NOTE:The writings posted by the Lamp of Hope Project are provided by prisoners. The Lamp of Hope Project does not accept responsibility for the accuracy of these pieces, nor do they necessarily reflect the opinion or views of any within the Lamp of Hope Project.

The Resolution

By A. “Bigfoot” Canales Jr.

Every year at midnight, I make a New Years resolution and usually by 12:15 am, my resolve has vanished in a cloud of smoke and washed down with some good booze.

But, this year I have a new determination to see a better ending to my resolution.

As I sit down and reflect on this past year, I realize that what's really needed is not a resolution by one, but a resolve of many!

See, those of us sitting on Death Row here in Texas are able to see just how chaotic TDCJ has become, and we as a group can help that chaos, to not only root, but blossom to full potential.

As we look around not only here on Death Row but system wide, we see that TDCJ is slowly losing its grip on control and every day activities.

Here on Death Row it's a chore just to get showered every day, and forget about haircuts and all the things we're supposed to get.

And the constant cry we hear. Everyday on every shift is “We're understaffed”. And guess what? They are! But is it our business to mind? Not hardly! Should we care if they don't have enough staff to do this or do that? No! Should we help them? Not! Are you a building tender or a turnkey? Will they give you an early parole of reprieve to be of assistance? NO! So why help? Why yell “Cross over” or “Look out picket” so that some “Greyfolk” can get thru the door?

It's not for you to do! That's their job. They get paid to be “Greyfolk”.

There are many of you, system wide. Who believe that helping the man is the best way to do time. And back in the game you might have a point to argue, but now?

How are you being paid? With what? By whom? You got nothing special but a jacket, for being a “snake” or “Wanna-be BT”. You're getting the same screwing we all get! Yet you seem to like it!

But! Here's your chance to redeem yourselves, and as for all the rest of us plain and simple offenders we can step up.

Resolution #1. “Passive resistance”.
Dr. Martin Luther King used this tool and won, and so can we! Violence for the sake of violence is foolish and wasteful and its' not needed! All you have to do is stop being a helpful slave. Stop being Mr. Offender of the Year! You don't have to “lay it down”, but you don't need to be top inmate either! Do your job, and that's it! Stop being so friendly. You don't have to be a hard-ass just off closed custody, but you don't need to be “kickin' it” with the “greyfolk”… unless he/she is taking care of your business, you don't need them all in your face or house or hanging about in the hallways.

Hee-heeing and Ha-haing is all good when you're tending to yours or trying to make something happen, but not just cause she's a female and smells good!!!

Do you honestly believe that because she smiles at you or he kicks it with you that they are cool and your friends? If you believe that, then you're in for a rude awakening my brothers and sisters… Mr. Rudd found out (God rest his soul) just how these grey folk treat us as they kicked and beat him down the hall to his execution… sis any of these smiling, laughing, “cool” pigs stop them from degrading the man? No! Why? Because they understand what we don't – they are not our friends!!!

So, let's resist… passively. Save the skinnin' and grinnin' for the one bringing you something to smoke or drink or putting you in it… and let these greyfolk do the job they get paid for! Overworked and understaffed is not our problem – that's theirs. And sure we may miss some showers and few a few jonnies, but you know what? It won't be the first and you know it won't be the last! And in the end, we'll have come out on top. Believe that!

Resolution #2. “Legal Actions”.
Prison reform organisations spend millions of dollars to try to change the way we were treated. And our rights secured and out living conditions bettered. So why can't we return the favor by helping them – help ourselves?

I-127s are the legal avenue we have to air our grievances and do we use it? No! At all? Not enough… obviously. Why? Pure laziness! You “don't want to bother”. “You're not into that”. “I'll handle it”, “It don't work”. You know what? All these are is excuses!

The reason the I-127 has no weight is because we don't exercise that right! TDCJ points to this and says “See, everything is OK because if not, we'd have a bunch of I-127s on our desk”, and it's a good point and it wins any argument to the contrary.

We're like rape victims, who are scared to tell anyone we've been abused. And after all we've been screwed umpteen times. We're no longer victims, we're willing partners, willing to give our consent. And we don't need to be!

So, let's resolve! We resolve to file a I-127 on an issue once a week… simple! There are more than enough issues to file on. It don't take but 5 minutes. Make a copy so you can send it to one (or all) of the class action civil suites going on now against TDCJ.

Exorcise your right to grieve and complain! You have that right. Use it! Not just for yourself but those around you… file as a group on one issue or just you! But it begins and ends with one man or woman saying I've had enough! I've yet to meet an inmate/convict/offender who didn't bitch about something. So use that anger in a constructive way – file an I-127!! Believe it or not, these are ammo that can be used by the ACLU or other organisations to help us. So help yourself by helping them!!

Stop letting these greyfolk screw you at will and start screaming rape!! A victim is not a victim unless you cry out and are heard!!

Well, there it is – a New Year's Resolution that can make you proud of you, and those around you. I want to help myself here and in turn maybe it'll help others… why? Because this is my home and the last I'll see, no matter what comes next and that road will come in due time.

All these things I've mentioned, I've been guilty of. And that's why I will resolve to not do them again and better myself. And, I hope that you will join me in trying to make a change for the better, not just for me or you, but all! We can then show those greyfolk that we can be united under a common goal. Regardless of creed or color.

Some of you may know me or know my name and you know I've been down a few minutes and can say all this from experience.

So, let's march and see if we can't shake up some anger and make these greyfolk work their ass some and make them earn that low wage they seem to like! Have a solid New Year y'all and good luck to all!

With respect


Anibal Canales
Polunsky Unit 999366
3872 FM 350 South
Texas 77351