Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Enemy

In this note, I have changed the names of persons and locations in order to protect their privacy and their safety. The people who I spoke to are fearless and brave individuals who deserve more recognition for the extremely dangerous job they do in protecting the public from the most evil people in the State. Most of you know where I went so I'm not even going to mention the name of the Prison.

The Lieutenant I spoke with called this particular prison the "railway." Most inmates are only suppose to be housed for 3 months and then are transferred to permanent prisons all across California. In reality, inmates stay from 6 months to almost 2 years because of paper work, hearings, etc. When I walked into the reception center, I knew this was going to be a good "tour." Our I.Ds were checked and double checked. We were told not to wear jeans so I went in black slacks and a black button up shirt. For us females, we were told not even to wear an underwire bra because the metal detectors were extremely sensitive. Well, I thought I didn't have wire in mine but found out there that I did. A female officer let me through after checking I wasn't sneaking anything in. The receiving officer, A, was a very talkative person. Our professor encouraged us to ask them anything so we struck up conversations on random things to break the ice. The conversation eventually steered toward the law suits against the prison by inmates, and here is where light shown through the veil.

"I have to wait three weeks to see a dentist. These guys get two days."

The bitterness and resentment was kept to a minimum, but his view was shared universally by all employees. The State of California is under a federal mandate to update its system to the federal minimum requirements especially in their medical care. The legislature has failed to pass a budget because democrats and republicans are being petty and cannot agree on a single issue, most especially the prison system.

A. gave us his opinion very openly and honestly I thought. I was appalled in learning certain details of the system that not even my professors have spoken of (and if they knew these details, it is a serious ethical violation, in my opinion). Also, and here is where my feelings interfere with being only an observer, what liars politicians, namely liberals are. I consider it lying when a politician doesn't disclose all that he knows but sways the public to a "popular opinion."

A. told us of a call he received from a distraught mother of an inmate. She was worried that he had not gotten released. Or so it seemed. He checked the file for her and let her know he had received another year in the prison for assaulting another inmate. She was relieved because now he could get the medication he needed even faster inside the prison. The silence of our group confirmed my suspicions that most of these students had never spoken with prison officers.

Everyone was checked in at that point so our professor escorted us into the minimum to medium security building. Men in blue shirts stared at us while they mowed the lawns or swept the sidewalks. The building was a dingy gray with birds' nests and leaves settled along the ledges of windows or sticking out of the vents. The prison was built in the early 20th century and showed its age. The Professor told us that inmates wearing blue were low-risk inmates who worked for the prison. Our group was made mostly of females so it was plainly obvious why they leered.

Once inside the building we were greeted by an Officer X. Again, our I.Ds and now our gate passes were checked. Hearing the bars close behind you is a pretty scary sound. Once you are inside, you are there at your own risk. The State of California does not recognize the use of hostages in negotiations.

"If an inmate has a shank to your throat, we ask him nicely to let you go, but for no reason is he going to make one step out the prison. If he wants a pizza, we'll order him and you one, too. [Other than that you are S.o.L. Public safety comes first.]"

We were escorted into the chapel and told the rules and procedures during the tour and in case of an emergency. Officer X then told us about the inmates, which sections of the prison we'll be going through and how to act.

"Don't talk to anyone. They're all liars and manipulators. GP's (general population) are trash. PC's (protective custody) are the trash of the trash. These people are murders, rapists, pedophiles, the scum of the earth. You'll come into contact with every one so be vigilant and careful. They don't care about you. They have no regard for human life. They'll spit on you. They'll "gas" you."

Gassing is when an inmate collects urine and feces into a cup or storage container, lets it ferment for a couple days, and then tries to engage you in conversation in order to throw the mixture into your face and mainly in your mouth.

To add in here for those who are not familiar with the prison system. PCs must be separated from the GPs because the GPs will kill them. GPs have their own "honor among thieves-like ethics." Any person who commits a crime against children will be killed by the GPs. Any crime against a women is up for debate. The MA, Mexican mafia, will sometimes kill rapists depending on the situation and who was raped.

X then led a very quiet group into the processing center. "Blocks" or large cages lined the walls. Here they would strip the inmates and check them for contraband. Two inmate workers were seated behind a desk and were busy throwing/sorting out clothes.

"Be careful," one warned with a smile on his face. "They arrested me for walking across the street. I didn't do nothing wrong."

