The straight dope about F.C.I. Safford4-Nov-2005
Hey buddy. I know you are very consistent in sending me mail, and I want to thank you for that. I want to apologize that I am not in turn consistent as well. You articles and blurbs about things that are going on are a huge in helping me to connect the dots between what I see on CNN and the real world.
Did you attend the O22 event last month? I wrote a statement for the prisoner support workshop. In it I challenged folks to identify the social programming that holds us in check and to move beyond this. Comfort zones must be destroyed and dominant cultural norms challenged if we are to genuinely take on the fascist who run this police state.
I donít believe that my mail is opened by the SIS (In house spy network) but I could be wrong. They did in Tucson, here, Iím allowed to seal my envelopes before dropping them in the mail box. The Aryan Brotherhood is virtually non existent here. Instead they pretend to be tolerant, keep to themselves, and worship Odin around a campfire once a month. They look like a bunch of fucking Vikings. (Laro is not lying - look at the prison commissery list they sell a Hammer of Thor Pendant in the section PRAYER OILS / RELIGIOUS ITEMS) Bald freaken gourds with bushy beards. You know, they will interact with other ethnicities, with a false politeness, but not with me. Sort of makes you wonder doesnít it? As far as I know, I havenít witnessed any extortion. I have been witness to some folks being approached by a member of their own ethnicity and being told not to associate with others. (After the fact). It happened to me. I just did as I chose and didnít hear another word. (after some grumbling). I think there are those who feel that their influence is threatened if the ďracialĒ dynamics become blended. Those individuals are nothing more than an extension of the police authority designed to keep us separate and disempowered. (Racism)
Within the prison, services and items are bartered. Completely against the rules of course! Someone who is an artist will do work for items from the store based upon a pre-agreed to dollar amount. The Cops know it goes on and occasionally ďclamp downĒ on some obvious perpetrators to put a chill into others. They couldnít stop the practice if they wanted to. It is something that has always gone on in prisons. Some people do laundry, or make greeting cards, or bead work, or leather. Guys win stamps playing cards, then sell a 20 stamp book for $6.00. The feds will be eliminating smoking April 15th of next year. Tobacco products will stop being sold at the end of December. I can imagine that tobacco will gain in value rather soon.
The porn in here is limited to the pages of magazines of nudes. I havenít seen any fuck books, but then Iím not looking. I see the nudes on the insides of locker doors. I canít imagine there are any videoís (porn) around. Videos can only be watched in the wellness room (Recreation) or in the Chapel video room. They both have a video library and a couple of VCR/television stations in which to watch. You check out tapes and headphones and sit down to watch. There are no televisions in the units. TVís are outside under Cabanas in the gymnasium. I donít think ďPlayboyĒ or ďPenthouseĒ are allowed in due to the exposed breast. I think this has to do with the fact that female cops work in here.
We only have access thru education to computers. You must be in a class to use the computers and they are tightly controlled. They can only be used to do the lab work for a particular class. I donít have a class so I donít have computer access. One can purchase typewriter ribbons for use at the Law Library. One could feasibly type what one chooses to. That of course is against the rules, but it is never less done just the same.
I have never had the opportunity to read Marcís books. If you do, please give me a rundown. How is Marc anyway? Tell him hello for me when you next write to him. Give Kevin my regards as well. He is to be released in January? He got royally screwed by the pigs. But, that is how they do it.
There is no religious TV channel here. The chapel does offer movies though. A lot of people find god in here. Hey, what ever floats their boat to get through this. One of the Christians here is Mark Stone, You may remember him as the arsonist who was torching homes under construction in the Phoenix Preserve Development. He is the one who was interviewed by New Times. His religion is his strength to do the 19 year sentence he was given.
Yes, the prison does attempt to assist people in rehabilitation. Classes in construction, HVAC, and business are given. Anyone who does not have high school completion is forced to take GED or be punished for refusal. It is like being served a meal in the middle of the ocean. The food is good for you, but you canít use it here. Then when you find yourself on shore you discover that your skills are beneficial, but the environment in which you learned them doesnít apply. Unless of course you can accept total conformity and subjugation to authority. I personally resent these assholes trying to dictate to me what they think will help me. What would help me would be for them to all drop dead and shut the fuck up. But, I for others, I can see the benefits to learning skills to help one remain part of the mainstream job market. (Depending upon rather an employer is able to or willing to hire a felon!) Like public education, prison is brain washing inmates to better fit as cogs in the Empires machine. So to address your question, does this make criminal into better people?
Mail is called out each day Monday thru Friday in each dorm. This is done after the 4 p.m. count. It is a very public event.
I live in a dorm cube. 8 folks per cube, 10 cubes plus the common area filled with an additional 18 folks. There are 4 dorms with common areas and bathrooms between. We can move freely in the compound after we are called to dinner (Monday Ė Friday) and all day Sat-Sun-Holidays except for the period just before 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. count. In Tucson you could only move from one place to another on the hourly moves, and the common area compound was closed except for those 10 minutes moves.
At the Phoenix annex we stayed in a horseshoe like dorm which was locked all day. We only were allowed out for meals and one hour of rec yard a day.
Mike, I hope Iíve answered some of your questions. In all this place is fucking overcrowded. Take care my friend.
In this letter Laro also sent me a list of all the items that he and the other slaves at this federal prison are allowed to buy, along with the prices of the items. That list can be seen at:
When looking at the prices you have to remember that the inmates are paid slave labor wages which are often 50 cents or less an hour. So a candy bar that costs 65 cents an inmate will have to work over an hour to buy it.
Free Kevin Walsh