A Prison Cover-up During Hurricane Rita

For days after the storm, inmates in Beaumont lived without A/C, electricity or hot meals. Press releases kept saying everything inside was fine. Guards and prisoners agree — that was nothing but B.S.

As Hurricane Rita thundered towards him, Garrett Deetz lay terrified and confused on his bunk, locked up inside a cell at the United States Penitentiary in Beaumont.

For the past two days, he and about 1,300 other maximum-security inmates had watched and listened to news coverage on television and radio as the residents of Jefferson County followed a mandatory evacuation order and fled their homes in anticipation of one of the fiercest storms in American history.

The images of destruction and suffering in New Orleans that played over and over on national TV in the wake of Hurricane Katrina less than a month earlier were still fresh in Deetz's mind. And now Rita, which weather experts were touting as even more intense, with winds blasting across the Gulf of Mexico at 175 miles-an-hour, was heading for him.

When inmates finally got to the shower, the water was full of debris.
Ilana Kohn
When inmates finally got to the shower, the water was full of debris.
Relatives were getting different stories from inmates than from prison officials.
Ilana Kohn
Relatives were getting different stories from inmates than from prison officials.

Inside his cage, Deetz and his cellmate couldn't understand why the warden had not moved them to safer ground.

"We kept hearing on the news that everybody needed to get out," says Deetz, "and I kept telling my cellie, 'Bro, they've got to get us out of here; they're saying everyone has to go. There's no way they can just leave us here.'"

But no one inside the pen was going ­anywhere.

It was around 4 a.m. on September 24, 2005, when Hurricane Rita plowed into the Beaumont area. By then, the storm had weakened some, dropping from a Category 5 to a Category 3 hurricane, but winds still roared at more than 110 miles per hour as sheets of rain fell from the predawn sky.

Suddenly, the lights inside Deetz's cell flickered and went completely dark as he heard the air-conditioning system grind to a halt. All power was gone. Deetz's cellmate had just taken a bowel movement, but the toilet would not flush. The plumbing was shot. A garbage bag held the only drinking water available. Guards had handed out the plastic bags before the storm, telling inmates to fill them with tap water in case the hurricane knocked out the sewer and water systems. There wasn't a scrap of food in Deetz's cell.

At the bottom corners of the only window in the third-floor cell, water was streaming in — not enough to cause flooding, but enough so that everything in the room including Deetz's mattress, sheets and clothes was getting soaked.

"The window was shaking hard and you could hear the wind," says Deetz. "Even the walls were shaking. It was terrifying. I thought the window was going to blow out and the water was going to come in and we were going to die in our cell."

After the storm, Deetz heard inmates crying out for help. But no one, he says, was there to answer. Deetz peered out his window, and saw nothing but the devastated landscape.

"It was like an Armageddon movie," he says. "I remember thinking, 'Beaumont is gone. There is no Beaumont. And we're stuck in this cell, with bars and a steel door. What do we do?' That was the thing that scared me the most. Nothing compares to that feeling of looking out and not seeing anyone anywhere."

Meanwhile, Deetz's mother, Judith, was frantically phoning the prison to find out if her son was okay. She says it took her several tries to get someone to answer, but finally an official taking calls told her the inmates had all been moved out before the hurricane hit. Judith felt relieved. And she was not alone. Around the same time, many wives, mothers and loved ones desperate for news were calling a Federal Bureau of Prisons information line. They say operators told them that though the inmates had not been evacuated, they were assured that everyone was safe and well cared for.

Newspapers reported the same story. Bureau of Prisons spokesman Mike Truman, for instance, told the Houston Chronicle four days after the storm that inmates had portable toilets and were getting two hot meals and one cold meal a day.

But now, following a Houston Press investigation, new details are emerging that suggest none of that was true at the maxium security prison. According to Deetz and other inmates, conditions in the days and weeks following Hurricane Rita were ­medieval.

