Going to Prison in Texas in 2015, Part 2

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Saturday, October 10th, 2015
Going to Prison in Texas in 2015, Part 2

IV. Some Special Considerations for Women

In the men’s units there are gangs, which we will discuss later. Women have their form of gangs too, but more often women gather together in groups based on relationships. A woman entering the Texas prisons should be just as cautious of quickly forming close relationships with other women or groups of women as should men be careful when considering the offers to join a gang. Gang members exist on the women’s units, but are not as prevalent as on the male units. Familial-type relationships seem to be the norm on the female units. In many ways, the approach can resemble the invitation to be in a gang, but it’s more of a one-on-one relationship. Women are more emotional creatures, and the stronger women will play on the emotions of the weaker ones, and will particularly set traps for a new offender. The pitch may be for protection, for so-called friendships, or need to ease the loneliness by having an emotional closeness with another person—and this can include a sexual relationship. Do not get that close to anyone for any reason.

New offenders are prime targets, especially those who go to the commissary regularly and get mail and visits on a regular basis. There are plenty of women who have been there for a long while, and they look for this. Perhaps they don’t have the support and the assistance the new offender has, and perhaps they are looking for that. Don’t go for it. Take your time, watch those who try to befriend others, and after close observation, pick your friends carefully.

Women in prison are notorious for taking a personal relationship with another offender extremely seriously. Do not think that the approach from another female offender is really about love or caring, because it is not. It is about control. If the “user” feels that the other party is pulling away, wants out of the relationship, or that there is an interest somewhere else, watch out. If there is a threat of loss of control of the relationship, there are instances where the offender pulling away has been beaten up or cut up over an attempt to cool off a relationship with another offender. Women in prison can be very petty and jealous and every bit as violent as any male prisoner.

Women in prison also intimidate or try to loudly “out talk” others by getting in their face. If this happens, do not respond and do not react. Reaction is exactly what the other party is looking for. An angry response or reaction gives the other offender the excuse to start a fight. Ultimately, following this advice will result in respect, and others will stop trying to bait the newer offender.

V. Standards and Behavior

A. Keep Your Business to Yourself

The best advice for newly entering men and women offenders is to OBSERVE, OBSERVE, OBSERVE. While observing, always keep in mind that you are also being observed, not just by other offenders, but by those who guard and manage the prison as well. Never comment on an incident that doesn’t involve you. If it’s not your business, avoid having anything to do with it.

I again recommend that offenders not discuss their case with anyone other than officials and committees, and then only when your file is on the table. Of course if your case is on appeal, do not discuss your case with anyone without your lawyer’s consent. If you talk about your case, an offender can be potential witness against you for any admission you make. Secondly, there is a pecking order in the prison. Everybody needs someone to look down on in prison. The offender who used a child for sex is considered the lowest of the low, as are rapists or any offense of a sexual nature. Offenders should not discuss the facts of their case, nor events surrounding the case. For example, if the conviction is of a sex offense involving a child, the last thing in the world that should be done is to tell another offender. It is no one else’s business anyway, and it is considered extremely disrespectful to ask another offender about his crime.

B. Old Joe or JoAnn Wants to Be My Buddy

The best advice I can give in this area is that when an offender tries to warm up to another, or do a favor, or ask a favor, it could lead to trouble. For example, if someone says, “take this envelope down the hall to that cell down there,” don’t do it. What if the contents of that envelope include an escape plot? If the escape plan is later discovered, and it becomes known you acted as delivery boy for the plot by passing the plan from one offender to another, you could wind up in serious trouble. Getting out of that kind of trouble could be real problems for the innocent offender, and could include new criminal charges. The point here is this: One goes into the prison alone, and one comes out alone. Nobody can do time for another. The rule is, “Do your own time.”

At times a correctional officer will befriend certain offenders. If this appears to be happening, watch out because it is dangerous for both the guard and the offender. Guards, like offenders, have good days and bad days. Guards are not supposed to develop any kind of personal relationship with offenders. The friendly guard that was kidding around yesterday is going to be the same one that writes you a disciplinary action today for the same behavior that was previously considered acceptable.

