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Carrasco audiotapes and booklet

Texas Department of Corrections:

An Inventory of Department of Corrections Carrasco Audiotapes and Booklet at the Texas State Archives, 1974

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Arrangement History Scope and Contents Restrictions Related Materials

TDCJOverview

Creator: Texas. Department of Corrections.
Title: Department of Corrections Carrasco audiotapes and booklet
Dates: 1974
Abstract: The Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) was responsible for the operation of the prison system from 1957 to 1989, when that function was absorbed by the newly created Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Records in this series are audiocassette tapes from the Carrasco hostage incident that occurred at the Huntsville Unit education and library facility, dating from July 27 to August 12, 1974, and a booklet about the event published that same year by the TDC. The dates of the audiotapes cover most of the eleven-day incident (July 24–August 3) and include the post-incident interviews (August 7–12). The incident, also known as the “Huntsville Siege,” involved three inmates—Fred Gomez Carrasco, Rudy S. Dominguez, and Ignacio Cuevas, who took hostages and made a number of demands to prison officials in exchange for their freedom. The incident ended with the deaths of two female hostages, the wounding of other hostages, and the deaths of inmate gunmen Carrasco and Dominguez.
Quantity: 0.59 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are in English and Spanish.
Repository: Texas State Archives
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Other Formats for the Records

A description of original records referenced in this finding aid is available at http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/20131/tsl-20131.html.


Arrangement of the Records

About two-thirds of the tapes are dated and arranged in roughly chronological order; the other third are not dated and are arranged as received.

Click here to access a full inventory of the audiotapes

Please see the finding aid on TARO (http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/20131/tsl-20131.html) for details on how to access paper-based materials.


Agency History

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) manages offenders in state prisons, state jails and private correctional facilities that contract with TDCJ. The agency also provides funding and oversight of community supervision and is responsible for the supervision of offenders released from prison on parole or mandatory supervision. The first predecessor of the TDCJ came into being in 1848 when “An Act to Establish a State Penitentiary” was passed by the 2nd Texas Legislature. The act established a governing body of the penitentiary as a three-member Board of Directors, appointed by the governor, with the approval of the senate. The board was responsible for creating and distributing a set of rules and bylaws for the administration of the penitentiary, overseeing the treatment of convicts, preparing an annual inventory of property, and making an annual report to the governor.

The prison system began as a single institution, located in Huntsville, known as the Huntsville Penitentiary. …

(Click here to read the full agency history)

In July and August of 1974, a hostage incident occurred at the Huntsville Unit education and library facility. Known as the Carrasco hostage incident or the “Huntsville Siege,” it involved three inmates—Fred Gomez Carrasco, Rudy S. Dominguez, and Ignacio Cuevas, who took hostages and made a number of demands to prison officials in exchange for their freedom. The incident lasted eleven days, from July 24 to August 3, ending with the deaths of two female hostages, the wounding of other hostages, and the deaths of inmate gunmen Carrasco and Dominguez. The hostages were employees Glen D. Johnson, Ronald W. Robinson, Aline V. House, Novella M. Pollard, Linda G. Woodman, Elizabeth Y. Beseda (died), Julia C. Standley (died), Bertha M. Davis, Ann Fleming, Bobby G. Heard, and Anthony Branch; Father Joseph O’Brien; and four inmates, Martin Quiroz, Henry Escamilla, Steve Robertson, and Florencio Vera. The surviving inmate gunman, Ignacio Cuevas, was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of hostage Julia Standley. He was executed on May 23, 1991.


Scope and Content of the Records

The Texas Department of Corrections (TDC) was responsible for the operation of the prison system from 1957 to 1989, when that function was absorbed by the newly created Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Records in this series are audiocassette tapes from the Carrasco hostage incident that occurred at the Huntsville Unit education and library facility, dating from July 27 to August 12, 1974, and a booklet about the event published that same year by the TDC. The dates of the audiotapes cover most of the eleven-day incident (July 24–August 3), also known as the “Huntsville Siege,” and include the post-incident interviews (August 7–12) with the surviving inmate gunman and hostages about the siege.

The audiotapes record the conversations between the inmates, director W.J. Estelle Jr., Carrasco’s attorney Ruben Montemayor (who served as a mediator), warden H.H. Husbands, Governor Dolph Briscoe, reporters, hostages and their families, and others. The inventory transcribes information written on the cassettes about either the speakers and/or the content of the tapes. Many of the conversations with the inmate gunmen are either in Spanish or else in Spanish and English.

The audiotapes were duplicated in December 2000–January 2001 in order to make a tape use copy available for research. In 2015, high-quality digital recordings were made from the original tapes. Blank sides of tapes were not digitized. The master digital recording captures the entire running time of each tape side that contains recorded sound, unless otherwise indicated in the inventory, while the digital access copy has been edited to eliminate any lengthy periods where no sound was originally recorded. The audio quality of the recordings varies and reflects the recording conditions and the grade of the equipment and audiotape used when the original recordings were made. The format of the digital audio files presented for public use is .mp3. Files in their original format are available on request; restrictions may apply.

This series is part of the overall Texas Department of Criminal Justice records finding aid.


Restrictions and Requirements

Restrictions on Access
Due to the fragility of the audiotapes, the digital copies must be used instead of the original tapes. Transcripts are not available at this time. Researchers may examine the physical tapes but are not allowed to listen to them on playback equipment.

Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).


The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University
W.J. Estelle Papers, 1927-1984, 14 linear ft.
Publications
Eleven Days in Hell: The 1974 Carrasco Prison Siege at Huntsville, Texas, William T. Harper, 2004.
The Carrasco Tragedy, Eleven Days of Terror in the Huntsville Prison, by Aline House, 1975.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation
(Identify the item), Texas Department of Corrections Carrasco audiotapes and booklet. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information
Accession number: 1999/113

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on March 5, 1999.

Processing Information
Processed by Laura K. Saegert, October 1999
Corrections and further encoding to TARO project standards by Laura K. Saegert, March 2001
Finding aid converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by TARO using the conversion stylesheet v1to02.xsl, July 22, 2003
Finding aid reformatted by Laura K. Saegert, December 2004
Finding aid updated and made DACS-compliant by Rebecca Romanchuk, February 2016
Changes to description by Rebecca Romanchuk, October 2016, January 2018

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