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Texas Prison and Jail Specific Discussions + Lock Down Status All discussions relating to specific Texas Department of Criminal Justice prison units, Texas State Jails & Private prisons, and County Jails.

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  #1  
Old 01-09-2006, 06:58 PM
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Default Shakedown at TDCJ - Through an Inmate's Eyes

This has been re-posted with Silva's permission and it is a first hand account of a shakedown at her loved one's unit - Most of this is his words and some she has paraphrased for us.


First off this morning just as we were finishing our work shift, we were corralled into one of our two dining rooms and very thouroughly strip searched plus body cavity searched. Well, that was certainly one of the most humilliating times so far here. We have two female bosses and they made no attempt to leave the room even though an additional 4 bosses (males) were brought in to help in the job. After this, sixty or so of us were led back to the dorms, counted again and told to stay on our bunks til further notice....

It's now 9am and we have been given our medication and are waiting for our meal. One of the advantages of lockdown is that guards here do almost all of our chores. Literally we are waited on hand and foot for the duration....

Well, from the looks of things we will go through major shakedown today or surely tomorrow. We can see people from the other end of our building carrying their property and walking to the gym.... so now we have 54 guys scrabbling about trying to get rid of any contraband they might have and make sure their name and # is on every last book, blank envelope, notepad, stamp and photo.....Then I began to pack my things into the middle of my blanket, then all of that into my other blanket and tied all four corners together....

Next we the very strenuous walk from the dorm to the gym. The reason it was difficult was simply because of the weight of my bundle. Mine wasnt the only heavy parcel either. A few of us have so much, mainly in books that there was just no easy way. And what makes the walk all the more difficult is that the bosses want us to pick up our bundles and continue holding them whether we were moving or standing still.....

In the middle of the gym there are six tables right in the middle lined across the room. Each table has two guards to search two inmates property. We are instructed to form a line in front of each table and one by one are called forward to disrobe to our boxer underwear and socks. We are called forward still and told to strip completely and set our bundle of property on the table. then we are told to step back, turn around, lift our nuts, spread our cheeks, show the bottoms of each foot. Then we must wait quiety while the bosses search our things.This is all quite uneventful except if you count the bosses randomly at times selecting items to throw away. And of course our emotions ranging from docile humility to subdued anger. Imagine your carefully packed files and photos being rifled through like so much rubbish. What we have is a sheet spread on the floor beside the table and a mound of disaray after the search is complete.... we are told to drag our sheet to the opposite wall and get dressed only. We are explicitly told not to straighten our mangled pile of property, we can only tie the corners together and rag or carry. We must sit indian style with our bundles in front and wait quietly (we are always being told to be quiet, shut up, get off the bumper). Being quite is difficult as we already have stories to share of what they took from whom....

The walk back to the dorm is even more unpleasant as our bundles are not nearly as well packed as before. The bosses are now getting grumpy after having already searched four previous dorms. We are told to keep walking and not stop for anything, including our packs coming apart and shifting in our loads. By the time we get back to the dorm, all the mattresses and pillows are all strewn about. So now we have to get our mats and pillows without resorting to violence. Amazingly we do this and within an hour we are an orderly organised 54 once more....


He also says the hot water has been turned off, so no coffee or soups during lockdown. Only one inmate at a time is allowed to use the bathroom. They have a 2 hour shower period between 9-11pm when they can also exchange laundry. Also, they are only provided with one roll of toilet paper every 12 hours between 54 guys ~ he says on a normal day when around 1/3 of the dorm is at work, they get through 4-6 rolls.
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Last edited by jessnkat; 01-30-2006 at 02:16 PM..
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2006, 08:19 PM
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Sounds exactly what we had to go through when I wne through basic training for the Army!
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:58 PM
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This is a good post, thanks for sharing! I always wondered what that was like for them. My fiance always tells me how he got envelopes taken away becasue he forgot to put his name and TDC# on them! It just really irritates me at what they have to go through during major shakedowns, I mean getting naked in front of all those other men and the women CO's! Uggh! I can't wait until my sweetie comes home and doesn't have to deal with that anymore!
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Old 01-09-2006, 11:29 PM
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I could not imagine how it would be like to spend years living like that.
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Old 01-10-2006, 06:00 PM
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My man told me that this happens though he didn't give quite as much detail. He does everything he can to keep his property down so that it isn't such a nightmare going through the shakedown. Because of this I don't send him books or anything but envelopes and paper. I made the mistake of sending him 500 envelopes once. He had to write his name and address on every one of those when he received them. He hates to write so you know he wasn't very happy with me at that moment. I said I would never do that again. Recently I ordered him 100 envelopes and they sent him 500. He's probably still cussin' me out about that one.
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Old 01-12-2006, 03:23 AM
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Why do they have to label the envelopes? Can they be sent prelabeled? I run ours at work through the laser printer lickady split.

