April 2014 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
 "We tend to see a person in the moment, not as the journey they travelled to get here."  Kat Lehmann

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April 15th, 2014

So, I closed yesterday waiting for our shake down as we were told to get ready. At about two o' clock in the afternoon they gave us these red crates, that size-wise compares to the wooden box they used to give us. I guess they switched to the crates as a way of letting us pack our own things and decide for ourselves what we want to keep or allow them to take. Of course that doesn't mean they WON'T take things just because they can (more on THAT bit in a second!)....Well, I don't know where they store these crates but I'm pretty sure it's right next to the horses in a barn. The crate they gave me smelled of horse dookie and I noticed the smell as soon as they slid the crate to my cell door. I honestly thought it was one of the guards and made a crass comment about how we can't get showers regulary and people choose not to shower (I thought it was funny anyway:)) So, I let the guards put the hand cuffs on me and then the door opened, they slid the crate in and my senses were assaulted....I said, "Jesus! Did they let a horse take a steaming crap in this crate?" I was immediately transported back to the days at school in Kentucky when I was given a school suspension for swinging out the window of the dorm in an attempt to play a practical joke. It all came to a crashing end when my friend's brother was dropped two stories to the ground. Ugh!...For the record I did not drop him...A guy we called 'Muffalo' did. But I digress....I was suspended to the farm so I knew this smell all too well. Something like that never really leaves you. It lies dormant in your nostrils so that the painful childhood memories of farm crap can haunt you for the rest of your life. Thanks  0.B.I!

Anyway, I asked the guards if I could swap crates and I was told, "Oh, don't worry about it. They're gonna shake you guys down here in a bit. You'll  be okay." Grumble grumble grumble...I wiped the crate down the best I could and started packing my stuff. One hour passed. Two hours passed....Then it came to second shift and we were all told "Hey! We're gonna get you guys tomorrow!" WTF!?! Well, no one was happy to say the least because they pulled this stunt on us last week...Then, to add insult to injury a cold front came and boy did it ever get cold that night! Most of us had our clothes packed away in the crates! I tried to sleep last night but tossed and turned. Morning came and I woke up at about 5:30am. I slammed a cold cup of coffee and waited for the shakedown guards to arrive.

They finished e-section and then got to us at about eight in the morning. Stripped me, searched me and put me in a shower; waited in there for about an hour and then was returned to my cell. My initial reaction was "Jesus, it looks like a tornado went through my cell!" I mean, crap was everywhere. They dumped everything out of the crate and all over the floor. I wasn't sure what was there and what was missing until the property lady came with a pink form for me to sign and said, "We took your envelopes because you had no name and number on them..."I couldn't argue because she was right. It was my dumb ass fault for being too lazy to put my name and number on a thousand envelopes. Yeah, I have nothing but time in my cell but do you realize how freakin' tedious it is to have to write your name on a thousand things? Most guards don't even care! I mean, they belong to me. It's not like I can sneak off into another person's cell and steal their stuff! I cleaned my cell, washed the floor and walls to get rid of the smell of horse dung, and here I am.

HAHAHAHA...okay, I'm laughing my ass off right now. Imagine this: Prison bars, clanging and doors slamming in the echoing distance...Tough looking guards, and scary looking inmates, and then...what is that I hear in the distance? What could possibly break through the image of a scene out of Silence Of The Lambs? Someone singing..."Let it go!" hahaha. My G-d I have tears in my eyes! Like, some dude has seriously gone all broadway in their cell listening to that song on the radio (which admittedly, is a good song. The opening music sounds a bit Tori Amos to me.....damn you Disney!) and I can see them in my mind's eye, arms out stretched and just letting it go. What a bizarre world I live in.


April 14th, 2014

As I'm writing this I'm eating a stale (but somehow still delicious) peanut butter and jelly sandwich and waiting on my cell to be searched because they are finally on C-POD doing the shake down. We've been on lock down now for 8 days and I'm hoping that it will soon be over. We were supposed to be searched last week and we even went through the whole process of packing our stuff up and waiting but then, and for whatever reason (read: LAZINESS) they said for us to stand down, and it would probably be sometime the following week. You know, I was thinking if these tea party conservatives really wanted to be in a tizzy about something and actually save the state of Texas money instead of cutting educational and infrastructure budgets, they could do a complete overhaul of the state's prison system. I'm serious. I'm not just saying it because I'm a prisoner. More money gets wasted - I'll go out on a limb and say that on this unit alone - thousands of dollars a DAY. Guards are essentially paid to sit around and eat ice cream, do a 'security' check every 30 minutes and maybe some recreation and showers and THAT IS IT! When I worked in maintenance on the Connally Unit that department overcharged the state on items that you could buy from Home Depot or Lowes (construction supply companies) for a fraction of the cost. But even worse, and it happens on this unit as well, is that instead of doing 'general maintenance' or preventitive care they'd rather just let something break down completely and replace a whole part or unit, costing hundreds of dollars more. About the only thing they save money on is labor and contracting fees.  So...where are ya tea party???

Okay, okay, rant and rumble over....for now.  

Huh.....looks like the day is going to be exceptionally long; we were just told that night shift will probably shake us down. STOP THE MADNESS!!!


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