IS IT ABOUT RESPECT?
On Oct. 31, 2003 I, Floyd D. Bailey, a prisoner in Pelican Bay State Prison SHU was given a copy of the article To Officers at Pelican Bay State Prison Its About Respect, published Saturday September 20. 2203 in the Sacramento Bee and written by Marlie Lundstom. It speaks of inside these gray walls, politics is all about staying alive. When you are forced to share a small area with different races the inmates better have rules and politics if they want to go out without being attacked and stay alive. Otherwise, they are at the mercy of the guards.
This article speaks of officer Doug Burrell and how he is sensing trouble on B yard, the same place a bloody riot broke out 3 ˝ years ago and how tensions seem to be building between rival Latino gangs whose truce is straining. It speaks of this Burrell scanning the yard and how the Southern Hispanics are doing pull ups and that the Northern Hispanics get up and walk toward the Southern Hispanics, how the officer tenses and how he says “There’s a lot of variables in this yard.” What this Burrell is doing is giving you readers a highly tense moment, one of many that “he” created himself. He clearly speaks of Southern and Norther Mexican gang members here yet the prison rules allow anywhere from six years to indeterminate SHU sentences for gang members. So as you read of these Southern and Northern gang members you should ask Officer Burrell why he allows these known gang members to be out in general population sharing a prison yard. In Ad Seg ( Administrative Segregation) and the SHU (Security Housing Unit) gangs are separated. They never share a yard or cell because the officers know if they do someone will be hurt or possibly die. Yet on B yard, a general population yard, of Pelican Bay which they say houses “the worst of the worst” the guards knowingly allow these gangs to share a yard together or should I say force these known enemies to share a yard together. The tax payers should ask Officer Burrell why he allows enemies to share a yard in the first place thus creating this environment of tension and violence while he tries to tell the taxpayers just how unsafe his job is.
As the article states, “It’s about money.” It is about how the correction officers are worth their hefty pay raises that Gov. Davis secured for them and now as California has financial problems the guards do not want to renegotiate their pay. The article speaks of how these prison guards don’t like being called prison guards for it distances them from the greater law enforcement community. A garbage man is a garbage man but I guess you can call him a sanitation worker. Do you think if you call prison guards enforcement officers it would get Republican Tom McClintock or Independent Arianna Huffington to support their new contract instead of oppose it?
Bobby Rice, a sergeant at Pelican Bay, wants the taxpayers to know “they are not a bunch of knuckle-dragging gorillas” and that it takes “extreme amounts of training” and “can be exceptionally dangerous.” I would like the taxpayers to ask Officer Rice how much training it takes to allow 80 weapons to be taken out of the block and used in a riot? Or how much training does it take to allow known gang members, enemies, to share the same yard at the same time? Or how much training does it take to shoot and kill an inmate? And if you know it is exceptionally dangerous and your rules tell you that you can change this and you don’t, how much training does that take? I would say a knuckle-dragging gorilla could do a better job with less training, wouldn’t you? It’ simple. You know it is exceptionally dangerous so don’t allow 80 weapons to get on a yard. Don’t allow known enemies or gangs to share a yard together. Keep these groups separated as is done in Ad.Seg or in the SHU.
Maybe Huffington and McClintock sees the smoke you are blowing Mr. Burrell and Mr. Rice. Why would the taxpayers want to pay a prison guard, who allows riots, gang members and enemies to be on the same yard, as well as weapons and one who is 100% behind this exceptionally dangerous prison, a salary of $73,000.00? The California Highway Patrol took salary concessions and is there to serve and protect all of California, a much bigger area than a prison yard. But then a prison guard is there to enforce and create and the more he creates the more he enforces and the more money he gets. Yet the only ones in prison with guns are the guards so it is safer in prison than for the highway patrol. Yet prison guards want more respect or more money! This is like a firefighter who goes out, starts the fire, then goes back to the fire station, gets the fire truck, drives through town lights a flashing and sirens blasting for all to hear. He puts out the fire and standing in front of the camera all black with smoke and dirt says “I need more money” and the taxpayers agree with him not knowing that he started the fire in the first place. That is what Mr. Burrell and Mr. Rice are doing in this article. I live in Pelican Bay and if I did not know what I know I would say they deserve the $73,000.00 salary but I know more than the taxpayers know for I live in this place that Burrell and Rice created and I have to fight to live.
