Sunday, December 27, 2020

Boredom in Protective Custody


12-13-2020 Sunday

I’ve had to go a circuitous route the past two weeks to get my messages out of E-Dorm, Wing three, the “Protective Management Unit.” Nineteen cells, 37 prisoners, yours truly in the only one-man cell. I suppose my age — 30 years older than most of the other  inhabitants. Being targeted by a vicious mail clerk who likes to censor my emails forces me to hand write letters to Libby to translate into legible text. I have my email tablet but  the Gestapo refuses to recharge back here. My battery is down to 16%, limiting my production.

I’ve sent several messages out already, but with the snail mail delays, we are doing what we can to get the news out.

I’m fine physically, the two stab wounds healed, almost invisible scars. Just thankful that the one missed my jugular vein. I got several notes from the culprits, asking forgiveness, asking me not to identify them, saying they were sorry. Actually, I could not identify them. It happened so fast, they ran, I chased them, saw them only from the back as I chased them out of the building. The five surveillance cameras got the entire incident in color, and several inmates immediately identified them to the guards when it happened. They don’t need me.

This past Thursday, December 10, my late father’s birthday, he would have been 92, two guards woke me to go on a medical trip to the prison hospital at RMC — Lake Butler, to see the oncologist, Dr. Roy Montoya. He is a “contract doctor,” has a practice in Jacksonville, I believe, and comes to the prison hospital for consultations. I was supposed to see him a year ago. I suppose Covid-19 interrupted things, but now we’re back in the program. I also have  a colonoscopy and MRI in my future.

A three-hour drive in a prison van, north on I-95 from Daytona, I rubbernecked all the normal occurrences in free society, traffic jams, rude drivers, malls, gas stations, stores and people! none of them wearing prison uniforms. Schools, buses, semi-trucks, ambulances.

On the trip north, the two transport guards drove through the “Dunkin” drive-thru, nothing for me, but I got to see how it works. Very efficient. On the way back, they stopped at Zaxbys, which was another new experience.

I’ve had big problems getting my personal and legal property. I am pursuing a lawsuit against the FDOC, with an imminent filing deadline, and agents for the Defendant, the prison system, have hamstrung my efforts to win this suit. I am documenting everything.

No visits, no phone calls. Most difficult for me is being deprived of hearing my dear wife’s voice during our phone calls.

I did not ask for this protective custody. I did not ask for an upcoming transfer to some distant prison. I would rather go to Union C.I., Raiford, an “over 50” prison. The state classification officer in the Department of Corrections Central Office in Tallahassee has the final say. Any friends willing to call that person and lobby for a decent prison, not some distant hell hole, would be appreciated. Couldn’t hurt.

I call this “protective management” wing the debtors’ prison. Most of the inhabitants bought drugs on credit, couldn’t pay up, “checked in” for protection. Some are snitches, dodging knives. A few are gays trying to get off the compound and its pressures. I’m the only one in my situation.

Some funny occurrences — at Lake Butler I was walking down halls, finished, looking at inmates  on the benches, trying to find someone I knew — no one. A young female guard standing at the door asked, “Where you going, Norman?” She couldn’t see my ID card under my jacket.

I asked, “You know me?”

She smiled, said, “Everybody knows you, Norman.”

Coming back from Lake Butler, being escorted from Medical to E-Dorm, this usually obnoxious female sergeant walked up, standing in front of us. I’ve never said ten words to her. I usually avoid the officers, but she said, “I just wanted to see how my Norman is doing. You all right, Mr. Norman?”

I said yes, thank you for your concern. Three more female officers came over and extended their regrets for my situation.

Limited stamps, envelopes, and paper hinder my communications. If you have any questions, mail them: Charles Norman #881834, Tomoka C.I., 3950 Tiger Bay Rd., Daytona Beach, FL 32124.


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