tv Lockup MSNBC October 25, 2013 11:00pm-12:01am PDT
over and they place one in special restraints. >> aisle going to drop you first. >> i told them i could feel an attack was coming on. i feel like i'm going to hurt somebody. >> a female inmate poses dangerous threat to staff. >> she took as swing at me, scratched my face and it was on. we went toe to toe. >> when somebody disrespects me or something, we're going to take care of business. >> already facing 16 charges, a gauge member picks up five more inside the jail. >> you know, everybody thinks that this job that we have is such a gravy job and such an easy job, i challenge anybody to come in here and work this job for a week and see if we're overpaid.
from the alamo to its famous river walk, san antonio is one of the most popular tourist destinations in texas. but like any big city, there is a constant fight against crime and a land mark of that battle is just outside downtown. bexar county jail is a modern fortress that houses approximately 3,500 male and female inmates. most have only been charged with crimes and are awaiting trial for the resolution of their cases. we're very regulated on how we treat inmates. even though they're incarcerated, they still have rights. we realize they're here not to
punish anyone but hold them. >> but here it's never a proposition, especially when they don't want to be held. >> a lot of the gang members, they've got all that time, you know, to think of didn't games they can play with the officers because they're trying to create a reputation for themselves that they're not to be messed with. >> i'm easy to get along with, once they don't, i'm going to take care of business. >> jose hidalgo is described as one of of the most notorious. he describes the gang more as a fellowship. >> they're in prison on the make sure the home boys make it safe back to our families and to make
sure if one of our home boys need something, we're going to be there. >> since the age of 14, hidalgo has spent most of his life incarcerated. he's been in jail for the past three years charged with 16 crimes. >> aiding, robbery, position, daily conduct, dwu, assault by injury. i've got the whole list in my cell. >> hidalgo has pleaded not guilty to all charges and also those charges he picked up inside the jail. >> two assaults and two arsons. i picked up one last week they i'm awaiting to get indicted on that. his latest assault on staff occurred after a rare period of good behavior. >> most of the time that hidalgo has been in our facility he's been housed and grouped alone
because we found when he's housed with inmates he rubs off. instead of dealing with one, we're dealing with many. although recently for the past few months he's been out of trouble, cooperative, behaving, and one thing he's cree quested is a cell mate. after a careful review we allowed him to have a cell mate. >> his cell mate is waiting to transfer to prison to serve a five-year sentence. >> i roll pretty good but hang around with wrong people. a good kid went wrong, huh? >> they were disruptive across the day, and when they did chow, he stuck his arm out the tray slot, would.
bring it back in so we could close it. >> after meal service they decided to check his cell for contraband. >> and about the time the door opened i don't remember who was on which bunch but both stood up and came toward the door and stood side by side creating a barrier. >> he wanted to search the cell and we didn't try to let him in. >> we were like, hey, we want to come in and search for contraband and they're like no, you can't come in here. >> they sid get against the wall. i said for what. he said to shake you down. i said you're not going to shake you down. >> i thought, at first there's something in the cell, and i realized, no, there's going to be a fight. as he tried to pass between the inmates, he hit him. >> i defended myself and i went off him.
