Day 23: Letter To Mom and Judge and The Second Worst Beat-Down I’ve Seen In My Life

By | January 6, 2009
by Brian A. Wilkins
This day corresponds with Wednesday, August 13. 
Rodney had gotten an early morning visit from his girlfriend, so again, as the visiting rooms were right by the cell, he stopped in and woke me up. “I asked her if she would wait 10 years for me if that’s what happened,” he said, clearly down. Walter stopped in for a minute too, complaining about how people in there are always ordering him around. Rodney and I both needed a laugh and Walter never failed in that regard. Walt got a prison tattoo. There are all these guys, going to prison for a long time, always trying to tell 18-year-old Walt what was best for him. The things he said about a couple of them, knowing he’d never say it diredtly to them, was comedy.
The fun was stopped short though, when around noon, I began writing my mom a really long letter. I had to start facing reality and thinking about my short, morbid future.
(Note: This is a truncated version)
Dear Mom,
I’m writing you because I doubt I’m going to make it much longer in here. My health and spirits have deteriorated to the point its hard to wake up every morning. My diet, blood pressure, drinking out of the toilet, and the cesspools of bacteria in this place, along with my psychological and emotional state, make me have to seriously consider each day being my last.
I know I will beat this if I can get out of here and fight it on my own, but I may be forced to plead guilty to crimes I didn’t commit just to get out of jail. There was a “supervening indictment” issued at court on Monday, dropping every serious charge those Tempe cops tried to stick on me. I’m now facing the lowest-level of felonies, but still am being held on $54,000 bond. 
I only wrote a will just in case something happens to me in here. It seems these medical people in this jail are trying to kill me by withholding my blood pressure meds, trying to stick needles in me, and the actual physical torture. I just don’t want to die and nothing happens to the people who caused all this. I included the details of everything that has happened in here, in court, with the public defender’s office, and the night I was arrested. But then again, my life obviously means nothing to this justice system, so none if it may matter.
I love you and hope to see you again.
Your son,
I decided also, after speaking to a really nice lady at the Public Defender’s Office today, to write my own motion/letter to be released since I’ve had no lawyer this whole time. “Lots of people in jail write their judge themselves,” she told me. She gave me all the information I would need to write Judge David K. Udall. As soon as she said that name, I started wondering if this guy was related to all those Arizona Udall politicians of the past (“Mo” Udall, among others), and the Udalls who are currently serving or running for Senate seats, like Oregon Republican Gordon Smith, who I know somehow, someway, is a “Udall” as well (but I think the other two are Democrats). The letter was almost the exact same as the one I had prepared to hand to the judge on Monday, slightly revised. I finished writing both of them and sealed the envelopes, waiting for the “black” female guard to walk back by so I could hand them to her for mailing. But instead, on the next round, it was the G.I. Joe, buzz-cut guy. When he walked past the cell, I got his attention. “Has mail went out today?” I asked. He looked at me as if I broke a rule by talking to him, before snatching the letters from my hand, crumpling them up, and walking off. 
I spent all that time writing those letters, and now they may not even get to their destinations because of the rogue guard. I kept wondering what that guy (whose name I can’t recall…his last name started with a “Z” though) had against me, or against the world, since he was just a prick. I went to the outside area, for the first time in forever, to talk to Train and Monster about what just happened. “File a grievance against him,” Monster suggested. I’d never heard of this, but apparently inmates can write complaints about guards. Though the more I thought about it, the more I figured it was all just a charade of a requirememt county jails had to have, but I didn’t have much left to fight with and had to do something. “When the D.O. gives us commisory order forms later, ask for a grievance form too,” Train said.
Earlier that day, Chino had approached me with an incident he was dealing with. “My new celly is stealing butter and peppermint candies from me,” he said. Chino’s new celly was a “kinfolk” and fresh into the cellblock on crack-cocaine charges. The reason LBJ (at least in that cellblock) stayed relatively tame was because each race took care of their own problem people. Chino told the Chicano “head” but he told him to tell the “black head.” Since Chino wasn’t very talky with many “kinfolks,” I told some of the guys about what had happened to Chino and about his cellmate stealing from him. Apparently this guy had also stolen a honeybun from someone else’s cell.   
It was about 7pm when Rodney, Walter, Steve, Art, and I were sitting at the table the “kinfolks” normally eat “chow” at. Another “kinfolk” walked by all of us and said “hey, no rubber-necking! We got something to take care of in 16,” he said, referring to the cell number. I had no idea what that meant at that moment, but would find out pretty quick.
A few minutes later, the cellblock’s volume slowly decreased, as human shrieks of “STOP! STOP! I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY!” were heard from the very place we were all just told not to stare at. I couldn’t help but turnaround for a brief second and glance into the cell, to witness three guys pummeling the peppermint thief with blows to his head, rib cage, and face. I only caught a few seconds of it, as staring by too many individuals would tip off the guards that something was going on. When the sounds of the pounding stopped, I looked back again to see who was still in the cell. Only the peppermint thief, bloodied, broken, and lying on the bunk, remained. It took only until the D.O.’s next round to look in and notice a bloodied man lying motionless on the concrete floor in cell #16. “Damn, that guy got fucked up,” the guard said, before making an “X” with his wrists, indicating “lockdown.” 
I honestly didn’t care how long this lockdown happened because I was tired of looking at and smelling these people. Since the guards had heard it was all “black” guys involved in the fracas, Contreras, the female guard, came by the cell and said, “Let me see your hands!” They apparently went cell-to-cell to see who had blood on their hands or clothes to determine the perps of the beat down. Jesus…that guy was beaten nearly to death over a few pats of butter and peppermint candy? Then again, what did I expect. This is jail, where you’re supposed to be living among society’s worst. But now I’m a pawn in it, for the foreseeable future. Unless of course, I voluntarily check out, which is becoming more and more a real possibility.

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