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Day 39

Monday, March 13, 2000

Well, Ox, er, rocky, is turning out to be not so bad after all. In this close environment (17 X 13, to be exact) we're all getting along rather well..

Now back to my bitching from yesterday about how this place is run.

As I said before, by programming these guards to treat inmates like caged animals, they are also training the inmates to resent, if not plainly HATE the guards. Under this policy, there can be no respect for guards nor inmates. Driving this mentality into an inmates head can eliminate only hopes of rehabilitation. Even if they never commit another crime all their lives, they will never be able to respect an officer.

Then there are those who DO return to crime. Perhaps they might not have done so, if more qguards had showed a vested interest in their lives, like Chief and Miss Joy. But alas, no guard spoke to them, save for yelling, ordering around and taunting. Treating a man, in for not paying child support, as if he raped and murdered. From what I understand, the rapists and murderers in prison are treated with more respect and decency than we are.

Why on earth would the administration of a law enforcement agency such as this tolerate, let alone ENDORSE, this kind of behavior from its guards? Two words - Repeat Business. They WANT criminals to come back. They need them to stay in business.

Sadly enough, that's what it all boils down to. Business.

Ever since the Correctional Facilities came under ownership and management of a private corporation, the trend is no longer to turn criminals into law abiding citizens, but to turn law abiding citizens into criminals. I am the perfect example. I came in here for having two beers and trying to drive home. Since I've been here I've learned all sorts of things about how to make crack, how to tell good grade drugs from poor grade drugs, how to convert a semiautomatic firearm to full automatic, the Who's Who of gang structure in our city, what gang territory falls where, which strip clubs you can go to find freelance prostitution, and which ones have drugs to go with them. I also learned how to hide 80 pounds of marijuanna in a late model Dodge.

These are things I would never use, but what if I was so inclined? Then I might go down to a strip club with my 9mm to get me a 'ho and an 8-ball of coke. Then I'd get caught and be BACK IN HERE.

Repeat Business. The cycle continues.

What does this mean? More money for the money machine. In addition to your tax dollars (and mine), the machine gets money from the investors of the corporation, as well as from the INMATES.

Yes, the inmates. I know alot of people grumble that their tax dollars go to house and feed inmates. Well, to an extent, that's true. But there's at least one group of inmates that pay their own keep, and then some.

What I'm talking about is the work release program. In work release, there are two dorms with fifty inmates each (despite the sign on the wall stating a maximum capacity of 38). That's 100 people total. Each of us has to pay to the jail 25% of our weekly net income, up to $60.00. There are VERY FEW that don't pay the $60.00, if any. So lets estimate. That's in the neighborhood of $6000.00 a week they get from work release alone. That's almost $336,000.00 a year. Then figure in what they pay out for each of us. We get three meals a day, and often times there aren't enough supper trays left for those coming in late from work. I've already said what these trays are comprised of - the average breakfast consists of some grits, powdered eggs, one slice of bologna and two pieces of white bread. I would estimate it costs between $0.85 and $1.50 per tray for each meal, considering each is made in bulk and therefore saves money. So if you average that food costs an average of $1.50 per meal per inmate, that adds up to $163,250.00 for 100 inmates for a full year. That's a difference of $172,750.00 annually. It doesn't cost that much to heat and cool two large rooms that are supposed to hold 38 people, but constantly hold 50.

Then they screw you out of money on commissary items. A 15 ounce bottle of the worst watered down shampoo I've ever seen is $2.05, a bar of Tone, Dial or Irish Spring soup goes for $1.25, and a 2.7 ounce tube of colgate goes for $1.95, PLUS TAX. If you need boxers, you pay $3.60, unless your a bigger man, in which case you pay four or five dollars a pair. If you want an AM/FM radio of a no name brand, you might pay $4.00 at Big Lots or a dollar store, but here the same radio is $25.50. Mark ordered one and his came with earphones that had foam coverings that were dry rotted. They fell of in his hands as soon as he opened the package. Two dollars for a deck of cards, four for a chess set made of cheap plastic and thin cardboard. This notepad cost $1.80, and you have to pay fifty cents for a plastic SPORK!!

Whoever struck a deal with this commissary company shall have heavily padded pockets right now, or they're a FOOL.

The food products are all at vending machine prices, plus you have to pay tax on each item. It's such a rip-off, it's disgusting.

But then there's the nightmare I've heard of from some of the child support inmates. They're thrown in jail for not paying child support, so they end up losing their jobs. Then they're put on work release without a job, so they have to go t owork for minimum wage and the child support keeps adding up. They have to endorse their paychecks over to the jail, who deducts their $60.00 a week, and gives the inmate back a check for $30.00 for weekly expenses. The remainder of the check is supposed to go on the inmates account, or to child support, but more often than not, the money taken out for child support never makes it to the mother of the children who need it. Where does it go? Hmmm.

I've learned this much by being locked in here and talking to inmates and guards alike. I wonder what I would find if I was able to see the books. To KNOW where this money goes. If our taxes go into this money machine, shouldn't we know where the money goes? Or is that privelidged information for the stock holders of the company who really run these jails, under the leadership of a sheriff who looks to me more like a banker than a cop.

Maybe I should say I'm not an economist, nor a jailer, so perhaps I'm not qualified to make these statements and assumptions.

Then again, I'm not a fool, either, which is hard for them to believe. ("Them" being the people who thought locking me in the hole would stop me from doing this web page.)

O.K., enough bitching ...

On a more normal note, when I'm not writing this journal, I'm sleeping or reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. For a bookmark I have a picture of myself with my two daughters. My two year old is smiling, looking at the camera while my newborn is just lying in my arm. I really can't say how much I miss them, and my wife too. The worst thing about being in the hole is not being able to call home and check on my family. They were supposed to have gone to my hometown to see my parents, since they now know about my incarceration. I would like to know that they made it there and back safely, but all I can do is pray and have faith that they're alright. I've been having dreams about being on the outside, and in each dream, it ends with me having to go back to jail, as if I'm on work release.

(sigh) Two more chicken dinners. Then I can go home.

Naturally I haven't heard anything from my appeal yet, and I doubt I will, which is typical. Even Miss Joy said I probably won't hear anything within the fourteen days I have left in jail. I just hope I still get that job back home. I was supposed to call him sometime in March to go in for an interview. It looks like LATE March is the earliest I can call. If I don't get that job, I don't know what I'll do. We can't afford to live there if I don't have a good enough job, but I can't afford to live here without my sanity. I hate this city, and can't wait to leave it for good.

Of course, I'll be back. My in-laws live here, as well as several friends I've made since I got here. Otherwise, this place has given me nothing but bad luck and heartache.

But then, it could be worse. I COULD be without the friends I DO have, particularly the ones who help me keep this journal alive despite attempts to keep it quiet. People like Bushman and Lady J. Without them, this journal would be nonexistant.

Which, by the way, reminded me that I can't guarantee return e-mail anymore. That part of my "system" is looking kind of iffy at best. So feel free to send e-mail, and I WILL respond. It just might not be until I get out.

Also, I can't see my counter anymore, so I have no idea how many people are reading, how many left during my "down-time", nor how many new readers I have. All I can do is say that if your reading this, THANKS!

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