Cold and Torture in PA Prisons
It's January 15 and the vicious hatemongers who operate this facility have again flipped the heating system off, changing it to cooling. On Christmas Eve over a foot of white hit up here. This is an apex mountainous zone of the Pennsylvania Appalachian territory. A day after Christmas, there was a freezing hail storm that locked in the foot-plus of white x-mas at peak altitude.
On December 23 I was nestled in warmth underneath a wool/poly blend county-issued blanket with my head tucked under and my knees towards my chest like I was back up in the womb, when I heard someone with a walkie outside near my cell comment on the nice, humane and cozy warmth on the cell walkway. At that time I thought little of it while relishing the civil humanity of heating in a prison's segregation unit in winter. But later that night, with the peculiar uneasiness about the temperature in my cell gradually, steadily, going down, I put my hand to the vent and became stupefied with anger. This morning there was a similar occurrence as the morning of December 23.
Several times this morning I argued with that same correctional officer (CO) in response to him making statements in front of my cell as to the warmth of the unit. My point was, plain and simple, "It's cold outside. It's supposed to be warm inside!" Yet, the CO played it down as some deranged joke saying that it wasn't nothing for me and if I was out the cell running around the unit working I would be complaining about it being "warm" too. (I have been on 24 hour lockdown for the past 7 years and for the past 11 days I have been on what's known as "Butt-Naked". [I'll get to the Butt-Naked thing in a minute; please keep reading]).
See, on December 23 the regular maintenance faculty went on vacation for the holidays. They didn't return until January 4: the first normal working day of this new year. Now this time, the regular maintenance faculty is off for their normal Saturday and Sunday, plus, Monday too, as this is Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Monday is the celebration of Reverand Martin's birthday in honor of his civil rights accomplishments, leadership and examples of peacefulness and righteousness.
It pains me to think that these hatemongers who operate this facility would be so viciously cruel as to shut down the heating and pump out air-conditioning in the middle of the winter, on a keep-lock segregation unit in a prison on top of a mountain in the Central region of Pennsylvania to spite Dr. Martin Luther King weekend, blatantly disrespecting the American notion of civil and human rights, mocking, ridiculing, and dishonoring. Yet, I am without doubt to these devil hatmongers' viciously cruel intentions due to the fact that they blasphemed lord Jesus Christ the savior by saying, "I got a Christmas time present this year for them DHU prisoners that they'll never forget: torture!!" and then manifesting their hate for 12 straight days.
On January 3, after hearing every excuse feasible as to why the AC was on blast, and had been continuously on blast for the past 10 days, I proceeded to unload a gallon worth of human feces, which I had been storing in my cell, saving it in half-pint milk cartons since Christmas, just for the occasion. I shitted the entire unit out! There was shit all up and down the walkways, on the stairs, the railings, the walls, high up on the walls, the ceiling, and the officers' chairs and desks. It was shit splatting all over the place dropping at unexpected places outside the cells like bird doodoo. Everybody acted like they couldn't understand why I did it.
The shit was splattered-scattered all over like spots on a dalmatian hound; and, the regular DH inmate workers were crying. After an officer, who must have pulled the shortest straw, came out with a shield, I went ahead and closed the box on my cell door where the shit propelled from. A special work crew came to clean the shit with a hose, a shovel, and later, a ladder. It took them 3 hours to clean it to satisfaction; but, there's still shit gobs on the high ceiling, which have calcified.
There's this special punishment treatment program here at Cambria County Prison (CCP) classified by the administrators of this facility under the official title of "Security Risk" but, amongst the hip staff members and CCP prisoners/jailers, Security Risk is commonly referred to as "Butt-Naked" status (i.e. "they got Baby T on Butt-Naked again.")
During one of my two previous stays here at CCP (from SCI Pittsburgh) while socializing with jailers outside the segregation yard cages, I was informed for the first time of what it was that those jailers called Butt-Naked (i.e. "You better be careful here because these hatemongers are really racist and like putting black men on Butt-Naked and don't give a fuck about none of this civil-human rights shit you be preaching!") A prisoner told me of how after he had "whipped the whole CERT [Community Emergency Response Team] teams asses and broke one of them pussies jaw" he was subdued, beaten by officers, stripped of all his clothing to total nudity, placed in a cell without any bedding or toiletries, left in handcuffs and leg irons and cuffed to the bed, and kept on Butt-Naked for over a month straight. He also told me that once, during the period he was on Butt-Naked for over a month, guards had the audacity to place another butt naked man in the cell with him who had just been put on butt-naked to "overcrowd" the DHU.
On the day I was transferred back to CCP, I witnessed a fellow state transferee be subjected to "Security Risk" Butt-Naked status. This prisoner, who happens to be transgendered, told me that officers beat her while in the jail's intake area after 3 p.m. due to her complaints of being tired and wanting to get to a cell with a mattress to rest. They dragged and carried her from the intake to the DHU in chains and then taser gunned her and beat her more after they got her into a DHU cell before battering off all her clothing and leaving her in the DHU cell totally nude with no bedding, and no toiletries, beaten, cold and in pain without medical. She also was sexually assaulted by anal digital fondling during the episode.
I got socially acquainted with another prisoner in the DHU. I witnessed his holiday depression in 2009 after an officer pressed him about his family. One second he was speaking calmly with the CO and wisecracking, the next thing I knew he was cussing the officer out and banging on the toilet, bed frame, desk and light fixtures inside his cell without abandon.