we were fighting. the officer, he was on the floor repeatedly hitting my cellie. >> guerrero then jumped on the officer's back. >> apparently he put him in a choke hold with his right and banged on his head with his left. >> officer lighty grabbed his defense. >> i came in, grabbed guerrero by his arms, tried to pull him off. i sat that wrestling with him a little bit. >> i'm getting at these other men. blood everywhere. >> officers inside the housing unit security home room witnessed the site. >> the team arrested and secured hidalgo. >> they came and dropped their knee on me, boom, split my chin, cause med to get stitches. blood's coming up. i was lying in my blood. >> as hidalgo and guerrero were
escorted, another home member jeremy gonzalez witnessed the possession. i wasn't going to let it ride, you know what i'm saying? i kind of let my anger get the best of me and popped out with the shank. >> he defeated the device, opened the cell door and was holding a piece of 7-inch metal. >> it was made out of a squeege. >> unfortunately by the time he decided how to pop the cell door, they had left the unit. >> he came out in the day room and thought everybody was fighting. he got to right about here and then he realize thad, you know,
he was a day late for the party. >> there was four laws down there, sergeant, lieutenant, corporal, and regular officer. >> and he started to get real nervous because, you know, head no backup, he's over there with a weapon in a secured facility. with gonzalez out, they're called back to assert. >> i'm not stupid, you know what i mean. i laid it down real quick, threw the shank away from me. chilled out real quick. >> he threw the knife on the ground, not at the officer. it was very gently thrown to the floor and he laid down on the floor. >> luckily no one was hurt. what does scare us is he had the shank and we wonder what would have happened if he was close enough. it could have easily have gone bad as it went good.
>> all three inmates involved in the incident were moved to single-man cells and were given new felony charges. for gonzalez, the new charge can carry especially serious consequences. he is awaiting trial on a murder charge. he has pled not guilty. >> i just wish i hadn't done that because it's going be like a domino effect with my other case, you know what i mean? just that little case right there is going to get me bad. they're going to see me as a threat to society coming out with shanks in jail, you know that? so that's probably going to sting me, you know what i mean? coming up, backed up toilets flood a housing unit and jeremy gonzalez faces off with a special response team. >> opposition. >> my arm's stuck. >> but first -- >> i had him on account of a pencil.
knowing that some of their peers have less than ideal hygiene, many inmates at san antonio's bexar county jail do as much as they can to make their cells sanitary. >> can you imagine the opposite, it is not. >> diaz, who's awaiting trial and awaiting trial for theft, burglary, and cocaine says cleanliness with the lack of it can also lead to conflict. >> that's a big part of being locked up. you know, there's people who get dropped, beat up, because they don't keep things clean. >> diaz's cell mate, marcelo cardenas who is convicted overaggravated assault and is awaiting to be transferred to prison to begin a six-year sentence is happy to indulge him.
>> he jokes i have an obsessive compulsive disorder. >> which is fine for me, right? >> well, i'm not a germaphobe, but being in prison might make some people anal. >> that's why we keep a tower or shoal to keep the dust out because when people blow by, it blows in dust. for all the people who think we live in filth, on the contrary, we probably have a cell cleaner than most people's houses. >> while the jail lets most use cleaning supplies, others like erica hayward gets only minimal. >> she's getting pine b, only a little mixed with water and two sanitary pads to clean her cell. >> let me know when you're done it's a yellow clean solution they give us. i basically use it on my floor,
the mattress, the toilet. they won't give me a broom because i had an into accident with was of the guards because we had a confrontation. now they won't give me the broom. >> we used to give her the broom but she decided she was going to jab an officer through the tray slot with a broom. >> in the three months she's been in bexar county, she's attacked staff and others. she's assigned to a cell 23 hours a day. it is often a noisy disruptive place. >> some are very hostile, very aggressive. do have to be very careful because one woman to another they can just snap at you. >> haywood has done time in jail on prior convictions. her latest arrest came after a fight with a bank security guard
who ordered her to get off the telephone. >> if he had approached me differently, i probably wouldn't have did that, but he was embarrassing me. we started going off each other. he was in my face, i was in his face, he reached in to grab me, bam, i took him down. i had him on account of a pencil. i said, if you move, i'm going to poke your eye out. he did not move. she's charged with aggravated assault and bodily injury but plans to plead not guilt on assault of self-defense. she admits it's hard to control her temper. >> you tell yourself you can control it. you tell yourself i can control it, i'm not going to hurt nobody, but when it actually comes time to do it, it's like, bam, joust hit somebody. it's like a reflex. they might say one wrong word do you, bam, you hit them.
