Sir. Yes, Sir!

As we move along into the 1990s, it seems like the whole prison system was in total chaos. What in the hell am 1 saying. The prison system in Texas has always been in total chaos. In niy chapter, "Making a Warzone," I spoke of a man named Don Eastman, who's nickname was Slim. I did not tell you his whole story in that chapter, because I want people to see the struggles that prisoners must go through in these insane prison systems of the TDCJ. Slim, as 1 said, was sent to prison with a life sentence for murder in the 1980s. He was in his early 20s, and while at the Ferguson Unit, had an argument with another prisoner who threatened to send him out by Careflight. Then, Slim ended up stabbing and cutting this man's throat.

Now, as the 1990s begin, the prison officials decide to let Slim out of isolation. Can you, dear reader, take a wild guess at where those people decided to house Slim after letting him out? You probably guessed it. Right back in the same cell block the original incident occurred in! The captain at the Ferguson Unit actually went to Slim's cell in isolation and asked him if he was ready to go back "to combat" for awhile. Desperate to get out, Slim said, "Yes," and they stuck him right back in that same old cell block. Even the other inmates were surprised by this move. I mean, think about the position they put this man in. Ferguson, as 1 said, was predominantly a black unit, and here's this white cat who damn-near killed one of their own oy stabbing and cutting him up. As I keep saying, it's the Puppetmasters at their best. I can just picture them looking in to their crystal balls, laughing at Slim, wondering exactly how long h e m i g h t s

If that wasn't crazy enough, listen what happens next. After moving in, while he's still putting his stuff up, a guard shows up at his door and says, "Welcome back, East man." Slim didn't know that tne officers and their supervi sors had bet against each other on how soon Slim would get killed. "The rank gave us 9 to 1 odds that you'll be dead within the week." Turns out, most of the officers took that bet, ana the law dog in the door was one of them. "I put 50 bucks on you, Slim, so don't let me down, boy." This guard then reaches in his back pocket, and pulls out a care fully folded USA Today newspaper. "Maybe this will help you." And the guard disappears. When Slim opened the news paper, there was a long shank inside it. He would tell me, years after these events, that this shank looked as good as any knife you could get at an Army surplus store, so 1 guess this guard was taking this bet really seriously.

Can you imagine being in a prison that's so bad that the ranking officers take out long odds on whether or not you will be killed within the week? And the very captain of the prison that lets you out of isolation and puts you in the same cell-block you came from just to watch it all happen. If that's not crazy enough, now a guard tells you he personaly has 50 bucks on you, and gives you a shank to take care of business. I tell you, it's either the craziest shit you've ever heard,or it's just another day in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Slim puts his stuff up, and then he takes his shank and goes straight out to rec when they call it a few minutes later. He told me he'd decided to go ahead and get any problem out of the way right up front. When he got outside, he stood with his bsick to the wail, and waited for whatever was about to come at him. To everyone's surprise, especially Slim's, no one said "boo" to him. In fact, one of the shot-callers for the gang the other man had run with came up to him and shook his hand. He told him he was glad he'd gotten out of isolation. You need to know,in a prison setting,this was a very big deal. No one just shakes hands wiith the shotcallers. When one of them offers thalt kind of respect, it means something. It's a message to all the other gang mem bers, "I respect this dude for what he did, and you keep your nands off of him."

Years later, Slim would tell me that,when he first got locked up, he felt like a bunch of zombies were chasing him around all over the place, but after he stabbed and cut this dude's throat, all that stopped, because the zombies realized that he'd turned into one of them. It was not long after this that Slim was transfer red to another unit in Huntsville, the Wynne. Even though it's a max unit, it was 100% better than the Ferguson.' Slim snowed up there with drug habit,but still,the start of Slim's transition was about to begin. Once again, I'm going to stop, because I tyant to take the readers slowly through Slim's almost 25 years. I want everyone to see how he started out, and how the end came.

