Tuesday, March 27, 2012


   Change of plans-I'm not going to the revocation center.  Because of my conduct the last time, the warden chose not to admit me, an interesting move.  It probably wouldn't have been in my best interest to return there anyway.  I'm sure they remember me well: I doubt if those memories are fond one for the staff.  Fuck them.
   Now I guess it's off to prison as originally planned.  There is the insane possibility that my parole officer might interpret the warden's refusal as a sign from a higher being that I don't need to be locked up anymore.  I expect her to come see me again soon and let me know what's up, but I already know that "what's up" is probably another hot summer in a chaingang somewhere.
   Being under the control of the state,  arbitrary decisions make such big differences in my life.  They determine where I do my time and when I get out.  My welfare is in the hands of a small group of people whose prejudiced judgements of my character determine my tomorrow.  So much uncertainty.  I just roll with it.  They say the worst thing you can do in a motorcycle accident is tense up.  I had a friend who wrecked his bike going over 120 mph and according to his surgeon, the only reason he survived was his extreme intoxication.  He was so loose from taking valium and drinking beer that he rolled with the punches of a high speed crash into a guard rail, and relatively mild injuries were the result.  In the same way, I try to stay detached from the outcome of the many choices other people make for me.  It's out of my hands.  I just roll with it.  One minute I'm going back to prison.  One minute I'm not.
   The final verdict is in, and I'm at Valdosta State Prison.  In a program called RSAP.  Intensive therapeutic drug rehab.  Around lots of familiar faces.  It's gonna be a long 6 months.


   Random advice to anyone who ever finds themselves on the wrong side of the law and confined inside an institution: keep a low profile.  Don't distinguish yourself in the eyes of the correctional staff.  All they need is an excuse to give you a hard time.
Try to stay under the RADAR. It's a skill I'm still working to develop.
My grandfather was a journalist in Brazil at a time when the country was being ruled by a military dictatorship.  An outspoken opponent of the junta, one day he disappeared.  Noone ever heard from him again.  There's no way to know what happened, whether he ran off with a woman, left the country, or died for his opinion of the government.  We just know he was gone.
 I have no pretensions of being a journalist, but like my grandfather, I object to the heavy hand of the state meddling in our daily lives.  They get involved in too much and get away with too much.  I don't think that will ever change, but it's good to shine a light on their behavior.  You can't put anything past these people. Power corrupts.
Whitworth is a miserable place by any honest account.  I guess it would be classified as a detention center, but it's actually a fusion, incorporating elements of boot camp and county work prisons.  To someone used to Level 5 chaingangs, it's a total clash of cultures.  There's nothing going on, no drugs, gambling, or phones.  Time crawls by.  The majority of the officers go above and beyond to disrespect and belittle the paroles.  The whole game is to see if they can force a reaction from you. Bite the bait and you to to prison for the rest of your sentence.  They have us at a serious disadvantage, and there's nothing we can do about it.  Every day is a new surrender.
I don't know what the thinking is behind this high-intensity shock camp ethos.  Probably something innovative like "let's make them suffer, treat them like livestock, demean them, ridicule them, and in so doing, we will reform them, rebuilding these criminals into better men".  Maybe the penal masterminds believe the torment of 6 months in this place will be persuasion enough to keepus on the straight and narrow, determined never to return.  Or maybe it's just punishment, reprisal for being stupid enough to fuck up on parole.
Sitting in jail, waiting to return to Whitworth for my second tour, I certainly question my intelligence on a daily basis.  Evidently some slow learners don't internalize the whitworth value system in a single 6 month dose.  Any day now, I'll be going back to repeat a grade.
Like most prisons, Whitworth offers behavior modification classes.  Depending on the whims of the counselor and the parole board, certain lucky convicts are mandated to attend courses with names like "Thinking for a Change".  What these classes amount to are half-baked attempts at rehabilitation.   One called "Moral Recognition Therapy" attempts to teach felons morality. Ridiculous.  The counselors who teach these bogus classes are not exactly gushing with enthusiasm, and that's understandable.  They're in over their heads.
Let's think about it logically.  Here we have lawbreakers of all types, riddled with emotional wounds, mental problems, and every addiction you can name.  Over the course of a few months, meeting a couple times a week, inmates confront their demons, analyze self destructive patterns and make use of Venn diagrams and flowcharts in a quest to be cured of a lifetime of flawed thinking, anger management problems, and slavish devotion to piper, needles and bottles.  Presumably, through powerful learning exercises like making a list of the pros and cons of using crack cocaine, we are expelled to derive some sort of benefit.  Facilitating this growth process are counselors who are variously pompous, airheaded and uninterested.  The success rate of these therapies has got to be so negligable as to be nonexistent. It's window dressing for the department of corrections, something that they can point to as proof that they try to help us.  A sham.
Whitworth is proud host to a special drug program, so special that I can't remember it's name.  One of the reasons I went to Whitworth last time was because the parole board determined that I should complete this class during my stay there.  Twice a week for 90 minutes, a group of abut 20 of us met in a classroom for sessions guided by a greasy 50-something counselor named Mr. Vickory.
I won't waste too much time describing this clown.  He is a recovering addict who has been sober and active in AA for many years.  A self-described wealthy man, he has distinction of having designed the curriculum of the class.  It is his brainchild, his masterpiece, and it's been recognized by the state as a viable treatment product.
I should note that I have some experience in rehab, halfway houses, AA, and recovery outside of institutions.  My first 12 step meeting was in 1998.  I've never managed to stay clean for long, but I'm well versed in the concepts of recovery.  I know that thousands of people have overcome their addictions through working the steps.  I believe that it works.
 Maybe it's because of this that I'm skeptical of any form of treatment that takes a classroom approach.  I don't think there's a way to educate drug problems out of people.  It's deeper than that. After 5 months of the class with the forgotten name, they had a graduation ceremony and gave us certificates, as if we'd learned to operate forklifts or something.  That would've been such a better allocation of tax dollars.  Leave the drug rehabilitation to the private sector.
It quickly became obvious that counselor Vickory thought a lot of himself.  A self-styled ladies man, he bragged about his conquests ad nauseam, in between monologues about his cars, jewelery, sobriety, and general success in life.  Stomaching his bullshit wasn't easy, and his attempts at humor rarely hit the mark.  In his defense, he let us have open discussions about various topics completely unrelated to staying sober.  This made the class a little bit less of a drag than it would have been otherwise.
 One day, after Mr. Vickory got done with another gripping tale of victory in his lecherous pursuit of women, I guided the conversation towards the topic of sex with AA girls.  Having deemed drugs and alcohol too costly in terms of the consequences involved, women in recovery are usually eager to get high on life.  It's safer, and sex is still not illegal.  A good alternative to chemicals.
This suddenly inflamed Mr. Vickory's paternal instincts.  He flustered, saying something about how wrong it is to take advantage of 12 step girls while they're trying to get their lives back together.  
   His rapid metamorphosis, from sleazy old pervert to defender of female virtue, was pure comedy.   Finally, inadvertently, he'd said something funny.  I explained to him that it wasn't "taking advantage", it was casual sex between adults, something he didn't have a monopoly on, in spite of his many, many triumphs.  From this day forth, he had an unspoken grudge against me.
Don't hate the player, hate the game.
 I'm blessed to say that this time around, I won't be required to take any useless classes, since I've already taken them all.  I'll have to be cleansed and purified through the therapy of incarceration in itself, without the extracurricular learning component.
My parole officer came to see me again, to let me know that I'm going to Whitworth next week.   My 180 days begins tuesday.  One step closer to having all this behind me forever.
My entire 10 year sentence should rightfully be behind me on April 24th of this year.  On that date I will have served 120 months in the custody of the state of Georgia, aside from the 18 months I spent on parole.  I agreed to serve 10 years, and not a day longer, but the Department of Corrections has my max. out date set for November 15th, 7 months beyond the completion of my custodial sentence.  Requiring me to serve extra time is probably unlawful and definitely unjust, and I'm trying to figure out what I can do to get credit for those months.  Then I can go home in a little over 50 days.
