Saturday, December 17, 2011

Alone at Christmas

Voices from Solitary: Christmas in the Hole, 1968

December 17, 2011

by Alan CYA #65085

Editors’ Note: In this memoir, the author–who prefers to be identified only by his first name and California Youth Authority number–recalls a Christmas spent as a 17-year-old inmate in the juvenile jail then known as the Preston School of Industry, since renamed the Preston Youth Correctional Facility. Opened in 1894, Preston was one of the most notorious “reform schools” in the country, known for its brutality and deprivation. More than a century later, little had changed–at least, not for the better. Last year, the Ella Baker Center reported abuses at California Youth Authority facilities that included “young people locked in 20- to 23-hour-a-day solitary confinement for days, weeks and months on end; young people locked in 4′x4′ cages for temporary detention; guard and staff abuse, neglect, manipulation, and humiliation of the young people in their care; rampant sexual assault;…virtually non-existent care for young people with mental health or substance abuse needs; shocking negligence in medical care, especially emergency care; woefully inadequate educational programming; [and] a culture and atmosphere of constant intimidation, isolation, fear and violence.” It singled out Preston, along with Stark, as the worst of the facilities. In the fall of 2010, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced that it would close Preston in order “to operate more effectively and efficiently as the state adapts to changes in our youth population.”
= = = = =
For most of us the holiday season is filled with good memories of cheerfully bright decorations at holiday parties with ample supplies of sinfully good food and drink. It is a time that we all gather together to share our good fortune with those that we care most about. And for the luckiest amongst us, our homes are as full as the cornucopias that sit at the center of our dining room tables.
But as we gather near the Christmas tree to sing “Silent Night,” I cannot help but recall my solitary confinement experience during the holidays of 1968. The knowledge that there are still other human beings being held in such sterile, foul smelling, and depressingly deteriorating, cold, concrete boxes leaves me both grateful for my good fortune and somber for the others that I left behind. Because, you see, Christmas in solitary is neither silent nor holy, but filled with the howling cries of the ever increasing population of mentally ill prisoners housed there.
When I read about the long term isolation that inmates endure today, my experience as a 17-year-old juvenile seems to pale in comparison. The solitary confinement unit at Preston School of Industry, a California Youth Authority facility which only recently has been closed due to the infamous and unproductive brutality of it’s wards, is briefly described in Edward Bunker’s memoir titled Education of A Felon: “I was assigned permanently to G Company, a unit with a three-tier Cell block. It was dark and gloomy and a carbon copy of a prison cell block.” An indeed it still was when I landed in the hole just before Christmas for fighting.
Back in the 1960s, however, we were at least allowed a nightly shower, and on at least one occasion, Christmas Day, we even ate dinner together in small groups. The dining hall on the first floor was a smaller version ofPreston’s other dining halls. The dining room consisted of a half dozen four-person, square, stainless steel tables in two rows of three. It was primarily used by the guards except on this very special occasion. The smaller number of inmates eating allowed the guards to keep a closer eye on this potentially troublesome bunch that the system found necessary to confine inside this jail within a jail for disciplinary reasons.
I sat down with three other inmates on one of the four backless metal stools bolted to the concrete floor and painted over with grey epoxy paint. My eyes scanned the face of each inmate, appraising his probable social status in the pecking order of institutional life. The inmate directly across from me was a slightly built dirty blonde around sixteen years old with even younger boyish features. His face, however, seemed tired, as though he had been under extreme stress for way too long. I knew the look well; it is the same expression one sees on fallen prey in a National Geographic magazine when the animal realizes there is no way to escape its fate. I didn’t know this particular inmate but I knew others like him, so I felt a profound sadness for him. I imagine that this feeling is similar to how a soldier on a battlefield might feel as he passes fallen combatants. The inmate to my left was of a different lot; I imagined him to be still holding his own but only by the narrowest of margins. Now, the guy on my right had the look of a career criminal–a true survivor of the system, who would be willing to use any means necessary to survive even if it meant stepping on top of the first inmate’s head to keep his own above water.

Even with this unflattering appraisal of my dining partners, after days of isolation I was eager to swap stories with each of them. The conversation followed the normal pattern of conversations between inmates “Where are you from? What are you in for? What unit are you in? How long do you have to go? Why were you sent to hole?” I found the story of the inmate across from me to be incoherent as his eyes darted around the room wildly. He kept saying that he was going to be released and was flying back home. I took this with a grain of salt as the wishful thinking of a desperate boy, for how could he ever hope to be released so soon after being placed in the hole?
I swapped stories with the others as well, and then it was back to our isolation up on the third tier. Later that evening, after I had taken my shower, I heard the blond teenager shout, “I can fly, I can fly, and you can’t keep me here no more.” Then a guard said in a panic, “Grab him, he’s going to jump.” I heard the young man repeat, “I can fly, I can fly”–then a loud sickening thud, like a melon hitting the floor. He had jumped over the railing. I had heard the jailhouse rumors of inmates who had died after being thrown over such rails, so I surmised that the jumper was probably dead or at least seriously injured.
After the commotion downstairs subsided, a short interval of relative quiet followed. As I sat alone pondering the youth’s words over dinner, a guard opened the slot in my cell door and tossed in a wad of hard candy wrapped in tissue paper. The candy landed unceremoniously onto my now dimly lit cell’s floor and slid to a stop somewhere in the middle. This candy was probably meant to bring us a little Christmas cheer by who ever had the idea in the first place, but its delivery was carried out with such callous disregard for our feelings that it did little to raise our spirits. I immediately jumped up and asked the guard, “What happened to the guy that jumped? I had dinner with him you know. Is he OK?” The guard scoffed, “Don’t speak unless spoken to!” So reluctantly I sat back down on my bed and opened the twisted piece of paper holding the candy together, then tried to break a piece free. The pieces had become stuck together and were now just one large piece covered with bits of the wrapping tissue. I turned to look out my window and wondered what the scene had been like on the first floor. The smell of spit and mucus (much like the smell of a person’s sneeze in a closed car) emanated from the protective screen which was meant as an additional barrier to the bars on the window, and I asked myself how I could eat candy under such circumstances. I hesitated but tried a piece anyway. The candy had a familiar taste, but one in which under normal circumstances I would not have eaten. I needed some distraction, however, and so I continued breaking off pieces until it was all gone.
Once I had finished eating I lay back and watched the eerie shadow of Preston School of Industry’s original building from the 1890s on my room’s walls. I had passed this now vacant building on the way to solitary, and it has always reminded me of a haunted castle from a horror movie.  (In fact, it has since been used as a haunting backdrop in movies.)
As we passed the building, the guard had pointed out a wood platform that he said was part of the old gallows from which they hung inmates in its heyday. I wondered how many young men had lost their lives over the years from acts of desperation, murder or execution. (I later learned that Preston has a small cemetery with around 23 graves of wards that were unclaimed by their relatives.) I wondered how the jumper became so disturbed and what had been his fate. How his parents would react to learning of their sons action, and on Christmas Day no less. I wondered if the guard had been truthful about the purpose of the platform. (He was not.) I wondered if the jumper had been trying to tell me of his plans at dinner. Did I miss an opportunity to warn the guards? I tried to put these thoughts out of my head, for there was nothing I could do now. So I tried to sleep to avoid having to think about him, but his face at dinner would greet me whenever I closed my eyes. It was early morning before I fell to sleep.
During the remainder of my time in solitary I did thousands of sit ups and push ups to exhaust myself in order to sleep. Sleep, I found, was the most effective means of escaping the reality of my confinement. But my sleep was often interrupted by the desperate screams of those even less able to endure their isolation. The “Catch 22” here is these unruly inmates were then viewed by the staff as not having learned their lesson, so they were forced to endure even longer terms of isolation in a vicious circular cycle.
It is distressing to realize that such tragedies are still being played out 43 years later, and in ever greater numbers as the practice has only expanded and time spent in the hole has only lengthened over these years.
But not everyone has forgotten them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Difficult Week at the Barred Retreat.....

