Russell M. Webb

Background in Criminal Justice
Including Some of My Historical Photographs of T.D.C.

I grew up in Saudi Arabia, due to my Dad's employment with ARAMCO. My High School Diploma was earned at Allen Military Academy in Bryan. [It's a Federal Womens' Prison now.] My college degree is a Bachelor of Science-Criminology and Corrections from Sam Houston State University 1973. Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, began for me in August 1985, after a twelve year absence from college. The going was difficult in the beginning, but I managed to squeak by with a CUM LAUDE sticker on my diploma. A law license followed on November 10, 1988 after one Texas Bar Exam.


In February 1973 my Criminal Justice career began on the Back Gate Picket [guard tower] at the Huntsville Unit of TDC. [Texas Department of Corrections] I was in my final year at Sam Houston State University, and would spend the next three (3) years as a Corrections Officer. "The WALLS" was, and remains, a classic Texas prison. My time there included working the most infamous escape attempt when Fred Gomez Carrasco, TDC Number 237163, and two underlings acquired powerful handguns and took hostages at the Education Department Library. The site was on the top floor accessed only by a ramp coming up from the yard, and there were no other exits. Eleven (11) days of seige ended with the deaths of Carrasco, inmate Rudolfo Dominguez, librarians Elizabeth Beseda and Julia Standley. Father Joseph Obrien was shot through the arm and chest at point blank range and survived. Inmate Ignacio Cuevas survived the final shootout, only to be executed for his role a couple of decades later.

Following three years as a C.O., I left the Texas Department of Corrections. It was clear to me my educational level was not being utilized. T.D.C. was an "Old School" prison with brutal policies that were about to be changed due to a convict Plaintiff named David Ruiz, whose lawsuit was pending in the U.S. District Court in Tyler, Texas at the time I quit. That lawsuit, along with rising conservative politics declaring a WAR against people who use drugs, changed the landscape of prison in Texas DRAMATICALLY! The Ruiz lawsuit brought many changes to policy and operations. The expensive and conservative idea of locking up anyone [usually poor and minority] who smoked marijuana, sold, used or possessed drugs increased the inmate population FOUR fold, where it remains today.




After being under-employed for about a year and a half, sacking groceries and photographing strippers and car wrecks [for pay] from a low rent place on Route 66 in Amarillo, I was hired as a Parole Caseworker with the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. I reported to work in October 1977 and spent the next three years supervising parolees in Dallas. Because of my prior experience with T.D.C., I was promoted to District Parole Officer after my probationary period.

In September 1980 I was promoted to a newly created position of "Hearing Officer" in the Fort Worth District. Twelve new Hearing Officer positions were created that year, and I became, in essence, a non-lawyer Administrative Law Judge conducting due process hearings for offenders accused of violating terms and conditions of parole. I heard testimony, made rulings on admissibility of evidence and forwarded a report to the central office with a recommendation whether to revoke the parole. I probably did over a thousand of those hearings, and that experience made me realize I could do better as the lawyer representing the accused parolee!


My law practice has always been criminal defense in Texas State courts, and it naturally began to include representation of convicts in prison who were being considered for parole by my former employer, Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.  I also represent parolees accused of violating the rules.


Vintage TDC Photographs

Convict Has Left the Bull.
Aerial View Huntsville Unit with Labels
Huntsville Unit Today SW Back Corner, Huntsville Unit 1975
Hoe Squad Working Near Wynne Unit Huntsville Unit 1975 Field Boss

All Images © Russell M. Webb. All Rights Reserved.