A Slap On The Hands And lt. Bridges Is Right Back Where He Left Off

By Jay Goodman

Inside these Texas prisons there are the prisoners and the guards, ranking officers, and wardens and naturally one would imagine it’s the inmates who are in here causing all of the problems. But, that’s far from the truth. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of my fellow prisoners that are idiots. They think only of themselves and care less about trying to change. But the overall population of inmates are working and staying out of the way. But, from my view point almost all of the drama that happens in these prisons are caused by the employees.

As I have said before there are way over one hundred prisons in Texas, and because of that, they cannot keep them fully staffed. Right now, to sign up to work here in these Texas prisons they are giving out a five-thousand-dollar bonus. And because of this shortage they are hiring hundreds of men and women that are not qualified to work here, physically or mentally. I have written chapters before, and have shown the struggles because of this.

Now, I want to show what happens amongst the staff because of this. Let’s say there is a ranking officer who does have a little snap about him or herself, who realizes that the people working under him or her, is either not too bright or maybe a little too naive at what is happening around them. To give a good example of what I am talking about there is a ranking officer here named Lieutenant Bridges. I met Lt. Bridges here at the Stevenson Unit ten years ago, when I first arrived. Back then he was only a guard. I cannot honestly say he was a bad guard. He would usually do what was expected of him, as far as letting us in and out of our cells on time. I can’t really recall any situation where he went out of his way to bother us. But this all changed the very moment he became a sergeant. It was like his sergeant stripes turned him into a different person. I have heard all through my life that power changes people. I have never realized how true this statement was until I came into the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The first thing I noticed was that Sergeant Bridges’ personality changed immediately. Unfortunately, not for the better. He became more aggressive. If someone tried to talk to him, he was rude and always trying to belittle the prisoner. Especially if there was a female guard present. If a prisoner is having trouble with a guard, they are supposed to try to informally resolve the situation by speaking with a ranking officer. But when inmates would try to speak with Sergeant Bridges, they would be basically ignored. Back at the time he made his sergeant stripes there were a lot of young girls getting hired, and most of the time we would see Sgt. Bridges hanging around different areas where some of them were working. It was very obvious that this sergeant liked some of these girls. During his little visits with one of the lady guards, and he noticed that she was frustrated with one of the prisoners, not for something serious. But let’s say the inmates wanted the TV changed, or it was way past the time for us to have an in and out for us to go into our cells, and the inmates would complain to the female guard. Bridges would make a big scene, and become threatening. I saw that he would always act like he was being protective of her. I learned from watching him that next he would hang around talking to whoever the female guard was. Sometimes he would have the lady write a disciplinary case and of course who would the prisoner go to court in front of? None other than Lt. Bridges.

Let me back up a second to when he was Sergeant Bridges. Because I feel it’s important to show how this system works. While Bridges was a sergeant, he began his stalking of the females. Now if the inmates could see what was happening, don’t you believe the other guards saw what was happening also? Of course they did. But, this is where that unspoken BS loyalty comes in to play. They have the guards believing it’s bad .to tell on your fellow officers. Instead of doing something to stop this sergeant from preying on these young girls, they just allowed it to go on for years. Now let’s look at the other ranking officers. Once again, if the inmates and guards saw what this sergeant was doing, don’t you believe the ranking officers did also? Of course they did. And that’s what makes this system So corrupt, no one is willing to step up and do the right thing. Sgt. Bridges worked nights and days, so every single guard and ranking officer that worked here, were fully aware of his stalking these young female guards.

Now, there was an opening for the rank of lieutenant, and since Sgt. Bridges had led such an outstanding job on his ability to stalk and prey, they of course promote him to the rank of lieutenant. If Bridges having sergeant stripes wasn’t bad enough, this was the beginning of much worse things to come.

Like I said before, when Bridges made sergeant, his whole personality changed. The power of these stripes truly went to his head; Now of course came another transformation with this lieutenant bars. There was a young woman working here back then, named Ms. Ellis. I imagine she was somewhere between 19 and 21 years old, but she really looked much younger. She started out to be a pretty  nice lady, who was laid back. She wasn’t lazy, and I would have to say over all she conducted herself in a good way. Before long we noticed that where ever Ms. Ellis was working there would be Lt. Bridges. If she worked in our building he would come early in the morning and hang out for as long as he could. I mean Lt. Bridges was stalking this young girl like a lion stalks a zebra. It was always very noticeable before what he was doing with the other females, but with this young lady Ms. Ellis, Bridges went to another level. The first thing he did was to start putting Ms. Ellis either in one building or what is known as the sergeant’s desk. One building is right by the line building, that’s where Lt. Bridges office was, and the officers that are usually in one building are normally pretty laid back. Or they are guards who can handle themselves well, because one building is where medium custody is at, and it’s a place where they put the idiot inmates. The prison usually doesn’t put women in one building to work because of the types of prisoners they have housed there. But, because most prisoners liked Ms. Ellis, and at this time she was nice, she never had much of a problem. But that would change very quickly.

