Randy Halprin

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March 2016

Randys Journals

Journal 03/08/2016
Part I

I was sitting here thinking about WHY I have been feeling so bored of late and just not been able to get my mind to function and I realized that it is totally this new recreation structure. We have more days on our hands and then even more days when we don't get to have rec. due to "shortage of staff". I tend to wake up and structure my day around when I'll be going to rec. What I mean by that is that the guards begin to set up recreation at about 5:20 a.m. They'll go down the run from cell to cell asking each individual if they want to go to rec. and then they'll say "Okay...first round" onto the next "Second round" etc...On average they have 4-5 rounds of recreation so you can guesstimate when you will be leaving your cell. So, if I'm told "2nd round" I know that I can get some things knocked out of the way before 8:30 a.m. I'll be back in my cell around 11 a.m. depending on how long it takes the guard to feed lunch. Come back in, get my lunch and wait on a shower, maybe knock out a few more things and then relax in the afternoon. With this extra time in the cell it throws everything all out of wack and I have extra hours in the day that I normally didn't have...
I realize that whole paragraph probably made no sense to anyone but myself, haha, but it's how my days are now. That being said, we haven't had recreation on this pod since Saturday due to a number of reasons, number one being SHORT OF STAFF !
But enough complaining...There's some heavy storms moving in and it looks pretty nasty. Looks like another day of no recreation. But anyways.
So, on Sunady I listened to a program on CBS called "60 minutes". It is a news magazine type show and usually I'll see what the topics are and one of them was about Death Row on Polunsky. Of course I'm going to listen to something about the place I'm in ! I let some other guys know that it was coming on so they could hear it as well and honestly...the story was a bit weak. It really didn't focus on anything of substance and seemed to me to be a bit pro death penalty leaning. The reporter talked to three guys, Daniel Lopez (executed on August 2015), Wesbrook (set to be executed tomorrow) and Perry Williams (set to be executed on July 14). He asked questions like "Do you believe in the death penalty, do you think you should die and who is responsible for your being here". The only guy that really took responsibility for his actions was Perry Williams and I commend him for that. When the reporter asked "Who put you here ?" he said "I did. The only person I can blame is myself". Lopez kind of half-assed took responsability but he did say that no matter what happened and even though it was an accident, he wasn't going to stop. I thought about what he said and what one of the prosecutors in my trial asked me when I was on the stand testifying. He said "And what would you have done if the Officer tried to stop you ? You weren't going to let anything get in your way !" And I said "No, you're wrong, I would've stopped. I wouldn't have tried to run". I remember him kind of blinking in surprise. And that is the truth, had Rivas not started shooting that would've been the end of it. Back to prison I would've gone. When we were captured in Colorado I was alone with Larry Harper. There was a freakin' arsenal in that RV. There could've been a shootout has either of us wanted that. I asked Larry "What are you going to do ?" He said "I'm not going back to prison". But I knew that meant suicide for him. He'd talked about it before. I told him "I can't hurt anyone else or hurt myself...I've gotta go out there". I surrendered.
But the bigger question was one of responsibility for any of us on Death Row being here. Who is responsible ? Circumstances and environment will always be a factor. That isn't blame shifting and it irritates me when people say that but...ultimately, in my case, it was my choices, my actions (escaping from prison and going on the run with 6 other potentially dangerous individuals) that put me here. I have to accept responsibility for that and I do. Now whether or not I should DIE for those choices, is very debatable, but I really can only blame myself for this predicament. I own that. I'm just trying to do right, correct the wrongs and be as better a human being as I can be. I just want the chance to carry that forward, to prove the jurors wrong, to prove the system wrong. I'm far from perfect. To be quite frank, I can be a complete dumbass at times. I'm impulsive, I don't always think things through but...I do believe I'm a decent person. I really try hard to be.
Anyways, one thing I'm glad people got to see from that report as well is the police officers revving their engines during Lopez' execution. I hope people at least agreed that it is tactless and tasteless regardless of whom is being executed.

