I received a 25 page letter (!@!%#$!!!) from Dad yesterday. He has been in solitary confinement since Christian and I saw him in July for assaulting an officer. He insists the guard is trumping up charges and instigated the entire incident in the first place. Dad has become a "warrior for the deaf [inmates]" and spends most of his day in the library researching laws, the ADA and helping the other deaf inmates file grievances against the TDCJ.
Dad thinks the guard got him thrown into solitary for causing the guards grief in this regard and his punishment is excessive. Now, I know Dad places blame on everyone else for all of his troubles including, sadly, the two women he tried to kill: my mom in '88 and Gloria* in '02. But in this instance, I don't think Dad is entirely off base. Two main reasons:
(1) There are lots of documented cases in Texas and the US about deaf inmates not receiving fair or adequate treatment behind bars;
(2) During our first ever visit to see Dad, Christian had a long chat with a new guard, a very young man who wanted to pay his way through college. This guard was very well spoken, intelligent and seemed out of place entirely and told Christian in summary, "The inmates aren't the ones I'm afraid of; it's the guards." He said the guards definitely are mentally and physically abusive to the inmates and it worried him because the guards are so outnumbered.
Not really the kind of thing you want to hear from someone who is talking about the guards in charge of your own pop.
Regarding item #1, I found some excellent articles online at the Oxford Journals of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. I was interested in research performed by Dr. Katrina Miller, in particular, as she has written articles pertaining to Deaf inmates. Further research led me to a book she published in 2003 based on this research titled Deaf Culture Behind Bars which includes interviews of Deaf inmates in, where else? Texas. I ordered a copy for myself and one for Dad. I'm sure he'll know many of the inmates she interviewed but it is highly doubtful that he's one of them as I believe her research was conducted just prior to Dad getting thrown in the clink. I also tracked her down at her current University and sent her an email. I hope she replies.
As for Dad's self-annointed title of "Warrior for the Deaf," it really makes me happy. I like knowing that he's investing his time in a more positive way and putting his intelligence and energy toward the greater good of helping Deaf inmates. Sure there's the motivation to help himself but isn't there often a selfish reason for being unselfish?