bad publicity. It might slow down the multi-million dollar kickback scheme they’ve built from the drug business going on in here.

When they finally read this, they will say, “This man is crazy. He’s living in a fantasy world of delusion. There’s no way we could know about this man’s drug use.” All I can say is, brother, how could you NOT know about it? After all, this man was locked up in high-security with no access to any human being that didn’t work for the TDCJ. So when these high-security inmates come in and test positive for marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, how could you NOT know that your guards are dirty and they’re bringing in all the contraband that you keep on telling the Texas Senators and Representatives that the inmates’ families are bringing in. The Puppetmaster's know without a doubt that this is a bunch of horse manure, and now, hopefully, you realize it, too. In the meantime, you’ve got people being plied with drugs by TDCJ guards that are dying from overdoses of illegal narcotics, and the Puppet Masters are playing stupid, saying, “I can’t possibly imagine how he was able to get those drugs in here.”

Here’s the really bad news. There’s a new drug that’s invaded the TDCJ. It’s known as K-2. It’s a “synthetic marijuana” that, at first, was being sent to the U.S. through China. When I was arrested 13 years ago, I’d never seen or heard of it. When I moved to the Stevenson Unit in 2009, it was very rare to see marijuana or any other drug use on the farm. Around 2014, K-2 showed up. It was like one day, I’d never seen or heard anything about it, and the next day it seemed like half the unit was smoked out.

Even though they try to pawn it as “synthetic marijuana”, I’m here to tell you it’s nothing like Mary Jane. The only similarity is that they are both rolled up in paper and smoked. When K-2 first came to the U.S., it wasn’t even illegal. People could buy it right out of convenience stores. When it first started showing up inside the TDCJ, they didn’t even know how to write cases on it. If someone got caught with it, the prison would have it tested thinking it was marijuana, but the tests came back negative, so they’d get a case for tobacco. At that time, the DEA was fighting to get this stuff off the store shelves, because youngsters and other users were dying from all the different types of K-2. However, the DEA ran into a problem. They had been used to fighting the drug war by banning certain chemical components of major illegal narcotics, but whenever they banned the chemicals found in K-2, the drug manufacturers would just remove the offending chemical and replace it with a legal one.

Now, all these K-2 joints started showing up here in prison, saw people jump up and start fighting other prisoners for no reason. I saw people throwing up all over themselves unable to move their heads. They’d just sit there and sick up all over the place. Some prisoners looked like they were infected with mad cow disease. I saw hallucinators. I saw people “stuck”, frozen like a kid playing “swinging statue”. I want everyone reading this to seriously think about what I’m fixing to say. A K-2 joint is smaller than a toothpick, and all these things that I saw happen to these K-2 smokers came after they had taken one or maybe two hits off the joint. A couple of tokes off something smaller than a toothpick caused all these symptoms.

Here’s the big news. So far, I’ve only explained the small symptoms. Here are the big ones. People smoke K-2 and their kidneys stop functioning. They struggle to breathe. Some have experienced strokes or heart attacks. I have seen guards find smokers in their cells unresponsive and not breathing, and they had to be rushed to the hospital. Ask me how many have died, and I have to say I’m not sure of the numbers, yet, but this is what I know for sure. Much of the damage from K-2 is devastating and it is permanent.

They can call it synthetic marijuana all they want, but this mix of chemicals is not even a plant. Instead, it’s made with toxins that destroy the body’s organs. I have been on this unit for nine straight years, and some of these inmates I’ve known the whole time. After watching them smoke K-2 repeatedly since it made its appearance on the unit, it is plain to see the damage it has done.

Several things have made this drug the drug of choice in here. First, it was originally not an illegal drug, so for all the guards who brought it in, they didn’t have to worry about a drug case if they were ever caught. Also, you could buy it for a few dollars at a convenience store on your way to work, bring it inside the walls, and make tens of thousands of dollars. Finally, inmates who were smoking K-2 didn’t have to worry about testing positive for the drug in the random drug tests they perform on us, because the TDCJ has yet to introduce a test that encompasses K-2. I’m sure they have a test for it, but truthfully, why would the TDCJ want to deploy it? If they did, they’d slow down their own drug monopoly.

What I’ve tried to show you, over and over is that this place is all about putting money in someone’s pockets. This greed disease has many symptoms - stealing, selling cell phones and then destroying them on shakedown, serving us Vitapro like we were animals, or just not serving full portions of food at all so they can sell it out the back door. Now, it’s K-2. It’s not a drug. It’s a deadly, toxic chemical that that is destroying many prisoners’ lives, destroying any hope they have for a future after prison. And if this is the effect it’s having on the smokers, I wonder what researchers who study these things will find are the side effects of long-term exposure to these chemicals for those us who wouldn’t touch this stuff but are stuck in the dorm with it all day long. But who cares, as long as they make a buck?

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