Journal 03/08/2016
Part II

Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle ! I'm getting recreation today. Gotta get ready but will return...
I started this entry earlier in the morning and now it is 3:45 p.m. I actually got stuck out at rec. for almost four hours. The officers were out on break...Here's something interesting, because they are so short staffed they are breaking themselves out meaning that only one Pod Officer is on the floor when there is technically supposed to be two at all times.
I guess we are not all that dangerous after all...Very interesting. Actually, they've been doing this for some time now, even before they were "short staffed".
Anyways, today was supposed to be my outside day and because of the storms the Officers were cool enough to let us recreate inside which I really appreciated because I needed to get out of this cell, stretch my legs and get some jogging in. It was so humid though. By the time I finished jogging a couple of miles I was drenched in sweat.
I was grateful of the guards for allowing our section the opportunity to get out of the cell when some other guards would've just screwed us and said
"Sorry, no rec., outside is shut down".
I could name a few that would do that, but it also proves my point that not all guards are out to screw us over or punish us.
It is just a job and they treat us like humans instead of monsters.
While I was out there some kind of small tour came in with a couple of people in suits.
A young black guy jammed them up and said "What are y'all ? What do you want back here ?"
One of the suited men said "We're just here to see how you live". The youngster went on a rant of "Well, how the fuck we live ? We ain't got no T.V., we ain't got no mother fuckin' telephone so I can call my T-Jones...". The other suited man said "Well, you have three hots and a cot".
"Shit ! We ain't even got that ! This food is cold as a mother fucker !"
"What, you want a microwave ?"
"No, dumbass...but a nice hot meal would do !"
I couldn't help but laugh at the exchange...When the people left I talked to the youngster and said "I appreciate the effort at dialogue you had but your approach was wrong".
"What you mean by that ?" he said.
"You were a bit on the aggressive side. And when you started talking about T.V's and phone calls, even if you are in the right, you're going to lose people like that every time.
The argument isn't T.V., the argument is
1) we're in a cell all day long. Especially with our new rec. schedule. We have very little to occupy our minds with.
2) Regardless of how you may feel we should live, you could treat us a bit more on the humane side and
3) our contact with the outside, with family is limited.
Why is a KILLER in G.P. allowed to have access to more visits, daily telephone calls, etc...What is the difference between them and me ?
You have to frame the conversation a bit differently.
Even if you don't respect them, talk to them respectfully, don't give them a reason to think 'Geez, what a dumbass, this guy deserves this'".
I hope I made him think a bit. It turned out they weren't anybody of importance, just a couple of detectives down here to talk to another inmate and wanted to see what Death Row "looked like".
I came back to my cell and was fortunate to get a shower pretty quickly and now I'm just worn out and so I'm going to listen to the news, read a little and call it a day...
Peace.

