I returned from yard today to find all of my writing gone! (This writing). Since my cell was locked, it had to be the guards. My heart thumped in my chest. They only seize stuff for disciplinary reasons, and one major ticket can add a year to my sentence. CO’s have all of the power, and in prison, just like society, there is no burden of proof. It’s simply, ‘Can we convict?’
I was definitely worried, but my dominant emotion was sorrow.
The writing is an extension of myself, and I have a lot of it. Much pertains to this blog, but I’m also writing a fiction novel I hope to share with you in the next few months and I keep exhaustive notes.
Guards do rounds every hour. Until then, I’m left to ponder the how’s, why’s, and what’s. I understand why they have the right to Gestapo my papers. Perhaps I’m coordinating an escape, or conducting criminal business, but not I. After prior close call, I heed the old adage ‘Never putting anything in writing’.
But there are limited ways they could have known I was writing. 1) They saw me during a round. 2) The camera caught me passing papers to my neighbors through the bars. 3) My neighbor told the guards. 4) My neighbor was recently moved to a cell with a Bunkie. Maybe he told this Bunkie about the posts and that Bunkie thought he might earn some brownie points by informing the guards.
Let me briefly explain the handler informant relationship. In real life, my closest associate had a brother who informed for the police for over twenty years. He was responsible for building the head of a narcotics division’s career and both were extremely influential in my prosecution.
As a teenage man and a rookie police officer, they made a pact. The snitch could sell drugs, guns, and violence, so long as he provided large busts. Now this agreement is not exactly legal. A narcotics officer can’t say, “Go sell drugs and set people up for us.” However, they can say, “Don’t do anything illegal.” Wink, wink. “But if you do and are apprehended, I’ll get all the charges dropped…”
Just from what I know, this person has been busted with cocaine on numerous occasions and arrested with hundreds of pounds of marijuana. There was a vehicle seized in Las Vegas that garnered a snazzy-titled article in a newspaper. This vehicle was proven to be his, and had forty thousand dollars in modifications to allow it to transport the eighty thousand in drugs they seized. He was once raided by the wrong drug unit who found modified firearms to go with a cache of drugs, and there was a woman who filed a rape report (he raped her, physically and brutally. She was a waitress at his bar. She had a possible learning disability.)
Magically, through all of these documented incidents, the man has never spent a week in jail or been charged (nor anyone who committed any of these crimes with him).
His value to the officer whose career he built is much more important than these “trivial” crimes. You might find it hard to believe. I can only say this is a mild list. This man is allowed to do anything.
You might ask how he survived this long? How he finds criminals to bust when everyone knows his game? It’s simple really. He creates his drug dealers. He prides himself on incarcerating minorities (even though he is one). He will supply a young man (preferably black) with excellent drugs at a cheap price. As soon as the guy is buying substantial quantities and has purchased things worth seizing, he will find himself in prison for the next 4-20 years.
The snitch will then immediately begin a smear campaign against his victim, how HE’S the snitch, but only the dumb and desperate believe him (which is a nice percentage of people).
So, he’s financially successful (the police monetarily compensate him), the most complete example of a sociopath that life can provide, and quite powerful. Ironically, he’s never been happy, not one minute of his adult life.
I was with him the day he took out a brand new boat loaded with happy and handsome people, yet all he did was gripe. He owned a happening night club where weak people idolized him, yet all he could do was complain. He has no friends, no loyalties to or from anyone. He religiously beats his girlfriends, and betrays his own family often. And all of this is his arc. His valley occurred when he did his grandest snitching ever to get his most valued dealer out of a serious jam. He destroyed dozens of lives and provided police with countless assets, but his masters gave his associate nine years, the other got twenty-five…pretty good since they were facing life, but the snitch went ballistic! He told his well-placed cop friend to, ‘Go to Hell! He was done!’
The now head of a division smiled and said, “Okay, tough guy,” and laughed as they waved goodbye. A few weeks later, he was audited by the IRS. He lost everything – his business, cars, and idolizers. Still owing over one hundred grand to back taxes, the narcotics team, in their benevolence, offered to help squash his criminal tax problems if he would just get back with the team.
After I did my year in jail and came out to laugh at his campaign against me, I got rewarded with the sound of his voice. It was on a voicemail belonging to a girl he treats like trash. She was kind enough to save it for me. On it, the ex-rich, current snitch, was crying, choking out sobs as he attempted to formulate words.
This girl and I laughed so hard it took thirty minutes and ten plays for me to hear what he was saying. It was pure magic.
