Texas Prison Guards Planting Evidence and Quota System
This is part 2 of a two-part series on pay for Texas prison guards and the illegal quota system. View Part 1 of the series here.
Illegal Quota System at the Ramsey Unit
Recently, TDCJ has announced there were four prison guards fired and a major resigned due to an investigation into allegations of five officers involved in planning to plant two screwdrivers in an inmate’s cell at the Ramsey Unit.
The fact that there were quotas assigned for writing inmate disciplinary reports became public knowledge in mid-May. You can read about what TexasParoleNow.com wrote about the illegal quota system back on May 14, 2018. The Houston Chronicle obtained copies of an email from a Captain Reginald Gilbert ordering officers to write up prisoners for these infractions or else the officers would face disciplinary consequences themselves.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Gilbert’s email stated, “Effective March 10, 2018, each Sergeant will be required to turn in at least two (2) cases written by officers for a Level 2 Code 35 ‘Unauthorized Storage of Property,'” he wrote. “Two each day is my requirement. Remember this is to be done each workday without exception.”
Any sergeants who missed their daily quota, Gilbert wrote, would face consequences ranging from documenting the oversight on an employee performance log to formal disciplinary action.
A couple hours later, Major Juan Jackson responded, noting that the “below instructions will help greatly in fighting a gig,” which former union president Lance Lowry said is slang for an audit.”
This first came to light as a result of the mother of an inmate writing a letter on May 25, 2018, to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), Office of the Inspector General (OIJ). To their credit, the OIG began an investigation almost immediately and very quickly determined the mother was likely correct.
Gilbert, who wrote the original email, was later demoted, Inspector Desel said. Officer Jackson, the person who expressed that it would help with audits, had previously been reduced in rank from major to lieutenant and sent to the hospital unit in Galveston, was walked off the unit Thursday and resigned under investigation. On Friday, Lt. James Thomas, Sgt. Marcos Gallegos and Officer George Wolfe were all recommended for dismissal, and on Monday Sgt. Darryll Winston was recommended for dismissal as well.
The OIG stated the investigation would continue as would an internal TDCJ investigation. The TDCJ inquiry will approach the Ramsey Unit with a broad investigation and examine the overall “prison culture” there. It is presumed that both investigations will also examine “any and all” disciplinary actions for the last three months involving any of the five employees believed to be involved in the evidence-planting scheme.
What is especially troubling is these actions weren’t the result of “frontline officers” such as regular guards. Instead, these men were all members of management, which set the tone for the day to day interaction between the regular guards and the prisoners.
OIG Inspector Desel also stated the information and cases would be presented to the special prosecutor’s office and, if a determination was made that there was a violation of the law, then the officers who participated in this scheme would be prosecuted.