>> officer laura was also a victim of haywood's temper. >> the day that erica assaulted me i was just doing my observation rounds and passing out mail like i would normally do. i told them in the hallway i could feel the anxiety coming on, i knew an attack was coming on, i knew i was going to hurt somebody. >> erica was out in her day room and at that time she was only wearing leg irons. her arms were totally free. >> here's the lady passing out mail and i was like why you trying to confront me. she was like, mm-hmm, mm-hmm. >> she took a swing at me, scratched my face, and it was on. we went toe to toe. i did punch her in the face. i punched her in the body. all i wanted her to do is quit charging me. she continues charging me. >> then i started fighting her back. next thing i no, here comes the sert team.
i was abe to move out of the way. all i saw was a sert officer with a taser and they tased her. >> they shot me. i had a probe, like a long string with a pin look like a dart stuck into my body. they got me mostly in the shoulder area, i think, and i could feel myself going out. >> stop resisting, haywood. >> because the pain is so excruciating, all you could do is take that pain, take that pain, take that paper. my family always taught me don't let people disrespect you. i'm nowhere near what my family has raise me to be and they have no idea. that's it. >> [ bleep ].
>> i'm mild. very mild compared to some people. >> [ bleep ]. coming up -- >> i threw some bodily fluids and things. >> erica haywood add as new weapon to her arsenal. and -- >> i was patting him down in the crotch area and i felt the bulge. the ongoing battle to stop the illegal tattoo trade inside the jail. @ñ
as in other correctional facilities, tattooing is not allowed in bexar county jail. violates could get up to 60 days or even face criminal charges but the demand for tattoos on the inside are so great there are always tattoo artists willing to take the risk for pay out or other forms of commissary. they make ingenious tattoo guns. staff are constantly on the lookout for them.
>> i was patting him down, down in his crotch area, felt the -- you know, the bulge, i asked him what it is and he just pulled it out, opened it up. a catch like this is pretty rare. >> was a good catch, man. >> right here is from inside of a light, a staple. this is the copper wire that came from inside of the hair clippers and two checker pieces to hold it together. these guys know what they're doing. another inmate marcelo cardenas is another a tattoo artist but he rents the gun. >> i rent the gun. it goes if $35. $25 or $35. >> because he's leaving the jail any day to start his six-year sentence, he's demonstrated how it's done. >> right now it's not like i really care about it.
if they rub me out, i'm going to leave before they rep meant on me. >> cardenas starts with wire scavenged from some electric hair clippers. he winds the wire around the screw to make a crude election tick magnet but he also needs a filter magnet pilfered from a phone or speaker. >> when you put it on here, it bounces with the cycles of electricity. >> the needle is made from a staple attached to a q-tip shaft. >> and then you use soft string to tie it up. that's pretty much how you do it. when he pounds, he pushes the needle. >> serve other bexar county inmates also make their tattoo guns and the source of their knowledge could very well spring from just one man, jose hidalgo.
