Tag: TDC

A Mom’s Side of the Prison Journey – by Rose, Guest Blogger

Ive always been a fixer…fix the issues that my kids came up against. But then there was an issue I could no longer fix or control. All I could do is watch from the side lines. My son, my youngest, my baby was sentenced to 2 years TDCJ and 6 months State Jail. Oh the naivety when you know nothing of TDCJ. The day that the deal was struck and our lawyer assured us that he would be out in six months, the only reason he wouldn’t be is if TDCJ suddenly built new prisons to help with overcrowding.

So here we go, counting down to six months. My son was in county for about a month and said that was cake…if prison was like county this next six months would fly by. The morning he caught chain…I cried…and cried. That night trying to go to bed I had an anxiety attack that was out of this world, I couldn’t breath…my only thought was OMG MY child is in prison…PRISON! That’s a place for horrible people. The next 45 days with no calls from him were some of the hardest of my life. I’ll admit I was a pain in the ass. I called Middleton…thankfully those ladies that answered the phone were very sympathetic, nice and very patient with this mom new to this whole new world of prison. I worried about him and for him. I lived or rather existed in this world going thru the motions with this black cloud hanging over my head, tears constantly below the surface and a never ending feeling of what a horrible failure as a parent I must be.

I knew with my logical brain that I was not a failure, that kids get grown, make their own choices, their own mistakes and pay their own consequences. At this point I didn’t really have anyone I could talk to that understood…family was sad and tried to be supportive, but had not been down this road so they really didn’t know what this momma was thinking and feeling. One day while surfing thru the web looking up anything I could find that would give me some sort of peace I came across this blog…I even emailed Magnum with my questions…and was probably a total pain in the ass with my questions and my getting defensive and pissy over some of the comments by others to my questions lol.

The Jpay.com forum and Magnum’s blog helped me so much…to connect with others that were on this road, that knew first hand all the emotions I was feeling, the worry and the fears. The worries and fears are legit. Prison is ugly and its not a safe haven nor is it a rehab facility. Six months rolled around and my sons parole was denied. I’ve come to notice from talking to others that a lot don’t make their first parole, I guess maybe they don’t feel like you’ve been there long enough to learn any real lessons, I don’t know…maybe it really is a money game (that’s another rant of its own lol), but regardless he was stuck until the next review. When you have a young son going in there that thought he was invincible and learns the hard way he isn’t…it’s very heartbreaking. You can do nothing…just pray and hopefully find a support group, online, in person whatever where you can cry, vent and share your story with people who know exactly what you are going thru.

I came to realize that maybe there were lessons needing learned…no matter how unfair it felt to me…lifestyle changes that had been made that needed to be cemented into place and as hard and ugly as prison is it was the cement needed to hold those changes in place. I’m not trying to be selfish or think I’m better than any of the others who love my son, but I do know that while he was in prison my life honestly felt like it was on hold, no real joy, just going thru the motions of living. Other family members still seemed to be enjoying life…trips, partying, life as normal…and it pissed me off to no end! How dare you live like all is well when my child, your son, your brother, your spouse is in hell. I’m in hell. So yea I felt very sad and even jealous that life was going on and being lived and enjoyed by those my son loved the most and couldn’t understand how they were doing it. Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I’m different than other people…but yea I definitely was doing time too.

Ma, you did the time too

I was reflecting on some of the site regulars, and how in general they were mothers, wives and girlfriends. There are some fathers, and siblings, and a few children of those incarcerated. And there are comments from those who have done time, or worked in corrections, and folks with addiction problems. But most of who visits here are the women left behind – the mothers, wives and girlfriends.

When I got locked up I had a lot of emotions to deal with. I was angry, first and foremost. And I had some fear, naturally. I also had a lot of guilt and shame, especially at that first visit when my mother came to see me in County. I felt so shitty. Like a real turd, that is all there is to it. And I was also very damn glad to see her. A lifeline! Thrown to me in the very dark hole I was residing in.

I think I can speak for the majority of the incarcerated when I say having your mother, your wife, or your girlfriend stick by you while you do time is very appreciated. And probably not acknowledged as much as it should be. When you go down you find out pretty fast that most of your so-called friends are nowhere to be found. Even a lot of family becomes scarce. Face it, it’s not that fun to visit someone in prison, the whole experience is crappy. And writing letters to someone who basically has NO news to share with you and nothing going on is not very gratifying either. Sending funds to someone because they are a dumbass and got locked up doesn’t usually feel like a good use of money but boy is it appreciated.

I am pretty sure when I went to prison my mother was about as nervous and scared about what I was going to face there as I was. In fact, I guess she might have been more scared and nervous. Yeah, I think she was. I knew I could handle it, one way or the other, but for her it was probably agony. I was lucky that some guys told me the real rundown of what to expect and I was sure to tell her as much as I knew, so she kind of knew what was going to happen. And, I had one of my cell mates all set to call her when they picked me up so she would know I was on my way without waiting for her to find out randomly.

The main question we receive here is “my son/husband/boyfriend just transferred from County to TDC. How do I know he’s OK? How do I find him?” I hear the fear in those questions every time I read them. I know they are looking into the unknown and expecting it to be pretty bad, all the way around.

Here’s another thing that doesn’t get said much. Your parent is left on the outside to explain to family, friends, and everyone else where you are. Why you are there. They can choose to cover it up or just own it, but either way folks judge. My mother told me that right when I went away, a lot of her coworkers in her age-group had children who were graduating college and starting their careers, and how she chose to just stay quiet because bragging on your son’s newest prison tattoo just isn’t so cool.

I’ve noticed that some of the mothers who are regulars here have gotten the prison lingo down pretty well. Catching chain, making commissary, short way – these are all terms that a mother shouldn’t need to be knowing. That’s just messed up. But it is a fact.

I’m sorry Ma, i wish I could undo that part of things. I don’t regret much in life, definitely don’t regret that I did time. It’s part of who I am. But I wish I hadn’t had to take you down with me. And I appreciate that you went through that went me. I really do. Thanks for doing the time with me. It made it a little easier to know you were there.

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 the inmate’s class is an indicator of the threat level they pose, for instance, was their crime violent or non-violent, do they have any gang affiliations, etc. I have heard that an attempt is made to house similar sorts and levels of crimes together. For instance, inmates with substance abuse issues, DUI’s, and other such convictions may be housed together and armed robbery, assualt cases, and other such aggravated crimes may be housed together. Having said that, crowded conditions also comes into play, and sometimes an inmate is sent where there is space rather than where they would best fit in.

It will be several weeks until he is through with intake and sent to his designated unit. I have a few bits of writing from him, etc. that I will push out there to keep things active until we hear from him again. Meanwhile, he asked that I let you all know he was working on some replies to many of your comments and is sorry he didn’t get them mailed for posting to the site before he left. He also wants you to know that he is grateful to each and every one of you for all the support and kindness you have shown him. It has really meant a lot to him.

Keep checking back, hopefully it won’t be long until we have some updates. And please keep Texas Magnum in your thoughts and prayers as he goes through this part of his journey.