Texas Inmate Escapes

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Texas like any other state has had its share of public humiliation when it comes to the prison system and unusual breakouts by criminals. In Texas, inmates are treated not much differently than any other state. The need for the rehabilitation of criminals seems to be the debated topic among the public. When a police officer in Irving, Texas was murdered brutally, his mother thought it improbable that law enforcement did not secure the culprits enough to prevent her son’s murder. Yes, the crime was committed by escapees from the prison that carried out a robbery on Christmas Eve. Apparently, Aubrey Hawkins’ mom and others believe that the prison system needed serious reform. She held press conferences to show her disgust on the alleged inefficiency that cost her son’s life. There are many other instances that show the incompetence and inexperience of staff in the prison system.

The Prison Unit at Connally

Connally prison unit stands at number 10 on the list of prisons in the state of Texas. There are more than 2,500 inmates. Many believe that the employees that should secure the prison are too lackadaisical and allow the inmates to abandon the procedures that should keep the prison safe. In fact, escapees from the prison drove through the back gate without any problems. It was an easy escape. The tower guard with guns and ammunitions handy is supposed to be the last obstacle between the outside world and the inmate, but in this case, the tower guard did not check the inmates ID. They claimed to be maintenance workers, but the tower guard believed them and let them through.

The Escape Plan

This escape was in its plan phase for many years as the escapees watched how the guards operated, failing to supervise the inmates in an adequate manner. They probably saw, too, that the supervisors on the job did not hold their staff accountable. One of the guards at that particular prison told the news media that the unit was more interested in getting national accreditation, so security was no longer the focus. There were several security breaches in that prison, but supervisors turned a blind eye. The inmates met in the maintenance area, which apparently had not been supervised at the time by a prison guard. One of the men was not listed as a maintenance crew member, but was able to walk from the main building undetected and went to the maintenance shed to meet the others.

Security Audits

In every prison, security audits are to be done on a regular basis by the unit supervisors, central command and regional supervisor. Vigilance is required in any prison and this includes Texas prisons. The breaches have the public wondering if the staff is committed to the security of the prison or just to getting a paycheck. In the same way that a prison system has to be managed and secured, title loans in Dallas allow for consumers to do the same. But, we are talking about the prison system and Texas inmate escapes and how it impacts the community.

The Bottom Line

Extra efforts need to be made in providing a secure environment even for the other inmates because once there is an escape, other inmates might think about doing the same thing. It may take one inmate escape incidence for prison officials to get the picture – that their jobs aren’t about being paid, but for the safety of the community as well. If an escape happens more than once, then there is room for speculation by the public at large. Lucky for the community, in the case of the Connally prison unit in Texas, the escapees were finally caught and sent back to prison.

 

Storms Affecting Millions in Southern Texas

texas storm

El Niño has had an impact on many locations throughout the United States. Florida saw a record amount of rainfall, snow storms occurred across the Northeast, and in February, the south was hit with large tornadoes. The state of Texas was just one of many that had the possibility for great impact from a strong line of storms that were headed in the deep South. There was a line of strong thunderstorms moving across Texas, which were expected to bring about the possibility of strong winds, hail, and tornadoes.

 

Texas hit with strong storms, but no tornadoes

Dallas experienced strong tornadoes back in December, so the state was lucky not have as much extensive damage. South Texas storms still left thousands of people without power. Golf ball size hail hit the area, causing broken windows and damage to buildings. Thankfully there were no injuries to report throughout Texas. The only actually injury that was storm related came from a bus accident. Because of the predicted bad weather, schools were canceled in southern Texas. Since schools were closed, no students were on board a school bus, which ended up on its side. The crash was believed to be weather related, but the bus driver only had minor injuries following the accident.

 

Storm system throughout the south

The huge storm system did not just target southern Texas, but also the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. There was such danger to these storms because the storm system developed and evolved quickly. Arkansas was hit with heavy rain, strong winds, and even snow! This was definitely strange for the state to see such varying types of weather in one day. Flash flood watches and warnings were issued in Alabama and Georgia which were expected to see the majority of the rain, with 1 to 2 inches. The National Weather Service projected the heaviest rains would fall near Atlanta, which would be a concern for commuters come time to go to work. Schools were closed in parts of south Louisiana and Mississippi. Although each of these states saw some damage from the storm system, Louisiana was hit the hardest.

 

Louisiana tornado

The worst case scenario when you see a line of strong storms is the possibility of a tornado to follow. Large tornadoes ripped through homes, destroying them in south Louisiana. Emergency crews were on hand to help pull residents out of the mess and destruction caused by the storm. There were three known deaths from the storm, two of which occurred at a trailer park located in Convent. The tornado that destroyed multiple trailers was confirmed as an EF3, which developed speeds of 150 mph. Out of the 300 residents of the trailer park community, 31 ended up being hospitalized for minor injuries, while 7 were in critical condition.

