Reflections of How Prisoners Should Be Treated

By Jay Goodman

There is an old saying that goes, “you will really never know a man, until you walk a mile in his shoes”.  How true this statement is. It’s so easy for us to look at the next person and only see the worst in them. Truthfully, we don’t even wait to see the worst, because I’m sure everyone reading this, have seen people judged by who they are, or where they come from, or how they look. Even society is fast to judge every person who steps inside a prison, as a hard-core killer. Which is so far from the truth. The majority of prisoners have never killed anyone. Of course, there are murderers in prison, but even most of them were accidental. There are very few men who actually sat down and planned a murder. Are there bad people in prison? Yes. But, there are bad people everywhere in the world. You do not have to come to prison to see bad people.

A friend of mine said to me when I was telling him about my past, “Jay, you are a good man, you just did a bad thing”. I thought about that statement, and it made a lot of sense to me, because I realized it was true. I was no longer the man I was telling him about. I started using that old saying, when I looked at others. What I soon realized, is that statement, allowed me not to just look at what this person did, that lead them to prison, but to look past that, to the man they are today. We all make mistakes in life, whether you’re in prison or free. Yes, some make worse mistakes than others, but in a person’s lifetime we all fall short in one way or another.

In this book, “The Puppetmasters”, I have tried to give everyone reading it, a glimpse at what prisoners have to endure inside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice each day. Did we break the law and deserve to be here? Yes. Please know, it’s not coming here I’m complaining about. It’s what happens to us once we get to TDCJ. I do look at the big picture as well, people in here have broken the law, and we were sent to prison for whatever our crime was that we committed. I get this, loud and clear.

Shouldn’t it be the goal of Texas to help each and every man and woman into being- a more productive citizen? So when we do leave prison we will be an asset to our families, state, and country. Someone forgot to tell this to Texas. Because it seems its only goal is to use everyone in here as slaves. Also, to belittle us, mistreat us, and do everything in their power to keep us in prison. Everywhere I look, the people that run this prison system take advantage of us. Whether it’s how they talk to us, feed us, lie to us, use us to help them steal, or break the rules, how t they set us up, with drugs or weapons, write fake disciplinary reports, or write quota disciplinary cases, how the Grievance Officers won’t do their job, or how the captain, major, or wardens, will find us guilty in court, when there’s no evidence, or it’s obvious the prisoner is innocent. The Kitchen Captain either gives our food to the staff, or the wardens steal it, to have big parties, or sell it. Every single position in this place seems to be there to cover themselves. If a guard mistreats us in some kind of way, who are we going to go to? If a ranking officer, beats us, or rapes us, who do we turn to? If a warden is stealing our food, to the point that we are starving, who do we turn to? Oh, they will say, write a grievance. But who is the grievance officer? The sister, mom, wife, of the person you are writing the grievance on? At each prison in Texas there is about a 90% chance that the Grievance Officer is related to one or more people who work there. I have seen guards who have worked here for decades, become our Grievance officer here at the Stevenson Unit. This lady not only had a mom and brother working here, but is friends with every single person employed here. What do you believe our chances are to get some help? Once again, I ask where can we turn to for help? There’s no other options for us, and they know this. All of the people who work for the Texas prison system understand this, and that is why they feel they can do anything they want to do to us. Because, there are no avenues we can turn to for help.

This is another, reason, this criminal organization has existed for so long. And it doesn’t appear that anyone is lined up to stop it. T have sat here and wondered. What’s it going-, to take to stop this insanity? When will someone finally go to the feds and tell them what’s been going on? If a few good people would team up together and expose this criminal empire to the feds, and news people, that would help start the investigation that could finally be the beginning of the end. Look what happened at Ramsey Unit last year. Someone that worked there exposed that quota system of fake disciplinary reports. The last number I saw, was that over six hundred of these fake reports were thrown out. Whoever exposed this, I applaud you, for your courage to step up and do the right thing. That kind of courage is hard to find in the Texas prisons.