I have proof of incarceration, legal documents that show I never got out on bond, never did anything but sit in jail and prison from April 2002 until I made parole.  I'm not sure exactly what to do with them.  Filing a writ of habeas corpus would get me into court, where I could call attention to the facts, but the time limit for filing is four years after the conviction, so I can't take that route.  Because of the seriousness of my initial charges, I'm not allowed to go to the law library here; the only thing I can think to do is file some kind of notion for the computation of my sentence, or something.  Really, I'm fucked.  It's almost over with anyway: I'll only be incarcerated four months longer than I should be and that's my debt to society, paid in full (and then some).
Like most indigent prisoners with a valid complaint, my poverty and ignorance of how to proceed legally keep me stuck under the state's heel, without recourse.  The only thing to do is take my licking and keep on ticking.  Better that than bemoan my fate for the next 6 months or hold onto a vain hope for deliverance.  When you're beat, your beat. Sometimes the only thing to do is keep my head up and take it like a man.


   There was 2 revealing article in this morning's paper, about the Cobb Co. fugitive unit.  Standing in front of the jail, the 15 members of this elite team glower at the camera, sending a message to those who flee from justice: we will sniff you out and run you down like dogs.
   Noone smiles in the picture.  Their faces are grim, determined.  These brave men and women mean business, and their business is hunting down the filth who elude the law.
   Looking at them is like looking at another species.  It's inconceivable to me that I breathe the same air as these people. I can't imagine having a drink with them in a bar, or even making small talk in a line at an event.  There is a partisan divide between us.
   To me, these investigators are cartoonish.  They project that righteous zeal that dogmatic believers always have burning inside.  How can they lose? God is on their side.  They are Good Guys.  They are Heroes.They are caricatures.
   The article highlights some of the fugitive squad's notable cases of 2011.  Naturally, these involved the apprehension of absolute trash, including a child pornographer and a man accused of murdering his own brother.  What could be more admirable than bringing riffraff like this to justice?
   I think it's laughable how one-sided and dishonest this journalist is in glorifying these investigators as valiant dragon slayers.  What a bad joke.
   This article would have the public believe that an average day in the life of a fugitive squad deputy involves relentlessly pursuing sexual predators.  If only that were true.  How about detailing a much more likely average day, which finds these courageous deputies kicking in a misdemeanor offender's door with their guns drawn, body-slamming him in front of his wife and children, then carting him away like an animal?  How about some pictures of these lawmen giving each other high-fives as they pull off with their quarry, while his family looks on tearfully?Tell it like it really is.
   I had a friend named Matt.  We grew up skateboarding together.  Like many of my childhood friends, Matt eventually got into drugs, ran afoul of the law (in a minor, non-violent way), and went to prison.  Released on parole, he started using again, failed to report at the beginning of the month, and while visiting his parents over the holidays, was apprehended by dozens of parole officers in tactical gear.  It was decided that, in light of his violation, he needed to spend the last 6 months of his life incarcerated in the revocation center.  The day he was released, Matt OD'ed on heroin and died.God bless the dead.
   Although the parole officers who tracked him to his parent's house and arrested him there were not the sheriff's deputies lionized in the article.  I use Matt's sad story to emphasize the fallacy of describing these fugitive squad investigators as heroic bloodhounds on the trail of murderers.  Much more plausable, they are searching for someone like Matt.  They're trying to put someone suffering from a substance abuse problem in jail or prison.
   I wonder if Matt's parole officer thought he was a dangerous madman who needed to be removed from society.  I knew him for years.  He was a gentle guy, very laid back, a threat to noone but himself.  I wonder if his arrest was considered a perfect apprehension, a textbook collaring of a felon on the lame.  Were the streets safer with Matt in custody?  It's noone's fault that he OD'ed and died, but I'm curious if his death was a victory or a defeat for Cobb Co. parole.  Dying from drugs can't be considered successful reintegration into society, but at the same time, his parole officer had one less potential threat to keep up with, right?  Case closed.RIP Matt.
   Law enforcement and corrections apply inhumane solutions to human problems.  These systems are inherently cold-blooded.  The men and women who work for these systems (cops, probation and parole officers, jailers, DAs) so often treat people badly.  I can't count how many times correctional officers have taken advantage of my delicate position in these penal institutions, abusing their power again and again.  Whatever the motive, their petty snubs and disrespectful slights always conveyed the message that I was beneath them.  I grew accustomed to being treated like a third-class citizen.   It always felt bad, being mistreated in this way.
   Today is my mom's birthday.  Yesterday, she had scheduled a visit for 4-o-clock.  Around 3, the officer let my dorm out on the yard.  I went out to get some sunshine on my face.  The yards here are like being in a drained swimming pool, but at least there is fresh air and we can look up at the sky.  After a while, I went to the intercom and hit the button; I had no way of knowing what time it was, and didn't want to be late for my visit.  The officer in the control booth rudely dismissed me, said it wasn't anywhere near 4-o-clock, then looked at me with an exasperated expression before doing a trashy white girl snap check, kicking her head back and forth a few times, full of attitude.  I walked off, muttering to another inmate that this guard sure was a bitch.  Apparently the intercom was still on, because, she screeched that I would be written up for my comment.  I didn't get a write-up, but they wouldn't let me see my mom, either.
   Technically, they have no right to arbitrarily cancel a visit, ten minutes before it is scheduled to begin, but what recourse do I have in this situation?  Over the years I've discovered how dangerous it is to challenge the correctional staff in a jail or prison.  They're not above doing all kinds of fucked up, unjust bullshit.
   Once more, in a small, temporary way, the corrections system came between me and my family.  Just the most recent slap in the face.  One of many.
   Who am I to judge?  That officer may endure hardships beyond anything I've ever faced.  I showed her no disrespect, only asked a question, and she was discourteous in the extreme; was, in fact, an uncivil bitch.  Maybe a loved one in her family recently passed away.  Perhaps she suffers from a medical condition, something vile and uncomfortable, like an untreated STD.  There must be a reason for her ill-mannered behavior, for all that venom.
   I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, although I admit to being furious when they cancelled my visit.  I couldn't even speak.  Call it the rage of helpless.
   After all the years of unfairness, after all the injustice I've seen and endured, I still give these hateful bastards a chance to show just a sliver of humanity, and every now and then, one of them suprises me.  However, I keep my guard up.  For every time I've been disrespected by a guard, for every summer I've spent behind the fences, for every special occasion I've missed, my general rule is to say fuck the police and everything they stand for.  In spite of my transgressions, I haven't deserved a fraction of the abuse that they have so eagerly dealt me.
   Happy birthday Mom.  Sorry I couldn't see you yesterday.  You make all the difference in my life

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3/6/12 The gladiator sport of "Jacking".

   My ten days in the hole for that first "investigation" did nothing to slow me down. I had two roommates in that time, one improbably called Superman, who was weak as hell, but went to visitation on weekends and swallowed a few balloons full of good pot. We smoked off his bag one of the last times he had the chance to peacefully possess marijuana( a few days after being released from the hole a couple of Gs stole all his weed and storegoods). My next roommate was a sissy, and we co-existed, but I took his tennis shoes from him before I was released(a brutish move, for which I have no excuse).
   Back to H2, with some new shoes now. Burnout went to H1. During the 10 day interval a new young white guyhad been moved in H2 as well. I cannot remember his name but he quickly positioned himself to be victimized by our commitee(to make the telling of this segment more fluid, I'll just call him John).
   I almost immediately disliked this joker. He had the habit of walking around with a ferocious mug on his face. He kept it locked on 24/7, the hardest stare I ever saw, equipt with a frown. Completely incongruous with the rest of him. He was basically a little blonde boy. If you shaved his head, kept the glare, added 50lbs of lean muscle to his frame, taught him to fight, and gave him a headbusters reputation, you;d be dealing with an intimidating man. As it was, he came off as a bogus intimidator. He also manufactured an incredibly fake deep voice when he spoke and his liberal use of slang rang false in my ears.
