A Detainee’s First-Hand Account During the Pandemic

Written by a Current Inmate at TCCC; July 10, 2021


Sitting on the edge of a small town, in the middle of a dirt field lies an old prison operating under the disguise of a treatment facility. Nothing could be farther from the truth. 

Texas Civil Commitment is something that so many people know nothing about, even the people of Littlefield, Texas. I knew nothing of it until I started working there. Behind the razor wire and brick walls, 385 men are inside labeled as sexually violent predators. These men have been arrested, charged, convicted, sentenced, incarcerated, and then moved to this facility for “inpatient rehabilitation.” Rehab is the last thing going on. 

TCCO, as it is referred to, is a program designed to keep men locked up indefinitely. The treatment changes with each new therapist and then is postponed for weeks or months at a time. Many men repeat the curriculum they already did in prison. The rehab is meant to teach these men the skills to integrate back into society, but the setting is prison-like. Many residents say it is worse than TDCJ. The restrictions are so harsh they resort to breaking rules to be sent back to prison. 

And now this facility is dealing with a new reality called Covid. As of today, 10 men have lost their lives from Covid related issues since November. To combat this virus that the country knows very little about, TCCO has chosen to “lockdown” dorms with positive cases. In a weak effort to stop the spread, they are turning to forms of cruel and unusual punishment. This pathetic attempt has the men locked in cells with doors that were never supposed to be locked for 23 hours a day, as the building reverts to its original purpose as a prison. Men are being denied sunlight and medicine while sick. All therapy has stopped. Mail and packages have stopped. Visitors are a thing of the past. Phone calls have ceased. And probably the worst decision ever since the pandemic started, all cleaning at the facility was ordered to stop. Men are being denied the use of things we take for granted such as microwaves, washers, and dryers. But this is a multi-million-dollar taxpayer-funded rehab! 

While I write this to tell people about the things I see on a daily basis, my main concern is to bring awareness to the injustices that these men go through. The hardships they must suffer to regain freedom are appalling. This program continues to suck money from the state while it consistently fails. Men daydream of the chance to go home again not knowing if they even have a place to go. Since 2015 the only home they have known sits in a dirt field in a small town in Littlefield, Texas. 


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