Chapter 15. Population Finally

October 11th was the day I was told to pack up my meager belongings and prepare to join “Population”.  I was given the normal khaki jumpsuit, no longer handcuffed to be moved about the facility, no longer stripped-searched upon leaving and entering this unit.  I was looking forward to watching television, particularly CNN and being able to interact with people.  Surely I will find some English speaking individuals.

Instead of being brought back to Unit 1C, where all new persons go, where I went my first night, I was taken to Unit 2A and given a room assignment.  Although I did not understand the Spanish my new roommate spoke, it was clear he had other plans and arranged it with the Unit Officer to have me switched with someone else.  This was fine with me because when I entered into the room I saw scantily-clad pictures of women on the door and I did not want to have to see on a daily basis as I continued fighting in my struggle to overcome my sin of lust, and the room where I ended up was clean from such photography.

Victor, a Puerto Rican, about my age with a willingness to try and learn English and teach me Spanish, became the ideal roommate, except for his need to smoke, in the room, when “lockup” for the night was called, otherwise, he smoked in the area designated.  Although never finished school, tried to better himself taking GED courses, wrote his fiancée every day for the almost five years he was here, facing a twelve year sentence for drug and gun convictions.  A man, very humbled, albeit with little if any regard to having any religious background, made it easier for me by providing those things I needed like a bowl, snacks and general understanding of the rules until I became adjusted to the new routine.

Another gentleman, Frank, also befriended me while I was in “The Hole” and we were placed in a holding cell while awaiting our separate court appearances.  He had been released recently after doing a major sentence; I believe he said 18 years.  He was 50 years old having spent 31 of them behind bars.  He was on probation less than six months when re-arrested and now given a term of 17 years!  He confided, he was unable to adapt to living outside and felt comfortable being inside the walls.  Life had changed too much for him on the outside to the point of when having to pump his own gas and not understanding how to do so!  In fact, he was shocked and spun around quickly when he heard a voice explaining the procedure not knowing he was under observation the whole time and someone inside the station was using intercom speakers mounted close by.  He commented his family were the men behind bars, since it was all he knew and planned, when he was eventually released the next time, being about 65 years old, to build a cell in his house.  He’d lock himself in at night and will feel at “home”!  If someone else would have said this, I’d though they were joking, but not Frank.  I think he was very serious.  I joked with him and said “so when it is time for you to use the bathroom, what will you do? go up and down the street making the announcement and invite people to sit with you to give you the impression you’re still inside?!”  He laughed thinking it was a good joke; but, in truth, it’s sad to even consider one’s life having fallen so low.

Frank mentioned having seen a newspaper article on my arrest a week after it happened and knew who I was because of my first name.  He said when I got out of “The Hole” try to be assigned to Unit 2A where he was, a good unit and quite a few English speaking people.  Frank looked black but was in fact Puerto Rican and having spent so many years in the States, behind bars, was bilingual with no accent whatsoever.

When he saw me entering the Unit he brought me to his cell and gave me soap, comb, cup, paper, envelopes, a pen and stamps.  Out of the blue he told me to write my wife because “she doesn’t know where and how you are.”

I took this word to be a message from God.  During the first month, I became comfortable with not facing my fears regarding her, leaving her with God; but, I became convicted it was time to face the fear.  I could not have the excuse of “ignoring” her, in the name of the Lord, because it wasn’t what the Lord meant when He said for me to give her to Him the second night I was there.  I could not call her because my phone list had not been established.  No one up to this point bothered to explain to me and in “The Hole”, the orientation manual was in Spanish.  With great hesitancy I wrote her explaining why I could not write or call previously and I loved her and I was fine.  I found out the day for visitation and asked her to please see me as well as send some money to purchase my necessary things.  I felt uneasy about writing her not knowing her feelings, just remembering her last words of wanting to divorce me.  It felt good to release all my struggles when I released that letter into the mailbox, not knowing what to expect. There was a certain comfort of facing the unknown because I was trusting God at this point in my experience with her.

