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  #1  
Old 09-19-2011, 03:23 PM
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Default Confused by TDCJ - again - are non violent offenders housed w/ violent?

For some reason I have been under the impression that TDCJ kept prisoners convicted of violent crimes separate from those convicted of non-violent crimes. Once again I am confused. Is there any truth to this?
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  #2  
Old 09-19-2011, 03:37 PM
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No, there's really no truth to that. Sometimes people in on something like a PV with a shorter amount of time will go to a smaller, low security unit that doesn't have a lot of VO's, but there's no hard rule that they are separated from each other.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:39 PM
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Nope. No truth to it. Part of the intake process is to evaluate the individual based on many factors. Placement is allegedly based on this evaluation. For example, they may determine that psych meds are necessary, or it may be a geriatric or other medical need, or GED candidate. Not all units provide all services or needs, so they are sent to a unit that may be most likely to fill a specific need if one can be identified. Some units are predominantly younger, and provide educational opportunities; some are specifically for long-term sentences. But there is a mix of offender types at each unit.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:05 PM
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Thanks for the quick responses.
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Old 09-19-2011, 06:43 PM
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What you’re referring to was the concept behind State Jails and state jail felonies which were created back in the early 1990s here in Texas. Former governor Ann Richards who was a recovering alcoholic had the idea and intent to create a 4th class of felony and felony punishment that were to be a lesser degree of time and punishment in theory. State Jail, state jail felonies which carry 6 months to 2 years and the SAFP drug rehabilitation program were all ideas geared towards addressing the needs of those who had problems with lesser offenses. Identity theft, credit card abuse, alcohol related crimes including DWI, and a number of small drug possession cases are a few. She also said that she felt it was important to house those prisoners in separate facilities apart from those like myself who were violent offenders, repeat offenders, habitual offenders, prisoners with big sentences and life sentences. She had good reason to feel the way she did, but a lot of people were not aware of the abuses that men & women suffered with sentences of say 5 years or less. There were those too, who simply didn’t care and the first one to demonstrate that was a man named George Bush.

Much of what Ann Richard attempted to do was forgotten and undone by Bush when he became the 46th governor in 1995. He made a comment about his view point on drug addiction and alcoholism when he was first elected governor and it told the story of what would follow where state jails are concerned and what we now see 16 years later. He’d had a drinking problem at one time. At some point prior to him becoming governor, when he was up in Colorado on business, it dawned on him that he needed to quit and so he did. His reasoning consisted of the attitude that if you had a problem with chemicals, you quit or suffered the consequences. And so we have.

I’m reminded of a conversation I had with someone one day back around 2005 while assigned to the Michael unit down by Palestine that really put me in the picture with all this. He fell some time in the early 1980s with a 65 year aggravated sentence for something, but I can’t remember what it was. We were walking down the hall and he said “Yeah Red, we used take those guys that had those little sentences that busted $65 at commissary every spend and we’d do them real bad. You’d see 4 or 5 men fall up into a 2 man cell and attack these type men and…you can figure out the rest. You know what goes on in there and I don’t think little of what they suffered through. I’ve stood up for many of those guys in there when they were too scared or confused to know what to themselves. I’ve got a broken nose and missing teeth to prove it, too.

Sometime around 2000 there was a Tarrant County Judge by the name of Sharon Wilson that had a son who’d been convicted for a felony that was sent to the Allred unit up near Wichita Falls in a place called Iowa Park. He’d repeatedly asked the prison admin and rank to move him from the cell he was housed in due to be raped and victimized by some other inmates and I’m not really sure what became of him to be honest. I’ve heard said that he committed suicide, but I’ve never been able to find anything on that. His Mom is the person who was responsible for what we now know as the Safe Prisons Program that addresses issues such as sexual assault and extortion with which legislation was passed to put that into effect.

Off the topic a little bit, Sharon Wilson was arguably the most feared judge to ever sit on a Tarrant County bench. She had a personal mission to severely punish those who were violent offenders, sex offenders and a number of repeat offenders. When I was transferred to Tarrant County Jail in January of ’97 for the robbery charge I am now on parole for, I never had heard of her. I was fortunate enough to be assigned to someone else’s court that pretty much went upon the recommendation of then district attorney, Tim Curry. I look back now and what would have become of me had I gone before the woman that many consider to be the toughest gal to ever hold a gavel there in Funky town.

