The journal of James Goggans

14 March 2009

8:03 PM: Another week’s worth of correspondence, Bible lessons, etc. done; ready to drop in mailbox tomorrow.

Cold and rainy here. Good time to crawl under the covers and read. Late-night rack, so will have to listen to the kids and their racket until after 1:00 AM. Ugh!

15 March 2009

8:49 PM: Cold, rainy day. I have accomplished nothing. Read a little, napped a lot off and on. Biggest concern is that I’ll be awake all night. And I really don’t have enough of anything useful to do keep me occupied.

9:56 PM: Sitting here trying to read a fruitless effort. For whatever inexplicable reason I’m fighting back tears, thinking about (WHY?!?) Priscilla, of all people (Priscilla is my first wife). Coulda, shoulda, woulda. If I knew then what I know now. How come I don’t ever remember the bad stuff? Whatever. The good times were good, and I can’t help but wonder what if we hadn’t just gotten over that last hill? I’m sure she never even thinks of me at all anymore. Wherever she is, I hope she’s well. I love her and wish her the best.

If nothing else, it re-emphasizes how very much I want (NEED) some good female companionship. I have so much to offer. I yearn so much to share it with someone. Otherwise, what value is my life? I’m so tired of living as I have been, maybe anymore, however. I’ve shot my wad. Haven’t I? Is there anything left to do? If not, I damn sure don’t want to continue as purposeless, as lonely, as abandoned, as thrown-away as has been the case.

16 March 2009

11:07 AM: These people … getting ready for ACA inspection. The roof leaks like a sieve all over. But they have shut showers down, commissary delivery, etc. for very important maintenance: painting what was only painted a few months ago.

And the harassment and threats about “houses must be in compliance.” Every gray suit has a different definition of “in compliance”. They turn all the lights on and go through and go through taking things. The yelling is even more and louder than usual.

The thing that makes me maddest: preference and playing favorites. ALWAYS the same ones. Willie Jones and CO Burch this morning"AGAIN. She “confiscated” a whole bag of his stuff that was not in compliance. She was supposed to write him a case also. When he came back from a Lay-In, she gave it back. No case, of course.

They trade sexual innuendoes all the time and chat like they’re junior high school sweet hearts. And everyone lets them get away with it. It makes me sick. Willie Jones gets away with it all. It’s rumored that the reason he receives all the preferential treatment is because he’s the drug supplier to all these officers. The more I see, the more I believe it.

3:14 PM: Just came back from giving up on getting a haircut. Today is this section’s only day this week for a haircut. There were 5 in front of me, and they have everyone standing in line (and no one’s hair being cut), and it’s almost count time. And then supper. These people ...a man lasting bitch on the desk and or white male imbeeile sergeant right beside her. May they burn in hell as they deserve.

3:46 PM: It has been about 40 minutes or so since I went out to get in line for a haircut. They have taken one (ONE) person out of that line for a haircut. And now it’s count time, and will be for " an hour or so.

3:53 PM: You can tell the auditors are expected. Among other things: three decent meals, fried eggs, smoked chicken, Salisbury steak.

I have resolved that I’m going to henceforth use my best efforts to laugh (at least on the inside) at these people and their ridiculous antics, instead of griping and crying about them. I can’t do anything about them either way, so I might as well not further upset myself about them.

Being honest: As bad as it is in here, a lot of these folks are better off. Maybe not now with the weather getting warmer, but I’ll bet there are a bunch of homeless folks who would like to trade places for a (relatively) dry place to sleep and three meals (or at least something) a day. They can have my place!

4:06 PM: It is a beautiful day here. Sunny, 74 degrees. Very low humidity. Oh, to be out and playing in it. How come I don’t take advantage of it out there when I’m free to do so? Rhetorical question: I know exactly why. And so does everyone else.

Finished my lesson for CLF, so I’m caught up on my current projects. If I don’t get some mail this week and if the book I’m currently reading doesn’t pique my interest more than it has so far, it’s going to be a long week.

4:18 PM: Two of the three guys in line before me for a haircut JUST came in. I’m glad I didn’t wait: It would have been one and a half hours of waiting"standing up"and I didn’t have that kind of patience when such an ordeal is not necessary.

6:05 PM: FINALLY. After going out again, and waiting 30 minutes to hit the chair, I finally have a haircut.

8:43 PM: My next-door neighbor, the Medicine Man, was taken to the hospital about 5:30. He was vomiting blood"the second time in three days. He blamed at least part of it on stress caused by the goings-on the last few days (bright lights, yelling, threats, loud noise, general harassment). These people tend to forget that this is a medical unit and there are some fragile folks here. Hell, the noise and constant yelling and threatening have almost caused me to lose it. And I’m serious as a heart attack (no pun intended). Got another new Bible lesson tonight. Guess I’ll work on that tomorrow.

17 March 2009

9:11 AM: Just back from a worthless safety meeting at work. At least we got back before count. We have to go back tomorrow for cleaning. Oh, boy.

These people’s assholes just got a whole lot tighter: the auditors are here. These are home-grown TDC. Next week, we’ll get some home-grown ACA. Incest upon incest upon incest. Not ONE of these auditors will seek inmate input. Or be given an opportunity to do so should they so desire.

8:54 PM: I am bored to tears. I cannot get into “The Campaign”. I have finished two Bible lessons and written Mom. Still bored. Even took some time and watched parts of the news and “Dancing with the Stars”. Still bored. What a colossal waste, for which the tax payers are obliged to spend over $100 per day. Is there no sanity left?

18 March 2009

3:54 PM: Gorgeous day outside. Mid-70’s. Nothing but sunshine. Low, low humidity. A breeze.

Went to work this AM (he called us out at 7:41 AM). A pot of coffee waiting. Johnnies of cereal, etc. brought in. A little work, a little conversation; a relaxed uncrowded, unhurried shower. A good lunch. Read a little and took a nap. Commissary Day, but I have no money, so for the I-don’t-know-how many weeks in a row. I wasn’t able to go. My closet acquaintance did bring me an ice cream, though.

And informed me of my Bad Boy rep. I asked him why. “Because you tell it like it is, and people don’t want to hear it,” “Because you don’t communicate with people.” Etc. etc. I told him it was a matter of integrity and trust: I say what I believe and do what I know is right. And if I don’t trust someone, I don’t/won’t have much to do with them.

When I got to work, there were several newspapers and magazines to be checked in. The first one I touched was Sunday’s “The Houston Chronicle”. The top story on the first page: “Texas Prisons an Illicit Bazaar”. It’s a story about EO’s etc. smuggling to inmates and never being disciplined when caught; the by-line is “System’s employees seldom lose their jobs if they’re caught smuggling goods to inmates.” At least it exposes what’s really going on. TDC blames the inmates and their families and friends. The lying, despicable sons of bitches. And of course, the article blames low pay for the guards doing the dirty deeds. I would submit that it’s more to relieve the massive, unending oppression they see the inmates endure"and, greed. Why pass up easy money when there are no consequences for accepting it? It reminds me of what my Dad once told me: “Son, always pay your help enough so that they don’t steal too much from you.”

I don’t know if I’m going to make these last few months. I’m back to praying, please let me die, right now, immediately. Please take me right now. Sad, but true. It seems so hopeless too often in here. They’d have to give me the lethal injection if I had the sentences of some of these guys. I’m just not man enough to endure it, I’m afraid. Even with minimal (VERY minimal) support from my family, and with no certain prospect of where I will go and what I will do, I’d still rather take my chances “out there”. I pity the guys in here who profess that they would rather be in here, especially in this economy. Maybe that’s how they cope with doing their lengthy time?

Now calling “chow” (I hate that word!). We’re dead last today. Nonetheless, we should eat by 5:30. I will be in for the evening then.

