What Is It Going To Take To Fix TDCJ

By Jay Goodman

Throughout my book I have written about the complete disrespect the Texas Department of Criminal Justice has for the federal law. To Texas they could care less what the federal courts tell them. I have shown over and over how they will basically ignore the courts orders, or pretend like their going to take care of everything, and as soon as they can, it’s right back to doing what they want.

Once again to prove my point the Texas prison system has violated the federal courts ruling. It’s only taken one year for Texas to slide right back to doing the same old thing when it comes to the heat lawsuit. The lawyers representing inmates in the long and costly legal battle over a lack of air conditioning in Texas prisons claimed in a court filing, Thursday, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice continues to jeopardize the lives of some of the nearly 900 inmates a judge ruled must be kept in cool temperatures. And they said, the department has violated a lawsuit settlement by repeatedly providing false information to the lawyers about broken air conditioners and stifling temperatures in units housing those prisoners. Texas falsifying information to the courts? Imagine that. This is what I have to say about the state falsifying paper work to the federal courts. “Welcome to our world”.

I have written about this all throughout my book. Everything that happens in here, they cover it up. They always have, and they always will. Nothing will ever change in this corrupt system until the federal government steps in and takes total control.

In the motion, the lead lawyer for the inmates who sued the state asked a federal judge to find the Texas prisons in contempt, for its failure to keep the inmates named in the class-action lawsuit in cooled housing. Attorney Jeff Edwards also asked a federal court judge to fine the department $150.00 per day for each of the prisoners kept in what the judge has ruled are unconstitutional hot temperatures. U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, who has slammed the department for how it has handled inmates housing and heat restrictions in the past, quickly scheduled a hearing on the issue for Friday afternoon, in Houston. “TDCJ continues to flout its obligations, and refuses despite telling the court otherwise to cooperate”, Edwards wrote in his motion. A spokesman for TDCJ said Thursday that the department’s office of general counsel was reviewing the filing with the Texas Attorney General’s Office. The legal drama stems from a lawsuit filed in 2014 by several inmates housed at the Wallace Pack prison near College Station. They claimed, and Judge Ellison later agreed, that keeping them in temperatures that routinely surpassed 100 degrees was cruel and unusual punishment. Ellison also ruled TDCJ had been deliberately indifferent to the potential harm excessive heat could cause to prisoners.

Nearly 75% of Texas’ more than 100 prison facilities do not have air conditioning in inmate housing areas, and the department has reported nearly two dozen heat-related deaths since 1998. At least one other death was reported to be caused by the heat last year in 2018. As of August 28, 2019, TDCJ reported 56 heat-related illnesses in 2019 for prisoners., The spokesman Jeremy Desel, said that number is down from last year.

When I read these numbers, I have to shake my head, because I know they are lying. Hell, there has been dozens of heat-related illnesses here at the Stevenson Unit. So, I know that number is just another cover up, just like they falsify everything throughout the entire prison system. And just like they lied, covered up, and falsified paper work to the federal judge. There is over a hundred prisons in Texas, there has been dozens of heat-related illnesses here that I have seen this year. So, you mean to tell me there’s only 56 in the whole state? I’ve seen children who could lie better than these idiots.


When Texas ultimately moved to settle the lawsuit in February 2018, agreeing to keep the heat-index-which also accounts for humidity at the Pack prison at or below 88 degrees. The settlement also ordered all inmates who were housed at the prison during the lawsuit to be kept in housing with the same temperature restrictions, regardless of whether they were moved to other facilities. But since then, the inmates’ attorneys have claimed TDCJ violated the order multiple times by having the prisoners in hot cells and dorms. They said the department did not notify the attorneys multiple times over the last two years when air conditioners malfunctioned for more than 24 hours, as is required by the settlement order. And prisoners told the lawyers the department was not providing other services to combat the heat during those times like, ice water, cold showers, or access to cooled areas, according to Thursday’s motion. “For perhaps now obvious reasons, TDCJ never notified [the lawyers] of hot indoor temperatures at any of the above prisons, not even long after the 24-hour grace period had passed”, Edwards wrote. “Instead, (the lawyers) only learned about the problems through letters from class members (typically sent days earlier) and frantic phone calls from their family members”.

