1, 2, 3, and 4 of my fellow prisoners were sent to the county jail this week as punishment; creating so much commotion on the camp that I felt that I was getting close to collapsing from an anxiety attack. Some of you may know that federal prison CAMPS do not have holes(isolation units) so when an inmate misbehaves, she is taken to the county jail, until the investigation is done or until she is transferred to a higher security facility.
You may wonder: "Why a county jail?" Years ago the misbehave inmates were sent to an isolation unit (hole) at the adjacent prison facility, but more than a decade ago a female inmate from a camp (not this camp) was sent to the isolation unit in the adjacent male prison, and a few males in the unit paid the staff to allow them to rape the female inmate. She was brutally and repeatedly raped. She brought the case to the court and the judge issued an order to the BOP prohibiting them from placing female inmates with male inmates in an isolation unit. You may wonder now who are the 4 inmates and why they were removed and stripped from camp status.
Well the first one was an inmate that I told you about in one of my first PTO's: a toothless, funny looking lady that was named TITI. She went on a 7-day pre-release furlough and instead of looking for a job and getting her documents straight, she ended up in a crack house. I heard (rumors) that she was picked up from the crack house or from the police station and when she was brought back, she was high on drugs.
The second one is a lady in her early thirties who has been incarcerated for 5 years and has 15 more to do. Not too long ago she suffered a stroke, and after the stroke she was confined to a wheelchair. She courageously managed to walk again and use her help with the help of other inmates (no rehabilitation treatment). We were told that she had escaped, and we were ordered to go inside our housing units for a bed-count ( a standing count next to our bed with our I.D.), some of us were not even allowed to finish our lunches. It was a very tense situation, officers were screaming instructions over the speakers, and so on. Finally we learned that it was not an escape; it was just that the inmate chose to go off the camp for a few hours to have sex with her husband that was released from prison more than a month ago. When she was coming back to the camp she was handcuffed, shackled and taking straight to the county jail. I heard rumors) that it had been the second time that she had done that.
The third and fourth one were a lesbian couple in love and they were caught giving each other a long good night kiss in front of the housing unit after the compound was closed at 10:30 p.m. They were caught by the cameras located in front of the units. I heard (rumors) that this was not the first time that they did that.
After all the annoyance, I was so stressed that I was unable to sleep. It was almost 1:00 a.m. and I was still full-awake, I decided to meditate and analyze the situation. I wondered "why did those inmates do that, their behavior is affecting all of us". I put myself in their shoes and thought: The first one has a very serious addiction problem, and she needs a drug treatment program (rehabilitation) instead of a work prison camp. The second one almost lost her life from the stroke and still has 15 years to go; she does not know if she will still be alive in 15 years, or if her husband will wait for her. She had the opportunity to have a little bit of pleasure in her shattered life. What can I say? Only that she had courage. I do not have that kind of courage. I am too chicken for that, my courage is only with my pen and with words. The third and fourth were in love. I do not judge people for their sexual preference as long as they are happy. I only expect discretion from them.
At the end I concluded that the problems were: addiction, illness, sex and love. Shall we really punish people for these kind of problems? We must answer honestly to ourselves and we must dig deep into this issue because we need to be clear whether we need a social change (abolish draconian sentences for first-time, non-violent offenders) or is our society changing toward a Mayberry Machiavelli reign. 1, 2, 3 and 4; addiction, illness, sex and love, four problems that affect our society as a whole. Is our punishment just?
I love you all.
Yraida L. Guanipa.
Feel free to share this e-mail and/or write to me at:
Yraida L. Guanipa # 44865-004
P.O. Box 1027
Coleman, Florida 33521-1027