On Thursday December 1st, DOC spent $18K to shakedown two units. DOC brought extra guards in by the buss load! Literally.
The first unit they hit was G UNIT. The dog program is in that unit. So at about 10 am, a guard brought me Sam from G UNIT. Sam is a two year old Husky/Shepard mix. We spent the day playing and getting to know each other.
Sam is an awesome dog, and he’s looking for a forever home. For more information on how to adopt, please read: Adopting A Dog.
I was expecting to give Sam back at 3:30pm. But to my surprise, he spent the night with my celly (Jesse Bailey) and I. The next morning, we got raided! Sam went back to G UNIT, and all of H3 (my unit), went to the gym. There we sat for 9 hours while our cells were getting TORE UP!
Some cells got hit harder than others. I was actually surprised that my cell didn’t get hit that hard. Everything was moved around, but they didn’t dump everything on the floor like they did others.
These shakedowns are to be expected. I mean after all, this is prison. But the interview tactics was out of line! As we all sat in the gym, DOC conducted interviews with everyone. Or should I say, they interrogated everyone.
As soon as I walked in the little office, the lead investigator looked at me from above his glasses and simply said, “Sit down!”
I said, “Yes sir” and sat.
He asked, “Are there drugs in the unit?”
I said, “I’m sure there is. This is prison.”
He asked, “Who has them?”
I said, “I don’t know. I’m not in that scene.”
He said, “Don’t lie to me. You live in that unit and you know where its at!”
I said, “Sir, I understand your position and objective. But I can’t tell you what I don’t know.”
He responded, “So if you knew, you’d tell me?”
That’s when I got philosophical with him. I said, “What’s done in the darkness will eventually be brought to light. Guys that come in here and tell, eventually get exposed. And that in itself presents a whole host of problems that often turns out worse than a guy sitting in his cell getting high.”
He says nothing as he jots down notes on his pad.
I continue, “So with all due respect, let’s just focus on me and what I’m doing.”
That’s when he says, “You’re getting high. I’m ordering that extra attention be paid to your cell. I’m also ordering that you get tested for drug use.”
I’m thinking, man, this dude is hardcore! I feel myself taking offense. Then all of a sudden, The Four Agreements pop into my head. I remember the second agreement: DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY.
At that moment I start to relax and realize this guy is just doing his job and he views me as a number. He doesn’t care about me or my journey. He’s just doing his job and I just so happen to be within his line of work. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
He quickly snaps back, “That doesn’t mean anything!”
I quietly say, “To me it does.”
Then he asks, “Who do you run with?”
I reply, “No one. But I associate with all types of people.”
“Does that include the White Boys?” he asks.
It would be so easy to be a smart-allic to this guy, and at times I’m tempted. But I stay composed and answer his questions as he attempts to put his own twist on things.
I say, “Yes. And it includes my Black friends, my Native American friends, my Asian friends, and my Mexican friends.”
As he’s interrogating me, he’s looking at a computer screen, reading some type of inaccurate information on me. At least I assume it’s inaccurate, based on his line of questioning.
He asks me, “Do you sit with all these different races in the chow hall?”
I tell him, “Yes.”
He asks me, “How do the White Boys feel about that?”
I tell him, “I’ve never went around asking, but I assume it’s just like anything else in life…some hate it, some like it, and some don’t care.”
Then he asks me, “Have you ever been affiliated with the Skinheads?”
Have you ever been affiliated with the AF (Arian Family)?
“Have you ever attended any Asatru meetings or European events?”
“Nope. But I have attended Native American Pow Wows and Cinco De Mayo celebrations.”
“Let me see your tattoos,” he demands.
“I don’t have any,” I say.
He says, “Either you willingly show me your tattoos or else I’ll strip search you, then write you up you for lying to staff.”
“If I had tattoos I’d gladly show you. But I don’t have any.”
Silence filled the room.
His entire line of questioning was an attempt to tie me to STG (security threat groups) and make me out to be a racist. (please read: Prison Ink: The Art of Hate)
As silence filled the room, he continued to read from the computer. So I took it upon myself to give him some more unsolicited insight on myself.
I said, “I know I’ve done wrong in the past. I’m ashamed and remorseful for all that. Today I’m a rehabilitated man. I treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their race, religion, or crime. I don’t use drugs or alcohol and I always try my best to do the right thing.”
He continues to read and says nothing.
