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Texas Prison Lockdowns

No, they're not all on lockdown right now so don't worry. I just noticed people asking about this issue on another site and while it doesn't strictly deal with Texas Parole or Texas Parole Packets it is still an issue with which the families and friends, not to mention the prisoners themselves, are concerned.

A lockdown is where prisoners are confined to their cells or rooms, in some cases they aren't even allowed to leave their bunks, for a period of time. Every unit in the Texas Prison System, whether they be Texas Department of Criminal Justice run prisons or the private prisons, goes through this at least twice a year. In some units, such as the Mineral Wells Unit run by CCA, some individual "dorms" are on lockdown on a regular basis because of contraband, fighting, etc.

During a lockdown prisoners are allowed to go to the bathroom on an occasional basis and shower every few days but other than that they aren't allowed to leave their rooms. Typically the meals that are brought to them are a "Johnny", which is a paper sack containing a sandwich smashed all to hell and maybe a few chips. It is reported that at one Mineral Wells dorm that was on lockdown for a month because of a fight there were 30 days of bologna sandwiches for three meals a day. The only exceptions were PB & J twice and some form of chicken salad once that had bones ground up into the mix. 

The inmates can still send and receive mail during a lockdown but it seems to be more sporadic than normal. They are not allowed to go to commissary so the lockers get very empty by the end.

In the twice annual lockdowns (also known as shakedowns because of the searches) the prisoners are required to carry all of their belongings to a particular location where the belongings are searched and the prisoners are strip searched. Anything left in the rooms are trashed. The guards throw things around and leave them where they lay,another effort to humiliate the offenders as well as allow the guards to express their inner bullies.

Often during the lockdowns and shakedowns the guards dress in full urban warfare gear with helmets, masks to cover their faces, and carry paintball guns loaded with "pepper spray" paintballs.

No visits or telephone calls are permitted during the lockdowns.

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