As temperatures hovered around 100 degrees, Deetz and his cellmate were locked up for weeks without any ventilation or escape from the rising tide of urine and feces accumulating in their cell. For two days, they did not receive food, and when supplies finally began to trickle in, there was nothing but peanut butter sandwiches on moldy bread and stale potato chips. Deetz claims he did not get a hot meal for about a month. The small bottles of water handed out were simply not enough to combat the intense dehydration Deetz suffered as he sweat uncontrollably. The paint on the walls began to peel off, and prisoners begging for help and screaming out for someone to open their food slots so they could get some air had trouble breathing due to the humidity.

"We were helpless," says Deetz. "It was the worst thing I've ever been through my entire life."

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38 comments
Merceded68532
Merceded68532

This sounds like the lewisburg penitentiary and Rita Buchanan in sunbury

shane
shane

Stay out of prison!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HMMMM
HMMMM

I hate to hear that he has MAC disease...but since the water at USP Beaumont came from a CLEAN water tower (the incoming water to the tower was turned off before the hurricane even hit to prevent contamination) there is NO way the water there caused anything.

Peggy Cummins
Peggy Cummins

My son was in Beaumont prison during Hurricane Rita and left to rot in that filth. He was forced to drink tainted water and shower in it which resulted in his getting a disease and is now DYING in a prison in Minnesota. If the prison would have helped him when he said he was sick instead of letting him loose 90 pounds and become so weak he fell down and couldn't get up. Finally they took him to a hospital and he was diagnosed with a disease called MAC. He was neglected even after diagnosed and moved around to other prisons until he was at deaths door once again. He was flown to Rochester, MN. and a doctor from the Mayo Clinic said it was the worst case of a MAC infection he had ever seen due to neglect!!! If he had been properly treated with antibiotics this would have gone away in a year. It has been three years and it only has become worse to the point of now he is dying and is just a matter of time he is told...nothing they can do!! TYPICAL My son went into prison on a drug offense now he will pay the ultimate price with his life. During the 7 years he has been incarcerated he has NEVER gotten into any trouble, just wanted to do his time and come home....he won't ever be able to do that now.If anyone is interested in trying to help with a compassionate release for my son or a pardon from our president please contact me. I have sent letters to everyone even President Obama asking to have my son released so he can come home and not have to die at age 41 in prison, alone. The BOP did this to him when they didn't take care of him, they need to be held accountable for their actions.. This is heartbreaking for our family and his two children that will be left behind. Is there anyone else dying of MAC from Beaumont Prison & Hurricane Rita? Please contact me if you have had any help. Thank you....

Truth Teller
Truth Teller

This lawsuit is ignorant. Not only was everyone safe during Rita they were also safe during Ike too. Federal prisons in Beaumont will NOT be evacuating during any hurricanes. The inmates in this lawsuit are nothing more then liars who want a "payday" at the Goverment's expense. There were LARGE generators brought in within 3 hours of the end of the hurricane which powered everything with the exception of the air conditioning systems. Soon after separate generators were mounted on the roofs of the buildings and powered all of the a/c units. There was never a shortage of food, drinking water, medical care, or anything else. Ridiculous....They don't deserve a dime.

WILLIE BARNES
WILLIE BARNES

BRO AINT LYING I WAS THERE AND I KNOW WHAT IT WAS LIKE.IWAS AT BEAUMONT PENITENTIARY.I TOO WENT THROUGH THE SAME HELL.PEOPLE ACT LIKE WE ANIMALS AN THAT WE DESERVED WHAT WE WENT THROUGH.BUT IN GODS EYES WE STILL DESERVED TO BE TREATED LIKE HUMANS.YOU DONT REALISE UNTIL YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH IT OR THAT YOUR LOVED ONE IS PUT IN THAT TYPE OF SITUATION.IM GLAD THAT IM HOME.IM ALSO A PART OF THAT SUIT THAT WAS FILED.MY HEART GO OUT TO EVERYBODY THAT I KNEW FOR THE FOUR YRS. THAT I DID THERE.ILOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU CAUSE I KNOW WHAT ITS LIKE.KEEP YALL HEAD.WHAT GOD CAN FIX CANT NO MAN BREAK. I CAN BE REACHED AT 38 FLOCK AVE. PRICHARD,ALA.36610

