Edvard Munch’s iconic painting ‘The Scream’
Hello AI Family,
Have you ever been refused access to use the toilet? I mean without being held in a hostage situation like a bank robbery or a kidnapping. A very rare event. But even victims of those circumstances report receiving these basic humanitarian necessities. But not the victims of the white shirts of the Florida department of corrections.
These ”white shirts” as they are known, are any rank higher than a sergeant. Lieutenant, captain, major, colonel. Objectively, taking into account that there are people in the white shirts, and, at least ostensibly, they have reached a level of reasoning commensurate with the decisions they are required to make in order to maintain an already extremely stressed population of men, some of these folks still haven’t acquired the skill set to rationally make decisions to correct behaviors that are considered incorrect.
A description is needed here. In all prisons there are count times. Generally, the stock in these human warehouses are inventoried around five times during the waking hours of a day. The last waking count is known as a master roster count. We are allotted a ten or so minute regrouping period to retreat to our bunks for the count. This really seems like a never ending process some days. A couple of nights ago there was apparently a staff shortage and the white shirt on duty was in the dorm for count. I’m not sure that this particular night was one that required an extra minute to settle but all of a sudden the white shirt was screaming her lungs out, threatening to ”lock-up” not any offenders of her directives, but the neighbors of said offenders. Now remember that a lot of these men are here because they are unable to follow rules in the first place. So under a storm of vitriolic invectives these men are supposed to police each other. The end result could have very easily been a violent confrontation between any number of men — especially after the white shirt declared that we couldn’t use the toilets. Some tyrannical prison guards inflict this particular brand of power-wielding on their wards — either as in this case punishment for some perceived breach of their authority, or as a standard ‘I can do whatever the hell I want.’ At any rate, it can’t be healthy to keep someone from using the toilet. I would even suggest it falls under cruel and unusual punishment. But what I find even more striking is the perceived need to scream and yell threats of even harsher punishment for simple infractions at men who are already dealing with an almost impossible living condition.
According to the officer’s code of conduct, Fla. Administrative Code CH.33-208, this primitive coercive form of communication is strictly prohibited. As with primarily every other section of this code there is zero accountability. The ”professionals” are not held to their own standards of conduct, and yet, the wards are held to a heightened standard of not only their own conduct, but apparently the next man’s conduct as well.
The questions remain the same, ”Do you want your neighborhoods, your families and your loved ones to be safer? Do you want your incarcerated family and loved ones to reenter society better equipped to be a productive member of your community?” Our current modality of incarceration and non-accountability of the incarcerator will never achieve correction.
Much peace and love
In a real world of problems and solutions it is generally practiced to recognize where a problem exists and to seek a resolution to the problem. Enter the incredibly inaptly named world of the Florida Department Of Corrections. The misnomer doesn’t only stem from the fact that there is absolutely zero correcting the behaviors of the wards of the state, but also it stems from the need to acknowledge the department’s inherently flawed inabilities to police itself and seek solutions to the problems that come from a need to cover up the behaviors of the very people charged with correcting the behaviors of the wards of the state.
Let me see if I can un-convolute this for you with a couple of situations.
The process for a prisoner to redress a problem is known as the ”grievance process.’ In Florida this is a three step process that must be completed before a person in prison can exercise his constitutional right to seek redress from the courts. Thanks be to the U.S. Supreme Court for consistently viewing prisoners as less than human. No matter, the grievance process simply doesn’t work anyway. Knowing this, I use this process only to bring attention to the problems that are rampant with the people who run this show. It is decidedly so that the system will spend a million dollars to save a dime.
This brings me back to the great sock caper. If you remember a couple of weeks ago I reported that the top ranking officer at dormitory inspection essentially helped himself to socks that I had in of all places… my laundry bag. For reasons unknown, the major emptied my laundry bag onto the middle of my bunk and made away with another mesh bag we use for canteen shopping that I had meant to throw away, and three brand new pairs of socks. I received a property form for the canteen bag but alas not the socks. The following is a verbatim copy of the grievance that followed and the response.
