#154 Banned from a prisn (new)

April 25, 2010 at 5:54 pm Leave a comment

Banishment FROM a prison

How odd is that?

Today I want to share a journal I wrote while in prison, one based on retaliation from Robeson Correctional, in Lumberton, North Carolina.

Before I do, please take the time to email me, or ask about my blogs, books, cards, prison encouragement certificates and more. I do so appreciate the support I am getting, but I also urge some of you to do more than just “read from the shadows”. So many people like to be apathetic, yet they look for answers to prison issued problems. You can’t get much out of this unless you take the initiative to participate.

It sounds silly to actually be banned FROM a prison, but there is more truth to this than you can know. We all know that prisons have rules, very strict rules, and if an inmate falls out of those rules, he can be punished according to prison rules. There is no problem for a prison to put a guy in segregation cells, or give him a write up, or both. But what can a prison do if the inmate isn’t wrong?

Society might not understand that this, because we are foolish enough to think that anytime a person is charged with something, they are guilty. And if a person in prison is charged, then there is NO question that they are guilty. But this is not always true. Sometimes inmates can be right.

But what does a prison do if they have an inmate that hasn’t broken the rules, but is doing something that could become detrimental to the control of the camp? Now, we’re not talking about a riot, that actually IS a charge, and a high one too…I oughta know, Sanford prison tried to stick one on me.

In many cases, the prison will try to retaliate against that person by getting him off the camp. It is odd that a prison would rather kick an inmate out, sending him to another camp, making him a problem to somebody else, than trying to at least be rational about the argument the inmate was having.

Inmates in many cases are not given the benefit of reason, it is either “give up your argument” or “get out”. There is no rehabilitative value in this, only in that the prison wants to maintain absolute control over the inmate.

In this case, my journal is dated April 11th, 2001, a few months before my release from prison. My journal is based at the end of a retaliation, having just been shipped from Robeson Correctional to Dan River Prison Work Farm. This is what I wrote:

The following is from my journal, dated April 11th, 2001:

April 11th/2001 – New home- Dan River. Robeson finally fulfilled the threat I knew was coming. Monday, April 9th I was told that I was shipping, and I was the only guy from Robeson to transfer. I can’t say that I was surprised, although I was actually liking the CWP squad #1 and Mr. Waymon. He’s a good man, and I have to make sure to say good things about him, since he does respect his inmates.

I worked one week with him, exactly one week after I was fired from the kitchen. It’s interesting, Waymon asked me how I liked the job, since they asked him about me. He told them that I work fine for him, since I caused no trouble. I guess they were expecting me to be a problem; but I had no reason to. I told Waymon that I respect what he does, in how he gives his inmates room to work, not a whip. We talked a bit about the system, and he agrees to the problems. He told me that a superintendent can be hired right off the street, without rising through the ranks. As such, they wouldn’t know much about the respect of inmates. I may have to go out of my way to speak well about him.

The say I was told of my transfer, I noticed Teresa Jones still there. I have to guess the only reason she was there was to see how I’d react to my sudden transfer. Perhaps she thought I’d whine, cry and argue, so I made sure not to even give her that. Once the CO told me where I was going, I told everybody I knew about it, and how it happened (and why). I’ll miss a lot of guys, and many told me the same, but it’s been a route I’ve been on before. It’s my hope that people see that it’s alright to care, even to a point of sacrificing yourself for others. I knew the consequences the moment I wrote the first grievance, but I simply won’t back down if I believe I’m right. Mom is kinda nervous, thinking sooner or later I may fall in physical danger. She wants me to pursue it when I get out, but that’s wishful thinking. So what now?

We now write about Robeson, and mass out letters in hopes for physical evidence, and to put pressure on the staff at Robeson, Sanford, Tyrrell and Pasquotank. (John is here, how bout that?)

End of journal.

Folks, I want you to understand what I am sharing here, this was one page that I wrote, out of many pages while in prison. And yet, this page covers a great many things about prison that maybe you don’t hear folks talk about on prison support sites. The reason why you don’t hear this is because 99% of the people on those sites have never BEEN in prison…so the intel you get is basically from the outside, not from the inside.

Whoever talks about actually being kicked out of a prison? I would have never thought that this was possible, I mean prisons know how to deal with inmates, right? But ironically, here I was, being kicked out from one prison to another because of my writing. But I never wrote those journals to share on blogs…I had never even HEARD of a blog up until maybe 5 years ago. I wrote those journals because it was the only way for me to keep my sanity, and put my thoughts on paper.

It is interesting that years later, I would find myself in similar situations after prison, being banned from prison support sites, not prisons. Ironic, isn’t it?

The journal I wrote was, of course, written once I got to Dan River Prison Work Farm. Once I got there, and got my bearings, I sat down and wrote out my thoughts. There is a story that goes with this journal, one I may save for another time, since it involves a few names that I mentioned. Mr. Waymon was at the time one of the road squad officers, or CWP. I want to say it stands for “Community Works Personnel” but I have to check and see what it means. But for any inmate, it means “Road Squad”. These are the guys you see on the side of the road, picking up trash.

In my journal, I spoke well of Mr. Waymon, and rightfully so. He is an example that not every guard working in the prison system is a jerk or self-righteous moron. He is a kind man, and from what I saw, had the respect of his inmates. He was in charge of a van full of inmates, I think about 6 of us, and we would go out on the roads near the prison and pick up trash. We didn’t get along the first day…but after we had a chance to talk, I found respect for him, and did my very best to do what I was asked of him. Once you get to respect someone, you don’t want to let them down.

