Oct-Dec 2022 - Randy Halprin

Randy Halprin
"You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending" C.S. Lewis
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October 2nd, 2022

As I write this I'm listening to the brand new Pinochio that just came out on Disney Plus, on the prison radio station. I'm thinking, “How on earth did they get this so fast?” When I was younger, my dad used to always tell me the story of Pinochio and I never really got it until I was on Death Row. I  just thought it was a cute Disney story, but now, looking back on it and really understanding it I can see how, with the choices we make, it can turn us in to jackasses...I get it now. Funny how a parent's wisdom doesn't often catch up to us until after we stumble.  

The weekend has been pleasant and peaceful.  Some guys are irritated that the field ministers haven't been by for anything or to even show a movie, and I had to tell them there was an execution on the 5th and that on the last weekend before a scheduled execution, Troop rolls up a TV to that person's door and gives them the option to watch movies or not. I was surprised that some guys didn't know that.  

There's some rumors going around this weekend that they've been passing about paperwork for phone numbers to be registered for the tablets. It's a security precaution that they have to verify each phone number and the prisoner will only ever be able to call those numbers pre-approved. The system won't allow any other number. There is also voice analytics as well...Another rumor flying about is that Warden Dickerson is going to announce a visitation schedule change this coming week. I know many people have been complaining that General Population can have back to back special visits, while DR, which used to have the same – pre-pandemic – no longer have that option. Many people were complaining that it puts an unfair financial burden on friends and family because if they want a special visit, they have to stay an additional day or two. So, hopefully the Warden has taken this into account and is going to change things.  

I've spent the weekend still in a bit of shock over the recent concession from the state and their agreeing that I should get a fair trial. On Thursday I was listening to the news and heard a report again about it and I have to say, I can never get used to hearing my name mentioned on the news...it's so weird, especially when they call you a murderer and you know you're not. If this ever winds down, I'll be relieved to never hear my name mentioned again in the media, or social media. I just want to focus on my writing projects with Taffy, and living a life of purpose and contributing something positive to the world.  

I can't believe it's October already....Geeze, time is flying by!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


October 4th, 2022

It seems like rec days are so chaos filled these days. I think it's because we rarely get recreation properly anymore, so when it happens, everyone is like a race horse and ready to burst out the gate. I was out first this morning and the noise – even at 6am, was maddening. One of the things I liked about first round is that it's typically peaceful and quiet. I can work out, walk around, think to myself and not have a thousand interruptions, but that doesn't happen anymore.

I had a legal call today and it went really well. The interesting thing is that my attorneys were just as surprised that the state recommended a new trial as I was. They had no warning, no sign they would concede, and then, BAM! They did! As far as I understand, we still have to submit our reasons for why I should be granted a new trial, and then the judge that held the hearings still has to give her recommendation to the CCA...That could be around November, and after that, who knows what the CCA will do or how long it will take?

As people know by now, my memoir is out and I'm more than thrilled with it. It looks great and it's been perfectly put together, and for it being self-published, you couldn't ask for more. The time that has gone into this from designing the cover (which I'm actually liking how it turned out with our vision for it) to writing, editing, and fine tuning it. I have a tendency to want to over edit, but even if it's lengthy, it tells the story I want to tell and for me,  helps to set the narration of my life that has been in the hands of others all these years. The ultimate goal of it though, is to help others. To help that parent who might think a rigid tough love is the answer, or who ignores the cries of their children who are begging for help. To always keep the door open for them, and know that they can return home if they're willing, and show they're capable of doing what it takes to get straightened out...Or for a young teen to see how things, or simple acts of impulsive behaviour can spin their lives out of control. You've gotta stop and think and understand that actions have consequences...always. And any money received will go to charities to help kids as a means of atonement for those hurt by my actions in the past...I really hope people will get a physical copy of the book and help me to help others.

Tablet rumours abound and we're being told that it could be at the end of October, but I have to say that when I was in the hallway today and saw sections of conduit and how things were being put up...it didn't instil a lot of confidence in that projected date! It's a hot mess, but hope springs eternal so maybe they'll have an A-team come in and get it all done. In the words of Mike and the Mechanics, “All I need is a miracle”...That being said, I'd gladly go back to life before the tablets to have my calls with my Taffy, or friends overseas.

Today on the prison station the DJ played the entire 1996 Part Two playlist to my Memoir!It was really cool to hear it in the order it's listed, and I had a flood of memories come back as I listened! It was like reliving those times all over again!

Courage. Strength. Hope and faith.


October 9th, 2022

It's Sunday and I can't seem to get my brain to function very well, today. My body is sore from going outside and jump roping. I normally don't exercise on Saturdays because I do (loosely) try to observe Shabbos as best I can, but the guy I was outside with challenged me to do 600 jumps with a handmade jump rope he made, thinking I couldn't do it, so I showed him up and did 1000...Well, it was fun at the time, but my body is paying for it today! Every part of me hurts. If you're 45 or older, nothing tells you your age more than a jump rope. I dare you (ha ha). That being said, it was great exercise and I'm having a jump rope made for me and I'm going to start getting into it. It's very addictive!

The weekend has been so-so...I've not been very productive, but I have been doing a lot of thinking about this place. I really try not to think cynically and I'm grateful for the things I have and the blessings that come my way, but I can't help but see that things here sometimes suck and they're pulling the wool over people's eyes on the outside. They're giving this illusion that things are getting better, conditions are improving, and hey, everyone,  they're going to get tablets! And yes...tablets are going to be cool and a game changer for the system as a whole, but in a lot of ways, especially for those of us who have friends, family, and loved ones overseas...it's going to create a lot of problems. It's going to take us back to the stone ages because the Securus system completely cuts off access to our people overseas, at least in TDCJ. Dallas was different because I could use a call forwarding number to stay in touch with people, but TDCJ isn't allowing it...

But even on a more microscopic level, here within the prison itself...sure, they've opened it up for us to take a few classes, and there's a faith based program for most people...(even if they DO exclude people that want to participate for arbitrary reasons)...So, it's not open to ALL, but...as I like to call it, this is the good ol' Texas Two Step, and for every one thing we might gain, we lose two things...They're trying to restrict us now with time spent with attorneys...They've still not fixed the recreation situation – we used to get five days and we're lucky if we get two or three days a week now...The food most days is pure awful, and I'm the kind of person that hates to complain about food because I know people are starving across this world, but what angers me most about the food is that if they'd just invest in some healthier options, people would be healthier and eat everything, therefore not wasting thousands of gallons and pounds of food each day. Literally, there are days they just give us two pancakes with a smear of peanut butter and jelly and a biscuit or slice of bread for breakfast that most people just flush down the toilet! If you write someone on DR ask them, if they eat the pancakes...Total waste!...They've still not fixed the visitation problems on DR – putting an unfair burden on many family members and friends just to visit us, while General Population has a much more flexible visitation schedule...something we used to have pre-pandemic.  

Some will say, “Yeah, but you get a movie every now and then.” Sure...every two to three weeks we get a movie brought in and it's a treat. I love it, but it doesn't replace recreation or fresh air. It doesn't solve all the other issues we have.  

My other issue is this...and the execution of John Ramirez solidified this thought in my mind...John Ramirez, like myself, was an early participant on the prison radio station. He did a lot to use the attention on his appeals to shine a light on the radio station.  When the faith based program and classes began, he was one of the first to attend, as others did as well...One of the issues, or 'special issues' as the justice system calls them in a Death Penalty case, that the jury has to answer is, “Will this person continue to be a threat to society?” If they believe that, and answer 'yes', along with two other questions, then the conclusion is death.  