Journal 03/14/2016
I knew something was up. I usually wake up as soon as the guards turn on the walkway lights at about 5:20 a.m. My body clock woke me up at around 5:45 a.m. and it was still dark outside of the cell. At first I was thinking, crap...you bastards are screwing us over on recreation again ! I kicked the blankets off, rubbed my eyes and muttered curses as I started my day. I walked to door of my cell because I can see the area by the control center where the guards "rest" and they were out there. All three guards plus a new trainee...
I thought, hmmm well, they CAN'T be short staffed today. What the hell is going on ? And then I thought...oh no...please tell me this isn't the spring lockdown...
I went to the back of my cell, climbed up on my bunk to look at the back window. Usually you can see inmates from General Population moving about, going to work, etc...
I didn't see anything. Please, please, please don't let this be lockdown, I thought.
Screw it. I'll just start my day like I typically do and get everything in order until a guard walks around and I can get some answers. I drank my coffee, took my vitamins and brushed my teeth. I had breakfast in a cup, saved from earlier (some scrambled eggs) and I thought, well, I'll do some exercise and then heat that up with some sriracha sauce
(I'm hooked on the rooster sauce !). Finally a guard walked by and I said "What's the deal ? Why aren't you setting up recreation ?"
"Unit lockdown. Spring break". NOOOOOOOOOOOO !!! I fell to my knees crying ! (Just kidding, I didn't really do that but in my mind I did !)
I let out a sigh and walked away sad faced.
Never make plans in prison. They almost never turn out how you want them to be. I was really amped up for today because me and Big Will had already talked about trying to get outside. It was going to be perfect. In the high 80's, sunny bright. I even planned on getting a sunburn so I could get some seasonal color to my deathly pale skin.
I was going to jog in the fresh air. Well, maybe in a couple of weeks.
I figure this one will be longer than usual because it is the entire unit that is on lockdown. But it is strange because in all of my years they usually don't lockdown right before Easter. And a lot of guys go to church for Easter services in General Population...I guess this current administration really doesn't care. Also there's a Christian ministry that comes around this time of year called Kairos and they do special services for GP inmates and they deliver a bag of cookies to each Death Row inmate. I'd be shocked if that happens now.
Well, for the most part the weekend was peaceful and unventful. I was able to see Ms. Cox, the salvation army minister (alive and kickin' at almost 94 years old, I believe) on Friday. I hadn't seen her in so long that I was beginning to get worried. You can tell she's really tired, starting to wear down and really forgetful. But I will say this, when you get into a long conversation and talk about things that really interest her...she just lights up and you can see that (divine) spark and the life comes back to her and she's as sharp as a tack. It was nice to get away from this place for a while and be out there. Won't be back out there until mid-april when one of my closest most wonderful friends comes.
I've been teaching my friend and neighbor Big Will how to play Scrabble to keep his mind off of his personal stress going on right now and it has been fun and funny.
Sunday we brought our boards (home made with a grid system on them) outside early in the morning and played a game. I've been helping him with words and strategy.
So, he'll put down a bogus word and I'll be "Nope. Try again. You can get more points spelling the word so and so on 'g' 5". He's beaten me now two times with my help and I told him yesterday "Dude, the training wheels come off tomorrow and I'm getting dead on yo' ass !" But he said that this is really helping him with his own spelling and reading skills and that is a great thing. It really is a good way to teach people how to read and write.
I have no earthly idea what I'm going to do the rest of the day. I guess probably just start getting ready for the big shakedown.
I'll close with this: "Cherish your visions; cherish your ideas; cherish the music that stirs in your heart, the beauty that forms in your mind, the loveliness that drapes your purest thoughts. If you remain true to them, your world will at least be built." (James Allen)
Peace !

Journal 03/16/2016
What a long and extremely boring day. At least we were able to get showers today. Sometimes after the building is put on lockdown they say we can't receive a shower for the first 72 hours, which has really never made any sense to me when there's signs all over the damn place talking about hygiene and cleanliness being essential to a "smooth" running prison. I was happy to shave as well because even though the new razors they give us would qualify as torture under the Geneva convention. Seriously, you wouldn't need to water board the terrorists with these things - just tell them to shave with a Texas Department of Criminal Justice razor. They'd give up the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa. I don't know if beavers have ever gone all murderous on some poor dude skinny dipping in a river, but it feels like a hundred beavers eating your face off...It was nice to get the hair off of my face. I was beginning to look like a hobo.
I'm also a bit down that I no longer get to watch the cats because I was moved to another cell on another pod last night. And I swear...if they move me behind this guy they call "runaway chuck" and he leaves me ANOTHER NASTY CELL I'm going to ask him if it would be so difficult to clean it up before he moves out. This is the second time I've had to clean up after this dude and it is pissing me off. A grown man shouldn't live like this. He is of sound mind and being. There isn't a excuse. But I digress...So, I moved to C-pod after spending nearly two months on B-pod. I was kind of sad to leave and I had really enjoyed watching the cats outside of my window. Now, the upside of my new cell is that I do get to watch the horses now and sunsets so not a terrible trade off.
I got to my new cell around 9 p.m., put everything on my back and commenced to cleaning, working up a sweat. I'm a bit of neat freak as it is, so I scrub the walls, the door, the toilet area and then wash the floor. After everything is dry is when I start to unpack things. I never keep a whole lot of property because I move so much and I'm not too attached to much other than certain sentimental cards, letters, pictures and my radio. Everything else is dispensable. Unless it is taken in a shakedown for no reason, then I get upset more over principle than purpose.
What was strange about this particular move is that typically during a lockdown all movement is supposed to cease. But for some reason the administration decided to move the guys who are "security risks" or "escape risks" (Am I still an escape risk almost 16 years after the incident ?) all around.
Today I haven't really done much. Mostly listened to the radio and the prospects of a Hillary vs. Trump general election. I just don't understand how any rational citizen can think this guy is a good idea for America. Not only that, but the dude is so far removed from reality and the "average american" these redneck idiots all hyped up on him have NOTHING in common with him. I mean, Jesus, the guy gives his victory speech at one of his country clubs that requires over $ 100 000 for membership. You really think this guy is going to fight for the average citizen ? This is about one thing to him now that he's made it this far. Humiliation and winning. He just wants to win. He's got no substance or policy plan. "We're going to make America great again". That isn't substance dip shit. That's a tagline. If America has lost its greatness it is because of jackasses like you.
More to come on that subject as we near the general election. Oh Lord, can we please have a brokered convention so the Republican party implodes ??? Is that too much to ask for (well, a Supreme Court Justice who votes to end the DP too if I'm not being too greedy !) ?