"Yeah, you never do anything wrong, do you?" our officer joked back. A hint of disgust showed on his face.

While we were walking out of that section, the emergency sirens and lights went off. We rushed to stand against the walls and watched as officers ran up the hallways to the source. The blaring siren only lasted a minute. It was a false alarm. X was in full officer mode. He had one hand on his pepper spray (that looked like "pepper spray on crack") and the other on his baton. The adrenaline was almost palatable. They signaled the false alarm over their radios and our tour continued on to the kitchen.

A couple things piss me off. First a nutritionist comes in and plans the meals for the inmates a week in advance for them. They know exactly what they are getting. A meal consists of main course and dessert. These guys eat better and healthier than I do.

"And God forbid we forget to give them their fucking cookies or they'll lodge a complaint."

X led us into the medium security dorms. One cell was emptied for the group to walk in. The cells in these rooms were all made up of steel doors with small glass windows. As we filed in, most of the inmates peered out at us through the small windows. The ones in the highest cells cat-called and screamed, but I couldn't make out anything. The doors were pretty solid. We then went into a dorm where they kept the PCs.

Tension filled the faces of some of my classmates. Here we were standing next to pedophiles and rapists, rats and extremely mentally deranged people. One of the inmates had raped his grandmother. Others had sexually assaulted women as their boyfriends or husbands watched, helpless. This dorm they were all walking around freely. Bunks lined the walls and the middle of the room. They stared at us. Some stood up on their beds to see us better or to intimidate us.

"Are those high school students?" one older guy asked.

"No," replied X. And to us, "You can always find the pedophiles by them asking how young a person is, the sick son of a bitch."

X couldn't stand to be in there as much as we couldn't. They were men who were beyond sick and instinctively we knew. My flesh crawled and I desperately wanted to shower after I walked out of there.

We were suppose to tour the administrative segregation section, better known as Ad Seg, but due to some trouble, we weren't permitted to go in there. We headed to the mental hospital instead.

The hospital was the only building with air conditioning. Naturally, all the inmates wanted to go there. I was surprised the main prison wasn't that hot. Fans lined the end of the halls so it didn't even smell in there. Our professor told us that 1/3 if not more of the people in there shouldn't be. They're faking to get the better accommodations. The staff cannot turn away fakers though because of the fear of being sued. They have to see each and every one inmate who complains.

No wonder the system is going to hell. All the money is being wasted.

The psyche ward was interesting. Some inmates were babbling to themselves. Others sat staring at the pristine white walls. One man was yelling for his dog. He had been having sex with a Rottweiler for three months before he was arrested (wearing a dress, I might add).

Our tour ended after walking through the minimum security area. Men in blue shirts just walked around, ambling aimlessly. We went back to the main reception center and turned in our badges. The Professor was really pleased with the tour and its impact on most of us. I have to say I was, too.

My opinion of Prison stays the same. These guys do not suffer at all. Boredom, maybe, but that certainly doesn't count. I am constantly hearing the "deplorable" conditions of prisons. Did you know inmates only get the best medication? They refuse taking generics which are really the same and the only difference is the price. We're paying top of the line hospital care for these scum. My own Mum has two diseases she takes medications for. She takes generics since they are what we can afford. If it wasn't for that, she'd be crippled. 30% of the men's population is HIV positive, also. Did you know they take drugs that rival Magic Johnson's cabinet? And that when they are paroled they leave with a three month supply plus cash to get them on their feet? Most of the meds are sold and that money is used for more illegal drugs even before the bastards get home from the prison!

Rehabilitation is a joke, folks. There's no rehabilitating going on whatsoever. How can you rehabilitate a person who does not want it? Inmates told us, face to face, crime is their career. They love it. They're animals. They stomp on the bleeding hearts who listen to them and cater to their every whim. If a liberal for the rights of inmates were to go there, they'd be laughed at and ridiculed. "What a sucker," most are thinking. When are politicians going to stop being chickenshit and treat these guys like inmates? If they reallocate the money they have right now, they'd have a better budget. The 7 billion dollars the State of CA is being sued for is a joke. If the inmates win, the State is going to the dogs and criminality will worsen. They are manipulating the system so in the end, we, as taxpayers and good people, are suffering in their stead.

To them, since I'll be wearing green and tan soon, I'm fair game. If they see me on the street, they will have no problem taking me out. X told me to be ready. I'm already their enemy.

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