19 March 2009

8:45 PM: For some reason I thought of Dad today. I remember him saying all my life, when talking about a good man, “He’s a prince of a Fellow.” Well, sir, to you! The princeliest of all fellows. May you rest in peace. I miss you, but I’m glad you suffer no more. I hope you know my love, respect, and admiration for you. I wish we could have been closer and known each other better. Maybe things would have turned out better for both of us. Salute, Old Man.

A worthless day. I am so depressed for some reason. And bored to death. Got a new Bible lesson today and tried to do it. It made no sense. Oh, how I wish I would die and end all this bullshit suffering. If there were a God and if he/she/it answered prayer …

It may seem such thoughts are recent and that they come and go. I know that’s not true’ I’ve had those thoughts all my life and have been accused of acting upon them. I’m so tired of all this bullshit. (And I’m not just talking about being in here).

22 March 2009

10:09 AM: I came to a depressing conclusion last night, one that I’ve come to a million times in different forms, but the starkness of this one really grabbed my attention.

No one has a vested interest in my remaining alive. I have no dependents. My family"even though they may love me (which is highly unlikely)"have nothing to gain by my being alive except monetary cost, embarrassment, humiliation, etc., etc. I no longer employ anyone who looks to me for their survival. Even the state can (and will) replace me with another body upon my demise.

All my friends have abandoned me. I have no church family, etc. I have no significant other. There is absolutely no one who cares or has any reason to care whether I live or die. And that opens up several possibilities, realities, and opportunities"which I don’t feel like writing about right now. It’s pathetic and extremely disheartening when you realize that no one cares or has the obligation (via relationship, if not familial then economic, social, religious, etc.) to care. It is truly me vs. the world. How do I want to deal with it? Take on the battle once more (I’ve been engaged in it all my life) or finally acknowledge the futility of my struggle and abandon the fight?

23 March 2009

12:15 AM: It truly is amazing: I was loaned some 2007 “Prison Legal News” newspapers today. As happens every time I read PLN or anything else with case summaries, legal citizens, etc., I become SO excited and invigorated! I furiously jot down all kinds of business ideas having to do with delivery of legal services to the unfortunate and my adrenaline runs wild and I can barely contain my excitement and my dreams, and … and … then I realize how far away I am from even being able to consider participation in such endeavors. Until I can reinstate my law license (for about $5,000), all I can do is dream. And where am I going to come up with $5,000 any time soon? I know it’s going to take everything I can scrounge just to survive (I hope I can do even that when I get out, with this economy and there’s the small matter of the $15,000 owed to Randy that HAS to have priority. So, alas, it seems my ideas, dreams, desires to help others"are all a waste of time and effort. It is counterproductive to expend time and energy on things that have no chance of coming to fruition and which induce only disappointment and sadness when reality is confronted.

Kinda like the letter I wrote to Meadville Lombard Theological School today. I had received a very nice letter inquiring as to where I am in the “discernment process”. It broke my heart to admit that as much as I would love to move to Chicago and earn a degree, I must acknowledge reality and admit that it is an unrealizable dream, considering my situation and the various obstacles.

It pains me greatly because never in my life have I considered anything I wanted to do impossible, or too difficult, or not worth the effort, or any other “can’t do”; I just decided to do it and did it. With flying colors, I might add. Am I becoming too old, wiser, more of a coward? Have I let life’s circumstances brow-beat me? Is the fact I have no one (family, SD, friends, etc.) to share successes with a factor? It’s sad. Very sad. Another inescapable conclusion that my life really isn’t worth living. I refuse to just exist, which appears to be my fate.

If only I could find someone to hire me with a salary structured to pay these costs upfront and be debited against my subsequent pay. It really doesn’t take much for me to live and be happy, as I’ve demonstrated the last 15 years. I really am worth much more than I need and am willing to accept if only I could get that opportunity!

Talked to a guy in the dorm today, one of the only ones I actually like. He is in here for DWI, his 4th. He said he got it while he was on 10 years probation for his 3rd. He received a 6-year prison sentence. He’s going home in September, having made his 1st parole after serving two years.

I’m happy for everyone to go home, especially the good guys. But where’s the justice? His situation is so similar to mine. I will do my 3 year sentence day for day. On the flip side, though, I won’t have to do 4 years of parole. But JUST 6 for violating a 10 year probation with a new offense? It does no good to compare my situation with that of others.

3:41 AM: Sheet day and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I’m up, so I guess I’ll go to breakfast. I may be going to breakfast more: my locker is empty and I’m broke, with no prospect of getting any more money from everywhere. Breakfast time is usually when I DON’T need to eat, but I figure enough calories, whenever consumed, will keep me from starving. I’ll just have to deal with the off blood sugar and hunger pangs in the evenings.

Should be teachers’ in-service today, so I should have one more day off from work. We’ll see.

8:50 PM: Called into work at 2:30. I’ll leave it at that (I had words from the officer [kind words] about the propriety of my being there. He came in a bit later and told me - very nicely - I could leave when I wanted).

My wannabe poet came to me tonight with questions about a business arrangement he wants to enter into with a “Christian Couple” who want to help him with getting his poetry published. The officers soon ran him off (“Get out of my hallway”"one of the silliest rules here), but it got my legal juices flowing. Before long, I had written out two pages of thoughts of what such a contract should address, even drafting some of the language. Boy, I miss that part of the law, especially. It was always my favorite part, the drafting. It’s amazing how excited such activities make me!

9:58 PM: I will bet they call me to work in the morning. If they do, I’m going to say something about it. They have me on second shit. I’ve been asking for first shift for months. I’m not getting the benefit of my good time. I’m not going to work two shifts or change my schedule at their whim when they won’t work with me a little on what I want.

On TV is the news, talking about Memorial Hermann charging almost $8,000 for two rabies shots, and why that is a necessity and reasonable charge. My last hospitalization was at Memorial Hermann"admittedly a very good UT-affiliated teaching hospital. My bill was $247,000.00. Not itemized, just a one page statement: “You owe…”. Having no insurance and me having no money, the bill is still there. Such a ridiculously high, unsubstantiated amount. I’ve never even discussed it with them. They are a teaching and charity hospital. That doesn’t excuse paying what’s owed, but come on. I was taken there by ambulance (an emergency) and was in a coma for 10 days, not expecting to live. DKA, blood sugar 977. First time anyone suggested I had diabetes. Conclusion was I’ve had it 25 plus years and it went undiagnosed (based on damage they found). Maybe that explains a lot over the years.

I’ve accepted the project of drafting the contract for the wannabe. As usual, he’s hot to trot and excited. It will be a good exercise for me, and should be pleasurable. I wish I could get “going attorney rate” for doing it!! It seems that the only relationships I have are relationships where someone needs or wants something, often for nothing. Oh well. Sad. Pathetic.

11:28 PM: I am reading a book entitled “History of Criminal Justice” by Herbert A. Johnson. I am reading a section about the rise of police professionalism, and it speaks about Boston, and the Boston Police Strike of 1919, etc. I can so clearly see so much of Boston, even though it’s been years since I was last there. I wonder what the attraction is, for from the moment I ever arrived there, something told me I’d like to live and work there. That attraction has never left. How I’d love to be able to move there and live out the remainder of my life! I doubt I’ll get that opportunity, unfortunately.

24 March 2009

3:53 AM: I haven’t been to sleep yet; so very much on my mind. Power going out about 1:30 AM didn’t help, either.