When I arrived in the unit I was grateful to see a portable shelving unit with six racks of books.  I took two books and proceeded to enjoy them and I did.  It reminded me of the time when I was locked up and there were several guys whose family would send them the newest novels to read and I would spend entire nights reading when it was quiet and then sleep half the day which made the time go quickly.  Now, I had many to choose from.  My roommate was amazed at my reading appetite, often reading a complete novel and beginning another each day.  I did set aside time to read two chapters a day of Scripture.

I was also grateful to find in the chapel a few English titles of self-help.  I selected one and decided to add it to my daily morning devotion of prayer and two chapters of Scripture.  I began to have a regimen that worked for me.

I was a little disappointed when I learned you needed to have earphones and a digital walkman the Commissary provided in order to listen to the television.  It made sense since there were four televisions mounted on the wall in such close proximity.  No way could one hear what was being watched or the guard if they wanted to make an announcement.  However, I decided since I had a good selection of books, I really didn’t need to be bothered watching the television since they were mostly commandeered by the majority of Spanish speaking inmates, with one television set aside for English.  I found in the morning the majority of inmates did not get up for breakfast and I could get the English television to myself and watch CNN and read the ticker or lip read the talking heads.  So, for the most part I was able to keep up with current events.  News was also provided via two newspapers, one in English, two copies each.  Being few English readers, there was not so great a demand to secure one.

My prayer-life began to develop into something I needed in this new lifestyle.  I decided to spend time in the chapel, located within the unit and three times daily, after meals, make my way there to pray.  I began to notice a wonderful trend.  My prayer-time came alive.  Sometimes a whole hour would pass and it would seem just minutes.  I looked forward to the time especially after breakfast and God began to require it.              Normally, I would secure the television after breakfast until God set up my schedule.  I had to make a choice:  prayer or CNN.  Prayer won.  It was during a prayer session God had me look out the glass enclosed chapel and notice the other inmates staring up at the various programming, videos, cartoons, etc., and He told me in no uncertain terms,

“I did not bring you here to watch television.  Spend time with Me.”

I would have another distraction which would pre-empt any time spent with God.  My time spent watching television and reading novels gave way to making money, an old and dear friend.

In this Unit an attorney was being held for a past probation violation and spent his days writing motions for the inmates.  I needed to use the typewriter and when he saw I knew my way around a keyboard asked if I would type his work and the guys would pay me by their commissary.  I would just tell them what I wanted.  After determining two dollars per page was adequate, I found myself making some serious prison money.  Typing motions ranging from three to four pages times three or four inmates, per day; I was earning more than the almost sixty dollars per month one could earn working at the institution.  I was pulling that much down in a week.  The night before commissary I would hand out my ordering request slips and the following day enjoy watching them, one by one, come to my cell dropping off the goodies.  My locker was packed, so much so, I had to give things away, and I did to those I noticed who did not have much of anything; but, I stayed loaded with potato chips, candy as well as hygiene supplies.  God would soon show His displeasure in this distraction, very shortly, by abruptly ending this.

I had another court appearance and on the way to the courthouse, the van stopped because one of the tires was flat.  While sitting and waiting for them to decide what to do, I looked over to a building I could see from my cell, as it was being constructed, and here I could get a better look and heard God ask me,

“Do you believe I can set you free today?”  I responded,

“Yes, of course, Lord.  I know You are able to do anything.  But, I don’t believe I will be set free today.”

