- Life in Prison
In the wake of the most recent of many, many draconian crackdowns, I find it necessary to attempt to capture an idea of living within a prison, under terror and tyranny of those who sadistically presuppose my criminality in absence of my humanity.
By far the most common question of my writers, by no fault and not to dissuade such questions, is a big question: what is life like in here? What do I do, how do I live, what goes on – what is prison? I’m at times folx first written prisoner. While I can’t write of Prison, I can offer my material critique of my lived reality; a prison, this one.
Prisons are strikingly similar in affect, regardless of particulars.
II. Physical Structure
[Figure 1] [Figure 2] [Figure 3] [Figure 4]
There are several other rooms, features, areas of this facility that I will not bother drawing: To mention a few: the infirmary, the kitchen, the DMV office, etc. etc.
Figures 1-4 encompass the large majority of my waking day, though even within this scope I spend nearly all my time trapped within Figures 1-2.
Traditionally, one spends around 6 hours per day allowed access to Figure 2. The particular housing unit I’m housed on affords me around 12 hours in such a manner. Else, one spends the remainder of one’s day confined to Figure 1, or at “work” (read-as: slavery). I sleep in Figure 1, sent there to do as such at 9:30pm (which traditionally would’ve been 8:50pm) – I sleep until roughly 5:00-6:00am, when I’m again allowed access to Figure 2, (traditionally would occur around 7-8am-ish) [Figure 5] Figure 1 is kept locked by a solid steel door which operates on a hydraulic press – it slides. Most notable of this practice is the ear shattering noise of doors grinding open and slamming shut, steel-into-steel. Comparison: imagine 2-3 textbooks dropped, twice as loud as that.
Figure 1 contains 2 twin sized, hard, mattresses placed in a solid steel bunk bed structure. Roughly 2 feet from the bunk bed structure is a stainless steel toilet-sink combo. A desk, steel, sits in the corner, being roughly 5 foot by 17 inches – the desk is adorned with two 1 foot diameter (0.8 sqft) steel stools roughly 15 inches from each side of the desk.
[Figure 6] Figure 1 also contains 4 steel shelves – 2 for each prisoner. One shelf is to hold books, the other hygiene supplies. 2 are situated abote the desk, one is by the door, the other is by the toilet.
2 “TV stands” are between the toilet and desk. A “reading light” is by each bunk. A mirror is above the sink, made of steel.
There are 4 AC Power outlets for electronics and 2 coaxial outputs. For cable TV. [Figure 7] Each prisoner is afforded 2 such boxes, stored underneath the bunk bed structure – all of one’s property must fit within one’s 2 boxes. Else, property is confiscated (read as: stolen) to be mailed out at personal cost, “released” to be picked up, or incinerated.
These boxes don’t allow much room for property; let alone multiple years worth of living; let alone a life. This is by far the most arbitrarily enforced of facility rules, most oft used to targeted undesirable, vulnerable prisoners – no one can live out of 2 boxes.
Prisoners are given 1 pillow + case, a few articles of cheap-and-mandatory clothing, and a set of velcro strapped shoes that are prone to blistering soles and removing entire toenails. Prisoners can purchase marked up shoes, “sports” variety e.g. Nike, Adidas, etc..
In Figure 2, there are 2 floors of 17 cells(Figure 1): 27 on each floor. Each Floor has 4 showers; single occupancy. Peppered throughout the ground floor are 18 hexagonal steel tables. Each table has 5-6 steel stools protruding from the epicenter e.g. at one of 6 sides of the table may be a seat. 1 to 2 corrections officers, (prison cops) sit, comfortably, behind a raised counter adjacent, to the exit. Behind this counter are 3 computer monitors, a panic button, and miscellaneous items that one may access as cop’s discretion e.g. a stapler, scotch tape, band-aids, etc.
The panic button closes the “exit door” a steel door operating on a hydraulic press – it also slides.
While the maximum occupancy of Figure 2 is 108, roughly 4 to 8 cells usually hold 0 to1 prisoners – some only ever hold 1 prisoner. At any time, Figure 2 usually holds around 100 prisoners. There are 5 such “units” like Figure 2 – there is additionally a “dorm” with no cells. I have lived on all the “units” for some time, thought not the dorm – moves are frequent, exhausting.
Thus is the “medium security facility” – I don’t qualify for minimum security. A portion of this facility also houses men – I live with women. For specifics on living with women, read my “Make America Pay” zine.
Figure 2 also contains – an ice machine, a hot water dispenser, 2 microwaves, skim milk dispenser, a small “gym” of exercise equipment, and 6 phones.
[Figure 8] calls cost $0.09/minute.
Laundry is done via machines located on Figure 2. As prisoners do laundry, being paid <$1/day, clothes often go missing. Socks and underwear equal days worth of pay, and small-sized clothes, being under-issued by the prison, have a black market.
For entertainment: 3 TV’s, a 4 shelf bookshelf (roughly 2ft length), a shelf for bureaucratic forms, and a board-game-and-stuff filled “bookshelf”.
There’s also a soda machine, though soda costs $2.40/per 20oz bottle.
Figure 3 features a net for pickleball (though no full court), a basketball net (not 10 feet from ground), 8 stone picnic tables, a dirt volleyball court/net, and an inmate ran garden. There’s a shed, storing some balls and hula hoops. Around the perimeter is an asphalt track. Lastly, there are 6 phones by the entrance doors.
Pretty paltry compared to other prisons.
