Is mass incarceration slavery and behaviorism experiment?
Essay to Prison Writing/Hamilton
Is Mass Incarceration Slavery and Behaviorism Experiment?
To consider this, some might refer this question to conspiracy theories or prejudice conclusion in the name of Justice...due to the current nature of my plight. The facts presented thereafter are to be viewed under serious ocnsideration. Why? The lack of education of the federal penal system is the driving force of why my pen is a sword, that is, my voice is to be heard to educate the unknown general public population and to hear the truth uncensored of the cruel reality of prison.
Factual Historical Event:
To begin with any personal experience/event is most exhausting and a disease to the mental state of Peace. Therefore, I pray for your uppermost attention pertaining to my plight. Since there is so much to be said, I will present just a glimpse of the reality of harsh conditions.
My location of "Federal" imprisonment is U.S. Penitentiary Lee, Jonesville, Virginia. In this community are staff employees that are prejudiced - some are blatantly racist towards my color & status as a convicted, however their sworn -- oath as officer(s) are under three things: (1) care; (2) custody; and (3) control. These three prongs are very important to correspond the question presented above and the viewer of this essay should ask: "What is care, custody, and control?" Note: This was related to the inmate population during orientation: "We are at War with you?" > Does this meaning override the Oath?
I currently reside in a cell (when it rains, water comes on the cell floor and the cell floor has severe rust in different location of the cell), that is, the average cell size of a parking space
1. shaped in a rectangular form equipped with a toilet that flushes so hard the water splashed all over your clothes and feet (can you imagine using the bathroom to defecate?); one small sink, two standup lockers on top of each other, tiny desk w/seat and two small-metal bunk-bed. If you want hotwater you have to be careful, because the water so hot, if you put your hand long enough under the water you can receive mild three-degree burn or if you put on the cold water, your hands will become numb. The cell is meant for one man, however, Two men are force to live and co-exist.
As I write to you now, my condition is at health (mental) risk due to a 24 hour lockdown over a 25 day period due to a previous (fatal) inmate stabbing incident(s). When the institution goes on lockdown, no one is permitted to go to the law library to seek relief whether you are currently in the courts or not. If you request to have access to the courts, you are denied without any notification or any reason given. Recreation Yard is not permitted during lockdown, therefore, I am forced to participate exercising in the cell in order to not go insane. During which the cell is always cold, so cold that I have to sleep with three blankets, note: "The weather is currently in the 30's/40's and some days it snows and it is still freezing cold. While the officers' office is equipped with portable heaters to keep warm. When you notify the officers of your condition they are dismissive and say they have no control of it and walk-off."
After I complete my exercise, I am forced to take what is called a bird-bath, because we are only allowed to take showers (usually the showers are either ice cold or hot, so hot, that you cannot go near the water, either you sprinkle water on your body and/or use a washcloth to gather water then hold it for 30 seconds due to the temperature of the water then put the rag on your skin. Also the showers are sometimes filthy, stink, and occupied w/ various insects and flies.) on Sunday & Wednesday for 10 minutes which are handcuffed & escorted to and from the showers.
To take a bird-bath requires skill; first, you have to block the section from the bunk to the door which is maybe 3 1/2 feet in length with two blankets for privacy from your cellie, except the door window because the officers wants to see inside whether you are naked or not. So I cover half the window with paper and tape; second, you use racquetball to hold the sink-nobs in place for continuation of running water; third, after completion of bathing, you clean the floor of the un-clean water. This same process can be use similar to defecation purposes (except the cleaning floor part), can you imagine if your feces stink like a sewer (I can't imagine the horrific face of that cellie...what ah controversy). And sometimes, there are cellies who do not take baths during lockdown.
Which leads to the next issue, the laundry staff employees came around "twice" during lockdown to exchange on clean pillow case and one sheet for the dirty ones, however no exchanges of blankets nor have the laundry made any effort to provide laundry service to the issued prison clothes, if you do not have any laundry detergent purchase at commissary, you are forced to use the "one" bar of soap that has only been given "twice" during lockdown which is meant for bathing purposes, which is now turn to wash your clothes. After washing such clothes, I hang dry them upon a hand made clothes-line, however, if the officer sees it, you are ordered to take the clothes down and the clothes-line as well! So I have to coordinate when the officer makes his round to put up and take down the clothes and clothes-line or sometimes just ignore the officer depending who is working the shifts and the mood I am in that day.
