Here is an update of the accusations by the administrators of Clemens Unit prison against Austin Eversole.
The biggest piece of news is that the “stolen” hard drive has been located. Where it was found and how it went missing are not known, but we can only hope that it was not planted in Austin’s property to substantiate the administrators’ knee-jerk allegations that Austin, a model prisoner for five years, must have been responsible. Austin is still being punished in solitary confinement, even though it is clear the hard drive was not stolen after all.
It would be too much to expect that an apology for the accusation will follow—but such an admission is not out of the question if goodwill really exists and prison administrators are willing to admit that the hard drive’s location was temporarily beyond their control. Yet lack of control is one of the biggest failures which most prisons try to avoid admitting, even when it occurs.
It would seem that the staff’s refusal to share any information about this incident is a situation of the prison’s own making. Austin had apparently tried to place me on his visitor’s list, but the request was denied citing a “rule” that I could appear on only one inmate’s list—and David Childress had been the first in line. This rule is a surprise to me, as I had been told by a prison chaplain to get listed by all four inmates at Clemens in order to effectively advocate for each if problems should arise. When the new warden arrived last year, I spoke with him briefly on the phone and explained that I supported four inmates at his prison—but he failed to forewarn me about any difficulties with this arrangement.
Austin says that such a rule “is not true, but Clemens likes to make their own rules” to suit their ad hoc needs. It appears to be an attempt by Clemens to curtail outside support for inmates. In one of his interrogations by prison staff, he was told by Sgt. McRory and Inspector General Eckert that “they did not want to be bothered by any of (Austin’s) friends.” It should be regarded as a mark of distinction—not suspicion—that Austin and others are able to maintain friendships with good people on the outside.
Since interacting with prison authorities in Texas and other states, I have observed that friends of inmates are treated with the same hostility or indifference as if we were “offenders.” Those who present themselves as friends or supporters of inmates are subjected to the same confiscatory exploitation by prison phone companies and canteen rackets as are family members of “offenders.” We are made to feel unwelcome, even though we are blameless of anything but human compassion.
It is offensive. As a result, one cannot help but feel resentment and distrust of those who staff our nation’s prisons. One cannot help but think that the world of prisons is a shady world of secrecy and injustice that reveals the seamy underside of our society.
I am bothered.
To see the earlier installment of this story, click here.
Groove of the Day
84° Cloudy and Rain, then Partly Cloudy