I Won’t Miss It

Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 124 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

You know it’s crazy when your time is almost up and you realize that you’re already trying to forget the stuff that goes on around you.  Like for me, I am trying to put my mind in the free world so I think about what I will do to make my way, the things I will have to do, all the questions and research, but I can’t seem to shake this damn prison crap. The more I try to focus on preparing for my freedom the more the administration seems to throw at me. There are all the petty little hoops and hassles of an average day, like the gauntlet outside the chow hall or the harassments about having on soft shoes, meaning anything without safety toes, when they know full well diabetics and people with orthopedic issues are exempt and can wear the medical shoes they give us or the tennis shoes we buy.

Personally I prefer the tennis shoes but I won’t spend seventy bucks on a pair of “seconds” that sell for $20.00 at any outlet and $69.95 is the cheapest they have. Yeah, they have them priced all the way up to 100.00 for better shoes but still “seconds.” Notice some of the other prices, you won’t believe them; just look at the list. It’s crazy, the Mp3 player they charge us $89 for, yep Walmart, $21.00.

Now they say they only mark up any commissary item by 30%, but I  know for a fact that this is BS. The 3oz bag of Keefe coffee they are selling for $5.35 is only $2.60 anywhere else. Ok, some places its $2.85-$3.00. but $5.35? No. That’s more like a 70% mark up. But that’s not really the whole of that apple. Let’s take a look at it from a numbers aspect.

If they have 800 inmates that spend $10.00 per week on commissary, that’s $8000 a week. So with the markup they are pulling in some serious bank. Now they used to try to tell the general public that these profits went into a trust fund for inmate programs, holiday prizes for contests, recreation equipment. movies, TVs, microwaves, ironing boards and irons and such. But in 1995 the inmate’s “trust” fund was appropriated by the DOJ and the BOP, to the tune of – get this – upwards of 6 (SIX) million dollars! They just took it, saying they needed it for “training facilities” to better safeguard the inmates and staff (again, more B.S.).

What they did was hit the mark in discovering they could gouge inmates and families for hundreds of thousands of dollars, then skim it off and steal from the proceeds. They systematically devised  plans and fancy sounding menus to seem as though they were feeding us adequately. But all the while they are basically providing the barest minimum of protein and far more starch and carbs than is healthy in any human diet. And even beyond that, basically refusing to provide a truly healthy diet for anyone incarcerated. That’s the reality and the prison won’t let you forget it. They will starve you on slighted portions then count on you to pay exorbitant prices for inferior products in the commissary, and let me tell you, as one who has eaten far more meals in prison than in the free world, this stuff we eat ain’t good for ya.

After years of eating crappy food, I am now a diabetic, requiring injections of insulin 2 times a day, and guess what? They do not have any such thing as a diabetic diet, in fact even the diabetic “snack” that they provide me at the evening meal to eat during the evening if my sugar levels go to low is wrong – a milk and some bran flakes. The several times I have mentioned this to the medical staff and or the wardens or health services administrator, my concern was met with aggression and negativity. Like I said, they won’t let you forget who you are.

Please believe, prisons are now big business in this country, where they can throttle every penny a person has while inside, then extort the taxpayers for what they call “cost of housing” with all these little variables based on inmates ages, medical conditions, levels of violent behavior, all sorts of made up fictitious add-ons to get more money.  It is also a fact that the money that can be saved from any department’s allotted budgets is split amongst the supervisors of said departments at the end of every single fiscal quarter. Pitiful. There is a special place in hell for these abusive corrupt “government employees” who have a license to steal your money and force you to comply with their every twisted corrupt plan.

One thing about being a long-timer, I have had the opportunity to witness changes over time. There was a time when although I didn’t like these cops, at least I did respect them for their integrity, or at least they faked. But as the years have gone by and I’ve lived these things I’m telling you I have found it harder and harder to have even the slightest semblance of respect for the staff at all levels. Basically they are liars, cheats, bullies, abusive, predatory and corrupt. They will play inmate against inmate just to see them fight then lock up all the inmates involved, scream institutional lockdown, all to wheedle yet more money in emergency operations funds and overtime funds from the region. They are pitiful and totally predictable.

so I’d like for you price some of these items on the store lists. You will see what I’m talking about. And get this: the 3 UNICOR units all have brand new microwaves, purchased by UNICOR for the inmates that live in those particular units, but inmates in the rest of the compound do not have working microwaves and are forced to use the 190 degree coffee water to get anything hot. This is wrong and discriminative, it shows favoritism by treating one group of inmates to better living conditions and standards, all because they are willing to go over to the factory and work for pennies (literally) on the dollar. it screams of favoritism, especially when the commissary markup is supposed to be for microwaves, TVs etc. etc. for all.

