Texas Plays Monopoly II

By Jay Goodman

I have to take my hat off to the Puppet Masters, and the absolute genius of the criminal empire they put together. I sit in my cell and look at the TDCJ’s history of total disrespect for anyone under their care, and as I have written in my past chapters, it’s not just us, the prisoners. It is also our families and friends, the guards, other employees, and you, the taxpayers.

When all of these prisons were built in the 1990s, Texas was coming to the end of having their entire prison system being removed from their control by the United States government. This David Ruiz lawsuit exposed the people controlling the Texas prisons for exactly what they had done and were doing up until that very day. The abuses were those of a slave master, and what’s always baffled me is how this was allowed to happen all the way until the 1980s. No one in this entire prison system looked at what was being allowed to happen with turnkey inmates acting as guards, and reported it. But, even after they were exposed, it never seemed to slow the Puppet Masters ultimate goal to build over one hundred prisons and put industries in every one of them. What, of course, did slow them down was their inability to use the brute force of their once-powerful prison gang (the turnkeys) to scare, beat or murder other prisoners. Don’t get me wrong. These things still happen, but now, they have to do their own dirty work, causing the Puppet Masters to develop different ways of doing these things so it’s not so obvious. Or, more importantly, to do them so it’s not so apparent in a courtroom.

One of the most common ways they use for control these days is good time, which, as I’ve said, means nothing. After all, these prisons were built in the 1990s, and the Puppet Masters gained control back over their golden egg. Another scam they came up with is to monopolize everything being sold to us, or to fix it with the companies so they can get large kickbacks from whomever they did business with. Now, in the 1990s, if you would have gone to the prison commissary, you would have found name brand coffee like Maxwell House, Folgers or Taster’s Choice. You might have seen Oreo cookies, Lay’s potato chips, or Hi-C punch. But, sometime during the 1990s, things began to change. Most of these items began to disappear. We started to see stuff from companies we’d never heard of, like Keefe Coffee or Cactus Annie’s Snack Mix, or Barbco Potato Chips. Also, where we’d had Fruit of the Loom undergarments before, all of a sudden, we were buying cheap, poorly made clothing from TCI. That’s Texas Correctional Industries, for the uninitiated.

When the Puppet Masters come up with a plan, I truly have to give them credit; the thieving bastards think big. Since the Texas prison system is supposed to be a non-profit entity, and the products made by the use of inmate slave labor can’t be sold on the open market, you can bet the thought of our families’ hard-earned dollars going into anyone else’s pockets was driving them crazy, so they let the manipulation begin. The Puppet Masters started having prison-run factories make t-shirts, gym shorts, thermals, socks, gloves, detergent, soap, and many other items that they turn around and sell on our commissary. Texas has prisoners all across the state making these items for them, with absolutely no labor costs whatsoever. I am looking right now at my bottle of liquid detergent.

It’s called Crystal Clean. On the bottle, it reads, “Manufactured by: Texas Correctional Industries. What it OUGHT to say is, “Manufactured by: Texas Personal Slave Industries,” because that is the honest truth.

Make these t-shirts and shorts, slaves! Make these gloves and boxers, slaves! (My buddy, Powers, wanted me to interject right here that if men want a fly in their boxer shorts, they must buy the $4.65 a pair boxers the commissary sells. Otherwise, the men have to wear “unisex” boxers otherwise known as “panties” by anyone in the free world. Just another example of the way they try to humiliate and degrade us.) Make my socks and soaps, slaves! And by the way, when your poor family finally scrapes up enough change to send you a little something, what we don’t steal for medical, we will force you damn slaves to spend on crap you work all day making.

Can anyone see how obviously evil this is? Let’s go back to the farm days for a second. What if, after working one of the prisoners in the fields all day to grow some vegetables I brought his ass inside the gate and said, “Oh yeah, by the way, if you want to eat, your family will need to send you a few bucks so you can buy the cucumbers that you’ve been sweating over the past month, and the lettuce that you planted and cared for all along, and the meat that you butchered after feeding and caring for the animals the whole time?” There would be a riot, and every justification for it. But here we are doing the same thing with this other stuff, and even though socks and clothes and soap is all stuff that any person should have to live a humane life, these greedy bastards are trying to make a buck.

The Puppet Masters do have a complete stranglehold on us, and our families. They have this criminal organization set up so tight it’s unbelievable. And as I said before, it’s all under the name of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Now let’s take a serious look at another classic TDCJ scam and talk about tennis shoes. For the last six to eight years, the Texas prison system has given this sales contract to the company, New Balance. At first, all of the prisoners at first were happy, because all of the shoes sold to us prior to this would fall apart. So, here are these New Balance at $49.00. They actually looked nice and were comfortable. Everyone was saying how nice it’d be to wear these shoes to visit. I thought, “Wow. I’m surprised they are selling us these.” Of course, it did not take us long to figure out we were wrong.