I finished reading “History of Criminal Justice” by Herbert A. Johnson (Anderson Publishing Co. 1988). In his epilogue, he makes some observations that are even more true than they were 21 years ago. I have got to quote them:

Definitions of crime change constantly, usually to include offenses previously tolerated as being beneath notice by the criminal law. Traditional prohibitions against violent crime (murder, rape, robbery, assault and battery) and those against property-related crime (larceny, arson, burglary) tend to persist through time periods and across cultural lines. However, sanctions against what have become known as “victimless crimes” vary over time and between cultures. Prosecutions for prostitution, adultery, fornication, bigamy, sodomy and excessive use of alcohol or habit-forming drugs all fall within this category. It is possible to include municipal ordinances against overtime automobile parking, driving at excessive speeds, littering the streets and failure to restrain a dog with a leash. Over the course of history, the concept of crime has been greatly expanded to include this wide and bewildering variety of lesser offenses. In part, this reflects a heavy reliance upon legal processes to regulate individual conduct. With the rise of class distinctions and class consciousness, penal sanctions have been used to enforce the standards of law and order generally accepted by the politically dominant class. The result has been that the concept of crime has been stretched out of shape, and it no longer is restricted to the bare minimum of prohibitions necessary for a peaceful society. This proliferation of offenses vastly diffuses the law enforcement process, reducing its effectiveness in dealing with major felonies and obscuring the moral distinction that society must maintain between minor misdoings and those major offenses that violate the universal law of civilized mankind. (Emphasis supplied page 292).

…The public, fearful of a rising crime rate, demands longer and harsher sentences but refuses to supply the expanded prison facilities required to meet those demands. There is a serious need for professional penologists to reassess realistically their goals and to provide the general public with accurate cost estimates for a program of long prison sentences. The activism of the federal courts in exami9ning the physical conditions of state prisons and the growing judicial interest in humane systems of prison discipline promise to have a major impact upon prison administration in the years ahead. pp. 293-294.

…Sharing a convicts humanity, we hold within ourselves not only an explanation for the existence of crime but also a capacity to exercise compassion toward it’s perpetrator. p. 295.

I read in “Prison Legal News” just a couple days ago that, according to some study (Pew?), prisons cost 16 dollars to operate for every 1 dollar it costs to construct them. I promise you John and Jane Public don’t know that when they vote for the multimillion dollar bond issues necessary to continuously cater up to the number of bodies society is warehousing.

I did some crude but close estimates about this unit’s cost to operate, based on readily available info. The figure came to $19 million a year. That’s only for 800 inmates here in the building, and does NOT include costs of the hospital. I was told a year ago by someone who should know that the average cost per inmate here is $50,000 per year. In TDCJ’s sunset commission report in 2007-2007, TDCJ put the average system-wide cost at a little over $40 per day, per inmate. Any way you slice it, it’s a lot of money. And these costs are for a system that’s 3,000 officers short. Imagine how much more the cost would be if the system were adequately staffed.

Until someone can get to the taxpayer the massive actual costs of warehousing so many people, things will only get worse. Already, the taxpayers are voting down bond issues to build more prisons. In most states, they just resort to other creative, not-seen-by-the-public financing schemes (complicated industrial bond financings, sale lease books, etc.) that achieve their mass incarceration goal while hiding the true cost. And all along the way, everyone’s making money. $1,000 “consultant” fees paid to officials and ex-officials, and worse. Lehman Brothers was involved in a lot of the financing schemes. And look where that got them.

The California Prison System is about to erupt. The money problems alone seem insurmountable. Everyone has only to watch California to see what will occur in a few years in Texas, Florida, New York, Georgia, Missouri, etc. etc. There is a revolution coming if for no other reason that the costs are getting too much to bear. The length of our current economic malaise will be a huge determining factor in how soon and how bad it will all be.

That’s going to have to do it for this installment. I will get this off in the mail to B, and start the next installment when there is something to write about. Au revoir for now.

25 March 2009

Oh, I wish I could sleep. It’s been at least 36 hours with no sleep. I don’t know how I’m holding up: I should be able to just collapse.

A lot on my mind. I’m in a running battle with the Law Library over Indigent Supplies (10 sheet of paper and 5 envelopes). I am out of paper, money, stamps, and money to purchase some, so I must resort to Indigent Supplies. They will supply the 10, 5 and the stamps per week (they will charge my account if/when I get money, so it’s not like I’m getting anything free). I got supplies 3/16: I have since requested replenishment. They keep sending me back a blank order form saying “supplies once a week.” Fine, I understand that. What’s once a week? It certainly has been more than a week since 3/16, but we keep sending forms back and forth (this has been going on since Friday). Rather than explain, they want to be smart ass and toss the paper back and forth. Over 25 cents worth of paper and envelopes! I tried to get out this evening to talk to them in person about it, but was not allowed to do so.

I have let 25 cents upset me. But I have started analyzing it and its more than that: I’m broke, and I’m at the mercy of someone else (being able to write and mail - mail in general - is the most important thing to me). But being broke is the big deal.

I grew up poor. I started earning my own money when I was 6, established my first savings account when I was 6. I have always had businesses and jobs ever since. I have never been broke in my life - until relatively recently. I haven’t always had a lot, but I’ve never been broke and been subject to someone else’s control when it comes to something dear to me - like being able to write and mail a letter. If I don’t somehow get some money soon, this could become a serious problem for me. Or a learning experience I hope I don’t have to find out. I don’t ask for much; just let me have enough money to have control over my own mail. And a little bit in my pocket.

Work has been interesting the past couple of days. Or rather how I’ve been back-handedly complimented and have gotten my way totally in a couple of areas. Maybe I’ll expound later. Right now, it’s 12:20 AM. I have to be at work at 8 for the next few days, so some rest would be nice. God damn, how I wish I could turn the mind off and sleep. I’m constantly setting up and jotting notes to myself about different things.

And I’m still lonely. If it weren’t for “commercial mail”, I’d get no mail. No love letters. No “how are ya”’s. No “thinkin about you”’s. No nothing. I’ve never been so lonely in my life, and its killing me, along with everything else.

I came to an interesting conclusion yesterday. I have been reading some past issues of “Prison Legal News”. Some things just strike me as odd or interesting or incredible. There was an article talking about mortality rates of incarcerated males vis-à-vis their free-world counterparts. The exact numbers escape me, but the gist of the study was that, while incarceration of whites and Hispanics greatly increases the risk of death and thus mortality rates, the mortality rates of incarcerated black males was " (yes, one-half) of their counterparts on the outside.

That got me to thinking: I’m constantly amazed at how some people seem to enjoy it in here. Or at least accept it much better than I. Then I contemplated my only other experience with incarceration in the ‘90’s: I don’t recall being then anything as anxious, bitter, angry, and resentful as I am now. My closest associate here (indeed, about the only one I have anything to do with) is a 72-year old man, Gerry. Gerry has been in the system and in and out of prison since the ‘60’s. He is an intelligent, highly spiritual, usually pleasant man, but we commiserate a lot about the deplorable conditions, what’s wrong, etc. I try to be objective and, standing back, I can see that being in here isn’t as bad as being on the streets for a bunch of these guys, and I understand the differences in the mortality rates, etc.

But getting back: I asked myself, why is my time now so much more difficult than it was in the ‘90’s? Why do the other guys seem to take it easier than I do? Then I looked at Gerry’s situation. I only know about his case what he has chosen to tell me and the papers I’ve seen. He claims he is unjustly and illegally imprisoned right now on procedural grounds. He’s been in this time for 15 years and all his appeals have been ignored. He truly thinks he does not deserve to be here. He’s miserable.

I’m here on an offense which occurred over 11 years ago. It never was prosecuted and I was promised it wouldn’t be (all kinds of repercussions and forbearances sprang out of that prosecutorial promise, but that’s another story). Bottom-line is politics changed, and I became the victim. The case was prosecuted out of the blue all these years later and I was helpless to stop the barreling train. Ergo, in my mind at least, I don’t deserve to be here. Consequently, everything about being here is wrong, and I am miserable.

