by Brian A. Wilkins
This day corresponds with Friday, August 15.
So much for feeling semi-normal by showering everyday. The doors finally opened for the first time in a while, and I immediately darted for the shower. Commissory had come in yesterday, so I was looking forward to a fresh bar of soap and staying in that shower for at least 20 minutes. The first five minutes, though, are waiting for the water to reach a humanly-tolerable temperature (unless you’re into ice-cold showers). I had put the shampoo in my hair, which was now approaching mini-afro stage, and started washing my body when a guard comes by and says “we’re on lockdown! Rinse off immediately and go back to your cell!” Guess on the brightside, my hair is clean (I’m being sarcastic).
I re-sent the letter to the judge, as I always “hand-xeroxed” any official correspondence I send from this place. I again, motioned for a release on my own recognizance or a significant bond reduction. I still don’t know if the first ones I handed that G.I. Joe guy got sent. I wonder what actually happens when you file those grievances? Probably nothing. I just need to know if my letters got sent. I don’t care about anything else. I’ve already lost my job and am about to lose my apartment. I have to have money put on this account here so I can eat and get personal hygiene stuff, and that adds up each and every week, since there’s no way I’m eating that “slop.” The one thing I can still cling onto is the fact I can still graduate in December. But I would have to get out of here by August 25, the first day of class at the new ASU downtown Phoenix campus.
I played another card I felt I had, and wrote the prosecutor, Barbara Miller, a letter today.
(Note: This is a truncated draft of the letter)
Dear Ms. Miller:
I am writing you because I feel I’m running out of options and feel helpless in this Maricopa County Jail system. If I can get out of jail by August 22, which will give me time to register for classes and still graduate from Arizona State University in December, I will sign your plea agreement for 4 months in prison you offered at that status conference on July 29. I have learned that with the temporary release (T.R.) which instantly cuts 3 months off all first-time prison sentences, plus my time served, and only having to serve 85 percent of the sentence, I will be able to walk out of here.
I want to make it perfectly clear that I am only pleading guilty to these crimes so I can get out of jail, since there seems to be no other way. I am not guilty of any of the crimes you and the Tempe Police are trying to charge me with. However, I have been given no opportunity to defend myself and made to endure this jail system. I am not a criminal; but the guy you are representing is. You know he’s on probation and if I could ever get my phone released from Maricopa County, evidence on my phone will show more happened than what the police say in their report, which has several suspect statements in it.
Regardless, I want to be out of here and get on with my life. There is still a chance for me to get things back on track, but the longer I’m in here, the more remote the chances get. I know my personal life doesn’t concern you, but if you want this case out of your workload, I will sign the plea; or even a revised plea more in my favor, as you will learn the facts of the case eventually I hope.
I don’t have a lawyer (public defender) assigned anymore, so if you could just send the papers directly here, I will read them over and sign them, again, as long as I can get out of here by August 22. Thank you for your time.
Brian A. Wilkins
I figure I have nothing to lose, and simply want out of here. I just won’t make it in here much longer. I needed to find something positive everyday to make myself not give up. Leonard puts life in perspective. A big “black” guy who would scare rural European Americans and looks kind of like Michael Clark Duncan, Leonard’s a guy who trusted people and ultimately got screwed by them (kind of sounds familiar). I feel bad for him. All he wants to do is work and live happily ever after in a little tiny place he can call his own. “Man, I’ll do anything. Wash dishes, clean floors, I just want a job,” he said in his slow, southern drawl. His felony conviction and 8 years of prison made it impossible for him to find decent employment. But he had secured a job, bought a cheap car, and was living in an extended stay hotel; all of which he was satisfied with. But then his poor man’s “Pretty Woman” story impeded his life again. He was seeing this meth-head prostitute prior to being arrested on a parole violation. He allowed a few of her friends to stay at his place for a night because they had no where to go. When Leonard woke up, his car and stereo were gone. He then had no where to live, no way to get to work, and no way to call his parole officer; a violation. So here he sits.
I’m so tired of looking at all these people walking around with their hands down their pants. Knowing most of them only bathe like once a week; if that. Chino was notorious for sitting on the toilet when he was visiting people’s cells, then tried to sit where you sleep. He came in and sat on the toilet in the cell. “Fuck man…I’m down 40 items!” he said, referring to his poker debt. The good news for him was that the new week, as far as the poker calendar, just began today, so he had until next Thursday to make it up. After seeing that guy get beat down over peppermints, I hope he at least breaks even.
Geez, I’ve been in here almost a month. Wonder how long it takes you to become “institutionalized?” I really hope the letters/motions to the judge and letters to the prosecutor do something. I mean, can they seriously just hold me in here indefinitely? I didn’t hurt anyone. But that doesn’t matter.