The first thing that happened is Lt. Bridges started encouraging Ms. Ellis to change how she was. He told her that she needed to start writing disciplinary cases. Yes, we must not forget the “quota system”. And he started teaching her to be more aggressive. So, she went from this laid-back guard, to all of a sudden cursing all of the time. It seemed she could not use a sentence without using the F--- word. When things started getting more serious between them, Lt. Bridges started putting Ms. Ellis at the sergeant’s desk every day. The sergeant’s desk sits right in the middle of the prison, right outside of the chow hall. The guard that is put there has a lot of responsibility. That guard is controlling the movement of the whole prison, and are sending certain guards here and there to give other officers their breaks. While the new guards are trained how to work the sergeant’s desk, normally it’s run by a guard who has quite a bit of time in the system and understands the in’s and out’s of the prison. This position is usually rotated between several of the Veteran guards, and not by a young girl between the 10 of 19 or 21, with less than a year or so in the system, I might add. This move also pissed off a lot of the guards, because they did not like the idea of some young kid who was fresh in the system telling them what to do. Also the women guards who had been here for years, some of them decades, resented it the most, because they knew the only reason Ms. Ellis was there was because she was sleeping with a ranking officer. Also, this new position Ms. Ellis had and having all of this power, went straight to this young lady’s head. And of course, I know Lt. Bridges had a lot to do with this. As I said, he was encouraging her to become this tough hard ass person. Which she did. She started screaming and cursing all of the time, and threatening inmates. The worst of it was she began writing disciplinary cases for everything. When an inmate would say something to Ms. Ellis because of how she was talking, she would get even worse, and say, “don’t worry about how I’m talking.”

One day an older man said, “Why are you talking like that Ms. Ellis?” Lt. Bridges was standing nearby. She started screaming and cursing this guy, who naturally got upset himself and tried to speak with Lt. Bridges, but was quickly told off by him to. Ms. Ellis got upset because he spoke to a ranking officer about how she was conducting herself and wrote this man a disciplinary case. Because Lt. Bridges witnessed this, and was her boyfriend, he should have never heard this case. But this old man had to go to court in front of Lt. Bridges, and was found guilty even though Lt. Bridges knew he never did anything. This old man was put on cell isolation and commissary restriction for 20 days. This type of behavior happened again and again. Prisoners not being punished for violating a rule, but being punished because this ranking officer is sleeping with this young girl, and has put it in her head, that she can do anything she wants because he has her back.

The sad thing about this whole situation is this young lady, Ms. Ellis started off as a good guard. But, throughout the system predators like Bridges use their positions to prey upon young girls like Ms. Ellis. As the old saying goes, “all good things come to an end.” Lt. Bridges and Ms. Ellis were caught in uniform on their break having sex by a state trooper. Was Lt. Bridges fired for using his position as a ranking officer and taking advantage of this young girl? NO! Did I mention what Lt. Bridges did was against prison policy? Did I forget to say also that Bridges had a wife at home?

As I said before, the entire prison saw what Lt. Bridges had done before they ever got caught. Bridges was punished only because he got caught by a law officer, not because of what he had done. Bridges was demoted from lieutenant back down to a regular guard. Not that it really mattered, because the other ranking officers kept. Bridges working in the line building most of the time. Oh, and of course working the sergeant’s desk. The administration didn’t fire Bridges because they have done the same thing themselves. Were all of those disciplinary cases Ms. Ellis wrote and Lt. Bridges run thrown out? NO! The Texas prison system cares less of what this ranking officer did. Ms. Ellis stayed for a little while, but eventually left.

This ranking officer abused his position in every way. He had been doing it before Ms. Ellis got hired, and as I said, everyone saw it. As I have said the Texas prisons are the most corrupt system in all of the United States. It is a criminal empire that has been thriving for decades. This criminal organization is built on slavery, abuse, and murder. To prove my point once again. Guess who is a lieutenant again? I am sure no one has to guess. That’s right, Bridges.

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