   My roommate at this time was a 30-something white man called psycho, a very common alias in prison, but trust me when I say that this guy took his name seriously. In the 4 days I made it before getting PI'd again, I don't think he slept once. His only drug was coffee. My first day back, I did some speed and listened all night to psychos nonsensical conspiracy theories and bizzare ideas about race. Every 30 minutes he drank another cup of coffee. By the following evening, I was ready to crash. As I fell asleep, psycho continued his rant from the previous evening long after I stopped responding to him. I believe he spoke for many hours after I dozed off.
   I got along with mentally troubled people like Psycho(back then I was a little wild eyed myself), they were entertaining to watch, and provided steady comedic relief.
   John sealed his fate by provoking Buckwild. This wasn't always a hard thing to do; Buck liked to creatively misinterpret people's actions as personal affronts on his manhood. I wasn't present to witness this exchange, but it had something to do with the two of them comparing shanks. I guess Johns was bigger and sharper and Buck took offense.
   Later on, we called John into a cell. Me and Q took Johns knife away, then left him to fend for himself. A few minutes passed. When he came out, you could see Buck had beaten him up. Nothing drastic, just a black eye.
   The next day, we all got bent eating xanax, and in the midst of a boring afternoon, Buckwild and I went into Johns room and took some of his storegoods. He offered no protest at all. In the process of getting punked out in this manner, he still maintained to keep his defiant little snarl in place
   After lockdown that night, John caught out of the dorm, signing himself into protective custody. Whatever he wrote on his statement form implicated me and Buckwild, so the staff came and escorted both of us to the hole.
    I have a few things to say about this event in particular and my behavior in general during this time period: Everyone is influenced by their surroundings. Back then, I hadn't yet turned 22, was new to Calhoun, hadn't been exposed to that much gang activity, and had alot of testosterone flowing through me. I got caught up in the mix for a while. I ran with the pack.
   One of my faults is my almost dog-like loyalty. If I'm down with somebody, I'm really down with them. Even if they're wrong, they're always right in the final analysis, to me anyways. Many times I've ended up in trouble because of my associates.
   I've been a crash test dummy many times as well. Particularly when I was younger, it didn't take much to rev me up. I lacked common sense in the extreme, took chances, did foolish shit for recognition, never wanted to let my team down. I showed loyalty to people who didn't give a fuck about me. I got sent on missions, did other people's dirty work, and took risks for other peoples benefit. Some of this was natural, everyone who wants respect has to put in work for it. Still, I put myself out there too much. I was foolish.
   I was also caught up in the mob mentality. We operated like pack animals. Someone compared us to the gang of young criminals in A Clockwork Orange. Some of the shit we did wasn't very cool at all. And then again, we were in prison. It's an uncool place. It influences in a negative way. Blame it on the fucked up place that breeds this behavior.
   As for John, he brought that on himself with his over the top facial expressions, his desire to show off, and pure clumsiness in navigating around the dangers in his enviroment. My main reason for disliking him was the way he broadcast that mean frown at everyone.Damn man, lighten up! Nobody likes someone who carries themself in such an arrogant way. It's good to be humble and to walk around with the knowlege that there is always someone bigger and badder than you out there.
   Having said that, I shouldn't have been stomping around regulating on anyone else. Unless I'm wacked out on drugs, that kind of behavior is outside of my character. I'm not a person that can claim the moral high ground very often; without a doubt, my life has been full of excess and selfishness. However, for the most part, I don't treat people unfairly. If I do somebody wrong, they usually have it coming. I'm not a man of violence, I'm not out to get anyone. I'm also saying these things from the (marginally) wiser age of 28. It's true that aging mellows a person.
   I don't know if there's any lesson to be learned from this interval in my life. Maybe it's because once your name becomes known to authority figures or police, you'll always have a harder time staying out of trouble from then on. Things that you had nothing to do with will be attributed to you, based solely on your tarnished name. People start believing the worst, are eager to believe, and expect the worst of you. Attempts at rehabilitating your image will be uphill battles and a small slip will undo much hard work. It's bred into people to sensationalize, to blow things out of proportion, to add some negativity to the mix.(I don't like to add anything in, but I think this part is important and wish people would take this to heart, or at least remember it next time they want to pass judgement or reopen old wounds-Ed) The bordom of regular life demands colorful people to keep things interesting. It's easier to be successful and stay out of trouble if you're the one laughing at the crazy shit someone else did, instead of being that colorful person.
   A couple years down the line, when I was at Smith State Prison, an investigator for Internal Affairs came to question me about what happened to John. Apparently, he took some creative liberties when he signed on PC, and embelished the story of his victimization. His account was so dramatic that the officers at Calhoun had been compelled to file an official report, which eventually found its way to IA, a division of the DOC that investigates serious violence,staff corruption, etc. I listened in amazement when the investigator read Johns statement, denied it, made no statement of my own, and never heard another word about it.

   This time I stayed in the hole on PI(pending investigation) for over a month. The maximum amount of time an inmate can be locked down PI is 30 days, after that point, the administration is supposed to have enough evidence to either charge you or put you back into population. Calhoun marched to its own drum though.
   My first roommate's name was Really Real. He was a 40-something hustler and dope fiend; we played dominoes 10 hours a day, smoked buglers, and drank keefe coffee. After a couple months I got moved into the cell with Jason Jones. He had alot of influence with the staff, because they were so afraid of what he might do. If he wanted another roommate, all he had to do was ask.
   Jason earned this respect in the most outrageous way; to explain his rise to prominence at Calhoun, I have to explain the B11 phenomenon.
   Prison has a disciplinary coding system. Based on the type and severity of the offense, there is a letter and a number assigned to it, The code goes on top of the DRs when they write them out.
   B11 is the code for an exposure charge, a form of exhibitionism, when a prisoner openly masturbates in front of a CO or other staff member. This is an unofficial sport in the GA penitentary, with an entire sub-culture built around it. Think of the "Multiple Miggs" character in Silence Of The Lambs, who jacks off while Clarice Starling interviews Dr. Lector, and then throws his semen on her.
   The thrill for a "Jacker" is in the response from the female staff. Sometimes they ignore it, sometimes they encourage it, and sometimes they send their admirer to the hole for a B11. If a gaurd allows or encourages it, she's "eating the dick up". If an inmate throws caution to the wind and openly masturbates on a gaurd, he's "going fed on that ho" or "killing that bitch". The amount of B11 charges in an inmates file signifies the amount of "kills" he has, and getting sent to the hole for a B11 is "catching a murder charge".
   Dedicated followers of this style of penitentary exhibitionism are known as "mad jackers", and they really get involved in their hobby. Some prisons try to press free-world criminal charges on the worst offenders, and a conviction can mean having to register as a sex offender when released. At Smith State Prison, they permit no female staff on the south side of the prison. Die-hards are forced to take their show on the road, exposing themselves on the small yard, either to the officers in the gaurd towers, or the ones driving the peremiter car ("car-jacking").
   In spite of the seemingly solitary nature of masturbating, it's often a team effort in prison. A particular cell may afford the best view of the officer in the control booth, so jackers will tag-team her, taking turns using the room. I saw a crew of jack boys encircle a female officer once, boxing her against a chainlink fence during shift-change at Calhoun. Shoulder to shoulder, they jacked off as she recoiled against the fence, suitably terrified(it looked like they were going to rape her).
   I never got into "jacking" for several reasons. Most obvious of these is that, during my earliest years of socialization as a child, I learn well-adapted general rules governing when to expose my genitals in public. These rules basically say that you DO NOT expose youself to the world to see; most kids recieve this training around the time they learn other life lessons, like not to play with feces or how to eat without making a mess. Basic entry level guidance on how to act like a human being.
   Then there's the fact that I didn't see anything arousing about a fully clothed CO walking through the dorm. Not to say that there aren't any sexy ladies on staff, but they were the exception. And they had clothes on. The fiendish reaction to any female, no matter how ugly, regardless of how unappealing  her body might be, wasn't something I could relate to. It wasn't like being inside a harem, surrounded by beautiful naked women sucking on popsicles. Most of these COs were about as sexually appetizing as a sack of dirt. The threshhold of what the maddest of jackers find erotic begins with having a pulse, and (ostensibly) female reproduction organs. MEET THIS CRITERIA IT'S PART TIME BABY!!
