Where should I start? Living inside the belly of the beast for six years has been akin to misery. From being in segregation for the 13 extra days, denial of showers for 5 days, and denial of exercise for more than 7 days is demoralizing, depressing, and dehumanizing. On 5-27-18 I was given a disciplinary report for allegedly refusing housing due to my PTSD and depression. Because I couldn't co-exist with my cellmate I received a refusing housing ticket where they took 15 days of my good time. Prison staff tried to convince me to sign the ticket stating that if I take it to a hearing I will lose. I refused to sign the (D.R.) and took it to a hearing on 6-14-18. The hearing officer refused to admit any witness statements and cut me off when I told him my side of the story. My segregation time was done on 6-12-18, however I didn't leave segregation until 6-25-18. While in seg I was subjected to recreation with a tether chain and my hands cuffed behind my back. I ended up appealing the (D.R.) and the appeal officer stated verbatim, "there is no serious due process violations." I've exhausted my remedies and have no choice, but to invoke my rights in court. On 8-3-18 I took my last shower for the week. The following Monday on 8-6-18 there was a facility lockdown for a yearly shakedown where they search inmate cells. I didn't receive a shower until 8-8-18. During my 6 years incarcerated I've never been in my cell that long to wait for a shower. Not to mention, the ventilation in our cells was off increasing the pungent odor of our bodys to trickle out of the cells compelling c/o's to cover their noses as they pass by. I felt stripped of my humanity. As I said this was the longest time I spent inside a cell without a shower. This is cruel and unusual punishment forbidden by the 8th Amendment. I came into prison a whole human being and I am leaving as a deeply fractured human being. I wonder if the public knows about how prisoners get treated in prison. Inmates are basically locked up in a bathroom and are housed with a cellmate. Prison officials then wait 5 full days to give an inmate a shower. That's awful, horrible, and inhumane. Dogs don't even get treated like that. I recently spoke to the deputy warden about the 5 days without a shower. His response was to stare at me confused like what I just told him was foreign language. The only solution is to seek redress in a civil complaint. In Sept. 2017 I was in segregation for 12 days awaiting transfer to another facility in the state of Connecticut. I spent 12 days in segregation without no recreation or movement out of my cell. An ordinary person would go mad if they were subjected to such cruel and unusual punishment. My mind fell into a severe depression. There was no mental health staff to help me. There were books to read, but one can only read but so much in 24 hrs. While I was in segregation the light in my cell was turned on 24/7, which made it very hard to sleep at night due to the light beaming into your eyes when their closed. Moreover, there was feces all over the inside of the toilet in my cell. I could not sleep it was pure misery. I told the c/o's countless times about the horrible odor, but he showed apathy towards my concerns. The c/o's that watch over us, in my opinion, don't care about prisoner rights. Here and there you'll find a few good ones that'll look out for you. The simple, yet complex question that I must ask is "who's watching the watchers". In my 6 years incarcerated I was compelled to learn the law and invoke my rights under the Federal Constitution. The depravity in the Department of Corrections is disgusting. Literally right in front of your face. Given these points, the law is a tool that forced my pen to find a solution. I find hope knowing that I can seek redress in court for my civil rights. by Patrick Levis
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.