C. Hygiene, Grooming, and Clothing

If the new offender is thrown in a cell situation with someone who fails to meet good standards for cleanliness and good grooming, the first thing to do is to talk to that person to see if the matter can be resolved. If not, then the next step is to “go to someone with ‘rank.’“ Rank is someone at the level of lieutenant or above. Don’t go to a corrections officer with a complaint like this. They don’t want to be bothered. The offender should talk with a ranking officer.

It is a common error for other offenders to gang up on an offender who does not maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness or grooming. It is a terrible mistake to get involved in such an effort to fix the problem. There is a high likelihood that the attacking offenders will get a disciplinary action (or worse), and it will cost each of them a loss of class or time credit. In prison there are too many acts of retaliation among the offender population, and among offenders and employees. Seldom does any offender ever win in these situations.

An offender who keeps his appearance and living area neat, showers every day, and grooms himself reasonably well will likely be respected by other prisoners for the way he presents himself. He will also be healthier. Prison is rampant with diseases like hepatitis and staph infection. Like any enclosed place with lots of people in it, colds and viruses travel rapidly. Keeping yourself as clean as possible is the best way not to get sick. You should especially get used to washing your hands several times a day. Most prisoners are free to shower anytime they are in their cell block or dorm, and soap is free in TDCJ.

One of the daily rituals in regular TDCJ facilities is the daily change of clothing. As we said earlier, a set of boxer shorts, socks, and a set of white pants, shirt, towel, and rag will be issued, and each day there is a time at which these will be exchanged for a clean set. Clothing exchange may deviate from the norm in transfer facilities. Another exception to clothing exchange occurs if the unit is going through a “lock down,” when entry, exit, and movement within the prison is restricted and offenders are required to remain, for the most part, inside their cells. Clothing exchanges are rare during a lockdown.

D. What Is a Prison Lockdown?

Most people associate a prison lockdown with a riot, a prison break, or some major crime that has occurred and has heightened security at the unit. More often, lockdowns are a result of a routine unit security shakedown to search for weapons and other contraband. During lockdowns the entire unit will stop any and all offender traffic during such searches. The lockdown may involve one or more units. It can even be system-wide. During a lockdown, the offenders will be staying in their cells. Food in paper sacks called “johnnies” is brought up and served in the cell block. Lockdown status can last hours or days and weeks. At these times, clothing will not be exchanged every day. Times such as lockdown are when it is really important to have a good supply of hygiene and foodstuffs. Every prison has one lengthy lockdown per year while the entire facility is searched for contraband.

VI. Prison Life

A. Dorm Living and Cell Blocks

Some prisons have dorm-like living conditions, with each wing housing about 90 offenders. The bunks can be two high and very close together. When the offender first goes into prison, he will be housed in a dorm until he is assigned to a “real prison,” where most offenders live in two-man cells. Single cells are generally reserved for restrictive maximum-security situations. In “real prisons” there are rows of cells like you see in the movies. When you walk down the cell row, do not look into any cell except your own. What is going on in another cell is not your business. Never go into a cell that isn’t yours, even if invited. It is against the rules to be in any cell you are not assigned to.

B. The Chow Hall

The food in TDCJ is tolerable. The calorie content, fat, starch, and cholesterol levels are high. The meat is usually processed, and there are rarely any fresh vegetables. As in most institutional settings, everything is overcooked and devoid of flavor. However, the food in prison is generally much better than that in most county jails. Service is cafeteria style, with offender waiters refilling pitchers of water and tea. Breakfast is usually at 3:00 a.m., lunch around 10:00 a.m., and dinner at 4:00 p.m. Get used to eating fast. Guards like to run offenders through the chow hall quickly, and you usually have less than ten minutes to eat before a guard will tell you to get up.

C. Day Rooms

The day room is the center of any cell block or dorm. It is where offenders play games, watch TV, and visit. The day room has several metal tables and rows of benches in front of the two televisions. The noise can be deafening. Consider two televisions 15 yards apart, on different channels, turned to maximum volume. The programming is determined by a show of hands of the offenders who are sitting on the benches. If you like sports you’re in luck, but offenders do not watch a lot of news or educational programs. The most popular pastime other than watching television is playing dominoes. Scrabble and chess are also popular. When offenders play dominoes, it is a prison tradition to slam the dominoes against the steel table. The racket made by this eventually gets to where it really rides on the nerves. Several people slamming dominoes on multiple steel tables in addition to two competing televisions amongst twenty loud conversations makes a great deal of noise. Most prison commissaries sell earplugs because it can be very hard to sleep when the day room is full. As stated previously, this is also where the telephones are placed.