   Another mental block prevented me from ever embracing the B11 lifestyle. Most of the time, the inmate is stroking himself without permission from the officer. This uninvited display seems like a trespass. It's pretty brazen, like a precurser to sexual assault, rape for beginners(considering the frenzied way some mad jackers pursued their quarry, I'm absolutely convinced jacking is just a temporary rape substitute, until they can make parole and take some pussy again). I'm not bashful, but I'm not about to pull-out and start gunning on a CO. To each his own.
     From what I understand, jacking is a relatively new phenomenon in prison, popularized by 80s babies. I believe it spread around the GA DOC around the time they stopped allowing subscriptions to pornographic magazines, another brilliant policy change. As usual, this system creates more problems than it ever solves.
   There are no conjugal visits in GA, anywhere, no matter how long your sentence is. There's no outlet for sexual tension, you just have to accept your plight and walk around with hot nuts until you go home. Forced celibacy is cruel, degrading, and probably causes psychological damage over an extended period of time. It's the worst punishment prison has to offer; it's cold. For this reason, I have to say that I sympathize with the jackers. Idiotic prison policy breeds misbehavior, in the same way that misguided policy on drugs breeds violence and fills prisons. It can't be denied.
   My friend Jason Jones was a mad jacker. He was also unafraid of heights. When a female CO objected to him exposing himself, instead of going quietly to the hole, he climbed up a hot water pipe, got up into the rafters, and sat on an air duct, 30 feet above the floor of the dorm. This caused mass hysteria, as the wardens, captains, leiutenants, and every other available member of staff rushed to G-building, trying to talk him down. In case it was a planned diversion, they had to lock down the entire compound until they could negotiate a reasonable response from Jason. They got all the extra cots from the laundry room and rushed them to the dorm, to pad the floor in case he jumped. He essentially took himself hostage, embarassed the staff, and then bartered with them, agreeing to climb down if they gave him special privileges while he was in the hole. They gave in. Jason climbed down after an hour.
   One of his special privaleges included choosing whom he wanted to be roommates with. Jason was a wiry guy, but his lack of size made him vulnerable if attacked by a larger man. In the hole, if you get in a fight with you roommate, you are literally on your own. It could be a long time before an officer walks cell to cell, peeking inside each window. Jason wasn't afraid, but he wasn't dumb either. He had some enemies. He had a valid reason to be concerned about who he shared a cell with.
   After several weeks in the hole, Jason was having problems with his roommate and wanted another one, but the officer wouldn't move him. When it was their turn to be escorted to the shower, Jason waited until the cell door opened, then ran past the officer and once again climbed up onto the air duct. This time he stayed up there for 8 hours, smoking cigarettes, verbally abusing the furious officer, and finally going to sleep. The administration reprimanded the CO for allowing it to happen, deducted 5% of his pay for 6 months, and Jason reasserted himself as an inmate to be taken seriously.
   Not suprisingly, Jason was on psyche meds, which he did not take. He also got a side-affect medication that almost all the prisons discontinued because of how popular it was as a drug of abuse. Jason was the last man at Calhoun that was prescribed it. They took everyone else off of it, but when the doctor tried to change his medication, Jason did something outlandish and they would finally relent. Twice a day the nurse came to our cell and gave him a couple of these pills. They had a powerful effect that I find hard to put into words.
   This time, the warden was more hesitant to release me into general population again. He said he had been hearing my name entirely too often, as various snitches wrote notes detailing my escapades. I wanted to get out, but was content to chill with my homeboy in the meantime, getting wasted on his strange side-effect meds, and listening to war stories. He definately had a couple.
   Jason was down to his last year on a 10 year mandatory sentence for armed robbery. Like me, his tour of the states prisons included the worst ones, and like me, he stayed in trouble most of the time. Jason had "Decade of Aggression" tattooed across his back. Talking to him was enlightening, just hearing all the trials he'd faced, the blood sweat and tears. Some say that prison helps to preserve a person, and I think that can sometimes be the truth, but it also takes a heavy toll. Jason Jones was a living testament to how much damage a man endures, after bareing the strain of incarceration for many, many months.
   Seven years later, I look in the mirror and know that strain is evident in me also. This system eats people, then spits out damaged goods. What an ineffective way of coping with crime. What a burden for society, to reabsorbe a mass of debilitated, angry men.
   Does anyone else think there's something wrong with the states approach? Who exactly benefits from the current strategy?
    Not the criminal.
    Not the victim.
    Not society.
    Just what the fuck is really going on here?

Sunday, March 4, 2012


   If I had access to a computer right now, I'd google institutionalized and see what came up. I think I weathered the storm pretty well. There's no denying though, that all that time had an impact on me. How can you measure to what extent an experience changes a person?
   In my mind, an institutionalized person is a man that has been locked up so long that he prefers the predictability of a controlled enviroment to the uncertainty of freedom. Someone who is fully at home in prison. I think of the old man in Shawshank Redemption who winds up hanging himself, unable to make the transition to society. He was comfortable inside and scared to leave, kind of opposite of the way it should be, right?
   I have witnessed some extreme institutionalization. The most pathetic example is seeing a long incarcerated man begin to link his self concept to his work detail. Maybe this isn't so hard to understand. Many people identify themselves by their occupation, one of the first questions we ask someone when we first meet them is, what do you do? For someone who has been incarcerated for 20 years, what they "do" is something menial and mind numbing. They pass out chemicals to the dorms for cleaning up, or buff the hallway outside the wardens office, or stack the chairs in an orderly row after church service. And their identity becomes John the chemical cart man or Deon the chaplains orderly. They do their task with the utmost seriousness. They take on a self important air. They embrace the roll given to them by the Classification Commitee. What gives a man like this satisfaction, more than anything else, is praise from his detail officer. He has been assimilated.
   It's hard not to be scornful of these types. They represent the breakdown of the will to fight the system. In their quest for acknoledgment from the prison staff, it's easy to see these men have more daddy issues than strippers. Solidarity with their peers no longer matters. They want the acceptance of the oppressor, and that in itself is a sign of mental illness.
   A person is institutionalized when the narrow world of prison becomes the only world they know or remember. To a certain extent I relate to this feeling. I never did enough time to completely forget my life before incarceration, but after 3 or 4 years it did seem like another life. A ten year sentence was such an abstract amount of time, my mind couldn't fully accept it or see beyond it. I just knew that I was locked up, was going to be locked up for a long time, and that one day they would let me go again. When I thought about being released, it was like a distant mirage, just a pleasant fantasy. My life was the day to day of prison.
   Regardless of how strong minded a person may be, if they serve enough time, they will be affected. It's easy to make light of what a fucked up thing it is, to be taken away from society and forced into these wack-assed institutions, these human warehouses. We use gallows humor, while we are inside here, as a form of armor. Behind the bravado and the attitude, this incarceration shit is dehumanizing us, hurting our families, wasting our time, and almost guaranteeing us a brand new set of problems when we do finally come home again. It's nothing to laugh at really.
   I get pretty comfortable in prison. Life goes on, human nature is resilient and we adapt, make the most of a negative place. Even inside the penitentiary, I challenged myself in the realm of physical fitness, stmulated my mind through reading and correspondense courses, learned some spanish, enjoyed recognition from my peers, formed meaningful freindships, and watched time pass by as I tried to avoid getting killed(or stumbling into a situation where I'd be forced to kill someone else). It wasn't all bad, it wasn't all soul-destroying. It was what it was.
   I'm not qualified to judge the cumulative effect this time and these experiences had on my psych. If money were no object I would go get analyzed. Certainly, I never went through anything like a combat veteran with PTSD might have endured, never lost a limb or watched my buddys body explode right in front of my face. I wouldn't say that my experiences have left me scarred for life, although I very literally am, in the physical sense. More correctly, I say that prison shaped me.
