View Full Version : Scared and clueless in Texas
05-10-2002, 08:17 AM
Hello. I am a 22 yr. old male living in Austin TX. I just got arrested two days ago with 2 counts of possession of LSD with intent to distribute. The authorities are trying to get me to cooperate. if i dont i will face 3 years minimum. I don't know what to do. i have heard that if you cooperate, when you get to jeil, it is on your paperwork and the other inmates will know. all i know about prison is what i have seen on tv so obviously i am scared shitless. I have no idea what to expect. i am not a very big person and i am not prone to violence at all. it is two felony charges and i was picked up by federal agents. i guess this means i will be going to a federal prison. anyone who has any information if they would please be so kind as to share with me, the worst part is not knowing. thanks in advance. sam
05-10-2002, 08:31 AM
SAM-I CAN CERTAINLY UNDERSTAND YOUR FEAR AND APPREHENSION ABOUT WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN-ESPECIALLY ALL THE UNCERTAINTIES-I THINK FED-X (DAVID) THE SITE ADMINISTRATOR WILL BE ABLE TO HELP YOU A LOT-AS HE WAS INCARECERATED IN A FEDERAL PRISON IN TEXAS--ANY HELP OR SUPPORT WE CAN GIVE YOU--YOU GOT IT!! KEEP US POSTED ON WHAT IS GOING ON--WE CARE ABOUT YOU!!! AND WELCOME TO THE SITE
05-10-2002, 09:15 AM
Sam.... This is the right place to find good info... glad you found it... I myself am not that familiar with federal system... but I know there have been some other threads posted here with info... If you have specific questions, just post em, cause SOMEONE will have the answer... otherwise you can also try using the "search" feature to find some other relevant posts...
Hope we can be of support to you!!
05-10-2002, 07:21 PM
Just try not to let your fear get the best of you.. they are going to try to scare you that is part of there job.. Honestly they are ususally after the bigger fish is this ocean and not the little ones. Just realize that this process takes a long time in most cases so try to calm down and take it one day at a time..
05-10-2002, 07:35 PM
Yes, don't let the hype of TV scare you. It's all hype. My best wishes are with you!
Shan & Kev
05-10-2002, 08:01 PM
Hey you :)
Try and stay calm and get a good lawyer first thing. Do not say anything regarding your case to anyone but your lawyer.
You would be amazed at how low they will stoop to get info from you. Keep your head up and try and keep the faith.
Things will turn out ok.
05-11-2002, 11:21 AM
Welcome to PTO. We'll do what we can to help and give you information that will probably be beneficial to your case in one way or another.
As far as paperwork is concerned, yes, if you cooperate with the feds it will be listed in there, but the only way other inmates get their hands on it is if you give it to them or leave it out. I am not saying I am condoning snitching on anyone, just a few facts.
Lets do some quick math. Assuming you were to be sentenced to 3 years in federal prison, you would most likely be elligible for the drug program. You can take off a year of time for that. You also will get 6 months off for 1/2 way house and home confinement. Chances are you will spend less than a year and a half behind the walls if you get 3 years.
Federal prison is also a lot less violent than most state prisons. The feds are very serious about "keeping their peace" behind their walls.. Unless you have been convicted before for a number of charges, you would probably go to a Camp or the Low in Bastrop. These are still considered cadillac prisons with weights and more frills than the newer prisons.
Go ahead and check out some of the threads/posts in "The Road to Prison" forum. There are probably a number of posts you would be interested in by others that are facing prison terms.
05-14-2002, 02:13 PM
BLESS YOU CHILD..... 22 YEARS OLD.... I REALLY DO FEEL FOR YOU....
ONE THING, IF YOU DO TURN STATES EVIDENCE, YOU WILL HAVE A MUCH BETTER CHANCE.... ONE THING YOU MUST UNDERSTAND.... NO ONE EXCEPT EMPLOYEES OF THE D.O.C. HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR RECORDS.... INMATES WILL NEVER KNOW OF YOUR PLEA...
