A Product Of Their Environment

By Jay Goodman

After serving 15 1/2 years inside of the Texas prison system I am at a loss of words at everything I witnessed. There’s not a person alive who can lose that many years of their lives and not be affected by it. There is an old saying that goes “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.” There is a lot of truth to that statement, everyone Hass to answer for their crimes, I understand this probably better than most employees who work for the Texas prison system. Why everyone seems to be in agreement for the need for prisons, for some reason everyone is conflicted over what should happen to the men and women after they get to prison.

To me, that should be the easiest answer. I can summit up in one word. “Rehabilitation.” As big as Texas is, as much money as this state has, for some reason they’re stuck in the Stone Age when it comes to the Texas Department of criminal justice. Why it’s always been the Texas motto to be tough on crime, I wish someone would ask the people who run the state, and especially the ones who have run the prison system, what has it gotten you? Another great question, what has it changed in the last 30 years? Has crime dropped in a state? Since the big prison boom in the early 1990s, when there was a few dozen prisons in the whole state and jumped to weigh over 100, do you see any sign that it’s getting better? Of course, the answer to these questions is “no.” And it’s not going to get better as long as you continue to focus on punishing everyone instead of rehabilitation.

Everyone likes to ask prisoners this question “what have you learned over the last 10, 15, or 20 years?” For those who have read my book up to this point, what do you believe a person could possibly learn in a prison system such as the one you’ve been reading about? Let’s see, the entire system is run by criminals, there’s corruption at every level from the guards, ranking officers, to the wardens. And truthfully the ones above them. There is gangs, riots, murders, so many assaults at the court system can’t keep up with them. The whole prison system is flooded with every drug you can think of. The guards and ranking officers Work together and set prisoners up with drugs or weapons, every single president is locked down twice a year for weeks or months, for what’s called an institutional lockdown. Which they use this opportunity to starve the pressures and steal all the food not being eaten. Pressures are forced to live in inhumane conditions such as sales or dorms that are so hot that they’ve literally cooked inmates to death. As you already know from this book, the list goes on and on. So now I have to ask a question that the prisoners are usually asked, “what does the people reading this believe a man or a woman has learned after decades of these conditions?” How can anyone expect people to grow mentally, physically or spiritually when they’ve been mistreated and abused for decades? When you put people in conditions that are inhumane, and treat them like an animal until they lose all hope, you’ve not taught them a lesson. From what I’ve seen in a lot of prisoners they become full of rage and hate. They become so used to violence and despair that they no longer have empathy for other human beings. To see others around them physically hurt or even killed has no effect whatsoever. And it’s these people that usually leave prison and commit crimes that are so violent that everyone around them are either asking or wondering how long or someone could be so out of control? To give a good example of what I’m talking about back in the early 2000s, seven prisoners escape from the prison called the Conelly unit.

These prisoners were called the Texas seven. During their time on the run they rob some place in Dallas or Fort Worth. This place sold guns, after the robbery they were confronted by a police officer who they shot. But what caught my attention was what they did next. After shooting this man they ran over him with their car, backed over him then ran him over again. This police officer later died from his injuries, and the whole country was shaking their heads at this brutal senseless murder these men committed. It was senseless, because they already shot him, he was laying on the ground, and they were already in their car leaving. So, why did they treat this police officer with so much rage? To everyone I’m sure they thought or felt that these men were nothing more than a bunch of heartless animals. Which is absolutely correct. These men showed no sympathy, no care for human life, they acted like a pack of animals, without any remorse whatsoever. But I have to ask a question, has anyone ever considered why these men acted the way they did? Why would someone have so much hate for another human being that they don’t even know? Remember this was not an act of violence committed by one individual who is blown out of his mind on drugs, or who has psychological problems. This after violence was committed by seven people, none of which ever committed crimes like this before. Please understand I’m not trying to make excuses for these men, what these men did was a terrible activate lens and I understand the publics anger and disbelief at what these men did. I also understand lawn Forssman anger at what happened. But once again I have to ask this question, has anyone ever asked the seven escape prisoners why they killed a police officer the way they did? Truthfully, I doubt if they even know why. And once they were captured in Colorado, and brought back to Texas, all of them but the one who shot himself was given the death penalty and since has been put to death. Even though I do not believe in the death penalty, I have to say these Seven prisoners were the prime example of why they used it. But allow me to explain a few things about the seven prisoners. For some people there is no explanation for what these men did, and I will say you are correct. Everyone must be held accountable for their actions. But is it possible to look at what these men did and see they are a product of the Texas prison system? Allow me to explain where are these men came from and what kind of environment they lived in up to their escape.

The Conolly unit is in Kennedy, Texas, it opened back in the early 1990s. It’s a maximum-security prison and from the date open the riot started. The Texas Department of criminal justice for the presents with gangs, there was gang wars from day one. Murders were a common site. The guards in the ranking officers have the entire prison file with every drug you can think of, and sell phones were everywhere. A lot of staff will try to get different races to sell drugs for them. If they refuse, more than likely you’d be killed. The guards figured if you weren’t using drugs or selling drugs for them, you were of no use to them. At one-point people would hear from other prisoners or guards that six inmates were killed in the day room or rec yard. It seems like we would hear about a murder there every week. There was so many stabbings and murderers there, that the Conolly unit quickly became one of the deadliest presence in the state. Inmates and guards for murdering people, even the inmates that weren’t in gangs or in the drug business had to carry shanks to protect themselves. Every now and then the prison would get a new word and who will try to get a grip on things and lock the entire present down. But now of course, Johnnie sacks, one Salami and peanut butter sandwich, for one, two, or three months. Their goal of course is to literally starve prisoners during this time it might be in the middle of summer, the cells were anywhere between one to 120° and they’d be lucky to get a few showers a week. I want everyone reading this to understand something, no matter how strong-minded person is, no matter how much a man wants to do good, if you put him in a prison for years or decades under these conditions, he will have some psychological issues. I imagine the hundreds of prisoners who were doing good and trying to go home to their family can you imagine the tremendous stress these men were under? Who on earth can be rehabilitated under these conditions? The guard in the ranking officers had a saying that would ask the prisoners “are you a wolf or are you a sheep?” Because if you weren’t a wolf your chance for survival were very slim. These types of prisons are throughout the state of Texas. They take small time criminals and turn them in the killers. A lot of prisoners are so frustrated and angry with the prison system. The most dangerous of these men are the ones who hold their anger and rage in, because when they explode everyone around them are in shock.

Now let’s look at the taxes seven, everyone in our country looked at what these men did and pictured them as a pack of animals, which is true. These seven men were a product of how the Texas prison system force them to live. This is one of the Puppetmasters finest hours, because now they can beat their drum to what they need more prisons. The more prisons there are, the more they can steal.

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