   From 18 to 26, I was locked up. These are important years for a person, fomative years. It's during these years that people enter the adult world, earn degrees, learn trades, cohabitate, have kids, perhaps get married. Of course many have little to show for themselves by the time they turn 26, but you'd have to be living in a cave(or a prison) to have missed out on the experiences of early adulthood.
   Comparing the average young mans life trajectory to my own, I've had a wealth of unique challenges and an absense of some essential stepping stones. My natural progression has been blunted, retarded by years of being stuck in one place. I just completely missed the opportunities to learn the things normal people are learning during this stage.
   What I missed out on is significant, but the things I learned instead are what really fucked my head up. I guess its all in how you react to the things you see and hear, your individual way of dealing with it. I'm a really introspective person, and the whole time, I;ve been taking notice of my surroundings, learning about human nature, and cming to understand how cold-hearted and sick people can be. Prison burned alot of suspicion and distrust into my heart. I look at people sideways. I wonder if they're real, wonder if they'd tell on me to stay out of trouble, wonder if they have a bunch of racism and hatred inside. I'm shell-shocked. Watching the constant predator vs prey exchange, coming to believe you have to be one or the other, it's hurt my development as a person. A stark contrast, black and white, no grey area. This belief system doesn't translate to free society.
   Out in the great big world, I discovered that many people are ready to lend a helping hand. Many more are indifferent, but compared to the pen, far fewer live to take advantage of the weak, and at least on the surface, there is less hatred and rage. Life outside is safer and peoples motives are more benign. The ever present threat of physical violence, a daily reality inside, is notably more absent for most civilian people.
   All this means that a distrustful, defensive posture is unnecessary and conspicuous once you walk into society. Shaking that outward appearance is easier than getting rid of the voice inside that says people are dangerous, people are liars, people will cheat you.
   The amount of choices in society often overwhelms. My first time walking beyond a prison gate, I left on a job pass from a transition center with my then girlfreind, we stopped at a gas station first, and walking down the isles, I tripped out on how many different things you can choose from at Quik Trip. It was a visual overload. She steered me out of the store, commenting that I looked like a tweaker who had been up for a week. What I felt like was an autistic kid staring at shiny bubbles in the sink. It hypnotized me.
   That was a minute ago, but a McDonalds menu is still enough to make me cringe. Any menu really. I end up ordering the same thing. There's too much input. It overwhelms. I go in a Walmart for 10 minutes and I want to get out. I don't remember being like this before I went to prison.
   Overall, my conclusion is that it is going to take a minute for me to work through the process of reacclimatizing myself to the real world. 7 1/2 years taught me all the wrong things. It's only normal to expect  that the path to a normal, well adjusted life will be a rocky road sometimes. Not trying to make excuses, just my observation.
   My prognosis is bright compared to many, many people. I believe I will recover from my institutional experience. There's lots of lost souls who don't have the smallest chance though. Releasing them is just a formality. The corrections system has them trained to come back, to return to their home.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


   With the exception of a few camps whose architects had artistic freedom, most GA prisons follow the same basic blueprint. There's two "sides", an east and a west, or a north and a south. These are the living units, with 3 buildings with 2 dorms each. Each dorm holds 48 two man cells, so in a perfect world, each dorm houses 96 prisoners. This is rarely the case anymore, as the balloning prison population has caused the DOC to seek new creative ways to cram the maximum ammount of inmates into a static amount of space. This creativity has mostly found expression in the form of the 3 man cell. Some institutions have an entire bottom range of triple bunked rooms, bringing the total amount of inmates to 120 per dorm. They reserve that trick for medium security camps. That many seperate male personalities in a close ecurity prison, housing that unique caliber of prisoner, is apparently still a bad idea, even to an organization of bad ideas.
   At these 2 sided prison, there is a good side and a bad side. The word "good" is definitely relative here, it would be more on point to say the "bad" and the "worse" side. In March of 2005, I got out of the hole and emerged onto the "worse" side of Calhoun, The East Side.
   Getting released back into general population after a stint in admin. seg. is a unique feeling. I'd been locked down a couple of months, and had not been to the eastside yet. Had no clue who I'd find there, what drama awaited me,what kind of reception I could expect. I was very alert.
   The reception I recieved was positive, thanks to a white GD friend of mine named Paul. When I learned what dorm I was going to,he sent word to his partners in H building, that I was a friend. That's all it took.
   I had the utmost respect and trust for Paul. We were workout partners in F2 and had implemented a split schedule for our training. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were days of rest, when we did cocaine courtesy of Gay Mike, and the rest of the week we worked out hard, waiting for the reup. I guess he took a liking to me and thought of me as a younger brother. We were pretty tight for awhile.
   My cellmate in H2 was a huge black guy named Angelo who was fucking this nurse who looked like Olive Oil and kept thick red lipstick on her face. He was a cool individual, humble and deeply into the Bible after a comment on the basketball court got him stabbed almost to death.
   I fell into a group of whiteboys who were around the same age as me, with similar interests in music and drugs. Two of them had life sentences, Buckwild and Burnout. Q was tenyears into a mandatory 12 year sentence. Scrappy was the only one who wasn't a GD.
   Q was definitely the unofficial leader of the pack. He'd been incarcerated longer than any of us and involved in gangbanging since he was 13.
   I have to clarify my feelings and beliefs about gangs at this point. I'm not from LA or Chicago, and have never seen much gang activity outside of incarceration. It's not really going down like that in Atlanta. Other GA cities seem to have more active gangs, but where I live, it's mostly confined to the hispanics in the Gwinett area. I've never been concerned about what color clothes I wear or which way I tilt my hat. Atlanta is neutral to major gangs.
   Prison is different though. It's in us humans to form groups and classify others into catagories. I think we crave that order, that logic; perhaps it's a survival skill. One of the ways we catagorize in prison is by gang affiliation. Even more apparent is the breakdown by race and city of origin, or what part of town in the city you're from. Religeon too. We seek out associates with common interests and similar characteristics to ourselves.
   Since GA is neutral, there is a perception that gang activity inside our prison system is off-brand or watered down. I don't have a basis of comparison since I have never been in prison in any othe state. I have seen some serious things happen to people over gang shit inside this system, many beatings, many stabbings, kings dethroned, and imposters exposed. From the neutral perspective, it seems legit to me. It gets pretty real sometimes.
   One big point of contention is the inclusion of whiteboys into these majority black gangs. It's one thing to be out in a white country town, terrorizing other little white kids, throwing up signs, fronting to people who don't know shit. That doesn't fly in prison, if a whiteboy claims affiliation, they will be stepped to by members of that gang and better be in tight. If they don't know what they're supposed to know or don't have enough heart, terrible things happen. Public shaming, beatings, rapes. If you're not from the hood, don't go to the hood. If you're not a real gangster, don't say you;re a gangster.
   The whiteboys I was around in there that claimed G were official and recognized by all the Gs on the compound, they were real enough to have that respect.
   Without a doubt, they got mixed reviews from unaffiliated white people. Some felt like a white man hanging around with a black gang was disrespecting their own, going against their skin. It was a delicate balance. My feeling is, that you have to consider each person on a case by case basis. To be sure, some of those whiteboys were in it for protection, catering to a majority, trying to "get in where they fit in". Some just identified more with that style. Like choosing a brand of clothing. They chose Jordans over steel toed workboots or wingtips. To the few I considered solid, choosing their gang over their race, family, and friends was never an issue. Like JFK balancing Catholicism and the presidency.
   I was very observant at this time. I looked for contradictions, seeking out any flawed or wack behavior. There's a margin of error that can be written off as human weakness, but in prison, it's wise to choose friends carefully. You definitely don't want a weak motherfucker in your circle. At the same time I was being observed too, because of Pauls endorsement. I was accepted without question at first. Later on, it had more to do with my own merits. Time reveals a persons real character and this prison was full of suprises and revelations.
   Q was a charismatic individual. It took me a long time to trust him, he was way too nimble, too versed in manipulation and deception. Ordinarily, the kind of person I keep at an arms distance, he ended up being like a brother. You had to watch him though, Q was slick.
