Chapter 10. Authority-Conflict (Grievance)

For some unknown reason, to me, as soon as we enter the confines of being imprisoned those officers become our enemy!  I never knew or cared about any correctional officers prior to my experience of being jailed except for my father.  When I first ended up in county, my father was called to come get me.  Over thirty years later, I would come to the same way, this time no father to rescue me, but there were some officers who remembered my father and we spoke and got along well.  In fact, my last bid I met an officer who went to school with my first ex-wife, who I was introduced to by another inmate who grew up with them, too; whom I met because I questioned him after hearing his last name which was familiar.  It did not matter if a man, or woman, wore an orange jumpsuit or blue uniform, or even a white shirt of the officer’s supervisor.  They were there doing a job, paying their bills and providing for their families.  How would I, “hate the police”?  This, to me, is foolish and if you are entering into the system with this attitude, you no doubt will have more than your share dealing with those put in authority over you.

One of the most discouraging instances of this hatred and pure stupidity occurs while in the rec-rooms, when shows featuring, “cops” are aired and the bad guy is cheered when he tries to get away; or, when watching the news and a report is aired of a police officer losing his life in the performance of duty!  That officer leaves behind the same child you do, the same wife, hopes and dreams you have.  What makes the difference between us?  We are all human, have feelings and at the end of the day, wish to go home even if it means after a 1-to-3 or 20-to-life or 9-to-5 shift.

Certainly, there are some bad officers just as there are bad inmates and should both be addressed when either step out of place, but while you’re here and just because you do not get what you believe you should get, and it does not cause you bodily harm, why go through the aggravation of writing a grievance?  I’ve been in some situations where the unit wanted to grieve a particular guard who seemed to have a fondness for shaking down cells.  Personally, I don’t care.  If he finds something I should not have, take it; however, I would not agree to put my name on a list of the other grieving inmates due to the mere fact there is power in numbers.  Want to see numbers?  Watch what happens when the pin is pulled and you are on the wrong side!

My goal has been whenever I found myself incarcerated to just do my time.  Make it as enjoyable as I can with what is given me, and what I do not have, I am content to do without.  My time here is temporary and not a life-long career.  My focus is on what is going on inside of me, not outside these confines given me.

There have been many occasions when I did not like the way I was treated or spoken to while in the company of my unit, but I had to learn not to take things personally.  I have had guards tell me they hate the kind of inmate I am because if the unit were full of me, they would not have a job!  To me, it’s a compliment.  I spend my time trying to get along so I can get along with the reason why I am in this situation in the first place.  I have gone through the thoughts of wanting to hurt a guard when I’m free, and then wonder where that thought came from because this is not a part of my character, at all.

Something else you need to consider are those civilians who suddenly develop a lot of bravado because they have the protection of the correction’s officers if you are disrespected by one of them and let them know how you feel.  The key is, “how ‘you’ feel”.  It’s not how they feel.  Learn to express your feelings properly and respectfully and often even quietly.  It is, “your feelings” and do not think for a moment everyone should feel the way you do, or care.

Each and every one of us is here for a reason and we need to spend more time focused on those reasons without the creation of others we really do not need to have.  Respect those in authority even when those in authority do not respect you.  Never allow your peace be affected by someone who does not know you or care to do so.  Your reward will come in other ways.

Chapter 11


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