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Cell Block C: Deadly Riot at Leonard Correctional Institute
Cell Block C Day Area
Home Stink Home
Chapter 1: Listen and Learn
Entering the gross smelling, yellow colored building I was scared but eager to learn the prison set up as well as the layout. Taught by my brother to shut up and keep to myself, I did my best to apply that tactic. I quickly earned the name Lay Low cause I mined my own business and laid low. Soaking up game and learning this life was done while playing checkers, chess, and reading the Bible. The food stinks is my first memory because after an hour in my cell breakfast arrived which consisted of a cold, boiled egg, piece of white bread and an orange juice.
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Chapter 2: Study the Building
The first few days in any maximum security facility you look for ways to escape especially if you have a long sentence. It is not like in the movies. In fact, escapes at this location have happened only twice in 75 years of operation with the men being caught eventually in both instances. The first escapee actually escaped underneath a transport bus by paying four other cons to brawl as the bus was about to exit. That guy was caught three hours later and killed by the police as he fought them with a pitchfork. The other inmate escaped over the barb wire fence by wrapping himself in a self made human pillow. Before he got one mile he was tracked and attacked by police dogs and was sent back to prison.
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Chapter 3: Cell Block C
Coming to the 8th floor and leaving the elevator towards the blocks had me thinking some horrid things. I came to the guard cubicle and stared all around me seeing cell blocks A through E. I was put into cell block C and told to put my stuff in cell 8 on the top tier. I got to my cell door and it electronically opened for me and I went in and closed it. I had a cellmate who was on the bottom bunk which left me with the top. I slowly made friends with this guy or at least friends as far as the situation goes.
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Chapter 4: Us vs C.O .
After a few days, one thing became obvious. All 40 inmates in my cell block all looked upon the guards as the enemy. At one point the first week we were all stripped searched and after getting dressed told to get on the floor. Meanwhile, these overzealous set of officers tore all the cells apart hunting contraband. As much as we hated our situation and disliked each other it was nothing compared to the way we all despised this guards who enjoyed picking on us at all costs. One time after a strip search the bloc was putting their clothes back on and Tyrese (inmate) laughed out loud. A corrections officer screamed for Tyrese to go out into the hall and as he walked past the guard a loud noise followed by a sharp pain flowed over him and he fell down and cried. The guard used his big wooden night stick to break Tyrese's knee.
Chapter 5: Prepare the Weapons
Inmates have 24 hours per day, seven days a week to plot, think and make weapons. Toothbrushes get shaved down to a nice, sharp point, batteries get stuffed in socks and wrapped around a fist like a set of brass knuckles and sheets can be used for choking out foes. My cellmate had four single razor blades melted together with a toothbrush for a handle. All I had was an ink pen and my left and right paws. I knew fighting was my only option if I wanted to survive so I began to shadow box in the funhouse mirror above the cell's sink prepping for what was to come.
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Chapter 6: Tonight it Goes Down
You hear stuff in this place even when you are not involved. Having said that, I knew a riot was forthcoming. I learned the four main gangs were set to riot against other but it became obvious that the guards were in for trouble as well when I started seeing Bic razors getting broke open for the tiny single blade. I looked, listened and exercised to prepare for the battle. Scared but undeterred, I was ready for and at this point down for whatever. I may get hurt or even killed but I am going to take somebody with me so bring it!
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Chapter 7: Blood, Sweat & Neverending Tears
Once I realized the riot was not a race based riot I relaxed a little but you could still cut the tension with a knife. Once we all were let out for dinner, phones and shower use for one hour, in our 22 hour per day lockdown, over half the inmates started fighting with fists and shanks. I ran to the shower and jumped behind the curtain. I admit I was scared but at the same time my adrenaline was pumping. The curtain opened and I took a punch to the jaw and fell on my back. As the convict bent over to hit me again I stuck my ink pen in his right cheek, piercing it all the way where the pen was inside his mouth. His partner grabbed me and I lid him out cold with aright hand before hearing a loud noise that sounded like an NBA buzzer.
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The Blood of Battle
The security door opened after 10 minutes or so and 12 C.O.s rushed in with batons and Taser guns. After all the guns were exhausted it became batons of 12 guards against 20 something remaining convicts with hate, anger and weapons of their own. As the brawl ensued the inmates who were shocked began to recover. The batons were brutal and started to make blood fly off of some of these guy's heads. Finally, after 15 or so minutes of give and take, the correctional officers gained control with 32 injured inmates and 8 lucky guys who surrendered without incident. The brawl resulted in all 12 officers suffering injuries with two of them having serious injuries that have them in comas at the current time.
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17 of the inmates were charged with and convicted of assault on the officer's and inciting a riot that resulted in 20 year sentences across the board. All the inmates did survive but unfortunately two of the injured guards did not make it. One passed away from head injuries from being punched multiple times in the head and the other was thrown from the top tier and had his neck broken. Life is hard in this place. Hard indeed.
© 2017 Buster Johnson