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Guards on Tx Death row barbecueing on duty

August 22, 2004

On August 22, 2004, on C-Pod of Death Row, a prisoner, having a problem he needed addressed, requested that the wing officers call a Sergeant to the pod. When he inquired later if the Sergeant had been called, he was told, "They are outside barbecuing right now, and as long as they are out there, they won't come to the pod."

This is how the Death Row Supervisors, who are supposed to be available to handle problems that arise on the pods, spend their weekends, by wasting hours having a cookout. And this was not an isolated incident, they do it all the time. When a prisoner is escorted to or from the visitation room and happens to look into the courtyard area where the chain buses arrive and depart, he can clearly see the supervisors' barbecue pit over in one corner. It is made of black metal -- doubtless fabricated by prisoner labor -- and there is a stack of wood standing beside it, ready to be used when the Supervisors decide they want some good ol' Texas barbecue. This pit has been there for months, and it is used on a regular basis.

Never mind that the Supervisors and other guards have their own dining room in which to eat if they are hungry, and never mind that by spending hours outside smoking chicken quarters and hot links -- doubtless provided by the Food Service Staff from the prisoners' food stocks -- they are shirking their duties to maintain a safe and secure environment for both officers and prisoners. The most sickening thing about these weekend cookouts is that the barbecue pit is located right under the windows of the guys with execution dates. Imagine being in your last months, weeks, or days of life after years of eating the slop provided by the prison and being disrespected in so many ways by the guards, and being forced to smell the aroma of barbecuing meat and watch out your window as the DR Supervisors remind you with their "domestic" antics that they will go on living after you are murdered by the State.

We encourage anyone who is appalled by this behavior to voice your complaints to the TDCJ hierarchy, and demand that this barbecue pit be removed from the prison grounds, and that the DR Supervisors in question be disciplined and compelled to do the jobs that your tax dollars pay them to do. Thank you.


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