Peace.

Journal 03/20/2016
The red crates are coming, the red crates are coming !!! gotta go!
Yesterday I was too mad to write any follow up report. I wish I could say it was smooth sailings but it wasn't. So, I pack everything up in my red crate. I fit everything perfect and snug and had ZERO excess property. Only the things I've wanted to keep and of course my electronics and legal work which is allowed to remain outside of the red crate.
The guards show up at my door, I strip down, hand them my shower slides and boxer shorts, do the song and dance of spinning around to show nothing is in my buttocks yada yada yada. They put the handcuffs on me, take me to the shower, take the handcuffs off, I shower and wait for the guards to come back and get me after about an hour in my cell and the first thing I notice is my powdered detergent is spread all over my floor. This stuff comes in a see through zip lock bag and there isn't even a need to open it up.
One of the guards returned me to the cell says "Oops...we accidentally spilled it".
Knowing it wasn't an accident but not feeling like getting into an argument I only said
"And it was too difficult to clean it up before I came back ?" I mean, shit, they've got brooms with them...But whatever, I go back into my cell, pick up all of my other stuff not really concerned about whether anything is missing or not. I just want to get the detergent cleaned up. I pick up everything and start noticing books, comic books and some letters are missing...I hurriedly clean up the detergent, wash the residue off of the floor and start going through my personal property. They took HALF of my books and comics.
When I asked a guard why he said "Your name wasn't on them" which I know is total BS because I put my name on everything. I move around too much to come up with something missing and not have my name on it. So I said "So what is the excuse for taking pictures and letters ?" "Don't know what you're talking about. We didn't throw anything away". "Really ? Then why is it MISSING ?" "Maybe you want to check again ?" I did and it is GONE. "I don't know..." Those are the kind of responses we have to deal with when things disappear. i guess they went to the magical realm of "we threw your shit away". I hear it's a lovely place.
I was so angry and upset that I just went to sleep at around nine in the evening. I slept all the way until eight the next morning which is very rare for me. I just couldn't get myself out of bed. I finally just forced myself to get up and deal with it. It is material (except the letters) and can be replaced. And it is on my property so I will just donate it to Ms. Cox and maybe she can have a book sale or something. It has been quite some time since I was screwed over.
So, I forced myself to start the day. I've been listening to a Batman marathon on the radio and doing some exercises and looking out my window, as well as laundry.
I'm keeping myself as busy as possible to keep my mind off of negative things. At least I'm well rested. Now I have all of this extra energy as I never sleep more than six or seven hours.
I'm not even a big nap person unless I'm just wiped out.
I heard a news report that said something close to a billion dollars has already been spent on this years election cycle. Jesus H. Christ do you know how many people that could feed ? Unbelievable the amount of money wasted in this country to influence other people. I just think of all the positive things that could be done with that kind of money. People's priorities are all jacked up. Here in the next few days I'm going to hash out some thoughts I've had thinking about the elections this year. I bash "rednecks" but more so the willful ignorance and bigotries of certain individuals. I'm of the personal belief that common people on the left and right probably have more in common than they think they do and if would only communicate and share those commonalities would realize it. The political elites have done a very good job of driving wedges in between common folk to mislead and consolidate their power. More on that later...
Dinner lunch sacks are here. Mmmmm. Peanut butter and jelly time !
Peace.

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