TEXAS DEATH ROW CONDITIONS
And what has been happening here? Every time something good is about to happen, then something bad happens and it cancels out the good plans. If the men could behave, then I think that good things (like small groups of recreation) could be restored. The officers are willing to do it, because then they have less volume of individual work, but the officers do not make the policies; administration makes the policies!"
Since the chaplain was attacked...we must sit on our bunds during feeding time. They tell us to sit on our bunks, then the door (the food slot door) is opened and they set a tray on the door, then they back away from the door and we go to the door and grab the tray, set down our cup (if we want juice or tea), then we must return to our bunk again and sit down before they will fill the cup with a drink. They they back away from the door and tell us to come get it. After we return to our bunk, then they shut the food slot door.
It's a tedious policy, and not all of the officers follow it. Only some of them! At any other time, they do not follow this policy (when they are passing out laundry, picking up food trays, and so forth).
Nothing else has really changed since my last report. We recreate individually still. The necessities are all passed out during the daytime, so we do have peaceful nights for the most part. Meal times are 3 or 4 a.m., 3 or 4 p.m., and 10 p.m.
The shakedowns, cell-searches, are more respectful here. The officers search our cells more professionally than they do at the Ellis Unit where many times properties are destroyed.
What bothers the men the most here though is that we have nothing to do. The men, most of us anyway, would like to have the work program, group recreation, craft privileges, and television again. Of course that would be ideal, but any one of those privileges returned would be a great improvement. Group recreation would be a good start, because this lack of human contact is very taxing on the mind and tension easily builds up amongst the men. Humans need human contact of some type; it's just our nature. As it stands now, the only contact we get is when an officer places manacles on our arms before we leave the cell to go to the shower, visitation, or recreation.
Another problem that still exists is the lack of visitation cages for "special" visitors who visit from overseas, etc. The prison is only reserving a few of these cages for that purpose and I have heard that a few penpals have been denied special visits because of a lack of visiting cages. That should not be.
Other than that, I cannot think of any atrocities. We are placed on "lockdown" a lot and when that happens, we receive the same food stuffs at every meal (peanut butter and pancake sandwiches). That gets old very quickly!
Outside of those things, this place is not too bad. I mean, no matter where we go, it will still death row. The lack of human contact is the worst. I personally can go without television (although I will miss the Olympics and football!!!), but I listen to the radio a lot, and I get plenty of world events from it. But men must find ways to remain creative. Creativity is the last vestige of our humanity in here to remind ourselves that we are living beings! It would be nice to see the craft privileges restored."