This has been an interestingly difficult week at the barred retreat.   Things were going fairly well.  I was working on several orders for Christmas cards.  I am an artist so I use that talent to pass my time as well as help the others send cards to family and friends.  This was progressing along very well until one, mind you, ONE unhappy person starts telling the multitudes untruths about me.  Words are free inside these walls so where these men lack in most all other areas, they make up for it in words.  Twisted tales, lavish lies, sadistic stories, and so on.  Basically they are bored.  There are not programs here to keep them occupied. Many have no family support or extra money.  They are at the mercy of the corporations that run this hut.  Its much like the Insurance Companies and the medical profession  now owned by the corporations also.  We are just the little ants running around carrying the big loads trying not to get stepped on by the big guys. So are the guards as well as the office personnel, sadly they haven't figured that out yet.  And so it goes....  The corporations are paid by the government whenever a prisoner is let off the bus at these doors.  Then the canteen takes over, the medical staff says no to treatments, the building is understaffed and everyone that works here is pretty much angry.  They all have their little cubbies so to speak, they get their corporation pay check and we on the inside suffer.  I am not saying whoa poor me.  I am saying we should have rehab and classes and be treated like more than a sub human treats a dog. 
We were on lockdown again because of one nutjob inmate. 1,600 men have to stay in their cells, no showers, bag lunches, no light, over one guy.  You see that saves them $ again.  
Then I find out my "friend" the doctor (has cancer if you recall past post)and isn't receiving any treatment for his illness.  They wont spend the $ on someone whose going to die in about 5 months anyway.   He probably did something very bad in the world, I don't know.  You see inside these walls, my world, I can only judge by how I am treated and he has been a decent person to me as well as he is able to carry on intelligent conversation which is hard to find in here.
Then the guards put us all outside in the freezing weather while they "Shook Down" each cell.  That means they rip all your property off the shelves, throw it all on the floor like I am nothing more then a piece of dog feces.  We live each day treated like sub-sub-humans.  Guess it could be worse.  We could be in China working in a horrible mine shaft!  So.....even though they broke my false teeth cup I am fine and survived another day of hell in Tucson.
So until next time, Be Happy, Be Well, Be Safe.....    Clutch 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Genetically Modified Soy Products for Prisoners

Genetically modified soy products are the dietary backbone of the U.S. prison system ('cuz they're super cheap to feed the prisoners!)
Now one prisoner is fighting back: He's suing the and claiming that forcing him to eat soy products is "cruel and unusual punishment."
Think about this the next time to eat a veggie burder or protein bar made with soy protein (as 90% of them are) -- you're eating food that even prisoners consider to be punishment!

The canteen does not allow us any fruit because some of the prisoners use it to make alcohol.  We have no fruit......

Read more about this fascinating story:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Have We Not Evolved at all?

These excerpts are taken from a Prison Newsletter regarding and SMU II in Tucson Arizona:

The deputy warden fished around his desk until he produced a small white container filled with a collection of at least 15 handmade darts. The weapons, designed to sail, are constructed with needles, paper clips and staples mounted on Q-Tips, pencil erasers and cigarette butts--strips of cloth and shredded paper are tied to the ends.
In a class-action suit filed in a protective segregation case against DOC officials, two prisoners testified in federal court that they'd been hit with blow darts, which were fired by inmates through rolled up sheets of paper. While line officers wear stab-proof vests and goggles in the units, some prisoners complain they have no protection.

Prisoners inside SMU II are divorced from natural light except for the three hours a week spent alone in a narrow, concrete recreation pen; the light defracts in from the outside through a metal covering. Those who refuse "rec" have no indicator of the seasons. "It's difficult to hear thunder in there," says former inmate Paris Carriger, who only knew it was raining when water ran down the wall near his cell.
A 7-watt bulb burns like a votive candle around the clock, illuminating a cell stripped down to institutional furniture bolted to the floor. Those inmates who cover their light to sleep in darkness are written up and refused their next meal. Officers on 30-minute bed checks peer through holes in the extruded metal into hundreds of the same boxed vignettes: a mattress on a metal frame, a small sink, a recessed light, a stool, a metal desk, a stainless steel mirror and an open toilet at the front of the cell. Discipline may be administered through turning off water or electricity. Conditions sound as if they're designed for Hannibal Lecter.

But Donna Hamm, director of the prisoner-advocacy group Middle Ground, said that one of her clients was sent to SMU II for a rules violation after bringing a medallion that he received in a drug-treatment program to visitation with his wife, whom he hadn't seen in three years. "They saw him showing the medal...He was written up and thrown in the hole."

 One former SMU II inmate submits that in placing a prisoner in what many consider a psychologically inhumane lockup, "you teach him a deadly form of hate. Now that's fine if you're going to kill him...You wouldn't pen a dog up for five years and expect it to be friendly."

Photo by Jenn Ackerman from "Trapped"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Control Does Not Equal Power!!!

Greetings and well wishes once again.
When I was younger I always tried to control the actions of others around me and let me point out to them how they could do things differently or how they did or are doing it wrong! I thought that by directing their actions I could get MY desired outcome thru them.  Of course that was without giving consideration to their personal rights.
Truth of the matter is I was not in control of my own life and emotions, thus I attempted to live thru others by attempting to control how they thought and what they could and couldn't do.  It wasn't until later in life that I realized how unhealthy this was and is.
Everyone has the right to think, feel, say and do as they choose,  You may lend kind advice and suggestions to them, but it is still their choice whether they want to use and utilize this advice / suggestion!  And if they choose not to listen to you it is not a personal attack or disrespect towards you, rather it is them exercising their right to choose for themselves the direction of their own life. (path)  Whether you agree or not.  And if they do choose to do differently than you advised...... you should not put them down, speak ill of them, rather you should move on with your own life's decisions.  Sometimes this is doubly hard if you are in a relationship and this is a boyfriend/girlfriend situation.  That is when you tend to think the other party doesn't love you because they are not doing as you want when in truth maybe you don't love them for who they are. Or they may be reacting to your choices.  Either way, if you are trying to change and control them there is a strong possibility you are not in control of your own life.  Therefore you may feel the need to direct and control the people around you so you can live thru them.
Here in prison I see this daily in the majority of the people I am surrounded by which has caused me to take a good hard look at the situation and learn from it.  If this is happening in your life I can only suggest you analyze the problems and attempt a rational solution without degrading or abusing any one's rights.  Sometimes you just have to let a loved one do as they are going to do without arguing over something that neither of you are going to come out the better from.
Hopefully this has helped .....   be well, be safe and have a nice day
           Till next time.......Clutch

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Back Into Communities with Messed up Attitudes...

