Human Trafficking is big business both legally and illegally in the world. Today I will speak on my personal experience of the federal prison trafficking business, when it comes to transporting inmates to different locations throughout the Bureau of Prisons.
On July 7, 2023, I was transferred away from Beaumont’s Federal Prison Camp located in Southeast Texas, to Texarkana’s Federal Prison Texas Camp that borders Arkansas and Texas. It was a 6 month arduous process, but we were able to get it done. Now I will be only 2 hours away from family and friends, compared to an 8 hour drive each way. This will allow me to be able to see my family more often, and helps me with my transition back home soon.
The transfer process is an experience that I was not prepared for, and therefore it truly kicked me in the rear end. In Beaumont, I was teaching a class mid morning when I heard my name over the intercom to come to the R&D (receiving & discharge) department. Getting a call here means only one or two things, you are in route to go home, or you are being transferred. I walk to the door, and the officer directs me to go “pack out”, and let’s me know I am being transferred. I asked when am I leaving? She states immediately, and have all my property to her department by noon. I go to my unit, get two large trash bags to place my property in, get a rolling cart from the front, place my bags on the cart, and head to R&D to do an inventory, and for them to pack my boxes to mail my property to the next location.
At 2:00 a.m.,the correctional officer comes through my unit in Beaumont, walks to my room and tells me to come with him, I’m headed out. It was 3 other men who got the same visit to their cubicle. As we made our way up to the front before leaving, I’m half asleep, and I’m just ready to get on the bus and leave. As we sit and wait, I hear officers coming through the front door with a very loud noise. That sound was long chains and handcuffs, and it became abundantly clear we were going to, “catch chain” as they call it when inmates have to be cuffed and chained when moving facilities, no matter what your custody level. This was the first time I experienced this, and after the cuffs went around my ankles, I instantly wished I would’ve had two pair of socks on to decrease the uncomforting, but when that wasn’t an option, I turned within and told myself that I can endure it. With wrists and ankles cuffed, I slowly made the hobble onto the charter bus beginning the journey to a new facility.
One thing no one ever told me when being transferred, the federal system doesn’t let you know where they are sending you! I was fortunate as we were getting ready to load the airplane from a small airstrip outside of Houston that a correctional officer was nice to yell out our names and give us our destination. He yells out I’m only going to say it once, so if you miss your name and location, it’s on you. The bus was very loud so a lot of men missed their chance to hear where they were going, and the officer stood on his word of not repeating himself. My ears were super conscious to hear Hudson, TDX over the commotion. TDX is the abbreviation used for Texarkana.
I was pleasantly surprised and super grateful I was awarded the location I asked to be transferred to. To bring that point home, there were 2 other men from Beaumont on the bus with me. Both men asked for certain destinations, but both men were sent to different places than requested. I ultimately believe that our creator places us exactly where we need to be, even if we do not understand it at the time. I told my family throughout the long arduous process to remain non-resistant to where I may end up. They never waivered on Texarkana, and I rode the vibrational wave with them.
As we awaited for the large airplane to land, it was raining really hard. The correctional officer plugged up his iPhone to the speakers on the filled to capacity charter bus. He began playing a rap song called “Going Back In” by rapper Finesse 2 Times. In the midst of our behinds hurting from sitting on hard uncomfortable seats, and being shackled down for hours, all the men on the bus began rapping the lyrics to the song out loud and leaning from side to side. All you heard was the sound of chains clinging together, and a wave of pinned up energy being released through hip hop music. If someone would have told me that a bus full of federal prisoners was on an airstrip, chained to their seats listening to Finesse 2 Tymes on a charter bus before boarding Con-Air, I would have said they were lying. From my world to yours, this is a true story.
As the large plane landed, what I qualify a frequent flyer of Con Air yelled out, “yep that’s her, I know how her wings look”. I thought to myself really? Have you really been to prison that many times, that you can spot Con-Air as it approaches landing? As I looked at the side of the large jet that says United States of America on the side, I did notice the wings did an unusual curve at the end. I guess he was right because this was our ride. As soon as the plane landed, our charter bus began rolling alongside the plane parking close so we could load.
We awaited the plane to unload inmates coming in before we began to file out of the bus first giving our name and number before exiting. I yell out Hudson 02021-509, and I’m clear to unload the bus and then onto the plane. As we board the plane, I quickly realize trafficking inmates is big business for the government and the officers that work these assignments. The back of their shirts read “Air Police”, or U.S. Marshalls. Overall their dispositions are pleasant, but I consider they feel that way because we are handcuffed at the wrist and ankles while on the flight. The flight took us from Houston, then so San Antonio, next Midland Texas, and finally to Oklahoma City’s transfer center.
