Prison Pete

Monday, May 08, 2006
  The Village Idiot Arrives.
There is certainly no shortage of dumb policies and procedures in prison. One that had a direct effect on me this week was the way in which this particular institution deals with inmates that have a problem following the rules.

To be honest it is not hard to find yourself in violation of one of the rules. I am not sure if they post the rules on the web but you can look at www.DOCS.STATE.NY.US.

An inmate got into a 'fight' with another inmate and as a result he was transferred into our dorm. As a penalty for his transgression, he was initially on "Keep Lock." This penalty works great when you have inmates in their own individual cells. They are locked in and have their meals delivered to them. Since each cell comes complete with its own toilet, there is no need to let an inmate out of his cell.

We have cubes, and therein lies the problem. I am currently residing on the back row of cubes. This row has four single cubes and ten double cubes. The cubes are all the same size. The double cubes have bunk beds in them. My cube is in the middle of the row, with a double cube on one side and an aisle for an emergency exit on the other side. The miscreant in question arrived late one evening and took up residence in the lower bunk of the cube next to me.

He was fairly quick to diagnose my sinus problem as a highly contagious disease and out of respect for all the other inmates I should have myself quarantined. I tried to inform this fellow inmate that I was not infectious to others, that my problem was simply clogged sinuses, and that I was in fact under the doctors care. To this the inmate responded that he too had sinus problems and as such knew that what I had was not sinus problems. I decided there was no winning with this inmate and gave up trying to have any type of intelligent conversation.

The next step in the discipline process now has this inmate on loss of recreation privileges. This means he is allowed to go to meals in the chow hall, and to any assigned jobs and/or programs. The remainder of the time the inmate is required to remain in his cube.

The loss of recreation is not only for the big recreation yard, but also use of the two television rooms and cooking facilities which are in our unit. If you do not read, that leaves you with a lot of time on your hands with nothing to do. This inmate suggested, on more than one occasion, that out of respect (that word is so distorted in prison I need to do an entire post on it) I could take my newspaper and go out to the television rooms and read.

While there is a no noise policy in the dorm area, the television areas have no such policy and the noise level is usually at maximum. We are not allowed to take our radios out of the sleeping area. Instead of sitting comfortably in my cube listening to my radio and reading my NY Times I had to go sit out in all the noise because this other inmate got into trouble.

In an effort to not have the 'problem' escalate, I did in fact go out and watch the television for three plus hours both Tuesday and Thursday evening. On Wednesday I stayed in my cube to type a letter.

Even with my attempt to show some 'respect' by Thursday evening the inmate took it upon himself to start throwing water over the cube wall each time I coughed.

Under normal prison inmate rules, that is a gross violation of one's personal space and is usually met with force. Not responding to the water only leads to more water being tossed. This I know since I did not respond.

On Friday morning I mentioned to the regular officer (he had just returned from two days off) that when he did the cube moves that morning, would he please move the 'problem child' to another double cube. And it was done.

Now I can hear all those brain synapses crackling while you all say that sounds like the right thing to do. WRONG.

One of the most egregious things any inmate can do is go to a staff member about a problem with another inmate. In this case it seems to have worked out only because the inmate in question is a bully and as he was moving his stuff to the new cube, he sneered at me and said, "At least I am getting away from you!"

Well duh, why did he not simply ask to be moved in the first place? That would not have been a problem. The point is, if you are miserable, be sure you can rule over another inmate to prove you are a real man.

The bottom line is that putting inmates that are already suffering some lack of privileges in with other inmates is certainly not conducive to peace and harmony in the unit. While in the feds some inmates would be punished by loss of their commissary shopping, but they were not restricted in their movement about the compound.

If that was needed, they were sent to the special housing unit (SHU) and locked in their cells for the duration of their punishment. That makes more sense. But making sense is not something that happens much of the time in the prison setting.

It is now Sunday afternoon, I am listening to the radio and catching up on my letter writing, and no water is falling into my humble cube. I have no problem with the other 58 inmates in the dorm, and now that the problem child has been moved five cubes away from me, things are back to as tranquil as they were before he arrived to reek havoc.

Life goes on.
Comments: Post a Comment

View my profile
Contact Prison Pete
Contact the Editor
Blogroll Me!

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006

December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004


Powered by Blogger


Emily Dickinson
Janet Evanovich
Ian Fleming
Jonathan Franzen
Robert Fulghum
Sue Grafton
Tami Hoag
Jean Shepherd

Johann Sebastian Bach
Virgil Fox
Benny Goodman
Vladimir Horowitz
Itzhak Perlman
David Russell
Lonnie Smith

Radio and TV Shows
All Things Considered
Capitol Steps
Fawlty Towers
Fresh Air
The Infinite Mind
Jazz After Hours
Jeeves and Wooster
Pipe Dreams

Media, Publishers, Networks
Augsberg Fortress Press
Hamilton Bookseller
NY Daily News
NY Newsday
NY Times
PC Magazine
WNED Buffalo, NY

Helpful Organizations

Federal Bureau of Prisons
NY State Court of Appeals
NY State Department of Corrections

Typing with a Dvorak keyboard
Fastback Book Binding System
Who links to me?