Peacefully times are short lived in prison. Just when you begin to feel safe and ok with your situation, something happens to put you back in the fear. That’s what they want…inciting fear and uncertainty is a psychological torture that helps the prison administration keep the population under control. “Prison is punishment, not a vacation. It’s not our job to make shit easy for the inmates.”~ words spoken to me by a prison official.
I’m not suggesting that the administration make things easy for anyone, but I believe that making things more difficult, out of spite, is unnecessary. The punishment of prison is to remove someone from their freedom to do as they please. Neglect, harassment, and abuse is NOT a part of the punishment of being in prison.
Our recent issues with communication through JPay (which I believe is not a coincidence) has forced us to go back to snail mail. As much as I personally enjoy old fashioned letter writing, in Ky’s situation I much prefer instant communication. Letters take time. It takes 3 or 4 days for me to get what he sends, and it takes longer for his to receive what I send, if it makes it through the mail room screening at all. Letters going out of the prison do not get screened at all, which is probably why I was able to get these:
….I’ve been trying to say out of trouble. There is a CERT officer here, Mr. Blash. He’s been harassing me and follows me every time I leave the building. When he’s not around the other CERT officers, he flirts with the girls and tries to pick fights with the boys. The other day, he tried to pick a fight with “K.D.”, he was snatching on him and shit. “K.D” went to lock down, but they let him out a few hours later cause he didn’t do anything wrong. I saw him messing around with “Drama” the other day too. I don’t know what’s wrong with this guy, but he better keep his hands off me. Someone says he came from a men’s prison and he don’t know how to handle people. I just know that he’s nasty as hell. They need to do something about this man before somebody gets hurt…
A few days later, I get this:
…Things are really hard right now. They made a computer list which puts me at the bottom everyday so I don’t have access to the computer very much. When I told the officer that we had a video visit, she told me that I would have to tell you to reschedule it for another time. They aren’t supposed to do that. Even if the visit is during lockdown hours, they are supposed to let you have it cause your family is who schedules it, not the inmates. I’m sorry I missed our visit…Please be careful what you say in your letters, emails and visits. They are checking my stuff really hard right now…
…baby, that man tried to put his hands on me. He tried to lock me down at 11 am but they let me out at 4pm because they had no reason to hold me. A lot of the officers here mistreat us, cuss at us, harass us, but this man uses unnecessary force. This place is a mess. I’m filing grievances this week .
the next day
…. Is it possible for you to send me the address of (prison advocate), or try to get in touch with her? The office refused to give me any grievance forms. I had to get someone from another dorm to give them to me. Then the officer refused to let me see the councilor to get the grievance signed. They can’t do that! These people are pissed that we know how to file grievances now, and they are trying to stop it. The CERT officer is still bothering me and the other boys. How can I document this if the prison won’t let me get the forms signed?…
They are still giving me the run around about seeing the Endo Dr. I’ve been so worried about the CERT guy that I haven’t really pushed. I need the HRT, but I’m worried that Mr. Blash will find out about me trying to transition and make life hell for me. … It doesn’t matter, I’m not going to let a stupid ass bully keep me from doing what I gotta do. …
I just got your email and well I have done everything I can about the issue that I am having with this officer. I have gone through the chain of command and I have even tried to file several grievances which the counselor refuse to sign, so I will be writing (an advocate friend) and the other lawyer to see what they can do about it. I have witnesses and they still refuse to deal with this man who continues to harass me. I know my rights and I will not stop until they do something. … Baby I am trying my best to stay out of trouble but I just can not go outside of this dorm without him harassing me and threatening to send me to lock down. I am going to write you and explain it to you in detail at a later time. …
...Oh yeah I am growing my hair back, maybe I wont catch so much h*ll if I have hair. …have you been getting my emails? I just want you to know that I am doing okay just tired of this place and I am missing you dearly. Just try to relax and not take things so personal and don’t let that little thing bother you and get you upset. We have things to do so just be smart about this situation that I am dealing with. I will write you what you need to know with instruction and how I want it taken care of. There is a chain of command that you will have to go through too. So I guess you will have to talk to someone at DOC to see if they can fix the problems that I am having. I will write you and put it in the box in the morning so you can call the people sometime next week maybe. I love you say sweet and be safe out there. Oh yeah I got my books yesterday so now I am waiting on my clothing package. TTYL
All of this has been going on since before Christmas. I didn’t receive these letters until the beginning of Jan. which means, for whatever reason, he held onto them until after the holidays. As of this moment, nothing has changed. Ky is now changing his behavior ( staying in the dorm during yard calls, and growing out his hair) in order to avoid being harassed by this man. Silly as it may sound, I think the thing that bothers me the most is the fact that he is growing out his hair. Ky takes a lot of pride in his hair… for 4 years, he has risked going to lockdown every time he cuts it. The Warden does inspections every day…she sees his hair every time he cuts it. Clearly, his self expression as a man matters more to him than Warden Grant’s ridiculous 2 inch length requirement. The fact that Ky is growing his hair out to avoid being targeted by 1 person, tells me that he is experiencing far more than just harassment from this officer.
I’ve spent days on the phone, trying to get answers, or some explanation… but they usually hang up on me, or put me on hold and never return. I really hope these people don’t force me to take matter into my own hands. I guess exposing their Murder Dr. wasn’t enough bad press. I have no problem with eviscerating Pulaski and Warden Grant’s administration in a very public forum.