So, here's my question: If a person takes classes, shows both mental/spiritual maturation and growth, as John did...Gives back not to just their prison community, but to society, asks for forgiveness and atones...how is this person still a threat to society? That question is eliminated and therefore can no longer stand as a justification to kill someone. Right? So, while these classes are great and give us something to do, I fear they're being used to show politicians and others like, “Look how great things are in Texas! Look at what we're doing here! Look at how great things are in Texas!” And of course, people then think that there's no reason to get out there and make things better....change conditions, and why would they? The machinery of death still turns.  

Again, I hate to sound cynical, but as long as the state keeps killing us, it's a bit difficult to see it any other way. You know what proves the growth and change of these men though? What proves they aren't a continuing threat to society? The fact that they know these programs more than likely won't save their lives, and they still do it anyways. Let that sink in...Most of us really do want and ask for forgiveness. Most of us really do want to mature mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Most of us do want to be better human beings before we check out. Our involvement is testament to all of that. Even if the State is using it all as a smokescreen, and sprinkling sugar on a turd.  

Sigh...I don't know...I guess the more likely it looks that I will get off of death row, the more I think about the men I could leave behind and really how unfair it all is because there should be many more besides myself who should make it....And not just because of unfair trials or being screwed over by the system...but because some of these guys deserve second chances and aren't beyond redemption. I always say, “judge a person by their actions, not their words.” And if you look at so many people here and look at the people they were when they came to death row and who they are now after years of sitting here...

Food for thought, I suppose.  

On other thoughts, I'm wondering if we'll be on lockdown soon – this week or next? We're approaching the six month unit lockdown they have in the fall and we all dread it and know it will be a long one...I do hope it's a good week though. We shall see.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


October 10th, 2022

I totally forgot that today would be a holiday, even if things here are pretty much running as normal. I've done my best to keep busy today working on all sorts of things, but my thoughts are kind of distracting me. I need to stop listening to the news, especially during a time of political ads and campaigning for the mid term elections...Geeze, these ads...I can't believe that people buy them and can't seem to think for themselves. Both sides are so melodramatic. I make no bones about being progressive on some issues, but I do wish things would move back to center and we could have sensible representatives that can compromise and be honest.

What really gets my goat these days is these BS campaign ads that talk about being tough on crime....They're such horse crap! Tough on crime doesn't work!!! Am I saying “let everyone go free and not have accountability? NO....I'll leave that to the lunatic fringe. But tough on crime didn't work in the '80s and '90s, so what in the world makes people think it'll work now? You've got to be smart on crime. How about spending more money in the education system and stop politicising every damn thing and focus on education and after school programs? How about investing in vocational skills so that kids that don't like school can learn a trade? How about instead of building multimillion dollar football stadiums for teenagers, you put that money into the community for things like recreation centers, parks etc? How about we do something about the freakin' gun problem? Or teach our kids to value life, compassion, and empathy? There's a thousand ways to tackle this issue and it all gets ignored in favor of just locking everyone up and throwing away the key.

And how on earth can you say you want to be tough on crime when the Texas AG is under indictment for alleged crimes and he gets to run for another term in office, will probably win, and skirt his day in court again. These people are insane! It's just mind boggling.


I hope smart people will actually start voting instead of sitting on the sidelines and letting these bozos run things.

That being said, I do feel a little better today. And I do feel hopeful and positive. It may not seem like it, but I do...Over the weekend I was just a bit down thinking about conditions here and how there's this illusion that everything is hunky dory because tablets are coming, and there are classes we can take, or a faith based progrem etc...I think things could be better if people speak up more. I do think people confuse physical punishment and emotional punishment. People think that prisons aren't like what they used to be because guards can't just beat the crap out of us and get away with it, or torture us, but a person can be beat up emotionally....And honestly, that damage is far worse than physical conditions. When I came back from Dallas a sergeant that has been here since 2003 when I first arrived, processed me back in and we had a normal conversation. It was nice, and we talked about how things have changed over the years and I said, “It's got to be strange to watch all of us from then, still here, ageing, as it is for us watching y'all age.” She said, “Yeah, there's that, but it's weirder and sadder to me how some of y'all have been mentally broken and gone crazy.” And then we talked about a few guys that seemed physically strong and had things together, but eventually break.

All that being said, I'm still hopeful that things will get better.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


October 19th, 2022

It's freezing! We've had a freak cold front in mid-October that has put Livingston, Texas, at 37.5F...I wanted fall weather, but not winter weather, quite yet. Let me ease into it for crying out loud! They've not even passed out blankets yet! Seriously, though, it's cold and I do like it. I was done with the extreme heat, although it's supposed to warm back up tomorrow.  

I've found it difficult to write much of late. I've been in a lethargic state, but I'm trying to force myself back into things and staying busy. It happens.  

There's just not much of anything going on here...It's been kind of dead. We're on pins waiting for whenever the lockdown for the unit is going to start, but the light in that is, as the rumor is going, is that during the lockdown Securus will wrap up their installation and begin passing out tablets, but honestly, I don't see that happening. I look around and there's still a lot of work to be done, so unless they have a crew that is going to work 24/7 I'd say it's more like the end of November that things will finish up. We're getting there, just not fast enough.  

I've got about two weeks left in my Voyager Class, but if we go on lockdown it'll delay graduation. It's hard to believe I've been doing it for 6 months now and I'm grateful that I was allowed to complete the weeks that I missed while in Dallas. I can't wait to get the certificate and send it off to my Taffy – she told me she's going to proudly display it in her workshop! That's something to look forward to!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


October 26th, 2022

It's a chilly but thankfully quiet Wednesday afternoon. Yesterday's noise on the pod was at an ungodly level! I mean, we can expect recreation to have a certain level of noise, but of late it's been crazy. I couldn't even think yesterday. I was lucky enough to get outside and have a little reprieve and I played 40 games of basketball (losing horribly, I should add) came back in, and then things settled down after rec was over.  

This morning they didn't do showers and kept the section's lights off and so I thought we were on lockdown. I don't want this lockdown because we lose the calls during that time, but we do want it to be over because 12 building has to do one more in December as well. But it turned out to be a false alarm and only due to a staff shortage.  

Securus came in to do some work on A-section and we could hear a bunch of drilling and banging, but we have no idea what they're working on. At that same time, the Field Minister came in to show a movie, but went to the other side of the pod because of the noise over here. They're watching Avengers End Game on E-Section as I write this.  

I don't know why, but of late it's been hard to write much. I had a creative burst last Friday and wrote a bunch of notes for an idea on a screenplay, but trying anything else has been 'bleh'. I'm doing my school work (one more lesson to go until I graduate one of the classes) and not wasting time, but trying to do what I can...Trying other things seems to be falling flat right now, but I'll get through.  

I've been tempted at times to go on a political rant, but I'll spare everyone. All I can say is I am nervous, but I hope people can use a bit of common sense and smarts when they vote. Why does every election cycle have to be so nerve-racking?  

And that's what it's been like for the past couple of weeks. I'll try harder to get more journals out. I'm just in a lull right now.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


October 29th, 2022

A cool and grey Saturday....I'm waiting on a shower as I type this. It was looking like we might not get showers but they've started them up – that's a relief!

I've lately been looking like a pirate...On Thursday I noticed some puffiness in my right eye. I didn't pay it much attention and went on about my day as normal, and then on Friday when I woke up my eye was completely swollen shut. I was thinking, “What in the world?”  

I was due out first for rec but when the guards came to pull me out, one of them asked me what happened and I told them I had no idea. It didn't hurt...it was just swollen, so she sent me to medical immediately. The nurse didn't know what it was either – maybe an insect bite, or an infected hair follicle...So they put me on antibiotics and gave me an antibacterial cream to rub on my eye and then wraps to put over my eye – hence, me looking like a pirate. It's still swollen today, but it does feel like it's gone down a bit. But over all, just a weird experience.  

