163 Chapters
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19 Drugs

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter nineteen

drugs

I

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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Part 5 Honing to a Fine Edge

Rudolph A. Rosen Texas A&M University Press ePub

No verbal abuse was too strong for her to direct at staff or volunteers. The highly placed officer of the nonprofit organization didn’t really care who was offended. This officer even boasted of her lack of tact. A small corps of people seemed to gain personal benefit in the organization under her shadow, but others were demonized.

Staff or volunteers who did anything the officer didn’t like became the subject of attack. In any conversation she was all knowing. Anyone with real knowledge quickly learned to shut up. She knew just enough to sound like she knew what she was talking about, until you listened long enough to realize she really didn’t.

None of that may have mattered if it wasn’t that this officer also drove away volunteers, donors, and staff. How much her inappropriate actions cost the organization in lost volunteers and investment in staff is hard to say. It’s hard to believe some organizations tolerate such toxic influences, but they do. This is not a story about one person. In my time serving nonprofit organizations, I have met several of these venomous people. They have been shes and hes, officers, spouses of officers, and members of the board. Such people persist in influencing nonprofit organizations because the leadership of nonprofits often function much like a family, with members establishing close, long-term relationships with each other. Families tolerate, forgive, and often turn a blind eye to their dysfunctional members. Many nonprofit organizations do, too, large, small, and in between.

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Chapter 11: Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

Lorie Rubenser and Gloria Priddy University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 11

Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission

Introduction

Brewing beer and making hard alcohol has occurred in this country from almost the moment of European settlement. Each industry has followed its own path of development, followed closely by attempts to control almost all aspects. Government control focuses mostly on taxation and regulation of sales.1

The American experience with alcohol has been controversial for much of our history, culminating in a period of Prohibition. The 18th Amendment, passed in 1919, banned the “manufacture, sale, or transportation . . .” of alcohol. Prohibition lasted 13 years and was ultimately a failure. The 21st Amendment ended Prohibition in 1933.2

The end of Prohibition did not signal an end to the issues surrounding the alcohol industry, however. The controversy over the proper role of alcohol continues, with groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) attempting to bring to light the bad side of alcohol usage. Drunk driving, public intoxication, and other offenses are violations of the law, which most law enforcement agencies may address.

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Part 2 Creating the Perfect Setting

Rudolph A. Rosen Texas A&M University Press ePub

Here I was, head of an organization poised to raise well over $500,000 from the people filling the auditorium, yet I had only a conceptual image of what was to happen next. No one had ever seen it. There was no way to have seen it, because there was only one opportunity to do it, and now it was time. The president of the organization didn’t have a clue what was going to happen, and he was starting to fidget. He would soon become upset. The invited guests were enjoying themselves—so far. Waitstaff were serving drinks, which was expected, of course.

I could hear the small talk starting. People were beginning to wonder what was going on. This event could be an absolute smash hit—at least in theory. We were assembled in an auditorium. Nothing was onstage. The nothingness was purposefully obvious. Looking onto the stage was like looking into a massive black hole. Nothing was in the seating area. Nothing was in the aisles. Nothing was anywhere and everywhere. A few people sat in the auditorium’s seats, but mostly they stood in small groups in aisles and just waited in the emptiness.

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23 The Echo

Jorge Antonio Renaud University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter twenty-three

the echo

T

he Echo is the Texas Prison Newspaper—our newspaper. It is tabloid-sized and published every month or two, then distributed via truck mail to the units and then to the living quarters. The Echo has been published more or less continuously since 1928 and has a circulation of

100,000 or so, giving it some standing among Texas papers.

The Echo’s contents can be divided into three types of articles: reprints of penal-related stores written for other papers; occasional columns or editorials written by the Echo’s staff; and recognition-type pieces: graduation notices, results of sports tournaments, and similar short articles submitted by inmates.

There is a Letters to the Editor page, and an advice column written by a mystery convict. This columnist, who like Madonna and Elvis has reached first-name status—Dear Darby—offers sarcastic and hilarious advice to letters that are genuine but often sound made-up. His column is a tradition and undoubtedly the most-read part of any given issue.

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