Just doesn't make sense to me.
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Old 01-12-2006, 11:19 AM
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They have to put their names and numbers on the envelope because envelopes can be used as money in there. Heaven forbid they trade an envelope or two for a soup or stamp or something.

Thanks for posting.
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  #8  
Old 01-29-2006, 09:20 PM
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It kills me inside to know what my baby has to go through in there I hope he will get out soon, I am so afraid that something is going to happen to him I pray for him day and night
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  #9  
Old 01-29-2006, 10:24 PM
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Been there, done that. Ten year's worth. I was a pack rat and always ended up paying for it dearly at shakedown time. I had four large commissary bags full of books, canned goods (yes they used to sell things in cans), legal material, and all my earthly prison possessions that I tied together and slung over both shoulders, along with a typewriter and all my bedding.
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Old 01-29-2006, 10:51 PM
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NAIL POUNDER, Will most inmates go through the shake downs and is this very common in TDC? Now I have so much more to worry about where my son is concerned. Do you think it is possible it's best he stays in County for the duration of his sentnce not that we have any controll over that where he goes or stays, but I am starting to believe it might be the safest route.
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Old 01-31-2006, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texasfem
NAIL POUNDER, Will most inmates go through the shake downs and is this very common in TDC? Now I have so much more to worry about where my son is concerned. Do you think it is possible it's best he stays in County for the duration of his sentnce not that we have any controll over that where he goes or stays, but I am starting to believe it might be the safest route.
All TDCJ prisoners go through shakedowns. usually they conduct a major shakedown of an entire unit at least twice a year, more often than that if there's a riot, stabbing or some other major incident. Since your son has a trusty job in county, he might just prefer it to TDCJ. I can't think that TDCJ could be any worse than Harris County Jail. In fact, with what I've heard about Harris County, TDCJ would be the better of the two in most instances. That's just my opinion.
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Old 01-31-2006, 09:07 AM
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My guy was thrilled to get moved to TDCJ after being in Harris County Hell (excuse me, Jail). He's in a transfer unit still and he still prefers it to Harris Co.
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:06 AM
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Ditto to the TDCJ vs. Harris County Jail...my son thinks TDCJ is much better. (But who wouldn't if they hadn't been outside a bldg. for 9 months?) What does smell...is that at county you can see them alot--TDCJ you can see them 3x per month and for 2 hrs only, have to wait 90 days for contact and they transfer them to B*F*Egypt, so you have to drive too far, wait too long and give up on your loved one......my theory at least. Don't Mess With Texas takes on a whole NEW meaning...??
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Old 02-01-2006, 11:20 AM
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My baby is at Tulia Unit. Before that he was in Dallas County. While he was there he prayed to catch the chain to TDC. Dallas County is horrible! Even though we're having problems with him getting his mail and having his comm. account on hold he's better off where he's at now.
He hasn't said anything about being on lockdown. I had never heard about that until I read this. He did get in trouble but that was well over a month ago. He just isn't getting mail regularly and can't buy anything when I still put money down every two weeks.
Anybody have any ideas why his account is still frozen and how I can fix this?
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Old 03-18-2006, 09:59 PM
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Oh My Goodness! This made me cry. I can't imagine what our loved ones have to endure!! How humilating and degrading..
Thanks for opening my eyes to their world.
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Old 05-02-2006, 01:20 PM
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he is probally on commisary restriction it can go from 2 weeks to 2 years depends on what he did
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Old 10-06-2006, 10:01 PM
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My girl was just on lock down the past couple of weeks at Gatesville for thier 6 month cell tossing. It really is very trying for them to get through. She wrote me of how awful the co was who tossed her cel this time, she described it as a trial on her spirit. She said the co was so mean and hateful. The co's decide where they have to put thier property and hers had her put her stuff under a tree where the birds shit all over it. She was so upset. They are supposed to be rehabilitated in prison, instead the system does the opposite. My girl tries so hard to improve herself on the inside, and has such a good attitude, it makes me so sad to hear about things like this.

