Last week I saw the Hollywood film “Bernie.” It’s based on a true story of a Texas man who kills his companion and is convicted and remains incarcerated in an East Texas prison. Overall, I enjoyed the movie, as it does a good job of depicting what life is like in a small East Texas town and it allows viewers to humanize a person who made a bad choice. At the end of this film, they report that Bernie was “helping others in prison and working on crafts.”
Like many Hollywood movies, it leaves you feeling that life in prison just isn’t all that challenging. As a former Texan and someone who keeps abreast of the realities of budget cuts in prisons, I decided to take a closer look to see just what life in prison is like for a Texan.
In general, Texas inmates have continually been losing access to education, re-entry transition services, and even meals. This is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article: “Thousands of inmates in the Texas prison system have been eating fewer meals since April after officials stopped serving lunch on the weekends in some prisons as a way to cut food-service costs. About 23,000 inmates in 36 prisons are eating two meals a day on Saturdays and Sundays instead of three. A meal the system called “brunch” is usually served between 5 and 7 a.m., followed by dinner between 4 and 6:30 p.m.”
On my monthly entry, I will continue to examine what is happening in the Texas prison systems. My interest doesn’t only come from being from “The Lone Star State,” but also because BTP sends more books to Texas than any other state…I’ll keep ya’ll posted.