So, in the seemingly never-ending saga of Securus, we've now been told that we can expect things to be finished in 3-4 weeks. It's funny (but really, quite sad) that every time they give us a projected date for completion, we cruise right on past that date and it's another three to four weeks. I guess it'll happen whenever it happens.  

It's been kind of 'bleh' the last couple of days, but something did happen that made me think about why people feel the need to be so vile and hateful towards another if it's something they don't like or aren't happy with. I've written a lot about how justice for some means vengeance, but we've gotten to this point in life whether it be politically or personally where some people feel the need to act out with violence and vile words...

When it comes to me, if you hate me...fine. There's nothing I can do or say that is going to change your mind if your heart is filled with hate and vengeance. I'm not going to respond to hate with hate. I can only move forward and continue to work on myself and live a productive life, giving back where I can. I would hope that my actions – not words – will convince naysayers, but again, if your mind is made up I can't change that and you'll refuse to accept anything I do anyway. It hurts, but I can only move forward in who I know I am.  

What really confuses me is when there are people that say they believe in justice and believe in the Constitution, but really don't. Oh, they'll cherry pick things just as they do with the Bible, but when someone points out that hey, Halprin has a fundamental right to a fair trial and he didn't get that because the judge was a bigot and biased, and therefore Halprin deserves a new trial, they act as if some injustice has been done to society because they FOLLOW the constitution. Then, they want to get mad at the sitting judge or my attorneys or me, or my girlfriend, but it's like, “Hey...I understand, but please don't get mad at me or those I love! If you're going to be upset at someone be upset at the bigoted judge that didn't give me a fair trial in the first place.” I don't want to die for something I didn't do, but the harsh reality of it all is that if the judge hadn't been a bigot I'd probably be dead right now.  

Again though, why attack people that love and support me? And you know, I don't want to point out the obvious, but if you believe in law and order and then you go and threaten to hurt people, it's actually against the law. But there goes your cherry picking for ya, huh? Just stop with the hatefulness. I don't hate you or anyone. I've asked for forgiveness, and I'm sincere. Don't lower yourself to the standards of the criminals you hate.

This world needs much more forgiveness and love...And on that note, I'll close this for the day.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


November 3rd, 2022

Today was a busy day. I went outside at 8am and it was quite humid and warm. I worked the jump rope, did some squats, and talked with the guy I was outside with.  

I had to wait for a shower for quite a long time, so I did my best to keep busy. I've been wondering when I'll receive my certificate for the Voyagers class that I finished...I know that in  General Population they have an actual graduation ceremony, and party. But not us on 12 Building. But it's graduating and receiving my certificate that I care about most of all.  

My eye is almost completely healed, so I'm relieved about that. I still have no idea what caused it but the antibiotics worked. It was really weird though.  

The weekend is almost here and this week has flown by! We'll see next week whether we end up on lockdown or not.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


November 6th, 2022

It's a lazy Sunday but I'm doing my best to keep busy and get through the day. My Sundays are typically filled with scrubbing my cell down and checking every nook and cranny for cockroach eggs, doing laundry, and little chores to prepare for the new week. I like to listen to movies while I do this so I put my headphones on, and get to it.  

It's a bit surprising that we're not on lockdown yet. The rumor is that they want to have us on lockdown so that Securus can pass out tablets and do a unit wide systems check, and while that makes sense, on the surface, Securus is still a month or longer away from completing. So, I don't put any faith in that.

Here's some cool and exciting news though. The ground breaking Polunsky Unit Radio Station is going to have a website and 'gofundme' page. The website should eventually live stream so that people all across the world can listen. You'll be able to find the site at <tanknation.org> and the gofundme will be used to support the station with its needs for either equipment, movies, music etc.  

It's a really exciting time.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  

November 14th, 2022

It's a grey, cold and wet Monday morning as I type this. Field Minister Troop is on A-section showing the guys over there a move called, Eye In The Sky. We've decided over here we're going to watch After Sunset - a heist comedy with Woody Harrelson. I've never listened to it or watched it before so I hope it's good. Troop has Top Gun: Maverick but it's a blu ray version and he doesn't have a blu ray player...That was disappointing to hear!

Well, we just got off of a long Veterans Day weekend. It was beautiful Saturday and Sunday. The sky was crisp and clear, no humidity...I'd have liked to get outside, but they didn't have rec on Saturday and ended up doing make up recreation on Sunday. At first I was going to sleep in, but I've been waking up super early of late and decided to go. I'm glad I did, but I let someone get under my skin. There's a guy here they call 'Chuck' and he's the most arrogant, self-centred, and narcissistic person I know...I try to give him a chance and treat him kindly and often forgive him when he does things that are just...selfish. The only way to describe this guy is to say think about a young Trump...That's this dude. But I try. I really do.

So, he's got some kind of measles or mumps...something is going on with him to the point that they've got him under quarantine. They won't let him out of his cell and when he goes to the shower he has to go last and then they've got to spray the shower down. Typically, when a person is in the day room we do our civil service by helping guys pass books or  magazines, food or even the occasional note to other guys by 'fishing'...He asked me if I'd help him pass something and I looked at him crazy and said, “Seriously? Dude, you're under quarantine. C'mon Chuck...” He got mad and started raising his voice and I said, “Listen to what you're saying...If it's 'not contagious' why are they pulling you out of your cell last and bleaching everything? Do you ever think of anyone but yourself? You're going to have me get something from you and risk contamination and then risk someone else because then they have to pass it and then risk the receiver. That's insanity.”

He didn't like that at all and started to cuss at me and I just said, “Yeah, yeah...That still doesn't change things. You'll be alright. “

Look, everyone has their flaws back here. We can all get under one another's skins at times...I sing when a good song comes on. I lose track of my surroundings and let it rip...I'm sure I sound like a wounded harpee to some, but I do try to think of others. But this guy...I could give a thousand examples of his selfishness and he just doesn't learn or care when people point it out to him.

Sorry...I had to vent because I've been keeping that in since yesterday...Forgive me!

I started my day at 4am today. No idea why I woke up so early. I exercise and listened to a Cranberries CD that my Taffy donated to the Tank, and then made it to the shower. I'm way ahead of schedule on things, but it's good because a movie would be a good distraction right now. We're hoping Troop might stop by sometime today – they're watching a movie on the next section right now.

The movie just ended, so let's see if he's coming over here next and we'll watch.

We just watched After the Sunset. It was surprisingly good. Funny, and a bit of action and drama. I enjoyed it. They've moved on to C-Section now and they're watching Avengers: Infinity Wars.

Well, there's nothing else to report for now. I'm going to eat lunch and get back to some work. It's nice and cool...a proper Fall with lots of rain!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 15th, 2022

It's been a long and chaotic day and I've felt so drained like the entire day. I had enough sleep, but when I went to rec at 8.30pm it hit me hard. I tried working out a little, keeping it light, but I never really got into it. I've felt a bit 'bleh' but I'm feeling better now that I've talked to my Taffy tonight for my 5 minute phone call.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll feel a bit better.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 19th, 2022

For all of the talk about positive change on Polunsky – and there is in some areas – it truly seems that for every step forward, we take two steps back...These past couple of days have reminded me of that.

It started on Thursday. We have some new recruits as guards and this is a wild bunch. I don't know if a bunch of young guys bought into the 'You can protect your community and Texas!' advertisements that TDCJ has been running over the airwaves in an attempt to hire more Officers, but all of a sudden we have a bunch of young 20 year old hot shots that are right out of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.

We went to commissary on Wednesday and because it's the holiday season we're only going once a month for November and December. There are guys that have little or no support so some of us put together some snacks and hygiene items to help these guys – especially during the holiday. Who wants to go without during this time? Well, I was first up for recreation on Thursday morning and I was in the day room. There was a flood of things to help get passed around while we could and I was passing food this way and that way...never really having a break to myself, but it's just the way it is at times and a lot of us just look at it as doing our civil service and helping our community.