So, the level of comfortability seems to be directly proportional to one’s sense of whether he deserves to be here. Some of these guys will flat out tell you they’re lucky to be here, otherwise they would be dead. Some will tell you that they “got off light”, that they didn’t receive punishment for all they did. The honesty of the guys in here saying, “Yeah, I did wrong, and I got what I deserved” is incredible to me. But bottom line, most of these guys admit they did wrong and they got some semblance of their just dessert. The things that bother Gerry and me don’t bother these guys. The conditions, the mistreatment, the corruption - all the bad stuff "doesn’t concern these fellows because it’s all part of the game; it’s all part of the situation. These guys feel that they got themselves into, and it’s all acceptable to them. They go with the flow, and are actually generally happy with it all.

This all results in many fellows doing “easy” time and thus pacifies them and blinds them to the creeping insidiousness and corruption of the system. And that - that - is dangerous and explains (partly) why these folks get away with what they do and no one seems to care. If the captives are not complaining, why should the captors and the spectators (John and Jane Public) care about what’s going on? If Gerry and I felt we “got what we deserved”, we probably wouldn’t so readily notice all the wrongs, all the injustices.

Therefore, the question arises: should I convince myself that this is all part of God’s grand plan (or some similar rubbish) and be happy about the way things are, with the result being my time will be much easier? Even if I should be able to digest such garbage, I don’t think my self-discipline and sense of dignity and self-preservation would allow me to accept things as they are or “just get along more easily.” Sometimes, wrong is just wrong, no matter how hard you try to justify it or make it otherwise.

Somehow this discourse conjures my struggles with alcoholism, AA, 12 step, serenity prayer, etc. etc. The Serenity Prayer is nice, quaint, and seemingly simple: Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. I must be a fool because there has never in my life been anything I didn’t think I could change for the better. The only problem I ever had with the Serenity Prayer.

Enough pseudo-intellectualism for now.

A big no-no I caught myself trying to amend/revise the first entry (12:04 AM). So let me explain.

Continuing saga of Indigent Supplies “once a week.” I received tonight a computer printout from the Law Library with the written notation: “What happened to the supplies issued this week on 3/23/09?” That, of course, is the issue. There have been no supplies issued this week. The printout purports to show that I received 10 sheets of paper and 4 envelopes on 3/23, and creates a charge against my account for 14 cents (that’s right, fourteen cents!). Not the quarter I previously assumed. All of this over 14 cents. Jeez.

Part of what I alluded to earlier: its inventory time in the library (where I work). We are going to a new bar code label/scanner system, so all of the books have to have the bar code labels affixed. My co-worker is half-blind and the librarian doesn’t trust him to properly apply the labels. So, it has been my task. I’ve completed about half of the 7,000 books all by myself.

Consequently, the librarian values my contribution, has bragged on me, etc. So, I’ve somewhat set my own schedule the past couple of weeks and have received other concessions to keep me happy. Especially after she phoned the unit (she is here physically only a couple of days a week, at most) and instructed the CO to call me in at 8:00 AM to “bar code ‘til he can’t barcode anymore.” So, I have temporarily changed my shift from noon to 8 PM to 8 AM to 4:30 PM.

My co-worker and I went in at the same time this morning, and left at the same time to take a shower. He went on about his way, I returned to work about 2:15 PM. The Librarian was still there, having already informed me that she was leaving at 2:30. She was talking to one of her friends, therefore excluding me from my work. She held up one finger, indicating it would only be a minute.

After 5 minutes, I went to the CO and told him to let me out: That if her personal conversation was more important that barcodes, then I had better things to do. He said, “You shouldn’t leave without talking to her,” and he went and interrupted the conversation. He came back and said she said, “Please tell Goggans I really, really, really need him and I’ll be done in 5 minutes.” The conversation broke up, and she profusely apologized, thanked me for my dedication, and contributions, etc. I worked an additional 2 hours and went to supper. I had already worked more than the librarian and my co-worker.

Why in the hell am I rambling on about this insignificant crap? What thoughts sparked the idea that this was significant? I’m sure now I’m losing my mind.

I hope I sleep tonight.

26 March 2009

11:42 AM: Lunch break. Finally slept!! About four hours of restful, deep sleep.

6:32 PM: Small victories, monumental achievements … Mail just came a few minutes ago; I got the Indigent supplies I’ve fought for all week. No comments, no discussion: just the supplies and a new order form. I was ready to go at least one more round before deciding to grieve it, etc.

My next barrage would have hinged upon something like: “14 cents to you and the Great State of Texas with it’s massive resources, a life-line to me. But even more, the right thing to do and in accordance with the rules, your rules.”

Read this morning about Georgia Prison System. It was the case where inmates were receiving only two meals on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays. Now, because of budget problems, they have added Fridays to the list of only two meals. What’s next: clothes only three days a week to save the money on utilities, soap, and bleach? Showers once a week? Flush toilets only once a day? Week? Month? Talk about slippery slopes… A lot of the guys I told said, “Isn’t that unconstitutional?” They answer is, of course, what if it is? Who’s going to challenge them? And spend the time and effort and dollars to do so? And what do you think is going to happen the 5 years or so that it takes to wind down through the courts? Hell’ it’ll take about that long to “exhaust” under the PLRA just to start in the Courts. Meanwhile, Georgia Prison System does as it damn well pleases, daring anyone to challenge them. I forsee a day not too far away eerily reminiscent of Ponotille Day. When you deny even basic access to the courts (PLRA), you give those who abuse authority every opportunity, incentive and reward to abuse even further, knowing that any rebuke will come so much later (if at all) and any punishment will be laughable. Quite a system. And Georgia is but an example for how it is country-wide. It could just as well be California, Texas, Florida, New York -- Georgia just beat ‘em to it.

10:35: Lying here reading “Rebel Stew”. I’ve been reading anarchist materials all night to “broaden my horizon.” Of course, it speaks of the ruling class, the gentry, the property owners, those in authority - all of whom are equipped with oppression. And while I’m not an anarchist (I don’t think), I do agree with many (if not most) of their views. But then it occurred to me: Most of my life, I have been somehow included in the typecasts of the “opressors”, “enemy”, etc. I am white, male, have usually been in a position of authority (leadership, in my view), trying to improve things for those less fortunate (trying to control things in some views, and so on. Yet, I don’t feel I have ever taken advantage of, oppressed, manipulated for my benefit, put down, “stolen” from - the less fortunate. Or, am I being hypocritical and conveniently seeing things differently because of my current situation? I think not, but it bears questioning and analysis. Am I just falling into the same stereotyping as the others? I’m too tired and sleepy to think more about it night hour. Maybe another time (all that was poorly expressed, but at least the gist of my alarm at thinking “they” I Can see as not good may actually include is out there).

27 March 2009

4:46 AM: “…[F]or the problem is not that we are all different, rather the problem is that different is always thought of in terms of better or worse, superior or inferior.” "Taryn MoCall Ruck, “Rebel Stew” Issue 4 Fall 2007 (p. 28).

Huh. Although she’s writing about “Feminists in the Military”, those words describe all of society, how profound!

28 March 2009

12:19 PM My friend Gerry got his answer back from Parole yesterday, he was ecstatic.

He was denied parole, but he will come up for review again in just one year, instead of every five years as previously. He will be 73 years old when he comes up 3/10, with no real hope of making parole (he’s down on a parole violation on a sex offense from the ‘60’s). They’d have to kill me.

