The Letters From Hell series written by guest poster Screedler were the most visited and read posts of the old Drupal powered TDA. Unbeknowst to me, the links to this series were broken in my switch to a WordPress platform so to make up for it I will post the whole series again one new one per day.
Welcome to Part 4 of Letters from Hell. This letter is rather self explanatory. Jail is a depressing thing.
May 25, 2006
Dear Dad and Sarah,
I hope both of you are having fun in the sun at Disneyworld. I am alive and well, experiencing my own type of E-ticket ride in an upside down Magic Kingdom.
I’ve been incarcerated for 19 days now. Time moves very slowly in jail. A lot of people here sleep most of the time, getting up only to eat or do the little cleaning duties we must do. I would say some people sleep about 18 hours a day. I think they are really probably clinically depressed. One inmate was removed due to not eating and not getting up to do anything. They took him away for a couple of days and then he was back. I heard they had to force feed him and give him an IV for re-hydration. Some people that have been in for a while claim they sleep so much because that is the easiest way to do “time”.
With the noise and light always present it is very hard to get quality sleep (you get used to the smell). I do use earplugs and wrap a towel around my eyes sometimes, but the earplugs make my ears feel funny (itchy) afterwards and the towel usually unravels during the night.
I am sleeping more than I did in the free world, 8-10 hours a day. I usually go to sleep around 12 midnight, and then we have to get up a little before 5 for breakfast. After breakfast, I (and most others) usually go back to sleep for a couple of more hours till 8:30 or 9:00. Between 9 and 12 noon is usually when I start writing my letters to you and Paul. After a noon lunch, I usually lie down in my bunk and read for a couple of hours and then take a nap for a couple of hours until dinner which is at 5.
I am finally starting to dream again at night. The only drawback to that is when you wake up and realize you are in jail. That moment of realization really puts me and I’m sure everyone else here in what I can only say is an overwhelming feeling of despair. That you have absolutely nothing to look forward to as long as you are here.
The mood of my cell block (pod) has been very tense the last week. There is a gang of young thugs (about 10 of them) who constantly harass the rest of us. They steal and commit acts of violence every day and yet the guards do nothing till after the fact. The punishment for fighting is 10 days in solitary (Seg). That’s without a weapon, if a weapon is involved then criminal charges are brought against you and you are removed to God knows where until they send you to prison. So far I have been stolen from (twice) and threatened but have not experienced physical violence yet.
I spoke with Paul last night and he told me that he put my house up for sale. That sucks, but I’ve done it to myself. I realize it’s just a material thing but it still hurts. The only solace to that is the fact that I would be happier living in a tent than being in here.
I have a couple of things I would like to talk about with Paul to bring up to James (my attorney) before my court date. I will talk to him on Friday. It may be nothing for it is all based on advice I am getting from other criminals, albeit they should probably know better than any one besides a lawyer.
Since I last wrote you the dynamics of my cell have changed. The only gang member (Nick) that was in my immediate cell (the 12 man holding cell as opposed to the 48 man cell block) has moved out and into the cell next to mine where most of the other gang members reside. 3 other cellmates have gotten out and 3 new ones have come in. 2 of the 3 new ones were transferred to here from the “work block”, where they had been “fired” for smuggling “dip” (tobacco) into the jail. A total of 15 of them were fired and sent back to regular detention.
“Work block” is highly coveted in here because you get extra food, real shoes and if you work outside you can even smoke. Work block consists of the kitchen workers, laundry workers, outside trash cleanup and yard keep up. I think they also have some guys that wash thier police cars all day. After my court date, I am going to put in a request to be moved to the work block. I may not be eligible. I have heard that they will not consider you if you have a felony, but I have also heard that it is if the felony involves a violent act.
Speaking of which, I hear a lot of things in here, but it is very hard to decipher the truth. As I told you before, everyone here in jail is innocent; well, they always tell the truth, just not all of it. 80% of the people I have met here will initially tell you one reason why they are in here. Like, “Well I am doing 8 months in county for my 3rdDUI”…… Later on you find out, “Oh yeah, and I was on probation for “Intent to Distribute”….and then later on find out they were in jail (no prison!) even earlier for statutory rape……and then even later on a new inmate comes in and says he is going to kill this person because he said this guy “shot up my house and threatened my family” (with specific acts I cannot mention here) on the outside. This is a true example, not an exaggeration. This scenario repeats itself time after time. When they introduce themselves they are the “victim”. By the time you’ve heard everything else they have done I look at them as if they are criminally insane.
Yet, they are my “friends” here in jail One word of advice I have heard from more than a couple of inmates is “You come in here with no friends and you will leave here with no friends”. I think I will take that to heart.
On the bright side of things, I am sober and tobacco free. I am no longer hungry and I now have underwear. This weekend I will get a pair of shoes (their like canvas boat shoes) so I will no longer have to walk around in shower slippers that don’t fit. So, things are looking up. Until next week I shall say goodbye. I love you and all the family and miss everyone greatly.
I have been out for over a year and can tell you I did not make any friends in jail that I kept afterwards. I have known people that made friends in jail and hooked up with them on the outside. This usually increases your chance of making new jail friends if you get my drift. Please check back next week and find out about my new shoes, the joys of ketchup, vending machine apple pie and prison sex.