>> early on in his incarceration he was teaching people how to create the tattoo rigs and as a result they were destroying county property. >> when we're in the cell 23 hour as day, we get creative in breaking lights to get the wire. we burn grease to make the ink. >> even though we pulled him out, the knowledge he gave them is still something we're combatting today because inmates are constantly making rigs and constantly tearing apart light fixtures and it's something that he started. >> hidalgo has also been on the receiving end of the jailhouse tattoo trade. >> when hidalgo first came into the facility, he didn't have anywheres as near. most he has received he's received within our facility and he's very proud of his tattoos. >> on top of my eyebrows it says
made in the hood. was made in the hood. 227. >> 78327. it's a zip. i'm player, so that's why i got that. i got me females -- >> his underarms display the initials of his gang and the glock which he said is the favorite weapon of gang members. >> i trust no one. basically when you're celling drugs you can't trust nobody. even when you're doing it, they're the ones that end up snitching on you. >> even though he's got the body art he's starting to worry how the judge and jury will react to it. he's facing a litany of charges including assault and arson. >> i should have waited until after the trial but it's too
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. despite staff's best efforts to stop them, some inmates at san antonio's bexar county jail still find ways to illegally tattoo each other, but if staff can't catch every tattoo, they can at least document them and add them to their intelligence base. >> gang members love to put their gang somewhere visibly on their body so rival gang members or their own gang members can identify them as are they friend or foe. and we train our class officers
to look for these identifiers and if they can't get the gang member to self admit, then we refer to the gang officers and we look at the tattoos. aside from their tattoos, we'll look at their history and decide if they have a history of gang activity, strong-arming in the units, group assaults, things of that kind of nature. in conjunction with that, we can go ahead and establish whether or not we think the guy's a gang member. >> raymond diaz is up front about his gang-related tattoos. >> the stuff i got on me, a lot of it is gang related. they call them like stamps, you know. everything was done behind bars with a staple. we don't use fancy needles and all that. the main part on my chest, it's blast, dongo blast. i chose to put it in big letters
because the first thing i do is take off my shirt and it's clearly visible. if someone has a problem with men, they're going to let it be known. >> diaz is also a tattoo artist and says he has applied many himself. most are gang related but one is a fan tribute. >> which is my taylor swift. >> i did her for my own personal gratification. i don't know what it is about her but the first time i heard her voice, i was locked up. i would listen to her music and she's got a cute country voice. it soothed me. no matter what's going on, it soothed me, fights going on, buildings burning down, but if i'm listening to taylor swift, i'm relaxed. >> but it seems no melody can quiet the outbursts. it houses members of the jail's largest gang. >> usually they'll call a disruption if they're upset or want to gain attention. mostly they're kicking the
doors. one starts screaming. some days it's worse than others. they're young, rambunctious, they have nothing better to do, so that's the way they make their noise. you know, everybody thinks that this job is such a gravy job and such an easy job. i challenge anybody to come in here and work this job for a week and see if we're overpaid. >> later in the day, the disturbance escalates when one of the inmates starts flooding the unit. >> the guy in 12 unit started flooding his cell. i asked him why. he said for no reason. he's notorious for that. >> the inmate is known to staff. jeremy gonzalez. besides facing charges of murder
and aggravated assault, gonzalez just picked up another felony charge after con fronting the officers with a 7-inch-long shank. since arriving he's been sanctioned for several other infractions as well. >> i've been trying to do good for six months straight. i've been trying to chill and get my visits back. you go to impressionable and aggravated. >> with within two minutes others add to the flooding. >> they're utilized uniforms, whatever they can fine by flushing the toilets, causing them to overflow just to be bell lidge rent and disruptive. >> gonzalez ease friend says he's not impressed by his actions and that such behavior is now looked down upon by the gang. >> they know we don't do that no more. they know we don't do that.
>> how are you doing? >> the special emergency response team or sert is mobilized to restrain the troublemakers. >> the sert was called in. the system was activated. >> they will put them in restraints due to destructive behavior, not to harm themselves or anybody else. >> the team begins with gonzalez who submits to their orders but not quietly. >> anyone who is shackled, they'll be shackled every one to two hours and evaluated by the medical staff. that is medically to see if there's any cramping any injury toward the inmate himself. >> they hog tied me. >> before long the sert team has
restrained two others also as a result of flooding. just when officers think they have the situation under control, gonzalez manages to slip his hands out from behind him. the sert decides it was time to deploy the restraint chair which is designed to temporarily restrain them to impose threats and take orders. >> roll over on your mattress, on your chest. you got it? >> at the sert enters the cell, gonzalez launch as verbal
assault. >> you all going to see, dog. you all going to see. mark my words [ bleep ]. mark my words [ bleep ]. >> he's threatening everybody. called them words. he's got a hit on everybody. [ bleep ]. >> you better hope i never get out of jail and see you in the world, huh? i'll start swinging on you and beat your [ bleep ]. >> you want to -- you [ bleep ]. i'm going to drop you first. >> my arm's stuck, [ bleep ]. my resistance, dog. >> only when gonzalez feels a taser gun pressed against his back does he finally give in. gonzalez will stake in the chair
until he calms down or up to a maximum of two hours. >> two hours. after that, what's going to happen next? still do the same [ bleep ]. come on, man. come on, man. ain't going to stop nobody. a couple hours. not for life. i'm still going to do it again and keep doing it. just passing time. coming up -- >> this is one of the sparks that we use to add to the tattoo guns. >> the ingenious techniques inmates use to conceal tattoo paraphernalia. and -- she'll take her fecies and rolls it up into a ball and throws underneath the other cell.