This informal grievance is in accord with F.A.C. CH 33-103.001(1)(2)(4), 33-103.002, 33-103.005, 33-103.010, 33-103.011, 33-103.014. On Feb 10 20211 during dorm inspection Major Crawford emptied my laundry bag onto my bunk. For whatever reason the major confiscated a trashed canteen bag and three brand new pairs of quarterly order socks with gray toe and heel. If these socks were taken because there were other socks, those were all the state socks with holes that I could not get replaced from laundry. Hence my family had to purchase those socks. The major could have taken the state socks. Later that evening Sgt Cooper brought to me a property slip for only the canteen bag. He knew nothing about the socks. It will be evident on camera that Major Crawford left with the socks and most of the dorm witnessed him with the socks. The remedy sought is to return the 3 pairs of brand new quarterly order socks or apply to risk management for a refund of the amount of purchase as per F.A.C. ch. 33-602.201(14)(a thru e).
(Response from someone named Washington): Informal is vague and cannot be clearly investigated. You’ve failed to provide the time of this incident therefore video cannot be reviewed.
This is a tactic frequently employed by the department of corruption in order to avoid owning up to the completely flawed system that allows for the lack of professionalism and the recycling of criminal behaviors that fuels recidivism and mass incarceration. Never mind that dorm inspection is every Wednesday at approximately the same time. Defend and deflect.
Again, do you want your cities to be safer? Do you want your incarcerated loved ones to become productive members of society? We have to have professionals who act professionally. We have to make punishment subordinate to rehabilitation. And we must acknowledge the inherent and problematic methodology of penology that is more akin to Abu Grab than the treatment of our own citizens.
The only real effect the flagrant lies spewed onto the grievance response served was to piss me off. My only recourse is to continue the grievance process with an appeal to the creators of the mess in Tallahassee at the head office, which will invariably be denied thru either the same or some other contrived nonsensical reasoning, then go on to file a small claims court suit in which FDC will spend copious amounts of money to not admit that the offending employee was in fact wrong, also requiring them to replace six dollars worth of socks. Obviously a route 99.99% of inmates are not willing to travel. So with the blessing of the dysfunctionality of a system designed to not only allow, but to perpetuate itself thru the permissible subterfuge of supposedly keeping the public safe, men and women are abused, sometimes to death, women are impregnated, and even juveniles suffer atrocities at the hands of so-called professionals and all are left with a method of redress known as ” the grievance process” that is not just simply ignored, but actively thwarted by it’s inherent design. If all you show a man is corrupt methods of existence, in order to sustain the same system that calls itself the department of corrections, that’s all a man will learn. Dysfunctional corruption. Teach a man to fish.
This picture I’m painting is as representative as I believe anyone could paint no matter how outlandish it may appear. There is absolutely nothing rehabilitative about the penology employed by the Florida department of corrections. As I suspect is true in other departments throughout the U.S. as well rendering the rate of return to prison commensurate with the need for jobs to stir the economy in a state that depends on being pretty to sustain the lavish lifestyle of the few.
We’ve yet to discuss the nonexistent medical care in the Fla. department of corruptions, a subject that will I think require an installment all its own.
On a final note, I’m no longer at Columbia correctional, I’ve been transferred to Lake correctional, an institution purportedly scheduled to be torn down. Your guess is as good as mine. The topic shall be commented on in future postings.
Until then, much peace and love. Namaste.
I don’t mind admitting that this is pure commentary and that I’ve done no actual research in the composition of this article save my own experience. The primary question I would like to pose is this,” Why doesn’t the establishment want our society to heal?”
Given where I’m posting I hope it stands to reason that I’m speaking of the Amerikan injustice system. There is much rhetoric about prison reform in some of the media these days but it’s this one question that’s lacking in every radio or print story I’ve come across in recent years. TV won’t address the issue, period. The reason I pose this question because if we wanted to change something, say for instance pulling our troops out of a war torn area because it no longer serves our ‘interests,’ we just do it. Prime example since it’s happening right now and was only recently decided by our last president who was only in office four years. The exploding prison population has been happening for decades.
So why do we keep putting legislators in office that not only allow, but propagate bad laws that do things like weaponize sex. Oh no, now I’ve done it. I’ve spoken like a real pinko Commie fag who wants to nuke the gay whales. Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s first appointment to the ”Supreme Court” was quoted in the case of Gamble v Alabama as recognizing that with over 4500 federal laws on the books, it’s virtually impossible for a person over the age of 18 in Amerika to not commit a crime for which he or she can be imprisoned. That’s astounding! But yet we keep electing these same self-important people cycle after cycle for 25 or 30 years. And are we any safer? We certainly are at an increased risk of the caprice of the politicians, the police, the prosecutors, the judges, and what’s probably the most powerful administrative agencies in every single state, The Department Of Corrections. Or what’s known affectionately as the dept. of corruptions, among incarcerated persons everywhere.
