Another Senseless Death Inside an Insane Prison System

By Jay Goodman

There are so many things inside a prison that cause trouble each day, most of it are senseless bullshit you would expect grown men to deal with in a civilized manner. But, because of many different circumstances, very small things can lead to a situation that gets blown out of control. It happens in the free world also. We see in the local newspapers or on the evening news, how couples get into a fight for whatever reason, and assault each other. Sometimes it gets so out of control that someone will get killed. I have seen parents at their kid’s little league games fight each other. All of us have seen road rage in real life, or on T.V. Most of the time in the real-world people will usually say a few four-letter words, or flip you the middle finger, and it’s done.

Prison, is a much different world, especially in Texas. I have already written a chapter about the word respect out there, compared to the Texas prison system. If you have read my book from the beginning until now, you know. I am a firm believer in rehabilitation. But, there are men who want to change, but are uncertain how to go about it, or are afraid, because of what their fellow prisoners will think.

There are people that have changed everything about themselves, and want nothing to do with prison life. Then of course, there are some who flat out don’t give a shit about changing. Their only aspiration in life is to be criminals and get high, or drunk. Naturally they hold the ones back who are trying to change. And the Texas prison system not only knows this, but they set it up to happen. But, before I get into that I want to show everyone what happens inside the Texas prisons to this very day, that could have been stopped, or could have been at least slown down.

People-get into fights for many different reasons in these Texas prisons. It could be two cellies who don’t get along. A lot of fights are over tables, benches, TV, gambling, drugs, gangs, or many other things. But, from my perspective, most fights happen in side the Texas prison system from “hooch”. Which is, homemade wine. Hooch seems to bring out the worst in almost everyone I’ve seen drink it. I’m not sure why it is, but Texas prisoners seem to always get into fights when they drink. And this story is about a man I knew, and his struggles with drinking.

Around a year and a half ago, a 55-year-old man named Michael Sullivan, was moved into the cell block I was in. Everyone seemed to know this guy, all of the men I already knew from before said he was good people. A man I have known for a lot of years told me that this new guy had been in super seg for a lot of years, and that he used to be in a gang called, the Aryan Brotherhood. A lot of people who move into a cell block are greeted by, who I always joke about, and call the welcoming committee. People go over to the new man who has moved in and shake their hands and ask who they are. As for myself, I prefer to wait awhile before I speak to any one that moves in because, you never know what type of guy this is. He may be a little crazy, or he may be completely crazy, either one is bad, so I’ve learned to just keep a distance until you have somewhat of an idea who this man is. Since we were both around the same age, and he had seen, that I was out of the way, he came over and stuck his hand out one day after living in the cell, block for a few weeks and said, “hi, I’m Mike”. I shook his hand and said, “I’m Jay, nice to meet you”.

Prison conversations usually go around, where are you from? How much time are you doing? How long have you been down? Eventually it moves on to other things such as family, or things you have in common. Mike was 55, and had been in super seg for many years, but he was a very fit guy for his age, he worked out daily and was a stocky old school. After we talked a couple of times, I could see that Mike still had a lot of his old gang style of thinking and acting. Don’t get me wrong, over all, Mike was not a bad dude, but he still had a lot of rascal in him. I noticed it the first time I saw him drink hooch. There was an old mexican man that lived in our cell block. He was one of those guys who was always mad at the world. He would get mad and call people names. He had a bad habit of calling the guards everything you can think of. Well, one night this old man called Mike’s Mother a four-letter word, and Mike smacked this guy straight to the ground. While I must admit this guy had it coming, but being Mike was 55, I thought he should-have just ignored this old hateful man.