Gilbert Soza
Gilbert Soza

I WAS A PRISONER AT THE BEAUMONT USP WHEN THIS TOOK PLACE. IM A FREE MAN NOW AND LET ME TELL YOU... THAT WAS NO RIDE IN THE PARK!!! BEFORE THE WHOLE LOCK DOWN TOOK PLACE WE WAS ORDERED BY OUR UNIT STAFF TO GET ALL THE WATER WE COULD AND THAT WE WAS NOT EVACUATING THE PRISON. WHEN THE UNIT WAS PUT ON LOCK DOWN WE ALL KNEW THAT WE WAS IN FOR A LONG RIDE... AND WE WERE. WITHIN THE FIRST HOURS OF THE STORM HITTING EVERYTHING HAD CUT OFF!! NO POWER NO RUNNING WATER NO AIR CIRCULATION NOTHING!!!! WHILE LISTENING TO MY RADIO "BATTERY OPERATED" ALL THE RADIO STATIONS WAS SAYING FOR EVERYBODY IN THE SOUND OF THERE VOICE SHOULD EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!!! BAD LUCK FOR US BECAUSE WERE STUCK IN PRISON. FIRST 24 HOURS ALL WE GOT FROM THE STAFF WAS LIE AFTER LIE ABOUT FOOD WATER AND OUR POWER BEING CUT ON. IT TOOK HOURS FOR US TO GET OUR FIRST MEALS AND A SIP OF FRESH WATER TO DRINK. AND TO ADD TO THAT THOUGHT... THE FOOD THAT WAS GIVEN TO US WAS SPOILED...AND THATS WHAT SOME PEOPLE HAD TO EAT TO SURVIVE. DAY AFTER DAY THAT PASSED I WAS LOSING HOPE THAT WE WAS GOING TO GET OUT THAT HELLHOLE ALIVE. FOOD CAME ONCE EVERY 12 TO 16 HOURS A DAY... MAYBE EVEN LONGER. WATER ALWAYS DIDNT COME IN A LIQUID FORM. MOST OF THE TIME WE WAS GIVEN ICE FOR OUR THIRST AND I HAD TO BE VERY RATIONAL WITH MY ICE BECAUSE ID TRIED TO DRINK AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE BUT ALSO PUT ICE ON AND AROUND MY BODY TO TRY AND KEEP COOL. WEEKS WENT BY WITH THIS SAME ABUSE "OR SOMETIMES WORSE" BUT THE DAY WE WAS FINALLY ALLOWED TO TAKE OUR FIRST SHOWERS AFTER BEING TORTURED IN OUR ROOMS WAS NASTY!!! WE WAS SHOWERED IN WATER THAT WAS THE COLOR OF RUSTY WATER. AFTER BEING LOCKED BACK IN OUR CELLS WE GOT A MEMORANDUM FROM THE UNIT OFFICER THAT SAID THE WATER WE HAD BATHE IN WAS NOT PURIFIED AND MAY CAUSE SICKNESS. AFTER THIS NOTICE ALL I CAN DO WAS PRAY TO GOD AND ASK HIM WHY WAS I BEING TREATED LIKE THIS!! I JUST WANTED TO GIVE UP BUT MY INNER STRENGTH WOULDNT LET ME GIVE UP. FINALLY WE WAS GIVEN A CHANCE TO CALL OUR FAMILIES AND BOY LET ME TELL YOU.... I GOT A SHOCK OF MY LIFE!!!!! THE OFFICIALS TALKING TO MY FAMILY TOLD THEM THAT I "ALONG WITH THE REST OF THE USP FACILITY" HAD BEEN EVACUATED TO A SAFE LOCATION OUT OF HARMS WAY. THAT WAS A BOLD FACE LIE. I WAS IN ROOM UNIT AB 419 TOP BUNK AND I TOLD MY FAMILY THAT TOO!!! THEY WAS SCARED FOR MY SAFETY BUT WHAT CAN I DO? THEY SEEN THE MASSACRE ON TV. AFTER ALL THAT IS SAID AND DONE I CAN NEVER FORGET THAT MOMENT OF MY LIFE. I HOPE MY STORY OPENS THE EYES OF PEOPLE THAT DIDNT THINK THIS REALLY HAPPENED. MY NAME IS GILBERT SOZA FEDERAL #57503180. LOOK AT MY DATES AND LOCATION OF MY INCARCERATION AND YOULL KNOW I WAS THERE.

