Sunday, September 4, 2016

Plea For Help - Inmate Letter

Since the latest decision by the administration of Goose Creek Correctional Center to place boats within the SMU where Clayton is held, Clayton's family received a letter from an inmate there with a request to publish his words to the broader public. What follows are the directly penned words of that inmate.

Letter From SMU Inmate, September 2016

Nearly a year ago I was awoken by an officer and told to “roll your shit up.”  This is usually what you hear when you’ve earned some kind of punitive action.  What was my infraction?  Nothing but the fact that I was a protective custody inmate, and the powers that be had decided to give our mod to another group of prisoners.  I’ve never been able to get a straight answer about why those prisoners were more deserving of the mod than we were, but I suspect it’s related to the underlying culture of penalizing PC inmates in Alaska DOC.

Please keep in mind that our class of inmate receives the fewest write-ups, is not interested in fighting, and typically tries to stay “off the radar.”  Our housing needs also generate a minimal amount of extra work for the administration, which is where the culture of penalty comes from.  After all, if we are assaulted, robbed, even raped… this is our problem, and business can continue as normal.  When we wish to avoid those situations, it becomes the administration’s problem.

Since that day, I have spent an astonishing 87% of my time locked in a box with another inmate, in a cell barely large enough for both of us to be moving at the same time.  To top this experience off, the majority of our meager privileges has been reduced to almost nothing.  In short, we have more time to pass, but fewer ways to pass it.  

In nearly a year, I have not seen a tree, or the grass, or an unobstructed blue sky.  Our “outdoor” recreation consists of an attached building with a grate on one wall about 15 feet up, but is otherwise totally enclosed.  Administration has deemed this “outside” (though the 9th circuit disagrees), but ask yourself a basic question: If you went outside in a monsoon, wouldn’t you expect to get wet?  At least a little? I’ve gone into our little gym area to listen to the rain, but I didn’t feel a single drop no matter how much I wanted to.  It was so close.

This sort of deprivation is the basest of negligent human cruelty, and death would come as a welcome relief from it.  

Again, please bear in mind that none of this is part of the judgement I received in that courtroom.  My infraction was not wanting to be assaulted, or raped, or “taxed” by the gangs for flimsy “protection” that was only good until someone else decided they deserved what I had because I stood in court and told the truth about my co-defendants, labeling me a “rat.”

Not only does the administration know about this dynamic, they are indifferent to it.  Those of us that complain are invited to sign a waiver, to sign our very rights away, and then return to the general population to have our skulls caved in.  Their concern is the lawsuit, not the violence.

Is this what rehabilitation looks like?  To reward violence and rule-breaking while punishing those that wish to avoid those situations?  Is it any wonder that recidivism rates are so high?

My story is one of many.  There are 64 2-man cells in this miserable cave, with a few already housing a third person on the floor and more expected soon.  This is our daily reality, with no end in sight, no assistance from administration, and no reason to hope.

Make no mistake, this is a scream for help.  They won’t listen to us.  I hope you will.

(Name withheld for fear of retaliation)

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