I noticed at some point about that time the unit painters and paint squads were putting up this grey rat that on the walls though out all the prisons I passed through called the extortion rat. The first couple of times I saw it I asked someone who was assigned to the paint crew who would be in the process of putting the logo on the wall “What is that?”. “I don’t know, to be honest?” is what I heard in the beginning when it first came into existence.

They had come up with the idea of building what they call Super Segs in places like Amarillo and a number of other places, as well in the mid to latter 1990s. It addressed the issues of gang violence that had been on rise since building tenders and turn keys of the Texas Dept of Corrections era were done away with back in the 1980s as a result of the David Ruiz lawsuit which brought about the Texas Dept Of Criminal Justice. It did some good where reducing certain kinds of violence among the general population was concerned, but not enough. It seemed like to me, the harder the judges and district attorneys were on people who they sent to prison with some of the enormous sentences they were commonly known for handing out in that time, the harder people were on each other when it came to doing time itself.

State Jails in this day & time are not anything like what they were intended to be back when they first came into existence. Many state jails are half TDCJ inmates and half state jail inmates. Often times they are not separated at all except only in so far as where their housed, but that’s not entirely true in all places where there are both groups.

Sorry for the history lesson, but when you asked the questions about separating violent from non violent offenders it made me think of a lot of things.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:57 AM
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Firebrand, thanks for the history lession on TDCJ. It's nice to know that I didn't just dream this up. My son was sentenced to state jail however it doesn't appear that he will be spending time in a state jail. It also doesn't appear that it would make much difference if he did or not. I find it very interesting that a judge can sentence someone to state jail and TDCJ can pretty much do as they please. Sorry about your teeth and nose. I'm hoping he can get through this without violence but he mentioned in his last letter that there was alot of "racial stuff" going on at Rudd and he does have a short sentence.
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Old 09-20-2011, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teddy1955 View Post
Firebrand, thanks for the history lession on TDCJ. It's nice to know that I didn't just dream this up. My son was sentenced to state jail however it doesn't appear that he will be spending time in a state jail. It also doesn't appear that it would make much difference if he did or not. I find it very interesting that a judge can sentence someone to state jail and TDCJ can pretty much do as they please. Sorry about your teeth and nose. I'm hoping he can get through this without violence but he mentioned in his last letter that there was alot of "racial stuff" going on at Rudd and he does have a short sentence.
Unfortunately, there is always a lot of racial stuff to be seen at most all units in prison. Its common place, but the good news is all he has to do is just hang in there and know the end is not so far away in the near future. Hell be alright.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:03 PM
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Firebrand, thanks again for the response. You are truly an asset to PTO.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:00 PM
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Teddy, I think you can also get some peace from knowing that just because a person may be labelled as a violent offender does not mean they are truely violent or dangerous. Their circumstances and choices put them where they are, just as your son's did. There are plenty of folks behind the fence with more serious charges than they should rightfully have had. I've also come to know, through my son and through visitation, a fellow who admittedly murdered two people, and I've come to know him as a very calm, friendly, rational and wise person. I wouldn't mind him visiting if he ever gets out. Of course, I wouldn't get on his wrong side either ... ;-) They're all just people ... and someone loves almost every one of them. Your son will learn to relate and deal with each one as an individual, just as he did on the outside.
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Old 09-20-2011, 08:22 PM
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It works both ways. I've seen guys in for credit card abuse,drug charges and other "nonviolent" charges that fought all the time, then guys who are in for agg. assault, attempted murder,etc. who rarely if ever had drama/disciplinary problems. Pretty much their behavior inside determines where they are housed custody-wise.
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teddy1955 View Post
For some reason I have been under the impression that TDCJ kept prisoners convicted of violent crimes separate from those convicted of non-violent crimes. Once again I am confused. Is there any truth to this?
Prisons and prison cells don't grow on trees. The courts keep sending them. Sometimes they have to put them where the empty bed is.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:40 AM
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Thanks everyone for the responses. My son has said that he is going to do his time the "easy way" which is to keep to himself. I hope this works.
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