When I arrived at court on October 25, 2002, I was ushered to the Pre-Trial office where I was first taken by the police officers who arrested me and here they were again meeting me to escort me back to the same office.  Apparently, during the time I had been there a legal requirement afforded me the opportunity to be released, the charges were dropped!  So many days had expired and the Prosecutor did not present to my attorney certain paperwork so the Judge dismissed the case “without” prejudice.  Meaning, I was free to go!  However, the agents were there to “re-arrest” me and begin the trial process over again!  Had the Judge dropped the case “with” prejudice I would have been on my way home!  God was right and I chose wrong.  He could and did free me that day, but because of unbelief, I would continue along this journey.  We have no idea of what is happening around us, at any time, in the spirit realm as well as on the human realm.  We do not know who is talking about us and how it may affect our lives.  When we hear God speaking to us, our responsibility is always to answer in the affirmative, TRUSTING Him.

I received a letter from Mayra.  I did not know what to expect from her but what I did receive there was no way I could have been prepared.  It was not because her letter was hurtful, because it was not.  It was kind, yet I did not deserve her kindness.  She made me aware she was hurt but the time separated had been good for her and she was glad to know I was okay.  She mentioned having thought long on our situation and believed it best to divorce. I could not argue with her reasoning. She had trouble with my reasons for trying to keep our marriage intact.  She planned a vacation to visit her son in North Carolina, over the Thanksgiving holiday, but prior to leaving planned to visit me.

There was a text God gave me, I believe, for this situation.  I added it to the ones I recited every morning during my prayer-time.  It is:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love cast out all fear, because fear hath torment.  The man who fears, his love has not been perfected.”

—1 John 4:18

Although I feared my marriage was ending, I needed not to be afraid to approach her, not only as my wife, but because I loved her and there should not be any fear where she is concerned.  Later, I learned I was using this verse inappropriately and it was not intended to explain human love relationships but the love between God and man.  However, this would not become clear until November 12, 2003 a whole year later.  God began to make it clear, then, what would come into reality later, but for the tenderness of my heart, He had to take me through steps in order to accomplish this feat.

One afternoon while having my prayer-time in the chapel, I believe God spoke to me and asked me if I were ready to teach again.  I refrained from getting involved in any services or bible studies, for one, they were mostly in Spanish and second, because I did not want to fall into the trap I did the first time spending an inordinate amount of time looking after the religious and spiritual affairs of others when I needed to spend this time for myself, yet, when asked if I were ready to teach again, feeling God was approving of my growth, I jumped at the opportunity to share my faith, and answered in the positive I would be glad to begin teaching again.

After leaving the chapel I ventured outside to the recreational yard, something I normally did not do for any great length of time, maybe for less than a minute or two.  I did not like the fact being surrounded with walls and not see outside, only hearing traffic and seeing the sky by looking upward through the bars, fencing and razor wire there to prevent me from going any further, so to keep myself from being teased of what was going on out there, I kept my focus on where I was—inside here, besides, there was no air-conditioning there and I had no desire to play sports or be around those who needed to smoke.  Yet this one time I was drawn to go there and noticed the sound of a bird I could not see.  While staring up trying to discover the whereabouts of this bird, another inmate moved into my personal space, looking upwards asked me in English, “did you see where it went?”  God used a bird, we could not find, to engage us in a discussion which led to religious subjects.  He was from the Netherlands and had an accent I thought delightful to the ear, at least different from the Spanish I’d become accustomed to hearing and I began sharing some points to counter his arguments and caused him to raise his thinking.  He was so impressed with what he heard he called a friend of his, a dreadlock brother, also a native of his country, introducing me to him in these words,

“Gerri, listen to this guy.  He’s explaining things I have always wondered, and he’s making me to see it so clearly.”

I knew the Holy Spirit was leading because I could feel His presence as I have felt His presence before.  Having not spoken about Christian themes since speaking to Jose, while in “The Hole” a month before, and even before that for many years, I was glad.  It felt as though not one day passed when I taught in prison as an inmate in 1997-98 and before then in New York, as a prison chaplain prior to 1985.  I was back in my element—rather, where God wanted me, in His element.  I invited them and they agreed and thus began our Bible Study in Unit 2A.

