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Alan Pogue being the twelve-hour shifts, four days on, four days off. The three-columned diatribe ends by saying that corrections officers “…across the state have all types of ideas how to make this a more pleasant job. Yet it seems we cannot get our ideas across to our state representatives and legislators….” Indeed. The true political process in obtaining access to and influence with elected officials is nowhere more indelibly written, than in the pay stubs of the working class no matter where their jobs might be. Daniel Nagle was a guard working at the McConnell Unit near Beeville, Texas. He was stabbed to death in mid-December. The murder is still under investigation. An Associated Press release less than a month later reports, “Inmate Attacks on Guards Rise,” claiming the incidents have more than doubled the last five years. Prison mouthpiece Larry Todd claims “hardened criminals who feel they have nothing to lose” are to blame. “We’re getting inmates who are in for longer sentences who are younger and come from gangs in the free world,” said Todd. “Therefore they have very little to lose when they start assaulting an officer.” In 1995, the T.D.C.J. claims there were 720 incidents of guards being assaulted, compared with 1,649 incidents last year. I’m surprised there aren’t more. Today’s young rascals fleshing out the system have little to do with it. I’m surprised more guards aren’t assaulted, because so many of them seem incapable of performing their daily routines objectively and professionally. I’m amazed that many of the guards I encounter seem to go out of their way in treating prisoners like trash. I’m astounded by how frequently guards, their supervisors, and prison administrators derive a sick sense of personal satisfaction in the in numerable ways that the most basic human and civil rights of prisoners are routinely ignored, denied, and violated. Theirs is an acquired arrogance, bolstered by a reliance upon the implied immunity granted to state prison employees. I don’t know if Daniel Nagle was a “good” guard, or one of those people in thrall of their power over others: someone best avoided. A number of his fellow officers held a vigil at the State Capitol ostensibly in his honor. While it must have seemed convenient for them to present a petition to George Bush, asking for pay raises and the hiring of more prison guards, nobody seemed able to explain how either more money or increased nepotism might have spared Boss Nagle’s life, or decrease the prisoner-to-guard violence. The A.P. article fails to explain what every prisoner knows: a disciplinary case for “Striking an Officer” can result in a prisoner being 38 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 31, 2000