jpb
jpb

Look, you can't just torture inmates. They were sentenced to prison terms, not time in a concentration camp. That they're probably all scum is perhaps true, but it doesn't matter. Being a thief is not an offense for which we torture or kill (at least, not yet), and it's the epitome of anti-Christianity (and, I would think, most other religions/ethical standards) to say otherwise.

GDeetz
GDeetz

It is amazing to hear some of the comments that have been left on this issue. So because we were or are convicts they should just let us rot? Yes most of those in prison did something wrong and bad to get there, but in no way does that make it right to leave us during a hurricane to die. Anyone who comments and says because we were prisoners we deserve whatever we get is immoral and wrong. I am human and made some poor choices in my life but I nor any of us that went threw the hurricane deserve to go threw that. I will continue to fight this and make it so all inmates still get treated like a human even though they made poor choices in there life.

txbomer
txbomer

I don't feel sorry for you you did the crimes now do the times, if you think you got it bad you should try prison time in a japanese or phillipino prison. I was a guard of prisoners when I was stationed in Sasebo, Japan. I think there to soft on you and should make it harder on you. I would take away your televisons, computers, and don't talk about rehab, most prisoners come back anyway. I think the wardens should spend more time on making the prisoners get along with each other. by mixing the cells mates together,

eric
eric

Who cares, most of these people are scum anyway. They deserve that and more.

Lesley Jones
Lesley Jones

I must continue (25) After several trips to the airport, they were able to go home-onlythe next day to be called back to the Beaumont Area--where they were to evacuate inmates in prisons that were harmed during the storm. These evacuations continued upuntil October 07, 2005. Two times of the evecuations--my husband was forced to stay awake for four days without sleep. He began heart pains, which ended up with him having a heart attack and stroke-------- tried to apply for occupational disability andThe STate of Texas is denying any-any blame----and it has been a fight for the last year----I do know that it was ""so"" possible this happened--but it being federal-my husband has no knowledge of it--since his duty was to State inmates. Yes, the inmates are wrong-but be careful when judging-someone close to you could end up in prison-----------One never knows!!!

Lesley Jones
Lesley Jones

My husband was a correctional officer who transported for the TDCJ (Texas department ofCriminal Justice) and worked the hurricane Rita evacuation that almost killed him. The correctional officers usually suffer most things the inmates suffer. These prisons are not air conditioned and the buses certainly are not. He was called severaltimes at the last minute. After working a 15 hour day in the Beeville area, he was called the 23rd early Friday before Rita at midnight, giving him about 2 hours to sleep. Hedrove 5 hours to the area and everything was in disarray--They would start to evacuateone prison and then stop and it was very very disorganized. They were then sent home. The morning Rita hit the Beaumont area--his unit was called to pick up inmates at the Corpus Christi airport and distribute the inmates around the Beeville area. MORE

Lori McAllister
Lori McAllister

I am a mother of a prisoner (since inmate is such a nice term (?) )At Beaumont USP For all you people who think they should have been left there to die , I'm sure your opinion would change if it was you in there for tax evasion or any other number of federal crimes . I don't think our country gives the death penalty except in EXTREME cases . However our Goverment chose to risk the lives of all these men , who were NOT given death sentences . And if they felt so justified in doing so , why did they lie and cover it up . The state took the right attitude , as far as protecting the people in their custody . And I don't think you people would have been to happy if the walls were breached and the inmates were free in your neighborhood . Moving them to safety would have been the right choice for ALL , not just the prisoners . I have tried to get people aware of what happened there since the Hurricane , THANK GOD for Mr Siriak who has the balls to bring this to light so it doesn't EVER happen again . For public safety as well as the prisoners .

