By Jay Goodman

In the world we are taught from the time we’re children to trust police officers. Even if we weren’t taught this, I believe most people learn that it’s natural for most people to have trust in the police. And we’ve seen throughout the last 10 to 15 years because everyone has a camera in their hand, what happens when the police violate the publics trust. I think for a lot of people in America, it was a surprise to see someone in law enforcement be arrested and convicted of charges ranging from theft, robbery, assault, rape and even murder.

I believe most citizens in America have this vision of police as the one person you can always count on. And I also believe most people in the past never could’ve imagined what’s been uncovered this last 10 to 15 years. Of course, people look at others that are in the same type of field of protecting others like firemen, paramedics, doctors and prison guards, as someone who is there to keep the public safe, oh, and to help others. But once again, we’ve seen all of these different groups at one point break the public’s trust.

I know for myself when I entered the state prison system in Texas over 17 years ago, I could’ve never have imagined all the corruption I would’ve witnessed at every level from prison guards, to ranking officers, and even the wardens. Not just corrupt staff, but staff that has physically, mentally, and emotionally tortured prisoners. I have seen guards’ spit on prisoners, verbally abuse prisoners, assault prisoners, rape prisoners, and kill prisoners. I’ve written about many of these incidences throughout my book the Puppetmasters, and many of these stories are easy to look up because the officers were charged and convicted. When I moved into federal custody, I was thinking maybe since these prisoners are run by the United States government, it would be run differently. Boy was I wrong. Well, at least not what I’ve seen at the United States penitentiary and the federal correctional institution in Hazelton, West Virginia.

I remember how the guards acted when I arrived at the U.S. penitentiary here. It was like dealing with gang members. I try to always look at things realistically, I understand that the guards and staff are dealing with some of the worst of the worst. This place is known to be one of the most violent prisons in our country. So, I do understand that the guards and the staff have to deal with some of these lunatics harshly. Especially when they get out of control. But the problem is, the guards and the staff have the mindset of thug, who will set up prisoners, assault prisoners, tell other prisoners why each man is in here, even if they don’t know that information will get that inmate killed.

I understand no one has any kind of respect for sex offenders. But they already take abuse at every level inside of jail. Prisoners will abuse these men verbally and physically. I have seen them spit on, smacked, assaulted, stabbed, broom handle shoved inside their ass, and murdered. Why some people may apply this, let me ask everyone this question. What about the men who are not guilty of such crimes? I know two men just since I’ve been incarcerated that were innocent. One man did 28 years, and only because of DNA, the man who actually did the rape, was arrested for a crime, were they able to prove this other man was innocent.

Another man’s stepdaughter said he sodomized her when she was 13. This man was assaulted multiple times. His face was fractured and he was disfigured from a savage beating. When his stepdaughter was 23, she finally realized how much she had hurt her mom and other sisters who were being raised without a dad. So, she finally admitted what she had done. And even though these two men were let out of prison, look at the abuse these men went through.

I cannot even begin to tell you everyone reading this how many guards I’ve seen tell other prisoners that some guy had a sex charge, he’d get hurt or even killed. This is not a rare thing; I have seen guard after guard put different men out there for what they’re in prison for.

There is one guard in general who likes to really harass a few sex offenders in the cell block. Every time he comes in, he always tears the sex offenders’ cell apart. On one occasion he was passing trays out for lunch because we were on lockdown. And when he got to their cell, he would open the door flap and throw their tray on the floor. While I understand the dislike for someone who hurts children, because I have kids myself, it’s just as important to remember that there are many people in prison who are innocent of the crimes they’ve been convicted of like the two men I just told you about.

Like I said earlier, “The police, doctors, paramedics, and prison guards, and also prison employees on every level have a responsibility to uphold. They have been put in position to protect people’s lives. Not to have people hurt. Or in some cases killed.

I have even seen guards lie about why prisoners are incarcerated, just because they didn’t like the guy. Can you imagine having another man beat or killed just because you don’t like him? That sounds like something a gang member would do, not an employee at a federal prison.

But this type of behavior goes on at every level. This prison is terrible at how they treat the inmates and conduct themselves. I have seen countless guards threaten different prisoners, for little or nothing, just because they can. I saw a guard ask a prisoner if he would like his front teeth knocked out? A lot of them just do it for fun.

One morning at breakfast I saw six guards and a ranking officer pick up an old man with a walker, and slam him so hard it knocked him out. It was all over a carton of milk. Why I understand that there are times when officers have to use force, the problem here or is they want to beat everyone up. I can tell they enjoy miss treating prisoners. If the people working here cannot control themselves, maybe this is not the right type of place they need to work. I would never work somewhere where I was miserable.

I seen it in Texas, like here. I believe a lot of it is they’ve hired a bunch of good old boys who have no experience working with people. They’re from out in the mountains of West Virginia, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons had to hire a lot of people who are really not qualified to work here. And some of the ones that are, counselors and unit managers, are just as bad.

Like I was saying, the people who are police officers, doctors, firemen, or prison employees, are held to a higher standard than people in society. They are responsible for people’s lives. People in the situation should have a mindset of they are here to help the men and women incarcerated, not to use their position to miss treat them. Anywhere you work, you should always be a blessing for those around you, not a curse. And until something is done, there will always be corruption and abuse at every level.

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