Texas Plays Monopoly

By Jay Goodman

As I go back to the 1990s and all of the madness the decade brought he TDCJ, I’m amazed at the masterfulness of the Puppet Masters. I’ve been working on my book, The Puppet Masters, for over ten years now, and I must admit there are times I am in disbelief over what I’ve seen happen, and what continues to happen even now.

I am awestruck by their ability to put together one of the biggest criminal organizations in our country, and do it under the name, the Texas Department of Corrections. Now, it’s actually the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and to me, that makes it all the funnier, because they should be sitting in here in this cell with me. Believe me, I mean it when I say this. The Puppet Masters had great vision on how to put a prison system together where they could steal and profit from the prisoners while at the same time using them and their families. They even brought the taxpayers along so they could line their pockets with as much money as possible.

As I said in one of the first chapters I wrote, state senator Thomas B. Love, who ran for governor on the Democratic ticket in the 1930s said, “The conditions of Texas prisons constitutes a crime against society, a crime against taxpayers, and a crime against humanity.” He said this while endorsing then-Governor Moody’s program of prison rehabilitation. He further said, “The Texas prison system as it is now breeds crime instead of suppressing it. It is making confirmed criminals out of youths.” He explained that, after the Civil War period, a felon in Texas was legally considered a slave of the state, and nothing has changed in the 80 years that have passed in the meantime, except there are about a hundred more prisons in Texas now.

Now, someone, somewhere in the 1980s must have really seen the big picture about what they could really do with this place, because they built a total of over 100 prisons. No state in their right mind would want over one hundred prisons in their backyards! But the Puppet Masters plotted and planned these prisons and by the 1990s, accomplished their goal. In order to sell all of these new prisons to the voters, they had to show why all of them would be necessary. So, the Puppet Masters put all of the gang members together, knowing they were enemies, and allowed them to fight, stab and kill one another. Then they could sell the crazy idea of building all the new prisons, because, “My God, look at them. We need all these new prisons!” Taxpayers started forking over the money, and the Puppet Masters began putting this criminal organization together. I must say, they built one of the best con jobs in U.S. history.

I wonder how they felt when the first one hundredth prison was completed, knowing they could put over one hundred THOUSAND women and men in prison at the same time, and then put them to work doing anything and everything they wanted them to do. And, it was all free for them. Just like that, the prison industry begins- license plates, street signs, furniture, singange, stationary, and you-name-it. Let me not forget garments and soap.

The factories that make these items have contracts with other states as well as “in house” (Texas-wide) orders. These multi-million dollar industries are everywhere. I wonder how much of a kickback the Puppet Masters get for each contract. I mean, the only cost to them is supplies and materials. All the labor is free, courtesy of their personal slaves. Imagine over one hundred prisons, most of them with these factories, with a big long list of all the goods they are making and selling, not just here in Texas, but all over the country.

Basically, Texas has created legalized sweatshops. And I do mean sweat, because, remember, there’s no A/C in Texas prisons. Now, of course, the U.S. LOVES to beat up all of these other countries around the world for condoning slave- like prison conditions and inhumane conditions, but they won’t even sweep off their own front porch, employing unpaid, slave labor in factories with 70% humidity and 100+ degree temps. These people need to listen to their own sermon. In fact, big chain stores right here in our own country like Kmart, Sears, Penney’s, and Walmart have been paraded on national TV for even doing business with these countries, but right here in Texas, American citizens are forced to work in factories for free in subhuman conditions.

As a matter of fact, many of the materials and supplies used in the TDCJ’s workhouses are made in China. The boots on my feet come straight off the boat. Now, tell me what you think. Should an American citizen, even one in jail, be wearing boots made by a prisoner in China? Hell, no! I might be wearing boots made by a pastor who got thrown in jail for telling people about Jesus, for heaven’s sake. This is craziness.

Here’s what’s more. The Puppet Masters will say, “But, we DO pay our prisoners...with good time.” And as I’ve already explained to you before, this is bullshit. “Work time” is just something they put on paper to pull out and show those who want to see what we are getting “paid”, but what good is this pay if it’s nothing but paper? It’s like someone working for a thousand dollars a week, and every few months, I pull out this “account summary” and show you all the money you’ve earned, but you never see a red cent of it. Might as well be toilet paper. But they had to have this charade, because when the state and feds sat down with the Texas prisoners to work out a deal to settle Ruiz, they said, “We’ll give you all this much ‘good time’ in exchange for your labor.” But, as soon as the feds let go of the system.

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