Hello again and welcome once more to the Roost. In this place, there can be periods of tedium that last for varying lengths of time… periods in which not much happens. This seems to be one of those periods, filled with the minutiae of prison life. So this post may just be mostly a rambling on of not much. A couple of things I relate may seem like major incidents to some…but in this environment one tends to get used to what may seem like horrific occurrences to the minds of others.
About a week and a half ago (as of this writing) someone was killed at another unit in this state. Prison personnel like to keep us as much in the dark about such things as they can, but information has its way of slithering around. This happened at the older “super max” unit, SMU I. When “jumping units”, information can be slow in making the rounds, so you may actually know more about it than I do. (Although news is oftentimes suppressed out in the world about such things, too. Anything having to do with Trump is far more important than a death in a prison.) Someone told me it did have a very short mention on one of the local Phoenix channels– although, not a story, mind you, just a quick mention before getting back to the important stuff, like how Ivanka Trump’s clothing line is faring. (I have not a television myself….but I hear those around me talking about the “top stories”. I disagree with the term “fake news” myself… but I have been amazed for years what people allow the “news” media to report on and just quietly consume it rather than demanding that news be important issues and not just what the Kardashians are up to. They have special shows to keep those who are interested apprised of just such nonsensical drivel.
But I digress– perhaps that is a rant for another post! Back to the issue at hand…
I have actually heard a couple of of possibilities as to what occurred.. by far the most likely being that one person killed the other person with whom he shared a cell. (That happens far more than the state will readily admit to.) The other, less likely, possibility I heard is that someone got an opportunity to go after a maintenance trustee. (A maintenance crew consists of a crew boss, which is a prison guard, and a group of sex offenders that do the actual maintenance work– at least in maximum custody–they bus the sex offenders in from a sex offender unit.) Sex offenders are universally despised by general population. So, while that second possibility is indeed a possibility, it is less likely, as the guards are pretty careful about putting sex offenders someplace safe before general population is allowed to pass through.
Something else occurred later that same week. The whole unit was on “lockdown” (that means no movement…which means no one leaves their cage) for a twenty-four-hour period. This was annoying on a personal level because it happened to be one of my shower days. (I only get twelve a month!) So no shower, and I washed up in my sink as I do most days anyway. The guards were even more “tight lipped” about this lockdown, because apparently it was local. All we managed to glean was that there was a “non-specific threat to staff by inmates that was deemed to be credible.” So that scared the crap out of them, and nobody got nothin’.
There are exceptions to every rule, of course. (All bets are off when you factor in the violently insane, for instance.) But in my time here– and I have had prison staff agree with me when I take the time to discuss it with someone– I have found that, by far, most incidents of inmates “going off” are caused by prison staff. We are locked in cages; we can’t go anywhere. Staff, however, have the ability to “de-escalate” a situation. They don’t have to stand there and argue with someone who is not getting what they have coming by law (food, toilet paper, etc.) but they will anyway. They are not supposed to call people names but they do, they have the ability to walk away from a heated situation, but they will stand there and get a person madder and madder. Then, because we react to that, we are the uncontrollable animals. They (the system) creates an environment in which people are killed in their cages (often times as they sleep!)
So our testosterone levels are maxed out, and our survival instincts are off the charts. So perhaps, just perhaps, our aggression level might be a tad high as well? Don’t get me wrong, therea re docile milksops who do whatever they are told, but with the exception of death row (that has a large share of nice controllable milksops) those are found out in units walking around. Not in supermax lockdown prison units used for containing the “uncontrollable”.
This place can be frustrating beyond words sometimes. I have learned to deal with it better than I used to… but I still have my days. Prison is not the “vacation” some in society believe it to be.
Now if you will excuse me, I need to deal with the situation of medical equipment (knee braces– a formerly active lifestyle wore my knees out prematurely and ADOC will not even entertain the idea of surgical repair) that was authorized by a member of the medical staff that actyally physically saw me and determined the need was genuine… has been taken away by a new medical staff member that I have never seen before and apparently wants to “piss on the fire hydrant” to mark their territory. And as it could take months to correct… I should get on that.
Until next time…fly straight and true.