He started screaming for the guards to "CERT the fuck up!" and come in his cell so that he may murder at least one of them, or, if they didn't come in his cell to stop him, he was going to slit his wrists and throat and murder himself; because as he put it frankly, "Somebody gonna muthafuck'n die up in this bitch tonight!" He was banging on the fixtures in his cell trying to get some steel loose to make good on his word, one way or another. An officer who had tried to talk reason with him witnessed him making cutting gestures against himself in his cell and called in on walkie-talkie, "he's cutting himself, it looks like it's a razor blade."
The CERT team did eventually appear. Instead of going right in, they doused him with 4 bursts of hot choke burn nerve OC gas for 5-8 minutes while demanding him to surrender his stance and come to the cell door to be handcuffed. He began loudly coughing from the effects of the gas, coughing interspersed with cuss screams of how the guards were cowards for continuing to spray through the door and not entering the cell. When the guards finally opened the door, they ran in on him and had him restrained in 10-20 seconds. I could hear him yelling, "You got me! You got me! Fuck! I'm not resisting! Y'all got me! Get off my fucking head!" And, I could hear the lead guard yelling over and over, "Stop resisting!"
For this he was thrown in the coldest cell on the inhumanely cold unit, inhumanely cold from the heat being turned off and the AC on for the past week, stripped of all his clothing on Butt-Naked/Security Risk. He was placed on suicide watch as well. He remained on Security Risk until January 8, 11 days from his mental health breakdown suicidal/homicidal episode.
There is not very much doubt in my mind that he wouldn't have succumbed to his happy holiday incarcerated suicide, seasonal depression were it not for the viciously cruel devil hatemongers operating this county jail/prison and controlling the conditions of confinement within the facility motifs of physio-psychological torturing and their shutting down the segregation unit's heat and pumping out AC against its captive inhabitants. If it were not for the physio-psychological assault on his senses from the inescapable coldness of the DHU from December 23-27 he would have never succumbed on that Sunday night.
Now, I have myself braved Cambria County Prison's Security Risk special punishment program. I had counted on the hatemongers courting up on me and placing me on Butt-Naked after my having shitted down the whole unit. But they never came for me that night. Then the next morning after the shitting, after I had dosed the officer picking up trash after breakfast with heifer-tit juice, the CERT came (headed by an officer named Kupacella, who threatened to "shoot" me and who was cleared of wrong-doing for bringing his personal gun into the facility and shooting a prisoner to death in 2006) and I was moved to another cell. After I was moved to the Butt-Naked cell the heat came back on.
I just got off Security Risk today. I was on security risk for a total of 16 days. On the 7th day, because I hadn't given back the blanket on time (they give you a blanket and mattress every day for use from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., the hardest time to sleep, and expect you to happily give it back when they come at 1:30-1:45 for it) the CERT team (again headed by Mercenary hate monger CO Kupacella) came back, I was caught off guard by them. I didn't know they were coming until they were right at my door! None of the the prisoners said a word even though they knew that the CERT team was geared up for somebody.
The Lieutenant told me "I'm giving you a direct order to come to the door and cuff up." As soon as I went to the door to cuff as instructed, the Foreman officer of the CERT team (who I recognized visually and by his voice as Kupacella) said "go to the back of the cell" and repeated it 2-3 times. After asking "How am I supposed to cuff up? Do you want me to cuff up or go to the back of the cell?" The Lieutenant didn't respond and the Foreman again said "go to the back of the cell!" Seeing that the box wasn't being opened for me to cuff, I went to the back of the cell. The Foreman screamed "Put your hands up! Drop it! Drop it!" Then called in on the walkie-talkie to open my door. Needless to say I had nothing in my hands. The foreman had the door opened just enough to spray me aiming at my head with high-powered OC nerve gas. After he closed the door back, I took off my eyeglasses and laid on the floor at the front of the cell with my feet at the door and my hands behind my head. I was then beaten by the CERT team, dragged to the shower, and roughed up some more.
I was dragged back into the OC-contaminated cell totally nude. There wasn't even a decontamination attempt made! The officer evacuated all the other 3 cells due to the spraying of the gas, but still put me back on the contaminated cell. (I believe more gas was sprayed in it while I was being roughed up in the shower.) I screamed in agony from the burning effects of the OC. I couldn't open my eyes, because he had got me dead in the face! I continuously splashed my face with water from the sink, but as soon as I'd stop my facial skin would again feel like it was on fire! I couldn't flush my eyes out either. The horrid screams of agony started after I first splashed my body with water, after that it felt like I was in an inferno pit! I would fill a cup to try and get the OC off my body with. I would be on fire for the 15 seconds it took to fill the cup, and after I poured the water on my naked body I would start burning up again in 1-2 seconds. This went on for 2 hours. I eventually gave up on the water and sat down and supplicated to Allah.
MIM(Prisons) responds: This prisoner writes a vivid account of the horrifying conditions in Pennsylvania prisons and the irrational responses that the torture conditions elicit from prisoners, ranging from suicide attempts to aggression to any other form of acting out that they can use to maintain some small amount of control over their lives. Control units are torture, and they are used as a tool of social control in prisons.
We do disagree with this prisoner's statement that carrying out brutality in the prisons over MLK weekend is "blatantly disrespecting the American notion of civil and human rights." The Amerikan notion of humyn rights is the supremacy of the few at the expense of the many. This is the imperialist system. There is only lip service given to humyn rights when it is convenient, for instance protecting the Kurds in Iraq once Amerika no longer finds Saddam Hussein to be a useful ally. But the systematic destruction of basic human rights is commonplace in Amerikan militarism. And we see it daily in the criminal injustice system.