25 YEARS AGO, WHEN MY OLDEST SON WAS 17 YEARS OLD, HE WAS SET UP BY A FRIEND (HE THOUGHT) TO SEE POT TO A LAW OFFICER.... THE DEALER HAD HEARD THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE THAT THE PERSON WHO HAD SET UP THE DEAL WAS AN UNDER COVER OFFICER, SO HE TALKED MY SON INTO TAKING THE POT TO THE CUSTOMER.... WHEN HE DID, HE WAS ARRESTED, HIS CAR WAS CONFISCATED AND HE WAS PUT IN JAIL.... I LET HIM STAY OVERNIGHT BECAUSE I WANTED HIM TO SEE WHAT IT WAS LIKE....
WHEN HIS TRIAL CAME UP, THEY OFFERED HIM A SIMILAR DEAL... IF HE TURNED STATES EVIDENCE AGAINST THE PERSON WHO HAD GIVEN HIM THE DRUGS TO SELL, HE WOULD NOT SERVE TIME. HE TOOK THE PLEA AND TURNED THE BOY IN..... COME TO FIND OUT, THIS BOY WAS A MAJOR DEALER AND IT WAS HE THEY WERE AFTER TO START WITH.
YOUR LIFE IS ON THE LINE NOW... THIS WILL BE A TURNING POINT FOR YOU.... THINK ABOUT ALL THE PROS AND CONS AND DECIDE, BUT REMEMBER TO PUT YOUR WELL BEING UP FRONT...
05-14-2002, 04:09 PM
thanks to everyone for the kind words. it is the worst decision i have ever had to deal with before in my life. The charges are from back in late 2000 and early 2001. they just hadn't "gotten around" to picking me up yet. that is pretty screwed up in my opinion. i am straightened out now and in college getting good grades. unfortunately the sentencing guidelines don't really take things like that into account. my girlfriend who i live with (weefolk) is heartbroken obviously. my parents are still convinced that if i tell them who i got it from, they will realize i am a "good kid" and let me off with probation or something. i don't even know if i can give the feds what they want, i have been out of the loop for so long. i am afraid to even open that can of worms because they arent required to live up to any kind of verbal agreement. i might not really have a choice though. if i dont qualify for the "safety valve" then i am looking at closer to 4 or 5 years. the whole situation is a total nightmare. this decision (to cooperate or not) never leaves my head. thank god for david helping quell some of my initial fears about everything. if everything worked out perfectly in theory i would be looking at a little under 18 months but there is a waiting list for the drug program that i am counting on. there is also a boot camp that is only six months that i would like to try and get into but they have been regularly rejecting anyone with any college education. fortunately (fortunatelY?!?) i have some substance abuse history so will qualify for the possible year reduction with the drug treatment program. this whole thing is insane that they would want to take me and interrupt my eduacation, throw me in jail and then with the felony on my record it is going to be a ball and chain for the rest of my life. some rehabilitation.
05-14-2002, 04:18 PM
Whatever you decide and whatever happens, we're here to support you and help you through this - if it's a kind word, understanding or whatever you need.
You're in my prayers.
05-16-2002, 02:01 PM
danielle said what i wanted to say. keep your head up and remember we're here for you...and if you need a pen pal...give us a shout
05-19-2002, 04:03 PM
I am a 25 year old single mother of 3 that self surrenders in August for 20 months federal. Your statement about the feds not taking into consideration the fact that you are now bettering your life by furthering your education is unfortunately, absolutely correct. Those prosecutors are all about convictions and making you out to be the biggest peice of #$% alive. During my sentencing they try to make me out to be a drug addict and a accused me of leaving my children alone to get high. Fortunately, I have had to leave UAs randomly for the past year and have never missed or had a dirty so there went that theory. An ex co-worker that testified on behalf of the prosecution tried to say that she "thought I used drugs" because I lost more weight than she did taking metabolife...lol. And my charge wasnt even drug related. When I first talked to the feds (over 2 years ago) they tried to scare me by saying I was facing 120 months for money laundering. My point is the try to scare you into giving them what they want. I cant tell you whether or not you should turn anyone in but I do know that the prosecution isnt bound to anything the Feds tell you. Regardless if you dont take it to trial I think you should get 2 or 3 pounts off for acceptance of responsibility. Also if you do have to do time, from what I understand from others, federal is the way to do it. Not that its anything to look forward to by any means but it could be worse. I was just as scared as you are now but now realize that everything will be okay. We have made mistakes and now have to face the consequences. Just keep your faith in God and stay strong.
