It’s Time to Stand and Defend Our Constitutional Rights

By Jay Goodman

I have fifteen years of incarceration now inside the Texas prison system and as much as I dislike the system itself, I have given much thought as to why a place like this can keep thriving.

At the beginning of this book I started out in the 1970’s and have gone through each decade and have explained in much detail how we’ve ended up with the prison system that exist now. There is no doubt the Puppetmasters have planned this, but I have contemplated many times why have the prisoners just sat back all of these years and done pretty much nothing? Before anyone says, I have filed Grievances and lawsuits. Yes, there are always a handful of inmates trying to change things. But as a whole most prisoners will not do anything; they won’t even try to help the ones that are doing something to fight back. I want all of the Texas prisoners to think about this, “can we change things?” The answer is quite simple. Yes. Can we improve our living conditions? Can we finally receive credit for our good time? Can we change everything about the Texas prison system? Again, it’s a very simple answer. Yes. Now of course, I can hear all of the prisoners beating their drums to, it’s never going to change. This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. To these people I will say this. I’m assuming you’ve read all of my book, from the beginning until now. And if you have, you know Fred Cruz filed and filed, starting in 1967 until 1972, and until a federal judge “forced” the Texas prison system to give him all of his good time, and he was released.

Then in the 1970’s David Ruiz filed another class action lawsuit that lasted for over twenty years, and changed the entire Texas prison system. I want to remind everyone reading this, that these two men alone, Fred Cruz and David Ruiz, are the (Poster Children) of change. They also did it in a time when the Texas guards would kill you, or have the turnkeys kill you.

There were many other men during the Ruiz days that wrote Grievances and filed lawsuit after lawsuit. These men fought hard to make sure that our Constitutional Rights were not violated, and that Texas stopped abusing us. The problem with the Texas prison system now is that they are slowly going back to the same type of treatment, but in different ways. And throughout this book I have shown their new styles of manipulations. I have heard many times; I hate how the prison system does this to us, or I hear someone say the guards or ranking officers are not allowed to do that, or talk to us this way, or treat us like that.

And I would say that 90% of the time you’re right. But you walk away and accept the situations without writing a Grievance, or putting them in court. I have asked myself many times, “why?” Why would you accept anything less than the very best for yourselves? Why would you let someone treat you and talk to you like you’re an idiot? Please, understand I am not talking about violence. I am talking about utilizing what’s been put in place by the federal court system to stop the abuses inside these Texas prisons.

Fred Cruz and David Ruiz understood with all of their hearts and souls that the only way to stop the abuses they were experiencing at that time was by putting it on paper and exposing them. They proved with their pens that Texas was violating their Constitutional Rights, and the court agreed with them. They fought tooth and nail for (change) and as it shows in the law libraries in every prison in Texas that they (Won). Not just for themselves, but for the entire prison system.

A big problem throughout the Texas prison system now is the (Me Movement). Me, Me, Me! Even friends of mine that have decades in prison make excuses for why they don’t want to write Grievances or go to the courts. A good friend of mine told me yesterday how the guards went into the dayroom at another prison he was at, and found a jacket sitting on a bench and searched it, and there were drugs inside of it. Even though there were dozens of other prisoners inside this dayroom, and even though he had a jacket on, the guards wrote him a disciplinary case for the drugs. I asked him if he had written a Grievance? And he said, “yes”. Then I asked him if he had put it in court? He said, “no”. I didn’t waste my time even asking him, why? Because, I have heard every excuse you can imagine. And it’s because of people like my friend, and every excuse you can think of that the guards and the ranking officer feel they can do whatever they want. It’s also why they are able to get away with so much corruption.

Change is not always an easy thing, but it is always possible. And when we start to realize that, then we can begin to accomplish anything we set our minds to. Remember our lives change when our thinking changes. What was it that set Fred Cruz and David Ruiz apart from the rest of us? Some people would tell you it was mere chance, that they simply found themselves in the right place at the right time. Do not allow your minds to be deceived. There are only a few things that are different about Cruz and Ruiz than the rest of the prisoners now days. “Discipline and Determination”. In the first place, they tended to have a singleness of purpose that penetrated every activity of their lives. And in the second place, they formed habits that helped them to achieve their goals. These were not the mindless habits that are acquired by choosing the path of least resistance and maximum pleasure, like I see in most people in the Texas prison system today. Fred Cruz and David Ruiz had a mission, and that mission was to change the Texas prisons, and they let nothing deter them, not even the threat or fear of death. Fred Cruz could have easily accepted the fake disciplinary reports, and the loss of good time, just like my friend did for drugs. But because he didn’t, he received all of his time back from the courts, and was released. David Ruiz could have accepted all of the things that were going on inside the prison system. But because he didn’t, he changed the whole prison system and kept the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in court for over (twenty) years. I have read this lawsuit over and over again, and every single time I cannot help but smile.

For everyone who believes Texas prisons will never change, I challenge you to go read about Cruz and Ruiz. The Federal Courts will side with prisoners, especially if they violate your Constitutional Rights, which they do every single day, but they get away with it, because prisoners allow them too. Remember my fellow prisoners, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice will break the law and violate your Constitutional Rights, it’s not something they even worry about doing, because most people will not do anything about it. They know that most prisoners are easily entertained with the simplest of things, like rec, games, radio, commissary, and let’s not forget the most important one of all, “TV”. God forbid you would have to miss a big game, or “The Fast and The Furious”, for the 100th time, or God forbid you would have to miss “The Young and The Restless”.

If all of the Texas prison TV Kings would give up half of their TV time and focus on filing Grievances and class action lawsuits we could take this prison system into the 21st century, and more importantly we could get our good time credit that we have earned. I want to stress again, “that we have earned”.

Cruz and Ruiz saw the injustice that was happening inside the Texas prisons, just like at the injustice that I’ve written about throughout this book, and just like every single person that’s incarcerated inside the Texas prison system has seen every day. Really think about what I’m saying, it’s way past time for another big change to take place. Focus on what’s important in your lives, your wife, children, Mom and Dad, your hopes and dreams, your freedom. Well my brothers, we were all sent to prison for breaking the law. No matter what prison you’re at, how many laws do you see the Texas prison employees break every day? How many of your Constitutional Rights get violated every day? All prisoners have a right not to be treated with cruel and unusual punishment, that is the 8th Amendment Right. Well, being locked in our cells for weeks at a time, and being fed one burrito and a peanut butter sandwich, is not even close to a balanced nutritional diet, writing quota disciplinary reports is also illegal, finding inmates guilty at court and violating court procedure is also illegal, and let’s not forget making us live in cells or dorms, that are so hot that everyone young or old becomes sick, or just kills us, like they have already killed 23 of us already. And look, this was already won in a federal court room in Houston, two years ago.

Are they doing anything to fix the problem? NO! After the inmates won their class action suit, they have still broken the law and have lied over and over to the U.S. Federal Judge, and try to cover it up, just like they do with abusing us. After 23 deaths. because of the heat, Texas prisons will not ever honor Respite. They violate our Constitutional Rights daily. Everything I just mentioned is a small example of what they’re doing. Remember to use the Grievance system and the federal courts. Like I said before, it is an absolute fact, that this Pen is mightier than the sword.

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