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15 Substance Abuse

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter fifteen

substance abuse


his will be a short chapter. The inescapable truth is that there exists no meaningful substance abuse treatment program for the great majority of Texas convicts. Regrettably, this seems to be the direct result of public opinion. In 1990, newly elected Governor Ann Richards promised a new era in the way Texas would approach its exploding prison population. Recognizing that much of crime in Texas was committed by men and women either under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or stealing to amass the money to buy drugs or alcohol, Richards proposed setting aside tens of thousands of prison beds to house substance abusers.

There would be entire units devoted to rehabilitating addicts—therapeutic communities where perimeter security would be enhanced by convict serenity; where counselors would attempt the radical notion of fighting crime by preventing it, instilling hope and self-esteem into addicts who until then had known only the dreary treadmill of jail, dope, and crime.

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Chapter 18 – Lockdowns

Jorge Antonio Renaud The University of North Texas Press ePub



Rarely does TDCJ label anything so accurately. A lockdown is just that—every inmate in the locked-down wing, block, dorm, or unit is confined to his cell or cubicle, with no movement, no work, no recreation, no school, no visit, and with sometimes only cold sack lunches to eat for weeks on end. Lockdowns may last from hours to months and are imposed by wardens for different reasons. Although the ranking officer on duty has the authority to order a lockdown, anything lasting more than a few hours and affecting more than a few inmates will be ordered by a warden, and it must be justified to the regional and system directors.

Some wardens order lockdowns every six months or so to search the unit for tobacco, drugs, or weapons. These lockdowns are usually in the middle of the week, last only twenty-four to seventy-two hours, and do not disrupt visiting schedules. Many inmates welcome these lockdowns, as they offer three-day vacations from work. However, if a unit is plagued by continual violence, or if a riot is believed imminent, officials will order a lockdown that may last from a seventy-two-hour cooling off period to months. These longer lockdowns usually are on close-custody wings, where more violent inmates are concentrated.

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19 Drugs

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter nineteen



n March of 1995, TDCJ outlawed the use of tobacco products on all of its units, by both guards and inmates. Trumpeted as a cost-saving measure, the move probably did save the system millions of dollars. Building interiors no longer needed the constant repainting due to layers of smoke scum. The damage done by incidental, and sometimes intentional, fires was eliminated. Convicts suffering from asthma, emphysema, and other lung ailments could literally breathe easier, and convicts’ health improved overall, dropping the system’s medical cost.

One totally unintended consequence of the new tobacco policy was a sharp decline in drug trafficking, as the convicts who sold drugs—and the guards who smuggled them—realized the enormous profits and relatively low risks of now trafficking tobacco. While drugs are still available—especially on the units where older convicts retain their lifelong addiction to heroin—the businessmen who maintained the large operations now deal tobacco, not cocaine or marijuana.

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4 Clothing

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter four



hink about what your taste in clothes says about you. Your wardrobe reflects your personality. Your grasp of fashion, your sense of color and texture, your hairstyle—all say something about your individuality.

The state prison does not want inmates to be individuals. It pursues policies that result in depersonalization, in a loss of personal identity, and it then justifies these policies in the name of security. There are various reasons for this. The first is that inmates who look like inmates dressed similarly, and all unlike the general population – are easy to recognize if they escape. An inmate who walked out the front gate wearing jeans, a designer shirt, and a pair of brand-name tennis shoes would easily merge with everyone else. Depersonalization is also for the guards’ benefit. If they do not see us as people, but as a mass of interchangeable inmates, they will not readily form associations with us. They will not have sympathy for us, show us leniency, or worse, bring us drugs and guns. Lastly, inmates who lose their sense of self are less likely to rebel.

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1. The Unique Characteristics of Water and Water Rights in Texas

Porter, Charles R. Texas A&M University Press ePub


Determining a water right in Texas depends on which of three geological containers holds the water.1 The first container is surface water, or water that flows on the surface of the ground in a watercourse.2 The State of Texas owns the water in a watercourse. The assessment of what makes up a watercourse can be complicated, so the safest way to look at ownership of surface water is to consider all water flowing in any stream or area with bed and banks to be surface water. Surface water is not yours to own but, except in unique situations, is owned by the State of Texas. Knowing this may save you many dollars in fines and hours of angst. If you have a question about surface water ownership on real property you own or are considering purchasing, ask the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for a determination.

The second geological container is known as diffused surface water, or rainwater that runs off your roof or over the surface of your land without flowing in a stream or channel. The water in this container is owned by the landowner.

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