Saturday, April 15, 2006

March 20, 2006

Dear Sis~
Today is the Vernal Equinox, the first day of Spring, and coincidentally, we just went on quarterly lockdown. For the next 2-3 weeks the entire prison will be locked down while the shakedown crew roams from cellblock to cellblock, searching everybody's cell. This exercise in futility occurs every 90 days and is a monumental waste of time that does nothing to improve security. From a prison security perspective, there's nothing more stupid than to announce, ahead of time, that you're going to conduct a shakedown on a certain date(s). About as effective as drying ice with a towel. All it does is give prisoners time to securely stash, or discard, their contraband until the storm blows over. Luckily for this administration, though, this is a very low-key joint. There's nothing really going on here - no killings, no gang activity, no real drug activity - and the only real "contraband" is nickel & dime stuff that wouldn't even constitute contraband in most prisons. I've been in my share of hard core, old school gladiator prisons where everyone is strapped down (carrying a knife) and violence is a daily occurrence, where wine and dope is rampant and contraband means a gun, hacksaw blade, bolt cutters, machete or heroin. Places like that are a slice of the devil's pie. This joint is soft as cotton candy in comparison to say, Florida State Prison, or the Rock (Raiford). But, there's something to be said for living in a joint where you don't have to sleep with a shank under your pillow, and where they're not carrying bloody bodies down to the clinic every day...
Did I tell you that we got a new warden a couple of weeks ago? This warden is a female, and the consistent response, when I ask the guards what she is like, is "she's a real hard ass", or words to that effect (usually the description isn't that polite). Of course, that's from the guards' perspective which does not necessarily correlate to our perspective. The guards might resent her simply because she's making them actually do their jobs (she's demanding that the cellblocks be kept clean and spotless, for example) as well as the fact that she's a female. Corrections is historically a male-dominated industry with a lot of macho (and misogynistic) sensibilities. All I know is that, so far, she hasn't done anything to cause me any grief...
OK, Sis, I'm signing off. Give the doggies a big hug for me!
Love & Peace, Bill

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