This is actually an excerpt from the post, "My Way is Not Always the Right Way."

Many of the men in here (Maximum Security Prison) will ask and ask and ask relentlessly like a child until you give in and give them some sauce or something to eat.  It is easier to just give it to them so they go away instead of argue or fight over something that is yours.  Reason why? These guys will try to beat you up and take what you have if you don't give it to them.  Then if your honest and tell them they are acting like a child they get offended and claim you have disrespected them, try to fight you because they didn't get what they wanted. They demand respect but have no clue what respect is or how to give it to someone else. 
There are those in here that know the difference but the majority doesn't, and they aren't learning it which  means they will go back out into the communities with the same messed up attitudes. 
Makes me want to go live way out in the country, back to good non-processed food from the land. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Response to One of My Daughters.....

Life is a learning curve,
None of us get it right all the time.
We all can use some guidance from time to time.
Nothing to be embarrassed about.
Asking for help shows you want to grow, through through learning by asking
When you ask for help it doesn't make you look bad,
It actually makes you look strong
For realizing and understanding you need assistance in certain areas.
Hope this helps,
Dad loves you

photo from:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Your and My Way is not Always the Right Way....

Greetings and welcome once again.  Here is a short story for you to ponder....
Yesterday the prison chow hall was serving toastado's.....prison food is not very tasty, in fact it is very using items purchased from commissary I made home-made sauce to liven up the food.  Basically its a little of this and a little of that in my sauce.
I 'm standing in line to the salad bar after getting my tray.  An individual standing next to me saw my sauce bottle and all of a sudden nothing else mattered to him.  The conversation went something like this.  "Clutch, what is that?  Homemade sauce? Let me get some?" 
I said, "You wont like it!" 
He said, "Yes I will, come on Clutch, just a little, man, put some on my food."  
So I said, "Okay but if you don't like it, it's on you!" 
"Okay, he says." 
So I squirt some on his food and go about my business.
After chow I am walking down the compound and this guy is standing with some of his buddies.  He yells out, "Hey, Clutch, you f___ked up my food!"  I looked at  him and said, "No, you f___ked up your own food - no one made you put the sauce on there. Besides you were not taking no for an answer. You just had to have some of that sauce-- so take responsibility for your own actions and don't blame me for your not liking the sauce."
He just stood there looking at me blankly.  He did not understand how this was his own fault.  (It is so much easier to blame someone else.)
Come to find out he didn't like mustard and there was mustard in my sauce, yet he didn't ask what the ingredients were, he just wanted something he didn't have.  So he found out his way is not always right.  My point here is:  Contemplate, think, rationalize and ask questions before you act because if you don't your stuck with the consequences that are your own fault, your own responsibility from your own actions.  You'll be much better off doing it that way.
Hope this help you and allows you a better way to be right more often than not.
Till next time, be well, be happy, and take a moment to think!  
Have a nice day....       Clutch

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

C O P D......No oxygen in prison

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.....


Monday, October 17, 2011

ANTS!!! ANTS!!! Everywhere.....

I just went in my locker to get a snack.
I'm infested with ants.
They are inside my unopened food.
What do I do now?
This sucks!
Almost $200 in food in case of lockdown??????
I'm on second floor they climb the walls.
I havevbeen killing ants for 4 hours now, baiting them with tater chips.
I didn't lose all $200 but lost bout $60 dollars worth.
They were inside my peanuts that have never been opened????
I spent hours inspecting my food looking for ants.
I feel creepy crawly now.
I had cop / officer notify safety to come spray in the morning.
They, the ants that is, got 4 other cells too.
Mine was the worst because I had the most food,
imagine that.
I shop tuesday mornings between 8 and 9 am,
but wont put new food back in locker until they spray.
Will put any good food in the laundry bag and hang on wall.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Life Isnt so Hard Looking Out From the Other Side.....

Greetings and hello once again.
Today I would like to talk about life's problems....and looking at them from the other side.  As everything has two points of view...and also attaches different opinions depending on who your talking to.
If this is the first writing of mine that you are reading, let me tell you I am writing from a maximum security prison where I have no choice but to look at life from the other side. And to those who have read my other writings - thank you -
I will start this off by going back in time.  I was the classic person I write about.  I hated life, everything was everyone elses fault.  I was blameless.  Life was hard for me as I had nothing but problems and complaints as nothing worked out right.  I was miserable.  This was before deciding and learning to look and live life differently which I believe is the step toward change.  The second step is, you get what you put out there.  Read the posts on Karma), and changing your attitude.
Now I sit here in prison listening to all sorts of complaints and all sorts of blame from all sorts of personalities  But we aren't worried about the ones coming from in here at the present writing time.  I 'm worried about the ones coming from out there.   I understand life is hard at times.  How hard depends on you!  And what your doing about your4 current situations.  Ask for help if you need it!  Communities are called that for a reason.  Comune = together -  Friends are called friends cause friends help one another.  Yep work sucks, yup gas prices suck, taxes suck as many other things in life do.  If you focus on all any of it, that's what it is.  Sucks!  I believe you need to focus on the more positive so life can change toward exactly that.  I hear the problems from out there.  I hear about how jobs suck, hey whoa......I am told when to sleep, when to eat, when to doo doo, who I can and cannot talk to, what is allowable reading, and what is not allowable reading.  I would gladly give up all this in here and the bad attitudes of 1,600 of societies worst for a sucky job or too many bills.
See we tend to think the worst first.  We need to learn to find the good or positive in each situation and focus on that.  So looking at your problems out there from in here......"the other side," humm they don't seem so bad to me.  If I can make it in this predominately negative controlling environment, I have faith you all out there can make it through your problems by changing your attitude toward what your focusing on.
What you give most attention to becomes predominate in your life!  It's your choice, positive or negative, unless you like misery.  NO I DON'T and it doesnt make for good company.
Till next time, be well, be happy, and find the positive in life.      Clutch

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Peaceful Journey...

Greetings and salutations from inside. 
Isn't it a huge waste of time and energy to worry about someone else's negativity?  That's the same as judging them.  Telling them they are doing this or that wrong.  Heck maybe it's right for them.  Just offer kindness and understand they have the right to do and say and feel however they want.  Rather, encourage even if you do not agree.  Maybe encouragement is all someone else needs to meet their destination in life's journey.  This is the definition of a kind deed. Why?  Because you are showing respect for others rights, even if you disagree with their perspective.  You would want someone to do good for you therefore give as would wish to receive.  It will come back full circle!
I have learned to respect and help even those I dislike or don't understand or even fear, with an understanding that it's their life journey and you have yours so to co-mingle and co-exist peacefully and also have kind deeds and respect returned, you must give it first.  If some one rejects it so what, move on in Positive harmony.
Hope this has helped you.
Til' next time be well, be positive, and be open minded.            Clutch