I had a particularly hefty bag of goodies and food and I felt like Santa Clause trying to get it passed when one of these hot shot new recruits walked up to the day room I was in and said, “Give me that bag.” I looked at him like he'd sprouted a second head and said, “I'm sorry, but I can't do that. This is going to someone who doesn't make store and we all pitched in to help him out. It's what we do back here. So, no...I'm not going to give it to you.”

Now, technically I could have gotten in trouble for disobeying a direct order, but I know who the ranking officers were that day and knew I could explain to them the situation because they know we help each other out back here. I did, however, have to fight the urge to be a smart ass back to him...I'm only  human! It irritated me...He looked at me in disbelief that I didn't just hand it over and then he said, “Well make it disappear,” but he didn't budge. He just stayed there looking at me. If you saw the intensity in his stare down you would have laughed because it was so melodramatic, like if he stared me down hard enough I'd cave and hand it over.

I looked back at him and said, “I need you to disappear if I'm to make this bag disappear.” Another officer waved him away and I could finally get it to where it was going. Even with the Officers that know we pass things like books, magazines, and food, we try to respect the Officer and not do it in their face. It's a common courtesy and I hope the older Officer explained it to him.

Later that day I was told I was being moved. I'd only been in that cell for 2 months and I thought I'd be there at least 6 months. I was a little surprised, and couldn't believe it. Especially because I requested to be moved there after I came back from Dallas. I didn't end up getting into my new cell – which isn't bad in terms of the view outside. I can see the sunrise, the parking lot, people coming and going...It's not a bad section at all. Not the greatest view for the movies when they roll in, but I can handle that. But I was still confused as to why I had been moved so suddenly.

I can't believe we're entering into the holiday week. We've been told we're having baked chicken for Thanksgiving...That'll be nice.

That's pretty much been the weekend.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 20th, 2022

Today I watched Endgame for the fifth time. Troop said he's seen it like 12 times! It really is a great movie.

It's been a peaceful Sunday. I've kept busy and I'm looking forward to the holiday this week. I think I need it for sure.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 21st, 2022

I'd like to start this entry out today by asking people to pray for the victims of the LGBTQ community in Colorado Springs after another mass shooting...I've been to Colorado Springs and found it to be a beautiful city full of not only very kind people, but a diverse community. I suppose I could vent about how some people refuse to tackle the US gun problem...but it'd be a rhetorical rant.

It's another cold and grey day here...I'm beginning this early in the morning as I wait on a shower. I've been going through my stuff, down sizing – one, because if they start moving me regularly again, I hate having to pack a bunch of stuff and clutter...And two, is that I started having this feeling yesterday that my time on Polunsky is winding down and I  need to be prepared if the CCA ends up ruling quickly in my favor. I just kept feeling like, “You gotta start getting ready now. The last thing you want is for a ruling to come and then abruptly leave for Dallas.” I mean, I'm hoping my Judge makes her decision any day now and then it'll go the CCA and who knows how long they can take. We've got all of the pieces in place – we've proved our position and the State has said we proved our position...I guess the CCA could be spiteful and make me wait, but maybe they also want to be done with it and just send me on my way? That being said, I do remain cautiously optimistic because anything could go wrong. I'm in Texas after all...

If my instructor from my night time class keeps to what he said on the radio last week, I should have my certificate today. I really hope so because I put a lot of work into it for six months and had to make up the month that I lost when I was away in Dallas during the summer. If I hadn't crammed I'd have had to start all over. I'm a month in on my Voyager II Class and I really like this one because the instructor doesn't allow us to 'phone it in' and requires us to write an essay each week. He's already chastised a few guys taking the class and said if they expected to get away with not doing the assignments and receive a 'free' certificate, they've got another thing coming. So, he's definitely not a pushover. I'm enjoying it because he really expects you to look inward and look at how you can make yourself a better person. Two guys have already dropped out on my pod.  

Oh, oh...We're having an 'incident'. Apparently the mail room lady gave a guy up here the wrong mail. She brought him a Shutterfly order of pictures that he signed for, and after she left, he started looking at the photos and they were of people he didn't even know. For perspective, the guy is black and the pictures he received were of a white family. So, he asked that the mail room come back and when she did he said, “I don't know what's going on, but I don't know these people...These aren't the pictures I've been expecting.” She said, “Well, it must've been the company that sent you the wrong pictures.” He asked, politely, if she would just check to see if the mail room didn't accidentally give his pictures to the wrong person. She refused, and went as far as saying, “We don't make those kinds of mistakes. We're professional.” Uh...yeah, they do. I can remember a couple of times when they've put the wrong letters to people inside my envelope!. The guy asked for Rank and now the officers are refusing to address the situation which has pissed him off and he's threatening them and saying he doesn't care if he goes to discipline, and if they don't address the problem he's going to do something to somebody. I hope he doesn't and this gets resolved...The sergeant just talked to him, but he's gone silent so we don't know if it has been resolved or not. Okay...yes, it has for now. Thank goodness.

Someone said we're having turkey and chicken for Thanksgiving. That'll be a nice meal.  

Well, now I'm just waiting to see if I receive my certificate or not today. If I don't get it by the afternoon, I guess I'll write the class instructor and find out what happened. Maybe Field Minister Troop will stop by and I can get him to check.  

11.25am...I just received my certificate :-) I've officially graduated. That's great. Well, it's something to be proud of for sure.  

That's pretty much the day today. It's later now and I'm about to listen to a movie on The Tank...Be kind to yourselves and others, and show a bit more acceptance to those different from yourselves.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 22nd, 2022

Recreation day...And always chaos. Well to the Officer's credit today, we had a good crew and they got to it and didn't waste any time.

I thought I was going out later in the afternoon as I wasn't scheduled, but when the Officers popped up on me at 10am and asked if I was ready, I jumped up from my desk and said, “Sure.” I went to the section I was just moved from, and caught up with some of the fellas there, and walked around for a bit.

A guy on that section offered me a sandwich as he was making one for himself and I said “Oh no, that's not necessary, just give me a little bit of yours and I'll get it before I go back to my cell.” I said.

Well, he took me seriously and what I didn't see him do was split his sandwich in two, wrap it up and put it to the side. When they were changing out recreation he called out to me, “Here, grab this bit of my sandwich before they come and get you.” I started laughing and said, “No, dude. I was just kidding with you!” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “I would've gave it to you.”

I was laughing so hard, but I told him I really appreciated the gesture and that I was making some hot pockets to celebrate my girl's birthday next month, and I'd make some for him. “Well I ain't gonna turn that down, for sure!” He said.

It's moments like that that take the sting out of this place because humanity exists here. I just wish that the people who think we're monsters could see it.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 24th, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving! I have a million things to be thankful for and I try to keep mindful of those things. It's been a wild and amazing year and even through my impatience, restlessness, and even occasional gripes, I know I've been blessed. I'm forever grateful to and for my wonderful and amazing Taffy, friends, my awesome legal team, and for all the prayers from silent supporters too. I'm grateful to the hundreds and thousands of people who visit my website to read my thoughts – however uninteresting and rambling they  may be.

Well, I'm a bit of a zombie today...I had a beautiful phone call with my Taffy last night and was in bed by 10pm. After one of our calls I typically sleep like a baby with a happy heart, but at 10.30pm last night I woke up with a loud thud! I thought, “What the...?” You see, in the current cell I live in, I'm right next to the 'cross over' door that goes into B-Section. Most officers are mindful of the fact that there are people sleeping so they'll try their best to ease the door shut. Others just slam it.

