First Available Cell: Desegregation of the Texas Prison System

By Chad R. Trulson; James W. Marquart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
The Color Line Breaks

Lamar’s Prison Addiction Continues

As the lawsuit meandered through the legal system and facilitated animosities between the prison system and the Department of Justice (DOJ), life for Allen Lamar went on. It has been said that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Based on this assumption, any street corner fortuneteller would have had no problem reading Lamar’s lifeline etched deep in his palm. Bars, concrete, and confinement figured prominently in his past, and would do so well into his future. Lamar’s future was an easy read.

In 1983, in his late forties, Lamar was discharged from his second TDC incarceration after serving nearly twenty years on a twenty-five-year sentence. In 1984, less than one year after his release, Lamar was convicted of murder with a deadly weapon and sentenced to life in prison.1

Lamar was returned to TDC on February 8, 1985. Three months later he was transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and placed at the United States Prison (USP) in Leavenworth, Kansas. Lamar’s interagency transfer to Leavenworth, just as it had been in 1979, was to protect him from inmate enemies in TDC due to his status as lead plaintiff in the Lamar suit and as an inmate witness in the continuing Ruiz saga.

During his first year at Leavenworth, Lamar’s life was relatively uneventful. Although he received a disciplinary infraction for possession of narcotics in his initial months there, he was rated as an average worker at his job in the clothing room and incurred no other incidents during his first year. In 1987, Lamar was again charged with possession of narcotics; he received forty-five days of disciplinary segregation and his social visits were terminated for one year. Outside of his persistent narcotics problem, Lamar received satisfactory

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First Available Cell: Desegregation of the Texas Prison System
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgments xii
  • Introduction xiv
  • From Segregation to Desegregation in Texas Prisons- A Timeline xvi
  • Part I - The outside 1
  • Chapter 1 - Broken Barriers 3
  • Chapter 2 - An Institutional Fault Line 15
  • Chapter 3 - 18,000 Days 42
  • Part II - The Inside 59
  • Chapter 4 - The Color Line Persists 61
  • Chapter 5 - Cracks in the Color Line 89
  • Chapter 6 - Full Assault on the Color Line 111
  • Chapter 7 - The Color Line Breaks 134
  • Chapter 8 - 7,000 Days Later 163
  • Chapter 9 - Life in the First Available Cell 176
  • Part III - A Colorless Society? 201
  • Chapter 10 - The Most Unlikely Place 203
  • Notes 225
  • Select Bibliography 265
  • Index 269
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