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Prison Diaries: Dec 16 through Jan 2, 2011
Fort Mead – 20 mins with/family. shackled, then taken to HQ co. inventoried items. Taken in shackles to PMO cell. About 1900 hours. Long drive from Fort Mead because snow. Searched my PMO – feet and socks wet and D/T snow – very cold, only t-shirt, pants and one pair socks, boots no laces. Gave two sheets, pillow, one army blanket, two bed spreads metal table bed was on outside wall and ice cold, dusty floor, no toilet paper or towels. Walls painted but cracks. Conditions so cold had trouble getting wet feet and socks and boots dry and warm. Used double army blanket and sheets to inslate metal, one bed spread for feet and one for body. Guards were posted in anteroom next to operations room – they were cold even in their fleece. Ask early for my fleece. Decided I would not eat until better conditions. Was given sandwich and chips – did not eat. Water, coffee and orange juice for next day. Heard some patrol officer on phone a few times that I had not eaten. Said he had size 12 that would take care of that. Little to no sleep officer of night talking all night.
New arrival at door of cell had evidently never been in prison. Small office heater broken but needed extension cord. By 10am I'm asking again about the heat and I was getting a little heat by hands and feet of end of bed to bars. Faculty guy worker our warm overhead fixed somewhere by 1300.
I think they also determined I may be on hunger strike and that perhaps expedited my transfer. About 4pm told I may transfer. As I was shackled and waiting removal I asked "please don't think worse of me." The reply – "I'm the last person that would think that. You took a stand! Stand tall. No one can talk 17 years of service away."
Got to spend some time with family. So difficult. Inventoried items given: one t-shirt, pants, bulk socks, slippers and sheets and bedding.
12/19 Sunday. In SHU still. Working out in cell, two hour rec. time. Playing games with next cell inmate. Chaplin visit. Discussed Bible, reading and stuff and prayer. Read Bible, re-reading MGI – looking to submit multiple typos and corrections to help improve regulation. Eating well and working out in cell. Stretching. Will try and adhere to Atkins type diet from now on.
Reading my Bible AM inspection , inventory items, haircut. Inquired about phone calls, was told that we'll be calling about that to get info on phone use. Clothes on floor order $11 worth of supplies.
Blood draw and urine test before breakfast. Blood did not flow fast trainer nurse used small needle. Rec time this morning and shower. Cards, double solitaire. Today requested money to pay for health and items ordered. Moved to another cell, not in four man pod – two story, open wing, better view of fence – woot woot!
12/22 Wednesday December
First night in SHU South. Better view of open common area down below. After AM rec we had a few in processing classes: and faculty management brief. Also turned in linen this morning. Getting used to the Q30 minute checks, early shift leader checks. Head count two times a day, and meals are rather good – especially chicken roast last night and pork fettuccini lunch today. Chaplin came by last night – he seemed to indicate I looked stressed when we spoke during my first check-in, thought I looked better now. We concluded it was late (midnight) when I came in. (he did not know I had been in dark, cold cell, no toothbrush, soap, toilet paper the previous two days). Chaplin stated "maybe you can get out of here in about three months." Sounds good, but not willing to buy into that hope yet. I'll be free the day I step out of here. I am starting to appreciate the workmanship of these cells. About 14x7 shoe lengths, so likely 16x8 feet, 10 foot ceiling, windows 4 inches x 4 feet side to side with one half inch thick safety glass.
Had a few classes to in process this AM to PM. Finally able to get collect call through to Pili and kids, yea! Pili sounds like the HQ company made her run around looking for packing list items – took three days. I don't think that was necessary.
Laundry been picked up. Disorganized day – had in-processing briefings in AM and PM. Pretty "on the fly" as there are efforts to get us in processed and dispositioned quickly during holiday schedule. Learned more about fellow inmates during classes. One young guy - clearly smart – but dysfunctional upbringing – very funny but is lighting rod for discipline. Nice to stay just close enough to hear his humor, but just far enough away to not get struck by the full force of lightning when it comes. Another inmate chastised this guy "dude. You need classes on how to be a good prisoner. I'll try and help you." unfortunately, we all were in the common area awaiting a class from visitation and the Chaplin as the chastising inmate was told he was going back to max. he was in his cell, door open, four to five MP's around, but as this inmate got more upset some MP's were distracted by the confusion of our "on the fly" class and escort of other transfers. I felt compelled to get closer to help the MP if needed yet knowing I would be perceived as adding to the problem I would have had to traverse around twelve other inmates to get to the MP's that should have been assisting more – and that seemed distracting too. It did de-escalate and the SHU leader MP ordered the cell door closed. I hope I'll speak up sooner next time.
I also nearly got reprimanded. I had cut about 12 inches off my belt, that is about 24 inches too long to maintain a better appearnce, I had used my toe-nail clipper and did a good clean job. The excess I had out on my shelf for several days, waiting to turn-in for disposal along with old razor. During room search, I was called from playing cards at rec table by the MP. He was upset – said I could get in a lot of trouble for altering equipment. I didn't think the belt was re-issued like other items of clothing and was only trying to appear better and the buckle does not function well with such long excess. I waited at parade rest while he left to discuss with higher level MP's. Upon his return he said all was good, but message received – don't do it again.
They also moved many lower level guys out. Moved me to the cell. Turns out this room was for suicide risk – extra window in door, solid concrete pedestal for mattress instead of metal wire platform, and different desk seat arrangement. I talked with MP's about this being a bad sign "pre-max" cell. Glad I did not clean room – we had another class – they later moved me to another "normal cell".
During morning briefing – I was called out to visit with civilian executive, believe he was psychologist, inmate assessments for director or inmate admin. He knew my issue, said he knew that I did not believe Obama to be constitutionally eligible – I corrected him "I think there is 'a question' that needs to be addressed." He then was looking at my offences and said that I might have 6 to 8 points he would have to consult another chart on offences – but did not think I would warrant "max" – most likely "medium security". I was surprised. "I was hoping more for "minimum" status". He said "well, we don't really have min security status." I stated I was the here to be the best inmate possible and get out as early as possible. I described future employment possibilities that were promising. He said they are trying to have our initial board next week so we can transition out of the SHU. I told him wife and kids were trying to visit. He thought it might work out – but no promise.
1/1/2011 (Happy New Year!)
I enjoy getting the letters. Many bring me tears – family Christmas photo of retired command sat major, wife, 2 wonderful kids and he cannot believe what our country is doing. Vietnam vets writing – appalled at our "leaders".
It has been so nice to see family! Jack wants to sit in my lap but cant or the guards will stop the visit! Greg was here for the last hour and will return tomorrow.
In the dinner line today the sun was shining through the window – first time I have seen the sun since being shackled here – such a wonderful sight! Maybe I'll even get to go outside next week!?
p.s. maybe I can buy a better pen for next month! ?
January 2, 2011
Yea! First time outside! We got outdoor rec at 1800 – 1900 hours. I got to run about two miles on the track, about 25 guys went out to lift weights. Reminds me of all the running I did inside the wire in Honduras, Bosnia, Afghanistan – only it was to keep the bad guys out – not it's to keep the bad guys in – and I guess I am one of them.