Criminal

The Saga of the Law Books For Prison Inmates

Author’s note: This is the unbelievable, yet wholly true story of a set of law books that went on a great adventure and changed the rules of the TDCJ, maybe forever.

Once upon a time, there was a fairly good man, not too much worse than some, and not better, than most others, but one day, having lost his ever-loving mind, he did a heinous deed. The community was outraged, and they took him before a judge and decided that he should spend fifteen years of his life in a prison, he was no longer a free man, he was a convict.
The convict tried to make the best of his time behind bars, and took many classes volunteers would lead teaching the Bible and various life skills to learn how to be a better man.

Sadly, while he was in prison, his brother, who had been very sick for some time because of diabetes, passed away. This left the convict’s parents heartbroken. One of their sons was dead, and the other was in prison. It was as if they had no children left at all. Nevertheless, it didn’t stop them from showing all the love they could to their only remaining child, the convict. They mould come and visit him as often as they could, and they would talk to him on the phone when they could afford it, for telephone calls are very expensive for prisoners. Since so few people with freedom cared much for how the men in prison were treated, the phone companies could charge many times more for calls that would cost most people in the free world nothing at all. But I digress.

One day, after the convict had served almost twelve years of his fifteen-year sentence, he was asked to go down to the Chaplain’s office. She had very bad news for him. His father had suffered a massive-heart attack, and he was gone, just like that. This, of course, made the convict very sad, especially since he’d not been able to say goodbye to him. Nor would he be allowed by the prison to go to his dad’s funeral. Even so, the Chaplain and the Christian friends the convict had made gave him a lot of encouragement and loved on him a great deal, and he started recovering from his grief.

It had only been six months since the convict’s dad had died when he was once again asked to go to see the Chaplain. She gad some bad news. This time, his mother was sick, and she’d been put in a hospital. As bad as the news was, at least the convict was able to talk to her during an emergency phone call. They spoke at length about important things, and the convict got to tell her how much he loved her. They both held out hope that she would be able to win her fight against the evil monster, Cancer. But it was not meant to be. The very next day, the convict was told that his mom, too, was gone. This left him the last survivor in his family.

In “the place where the convict lied, the wild and adventurous land of Texas, the prisoners, were able to study parts of the law with books and materials provided to them in a library- especially parts that talked about breaking the law and goin got court. But other parts of the law were not there for them to see. One part in particular that became very important to the Convict after both his parents died was the Probate Code. This book would unlock all the secrets of how to find and rescue the treasure that his parents had hidden away before they died. Alas, the convict looked high and low, but could not find the book.
One day, the convict had an idea. He had a friend that was a powerful Cleric with a good heart. His heart was so good, in fact, that even when the convict had committed the heinous crime, the Cleric did not forsake him as many others had, but kept being his friend.

The convict decided that he would, tell his friend what was wrong and see if he could help. The Cleric was a clever thinker, and sure enough, when he found out his friend needed his help, he said, “I think I can find those books for you using the magic of The Internet. The convict, of course, had heard of the Internet. Everyone had. The prisoners knew that it could be used to send lengthy letters, videos,, music, and all kinds of useful information all the way around the known world. But the only thing prisoners in Texas could get (GET, not SEND) were email-like letters called JPays that cost the sender 50¢ a page to send, while all people outside the prison could use it for free.

Using his cleverness, the Cleric quickly found exactly what the convict needed- not one, but, two, TWO Probate Code books that would tell the convict how, to find the treasure. “But how will I get them to you?” asked the Cleric. The convict replied that it was no problem. According to the rules and laws of the prison, “Community or civic organizations [like the church where the Cleric worked] could send reference materials and books [like the Probate Code] to the prisoners.” In fact, the convict had received many books like this in the past. And just like that, the powerful Cleric had sent the books on their way, summoning them from his home in Virginia to come to him from a mysterious galaxy known as Amazon.com. For the first time in many moons, the convict felt relief.

Meanwhile, in the wild and adventerous land of Texas, there were many kinds of people. Most of them were good and decent, but a few were mean and wicked-hearted. Amongst these few, a disproportionate number of them, for some reason seemed inclined to work in a prison. One of the cruelest and meanest of them all was a witch, Feldhausen. She was in charge of all the mail that came to the prisoners, and though she had helpers that were very wonderful and nice, Feldhausen was their boss, and they had to obey what she would tell them to do. Nobody knows exactly what drew Witch Feldhausen’s attention to the poor convict’s Probate Code books when they finally arrived in the mailroom. Maybe she sensed deep down in her shriveled little heart exactly how desperately the convict needed the books to find the lost parent’s treasure.