 

It is only March now, and there has already been a number of strong storms that have developed into destructive tornadoes. What might this mean for the spring and summer months to come in both southern United States, as well as Midwestern locations?

 

Texas Inmate Faces Execution

lethal injection

Texas is a state that is known for carrying out capital punishment, probably more than any other state in the nation. Because this type of punishment is permanent, and not something that can simply be reversed, it usually takes awhile to move forward with the actual execution. After more than 25 years, a man was finally executed at a Texas prison on February 16, 2016, which is the third execution already this year.

 

Crime that caused the punishment

Every crime committed usually doesn’t go without punishment, and Gustavo Garcia received the biggest sentence of all. He was sentenced to death for a murder that took place in 1990. During a liquor store robbery in the Dallas area, Garcia shot and killed 43-year-old Craig Turski. There was another robbery and killing where Garcia was linked occurring when Garcia was just 18 years of age. He fatally shot another store clerk in the back of the head. Gregory Martin, who was on the phone with his girlfriend before the robbery, warned her to call the police. Upon arrival, they found Garcia hiding in a cooler with the same gun used in the Turski shooting. At the time, another accomplice helped Garcia, 15-year-old Christopher Vargas. Because he was considered a minor at the time of the shooting he was ineligible for the death sentence, but was tried as an adult, receiving a hefty life in prison sentence.

 

Years spent in prison

Garcia spent over 25 years in prison before his death sentence was carried out. During this time, Garcia tried to escape prison, alongside five other death row inmates. In November of 1998, they tried  to scale the 10-foot-high prison fences. Once officers spotted them trying to escape they began firing their guns at the prisoners, who surrendered their escape. One of the prisoners was actually shot, but was able to flee from the prison, only to be found dead nearby a week later. Clearly Garcia knew that facing the death sentence was pretty terrifying and he even admitted in an interview that at least he made an attempt to escape, even though he failed. An appeal was made in 2000, which actually overturned Garcia’s death sentence, but after a second punishment trial, he was back on death row.

 

No to any final appeals

Attorneys for Garcia did not make any final attempts to appeal the execution due to the Supreme Court’s refusal to rehear an appeal. A federal judge also would not postpone the execution and the Texas parole board rejected a clemency petition. Garcia was sentenced to death through lethal injection at the age of 43.

 

Last words from Garcia and victim families

Although none of his relatives made it to the execution, Garcia’s last words included his love for family and his mother. The lethal injection traveled throughout his system, taking a total of 16 minutes to kick in. Turski’s family members were not at Garcia’s execution, but Martin’s sister and brother-in-law were there to witness the death to a person who killed their family member. There are several other Texas inmates sitting on death row, and their sentences are scheduled in the next few months.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia Found Dead Resort Ranch in West Texas

Antonin Scalia

Cibolo Creek Ranch, a luxury resort in the Big Bend region south of Marfa in western Texas was the site of political fluster after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead there, reportedly of natural causes, at the age of 79. The Supreme Court Justice was a guest there, and had attended a private party with about 40 other guests the night before he was discovered dead in his room.

 

The 30,000 acre ranch in western Texas had played host to the private party at which Scalia was in attendance, and other attendees said that Judge Scalia had left the party early to go to bed after saying he was feeling tired. After Scalia didn’t appear at breakfast the following morning, an employee of the ranch went to his room to check on him, where Scalia’s body was found unresponsive at the scene.

 

Ranch management called for a local priest to administer last rites to Scalia’s body before a grey Cadillac hearse from Alpine Memorial Funeral Home came to collect the body around 5 p.m. of that day.

 

After preparations at the local funeral home, Scalia’s body was taken to El Paso, where it will soon be escorted back to Washington D.C. by a guard of U.S. marshals and U.S. Supreme Court Police.

 

A federal official (who asked not to be named) was called to the scene to confirm that there was no evidence of foul play involved in Supreme Court Justice Scalia’s death. The official stated that Scalia appeared to have died from natural causes stemming from his age.

The U.S. Marshal Service, the Presidio County sheriff and the FBI were all involved in the investigation surrounding Scalia’s death from old age, citing due diligence in such an event that actively affects U.S. government.

 

Chief U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, of the Western Judicial District of Texas, and U.S. District Judge Fred Biery were both notified about the death of Antonin Scalia  from the U.S. Marshals Service.  

 

Judge Biery confirmed the accounts of Scalia’s death. “I was told it was this morning,” Biery said. “It happened on a ranch out near Marfa. As far as the details, I think it’s pretty vague right now as to how. My reaction is it’s very unfortunate. It’s unfortunate with any death, and politically in the presidential cycle we’re in, my educated guess is nothing will happen before the next president is elected.”

 

U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez agreed that Scalia’s death will bring difficulties in nominating a replacement Justice on the Supreme Court. According to Gonzalez, President Barack Obama will be met with opposition in naming any replacement Justice before the end of his second presidential term. Gonzalez and many others speculate that Congress will block any appointment he tries to make, regardless of the candidates.