Rick Newton, president of the Union’s Pelican Bay chapter says, “They always look at the people doing the work...We feed the inmates....We deal with the inmates.” No doubt a big fire starter here. For allow me, an inmate, to show you the truth. It is not the guards who feed us. It is the inmates. In general population the inmates cook, serve, clean all the dishes and the kitchen. The guards don’t do this. During lockdowns the guards will pick kitchen workers to come into the kitchen to cook the food and put it on trays. If they don’t want to let out the dish washers they use paper trays. Even in AdSeg and the SHU they use level one inmates to cook and put the food on trays and then the guards will pass them out. The inmates do all the cleaning even in the SHU. There is one inmate who comes out four times a week to clean the unit and showers. At no time will a guard clean a unit or kitchen or shower or wash a dish in prison. If the inmates do not clean it or do the work then it doesn’t get done. The guards do deal with the inmates by giving them the supplies they need to clean such as mops, buckets, food labels, etc. So Mr. Newton is trying to get paid for putting out a fire he started at California taxpayers cost.
It goes on to state “We agree there is fat in the Department of Corrections so look at the fat not at the people doing the work.” But the guards do not want inmates to get out. It would weaken job security. Here is a truth for you. Gov. Davis told CDC no overtime for a month so the guards locked down prison yards to cut down on guards needed to help run the prison. So to save money they locked down inmates supposedly saving money which seems to make sense. The thing is if locking down prison yards saves money (tax dollars) why is it that these level 4, highly violent prisons are locked down from 3 to 12 months a year and yet the prison still runs at full budget? Why isn’t the prison saving money? Yet when told no overtime then lockdowns happen for a day or two and that saves all kinds of tax dollars. Ssince the taxpayers don’t know the truth they can’t cut the fat. Pelican Bay has been on a lockdown for 3 ˝ years yet they run a full budget and not a dime of tax dollars saved?
Officer Tim Borges states, “The legislature has to take some responsibility too.” The legislature gave Office Borges the power to run the prison as he sees fit. So he is right, the legislature should take responsibility and withdraw his power to create how this prison is run.
I did love to hear that the guards fingerprinted 1600 children at the county fair and bought a pig and donated it back. I pray for the day that the guards show such care regarding the safety and good health of the inmates because this side of the razor wire is hell but then taxpayers don’t pay $73,000.00 a year for a safe and clean prison, do they?
The article states that the officers still talk about the 2000 riot with a mixture of anger and revulsion. These are the same officers who chose to work at the prison of the “worst of the worst” even as far back as 2000 and these are the same officers who allowed 80 weapons to be used by inmates in this riot. These are the same officers who shot and killed the only inmate to die in this riot. As an inmate I am angry and revolted because I have to share a yard with gang members and inmates with 80 weapons on a yard because the guards did not do their job. But hey they bought and donated a pig and fingerprinted children. Hallelujah! The article also states that the inmates segregated themselves into racial groups, passing the time plotting against the others. Seeing and knowing these racial groups were forming the guards still allowed all those inmates and 80 weapons to be taken to the yard for use in a riot. As an inmate, I believe the reason the inmates segregate themselves into racial groups is for protection from what will happen. The guards know this and they cannot protect us and that riot and this article proves that. The guards knew what was about to happen just as they now know that tension is building between Southern and Northern Mexicans. Still they refused to stop the riot in 2000 and they don’t stop the tension on B yard. The don’t do their job by making the prison a safe place yet they respectfully demand a raise. If they did their job they would not need a raise and if the truth be told I would not live like this for $73,000.00 a year but I have no choice. I’m an inmate. Officer Jim Dagenais who is 60 says he has been in lot of riots but the one in 2000 was the worst he has seen. I would think if a correctional guard has been in a lot of riots then he would know and see the danger that creates a riot and put a stop to it before it happens. But if the guards did that how could they ask for more money than the highway patrol? Two hundred inmates were allowed on a yard with 80 weapons and when the smoke cleared 35 inmates were injured and one was dead, killed by gunfire. Inmates do not have guns. This is a clear cut case of negligent murder and this article proves it. It says that prisoners having weapons was no surprise to the guards. If they know that weapons are being made, why don’t they stop it? I’m sorry but if I had to work around weapon making inmates they would never get out of a cell until I felt safe that they had no weapons.