Interesting letter yesterday. I received a letter from a publisher/distributor of zines asking if I, as a licensed, Texas lawyer, could help a deserving inmate in Indiana. I had written this fellow to thank him for his zines and had briefly explained my situation. I will write him back and explain to him that most states (I’m not sure about Indiana but probably) have reciprocity statutes: If you are licensed in one state, you are granted the privilege of practicing in their state upon application and payment of a fee.

4:25 PM: Waiting to eat. Just finished three different Bible lessons. If anyone pays any attention to me, they will be most confused. They’ll see my two versions of the Bible, alongside my books on Atheism, and they will see me doing Bible lessons and writing letters to America Atheists and they are too frightened to ask about it. This is really not a discourse I want to get into right now, here or anywhere else. My attitude toward religious people would probably initially be viewed as condescending, and that just isn’t the case. It’s just that the overall characteristics of religious people seem to fit a certain basic stereotype -- to me at least.

I’ve GOT to find some pleasure reading. All I have to read right now is religion and philosophy.

5:58 PM: In for the evening.

I’ve been thinking about Dad and his death quite a bit the past few days. Why? I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t think about him this much when he was alive. Why is that? We never were very close. I stole his childhood from him; I was born when he was just 18, Mom 17.

Sickening to me that an inmate came in just yesterday, one returning on a parole violation, and has been greeted by so many with hugs and “good to see ya”s, and generally seeming happiness and pleasure that they were all united once again. He had been out about three years: he had gotten into a fight in another state. He is back not because of the assault, but because he was in another state without permission. I would be angry that a friend of mine came back; it’s so difficult to get out, it is sheer stupidity to do something so dumb to come back.

29 March 2009

8:54 AM: Good, hot shower. Heaters on in the shower area (it was in the 30’s this AM). What’s going on?

See “I’m Innocent!”, Our Daily Bread (March 27, 2009, RBC Ministries). Why are we as a society so quick to punish - even innocent children? Does it make us better? More superior? More altruistic (“It’s for their own good.”).

Which reminds me of a point of view I’ve held for years, that I was reminded of by reading “Rebel Stew”. When we - doing our good deeds - accomplish something like a commutation for our faring the death penalty how really altruistic are we? How many death row prisoners would prefer execution to more years on the hell that is death row (remember, he has already been caged and treated like a dangerous, worthless animal a dozen or so years by the time his ease has snaked through the halls of injustice. He is ready to just get it over with)? Yet we - thinking anybody sane wants to “live” as long as possible - expend immeasurable resources to do justice - life in prison instead of execution. Some “justice”, if you’ve ever experienced incarceration. Three years of it, and I would prefer death to incarceration. And I’m supposedly sane, somewhat intelligent, and I have it SO easy compared to most of those locked up.

Like the homeless people I’ve met who actually want to be homeless: it’s a freedom like no other. And I can understand it! I truly can, having been homeless myself. Once you conquer the fear and the anxiety about starving to death, the rest is truly an adventure with no bounds.

All this conjures the real essence of altruism: which is the greater motivation - helping someone else (who really doesn’t want our “help”) or making ourselves feel good, feel more worthwhile - a sort of repentance? - doing a deed for “their own good”, for the betterment of society, beneficient baloney and rauseum . What is our true motivation and what is the ultimate true net benefit to society? Whatever happened to will, to free choice, to letting people decide if they want our brand of “help” (or indeed any “help” at all)?

12:59: Just finished a 10 page first draft Agency Agreement for my wannabe poet. We’ll see how good his word is. If it’s not worth much, I will not have lost anything: I enjoy the exercise. Legal draftsmanship has always been my favorite endeavor, even if 90% of written agreements are for nothing I honestly believe just the process of the parties negotiating and agreeing is what counts. How many times have I seen hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of written agreements executed and thrown into a drawer, never to be looked at again unless a dispute goes to court! Oh, but if it goes to court, you will find out how good of a draftsmen you are. I’m proud to say - to the best of my knowledge - none of my efforts have been struck down or interpreted other than as intended by any court.

It’s kinda crazy! I’ve had this radio for a year and a half and, until today, very occasionally have listened to it. I’ve probably listened to it more today than I have in the last six months combined. Why is that do you suppose?

I’m going to have to get less verbose: The paper, ink, and postage cost of this Journal Project is killing me. Especially now that I’m broke and must rely upon Indigent Supplies. Maybe I should just give up the project: I already know my thoughts and no one else seems to be reading them. I know even B doesn’t have time to read and respond to any of my writing. And it damn sure hasn’t succeeded in getting me a pen pal. Why continue?

Ever since I learned about “Googling” someone, I’ve been anxious to see what Google shows. I’m sure that if there’s anything at all there, it’s all bad. It’s a damn shame I don’t have anyone who can and will Google me and send me the results. It sure would help in preparing for job interviews, resumes, etc. Just one more area where I’ll be behind the eight ball, I guess.

Oh, how I miss the Internet! And I was such an infant at learning how to use it. I thought Xanadu was the neatest mystery ever in the history of the world. I’m sure Xanadu is old history by now.

An expression in here that just escapes me: “My baby’s mama.” Not my wife, my live-in, my girl, my woman, my girlfriend, my ex"my baby’s mama. At least it’s not “that ho” or “that bitch” or “that piece of pussy.” But still … I cannot for the life of me fathom the lack of respect for women who probably gave their everything for these bastards. Except for their “mamas”. No matter how sorry she may be, she is always “mama” and you better respect her. Why the difference; all women are entitled to the same respect. At least until they demonstrate themselves unworthy of it. And that"in my eyes at least"would take a whole lot. I honestly don’t think I could bear the burdens of a woman in this world. Not the women I know, at least.

2:29 PM: I have got to figure out a way to beg, borrow, or steal some money. I am now having to borrow everything and the vendors are guys who can’t afford it themselves.

At a critical juncture here. Done with my correspondence. Tired of reading. Done with my other favors and projects. Tired of listening to the radio. A couple of hours until supper. In a limbo of boredom. And not tired enough to nap.

6:56 PM: Just finished reading some old editions of “The El Paso Times”. There was an article about ex-cons and jobs. It said that in normal times, up to 75% of newly-released cons are unemployed a year later. It’s even worse now. Conditions of parole are being violated left and right; most parole conditions require employment within 30 days after release. A no-win situation caused by no fault of the ex-con. Unfortunately, not atypical.

8:01 PM: I need to wrap this up and get it ready to mail; I almost fell asleep a few minutes ago. I’d hate to miss the mail tomorrow (it’s Indigent and would cause problems.)

1 April 2009

What a great start to April Fool’s!

4:53 AM: Third Shift has nothing to do except count. And once a month hand out meal cards. Somehow, something necessitates their waiting until 3:15 AM on the 1st to awake everyone and hand out their cards. Couldn’t do it at 10:00 PM when everyone was up and nothing was going on. No siree, Bob! Too logical and too much like right for the ol’ J3 Unit.

And this morning was the grandest! Some imbecile, in their God-bestowed great wisdom, apparently decided very arbitrarily that three fourths of the unit should have DIET cards. What a mess. I have signed no less than four refusals in the last year, and still it’s an issue every month. This month, it is an issue for folks who have never seen a diet card, also.

Moreover, there is a horrendous whining sound coming out of one of the fans. Very loud. The officers say they can’t do anything about it. Funny! They’ve always before been able to find the off switch when it’s 105 degrees in here. Wonder why they can’t stop the air from blowing when it’s 40 degrees.

I was just asked to draft a paragraph to be added to a grievance about lack of storage space, confiscation of property, etc. I edited the remainder yesterday. The idea is to collect numerous versions of the grievance and turn it into a class action lawsuit to stop the rampant property confiscations.

7:38 AM: The madness continues.

