Posts Tagged ‘dc jail’

Free Prisoner

It has been a while since I have written anything and I just want to share the reasons why. It has been a long time coming now and I am now about to go back up for parole, next week hopefully. I have been asked many times about how do I feel about being this close to home, if I make parole. It is hard to really say what I am feeling right now. I can describe how it was the first time that I went before the board.

When I went up the last time I was told that I was parole eligible and asked if I had an address to use in the event that I make parole. I was left speechless and it took me a minute to think of the address that I would use. Well, I didn’t make parole and was given another three years to do, what I am finishing up on now.

It was a surreal feeling when I was told that I would be recommended parole just as it was a surreal feeling when I was denied and told to do three more years. Now, I know that you may be thinking, “what is three more years after you have done so much time now?” Well, it is not the time, amount of time, it is the mindset that one has to go through in order to do the time.

I believe that there is a lot of institutional behaviors, thoughts and habits that one must shed before going home. Behaviors, thoughts and habits that are needed to survive within prison.

What roles am I talking about? Well, there are many roles that one has to play and I will try to give you some examples. One thing that seems to be noticeable is how possessive guys can be. Not only are they possessive they will take your life for some of these possessions. Things such as small as a spot on the floor. There are five TV’ s on the unit and the units are open so that means that it is like being in a crowded room all the time. They give us plastic chairs and guys come out in the morning and put there chairs in what is “their” spots on the floor. To move a guys chair is disrespectful and one will get hurt for this type of disrespect.

To move a guys shower stuff that is hanging on the shower door is a act of disrespect and one will get hurt about that. Another thing is that one often has to go to the showers in tennis shoes or boots, in the event that something breaks out. One has to be ready at all times for what ever may happen. Or what about not being able to take a nap during the day while the cell doors are unlocked. Or having to defecate with one leg out of ones pants. To get caught using that bathroom with both legs in your pants can cost you your life. It is hard to defend yourself when you are sitting on the toilet so you have to make sure that your legs don’t get tied up in your pants.

There are many roles that one has to take on in order to survive in here so to be told that I may be going home I felt that I needed to shed those roles and step into the role of being a law abiding citizen. A person who don’t get crazy stares for walking around in slippers. A person who don’t have to walk by a dying person and act as if nothing is going on. I think that has to have been one of the hardest things to adapt to. To see a guy getting stabbed to death and to have to walk away while hearing the screams and pleas of a dying man. To wake up everyday and to see the bloodstains from the events that have taken place over the years. It use to be hard to sleep at night when I was in Lorton. Lorton was open dormitory and there was always action going on. When the dorm lights went out the predators came out.

Well those are the skill that I didn’t want to take back to the free world with me so when I went to see the parole board the first time I thought that I was done with having to deal with all of the stuff that one has to deal with in prison. When I was denied parole I was stuck in between two worlds and it was hard to readjust to having to do three more years. That was the hardest part of that process. It was like day one all over again.

So this time around I think that I am hopefully but that is about it. I mean I would love to make parole and come home but the reality is that until I am actually released I have to stay focused on doing time. This is a tragedy for those guys that can’t get out of these roles, easily. They take the prison mentality home with them and the prison mentality is criminal therefore it is easy to result back to crime. That is the state that many find themselves in when they can’t switch roles.

I think that I will be alright as long as I can tell the difference and keep in my head that it is just a phase and that one day it will pass.

i am always asked how have i come to do 20 years in prison
and what was it like. well the be honest the only way to do any
amount of time is to be brutally honest and realistic of your
situation. not understanding these things is where lot of people go
wrong. the reality of my situation was not the same as those around
me. nothing was real until the judge actually gave me the time. i
went from facing this amount of time to actually having to come to
terms that i had to do this time. this is when things began to
change, and fast. i remember the first night in prison and the
moment that we pulled up in front of the prison, that prison being
Lorton Reformatory. at this time DC was the murder capital of the
US and the prison was filled up with all of these people that had
these offenses. they called me to leave DC jail at about 10 pm.
was laying in my cell and the bars shook, that was the way that the
co’s used to let us know to step out on the tier. so i step out and
the co’s yells up the tier,”shakir bag up” that is the lingo that
was used to pack your shit. i had just washed my clothes that night
and my clothes were still wet. at the dc jail we had no washers and
dryers so i had to wash my clothes in the toilet, how is that for
irony! clean your clothes in the dirtiest place in the cell. i mean
we cleaned the toilet out prior to washing in it but still. i
packed up knowing that this would be the last time that i saw dc
jail. the silence of the reality hits everyone when one is called
to go to where we called the country, see Lorton was located in VA
so that was and is the country to us DC folks. but the reality of
wow here it begins. one not knowing his fate. will he make it or
will he lose his life. and if he makes it how long can he make it.
these are some of the many thoughts that one has. i get to
R&D (receiving and distributing) and i am put in a bullpen
like cell with about 12 other guys and i take my seat. there is
nothing to be said because for those of us in that cell just being
there speaks volumes. everyone in their own thoughts. the only
thing on my mind is survival by any means. there is nothing else to
be said. all hopes and dreams of what was and could be have no
meaning. the order of the day is getting out alive and in one
piece. finally the marshals come and shackle us up and put us on
the bus, what we called the ‘grey goose’ as we ride down
Pennsylvania Ave i see the city in which i was raised for the last
time. i still remember the lights, sounds and smells of the night.
as we get on I95 all of my thougths turn to the task ahead. as we
pull up to the prison the thing that stuck out to me the most was
the way that the light illuminated off of the barbed wire and
gates. it had a yellowish tint to it. i will never forget the way
that it looked ever in my life. as we pull into the gates i realize
that this is the place that will be considered home for the next 20
years. so we step off of the bus and are processed in. it is about
1 in the morning by now and it is eerliy quiet as they move us
around the prison to go to the different intake places in the
prison.. we get done with this process at about 5 in the morning
and as we are leaving medical the co says to us that we have to go
to the hole until beds open up on the compound. so as we are being
lead to the hole i hear this burst of noise and ruckus. it went
from dead silent to very loud in minutes. it was the time that they
were calling breakfast and the time that the prison comes to life..
it was winter time so it was still dark at that time. yet i can
remember the stares and mean mugs of the more seasoned convicts as
they assessed the newer inmates, and i use that term lightly and in
a different sense. see one has to earn the title of convict. he has
to prove that he can run with the big boys and that he is going to
stand on the convict code. so everyone enters as inmate and some
over time earn the right to be called convicts. i earn that title
early. see the inmate gets no respect and is taken advantage of. so
one has to decide to be a convict or an inmate. i decided to be a
convict. but through the darkness i could see the stares and mean
mugs. it was a cold and dark night. but one i will never forget. as
we passed from outside to inside into the hole it got extremely
hot. that is a common practice to further punish the inmates in the
hole. turn the heat up so that it becomes unbearable and
after a while turn if off so that it becomes extremely cold. when
finally laid on that steel bunk the reality of what was to come was
sinking in and i knew that i had some decisions to make. decisions
as to how i was going to do this 20 years and stay sane along the
way. i knew that from that point on everything was in my hands as
far as the decisions that i knew that i had to make. there was no
turning back. all the chips were in and the hand had been dealt!

Read continuation of this story in My First
Night in Lorton…(Continued)