Another obvious problem is that the state continues to run its prisons on the cheap. The state refuses to pay decent salaries to prison guards. So the quality of those who do apply is often low, and guards often do not intend to stay on the job long. The turnover rate is high. The Texas prison system has been understaffed for many years because it refuses to offer interested potential employees a pay scale that will draw not only a full staff, but a waiting list of recruits that can be used to replace officers who don't maintain a professional level of job performance. Currently the warden of a Texas prison facility has little control or ability to encourage quality performance from guards, because they're so hard to replace if they quit. So short of an actual incident involving a criminal charge against a guard, the warden will try to avoid a dismissal. Many guards become involved in gang activity in prisons. Guards are bringing in all kinds of contraband that they sell at a profitable gain. Tobacco was removed from the Texas prisons a number of years ago, but it is still here. It has only become a major black-market item that is the Texas alternative to a pay raise. One cigarette sells for a dollar, and I am talking a hand-rolled, little cigarette. A pack of Bugler tobacco sells for $30. Guards are involved in bringing this in, as well as every other form of contraband you could imagine, from marijuana to cocaine and heroin. The level of corruption is obvious and widespread, and this awareness is a factor in the attitude of the inmates who rebel and resort to their own forms of corruption. I continue to sit in my little cell wondering when things might get better. I have little to hope for or look forward to. I can only believe that some day, things will get better for me, and that is all I have to live for, it seems. I am not sure if things will, though. I try not to give up. Change is going to come, that is what we hear. They might start selling us TVs in the prison commissary soon. But these rumors are only another way to string us all along and toy with our minds. It is a way to remind us of what we could have, or should have, but can never really hope to have here in Texas. They learn to use mental torture as effectively as they use physical pain on the captives they keep in the grottos of their old Texas prisons.