I fell back to sleep easily, but at 11pm for the security check, the door was slammed again. This went on for every 30 minutes until 2am when I had to get up and ask her politely if she could shut the door quietly. She nodded, then opened the door and banged it again...Sigh....At that point I knew she was doing it intentionally. I lay there thinking, “Why be such a miserable soul on the eve of a holiday?”

Anyway....We typically get two trays on the holiday. A cold tray – and this year it was loaded with two pieces of cake, a devilled egg, coleslaw, cranberry sauce, about 8 sliced pickles, 8 black olives, celery sticks and a pretty big scoop of peanut butter. Then we get a hot tray and on that was turkey, stuffing, mixed veggies, salad dressing, mac and cheese, and beans. Not too shabby and you'll hear no complaints from me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


November 25th, 2022

I was able to get to sleep last night! I woke up for breakfast at 3.30am and put my headphones on when at 4am The Tank started to play one of my most favorite albums, Pretty Hate Machine. I listened to that and then went back to sleep until 7am.

We knew there wouldn't be any rec today so nothing felt out of the ordinary, but as the morning went on something felt 'off'. Lunch was a sack meal, and normally The Tank will throw on some extra movies during the holiday, but nothing was on. We had hoped Troop would bring a movie as he had shown D/E/F sections a movie on Wednesday, but no one showed up.  

It wasn't until around 3pm that we found out that the entire unit is on lockdown. There's a slight hope that it's not the dreaded lockdown/shakedown and only due to the unit being short staffed, but I've a feeling this is the one we've been waiting on. Plus, if the Securus rumors are to be believed about passing out the tablets while we're on lockdown, it lines up with what they said about taking a couple more weeks to finish up. We'll see...

I guess I can take comfort in the fact that it'll be quiet for a few weeks but I'll be heartbroken if talking to my Taffy on the phone this week was the last time until I go back to Dallas. I really hope that's not the case.  

I'm winding down for the night now...

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


November 28th, 2022

Day 4 of the lockdown...We went three days without showers but we had one this morning, thank goodness. They've started to shake down general population and so we'll be at the end of it, probably around week 3. Someone said there's a huge Securus crew – actual Securus people and not the rinky dinky rag tag sub-contractor crew that had been working here. They've started to install the wifi boxes so...it looks like the rumors were true to an extent and this lockdown was designed to coincide with the completion. It's literally taken a year to finish the unit and I remember everyone this time last year was buzzing about the news...and who would've thought of all the people on Polunsky Unit, I'd be the first and only person to actually use one?! Still...I'd take my 5 minute call each week over the tablet any day, if given the choice.

I've been quite lazy....no motivation at all. I really need to do something tomorrow. With no classes to do because of the holidays and nothing else to do, I need to do some writing or something.

Update!! They're actually shaking down on F-Pod. I guess they at least want to get it done quickly inside of 3 weeks...We shall see!

That's pretty  much my day today! Woo hoo...!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 1st, 2022

I can't believe it's already December. Time is flying by and the year is almost over. Wild!

So, we start this last month of the year still on lockdown and a day after my pod's shakedown. Well, A-B-C sections yesterday. They're moving super fast and I was doubtful they'd get to us so quickly when yesterday the red creates arrived. We're supposed to pack all of our property into a red bread create and if there's any excess property, the guards are supposed to take it. I told the guys around me that just because they're here doesn't mean they'll get to us. It wasn't until about 5pm that they got to guys on A-Section and I even thought it was still unlikely they'd shake us down at night time, but....they did!

I was out of my cell at 9pm, and they put me in the day roon until 10pm when I was brought back to my cell. It looked like a bomb had gone off! My property was thrown everywhere and I was not happy about that. I have hundreds of cards from my Taffy that I've kept over the years, and they were taken out of their envelopes and thrown all around my cell. I put a note on my prayer books to please treat them with respect and not put them on the ground...Of course, they were on the ground. That's what upset me the most. I talked to a Sergeant supervising the shakedown and told him about the books and he told me his officers didn't have time to distinguish one book from another, and I said, “I put a note on them!” But he didn't care.

They didn't take anything from me and it took until about midnight to tidy it all up. If the rumors shake out to be true, we'll have our tablets passed out some time next week or the week after the lockdown is over. Even if the system isn't operational. They still haven't put up our wifi routers on B-pod, so...We'll see what happens.

At least our shakedown is over and done with for the next 90 days or so.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 8th, 2022

You know, I actually woke up today in a really good mood. I was sad they didn't do Jpays last night and thought maybe they had stopped Jpays because we were about to get our tablets any day, but still...looking forward to maybe getting the tablet tomorrow. Yesterday we were miserable with it being warm and humid and I had no drive, so today I planned on grabbing it by the horns and getting on with it...Alas, instead, some paperwork on the 'proposed' policy for what Death Row will be able to access via the tablet was passed out, and it was not good...

Don't misunderstand me – having limited access to the phone app (from noon to 6pm) for Death Row, and e-messaging, is something to be grateful for. And Megamind announced today that there was a way for overseas loved ones to connect with the e-messaging, so I'm happy about that. BUT...we are literally getting nothing else but access to the law library, an FM receiver (which sucks reception-wise) and ebooks which are all from the 1900s. All of the other stuff is just forms and a calculator. We're NOT getting the podcasts...We're NOT getting the  music, movies, and games, and the most head-scratching one was we're NOT getting access to the religious app! Here we were, all excited about all the great things that were about to transpire, and they've apparently screwed us for no other reason than we're on Death Row! I'm attaching the paperwork so you all can see it for yourselves. I mean, what's the difference between a guy in population that was convicted of a capital murder, and us, other than our sentence? Yet, they can work, watch TV all day, use the phone, and now watch movies, buy music, and play video games.  

And so, I'm asking those of you that write inmates, care about inmates on Death Row, or are even advocates for better living conditions, to ask TDCJ officials WHY we're being restricted and to improve access...I mean, it makes ZERO sense to restrict us from using podcasts which ARE educational, or even the religious app. That one has me flabbergasted. For all of this talk of a religious revival going on with DR, you'd think the ONE thing guys would have is access to the religious app. How is THAT entertainment? Nuts! So, please...help us...We're doing our part by getting as many grievances filed as we can. Thank you.  

I wish I could write more today, but my mind is in a tizzy, and I'm just flabbergasted by all of this.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 9th, 2022

Here is what I wrote in a grievance yesterday...

**On December 8, 2022, paperwork on the Securus tablet content proposal was passed around and posted in the dayrooms. On the paperwork it shows what content Death Row/Ad Seg will have access to via the Securus tablet. In the proposal it restricts Death Row from any use of the entertainment media as well as the free podcasts (which have an educational value) and no access to the religious app, as well as restricting the phone time that will be available via the phone app. These restrictions appear to be arbitrary and serve no benefit to security and no excuse can be given as to how allowing DR inmates access to additional content such as podcasts, music, and movies, would harm security.  

Death Row inmates are in restrictive housing for no other reason than their sentence. The administration may claim it's a classification designation, but if that were the case, as other inmates are afforded the opportunity to work their ways, behaviourally, to a better classification status, Death Row inmates cannot. Furthermore, classification suggests that Death Row inmates should have similar privileges to G3 inmates. Proof in point...we are able to spend as much money on commissary as a G2 or G3 inmate, whereas G4 and G5 cannot. Why, then, are we being restricted to content – free or otherwise – on the Securus tablet?**

Since guys are saying that many of us are reacting to things without having all of the information, and that our grievances are 'knee jerk reactions'...Their reasoning for this is due to the fact that the paperwork handed out yesterday was not an 'official' TDCJ document and it says 'Proposal' on the paperwork. Those are good points, but my reasoning in all of this, knee jerk or not, is to get out ahead of this and to not just roll over and say nothing can be done about it. For far too long Death Row inmates have been given a certain extrajudicial punishment and restrictions for no other reason than their sentence. THAT is what bothers me all of this. When every other state in the union that has Death Row have TVs, tablets, some even computers, and pets! Yet, Texas remains as back woods as ever. Why should any inmate with a death sentence be treated any worse than a killer in General Population or a serial child molester/rapist? Why does a capital life sentence get every privilege afforded to them?  

