BEHIND THESE PRISON WALLS (VIOLENCE IN JAIL)
Chapter 1. Violence behind the walls. Date June 28, 2010
I was 21 years old when I first became a correction officer. I didn't even know where Rikers Island was and I have lived in New York City for over 20 years. Rikers Island is the largest penal colony in America which houses over 10,000 inmates in its 11 prisons. There are many classifications of inmates on the Island, murders, rapist, thieves, burglars, pedophiles, etc. Every classification you can name is on Rikers Island. How can the department of corrections properly train an individual as a correction officer that has never been to jail and not even taken psychology courses? You can’t but they give you a crash course to sociology, psychology, penal law classes and even judo courses. Many things will stick out of my mind while writing this but one thing will stand out is how will a correction officer mentally deal with the violence that takes place everyday day 24-7 against inmates on inmates and inmates on officers? One of the most vicious incidents involving an inmate on inmate assault happened on a sunny day while the inmates were in the segregation unit yard. The segregation unit is where inmates are housed in an 8 foot by 6 foot cell for 23 hours a day and allowed 1 hour a day for shower and a phone call. An 8 foot by 6 foot cell for those who cannot visual see an inmate confined to these quarters is the size of the average bathroom. Yes that’s the size of your new home when you break the law. Imagine being locked in your 8 foot by 6 foot bathroom for 23 hours a day. Now these inmates are allowed by law to have recreation for 1 hour in these small cages outside that's about 50 feet by 40 feet with razor wire on the top of the gate to prevent escape. There are 2 officers that have to supervise sometimes 12 of most violent inmates in the prison. Charges for some of these inmates range from stabbings, cuttings, rapes and even assault on correction officers. I was assigned a corridor post where I could look out the window and see inside the segregation area. Working as a correction officer you develop special skills and added senses. The longer a correction officer is on the job he or she can develop extra senses where officers can feel when and where something is going to happen,assault,stabbing,or a razor cutting. For some strange reason I know something was going to happen in this one particular area in the segregation yard. I noticed inmates playing basketball and several inmates were exercising and one inmate was doing push-ups by his self. This is where my attention was taken to the inmate doing pushups. I noticed that an inmate was walking slowly to the inmate that was doing pushups and cautiously looking over his shoulders to see if the 2 officers were alert. The inmate stood over the inmate that was doing push-ups and started to converse with the inmate on the floor while he was excising. Now in jail you are constantly looking over your shoulders because violence happens regularly and you have to stand guard at all times. So I knew that the inmate standing over the inmate had to have known the inmate working out because you would never let someone stand over you that you didn’t know in jail because that’s suicide. Then all of a sudden the inmate standing jumped on the inmate doing pushups and straddled him placing his hand under his neck. He began to motion his arm back and forth quickly several times under the neck of the inmate doing push ups.The inmate on the ground wrestled the other inmate off his back and then held his face with both his hands. From where I was positioned I thought that they were just horse playing but I then noticed a pool of red blood on the floor where he was doing push-ups. I pressed my personal body alarm for assistance. The inmate that was doing push-ups reached down to pick up his white tee shirt to put over his face and the shirt turn beet red. The blood was gushing out at every possible angle. The officers were very careful escorting the inmate to the clinic that was bleeding because he could have been HIV positive. The inmate dripped blood from his face for several hundred feet to the clinic. I watched as the inmate was escorted to the clinic blood dripping from his face and on to the floor cautiously observing the bleeding inmate thinking what if that bleeding inmate would grab an officer and smear blood on the officers face to later find out that the inmate was HIV positive. It was a sick thought but those are the thoughts of a correction officer. We later found out that the inmate received over 1000 stitches to his face. Imagine receiving 1000 stitches to your face. What type of job could you get if you make it home with prison scars on your face. I had never seen that inmate again. Inmates that get viciously assaulted in that manner never return home from jail because if you get cut or stabbed in any manner like that you have to retaliate, meaning doing physical harm to the person who assaulted you and that gets you a new jail case Behind the Prison Walls. Tune in for more violence that’s just one incident out of hundreds.
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