Antonio A. Garcia
I am 37 years old. Ive been in prison since I have been 19 years old. Got convicted of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. I escaped my first month in prison and didn’t get too far. Since then (2001) I have been living in administrative segregation. I want to share with you a couple of things. One is the mental health issue of living in segregation. Some states call this control units, security housing units, solitary confinement, isolation units. Its all the same. Just named different. 23 hour lock downs by yourself in a cell and one hour rec/dayroom time by yourself. The other would be lack of rehabilitation for seg offenders.
This first one will be bout the second issue I spoke of. I want a lil more time looking into that mental issue. Being in prison for life I dont have a shot at going home. Ive seen people come in and out of this place. One guy I talked to said he walked out of Huntsville unit, went to the corner store opened a beer can and slammed one. Opened another, grabbed a candy bar and walked out. Cops took him to jail. Got out and broke into a car and waited till the cops showed up. I asked why? His answer… “I had nowhere to go.” That same dude is supposed to go home in 7 ½ more months. He says I’ll come back. I have nowhere to go. 26 years old. So full of a possible life. Just thrown away. I would trade shoes with him in a heat beat for a second chance at life & he can have this life sentence.
In ad seg there is no rehabilitation. When theses dudes go home they are stuck in the stoned ages. They have no work experiences. No education and technology is so fast they are stuck. Texas Prisons was the last prison system in the country to get pay phones. Before that so many of Texas Prisoners never knew what our loved ones voices sounded like. Ive read articles about seg or solitary confinement. The prison officials say this place is the worst of the worst. That may be true in other states but in Texas seg is full and the Majority of STG (Security Threat Groups) prison gangs. When they get confined as a specific STG they get seged. Most of the times they never committed any rule violations. Seged due to affiliations.
Some inmates do get seged for rule violations. Bottom line though is prison is supposed to rehabilitate us to be released back into society. I cant speak about population. In seg there is no T.V. We havent seen TV’s since we were in the free world. Some of these dudes haven’t seen a T.V. show over 10 plus years. Me? Over 18 years. We sit in a cell all day. We are allowed to receive books and magazines through the mail but if we dont have money for it or dont have family & friends to order it we are outta there. If I got some Im not allowed to pass it to other offenders. It would be “traffic & trading” TDCJ rules violation. And during shake downs if the books, magazines or newspapers have another inmate’s TDC# and name on it, it will get confiscated or even if it’s scratched out, still get taken up.
TDCJ offers no type of education for these dudes back here. None what so ever. So if someone comes to prison at age 20. Do 10 years. Get released from seg at 30 years old. They didnt get a high school diploma or GED before prison guess what… At age 30 years old, they'l be in the streets with no GED or diploma. No work experience. Dont have a clue how to use a damn phone nothing. You tell me what kind of job do you think he will find? How successful do you think that dude will be? How long will he last before come'n back to prison?
Aside from the lack of education & rehabilitation seg offenders receive… let me point out to you that the physical health people in seg have. Yes we can do some kinda workout in our cells… All day every day locked away in a cell has a toll on you mentally and you live with your bunk right there. Some people just lay around all day. Sleep, eat, lay around, how healthy do you think someone will be livin like that 5 plus years. Our rec/dayroom is only about 4 or 5 times bigger then our cell. One pull up bar, table, stools, sink toiled & that’s it. How motivated do you think a person is when they hit the streets? When our movements are limited to a 8 x 10 cell for 5-10 years?
Here’s something else to consider… We are stuck in these cells all day. We have to depend and rely on everyone else to do things for us. Mainly officers. My point though is seg offenders learn to depend on others for things. Food, toilet paper, pass books, pass kites, every single thing we seg offenders do, get, hear or eat is 100% depended on someone else. So what type of person will survive in the world with no type of education, work experience and always depending on others to care for him & always having their hands out for things instead of getting up and working for a living?
Don’t get me wrong. Not everyone is like that. Some people learned how to use all this to their advantage and learned to manipulate people to get what they want. Some people are born survivors. But the majority arent. People who are seged and one day going home are being cultivated to be a reoffending criminal. Be it stealing prostituting, drug usage, drug dealin, robbery or murdering someone. They will be back. What tools do they have to use to build a future for themselves but what they learned before come'n to prison? Cause what they learned in prison is nothing but wasted, rotting of a life.
Thank you for your time in reading this. I will write more down the road about this topic.
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