Lock Down and TVs

Here at FCI Three Rivers we just came off Lock Down status … why? Well let me tell you here and now that 99% of all the trouble in prisons today are related to TWO things – DOPE and TVs. Please, don’t get me started on the DOPE problem or we’ll be here all day – suffice to say, I HATE DOPE, it is the bane of humanity! As for TVs, well, I’m not an addict but I do enjoy a few shows and movies; OKAY, I enjoy TV! But, when it comes to prison, TVs are both a solution and a problem to the overarching troublesome situation of overcrowding.

The upside of TVs in prison is that they give the men something to occupy their minds with, other than DOPE and violence. In other words TVs are good babysitters. Now don’t get me wrong here, I think it a good thing to keep these men occupied; after all, few of them have the training necessary to do it of their own accord … I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “An idle mind is the Devils playground.” It’s true, when a man, especially one who’s locked behind bars for years on end, is left idle, he begins to think things he doesn’t need to be thinking about … I suspect this applies to y’all out there as well. Prisoners are better off when they are kept busy, TVs help to keep them occupied.

All prisons in the country have the same problems, but in the State run prisons the prisoners are allowed to buy their own portable TVs, this eliminates all of the problems I’m fixing to tell you about. The Federal Bureau of Prisons however, REFUSE, to allow their prisoners this common sense option. Instead, the FEDS have community TVs, TVs out in the Common Area where men have to share them. Now, there are at least, at all times, 120 men in each cellblock … oh no, no, no … there aren’t 120 TVs, there are 9! Yeah 9!!! TVs for at least 120 men to share! Which would be sufficient if all 120 of us were the same race, the same religion, spoke the same language, weren’t gang members or even liked each other, but this isn’t Hilary’s “Village”, this is REALTY. Remember, I can read minds, I know what y’all are thinkin’, WE ARE THE PROBLEM! But that’s not true. Answer me this: How many of you at home can honestly say that all of your family members can share a TV without conflict! Come on, be truthful here – parents like certain shows and kids like others, that’s just the truth of the matter. Now, with this in mind, imagine 120 men from very diverse backgrounds varying in age from 18 to 70 and then throw in a shitload of guys from Mexico and Central America who don’t even speak our language, and tell me that the FED system of community TVs is rational – it ain’t. What it is, is another way to create tension among the prisoners … remember, keeping us angry at each other, is a form of “Control” implemented by those in Washington to further their own careers … it’s job security. The citizens need to be kept afraid, and Government needs an enemy to fight, a bad guy, it’s Indians, it’s Germans, it’s the Japanese, it’s Vietnam, it’s Russia, it’s China, it’s Arabs … it’s criminals, always a boogie man under the bed. If there’s a problem then you pay them to solve those problems, its the oldest racket in the books! … I can hear it now … “Dear citizens, these inmates are animals! Hell, they’ll try to stab each other over a TV! We need MORE money to keep them under control!” What you won’t hear is, “Oh, we could do like the State System and actually fix the problem if we wanted too, but we don’t, so we need to up your taxes to pay for extra Staff … and doughnuts” No, you won’t ever hear that. They don’t need to actually solve the problems because you, the Tax Payers, just keep giving them more money without asking for accountability, and it’s never enough. The Prison System is a huge insatiable beast.

As a result of the FACT that that Federal Bureau of Prisons has decided against actually solving the problem what you have is a problem the prisoners themselves must try to resolve. In order to deal with such a diverse population, we, the prisoners, have mutually agreed to give certain “races” or certain “groups” a proportionate number of TVs to control. 9 TVs for 120 men. How do we decide who gets what? Well for instance, there are 12 white guys in my cellblock, that’s an average reflection of the prison yard as a whole, roughly 10% of the population here at Three Rivers is white. As you would expect, we, the Whites, have been given control of, 1, TV. In contrast, my cellblock has 21 Blacks and up until recently they had control over 5 TVs; one of the Mexican Gangs took one from them a few months back. The Tango Gang and Viyuco Gang Members each have control over one TV each and the Paisa’s (the Illegal Mexican gang members) have one TV and the Illegal Central Americans have one TV. Now if your reading this blog then that proves that you’re a certified Genius! And being a Certified Genius means that you’ve already identified the problem here, a problem I might add that the whole Gosh Darned Prison Administration has been unable to identify! Yes, one group who comprises 20% of the population controls over 50% of the TVs. Yep, there it is. How did it happen?