05-23-2002, 12:18 PM
zodiac...you haven't posted lately....i hope everything is going ok. what a sad predicament for you. you're in my thoughts!!!! *hugs*
05-23-2002, 12:20 PM
hang in there and know we're here for you!
05-29-2002, 11:03 AM
i am still around. i guess i haven't posted lately because there isn't really anything much to say about my situation at this point. i just have to ride it out and see what happens. i am basically more or less just trying to maintain my life on the most normal level possible. thanks again for all of the kind words.
05-29-2002, 11:12 AM
thanks for your response, zodiac. i guess no news is good news. sounds like you are doing ok under the circumstances. hang in there!!! we're thinking of you!
05-29-2002, 11:21 AM
My good thoughts are with you as well zodiac...
Stay strong & know that we are all here for you.
05-30-2002, 02:42 AM
I have never been in prison, but my sister in law had a good friend who did some state time. Trust me, federal is the way to go. You definately have that working for you. The following is about weightlifting, and while I'll pray you never need it, you should do so in the event you do.
1) You need to progressively lift heavier and heavier weights, barbells and dumbells (not the machines, they aren't nearly as effective at rapidly increasing physical strength).
- Do the following exercises, which work the most large muscle groups
a) Bench presses
b) Deadlifts/heel raises
c) Bicep curls/shoulder shrugs
d) Bent-over lat rows (with barbells or dumbells)
e) and other similar exercises
- Chart your progress on paper, and once again, strive to lift very heavy weights. Sets with lower numbers of repititions are ideal for this type of strength and mass training.
- Stretch before each workout, but don't get carried away with that aspect of it. Also, pay attention to stretching the groin muscles, and the pecs, but slowly and in moderation. Keep some advil around, for relief of sore muscles and joints, until the body adjusts to this new lifestyle.
- Lift weights every other day! Remember, the day of rest is every bit as important as the day of lifting. Never miss a workout, and keep charting your progress.
- Weights are the best fitness regimine you can be on, because if you have to stop working out, you will only lose 10% of your STRENGTH (mass goes quicker), for every 8 months you don't lift. You may need to store up that strength, for a time when weights are not accessiable. Please start weightlifting tomorrow. You may never need it, but it's a good "in case" thing.
2) Some advice I hope will help you:
- Just because someone threatens you, it doesn't mean they will follow through on it. Do not show fear, and if someone does start a fight, then fight hard. But, don't sweat every wannabe who acts tough.
- Do not be quick to look away when someone stares at you. It is the cowards way of gauging if you are tough or not. Granted, staring has nothing to do with toughness, but many people think it does. If you decide to look away, do it very casually, NOT quickly...you don't want him to think you are uncomfortable by it.
- Don't let anyone do you any favors for free, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem. You do not want them to be able to say you owe them. Don't say it in a tough way, but be respectful; just make it clear that if you want something, you will either get it yourself, or do without it. Be extremely wary of friendly people who are interested in casually doing you small favors.
- if a guard finds dope in your cell, even if it is not yours (especially if it isn't yours), don't say anything. It is just a test, set up by the other inmates, to see if you will rat on others. When you get out of solitary (the typical punishment), and the other inmates see that you didn't gives names (to save your own neck), then things will be a lot less stressful for you, because you have proven yourself. From what I understand, a little solitary confinement is a small price to pay for respect.
- Once again, do not trust anyone. Nobody there is your friend, and you won't be doing enough time to even make friends.
- Do not let people stand to close to you. It could be a setup for a sucker punch. However, don't back away from people in a manner that shows fear.
- Do not socialize with anyone outside of your race. Don't act rude, but just follow that rule of thumb.
- If someone else starts a fight, then fight back hard. However, don't get worried everytime some bozo wants to act tough. Bluffing is common, so just don't show fear: keep casual and cool.
- Once again, things are not that bad. The federal system is better than the state system.
- Don't tell the guards anything, even small, mundane matters about other inmates, or the things they do. It cannot be too trivial of an item for you to tell a guard, even if he/she asks. Just respectfully say that you do not know.
- I think you should cut a deal. From what I have gathered, unless you leave your paperwork laying about your cell, NO inmate will have access to it.
