Hauled Off to Solitary Confinement… SHU

Prison Life

Mar 10

Thursday PM, September 1st, 2011 |

Don’t Worry, I’m Doing OK.  I am in the SHU and in solitary confinement.  BOP probably finally determined their mistake after Christine called my attorney and the request to pick me up worked its way to Butner.  Communicating with the outside world will be very difficult.  I am currently writing with a ballpoint pen insert with nearly no ink in it.  In fact, I have five such pens in front of me. Of course, I have no access to a computer – and nothing else but some very few basics.  It is almost impossible to write more than a sentence without one of the pens failing.

Cell Shakedown

I was in my room this afternoon with my cellie.  The CO that supervises our floor came to our cell and told us to go the TV room until notified that we could return.  She also said that they were going to shakedown our cell and to leave everything in the room.  I had a book in my hand so she let me take the book with me.  My cellie looked very concerned and his face turned white.  He probably assumed that the shakedown was aimed at him.  Brandon disappeared quickly without saying a word.

The floor CO waved at me indicating that I was to return to my cell.  As I approached my cell, another CO asked me if I was John Foster and I answered in the affirmative.  He simply told me to follow him.  My cellie re-appeared and stared at me in disbelief; like, why are they taking this guy who only got here three weeks ago?  Also by this time, other inmates were gathering in the hall to watch the commotion.  Surprisingly, the CO let me keep the book that I was still holding but gave me no opportunity to get any of my personal property including my CPAP and medicines.

Walk to the SHU

I followed the CO out of the building and asked him what was going on and where were we going.  He said that he would tell me shortly.  I had not been in prison long enough to figure it out for myself.  As we approached the side of the administration building where Special Housing Unit (SHU) is located, he told me that they were going to put me in the SHU for my protection.  I really didn’t know what to expect at that moment.  I had heard about the SHU but that is about it.

The SHU is commonly referred to as the Hole.  This is a maximum security building where they house guys that cause trouble and are awaiting disciplinary action.  In my case, this is where they wanted to provide me protection and isolate me from other inmates.

Intake at the SHU

At the door to the SHU, the CO escorting me told me to put my hands on the wall.  He put handcuffs on me and led me inside.  We were met by the CO’s working there.  One of them grabbed me by the handcuffs and escorted me into a holding cell that resembled a jail cell with bars.  The other CO quickly disappeared.  Another guard appeared and told me to take all my clothes off and hand them to him.  He then asked me to turn around, bend over, squat and open my cheeks.  This was totally humiliating.  I went through something similar three weeks earlier at R&D intake.

They took all my clothes and gave me an orange jumpsuit, a pair of boxers, socks and flimsy rubber shoes.  In addition, I was given 2 top sheets, a blanket, towel, wash cloth and some toiletries.  A guard then escorted me down the far end of lonely corridor.  As far as I can tell,  I am at the very end of a jail block with no other inmates on either side of me.  I am isolated in a small bare cell – think the worst you have seen on TV. It is very cold in here.

Left in Isolation

No one has talked to me about when I will be getting transferred out. There’s no way to engage in a conversation with the guards. The CO that brought me here gave me a one sentence explanation that a co-defendant was here and they had to remove me.  I don’t think the SHU CO’s know why I am there and they probably don’t care anyway.

I don’t know the next step. I’m told that someone from medical will be seeing me shortly. Otherwise, I don’t expect any further explanation tonight. As far as I know, I could be here for a few days. Given the holiday weekend, who knows when I will get out of here.

I’ll be glad when this nightmare is over. I will call Christine as soon as I am able.