My intent through this blog is to show as many people as I can what all of us secluded to a one man cell go through. Often I wish they would just kill me. I do not believe my blog will change it. I just feel as crazy as things are and the way we live might be of interest to people. And who knows, something may change or I might develope connections to the outside world that might keep me sane one more day. :) - a caged man, Ricky Silva
The place where I lay my head. The home of over 1000 convicts all of which are on long term solitary confinement. Better known as "close management". All confined to a cell alone. There are no roommates here. All of the convicts here started on 1 of the 3 levels. None will leave solitary in less than 6 month and most will be here a few years.
You go up in front of the review board every 6 months but it's a joke because even if you have no write ups for those 6 months they will keep you on the same level based on whatever excuse they decide to give.
I have just made level 2. I was on level 1 for almost 4 years. So it's a real kangaroo court.
There are 90 or 95 cells on each wing. All cells are pretty much built the same. There are many fences and towers surrounding the prison and hundreds of cages used for outdoor recreation. There are 3 guards posted on each wing at any given time. Every time you leave your cell you are handcuffed through your food flap befor they even open your door. They take no chances. So there is almost no risk to their safety.
When I say all cells are built the same I mean: metal sink, metal toilet, foot locker (to store property), a thin sheet of metal protruding from the wall to place your mattress "mat" on. A window in the back of the cell that fortunately we are able to open and close as we choose. Not that F.S.P. is good but it's a little better than some of the solitary units I have heard about across the country.
There are some cases of severe violence or even murder when a convict manages to take off his restraints or is on level 3 where they don't always use handcuffs or shackles because level 3 is a lesser security level. But other than that there is not a whole lot of physical violence. Just a lot of people making empty threats, yelling at someone out of their window.
Most are happy to be in a cell by themselves for all different reasons. Some are scared to have a roommate, some like the solitude and the freedom of not sharing any space.
I personally am not sure if I would want a roommate or not. Some close management camps have roommates. I will explain about that and my choice in the next post.
Wandering softly, through the forest one night. I came across a bear, spoiling for a fight. You woke me up of hibernation, for that you must pay. But first I will listen, to what you have to say. No one has ever come, and woke me out of my sleep. What do you have to say, you pathetic little creep? I'm sorry Mr Bear, please don't kill me. Look, I left a basket of food, under that tree. So you seek to bribe me with food, but that won't work. I will still kill you, but I'll eat your food first. But as the bear turned, he felt a spear in his heart. He looked back at me, from a few feed apart. He said you tricked me, you cheating little man. I said I did nothing at all, but live by the law of your land. by Ricky Silva, August 2013
Hello, I'm back!
By now you have read about my friend who committed suicide in December 2012. This is the kind of things that happen. Solitary confinement on a long term basis effects the mind deeply. He was not weak minded but there is only so much one person can take.
I told in the last post of th law of the land. In my mind it goes like this:
Every land has their own laws. Those laws to us may seem unfair, unjust or even uncivilized. Yet if we choose to travel to that land, reguardless of how we feel, we must live by those laws.
About 20 years ago you mind remember a case where a teenage American boy was caught spray painting a van in Singapore. The sentence for the vandalism charge was 8 strokes by the cane (he was caned 8 times). Harsh punishment for such a small offense. Well it gets worse, after 4 strokes of the cane the boy passed out from the pain. And guess what, they wouldn't finish they waited for him to become awake again to be sure he could feel every stroke of the cane.
They did this to a teenage American and there was nothing America could do. You can guess why?
Because the boy was in a foreign land and even if we feel the laws are unfair we must honor them.
Well it's the same way in prison. You may not agree with the way things are done or you might be repulsed by the savage way some people live around you. But the laws are the laws. So you devise a way to keep yourself from becoming a complete animal and yet still survive around a lot of people who may not even care if they are human.
You must respect the laws of the land you live in and you must demand the same of the people around you. If the laws require violence you provide for it because if you don't it will be you that suffer and maybe in a way you will never recover from.
As I said this is just my point of view. You may have some convicts who say they don't honor any laws but their own. But I would say they are full of shit or they won't last long that way. But hey, that's just my point of view.
They moved me from one prison to another in May 2013. Now I'm in Florida State Prison and I will tell you about that in my next post.
Included in this post is the poem "Just Another Story" and I call it that because though to the average person that story might seem horrible but in my surroundings it's just another story.
It is a short version of my life to date but compared with some stories around me it isn't even so bad. So a lot of us on solitary have similar stories.
I would say now, it was not an easy life for a lot of us and no, it does not excuse what put us here but for a lot of us, we never quite understand how wrong we were living and that includes me.
If I had half the knowledge I have now when I was 18 years old, I know for a fact my life would be a lot different as would the life of the people I hurt in an attempt to make my own pain go away.
I can not change the things I have done, I can't take them back nor can I make them go away. I can't give life back to the man I took it from and to be honest I'm still not sure I would want to.
But I recognize all the wrong I did. I realize I had no right to take a life even if I felt justified. And for sure I had no right to instill fear in people and take their money for the selfish purpose of getting drugs to escape my own life.
And though a lot of people doubt it's possible, I have changed and am changing every day.
Will it free me from prison? No, it won't. But becoming a better man for me is a purpose in itself. It feels good to see a better man staring back at me in my crusty little mirror.
And there are a lot more convicts just like me being put through the mental torture of being isolated in the concrete boxes they call cells. We try every day against the odds to become better men. Dealing with the punishment for the hurt we caused, when for a lot of us we know no one will ever pay for the hurt they caused us, setting a lot of us off down a dirty dead end street at a young age.