My way of thinking is, if I can avoid trouble in here, I will, at all cost. I have seen many men incarcerated for years longer than they needed to be, because of pride. I have also learned not to aver allow my emotions to do my thinking. Instead, I use my emotions to make me think. A lot of people that have been in the gang life for decades, are used to dealing with everything with acts of violence. Especially the people that came to prison during the 70’s and 80’s. When Mike went to prison during the 1980’s, the Texas prisons was a war zone. People that went to prison during that era were forced to kill or be killed. And since the whites were a minority in those days the Aryan Brotherhood was created, but they would not just accept you because you were white you had to be willing to commit murder. As I have already written in my chapters from the 80’s, every single day throughout the Texas prison system people were being killed. Everywhere you went there was tension, you had to be constantly on point. One of Mike and my conversations were how he felt lucky to have survived those days. But after decades of this you can only imagine the psychological affects it had on the prisoners? Then when they took these men and started locking them up in super segs for decades. If they were not already crazy from the violence, solitary confinement finished the job. This is what makes me dislike the people who control the Texas prisons so much. They of course understand the psychological damage these prisoners have. But they don’t care, because they know that these prisoners will more than likely be their slaves forever. I would also like to point out that this should also show the public what they think of you all. Because the Puppetmasters understand that these men are ticking time bombs. And if one gets out and kills a bunch of people, oh well. Nothing or no one is important. All that matters is keeping over one hundred prisons full, and stealing everything they can get their hands on. Nothing is sacred to these people, not our lives, or rehabilitation, or the public. If I, a man sitting in prison can look at a guy like Mike, and see he has some issues from everything he went through, don’t you believe the Puppetmasters see it? They know it, but they care less what happens to these men. All that’s important is they stay here, helping fill a spot so that they can keep these prisons full to capacity.

As time passed, I would get to know Mike more and more. He struggled like any other prisoner who has lost decades behind bars. He told me once that besides wanting to be a free man again, he realized how much he had hurt his Mother. He said to me, that his biggest regret was that he had lost all these years with his Mom, and how he was looking forward to the day when they could sit down together, and he could tell her how sorry he truly was. But that of course would never come to pass. One night a guard went inside his cell and found several bottles of hooch. The guard wrote a disciplinary case, and Mike was sent to what is called medium custody, which is a form of isolation.

The only difference is, these prisoners get to come out of their cells, so many hours a day. At this prison (the Stevenson Unit) a lot of the prisoners who are in medium custody are in there for hooch or K-2. Also, a good amount of them that are in there really don’t care about coming back out into population. Why? Because, medium custody inmates ace really left alone. Over the 10 years I have been here, these prisoners are allowed to drink, smoke K-2, or use other drugs, and as a whole the guards leave these men alone. So, there are usually 84 to 100 inmates in there at a time doing what they want to do, drink and get high. Most people that go to medium custody can get out anywhere from 60 days to six months. But I know one guy who’s been there for five years. I asked him, why he doesn’t want to come out? He answered, why come out Jay? I can sit back here and make a killing off of making hooch. I can drink, get high, and the guards leave us alone.

So, Mike gets to medium custody and here he is able to drink all the time. Well, one afternoon after drinking all day, Mike had some words with a young guy in his 20’s. This guy and Mike go into a cell to fight in this young guy gets Mike on the ground and beats his head over and over on the concrete floor. By the time the staff finds Mike, he has stopped breathing. They call for help, but there is no medical staff. So, they begin CPR. Mike has already gone minutes without air, and he is in a cell on the second floor. So, even though they started CPR, they had to stop again to carry him downstairs and put him on the gurney, they call for an ambulance, and started CPR again. Mike was flown to a hospital in San Antonio and put on life-support. He was then pronounced brain dead. He was kept on life-support. They called his family who arrived the next day. His elderly mother had to make the decision on whether to turn the machine off. Now instead of Mike going home and making amends to his mother, she had to make the decision to turn off life support. When she decided to take her son off life support, she asked a guard to please remove the shackles so he could die free without being cuffed. She was told, no. Mike was pronounced dead about noon on August 7, 2019.

Because of hooch, here is another man unable to chase his dreams of happiness. Why doesn’t the prison system clean up medium custody? Because, each prison gets more money to keep it open. So, what, these men are drinking and doing drugs, that’s OK. They know these men will never get rehabilitated. There are thousands of men in these prisons like Mike, who suffer from drinking and drug problems. While the puppet masters fled these presents with K2 and other drugs, if someone like Mike gets killed, no big deal. It’s just another day at the office, for the puppet masters.

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