I am sure that the guards do dread the inmates “gassing” , hurling bodily fluids like feces, the most. Even as the guards, the inmates also dread this hurling of bodily fluids like feces, urine, and spit. No pay check of $73,000.00 would get me to accept this. I dread this happening also but if there was a way that I could walk on a yard feeling safe from attack, gang fights, racial fights, by jumping into a bathtub of bodily fluids I would surely do it for such security. As this article says a guard has been attacked by gassing so many times and stepped in and around its aftermath he has a rule of no work shoes in his house. I do pray for such a luxurious rule. The other day I went to the prison infirmary. I was put in a hospital room and the rules state that I cannot have my shoes there so I gave them my shoes. After being back in my cell for three days after my stay in the infirmary, my feet still had not stopped burning. I had to spend $5.00 of my wife’s money to go to the doctor to get foot cream and my wife works hard for her money. So it is dangerous to take one’s shoes off around here. One of the officer’s states, “It’s very stressful. I have a wife and two kids and you go man what am I taking home.” Well let me tell you what I found when I went to the infirmary. First, I noticed that the room smelled of urine. As the guard and the nurse looked at me I lifted the plastic mattress that was on the bed that was soaked in urine. The metal bed was rusted and wet with urine. Since I followed their rules and gave up my shoes willingly when I got there they were kind enough to give me three towels to clean it all up, nothing more even though there were rubber gloves all around the infirmary. Their rules state that as an inmate I could not have rubber gloves to cover my hands as I cleaned the urine. Hopefully I caught nothing more than burning feet. Let’s speak of other sanitary issues such as my toilet. It is located in my cell where I eat, sleep, read, work out and spend 23 hours in a day. When this prison was built they did not realize that when my neighbor uses the restroom and flushes his toilet his feces and urine flow into my toilet and mine flow into his toilet. All of the connecting cells have this problem with the plumbing. That is a lot of urine and feces spreading from cell to cell but there is no way they will correct this problem. Their method of correcting the problem is to give us two teaspoons of Comet Cleanser to scrub the toilet so that we don’t have to eat or drink in a room with a toilet filled or smelling of another inmate’s feces or urine. Two teaspoons of Comet does not last a whole week. We are given a towel to sweep and mop the floor but the only place to rinse the towel is in your sink. So everything on the floor goes in your sink where you wash and brush your teeth and get your drinking water. The guards, knowing that your neighbor’s urine and feces flows into your toilet, will not give you any gloves to clean your toilet so you have to clean your neighbor’s feces and urine out of your toilet with your hands. If you have a cut or ingrown nail who knows what is being passed to you. However, you don’t have to clean your toilet. You can eat your food and drink your water in a room where the toilet is stained or stinks like urine and feces. When an inmate is eating his breakfast and sees his neighbor’s urine or feces floating in his toilet it is easy enough for him to decide to take a cup of it and toss it on a guard who is walking by because he thinks that guard is forcing him to live in such vileness and filth. Why not share the joy? Yet the guards want more money to put up with this vileness. Why not just provide rubber gloves for cleaning purposes? It would be a whole lot cheaper and the guards might be gassed a whole lot less.
About four months ago an inmate came out of his cell and tossed two cups of feces and urine inside the cell of another inmate and on that inmate. The front of the cell is not solid. It has thousands of small holes in it. What did the guards give the inmate to clean up the feces and urine? A towel. So he took his cup and tossed water on the front of the cell to clean the holes out and the water went on the floor. Then the guards brought a mop bucket and a mop and gave it to the inmate to mop the floor. All the feces and urine was mopped up with nothing more than water. Nothing else was done. No doctor came to check out this inmate who had feces and urine tossed on him. No extra cleaning was done to his cell or the floor and to put the icing on the cake the same mop and mop bucket was used to clean the unit by an inmate the next day. All that was done to the mop and bucket was to rinse it out with hot water. So living in such vileness you can see I have no problem jumping in a bath tub full of it to get the security and safety I need if only I could. So as you people see inmates are forced to live in this situation on a daily basis by the guards. Tthat is part of the reason why guards are being gassed. So these guards who have the luxury to take off their shoes before stepping into their houses are thinking man what am I taking home are the same guards who create such diseases and insane madness. Still they go to the taxpayers and say they need more money in their bank accounts. No guard ever says we need more money to clean the place up!