Kevin
Kevin

I find it interesting that the crimes committed by the interviewed inmates were not disclosed. Since the facility in the story is a maximum security prison, I'm assuming there weren't too many offenders in there for outstanding traffic tickets. Would mentioning the crimes have possibly slanted the article in a direction the author did not wish to travel? Makes me wonder...

KORY BURTON
KORY BURTON

I AM A HONESTY WITNESS TO ALL CLAIMS OF THE LAWSUIT FILED. I WAS A INMATE AT THE TIME OF THE STORM SO I FELT EVERYTHING FIRST HAND. AND PERSONALLY I FEEL THAT THERES NOTHING A MAN CAN DO TO MAKE HIM SUFFER THE WAY WE DID. AND TRUE ENOUGH YOU CANT BEAT THE GOVERNMENT BUT JUSTICE IS JUSTICE AND I SEE NO RIGHTFUL ACTION TAKEN IN THIS CASE. MAY GOD BE WITH EVERYONE WHO WENT THROUGH THIS WITH ME.

prison worker
prison worker

I have read the article and the comments..very interesting. Editor, it is articles and thinking like this, that has offenders not taking responsibility for there actions. It is always somebody else's fault what happens to them. Come on! Poor shower conditions and parents not being able to call into prison. "Maam, if you took that much interest in your child then they probably would not be there in the first place. Enabling behavior from parents; we are raising a dependent society. And let me guess your son or daughter was wrongly convicted. Yea, right! It takes a track record of messing up to land in prison. 3 strike rule, so your child is not in there for J walking. I am not for the harsh treatment of offenders, but don't baby these grown men! My family was displaced during Rita, they had no shower and no food. And a phone call to the unit, at least you knew where they were. My 85 year old grandfather went missing for three days and had my 40 year old deaf-mute cousin with him. So stop your belly aching. These guys are well taken care of. Prison is not even prison anymore...Too many rights for individuals who have violated the rights of others. If you inmates or former inmates think prison is hard.. try prison in Mexico, Iraq, China or Africa.You boys are soft and not doing hard time now a days. I walk down the halls and you see 9 of 10 inmates smiling in the commissary line spending there families money they did not earn. Its a grown man daycare. Weight lifting and basketball while normal citizens are at work. And what about the law following people who were there with you, in the same conditions? The nurses, therapist, doctors and officers. You guys were not the only ones going through it, so stop crying like you were falsely imprisoned. Do the crime, do the time. Do your time and get out. Don't go back. Most of you dummies have been in a couple of times. Stop snitching and do your time. And Stop trying to get a lawsuit or disability. It all boils down to the same thing.. You bums don't want to work for a living. Trying to make a fast buck.. Hey Stupid The Lawyers end up with your money in the end. Never a happy ending in crime stories. American Gangster. Get a job, and support your family, you bums. Single parent household at an all-time high. Thanks but you guys are the victims. I forgot. Keep taking my taxes dollars, you deserve it. Free medical, dental and board. People in the free world dying of Aids and Hep C, you guys are getting free treatment. Thousands of taxes dollars on one offenders treatment. You guys are treated soo unfairly. Quit your cryin. Dependants. If I am going to pay for your prison term, then please stop your belly aching.

Tex
Tex

"comprised of" is not proper English

Julie Young
Julie Young

The March 6 story "Prison Cover-Up" was an eye opener. I hope that officials are held accountable, and that changes are made.

But people need to know that that sort of intentional neglect and abuse goes on every day in our local detention facilities. Let's just focus on the Houston City Jail, where you may have "hardened criminals," but also people who simply failed to pay a traffic ticket, and where people are being held awaiting arraignment, and haven't even yet been charged with a crime, but are treated like criminals - or, rather, like animals.

My gripe is not about the lack of what most people would consider bare essentials, like toothpaste or showers. It's about downright dangerous or degrading conditions:

In a facility filled with people harboring infectious diseases like HIV, AIDS, TB, Hepatitis, etc., there is no soap.