I had the most excruciating headache from the time we boarded the first flight, until we landed. When we departed the plane, I was having a full blown migraine episode, and there was nothing I could do about it. My head was pounding, vision blurry, and my mouth was dry heaving as I was forcing myself to not throw up. It was over 200 men with me filing in a line all chained, and I didn’t want my situation to spill over and effect them. I was incessantly praying that God ease the pain from the migraine I was having. After we were detached from hand and ankle cuffs, we were placed in a large room known as the “holder tank”. I would estimate it can hold 200 plus men. It has 3 long benches lining the walls that were quickly filled. The air condition was freezing cold! I had on thin pants, and a white t-shirt. My headache continued to have me out of sorts, and all I could do was sit on the floor of the holder that was covered in God knows what. When experiencing a migraine, you really loose all sense of what’s going on around you.
When the pain continued to increase, I said to myself, Glenn pull my self together. I thought if I was to have a stroke in this place, I would be dead as a doorknob, and other than the two men who lived in my unit from Beaumont who were with me, even they wouldn’t be able to help me. I chose to stand up to see if it helped, but it didn’t. Myself and another person in this big room went to the plexiglass window and began beating for the guards to get us out of this room. It had been over 2 hours, and we hadn’t had any food or water since lunch time and it was close to 8:00 p.m.. Also there was one toilet in the open area of this room with one roll of toilet paper for 200 men. I banged on the door as hard as I could, which didn’t help my headache, but soon after, the guards started to come and let us out in groups of 10.
The twist in this is I was let out in the second group, but I forgot my paperwork needed to check in, so the guard said I’ll let you back in to get your documents. He lets me back in, and while I’m running over to get my paperwork, he gets a call on his walkie talkie and he slams the door shut, and locks me back in this damn room! I could not believe this just happened. Now it’s down to about 50 men left in the tank. This one big guy comes over to where the toilet is, turns around facing everyone and says he says I’m sorry, but I’ve got to take a dump! I thought to myself, oh no the hell you are not. There’s not any soap in this place, so how in the hell is this guy going to wash his hands? I guess he was not concerned.
As he sat down to relieve himself in front of the group, one brave soul jumped in front of him and stated he would provide him some privacy. What a hero. I was clear on the other side of the room not witnessing this event unfold. He finished and hopped up with a smile on his face, grabbed the cane he was walking on, and stood by the door preparing to exit. All I could think was for this man not touch the door handle. Please do not touch the door knob.
Finally after we went through the check-in process, the nurse at the station saw me and said you don’t look well, what’s going on? I just pointed to the back of my head signaling a headache, and she immediately gave me 3 extra strength Tylenol. Before stepping away, I took the medicine and swallowed without water to get it into my system as quickly as possible. It eased it some, but I knew I would have to sleep off the headache until the next morning. I made it to the unit, I was assigned a cell, I entered room 325, no energy for a shower this night, and I passed out.
As I reflect back over the day of being trafficked to the transfer center, what did I learn from this experience? First and foremost, I learned I will never come back to prison again in my life. This experience for me is a once in a lifetime event. Introspectively, I learned I am resilient in uncomfortable circumstances, and I know how to thrive in harsh conditions. I learned that my acuity on reading people and assessing situations are razor sharp. I learned that in the midst of dealing with the worst headache I’ve endured in my 42 years on Earth, I can push through the pain and make it to the destination. This experience didn’t provide an easy way out, because the environment is harsh with men of all custody levels, and the environments a lot of them come from, housed inside the highest security prisons in the country, they are accustomed to letting someone lay on the ground helpless and to look out for themselves. I learned that my willpower to succeed despite any circumstance will push me through.
Upon my release from prison, I know I will face difficult circumstances being labeled as a felon. The inner callouses developed through struggles have equipped me to face any situation with the belief that I will overcome all obstacles. I will use my story to help people through my ministry of coaching and teaching life skills through our boxing program. I will display to those what’s possible through literature produced while I was incarcerated that will be given and distributed to souls around the world. If there is ever a time in my life where there’s a choice to choose right or wrong, it will be very easy to quickly reflect on when I allowed my freedom to be taken from me with a wrong choice, and any flashback about prison is one that will shift me to always make the right choice, and help others to do the same.