The first evening after we prayed I invited them to ask whatever questions they would like answers. I noticed the first inmate I met was not prepared nor ready to hear the words, so what was needed, for the time, was more concentration on Gerri, so while being spiritually led, told the first inmate God was going to move him because He was not ready to hear but the next person he met would take him through a process of study better suited for him than what I would be able to do.  The following day, he was assigned a different unit!  I had been given a prophetic word for him and Gerri needed some one-on-one time because of the issues in his life.

When I first saw Gerri in the Unit I ignored him as I would other Rastafarian-types, because of my prejudice of their dreadlocks, unshaven faces and floppy hats,  although there was a certain innocence with Gerri, a devout vegetarian, Sabbath-keeper and one who fasted often.  He suffered greatly because of an unscriptural relationship with a woman who gave birth to his child, not to discount his Rastafarian ways and their relationship with smoking marijuana.  I could see how God was trying to reach him in his not yet thirty years of age, wanting him to redefine his purpose and reason for living.  Talking with him alone the second time, God gave me a method of teaching using the familiar hurricane season that was just ending, with the words,

“Why Are You Here?”

This message is based on the clear understanding if you do not see yourself in need, then you have no reason to reach out.  If you are not drowning there is no urgency to be rescued.  If a man does not equate himself as someone needing help from sin, there is no need for a Saviour.  You cannot give or offer anyone something they do not have a need for no matter if they need it desperately or not and they don’t know it.  You cannot create a need for them.  They have to come to realize they have a need and you are there only as a source to direct them to where they can have that need fulfilled.  It goes back to my prayer in 1987 when I asked God to prove Himself to me.  Why would He do so if I did not first see and understand my need for Him?  The years between then and now opened my eyes as to how much I “do need” Him, therefore my meeting Him carries a value far more important than just my meeting Him.  But, I first had to come to the knowledge of what it was I needed.

The next Sabbath God would demonstrate how this need should be a priority.  Gerri asked me to teach him about the Sabbath. Although he knew it was God’s day, he wanted more information to understand what it was he was doing and if he were doing it correctly.  It would also be the first weekend I would have an opportunity of seeing Mayra.

We agreed to do this in lieu of my visit.  We were scheduled for afternoon visits, Noon to 3:00 p.m. and like most inmates whose windows faced the parking area, I was perched in my window to see if I could see her when she arrived. After not seeing her for more than two months, I finally saw her approaching the building!  I was so excited and went to stand by the Officer’s desk to hear my name called as most inmates did in expectation of a visit and not wanting to miss or delay this privilege.  At Noon, I saw Gerri and mentioned who I saw and we would have to reschedule our talk for later.  Time ticked on and I was not worried because with more than one hundred and twenty inmates, it would take time to process all the families who would be arriving.

As more and more names were called and mine wasn’t, I became alarmed.  At two-thirty I began to lose hope of seeing her and at three, I knew it was over!  I was devastated for I had so much to share with her.  If she did not get in because something went wrong, what would be the chances of seeing her during the morning visit the following day? and with her leaving for North Carolina the same day?  I would not be able to see her for another month.  I called her house, the first time using the phone, and could not reach her.  I called my friend Don’s home in New York, but they would not accept the charges and I became alarmed because I didn’t understand why he would do that.  I had not written or received any letters to date from him so I thought maybe he was rejecting me because I was in prison and could not meet him and his wife at the airport as scheduled a month before being locked up.  Later, I learned they weren’t home and the kids were told not to make or accept any long distance calls but had they been told to do so from me, I would have made it through.  I called my brother Brian, who was very cold to me and asked him to call her to let her know I did see her and it was okay because I could see she tried and I would write her when she returned from vacation.  I learned later he never spoke to her and I decided not to try and call him again because of the cold rejection.  It was good he didn’t reach her for that would have given her a reason not to try the following day.