   Burnout and Buckwild were like night and day. Besides being big white guys with life sentences, these two represented polar ends of the spectrum. As his name implied, Burnout was a frequent flier when it came to drugs. After an LSD and coke fueled spree left a corpse with its head nearly severed, Burnout entered the prison system with a Zen like acceptance of his fate. I had to respect that he wasn't holding on to any ridiculous hopes of a miraculous courtroom triumph suddenly springing him. It takes a man to admit defeat and homie knew it was over. Nothing is more irritating than listening to a hopless soul present the strengths of their defense to anyone who will lend a sympathetic ear. Let it go.
   Another thing I liked about Burnout , he had interesting taste in music, maybe the only Gangster Disciple on the planet that listened to jam bands(which I cannot stand,but I appreciated the incongruity of a tattoed murderer stomping around the yard with Widespread Panic in their CD player). Encountering anyone in prison who was familiar with drum and bass music was a rare thing and he was up on all that.
   If Burnout was the intelligent philosofer of the group, Buckwild was the concrete worker. He looked like a cro-magnum, with a flat forehead and prominent eye sockets. Bigger than any of us by a good 20 pounds, he had a permanent dazed look. A fan of Mudvayne, Slipknot, and other bands cranking out good soundtracks to hack enemies into little pieces. Buckwild scared people. He was a juggarnaut.
   I'll never know what Scrappy did to get his alias, usually you think of a "scrappy" as being a small, fearless warrior. But the Scrappy of H2 was just small and goofy. Supposedly his dad was Wrestler #2, who had a respectable career as a professional wrestler on tv. Scrappy ran tattoos and had a good basketball game.
   For the next couple of months, these were my daily associates. We got high everyday, went toevry meal together, and posted up in Q and Scrappys cell, smoking Buglers and getting tattoos. I got to know these kids very well. We'd get stoned and tell war stories, always a good way to get to know people.
   Jason Jones, the object of Mikes contempt, was in the dorm for a little while too. He had a very good poker game, but provoked a lot of ill will with his abrasive personality and uncompromising stance. Jason and I always got along well though. He was wild, could be counted on to do almost anything, un predictable at all times.
   At this time I became more of an exploiter and a predator. I'm not sure why. Probably due to the cast of unsavory characters who revolved in my daily orbit and also because of the temporary lapse of incoming mail and other indicators that people still remembered me on the street. We began a campaign of extortion, pimping out two sissies for store goods and 3 way phone calls. I always ended up giving people nicknames, and I christened the sissy #1 and sissy #2. 1 looked like he came from some money, and when there were drugs on the yard, we'd send him out there to get as much as possible on credit. Then we'd roll him a joint to share with 2 and keep the rest for ourselves.
   The era of #1 and #2 only lasted a couple of weeks, our heavy handed approach to running a prostitution ring resulted in both of them "catching out", signing themselves into protective custody.
   It used to possible to get meth into prison easily through the U.S. mail. This is an outdated method now, because someone snitched it out, but all it took was constuction paper.
   A wacked out tweaker in his 40s,"Chrome" had a girlfriend who would take an 8 ball of speed, make a bunch of shots, and spray them onto construction paper. After it dried, she'd draw a childish depiction of a house, mommy, daddy, and baby, with "we love you daddy" written across the top. Nothing to it.
   The use of crystal meth among inmates who are already violent and paranoid always seemed to make things interesting. Good times, lots of near disasters. That little bit of speed, shared among 6-8 men, raised the combat readiness of the whole dorm. Back then, I could still handle my money under the influence of this stimulant(Now, even a small amount is sure to induce temporary schizophrenia). It's availability in GAs prisons is strangely limited compared to cocaine, pills, and weed. This is a suprise when you consider how many people in this state are locked up because of meth. It's dangerous shit.
   Around this time BG moved into the dorm, definitely a there goes the neighborhood moment. There was a child molester named big john who slept in a room downstairs and we started plotting on him. One night as the dorm left for chow call, BG and I stayed back. We went into Johns cell, picked his lock, and emptied his box of all storegoods, as well as his radio. It was an easy lick and a smash getaway, the least we could do for a pedophile scumbag like him. In the days that followed we orchastrated the plundering of another child rapists assets, this time a guy named Champ. I hate thieves, but not as much as I hate pedophiles. Sometimes you gotta do a little bad to do a little good.
   As usual, no good deed goes unpunished, and as usual, somebody told on us. There are always kite writers in every dorm(A "kite" is chaingang slang for a note) who author snitch notes to the staff to get people locked down. Often this is purely a manipulation tactic, with all sorts of falsehoods being reported, sometimes to deceive the staff into wasting time chasing a bogus lead. Or to get an undesirable moved out to a different dorm, an anonymous kite might say that that persons life is in danger. and then protocall requires that inmate be locked down for their own safety.
   In this case, there was a kite that said something about theft, and it had my room number on it. By then I had moved into the cell with Burnout. We both got locked down pending investigation and spent 10 days in the hole.
   The esiest way for me to remember the chronological order of events from my time in prison is to think of the many times I went to the hole. Especially in these days, I always had to be into something. My restless nature led me to take risks, to my bitter misfortune.
   The next big event for me was getting locked down yet again, 4 days after they let me back out. This time, my actions resulted in 30 days in J building, and an Internal Affairs investigation...but thats a story for another time.


   After Boatwright got killed and the GBI decended on the camp, it didn't take long for the official decision to be made. They were closing Alto down. Busloads started leaving every transfer night. Every other prison got a little bit wilder, a little more violent, as they tried to absorb a wave of Alto babies.
   Transfers are on tuesdays and thursdays, early in the A.M. I transfered from Alto to calhoun on my 21st birthday. After 8 months on level 5 pending max, I left an isolation cell and rode 2 buses, stepping out into the sunlight and relative freedom of Calhoun State Prison. This is where I would spend my wildest chaingang days.
   Calhoun was wide open, full of drugs, and full of corrupt COs. That's a very good thing. Maybe now I should give a little scientific breakdown of correctional officers; please remember that I'm painting with a broad brush here, so the level of 'science' is up for debate. This is a generalization based on years of experience.
   In GA, there's a strong contingent of good ol' boys working in the prison system. They have cans of Skoal in their pockets, drink Jim Beam, follow high school football, hunt during hunting season, and bitch about their jobs. They're inclined to identify with convicts who rode with biker gangs. Often they are morbidly obese. Republicans.
   In my opinion, the republicans aren't so bad. They're ignorant and out of shape, but rarely are they the overzealous, crusading GI Hoe type, the ex-serviceman who feels like he is waging a personal war on crime every day he is at work. Republican COs are just doing their jobs, getting through the day, so they can get their hands on a cold Budweiser, and a fist-full of deer jerky(when they get home to their single-wide).
   The GI Hoes are dangerous, and not because of whatever hand to hand combat training they received in boot camp. These clowns take their job way too serious. They go out of their way to enforce rules that even the administration don't care about. Disdained by their fellow co-workers, you can spot these losers by their ramrod posture, better physical conditioning, and maybe a barbed wire or tribal band tattoo across their bicept. I suspect many of these one man army types visit dominatrix dungeons in their spare time. Although they're universally despised and a constant nuisance, they make the kind of embarassing, please accept me guys kind of comments that say they're just one of the fellas. Yeah right.
   There is alot of cross-pollinating going on between these two camps, and nothing is worse than a militant republican fusion. The place I'm going (whitworth) is like an underworld nightmare of drill sargeant wife beaters. It's ugly.
   Calhoun had exactly zero good ol' boys working there, mostly due to the fact that, of all three shifts, there were only 2 white correctional officers there. That's out of hundreds of possibilities. The catagory of CO at Calhoun during my time there was a mix of ex-military, corrupt nacotics cop, and gold toothed wanksters. These guys were barely dodging felony charges of their own. For the most part, this worked in our favor. They couldn't come down too hard on us since most of them were criminals too. It was a state of functional choas during my time there. It was crunk.
