Category: TDC

Lyme Disease: Are inmates being exposed to Lyme Disease?

I sit here today as a free man. But, I guess the irony of the Universe wasn’t done with me, because I now have Chronic Neurological Lyme disease. Yep, I am married, I have two kids, I HAD a great job as a construction foreman and I was strong, healthy, and happy. I was the one who didn’t go back, I had moved on, life was good.

They say I have had Lyme disease for many years. Nobody can say when I got it. About 50% of those infected with Lyme never remember being bit by a tick, and never develop the tell-tale bulls eye rash. Most will be sick, with aches and fever. It’s common to think it’s flu, and eventually “recover”. But, for some, the Lyme bacteria has gone into hiding, waiting for a time when then immune system is compromised either from physical or mental stress of some sort, and then it comes back with a vengeance.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the Lyme disease epidemic.

Where did I catch my Lyme disease? Nobody knows. I might have got it where I grew up, on the Guadalupe River. Or – I might have gotten it while in prison. I think of this often. I remember getting really sick once while incarcerated, and it was a weird sick. Nobody else had it, and I was bad with fever and aches. Medical care in prison is a joke, I think I got some aspirin and I stayed in my bunk and rode it out. And eventually I recovered and didn’t think more of it.

Now I think of that a lot. Is Lyme disease being caught in prisons? Prisoners often work with crops and livestock. And there are rodents all over prisons. I worked in the kitchen and they are everywhere. The common mouse is the biggest carrier of ticks there is. Not most people know that.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the prevalence of germs and illness in prisons.

If you or anyone you know has done time, and has Lyme disease, share your story. Let’s get the word out. And, hope you are healing, man. This is really a bitch. Peace ~ Magnum

Never let yourself forget

As a person who has been incarcerated and spent a couple years in TDC, I have an automatic mark against me. I am a felon. Everything from being disqualified for enlisting in the military or for benefits like food stamps or public assistance in housing are denied a felon living in Texas. I have worked hard and I don’t feel it is necessarily holding me back today, but it most definitely has an affect on me and my family in some form or fashion. There are plenty of jobs and positions I cannot even consider due to this label of felon. It doesn’t do any good to complain or feel like I got the short end. After all, it’s pretty much my own actions and choices that landed me in that position. I would never play the “it’s not fair” card anyway, because life isn’t fair. And, in this case, it’s just the way the law reads so it’s the consequences of my actions and nothing to do with fairness. The only thing I can do is to keep doing the next right thing. I just need to keep working hard, keep providing the best I can for my wife and children, and keep trusting that with time I will erase as best I can any stigma that being a felon holds. I figure if I keep up the way I am going, there should come a day that nobody really gives a rat’s ass that I once made some stupid mistakes.

The main thing I try to remember is how sweet my freedom is, and how I would really hate to lose any of it at this time in my life. I wish I had a bottle of the pure awesome feeling I had the day I walked out those TDC doors. It is something you can’t explain to someone who hasn’t been locked up and stripped bare of all their rights and freedoms. And it’s something a lot of us felons do start to forget. Life gets easy, or life gets hard, or life gets boring – whatever – just something makes us start to lose our gratefulness and let’s a seed of bad thinking into our head. That’s the danger. It’s important that every one of us who did some time and now walks free never allows themselves to forget. Don’t forget those shitty days and nights stuck in a shitty, overcrowded, stinking, loud, and dirty hell called TDC. Don’t forget being mentally and physically challenged in ways that made you a little more afraid than you would like to admit. Don’t forget how achingly lonely you could be, wishing to hear just a word from someone you left behind at home. Don’t forget.

Having said that, it is my opinion that it’s time for some changes in the way we treat those arrested for drug charges. Not dealing, but personal possession. There are far too many folks just like myself that have a felony record because they messed around with drugs and got caught. I have a guess there is an equal number of people who messed around with the same drugs but didn’t get caught.

Once a person convicted of a drug crime gets home, they might already have other factors working against them like no family support or living arrangements that are unstable and somehow they just never get it together after that first stint doing time. They end up being part of the recidivism revolving door. I don’t have the answers. I don’t think it’s as simple as just shipping every one off to rehab because I personally went to rehab a bunch of times, and I can’t say it got me straight. But the fact that the US has the absolute highest percent of incarcerated individuals tells you something. Our system needs a major over-haul. Maybe the fact that Obama himself visited a federal prison a few months back is a good sign. It’s the first time any acting president has done so. Here’s to a good year in 2016, folks. If you have a loved one who is incarcerated, keep the faith. If you were once incarcerated yourself, don’t let yourself forget. And if you are somehow engaged in activities that might end with you locked up – take my advise and just quit now. Whatever you are doing, it’s not worth it, really.