They train the men and women that come to work here, to hate all of us, and that, it’s us against them. I do understand the new guards need to know that there are bad people in here, and why it’s important to be careful. They should also tell them there are a lot of good people in here to. And instead of treating everyone the same, how about treating each individual how they treat you. How simple would this be? If a prisoner steps across that line, then treat that person the way their hand called for.

The other day, when a friend and I went to respite a sergeant strip-searched us, before he allowed us to go inside. During his strip search, he told us, it was because they heard someone was bringing in K-2 there. I knew it was a lie. They did it to try and discourage us from going to respite. The sergeant then told us, how a few bad one’s make it hard on everyone else. I took this opportunity to say, because of the guards who have been arrested for bringing in drugs, would you feel it should have a bearing on how, everyone looks at and treats you? He didn’t answer, plus, I saw he got angry about what I had said. Because, I offended him, and showed him what a fool he was. Nobody should be treated badly, because of someone else’s actions.

People have to remember, that how you treat the next person is how you are showing everyone you would want to be treated also. The guards that bitch and complain all the time, are usually the ones having trouble from the prisoners. And the guards that come to work and treat us like human beings, are the ones who never have any trouble inside this place. Plus, are always being respected. Does that mean they never have trouble? No. But, they understand the facts of life, treat everyone the way you would want to be treated.

I look back at the guards who never seem to learn this. They’re so naive to one of life’s simplest lessons. It’s no wonder they spend their whole lives at the end of the Puppetmasters strings. Naturally, the Puppetmasters, train these men and women this way, because it causes chaos. They never, under any circumstance want to do anything that will improve prisons in Texas. It’s not beneficial to their goals, of keeping all of the hundred and nine prisons full. There is a good reason nobody tries to change this prison system. Look at all of the madness I’ve written about, that’s taken place, and continues to take place. And still, nothing yet is being done to stop it.

The 21st century, and the Texas prison system is still thinking and acting like it’s the 1960’s, or the 1970’s. They are still stuck in a time that’s been long forgotten. The only way others around our country could see something like the Texas prison system, would be in a Hollywood movie. It’s 2019, and all of the hundred-plus prisons, still call the guards, Boss Man.

The Oxford Dictionary defines, success§ as: the accomplishment of an aim; favorable outcome; or, attainment of wealth, fame, or position. Ultimately, I suppose each of us must define success for him or herself. I would hope the state of Texas would by now see that their entire prison system is a failure. It’s beyond repair in my opinion, because it’s saturated with criminals at every level, and at this point it’s never going to stop. Truthfully, why would it? It’s worked all of these years with the complete backing of all our politicians, of course some will say, I’ve tried to change things, I’ve voted to change laws. While this may be true. Have you gone to the newspapers or news channels, and exposed what’s been happening? Have you gone to the federal law enforcement, and told them what’s been happening? Obviously, the answer is, no. I’m sure most of the people working for the Texas prison system say, or think, the men and woman broke the law, who cares what we do? I’m also sure a lot of our politicians feel this way also.

I want you to stop and think for a minute. What if, it was your Mom or Dad in here? What if, it was your children? Or your selves? Wouldn’t you want them to be treated as human beings? No one would want to see someone you love being mistreated. The people in these Texas prisons, are Mom’s and Dad’s. We are also American Citizens, and we should always be treated as our hand calls for.

Like I said at the beginning of this chapter. It’s easy for us to look at someone else and see only the worst in them. I assure everybody reading this, prisons are flooded with good people. Who if, given the right opportunity, would go on to do great things. But first of all, change has to happen in these Texas prisons. My personal opinion is, there’s no way it can happen from within. The criminals have too big of a stronghold, and besides, the prison system is torn, from the ground up. It’s to the point now where we cannot even get the smallest of things. They are either eating or stealing our food, that’s sent here or donated from the food bank. In a lot of prisons they’re refusing to give us recreation, or even enough water to drink. Even though they know dozens of people have died. They still deny us respite, even though it’s over one hundred degrees. I pray there’s someone who will come forward and do whatever it takes, to expose the Puppet masters, and help the prisoners who have done good, and should be granted parole.


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