- Politics and Social Issues
18. County Jail Stresses
County Jail Stresses
County Jail Stresses is the continuation in a series of hubs in which I discuss my life of rebellion, dabbling in the Occult, drugs, crime and prison to life-changing conversion through Jesus Christ. Click here to read it from the beginning. In this hub, I will continue discussing experiences I had in county jail, at the beginning of my 9 year federal prison sentence.
Too Close for Comfort
Have you ever felt irritated and annoyed as a result of being around someone so much? Maybe a brother or a sister? Most people with sibling could relate to that. When you are around someone for most of the day, they tend to start getting on your nerves. Multiply that times 200 and you have Santa Rita County Jail.
Inmates are sick of seeing each other day in and day out. What’s more, they are in a place where they absolutely do not want to be—jail. This is a recipe for disaster; and that is exactly what I witnessed during my short stay in Santa Rita County jail. Within my third day there, there was already a fight. It was between a tall white guy and a short, stalky Mexican guy in the morning chow hall line.
I think the Mexican guy cut in front of the white guy. If that is not irritating enough, we were awoken every morning at 5 a.m. to eat chow. So the white guy went off on the Mexican guy. He punched him in the face, splitting the side of his nose wide open. I mean, the Mexican guy's nose was hanging only by the skin of the left side of his nose! Blood was squirting out everywhere. The riot police soon rushed in and broke up the fight. I saw the Mexican guy later, when I went to the medical department to have my wisdom tooth removed. The right side of his nose was stitched up and he had a badly bruised black eye.
Once, while I was in the shower, I heard some rumbling in the pod. I peeked out of the shower stall to see what the commotion was all about, only to find a big group of black guys brawling. There was at least 15 of them! The riot police rushed in and started taking control of the situation. I had to go back to my cell with my towel wrapped around my waist. The fight was territorial in nature. The black guys from San Francisco and Oakland had some kind of problem with each other.
There was another instance when a black guy got into a fight with a Norteño (Mexican gang-banger) in the shower. The black guy was upset because he thought the Norteño was taking too long to bathe; so even before the Norteño was completely done showering, the black guy stormed into the shower and attacked him. That resulted in retaliation by the Norteños against the blacks.
The next day, we were woken up for chow at 5 a.m., as usual. I stepped out of my cell, and two of my Norteño neighbors to the left of me quickly ambushed two of my black neighbors to the left and right of me. It happened right in front of me. One of the Norteños had lightning fast hands and pummeled his victim within seconds. The black guy didn’t even see it coming. He was blind-sided and on the floor, getting punched and kicked in the face, before he knew what hit him. His lip was fat and split open with blood leaking out
The officers rushed in to stop the attack. One officers threatened the Norteño attacking the black guy with mace; but the Norteño just kept attacking him. The officer threatened him again; but the beating continued, undeterred for a few more seconds. I was thinking, Spray him already! The attacker seemed like he stopped when he felt like he wanted to. The Norteños were taken to the hole and their victims to the medical department.
Enough is Enough
I got into an argument with a celly (cellmate) of mine, and we got close to fighting. I ended up moving into another cell because I didn’t think it was a good idea to be around him anymore. It was only a matter of time before something happened. We were celly’s for six months, and that was long enough—too long, even. I moved in with a guy named Taco. He was cool. He didn’t want to argue or cause any problems; he just wanted to sleep his time away. That’s how a lot of people coped with their time in county jail. At times, I even slept for up to 15 hours a day. There was just nothing to do there. It was boring.
Other guys gained tremendous weight. They would eat all kinds of sugary and starchy foods. That, combined with inactivity, led to weight gain at an unprecedented rate. I exercised constantly, so that kept me in pretty good shape; even though my eating habits were not very good (partly due to the lack of nutritious food).
Prisoners were under a lot of stress and pressure in Santa Rita County Jail. This led them to fight against each other. Fortunately, I was able to avoid any serious conflicts. It helped that I eventually moved in with a laid back celly.
It was during my time in Santa Rita County jail that my life started taking a turn for the better. I started reading the Bible and attending Christian and Catholic services. I will go into more detail about that more in my next hub. Click on the link below to read it.