Now let me get back to this; I don’t want or need to be in prison anymore! I try to make a conscious effort to stay on positive things every day.

I try to work on my release plans and find out what I’m going to be facing when I walk out of these gates. But these animals in administration don’t recognize who I am and how far I’ve come. They just won’t let me do what I need to be doing. Every day they do something or say something to demean me or belittle me or take advantage of me, forcing me back into prison again, when I’m working on my freedom they are working on my captivity and oppression.

Kind of  sad when you think about it; how many decades is enough punishment? must I serve time up to the last seconds of incarceration?  Couldn’t it just be enough to know I’m here physically, for crying out loud. Let me plan a future, one where I can be a success, a benefit to society and mankind. After all, I never want to become the sick creatures that are my keepers. I just want to be all I can become, all I am and never, ever again what I was.

It hit me as I was riding the bike today on a beautiful sunny afternoon that I left out a few things the other day about the fact that before they locked us down over the Easter weekend, they ran us out to bring in the drug dogs, but first they strip searched us. Hopefully this will be the last time before I go home but thought I ought to mention exactly what “strip search” means. It goes like this:

“OK, strip, all of it!”  

You hand your clothes to the nice man (or woman), he/she feels em up good and thoroughly.

“OK, lift up your hair…open your mouth…arms up over your head…reach down and lift up your genitals… now turn around…ok squat and cough…spread your butt cheeks…OK get dressed…”

They make you do this every time you have a visitor too; makes me wonder if the guards ever have to go through this being as we all know how the drugs really get in here… humm…. Anyway, the funny thing is this doesn’t even bother me anymore, it’s crazy how I have become so desensitized and all natural modesty has been so debased it doesn’t even phase me. We all know exactly what this demeaning procedure is – by any other name, it’s still sex abuse – and it has been a part of my life for so long that it means nothing to me. In fact I believe I could crap in a glass bowl in the middle of Times Square at this point and after the paperwork, go right on about my business.

Crazy that I haven’t touched any contraband in so many years and here I am this close to getting out and I’m still being put thru this kind of humiliating abuse. Pitiful, but whatever, I refuse to let it bother me. I just have to laugh at them. They get all “prison guard tough” but the simple reality is all these years, I have stayed in prison because they made me with walls and fences and gun towers and such and they have left at the end of their shifts because I let them. I will never become the sick depraved sadistic animals that they so often are. I just won’t, not even butt naked and humiliated over a shakedown that has nothing to do with me.

By the way, I’m now up to 5 miles on the bike, first time today, jumped from 2.5 to 5 miles, and when I went to sit down on my bed afterward, gravity and spaghetti legs dropped me on my bunk. guess THAT shook me up a little. Smile.

Published by Edna Peirce Dixon

I am an elder in my 9th decade. I have lived an ordinary life, I’ve done all the ordinary and expected things, went to school, got married, raised a family, tried to be a good person. Throughout this life I have also been a seeker, an outsider by nature, always looking through cracks in the fences of life, questioning, challenging, learning, trying to make sense of the world and its conventions. Then in my golden years, as I sought to find meaning in my existence, some unexpected things happened and I’ve since learned it took a lifetime to prepare me for the challenge to come. My journey – indeed my calling - led me to come to know a remarkable man who happened to be an inmate in federal prison. Nothing could have been more foreign to my personal experience. GHOST DANCER Communicating daily for nearly nine years I had the opportunity to walk many paths with Ghost discussing our thoughts on many common interests with candor and respect. With enormous generosity Ghost has allowed me to share his wisdom and knowledge of his Native American heritage on Journeys of the Spirit. Over time, Ghost gradually revealed his life story in small bits, like scrambled pieces of some gigantic puzzle. Now, after spending more than 40 years in prison, Ghost Dancer is at last free and ready to tell his amazing personal story. As the saying goes, “you can’t make this stuff up” and as his friend and editor I can say this is a story so big that even after working with him for nearly nine years, I continue to be astonished as he shares new details my mind simply could never imagine. From the very first chapter, Ghost leads us on his journey and invites us to walk with him on his Nene Cate (Red Road). From the day he was born, a happy, loving gifted child, he endured heartbreaking sorrows, betrayals and exploitations. Through it all, Ghost fought a system determined to destroy him by any means, as he struggled to remain true to his calling. Through Ghost Dancer I also met and came to know Walks On The Grass, another federal prisoner whose story is also compelling even though very different. In Journeys of the Spirit, Walks has shared his decades-long journey from deep addiction to wholeness in LONG ROAD HOME and shared other bits of his story in ALONG THE WAY. Now as he approaches his August release into this crazy world of 2022 Walks shares his the thoughts and misgivings as he counts down to the big day in LIGHTS IN THE DISTANCE.

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