When Is It Going to Change

by Jay Goodman

I sit in my cell and wonder how on earth can prison systems like the ones I’ve been to still be allowed to exist in our country? Without a doubt it seems to me that corruption is everywhere. From the guards to the ranking officers, all the way up to the warden. I also wonder how the people who are over the entire prison system not see what’s going on? How can the prison system be the way it is and no one in Washington say anything? Is it they don’t care? Or, do they get kickbacks from all of the drugs being sold throughout the country? How can everyone turn a blind eye to the way these United States penitentiaries are being run? These places are so out of control that it’s amazing not one person has done anything to stop it. And before someone say what can I do? Remember, history has shown us over and over again that it only takes one person with the courage to step forward to make great changes.

I know without a doubt that it was dangerous for me to write about the Texas prison system all those years I did. But people need to know what’s going on inside those prisons. It’s important that people know how they abuse the men and women in their care. And especially important that people know that they’ve murdered prisoners. And it’s the same here. If someone would either go to Washington or the media, at least that would start an investigation on why these prisons have been allowed to operate like this for so long. And maybe that would be the start of a big change. The United States of America is the greatest country in the world. But for the life of me, I cannot understand why they have not made great changes in our prison system. I have wondered if they look at the people in here and think to themselves, they are a bunch of animals, who cares if they kill each other.

Everyone seems to talk a good story about prison reform, but nothing ever changes. Yes, they may point at new programs or stand up in front of America and promise there will be new bills to help ease the prison population. But, right now I have written about what’s going on inside these prisons. There is no reform going on, but what is going on is the staff had built these prisons into a criminal empire. They are using prisoners to sell drugs, assault, and kill every single person they believe will get in their way. Look at what happened to the man I’ve been writing about KY. This guy came to prison in his 20’s, and he only had a 10 year sentence. But, to survive in here he had to make a choice to kill someone, or to be killed. And he isn’t the only man faced with this decision, there has been countless of men who have been faced with the same ultimate question, are you going to kill this person, or are we going to kill you? I mean where is the rehabilitation? And it’s not like they can’t say it’s not happening. Because this is not a secret, it’s been going on at all the U.S.P.’s forever.

Another question to ask, why hasn’t anyone done something? And it’s really a very simple question to answer. Nothing is being done because the administration has set it up to happen. They want these provisions to stay just like this. It’s because of them that this exists. How could the violence continue if the administration at each place didn’t allow it to happen? Let’s be for real for a minute. We, the prisoners don’t have control of these prisons. If we did, nobody would be here because the whole place wouldt of went home. I assure you; no one wants to be in prison. So, that only shows everyone that the staff has complete control. So, since they have control, why haven’t they done something to stop what’s been going on? Once again, it’s because they set it up to happen. The United States penitentiaries are a multi-million-dollar business. The people working here are using violent gangs inside here to run their illegal drug business. This business is run by fear and murder. Like KY told me, “you will either kill, or be killed.” If you even arrive at this prison with something questionable on your record, you will be murdered immediately. Now, remember this because it’s very important to the point I’m trying to make. The administration looks over your criminal history once you arrive. They will see if you are a sex offender, or if you have worked with law-enforcement, or testify to get someone in court, or if you worked as a confidential informant. The administration knows without any doubt whatsoever what’s going to happen to you, once you’re put into population. They know you will be killed. So, my question is, what does that make the administration?

Because if I, an American citizen, knowingly or willfully send someone to a group of people understanding that they will be killed, that makes me part of the crime. These people who run these federal prisons are aware of what’s going to happen to these men. It’s been going on forever, so it’s no secret. So, once again, what does that make the administration? I can summit up with one word. Murderers! Yes, the prisoners are the ones doing the killing. But the administration are the ones who can stop it, but don’t. They are the ones in control, they have the power to stop it but don’t.

About this time KY showed up at my door. “How are you doing, Jay?” I told him about what I just wrote. He said “it’s all correct. Remember Jay, these people have the power to do pretty much whatever they want. When the feds come here to investigate a crime, they are looking at things like the actual crime itself. Meaning, they are looking at the videos from the camera, how the person died, and what the investigators at the prison are saying. The FBI only has the administration’s report, the feds are not going to get any witnesses inside here because no one wants to end up like the guy who just got hit. Of course, the administration will say whatever is needed. Or if they need time, the administration will simply say we are not exactly sure what happened. It’s still an ongoing investigation. That will always give them the opportunity they might need to clean it up. Sometimes they will just say we don’t know what happened. We are unable to get any information as to why this man was killed.” “And the FBI just except that?” “Jay, for one, we are not at the top of the FBI’s list of importance. I am sure they don’t give a damn if we kill each other. Two, the only word they have is the administrations. Who else are they going to talk with? Here we sit on top of a mountain in West Virginia, people get stabbed and murdered here all the time. But nothing ever changes.” “Why,” I asked. “Nothing ever changes because they don’t want it to change. Jay, why would they want to change things? They are making millions of dollars from drugs, not counting cell phones. Have you ever seen cell phones in the Texas prisons?” “Yes,” I told him. “What do you think a cell phone goes for in here?” I said, “I have no idea.” “They go anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.” Damn, I must admit that was a surprise. “Do they sell many of them,” I asked. “There are probably 300 phones here, if not more. For every 100 phones, that’s a half million dollars. That’s just the $5,000 phone. Believe it or not, a lot of people buy the $10,000 phone. A lot of people don’t understand why the United States penitentiary is so violent. Everyone believes it’s the type of prisoners that are here. But it’s truly the administration that causes 90% of the problems. This is their world, we are just pawns to them. Truthfully, we are the lucky ones.” “How do you figure,” I asked. “Because the crew I run with takes care of their dirty work. We sell their drugs and phones, so we are also making a lot of money. Our shot caller is there go to guy. We keep their drug business rolling.”

As KY left my cell door for the night, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to him if he would have gotten out to decades ago. If he would’ve come here and receive help for his drug addiction, and went home in his 20’s, like he was supposed to, what kind of life would he have right now? Would he have gotten married? Had kids, or done something to help make life on earth a better place? I can see this man has a good heart, and if had received some type of rehabilitation when he was in his 20’s, who knows what would’ve become of him. But instead of helping him, they turn this man into a cold-blooded killer. Now what’s going to become of him? It’s sad to say, but it’s almost a given he will be back. I also wonder what it’s going to take for someone to look at what’s going on at these federal prisons and say enough. How many more young men have to either lose their lives, or be turned into killers so these criminals who run prisons can thrive?

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