Saturday, May 8, 2010

Carceral World

One of the arguments abolitionists use against capital punishment is that the modern prison system is adequate to protect the innocent from the predator.

This article from the Austin Statesman is another in a long series of revelations of the relative ease of controlling outside events from inside.

An excerpt.

“Troubling new details surfaced Wednesday about the depth of illegal smuggling inside Texas' massive prison system, including revealing glimpses into how convicts may be operating drug- and money-laundering rackets with the help of guards and family members.

“The new information surfaced in 20 pages of court filings in Travis County, revealing that authorities are investigating a 21-year-old Waco woman and at least five convicts for alleged organized criminal activity at the Coffield Unit near Palestine in East Texas.

“According to a search-warrant affidavit, investigators listening in on phone calls made by several convicts at Coffield and intercepting ingoing and outgoing mail believe that some convicts are arranging for their family members to deposit money in one another's accounts, with the arranging inmate taking a cut of as much as 25 percent.

“Thousands of dollars were being funneled through the scheme, according to the affidavit. In another intercepted phone call, one convict admitted buying drugs from another convict — and "although he did not observe guards deliver any dope, he knew they had."

“According to the affidavit, the Waco woman "drops the dope off to someone, then the dope is brought into the prison by an unknown person."

“In one instance last month, the affidavit by prison investigator Manuel Fuentes states, a Coffield convict who is believed to be a point man in the alleged smuggling and money-laundering told his mother in a phone call that he would write her with details on how to handle money orders she was depositing into his prison account.

“The letter never left the prison through the regular mail, the affidavit states, and the investigator said he "believes that (the convict) received assistance from a (Texas Department of Criminal Justice) employee to deliver the letter" to the Waco woman, who authorities believe was acting as a go-between in the scheme.”