He was asking her to borrow twenty dollars.
See, I’m in prison, but I’m laughing. The last time I saw him, the energies of the universe were kind enough to allow me to leave him with a permanent impression.
On paper, he has lived a great life, free of incarceration, but never of consequence.
One more anecdote about this informant, who is given authority by police, who are supposed to protect people from guys like this.
He is, and always has been, the worst person I know. He once had a copious load of ecstasy pills (25,000). A month later, he showed me an article in the newspaper – sixteen people had died that month from the ecstasy we sold. I felt so sick. I had heard first hand accounts of these deaths but hadn’t thought they could be related to a bad batch. I just thought luck of the draw.
Instead of tossing out the remaining pills, he took this information to his supplier, threw a faux fit, and when the supplier’s guilt was ripe enough for him to vow to destroy the rest, the police protected informant negotiated to buy them at a rock bottom price. He already had them sold in Chicago for a nice profit.
I feigned laughter and asked him how he lived with himself. He retrieved an ecstasy pill from his pocket, placed it on his palm, and displayed it to me. It differed from the presumed tainted batch. He popped it into his mouth, downed it with a drink, and said, “We all take chances.”
Now somewhere back there we were discussing my frightful situation here in prison – that my writing had been confiscated.
I was worried, and rightfully so, as they can interpret anything any way they please. They can fabricate charges, definitely treat me like a dog, or strip me naked and throw me in the hole.
I was mostly sick about losing my work. I laid in my bunk and recalled what I’d wrote. Was any of it offensive to some of the officers? Maybe. Would I now have an unwanted ‘X’ on my back? Maybe. But the real question was, did I write anything criminal? I felt confident I had not, but understood that by their standards, maybe I had.
The officer finally returned, unlocked my cell, and then said for me to close it and follow him. He led me to an office and had me sit. My thick stack of papers were the only thing on the desk – their very existence in jeopardy.
He stared at me as if unsure how to begin, and then said, “I’ve read every page in here, and we have some serious problems to discuss.”
A knot rolled in my stomach. It was clear he was pissed, but would you believe I blurted out. “Did you find the subject matter interesting? Did the writing itself hold your attention? Do you think I was too emotional in post 17, about my dad?”
He stared at me as if unsure of my mental health, and then said, “Though I understand why you’d ask that, I’m not going to answer.”
All of my reservation melted away. Yes, I might go to the hole, and I would almost certainly lose my writing, but I could tell he enjoyed what he had read, that even though he was taught that inmates were nothing but manipulative beasts, he and I connected.
The rest of our talk was one-sided, eye-opening, surreal, and frightening. He showed me a sentence in my writing where he could place me in segregation, another where I might find myself the target of a violent inmate.
He acknowledged that he had an idea of which guards I’d referenced. He assured me that had an unpleasant one found this, he would have twisted my words and stuck me in the hole, and that I would have been henceforth buried in tickets. With resignation, he said that some people are good, some indifferent, and others…not so much. He claimed to be indifferent and said he would have forgotten about throwing me in the hole within the hour.
It’s the final truth he shared that has me weary to put pen to paper, in fear of the words conjuring their manifestation. He said, “Can I say to you with one hundred percent certainty that some officers wouldn’t set you up with drugs or weapons over this writing? That some wouldn’t make it their mission to see that you never get out of prison? No…I couldn’t say that.”
He taught me a lot in those five minutes. He was spot-on in all areas excluding one. He is not a man of indifference. He is of the good sort. He knew nothing in my writing was malicious, vulgar, or formulative, and he overlooked the negative portrayals of his workplace in order to side with truth.
Indifferent officers understand that you’re in a cage twenty-three hours a day, but you put yourself there. Evil CO’s love that you’re locked up, and they want so much to see you crack. They pray for the crunch-splattering thud of a suicidal inmate’s body connecting with the concrete near them. The good ones empathize with some, and do the small things that they can for all. It’s never much because they are limited by multiple outside sources, and I’m sure sated with memories of being good to an inmate who in turn did the officer wrong.
But when you’re good, you understand that’s going to happen, and you don’t care. I won’t say I’m good, that’s for others to decide, but I do work to improve.
The officer returned my writing, and I floated back to my cell.
I am grateful for the good officer’s intervention, though I’ll never let him know it, fearing I would force him to be authoritative in order to conceal his kind heart.
In prison, kindness will undoubtedly cause you problems, but I also think it can spread. I intend to find out.
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