Friday, February 20, 2015

Feb 20 - In a Segregation Cell

Friday, Feb 20

As Clayton's wife got ready to leave for visitation at Clay's new facility, she got a call from another family member who had received a call from him.  The update was even more frightening than the day before, and she rushed to the facility to see what could be done.  Clayton had been moved into protective custody (PC) less than an hour after arriving at the new facility the day before.

Clay's wife did manage to get to see him at the new facility after Clay had a chance to meet with his attorneys.  During the brief visit Clayton was able to shed more light on what had happened.

Arrival at GCCC

After arriving at GCCC, Clayton was assigned to a new cell.  The new cell blocks were drastically larger than those at the previous facility, housing over a hundred men instead of less than 20.  His new cell mate started giving Clay information on how things worked at the new facility.  He was outfitted the same way he had been previously with bright yellow shirt and pants, and pink underwear, socks, sheets, and towels.  However, the new shoes were blue, and Clayton had been unfortunately provided 2 lefts instead of one for each foot.

Shortly after arriving at his new cell, Clayton said a group of about 6-7 men showed up at the entrance to his cell and started asking him, "Are you Clayton Allison?  Are you the baby killer?"  He informed them that he was Clayton Allison, but they had their facts wrong.  They said that they did not care, and left.  Within a few minutes a new man came to his cell and threatened to knife him.  Then a few minutes later a second new man came and said, "What are you still doing here?  If you don't roll out, we're going to kill you."  The third man came before Clayton had even been at the facility for more than 20 minutes, and told him that they would get 10 men to hold him down and knife him to death.

At this point, Clayton decided to speak with the guards about his options.  Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to go into an office in the middle of the common area in the center of the cell block, where everyone can see exactly what you are doing.  He explained to the guards the kinds of threats he was getting, and that everyone seemed to know exactly who he was.  They told him they could never advocate for fighting for any reason, but that even if he was able to defend himself against one man, they would bring two the next time.  If he beat two, they would bring five, and eventually 10.  They explained that there really was no way to win in a cell block like this, and so he elected to go into PC.

After he made the choice, the guards gathered 5 of themselves around him and explained that it was to protect him from being jumped during transport.  He said they were a little condescending, but overall helpful and explained that they didn't want to let him get hurt.  When they exited the room, Clayton said the noise in the common area was almost deafening.   Nearly all of the inmates were standing around the room and along the balcony, banging with their cups, stomping their feet and screaming, "Allison!  Allison!  Murderer!  Allison Baby Killer!..."  They once again all seemed to know who he was.

Welcome to Segregation

Clayton was then escorted by guards to the segregation units at the facility.  These units are single room cells with a bunk bed, two stools, two table/desk-like pieces of furniture, and a sink and toilet.  The white walls are covered on the inside with graffiti from prior inmates.  Clayton described very colorful and intricate graffiti, along side what you would see within a typical bathroom stall.  Some of it was so high along the ceiling, he pondered how the inmates had managed it without climbing the walls or pulling some kind of "superman maneuvers" while drawing.  The cell has a single door with one small window, and a gap between the bottom of the door and the floor.  Guards use this gap to pass paperwork, food, and other items inside to the inmate without opening the door.   There is also a small segment of the wall that can be opened and closed to pass a phone receiver inside.

He was not assigned a cell mate, which he was very thankful for, and asked his family to pray that it remained that way because these cells were obviously designed for more than one man and you are locked within them 24 hours a day.  He had no access to library or exercise equipment, and was informed that the showers were not working.  He had no pen or paper, and not much to do but sleep and stare at the walls.  "But at least I'm safe," he explained to his wife.

While Clayton told his story, all his wife could think about was the prosecutor's analogy from the trial weeks earlier as he interviewed potential jurors.  The man had discussed his thoughts on criminal negligence and asked them if they would ever leave a child alone with a pack of angry dogs.  She couldn't help but feel that this very scenario was now being played out in front of her.  An innocent man had been thrown into prison with a group of people with their own histories of violence, and who wanted him dead purely because of something they had read in the newspaper and assumed to be true.  But somehow the act of throwing a man into this situation isn't criminal?

As Clayton sat and spoke with her he was chained around the waist with one handcuff attaching his left hand to the waist chain, and two connecting his right hand.  This allowed him to just barely hold the phone to his ear on that side, while the metal from the cuffs dug into the skin of his wrists.  He explained that he was also secured around the ankles.  When he had met with his lawyers earlier that day, he had been allowed in the same room with them, but had been chained to the wall instead.  When he is in his cell, he does not have to wear any of these confinements.

Clayton explained that he was told this facility had a special module designed for inmates specifically in PC.  Placement in this module required the inmate to complete an internal application requesting placement, and Clayton had completed the application the night before.  However, the guards explained to his wife that the module was currently over full, and that placement would take time and require other inmates transferring out of it.  Until then, Clayton would need to remain in his current segregation cell.

Clayton said that more than anything he wished he could have a bible, and his family plans to order one for him to be delivered to the prison as soon as possible, but it will take days to get through the mail.  Before ending the conversation, Clayton sent his love to all his friends and family and thanked them for coming to visit him each day.  "As long as I get to see your faces," he said, "I am going to be okay."

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