Cold Blooded Killers

by Jay Goodman

In my last several chapters I’ve written about the United States Penitentiary in Hazelton, West Virginia. I’ve talked about a man I met in Kentucky who everyone called KY, and his struggles to survive over the last 28 years. Like I said before, I had hoped after 15 years in the Texas prison that I would be moving to a prison system that would be focus on rehabilitation. But, between my time in the federal correctional center in Youngstown and here, it seems the only thing these places are focused on is selling drugs and killing anyone they believe or even think is a threat to their criminal activity.

This morning I was looking out my cell window when I saw KY in his group of people getting ready to take showers. The five that was going to take a shower handed their friends the shanks they were carrying. When they close the shower curtain, KY and the others stood guard outside the shower. After the men finished taking a shower and came out, the ones who stood guard handed them their shanks and took showers, while the others stood guard. I also noticed why this was going on that the other prisoners never even got near them. Later on, KY came by my cell and I asked him about it. He said, “every single time anyone in his crew took a shower another guy had to stand guard.” He went on to tell me, “We are very vulnerable to be attacked and killed while in that small shower stall.” He also started telling me how everyone in his crew has to be up every morning at 5:00. because they have to look out their cell window in hand sign with his crew in other cell blocks to see if anything kicked off with his crew members and another group. “Plus, when they open our cell doors at six, we have to always be ready.” “Why,” I asked. “Because if someone wants to kill one of us, what a great time to get us, while we are sleeping.” “Do you have a lot of problems with other crews,” I asked. “Almost never, because they have seen us kill dozens of people. And not just kill them, but slaughter them. They know how ruthless we are, and most people understand that we will never forget or forgive. If someone does anything to one of us, it’s murder on site soon as we can get close to them.” “Well, why are there so many killings if everyone knows this?” “Jay, most of the hits are not because someone did something to us. Someone in administration has ordered to hit. I’d have to say without a doubt, that 90% of the people we kill, are because someone who works here wants them killed.” I was standing there thinking about that. What a statement. “So, most of the people who get killed inside here, because someone in administration wants them killed?” “That’s right, Jay.” “Why do they want so many people killed? And are all of these people rats?” “Truthfully, almost none of these people were rats.” “But, then why?” “It can be for any reason, Jay. Maybe the officer is pissed at this guy because he said something disrespectful to him. I saw one lady have words with some guy, she went into the office and called her husband who was the captain, and the very next day we received word to kill the guy.” “So, the people who work here are having people murdered because they are having a problem with them, or just because they feel disrespected?” “Yes.” “These people are criminals Jay, and cold-blooded killers. They might not be stabbing the people, but they are ordering the hit?” “What would happen if one of you said, “no more?”” “I told you before, if you refuse to do the hit, then you will get killed.” “There is no way around this?” “Look, the shot callers and most of the people in my crew have life sentences. The others have 40, 50, or enough time where they know the chances for them to get out are not good. So, they understand that this is their life. They are making thousands of dollars a day and the drug business here is a multi-million dollar a year business. They can take care of their family from inside here, this gives them an opportunity to buy their children’s homes, cars, trips, and take care of their parents; or pay for their grandchildren’s college. Plus, they never have to worry about how they will survive in this place. As you know firsthand, you need money in here. The administration understands the importance of keeping everything running just like it is. There is no way they would allow anyone to be a shot caller except someone who has a life sentence. Or, of course someone that’s got hundreds of years. They know if someone has a short amount of time, it’s possible the FBI could convince them to turn informant. Say a guy comes here, and he has a 10-year sentence. Say he gets in trouble for selling drugs, or some other type of criminal activity. The feds come here and say to him, look you are facing 30 years minimum. You either work with us or will make sure you get every day. This is why they like men with life, because the administration already knows the FBI has no leverage with them. If he is threatened with 30 years, he don’t give a shit because he’s doing life. Plus, he knows that he can keep right on making tens of thousands of dollars.” “Doesn’t Washington ever get involved?” “Why would they? Look, if Washington does do an investigation, what are they going to find? That’s why I was charged with the first hit I done. Like I told you, that was a feather in the hat. Plus, if you are not a member of our crew, and you get caught with some drugs, you’ll be put in isolation and get a disciplinary case.” “Do you want to hear something crazy? When the administration wants to make themselves look good, they’ll get with the shot caller, and he will give them a name of someone that’s either holding, or who has bought a lot of drugs from them. Then the administration will go bust them, write a disciplinary report on them, which of course makes them look good. Like they are doing their job. After everything is over the guy in administration will call in the shot caller and give him the drugs back. So, if this poor idiot just paid $1,000 or two for this dope, they’ll turn right around and sell it back to them. Oh, and the guy who went to isolation. The shot caller is going to shoot him a note saying, “I heard what happened to you. Man, I hated to hear that. But here’s a little bit of dope to hold you off until you get out.” They may even send a little commissary with it. The guy back there will think the shot caller is good people, not knowing he is the one who told on him. Then when the guy gets out of isolation, he will go to the shot caller and say how much he appreciates everything you did. Then guess what happens? The shot caller sells it back to him. All of this is a game of chess, the administration and the shot callers move these guys around like pawns.” “Are the wardens involved in all of this,” I asked. “I’d have to say, yes. If they’re not, they are really stupid, or they’re naïve. But, a lot of wardens are pawns themselves. They come here and they don’t know shit about what’s really happening. A lot of them really don’t realize how corrupt their staff is. They come here and trust whatever the staff tells him.” “Has there ever been a warden that’s come here and try to change things?” “Never! Why would they?” “Jay, most of them don’t care. It’s just a job to them.” “Has administration ever had trouble from any of the guards, or ranking officers?” “What do you mean by trouble, Jay?” “Have they ever tried to clean things up?” “Every now and again someone shows up that don’t like what they see. But, what usually happens is they will either set him up, or they’ll have two or three inmates beat him almost to death. Not kill him, but let him know it would be in his best interest not to ever come back. But that usually don’t happen, because they keep all of them someplace where they won’t see what’s going on.” “So, they do play everyone like pawns on a chessboard?” “Jay, I have damn near 30 straight years in here. And I could tell you stories of what I did, and seen that the majority of people could not imagine something like this could possibly be happening inside a prison in the United States.”

As our conversation ended, I could see how her years or decades in this place would be a living hell. What most people don’t get is that prison like this place don’t rehabilitate prisoners. It usually turns them into something they were before they came to prison, which is a cold-blooded killer. And that is exactly what’s running this person, cold-blooded killers.

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