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Observing 101

Even though I do not care for all the negative people in here I am forced to be around them.  So in an attempt to try to cope and understand I have had to do some serious observing.  As I have said I believe in Karma because I have witnessed it in action.  For a long time I went around saying I don't like the negative inmates.  I don't want them in my community, (prison term for clicks) I thought eff them, I don't want those that wont help themselves.  I also noticed I was being treated negatively and I couldn't figure that out.  Here I was trying to be a better human being and staying out of all trouble areas yet not much was changing for me.  I couldn't even get much help from my family on the outside.  Why?  Then it dawned on me.  Same as the early morning sun rising from the darkness. It was KARMA at its finest!!   I was getting what I was giving. to change this huh?
                                              A T T I T U D E!!
The saying goes, change your attitude and change your circumstances.  So I tried it.  I started to view those in here I disliked differently.  Who am I to judge lest I be judged.  It's their life journey.  All I can do is offer positive input to negative situations and hopefully help them on their path from negative to positive.  Or as some say "from the shit-pit to the clear waters."
It does not hurt you or I to be nice to those we dislike.  Actually it is a powerful Karma that you will get back what you put out.  And life circumstances will start to change for you.
                                   Make a decision and the Universe will honor it

photo compliments of

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Inside - a Day - Inside

Greetings and welcome to yet another Clutch observation..... As the title suggests, this view is coming from inside a maximum security prison!
In order to survive inside these walls I've been forced to study people, their mannerisms, habits and traits.  So I know how to deal within each individual or group safely.  Prison does not allow open rehabilitation. Inmates will attack you if they think you are doing the right thing.
Out there you have consequences and situations daily, but not on the same plain as inside..
In here it is a much different situation.  I am surrounded by society's worst!!  Most of whom were never taught any kind of manners, moral, consideration, respect, self-confidence, problem solving abilities and they severely lack communication skills.  They are angry at the world and blame everyone and everything else for their problems and situations because they do not know how to take responsibility.  Due to this said mental state these inmates try to control others around them.
Since they do not have any of the above skills when confronted they do not understand what the next step is so they get angry and then they try to handle the situation with brute force.  (Fighting and threatening physical harm) It's all they know.  That said, one who wants no trouble must walk around on egg shells constantly so as not to offend any of the angry people locked up inside!  They are looking for any reason to confront you and try to prove they are better and stronger than you. I guess so that they feel they are somebody!!
There are many types of personalities I am surrounded by. Most of them aren't any good as sad as that is to say.  This is a very stressful situation.  They say stress causes the body to age and I can attest to that.  Its rough to walk around here wondering if some mental inmate will wig-out (freak out) on you if they perceive you glanced at them wrong.
Back to the different kinds of personalities a person in prison is surrounded by......
Some inmates roan from one person to another talking, questioning, looking for any type of soap opera information they can twist around and create conflict so to watch it unfold.  They get a kick out of it.  You have stalkers of female guards.  There are habitual liars, thieves, rapists, murderers, child molesters, and women beaters and much much more all with different mental issues and views on each situation.  Some of their lives are so out of control they try to control the television and every show that comes on.  All because they do not know how or wont take responsibility and start to rebuild their lives. 
On the flip side of this, there are those who do change and rehab themselves yet cannot openly do this due to the fact the "life hating" inmates around them wont allow it.  That being said:  For those of us who truly want to change as I who has been clean and sober, no trouble at all, for ten years, we have to be like camelions while walking amongst the haters of life. 
Those men talk only about more crimes they will commit.  They talk about getting even.  I could write a book about what I have seen and heard. I guess I am in a way.
But let me add that there are some good changed people in here, and some innocent ones also. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

More on KARMA...

Greetings once again.  Today I would like to offer one more example of KARMA that dealt with me personally.  In the beginning of yesterday's post I  I said sometimes karma acgts fast and sometimes it doesnt.  I am here for robbing a bank while being wasted.  The effects of my actions on others didn't matter at the times as I was numb to any proper thinking action.  I frightened the people at the bank very badly and took things that didn't belong to me.  Karma was to repay me in time with a lesson attached to that repayment.

As I said, I consciously decided to live my life differently on the good side.  It is what I have been try to do for a long time.
Last year an attempted rape happened while  a female guard was being attacked.  I ran to her and stopped it because it was the right thing to do......A few inmates shook my hand while others decided I should be punished for helping staff (cops).  They hate life and do not know how to take responsibility for their actions. They blame the staff for their present living arrangement. See its everyone else's fault.  And in their minds I needed to be punished too as I appears to now be a part of the establishment because I helped their captors when its truly their own mind and attitude that keeps them captive.

They come into my cell, pulled a home-made knife on me and robbed me of most all my art supplies and food.  Was I scared?  Oh yes, I was scared.  Over the next few days I had to watch them sell my art supplies, eat my food and yes I was angry.  No I was allot angry at first.  Now remember, I'm an ex-bad boy.....I could have put a master combination lock on a belt and started whooping them one at a time as I caught them!  But that would have cured nothing as in my writing regarding the "Power We Give Words (and actions)."

Reality aside from anger is:   I would have gone to the hole, lost good time and contact with family.  And then it dawned on me that karma and the universe only showed me exactly what I did to those people at the bank.  It allowed me to experience empathy for those affected by my actions.  Now that I understood, it was pointless to beat these people here down.  They are pieces of shit, they know it but wont  admit it. I know it.  But its their problem, not mine unless I make it my problem and that would be a waste of talk, time, and energy.  Because karma gave to me what I put out in the first place.  I learned how my actions affect others by experiencing it.  Now I can move forward in life.  But if I had allowed the anger to affect my judgment and perception and move me in the wrong direction I would have lost much because I was living and doing in the negative.  No, I did the right thing by helping that girl from being raped and I know someday when I need help, karma will put those around me to help me. 

Hopefully this example will help you and yours to see that our actions do have consequences. How we decide to live life allows karma to dictate how we are treated in this life. 

My best wishes to all of you!!   Stay tuned for more, and comments welcomed.
Tell next time, Be Happy, Be Well, Be Safe and Be Positive.

Artwork is done by me....      Sincerely, Clutch

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Universal Bank = KARMA.... The sum of a person's actions

Welcome once again and greetings to you and yours.  Today I want to talk about karma, as I had a chance a few years ago to witness it in action. This is just one more reminder that what you put out there comes back to you.
KARMA-The sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

For those of you who have read my other writings, you know there was a time I didn't care much about my own life. That being said, I did some not so good things, mostly because I was wasted out of my mind.  I would have never done those things sober.  Nevertheless my point here is KARMA.  When I decided to live differently and not be angry anymore it still took awhile for things to change and begin to go right for me. I had put so many negatives out there KARMA was giving them all back "at" me.  For a number of years now I have been putting good out there and helping others - at least trying to - so now some better things are starting ot happen.  A book I suggest reading more than once for anyone, especially anyone having problems is called, The Secret, by Rhoda Byrne.  Its very helpful. Okay onto my insight.

