Sunday, June 24th, 2012 |
The first thing we noticed on Saturday morning was a heavy police presence and this would continue all weekend. But the camp is pretty much back to normal after the food strike on Friday.
Our unit and another were shaken down on Saturday afternoon. Our unit was shaken down once again on Sunday. My cell was not even touched during these shakedowns and we were locked out briefly. This tells me that they were looking in certain cells. In fact, they took a few more guys off the compound because of cell phones.
The only real silly thing was that they didn’t serve any fruit on Sunday because they found five bananas in someone’s locker on Saturday. Everything seems normal but with more cops around.
Friends that had visitation on Saturday and Sunday reported light turnout since loved ones couldn’t confirm visitation plans because the phones are shut down. I was also told that there was a noticeable higher number of COs watching the visitors than normal. That could also be the case since the staff were being forced to be at the camp, and the visitation room is the most comfortable place to be.
Problems Prompting Food Strike
As I reflect on the last several days, I realize that the problems in the camp started many months ago, but particularly started when the washers and dryers were removed. That was the first thing that got the camp riled. It snowballed through punitive inspections, shakedowns, hassles from our “Super-Co” and the wrongness of the inmate death. The walk-off of an inmate was the first drastic measure taken by an individual who couldn’t take it anymore.
I realize the importance of keeping cell phones off the compound and they should. The question is whether the entire community should be punished or just the guys with the cell phones. The administration decided to punish the community for the actions of a few bad apples, thus the community came together to make a simple statement by refusing to eat in the dining hall for one day.
Assistant Warden was a Major Contributing Factor to the Food Strike
The AW blew everything out of proportion and threw gasoline on the flames. She would have been better if she simply said, “I hear you, now let’s work together to resolve the cell phones.” By punishing the community, she started an act by the community. All of this was totally unprofessional on her part and disruptive to camp security and control, not to mention the staff.
The AW also compounded the problem further by taunting the guys. She told staff all last week that the campers were soft, had no guts, “they won’t do anything”, among many other comments. These comments were also made directly to campers minding their own business. Today she was going up to guys in the dining hall and saying, “you have something to say to me?”
These comments are enough to incite another food strike. The AW also said that if we acted like penitentiary prisoners we didn’t belong in the camp. She had already turned off the TVs a week ago and it was very evident that she was looking for an excuse to take away the privileges of the weight pile. All her statements were creating problems where problems didn’t exist. Most guys just want to do their time and that’s it.
Finally, she said she had intercepted letters and BP-10s intended for BOP Regional and Washington complaining of her actions. I don’t know how she can cover everything up. She really made herself look bad!
Impact of Food Strike on Other Staff
In addition, the AW clearly usurped the authority of the camp administrator and imposed burdens on other staff. We rarely saw the camp administrator all weekend. We got a lot of feedback from other staff. They resented having to spend overtime and effort in 90+ degree heat. We also heard that news of the food strike on the camp spread through the rest of the complex. Everyone, staff and other inmates, were surprised at what the campers did and the ensuing reaction.