This article says the public can’t get in here so the only time they hear about us is when something horribly wrong happens. For years newspapers and people have been fighting CDC for access to the prisons and to the inmates. Access has been denied by Davis, C.D.C and the guards. Now they want the taxpayer to feel sorry that they can’t get into or have access to prison for if they did you would see they do not deserve a higher pay budget than the Highway Patrol. It is like they shoot themselves in the foot then want you to feel sorry for them. Sorry enough to give them a raise. Lt. Steve Perez said this. Well this inmate feels sorry for Lt. Perez for I wish people could have access to prison. The article states that since January 1, 2003 some 566 inmate incidents have been recorded. Well if I was a guard I’d feel lucky to be able to go home for 16 hours a day away from this violent prison that I have 100% control over. But this is the best part. To detractors upset by the prospect of a sizable pay hike for California prison guards officer Tim Borges says, “Come walk in my shoes for a day - if not a week and see what I go through. We’re worth every penny.” I pray that somebody accepts this offer. I beg someone to accept this offer. Oh wait, C.D.C will not allow you to! So even if you wanted to you could not, but I will say this, if the taxpayers of California want prisons like the one I have spoken about in this letter then they are worth every penny you pay them. But hey, I’m just a prisoner in Pelican Bay State Prison. What do I know, right? God take me now for I have seen hell.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
CREATED FOR VIOLENCE
Back in the early ‘90s inmates were told if you have a life sentence or are convicted of a sex crime you will no longer be allowed family visits. New prisons were built including the 180 style for housing Level IV inmates. This style prison stopped none of the violence within the prisons. What they did do was make the California taxpayers pay for more Administrative Segregation Housing (the hole) and more Security Housing ( the SHU) allowing the guards to receive higher pay. The system that was created continues with more violence and higher pay for guards, more lockdowns within the prisons and more inmates attacking inmates. I know, same old story from this inmate in Pelican Bay State Prison.
I was released from the SHU in March of 2001 to B yard at Pelican Bay which is a lock down yard. I am still in this lock down yard after one year because of the riots that occurred 2 ˝ years ago. I was not on this yard when the riots occurred.
Let’s go back to 2 ˝ years ago. The first riot was between blacks and whites. Some of the inmates had knives and other weapons and some did not. Some knew it was going to happen and some did not. It was a racial riot happening because these men were released to the same yard. So after it happened, for a few months, the yard was locked down. This is how CDC deals with all inmates, victims or attackers. Finally they were once again released to yard in the same way as before, blacks, whites, Mexicans to the same yard and patted down before going out. We know what happened. Another riot this time between Mexicans and blacks. One was killed, many hurt requiring medical care which cost the taxpayers money and 80 weapons were found on the yard.
What was CDC’s answer? Lock down one more time. So in 2 ˝ years they have moved inmates from the yard to Ad.Seg., to the SHU, back out to the yard and brought inmates from other level IV prisons here while moving some of these men to those other level IV prisons. Oh let’s not forget the latest answer. Change the visiting rules so that the guards will have more control over the inmates. So for the present they are allowing sections of the prison, one at a time, out of their cells to return to the yard as before still searching and patting down the inmates just like they did 2 ˝ years ago when a riot happened in which 80 plus weapons were found on the yard. They tell the inmates, “Now you be good.” They tell the visitors they need to change the rules, cut down on visits in order to control the inmates.