Figure 4 connects all housing units. Figure 4 is where mean distribution, medicine distribution occurs. Most obviously, Figure 4 allows one to travel to another housing unit or any other part of the facility.
Figure 4 is suspect to a very high level of policing.
III. My Cell and My Day
I use every available shelf to hold books, papers, and shower supplies. The rest of my books, typically ones I’m presently reading, overflow onto my desk. I keep college work on my desk, always.
I own an in-cell TV. It is 13 inches, 1080p, with no speakers.
I have a keyboard for my cell. It is 61-keys, I lean it against my desk to store.
I keep various drinks on my desk as well.
We are ordered onto our cell bunk at 11:05AM and 4:30PM for facility wide “head count”.
I usually wake up at 11:00AM, though though given doors open at every X:20 and X:50 (and X:00 on my unit) after ∼6:00AM – not a lot of extra sleep. Occasionally, I get up for breakfast and go back to bed after. Rarer, I wake up at 6:00AM.
After being counted like cattle, I leave my bed to drink coffee, take hormones, maybe change clothes and wash my eyes. I then move most my desk’s contents to my bed, to dissuade sleep and free up work room.
I turn on my T.V. And flip through the news.
Cells doors open after everyone is counted. I’ll make some more coffee, bring out a book or notebook, and wait for lunch. I sit at the same table, neigh-always.
Food deserves its own section. Prisoners tend to be very divisive and territorial – also conservative.
I wake up, I typically play basketball, walk, or jump into reading. I study Math and Philosophy.
Given I comprise a security risk, I forego work (riot conviction, history as union organizer). I’m a full time college student, I read and write all day.
We’re counted again at 4:30PM.
Dinner shortly thereafter.
College typically starts at 6PM, of the classes thus far taken. Else I read and write more or play piano.
I end my time outside Figure 1 (in Figure 2) with a good night call with my girlfriend.
I stay awake in Figure 1 most of the night, working on writing (a book) or doing college work – nights are the only quiet.
Everyday is the same, Sisyphean.
Food is part of the punishment, this prison is no different.
I. Free Food
Legally, we must be fed. Prisoners prepare and serve food, often for free or little pay. Kitchen work is compulsory – my exemptness is an oddity. Star-spangled slavery finds a way to continue; syndicalism may have ruined this practice.
There’s a cyclical 5 week menu. Most food sucks, lots of poorly prepared meat, casseroles, and awful bread.
Other prisons set the bar pretty low – this prison is not the worst, though it is decidedly prison cuisine.
II. Commissary Food
Shits overpriced. Imagine shopping only at convenience stores. No fresh food, no bread, little healthy food. Shits delivered on Wednesdays, with orders placed 2 weeks prior. I’d rather shop at Walmart or Amazon.
III. How I Eat
As “an Antifa”, I get payment from Soros monthly. If I budget, and ration, I eat enough everyday to not go hungry. Still, its tight given the high markup and, worse, I feel bad spending this much to eat.
Calls cut into my food budget, as do envelopes ($0.75/per), as do college supplies.
I mostly eat ramen, which gets old fast.
I eat some of the free food – breakfast is quite good – but can’t stomach nearly enough of it. Worse yet, I’m largely a vegetarian.
3. Fuck This Place
Punk ass pigs need to treat us as commodities to punish (sadistic pleasure), all to justify their job (look ‘good’), or to get a raise/promotion, or because they think prisoners deserve cruelty. How the fuck is anyone to live like this, with such a cold monster oozing hatred for your every breathe?
I. We Have No Say
Innate to any system of domination is the dominates lack of agency. One can get disciplined harshly, for merely calling into question misapplication of policy, let alone policy overtly inhumane – think of the “Resisting Arrest” conundrum. Policy, rules, employ the fabled “Broken Window” approach – still, it is mostly employed against those who pigs personally dislike (hint: not rapists nor paedos). Some pigs seem to find pleasure in leaving terror in their wake, bordering on fabricating rules on the fly. Several rules, such as “Disobedience” and “Disrespect” amount to vaguely defined tools pigs use to sow terror.
Rules are whimsical, far-reaching, detached from the reality of living in a cell – let alone a meaningful, productive life.
Some examples: property limitations; making your bed; no recycling boxes; no storing things in “other” containers; no taping pictures to the wall; dress code e.g. no sandals, tucked in shirts, often have to wear jeans.
Also – men’s clothing.
Our ability to affect rules, policy, is minimal-to-none. You, my reader, can likely accomplish more with phone calls than I in person.
II. Pigs Want Us Dead
Prison healthcare is a joke, beyond that – how can anyone do more than live to die out of two boxes? Our issued clothes, recycled for those captive prior, take up nearly an entire box – add a pillow, my sheets, my blankets, and what am I left with? Part of 1 box? To live?
Prison amounts to a lengthy, oft, speedy, extermination center whereby our meager life can be mailed to Mommy-Daddy in 1 box post-death – or swiftly incinerated.
Food, confinement are obviously huge health detriments – “criminals deserve it.”
III. Tear It Down
The absurdity of American “justice” can be surmised by the statement: I robbed 7/11 and now get free college. Many turn to “crime” because our basic needs are denied for some terror-inducing spectacle of our human demise, structurally accorded by capitalism.
What is surprising isn’t so-called crime – its that folx want more taxes, less bread: that they want to be repressed.
Why are the many terrorized into unquestionable servitude?
Prison abolition could not come sooner.
Fuck the Police.
Sofia Johnson 23976151
Coffee Creek Correctional Facility
24499 SW Grahams Ferry Road
Wilsonville, OR 97070