Writing the Wrong in Texas

Sometimes, being a voice for the voiceless means I must occasionally speak out on issues that are not directly related to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Boston Marathon bombing. Sometimes, I come across so grievous a matter that I am compelled to speak out.

The following is from an article I have just read on Twitter. It was written by Brandi Grissom, Austin Bureau Chief for The Dallas Morning News:

It is officially swelter season in Texas, and for most of the 150,000 inmates in the state’s sprawling prison system, it means another summer of seemingly endless months in cells where temperatures can climb north of 100 degrees.

I could stop there and write an entire blog post. That one sentence gives me enough to comment on. But I want to include the two sentences that follow it. And then I will have my say.

How many more summers prisoners live without air conditioning will depend on how and when the courts rule in a years-long fight between prisoner advocates and Texas corrections officials.

Here’s the sentence I could not believe I was actually reading:

The two sides are locked in a battle over whether super-heated conditions in Texas prisons are unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment and jeopardize inmates’ lives.

Really?

Some things you just know instinctively, reflexively, intuitively to be right or wrong. This is one of those things.

Yes – forcing human beings to live without air conditioning in prison cells where temperatures can reach higher than 100 degrees day after day is inhumane. It is cruel and unusual punishment. Case closed.

I believe the litmus test is this: Would you be willing to live this way?

For anyone who actually cares to know what God has to say, His Word, the Bible, does weigh in on the matter:

And they too will reply, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?”

Then the King will answer “Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me.”
Matthew 25: 44-45

Man complicates matters that are really so simple:

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

We used to learn the Golden Rule in grade school. It needs to be posted in every prison in this country. And guards need to be held accountable who do not follow it.

Although this article lists the arguments on both sides of the air conditioning issue, to me, it is all nonsense. The fact that this is an issue at all speaks to the hardness of the human heart, the callous indifference of those who run the Texas prison system. It is indicative of the prevalent attitude that “you get what you deserve” in prison.

Sadly, much of society has sunk to the level of justifying bad behavior by who that bad behavior is done to. In other words: criminals (and all who are incarcerated are not criminals) have ceased, in the minds of many, to be human beings who deserve common courtesy and what any rational person would call acceptable living conditions.

If only those officials who resist making this wrong right could see what punishment they are storing up for themselves when at last they face their Creator!

I agree with the writer of this article that prisoners in Texas will not have relief any time soon. The hearts of men must change first. Again, the Bible speaks to this matter:

The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17: 9-10

… Something to think about when these officials, and indeed all of us, go to bed in our air-conditioned homes tonight.

Published by: iwasleah10years

Winston Churchill said no crime is so great as daring to excel. I am ready to take that dare. An unexpected and somewhat unexplainable compassion for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has drawn me out of my comfort zone.

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6 thoughts on “Writing the Wrong in Texas”

  1. I am so glad you wrote about this Lynn. Unfortunately many people think prisoners deserve nothing but misery and suffering every day of their lives, and many, if not most prisons love doing just that. It’s incomprehensible to me that so many people are so cruel and unmerciful. However its the us gov and the prison officials who have the power to change these inhumane conditions, but they don’t want to and probably never will. They are sociopaths and psychopaths. Obama could care less. He had 8 years to do something but he did nothing. The powers that be in the US are pure evil.
    I’ve read so many horror stories from prisoners experiences that would make you sick. The gov has custody of every prisoner and is required to provide the basic care that every person needs but they fail miserably on purpose. Just sexual abuse alone is rampant in prisons yet no guard or prison official is ever prosecuted. Just like the catholic priest scandal finally came to light, so will the prison scandal come to light one day. Prisoners don’t even have the basic protection of the law. Anyone can do anything to them and prisoners are powerless to do anything about it.
    Since I have gotten involved in Dzhokhar’s case I’ve learned things that have shocked me so badly including what happens in prisons, ADX being the worst. Cruelty and inhumanity is so rampant in the US that I can see it crumbling into ruins one day, just like the Roman empire. God won’t put up with this forever. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, will have a whole new meaning for these psychopaths once their days on earth are over.
    The website- Solitary Watch- documents prison atrocities, among other things if anyone is interested.

    1. I know all you say is true Julie. I wish it weren’t. I think most people have an out of sight out of mind attitude about what goes on in prisons, telling themselves “this could never happen to me” but the reality is innocent people, like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, go to prison all the time. Since they do, the argument most people use (you get what you deserve in prison) doesn’t hold water either. The US has ceased to be a Christian nation, as evidenced by how this nation treats “the least of these.” I honestly don’t know if it will ever change.

  2. Thank you Lynn for bringing this to the attention of those who don’t know what really goes on in Texas prisons. Inmates are treated inhumanely and sometimes sexually assaulted by the guards. The blind, deaf and disabled are constantly beaten. Skull fractures are even reported. I have written many letters to Obama pointing out prison abuse and how he must change this before he leaves office. We must remember, even if they are incarcerated they are still human and a child of God. God would not want his children mistreated. It is the prison’s job to take care of them no matter what crime they have committed not deprive them of necessities like air conditioning especially in the sweltering Texas heat. Great blog Lynn as always. I’ll leave a link here so visitors to your blog can read of the inhumane treatment in one prison. God only knows what goes on in the other prisons in the so-called ‘Sweet Land Of Liberty’

    https://www.texastribune.org/2015/01/27/report-blind-deaf-disabled-inmates-abused-prison/

    1. I was glad to speak out but sad to have to. How do men give themselves permission to treat other men so cruelly, no matter what those men may have done… Sadly, we are not “better than that.”

      1. I agree Lynn! As if their ‘surroundings’ are not bad enough they have to deal with mistreatment while incarcerated…a subject I wish President Obama can fix before leaving Office. All Lives Matter should be the motto on every correctional officers ID. After all they are not worth a badge….

      2. Sadly loss of freedom is not seen as punishment enough in our revenge-crazed society.

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