That night I received what I call my “spanking” from God.  I could not sleep in anticipation of the next day but I think more so out of frustration from the previous day when I heard Him speaking.  He asked me what day it was and I responded, the “Sabbath”.  Then He told me how I dared put Him second to my wife, after He instructed me to give Him my wife two months ago, and what if Gerri should die before I had time to tell him the truth I had been blessed to know.  Those who know are responsible for telling those who do not, and I failed—miserably, because I knew better.  Then He did the next thing I knew was coming, which I hate, and that was to fast.  The fast would be for two reasons, but in my own selfish will I got one mixed in with His requirement:

  1. To make Him first in my life
  2. To help overcome all addictions, impulses and compulsions,

And the one I added to His list believing He gave it to me:

3.  The restoration of my marriage. 

The fast would begin after the Friday evening meal and would end at the lunch meal on the Sabbath.  I added the condition the fast would terminate when the day came, when I was back with my wife and she invited me to have breakfast, in our home, on a Sabbath morning.

My problem was not being able to let her go.  Even when He would correct me, I still would hold onto her, not letting go.  In every way, she was going to be a part of what I did, because I wanted it, and God was trying to teach me otherwise, but it would be awhile before it would finally sink in.  So, beginning November 25, 2002, I began to fast and even it went through trials in order to accomplish it properly even to the date of writing this chapter a whole year later.

When I saw Gerri the following day, I apologized to him and during our next Bible Study explained how God dealt with me and how easy it is for someone who knew better to fall short even on as important a topic as the Sabbath.  After God spoke to me that night, He assured me I would see her the following day and I did.  My name was called shortly after 7:00a.m., the next morning.

Our visit after not seeing each other for more than two months was not without some strain.  For practically two hours I spoke non-stop, opening my heart, crying tears of sorrow and regret, hoping against fear our marriage and friendship would not survive.  It saddened me I was not with her on her birthday, as planned, and it appeared I would not be with her on our second anniversary either.

During this visit, she showed interest and compassion as she listened to what I believed was God’s intervention to save my life, as well as put into place a plan of action to honor my willingness to be saved from drug-addiction and corrupt sexual compulsions I struggled my whole life.  When the visit was over and we embraced, kissing, I felt a renewed reason to continue in this struggle not to give up for I had a wife who was waiting for me to finish what had been started.  Even though during the time we shared she made statements which were unsettled in her mind as well as the comment,

“Roy, you must have been looking for something,” which resulted in my being confined.  I had all the answers.  For those months, especially during the time in isolation, I had time to review, study and evaluate everything which took place, even to speculate upon which was not opened to the eye, in terms of my behavior and what I believed God was doing in my life.  Mayra agreed to see me the next visiting day in December and I looked forward to it.  I’ll state now, never a visiting weekend was ever missed by her except one.  Even if she were only permitted a few minutes, she never failed to be here and our relationship took some interesting turns as it evolved during my time of incarceration.  While she was in North Carolina visiting her son, Angelo and his wife, Yashira, with their newborn son, Jamel, she remembered me and went to the mall we visited two years before, when we got married, and purchased a much needed Bible for me.  It would be a gift I would treasure.  Cindy, my first wife bought me a Bible our first Christmas before we were married, and shortly after we were married and soon divorced, it became misplaced. I determined the same would not occur with this one.

My faith during this time began to flourish and develop into something tangible and I grasped it with both hands.  My prayer life became a real substantive part which occurred several times daily often exceeding an hour, a time which went unbelievably fast.  I was leaving the chapel one evening when the Chaplain came to conduct a service, the same chaplain who gave me the New Testament when in isolation, and he invited me to stay.  My objection was I did not understand Spanish and would find the time uneventful but he was willing to translate the entire service.  I swallowed my pride, for that was what it was, to attend his service, putting my past service as a chaplain to rest, being willing to attend someone else’s service and during that time I felt God’s presence in my life, so overwhelming it caused me to weep uncontrollably.  I was not one to do public crying and here I was unable to keep those tears from falling.  I felt my life changing; rather, it was confirmation of the change already taking place.