The day room is also where most fights occur. Many start over a disagreement about what to watch on TV. When a fight breaks out in the dayroom, you should head to your cell. One-on-one fights often evolve into riots, and in such cases the guards will simply write up everyone in the dayroom for fighting. If questioned by a guard about how a fight started, always say you didn’t see anything.

D. Recreation Yards

One advantage to prison is that you can get in pretty good shape there. Most rec yards have universal-style weights and basketball, volleyball, and handball courts. Many offenders exercise by walking or jogging around the perimeter of the yard. The recreation yard is also a place for offenders to meet and a place for trouble to develop. Just as in the day room, the innocent can be caught up in something he had no part in. TDCJ has a long history of disciplining everyone on the yard when trouble occurs. If trouble starts, get away from it, and stand with your back to the fence. Most offenders are called out for recreation several times a day. Most “real prisons” also have gyms, but they are not frequently utilized due to staff shortages.

E. Commissary

Your TDCJ ID card will have a magnetic strip on the back that works like a debit card. Purchases are limited to $95 every two weeks. Most prisoners are allowed to go to the commissary once a week, at the discretion of the unit. The items are similar to what you might find in a convenience store, but the prices are much lower in prison. $95 buys a lot of stuff. When a purchase is made at the commissary you’ll be issued a receipt. Keep recent receipts in a safe place as you may be asked to prove you bought the items in your possession. Never drop it in the trash, where it can be found by other offenders. Old receipts should be flushed. The receipt has valuable information on it, such as your TDCJ number and your account balance.

Some commissary items are designated as “special purchases.” These are items like tennis shoes, radios, hot pots, and fans. Offenders are allowed to possess only one of each of these items, and the warden must pre-approve each special pur­chase.

Effective September 1, 2012, the TDCJ Commissary and Trust Fund Department initiated a direct purchase program for friends and family member to allow them to make online purchases for offenders. The purchases will be made from an existing product line, with new products to be added later. Offenders can receive items purchased (through eComm) by family or friends in an amount up to $60 per calendar quarter. Offenders who are placed on commissary restrictions will not be eligible to receive commissary items from direct purchase.

This program will be accessible either through a link on the TDCJ website or the TEXAS.gov website. The merchandise purchased will be distributed to the offenders from the commissary at their unit of assignment.

F. Race Relations

One of the most regrettable issues in prison life all over the United States is pervasive racial animosity. It would be improper to lay blame for this on any group. Just remember that in prison, race is among the greatest of serious problems. Each offender must determine how he or she will deal with this issue. The U.S. Supreme Court proclaimed that prison cells must be integrated, so you will likely always be celled with a person of another race. The only exceptions to this rule are for security or other valid penal causes. Gangs in prison are racially based, and can be violent. Disagreements regularly arise over race and culture. Again, this is not just a problem in the Texas prisons, but all U.S. prisons. At the same time, I have come to seriously contemplate whether many prison administrators give tacit approval to racial separation in order to “keep the enemy divided.” Offenders seem to let their negative perception override the logical prospect of power that offender unity could bring to the prison system. It appears that both offenders and administrators are at fault in this regard, but I do not believe that the situation will change in my lifetime.

G. Hall Rules

The hallways and other traffic corridors in prison have yellow lines about two feet from each side of the wall. Offenders must always walk between the wall and the yellow line with their right shoulder nearest to the wall. The middle of the corridor is reserved for prison employees. The only time offenders are allowed to walk in the middle of the corridor is when being escorted by guards.

H. Personal Property

Different prison units have different types of storage space. A problem developed in TDCJ for offenders being transferred from a unit with a good amount of storage space to a unit with less space. In some cases there was no room for all of the offender’s belongings. Therefore, TDCJ developed a regulation limiting each offender to an area of approximately two cubic feet to store all personal items. Don’t buy more than you can store. If your property doesn’t fit into the limited area provided, prison employees are authorized to take it away. These regulations might be enforced with some latitude. Some wardens don’t enforce it at all. Also, if one has a complicated legal case that is on appeal, one can apply for more space in which to store the legal material. But this is a cumbersome process, and if the additional space is not absolutely necessary, do not get involved with applying for more space.

