Rehabilitation Starts Within Yourself

By Jay Goodman

Inside the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, you’ll hear the word “rehabilitation”, used every day. It’s a word that I’ve really wondered many times if people understand the true meaning? In my Webster dictionary it says: rehabilitation is to restore to a former capacity; to restore to good repute; reestablish the good name; to restore to a former state, this is just to name a few. Of course, not many people contemplate this word when it comes to their lives. Many prisoners instead choose to focus their attention on their past and what they did that brought them here. While there’s nothing wrong with remembering past events in our lives, we must also remember, that to dwell or fantasize on doing things that lead us here, we can never rehabilitate ourselves.

For the people who know me, know that I will tell stories of
my past, I usually make light of what I did and try to give my friends some laughs. But, my days are spent working out, reading, writing books, praying, and contemplating things that will help me to grow both physically and mentally. How could I rehabilitate myself by focusing on the things that brought me here? Then spend years if not decades dwelling on hustling, and what I’m going to do this time when I hit the streets. We must take this time to let go of all the negative things from our past, stop sitting around in here reading books that have no meaning like gangster books. Learn to direct your thoughts toward the things that will help you grow as a man. Start now thinking about what you want to do when you leave prison. Then start focusing all of your attention on that. Read books on it, and get with people that you can talk to about your dreams.

As I reflect on the world we live in, it isn’t any wonder that I fell so blindly into the traps I did. We live in a World obsessed with noise, speed and activity. We live in an age paralyzed by greed, lust, and violence. This climate has a tendency to be seductive, and to influence us with the greatest subtlety. Often the effects are gradual, but over time they are dramatic, even devastating. We live in the age of paradox.

What are the characteristics of this age? Perhaps they would be more appropriately thought of as “symptoms”. Everyone in today’s times seems to love the word “symptoms”. A Nun and a ten-year-old girl told me the following reflection that I thought would help us to answer that question, and take a look at our lives and our world. We have taller buildings, but shorter tempers; wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints; we spend more, but have less; we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families; more conveniences, but less time; we have more degrees, but less common sense; more knowledge, but less judgement; more experts, but more problems; more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, eat too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry too quickly, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too seldom, watch too much TV, and pray too little. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values, we talk too much, love too seldom, and lie too often. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life; we’ve added years, to our lives, but not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We’ve conquered outer space, but not inner space; we’ve done larger things, but not better things; we’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul; we’ve split the atom, but not our prejudice; we write more, but learn less; plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait; we have higher incomes, but lower morals; more food, but less appeasement; more acquaintances, but fewer friends, more effort, but less success. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but have less communication; we’ve become long on quantity, but short on quality.

These are times of fast food and slow digestion; tall men and short character; steep profits and shallow relationships. These are times of world peace, but domestic warfare; more leisure and less fun; more kinds of food and less nutrition. These are the days of two incomes, but more divorce; of fancier houses, but broken homes. These are the days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one-night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the show window, and nothing in the stockroom.

Yes, indeed it is all true. We live in troubled times. This is the age of crisis. Not only personal, but also social and cultural crisis. It is my belief that any adequate solutions to the challenges that face us in the world today must both be accessible and applicable to everyone, everywhere.

I have written a lot about our need to start changing now our thinking, our habits, and how we allow ourselves to act. My experience and reflection lead ma to believe that one of our greatest challenges in the modern world is, lifestyle. Prisoners get so caught up in their minds of a certain type of lifestyle and they let this thinking control their every thought. Not ever stopping to realize that this type of thinking is what lead them to prison in the first place, and it’s what holds them back from changing. We have a great opportunity in here that most people don’t have in the world, “time”. We have time to reflect on our lives, mistakes, our short comings, our dreams and hopes. We have time to work on ourselves both mentally, spiritually, and physically.

There is not one man or woman who doesn’t understand that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice is broken, it’s torn from the ground up. The Puppetmasters have it this way for a reason, and that reason is to institutionalize every single person who enters its doors. There is no doubt they’ve made this place an industry, and their plan has always been to keep us as slaves. Of course, the day will come when this book becomes public, and when someone ask them about the things I’ve written about how they of course will downplay it, but the greatest thing about this book is, all of the history I’ve talked about is easily found in lawsuits like Fred Cruz, and especially the David Ruiz suit.

Texas has spent a lifetime of abusing their prisoners, and now it’s coming to light and they will be forced to face the truth. The sad thing is they don’t care, they never have, and they never will. Truthfully, they need to be rehabilitated as bad as the prisoners, because the Puppetmasters live in a time that’s long forgotten about by the rest of the world. Slavery is cut down by our government, we hear it on TV all the time how companies receive huge fines and are talked about like dogs because their using countries that have slaves. Of course, they’re not called “slaves” by the news media, they love the more modern word “sweat shops”. But I ask the news channels and our government, what are the prisoners in Texas called? They don’t get paid, our work time and good time are taken away from us the day we leave prison, there is no mandatory release date for the prisoners who have done good. So, since we don’t receive anything, what are the Texas prisoners called? There’s only one answer, “Slaves”.

They’ve worked prisoners in the freezing cold, they’ve worked prisoners in the scorching heat until they drop dead. They’ve beaten prisoners, stuck prisoners in isolation cells for days, weeks, months, and years for not being able to keep up with the brutal field work, but remember, not for refusing to work, but not physically being able to keep up. The list is so long on the abuses I would have to write an entire chapter on it. The Texas prison system has always taken advantage of its prisoners from the beginning until now. So with knowing that every single person inside these prisons have to make a decision, to start rehabilitating yourselves in here and make the necessary changes in your lives, or to keep making the Puppetmasters proud, and continue coming back to prison for the rest of your lives. Remember there’s no in between, you will either change or stay here forever.

Most people stumble through prison life believing that it will be different next time, and I swear to you that’s exactly what the Puppetmasters want. Their goal is to break your spirits, to make you feel like you’re less than a human being, they love to call people criminals, and they love to call us “offenders”. But, the truth be said, we’ve been through something in life that the average person could not even imagine going through. And because of that, it made us strong mentally and physically. No one can go through years and decades of abuse and not become a different person. But the question is, did you follow the Puppetmasters step by step blueprint, hand book of a lifetime of incarceration? Or are you going to do everything in your power to rehabilitate yourselves, so you can live a life of happiness? The choice is up to you.

We make a thousand lifestyle choices every day, those, decisions will either create or destroy you. There is more to life than the life we have in here. Use this opportunity to change, create a plan for yourselves that will help you grow in every area of your lives. Remember, take your time. Life is not a hundred-meter dash, it’s a marathon.

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