In the years past, before the FEDS started putting all of these Immigration cases into the Federal Prison System the population was completely different, most of the inmates, were Black, and therefore their population number justified them having so many TVs. But the population has changed, the Illegal’s are the majority. And here is the issue, the Blacks do not want to give up something they consider theirs, and how can you blame them.

Now in my cellblock they had to give up one TV or get smashed by the Mexicans, so we are in better shape than most, because in most of the other buildings the Blacks have control of 5 TVs (they will deny this by saying that they only have 3 TVs, that 2 are SPORTS TVs that belong to everybody. But, if you believe that, then try and put on a Mexican League Soccer game while a basketball game is on, or a Nascar Race during an American Football game and see what happens). It’s bad! Hell, in my cellblock we have ONE black guy who has his own cell and his own TV in front of that cell … one man with his own TV; he’s a friend of mine and we watch the same programs on TV, so this is fine with me. But how do you think the Mexicans feel when they have to share ONE TV between 40 of them! Hell, the way I see it, if you’re tough enough where no one challenges you over that TV, the more power to you. But, me personally, I just don’t have the heart to be a bully … hell yeah, I’m tough enough to do it … Ok, I might be stretching the truth a little bit, but that’s our secret!

As a result of what I just explained, in one of the other cellblocks the blacks had control of 5 TVs, the Paisa’s and others had one, they wanted another TV and when the Blacks refuse to give one up, they were attacked. In order to keep things from escalating to other cellblocks the Prison Administration Locked the whole yard down – then pulled all the men involved in that building out and transferred them out to another spot. So nothing changed, the problem still exists, transferring out this months rebels doesn’t fix the problem, the problem has just been kicked down the road for the next group to deal with.

Now, I ain’t defending these Paisa’s (illegal gang members), no sir, I ain’t. The reason I won’t defend them is because they’re a damn problem! Yeah, they’re immigration cases, so the vast majority of them are only here for a short time, so they don’t respect anything we have – nothing! In fact truth is, they tear shit up around here! Stuff we prisoners have to buy out of our trust fund moneys, like TVs, irons, microwaves etc (all bought by us prisoners) these illegal’s don’t give a shit about our few privileged items; they’re only here for a short time, they don’t care if we have things to help make life a little bit better. They don’t care about us or the things we’re forced to share with them. No, sir – I ain’t no friend of theirs! But, the truth is the truth, they’re human beings and if your gonna put this many of them in a cellblock, they deserve to have a fair share of the TVs … on this issue, the illegal’s are right.

The Administration, has now decided that the easiest course, which is how ALL bureaucrats deal with issues, is to put out a “Memo” informing us that “IF” there are any more problems over the TVs they will lock each TV onto a pre-programed channel … 9 TVs, 9 channels only … what those channels will be? well, no one knows, but you can be assured they won’t include the History Channel or the other channels that guys like me prefer (remember, rule by idiots). Yep, rather than identifying the problem and dealing with it, they’ll just punish everyone, that’s their idea of a solution … just be good and everything will be OK! … nothing about the core problem, which is that one group is unwilling to share with others, and it ain’t the Immigrants! Hell Yeah, the offenders in this scenario love this idea of not fixing the problem, because now they have the Guards defending them for having tooooo many TVs! I hate to be facetious, but this is a joke. The problem hasn’t been addressed. So how can it go away?

Well, its pretty simple, with a few different options, One” you could do nothing and let us work it out – fights, yeah, this is F-ing prison, fights happen. The BOP brass needs to take their panties out of their crack and let matters run their course. Or, you put all of the Immigration cases in separate buildings where they should have been all along, then can have their own TVs and irons etc … then when they tear the shit up in THEIR cellblocks it doesn’t affect the rest of us who actually try to be civil. Or, Administration could get all the Black Shot Callers together and tell them that they are allowed two TVs per block, and if the numbers change then they’ll get an issue accordingly, then enforce it. Or, the Administration could shift the population around by removing some of the Illegal’s and replacing them with blacks. Or – the BOP could quit acting like a bunch of fascists and move into the 21st century and allow prisoners to buy small TVs for their cells. Or, you could just take them out all together and let the chips fall as they may.

But the absolute WRONG thing to do, is to punish everybody for the actions of a few!

Three Rivers, 3-17-19