Really, the thing that bothered me the most in that 'Proposal' wasn't the movies or music or video games...They would be nice to have and much enjoyed for certain, but it irked me to see that they've seemingly restricted podcasts (which are free) and the religious app (which is free as well) and both of these have an educational and rehabilitative component to them. Why on G-d's green earth would the powers that be restrict these things to Death Row or even Ad-Seg? That makes no sense! That's what ticked me off...I won't make an argument for movies, other than it would ease anxiety and stress...But podcasts and the religious app? I can definitely  make an argument for those being rehabilitative.  

Honestly, I'm just hoping I'm over-reacting and proven to be wrong in all of this...But it doesn't hurt to get out ahead of it if it is true. The other thing that kind of rubs me up the wrong way is those that say, “Well, we have the e-messaging and calls at least.” Yes, that is a blessing and I'm grateful to be in close contact with friends and the people I care about. But there are those back here that have no support, no penpals, no one to write to or to call...What to they do now? All they have is a fancy paperweight in their hands. We've also been told that during lockdowns the phone app will be turned off for ALL prisoners. What do we do in those two to three weeks? What good is the tablet then?

Please don't take this as 'whining'...I'm not whining. It's just exhausting to play the Ol' Texas Two Step all the time when TDCJ puts on this facade to the public that things are changing and TDCJ is being more progressive in policies and touting the great things happening on Death Row...Lives changing...'life row'...revival, and people finding G-d and all of that...All to polish up a veneer while behind the scenes for every one thing they give us, they take two things away. I mean, we rarely get recreation still. People can't go to medical, or eye care, or get proper cancer treatment.  

Anyways...We'll see what happens when we get these tablets. We're being told different things every five minutes! I really hope I'm over-reacting and shown to be an idiot. I really do...I guess this is to be continued. In the meantime, I do try to remain positive and focused on a positive life and love moving forward, and a hope for a second chance at life. That's really all I can do.  

It's later now. Warden Enriquez came by and I talked to him directly, and he said that we aren't going to receive anymore than what is stated on the paperwork. He said they 'hope' to get us more later, but we'll never have all that General Population has. We just “need to be patient and grateful for what we can have.” That's the gist of it.  

So, now all we can do is file grievances and ask people on the outside to help us and raise these issues with the officials of TDCJ. Please help the guys on Death Row have more content access.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 11th, 2022

Sunday...A grey and cool day. I woke up after sleeping pretty well. There was a huge storm last night with thunder and lightening and booms and crashes...I was just grateful that the temperature finally changed and the humidity left, because that was adding to the feeling of misery.

Around 8am Troop and Solley showed up and passed out Christmas candy and I said, “Troop, did you really tell us to calm down the other day? I mean, you know they're screwing us over. For no other reason than those guys are on death row!?” He stopped me in my tracks and said, “Yes, I said that because I had just talked to Ms Moriarity on Friday and she said she talked to someone and they said you were getting more apps and even the movies.” I asked him who said that to her and he told me he didn't know, but Ms Moriarity is an honest person...She's always done what she can do for us within policy. Troop did make me feel bad when he said, “Me, personally, I can't even afford to watch movies.” But I mean, he can watch TV and the movies they have on at the weekends..Plus, all of the movies they bring back here to us. So, as bad as it is to hear that, he still has an opportunity we don't get.

Downstairs, Solley told someone that he talked to Securus and they said we'd get more than what we think as well...That things will slowly roll out. When I told Troop that Warden Enriquez told me himself that we aren't getting what we hoped for, he just said, “I don't know, bro...Ms Moriarity said y'all are getting more apps and movies.”

I hope they're right and we'll know in a couple of days. I suppose I'm spending too much energy on this issue and it's wearing me down and I don't like feeling this way. I need to shift my attention back to more positive things and as I do each year, reflect on this time...December 13th will mark 23 years since the escape and I just need to reflect and pray and show remorse, and not get worked up over something out of my control at this time.

Something good is that Troop is showing movies to the other side of the pod right now. I guess he'll try to come back sometime for us during the week or next week. D-section watched Fast and Furious part 5, and E-section watched Eagle Eye...I've not seen either of those yet.

I have my legal visit tomorrow and I'm hoping for good news or an update of some sort. Admittedly, that is part of my anxiety. This wait on the Judge and then the CCA is excruciating! Again, I just need to turn my attention and focus on the good things and be happy with the blessings I have.

We'll see how the week pans out and what things happen. Stay tuned for sure!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 13th, 2022

Today I feel weird...The obvious reason is it marks 23 years since the escape in 2000. I had a legal visit yesterday and I told my attorney that if I had a time machine I'd go back to that point when I was 23 years old and say, “Don't do it!” But honestly I wish I could go back to the summer of 1995 and tell my 17 year old self to stay home. That would've stopped all of this nonsense...but then, had I stopped myself at 23 years old who would I be now? I'm proud of myself and who I am now. I'm proud of the person I've become and the achievements I've accomplished, and the people I've met who have helped me grow and learn, and for the people I've helped as well...Would I be that person now? I don't know. I wasn't a bad person, per se, I just had a tendency to not think, to be impulsive, and to do stupid things...I didn't know who I was and so I found myself being what I thought people expected versus who I am deep inside, and that is a kind and loving person. I'm far from perfect, but being a kind and loving person are by far my strongest attributes. I've always been that goofy, dorky, and introverted kid I was when I was first adopted. I just didn't know how to embrace it and feel comfortable with it. So, today, obviously I reflect on those things and I have regret and remorse for the escape and the events after because THOSE things aren't who I am.

I've spent the past two days walking everyone around me on how to use the tablet and any other questions people had. I've not really had much time for myself, but it's cool. In service to others, right? I'm happy to help...it's just exhausting to sit down and get comfortable, then have someone say, “Randy! Help me figure this bleep out!”

My brain is still in a tizzy over these past days and it's hard to think about much other than it being a day to reflect on things and the disappointment over the past few days...Then yesterday, I said goodbye to one of the lawyers on my legal team....It hurt me to see him go, but he did say he'll stay in touch and I hope he does. He's moving on to a really great job with the Innocence Project so he'll be saving lives and that's great.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 15th, 2022

So, I'm not even sure where to start this. I'm in three different areas emotionally and I didn't even know that was possible. First and foremost, I'm reflective of events that occurred during this time 23 years ago, and keep my spirit in a place of introspection and remorse...Then, on Tuesday I heard the news that the Judge over my hearings has once again recommended that I receive a new trial. And while I'm relieved and grateful, how do you 'celebrate' at this time when so many lives were affected back in 2000 during this time? It would be distasteful and cruel do do that. Then, of course there's the feeling that this whole tablet roll out has been more of a curse than a blessing...I think in these posts I've said about all I can on the issue, and hopefully the situation will improve with help from concerned people on the outside.

I will talk about a few things going on back here though...For the past few days both shifts have been extremely short-handed again. Not long ago they had a whole slew of new recruits. Both shifts were fully loaded and rank was saying that maybe after the lockdown, recreation might improve. They were going to cut the full load of work down by one round of rec and a handful of showers, and then let second shift finish things up. That way first shift officers didn't feel overwhelmed with their duties. That was the talk anyways.

The first inclination that something might go awry was the announcement that the unit was going to implement some kind of airport style scanner that sees EVERYTHING except private parts at both the front gate and on 12 Building. I heard one officer say that if/when they implement it, he would quit because he felt it too intrusive...I guess they're subjecting everyone to this no matter who they are – guard or visitor. 12 Building (where death row and restrictive housing) is getting their own because of the security status of the building.

