Three hour drive from the busy city of Houston out to the country side. Beeville, TX is a small rundown town with open fields, cows and the occasional cactus. It also is the home of the transfer unit for Texas Department of Corrections. Where my brother-in-law, Joey, is currently being held on a five year bid. Joey is a big teddy bear with a passion and love for God. He’s a man who would do anything to help anyone. But tragically, he also suffers from drug addiction. This visit was the first time that I had seen him in over a year, maybe even closer to two years. The visit was only for two hours although it honestly felt like 20 minutes. My heart shattered as I heard him say all of the terrible things that he’s going through in there. My stomach turned and my blood pressure began to rise, I wanted to bust through those doors like a protester and demand that they make changes. I held my composer though and told him to stop doing any idiotic things that would get him in trouble. I have to give him the big sister speech because at the end of the day, we all have a choice and who we associate with becomes who we are, at least in the eyes of others. Joey’s not like the rest of them, but they’re unable to comprehend that. They don’t bother to take the time to get to know him, so they don’t know that he is great father and uncle. They don’t know that he is the type of person who would give a homeless man his shoes right off of his feet. They don’t know that he suffers from a mental illness that causes him to self medicate and when does self-medicate, he misuses the drugs and doesn’t make the right choices. Everyone who knows Joey, knows that’s the reason why he’s in there. In no way is it because he’s a monster or like a person who lacks a conscious. Joey has a heart the size of Texas and will always be an important member of our family. After the visit, I begin to wonder, why aren’t there any therapists in prison? Why are we not trying to heal the broken? Helping the ones who have drug addiction in prison? Instead, we lock them away like a social outcast as the government keeps robbing us of our tax dollars, taking away from necessities such as public school funding. How about trying to break the cycle for our inmates? Yes, some prisoners are narcissistic or sociopaths that rightfully deserve to be kept from the general public. But most are like Joey, broken, lost and in need of help and healing on a mental level. I’m sick of the repetitive, corrupt issues within the system. It’s time for changes.


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3 thoughts on “A system designed for failure

  1. Our mental health system is a failure and it has been for over a generation. It’s cruel, it’s inhumane, it wastes money and it kills people. But the minority who profit from this misery tell us through their lapdogs in the media that there is nothing we can do to change it; as if the system we have now isn’t a degradation of the system we had before.

    I’m sorry that your brother in law has to live through this, I’m sorry that he can’t get the help that he needs, but most of all I’m sorry for the ignorance of my countrymen who prefer circuses to a reasoned discussion about the issues that degrade our nation and our lives.


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