Then to my surprise, he took off his glasses, looked me in the eye, and said, ”Thank you for your time Mr. Jennings. And good luck to you in the future. We’re done here.”
I was shocked! WTF just happened?
As I stood up, he stood up. Then he extended his hand. I felt uncomfortable shaking it. Because this is where all the snitches conduct their business. And this is the man they conduct their business with. But I have a clear conscious. I’m not a snitch. And I haven’t done anything wrong. So I shook his hand and said, ”Thank you sir” as I walked out the door.
For more on this crazy day, please read my celly’s perspective in a post he wrote on Stone City Blog called: SHAKEDOWN (the drug raid)
And oh, just so you know, they never did UA me.
Or strip search me.
Or pay special attention to my cell.
The Inside Out Group hosted a fundraiser on Aug. 8th. Inmates got to order outside food, such as: chicken, pie, ice cream, and soda.
Seminar – An “Overcoming Life’s Addictions” seminar was held on Aug. 19th. This seminar was based on the book, “At The Altar of Sexual Idolatry” by Steve Gallagher. Inmates had to read the book in order to attend. Fifty books were available for this, on a first come first served basis.
Back To School Event – This event fostered positive relationships between children and their incarcerated fathers. Fathers were able to give their kids back to school supplies, and spend the day playing fun educational games with their kids. This special event was held on Aug. 22nd.
Violence Prevention Field Day – I attended this event last year and it was awesome! Last year was such a great success that SCCC did it again this year in September.
Diversity – The Cultural Diversity Committee is made up of a diverse group of inmates. They aim to bring awareness and educate individuals in fun and exciting ways, and to teach the intricacies of different ethnical cultures and backgrounds. The goal is to create a more united community by throwing out false stereotypes. On Aug 6th, the Diversity Committee hosted a European Heritage Event.
Redemption – A new 21 week Redemption Self-Awareness class began in August. This class is available to all inmates who want to live a positive lifestyle. I highly recommend this class. I just recently graduated and I found this class very beneficial.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) classes are on Sundays and Tuesdays.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) classes are on Mondays and Thursdays. I will be taking these classes to help me gain back some good time.
Anger & Stress Management – This is a six week discussion group on Mondays and Fridays. Areas of discussion include: identifying anger, dealing with stress, communication skills, conflict resolution, family & celly issues. After I complete my NA classes, I will enroll in Anger Management classes.
Family Fun Night – This event took place in the visiting room on Sept. 18th. The activity was BINGO! There were prizes to be won and cupcakes to be eaten. The love of my life, Suzie Marie, made a special trip up for this event. We had a wonderful time together!
Sustainability In Prison Project – On Sept. 17th there was a lecture conducted by scientists and community members who are active in conservation & sustainability. The lecture topic was: Earthships – Reusing society’s byproducts into houses and that take care of you and the planet.
Flagging Program – This program allows inmates to earn a certificate that will qualify them to become a roadside flagger in construction zones. It’s a one day class and costs $45. Inmates must be one year or less to their release date, and they must also be six months infraction free.
College Readiness Program – This allows inmates and counselors to build a college readiness referral. The Greys Harbor Community College helps with this program by providing the following: skills to help transition from prison to college, free applications for FAFSA student loans, career info, admissions assistance, transcript requests, credit transfers, money management, study and test taking skills, etc. To participate in this program, inmates must be 18 months or less till their release date and they must have their high school diploma or GED.
Life is what you make of it.
Even in prison there is an abundance of opportunities!
Real Love Letters – Suzie & I have decided to share our journey from the very beginning. We will be posting our personal letters to show the world how we met and fell in love. A lot of people wonder how a good wholesome Mormon girl could fall in love and marry a man in prison serving a 43 year sentence. This blog will answer many questions as Suzie and I share our transparent back & forth dialogue.
Stone City Blog – A collection of blogs written by men in prison. If you have a loved one in prison, give them the gift of blogging. Our services are free. (For more information, please read: Submitting Blogs)
Suzie M. Jennings – What’s it like to be the wife of an inmate? Follow Suzie’s blog about love, life, & success. Everyone is on a journey…all are the same, yet all are different.
Steven D. Jennings – I am the nations leading blogger from behind bars! I share my journey towards rehabilitation & redemption. Please follow my blog as I share my experiences with you.
Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary – Please show your support and buy my ebook.
Help Unite Steven & Suzie – Please take a look at our GoFundMe campaign. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for all the love & support!