Useful Carnage

ant to show you how the Puppetmasters began to spin their web of deceit, manipulation and lies, and left a slew of inmates dead along their path to trying to regain control of the state prison system after Ruiz. With everything I’ve written so far, I’m sure you can see the type of people who are running this system, and I know it must be unimagineable for most people reading this to picture in their minds the things I’m talking about, but believe me, it is all true.

Since the federal monitors were on every unit, now, and watching what the Puppetmasters were up to, some things had to be understood. For one, the inmates had won a temporary victory, and the state would have to step back for a moment and accept that. Two, they would also have to go along with whatever Judge William Wayne Justice told them to do, and believe me, this was killing their pride.

All of a sudden, the prison guards back then had to start doing all the work the turnkeys had done prior to that time, and they were pissed. They now had to count. They had to do the “in and outs” (letting the inmates in their cells). They had to break up fights. In other words, they had to start doing what the unsuspecting public thought they’d been doing all along... their jobs! Gone were the turnkeys who’d been running the prisons for decades. This was NOT an easy transition for the Texas prison guards. And even while the TDCJ was trying to implement these changes brought about by the orders of a federal court, the prison guards were still trying their hardest to push on like before. You should have seen how mad they were to have to actually work and follow all these new “bullshit” rules the Judge was handing down.

The Puppetmasters, on the other hand, had bigger fish to fry, like regaining control over “their” prisons. You can bet that was at the top of their “to-do” list. Yeah, they understood they’d have to cooperate with the feds, or at least to pretend to, until they could get them off their backs, and in this effort, they stepped back and took a look at the big picture. And while the guards were upset about having to do real work, what was really upsetting the Puppetmasters was that they couldn’t just steal the place blind anymore. That was simply-unacceptable. Remember that since the inception of the Texas state prisonsystem, these good ol’boys had done whatever they wanted on “their” prison farms with no repercussions whatsoever. Now, the game had changed. These federal monitors at all the units were going around asking prisoners how they were being treated! They were insuring that the TDCJ put in medical facilities, established a grievance system, and following the Judge’s orders. The Puppetmasters knew that they were under the microscope.

Meanwhile, inside the prisons, the guards were still trying to control everything by brute force, but now there are no more turnkeys to stand in the middle, so they’re getting there own hands dirty, and more often than not, getting their asses handed to them by these giant inmates. But, like I said before, these prisons have been run all along by keeping it in the family. You’ve got uncles, cousins, brothers and in-laws working in the same system, and now, with the new changes, you’ve even got your wives and sisters. At the prison I’m at, we have husband and wife teams that work here. There was one lady who worked here whose son and daughter both worked here, and her daughter married another guard, and the family just keeps growing! So now, if an inmate gets into a tussle with a guard, you can imagine what’s going to happen. The whole family’s in on it.

The field bosses were trying to carry on as usual, too. They’d have hoe-squads. Each squad has ten to fifteen inmates. Let’s say they take out “one hoe”. Hoe squad one turns out, and they’ve got fifteen inmates. Well, they get out in the field, and every man of them has one tool- an “agee”, like an overgrown garden hoe. Then, they line up all these inmates, side by side, and one inmate at the front of the line says, “Lift your agee!” And all fifteen agees go up in the air. After this, that inmate would start singing, “One, two, three, step!” And everyone is swinging their agees, all at the same time, up and down, and moving down the line at the same time. It was like a scene out of “Cool Hand Luke”, every day. Or “Roots”. Now say one person in your group can’t keep up. Your field boss would work the squad an extra thirty minutes or an hour. Of course, every inmate in that squad wants to hurt the man who couldn’t keep up, so one of them pipes up, “Hey, boss! I got me one. Can I get ‘em?” And what this means is, I want to hurt this dude, and I’m asking your permission to fight him. The field boss would say, “Sure! Go on and get ‘em.” And he’d order everyone to the ground while this idiot would go and beat up this poor guy who can’t keep up. The field bosses loved this. It was high entertainment, and they’d always be egging on the hotheads, trying to spark a fight.

Those bosses sometimes bet on certain inmates to win, and if they lost, boy, that boss would get pissed. Let’s say a Mexican or white had been sitting around in the county jail for six months or a year, and all of a sudden, he gets put in the TDCJ, and he gets put out working in the fields. His hands get blistered so bad on the first day that it looks like someone set them on fire. And because he’s light-skinned, and been locked up inside a jail all this time, he’s got blistered sunburn all over his head and face and neck. But, this type of treatment starts getting back to the monitors, and the rank, out of fear of getting fired or getting charges from the court, would say something to the field bosses. It finally had an effect, it never stopped that type of abuse, but it slowed it down for a time. And, yes, you can still find it on some units to this day.

