The Instigator

Posted: July 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m at the Jackson Correctional Institution (JCI), a facility in the Wisconsin Prison System (WPS).  My apologies to those who have been bored by me writing about what’s going on with my status with the Program Review Committee (PRC).  But a lot of prison life is spent trying to get to a minimum security facility with the eventual goal of getting out.  So my struggles with this PRC issue are very relevant.  Not the most exciting but it’s reality.  Another thing I’ve been asked about, if you haven’t figured this out already, new entries into this blog, can be a month to 2 months behind.  It takes time to write them (I so miss Microsoft Word), mail them and for my sponsors to get them up.  Only once has the order of entries changed and that was for the entry Cadillac Health Care because of its relevancy to the moment.  I welcome and want feedback so keep it coming.  Your e-mails are sent to me and my reply, if required, will be sent back to you via e-mail.

Now that the housekeeping is out of the way, my unit at Oxbow has undergone some changes since my arrival.  Regardless of who is here, inmates have ways short of physical violence of establishing a pecking order among them.  One of the popular ways is when 2 inmates walk past each other, one inmate intentionally refuses to give room for the other inmate to walk by, causing that inmate to either overcompensate in giving room there by clearly demonstrating for all to see they were deferring to the other.  The inmates might exchange a look after they walk by but then, except in the memory of each of the inmates involved, its over.  To escalate it any further is a certain trip to the hole and devastating for inmates like me who are striving to get to a minimum security facility.  It’s happened to me before. I came up with a technique that works well to handle this if I see the other inmate preparing to do this to me.  I either bend down making it look like I’m tying my shoe or I stop walking altogether.  If the other inmate keeps going they will either trip or have to walk around me to keep from visibly hitting me.  What I won’t do is react, regardless of what happens.  My goal is to get out of here, so I can move on with my life.  If it means some inmate is going to get the best of me in this situation, fine with me.  I won’t remember what the inmate did after I’ve been released.

But you can imagine my surprise when over the last couple of days, a lot of black and Mexican inmates began employing this technique towards me.  The level and frequency of the hostility really took me by surprise.  I usually get along with just about everyone here.  I observed on particular black inmate attempting to get a Mexican inmate to no longer associate with white inmates.  This same inmate employed the intimidation technique I described above, but also would “accidentally” hit my chair leg when walking by and “accidentally” knock over my bowl when I’m at the microwave.  He was clearly the instigator or so I thought.  I began to think long and hard about how I was going to deal with him.  I mentioned what was happening to Freddy and he told me what was going on.  It seems an inmate who recently got here, I’d seen around doing maintenance work and occasionally talked to me was quite open about his membership to the Aryan Brotherhood, a racist gang with a large prison presence.  He had, from what I was told, had gotten 2 other inmates to join him and they shaved their heads just like him.  I was also told he had used a racial slur on the basketball court causing a group of blacks to confront him.  It just so happens that I also shave my head and have done so for over 12 years but I have nothing to do anything with the Brotherhood.  I simply had a receding hairline for crying out loud!  Anyway, the Instigator claims he heard him use a racial slur and confronted him right in front of the guard station.  The guards in response, cleared the dayroom (which I know), and warned both.  But this is why the Instigator and other inmates of color reacted the way they did towards me.  They assumed I was one of them.  I didn’t know because I try to not get into things that don’t involve me.  I’m not sure how I’m going to handle this.  But the tension level as it is, I’m also sure this story isn’t over.  As for me, my eyes stay on my long term goal of freedom and I’m going to resist getting wrapped up in this. 

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