What do you do when you are viewed as a piece of shit? My life does not matter in prison. When people hear me talk they wonder how did I gain the level of smarts that I have gained, where did In learn how to articulate my issues, they wonder why I did not choose to be like others who give officers a reason to abuse them. I choose to be better I choose to show the system that through all this hell, I will rise up!
Within South Woods State Prison, the level of oppression that inmates face is real, its strong and tolerated, many of the white officers have no problem acknowledging that they hate inmates, they hate the prison, they hate everything… and you know who pays for it? Inmates do! 6:00 am is shift change the night shift leaves and the first shift comes in. Officers come around banging on doors just to disturb and disrupt inmates who are trying to sleep. While not every officer is evil many are, and their supervisors as we’ll as the administration does nothing to stop the misconduct from happening.
6:30 am is Brakefast, due to the pandemic inmates must eat inside of their cells, which at times causes tensions but no one cares. The mornings are nice for me, I like to plan my day, trying to forget about the things that happened yesterday.
8:30 am is recreation, during this time I get to see how corrupted the officer is, they will usually do everything in this power to delay recreation, usually calling us out late (8:45) which leaves us with only 15 minutes to use the phone. In South Woods because of the lack of leadership officers are free to do what they want, and for inmates who try to report misconduct they are often moved to worst units or sent to solitary for bogus charges.
I am housed on Facility 2, where officers have already threatened me, saying they will fuck me up if I go to SID or report them. At this point I have had to acknowledge that I am on my own, the prison administration does not care and the investigators who are suppose to investigate will do nothing. I am now living on edge, having to watch my back, officers have already placed my safety in danger telling other inmates on my unit that I am a snitch, which in prison is a dangerous label.
When officers seize contraband from inmates they are suppose to dispose of the items, at South Woods State Prison they are allowed to retain inmates fans, television sets and sometimes food that they have confiscated from inmates. When inmates are stuck standing at gates for long periods of time, its usually because the officers are watching television in the booth, despite their being policy that states they can not have cable on their post, maintainence has installed cable on Facility 1 and 2, which allows officers to watch television. This often leads to inmates being called out late for recreation and poor moral for officers who are called to do their jobs.
Officers who try to help inmates are referred to as “inmate lovers” and are teased by other officers. “if they don’t fucking like it they should not have come to jail” many of them say..Not realizing that the purpose of prison is to reform the inmate and their job as correctional officers is to be role modals not oppressors!
People wonder why I go so hard at advocating, its been a secret but as a Black Transgender inmate my life has to matter, I feel like at any time I could be killed or severally hurt.. I have been through hell while in this system and the same people who are responsible for protecting me are the ones who are often oppressing me. I rise to say that I am human and I deserve to exist, as these people try to take my voice and subject me to such oppressive conditions I rise to say that I won’t quit, join me in my journey to transformation and redemption!