managing a sprawling urban correctional facility like san antonio's bexar county jail is a task full of challenges. from inmates acting up to dealing with gangs and an illicit tattoo trade, officers are constantly put to the test. >> these inmates in here do have time to study. they know almost everything about your job. they know exactly when you're coming. they know exactly what you're looking for. inmates that are actually doing the tattoo, they'll stop what they're doing, they'll put away everything. most of the time within 20 seconds. they have time to actually hide their tattoo rigs, their ink,
they will hide it on top of the light fixture, under the stairs as well, in a toilet. they will find any little small opening that they know you won't find and they will put all of their contraband in there. >> hiding anything in jail where every area is subject to inspection at any time takes determination and creativity. just ask marcelo cardenas. >> this is one of the spots that we use for -- to hide the guns, the tattoo guns. i'm just right now making one. >> cardenas who is sharing his secrets because he is soon leaving for state prison and says he is not worried about punishment has a clever technique for hiding his homemade tattoo guns. the project involves hiding another piece of contraband, the hinge.
in this case since the hole is still small, cardenas demonstrates how he uses a bar of soap to conceal one of the magnets used in the gun rather than the gun itself. >> the thing we do is put this inside the hiding spot. we break the soap so you can fit it. you have to take more time, but right now i'm just showing you. >> cardenas then peels small strips of paint off the wall and he moistens it with water. >> you use water because the water makes it stick and you put some on top of the soap like this, you know.
you do that. then you have the wall covered up. >> well cardenas uses stealth to get around rules, erica haywood's disobedience is anything but covert. when managing haywood went from difficult to dangerous, jail officials mandated new precautions to prevent further violence. >> it came down that after that assault that happened with me and erica, they now need to have the sert team her to recreation and bring her right back just in case she tries to assault somebody else. >> now she is only allowed to leave her cell under heavy security. haywood's assault on officer lara came after the claim that she was having an affair with a male officer. >> erica does not have a
romantic relationship with a fellow officer. all she does is write letters to him and causes stress. >> officer lara believes jealousy drove him to attack. >> she started making these allegation. you want to take my man, you want to take my man. i said, no, erica. >> erica's erratic behavior ordered them to take tests. the results were she's mentally competent. >> i stayed in the hospital for two weeks. they said, why are you here. you're not incompetent. >> she tries to be the victim. she says, oh, they did this to me. i believe erica is not one of those, she's just one of those mean people. she's not mental. she's just mean. >> haywood has continued her campaign against staff, using the only weapons she has left. >> well, when i protest because they were not picking my trash
up, they weren't picking my trays up, i threw some bodily fluids and things, bodily products. >> she starting gassing officer. take your urine and fees cease and mix it up and let it sit in a little cup for a couples orr days and when the officers come to get her tray out, she threw it out. as far as these inmates go, with don't know what kind of disease they have and all that bodily fluid carries. >> haywood's latest actions with bodily substances have gotten the attention of other inmates. she'll take her fecies, roll it up in a ball and throw it underneath. >> she would aim it at doors. she aim it at 15's door, my door, number 8's door, but it's -- you know, when you make her mad, she knows we don't like it, of course, so she'll try to
throw it at our door. >> as disgusting as the barrage might be, haywood's neighbors take it in stride. they've even developed mitigation strategies. >> she actually started getting nice about it. she'll warn us before she's going to do it. she'll be like, okay. what do you say, haywood? [ inaudible ] >> i get ready. i put it like this on the bottom and barricade it in here, you know what i mean? i barricade this on the bottom of my door so she can't throw it in here. one time i got real pissed because she threw a meatball. shut up, girl. my girlfriend said don't worry about it. it's just a meatball. it looked like a bald up turd. it looked like it. >> the food was missing off my tray.
