The Texas Prison System - What's It Really Like?

The way it really is in TDCJ and Prison Units in Texas

400 days and counting in prison

I realized the other day that the last day of August marked 400 days of incarceration for Texas Magnum. 400 days out of a maximum of 1460 that could be spent as a prisoner in Texas. Magnum is hopeful he will be released well before the maximum sentence date, and at this point, it is likely that he will be. He has committed to himself to make the most of his time of incarceration and has been actively working on improving himself mentally, spiritually and physically. He feels good, is full of positive energy, and is seeing a light at

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Officially a cook in Texas prison!

Well, how about that? I have been promoted, after just a short while on my job as pot and pan washer in the prison kitchen. The kitchen boss told me he had observed I was a hard worker, and he needed someone who could learn and work hard, and offered me the position. I accepted the offer (ha ha, as if I had a lot of options) and now I am officially a cook, in prison. Ain’t I the shit? All progress is good, and I take this as progress. And, I get an extra meal for my effort. It’s

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Change is good – catching chain is not good

Well I now can say what is my least-favorite part of prison life. Catching chain for transport to another unit – God, seriously, it sucks. I left my old unit on Friday night and got here on Wednesday. In that time I stopped over at three different units. One is well known for being one of the oldest and worse units in the state of Texas. As you can imagine, that is a bold statement considering the size of Texas and the conditions of many of the TDCJ prison units. But, from my short stay there, I would say it

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4th of July – Celebration of Freedom for U.S.A.?

With the arrival of the 4th of July weekend, I find myself reflecting on the irony, for so many of us, of this celebration of freedom. Here we are, land of the free, home of the brave, proudly celebrating our freedom from tyranny and oppression – and so many of us will pass the holiday incarcerated, or dealing with the incarceration of  loved ones. Until I had a family member facing incarceration, I was right there amongst the many, shooting off fireworks, waving sparklers in the air, munching down on hotdogs and hamburgers and celebrating our FREEDOM. Not only that, I had a generalized sentiment that

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A Note from the Editor

My friend Debbra over at www.standbyjerry.com made this nice graphic for Texas Magnum today. Isn’t it cool? I ask any of you reading this blog to take a moment to visit www.standbyjerry.com and learn about Jerry Welch. Jerry, age 20, is facing trial and possible life imprisonment for the murder of a pedophile named William Bush, who molested him for years of his teen life. Not only that, Jerry DID try to ask for help, and his pleas were ignored. Jerry has never had any trouble or arrests in his life up until this incident. Jerry has faced multiple challenges

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Doing the time the best I can

Every day I wake up and just hope and pray that the day is calm, that no fights break out and people are minding their own business. Every day I spend at least a little time trying not to get angry and fed up at the men who are rude for no reason. At the people who yell. At those who think they are tough or big telling about their crimes and the people they have hurt in life. At the people who like to make it a big point to say that they don’t care. I wish I had

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Yell, laugh, cry, scream, fight, or love

I will share something with you. Sometimes when I think about everything I get a heavy feeling in my heart. I think it could easily be mistaken for depression or despair. But it’s not. It’s the will to live, the passion I have for life beyond this reality I’ve set for myself. It’s like a fire that burns inside of me, and I am not exactly sure how to release it or what’s the best outlet for it. It’s a combination of every emotion – I don’t know if I want to yell, laugh, cry, scream, fight, or love. If you

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Life’s a beach?

I feel like I am running out of things to say. Sometimes I look around me at the other people I share this place with, and I don’t even want to write anything about being here. I am sick and tired of people who want to bully others because they are weaker or because they are nicer. The people here are very disrespectful of each other. Some days it’s harder than others to just let all this bullshit flow over me and not affect me. I have a friend in here who is paroling out any day, and then getting

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In the mirror

I had to laugh the other day. I caught sight of myself in the mirror, and for a moment I was really shocked. For just a minute, I didn’t recognize the person looking back at me.  I saw a serious man with a square jaw. Someone with dark hair, sort of large green eyes, a pale complexion – yes, it was me alright. But this person looking back at me looked older and harder than I think of myself. Many times, I feel inside just like the same 17 year old kid I once was. It’s literally shocking to see