I caught another convict, who was already in prison for raping an 11 year old girl, masturbating while looking at a picture of my 9 year old niece and I snapped. I completely lost it and I killed him.
Have I forgiven him for his actions? Honestly, no I havn't. But I also now can't forgive myself for the murder. Every person has some good in it and even he did also.
That being said couldn't it be just as possible that us men sitting on solitary have good in us also?
One man caged
JUST ANOTHER STORY
My father died in prison, before I turned two.
My mother beat me when she drank, and beat my brother too.
Even as a baby I was stubborn, to be controlled by a fist or palm.
My mother would put beer in my bottle, just to keep me calm.
My sister was raped by my brother, and it went on for 5 years.
Yet she still offered me a shoulder, to collect my pain filled tears.
My family was insane, but it was the only family I had.
If you never had it good, you don't know when it's bad.
When I was eight years old, my mother beat me bad one day.
I showed up to school black and blue, and they finally took me away.
I felt all alone and filled with fear, living in the house of a stranger.
So I displayed each day through my actions, a heart filled with anger.
Filled with fear and hopelessness, I started pissing the bed.
And that went on until I turned 15, and the little boy in me was dead.
I spent time in many homes, most of the time lost and confused.
Why when I'm supposed to feel safe, am I always being abused?
In a strangers home I was beaten bad, at a very young age.
And it went on and on until I snapped, and flew into a rage.
I attacked the man dishing out the abuse, and I was charged with assault.
So I was physically and mentaly abused, and now it was my fault.
At least in the child detention center, the abuse finally stopped.
I was almost disappointed, when the charges were actually dropped.
So I closed my mind and built a wall, as I went from home to home.
Me against a fucked up world, as I let my broken heart roam.
Throughout all of this, most of my family went away.
But I was almost a man now, so that seemed okay.
I learned the hard way, that I was the only one who cared for me.
So fuck the world and everyone in it, that's how life would be.
At 18 years old with a wandering soul, I ran the dirty streets.
Not knowing it wouldn't be long, before my destiny I would meet.
I finally found a reason to live, I would go insane today.
Cocaine gave me motivation, and took all my pain away.
Cocaine became my goal in life, I always had to have it.
I would lie, chaet and steal, anything for the habit.
I would say cocaine stole my life, but I gave life away myself.
I was sentenced to natural life at 27, I can blame no one else.
Things have happened in my life, I can't begin to understand.
Two years into my sentence, I killed a man with my hands.
It's hard to believe that has been, over four years ago.
Who would of thought this cell, for that long would be the life I know.
I can't claim innocense, or say my crimes should be dismissed.
But neighter can I agree, that me or anyone deserves this.
So I lay awake at night, in my own little hell.
Knowing that me and me alone, got me into this tiny cell.
I can't feel sorry for myself, for I am not alone. Thousands of prisoners like me, sing the same sad song.
I don't write all this, so the reader will feel sorry for me.
Because as bad as it sounds, in here it's just another story.
I promised in my last post to tell of "Convict Justice", what it is and why it's needed. The guards wield a lot of power but they use it only for their benefit. They enforce the rules they want to enforce and when they want to enforce them.
For example someone may of just purchased a lot of stuff from the inmate canteen and is on the way back to the dorm. 3 or 4 guys may jump on him, beat him up and take his canteen. So now after he is seen by medical, he tells the guards what happen. Their response will be "Well, go beat them up and take your stuff back!"
So being that the guards choose to do nothing about the things that control the safety of all convicts, we must in many ways police ourselves. Maybe that convict is only able to catch one of the people who did it and give him a good ass kicking or hit him upside the head with a piece of rebar or even stab him. Maybe he gets away with it, maybe he doesn't. But that serious act of violence deters a lot of other people from doing shit like that. So though somebody will get hurt real bad or maybe even die. Which is a very serious thing to contemplate. It enables with that one bad act on one day, for the rest of the days to go a lot smoother and for there to more peace. Because with "convict justice" you establish what is accepted and what isn't accepted.
Unfortunately violence is most of the time all a lot of people understand. People make their choices based on what the outcome is going to be. So if they fear what will happen if they steal or snitch or a number of other things then they will stay away of doing those things.
This is not the free world. There is little structure. And this little structure there is we make for ourselves. All a lot of us have left is our self respect and you are judged by how much respect you demand. When you live in a wild land you either become a wild man or you don't survive. That's not saying you have to be an animal but first you must survive and to survive in any land you must understand the "laws of the land" and after you understand them you must follow them by yourself and also enforce them which will bring the respect you need, to for the most part be at peace.
I will take more about "the laws of the land" in my next post.
In the world we believe, yet trust we not
In a vision I receive, a pound of buckshot
Upon the highest mountain, you may find truth
And in the clear blue fountain, you may find youth
While living in a bubble, we find knowledge can't be taken
And it's our biggest trouble, that we all been forsaken
We will never ever allow, for a show without us on stage
So we take a stow bow, as the curtain closes on our rage
Over 400 degrees, and in our heart a fire burns
To be extinguished by the seas, of a mind that's been slowly turned
Green is the grass, on which we now and always walk
And to save their dirty ass, many will choose to talk
Yet there is honor amongst some, that holds even today
And the day will soon come, where it doesn't matter what we say
We may choose to forgive, yet not be forgiven our wrong
Today we all live, but it can't last very long
So I contemplate lifes gift, and I slowly start to plot
My feet begin to shift, along this twisty path I trot
Life gives and it takes, this I found to be true
But our outlook makes, the choice for me and you
So though things are bad, I walk head held high
I may at times be sad, but joy lives in tomorrows sky
You may not control today, but you today can change tomorrow
So let a smile push your blues away, caress hope and say goodbye to sorrow