Suicides Rampant at East Arkansas Prison
While reading the ULK 51 I noticed an article titled "People Dying, Urgency to Shut Down Control Units." This article is/was concerning an inmate named "Wiley" (if I'm spelling his name correctly) who was from my hometown, North Little Rock, who hung himself the day before he made parole. Right now in my current (Ad-Seg/ISO bound) I know/feel that silence on a lot of the issues will be my wisest strategem. But I think that it'll be alright to disclose some of the details about what's going on here at East Arkansas Regional Unit (EARU) and in the max. Drawing too much attention to myself, and revealing all of my hand, would only impede my efforts, more than augmenting them.
I met Wiley when I was in Administrative Segregation (aka "the Max") when I was housed in Max 4, 30 cell on the 2nd tier. Wiley was in Max 4, 18 cell on the bottom tier. We could see in each other's cells kinda. We were introduced to one another through mutual associations, when he asked me to draw up a tattoo pattern for somebody; one of his family members, or his wife, I can't remember which. Long story short, basically Wiley had let the officers know ahead of time that he was having medical problems and suicidal thoughts before he hung himself. Like the night before, or a day or two before he died. And he was telling them that he thought that "everybody was trying to kill/poison" him. That same night he went to the Max infirmary (alive) with two escorts. I want to say that one of the escorts was a Lieutenant. I witnessed all that with my own two eyes and ears. And Wiley returned to the same cell that night, alive. Wiley "caught out" of the Barracks later on saying that we were all trying to kill him and poison him and that he was having suicidal thoughts. This was a day or two later — on another shift I think — after he had went to the max infirmary originally. I saw him leave his cell in a wheelchair, this time (alive) and the 2 officer escorts were carrying what appeared to be a braided noose that I'm guessing they got outta his cell. Note: it's common for Max staff to escort inmates by wheelchair just to speed things up. Since it usually takes ages, and a lot of pain on inmates wrists/ankles, to walk up and down a long-ass hallway while shackled/handcuffed). They probably took him to one of the 3 isolations (the hole) suicide watch/treatment precaution cells (although I have no way to confirm this conjecture). There the inmate is in an "observation cell" with a caged window that the officer in the ISO's "control booth" can look through and see into all of the inmate's cell. Unless you get down low on the ground or duck off in the corner. There are 3 ISO BKs in the Max, holding about 50-60 people per each BKs (most cells are 2 man cells), and there's two one-man observation cell per each of the ISO BKs. The officer is supposed to make 15 minute checkups or "security checks" while being stationed inside the control booth, where they look in each of the little observation windows, and then put a note into the yellow mental health log/folder, stating what they see the inmate doing (or lie, like they usually do and make up some bs to avoid having to stand up every 15 minutes).
So Wiley killed himself the day before he made parole. The news hit my ears the hour that he hung himself. This is where it gets even crazier: last year alone, 2015, I was in the same barracks with two other inmates who hung themselves other than Wiley (3 total hangings that I witnessed first hand), and another hung himself in my homie's barracks right behind mine. And they're not killing themselves for no reason, I assure you. Not very many people are built to do a year or more back here.
The first hanging that I witnessed happened in my barracks while I was in Max 6, 32 cell on the 2nd tier during September or October 2015 — the guy that hung himself was in Max 6, 4 cell on the 1st tier. He had showed the guard the noose like 2 hours or so before he killed himself, as a warning, or so they say. That's what the homies told me on yard afterwards, who could actually see inside his cell, and also homies who were in cells close to him. But remember that this is prison, and shit often gets twisted. So you got to take info as it comes. The same officer, who was supposed to be working Max 6 made no rounds at all. I remember that. He came around for mail call at 6pm (shift change) and to talk to certain inmates, and that was it. That's nothing new though. That's normal here. Real talk. Nobody gives a shit either.
This is Part 2 to the Story
It was movie night and I was watching some 007 show I think. All the sudden the police radios start going wild. Stretchers pull up, with the lil oxygen thing, about 15-30 minutes after the initial call. Which really surprises me that they got there that fast. They don't have a relevant nurse station with nurses already on stand-by within a mile's walk from the max. The nearest nurses station is found by walking through several long ass hallways, all the way out in "population" GP unit; so it always takes forever for them to get down the hallways and through 8-9 riot gates, etc., with the stretchers and equipment. I used a mirror on a slit in the side of my "bean trap" to watch all this play out. But the angle of the 2nd tiers floor blocked a lot of my view. The officer never got fired. I remember seeing him a whole year afterwards. I'm not sure if he got suspended or anything. And I'm not sure what happened after that, as far as "news coverage" goes. But there were no changes when it comes to the general guard behaviors, and their grossly negligent practices. That's probably due to that particular inmate not having any family or a support system. If he'd of had family press the issue it would've been regarded with more concern, and seriousness.