There is no clean drinking water. People are expected to share the "fountain" which is a slow dribble of water running down the side of the metal combo toilet / sink / fountain contraption, which other people in the cell have already slopped their mouths on. Oh, did I mention infectious diseases?

Cells and bedding are not cleaned or disinfected after one person leaves and before the next person comes in. Oh, did I mention infectious diseases?

People often cannot have essential medications. The guards simply ignore the request, or put the person off by saying they'll "attend to it," but never do.

Woman in need are frequently denied sanitary napkins. Oh, those items may exist - locked away in a supply closet somewhere. It's up to the guards to hand out sanitary products when requested, and some of them simply won't. I've been told that women who are used to this treatment while being locked up simply stand with their legs apart and let nature take its course. Others soil their clothing and have to stand in court that way. Sorry for being graphic, but people need to know this goes on. Annise Parker and Ray Hill have both worked on this problem, but, as soon as their attention is focused on another matter, guards go back to denying prisoners' pleas.

I've talked to people who work in the jail, and to a former head of the jail. They assure me that sufficient supplies are on hand, and that guards are trained and instructed to take care of basic needs of prisoners. But training and written policies don't insure that correct procedures are followed down in the trenches.

In my opinion, jail and prison are not about reform or helping a person become a productive citizen. Jail and prison are about power, control, dominance, humiliation, and big egos with small brains being able to get away with whatever they want, simply because no one knows. And, concerning people who are locked up, often the public opinion is that "if they did something to land themselves in jail, they deserve what they get," or to simply turn their back and ignore what's going on.

"Criminal" or not, every human being deserves to be treated with respect, and to have basic needs and safety provided.

I hope that your article, my letter, and the outcries of many people, will finally put an end to this inhumane treatement of people in lockup.

Hmmm. Your website seems to have changed. I can't find the "letters" section with the button that offers the option of not having my name published. I hope that feature is still available, and that you will not publish my name if you print my letter.

Thanks.

This issue has been bugging me for a long time, and hopefully we can get things rectified.

Jim
Jim

I guess I am totally confused now. These folks are in prison, right? They get treated better then the military In Iraq. Solve the issue. Issue these folks an M-16 and a thousand rounds of ammo. Drop them off in Iraq and bring the military home. They can stay in Iraq, if they survive, so be it. They can eat MRE's once or twice a day. They can also roam around the cities of Iraq and not have to stay in a compound with guards. They can get their own rooms where they can find one and not have to stay in tents with 40 plus more folks or share a 10X10 room with 4 to 6 other folks while sharing two lockers for uniforms.I feel so sorry for the wrong doers, I do not mind giving my tax dollars for their wellbeing. HaHa. Suffer you folks. Cant do the time, dont do the crime. The way sociallty is today, I am pretty sure these are not first offenders.

sara
sara

Big deal. inmates suffered the same as the public. No electricity or ac for days? Who even gives a shit? I believe that prisoners have rights but do they deserve to be treated better than the people out here in the world that are working their asses off to pay for such things as hot food, electricity, air conditioning? I bet most of them have willingly gone without those things when they were out here smoking crack or whatever it was they did to get themselves locked up in the first place. Save the sympathy for the truly deserving.

R. Winkelman
R. Winkelman

Although some of the comments purpose that the prisoners have fewer rights than the general public I must disagree. It is maintained by federal law that inhumane treatment of inmates is not to be tolerated by our prison system, we voted to have this fact and not to tolerate divisions, violations, or cover-ups to dissuade it. The alleged cover-up by management seems to reflect a direct battlement to intimidate, deceive, and mirrors Gestapo tactics to silence any attempt to have the truth revealed! This should be appalling to everyone that reads this and should be put in a national spotlight! Government that cover-up a wrong is not what we are about and when we hear of it we should pay very close attention to what happens and prevent it from happening again otherwise it may become the norm.