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Getting clean the hard way

Maybe a few of you reading this blog stumbled on here when you were looking for information about heroin or addiction. Maybe you or one of your family members is struggling with some of the very same things that got me here in prison and you are looking for help. In one of my first posts on here, I said I was genuinely glad I got arrested because it probably saved my life. Getting locked up is what it took for me to get the needle out of my arm. That is the good news. Now the bad news. Here is the

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“I can” – the strength of those words

Within the last two days, two of my buddies here in the unit got moved. I was really sad to see them go. One in particular had become a really good friend. He was a good dude and I had spent a lot of my days talking and sharing stories and thoughts with him. He was really good at Scrabble! I felt sad for him, as intelligent as he was, he has spent 15 years in prison and was doing another 3 this time. He is the one who described the experience of getting out of prison and wanting to

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Missing out on life

After being incarcerated for the last seven months, I have learned the truth about what being locked up and the loss of freedom means to a man. Before all this happened, losing my freedom meant something completely different to me than what it does now. I thought losing my freedom meant not being able to come and go as I wanted, not being able to sleep in when I wanted, stay out late when I wanted and to do what I wanted. I thought it meant not having a corrections officer telling me where to go or not go, and

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Prison is a funny place.

Prison is a funny place. You sit in here, day after day, imagining what it will feel like when you are released. We all make a list of things to do, when we are “free”. Most mens’ list are a little like this: 1) Get laid 2) Eat a huge steak 3) Sleep in a comfortable bed Everyone’s list is somewhat different but most men have a list similar to my example. (Ask them, if you don’t believe me.) Of course, I myself know that I look forward to MANY things. From women, to work, to spending time with my family. What I wonder

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Life in prison – settling into the everyday routine

So this is the real part of being in prison. It’s not the being scared of the unknown or the fear of losing freedom. It’s the knowing that you aren’t going anywhere, day after day after day. It’s being bored and stuck and trying to make the best of  the bad result of your own bad decisions. After getting through intake, I was put into General Population and I thought I might be staying there, but I was moved again to another facility. The new place is much farther from home too, so I won’t be getting many visits. That

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Resolutions for the new year

As the new year comes, so do new beginnings. For many people goals are made, and promises sworn to be kept to a spouse or to one’s self. “This year it will be different. I will lose that weight”, or “I’ll cut down on the booze” or “I’ll never cheat on my wife again.” All these dreams and desires to renew and improve ourselves rush through our dreams and our hearts each year. This is the type of thing that amazes me about humans, we have the capacity to want something with our entire heart and soul, until it hurts

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Light up the darkness

Arriving here to TDCJ was as I expected. It involved a lot of nudity and yelling, being told where to stand, where to look, go, speak, dress… but overall I could think of a lot worse. My first week was spent in the “Chicken Coops” which resemble something out of the movie Silent Hill. Rusted metal, and dirty everything, complete with rats climbing on the rafters above. While in the intake process, you to go to sociology and medical examinations, and orientation, as well as an IQ test. Once you are finished with those, you are moved to be housed

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Texas Magnum “catches chain”

From the Editor: Texas Magnum  “caught chain” today. For those who don’t know jail lingo, “catching chain” means that he was picked up for TDC prison transfer to the intake facility in Huntsville, in the wee hours this morning. In thr Texas prison system, every inmate starts out in Huntsville for processing and class designation. Physical, psychological, educational and vocational testing is done to determine what class an inmate starts out as and which unit he will be assigned to. They will be assigned their TDC Number, which will be their identity for the length of time they are incarcerated. My understanding is that

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Letting go

I’m mad. I’m anxious. I’m just all around worried. I sit here and sit here and sit here. And I go over and over how I could have lived my life different. I know I could have done better. I am scared for my future. All these thoughts bring nothing but negative emotions and urges. I feel like starting a fight with anyone who crosses me, I have the urge to use drugs, drink, shoot up. And I find myself judging others, in an attempt to defend my actions and outbursts and bad attitude. I know at moments like this,

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A dream with a message for me

My last post I wrote was about being in here with a man who is accused of the murder of a friend of mine. Well, it has caused me some stress. And, last night I had a dream with my dead friend in it! And, it was all wrapped up in drug and alcohol use. I am going to call my friend “Red” for this post, and tell you about the dream. I would like to know what you all make of it. It was REALLY strange because him and I were probably more technically acquaintances than close friends, and

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