Called out early to go to work (Austin is here today “observing”). Ten minutes later, sent back to dorm: the librarian isn’t here yet - “no supervision”. Same story yesterday when auditor was here. We work every day “without supervision”, but we can’t let the powers-that-be know that typical TDC subterfuge.

2 April 2009

9:00 PM: Another commissary day with no money. Oh, well.

Working now on the 2nd draft of the proposed Agency Agreement for my wanna-be Poet. It’s amazing how relaxing and pleasurable that kind of stuff is for me. I wonder why that is? This agreement will be worth 2 or three thousand dollars (I won’t get a dime) and yet I’m doing it for nothing for someone I hardly know. Altruistic? Yeah. Selfish? To some extent and at a certain level, certainly. It’s also a reaffirmation that I “still have it” and, sickeningly immodest, I’m damn good at doing what I was trained to do. It’s a damn shame I can’t make a living at it and help needy folks out in the process (unless and until I can make a living, I can’t give my services away).

3 April 2009

3:31 PM: So far, a pleasant day. The weather is gorgeous. Everything else has gone OK.

Took off work at 2:00 PM again today. I’m getting spoiled to this.

The principal at work said something interesting today: “Goggans, I hope you get your law license back and go back to practicing law. Then I would know one sensible person practicing law.” The comment came out of the blue and I certainly did nothing to evoke such a comment. (Sure made me feel good though).

10:55PM: Listening to the end of the Prison Radio Show ( here, it’s on the radio). Not much of a show this week as far as useful info goes.

Had a nap from about 6:30 PM to 9:15, getting up long enough to get my one piece of mail (a Bible lesson). I’m in some kind of funk that I can’t explain, today was a good day overall.

Part of the funk I’m sure is pure boredom. I’m not reading anything that’s particularly grabbing. No special projects. No correspondence to reply to I’m bored with Bible lessons. Everything the same ol’ same ol’.

This pen is about to drive me crazy, it’s skipping so badly. Cheap me, trying to get the last drop of ink out of it (just gave up. I will let it rest in peace.)

I received a mailing from CRESP concerning a performance of some writings, requesting a bio. I doubt I respond because: 1) it’s an impersonal address; nowhere in there does it say my work is definitely involved and I’m tiring of divulging personal info while dealing with names with no faces and no background stories: and 2) I usually don’t care what folks think, but in this age of Googling, etc., I can’t chance blowing any opportunity at gainful employment in this economy. If I could be assured of raising the money to reinstate my law license and get the advocacy firm up and running, I wouldn’t care about Google or anything else. But, alas, such is not the case.

4 April 2009

9:25 PM: Just finished the second draft of the Agency Agreement for my wannabe poet (Frank). Frank interrupted me talking to someone else today and pressed the issue. It did not make me happy. As a non-paying client, he has no right to demand or expect anything. Such behavior is why so many lawyers (and other professionals, I presume) are reluctant to volunteer or steeply discount their services. What gets into people? Probably desperation and clinging to a forbidden gift.

Too many professional services (such as legal and medical) have been too long overpriced for the regular guy. At least for a long time, affordable insurance covered medical services so that people didn’t care about their true cost and fully availed themselves of such services. Legal services never enjoyed such pricing protection and for that reason (among others), lawyers have always been the bandits, charging too much, etc., etc. And for that reason the normal Joe has not availed himself of appropriate legal services if, as and when he should have.

Which puts me once more atop my soap box: if I can raise the money to start it and keep it going while providing me a decent living, I will gladly provide my legal services to those who need them and cannot afford the cost. As much money as is raised for all kinds of questionable “services”, it shouldn’t be that difficult to raise the money I need. Except I’m so ignorant and timid about the whole process. Maybe someone will just kind of drop it in my lap (should I be so lucky!)

Gerry just got a “Parade” insert about what’s wrong with our prisons. I hope I get to read it. Gerry made the comment, “Maybe people are beginning to sit up and take notice of what’s wrong with the system.” We can hope, but it’ll be a long haul.

According to “Parade”, the U.S. incarcerates FIVE TIMES as much as the other countries. 1 in 31 are now incarcerated or on supervised release. And so forth.

It was announced on the Prison Radio Show last night that they are collecting all complaints to process, compress, and compose into a “Manifesto” “to be nailed upon the new Attorney General’s (Eric Holder) door. With economics being what they now are, the time is ripe to effectuate some education programs amongst all the Mr. and Ms. Q Publics who otherwise wouldn’t listen or usually couldn’t care less.

There are hearings in Austin now relating to a moratorium on the death penalty pending study. They said on the Prison Radio Show that the panel was literally brought to tears when 33 folks who were wrongly convicted and released after serving too many years for something they didn’t do testified before the panel.

Then you have that jackass Andy Kahn who testified a couple weeks ago in favor of the status quo, stating that “if 10 or a dozen innocent die in executing the guilty, that’s just collateral damage that is necessary to carrying out the people’s “wishes”. Is this guy human? One should note that he was fired as a parole officer for stealing and was “disciplined” for sexual misbehavior while working in the Houston Mayor’s Office (where he still is).

I’m itching to write something but nothing readily jumps to mind. I’m tired of complaining. I’m weary of stating and restating the wrongs of humanity. And I’m not bright enough to come up with any original thoughts worthy of sharing with anyone else. Guess I’d better shut up and find something to wear me out so that maybe I can sleep at least some.

5 April 2009

4:47 PM: About a month ago, I talked to the Unit Parole Officer and told her all my info was the same and please not lay me in to come see here (They lay you in, put you in a room until your turn, or worse, make you stand on a wall; it can be for 5 minutes or 2 " hours, with umpteen other inmates). The “interview” takes about 5 minutes and consists entirely of “Has anything changed? Anything you want to add?” Nonsense, and I told her so. She responded that her report to the Parole Board would be that I refused to participate in the review process (my Review Date is May). I told her, “No, that’s not true. I’m participating in the process now, in a different manner. I’m claustrophobic and the process literally makes me ill,” (which is true). Anyway, she agreed"finally. I also told her I didn’t want to be called in to receive the decision of the Parole Board (same process to hand you the letter telling your fate). We’ll see if she complies with her agreement.

Lori (my sister) wrote me this week. She said she had called the Parole Board, they told her I was under review now, to call back next month. Bless her heart, she thinks I’ll get parole and will be going home in May. I’ll bet anything you wish that I will be denied parole and made to serve my entire sentence. Another thing that makes me extremely bitter when compared to others. But, the flip side: some people say the dope dealers, 50’s, rapists, burglars, robbers are granted their first parole because everyone knows they will be back. If true, it still makes no sense.

I read somewhere that there is federal pressure on the states to conform with the Fed’s practice of requiring 85% of the sentence to be served, no parole. If it becomes reality, the states will have to adjust their times to lengths that are reasonable. I have long advocated what I call “Truth in Sentencing”: make the sentences a realistic length and make folks do all of them. Now, juries give outlandishly long sentences (25 years and more) thinking the offenders will serve just a few months. It does not comport with reality today; too many are doing at least half of their sentence before they are even ELIGIBLE (not that they will then be reviewed) for parole.

Parole, grievance systems, realistic sentencing: my hot points for prison reform. Until we can decriminalize a bunch of human behavior that makes criminals of those unfortunate to be the ones who are caught.

7:15 AM: I’m going to have to slow down on my mailings out. I computed what I owe today - almost 10 dollars already will be deducted from my account whenever there is some money there. I need some money left for hygiene, etc. I’m not used to having to ration my mail; I guess I’ll learn something new.

Some version of “rocky” is on the TV and it’s painfully loud. The CO is sitting right there with the other idiots, watching the crap at a volume that is deafening.