Thats What Y'all Get
Thats What Y'all Get

Prisoners should lose all basic rights when charged with a crime. Period. End of story. Don't commit crimes and you won't find yourself in that situation. It is entirely avoidable. I'm glad they didn't evacuate, because if something happened, all of those prisoners would have run free first chance they got. They got what they deserved. If anything, my heart goes out to the guards who were forced to stay in the prison.

Mary
Mary

People, read the article. Do you not see the words "maximum security" used numerous times? What kind of people are sent to a MAXIMUM SECURITY prison? Murderers, rapists, child molesters, etc. These people are not even human! There might be a very, very small percentage of innocent people there, but the vast, vast majority of the people who are in that facility are there because they deserve to be. Why should a monster who raped women or killed people sit in a dry, powered, air-conditioned building and get three hot meals a day on my tax dime while my power is out and I'm living on peanut butter sandwiches and water for three weeks?

Dennis
Dennis

They should of move them before Rita,like the lied about it.Thats it ,the rest of it is bullshit.You compare your families and yourselfs with the inmates.No way.Yall had a choice and stayed but they didnt.They are inmates,look up the meaning to it.The Feds are liable for them and their survival throu storms,wars....As far as the federal aid the whole world seen the katrina sorry act of federal aid.

Jeff Davis
Jeff Davis

What fine upright pompous blowhards some of you folks commenting are. So anyone in prison deserves to be there, is an animal and deserves whatever they get? In 2002, I pleaded guilty to mail fraud. A business associate actually was the one who had committed the fraud, but the money he paid me came from the fraud and they called it tainted fruit. I couldn't afford to fight it, so I took the plea. My probation officer did everything he could to obstruct my probation. I'd get a job after disclosing my felony mail fraud conviction, he'd put conditions on me so I couldn't fulfill the job requirements, I'd get fired and be in violation of my employment requirement of my probation.

I ended up going to prison for six months for that reason. The other inmates were amazed that I was there! For my part, I was amazed at what I saw in prison. Inmates who just wanted to do their time and get out, guards who took great delight in hassling the people they were put in charge of, and prison doctors who could not care less if you lived or died. I don't look at prison guards or inmates the same way now as I did before. I feel sorry for some of the people who have commented on this story who obviously feel that prisoners are subhuman. You'd all be right at home with Adolf Hitler.

joshua
joshua

Inmates, a nice name for prisoners, itself a nice name for convicted criminals, which is another name for those degenerates who don't deserve to live among us, well, they are cast out. They should be the least of our worries. Why write about them? Given that they've chosen to live in the sharks pen, they should swim with sharks, and sharks bite, right? Why write about the sharks? Is there no earthly justice where these inmates might endure an eye for an eye justice?

Bcooper
Bcooper

There is a simple solution to the inmates problems, and that is dont be a burden to society. Its bad enough that hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars are spent on these prisoners. If you dont want to be in a cell with 6 men then I suggest that follow the law. Minimum or maximum security is irrelevant, if you cant be trusted among society than you deserve the consequences. Thousands of people in that area were without running water or septic sytems. I still don't understand why criminals believe they deserve the same treatment as normal citizens. I guess that should be expected from a lower level of society!

Rufus MCDonald
Rufus MCDonald

These criminals should have avoided jail by not committing crimes against their fellow man.

Did these criminals have any compassion for their victims?Why would hey expect ANY compassion now?

I suggest we stop feeding and EXECUTE the SUMBITCHES!!!

Robert
Robert

Really? A 'no comment' from the BOP and that's it?

Couldn't find anything else to balance your story?

Did you try to find just one inmate or guard or relative that didn't think it was quite as bad?

If you did try, you should have included it.

Or how about this. Wait until discovery gets started in the lawsuit to publish your story. If you had wanted to present a more balanced account, that would have been an easy way to do it.

Briefs, filings and other documents from all involved parties would then be available on the Internet to any yahoo with a computer. If the hurricane was so long ago and you could wait until the original complaint was filed, why not wait until you get some adversarial perspective in the court flings?

For all I know conditions in the prison were as bad as your story portrays. But your story would be more compelling if you had handled the reporting better.

J.A.F.
J.A.F.