You should put a lock on the assigned TDCJ storage box. Plastic locks are sold at the commissary for ten dollars. Prison officials have a master key to all the locks, so they can search as necessary. However, as a general rule, guards are not supposed to open your storage box without you being present. The advantage to having a lock is so you can keep your things reasonably secure from other offenders.

H. Gangs

Gangs are a major problem in prison. They usually form around racial lines. It is very important for a new offender to remember upon entering prison that he will be viewed by some gang as a new prospect. It is not unusual that a new arrival will be approached by another offender who will try to get the newcomer indebted to him in some way or to recruit the new offender into a gang. They may offer protection from assault or blackmail. It is important to reject these entreaties. Gangs demand total loyalty and will eventually demand money, sex, or participation in some criminal activity. Gangs are the source of most criminal cases in prison. Offenders in gang are much more likely to get in trouble, and even membership in some gangs causes prison officials to place known members in administrative segregation—even if that offender hasn’t done anything that would normally merit solitary confinement. Perhaps of greatest importance, it will be very difficult for a gang member to be approved for parole once a gang tag is applied.

Those entering TDCJ with gang tattoos will be classified as gang members and placed in administrative segregation if their tattoo represents one of the “security threat groups” (STG). The list of STGs changes from time to time.

The only way to be returned to the general population once classified as a gang member is to formally renounce gang affiliation through the Gang Renunciation and Disassociation (GRAD) Program. Details are available on the TDCJ website.

I. Fighting

Fist fights are very common in prison. For younger prisoners they are often unavoidable. Older prisoners are usually not bothered, but at many prisons, it is not uncommon for a new arrival to be challenged. If this happens, the best thing to do is to try to defend yourself. If you refuse to fight, then you will be perceived as weak, and everything you have may be taken from you. Once an offender shows he will fight back he is rarely forced to prove it a second time. Never use anything but your fists. If you use anything but your fists—even a cup or a shoe—that may be considered “fighting with a weapon,” and that is a major disciplinary offense and may affect your parole date.

J. Jailhouse Lawyers

Jailhouse lawyers, often called “writ writers,” are offenders who are self-taught as lawyers. They seldom, if ever, have any actual legal background. Watch out when relying upon their representation or assistance. The law has changed regarding how many times you can appeal your conviction. You have only one chance at a writ of habeas corpus action. If the writ is not professionally done, end results can be horrible. One could waste this opportunity on a frivolous claim while a valid cause would be forever lost. Offenders should avoid allowing jailhouse lawyers from being involved in their case. In addition to the legal ramifications, using a jailhouse lawyer gives another offender information about your case that can be used to your detriment. I admit that in 40 years of practice in this area I have learned some things from jailhouse lawyers. However, I have spent more time correcting their work than learning from their expertise. The new convict only gets one opportunity for an appeal or one writ of habeas corpus, so it is best not to use a jailhouse lawyer with no legal education as the vehicle to travel down the post-conviction road. The prison does have a public defender service. Several lawyers in our firm have worked in that office. While it is a fact that the TDCJ has economic control over that office, there have been some excellent lawyers employed there. If you’re charged with a criminal case while in prison, a lawyer will be provided.

K. Grievances

If something goes wrong and you want to complain about it, the prison has a grievance process. If you are seriously mistreated and want to file a law suit against the prison or its employees, current law generally requires that one must exhaust all administrative grievance remedies before you can go into court. It does not matter whether it is a medical problem, a job loss, or lost good time through a disciplinary action, you must exhaust all administrative grievance procedures. There should be no fear to file a grievance if one believes it is justified. Offenders should pay close attention to what can and cannot be remedied through the grievance process. That is contained in the Offender Orientation Handbook. Also, the grievance process should only be used in very serious matters. Most problems are better solved informally by speaking to a ranking officer or writing the warden.

