United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Tyler Division
MEMORANDUM ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE AND ENTERING FINAL
Clark, United States District Judge
Plaintiff Jesus Ayala, proceeding pro se, filed this
civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 complaining
of alleged violations of his constitutional rights. This
Court referred the case to the United States Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b)(1) and (3) and the Amended
Order for the Adoption of Local Rules for the Assignment of
Duties to United States Magistrate Judges.
complains that Texas does not pay wages to state prisoners,
but provides a “good time/ work time”
compensation plan. However, he asserts that the compensation
provided under this plan cannot be used to purchase goods or
services, nor can it be used to shorten a prisoner's
sentence. When a prisoner is released to parole or mandatory
supervision, he must sign a waiver of all rights and interest
in any and all accrued good time and work time. State law
permits the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and the Texas
Department of Criminal Justice to not restore good time or
work time for most parole or mandatory supervision violators.
argues that this system of compensation violates 18 U.S.C.
1589, prohibiting the obtaining of labor or services of a
person by means of harm or threats or harm, as well as
Article I, §10 of the Constitution, prohibiting states
from creating a currency. He complains that he was not
sentenced to slavery or involuntary servitude as part of his
sentence, and forcing him to work impermissibly enhances his
sentence. Other punishments for refusing to work may include
transfers to distant prison units, loss of previously accrued
privileges or good time, or classification to higher levels
argues that accumulating two and a half years of calendar
time and two and a half years of good time should discharge a
sentence. Otherwise, because both parole and mandatory
supervision are discretionary, good time and work time
credits have no value. He claims Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann.
art. 6166x and 6166x-1, as well as Texas Gov. Code art.
501.016, provide that work time credits reduce the term of a
sentence. Thus, he contends that the failure to release a
prisoner when his sentence expires through the operation of
flat time plus good time is a double jeopardy violation.
relief, Ayala asks that the Defendants be ordered to stop
obtaining prisoner labor by force, coercion, or threats
unless upon express written and voluntary consent to such
labor or services. He further requested that all prisoners be
compensated for any and all labor or services through the
placement of money in each prisoner's inmate trust
account fund and that prisoners be compensated for good time
or work time which has been taken away.
The Report of the Magistrate Judge
review of the pleadings, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report
recommending that the lawsuit be dismissed as frivolous or
for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. The Magistrate Judge stated that requiring prisoners
to work without compensation does not violate the
Constitution or amount to slavery or involuntary servitude.
The Magistrate Judge further observed that under Texas law,
good time and work time are the same, and serve only to
advance eligibility for release on parole or mandatory
supervision. Although Ayala cites Tex. Rev. Civ. Stat. Ann.
art. 6166-x, the Magistrate Judge stated that this statute
was repealed in 1989.
is serving multiple life sentences for aggravated sexual
assault as well as various other offenses including indecency
with a child, sexual performance by a child, and possession
of child pornography. These offenses render him ineligible
for release on mandatory supervision and his parole
eligibility is calculated without regard to good time or work
time, which the Magistrate Judge noted are the same; work
time is simply good time which is given for working. He is
eligible for release on parole in 2032. The Magistrate Judge
stated that the fact Ayala's parole eligibility is
calculated without consideration of good time is not a
fact Ayala is not eligible for release on mandatory
supervision means that he does not have a liberty interest in
his good time credits. Thus, the Magistrate Judge determined
that the fact Ayala may have lost such credits through the
disciplinary process or by other means did not implicate any
constitutionally protected liberty interests.
good time and work time do not reduce the length of a
sentence, the Magistrate Judge determined that Ayala failed
to show a double jeopardy violation. Ayala is not being held
past his sentence expiration date because his life sentences
plainly have not expired.
Magistrate Judge also stated that the Texas system of good
time and work time does not create a “currency”
in violation of Article I, §10 of the Constitution and
that the possibility a prisoner may be transferred for
refusing to work, separating him from his family and friends,
is not a constitutional violation.