Monday, February 18, 2013


DAY NINETEEN: Prison Diary January 21, 2013 Solitary Confinement Okaloosa C.I., Crestview, FL

Forget what I said about the kitchen workers looking out for their homeboys in confinement by doing a good job on the meal trays. I should have kept my mouth shut. They must have hired a new crew, or a harsher supervisor, for the food rapidly went downhill in quality and quantity, where it stays. This morning we had cold, rubbery pancakes (2) and a half-serving of cold, gummy, tasteless oatmeal with perhaps a teaspoon of sugary water that is supposed to be syrup. We get a half-cup of “juice,” which is actually some severely watered-down mess, pinkish color – if you can see through it, you know what happened. The workers mix just a little in the containers and steal the rest, to sell or drink themselves later. They add half a cup of some white milk substitute, tasteless, that looks like someone mixed a couple of packets of non-dairy coffee reamer in cold water. Someone said it was “soy,” but only “CSI” could know for sure. I have lost over ten pounds in 19 days, so there is some side benefit.

Yesterday, the 20th, was supposed to be the Presidential Inauguration in Washington, D.C. I suppose that went off as planned. You couldn’t tell it by me! We are totally cut off from the world, sensory and news deprivation. On Sunday night, every hour or so a guard would come by like the old town criers, calling out the NFL playoff scores: “Rams 28 Patriots 13,” “49’ers 28, Dirty Birds 24,” or we would have never known who was going to the Superbowl, either. In prison, there’s a lot more interest in football than presidents, although I don’t think any football team has ever drawn half a million people to one of their games.

Today is the Martin Luther King Holiday. No one knows when his actual birthday is anymore. No special occasion in prison. Hard, cold biscuits (stale) at lunch. There used to be token celebrations and a special meal, but over time the prison system has purged itself of any semblance of celebration. Why not? They stripped away most f the recognition for the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays. The only thing that’s left is they still allow an extra family visiting day on those holidays.

“An Immigrants View of America from Outside”

A few days ago I recounted the views of a young Haitian prisoner back here in “the box,” concerning being in prison. Now I will share what he shared about how life was in Haiti before coming to America, and how he was greeted:

“I was a little jit in Haiti when Mama died. My daddy went to America to find a job. We kids all stayed with Grandmama. We didn’t have nothing. Hungry. I missed my daddy. We never got no letter. He couldn’t read or write.

There was a TV somebody had, and I never seen nothing like that. America. This show, a white boy was riding down a street in America throwing newspapers in people’s yards. He had a job! And the houses! All nice houses, pretty, with yards and grass. I never seen no grass in Haiti. The ground is like concrete. And the food! All these white people was sitting at a big table eating. It was covered in food! Food! Them people was eating all they wanted. America! I said, we gotta go there.

My daddy got married. My stepmom was American. He was gonna send for us. Haitians told us, watch out for them Americans when you get to Miami. They don’t like Haitians. They go around in gangs and beat up Haitians. They was talking about black people! We called them Americans. They wasn’t Haitians. But when we got there, we was in the projects, and all around me all I saw was black faces. I mean black faces. Haitians. You see how black I am? They call me “Black.” It was mostly all Haitians in the projects. I didn’t speak no English. You didn’t have to. I wanted to go to school, so I learned it. I got jumped on by this one American didn’t like me, but I fought back. Now I’m in here. It’s not so bad. I don’t get no letters, or write nobody, ‘cause nobody in my family can read or write. My daddy can’t read or write English or Haitian. My sister can – she’s gonna be a flight attendant! A good job. Wish I had a good job.”


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