12 1/2 years in Prison

By Mike Powers


I have 12 ½ years in prison in the State of Texas, and as I’m sure everyone will agree, Texas is well—known for their toughness on crime. However, from what I’ve seen, when it comes to what happens IN prison, that toughness seems to go out the window. Texas has a law called the Prison Rape Elimination Act and Texas Government Code 501.011 which provides for a “Zero-tolerance” policy regarding sexual abuse, including “consensual sexual contact”. These policies are designed eliminate, or at least minimize the possibility of, sexual assault while behind bars. This is good policy, and I applaud the State’s effort in upholding this law. As good as it sounds, however, it has done nothing for the thousands of women employed by the TDCJ, because every single day, the women who work here are sexually assaulted.

I realize how drastic that sounds, but it’s the truth. And it is not just the women who endure this as officers, but the nurses, doctors, teachers, and all other women who work here, too. It has even happened on occasion to the male officers.

Imagine that a woman and her children are leaving a department store. As they get to their car, a man approaches them with no pants on and starts masturbating on them. Of course, she starts screaming at him, but no matter her outcry, he doesn’t and won’t stop. Of course, this man will go to jail and without any doubt be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. Imagine again a nurse getting a patient ready for a doctor’s visit. She is taking his blood pressure, and as she gets ready to put the cuff on him, she reaches in his pants and begins playing with himself. 0f course, again, he would be arrested, and there would be significant consequences for his actions. Now imagine, that this nurse is an employee of of the TDCJ and the guy playing with himself is a prisoner. He will NOT be arrested; he will not be charged; and he probably won’t even face any serious disciplinary charges.

These examples are graphic, but I want everybody to understand the type of men I’m talking about here, and I want to point out a few things. First, I’m not talking about just a few sick individuals. I’ve been to 10 different prisons in Texas, and I’ve seen it on every one. It is out of control! These assaults happen every day by the hundreds, and there are thousands of perpetrators. I’m at a small unit with only around 1,350 inmates. I’ve been here 8 years, and I can’t even tell you how many people I’ve seen get a “Code 20” (the rule against masturbating). Every single one of these assaults occurs in a public place, as the whole institution is “in public”. There are certain individuals who have received case after case of this nature and gone to “medium custody” (a more restrictive housing assignment) year after year. They never stop, and, in fact, have gotten worse through the years as it became apparent they would {face no “hard” consequences for their actions. These animals have no respect for these women who work here, for the other prisoners, or even themselves.

In my dorm, the showers are near the TV that has sports on it all day. If a female is in the control picket, just beyond the TV, they will open the shower door so they can expose themselves to the lady while they masturbate, even though there might be 20 or more other inmates subjected to the sight of it. So why, you might ask, are these perverts not getting jumped on and beat up? Well, plenty have, but the TDCJ takes a fight case lot more seriously than these sex cases, so anyone trying to make parole, keep visitation privileges with their families, or just try and rehabilitate from a history of violence, these are the guys getting banged up by the disciplinary case instead of the perverts. He could even receive the” “free-world” charge for assault, while the perv gets off scot free for sexually assaulting everyone in the dayroom and the officer.

Also, something that truly amazes me is if a prisoner gets caught with a cell phone, some drugs, a weapon, well, he is going to be taken to the local courthouse and he will receive another sentence that, by law, is “stacked” on top of his first. That means he will serve the new sentence only after the first one is completed. But hundreds of female officers are belng sexually assaulted every single day in the TDCJ and NONE of these perps are even charged, much less tried and sentenced.

Before someone says it’s not worth the hassle, I’d ask you to stop a minute and imagine if the female officer working at the prison is your own wife, mother, or daughter. If it’s someone you cared about, what would want to happen? Surely not nothing means if these crimes were prosecuted, they could charged with keep these animals behind bars where they belong. There are handfuls of individuals just here at this unit with case after case like this, and they would make great candidates for civil commitment.

The people running the TDCJ have really dropped the ball on this issue, It’s obvious most of the ranking officers who hear these cases don’t give a damn because of the light punishments that are handed out for the severity of the crime committed. I belive his shows that they feel in their heart that this is not a place women should be working, so they justify the act by saying to themselves, “that’s what they get for wanting to work at a ‘man’s prison.’ ”. Many male officers feel this way, but these “Old school” majors, captains, and wardens are the worst.

I know inmates in my dorm that have had 3 or 4 Code 20s in less than a month, but rank keeps letting them get away with it. I can’t imagine what these perverts are saying to get out of these cases. Are they giving information (snitching)? THINK ABOUT THIS! “I’ll let you lmake it on this sexual assault of my staff if you tell me who has got some hootch.” THAT’S CRAZY! But it goes on, system-wide, evert day.

The guards in here wear hats that say “We Take Care of Our Own” on the back. Well, everyone from sergeants on up to wardens know this has been going on for years and none of them are doing squat about it. I see cases for stupid crap- leaving a book in the window, having an extra towel, leaving a fan on when no in the cell- but jack off on an officer, and you’re good to go. They waste all this time and money on stupid stuff while letting sex offenders do their worst.

As I said before, the laws are already in place in Texas to prosecute these individuals. PREA requires documentation of every sexual assault that occurs on a unit and write an annual report. Now, either these crimes are not being properly documented and reported, or the PREA administrators don’t care a wite, because if they did, it’s hard to belive someone could see THOUSANDS of masturbating cases a year and not do anything about it.

Here’s something very important. I was unfortunately previously incarcerated in the Federal system, and I’ve moved all over the county while in custody. I also did time in the Ohio State system. And I can honestly say I never saw ONE person get a masterbating case in those sytems. Why? Because that kind of stuff is not tolerated in the Federal prison. It’s no tolerated in Ohio. If you really want to stop this problem, please send someone here to talk with my and my friend.

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