One Bad Apple, Should Not Change the Rules for Everyone

By Jay Goodman

You will hear this a lot in the Texas prison system, one bad apple spoils it for everyone. There have been too many guards and ranking officers say this when asked, why we are not allowed to do or have something. It’s really something they have been programed to say. You see, the Puppetmasters have the guards and rank on the end of a string, just like the prisoners.

A long time ago, prisoners’ families were allowed to bring in food on visits. If Mom and Dad wanted, they could bring their son or daughter, a sub-way sandwich, or a big mac, but I heard a guard say, someone got caught putting drugs in something, so they stopped allowing that. The very next thing the guard said was, the one bad apple speech. I knew immediately he was just repeating what he had been told. Because in all reality, did stopping prisoners loved ones from bringing in a sandwich stop drugs from coming in? Did it even slow the drug flow down? Not at all. But the Puppetmasters knew it would not stop drugs from coming in. They knew it because, they are the ones that have the guards bringing it in. The real reason they stopped our families from bringing us food, is so they could put in vending machines with sandwiches, and other food items, at outrageous prices, and rob our families.

Here is a good example. I know everyone has seen the little round pizzas that are not much bigger than the palm of your hand. Would anyone in their right mind pay five dollars for one? Of course not. For a few dollars more you could buy a small pizza at a restaurant. Well, if the hundred and eight prisons sell, let’s say, ten thousand pizzas, over Saturday and Sunday, that’s fifty thousand dollars just for pizzas alone. We haven’t even touched base with the other food items such as sandwiches, hamburgers, candy bars, chips, sodas, and other items. By God, if you want some drugs, you better not have someone bringing it in, but it’s OK if you buy it from us. Same thing goes for the food, your family cannot bring in to you, but it’s OK if they buy it from us. Stopping our families from bringing us food has nothing to do with drugs coming in, it’s all about robbing our families. Of course, the vending machine company is either owned by them or, a friend, family member who will kick back some money to the Puppetmasters. Now, let’s take a look at our commissary. Some years back the state of Texas was supposed to allow our families to order, what is known as, care packages, for us. Every 90 days, our families could purchase up to sixty dollars’ worth of hygiene items and or food. It was supposed to have been from an outside source, like HEB or Walmart. But, it turned out in the end that our families could only order items from none other than the Texas prison system. I asked what happened to the original plan? I was told, that people in the past had had drugs sent in through the mail, you know Goodman, all it takes is one bad apple. I thought to myself, if our families had ordered sixty dollars’ worth of food or hygiene for us, from an outside vendor, like Walmart, how are they going to put drugs in it? Everything ordered would be sent through the company. The real reason is because they could not stand the idea of our family’s money going anywhere else but in their pockets. Just like the vending machines at all the prisons, they want all of our family’s money. It has absolutely nothing to do with someone sneaking drugs in to the prison.

They love to use this statement, one bad apple BS, whenever they want to manipulate something in their favor. It’s all a game of lies and manipulation, by a criminal organization known as, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. They have abused us and our families from the day this prison system started, and they will never stop until the federal government steps in and fires every last one of them, and takes total control. I mention this a lot throughout my book, because it is the only solution for this corrupt prison system.

A friend of mine and I were sitting in respite, when a sergeant and a female lieutenant came in. The cage they had us in was built for a max capacity of 17 people, there were over 30 people in it. My friend asked them to move us to a bigger room in the school building, which they are supposed to do when the capacity reaches 18 people. The female Lieutenant Jimenez said, “I am not going to move you all, because someone broke into an office and had stolen some stuff”. Then the very next thing out of her mouth was, “all it takes is one bad apple to ruin it for everyone. I could not help but ask her, if they caught the person who did it? “No”, she answered. Well, how do you know it was someone from respite? Of course, this outraged the lieutenant. Anytime someone, asks a question that shows them what they said was stupid, or they feel was something that questioned their authority, they become angry. Her anger made her erupt into a tantrum of, we always steal this or do that, and it’s one bad apple ruins it for everyone. I then asked her, who steals more food, the inmates, or you all? She, responded with, “I’m allowed to eat three meals a day”. I said that, “you are supposed to eat what we are eating, but tell me lieutenant, are you eating the same thing we are, or are you eating fried eggs and cheese sandwiches, and double cheese burgers with all of the pickles, jalapenos, that we never get”?