It was during this service another English speaking inmate was present so the interpretation was not just for my benefit.  After service, I met Stacy and his roommate, Lynn and another brother, Thomas, and along with Gerri, we formed a Bible study class.  At this time it felt natural for me teaching again and when I conducted our first session, being up front and conducting a spirit-filled, spirit-led Bible class, it seemed and I knew, I was called for such a time as this.  It was here God gave me my introductory message “The Storm is Coming”, which became the basis of my understanding the premise you have to make people understand they have to have a need prior to presenting them with a solution.  If there is no need, there is no need for a solution.  This message was first given to me, although I did not understand its complete relevance, when I spoke to a cousin’s husband during a holiday family get-together in December 1998 at my aunt’s new condo when I walked that Christmas day from the hotel after doing drugs and having no money, and homeless.  There I explained to him and others who listened to my passionate yet firm message, you do not recognize you need a Savior because you have not determined what it is you need in your life.  The words, “What do you need?” echoing among the family as I believe the Holy Spirit was indeed reaching out to everyone.  I, myself, had not fully understood the words which left my mouth.  Had I known or realized I needed to ask that question of myself, I could have saved myself the following years of pain had I turned to Jesus, truly, for my own needs.  This message I would now present to anyone I would have the opportunity of meeting while imprisoned, and believe will be the catalyst, the foundation of my ministry long after I have left this place.

Let it be understood many of us do not really know what it is we need.  When I was in sales years ago, I learned a sales pitch based on the premise most people do not know what it is they want, so a good salesperson would direct them to whatever it is they are marketing but only after helping them establish a need to have it, whether they actually need it or not!  Make them think they do and they will do the work of figuring out how to purchase whatever it is you have to sell them.

Those struggling with sin need to realize they, too, have a need.  It’s not as easy as going to your refrigerator and looking and determining you need milk.  In the sinner’s life too much time is placed on finding solutions and methods of avoiding sin and its practices when the bottom line is simply we need Jesus.  He is able to go to the root of the problem where transformation, not substitution, takes place.  Our world is big on transference or the teaching of behavior modification techniques but does not go to the Source who is able to not modify the behavior but change it completely.  Groups like AA/CA/NA are built upon the theory to refrain from taking a drug will solve the problem and it will, if, just taking the drug is the problem.  But it goes deeper than this.  Why modify the behavior’s symptom when you can change the behavior itself?  Correction:  Why modify the behavior’s symptom when God can change the behavior itself?  This has become the focal point of my ministry.  Help people see their need, as it is, then present them Jesus as the only solution, for He truly is the only solution which will bring about completeness, wholeness and holiness.

While in my discovery of needs, I learned I needed to do something I neglected and avoided for years.  I needed to be reconciled to my parents.  It occurred in the chapel one afternoon, during prayer when God revealed to me I needed to forgive my parents which would be the beginning to resolve the feelings of hate I have for them.  How could I express this feeling of love for God who I had not seen and not to them who I have seen?  Also, I was convicted of this point, it was God who gave me my father and my mother and if I rejected them and hated them it went totally against His purpose and sovereignty.  No one gave me to them except Him.  Was I saying He made a grave mistake in doing so?  That day I typed a three page letter and made three copies and sent each one a copy with the third going to my wife.  In the letter, I expressed my love toward them and let them know I forgave them for whatever might have occurred in the past and also introducing their daughter, my wife, and expressed my wish for them to be in contact with her.  I received a response from my father quickly, although there were some harsh statements, I felt at least progress was being made.  He contacted Mayra and they began a relationship for which I was thankful.  For me, I thought it would be good for her to have a sense of fatherhood again since she lost her own several years before.  She mentioned she was glad to meet him but wished it had occurred earlier in our relationship and not only after our difficulties.  We wrote several times, my father and I, mine being letters of anger wanting answers to questions and he not having the answers or unwilling to revisit the past; yet, I pressed further wanting to know.  He responded after the fourth letter if I were unable to move on, it would be better to not write, so I stopped communicating.  What was the benefit?  At least I no longer felt hate for him.  It was replaced with anger and that is subsiding, in time, as I began to feel pity and sorrow for his inability to express love or, in my opinion, have the need to do so.

