The Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s “Safe Prisons Program”—which is an anti-extortion, anti-sexual assault program which receives funding from both state and federal levels—is a faux.
This program, which was started by some group, allows prisons in all states to become “certified” as a safe prison. This is a complete joke. A prison holds criminals--this is true; however, a lot of offenders, inmates, or perps are not able to live with and deal with other hardened criminals.
The program, as the name states, is to keep the lesser, weaker offenders from being taken advantage of. This does not work though. In Texas 90-95% of inmates are assigned to live in a cell with another inmate. Most of the time the inmates in a cell are of different races. This form of racial integration is one of the main threats to weaker inmates. For example, a white inmate moves in a cell with a black inmate who is twice as big as him. Either the white inmate gets assaulted, gets his property stolen, and/or has to pay protection; or, in a small number of cases they can co-exist without any problems. The TDCJ administration encourages co-integration thus continually putting the weaker inmates at risk.
A true story from the writer of this article follows:
I was assigned to K-pod on Building 8 of the TDCJ’s Clements Unit (which
even the ACLU claims is the worst of the worst units) back in May of 2004.
I was placed in the cell with a black inmate (I am white).This is one of those
few cases where the both of us got along and neither of us had any problems.
However, good things don’t last.
After almost a year of living on K-pod, me and my cellmate were separated. The reason for this is unknown. I can probably guess that the administration noticed that we didn’t have problems together and that happy cellmates are not part of their plans.
I was moved to J-pod on Building 8 and was placed in a cell with a big black inmate almost twice my size. We didn’t get along. He even threatened me on several occasions to beat my “bitch ass.” This inmate had just come back to population for a disciplinary case which he got for cutting his last cellmate behind the ear with a razor while he slept. The inmate who was cut was white. Lucky for me, I only had to put up with him for a week before he got himself locked up in solitary.
That night I get a new cellmate—another black inmate. We got along for about a week before my property started missing.
On April 28, 2005 at 9 a.m. I was awakened by another inmate standing in my cell. My cellmate was talking to him and told him to hurry up and get out. All I know is that it was some other black inmate. I fell back asleep and woke up later. Before I went to work in the laundry at about noon, I filled out my Mother’s Day card and went to put a stamp on it. All my stamps were missing even though they were in my book the night before.
I confronted my cellmate and we almost get into a fight—which I would lose because all of his gang-related homeboys would have jumped in and beat my butt.
The next day, April 29, 2005, I went to work in the laundry at the normal time around noon. I locked my locker with the cheap plastic safety locks. I come back from work about 5 p.m. and go to my cell to get my shower supplies. Upon entering my cell I notice my lock is missing as well as $60 worth of commissary. I wanted to kill my cellmate. Instead, I do the right thing and tell an officer what happened. The first shift officers do nothing. They tell me to go back to the cell. I refused. As a result of my refusal I was almost pepper sprayed and restrained.
The second shift came on and refused to do anything until I refused to go back
to the cell. When I refused, they asked me why. I said, because I am going
to do something to my cellmate. The officers believe that I gave away my commissary.
The officers talk to my cellmate and he denies everything and then says that
I threatened to beat him up.
At 9:30 p.m. I am placed in handcuffs and taken to solitary for “threatening to inflict physical injury to an inmate.”
The officers pack up my property about 6 hours later. I was given a copy of my inventory, and more of my property is missing.
So, the result of having my property stolen is nothing. What happens to me?
I get stuck in solitary and given a disciplinary case for threatening an inmate.
What happened to my cellmate? Nothing. He’s still in population scott-free!
I have a history of having stuff stolen, yet I am the one who ends up in trouble.
Where is the Safe Prison’s Program now? It didn’t help me any.
My property is gone and I get punished.
The Safe Prisons Program is just another governmental trick to get more money to build more prisons.
The truth about the Texas Prison System needs to be public knowledge but the state doesn’t want this knowledge, facts, and truth to get out publicly. TDCJ claims to rehabilitate, but programs are taken away and TDCJ’s educational programs are being cut back. So-called claims of lack of funding is all faux. Texas has almost more inmates that California’s and New York’s combined.
The main focus is the Safe Prisons Program which simply doesn’t protect, help, or assist the people/inmates who need it, me being included.
Written by Josiah Ginsberg. Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.
Permission is given to reproduce, send, copy, print, or otherwise duplicate this article for your benefit and the benefit of the inmates which you intend to assist with these issues. This article once duplicated in any way must not be changed or altered.
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