7:31 PM: I keep Frank (wannabe poet) apprised of what goes on with me and CRESP to try to give him motivation and encouragement for his efforts. For the first time, yesterday he asked me what I wrote about. I tried to explain generally and I gave as an example what I wrote about the other day concerning the observation that those who feel that they got what they deserve or are grateful that they didn’t get all they deserved are generally happy and let everything go without complaint.

He stated that he thought my observation correct when he thought about it. For example, he said, he was very grateful he got only a few years for his offense; he beat a man to death with a wrench and gruesomely assaulted his then wife (at another time) again using a wrench. To his credit, he has accepted his fate and makes no waves about it, knowing his sentence should have (?) could have been much longer. He thought about his other acquaintances in here and proclaimed almost all of them to be in the same situation. Interesting unsolicited confirmation of a theory.

But the flaw is that even if the observation is correct, that does not make the reality just and right. Maybe 10 years is TOO MUCH for his offense. And so on. Whether the sentences are just does not justify steady erosion of humane treatment, doing what’s right, etc. And I blame the inmates to a large extent for letting their rights be usurped.

As I tried to explain to Frank, just because he is here, he is no less a human who deserves to be treated as a human with dignity. He said he never saw it that way; that his idea was always “I put myself here. I deserve whatever they dish out.” Therein lies the problem. Too many people give away their most basic rights. For those like Frank who are grateful to be here under conditions less severe than they feel they deserve, it’s no big deal relinquishing rights they think they shouldn’t have in the first place. And it’s the rest of us caught in the net of mass incarceration who suffer for Frank’s and his cronies’ apathy toward asserting basic inherent rights.

One might argue that the foregoing points to glitches in the classification procedure. That’s probably true. But when you incarcerate non-criminals with criminals, you cannot classify all the problems away.

Enough of that diatribe!

I am so hungry. I sure wish I had something to eat. What they feed is just not enough to satisfy the hunger pangs. I don’t even remember that being the case before. I used to even skip meals and was never hungry.

8:44 PM: “Rocky” is still on (the version is the one where Rocky, having lost his title to Mr. T, fights him to get it back). The first Rocky (1979) was my first date with Priscilla. That night was such a good one. I experienced that “in love” feeling that intense exactly once more: with Sally. Oh, what a feeling. It would be heaven to experience it at least once more before I die.

I have GOT to get some money somewhere. I’m almost out off coffee: I can’t borrow any more. And being hungry with diabetes is not cool. Maybe Frank or someone will come through.

It’s going to be in the 40’s tonight. 30’s tomorrow night. As uncomfortable as that is without heat, I much prefer it to 105 degrees without AC.

10:00 PM: It bothers me a great deal that I have this very strong feeling that I am about to be shipped from this unit. I don’t like it, and I certainly hope it doesn’t happen. Anywhere else could perhaps be better, but this is a known quantity and I don’t want to have to re-acclimate.

6 April 2009

3:15 PM Got a new man at work today - with one leg. He’s smart enough - maybe too smart. He should be a good worker. Biggest problem may be that he will get too close to Ms. Z. We shall see. By the time it matters, I should be gone anyway.

A passing thought: Why are people always asking “What’s the first thing you’re going to eat when you get out?” Not “What’s the first thing you’re going to do?” I enjoy eating as much as anyone, but on my list of things to do when I get out, “eating at so-and-so” isn’t at the top. What I’d really most like to do the “first thing” is secure a good bed, some decent clothes, a good long hot bath and have sex with a willing good looking lady until it hurts. THEN I might think about food.

4:01 PM: Gerry just loaned me another bag of coffee. I’m very grateful, but this stuff has to stop; I’m getting way too far in debt.

The bio for the performance: I’d like to submit something, but I can’t imagine anyone being interested in the facts of my life. I’d like to somehow plug a “new advocacy firm” and raise money for it, but I’m afraid that could be too tacky. There’s GOT to be money there somewhere for about $25,000 start up and $75,000 or so annual funding for a barebones initial effort. The money’s got to be there and someone somewhere is probably just itching to make such a donation. How to hook up?

5:09 PM: No mail for me today. Sigh…

I just learned that one of the guys in here is 83 years old. 83! And I saw his TDC number and it indicates he’s been here for about 5 or 6 years. Probably DWI or SO. But 83!?!?

7 April 2009

2:56 PM: Hopefully I’ll get some mail tonight.

I lay down about 6:30 PM last night. Got up a few times for the bathroom; otherwise, I slept until about 5:00 this morning. It was nice, for a change. I guess extreme depression was the sedative: I certainly don’t sleep like that normally.

3:53 PM: A note to myself dated March 8, 2009:

1 Speak only when spoken to. Keep my thoughts and my comments to myself. If I want to express them, write them down.

2 Write only those who write me …

3 Just go through the motions. There are no rewards here for extra effort, trying to do right, trying to help, etc.

4 Nothing that can occur in here for the next eight months will permanently harm me. Let it go. Let these infantile imbeciles be who they are. They will be here when I’m gone, I’m in their world … They’ll stay here; I’m but passing through.

With appropriate modifications, that might not be bad advice once I hit the streets.

No word from that bastard attorney Cooksey. I’ve already written another letter to the Bar to try the next step. The 30-day period for this stage ends Friday. The arrogant bastard…oh what I’d like to do to him!!!

7:48 PM: Got some mail tonight! Including a short but sweet from Beth.

8:58 PM: My co-worker (CJ) who has been in the library for 4 years got an FI-3 yesterday. After getting four straight set-offs (he’s been locked up almost 15 years). He said three others in his dorm also got their answers from Parole"all FI’s. The bad part about his is that he’ll have to wear a monitor. He said he didn’t like it but he’d wear it around his neck if that’s the only way he can get out. Now it’s a question of whether his sister (his parole address) will pay for the cost of the extra phone line, etc. since she doesn’t really want him there anyway.

I’m beginning to wonder if something’s wrong with me; I have never been in my life this constantly hungry. And never before have I come close to eating three meals a day (usually one when I’m real busy if I remember to eat).

8 April 2009

6:58 PM: Another Store Day; another one for me without money. Oh, well.

Finally finished the major part of bar code labeling today. I did all but about 200 of almost 7,000 books all by myself. I feel I accomplished something. Now, we have all the problem books to work out (and other problem’s/issues).

Appointment 8:30 manana for the dentist. Hopefully, they’ll fix my front teeth. Why, oh why, I didn’t fix them when I had money. For 30 years, I’ve been self-conscious, and it has affected my smile and attitude. Stupid me. Again, hopefully they’ll do something this time; they’ve never been willing before.

Looks like my verbosity is going to put me in debt for another stamp and envelope to mail this week before it gets to be too much.

I empathize, but I’m enjoying the discomfort. A teacher was grumbling today that “they” were being treated like “us”, having to be patted down coming in and out and having their things searched for contraband. “They ought to just give us a white jumpsuit to wear,” he said. “I wish they’d just give everyone a cell phone and a pack of cigarettes and be done with it.” This man has been in the system for 35 years and said he was going to speed up his retirement because of all the “new” bs.

Which brings to mind: “Who guards the guards?” (I cannot remember the Latin). I think it’s still a joke, officers shaking down other officers they work with. Come on!!

Like this teacher said: “What can they do with a cell phone that they can’t do through a contact visit or a letter? “ When TDCJ prohibited tobacco in 1995 (to save on health costs - shows the kind of mentality about serving time and plenty of it), TDCJ created probably the biggest black market in the state. And got sued for about 50 million dollars for breach of contract by Phillip Morris, B and W, etc. Also, at the time, TDCJ had three warehouses (big ones) full of tobacco products (I have on good info). Only Texas (TDCJ) would throw away $100 million to do as they wish, when they wish. Common sense and cost to the taxpayer be damned! And the sad part is, the public just takes it and says “Screw me some more. Just keep ‘em locked up out of the way.”