My mother, on the other hand, never responded.  I did not think she would but had hopes she would have at least contacted her daughter-in-law.  I wrote her again, to no avail.  For her, I just simply feel sorrow.  I have come to acknowledge another reality when it comes to her, what would we say after all these years of not communicating since 1987?  What would be the point?  Perhaps our relationship had been damaged beyond repair or is such a thing possible between a mother and child?  I know I have made the effort and am satisfied in that, whether or not I should ever hear from her again.  This may be a sad saying but it is true, I no longer have any need to see either of them again and will go forward with my life.  Have I honestly and properly addressed the Fifth Commandment? I’m not so sure; but, I am sure that as long as we are alive, something is possible between us, but for now, perhaps too painful to address.

The following month we had a problem in our visiting resulting in our Unit being shut down, or better called “locked down”.  For five days we were confined to our cells, which presented problems since you are not able to leave the room when either of you had to use the bathroom; however, the need is greater than the modesty one usually has in such situations.  The opportunity for showering would come every other day and our food consisted of milk, bread roll, bologna and cheese, a tab of peanut butter and a piece of fruit.  Thankfully, the previous week’s commissary provided cookies and chips to supplement the bag lunch served for lunch and dinner.  On the fourth day we were allowed out to have a hot meal but returned to our cells once we were finished.

On the fifth day our doors were opened and we were all gathered together on the lower tier and told we were going to be involved in the overall cleaning and painting of the Unit with the promise of a food buffet at some point in time.  Something did not sit right with me as I saw the overall attitude between staff and inmates.  We were just locked up for five days only to be let out to do this type of work, requiring us to be out of our rooms to perform tasks of scrapping wax off floors and painting!  Something was amiss, when our rooms were left open even after what is normally lockdown for the night at 9:45pm, just so this work could continue?  No way!  Not for me.

The previous week I amassed well over $150.00 in commissary due me and I was looking forward to receiving, yet I would jeopardize it with my refusal to get involved in the work.  I learned later, during this time of year, the facility undergoes an annual inspection from various departments in the States and there was a serious need to get this place in order prior to their arrival.  So, that was it!  They weren’t releasing us because they were interested in our complaint regarding the treatment of family visiting.  They needed our help in keeping their jobs, so I outright refused to participate and sought to spread the seeds of discontent hoping to discourage the others; however, they were fearful for two reasons:

  1. Being locked up again, and
  2. Most of them were sentenced and would lose any “good-time credit” accumulated.

I was neither affected—well, except for the possibility of losing my commissary, from those owing me and I wanted to get paid.

I made it obvious I would not get involved and did not make any attempt to appear as though I would by hiding or working when being seen.  I sat around sharing my views with others who were also so inclined but eventually broke down when approached.  Finally the challenge was put to me directly.  Case Manager Garcia called me and in my room, on her knees, began to scrape the floor and then ordered me to do the same.  I refused on the basis I was not a sentenced inmate, nor would I do so based upon the fact I signed a sheet, my first day, stating I would not “work” in this facility.  She gave me a direct order and I again refused, although respectfully, and then I was told I would be locked in “The Hole”.  Remembering my first thirty days and how my skin was broken out, the cold showers and lack of movement and definitely human contact and freedom to use the phone, I decided to stay with my conviction of not allowing myself to be used for their purposes, chose to go to “The Hole”.  I told a few guys when it was close to 11:00pm, although we were told no one goes to bed until a certain amount of work was completed, I disagreed saying, I would be sleeping when I was ready.  I was right.  By midnight, I was back in “The Hole”, but at least I was sleeping.

Chapter 16


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