This is no surprise to us in prison. Like I have said over and over, the Texas prison system will deny, lie, falsify, or when it’s obvious they can’t win, they will agree to whatever terms the court wants, then as time goes by they will slowly start doing the same old thing. They never under any circumstances want to do the right thing. The Texas prisons have been run by these criminals for so long that they believe they are untouchable. In their hearts we are slaves, and they will do anything necessary to keep these prisons up and running. In their minds it’s OK to starve us, beat us, or cook us in these torture cells to death. So what, 23 inmates have lost their lives, so what, 10 inmates died in a 26 day span. Truth be said, absolutely nothing would have ever been done if Judge Ellison would not have stepped in. And now that he has, they will continue to play this game that they have always played with the courts.

The Puppetmasters have manipulated the federal court system into believing they will do everything necessary to make things better, but in reality, their only plan is to do what they have always done, flip their middle finger at the federal judges.

Last month, Judge Ellison held two emergency hearings within two days after the lawyers claimed the prison department was keeping 37 inmates who were class members in the lawsuit in uncooled housing. The lawyers also claimed the Texas prison officials repeatedly “misrepresented” and hid issues with housing conditions of class members. After receiving heat complaints from inmates covered by the settlement at a Beaumont prison, the attorneys reached out to the Texas prison and asked for temperature logs. The LaBlanc prison is cooled, and TDCJ officials told the lawyers there had been minor problems with the system, but they had it resolved within hours, according to the filing. Prisoners continued to claim the air conditioning was broken, however, and the lawyers were able to secure a site inspection after Judge Ellison’s intervention last month. The heat indices were above 88 degrees in all the housing areas, according to a motion at that time, and one area’s heat index was above 100 degrees. The inmates said they felt “dizzy” and had “trouble breathing”. A day after the site visit to LaBlanc, Judge Ellison called for TDCJ to immediately move the class members to truly air-conditioned units, saying TDCJ officials showed “negligible interest” in addressing the problem. Judge Ellison went even further in his opinion. “The heat conditions are so severe that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice should, on its own initiative, have taken immediate steps to redress these conditions as they affect all of the inmates”, he wrote in his order.

After the hearing last month, prison spokesman Jeremy Desel, told the Houston Chronicle that, “TDCJ continues to work diligently to follow all aspects of the Pack Unit settlement”. Which is a complete lie. They understood the court orders from the lawsuit, but as I have said over and over, they could care less about what any federal judge tells them. I have explained numerous times how they feel that they are above the law.

52 years ago, in my chapters on Fred Cruz and his attorney Frances Jalet, the prison conspired to lie together in federal court, and then with the David Ruiz lawsuit. Now here it is 2019, and the Texas prison system is still doing the exact same thing. Isn’t it funny how all of those inmates that were involved in the heat lawsuit at the Pack Unit got moved to other units after the lawsuit? 37 inmates who were class members in the lawsuit were moved to uncooled housing units. Oh, and of course, right before summer. Even though part of the settlement was to keep all of the prisoners involved in that lawsuit in air conditioning prisons. They are fully aware of what they are doing. Moving those prisoners was an act of saying we run these prisons. We don’t care that you won your lawsuit, and we don’t give a f--- what Judge Ellison says. And if I’m wrong, why then did all those prisoners get moved? It’s not like one of them slipped through the cracks, we are talking (37) inmates. It was done intentionally, just like the manipulation of all the paper work they sent to the lawyers and federal judge. The Puppetmasters will never on their own do the right thing.

Why do you think I’ve named the people running this prison system the Puppetmasters? There is absolutely nothing you can put past these people. It’s not run like any prison system in our country, it is a criminal organization, with its roots so deep into the entire prison system that there is no possible way to fix it from within.

Everything I’ve written about is just a small fraction of what goes on inside these walls and fences. They are liars, they will under no circumstances do the right thing. They have known for decades that prisoners have been cooked to death inside our cells and dorms. What have they done about it on their own accord? NOTHING! Since this lawsuit was filed in 2014, the state admitted to 23 deaths of prisoners Ln 16 years, one man’s body temperature was 110. He was serving a four-year sentence for writing bad checks, he died in four days. After the lawsuit was won and TDCJ promised Judge Ellison they would do this, and that, what did they do? NOTHING!

Respite is to be run 24 hours a day, so prisoners have a place to go sit and cool off, what has TDCJ done? Close it down constantly. Here at the Stevenson Unit they refused to open it when the heat index was over 100 degrees. Assistant Warden Gonzales falsifies the dozens of grievances written to cover up the abuse. Since the end of the lawsuit another man has been murdered from the heat. How many more have to die before the federal government takes control of this prison system?

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