If you have any questions for Andy about the prison system, what it is like, what goes on there, or anything, please leave the question in a blog comment and Andy would be happy to answer it. It keeps him occupied and allow us to learn about the system.

Also, for his friends, he would LOVE to get pictures of anything, so if you have his address, please send them to him, or if you would like to email them to the blog editor, you can do that and he will print out the pics and mail them to him.

He is now attending the class he must take before his release, and he will mention the journal entry memo they discussed that day in class.

Even if you don't know Andy, feel free to comment on his blog entries, which he gets and will respond to.

Monday, November 1, 2010


I bet you have always wanted to know! Well you will find out in this blog entry!
Today's Journal Entry for class:  “It’s all right to add years to your life as long as you add life to your years.”  
Well, I have absolutely no idea what to start talking about today.  My mind is at somewhat of a loss for new thoughts.  I talked to my mom last night and found out that she and my grandfather, unfortunately, did not win a carload of cash in Vegas.  She was able to take a bunch of pictures for me, so I’m looking forward to getting those.

My newspaper wasn’t delivered last night, so I don’t have a new crossword puzzle to work on.That’s always a disappointment, for I look forward to getting them.  They are good, challenging mental exercises that offer a bit of variety and escape.
I think one of my roommates got into a fight last night after I went to bed.  I went to sleep around 9:45 pm, and apparently this fight happened around midnight.  I haven’t seen him yet, but apparently, he got his face cut.  Probably the result of someone’s lack of prudence! 

One of my friends here named Mike got his parole answer today.  He received a “serve all” which means he must serve all of his time up to his “short way” date.  “Short way” date is the date upon which your “flat time” (actual time served) and “good time” (intangible credit awarded for good behavior) add together to total one half of your actual sentence.  As a rule of thumb, this short way date is usually a little less than one half of your actual sentence.  I won’t go into details about all of the above, so you’ll just have to trust me.

Anyway, Mike was disappointed to receive this answer.  With his two year sentence, getting the serve all answer was a worst case scenario. Mike’s short way date is in March 2011, which you are most likely thinking isn’t too bad.  Here’s the kicker.  It isn’t automatic that Mike will be allowed to go home on his short way date.  Approximately one month prior to his short way is “Discretionary Mandatory Supervision.”  When the parole board votes again they will give Mike a DMS (Denied Mandatory Supervision) or an RMS (Received Mandatory Supervision).  The terms DMS and RMS are regularly used here on this unit.  Many inmates receive serve alls.  It’s probably the most common parole answer here.  Therefore, it is routine that many of the inmates are stressed out at length over whether or not they will be released on their short way date.

Let’s take Mike as an example. He has been locked up since mid April 2010.  He was hoping to receive a good answer from the parole board today telling him that he would be released in the next few months.  Instead, he was given a serve all.  Now, he will wait until early March 2011 to learn if he will be released in March 2011.  If he is denied his release in March 2011, this means he will serve another year in here to completely discharge his entire two year sentence and would be released April 2012.  You can see how stressful this must be to Mike or anyone else in his position.  It must also be extremely stressful for his family.

The fact that I am friends with Mike has allowed me to be more aware of his specific situation and the thoughts/emotions of him and his family.  I think seeing firsthand how Mike is currently being ‘run through the ringer’ has given me more appreciation for the positive parole decision which I received, and for having a definitive time when I’ll go home.

I’m not going to defend nor bash the Board of Pardons and Paroles system for determining who goes home and who stays in prison.   The system certainly attempts to serve a valuable service.  However, in the context of this blog, I will point out that its effects are very debilitating to the average inmate in prison.


  1. Your post is completely right on. This is exactly what goes through my head on a daily basis. A serve-all is very likely in my sons situation. Not very comforting. Basically its another level of anxiety imposed on top of the original levels. I would much rather him recieve an F1-5 or 6 or even a 9, just to know that barring any unforseen circumstances, he will actually have a date. From what you have seen, are you able to discern how many are denied their shortway vs how many are granted? Also, are you able to see any pattern in the approvals/denials based on the reason for incarceration?
    Im glad your spirits are higher. Tell Mike he is being thought about on the outside and best wishes are going up for him for a positive vote on his shortway.

  2. Okay, I'm hoping you remember me telling you about my husbands denial way back in January. That denial was for his "short-way" date. Her is my question for you and anyone else who wants to answer. How can you have a “Discretionary Mandatory Supervision”? You can not have something that is at one's discretion be mandatory or something that is mandatory be at someone's discretion. This type of supervision just came about in Sept. 1996. Before that time the DMS was a Projected Release date and everyone that was not paroled sooner had to be released on that date but that is no longer the case with the BPP. I very much agree that the system's effects are very debilitating to the average inmate in prison.

    My husband comes up for his next DMS review at the beginning of next month. We are praying that he will be home in January.

    Tell Mike he is in the thoughts and prayers of others for a positive vote on his review.

  3. I can't believe I found this, this situation is identical to my Michael who is currently in mineral wells:(

  4. ok if my hubbys shortway is in 4/23/12 and the board has not voted yet, whats going on. they say his packet in not in s a tx yet!

  5. I'd like to know what reasons why some people are getting their shortways pulled out of the San Saba Unit in Tx or TDCJ in general? Also by being enrolled in school while in prison does this keep people from making parole or keep them from going home on their short way dates?

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