As I keep telling you, the Texas prison syftem can’t let go of the past. With everything going on with the federal monitors, and all the changes taking place, it looked for awhile like some positive things were happening. Everything was going in the right direction. Of course, the Puppetmasters didn’t like it one bit, because their gravy-train had left the station, so they came up with their own gameplan. By the way, these people took it very personally, how Judge Justice had “come in here” and started all these changes. Even the officers would say how they wished someone would kill him. These are prison guards! Talking about a federal judge!! But that just shows the thinking these people had back then. Please understand, I’m NOT saying all guards felt this way, and I’m not trying to rag on prison TDCJ guards in particular, anyway. There are a lot of folks within the system, including the officers, who see this system for exactly what it is, and they don’t like it anymore than I do, or anymore than you should. In fact, sooner or later, I’ll get around to writing about what a bunch of shit the guards have to put up with from the prisoners and the Puppetmasters both. But, as I was saying, the Puppetmasters hated in particular the fact that the prisoners had banded together during the Ruiz trial and laid it down. They’d seen this in California. They’d seen it in New York. They’d seen it in Illinois. But in Texas? Hell, no.

Unfortunately, Texas didn’t see these things as an opportunity to change things for the better and put the slave-system in the past where it belonged. The whole black mark could have been written into something the rest of the U.S. could have been proud of and looked up to- a new prison system with cutting-edge strategies to reduce crime and recidivism. Instead, they took a good look at the animosities between different groups in prison, and they exploited it with a divide and conquer strategy that remains, to this very day, as the lynchpin of their power over the inmates.

In the old days, TDCJ would house you by certain factors including your race. If you were white, you had a white cellie. If you were black, your cellie was black. There were several reasons for this. First, they didn’t want racial tension leading to violence in the cell. Second, it offered a measure of protection against “hits” where several members of one ethnic group would jump on an isolated member of another group. If your cellie was a Mexican, same as you, and you made the mistake of letting a bunch of “hueros” (white guys) come in and beat him up without fighting with him, then your own people would be coming after you. Finally, the TDCJ knew there were certain gangs in prison that were mortal enemies of each other like the Texas Syndicate and the Mexican Mafia. In the early 80’s, these guys were killing each other on the spot. And on predominant black units, like the Darrington or Ferguson, white prisoners would get jumped by three or four blacks at the same time. That started a few of these white guys writing out to California and getting permission to start a chapter of the Aryan Brotherhood here in Texas. The Puppetmasters understood all this, and used this roiling bitterness to turn the TDCJ into a warzone, with inmate turning on inmate. With no unity, the Puppetmasters, were able to get back to want they mostly wanted all along, free, slave labor!

When the Puppetmasters read this, believe me, they will have a thousand excuses ready why they let this happen. But here’s the deal. If I have a dog, and I know it bites people, but I put it outside without a chain and it hurts someone, everyone would say I did that intentionally, and they’d be 100% correct. The Puppetmasters knew from the start what was going to happen when they started housing these different gangs together in the same place. And then the killing began. The Texas Syndicate and the Mexican Mafia went at it the worst. The TDCJ would fill whole cell blocks full of each group together. As soon as the dayroom would open and everyone would come out of their cells, out came the knives. They were literally chasing each other around the dayrooms, stabbing each other to death. Sometimes, if the staff had a certain inmate they despised, and let’s say that inmate was Texas Syndicate. The staff would call him someplace like the infirmary, and when this Texas Syndicate would walk in the locked waiting area, there’d be 7 or 8 Mexican Mafia in there waiting on him. They’d beat this man to death while the officer would say, “Hey. You guys stop that. Settle down, now,” but not even yelling, just saying it to say it and laughingwhile he did.

I’ve seen terrible things because of this. Once, I watched as the guards brought an inmate into the pod during count time while we were “racked up” in our cells. They put him in one of the cells by himself. After count cleared, they rolled the doors, and everybody starts coming in the dayroom. This man walks out there, and he realized what was happening, but too late. He was Texas Syndicate, and about 10 Mexican Mafia guys start chasing him around the cell block stabbing him in the back, face and head. He runs up the stairs, but eventually gets stuck on the third floor. As he sees the others coming at him, he jumps, but when he jumped he didn’t just drop, he flew through the air... three floors onto concrete. When he hit, everyone clearly heard his legs break. Somehow, this man manages to crawl to the door, because he could hear all the others coming after him down the stairs. Thank God for him, there was a lady officer at the door, and just in time, she pulls him out, and shuts the door right in the face of the first guy coming after him. I’m watching as these guys are screaming out that he’s a dead man. He’s covered in blood, a bone sticking out of his shin. The lady officer turns her head and throws up all over the place.

Later, I’ll tell you how the TDCJ used all this hate to advance it’s own agenda and regain the power it lost to Ruiz.

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