Well, today I noticed things seemed to be shut down all the way in the morning and I asked the guard working was was going on? She said nobody showed up to work. I thought it might be those scanners and so I asked, “The new scanners?” And she replied, “Partly...but others are pissed they're not getting paid enough when everything is so expensive out there. We want a raise.” I almost said, “For what?” But I bit my tongue...it was the tablet anger getting the better of me.

The optimist in me is hoping it's none of that and just people taking time off for the holidays because when they're short, they don't do recreation because they have to shift security to other areas and then we're just trapped in a cell for 24 hours with little to do.

Oh, last night was both another blessing and curse for some...For me it was a blessing because they started the five minute phone calls back up and I was so relieved and happy to talk to my Taffy...I needed that because my nerves have been a mess of late, and she always calms me and soothes me, and she's everything I need. For others, they were upset because the night time officer said SHE was told we're not getting the phone app...Another sucker punch if true, but you know, I can only speak for myself but I'd gladly hand my tablet back if they said, “You want the call or that tablet?” I'd be like, “Here!! Take it!!” It was so good to hear my Taffy's voice.

I also keep thinking about something my dad used to tell me when I'd throw a fit over not getting something or having my way...It was frustrating to hear when growing up, and when someone says it now, it's still frustrating! But those words are very true...He'd look at me in that way that told me he was tired of my complaining and say, “Randy, be happy with what you have, not with what you don't have.” You're right, Dad...I have a lot to be grateful for.

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


December 26th, 2022

[Warning to the readers: This entry is probably best read in chunks...I really let go and got epic...Sheesh!]

The holidays are almost over. I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact that it's the last week of the year. It's been one heck of a year! The tablet fiasco kind of dampened our spirits here towards the end, but as I reflect on it all, we inmates kind of did it to ourselves. Many of us had said numerous times that it was odd that as the tablets rolled out across the state, that there was no 'official' written policy. That's very out of character for TDCJ. They typically broadcast exactly what they intend when something big rolls out. There was warning signs and way too many rumors, and we didn't help ourselves by fuelling the numerous rumors over the past year.  

My friend, Ramy, AKA 'Megamind' (the main on air personality to our radio station, The Tank) said it best though. On air, he responded to numerous letters of complaint guys wrote in to the station, and said this...“The roll out for you guys was a mess, and it sucks you on death row were mislead and left out...But I know this – a lot of officials were duped too. Many don't understand how you don't even have a podcast or religious app. Questions are being asked to the policy makers and you guys should calm down, let things settle, and I know you guys will have more content. Bad policy is bad policy. People know it's bad policy. You filed your grievances, and did your part. Let God handle the rest.” Wise words.  

Now, I still think that family, friends, and supporters should make their voices heard, but I will acknowledge that there has been times over the many years I've been incarcerated that a nonsensical policy comes out that makes zero sense, and has no bearing on security or real life in prison. Guards and inmates alike say, “Who came up with this brilliant idea?” There's a reaction and then the policy is yanked. I'm happy that in time this proves to be the case. We're already seeing a bit of that now by being told we will have the phone app as a start. Unless we're being duped again...

It's all good...I'm over it, really, and I'm back to my regular way of living. Although, checking emessages is a bit distracting/annoying at times! I feel like one of those test rats that gets addicted to a treat every time it pushes the right button. I was checking every 30 minutes! Now I'm like, “Eh, I'll check in an hour or so or else I'll get nothing else done.”

Whatever happens, happens, I suppose. I've done all I can do. Gotta believe changes will come and 2023 is going to at least be the year things here improve for the men around me. Though, I'm terrified it's also the year, here, where Texas really gets the machinery of death rolling...More on that later.   

So, on Thursday it was the beginning of the ease into the holiday weekend. I had a legal call scheduled at 3pm when around 3.40pm the power to the prison went out! I didn't get to finish my call which sucked. I sat in a pitch black booth until guards came and got me and brought me back to my cell. The wifi to the tablets was out, but the radio app worked so at least we now know we can listen to our radios in a power outage! That's a game changer! The power came back on around 5.30pm, or maybe a little bit after that. But the Securus system had to be reset so no one could receive or send messages until Friday afternoon.  

On Friday I chilled out and excitedly waited for 9pm to listen to my friend, Clinton, in the studio at the prison show. I mean, just over a year ago the dude lived next to me on Death Row! Then, at 10.30pm it was my 'Guest Hosting/DJ' debut on The Tank's 'alternative airwaves show. A first from death row! John Ramirez was the first to give a church service on air from DR, and I am the first to do an entire 5 hour music show. Earlier that week a field minister came to my cell with a digital recorder...I did a positive 'Life Speaks' message first, and then Field Minister Troop said, “Okay...now you're doing the alternative show.” I was caught off guard and said, “Right now?” I was so nervous and unprepared, but once he hit 'Record' I did my best introduction and shout outs, explained my music sets/how I put them together, and my intent for the show. Catherine will be making a new section on my website for The Tank, and will post my 'Life Speaks' message there for everyone to read.  

10.30pm came, and I have to say...it was awesome! I gave credit to a few guys around me for suggesting some songs, but I put together 95% of the sets. I wanted each set to have an energy, so the first set was alternative rock. Not the junk on the radio, but deeper tracks from progressive rock bands and bands you don't hear a lot of on mainstream radio. I also did a female groups and artists sets, and a late night 'Chill' set. I had The Cure, U2, Moby, Massive Attack, Counting Crows....It all flowed flawlessly. My intention was to highlight what I feel is real alternative music and its diversity. I got a lot of compliments from the hosts of the 'Alternative Airwaves' show, who said in between sets, “Randy, you are the freakin' maestro of music! This is awesome!” It was cool and an honor, and I hope I get a chance to do it again before I leave.  

On Christmas Eve I had my tradition I've kept since my first Christmas Eve on death row, which is to listen to It's a Wonderful Life – even for someone Jewish like myself, it resonates and makes me appreciate my life and the impact of things whether good or bad, or whether our actions affect the people we know, love, or those around us. I started sharing this tradition with my Taffy many years ago, and it's become our tradition together now, which makes it even better.  

Of course, throughout the day I reflect on the events that happened on this day...I think about my 23 year old self, my inability to stand on my own, my naivete and hopelessness, and  my cowardice...not out of pity, but from a real feeling of regret, remorse and wanting forgiveness. I'm NOT a killer, and I know my heart...But I do accept responsibility for my inability to think for myself, for falling in with the wrong people, and the escape. I made a choice to escape and I have to take responsibility for that. To live with the horrible chain of events that came after the escape...I can also say with all of my heart and soul that I could have never anticipated what happened. I never even considered it could happen....I was an idiot.  

And so, I just think, say my prayers, and reflect...I know there are those that believe I should die. They can't see into my heart or even see the truth that I wasn't a shooter, even after you read my co-defendants statements, affidavits, and even trial testimony and evidence in its entirety. I know the truth can get muddied when a co-defendant, in an act of desperation, (which I sort of understand and do forgive) misrepresents facts and well...LIES about his role in things. I know it gets muddied when a bigoted Judge puts his hands on the scales of justice. I know there's anger, hatred, and pain. I know and I wish I could somehow pray it away for anyone that feels pain from it. Anger and hate are burdens that no one should have to carry with them through life. In all of that, I do sincerely ask for forgiveness for being there.  