 

“I don’t see that the Republican-led Senate would confirm anybody chosen by President Obama,” Gonzalez said.

 

Gonzalez continued to say that while he only met Scalia once, they had a brief interaction. Gonzalez asked him how Scalia was doing. Scalia replied, “Fine.”

 

Gonzalez concluded, “I prevailed in my only exchange with the Supreme Court.”

Dallas, Texas Cracks Down on the Homeless Sleeping in Public

 

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A homeless man in Texas was taking advantage of the changing sunny weather so he could dry his pair of pants on a fence that was parallel to Saint Paul Street downtown. It was one of those crisp December days. About six tents were seen below the tiny embankment between the service road on I30 and Dallas Heritage Village. For just a few weeks, the homeless man had been given a place to stay there in the tent. However, he had to pay a few bucks, but most of the homeless people there received donation of certain necessary items from various church groups. The homeless man was happy for the chance to sleep under a tent since it allowed him to throw away the cardboard mat that he had once used for sleeping under the adjoining underpass.

James Story

James, as was his name, was pleased to speak to the media about his background and how he got to be homeless in American. He was from Kenya and came to the United States in the 1980s. He got hooked on drugs and was able to get clean and got into the church. However, he was not so lucky in securing a place of his own to stay. He spoke about being ticketed for sleeping on the streets repeatedly.

Public Sleeping

Believe it or not, in the state of Texas, public sleeping or even dozing off in public is illegal. If someone were to sleep or doze off in the street, park, alley or any other public location such as the highway or empty lot adjacent to a public street, it would be an offense. James, the homeless man was caught on the Scottish Rite Temple twice and the First Presbyterian Church steps once. He was also caught while trying to find shelter from the rain when he went below the Deep Ellum underpass. James indicated that he had earned six violations for sleeping in public. He did not go to court and is sure that he has also earned a warrant for not showing up for his court appearance. However, he shrugged it off because he would rather not show up and get arrested so he can have a place to stay when arrested!

Sarge’s Story

Another homeless man called Sarge also spends time on Main Street Garden when the sun is out. He loves to listen to his small boombox where classic rock music is his first love. Sarge drank liquor from a disposable cup and talked about being homeless for more than twenty years. He, like, James will often sleep where he can and most times, it is in public. He indicated that he received approximately seventy five tickets for violating the illegality of public sleeping.

Public sleeping has earned its illegal status since the 1990s. It was at that time that an increasing number of homeless individuals graced the streets of Dallas, Texas. The city instituted an ordinance by setting specific curfews for going to public parks and made it illegal to engage in things like rummaging through trash cans, panhandling and drinking in public. The city also put a ban on encampments and would take drastic bulldozing measures to break them down. Many are debating on the controversial ordinances, but the city has the last say.

Could Texas Water Supply Contain Lead?

Just recently in Michigan the water was found to contain lead. This information struck hard with people not just in Michigan but all over the country. They began to question their water quality and wanted to know if they were safe. The effects of lead poisoning are extremely harmful. Children are specifically susceptible to the effects of lead. It can cause permanent brain damage, attach the central nervous system, lead to a coma, convulsions, and death. In adults it can increase the risk of kidney damage, elevate blood pressure which could ultimately lead to heart attack or death. No wonder why people are wondering what’s in their water.

 

Naturally there are usually always minute amount of asbestos, mercury, arsenic, and cyanide in the water. Gross right? The levels are so though they are almost undetectable and are not harmful. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality stated that the water was ok for consumption.

 

Water is tested by the water utilities companies. During the treatment process the water goes through various sampling to make sure that the water is safe to drink. The laboratories in North Texas ensure that the water is safe. The North Texas Municipal Water District has standards when it comes to water processing.  

 

They are testing water samples from everywhere. Any water that could run into a water reservoir. The reservoir is where the water is collected and taken through to the processing center. Even after the processing stage they take extra precaution to make sure the water is safe. The lab does careful testing to ensure that there are no heavy metals in the water. Metals like copper and lead.

 

So the water in Texas is safe and carefully tested. The older homes that have never had any replumping may contain some traces of lead. This is due to the water causing corrosion to the pipes. The pipes will then start to leak traces of the poisonous metal.

 

Flint, Mi is an older city and the water they chose to use was very corrosive to the aging lead pipes. Over time the water broke down the pipes causing leakage of lead into the water systems. Thousands have been affected. Flint city officials have handed out cases of water bottles to every home affected. It’s a tragic reality. Hopefully the city will get this rectified somehow for their citizens. Surely there will numerous court cases against the city. People are scared about whether their families are safe at home. Flint went wrong when they switched their water source to the Flint River. There water processing plant was not enough for the acidity of the water. Which lead to the breakdown of the pipes.

 

Luckily Texas has been already taking precautions for years now. So nothing like what’s happening in Flint, Mi will happen here. Officials stand by their water systems and testing standards. Texas citizens can relax their minds and enjoy a lead free glass of water.