VII. Program Participation

A. Individualized Treatment Program

Participating in programs is not only the way to improve one’s life during and after prison; it also helps demonstrate that one is worthy of parole. The process of getting into programs starts almost immediately. Within the first 180 days of incarceration, a sociologist or a counselor prepares the offender’s Individualized Treatment Plan (ITP). This plan is placed into the offender’s file, but the offender may never see it. A case manager will typically advise the offender what programs they should complete, and what is available on their unit. The prison will expect an offender to complete the ITP courses recommended in the Individualized Treatment Plan. Common programs include substance abuse and anger management classes. Prison programming is extremely important when it comes to parole. I have had parole board members tell me that their policy is that an offender’s failure to accept or participate in a program can cause them to vote no. So whatever they tell you to take, take it. It may sound like nonsense, but one wants to pay close attention to the direction one has been provided. Otherwise the offender will be telling the Parole Board he is not interested in being released. However, if it is impossible to get into a program in the ITP, do not panic. The Parole Board recognizes that it is not always possible to get into the courses one needs according to the ITP. If an offender demonstrates that he has done all within his power to participate, the Board will not hold factors beyond his control against him.

B. Self Help

There are a lot of self-help programs in prison. Many prisons have frequent religious services and weekly Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous meetings. Most people in prison are there because of some kind of substance abuse. Prison is a good place to address these issues through religion, A.A., or both. There is typically no official record of who attends church or A.A., but those who attend these meetings tend to be a little more agreeable and have a better attitude than the average prisoner. Also, people in the community usually attend these meetings, and it is a nice change of pace to interact with people who are not viewing life through prison bars. At the same time, religious services are times when many offenders gather in a single location, and as explained previously, that can be the opportunity for improper activity.

C. Chaplaincy

Every prison has a chaplain, although smaller units may share a chaplain. They represent most major religious denominations but nearly all of them are Christians. Those ministers who work in prison have a great challenge, and while they are limited by the prison in their ability to be as helpful as many would like, they are there to assist. If there is an emergency, the chaplain is the person the offender should seek out if the issue is a personal problem. It will be the chaplain who will come to an offender with a message of a death or serious illness in the family, and it is the chaplain who can arrange a special telephone call home in a family emergency. Our office has had many interactions with prison chaplains, and for the most part, they have been helpful. You should get to know the chaplain on your unit.

VIII. Parole and Mandatory Supervision

This section could be a book by itself, so I am only going to hit the high points. Getting out of prison is every offender’s goal. Parole and mandatory supervision are the two most likely methods leading back to the free world. For offenses committed after September 1996, all mandatory supervision is discretionary—which means there is no longer anything mandatory about it. Parole eligibility is determined in two ways. Initially one’s parole eligibility is determined by statutes. If a conviction involved a weapon or was one of several serious violent crimes, generally one will not be considered for parole until one half of the sentence is served, day for day. Generally, if the conviction is for a nonviolent crime and no weapon finding was made, one must earn one fourth of the sentence, with good time being applied to that calculation. Each parole consideration, after that initial consideration, is determined by the date of the decision of the parole panel who last voted the case.

A. Parole Panels

Over the years the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has gone through substantial statutory changes. There are now seven members of the board and fourteen commissioners who also vote. Each panel has one board member and two commissioners. To be paroled, most offenders need two of the three votes on that panel. If the conviction falls under one of the crimes known as Senate Bill 45, cases there is a different rule. Senate Bill 45 cases include:

1)   A life sentence arising from a parole-eligible capital murder charge;
2)   Aggravated Sexual Assault;
3)   Indecency with a Child by Contact, and
4)   Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children;
5)   Continuous Trafficking of Persons; or
6)   Offense requiring 35 calendars for parole eligibility under Tx. Gov’t Code Section 508.145(c)

The statute regarding Senate Bill 45 cases requires two thirds of the seven board members to favorably consider the case. However, that is not exactly how things work. Since two thirds of seven equals a number that is more than four and five, the board has adopted a rule requiring that one subject to parole consideration fails if there are three negative votes out of the seven. In other words, if convicted of the three above-mentioned crimes, then all seven Board Members vote the parole case. If three of them vote to deny parole, one will not be paroled. At this writing this issue has not been tested in the courts.

B. Parole

Unless one is convicted of an offense listed as a 3g offense or Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (TPC 71.02) or Directing Activities of Criminal Street Gangs (TPC 71.023) or Continuous Trafficking of Persons (TPC 20.A03), one will be parole-eligible when earned credit equals one fourth of the total sentence, with credit for any good time earned applying to that time. Being parole-eligible does not mean one will automatically be paroled. It means you have a chance. If you have a 3g sentence—meaning a weapon was involved—or a serious crime of violence is involved without a weapon—such as aggravated sexual assault—then one has to serve half the total sentence before being considered for parole.

