Thick Blue Funk
It's been quite a while since I've written. I've been through quite a lot. And it's all so very depressing that i've been immersed in such a thick blue funk for so long as to be near catatonic. And thoughts of suicide are literaly kept away with the knowledge that they can't keep me in prison forever.
I've done three years so far. For one $10 bag of dope that was bought with money an undercover policeman had given me. He approached me in a park. Befriended me. And coerced me into buying some dope so 'we could get high'. Then a bunch of cops jumped out of a van.
Of couse the police report was a convoluted pack of lies. In fact the whole thing was entrapment. No matter, three and a half to seven years in prison. The justice system is failing. Thousands of men are being made into criminals throught he courts systems procedures of prison terms for petty drug crimes. Society is becoming polarised by these policies. I guess it's nothing new. Remember prohibition.
In fact that is the reason that I'm back in prison. During a random urine test alcohol was detected in my urine. A violation. This is only the latest occurence in my nightmare prison oddessy. Going back now...after my arrest I spent 11 months in Rikers island. While there I received a job as a suicide prevention aid. My duties were to patrol the mental observation ward to make sure the men there weren't attempting suicide.
After that I spent eight months at a maximum security prison. I was placed in the cadre and was given a job working in the store house. which really wasn't so bad. But then my assigned guidence counsellor approached me with what in hindsight I now consider poor guidence. He said 'you've been pre approved for presumptive release. He made it sound so wonderful. If I had known that refusing was an option I would have taken it! Of course he didn't tell me that part.
As strange as\ this might sound, if I refused the casat program he offered I would be out on parole much sooner.
The casat program I was packed off to was run by an organisation called Phoenix House. A private company that runs several 'rehabilitation' and 'therapeutic communities' that are scattered around the country. One of them is inside a prison. That's the one to which I was sent!
Marcy prison: the asat compound was a sort of prison within a prison, It seemed to be more for punishment than anything else: a brainwashing concentration camp, only a bit kinder and gentler.
Sleep deprivation, punishment contracts for the slightest perceived or invented deviation from the program. Constant haurange of forced indoctrination. We sat through hours of mind numbing lectures, seminars, group therapy, inspections where one speck of dust would result in loss of free time of which we were only allowed one hour a day, from 9am to 10am. then silence. Any talking meant another punishment. What they called learning experience. Some ridiculous, redundent punihsment detail that would be thought up on a spur of the moment whim of the four casat counsellors, according to their mood that day. And then the whole thing would repeat itself the next day. Five thirty am wake up ...until 9pm that night. This went on relentlessly for a hellish six months! It was like some twisted boot camp...only longer! After graduation I was packed off to a 'work release facility' where I was graciously allowed to work and turn in my paycheck.
I was denied four high paying jobs doing the work I know and enjoy as an audio lighting techinician. The reason? 'That's too much money for you to be earning right now'. 'The hours aren't right'. 'They will serve liquor in that concert hall' etc
I was informed 'You can work at mcdonalds or burger king. Or Alliance (a company that provides its employees with a red jump suit and a broom to sweep the streets. Minimum wage all. Also they keep a quarter of your pay check at work release and I mean keep. The rest they 'save' for you. And they give you a 'generous' budget check. Mine came out to $90 every two weeks. With that $90 I was expected to buy two metro cards ($50) and use the remaining $40 for meals and telephone calls.That $40 was spent in four days. I starved weekly. Running around New York City as a foot messenger eating out of the garbage cans on the street every day. That's how hungry I became. I gave my paycheck to them every week. They took their 25% all right! And I starved.
At least I was able to move around the city, I gave my resume to prospective employers.
I even managed to get laid! Also to have a few beers through the kindness of strangers. Nothing ever felt or tasted so good after a few years of imprisonment. I'm only human, right?
Note: according to the dept o fcorrections who had kidnapped and were now extorting me, a random urine test at the Phoenix HOuse Inc Company fixed that. I must be a terrible danger to the community or something.
'Traces of alcohol in urine'.
I went in front of the parole board: 'Parole denied, One year'. 'Removal from work release program'.
Now I'm in a medium B prison on the canadian border. It's a good thing I am and have always had a non violent minimum classification. Now so far from New York my family can't visit, I look forward to another year in prison. During transit, my property was 'lost' and one month later when it showed up things were stolen. My family is very upset. It's all because I'm an 'alcoholic'. they say.
And so, forgotten by my friends, feeling a bit victimised by the system in its infinite wisdom has judged me a danger to the community. No doubt I am, being a free spirited individual wo isn't afraid to speak out!
I want to shout, 'Ok, I've had enough of this foolishness, I'd like to go now.!'
They've placed me in another prison within a prison, an RSAT program: Six months of group, cleaning detail etc Plus I've got a top bunk which sucks.
So does anyone out there want to tell me about depression?
Anyone out there wish to correspond with me?
As always I will answer any and all letters. They have to be old fashioned letters as I have no access to computers (as I'm in prison!)
[Bobby passed away on sept 22 2006]
Check out Bob's other columns
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