I am an inmate in the custody of CDC. I am told to go to a yard which I share with many others and with God knows how many weapons on it. I am told to go to a place where if you don’t fight you will be attacked. This is a place where your skin color will get you attacked. So if I want to program I must worry about another race attacking me and I must worry that my own race will attack me. I have to worry about all the weapons that might be on the yard. I have to worry about being pepper sprayed should something happen, being cuffed up and beat with night sticks or shot at and then taken to Ad.Seg and ending up in the SHU all because I want to program and did not see the trouble coming.
If CDC has its way I won’t have to worry about visiting my friend in AD.SEG or the SHU. I won’t have to worry about kissing for more than five seconds on a visit. I won’t have to worry about my child sitting in my lap on a visit. None of this will happen. What I fear the most is that even if I want to program and stay out of trouble, in 2 ˝ years the safest way CDC found to do this is to restrict my visiting. So when I walk out to this prison yard nothing has changed except 2 ˝ years have gone by and the rules of visiting. Wow, do I feel safe! God Help us all.
Floyd D. Bailey H-86063
Pelican Bay State Prison
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532
The California Department of Corrections (CDC) knowingly Breeding Violence
In Oregon police officers shot and killed a man recently in the parking lot of the police station because he was holding a cell phone. The police officers thought it was a gun. In California a hand full of officers shot and killed a woman sleeping in her car. You hear these stories throughout the good old U.S.A. You hear how police officers shoot and kill innocent victims all because the officer felt threatened and could not take the chance of trusting these victims enough to see what they had in their hands or wait to see what the victim would do when she woke up. A police officer distrusts all situations and acts violently if he feel it is necessary to protect himself and others even if it means killing innocent victims. React first, think second. That is survival. They get paid to react and distrust because at times they cannot trust that person not to hurt them. They don’t hate the victim that they hurt, shoot or kill. They do it out of fear and distrust of being hurt by that person.
When a citizen of California or of the U.S. distrusts someone or a situation they call the police, leave the area or face it and hope they don’t become a victim, but they have a choice. They can move, run, get away from and call people they know who will help.... But what does an inmate in the California prison system do when he is forced to live in a 30 yard area with others he cannot trust or those who do not trust him? He cannot go anywhere. He cannot run away. He cannot go to the guard because the prison staff put him there and he cannot call the police. He has no place to go yet is forced to live in an area full of distrust.
If an inmate gets in trouble he goes to segregation housing (the hole). Before anyone in segregation can go to yard he is taken to classification. At this time classification looks at his file to see what yard to allow the person to go to. Yards are Whites and Southern Mexicans, Blacks and Northern Mexicans, Protective Custody and at some places general population. It is the same in the SHU program (Security Housing Unit).
The reason inmates must first go to classification and get assigned to a yard for 10 hours a week is because blacks and whites have a long history of attacking each other. Southern Mexicans and Northern Mexicans have a long history of attacking each other. So to just put all inmates together on an AdSeg yard or to put blacks and whites together on an AdSeg yard or to put Southern Mexicans and Northern Mexicans together on an AdSeg yard will promote violence.
I am not a protective custody inmate so I cannot go to a protective custody yard. The last time I was assigned to a general population AdSeg yard was in 1994. There was a fight between 3 blacks and me. What I am trying to say is the prison knows that when some inmates are placed on the yard together there will be a fight. The fights are not because the races hate each other but because they cannot trust each other. All this is proven by years of violence between the races.
All of this shows that if the officials know there will be violence in AdSeg or SHU programs then they can segregate inmates from other races. In General Population an inmate lives in a 30 yard area, plus day rooms and cells with a cellmate. You are with 50 to 100 different inmates of different races. Through the years you have been attacked by or have attacked them. So an inmate lives hourly with a great deal of fear and distrust. Every time the cell door opens, every time you walk to work, school, visits, yard, day room, every time you go to use the phone you feel this distrust and fear of other races. An inmate is full of paranoia, a delusion of persecution for the color of your skin and fear of attack. Living like this for months one learns to survive by becoming a person always looking for something that is wrong and regardless of what it is he will attack. His only protection is to attack before being attacked, just like the police officers I spoke of earlier. The guards know inmates live in constant fear of being attacked by other races but they refuse to segregate by race in general population because they cannot control thousands of inmates by doing this like they do in AdSeg or the SHU. So the race wars go on. Violence in general population continues.