the food was cold. this is the grab they feed us. this is what we got for lunch. >> she's never responsible for what she does. and every time that we try to put like blame on her, this is what you did, this is why the consequences, she's like, oh, no, you triggered it. it's your fault that i am behaving this way. >> she's just something else for real. coming up -- >> this is the life i chose, i guess. it's not the life i'm going choose forever. >> the true cost of jose hidalgo's life choices. i i'm here for him because he's my son but i hope he grows up. people grow up and they change. but it doesn't cover everything. only about 80% of your part b medical expenses.
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hidalgo -- >> yeah. >> jose hidalgo is getting ready for a big day. >> hidalgo. >> for the nearly three years he's been in jail, hidalgo has only seen himself get into deeper trouble. but he's maintained strong support from his family, and today his mother and grandmother have arrived to visit him. >> i visit him as much as i could, maybe every week, every two weeks, and it takes maybe four to five hours to even see him because he is one of the inmates that has to be walked with security next to him. he's not in population. he's always in lockdown. >> hidalgo also gets financial support from his family. they deposit money into his inmate account which he can use to purchase snacks or toiletries from the commissary.
>> when i see people don't have family around, it's trouble. my family is around. if it wasn't for them, i'd be struggling too. >> thank you. >> do you all have a passport? >> yes. >> my mom, she only speaks spanish, so when we come here to visit him, we talk to him in both of our languages, but she's always there for him. she loves him very much. >> hidalgo? >> hi, mijo. >> i want -- >> we went yesterday shoo she's already 15? rudy. >> hidalgo's mother worries about the extended time her son might have to serve. he's recently added five new felony charges to the 16 that's
brought him here. >> he's always getting into trouble mainly because he gets mad and frustrated just being locked up. it worries me because it seems like charges are never going to stop. >> hidalgo now has a trial date for his most serious charge, aggravated robbery. he recently turned down a plea bargain for 25 years but losing in court could result in a much longer sentence. >> i mean i'm just praying that everything's going to be okay. >> if i beat that one charge, i've still got to wait for the other charges. >> now that he's had all these cases, sometimes i feel that he's never going to come out. i mean i'm still here for him because he is my son, but i hope one of these days he's going to change his life. people grow up and people change, and i hope my son will change. >> i love you. >> i love you too. stay out of trouble. >> all right. >> be good. >> bye, mamo. >> bye, mijo. >> this is the life i chose, i guess. it's not the life i'm going to choose forever, but right now
i've got to see what happens with me and that's pretty much it. >> hid ail go's friend jeremy is in the intensive unit after he burst out of the cell with a seven-inch shank and then flooded his housing unit. his murder trial has been postponed and in the meantime, he's limited his contact with family because it's just too hard to deal with. >> i tried to use the phone. he breaks my head. pushed me into water. i ain't going to be there for a while, you know what i mean? >> despite his efforts to avoid thinking about family, a reminder has just arrived by way of today's mail. >> i got this letter from my oldest little sister. she's 12 years old. she's real smart.
she gets straight as in school. i'm real proud of her, you know what i mean? hi, brother. how you been? i've been good working hard in school. i want to see you but every time i go, you're on restriction. you need to behave in there. i love you, brother. be good and write back. sincerely, your sister. man. she's worried about me. she's really young. she shouldn't have to be worrying about me, you know what i mean? all my family are stressed out about the time i'm looking at and what's going to happen. i hate to say it, but i try to forget about all of them, you know what i mean, because if i don't, i keep thinking and thinking and go crazy in cell. you can't do much but make the best of it, you know what i mean. i've got to be stronger, you know what i mean?