3) Look, please stay away from the drugs from now on. They only cause problems in a person's life. I've never seen any good come from drugs, even recreationally. Don't worry a lot about the felony on your record. If you have to get a job that won't end up making you rich, so what? Very few of us in this life will get wealthy, anyway. The goal is to be happy and content, not set unrealistic goals for oneself. Trust in the Lord, and pray daily. Go to Church, and workout. Please don't put it off.
Please keep us updated, okay?
05-30-2002, 12:45 PM
Zodiac, unless you are going to the Fed Pen, you really shouldn't worry too much about fights. Most guys in the lower security fed facilities are there to do their time. If somebody wants to act like a tough guy, he'll try is his 1st week in. He's tossed in solitary, transferred to the Fed Pen, or placed on the shoe program.
My fiance has made "friends" on the inside that he's kept in contact with. One of which is a real sweetheart that helped him out. When Todd first arrived at the FCI his money for his commissary didn't catch up with him from the MCC yet. So his friend got him the things he needed. When Todd's money finally arrived, Todd just went with him to the commissary and bought what Paul needed. Payback. So, there are some good guys in there. Do pick who you choose to socialize with wisely.
Also, the guards are pretty kewl too. No attitudes like the state/county COs.
It's really pretty mellow. NOT AT ALL like a state or county facility.
05-30-2002, 05:48 PM
I wasn't saying zodiac will need the benefits of working out... but it's just a good "just in case," thing. That's all.
I do think he should cooperate with the authorities, but that's just my opinion. He shouldn't have to serve so much time for mere possession, even with the amount he described and what the authorites claim his intentions were.
06-11-2002, 03:54 AM
I know many are going to disagree with me, but I just wanted to put in my two cents on giving up your dealer. First it's a decision only you can make, & regarles, you will also have my support.
You didn't have a problem with this guy selling dope when everything was going good. You knew or should have known what you were looking at as far as time. It's not this guys fault you got busted. Snitching on someone else isn't taking responsibility for your actions. It just doesn't seem right to me to turn in others just so things go easier for you, when your the one who made the decision to commit the crime to begin with. That being said there are exceptions, such as budwomans son, he was set up. Also if someone is looking at life or the DP I could understand them giving people up to save their lives, but your looking at a few years, & you'll probably do just fine. It's better to just do your time, then move on with your life, without looking over your shoulder.
Also, prisoners know what kind of time crimes will get you. If you show up on a yard & should be doing 5yrs & are doing only 2yrs, it raises all kinds of red flags. You could lie, but lies have a habit of comming back & biting you in the ass.
Again, bro it's your decision, I just wanted to chime in. I'm sure you'll have our support what ever you decide----Ken
06-17-2002, 01:10 AM
My heart breaks for you and for your mother. My 20 year old Son was just sentenced to 5 years here in TX. He was just transfered from one of the safest prisons (Gurney unit in Tennessee Colony) to the Bradshaw unit (a private, run for profit, prison) in Henderson TX. His 1st and only letter from there on 6-9 tells me he is having a problem of some kind but can't write details. If I had my druthers, he would be in a Fed Pen, but they didn't ask me. So, I guess one could say you are fortunate(?) in that degree.
I think, from all I've read and heard, you are receiving some very good advice from "Protestant" and "Kconner". Protestant says his info is from MO, I think it is universal. And, I wish there had been someone there to advise my Son before he went in.
I don't mean to add to your burden of fear, quite the contrary.
As you are right in saying "the worst is not knowing", forewarned is forearmed, so seek and soak up all you can, God willing, you will not need any of this advice. Thinking something through and being prepared is good practice for any endeavor you tackle in life, so go about this with preparation. Your whole life lays before you...
My prayers are with you and your family.
P.S. When are you to go to court? And, tell your Mom about this site, tell her, from another Mom, it will bring her much comfort.
06-17-2002, 07:02 PM
Let me echo cheenas comments. I'm sure your mom will find alot of support & information here. Yes, protestants advise is pretty universal. Also Dave is right, your actual time behind bars won't be all that long (relatively speaking). And Goldy had some good advise too, the prosecutors are not bound by any deals although they usually follow them, they aren't bound to it, & you can get a couple of points off for accepting responsibility. Good luck & please stay in touch, let us know whats happening.-----Ken
06-18-2002, 04:15 AM
You need not worry. Someone is most reluctant to tell if a guard is making them angry, by denying them priviledges, such as t.v., trips to the pop and vending machines (prized by inmates), or something similar. He may have even gotten a cruddy work assignment, because a guard was having a bad couple of weeks, and your son was nearby. He may not want the administration to somehow discover him complaining about a guard(s).