Speaking of which, the Bar of soap comes with one small toothbrush, one razor, a small rollon deodorant, and a small tube of toothpaste. Here is where the dilemma begins, the same rule applies that was stated above concerning commissary. Because, if you do not have the necessities provided at the commissary, you will be in an unpleasant situation, the roll-on deodorant does not work, it last for five minutes to fight smelly odor, and the size only will last less than a week, the toothpaste even shorter if you brush more than once a day.
To explain how the smell is unbearable if you are a witness or participant is unexplainable and term as embarrassment for anyone being a victim to shame. During this lockdown, only one commissary service was permitted, but...there was no food, hygiene, paper, pens and pencil, envelopes, and clothes, etc to be purchase. Only 20 stamps and limited medicine was authorize for sell. Leaving to the mercy of the unit officer to give you envelope if available, but no paper to write. So you are forced to ask another inmate for assistance, i.e., if he has paper and envelope, and that if you are not indigent, which most are, and you provide assistance if you can afford it, respectively. Commissary service was available after two weeks of lockdown, I was glad to receive the stamps to notify my family. Some inmates was not so fortunate, I pray for their redemption.
Next is the shakedown, normally in a given day & time, especially during lockdown, shakedown has become a rotten-core of the meaning duress and harassment to the meaning of peace, that is, do your time without more punishment and judgment under cruel and unusual punishment. When shakedown usually occur is disarry of the cell, books taken or stolen (that you paid for), pictures of females are taken and thrown away? (I wonder if a half-naked man picture was on the wall would officers take them? this should be analyzed for promotion of sodomy), legal work tampered with; or sometimes you are set-up with drugs or knives depending on your conviction to prove clear and convincing evidence standard for DHO/incident report hearings. To continue with details, a separate series will have to suffice in order to breakdown how shakedowns are corrupt and also an unchecked abusive proceedings to the U.S. Constitutional due process standard.
I have to take a time out, to give notice: it has been almost 4 weeks of the lockdown, no psychology to check on our mental health, the Warden and his entourage came thru maybe three times and talk to his unit staff but failed to apply diplomacy with the inmate(s) to see if any concerns are to be addressed in order to take the appropriate action to safeguard safety and security.
No education officer to give reading material(s) and/or education material(s) to continue programming, medical only comes every few days; instead of sick call every morning...Speaking of which, brings me to the last issue.
Food in U.S.P. Lee has become a problem for over 25 days, I have been "forced" to accept ("twice a day") a chip bag, bologna slice, 4 slices of bread, one peanut butter pack, one apple, and a powder (small) juice pack in a brown bag. As a Vegetarian, I always reject the bologna and eat the peanut butter. This meal was brutal because I became constipated for two weeks during the time when no commissary was permitted (read commissary section, supra.). On or about March 15, 2018, Thursday, a small group of people was escorted by staff to tour U.S.P. Lee, on that day, everyone was served during lunch-time the same brown bag but instead of bologna, an [expired] chicken sandwich which you get from an outside vendor machine, stated: June 10, 2017. Thereafter, brown bag with bologna presume until the end of lockdown. During this lockdown, I surely become underweight, I question my physical health due to my middle-age. However, medical is inadequate and not helpful unless a major life-threatening medical issue. When I notified medical staff about constipation, their immediate respond is to go to the commissary to buy medicine, however, commissary only came one time. Such negligence to my health is not my Fault! I deserve better because I am a Human Being and I Demand Respect!
New "Event" on or about March 22, 2018: at time 8:15am, est., was permitted one hour and 30 mins to shower, email, and phone usage. Checked electronic bulletin board, a notification informed inmate population that it will be no more batteries sold in commissary and books are to be purchase thru SPO, which means no access to various publisher(s) including law publisher(s). (Note: as of late, the book order issue has been rescinded). When asked about batteries for portable radio, the response was buy an MP3 (this cost $89.00, radio cost $.40.00 (±) (-)).
Are indigent inmates to be forced to buy an unwanted item or force to be deprived equal protection?! are we force to give up the right of free-speech; that is, the freedom to choose a publisher? It has now become a practice to use purchased material(s) to manipulate the will of the inmates?
When you consider the facts presented, the reality of (unknown) future to the mental health of inmates is in grave danger, and is repeated history to what my African ancestors went thru during slavery times in America. The difference is the new slavery is under a political name called Mass Incarceration. The Experiment under oppression, duress, harassment, and coercion is the new Behaviorism under the Theory of B.F. Skinner's controlled environment approach. This is not a conspiracy theory, but my everyday life in prison that is trying to take my humanity and turn me into a docile animal. My [only] option to protect and safeguard my life is...for survival (By any means necessary!).
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.