Now fast forward to the day before Thanksgiving, 2015. I was in max 5, 30 cell, on the 2nd tier. The kid, named Tyler, who hung himself, was in 14 or 15 cell, on the 1st tier. I can't go too far into details on paper, or in the wrong company. But I will say that he'd been notifying the officers about some legitimate "problems," trying to get a cell change either the night before, or maybe 2 nights before he died, and about 30 minutes to an hour or two before he died, for the second time. He was in a "corner cell" where your neighbors can not only see all of your cell, but you and your closest neighbor are both literally 2-3 feet apart, facing each other (almost) at a 90 degree L shaped angle, and can reach your arm/hand out and touch each other's doors. Inmates can "dash" each other with anything you can think of — boiling grease/magic shave mixtures; shit, piss, cum, spoiled milk, and some ingredients I won't name, etc. Happens all the time. Or neighbors can even take a knife and fashion a spear shaft and cut or stab one another. What y'all think Mr. Rogers would think about that neighborhood?
I went to yard that same day, (right before Tyler died). In the freezing cold (I was frozen and drove), stuck standing in a small, chain-link dog cage for what turned out to be an extra 3 hours (it's supposed to be one hour). All because of the "holidays" and a "staff shortage," (and the fact that they knew it was cold and that I had to piss.) I was trying to meet up with one of my homies in 7 barracks. I came back inside, (numb, half-frozen), and 30 minutes later staff starts swarming into the barracks (everybody from the warden on down — like a lil piggie holiday family reunion) with nurses and stretchers/the weird oxygen thing. The guy in the corner cell next to Tyler knew about his suicidal/paranoid comments that he'd been yelling out all night, and during that same morning right before shift change, (I had been up for a few days and also heard of it all), and had noticed Tyler had a sheet over his door. He eventually figured out that Tyler was back there behind the sheet, hanging.
What a phone call his momma, and incarcerated father (who's also in the ADC) must of got the day before thanksgiving....all because some police, can't even do a simple job.
Due to the fact that Tyler had a family (that pressed the issue) as well as some "friends" around here, this incident actually made the channel 3 news. If he'd of been somebody without family or friends then that would've never happened. The warden over the unit and the max even started making the officers stay in the barracks without leaving out all day, (which never usually happens/happened) and he started making sure they do their 30 minute rounds. That lasted 2-3 months before they started slipping back into old, familiar, neglectful ways.
The other hanging (which happened like June or July of 2015), which happened in max 4 (my homie's barracks) while I was in max 6. All of the max barracks (except max 1 and 2) are set up to where the small windows in our cells above our racks (they're about 4 feet long and 5-6 inches tall) are facing one another. So if i'm in max 6 looking outta my window I can see most of the windows in max 4 (unless I'm at the front of the barracks or at the under end of the barracks in a corner cell. I was in 32 cell, a corner cell. Me and one of my homies used to talk to each other through the windows by using different versions of sign language with our hands (I'm fluent in several versions of sign — American sign language and a few different, improvised street signs, I'll call 'em). Everyday. We can hold entire conversations like that. I had come back in from yard and climbed up on my bed and got in the window and was trying to catch my homie so that I could figure out why he didn't go to yard that morning. Once I got his attention he told me the reason was cuz they (all of max 4) was on lockdown for a "state police investigation" for "hanging." Some young kid, who, similar to Wiley, had just made parole, or was about a month away from going to the house, I guess got tired of people picking on him and offed himself. From what I understand, anyways. He'd been hanging for hours, with a sheet over his door. Ms. Jones, a female officer, found him. She told me about it later on. And those are just the recent hangings that I, with my limited knowledge, can attest to personally. I know for a fact that there's been more since then, and tons more in the past. (At least 2 more this year alone, 2016). I can tell y'all tons more crazy shit in time. This is the worst prison in the ADC, hands down.