The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) has been operating as a money making business, run by corrupt wardens and administrative personnel, since the beginning of the 20th century.
This revolving door style of bad actors in high places is no different than what we see in mainstream politics (notably the presidential campaign). Before one is elected; banquets are held, credentials are flashed, and promises are made to change the current state of the prison system – or in other words, make it better.
These phony baloney candidates pretend to be in opposition with one another but they all share the same goal – making money. This is the reason why Republicrat Hillary Clinton jumped on the Obama bandwagon immediately after losing her shot at being the first female president. She opportunistically took the secretary of state gig as a back door to pick up the pieces after Obama left.
On the flip side prison administrators behave in the same fashion. Just like the working class do every election. Prisoners in Texas are falling for the okey doke that if they just chill, the prison system will eventually get better upon the arrival of a new governor, warden, etc.
But governor after governor and warden after warden, things are still the same if not worse; Just like we’ve seen since the first president of the United States vowed to make Amerika great.
Fellow prisoners and comrades we are being scammed! Under the political economy of capitalism; prisoners are commodities and livestock that are used for toiling the landscape and bringing in a hefty profit – literally through blood, sweat, and tears. We will never be recognized as anything but that.
With the 13th amendment actually legalizing slavery (not abolishing it) why would the oppressor voluntarily relinquish their abuse of power and authority when their captives aren’t putting up a fight, or in the least sense showing signs of resisting it?
This is no different than a poacher teaching an elephant how to protect itself against ivory thieves then attempting to hunt it. When Texas prisons were first designed, the plan was to use the misfortune of the prisoner (his incarceration) against him by sucking all of the profit (and many times the life) out of him before his release date.
Prisoners were once leased to private businessmen and landowners for the sole purpose of being human workhorses and modern day slaves. During these years of “convict leasing” the conditions these prisoners worked under can be compared to that of German Nazi labor camps, which was brought to life in Robert Perkinson’s Texas Tough:
“Recorded mortality rates in excess of 20 percent, in some instances put U.S. Steel on par with German and Japanese companies that profited from slave labor in World War II. But while these corporations have been held to account, U.S. Steel has escaped unscathed. Although the Wall Street Journal recently probed the company’s shameful history, no reparations movement has emerged among former convicts or their descendants.”
Throughout the years TDCJ has made some key changes (via class action suits filed by David Ruiz) but just like any reform program; our oppressors find ways to adjust and regain the advantage. In this same federal court ruling, prison lackeys – better known as building tenders – were supposed to have been stripped of their duties or working for the administration.
These duties included being armed with knives and baseball bats which were used to beat and scare prisoners into compliance; all at the go of the administration. Basically these rogues ran the prison for the warden via extortion and violence for small favors like extra food and freedom to roam the prison.
Again, just like the reform con game. These lackeys have returned, but this go around there is no violence used to gain compliance. The snitching game is their way of working for the administration which, in effect, allows them to get their own disciplinary cases dropped in exchange for busting other prisoners.
The way the entire Texas prison system is run is one reason prisoners behave like this. Prison guards have corrupted their minds by giving them a limited amount of false power. This power only extends to helping the guards soldier their way through the day.
Prison guards are paid to pose as a security barrier and safety net for the prisoners. They are also required to feed us in solitary confinement and address the needs of anyone that has a problem with their food. So why in the hell are the janitors and barbers running around like the Mad Hatter, loading trays in the tray carrier, pouring and refilling juice, and dragging the cart everything is carried on. Even though all of this is the guards’ job, he rarely does it and at this point the only thing left for him to do is open and close the food slots.
Several times that I’ve had a problem with my tray one of the prison lackeys spoke for the officer and even played gate keeper to the tray. “That’s how the kitchen made it,” the lackey said. “Write an I-60 [request form] to the kitchen and address it to Ms. Wheeler. We short on trays,” I was told by another prisoner.
These prisoners have no power at all. Every move they make and string they pull only serve and benefit the guards. As soon as they are in a position where this power can help us, it’s stripped away.
Several months ago, I watched as Officer Dann Rivali C.O.III denied four prisoners their meals. As this took place the working prisoner (who’s supposedly in command) did nothing but make that slavish grin. I asked why he didn’t help. He claimed there was nothing he could do. “Tell the major,” I suggested. “I ain’t got nothing to do with that; I ain’t trying to lose my job,” he replied back.
Not even two weeks later he got fired by the major for unauthorized handling of the food. The funny part is that Rivali did nothing to save him. These are things that we as prisoners need to pay special attention to.
Doing the guards’ job ain’t cool at all. They get paid to work and part of their job is to make sure we slave and write us up if we refuse. The work ethic of these lackeys not only help bring in the guards income, but it furthers their own status as the happy slave.
Over and over I’ve seen prisoners bring officers their paperwork, turn in count sheets, bring it to the guards’ attention whenever we try to exchange items on a fishing line and (I’m not joking) I even seen one conduct count while the officer slept at his desk. Guards aren’t requesting any of this. Prisoners are going out of their way to do this for recognition and as one stated, “a Subway sandwich every week”.
These workers even speak up for officers whenever their foul acts are caught on the pod camera. “Can you please make sure she don’t get in trouble, don’t let her get wrote up man,” one prisoner begged the Sergeant whenever he removed a guard from the pod following a feeding violation. ARE YOU SERIOUS! This kind of behavior can’t be going on in other state prisons – can it?
At the end of the day it’s us against them and we are losing badly. They are organized and unified within the landscape. At the same time prisoners are assisting them by covering up their foul acts and playing blind to what they see; claiming to “live by the code.”
So from my understanding, this code allows guards to kill us, beat us, jack our food, and deny us our rights – free of charge. But whatever we do something and they write us up “that’s how it goes” pleassseee!!!
There is a war going on that has our rights, dignity and fate in the crosshairs. If we do nothing, we simply will cease to exist or at the very least become full time slaves to the imperialist empire and its merchants.
History says that the passive approach and allowing our oppressors to willy nilly us like puppets does nothing to liberate our minds or bring us closer to freedom. This is something we have to initiate on our own. As long as we sit around they’ll be glad to provide the chairs. The current establishment will never implement programs that will actually serve our needs.
Our needs will never be served as long as we are being slaved by TDCJ and the Texas Correctional Industries (TCI). This is one reason why we must not only fight to receive true wages for our labor, but eventually destroy the prison industrial complex entirely; it’s making slaves out of men.
This is a class struggle that requires us, the lumpen and proletariat, to have class consciousness. Within the prison industrial complex we are the masters of our own fate. We make our own clothes, soap, and grow and butcher our own food. The prison system can’t even function without our labor.
Our day’s work brings in millions of dollars. Our yearly salary is $0.00 and in most cases we owe the state money. If the benefits of this work program don’t favor us, why are we still working?
There is something special going on September 9th, 2016, and I am requesting that all Texas prisoners give the pigs their jobs back and fight to abolish slave labor in Texas and beyond. It is time that we turn the tables and bond in solidarity for something that is rightfully ours – the right to be free of slavery!
Dare To Struggle! Dare To Win! All Power To The People!
Jason Renard Walker #1532092
9601 Spur 591
Amarillo, TX 79107