Huntsville at the Walls Unit
A LONELY PLACE TO DIE
Texas Prisons not only hold the record for prisoners killed on death row: Each day, week and month which passes by men are allowed to die needlessly, in the care of correctional officers. Your father, grandfather, uncle, brother or simply as friend may be among these or someone you know who has the same here, behind these gates where a different world exist. A place of lies and untold or simply twisted truth to fit a need of TDCJ (Texas Department of Corrections). I am new to this world. As time passes I am beginning to witness that which is being sad by the many incarcerated here in Huntsville at the Walls Unit: No one cares if an inmate lives or dies or is abused while here. CO’s (Correctional Officers) will not only beat an inmate but allow one to die as well. Word does not leave here to the outside and if it does, words are twisted to protect a prison system and those who manage it.
On Nov. 29, 2004 at approximently 8:40pm James Mayes was allowed to die: When 4 CO’s stood by watching, talking jokingly, and offered no CPR or concern. Mayes collapsed after a shake down of his property. Property he should not have been forced to carry an estimated 150 yards. His medical restrictions allowed a max. of 10 pounds due to his heart condition. A well know to fact for a man with a pacemaker, quadruple bypass and a very noticeable 8 inch cut in his chest. Mayes fought fruitlessly clinging onto life, while inmates with a desire to assist and training in CPR were forced to leave him. We thought foolishly the CO’s would assist but it was not to be. Thirty inmates watched James Mayes lay helpless, then die. I spoke to one CO, stating, "Mayes had a bad heart"! His only comment, "well, I guess it just caught up with him", in a very cold uncaring voice. He did not push to a dying man. He simply walked around him, not even looking down. Another checked for a pulse, twice and with a pair of loose fitted gloves check for breathing. Which in my opinion, would be impossible. Eventually, another CO kneeled over lightly shaking Mayes on the head, then shoulder. In all 15 minutes passes before James Mayes is wheeled out in a wheel chair to Medical. It is in medical where CO’s claim they gave CPR, which was tolerate to even begin.
At first and for years now, I did not believe this happens by uncaring CO’s and a system of lies that force the public to disbelieve prisoners. We are liars or are we? Thirty men assigned to G2 row, some of G1 and 11 witnesses the same as I am writing.
Currently nothing is being done to correct this or punish those involved. Yes, some will say it was investigated and no fault found. However, it is my understanding, each an every CO is trained in CPR; so why is it they did not respond while James Mayes may have had a chance to live?
It’s simple when you live this life to see why: CO’s are trained that we are the scum of the earth and worthless. Yet, we are just like you; people whom make mistakes in life and regret those made. James Mayes was not a harden criminal. He was here for discharging a firearm on his own land, in the country. A 6 year sentence, turned into a death sentence.
Currently, a sergeant Rodriguez is charged in Walker County for use of deadly force against an inmate; where he beat an inmate enough he was sent to medical. This make twice for this CO that I know of. First went unreported, when he beat a 65 year old man. The inmate was quickly shipped to another Unit; Hidden! Was not until Rodriguez became violent with other CO’s, that this Unit decided to file charges against him, Had it not been for this, it’s unlikely anything would have been done.
In truth, if an inmate is attacked by an officer and fights back, the inmate will get up to 25 years added onto his sentence for assaulting an officer. A corrupt system of justice. And possible conviction in a county where those on your jury are most likely to work for TDCJ or have friends or family who do.
Like many here, I to fear for my life and welfare each day. Not by inmates, but by CO’s who will retaliate. That is why, this letter will find you unsigned. But lead you in the right direction. A lie TDCJ cannot deny but illustrates an support Texas and it’s Prison System will lie. Not long-ago Texas was ordered to pay inmates for work by our Federal Government. Texas, working with the Federal Government, compromised with GOOD TIME and WORK TIME credits in lew of pay. Since it began, this credit was intended to reduce an inmate sentence an give incentive for a man to change into a better more productive person, ready for society. However, the credit given is only paper trail and show. No credit is actually given. The credit that is earned must be signed back over at parole time, leaving a balance of 0 credit. Intern, TDCJ is saying to all, "we give credit for good-time and work-time in lew of pay". While knowing all along it’s not true. TDCJ is not only a prison, it is a business called TCI (Texas Correctional Industries) with incentives to maintain a high level of those imprisoned. And with billions allotted/budgeted by Texas each year. With so many factories and no one asking, "where TCI’s income is going, and who is profiting?"
In closing: My goal here in this letter, is to inform those with caring hearts of a system that lies and allows men to die needlessly. Which I can only pray, I have done.
This letter may reach closed eyes, closed ears, and a closed heart. But it is our story in truth.
Our President Bush claims what happen in IRAQ to military prisoners, has never happen before during his time in office as governor in Texas. Yet, it did. He added in the design of TDCJ, it’s growth, and held office when inmates were used for dog training, without protective gear: Deniability is a constant in our government, both in the White House to State level. Foolishly, as a people we believe what they say, and without investigating on our own. I done the same for many years.
When will we as a people begin to realize fiction from non-fiction?
In prison, a man only knows a man by his conduct in here, e.g. does he treat others fairly or does he treat another poorly. His life outside these walls is unknown to us. What he is charged with, is only know by that which he says. It is not ours judge another for what he done, but judge him by his current conduct. James Mayes, attended church regularly, attended college, treated others with up most respect. We could not ask more of him as an inmate or friend. In here we are not friends of the normal word; only men trying to get along with others, pay our debt to society and go home to begin a new life. Some will build lasting relationships, others will desire to have no memories of prison. James Mayes moved each and every man, those who knew him even more. Word of wrongful death and abuse of an inmate travels quickly.
Unlike other prisons which have inmates that do their best to run over another or even harm him: The Walls Unit is filled with men who try to help each other, have regret to the wrong that brought them here, and have no desire to harm anyone. TDCJ will give another story. Theirs is only to maintain fear in the hearts and mind of the general public. When does the abuse end and good begin? If we want change to occur, men whom have been abused all their life need to know there is good, and how to achieve the same by change. Prison does not achieve this because each day is filled with CO’s against CO’s, Inmates against CO’s and CO’s against inmates: A never ending battle. This is why prisons fail. Try abusing your dog, then see how long he allows it before he bites back or harms someone else, because you have created a hate inside. Change begins from within our hearts, each and everyone of us.
When one inmate attempts to assist another inmate, it is taken by CO’s he is doing wrong. Some simply want to help another with less or has nothing; by giving his fan away or coffee pot or shoes when he leaves. Only to find this property is later taken away by CO’s, because it is not purchased in TDCJ’s commissary.
Just added information I felt compelled to write.