14 years down, and hopefully only 2 more to go.
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Old 02-21-2007, 09:15 PM
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i am a true convict, lock down is fucked up, guards are bitches and the rules are what they make them to be
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Old 02-26-2007, 11:21 AM
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Default Shakedown

This sounds like what I went thru in basic training for the Air Force. Thanks for posting what happens during a shake down in prison. My boyfriend writes & tells me he might be going thru a semi annual shake down soon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by crzyrussell
Sounds exactly what we had to go through when I wne through basic training for the Army!
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Old 03-10-2007, 04:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chelle690
My baby is at Tulia Unit. Before that he was in Dallas County. While he was there he prayed to catch the chain to TDC. Dallas County is horrible! Even though we're having problems with him getting his mail and having his comm. account on hold he's better off where he's at now.
He hasn't said anything about being on lockdown. I had never heard about that until I read this. He did get in trouble but that was well over a month ago. He just isn't getting mail regularly and can't buy anything when I still put money down every two weeks.
Anybody have any ideas why his account is still frozen and how I can fix this?
His account may be on hold for cases. If he gets cases, his money gets frozen and can only buy nesc. (T-paste, certain amount of stamps and writing supplies. no food.) Don't worry though, stamps and toothpaste have a way of being traded for food when needed. :-)
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Old 03-13-2007, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin45
This sounds like what I went thru in basic training for the Air Force. Thanks for posting what happens during a shake down in prison. My boyfriend writes & tells me he might be going thru a semi annual shake down soon.


this is not even close to basic training in the services. i went to boot camp in the army and i have been through 2 tdcj shakedowns. never in boot camp do i ever remember being stripped butt- naked on a common walkway or public area and cavity searched in front of the opposite sex. do you? i didn't think so...............
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Old 03-22-2007, 01:47 AM
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I have a boyfriend in the Huntsville Unit. He wrote me and told me some of the things that go on during shakedown. I will be so happy when he is finally released. I am so sorry that he has to endure the treatment in that place.
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Old 03-22-2007, 06:22 AM
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Quote:
this is not even close to basic training in the services. i went to boot camp in the army and i have been through 2 tdcj shakedowns. never in boot camp do i ever remember being stripped butt- naked on a common walkway or public area and cavity searched in front of the opposite sex. do you? i didn't think so...............
Not sure when you were in prison, but body cavity searches are not performed in common areas...they are performed in the Medical department. That is only after a lot of red tape had been gone through. Females present...probably...nurses. I have only heard of one ever being done on our unit in my seven years.
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:10 AM
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Exclamation lockdown

My son is in John R Lindsey State Jail, he said they were in lockdown all last week. He told me they had to stay on their beds, had sandwiches all 3 meals. He also said they were told if they did not do exactly as told they would be gassed. The jailers told them that if they gassed them they just shot the gas in their dorm and walked away for about 45 min. Then they would come back and check them. If they died during this they just died. One of the inmates said you could be sued for this, to which the jailer replied we have been sued before. I can't imagine have to live like this. It sounds like the holocaust but in America. How did our government and the judical system get so much control? When will they come up with some new laws to put more of us in prison?
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Old 06-26-2007, 02:50 PM
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OK, the truth behind the Shakedown...When a unit goes on lockdown, all inmates are told to rack up, meaning on their assigned bunk..The water to the dorm is turned off, prior to them knowing off the lockdown...I have never seen or heard of a cavity search being done on a lockdown, besides medical had to do those..On my unit we take the inmates, and all their belongings out onto a rec yard, they come to the table 1 at a time and there stuff is gone through, anything that is contraband is taken..The offender is then strip searched, givin his clothing back and sent to the other side of the yard to wait to be let back inside the dorm. A female officer can strip search a male if a male is present, also if there is no male officer available and depending on the reasaons...Most lockdowns last less than a week, the offenders are few 'Johnnies", which have pb$j, burrito, bologna sandwiches, sometimes crackers in them...they get a shower every 24hrs.....thats about it, any questions feel free to ask me, i have worked for TDCJ since 2001 and have been about 20 of these things..
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