The very opposite applies to Teresa Jones, a case manager at Robeson of whom I have ABOLUTELY no respect for. There is a story I want to share with you on this “person” and I am very sure she had a strong hand in getting me shipped out of Robeson, and certainly a reason so many of my grievances were rejected for frivolous meanings. We had gotten into a debate about the rights of inmates to write grievances, and she dismissed the right, saying that inmates don’t have a right to right grievances, and rejected my grievance.

Folks, as have never lost my temper while in prison…but it had to have been the grace of God that I did not do something I would TRULY regret when she told me some things. In her office she gave me a brow-beating and handed me back my grievance, refusing to acknowledge it. When I got up to leave, I told her, “expect another grievance”.

I think she saw that I was NOT going to stop writing grievances, and there was nothing they could do to stop me. By rule and by law, inmates have a right to address a grievance, and the prisons had an obligation to acknowledge that. But they kept rejecting my grievances for reasons that were not valid. But I kept writing, kept sending them in. I think Teresa Jones and the staff got sick of it, and decided to kick me out of the prison.

She is one of the reasons why prisons can seem oppressive, and there is no venues of rehabilitation in such a manner. You can’t reason with people like that, because they swear they are always right. If I show you WORD FOR WORD the rules, and you make up excuses why you can’t do this or that, then who is right? I went by the rules, I did exactly what we were allowed to do, and yet people like Teresa Jones would break the rules, just so the inmate can’t be right.

So my banishment from Robeson was, I am quite sure, based on what she wanted to do. In fact, I mentioned in my journal that when I was called to the administrative building, she was there, almost to gloat over her authority. I really….really believe that if she said so much as ONE word to me, I might have done something I would have regretted.

Sometimes there are people in prison who push every wrong button on inmates, and when they push enough of the, and the inmate snaps, it is always the inmate that has to bear the full punishment. We have our breaking points too, and sometimes guards and staff lord over inmates and push them too far. I am glad this didn’t happen to me.

The cool thing about what happened is that I found that there were a lot of inmates who got to know me, and once they understood what was going on, they knew that what they were doing to me was wrong. Prisons almost always get away with retaliation, but sometimes you have to take a stand in something you feel is wrong. What the staff was doing at Robeson was unfair, but they didn’t care. As long as nobody said anything, they kept doing it, but once the inmates started speaking in volume, they knew they had to do something.

But because I was the guy that helped the guys write the grievance, I was the target of the prison, and how I lost my job in the kitchen, and moved immediately to road squad…one week later, I was kicked out of the prison.

In the course of my time in prison, I have met a lot of guys that saw that what I was trying to do was sincere, but full of traps. They knew that if you tried to stand up for yourself in prison, you would almost always lose. But for some reason, I just felt that I could not give in to that. It just wasn’t right, and I had one weapon that the prisons could never take from me…my ability to write.

It is easy for a prison to slap an inmate with a charge if they cursed out an officer or staff member, or got physical with them, or refused a direct order. The rules are clear on that. But how do you punish a person for writing a grievance, or a letter to the DOC or to elected officials about the treatment of inmates? There is nothing a prison can do LEGALLY about that, but it is in fact the greatest weapon for an inmate. But prison can retaliate, and often they do so by removing the “problem” and dumping it on somebody else. I am a perfect example of that, having been removed from several prisons during my incarceration, and never once asking for a transfer.

I also mentioned that my mom was very nervous about this, and asked me to consider waiting until I got out before I did anything…to be honest, this is not realistic. I say that because mom was worried about me, and rightfully so (to some degree). But I think we all knew that once an inmate gets his freedom, the last thing he wants to think about was his time in prison. If 1000 inmates are released from prison this month across the country, less than one percent will pursue anything against the prison inside of the first 6 months after their release. Even less after a year.

And this says a lot about character. The easy thing to do is wait for a better time, but sometimes the best time is in the midst of the trial, while you can still recount all the information. Mom was acting out of fear, because she knew that I was now being bounced around to different prison, through no fault of my own, and she was worried that sometime soon, the prison might physically retaliate against me. That never happened.

One other thing I mentioned in that journal was a guy named “John”. It’s interesting because Dan River Prison Work Farm was my last stop before my release. My first stop, after the processing prison (Craven), was Pasquotank Correctional, where I first met John. It was like I came full circle, seeing him on my last stop, and his too. We both ended out incarceration at Dan River, I think I got out before he did. We were pretty decent friends, I actually taught him how to play the “Magic” card games….but that is another very interesting story.

Anyway, just wanted to share a piece of info that shows that there is far more about prison that most people know. I don’t think you’ll get this type of info on most prison support sites, because most folks there don’t live this part of prison. I had thought about posting this on a site or two, but I am keeping this only on my blogs.

Again, email me, make a nice comment or ask about my books, cards, certificates and more, they should be available by May, and I am hoping to get a lot of support for it. Until then…

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Entry filed under: girlfriends with boyfriends in prison, God and prison, inmates, jail, LostVault, mothers with sons in prison, prison, prison abuse, prison blogs, prison books, prison cards, prison food, prison jobs, prison mail, prison pen pals, prison support sites, Prison Talk Online, Prisonbid, rehabilitation, son in prison.

#153 Dan River Prison Work Farm (new) #155 How do inmates pass time (retro)

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