I live on the top tier of a maximum security prison building.  There are two tiers upper and lower.  I can sit in my doorway and watch a bank of televisions that hang from the ceiling, and I can look down over the deck.  As I have written before, you can learn allot by just watching and listening to others.  There are sixty four cells on this deck, thirty two up and thirty two down.  Each hold two people. There are seven tables that seat four people each and six televisions.  Not much for inmates to do.  So most try to get into other people's business.  Its like one big soap opera only they call it politicking in here.  Merely means most inmates lives are outta of control of which they cant admit. (to being a piece of crap) and rebuilding their lives and trust so they try to control others in here to make themselves feel like they are someone.  The government has taken their freedom, they have burnt their bridges in the world, therefore this becomes their world.  As I said before, its one big soap opera of drama, mostly evil.
Now I am sitting in my doorway..... I hear a guy say to another guy of the same race, "Hey, did ya hear what happened to so and so yesterday?"  The second guy says, "So eff__ing what. If it don't have to do with me personally I don't eff-in care. Leave me out of it." The first guy gets an attitude about his because he is doing life and this is his world. The second fellow is going home in a year.
So....the fellow with the attitude is offended and starts rumors and tells another race bad things about the fellow that offended him with his cocky attitude answer, which let me add this person sports an unusually bad attitude, angry at the world, but also thinks he is better than everyone else. 
Shortly after the incident of words and attitudes, two guys (inmates) go into his cell and stab him with a sharpened toothbrush twenty times and start to steel his belongings. He comes out of his cell all bloody and yells, "Aren't any of my people going to help me? They are steeling my stuff."  I heard a guy say to him, "If it don't involve us personally, leave us out of it, we eff-in don't care."
Wow, that guy said the same thing twenty minutes earlier!
Point being: When your mean and have a bad attitude and put that out into the air (Universe) KARMA knows it and gives it back.  Sometimes sooner than later.
As I mentioned before, KINDNESS doesn't hurt.  I am polite and courteous to those whom I disagree with - they can live their lives however they chose because I want to be treated in like manner which brings us to the point of the above story.  All this guy had to do was be polite to the first guy and lend an ear for three minutes and then politely bow out. Wouldst have hurt him to donate three minutes of his time even if it were something that didn't interest him. And then all would be well. He would have lent or given courtesy and it would of been returned.  But because he has a chip on his shoulder and exhibited an attitude of being better than others, hatred is put out. Therefore this is what KARMA gave back to him.
Hopefully you all can see my point.
Even if you are in a bad mood or not interested is what someone else has to say or their feelings, it doesn't ever hurt to be kind and courteous. Seriously? Will giving a few moments of your time to others hurt you that much?  No, and how powerful it comes in return. Positive KARMA, when you need it, will be there for you. Kind of like the movie, "Pay it Forward."  Karma is your Universal Bank.

Drawing was done by me several years ago and seems to fit with today's subject

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Think First.....

                       One of my "Clutch Art" greeting cards

I believe one major key is to think and rationalize both sides of the issue before acting/reacting.  In other words, don't speak too soon.  If you and I can learn to do this piece of self-control life will become much easier.  As we will have a better understanding of the issue by thinking it out first.  Rationalize your circumstances and then speak to your confronter with a better understanding.  This allow you more control.  Sometimes one must humble ones self and allow the other person/party to go off, vent, get it out!  After all it is the other persons right and journey.  Sure, your feelings might get hurt if you allow them to.  But remember self confidence wont allow anothers words to harm you unless you give those words the power to do so.....
In allowing the other person to get out what he or she needs to, you have honored their right to think, say, feel, and do as they please, as long as you are not physically harmed.   You do not have to agree with what this other party had to say.  You just need to listen respectfully with a little understanding that your outcome will be much better this way.  Better than yelling, fighting, cussing.....which cures NOTHING and sometimes because we as humans have different beliefs we must just agree to disagree.  Two people can have different opinions or beliefs and still be friends or even a couple.  That would be because both have self respect and you respect the rights with an understanding sometimes called empathy.
Hope this has been helpful.  Til' next time, be well, be understanding.  Compassion goes a long way.

Friday, September 23, 2011

What is Your Right?

This is one of my "ClutchArt" envelopes

Greetings and welcome once again.  Today's Clutch observations regarding: "What are your rights?" Are your rights in conflict with what others consider right?  I have noticed that, both in here and out there. Everyone thinks and believes their way is the right way. I believe this is partly responsible for the conflicts we have amongst one another in society.  And in lock up also.  Mind you, this is only my point of view which may be the same as some of yours, yet different than others....use what you can use of my observations.
I have noticed (observed) especially in prison and somewhat out there from what I recall, that people attempt to get others to conform to their point of view because they believe it to be right. 
People are all different, they have been raised differently and come from different genes, as well as spiritual backgrounds. 
I suggest what you believe may not be what others believe, and what you think is right may not be right for others and their circumstances or what their path in life may need.
What we need to realize is everyone has a right to be right, in what they believe to be right. 
Okay, lets break this down.  This is America and we have a right to do and think and believe and say and have whatever opinion we so choose.  As long as these rights do not harm another.
So if I want to believe the earth is flat or aliens are our creators, I have that right, to and be secure in said beliefs, and no one has the right to attack my beliefs based on the issue that my beliefs differ from yours.  What would you care if I believe differently than you?? Let me ask you this.  Would you want someone to tell you your religion is wrong and you should convert?  Of course you wouldn't.  No one likes others telling them what they should or shouldn't do.  Yet we are quick to do this very thing because basically we have no respect for others rights and freedom and not enough self - respect for  ourselves?!
How is this you ask?  Simply put, if we respected and honored  others rights we would not get bent out of shape when we encounter others who are different from ourselves..... no matter the reason we still continue to try to change people to our belief system.  We don't have that right!  Each person must follow his or her own path.  Who are you or I to not allow the other this right.  To live their life as they see fit.  My best advice is to worry about your own path.  Strive to better yourself.  Trying to change others is like spinning your wheels on ice.  Where does this leave you?  I am not saying you should not help others if you are asked.  I am saying it would be good to know the difference of when and when not to.
Now the part of no self-respect or rather self-confidence.  Usually people with a lack of self respect/self-confidence are simply unhappy with their own life.  These people attempt to guide and control others lives due to the fact that their own life feels beyond (out of) control therefore lies the need to control someone else which allows for a feeling of worthiness, importance. (Whether the control is through manipulation or even "poor me" syndrome.)  If this is a part of your life, there may be self-confidence issues that need to be addressed.
There is an old saying:  "If you don't love yourself, you cannot love another authentically.  Because if you are not good for yourself, how can you be good for someone else.
Looking at ourselves first is the key that leads us to be responsible and accountable for our actions and reactions either through the use of words or physical means.
I had to go through this learning process the hard way, on my own.  And now I am trying to help others - all of you readers that may need assistance.  I cannot do it for you.  You have to do it for yourself.  All I can do is offer my opinions and advice.  I can only hope you will read all of my writings and apply what is helpful to you on your own journey through your specific life situations. 
to be continued.....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Power We Give to Words....

