Witnessing someone get brutally slaughtered on the walk to the chow is a normality in the penitentiaries of the United States. As long as it doesn’t involve your race, or your car you keep on moving and prepare yourself for everything that happens next.
The siren goes off from the gun tower in the middle of the compound. This bird’s eye view is stocked with concussion grenades, tear gas, bullets and pretty much anything else that the United States government has deemed a-okay to unleash upon it’s confined guests in club fed. As soon as the glass opens by the two guards inside, you better be ready for World War III.
The concussion grenades, if you’re too close to the tower, will leave your ears ringing and equilibrium thrown off for a week. Then depending how bad the incident and how gung-ho the guards are the rubber bullets start. I don’t care how bad of a motherfucker you are, those little projectiles are going to make you think twice about just how badly you truly want to continue stirring shit up. If it gets real bad they use live rounds instead.
All inmates that are out on the pound when shit goes down are told to “Lie down on the ground. Lethal force is imminent” from a huge speaker. This spews out from the tower in between blasts of the siren in English and Spanish so there’s no confusion over what the fuck you’re supposed to do.
A steady stream of guards that surely haven’t seen their feet since the 4th grade will come pouring out of the nearest exits at a snail’s pace to “save” the poor soul that’s now leaking out way more holes than God created in the human body. The pepper spray is next and everyone will be soaked to the bone with that noxious spray. Anyone unfortunate enough to be within 10 yards of the action can enjoy a dusting of the shit that’ll stop a charging rhino. Everyone involved are cuffed up and taken back to the hole. They, if they’re lucky, will be given a toilet to stick their face into so they can wash that shit out of their eyes.
Inmates that are down on the ground are let up and escorted back to their units. Inside the units that are already locked down, convicts will shoot to the computers to give their people the heads up not to expect to hear from them anytime soon and to their homeboys in an attempt to get “luxuries” to ease the pain. These “luxuries” can be anything from a snickers bar to a shot of dope, something to break up the boredom being in a glorified bathroom 24 hours a day.
They can last anywhere from 30 minutes to three months depending on the administration’s view of how bad someone getting their larynx cut out should warrant a “time out” for. If the kitchen workers are coming back you know you’re fucked. That means the TV’s get removed, meaning you’re going to be here for a while.
Then boredom of being locked in a cage with nothing can really get to you. You can only sleep so much of the day away before you get restless and jump out of bed. You add an addiction to that whether it be heroin, cigarettes or coffee – that monkey on their back starts calling quickly.
The next thing you do on a lockdown once you’ve secured everything you can is to start hiding everything. In all of the lockdowns I’ve been a part of there’s one thing in common; the staff will tear up your cell. Officers take everything you’re not supposed to have and half of what you’re allowed.
Homemade shelves to store clothes, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, food, books, magazines, pictures, anything is bound to get thrown into a rolling dumpster that’s parked directly outside your house. Yes, they will find a knife here and some booze there. But all the smart convicts have the best hiding spot on the planet – their ass.
Once the raping of your home is over and you’re returned, you take inventory of what all has been pilfered. This isn’t such an easy task considering that everything you own in this world is strewn about all over your floor. It’s also pointless to raise a fit over the loss of your family’s photos that got swooped up. You’ll be told to “file a claim” that will inevitably be denied.
*Words by John ‘Judge’ Broman.
** Art Direction by Ainsley Jade.