" A Tough One To Explain "
By: Guy Zappulla
For the past month I have been " Keep Locked " Which in correctional terms is the same as getting grounded after you break a rule. Then your cell is locked for a specific period of time
and your food comes through the slot in the steel door.
Believe it or not, in some Facilities to ensure your cage does not open by mistake, they actually chain the bottom of it by putting the biggest, most ridiculous looking padlock on it you have ever seen. Now there is a long list of reasons to get basically put in jail while you're already in prison.
It can be something as simple as not waking up for the morning count bell, to a host of things most of you would never think about, like not " showing signs of life ". In other words when they do a middle of the night walk and shine a flashlight in your face you are supposed to move so the C.O. knows you are alive.
Normally after the last count, you never see them, except for one "ballbreaker" who routinely gets harassed worse than I have ever seen a human being harassed in my life. But if you drop dead in the middle of the night, they will just find you in the morning anyway. More often then not, aside from a rare dead guy, you constantly hear a C.O. yelling for someone to wake up. As many inmates are now medicated with things I really can't spell , which brings us to why I was keep locked in the first place.
In the past several years, someone trying to cut their budget came up with the bright idea of putting mental health patients in regular prisons. Then instead of treating them, their just medicating to the point they resemble Zombies. I am not 100 percent certain, but they say it costs the tax payers in the neighborhood of 100 grand a year to hospitalize someone like this, versus 25 to just lock them in a prison. I guess on paper this makes all the sense in the world, plus some of these new inmates are not exactly as crazy as they portrayed while going to court.
The problem is some are worse ! They initially put them all on one tier and tried being a drop more understanding towards their special needs. Yet I will never forget seeing the first group of these new inmates after they arrived in Comstock, which is a very ugly, very secure Max facility.
I just happened to be standing on the end of a tier, when they let them out for their trip to the messhall. Now you can call most of us what you wish, animals, hardened or your plain old garden variety convicts, but the second we saw them, you could hear a pin drop, and more than one of theses alleged stone cold individuals held their hand to their mouths in disbelief.
Each one of the new inmates did the Thorazine shuffle , and for those of you who never saw it, It's when someone is so medicated, their feet never actually come off the floor while walking. Sorta like ice skating in very small increments on concrete. Then in a child like manner, who I could only describe as " Corky's" twin brother waved at us, several out of our group had to walk away. I was certain it was because no one wanted to get emotional in front of the next alleged tough guy.
To be honest I saw my share of heart wrenching shit in prison, but this one had to be in the top three. Fuck if I knew what crime he committed. I had no idea of his history, and am sure he belonged somewhere, but just was not there. now here's where it gets really cute, very State agency is trying to trim their budgets. So they start taking these "dangerous criminals " and slowly wean them off their medication to save the states overwhelming pharmacy bill. Now sometimes if their not that nuts to start out with, it works. But when you have someone who came to prison fro hearing voices or seeing little green people talking to them from the back of a Froot Loop box, chances are they actually need the stuff. Yet their taken off med's anyway.
Now here's wher I got involved. Someone, who I will leave un-named, but while they were free decided to go into a local College and take a room full of hostages WITH A MUSKET !
Now obviously this guy was a little touched prior to trying this, and thankfully the Swat team realized he only had one shot in his Flinlock. Even if he fired at them, by the time he reloaded they would already have him in cuffs, ate lunch and punched out of work, so decided not to shoot him.
But now after putting him in prison and taking him off his much needed medication, the guy constantly thinks people are plotting against him " Me included ". I mean what the hell did they think was going to happen ? True he is not doing the shuffle and true he actually shows far more intelligence than a lot of other inmates, but I guess Paranoid Skitzo people are not exactly all dumb. So after having one of his little " incidents " as we will call it, he decides to tell em he was going to atack me in the yard " On the Phone line of course ". And he actually did ! Now crazy people in case you did'nt know are kinda strong, but thankfully I am not as old as I thought I was and was able to just chase him around a little bit " Think Old School Batman", "Kapow-Bam-Boom " before he got rescued by a few C.O.'s and I got handcuffed for the billionth time !
But in the end, I sat in my cage for a month getting my meals through a slot in the bars. I managed to gain ten pounds from not smoking and eating too many Mayonaise sandwiches. And the state saved about three dollars in not medicating someone who truly needs it.
So now I can end this with: N.Y.S. Department of Corrections saves three bucks on their budget. 1 old convict gained weight from eating too much mayo, and a crazy person was able to have a nice month long conversation with the brown people swimming in his toilet bowl.
And the winner is ? No One...
" Zap Tales "