A Bad Year
Any year in prison could be considered a bad year, but for me the past year has been a bad year. Although it is far from the worst because things could always be worse, for instance I probably could not be able to write these thoughts or even be around. By no means do I intend to be morbid, but as we all view the best/worse case scenario this is mine.
My bad year began in August 2014 and it came out of nowhere and knocked me out like a suckerpunch from the blindside. As every week began I looked forward to my two days off from my assigned job in the kitchen, that fell on Thursday and Friday, were perfect days for me as were my work hours. While I was at work from 5:00 AM to 11:30-12:00 pm my cellmate was in the cell and when I came back from work he would be on his way out to his assigned job. It worked out perfectly we each had our own private time, which if you have ever been incarcerated you know this is a luxury. Well while I'm relaxing on my first day off out of nowhere my supervisor came to my cell door to advise me per the lieutenant and along with the majority of the kitchen crew (mainly Southern Hispanics) would no longer be allowed to work in the kitchen anymore. Bear in mind that California Code of Regulations title 15 does not allow this without a hearing or committee action, but as us prisoners all know, many times this is how it goes. So to add insult to injury I literally got fired on my day off, come on! This was only the beginning.
The next two days seemed very odd, the correctional officers were acting different, the atmosphere was just different as well. Then they tell my cellmate, who had been my cellmate for four years, that he was transferring the following week. We both had been waiting to transfer to another level 4 prison, so here I am wondering who to move in to be my cellmate or if a new arrival will be my new cellmate. All the while having a bad feeling then sure enough the prison goes on a complete lockdown.
My cellmate ends up leaving on a Tuesday about 6:30 am. Two hours later my entire block is raided, searched, all property x-rayed and all that good stuff. The process took about 4-5 hours. Then everyone was placed back in our cells, besides those taken to Administrative Segregation (AD-SEG). After I was placed back into my cell I rearranged my property, make sure all is there, shower, eat, wash clothes and I finally begin to relax lay down and unwind. Then BAM! A Correctional Officers comes to the door telling me to 'cuff up, I ask for what reason and he says "the Sergeant wants to see me". Oh hell no, I know what this means but I have no idea why. I refused and told him that he could tell the Sergeant to come and speak with me at the cell door. I knew they would be back, that I was going to the hole (Ad-Seg). I just wanted to buy time and sure enough I am going to the hole for information given to prison officials.
While I was placed in a holding cage that is the size of a coffin standing upright in boxers and shower shoes, other individuals slowly but surely start to be placed in the cages beside me. All of us apparently were being placed in Ad-Seg for the same information. This information given was untrue and given by a confidential Informant so under California Law we cannot even fight it, know what the information is or even prove it's falseness. You are given a opportunity to speak on your behalf, but it goes in one ear and out the other in this kangaroo court called Institutional Classification Committee (ICC). This process satisfies the Due Process Clause but by no means is it fair. Any prisoner would agree that to them that the ends justifies the means, besides who cares about prisoners? We all are in prison and did something bad to be here, so tough luck, right?
This situation ended up with me and all those brought for this information to be held in Ad-Seg, single celled (Solitary Confinement) for a year. Even though we were solely waiting to be transferred, somehow our files were never seen by the officials responsible, which made no sense because in California those responsible are the Classification Staff Representatives (CSR) and they must approve all Ad-Seg extensions and retentions, but our files were never seen.
So I have spent a year in Solitary Confinement under discipline conditions for committing no offense, but based on information given by another person who seeks to gain favorable treatment by providing information or had something against me. It is a very troubling scheme especially when California adamantly denies that it houses people in solitary confinement, although I spent a year in Ad-Seg, single celled and only allowed yard 3 times a week and committed no offense. Had a correctional officer provided this information, see it or caught me doing something I would have been given all evidence, a hearing, appealable opportunities. All in all we all were given an under the table SHU term.
Now I have finally been transferred to another General Population prison but my bad year was not over yet. Upon transfer I discovered that alot of my property was missing. It made no sense to me because on my property/Inventory sheet it was all there and accounted for. Then when I get to the new prison I am placed in Ad-Seg again but this time because there is no bed space available, what? I end up not receiving my property until 3 weeks later and when I do I end up losing some more of my property that came with me because it is not allowed here. Sure I could complain because these things are messed up especially when you lose things that were bought by your family. It really get's you in a state of anger, but what can you do? Make your situation worse or let it go? These things amongst other's really get you thinking about getting out of here and how you should never have been here
It seems that my bad year is over and it all started with some coward jerk who is working with the same officials who are oppressing him, using him until he no longer can provide information. While he is only hurting others and for what? A letter of recognition money? Not being prosecuted? While there is no way to legally fight this. I guess cheech and chong said it best "things are tough all over."
*Note this was written on September 2015, it has been a year since this and all is well with me. It is now September 2016 and since I was a juvenile when this crime was committed and I was sentenced to 69 year-life (attempted murder) I now am eligible to be seen by the parole board to seek release and court options to get my sentenced reduced
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