But, for whatever reason, she decided that she would not, under ANY circumstances, let the convict get those books, even if she had to make up her own rules as she went along. She told the convict that he couldn’t have them, because they had come from, a church. The convict calmly and rationally… okay, okay… somewhat rationally and none-too calmly explained that he had many times been sent books by churches. “Yes, my little deary,” she crowed, “but those were RELIGIOUS books.” The convict couldn’t think of anything to say to this, so he went and found the Book of Rules. When he showed her the rule that civic organizations [like churches] could send reference materials like law books], Witch Feldhausen became enraged. “Shut your mouth!” she screamed at the poor, little convict in her most shrill and ear-piercing voice. [Yes, those were her actual words.] Then she schemed a moment and with w knowing smirk, she cooed, “We’ll just let the Director’s Review Committee in Huntsville decide what to do about this.” And with that, she slammed the little mailroom window shut, right in the convict’s face.

Then Witch Feldhausen wrote out a one-sided and utterly biased account of all that had transpired and emailed it to the Director’s Review Committee. The convict waited for their answer, and it finally came. Of course, since they had only seen what the wicked witch had wanted them to see, instead of the facts, the Director’s Review Committee sided with, the witch and told the convict he couldn’t have the Probate Code. In fact, because Witch Feldhausen’s position was so tenuous in regards to the rules backing their decision, the Director’s Review Committe issued a special decree known as an Inter-Office Communication. It was an email sent to ALL the prisons in Texas, and it said the TDCJ would no longer let churches send ANY material to prisoners that was not specifically religious in nature. With one stroke of the pen, the wicked witch had not only managed to keep the Probate Code out of the convict’s hands, but had also denied many types of profitable literature to inmates all over the land of Texas for many years to come. The only thing left to do, thought the convict, was to send the books back to the Cleric, where they had come from.

All of a sudden, there was a glimmer of hope. As it turned out, the evil, wicked Witch Feldhausen was about to go on a long journey to the enchanted land of Retirement. Just days after she’d so badly used the convict about the Probate Code, she was gone forever. Not only that, but it also was discovered that the Probate Code didn’t have to be sent back to the sender, after all. It could be sent anywhere as long as the convict could pay for the stamps. So after much thought, the convict sent the Probate Code to the land of Missouri, where a good and very wise witch lived. There she had access to Bookstore, which was a wonderous spell that would magically open up the TDCJ to ALL kinds of books, as long as they didn’t have pictures of naked people, or talk about how to commit crimes or make or repair guns, or glorify violence, or contain scenes of rape… well, you get the idea. As long as Probsae Code came from the Bookstore, the wonderful ladies who had so recently been set free from the oppresive tyranny of Witch Feldhausen in the mailroom could let the Probate Code come in the convict’s heart rejoiced. He gathered up $5 worth of stamps (which is WAY too much money to send “media mail”) and sent the Probate Code off to the good witch. Lickety split, Probate Code was sent from a real honest-to-goodnes Bookstore, and off they went again, zigging and zagging all about the country, headed for the wild, adventerous land of Texas and the convict who needed help to find the treasure.

Alas, wicked Witch Feldhausen must have cast one last, powerful spell over the books before she’d left on her journey trying to prevent Probate Code from ever reaching the convict, for in order for them to return to the prison, they would have to pass through a mail-portal in the city of Corpus Christi. Just as Probate Code was on its way, Corpus Christi was hit by a violent and terrible hurricane named Harvey. Several people lost their lives, and many, many more were sadly displaced from their beloved homes. The convict watched on the magical idiot box as rains and fierce floods tore people’s lives apart. But, as we all know, Corpus Christi means “Body of Christ” in Latin, and there is nothing more wonderful or powerful than the Body of Christ. He was the most powerful of all that ever was or will be, much less a wicked witch. Sure enough, even after passing through the terrible storm, the Probate Code made its way into the hands. of the convict.

With the Probate Code before him at last, thie convict was able to navigate to Maze of Courts and find his poor parent’s treasure which they had left for him before going on to the next world, where the Body of Christ is more powerful still, if that were even possible. And the convict was so very grateful to his friends, the cleric and the good witch from Missouri, and to the mailroom ladies who were nice indeed. And he lived happify ever after he made parole.

-THE END-

Francisco Hernandez

Author Francisco Hernandez

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