I’m doing good...let me out!
Greetings from the belly of the beast that is prison, from the bowel of this beast which is solitary. As I sit in this cell the size of a standard parking space for the better part of 23 hours a day, I cannot help but to contemplate how I landed here. In my defense, it is already known that I only spoke out about the inhumane treatment of inmates in a fleeting email, nothing more or less, but I will be politically correct for the sake of this piece.
In hindsight, I guess it would be a reflection of my negative behavior and bad decisions that I should think about and work on for the next #18 months of solitude, but who’s keeping record of the positive progress I’m making? Besides me and my higher power as well as those who support me on the “outside”, no one “inside” is taking notice or keeping track. Oh sure, let me be disrespectful or become a nuisance and watch how they quickly come in my cell and put me on “strip” for 72 hours taking everything (*property, linen, clothes*) and leaving me in nothing but boxers the whole time. I mean, they will even put you on strip for talking too loud to the cell next door, as you try to reach out for some social interaction. Boredom and loneliness is our constant companions on solitary, so what they expect? Don't let me cause a major disturbance like kicking the door, holding the flap or refusing direct orders and I will get “all” the notice I want....10-15 officers aggressively trained, in full riot gear ready to extract you violently from your cell and/or spray you with Black Jesus! We call it that because it is the biggest and most potent black canister of tear gas on deck, that will have you crying and screaming for him if you get hit with it. They have to directly jet stream your face and body with a hose and then you “still” have to take a prolonged ice cold shower just to alleviate some of the effects. It's something serious and has been medically proven to cause long term respiratory problems. It’s still in use though. Most of the times, this is in tandem with the physical injuries you may have suffered from the cell extraction itself.
Yet, the question again is...who is taking notice of good behavior and positive progress being made? The only people remotely doing so is mental health and their really just keeping tabs that your not on the brink of insanity due to the adverse conditions solitary places on the psyche. Besides that, no one else wants to give credit; good credit, where credit is due. Not the guards. Not the shift supervisors. Not classification. Not even the higher ups who review your status will give you accolades. Their “all” just looking to see if you do anything “wrong” to keep you on lockdown… not what you’ve done “right” to be let out. Of course, they have to let go of you if you’ve done the latter plus all your time, but still. During our seclusion, most of us are subject to the same repercussions as those causing trouble. From losing our property due to undeserved cell searches, to being randomly harassed as examples being made to everyone- one bad apple spoils the bunch. They have observation sheets on our door and other record keeping duties to monitor supplies handed out, us leaving the cell for showers and haircuts, medical and interdepartmental visits and yes… negative behavior and consequences.
How about a check box for the “positive” stuff we do back here in solitary and close management status? For example…
#1.) Follow all rules & regulations. Check!
#2.) Is not a nuisance. Check!
#3.) Do not cause disturbances. Check!
#4.) Respect all authority & property. Check!
#5.) Do not disrespect female staff by any means, especially gunning (*masturbating*). Check!
#6.) Does not destroy state property such as breaking the sprinkler or toilets to flood the cells or rip up sheets to make “fishing lines” to reach other cells for books, soap, food (*and yes… the occasionally exclusive contraband item*). Check!
#7.) Always have their cell in order, property neatly stored, dressed appropriately and bed made to institutional standards with no wrinkles- hospital corners and a six inch collar twelve inches from the head of their bed. Check!
#8.) All of this while “officials” is on and off the wing… Check! Check! Check! Check! Check!
You get the picture, and if not- turn your flash on! It would be nice to see more people released early from solitary for doing all the right things, then being extended for doing all the wrong. Basically, we’re “all” damned if we do and damned if we don’t!
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