TEXAS TOUGH: A Texas Tragedy
Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied !
"Freedom is the United States founding creed. America is the land of the free, yet by one vital measure, it is less free than any nation on earth. I
t incarcerates a grater portion of its citizens than any other. With about 2.4 million persons under lock and key; the United States manages the largest penal system in the world, the grandest ever conceived in a democratic nation. Just as slavery once stood as a glaring exception to the American promise, so does imprisonment more than two centuries after the birth of the republic".
" In the prison business, all roads lead back to Texas. A pioneer in criminal justice severity, from mandatory sentencing to prison privatization, from super-max isolation to assembly line executions- Texas is the most locked down state in the most incarcerated nation in the world".
Author of Texas Tough: The Rise Of Americas Prison Empire
Texas Tough and Texas CURE
Since beginning this article I have accepted the position of Executive Director of the Texas CURE Chapter, that means Citizens United For the Rehabilitation of Errants for anyone unfamiliar with the organization. It is a prison reform organization started by Charlie and Pauline Sullivan in the 1970's that became international in 1985. Among the boxes of articles and work I received came the book "TexasTough". I saw it advertised on Amazon but had not yet got around to buying it. My mistake. It is an excellent chronicle of the Texas prison system from the beginning to the present. It is a hard read, both heart-wretching and heart-breaking. Texas has long held the title of the toughest and worst penal system in the nation. I have followers from all over the world who ask me questions regarding our institutions, the death penalty and other aspects of the Texas prison system. Many questions I did not know the answer to even though I worked in both the Criminal Justice System and the Texas Court System for many years. This book holds the answers to these and many more questions that anyone could have regarding corrections in Texas or the United States.
CURE started in Texas by Charlie and Pauline Sullivan in the 1970's when they were in county jails for small things such as protesting the Vietnam War. It was during these brief periods of incarceration that they became familiar with the stories of inmates and found their calling. Charlie was a former priest and Pauline was a former nun. You can read the whole story and our mission statement on our website at the link listed below. Their accomplishments are amazing and include the "Ruiz v. Estelle" case which was the first case for prison reform and decided by the Honorable William Wayne Justice, whom I have had the honor to be in his court many times in my career. He was the true example of what justice should be, he had that rare quality of tendering justice but laced with mercy. It was with much sadness that I was informed of his passing. CURE became International in 1985 and the national Office is located in Washington, DC now. I am honored to head the Texas Chapter and continue the fight for humane prison conditions and other issues such as the death penalty and excessively long sentences. Please visit the website it is truly a Godsend.
This hub will cover many things I have learned from the book as well as what I take with me from personal experience. I hope you will find it educational, and touching. I also hope that you will purchase the book and if you have or know anyone incarcerated, join CURE.
The Cold Hard Truth
In these past few months I haven't written much, my time has been devoted to my position at CURE. It is a job that I both love and is dear to my heart. I have now read Texas Tough a total of 4 times. I answer letters from inmates, their families, citizens who are concerned or just curious. i look for resources for them, I help them find transitional housing, jobs opportunities and other basic necessities. Due to the inability of a offender to obtain public housing, food stamps, educational loans and other services that could help the person turn his life around and maybe make a new start...he is left with nothing. Do we then really wonder why the recidivisim rate is so high? We are giving them no other choice than to turn back to the life that sent them to prison in the first place.
Texas is among the worst of the worst, the baddest of the bad. The Criminal justice system in Texas is a political machine. You do not get elected in TYexas by being soft on crime...no matter that the offender may happen to end up being the victim in the game of politics (ie: Cameron Todd Willingham). Former Governor George Bush's hard on crime stance took him to the white house and took the United States to a needless war in Iraq that still is costing the lives of thousands of our young people today. Texas's reputation for administering the death penalty is notorious.
The cold hard truth is that the word "correction" has taken on a new meaning in Texas. The rehabilitation prospective has turned to revenge and there are many victims...
I am pleased with my position at cure and feel that it really makes a difference. The persons I work with are volunteers, most like myself work from their homes, donating their time and often money to help others see the changes needed to make the correctional system what it was meant to be....a second chance.