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That might not even be the worst of it.

Yesterday, while doing research on Texas’ coronavirus numbers, I started looking at the numbers of inmates tested, provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. TDCJ is over Texas’ prisons and state jails. They have roughly about 165,000 inmates they are responsible for. 

Out of the 165,000 inmates, the TDCJ is in charge of, they’ve actually only administered 947 tests. Which is right in-line with how much they’ve tested the rest of the population; 0.5%.

They Only Have the Results of 820 tests

Testing in Texas Prisons has been bad, but their efforts to contain it have been worse.

525 tests are positive. 

295 tests are negative. 

That’s 65%. 

There’s more.

127 are still pending results and 639 inmates are in medical isolation, showing symptoms, but have not been tested. Knowing what we know now about this virus, and how many people can be asymptomatic or symptoms can take up to two weeks to show up. There is no telling how many prisoners are actually infected. 

TDCJ may be helping spread the virus

Keri Blakinger from the Marshall Project reported last week that the TDCJ has been taking the infected inmates and moving them to other facilities. It’s incredibly jarring. I suggest reading her full Twitter thread, the TDCJ has no conscience at all. But we already knew that.

“Surveillance Testing”

Check out this tweet from Jolie McCullough at the Texas Tribune.

On top of the 65% of the tests which have come back positive, aside from 127 tests which are still pending, and despite the 639 inmates who are in medical isolation… the TDCJ admits there were 54 dorm-mates of a man who died from coronavirus were tested but they aren’t counting it in any of those categories.

Social Media

(Notice how recent these are. This information has not been verified, but I’m sharing to bring light to the amount of concern being raised. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has NOT self-reported these issues. )

Inmates sued TDCJ over their Coronavirus response

Geriatric inmates in Texas prisons aren't given soap and towels during the pandemic.

Originally reported in the Texas Tribune, in March two inmates at a geriatric prison in College Station sued the TDCJ. The inmates didn’t have access to clean towels, soap, hand sanitizer, and cleaning supplies for common surfaces.

Seriously. What kind of world do we live in where prisoners have to sue the state to get soap in the middle of a pandemic? The World of Texas, apparently.

A judge ordered the state to provide these things to the inmates.

The World of Texas is made from money

There’s is a no better time than the present to remind everyone how much money the for-profit prison industry throws at Republicans. Millions. Many Texas politicians, including a Democrat and especially Greg Abbott, have received plenty of money from the for-profit prison industry. The for-profit prison industry pays its lobbyists nearly $500,000 a year. The for-profit prison industry is big business in Texas.

These people are literally making profiting by not wasting money on the care of human beings.

Why for-profit prisons are bad:

For one, since businesses are constantly trying to keep their overhead low, this would cause them to do things like not give geriatric inmates soap and towels during the middle of a pandemic.

A for-profit prison may add on to a prisoner’s time, to keep them in longer, so they could profit more. There is no oversight, as there would be in a government facility.

There are a lot of Republicans getting rich on for-profit prisons.

If you haven’t seen the documentary already, 13th on Netflix is eye-opening. “In this thought-provoking documentary, scholars, activists and politicians analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the U.S. prison boom.”

Never forget! Tell everyone! Greg Abbott gets stacks and stacks of cash for this.

Call your congressman!

Demand transparency and oversight in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. It doesn’t matter if they are a Republican or a Democrat they work for us, the people. If they keep going against the people, we vote them out.

To find out who your representatives are go HERE!

Make sure you’re registered to vote

Are you registered to vote? Not sure, find out HERE!

Remember, voter registrations expire in Texas and they MUST match your current drivers license.

If you know a non-voter, (family member or a friend), keep talking to them, keep telling them how important it is to vote. This might be the year you get through to them.

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