Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas Prison System&rsquot;s First Hundred Years 1848-1948

Committee Report on Investigation of Penitentiary, 1947

Page 4

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Committee Report on Investigation of Penitentiaries, 1947

The Committee arrived at Darrington at 5:25 P.M. and
inspected the grounds. Captain Easton met us and conducted
the first part of the tour. The sleeping quarters were
shown and so was the mess hall. They were both very clean.
The food was clean and appetizing. Men are arranged here in
tanks as in other institutions.

The Solitary confinement cells were inspected and there
the Committee found two men locked up with their hands hand-
cuffed at their backs. One man was 17 years old, namely,
Kenneth Clem of Dallas who had been there in Solitary Con-
finement so handcuffed for the period of two days with no
blanket to sleep on, and with his hands behind his back in
such a way that sleep must have been might near impossible
in the first place. He said he was given water and one
piece of bread every eight hours and a square meal every
36 hours. It was this man who had attempted to hang himself,
but was foiled in the attempt. The young man looked tired,
and cringed from fear of the Committee. He was a pitiful
sight; a boy who almost cried when being talked to by the
Committee.

In the next cell, in darkness and handcuffed the same
way, the Committee found a man named Cecil Bear from Houston
who had been found by the guards in the act of mutilating
himself. He was put here further because of his refusal
to work. This man had been in this same cell for 48 hours and
was unable to sleep on the concrete floor with his hands
handcuffed to his back. He said he was being fed once every
36 hours. He had no milk, only water to drink while in this
place. He had been beaten with a rubber hose by guards,
earlier, he related, in front of the tanks on the second floor
of the building. He further said that he had been informed
by Captain Easton that he would stay in that cell for 30
days handcuffed until he was released. He told the Committee
that the guards cursed the men continuously and beat them in
the fields with rubber hoses for talking to each other and
for other minor reasons. He had no complaints on the fare
of food offered in regular meals.

The Committee entered the Tanks and spoke to the men and

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Committee Report on Investigation of Penitentiary, 1947. Records of Governor Beauford Jester, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Page last modified: August 17, 2011