My dear mother is typical. I tried to discuss the big lockdown last October over the cell phones. Her reply? “I hadn’t heard about the cell phones and I don’t want to know about them.” End of story.

I wish I could be assured of making a living upon my release. That would allow me to hit the ground running to set up more worthwhile endeavors. I’m so scared of the job situation facing me. It would be so nice to have some funding for the advocacy work ab initio; that would solve a beaucoup of problems.

Just ran through some numbers for the advocacy firm. I think $65,000 would cover start-up and first year of operation. Of course, with more we could do more, but I think 65 K would make a good first year start (that would pay me $25,000. I can live on $2,000 per month. More would be nice …. but ….)

License reinstatement: 5,000 
Dues, fees, subscriptions, CLE: 2,000 
Office (supplies to residence): 3,600 
Phones: 2 lines x 100 x 12 (?): 2,400 (low) 
Internet: 12 x 30: 360 (low) 
Postage: 2,500 
Office supplies: 500 
Filing Fees, etc: 5,000 
Total: 21,360 
Part-time clerical: 15,000 
Me (2000/month): 25,000 
Total: 61,360 
Say 65,000 in bank for first year. 

I am starving! And nothing to eat. What is wrong with me?

I decided to lay off the Bible lessons for a while. That’ll save some postage (I have other reasons too, for now.)

9 April 2009

11:11 AM: What a waste of a morning! All morning waiting to see the dentist; 10 minutes to tell me “It’s cosmetic; I can’t do anything for you.” Good news: I’ve lost 30 pounds since I got here and my blood pressure’s still good (119/74).

7:38 PM: What a waste of an afternoon, too. I went to work and I was like a zombie. Did a little bit, but not much. Even Ms. Z commented on it. Left even earlier than usual, showered and came in. Got a very short nap. Coffed up and reading now; wouldn’t be surprised id it’s late night rack (Good Friday seems to be a holiday around here).

I’m going to stop this installment now: the envelope is probably too stuffed already for one stamp (hopefully not).

10:45 PM: Man!! Get me started on a mag like “Entrepreneur” or “Mother Earth News” and I want to have every business in the world! The juices just flow: I get so excited, and I want to send for every brochure, info packet, etc. I can. Sheesh. Can’t even get a law practice started back up. - probably the best license there is to have (as Crowley says, “a license to steal.”) - and I’ve made a mess of making a fortune with it. And now face formidable odds to even using it for the good of society and the unfortunate.

I read the zines I got from Abigail (I got a letter from her today); among the contests was a reprint of “An Army of One” which I had already read (Anthony sent me a copy). Gosh, how well written! It reminds me of what I keep rambling about; Abigail did a superb job of putting it all in one place as an easily readable narrative. She certainly did a better job than I’ve been doing. I’ve got to try to remember to send Beth a copy. I know she will be impressed. I’ve got to be sure to write Abigail with thanks and pursue further some kind of … what’s the word? … informational exchange (?) about her org, Anthony’s org, and how they are funded. Both Anthony and Abigail have indicated an interest in my being a lawyer. Maybe (hopefully) that will translate into something that will work for everyone.

C.J. Started Changes today. That will take him out of the library noon to 3 (actually, noon to 2 - quitting time for first shift.). Mark is going to be so damn gung-ho. I’m (we’re) hoping we will volunteer for second shift (my old shift). I so much want to get off second shift. Hopefully, Z will put it all together and realign the shifts as we wish.

10 April 2009

5:47 AM: Just woke up. We’re on Holiday Schedule. It will be a long day, a long weekend. Loudmouth catalog just came on, too, and is apparently assigned to this section. Jesus!

6:38 AM: Just when you think you’ve seen it all … Willie Jones, the loudest, whiniest overgrown black baby drug dealer inmate in here, had the audacity to say in the cafeteria - as two inmates three feet apart yelled at each other at the top of their lungs - “I’m getting tired of all this yelling!” The one and the same Willie whose yelling can be heard almost at all times in this dorm, the same Willy who has no (absolutely NO) respect or concern for anyone but himself.

7:21 AM: Another idiocy: “Building Showers”. If you don’t work or otherwise have permission to shower, you have to shower with “Building Showers” (BS). BS just showered at 8:00 PM last night. Because of the holiday showers, BS are running now (less than 12 hours). BS on Sat. and Sun. will be about this time, and then Monday won’t be until 8:00 PM again make sense?

There are some comments around here that sadden me. One guy in here on DWI (16-year sentence) talks often about “I want to see changes. I know I will be back.” He repeats this “I know I will be back” mantra at least once a day, every day (just that I hear). And guess what? I’ll bet he WILL be back. I got so bold one time as to say to him “Why bother even to leave if you know you’ll be back? Quit screwing around with the installment plan and just get yourself a life sentence.”

Which brings up an interesting point: any sentence of any length (say, 10 years or more) can be a life sentence if you make parole easily enough. Any time you parole, you lose all your good time. If you violate parole, you lose all your street time. So, if you are in and out, out and in, you will eventually do every minute of that sentence. So, it may take decades to fully serve every minute of that sentence. The way they are withholding parole these days, this isn’t as common as it used to be. That’s what has Gerry in here at 72. He god a 35 year sentence (or was it 40?) back in the 60’s. Because of releases on parole and back on violations, here it is 40 + years later, and he still hasn’t served half of his sentence.

Now, back to earlier discussion. The saddening comments. Some guy said in response to someone’s “When I get out” comment: “I’m not EVER getting out.” I’ve heard this often. You’d have to kill me or I’d have to commit suicide if I had convinced myself I was never going to be released. Good Lord what an awful thought! I couldn’t handle it.

9:24 PM: Listening to Prison Radio Show. Guy called in from Turkey, said a newspaper article about Texas prisons shocked him. He said Turkey has three times the population of Texas. Texas has 160,000 inmates in prison alone. Turkey just hit 100,000 prisoners in total - waiting for trial, misdemeanors, felonies, etc. In Turkey, there have been no executions since 1984; the death penalty was abolished in 2002. Between 1922-1984, there were a total of 449 executions in Turkey. I don’t know the exact numbers, but Texas executes many more than that.

“The system does not remain neutral while you remain quiet.” - a statement of one of the speakers on the show.

$100,000,000,000 ($100 billion) - what the US spends each year on prisons.

Waiting to eat. Should be a pretty good breakfast: eggs and frosted flakes.

11 April 2009

6:24 AM: Just snapped a few minutes ago to the fact that it isn’t Sunday. Days in here just don’t go fast enough.

April 30, the current Governor (Pretty Boy Perry) will have presided over his 200th execution. 200.

Loudmouth Bitch Crosby on the PA system today. Oh, Lord. Bust her from Property Officer for stealing inmate property, put her in every visible place you can after that. Only TDC. She is a worthless bitch (I think she [it] is female).

9:42 PM: I’m afraid I let myself get screwed again. The wannabe poet (Frank) now has a viable Agency Agreement. He has paid me nothing and is ignoring me. When will I ever learn? And I sure could use the help since I’m broke. Oh, well.

12 April 2009

7:06 AM: Happy Fucking Easter. Same ol shit here.

I really shouldn’t talk like that. Nothing in particular has happened yet to evoke that kind of attitude. Just things in general, I guess. I’m so tired of this and I’m particularly livid about how one inmate (Willie Jones) is allowed to run wild, demanding this and that - and getting his way. It’s rumored he is the unit’s drug connection. I’m beginning to believe it. His fraternization with the officers is flagrant. The preferential treatment is blatant. I used to think it was racism. I’m truly now beginning to think it’s the drugs. That would certainly help explain the erratic, inane, inexplicable behavior of the officers - from Lt. Robinson on down.