The best thing you can do is to send your son a decent, reasonable amount of money each week (a regular amount each time), in the mail. This is important: when you mail it to him, wrap the bills in about 3 or four sheets of notebook paper, as part of the letter...you don't want some dummy to see the money through the envelope, and keep it to himself. Guards are NOT above doing that. When you visit him in person, ask him how much he REASONABLY needs. Then, after considering it, give it to him (you know, so that he has a regular income and all). You should tell him that in the letters which contain money (they won't all), you will put some sort of signal on the outside of the letter, which will let him know not to open it in front of other inmates. These signals can take the form of something like this:
If his name is John Doe, tell him you will outline the letter "J" much more so than the other letters of the name. However, you don't want it to be too obvious...the prison administration has seen all of this (and every variation of every trick) a thousand times before.
I will pray for you and your son, okay? Please hang in there, and make sure your son has a regular, reasonable income. It's the best thing you can do for him.
06-18-2002, 12:45 PM
YOU GIVE SOME GREAT ADVISE.... THANKS FOR COMMING TO THIS SITE AND STAY WITH US...
06-18-2002, 07:29 PM
PROTESTANT- I AGREE WITH DONNA-YOU ARE A WONDERFUL ADDITION TO PTO-PLEASE VISIT ALL THE FORUMS-WE WAN TO HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS-TAKE CARE
06-18-2002, 08:36 PM
I hope that "advise" about money was for a given prison! Some prisons will put an inmate, in the hole if money is found on him, or in his cell!!!!!!!!!
What we know about the mail system all over the country, mailing "cash" to an inmate is dangerous. All they have to find is ONE and the whole mail room, every DOC shift, will be on the look out, even trustee and we know that trustee does a lot of DOC's work!
I don't know where protestant is coming from, since there's no location listed.
06-19-2002, 03:40 PM
B-ray your right, at least where Calif. prisons are concerned. If a prisoner is found with cash on him he can technically be charged with escape attempt, or conspiring to escape. The institution opens all mail & removes all cash (not even sure if you can mail cash) checks, money orders etc. They mark on your envelope how much cash, photos, stamps etc. that came in that letter.
06-20-2002, 07:57 AM
In IL I know sending money to EJ I can only send a money order & the largest amount on the money order has to be $50. So if I want to send him more than $50 I have to buy more than 1 money order. The mailroom picks it up along w/the letter. He is then told that he had money sent to him, how much & that when it was put into his account. EJ hasn't seen real money in awhile!
06-28-2002, 09:39 AM
In Missouri, I believe, a parent or loved one can deposit cash directly into the prisoners account.
The important point of my post is that inmates need a steady income, while in prison. They count on that money.
Thankyou for the compliments, friends. I really appreciate it. :)
08-13-2002, 04:22 PM
This thread is kind of stale, but I thought I'd go ahead & chime in about Texas & cash for inmates.
In the state system here, cash money is absolutely forbidden and the only legitimate way to send money to a loved one is through the Inmate Trust Fund system. You aren't even allowed to send a money order to the inmate; it must go to a completely different address. Also, when you come for a visit, you are only allowed to bring in $20 worth of quarters (no bills) for the vending machines and to pay to polaroids (if they are available that day).
Cash is considered contraband and if an inmate is caught with it, he/she will be given a major case and all sorts of heartache.
In any event, it would never make it to the inmate if sent by a family member through the mail, since TDCJ opens and screens all incoming and outgoing inmate correspondence.
Here are some links to more info on the Texas Inmate Trust Fund:
In regard to Zodiac's other issues, I'd agree with the others who have suggested that the federal system is a much less unpleasant environment than the state system in Texas. If you have to go in, the federal system is the way to go.
08-16-2002, 11:04 AM
i've gotta agree, no cash, send it to the trust fund. Money Order or Cashiers check. it's hard to know what your expenses will be like till after you get out of intake and get where your going.