In Texas to terminate a sentence, one must serve each and every day imposed in the sentence. For example, even if good time credit toward parole eligibility is acquired, that good time credit is not deducted from the sentence termination date. So, if one has a ten-year sentence and is released after three years of flat time, one will still owe a seven full years under parole supervision.

Few offenders make first parole, so do not count on it. After one is denied parole, the parole board will set the next date for one to be again considered for release. The board may set off the next parole consideration for up to five years if the conviction is for an offense not eligible for mandatory supervision, and SB 45 cases carry a mandatory three years set-off. The minimum set-off for all other cases is one year.

Drug cases with an affirmative finding that they occurred in a drug-free zone carry a five-year minimum for parole eligibility.

C. Mandatory Supervision

So long as one’s offense is eligible for mandatory supervision, there is another option for releases to supervision. Mandatory supervision applies when one’s flat time (day-for-day time) plus good time earned equal the whole of one’s sentence. Once this is attained, the person is eligible to be considered for mandatory supervision. For example, let’s assume the offender has a five-year sentence:

Flat time earned 2.2 years
Good time earned 2.8 years
Total time earned 5.0 years
It is at this point that mandatory supervision will be considered. The offender is entitled to be notified at least 30 days in advance of the board consideration of a mandatory supervision case so the offender can provide information to the parole board. If the vote is favorable, the offender may be released to conditions similar to that of being paroled for a length of time on supervision equal to the good time earned. Thus, in the above hypothetical, if mandatory supervision was granted, the offender would be on parole supervision for 2.8 years after release.

IX. Offender Support Groups

There are a number of offender support groups. These groups of people are active in trying to improve the problems and alleviate some of the emotional trauma offenders and families suffer as the result of incarceration. The prison does listen, but it is our opinion the prison’s view of these groups is that they represent as much an annoyance as a benefit. The prison only takes these groups as seriously as the political climate requires. Certainly being a member of such a group may be an asset to certain people who have a loved one in prison. It is our opinion that these groups often have shortcomings, but we do not discourage membership; however, families are well advised to do their due diligence before joining. They are family support groups and as such, help people who have loved ones in prison realize that they are not alone. They can provide insights to dealing with problems common to families of those who are incarcerated. These organizations are not designed to be prison reform groups. The primary interests of the members are to get their loved ones out of prison. After that occurs, they usually lose interest in the organization. I have seen any number of these groups rise and fall. Deciding whether and which group to join is an individual decision. Membership will not likely hurt the offender, but how much good membership in an offender family organization will help the offender’s situation is dependent upon the quality of the individual organization.

X. Conclusion

After practicing post-conviction criminal law in Texas for 40 years, I have concluded that in this state neither prisons, nor the attitudes of prison employees, are going to change to any great extent. Being employed at the prison definitely requires hooking up to the “good ole boy” team if one wants to be considered for the serious promotions. Today I see the same types of problems with the Texas prison I saw when I was first employed there in 1973. There are some improvements, but there are also many new problems to replace those resolved by the Ruiz civil rights suits. The economics of doing business with state and federal prisons has become an industry that has gotten too closely intertwined with government. This appears to be something that should cause great concern, but I do not see substantial improvement on the horizon. Prisons have become such an important factor in the economic survival of some small Texas towns that some of those communities might fail but for the fact they have one or more prisons to provide employment for the local workforce. Few correctional officers I have known over the last 40 years enjoy what they do for a living. Few offenders want to be in prison. The combination and interaction of these two groups makes for a negative mix in the work place. As a result, the society that exists in prison is less than positive.

The best suggestion I know for someone entering prison for the first time is keep to yourself for the most part, do not discuss your case, learn to occupy your time in a positive way, and take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way. By all means, do not allow yourself to become obligated to another offender. Prison is a cold, hard place to be, but you can get through it, and this episode of life will one day be past history. 95% of everyone who enters prison will someday be released. Prison can be a real wakeup call and a turning point (good or bad) in life. There are many offenders, mostly ex-addicts, who told me that having to go to prison saved their lives.

When I was a young man we had to deal with the military draft. Once in the military, young men usually “got the message,” and the military became the vehicle that pushed an individual into being a responsible citizen. Today we no longer have the draft, and the element of drugs have been added to our social mix. Today we send the same young people that used to get drafted to prison. I have concluded the military did a much better job of turning out responsible people than is currently produced in our prisons.