Everything that's happened through the 80s and the 90s has needed to come out for so long now. Truthfully, everything that's happened in this insane prison system has needed to come out. The insanity of putting inmates as guards (the turnkeys), in my opinion, was beyond crazy. How could any prison system run by rational human beings even consider something so ludicrous? And I might half-assed understand it if it was a few misguided individuals at one prison unit, but this went on at every single prison in our state. Even after the federal iudge, William Wayne Justice told these mad men to make sweeping changes, nothing was done. Why wouldn't a state official iump over mountains to obey the orders of a iudge appointed by the President of the United America? Because these officials are and always have been criminals. When I use the word "Puppetmasters", it's not a joke. There's not a better word that describes the people who control and run this prison system. To this very day it's run and controlled by the Puppetmasters. How do you like this? After everything that I have already written about and shown you, with newspapers articles, and the feds taking over the system, and everything coming to light during the Ruiz suit, some how, amazingly, the same exact people that were in charge(THEN were left in charge of the Texas prison system AFTERWARDS. The very same people who turned the whole prison system over to be run by a gang of inmates called the turnkeys and given the authority to steal, assault, and murder and were even used by prison officials as hit men to kill prisoners they didn't like or who weren't towing their line, were left in place. All of the decades of abuses! And believe me when I say it would still be that way today if it wasn't for the David Ruiz lawsuit. But can anyone explain to me how or why the state not only allowed the Texas Department of Corrections administrators to stay in power after it became the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, but many of them are still floating around in the system today. (They're probably the paraole board members.)

I have nothing but respect for Judge William Wayne Justice and admire his willingness to stand up for human rights, even for prisoners, but I have wondered many times why he didn't order all of those people running the TDoC to resign or retire. The only thing I can think of is maybe he believed that they were honorable men like himself, and they fooled him into believing everything would done as he had ordered it, and that true change would come to the system. I know why the politicians didn't step in and do anything about it. They were scared for their jobs, and they didn't want to lose all the free prison labor. Otherwise, there is NO rational reason why they would leave the Puppetmasters in charge of anything. Remember, we are the prison system's slaves. We plant their fields, pick their cotton,plant the warden's vegetable garden, work on their state and personal vehicles, work at their factories making furniture, license plates, street signs and stickers for Texas and many other states; we wash their uniforms and their civilian clothes and press them nice and neat with plenty of starch, we cook their meals, shine their boots, cut their hair. And we do it all for not so much as one, shiny, red penny. Doesn't that sound like slavery to you?

The Puppetmasters will say our "payment" is all that juicy w^ntfc-time we earn so we can get out of here early when the goodtime, work time and flat time reach 100% of our sentence. They even made up a name for it, "mandatory release" At when it was first implemented, while the feds were running the system, the TDCJ honored it and men were getting out of here when they were supposed to, as long as they behaved themselves. But, as soon as the feds gave Texas control of their prison system back, the very first thing the Pup- petmasters did was get the law changed to "mandatory discre tionary release". How can anything POSSIBLY be maridatory if it's also discretionary? The whole notion is absurd! So now, no matter how well a prisoner behaves, the State of Texas can keep right on denying him parole. Oh, yeah, they can show you a piece of paper that has all this great good time and work time and flat time, and it just looks wonderful, but it means jack squat!

The slave labor has always been an ugly part of the Texas prison system, and that was bad enough, even when we prisoners knew when we'd be getting out if we could stay out of trouble. But now that the Puppetmasters invented "mandatory discretion ary release", all that means nothing, and we are 100% slaves of the state .

  • "Fry me an egg and cheese sandwich, offender."
  • "You put too much starch around my collar, inmate."
  • " Go refill this mug with coffee,offender."
  • " I think it's time you give me a haircut,inmate."
  • "Shine my boots, offender."
  • "Sir.Yes,sir, boss man. Right away,boss man."
  • "And hurry up about it, 'cause' I need it right away."
  • "Oh, yes. Yes, sir, bossman."

Given all that's happened, and is still happending in this broken-down system, I just thank God that they haven't figured out a way for us to have to clean their ass after they take a dump.

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