How to send money to an inmate in TDC

I just sent this information to one of the visitors to the blog, and I thought it might be good information to share with everyone. It’s one of those questions that come up when all of a sudden you learn that your loved one is being sent to TDC. Just how do you help them out? Well visits and letters are important. But, the truth is, getting a little money in your commissary can make your life in TDC a whole lot easier. Buying some hygiene items and food of your own is a very good thing while you are incarcerated. Not to mention stamps and writing paper.

They are making it easier and easier to send money to an inmate. You have some choices. You can mail a money order to TDC or you can do it online or at a couple of places in several ways. Here is what you need to know about it, straight from the TDCJ website.

TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE – INMATE TRUST FUND

MONEY ORDERS or CASHIER’S CHECKS made payable to made payable to “Inmate Trust Fund for Offender Name and TDC Number
1. Obtain the deposit slips from inmates themselves, or by sending a self addressed, stamped envelope to Inmate Trust Fund, PO Box 60, Huntsville, Texas 77342-0060 with the name and TDC Number of the inmate you want to deposit to.
2. Send the deposit and completed deposit slip to Inmate Trust Fund, PO Box 60, Huntsville, Texas 77342-0060

MONTHLY CHECKING ACCOUNT DEBIT (ACH)
1. Complete an ACH authorization form (Click HERE for the form!) and have a set amount automatically debited from a personal checking account once each month for deposit to a specified offender
2. Attach a voided check on the account to be debited
3. Debit transaction will occur on the 5th of each month
4. Submit form with voided check to Inmate Trust Fund, PO Box 60, Huntsville, Texas 77342-0060
5. This is a free service provided by TDCJ

JPAY allows you to send money to an offender for a service fee. Visit their web site at www.jpay.com or call 1.800.574.5729 to send funds using Visa or MasterCard credit/debit card. Senders can make cash deposits at any MoneyGram location nationwide using an Express Payment form and using RECEIVE CODE 3570.

ACE, AMERICA’S CASH EXPRESS from anywhere in the United States. Deposit funds to an offender’s trust fund account for a service fee. For the nearest ACE location, call 1.866.734.2306 or visit their web site at www.acecashexpress.com

ECOMMDIRECT is the secure way to make a deposit in an offenders trust fund account.
1. Visit www.texas.gov/eCommDirect
2. Enter offender details
3. Add deposit amount to your cart
4. Check out using a Visa or MasterCard

TOUCHPAY PAYMENT SYSTEMS provides convenient ways to get money to your loved ones with service fees starting low, including:
1. Online: www.tdcjpayment.com
2. Telephone (toll-free): 1.877.868.5358
MasterCard and Visa credit/debit cards are accepted, as well as MoneyPak, which is a remote cash option available at retailers
nationwide. Visit: https://www.moneypak.com/Partner/Payment.aspx/TouchPay” for details and locations.

WESTERN UNION CONVENIENCE PAY offered at select locations within the state of Texas. Send up to $200 to an offender’s trust fund account for a service fee. Call 1.800.354.0005 to find a Convenience Pay agent location. Retail locations include Kroger, HEB, Minyard’s, Sack ‘n Save, Carnival and selected Western Union agent locations. *I am sure you will need their TDC number to do this so be sure to have it.

WESTERN UNION QUICK COLLECT from anywhere in the United States. All three Quick Collect products are subject to different fees, send amounts, and other restrictions in certain states. Standard fee for over-the-counter Quick Collect transaction at a Western Union location. Deposit will post to offender’s account within 24 hours.
1. Western Union at 1.800.325.6000, or visit www.westernunion.com to find the nearest Western Union location
2. Telephone (toll-free): 1.800.634.3422, press 2 to send Q/C payment for credit card transactions.
3. Web transactions: visit www.westernunion.com for online transactions.
For each Quick Collect transaction the following information must be provided:
Pay to: TDCJ – Inmate Trust Fund
Code City and State: TDCJ/TX
Account number with Facility: Inmate’s TDCJ number and inmate’s last name
Attention: Inmate’s last name and inmate’s first name
Note: Sender’s name and address are required when making a deposit to an offender’s account.