by Jay Goodman

Throughout my 15 years of incarceration inside the Texas prison system I have learned never under any circumstances ever say or think it can’t get any worse than it already is. Because they have shown me over and over again that once you start thinking they can’t run their prison system any crazier than it already is, they will prove me wrong every single time. As I have written many times, the puppet masters love to cause chaos and confusion. 

Their dream is to work the prisoners all they can, to starve us, to keep us locked down as much as possible, and of course to steal everything they can get away with. Any and every opportunity that comes along they will do what they do best, which is to manipulate every situation to their advantage.

So, when this COVID-19 came to the Texas prisons They seen it was a dream come true. And believe me, they wasted no time getting started. As I said, I received a parole in Texas on February 7th and was moved to the walls unit on March 9th to be released into federal custody or moved to the state of Ohio. But due to the confusion over who was going to get me, I have been stuck here for close to a month. As I have said, This prison is around 200 years old, and is infested with roaches, rats, birds, and many other things. And the section almond is in a basement. I mean literally underground, so there’s no windows to even see outside or to get any sunshine or fresh air.

The section I’m in is transient which means you’re in the cell Block because you are going home, or you’re going to some type of program. I’m an exception to this because even though I have a parole, I have several detainers so I have to sit here until they figure out who is coming to get me. And of course, the Texas prison system is never in a hurry to get rid of anyone, so as far as they are concerned I can sit in the cell forever. When I arrived here the only time I ever left my cell was when they took us to the chow hall to eat or to take a shower. I figure I was in my cell close to 23 hours a day. There’s no radio or TV in my cell Block, so even for someone like myself who gets up early every morning to work out, and likes to read, each day was spent trying to do everything in my power to stay busy so I wouldn’t go crazy.

If living like this isn’t bad enough, the puppet masters of course decided to take it to another level. One morning everyone here’s the horn blow for account, but the funny thing is it’s not count time. The guards came into my cell Block and told the two porters that worked in there to go back to their cell Block for a special count.

At first no one thought anything because they do special counts from time to time. But when the two prisoners that works in my cell Block never came back to work, we started wondering what was going on. When we would ask the guard all they would tell us is they never heard what was happening. Later that day a guard on second shift told us to prisoners from another prison had come there who were sick with fever, so the warden decided to lock the entire prison down. I could not help but think doesn’t it make better sense to lock the cell Block down to the two inmates were in? I mean the medical department are not even sure these men have coded 19. Then the next move really surprised me, they took these two men and move them to a different cell Block, one that was right next-door to me. By far, I am not a doctor, nor do I have any idea how to handle an outbreak of coven 19.

But I was thinking if these two prisoners do you have it, wouldn’t it be better to keep them right where they are at? Why would they move them to a different building and put them in a cell Block where nobody is sick? I mean if they have it the prisoners in the cell block, they were in have already been exposed to it, so why moving to a different cell Block and expose other groups of people? Once again, I’m not a doctor but this move doesn’t make sense to me. But the truth is nothing makes sense when it comes to the Texas prison system. There is no set rules or ways they run things. Yes, they have an offender handbook with rules of how the institution is supposed to be run. But as I have written throughout my book they don’t care about any institutional rules or policy. 

They have an always will do whatever they want to their prisoners without any worry about what will happen. Anyway, the warden said “since people who have been exposed to COVID-19 might not show any symptoms for 14 days, I’m going to lock the prison down for 15 days.”  

Now of course my 23 hours a day has turned into 24 hours a day in my cell. We got showers Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. And let’s not forget they started feeding us Johnny sacks, which consists of one salami sandwich, and one peanut butter sandwich. And even though I’m sure that the warden will say when he reads this, I only did that for the safety of the institution. But of course, this is a complete lie. Because if he was thinking of his institution, why on earth happened he already passed out mass to all of his employees +and to every prisoner there? I mean this COVID-19 wasn’t no surprise, it did just sneak up on us.

Everyone in the United States already knew it was coming, so why didn’t the warden take the steps needed before hand? I mean this was already late in March, everything else across the state of Texas was already shut down. People were not even allowed to go to church. Wouldn’t it been a great idea to already brought mask in for all of the staff and prisoners and force them to wear them? Again, I’m sure he will say we didn’t have no mask, well once again it’s a lie. Remember there’s over 100 prisons in Texas, and guess who makes all of the prisoners and officers clothing? Can anyone take a guess? I’m sure nobody has to think very hard.

I imagine everyone has guessed correctly, the prisoners. So why not have masks made for all of the inmates and staff way in advance? The whole world is already wearing them. But the warden waits until he thinks someone is sick then he decides to bring mass in for everyone. Also, when it was our day for showers, the woman decides that only 10 prisoners can take a shower at once. The guards try this I believe once, maybe twice, then they saw this too was a crazy idea. So they began putting all they could in there at once, none of them wanted to stand guard on the Building where the prisoners showered their entire 12 hour shift. Another thing that always happens inside the Texas prisons. When they lock a prison down completely whether it’s for a riot, or are to lock downs every prison has to endure every year. There’s not supposed to be any movement whatsoever from the prisoners, the staff is supposed to make our two sandwiches and they are supposed to pick up the trash or do whatever else needs to be done.

Of course, this never happens, the staff will always pull inmates out of their cells to do all the work. Now the warden felt that he had to lock down the entire prison because of this COVID-19, in his own words he said he believes by locking us down it will be easier to “contain.” Okay, if his true goal was that why did he have inmates in the kitchen every day making all the sandwiches? Why did he allow prisoners to go up front to work in the administration building where his office is that to clean, and make pots of coffee and serve all of the staff?

After a week or so we eventually found out that the two inmates that had the fever to begin with did not have COVID-19. But did the warden lift the lockdown? No! Instead he said “there was someone else that has a fever so it’ll be 15 days starting from that day.” From that point on he said “whenever someone gets sick the 15 day lock down starts over.”  All of the prisoners were thinking my God, prisons are like small towns, there’s over 2000 inmates at the Walls unit. People get colds, or get sick from other things. If you lock the prison down every time a person gets sick it’ll stay on lockdown forever. Why I understand the seriousness of code 19, it is equally important to remember the people in prison are human beings. They already stopped all visitation at every prison, so it’s been months since anyone has seen their families.

The only means the Texas prisoners have to communicate with their family and friends is by phone, but of course that stop now because the prison is on lockdown. Also, I asked one of the workers if the officers dining room was open? And he said “yes.” While the prisoners are starving on one salami and peanut butter sandwich their dining hall is open and they are eating our food. Plus, the trucks are still delivering the food to each prison at the end of each month, where is that food going? Like I keep saying, every opportunity they have to lie, manipulate, and steal from the state they do. Why I understand the need to take certain steps to protect the prisoners and staff from catching COVID-19 Shirley starving the prisoners and isolating them in their cells 24 hours a day is not the answer.

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