I've come to the realization that words have no power or meaning, until the individual gives the word such power, meaning or control over one's actions....or reactions.
Case in point. 
I had a conversation with one such individual just the other day, and have had it with others through the last few years.  As the followers already know, I am writing this from a maximum security prison...where most people are angry at the world because their own lives are out of control. (That is a separate article)
Back to case in point. My discussion was with another inmate and he is telling me how he docent allow others actions or opinions to affect him. 
I reply to this by saying, "Oh really, allow me to ask you a few questions?"
He said, "Okay."
I asked him point blank. "What would you do if one of these guys called you a bitch????"
Without hesitation, he replies, "I'd punch him in the mouth!"
I said, "Humm, so you gave this other person complete control over your actions!"
He says, "No, the guy disrespected me by called me a bitch."
I said, "No, he didn't. You disrespected yourself."
He gave me a blank look like he did not understand.  So in a polite tone I asked him if he would like me to explain and he said yes. Again I asked him if I could ask him a a question and he said yes. 
I said, "Are you?"
Blank look again.
I said, "Are you a bitch."
In a raised voice he said no. 
So I said, "Okay, so then does your girl, or your children, or family or friends think you are a bitch? 
He said no.
So I say to him that if he knows he is not a bitch and his girl, children, family, and friends know he is not. Why did you give this word so much power over your actions?
He said, "Because it was disrespectful." 
I said, "No its not, its only disrespectful if you react to it." I asked him if he would like it if someone was to tell him what he could or could not say.  No he said he wouldn't like that.  I say to him this is a free country. Everyone is entitled to think, say, and feel, or have an opinion of their own. They are just as free to say things as you are. So...."WALK AWAY!"  When you try to control others you only harm yourself. 
"How's that, he says?"
I said, "Well you punch him to control his words which you think are disrespectful. The guards then come and punish you. Put you in SHU (hole), take your email and phone privileges away and take 300 days good time from your sentence. Now you cannot email, call or go home sooner to your children, your family, your girl, and your friends.  You know what? Now you do look like a bitch to everyone because you allowed a meaningless word to have such control over you that you lost control by giving his word power., And then you got he punishment for it which also affected your loved ones."
He said, "Wow Clutch. I never thought of it that way."
I said, "That is a big part of the problem, people do not think or rationalize before they act or react. You knew the answer before you reacted yet you reacted anyway."
He responded with, "How do you mean?"
I said, "Think about it. You told me you were NOT a bitch and no one you knew thought you were one. You have that power and would anyone you know think less of you for walking away from a word?" And I added, probably not huh? Now lets go one step further. Suppose your in this situation and guys around you say, "Hey you gonna let him get away with that? He is disrespecting you. What are you a punk?"
I told him those kind are not your friends.  Those kinds are mad at their own lives and are miserable. (remember misery loves company)  And they want to see you in trouble.  A true friend would say to you, "Hey come on bro, that don't mean shit, Just a word not worth the trouble."
My point of this story is if you think and rationalize before word, no situation can have any more control over you or your actions and reactions then you allow them to or not to!!
Either your in control of your actions and reactions or your not.  And when your not you have given that control to someone else by reacting to a word or action or opinion that is theirs, not yours.
Judge not lest ye be judged!
I believe in KARMA. There are people in this prison I don't care for. But I give them respect and politeness because that is how i wish to be treated.  I do not have to like you to say, |"Excuse me, Please, Thank You,  or even Good Mornin'.  It doesn't hurt to be nice.  Whether you like the person or not, you are not losing anything by being kind. Actually I feel you'll gain more if your kind to those for whatever reason you dislike them.  It's good KARMA.  Doing nasty shit like going around calling others bitches is bad KARMA, then you wonder why things donut go well for you. What you put out is what you get back! Sometimes it comes back quickly and sometimes it takes a while.
Hopefully this has been informative for you.  And you can apply these concepts to other parts of your lives to better yourself.
Til' next time.....Be well, Be safe, Be happy.....Clutch

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Texas Friend Talks Baseball with Her Son.....

 Kids don't learn from being continually told what to do. They don't find their own path by someone else (parents included) imposing their beliefs on them 24/7.  I lived with someone who had to have it their way always, (controlling) while I was growing up.
Children learn by being asked questions and being shown the consequences of their decisions and actions.  Sometimes they have negative results, sometimes positive. What and which do you think will stay with them depends on the way each is presented.
My Texas friend and I were conversing by phone one day. She was telling me about her children who are very into baseball and play every season.  She told me of an incident when after a game her and her son got into the car and her son said to her, "Mom, what did I do wrong in the game?"  I would rather his self confidence would have told him what he did right and therefore he wouldn't have been so immediately worried about what he did wrong. But then that is how society works these children.  It should be viewed more as a game where we all make mistakes we can learn from! OK back to the boys question to his Mother, "How did I do?"  My friend and I discussed an alternative answer for her to use.  I suggested when the boy asks questions for her to ask him questions vs giving him the answers.  By giving him the answers she is not allowing the child to grow and learn to make personal decisions on his own as he is relying on Mom's answer.  And by Mom telling him what he did wrong, that takes all the responsibility off him for his actions or inaction's. 
Ask him what does he think he did right or wrong.  Get him to analyse his actions for the better or the worse. That gives him control to decide and to learn from and make adjustments which will build his confidence.  It doesn't matter if he thinks he did good or bad. What matters is he is analysing and discussing his own actions from his perspective which builds his confidence and teaches him how to navigate problems, verses Mom and Dad or whoever giving the answer of how it should or shouldn't be done which turns out to be  "the easy way out" for the boy who later in life cannot solve problems and may become angry because he has no self confidence.  I am certainly not saying he will be this way. This is only an example. I am also not saying this is the answer for everyone, but it could be a useful tool to help.  Thank you for your time and for reading my thoughts.
Be safe. Be well. Be Happy, and ccommunicate!    Clutch out til' next time

photo from

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Saturday, September 10, 2011

ANGER is one letter short of DANGER!

Greetings and Hello again...Today I would like to talk about anger and reflections I have about this from the inside of this maximum security prison and from my own life at a time I was younger.  Hopefully some of my insights and observations will help someone out there or someone you know with any difficulties they might be having in this area...
I touched on this topic in one of my last writings called, "The Power We Give Words."  So let's start with me.  As a child I remember being angry with everyone and everything. The specifics are irrelevant, but to allow the reader a better understanding, everyone around me thought I should live life according to their beliefs. Family member against family member world tell me the other is no good and lies...
I went through years of not knowing the truth about anything in complete confusion.  Everyone was selfish to their own needs and wants and what they believed was right.  I see this today by and from the inmates I am surrounded  by.  They think its their way or no way.  They are right and everyone else is wrong.  I think many parents do this with their children vs allowing the child to grow and have a mind of his or her own.
I became a very angry child because I couldn't get the answers that made sense and no one would let me be me.I learned quickly that negative attention was better than no attention!  I got to a place in life where I cared about nothing except drinking and getting high.  You see, misery loves company.
I went to jail and prison a number of times.  I got high in lock up and didn't care.  They made me do drug classes and anger management.  But there is no such thing as rehabilitation is you are not ready.  And I was in self destruct mode.  Nothing anyone said or did would matter until I decided not to be angry anymore and to live life differently.  Unfortunately that wasn't until I was wrongly convicted that I decided to change.
I had relationships with women and some girlfriends, of which none worked out because we would try to control one another and that never works.  I didn't love myself.  Hell I didn't even like myself so how could I be good for anyone else if I'm no good for myself.  That had to change and it eventually did.  When I received this current prison sentence I started a lot of self analysation, watching, and listening  to others.  you can learn a lot that way.  I watched the actions of the ones I was surrounded by - SOCIETIES WORST!  Wow I thought, I talked like that. Wow, I acted like that.  Wow, I was an as_hole.  A self centered one at that.
I learned you have two choices and I tell others in here that. One is to admit your a piece of chit and that you really effed up and try to rebuild and make your word good again because without honor, trust, and worthiness, you are nothing.
Or you can become a braggart.  I did this, I did that,  I had x number of women.  You get a false high from the so-called attention inside from blowing yourself up. That happens on the inside and out there.  And then you start to believe your own lies. The hardest for most is the first option. To face the truth and take responsibility for yourself and your own actions.  This is what I did.  And then I decided not to be angry anymore. 
Life is different and better for me now even though I am locked up.  And all I had to do was stop being angry and stop blaming everyone else for my own thoughts, feelings, and actions.  The hard part is now I have to won it and be responsible. Before I could just be made and make everything everyone else's problem or fault.
I'd like to give you an example of this before I move on:  This guy I know of here in the prison was making homemade wine.  He was punished by going to the hole. (Solitary) When he came out he said to me, "Clutch I never would have gone to solitary if so and so hadn't snitched!" 
I said, "Are you serious?"
He said, "Yes!"
I proceeded to tell him he didn't go to the "hole" because someone told on him, he went because he told on himself.  He appeared to be confused, (Imagine that) and reiterated it was the snitches fault. I said I disagreed.  Now he is becoming angry which is a normal response from people who don't understand.  Anger and violence is a normal first defense. Then I asked him if he knew where he was at and he responded with an affirmative. I asked if he was aware that 80% of the people in here will snitch on you and he again responded with an affirmative.  So I continued considering we were getting somewhere.  My next comment was;  "So if you are aware that 80% are snitches, why did you tell most of that 80% that you were making wine and then you showed them your product. Now whose fault is it that you went to the hole?"  You told on yourself, and you need to take responsibility for your own actions. 
I probably saved the rat from getting beat up that day, but more importantly I actually believe he "got it" and not to take the easy way out every time.
Some of the "ones" here don't care so much for me because I am so brutally honest and because the truth hurts and because they are faced with having to do the right thing or not.
So...when we are confronted with something we don't understand, don't
Oh, that's right I forgot, to ask questions might be to admit to others we are dumb....obviously not having enough self confidence causes this action and reaction.
My observation from my personal life and the people around me is that no one has been taught morals, principals, respect, understanding, politeness and a whole host of other things.

