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.
I chose this title because the majority of prison tattoos revolve around hate. Not all. But most.
Some guys will get their woman’s name plastered across their neck. So I suppose I could’ve called this post : PRISON INK : THE ART OF LOVE. Because it’s also common to see the faces of loved ones etched in the flesh. Along with their names, birth dates, death dates, anniversary dates, etc.
I’ve seen convicts sporting tattoos of the hand prints and foot prints of their newborns. Just today I saw one that said, ”Family’s gone, but not forgotten.” That was in cursive and on his neck. Then on his left hand was some gang stuff.
So, as you can see, it’s not all about hate. But no matter what, it is all bad. Consider the risks involved, such as transmittable disease, bad ink, getting your ass kicked, infractions, and loosing goodtime.
I just met a guy who got kicked out of The Dog Program because during a strip search they discovered a tattoo of his favorite dog. He told them that the tattoo was old. They asked, ”How old?”
He was honest. He said, ”Over a year ago.”
Book em! It doesn’t matter how old a tattoo is. When a guy comes to prison, DOC documents all scars and tattoos. If you get a new tattoo while in prison, and they discover it 25 years later, it’s a major infraction!
I know this white guy who got “WHITE PRIDE” tattooed down his back arms. The guy who did the tattoo is a black man. When the white fellas (see: prison glossary) found out that a black man tattooed “WHITE PRIDE” on a white boy, they beat the white boys ass.
For months I watched a white tattoo artist sling hate monger ink all over dozens of other white boys. The artist then went and tattooed some gang graffiti on a black man. The white boys beat the artist damn near to death.
Why? Because they felt their new tattoos were somehow tainted because that artist also worked on someone who wasn’t white.
A lot of drama and misconduct goes into getting a prison tattoo. I asked a lot of old timers if they like their tats? Most say no. They regret getting them. And if they could do it over, they would stay away from tattoos.
Tattoos are addictive. Most guys can’t stop at just one. At first they look nice. As the years go by they fade, bleed into the skin, and get blurry. This has a lot to do with the poor quality ink. Guys make ink out of soot and baby oil. As a matter of fact, back in October of 2013, some guys caught the unit on fire as they were making ink. It’s dangerous! On many levels.
NOTE: All pictures were taken from a smuggled-in cell phone. I did 7 months in the hole after I got caught with it years ago. While in the hole I wrote a book called, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary. Buy the ebook today!