Her face turned red, because I had shown her in front of the sergeant and the other prisoners who was doing the stealing. Naturally, she would not answer my question, so I asked again, she still would not answer. Truth be said, she couldn’t answer, because she knew who was stealing more. And this is what makes the people working in the Texas prison system upset the most, is when someone holds a mirror, in their face and they have to look at themselves.

Sometimes I have wondered, if they fully acknowledge how dirty they are, or if the person, like this female lieutenant understands the dirt I’ve seen her do. I think, that maybe she and a lot of others come here with the intentions of doing good, but over time they have seen their co-workers stealing, lying, falsifying cases, and manipulating paper work that it has become the norm, like in their minds, it’s OK to do these things. I’ve seen this with criminals who have been locked up since they were young, in and out of reform schools and then prison, in their mind, being a criminal is how they’ve always lived, so it’s just a part of who they are. In their minds, it’s OK to lie, manipulate, and steal. I really believe this is how the guards think, they’ve been around it so much that they eventually start believing it’s alright to do this. But the worst thing is this, these guards will become sergeants, lieutenants, captains, majors, and then wardens. And if the state believes a certain individual has what it takes, they’ll become a Puppetmaster. Then in the end they have lived no better lives than the prisoners who have been criminals their whole lives. The only difference is we were arrested and sent to prison and you have the green light from the Puppetmasters to be criminals and liars. You ended up becoming the very thing you have always thought you were better than. For the ones who say, I don’t do none of that, I come to work and treat everyone kindly. For you all I say this, if you allowed your fellow co-workers, ranking officers, or wardens to not just lie and write false disciplinary reports, seen them stealing or setting prisoners up, in my opinion you are no better than they are. Why? Because you have the power to stop it, but have done nothing.

The guards who reported the Quota Act at the Ramsey Unit last year and exposed how the warden, major, and captain conspired to write fake disciplinary reports, I take my hat off to you. It was a blessing to see someone who works for the Texas prison system with integrity. Also remember, doing the right thing has nothing to do with whether you like us or not. Liking someone has nothing at all to do with doing the right thing. I am around people every day that work for the prison system who I don’t care for. But I do not allow it to affect me to the point where I hate them. I will treat them with the same respect that I give the others. Remember, it’s not because I have too, but because I choose too. Today in my life I don’t make excuses to do wrong, I am not looking at my fellow prisoners and saying they are all doing this, it must be alright for me to do it. I look at myself each day in the mirror and ask, am I making the right decisions? Am I doing the things that will lead me to a life of happiness and prosperity? This is a very important thing to always remember. Whether you are a prisoner, guard, ranking officer, warden, or state official. All of us have a choice each day to do the right thing, all of us can make excuses why we don’t. But in the end, we all must look into the mirror at ourselves at what we’ve become.

Imagine if all the inmates looked at every guard that’s broken the law and said, all of them are criminals. Because I’ve seen guards, ranking officers, and wardens, steal, lie, falsify paper work, beat prisoners, rape prisoners, sell drugs, and murder inmates. What if everyone said, one bad apple BS when they judge all of you. Would it be right? Every crime inmates have committed I’ve seen the staff commit. But all of you are not judged by the actions of your fellow employees. So stop using the, one bad apple sh--, when taking things away from us. If someone breaks a rule or the law punish that person not the entire prison system. You expect to be looked at by your actions which you should, and we should also be treated as we conduct ourselves. I actually think things would run a little bit better for us and the staff.

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