photo from

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Old Doc Whittenbach

No computers on the inside for typing or research.  Only approved emails.  That said, I am getting writers cramp making ready the material my family posts for me on this website.
I have been spending some time talking to my new doctor friend his name is Dr Whittenbach. He gives me medical advice as he specialized in internal medicine. He is a very knowledgeable person which is hard to come by in here. He speaks German, French and one other language I forgot.  I am trying to help him where I can.  I suspect he will die in here and he seems grateful to have a friend.  A rare thing inside these walls. I told him he could give me some info if anyone needed to be notified
should something happen to him. You see he was at hospital for over week last time and not allowed to call or e-mail anyone.  Prison officials didn't notify his family, so I said we would help out if possible.
I told him just because some of society's worst are here, it doesn't mean we all bad. There are some good guys here.  He said, "That's nice to know, thank you."  Now that is a word not heard but a couple times a year at this prison.
The doctor and I talked about morals and such.   He said he is from an area where country morals manners are used on a daily basis.  We discussed some of the articles I have written and how my life has changed though the changing of my thoughts.
He smiles, pats me on shoulder, and says, "Very good Clutch, you get it now."  I responded that it only took forty some years.
Very nice fellow whose been a doctor for 35 years.  This is an alien planet to him in here, but it must be something he needs to experience before his next life and moving on....... he agrees.
Yet....caution is near because there are no friends inside.  Trust is non existent for each one is out for a way out and lying certainly isn't beyond any of them. They're called "snitches."  They will say you confessed to being the rapist or murderer or whatever necessary to get moved to a less dangerous facility.

Prisoners Who Have Michael Santos (prison reform activist)

A new memorial celebrating the life and works of Dr. Martin Luther King is scheduled to open in Washington D.C.. The memorial features numerous quotes from Dr. King under four headings that include Justice, Love, Democracy, and Hope.
Since Dr. King believed such concepts were inalienable, applicable to all of mankind, I've thought about how such noble sentiments apply to the 2.3 million people struggling through America's prison system.
With regard to hope, our prison system seems exquisitely designed to extinguish it. Indeed, those who climb through prison sentences in America have come to accept the "you've got nothin' comin'" mantra. It's a phrase that every prisoner hears repeatedly. Regardless of how hard a prisoner works to reconcile, the system does not offer hope to redeem oneself or for the prisoner to atone in a measurable way.
With regard to democracy, the prison system marginalizes those serving time inside. Prisoners have no voice with regard to their elected representatives. Indeed, the prison system violates the basic human rights that are central to democracy, including freedom of speech and freedom to assemble. Rather than democracy, those who live within America's prison system live as close to communism as possible. Every prisoner serves the interests of the institution, with each being given according to his needs. It's a Marxist paradise.
The prison system discourages love. It may publish platitudes about the importance of family and community ties. But then it imposes rules that block or limit each prisoner's access to telephone, visits, and correspondence. It's nearly impossible to nurture loving relationships under such conditions, though restrictions harmonize with the tacit plans of preparing offenders for reentry -- back into the prison system upon release.
The concept of justice is what seems most abstract from those in prison. Those behind the system seem more intent on preserving the institution rather than considering what justice means. It is a system that has but one measurement of justice: the turning of calendar pages. Rather than a judicial system encouraging prisoners to work toward earning freedom, it is a system that demands its ounce of flesh. For that reason, recidivism remains high, perpetuating the cycle of failure.
I applaud the new memorial in Washington D.C. honoring Dr. King. Yet, we -- as a nation -- still have a long way to go before we can say that we are living his noble dream.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Writings will continue.... right now lock down means nothing but mail (federal law means the mail does not stop no matter what)  and sack lunches of bologna sandwiches for sometimes a week.  No commissary!  Shakedowns, which means policemen come into your room (cell) and tear all your property out of your locker onto the floor.  They take what they want including your food, books, and anything else.  Be back in a few days, hopefully... This is not a rehabilitation facility in any way shape or form.  Wish it were.  We are now but the chosen to help feed the corporations through prison medical, prison canteen, and so on.  More on this later...

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Doing Right.....

