THE SHU and CHECK-INS
Hey y'all. Well most of you are aware that I'm no longer at Three Rivers. I'm now at FCI Hazelton in West Virginia. I want to update you on everything that has happened to facilitate this move, but there is so much to tell that I will have to do it in several different postings ... don't want you buttheads to fall asleep on me here. I'll start with my 4 months stint in the SHU (shoe), the Hole.
First let me tell you there is no such thing as a nice-time in the SHU, just isn't. The SHU is designed for punishment and some overpaid, underworked bureaucrat has incorrectly decided that punishment is best meted out in the practice of taking everything they can from you - to deny you any creature comforts. Though this practice is prevalent throughout the system it is used to maximum affect in the SHU. Now most of the Guards will, correctly, tell you that the SHU is what it is because the people who go there, are in some fashion "RULE Breakers," I repeat, they are mostly correct in this. They will also tell you that the SHU is full of "Check-ins", this too is correct - it is.
The "Check in" is a different breed of person.
When a person "Checks-in" what they are doing is removing themselves from the prison yard, the prison population and willingly checking into the SHU; the SHU is isolation. They accomplish this by telling Staff that they, "can't be in population because they fear for they're life". If they use these exact words the guards are compelled, by civil law, to protect them by isolating them from the danger, the other prisoners - i.e., the SHU. It is a well intended rule. However, some people have taken advantage of this well intended safeguard. Now you have folks running up a $1000.00 drug debt they can't pay and then checking-in right before they get they're ass handed to 'em. Then they are transferred - go to the next yard and repeat the process ... why do the guards allow this practice? Well, if a guy goes to the guards and says that he fears for his life and guards DON'T put him in the SHU, AND he subsequently gets seriously injured or even killed - the prison guard who refused him protection is open to a very serious Civil Liability by someone like my son - the greatest personal injury attorney on the planet (marcocrawfordlaw.com). Because to not protect someone in danger when you have the capacity to do so is the very definition of, "Gross Negligence". The guards are not here to pass personal judgements against the character of said persons, that is the job of a Psychologist, not a prison guard ... they are here to, protect and serve, even if the guy they are protecting is a piece of shit. My point is not only to give you a little education concerning prison but make my point, which is, with the increased influx of drugs now in the system - lots of folks are strung-out and a lot of them get strung-out and check-in, bringing me to my point - the SHU is full, all of the them, nation wide, this makes them even more uncomfortable.
To counter this overcrowding, and sometimes just out of meanness, Staff has made the SHU terrible; Staff is trying to make the SHU so uncomfortable that people will only check-in with valid reasons ... what they fail to understand is that a junkie is a junkie, he or she cannot help but to keep getting drugs, even if they cannot pay for them. And to a man who owes a large debt to any one of the gangs that are in prison, it IS a life or death problem. So if you think you can discourage them by making the SHU uncomfortable you are mistaken. Yet, Staff continues this folly; they have taken everything they can take from us, and the cons who aren't check-ins, are paying the price. Staff does not see this point, nor do they care.
FOOD IN THE SHU
For instance the food in the SHU at Three Rivers, like all facilities is run on a budget, and with the SHU full to capacity there is barely enough food to keep you upright. In fact it is so sparse that one day the SHU guards got pissed of over the lack of food and actually took pictures of what we'd been given and sent that picture to the Warden ... the food was better for a week or so, then back to slim pickin's.
In or out of the SHU the guards are required to do regular counts of the inmates. In the SHU the cell doors are always locked so they will walk the hallway and count us through the window in the cell door. Which means that they need the windows clear so they can see in ... so, yep, the most affective way to protest is to cover the windows so they can't see inside the cell. So, when the food portions became unbearable, the guys covered the windows. Well, on the day they began to do this, it just so happened that the Hospital Administrator just happened to be doing a walk-through ... of course she asked through the door WHY the windows were blocked, the guy she asked told her about the FACT that we were not getting enough food to eat; we were all hungry! I don't know if she believed what she had heard, but to her credit she went to the SHU guards and asked to see one of the extra trays for confirmation ... sure enough, she blew a fuse and took it up the chain of command and from that point on we were getting fair portions.
RECREATION IN THE SHU
In the SHU we are supposed to get an hour of Recreation time, outside our cells, five days a week; we seldom got all five days due to things outside the SHU's control. The SHU staff tried to give us as much time as they could, but with Covid and the normal prison BS we often missed Rec. time.
When allowed to go to Recreation we would strip down to our boxers and do out workouts ... fresh air and sunshine, something a lot of us forget to be thankful for. The SHU is a great reminder. But, not everybody goes to Recreation, in fact, some of the guys back there never go to Recreation, others, like me, go at every opportunity.
One of the guys back there was a friend of mine named Pablo; he and I had been in the same cell block, good youngster, one of those guys who are always smiling. Anyway, one day out of nowhere, Pablo goes to Rec. We all strip down to our boxers, it's a hot morning. All of a sudden some of his homeboys start hollering at Pablo and ribbing him about his weight ... then it dawned on us, that somehow, Pablo, in spite of the fact that we were all underfed, had actually gained weight!! "What the HELL," everybody was saying. Pablo just smiled and lowered his head in the way of a humble man he is. With all the ribald comments his cellie finally spoke up and explained ... you see, Pablo has lots of money and he was buying the food from the short timers, people only back there for a few days, he was paying outrageous prices, like twenty dollars for the 4th of July meal alone. We all had a good laugh, must be nice to be rich :)
In the SHU you cannot buy coffee... well you can if your rich; a $3.65 bag of coffee costs $75.00 back there. Yes, you are correct, I could have paid that, but I didn't. How would I explain to my kids I spent $75.00 of THEIR money on a vice like coffee? ... But about two weeks after I got locked up in the SHU Pablo bought me a two day supply of Columbian Coffee and sent it up to me, and another friend called Bronco sent me 18 single packs of coffee ... AND ... I heard from one of the guys on the bus, that he'd actually ORDERED me a full $75.00 bag. WOW!! I was very grateful, neither of them would let me pay them back ... yeah, it's nice to have people who care about you.
The point to all this is that due to some bad rules and some bad administration and some bad habits, the SHU has become worse and worse. My time back there was not nice. Perdurabo.
One other piece of info on food in the FBOP: the food at the Oklahoma Transfer Center was amazing; thought I'd died and went to heaven - but reality has set in here at FCI Hazelton where we get barely enough to eat, not enough actually. In fact I've been hungry since the day I got off the bus and trust me, I'm eating everything they serve us, even the bread. Point: all prisons are allotted the same money per head count, so there is no excuse to not feed a decent meal, it is a matter of administration.
Yes we have a store here but I arrived late and missed it and the next opportunity to go will be in two weeks, roughly.
Next I will tell you about the men I shared a cell with and some of the books I was forced, out of necessity to read. Also, I want to give you a heads up that in the near future I will not be posting these stories on FB, but will notify you instead that they can be read on my Blog site and my Homepage, only; I was told that FB is not really the proper forum for stories ... hell! I didn't know! :) Old bastard never even been on the internet!
Until then, Peace Be With You. All
Bruceton Mills, 8-23-22