My name is Terrence Anthony Roundtree and I'm a 33 yr old black male evacuee from Hurricane Katrina to Texas where I am now incarcerated. I was railroaded and sentenced to 99 yrs in TDCJ-ID for aggravated assault on a (white) public servant in rural Hunt County Texas. The sole purpose of this essay is to provide a first hand testimony of the oppressive and degrading environment in which convicted individuals are being held nation-wide, but namely in Texas.
On May 14 2009 I was called out of my cell in the Hunt County Jail to be transferred to a Texas Department of Criminal Justice Institutional Division Receiving/Diagnostic Unit: Gurney unit in deep East Texas, Tennessee Colony. I was processed and then sent to a mental health inpatient facility due to mental health concerns held by staff.
Over the past decade of incarceration I have either witnessed or experienced first hand numerous injustices at the hand of the security, administration and the criminal justice system itself. I figure this is why Texas has the only system named as such instead of as a department of corrections.
'Offenders', which prisoners in Texas are called who have severe mental health issues are simply medicated and left to exist in their own physical as well as mental squalor. There are archaic measures and an inadequate correctional managed health care policy that does the equivalent of placing a band aid on an amputated leg and telling the patient to run a mile in order to get better.
Furthermore, the criminal mentality is fortified and enhanced by the mere fact that prisoners are not paid for their work. Most prisoners are in prison for crimes committed in the pursuit of monetary gain either for personal ambitions or to provide for their families. To not pay prisoners for their work facilitates a mindset of nefarious attempts to acquire items such as hygiene b/c the items (so few they are) that are provided by the department are not only meager in amount, but inadequate in its quality.
The administrative mindset is Napoleonic at best in that it is the practice of administrators to "divide and conquer" the prison population by subliminally requiring the prison population to discipline its fellow peers to maintain privileges. For instance: if one prisoner dashes an officer he is 'rolled' to a disciplinary cell, but the rest of the section or pod is still placed on suspended activity and fed a bagged meal schedule for up to 72 hours at a time.
The food service department tends toward incompetency in that it is either unable or unwilling to provide wholesome and properly prepared meals as required by Texas Government Code 501-003. Fruit served is packed in high fructose corn syrup with a rare serving of fresh fruit, and vegetables are excessively overcooked as to not provide the proper nutrients.
During lockdown sandwiches are made and then refrigerated which if you only knew causes the starches in the bread to break down into concentrated sugars. This is on top of additives and stretching used on food products such as oil in peanut butter or applesauce in the same. There are times when only one corndog, 4 prunes ([apples?]) one peanut butter sandwich is served and upon complaint administration cites the amount of calories within instead of taking into account that the amount of food served is not sufficient enough to satiate hunger.
Texas prisoners - namely in male units - are subjected to numerous health threats as in one instance over 100 prisoners including myself had to be tested as we were exposed to TB by another offender without knowledge and to whom [UTMB?] medical staff and security refused to provide identity or current status of. Cells are rarely cleaned after they are vacated and the clothes provided are either issued in poor condition or unclean. State issued shoes and mattresses are so poor as to do anything except help to maintain healthy back and feet of the prisoner. This is also true of winter coats which are nearly equivalent to a windbreaker.
Lastly, I must expound on the fact that the grievance system is provided, investigated and processed by the same depart. and staff being grieved and for which is a farce and depressing for the offender to pursue. Correctional staff are basically [staffed?] with good officers placed in peril by counterparts who are auxiliary and not willing to properly do their job.
In a nut shell criminal justice in Texas institutions among other places is ambivalent at best and nonexistent at worst. I am through indigence unable to fully detail such as the indigent offender mail program only permits [5?] one ounce personal letters a month to indigent offenders which is a violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
In closing I must declare that all incarcerated persons are not criminals although most have simply committed crimes. Others only crime was being born of a certain race or social class.
P.E.A.C.E.!! proper education always corrects error by: T. Roundtree
2018 Aug 06
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