Welcome to my blog once again. Hopefully you have had a chance to read the first one and you will know this is being written from a prison cell.  Not all prisoners are bad - just most of them! (my point of view....)
Okay onto today's topic.  In my first blog I spoke about how difficult it is to change and "do right" in prison.  The following is one of my experiences and consequences of "doing the right thing."
One year ago today in 2010 I was on my unit in this maximum security penitentiary. It was about 6:20 a.m. I was drinking my wake up coffee in the day room.  I noticed a black inmate acting out of his normal behavior. (I am always aware of my surroundings because I never know when something will go "down" here. I watch inmates and guards alike.  This is how I knew this inmate was out of normal character.  He had a sharpened pencil held tightly in his hand.
That particular morning we had a 90 lb. Hispanic female officer working the Unit.  Not many people (inmates) were awake yet.  As I looked up at the televisions and heard a loud thud....looking around I didn't see anything out of the ordinary until I hear a mix between a cream and a whimper of a female tone....It clicked and I knew!!
I jumped up and ran to the female officers office.  The particle board desk was collapsed.  She was in her overturned chair. Her walkie talkie had come off her belt, that meant she could not push the panic button to summon help from other officers. The inmate who jumped her had a pencil to her neck and was trying to put his hand down her pants.  All the while he was saying, "I'm not going to hurt her!"  I get his attention off her and onto me.  As I am doing this two black guys jump past me and start to beat the raper up.  The officer is obviously dazed and somewhat confused.  I hold my hand out to her while yelling for her to get out of the office.
We get outside the office and another inmate hands her the walkie talkie. She pushes the panic button so all other officers will respond.  She is looking around like she doesn't know what to do. I tell her to get outside the building, because there are many sex offenders here and I was worried they might do something more and worse. I knew it was safe for her outside.  And the other officers were coming with mace and guns drawn....she got outside and the first officer came in through the corridor yelling "Where is she? WHERE IS SHE?"   I replied, "Outside, she is safe." And I pointed to the office.  The new officer locked the perpetrator in the office..
Now, I know a lot of officers are coming and I know they spray mace first and ask questions later.  So I retreat to my cell out of harms way.
We are now locked down in our cells and were about to be shook down and our property tore up. (Everyone gets punished when an officer is harmed. They say it sends a message) Luckily the female officer asked them, not based on the fact we (some of us) helped her. (We went against the unwritten prison against them-never help an officer) Somehow that just didn't feel right to me.  This girl needed help. I am not a bad person-just make some stupid choices while heavily under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
About two days later after this attempted rape of the female officer, my ex cellie, also an ex marine with two life sentences decided I needed to be punished for helping the officer.  He is an angry man angry at the system for life sentences. Classic cant accept responsibility and misery loves company. So he and two other inmates decide they will rob me.  They took my food and $1,500.00 worth of art materials that my family saved to help me purchase. Then they sold my property to other inmates.  And they ate my food in front of me.  This was not a simple robbery, it was at knife point.  I'd probably fought if it were not for the knives. I had two choices afterward.  Both choices a no win situation. 
I could have put a couple combination locks on a belt and went to beating on anyone of them when there were not expecting it....but that was the old way. I am not a chump and I know how to fight. Herein lies the problem....I made a conscious decision to be a different person. There was no positive for going after them violently.
The second choice I had was to "tell" prison staff.  After all they are supposed to be responsible for my safety and sell being, "Right?"  Wrong as I found out.  Will I wrestled with this decision and decided I had nothing to lose. Boy was I WRONG. 
I informed my counselor who informed me that others had already told  him (meanwhile the main marine robber went to SHU for having a knife)  I continually requested a "seperatee" be placed on us. Meaning myself and the knife toting thieves cannot walk the same compound together for safety reasons.  It didn't happen.  In fact the authorities let him out of SHU twice where he could get to me. No one wanted him for a cellie after the incident so he had to go back to SHU....  which ended up my fault of course.  I continually went from staff member to staff member trying to get them to do their job, no one would.
It took eight months and eight staff members  and calls from my family before any attention was given to my dangerous situation and stolen art supplies.  I requested over and over that staff retrieve my stolen property.  They never did, and they had opportunity to do so.  After eight months they decided to separate us. So no violent confrontation could occur and that was all they did.  My thanks for doing the right thing and saving a staff member.
Now I live daily with the harsh consequences of breaking inmate unwritten laws.....  as I will discuss next

PRISON, is not what you think it is.....

Prison is definably not what you, the general public thinks it is, nor is it what I thought it would be.  It is confusing as "Hell" to say the least. I am currently doing twenty years. Every waking moment is like walking on egg shells while trying to better myself.  Believe me when I tell  you there is no rehabilitation in prison.  This is nothing more then a warehouse for troubled souls.
I spent most of my life growing up on a farm where we treated our animals better than I am being treated.....
The system, nor the inmates will allow a person to change.  I know.  As I have changed, I am no longer the person on drugs and alcohol who didn't care about anything. 
I made a conscious decision to be a better person, an honest, respectful,caring human being which in this setting is constantly being suppressed.  The system thinks a prisoner claiming to be changed (rehabilitated) is a con, a sham.  Therefore I have been permanently labeled, and because of that permanent label "bad guy con" I am denied, denied, denied every and anything I request. That is the systems perspective.
The inmates consider change, kindness, and caring a weakness and will prey upon said weakness (meaning myself) and will come at (me) in any way they can. 
Therefore a person wanting to change in prison, is basically forced by both sides to be a "bad guy." (Illiterate prisoner inmate terminology for someone trying to be a decent person.)
If you refuse to do drugs, alcohol, or fighting inside these walls you are ostracised, picked on, beat up, shoved around. 
I have lived inside these walls for eleven of the twenty years I was sentenced to. I can find no positive way to live in here.  I've made my decision not to use drugs or be violent in any way anymore. Yet inside these walls the system punishes for doing good.  This is a no win situation.
I hide in my cell as much as possible, so I am not forced to deal with all the negative attitudes and drama.  Most of the men in here have not been nor are taught manners, respect, understanding, compassion, or empathy. They are angry people and want everyone around them to be miserable also.  Having to hide in a cell is not only a miserable existence, but it makes me turn into an anti-social persons who doesn't like people because of what I am surrounded by.
Honestly, I wouldn't want most of these inmates released to my neighborhood.  I listen to their conversations and see their attitudes.  All negative and violent.  Robbing people, raping women, drugs and booze talk.  These are supposed to be grown men, yet they jump around like children shooting each other with their fingers as gun props.  All this is, is a warehouse for grown up little kids.  Long legged men, (boys) who haven't been taught how to deal with emotions so they react negatively with fighting, steeling and knocking others down anyway they can.
From listening to these angry men for so many years, I think I understand them some.  I went through "the change" and learned to humble myself.  They have not done that yet.  To them humbling is weakness. 
A person has two choices in here.  One is to admit they are a piece of shit (that they have burned most of their bridges,)  then find a way to rebuild their lives and regain honor and make their word worth something again. If your word is worthless, so are you.
Most of the men inside chose choice #2.  They lie by telling magnified stories about themselves.  They brag about drugs, women and robbing which gains them attention from other inmates who will listen. Unfortunately these actions give them their old drug "rushes" as well as they feel important.  With each new story being glorified more they climb higher on the prison inmate hierarchy ladder of lies and hate.  Those are the leaders who lead the lessors and pick on the inmates trying to better themselves.  The liars win in here.
The old saying, "Misery loves company," rings true inside the walls!!  Prison is an "all boys soap opera!"  They do not understand the basic fact that their own actions have put them in this situation!  It's all too easy for them to blame the government, or a jailhouse snitch for their misfortune as they are totally unable to take responsibility for their own actions.
These men have barely heard the word KARMA nor do they understand it. To highlight this, not long ago, an inmate I know was let out of S.H.U. (Special Housing Unit, a prison inside a prison for those who break the rules) He said to me, "I wouldn't of gone to SHU and got in trouble if ++++++ hadn't told on me."  I responded with, "Are you serious?"  He looked at me blankly and said, "Well yeah."  I told him the other guy didn't tell on him, he told on himself.  He said a few blankity blank words to me and I nervously responded  by telling him with controlled strength that HE WAS CONFUSED!  His response to that was, "Huh?"   This ignorance is what I live with twenty four hours a day.  I read book after book to learn and try to keep a part of myself on the outside and sane among the insane.