The first ones were white with a black sole. After we’d had them for a month or two, all of a sudden, everyone was having trouble with the sides splitting open on these shoes- every single pair. Now, they were easily repaired by sewing, but if the property officer or certain other officers saw them like this, they’d take them, because you can’t have “altered” property. Inmates were sewing them up, anyway, because we’d just paid almost 50 bucks for the damn shoes. And, of course, everyone is complaining about them.

It must have had some effect, because suddenly, the pair with the black sole was discontinued, and all the shoes of the same type, but with a grey sole, appeared. I was so happy to see they’d listened to us and changed the shoe. They told us that the sides on these were double stitched, so it would no longer split open. I have to give them credit, the sides of these gym shoes were stronger.

However, within a couple of weeks- WEEKS, not months- the whole sole would come fall off the shoes! Not long after this, you’d also have a gaping hole in the material where your heel fits in the shoe. The insides of a pair I bought started coming apart inside around 45 days after I bought them, and the sole had already begun to fall off.

Let me show you this scam by pointing out a few things. One, if it was only MY pair of shoes this happened to, I would understand you thinking it was just one of those unfortunate things that could have happened to anyone, right? But this was happening to every single pair that they sold to us in those six to eight years. I also need to point out that there are around 180,000 inmates in here, give or take a few thousand in transit. That means that for all these years they sold us these shoes- the only shoe in town, from the only store in town, and the chances of every single pair of shoes from a top-notch shoe company like New Balance being defective has to be pretty much zero, or else they wouldn’t be in business very long, right? What do you think? Believe it was just one of those things?

These creeps sold us millions of these shoes, and every single pair, the bottom just falls off or the side splits open. Just one of those unfortunate things? Hell, no! It was all part of their scam. Here’s how I believe it worked.

The Puppet Masters would never sell us anything they thought would last. Why? Because they want to keep robbing our families for more money. I am guessing that one of the Puppet Masters knew someone at one of the local New Balance distribution centers or factories, and they found out about a large, defective batch of shoes that New Balance was needing to get rid of. It was either that, or they had them made intentionally. But, for hope’s sake, let’s say New Balance knew the shoes were jacked up and said, “Well, we can’t sell them to the public, because they won’t last long, BUT, they’ve got to be better than whatever those poor schlubs in the TDCJ are having to wear, so let’s donate the whole batch for them to give out to the prisoners for free. Then the Puppet Masters took over and decided to make a buck.

Either way, they quickly learned these shoes wouldn’t last long, and they knew we would be forced to do one of two things. Either we’d have to sew them, which would get them taken up because they were altered, or we’d have to buy another pair at that great $49.00 price. Either way, it all works out for them.

I have to wonder how many millions of pairs they sold during these years. (In fact, they are still selling them in certain, more obscure sizes, at a dramatic discount.) They knew all these shoes were coming apart. Don’t you believe the right thing would have been, when they learned what was happening, to call New Balance and say, “Hey! All of the bottoms on these shoes are coming off!” And either New Balance needs to correct the problem or cancel the contract. What store anywhere would keep selling shoes to their customers that they knew were falling apart? The answer is, the Puppet Masters’ stores.

I wore Nikes in the free world. I worked out in the gym, and ran in them. And NEVER, in all of my life, did the bottoms of any of my shoes just fall off. The Texas prison system was well-aware what was happening, but kept on selling them up to this very day. Why? Because of their scam to keep taking money from our families, bilking them out of millions. Remember, this is not one or two isolated cases. It happened to every pair they sold.

Now, here is another scam that was drawn up right out of the Puppet Masters criminal blueprint handbook. The federal court ordered the Texas prison system to allow Texas prisoners to get writing paper, envelopes and typing supplies from free world stores like Staples or Office Depot. About four years ago, they post this memo on the bulletin boards that says that, as of the first of September of that year, all supplies would need to be bought at the commissary. Imagine that! I sent a request to our mailroom asking how they could stop us from buying these things when a federal court had ordered TDCJ to allow it. Their answer was that TDCJ changed its policy. I guess these idiots don’t understand that federal law overrides TDCJ policy.

Like I keep saying, the Texas prison system thinks it’s above the law. Little notebooks my mom used to send me that cost 85¢ all of a sudden cost me $3.75. Not that the price matters, because they don’t ever have them in stock, anyway. And guess who makes all of their paper tablets and notebooks and greeting cards? Don’t strain yourself thinking too hard about it! That’s right...TCI. Texas Correctional Industries. When you want to send the very best a slave can make.

Somebody call the police, because the biggest criminal organization in the history of the state is in the midst of the biggest shakedown scam of all time.

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