Posts Tagged ‘dc’

Continued from previous entry My First Night in Lorton

so here i am in this new world without a clue as to what is next. so they bring me my first breakfast of eggs and waffles. i hear guys starting to get up in their cells and talk amongst themselves about the current events of the prison, and trust me the talk was not one that you would have at your dinner table. after i eat i strip down to my underwear and lay down, staring at nothing. these cells were about 8 by 10 and fairly small. so am laying there in this hot ass cell in my underwear listening to these guys talk about everything from rape to murder. there had been at that time a recent killing and as a result a lot of tension n the joint at the time that i got there. so the time is passing but to me it doesn’t matter what time it is the only thing the matter is the night and the day. the day that the sun rises and the day that the sun sets. that his the only thing that i am thinking about. as the day passes i begin to count the cinderblocks in the cell, this is how i found enjoyment for the next three days. on the third day i fake chest pains just to get out of the cell and the co says be cool today is the day that you go to population. so i pack my stuff and he pops the door and sends me out. he says that you are going to 7 dorm. do you know where that is at. i say no and he says just walk to the end of the walkway and turn left and go upstairs. that was it. nothing else. so i brace myself and step out on the walk, and all hell breaks loose. it is a recreation movement and chaos everywhere. i had no idea what to do. out of no where i see a guy that i know and he says to me he talib what is up? where are you going to. i say to 7 dorm and he says cool i am in the same dorm and we let me help you with your stuff. so he grabs a bag and i grab a bag and we are off to 7dorm. we get there and there is this big black metal door and he starts banging on the door, as if there was a secret code for entry. the co comes to the door and opens it and we step in. she says go and find somewhere to sleep. and that was that. i walk through the entry way and was surprised that no one paid me any attention. they had become so use to the intake shit and that whole thing that there was nothing new about it. at the end of the day the question was none of this matters if he can’t survive the dorm area. there were 140 people in this dorm and all of them were violent offenders, mostly of the younger crowd with sentences of 30 years and better. the minute that i stepped into the dorm area it hit me. the first song that i heard blaring through an old grey radio that belonged to a guy, who at that time had 33 years in prison and was on his 60s was the song makes me wanna halla by marvin gaye. “makes me wanna halla and throw up my hands” i find a bunk and sit down and put my head in my hands in a effort to hide the tears of anger, frustration, and fear. it was a warehouse of black men, and only black men, living in the most archaic and inhumane conditions that i had ever seen. i get up and walk through the dorm and see a few familiar faces and socialize for a few. the next thing that i know it is  night time. or the time when the blue light comes on. that is the time that the main lights go off and the night lights that are blue come on. this is the appointed hour when all hell breaks loose. i laid in bed that night thinking to myself that i could not go to sleep tonight. not the first night. no not the first night. so i lay in bed dozing in and out until i can no longer fight it and fall off into a light sleep. than all of a sudden i hear this alarm go off and i jump out of my sleep and look around. i see flames and hear screaming. there was the smell of burning skin and hair in the air. so lurch up and sure enough there was another guy in flames. he had done nothing wrong to no one but there was another guy in the hole that wanted to come to that unit and for that someone had to go in the hole. so they set fire to this guy to get him out. that was my first night in general population!

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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)