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Day 38

Sunday, March 12, 2000

By now you know the breakfast routine, so I'll spare you the details, except for the fact that I think my morning milk is one of the best parts of my day. There's not much they can do to fuck up a carton of milk.

I woke up to the sound of Travis going off about the guards. He was talking on and on about the medical stuff and how they weren't doing their job. He had put in a request on Friday to see the nurse. His jaw has some kind of nerve damage and he was supposed to get surgery after he was released. In the mean time, he's supposed to get pain medication. Needless to say, he hasn't been. His jaw hurts so bad he hasn't slept in two days. In my opinion, he has every right to be pissed.

So in comes the C.O. on duty. He's an older fellow, and kind of reminds me of Chief. I'll call him Ol'Roy. No particular reason, I just couldn't come up with anything better. He's sympathetic to Travis' needs, and said he already spoke to the nurse and the nurse said she didn't want to see him until tomorrow. He handed Travis a medical request form, stating that the nurse was telling him to fill it out. He said he had already done one and got no response.

"OK", Ol'Roy said, lifting a head to his ear, "Let me hear you say, 'I need a grievance form.'."

"I need a grievance form." Travis replied.

"Oh! Here you go!" Ol'Roy handed him a grievance form he had been holding. "Now let me hear, 'I want to talk to the Leutenant'."

"I want to talk to the Leutenant." Travis repeated nervously.

"OK, I'll go get him." With that, Ol'Roy turned and left with the slam of the big metal door.

A few minutes later, Travis was taken out to see the Lewtenant, who told Travis the nurse would see him tomorrow. Period. At least Ol'Roy tried to help Travis.

Soon after that, they called that it was time for outside rec. We all quickly dressed to go outside. From previous experience, I knew we would get to go out with the other hole inmates from the two neighboring cells. One by one we filed out of the cell and turned in the direction of the stairs. As I stepped out, I ran headlong into what seemed like a big orange wall. I stopped dead in my tracks as that orange wall said, in a rather enthusiastic voice, "Hey Internet King!" My body cringed. Slowly I lifted my head so my eyes could confirm what my ears were telling me.

Yep. It was Ox.

I asked him how he came to be in the hole, and he explained that he was written up for causing a disturbance and disrespect. After we spoke on the way out to the recreation area, we went our seperate ways. Although he hasn't changed since I saw him last, he seems to have some kind of respect for me now, and he isn't hitting me with that attitude he had. I even found out his name, which happens to be Rocky.

Outside, I walked several laps, talking to some of the other inmates, including Rodney. Then came an inmate with a proposition. Having heard that I did web sites, a guy asked if I would write him a letter. He said he didn't have the vocabulary I had, nor the spelling ability, and he wanted me to write out a letter to be given to a lawyer or judge pleading for release. It seems that since he's been locked up, his father passed away. He wasn't allowed out to go to the funeral. Now his mother is sick, too, and isn't expected to live much longer. I told him I'd be glad to write the letter for him. He was going to provide me with a rough draft of what he wanted to say. Then he asked what it was going to cost him. He seemed amazed when I told him I'd do it for nothing.

Then I walked over to the fence where, on the other side, sat the guard. This was the same officer that greated me when I first arrived, the lady that smiled and let me eat my commissary items while I waited to go into the hole. I'll call her Miss Joy because she's always acting happy. Miss Joy was talking about the current state of things, especially how things were inside these jails. She, like Chief, was frustrated with the way the current Sheriff is running things. Many people tend to think the only reason the sheriff got elected is because of her business sense, not her ability to run a law enforcement agency, or should I say, her LACK of ability to run a law enforcement agency.

One prime example is her new rule to keep all officers from talking to inmates in a normal tone. Officers are not allowed to speak in a conversational manner to an inmate. She even went so far as to require every officer to sign a paper stating that they had read and agreed to this new policy. Chief and Miss Joy both refused to sign. I asked Miss Joy if that meant she was breaking a departmental rule right at that moment. She said she was, and they could write her up if they wanted to.

Chief said he thought the rule was crap because it makes a more divided line between officers and inmates. For example, if a fight breaks out, someone like Chief could walk in and ask, in a conversational tone, what happened. Inmates would be likely to say, "Well, this guy was runnin' his mouth and the other guy TOLD him to shut up, but he didn't listen, so he got hit..." Then Chief would know what happened. Under the new policy, some pumped up attitude with a badge would walk in like Joe Friday wanting the facts and nothing but the facts. Most likely he would be told only to go screw himself.

Miss Joy had a similar opinion. Her take on it was that she finds it hard to work around inmates for eight hours a day and NOT talk to them. She said she has to at least ask, "How's it going?" or something like that.

The result of new rules like this is the spreading of a mentality that there is an iron clad line dividing cops and criminals, carrying a message that officers will ALWAYS be officers, and criminals will ALWAYS be criminals, and never the two shall meet. This a bad thing, in MY opinion, as it just creates more anger and frustration toward officers that will be carried over into life on the outside.

When a former inmate sees an officer on the street, he isn't going to think of him as someone like Chief or Miss Joy, he's going to think of those bastards that taunted and yelled and treated inmates as dumb animals trapped in a cage. Such conditions can be a breeding ground for rage and add to a lifelong angst towards authority, whether or not they ever commit another crime. I'm sorry, but to me it just isn't right.

It does, however, make perfect economic sense. Make sure a criminal STAYS a criminal, like making sure a customer keeps coming back. But I digress. I've got to save something for tomorrow.

After dinner, they moved Travis, Edgar, and our other cellmate to the CJC, where I started. They also moved Rodney and three of his cellmates, as well as those from the other cell. All remaining hole inmates were moved in with us. Those were Rocky and two other guys from the third cell. After we all settled in and exchanged introductions, we settled into our beds and fell asleep.

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