Installment VIII: On How and Why I Pled Guilty to a Crime I Did Not Commit
Having gone to some length explaining solitary confinement earlier in this memoir, perhaps you may begin to understand why the United Nations 'Special Rapporteur on Torture' declared in January 2012, that more than eight days in solitary confinement is "torture". I persist in referencing this declaration regarding solitary confinement because I believe solitary confinement is torture and it is also illegal under United States law.
As part of my "I want to stay sane" project, I crochet. The finished products go to friends, children of friends, and, of course, my sons, H & W.
Hello all, these are some pictures of some of the things I made during my years in prison. There are many other items not represented here as we do not have photos of just the items without someone in the picture, and I will never post a photo of an individual on any site.
3 November 2016
Installment VII: My Winter of Discontent and Disappointment
Over the winter of 2010-2011, after I was indicted, I waited (and waited, and waited) for the 'motion for discovery' to be filed with the court by the prosecution. 'Discovery' is the comprehensive term for the prosecution's responsibility to present its evidence against the defendant to the court & the defense in order for the defense counsel to prepare its countering presentation at trial. In theory at least, all evidence of the prosecution must be made known to the defense through this process ahead of time, though 'last minute awareness' (in which they unethically, if not illegally, withhold anything that might benefit the defense is an all too common prosecution trick).
12 July 2016
Installment VI: Waiting for Charges and Bargaining
PCDC (Pitt County Detention Center) is a regional facility located in Greenville, NC, that holds approximately 900 inmates for both state and federal courts. It also serves the surrounding counties so that they do not have to enlarge their facilities. I arrived there on the weekend of the 23rd of October, 2010 and would remain there for 16 months, until finally sentenced and moved into the Federal prison system.
13 June 2016
Installment V: The Wheels of Justice Grind Inexorably & Fine
From August until October 2010 I idled away in a for-profit prison, surviving on baloney on white bread and overpriced vitamin supplements bought at the prison gedunk, waiting for the Justice Department to actually do something with my case. My legal representation (mentioned before) I will call "Attorney A" (or AA for short from now on). He is charming and seems realistic. Over the course of the following few months his deficiencies, negligence and misconduct proved life altering for me. We dismissed him by the following spring after he wreaked irreparable damage to my case. Though we fired him we could not get him out of the case for many, many months. In fact, until 2015. He was privy to the case progress after we terminated him even as we sued him for malpractice. There is no need for me to go on describing his faults or derelictions in my case as they have already been chronicled by wonderful attorneys, who are much better writers than I am, at length, and can be found in U.S. Federal and N.C. State Court records if anyone ever wants to read it all.
10 May 2016
Installment IV: My First "For-Profit" Lockup
Up to this point I had learned a few things about surviving in a crossbar hotel. Now I found myself in my first private prison and there my tuition continued.
The starting salary of a guard at the private jail I was at was a little over $16K a year. I discovered this when the 'shot caller' for the pod, "J.O.," the highest ranking 'Blood' gang member there, showed me his commissary account receipt that denoted he had $17,000 US Dollars in his account, and said that he always kept at least that much on the account as a way to show the guards he could buy and sell them, which he did, regularly. My favorite thing he did was to have the guards in his pocket roll up a TV & DVD player on a cart to his rack on a 200ft extension cord and he'd watch rented movies all day.
7 May 2016
My introduction to the Federal Prison System (be aware that at this point in my story there has been no trial, no plea bargaining, I am awaiting trial, and in our system that means that am presumed innocent).
Six days after my arrest I entered the American Gulag. My stay there would last over a year.
14 April 2016
At this point I had been locked up in a real pod for 36 hours with other inmates. 'Little Tommy' or was it 'Timmy' (who can remember, having only heard the name in passing) hung himself. Seems he was known. Something you get used to is people all knowing each other in jails. Coming from the same 'hood,' constantly relating to each other news from the outside. Not being from the hood alone marked me as an outsider, not being from the same socio-economic class made me totally other, not to be trusted and sure as all get out not to be cared for. No one dared confide in me anything. I heard taunts and earnest requests that I convey sometime in the future what really goes on inside. They believed that being white and privileged 'someone might listen to [me]' - I assure them that I am as screwed as they are. They don't believe me because no honkey could be that screwed and we settle into mutual a disregard. 'Tourists' come and go in every jail I encountered, but the 'locals' in local jail is the typical population.
7 April 2016
Friends, many of you have asked about how I ended up where I did. Rather than respond individually to your questions, though, I will write a multi-installment narrative of what has transpired since 10 July 2010.
As the subject is immense and complex, for the sake of brevity I must assume that you all are versed on the government's version of events as that is all that was ever published in the media. I shall not waste any effort attempting to recount their version, as you can see it better than I ever have . All I know is that I am a Google search away from permanent infamy. Hopefully I will provide an offsetting narrative of my progress in America's Gulag. What follows then is just a linear account of the process, with little or no emotional or reflective angles covered, as I am just answering FAQs, not writing a memoir, yet.
For those reading without a prior knowledge of the US system of incarceration, I have added a number of notes to help explain it. The statistics are well known; the US comprises 5% of the world's population the US holds in 25% of the worlds' prisoners. Over 90 billion dollars a year are spent on the system at the federal, state and local levels combined. The states all operate their own prison systems, which do not include the county jails, and the feds operate the world's largest prison system. Within this are private, for-profit facilities serviced by private companies under contract for provisioning and servicing said facilities - and all these said companies pay lobbyists who pay politicians to keep the status quo because mass incarceration is highly profitable to those companies.
Gary Fields wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal on May 6, 2013 with the subtitle "Bipartisan Congressional Initiative Targets Bloated Federal Provisions Cited by Critics for Driving Up Incarceration Rates."
Key points of the article include: