DEATH ROW NEWS SEPTEMBER 11, 2017.
“POST HURRICANE HARVEY EFFECTS ON TEXAS DEATH ROW”
It has been two weeks since Hurricane Harvey came through south east Texas causing death and destruction across the area. It came through the Houston TX metro area unleashing over 50 inches (4ft!) of rain in two days causing the worst flooding this area has seen in 100 years. Then Harvey went back causing epic flooding, power outages and loss of water supply.
All the while the men on Texas death row were following these events via radio, the only media outlet available to us. This was a very intense and stressful experience because we are locked in our cells with no way out unless someone comes and opens the door to these cages. I was very aware of the fact that the storm caused flooding very close to Polunsky unit as Hurricane Harvey first hit the right side of Livingston, TX, then the left side. It could have easily hit us directly and we’d be dealing with what Beaumont is dealing with – no electricity and no water service. I’m extremely grateful we were spared this.
What has been disrupted in this area is the postal delivery. Our mail is not processed in Livingston, it is trucked to a mega US postal processing center in north Houston and this center was knocked out by hurricane Harvey. This resulted in a 2-week delay of any mail to Texas death row. I’m happy to report that as of last Friday we began to receive mail again.
The other issue for us is the lack of access in this area for people to visit. Many roads were flooded because of the extreme rain the entire south east Texas area received and I personally had a visit delayed for 2 weeks as a result. The flood waters have ran off and the roads and highways in the surrounding area are clear allowing for normal access to the prison unit.
When hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area, 500 general population prisoners were evacuated from TDCJ prison in the Houston area and brought to Polunsky to be housed in the gym. These prisoners are still here and there is talk that they will continue to be housed on Polunsky unit for the entire month of September. This means there are 500 extra men to provide meals for 3 times a day which was resulted in us continuing to receive our breakfast meal in a paper sack which is their way of giving us less food to be able to feed the extra 500 mouths they have here.
The good thing about this is that we have been told the usual every 90-day lockdown/shakedown has been postponed until the refugee prisoners are transported back to their assigned prison units. If not for that Polunsky Unit would be on lockdown and the guards would be searching through the prison grounds looking for contraband.
Meanwhile Hurricane Irma has come up through the Caribbean islands and made landfall in the state of Florida. When Irma was forming on the Atlantic Ocean, there was a real possibility that it could make a turn westward and hit us in the Gulf of Mexico but we’ve been spared another direct for which I’m very thankful. I recently read that hurricane Irma was the post powerful Atlantic hurricane ever recorded with winds exceeding 185 mph. This is a category 5 hurricane – they do not get any more powerful than this. These storms get their immense strength from the ever-increasing warm waters in the ocean. This gives these deadly storms their power and the oceans are getting warmer due to climate change. But we have a president who does not believe in climate change, to him, it’s fake news. This is insanity.
We’ve been back to the regular routine on Texas death row for 2 weeks receiving recreation and showers daily. I was happy to get out of my cell after being locked away for over 2 weeks. I hope and pray we have seen the last of these terrible storms for a very long time. I am afraid this is the new normal for south east Texas and the Gulf of Mexico. Because of global warming, we will continue to have these deadly storms and there is nothing we can do about it. Personally, I’m ready to get as far away from this part of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico as I can. I’ve had enough of Hurricanes no doubt!
Charles D. Flores #999299
Texas death row
September 11, 2017