Behind the Walls (Paperback)

A Guide for Families and Friends of Texas Prison Inmates

By Jorge Antonio Renaud

University of North Texas Press, 9781574411539, 240pp.

Publication Date: November 4, 2002

Other Editions of This Title:
Hardcover (11/20/2002)

List Price: 18.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Texas holds one in every nine U.S. inmates.

Behind the Walls is a detailed description of the world's largest prison system by a long-time convict trained as an observer and reporter. It spotlights the day-to-day workings of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice—what's good, what's bad, which programs work and which ones do not, and examines if practice really follows official policy. Written to inform about the processes, services, activities, issues, and problems of being incarcerated, this book is invaluable to anyone who has a relative or friend incarcerated in Texas, or for those who want to understand how prisoners live, eat, work, play, and die in a contemporary U.S. prison. Containing a short history of Texas prisons and advice on how to help inmates get out and stay out of prison, this book is the only one of its kind—written by a convict still incarcerated and dedicated to dispelling the ignorance and fear that shroud Texas prisons.

Renaud discusses living quarters, food, and clothing, along with how prisoners handle money, mail, visits, and phone calls. He explores the issues of drugs, racism, gangs, and violence as well as what an inmate can learn about his parole, custody levels, and how to handle emergencies. What opportunities are available for education? What is the official policy for discipline? What is a lockdown? These questions and many others are answered in this one-of-a-kind guide.

About the Author

Jorge Antonio Renaud was born in New Mexico and has lived in Texas most of his life. A former copy editor for the Austin-American Statesman and the Waco Tribune-Herald, Renaud is a contributing columnist for Hispanic Link News Service. His op/ed columns have appeared in newspapers across the country. A former editor of the ECHO, the Texas Prison newspaper, Renaud served time for armed robbery. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Sam Houston State University.