   The caliber of prisoner there was pretty high in my opinion. There was so much gang activity, so many drugs, and so little chance of getting rescued by the guards, that the camp pretty much ran itself. Convict owned and operated. The weak got trampled. Everybody got high. The administration kept it as quiet as possible.
   On day one, I held a cameraphone in my hand for the first time in my life. I was impressed, like someone used to playing duck hunt suddenly coming across a playstation 3. This was 2004, the infancy stage of the prison cellphone explosion, so they were still pretty rare. Now, you'd think you were at a verizon wireless store. We've came a long way, cell phones are the best thing to ever happen to prisoners and their families.
   I saw three stabbings my first week. I also saw a small mountain of cocaine and weed. Lots of the violence that went down was tied to drug debts going unpaid. One morning, the warden himself, told everyone that he didn't mind us doing the drugs, but if we didn't pay our debts and the violence continued, he'd shake down the compound and make life harder for all of us. He was a coll warden, a practical one. Here's 1200 prisoners, lots of them doing life sentences, lots of them violent, and as long as they're getting high, they're calmer, easier. The ignorant, war-on-crime CO doesn't want to understand that.
   At this time, I was in F2, which was being used as an intake dorm. Their was a paricular officer named Morningay who worked our dorm, an obese puerto rican with a feminine manner who always wore his windbreaker, even inside the dorm. We discovered the reason for this was that he had been a "cutter" and he had a patchwork of scars across his inner arms from slicing himself with a razor. I have absolutely no prejudice against anyone with a mental health disorder, but it seemed strange to me that someone who had problems with self-mutilation was able to get a job as a prison guard. It still seems strange.
   One Saturday, at noon headcount, Morningay took it upon himself to try and grab the towel my cellmate and I were using to block the light from pouring into the window in our room. I snatched the towel back and told him to get the fuck on. That earned my cellmate and I a trip to the hole for assault on an officer. At any othe institution, this would mean 2 or 3 weeks of administrative segregation, waiting to go to DR court, and then2-4 weeks of isolation time if found guilty.
   Not at Calhoun. My cellmate was out in 3 days, I was out in 5. Never went to DR court, never heard about it again. Whereas Alto had many, many cells for locking behavior problems in, Calhoun's hole was limited to one side of J building, J1. Only 48 cells. Whenever they had a full house and needed to lock someone else down, they'd "parole" someone out to make room. This meant that you could literally stab the fuck out of an enemy, get caught and go to J-building, then get out within a week or two in most cases.
   They put me back in F2, at that time the cocaine capital of the compound. Money talks, for the right change, you can usually get the right range out of an officer. There were a few females who worked the F-building booth, they alternated bringing in drugs for a white guy we will just call "Gay Mike". That's not his real name of course. I just call him that because, athough he wasn't gay in the technical sense, I thought of him as a punk ass dude, with a gay psychological profile. He did have alot of money though, and to be fair, was very generous with his drugs. Every weekend, me and about 10 other whiteboys got cocained the fuck up, compliments of this sucker. I know that sounds raw, believe me, I'm the last one to hang out with someone because of what they got, very rarely do I indulge someone I dislike just because the drugs or drinks are on them. A little background on this guy, just to let y'all know why I sound so cold.
   Gay Mike and I transfered to Calhoun from Alto on the same day. He was the kind of guy who made things happen with drugs in prison, since he had all that money. He was working on getting a pound of pot dropped off at Alto, someone found out about it and thought he had already got it in, and they ran up in his cell trying to rob him. They laid him down, got his watch and chain, and he ended up on protective custody. He did recover his jewelry, because he told the police who robbed him. A bitch move.
   When you transfer from prison to prison, whatever money you have on your books takes about a week to catch up to your new location(no longer true. They now have a centralized banking system). Then you recieve a money receipt, which gets passed out by an officer during mail call. When Gay Mike's receipt caught up, the female officer took notice. He had like $6000 on his books. Money talks, and that weekend she brought in a quarter pound of mids, a cell phone, and an ounce of cocaine.
   I didn't fully explain my distaste for Gay Mike, for the sake of maintaining chronological order, some of this will come as the story progresses. One thing about this guy, he set off my bullshit alarm. Prison is full of liars, some say the acronym for jail is "just another inmate lying". Even among this hallowed company, Gay Mike stood out in my mind as a liar among liars.
   He was a chameleon. On his arm he had "311" tattoo'd, which usually stands for "Crip Killer"(the 3 is for the third letter of the alphabet,C, and the 11 is for K), or it can stand for the eleventh letter multiplied times 3,KKK. For Mike, it stood for both, whichever matched his company. Around the skinheads, Mike was a Klansman. Around a crowd of (accepting, whiteboy freindly) Bloods, he claimed to be affiliated with Bloods. My honest opinion is he got it to signify KKK, got in some hot water because of it, and jumped on the gangbanger bandwagon, paying his way into some unholy alliance with some Bloods somewhere. He was a countryboy from some backwater field in Georgia, I have a hard time picturing him with a red bandana hanging out of his back pocket.
   The female muling in drugs for him was a real sweetheart. She was obese but pretty, and had a certain air about herself(I guess now you'd call it "swag"). One day after doing a generous shot of cocaine, I popped my cell door and stepped out, ears still ringing, hardly fit for public consumption, to find her 10 feet away, staring straight at me. She knew I was high, but I pulled it together and winked, she seemed to like that. Later on she asked what nationality I was and said "you've got something in your blood". I definitely did that night.
   My cellmate was a GD(Gangster Disciple.-ed) from Macon called BG. We became good friends and this marked my loose association with GDs in prison. In some ways, running with them was a blessing. It definitely wasn't calculated' I just fell in with the clique. It also got me in trouble over and over again, but I can't blame that on anyone but myself. This was a time when I was simply destined for trouble.
   In most level 5 prisons, inmates get patted down whenever they pass through the gates going from the living units to the central area of the camp, where GED school, church, medical,counseling, and the administration's offices are located. We also get patted down coming back to the dormitory from the store or chow hall. This is to keep us from walking around with weapons.
   These little searches didn't happen at Calhoun. We were always "tooled up" and went everywhere with our knives. It was something that you kinda took for granted.
    One of the older muslims in our dorm started writing letters to the commisioner of Atlanta, the media, and senators, ranting about how out of control Calhoun was, how unsafe it was to be an inmate at this institution. Soon after beginning this campaign, the TACT squad came and searched the entire prison. The TACT squad is compiled of elite, gung-ho, department of corrections super-warriors. They came into the prison in the morning, maybe too strong, marching like the Gestapo, with drug sniffing dogs, metal detectors, and paintball guns with little rubber bullets inside. We were locked in our cells when they showed up and instructed to strip down to our boxers. When our doors are opened we are instructed to walk backwards out of the room with our hands behind our heads. TACT squad members guide us out and place us on either side of the cell, and the dogs are led inside. The animals level of excitement determines how thorough the seach is going to be.
   I heard the dog's nails scratching at the heater on the backside of the room, and his handler soon discovered " a small bag of a green leafy substance, believed to be marijuana". They also found a shank hidden in my mat. I claimed the marijuana, since I had it hidden in a central location and didn't want BG to get jammed up with me.
   As fate would have it, Gay Mike also got locked up that day, for a cell phone charger. We ended up being cellmates in J1, and he went to visitation that weekend and brought back a quarter ounce of coke.
   This guy was someone who gives IV drug use a bad name. A plus sized gentleman, with reclusive ceins, he'd sit there for 30 minutes trying to get a register. Every time I hear The Pixies song "Gouge Away" I think of Gay Mike, digging in his arm with a needle. UGLY.
   Good cocaine is a hell of a drug and this was good cocaine. He gave me a gram and I threw half of it in a spork, the orange kind they use in prison. It broke down as clear as Aquafina, no residue. It took my breath away, I was gasping and couldn't hear anything except the train running through my head. Mike got worried for a minute, thinking I was gonna flop out on the floor but I grabbed my nuts and pulled myself back together.