It’s obvious that what we have been doing doesn’t work and never has or we wouldn’t be in this predicament in the first place. Why don’t we make the changes needed within the penal system to stop the madness? Why don’t we want America to heal? We view ourselves as this all time greatest society known to mankind, but maintain the largest prison population in history. Ever! There are many models from which we can draw, Germany, Norway, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Is it arrogance? Is it fear? I don’t think either. Honestly, I think that while the taxpayers coffers are draining like sieves, the private sectors are raking it in. Is that enough incentive to keep the prisons filled with the poor instead of educating our citizenry? Is it incentive enough to fill the prisons with uneducated, unqualified, and underpaid employees who have no idea what they have been drawn into and are incapable of exhibiting even the slightest bit of humanity? That which imprisoned people need most. I don’t know. Who’s doing the math. Those who know the answer to the question, ”Why doesn’t the establishment want our society to heal?”
We will be periodically publishing posts for this series from Michael Henderson, a Florida prisoner serving a life sentence.
Michael will be sharing about conditions of confinement, and the stressors imposed by an overwhelmingly failing bureaucratic behemoth.
Like today’s Sunday inspection because of some failed audit probably due to an administrative slight. So instead of focusing on the rampant and deadly drug problems in the system, FDC infracts a prisoner because his books don’t fit into the space (smaller than what it is supposed to be by their own rules). In other words, you can smoke all the poison you want but you can’t read too much. Just some thoughts I would love to be able to convey to the world what their tax dollars are really supporting.
This is not a trick question, and there are no prizes for placing at the top of the list. But as I read articles from around the country in regard to the ever-increasing numbers of newly infected persons, and hear next-to-nothing about prisoners, it stands to reason that somebody is making those decisions. I have no delusions when it comes to the disbursement of the vaccine for this terrible disease — that according to mainstream media is taking the lives of 94 Americans every hour. Prisoners will in all likelihood be at the very end of that list. But here in the south, it appears there is some sort of Russian roulette being played out by the staff at the prisons.
The first wave was subtle and most didn’t know that what they were suffering was more likely than not actually covid 19. Of course the virus must have been working it’s way through the population since at least…2019. We may never know the full extent of the toll that the virus has taken on the prison population but we can see by the actions of prison staff and administration there is no concern for the safety of prisoners.
First of all they were shuffling inmates who tested positive in and out of dormitories with inmates who hadn’t yet gotten test results. This seemed to ensure that all of the inmates were exposed as quickly as possible. The staff has been directed to constantly harangue inmates to wear the apparently useless masks that were made by the laundry department, all the while not wearing their own masks. The coup de grace came this week however, when staff decided that it would be safe for the prisoners if they set up a makeshift, impromptu barbershop in the middle of the prison, outside — literally, with zero sanitation precautions, forcing inmates to shave their heads under threat of confinement. The clippers were not being cleaned. Not just properly, but not at all in between prisoner’s head shaves. If you remember, some of the first businesses to close were beauty and barbershops. And those were legitimate businesses complying with health and safety codes. In this makeshift torture line, hundreds of prisoners were being forced by threat to shave their heads to the scalp one after the other leaving open nicks, cuts, and wounds on their heads with no cleaning procedures in between prisoners. Florida Department of Corrections policy and procedure manual rescinded the section on ”barber and cosmetology sanitation” in 2003 and never replaced it. The rules and the policy and procedure manual does, however, provide the process for forced compliance to required hygiene. Amazingly enough, outside assembly line forced head shaves are not to be found in either of those controlling documents. When one individual mentioned that it was not procedure, he was told “I’ll f___ing show you procedure ho.’‘
Upon filing an official grievance with administration, the grievant was told that his complaint was too broad and vague. How specific must one say, ”I don’t want to be sick from the corona virus…again.” If you have loved ones, family, adoptees or friends in prison, and are not yet involved, get involved and stay involved. DEEPLY INVOLVED. You may save their life. Since after all, we don’t know who gets to make the decision of who gets the virus.