For those people who do not know.. The prison Camp is the minimal security prison in the Beaumont Federal Complex. Let it be known the article in the Houston Press is incorrect. It states that we were evacuated and the only people left behind were the USP (Maximum) inmates. Well get this.. They took us campers to the USP to suffer with them in an open wing they had. If the walls were to give out like they were expecting. ( read the article) we would have been mixed in which would have been disaster and murders taking place. You people saying there is nothing wrong with this? I had no sterile water to drink for days and we were piled in two man cells six deep practically on top of a toilet with shit in it! After the storm i was put on work detail at the medium security ( which was evacuated after the storm) picking up debris with no medical check or medication for my needs and handi cap arm, since i had only been on the grounds for a few days. I had no commisary for months and no higene. Here I am exausted from no sleep due to conditions and cant handle the detail they give me in extreme heat and threatened to be taken to the hole if I do not work!

J. A. F.
J. A. F.

Most of you people are idiots and deserve to be locked up more then most of the people in Beaumont. You stupid people commenting are the same snake in the grass people in society today! I was an inmate at the prison camp when this happened and it was inhumane. Ive paid my debt to society and Im working and doing well now. Not everybody in prison is a rapist or murderer and thats besides the point. There was a mandatory evacuation for this area and we were the only ones "forced" to be left behind in harm and terrors way! Sure there were other non inmates in the area that suffered but they were not caged up like animals and forced to stay. There dumb asses should have found a way out!

Bcooper
Bcooper

I am not sure exactly what the prison officials did wrong. I stayed through Rita and was here for the chaos in the following months. Why should murderers, drug dealers, rapists, and all other criminals recieve priority over lawful citizens? I actually find the premise of this article quite offensive. I had no power or running water for 18 days and some others went a full month.The men and women behind bars are there for a reason and deserve any treatment they get. Everyday those men are fighting, stabbing and raping each other, but to go a couple days with peanut butter and bread is inhumane?

In The Know
In The Know

Were conditions bad at USP Beaumont after Hurricane Rita? You bet.

However, the inmates housed at the United States Penitentiary were nothing more than a microcosm of hundreds of thousands of individuals in SE Texas whose lives were disrupted by this natural disaster. My immediate family was affected greatly by Rita. The difference is that nobody was rushing tractor trailer loads of generators, food, bottled water, and clean laundry to them. These things WERE provided to the inmates at Federal Correctional Complex. ANYONE who is going to go on the record and say otherwise either wasn't there, is out right being dishonest, or has another agenda to push.

Beverly
Beverly

If prisoners want to be treated well then they should treat their fellow man well. Live their life the way they should, obey the laws and not go to prison. The people they have wronged weren't treated fair either. I'm so tired of people breaking the law and then crying injustice when they think things don't go their way. There were many people that had it rough during Rita and many of those people didn't break the law, but they still suffered just the same. I think we all need to take a long hard look at ourselves and start doing a better job of the way we do things. The first is taking better care of how we live our lives. Don't break the law and help our neighbors.

NANCY LOPEZ
NANCY LOPEZ

As I read this today it takes me back to that awful day. My husband was there. He told me of the horrible conditions he endured as well as other inmates. I think justice needs to be served. The inmates might be criminals but they are human and were treated poorly and had no choice but to take what was given to them. All of their lives were put in jeopardy and mean while we were being told everything was fine, but it was not and it's a shame that no one wants to take the blame for it. My husband was one who joined the lawsuit and we are hoping everything turns out well for him and all the other inmates who have also joined the lawsuit. When I read this article it really even amazed me that this story would be on the cover. No one really talks about it and i'm glad that you guys are giving the inmates a voice and a chance to have their bad experienced told. The goverment is full of hush hush and someone needs to be the voice for this injustice! My husband will be pleased when he gets to read this article as much I was. Thanks Houston Press!

Rodney
Rodney

If there were ever an incentive to not get involve with prison industrial complex this is it. This particular incident shows that you have absolutely no control over your life, that those who govern you care nothing about you or your family members.

As the great Henry Kissinger once stated and I quote "these people are just useless eaters."

 
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