   We shot cocaine and smoked weed all night. At some point, the conversation turned to his plans for revenge on a whiteboy named Jason Jones, who was on the eastside of the compound. Someone would drop a pistol, a compass, and a change of clothes outside the wall of the prison. Then mike would tell the warden he heard Jason talking about escaping and the location of the drop. For this information, Mike would be given favorable treatment from the administration and jason would be put on max. This is the kind of moves I came to expect from this slimy motherfucker.
   Shit like that happens all the time. There's lots of behind the scenes "power moves" going on every day in prison, snitch wars, people getting framed, some real Machiavelli-style backstabbing. There's always a plot. In this case, Mike never got to put his plan into effect. One of the orderlies, who knew we had drugs, told on us, and around 9am, an officer knock on the door.
   They took us out and put us in the showers. We were woefully unprepaired for a shakedown of anykind, and they found a slew of drugs, contraband, and paraphanellia. They also found a cell phone in Mikes pocket. He was within a year of being eligible for a halfway house and was concerned about how these charges might affect his chances. I knew I was a long way away from being considered for parole, and I offered to claim the cell phone for an 8-ball. I figured he was good for it. We struck an agreement.
   They seperated us and for the next week I kept filling out statements and forms claiming responsibility for the phone. One day, the warden came around and I handed him a statement, launching into a plea about how I didn't want anyone to get stuck with the punishment for something that was mine. He cut me short. According to him, Gay Mike had been in his office earlier in the week, confessed to everything, and told on a couple of officers who had been bringing him in stuff. Mike was about to be transferred. The warden said that I was off to a bad star and that I'd be sitting in the hole for awhile to consider the errors of my ways.
   This was our new warden, not the cool one of the pro-drug speech. This guy was a politician with a used car salesman persona. A republican with some ambitions, I think he was from up north.
   I spent about 70 days back there, an eternity for Calhoun. Gay Mike did in fact transfer and a guard got fired behind him running his mouth.
   I have yet to hear anyone loudly proclaim themselves to be a snitch or a punk. Everyone takes pains to present themselves in the  most favorable light. In prison, everyone is a killer, pimp, and major drug dealer. I never heard anyone say that they told on their co-defendant for a lighter sentence. Very few admitted to being intimidated or afraid when they got to prison. Noone says they're locked up for child molestation. There's just alot of pretenders in prison and it's certainly no different on the streets. Being surrounded by people like Gay Mike, I think I developed a keen eye for bullshit. Dealing with drugs, in and out of jail and prison, you're always around game, lies, posturing, bogus motherfuckers marketing themselves as tough guys or good people, real freinds, whatever role they need to play. It's tiresome to deal with, wondering if your new buddy is trying to fuck your girlfriend or not. Some people get off being chameleons and fake kicking it. I try to avoid these people like the plague. I don't hold myself as the gold standard of realness, but what you see is what you get, if I'm your friend you've never got to doubt that. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
   My ineptitude at playing both sides of the fence has caused me problems. If I dislike someone I don't put myself around them if I can help it. I try to keep a nuetral position most of the time, try to stay disengaged from pointless ideological conflicts in the penitintiary. It's a very political enviroment, very racially charged, and almost every position is based on hate and ignorance. In my view, the only reasonable policy is neutrality,of course, that's only possible to a certain extent. You wind up forming alliances based on who you kick it with, and a problem for a friend is a problem for you, if you're that kind of person.
   My openness about my drug use here is something I feel the need to explain. I'm really just passing time, jotting down my experience of jail and prison. I don't have wild ambitions of going viral or a great many people. This is just a forum for me tell a little about my life, things I've seen and been a part of, and although the specific details are probably news even to my closest friends, the fact I've been doing drugs for years is a secret to noone who knows me. Putting my personal business out on front street in this way may not be the wisest decision, and of course I won't implicate myself or any others that could lead to prosecution.
   I hope my disclosures won't stain my pristine reputation. The truth is that my choices with illegal drugs have wrecked my life in the extreme. I want whoever reads this to know that, not to provide a cautionary tale, simply because it's real. Thanks to God, the rotation of the stars and planets, and the wisdom that comes from growing older, a lot of this is behind me. Eventually, even a true die-ha,rd gets tired of this much self inflicted injury.
   In particular, I'm talking about IV drug use. It's taboo to discuss this, except with other IV users. Maybe I'm comfortable talking about it because, knock on wood, that part of my life is over. I also hold onto a useless and haughty opinion that, atleast hygenically, I wasn't as bad as other people I knew. I never contracted any social diseases, niether from sharing needles or unprotected sex. I haven't lost my teeth, not from a lack of trying. I've been blessed and lucky.
   My feelings on this issue have changed considerably over the years, for a long time I questioned why anyone would ingest a drug in any other way. Aside from occasions where the social setting required politely sharing a pipe, I thought it was wasteful. Regardless of how a drug is used, it always ends up in the bloodstream. That's how the substance gets to the brain and causes the desired effect. The quickest route between two points is a straight line. By ntroducing the chemical directly into the bloodstream, nothing is lost in translation. You go from 0 to 60,like, instantly. The totality of the experience is unbelievable. It's the final frontier of drug use
   For me, it took seeing other peoples suffering, at the hands of this ingestion method, to recognize the dangers involved. It's too much. I have a hard time describing exactly why my opinion has changed, lets just say that I've been made aware. Injecting drugs is another level of commitment. I never want to contribute to someone taking that step again. Life is too short.

   Another fatefull event occured while I was in the hole for that couple months. During this time I had a variety of cellmates. They came and went, I stayed. One of them had a portrait of Osama Bin Laden on his back and was called, predictably, Bin Laden. He only stayed for a couple of days. He was a tall, light skinned dude from Augusta, and despite his bizarre political inclinations, we got along. After he left, I realized all of my CDs had left with him. This was January and for Christmas my family had sent 6 CDs to me. I had them for a month before this thieving bastard caught out and sold them on the westside of the prison. I got to sit and NOT listen to my familys gift for 8 months before I got a chance to straighten my business on that bullshit. I hate thieves, especially when they're stealing from me.
   Sometimes I have to wonder why I got tried like I did. I've concluded that people are idiots and have a hard time projecting their thoughts into the future, to consider what the possible consequences fpr their actions might be. I hate that its got to be like that, I truly dislike being violent and wish that noone ever forced my hand. I guess they think this shit is a joke and that's ok, just don't cross that line. The same thing that will make you laugh will make you cry.
   My hearts desire, in prison and out in the real world, is to be given enough respect so that I can live my life in dignity, without getting tried. I want a peacefull life. I carry myself in a humble enough manner, I'm not the kind of person who's naturally out to be disrespectful or ruffle anyones feathers. There's no chip on my shoulder, I don't worry about the size of my dick in relation to other men, and don't try to prove myself to anyone. Yet somehow, I'm doing something wrong because I still attract controversy. The marketing of myself as a tough guy has not convinced everyone to give me my space, maybe I need more tattoos.HA.
   On the subject of tattoos- I love them. I'm covered in them. Everyone of them I got in prison. I remember being in jail when I first got locked up, seeing these neanderthal looking whiteboys with blue and black ink all over their bodies, sleeved up, with Harley Davidson logos and swastikas. I remember promising myself I would never walk out of prison looking like one of them.
   I don't have any racial tattoos, no gang affiliated artwork, but I'm tattooed the fuck up. I guess I ended up looking a lot like those guys did, at some point I lost my mind and started getting wet up. I was lucky enough to become good friends with some tattoo artist who put me in the game, my upper body is 90% covered and I probably have around $15 invested. The only thing that costs less in prison than outside are tattoos and your motherfucking life. Damn! Admit it, that was pretty raw right there.
   When I was released, I had a complex that people would take one look at me and think "chaingang" but that was mostly in my head. My work is good enough to be freeworld, the only people that associate me with prison, based on my appearance, are other ex cons.
   I think I've got around 10 different artists work on me, but the lions share was done by 2 men in particular, both very gifted, both very close friends of mine. They hooked me up. There's no way I could of afforded this out on the street. I want to take time to talk about them both but for now I'll stick to the story.