In ADSeg or the SHU an inmate only gets close to a guard if he is handcuffed, leg shackled or in some kind of restraints before the cell door opens. If an inmate gets hostile or aggressive in his cell they have 20 to 50 guards come in and get the inmate and they don’t worry about who else sees it because an inmate cannot get close to a guard. However, in general population inmates walk side by side with guards. So if an inmate does not like how a guard beat his friend he might attack the guard. So the violence perpetrated on inmates in AdSeg or the SHU is not done in general population. It is known that if an inmate is aggressive or hostile he will attack someone of another race before he will attack a guard. This is because the inmate fears other races not the guards in general population.
CDC wants people to believe that the inmates are violent, it’s the inmates who want to fight and that no way can CDC segregate inmates to stop the violence. (Is it the police officer’s fault for killing or shooting innocent victims? Does the officer want or mean to hurt or kill these victims? Are the officers violent and filled with hate?) No. They just live life filled with distrust.
So instead of segregation by races in general population like they do in AdSeg or the SHU, when a race war breaks out they lock the races up in their cells and every so often they release a handful of the warring inmates, picking those they wish to pick, and pull them out of their cells and put them on the yard. If they attack each other these inmates go to AdSeg and if they don’t attack each other they release all inmates back to yard. This lockdown and release can go on for months because if an inmate is placed on a yard with a race he is warring with those of that race distrust him and he distrusts them so they attack each other again. If an inmate upsets a guard or makes a guard angry his cell door is the first one to unlock to go out and see if the two races will attack each other. So an inmate could be years disciplinary free, his door is opened and he is right in the violent mix. If he stays in his cell his cellmate will attack him because he is afraid to go out and fight the other race. If both the inmate and his cellmate don’t go out then both will be attacked when the lockdown is over by their own race for being afraid to go out and fight. So no matter what, during these race wars an inmate will attack or be attacked. The guards know it because it has been going on for decades. They want the inmates to take their aggressiveness out on other inmates not on them.
Inmates in a race war do not hate each other. They lack trust because of the longstanding wars. CDC knows as the police know that when you can’t trust a person whoever first acts violently will most likely be the one who is safe. When this is done in prison you are sent to AdSeg. There you are less likely to be attacked by other races because there you are on segregated yards. However, by going to AdSeg or the SHU, the safer places in prison, you give up school, your job, job training, good time to release early, phone calls, contact visits. It is your only choice if you want a little safety in prison.
As we know CDC controls all its prisons. The wardens and guards run those prisons controlling everything right down to the paper and pen I write with, the toothbrush I use, the tooth powder I use, the soap and toilet paper, the food I eat, who can visit me to whom I live in a cell with or who lives in the cell next to me, to the power that turns on my lights, to the canteen I can have, to the packages I receive or the books I receive, to the movies I watch, the schooling I get or the job or job training that is available, to the yard I go to, to the water I drink or flush the toilets with, to the letters I get, to the mail I send out, to all the CDC rules. They control everything in prison. Yet the only power they have during a race war in general population is to continue releasing the warring inmates to the yard till they stop fighting and until that happens keep them locked down. They allow the wars to go on and at times pick the specific inmates to go out. I believe they do this for the protection of the guards. For why segregate inmates in ADSeg or the SHU yet let the general population war and fight with each other? Why when they have all the power and all the control? Forcing inmates to live in a 30 yard area together with no protection when they don’t trust each other and after decades of proof of this, they are allowing violence and creating violence. This violence eventually gets released to the State of California. Stop the violence in prison and you stop it all the way around.
God used Job to show Satan’s evil heart. Job was just a man living in a world. God needed to see the evil in Satan’s heart. (Job 1,2) I beg of you to let the inmate violence show the evil in CDC and it’s guards. How can they control everything yet blame the inmates for the violence. Put the blame where it belongs, 1) to the distrust of inmates who are forced to live together and 2) on the guards who can segregate in adSeg and SHU programs yet allow the violence to go on in the general population. Some say we prisoners live in a country club. I say all those police officers who kill innocent people because they live in distrust are living in a country club lifestyle.
Floyd D. Bailey H-86063
Pelican Bay State Prison
PO Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95532.
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