If G-d grants me mercy in the coming year, I will carry that with me. And whatever happens, whether I get a life sentence or another death sentence, should the DA's office choose to seek it, I have the choice to be a better person, a wiser and kinder person...I do want to live a life of service to others as I try to do even in the present. Yeah, I'm still flawed...I'm no saint...I don't always have answers and I get scared, panicky, and will make mistakes out of these feelings, but I can also say I've come a long way and my heart's desire is to be a good person...To give back...To help people who need it...To help younger people to not make the same mistakes I've made. I don't care if anyone sees it or not. I don't need attention or a feel good movie about my life. I know who I am and what I choose to be, and the life I want to live.

So, I went to sleep on the 24th with that on my heart...Christmas Day carried the same reflection. The Field Minister stopped by throughout the day, and I gave Troop a little gift of some commissary items. He and Solley (both inmate Field Ministers) do so much for us on 12 Building. Their lives are spent here. I know they get overwhelmed and frustrated at times and they're human. I see more of Troop these days as Solley spends most of his time teaching classes. Troop spends his time seeing if guys need assistance, putting out fires that guards start, calming situations down, and bringing the movies to each pod. I tell him as much as possible that I appreciate him.  

After that I did movie dates with my Taffy, and then called it a day. Oh, the meal was pretty good today too...Cake, sweet rolls, brisket, green bean salad, and more! I know I was stuffed!

I crashed after listening to Wizard of Oz and here I am on Monday morning...Just letting my thoughts flow like a river.  

As I write this they're doing showers...We've gone two days without because of being short staffed. They pulled some officers from population to help out with that this morning. I wonder if the general public understands how badly understaffed the system is. You barely hear about it in the news, although, I guess adding electric fences – a multi million dollar project – to many maximum security units, is going to keep the free world safe and the inmates in prison, according to Director Collier. It's funny how there's no money for air conditioning installation throughout Texas prisons, but there's money for electric fencing. My question is, “How does an electric fence keep the inside of a prison safe for officers and inmates alike?”Assaults and rape amongst prisoners is on the rise, but you don't hear about that.  

I guess we're lucky we even get showers on Polunsky because they've reported on the Prison Show that on some units they go weeks without.

Since I'm just 'letting it flow' today, I might as well talk about Texas executions...I think anti-dp people are in for a rude awakening. With the pandemic, and a challenge to the execution policy of preventing clergy in the death chamber, slowing things down to almost a drip, I think everyone became complacent and voices quietened down. Sure, there were moments of outrage for people like Melissa Lucio, but, you heard very little on the news...Then, in the last half of the year, the machine began to turn a bit more. Dates were set, more executions began to happen, but I think people need to brace themselves for 2023 because it's going to be brutal. Right now, I  know of 16 pending execution dates just waiting on judge's desks to be signed off. There will be more than that. To put it into perspective, there are about 170 men on death row – maybe a little more than that – and over 50 of those men have completely exhausted their appeals some years ago, or during the pandemic. Now, most of these men were from counties where the DA didn't have much of a stomach for executions. They were safe as long as it wasn't a police officer case or a truly heinous crime.  

Then the 'tough on crime' and “Soft, leftist District Attorneys” rhetoric popped up in the election cycle. Texas' AG, Ken Paxton, and our Governor, Gregg Abbott, began to ask why judges and district attorneys weren't doing their job, and whilst most big counties like Harris, Dallas, Bexar etc, remained blue and progressive, Abbott and Paxton, as well as pro-death-penalty people, are still pressuring judges and district attorney to fulfil their duties...To show I'm clear-headed about this, and to be fair, they aren't wrong. District attorneys and judges do have an obligation to follow law and fulfil their duties of office, including setting execution dates...But there has always been an understanding, and leeway on that so they can use their discretion and privilege of office to steer things as they see fit, in the common interest of their constituency.  

Abbot and Paxton have decided to put pressure on district attorneys and put their hands on the scales of justice with threats of having cases yanked out of their hands or even have them removed from office if they don't do their bidding. The AG's office also knows that with the 5th circuit and the current make up of the supreme court, they'll win any legal battle. The deck is stacked, the die loaded.  

A recent supreme court decision essentially gutted most federal appeals by giving the State supremacy over their appeals process and only emboldened the Ken Paxtons of the world. The end result? A slew of pending execution dates. Many of these pending dates are friends of  mine. Two close friends of mine just received dates – guys I've known for two decades. That's more than 'friends'...that's family, you know?

I'm just saying, brace yourselves...My suggestion would be, in the interim, to contact both your state reps and congress people, senators, and call an end to the death penalty or at the very least, if they lack political courage to call an end to the AEDPA – legislation passed in the '90s after the Oklahoma federal building bombing to speed up the appeals process solely to execute Timothy McVeigh  much quicker – even though he ended up dropping his appeals anyway. The legislation is outdated and flawed. It was a knee jerk reaction by congress born out of revenge and emotions – never the best way to legislate. I know that not everyone can protest or stand outside in Huntswille every execution day, but people can make calls to reps. They can send emails. If you can make a post on Twitter or FB, you can at the very least do that. Make sure your voice is heard. There's a funny expression in prison that people use...They say, “Don't talk about it. Be about it.” If you truly want the death penalty to end, do your part whatever way you can.  

Geeze...this journal is turning into an essay!! It's after 8am now and I'm still waiting on my shower...Sunlight is pouring through my window. I think I'll pause here, do some cleaning, and get the day moving along. But first I'm going to eat my apple from yesterday's meal. I need fuel!

Made it to the shower and back at 9am. The sun is gone and it's now grey...I've got cleaning to do so I'm about to start that process...I skipped my chores yesterday because I was stuffed and had movie dates with my Taffy. I do have a movie date today as well – we're doing The Holiday so I need to get to it!

It's later now. It's been a boring day made weird by the fact that it's been both a holiday, and some things were normal operation at the same time...Laundry was here, the clean up crew and other departments were here too. We never saw a mail room person come and I don't know if we'll have mail or not tonight.  

I think I'll put an end to this – finally, you're thinking – for the day and get into chill mode. Be good to one another.  

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.  


December 30th, 2023

I'm doing the first journal entry ever from my tablet. I prefer to  hand write them. This is weird! This may be out ahead of others working  their way through the snail mail.

Anyways...I wanted to clarify something the state recently filed in response to my  Judge's recommendations for a new trial because I know how the rumor  mill can be with groups on social media and guys back here...Sadly, people don't  seem to read all of the facts or they hear a piece of something and  take it out of context.

Okay...so, the state filed an objection to an ISSUE that the judge wrote  in her opinion and they objected because they were arguing that she was  outside of  the perimeters of what the CCA wanted her to consider. HOWEVER  they DID NOT change their position. In the state's filing they  reiterated that WE PROVED actual bias and that I deserved a new trial.  They have still CONCEDED  and that has not changed.

So, before people go  and run their mouths off online or anywhere else, without knowing facts, please do your due  diligence and get the entire story. It's very simple: Catherine is my ADVOCATE and MY VOICE, and she is up to date and in front with EVERYTHING to do with my case, and updates the website whenever there is news. Catherine studies all of my court filings that my lawyers share with her, and she knows my case inside and out. Please do not run your mouths off on anything until you've checked my website, or with Catherine...I'm already having to set the  record straight back here with guys asking questions.

Sometimes  I  think people don't want to get involved with anti dp issues because  they see the nonsense and think we're all a bunch of uninformed idiots.   A bit harsh? Yeah...I'm just tired of  people popping off at the mouth  without knowing all of the information, especially when in my case, I have an advocate and a website where you can get the actual accurate information. You've gotta do better people.

Anyways! I'm actually winding down for the night. I got to call my Taffy  tonight which was awesome and I just finished listening to a long block  of New Order on The Tank. You can't go wrong there! Lastly, I would add that I do not trust social media, and non legit news outlets or groups. I do however, have this website where everything posted is legit and 100% accurate. We post FACT, not gossip or misinterpretations of facts.

Happy New Year!  Be blessed and kind to one another!

Courage. Strength. Hope and Faith.


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