Lights In the Distance. . .

Walks’ Outdate – 75 Days and Counting

By Steven Maisenbacher

Walks On The Grass

Pardon me while I get side tracked – again. I’m trying to write about the personal process of preparing for release from prison, but having to deal with constant deviations from any kind of stable routine is par for the course. So I must ask the same old question: Why do they do the stuff they do?

This latest fiasco not only ticks me off, but it’s also something I just don’t get. See the entire prison has once again been placed back on red (severe operational modifications), and it looks as though this is all at the control of one man, the hospital administrator, who in fact doesn’t come from a medical background but rather a business administration. Never-the-less, they have 0 cases of inmates with Covid here, and only 3 staff have tested positive or reported the fact that they are out ill with Covid-like symptoms.

I do know that they allegedly base the reaction by this place and the “code” (red-severe operational modifications, yellow-moderate operational modifications, and green-no modifications to operations) by the percentage of reported hospital rates of Covid cases in the entire county. But this is ridiculous. See, we have been under the Covid restrictions since the pandemic began, and it has been one lockdown or loss of privilege after another, be it our activity or amount of freedom  of movement.

I have seen more lockdowns and loss of privileges since this new warden got here and the pandemic mess ended than I have seen in 20 years. That’s the fact, so now we have been back on “red” for several days and the remedy they have instituted goes like this: Half of my unit is locked down for half the day, then the other half the day the other half of the unit is out and we are in the cells. But here’s the kicker, it is still ok for us to all be out and mixed together with no social distancing at least 3 times a day when they make us all walk over to the chow hall and get a styrofoam tray with a little bit of cold food in it, then walk back to the cell to eat it back on lockdown.

This saves them from actually having to just bring food carts to the unit and feed us themselves. (themselves being the lazy inept and usually worthless babysitters that they are, you know – the same ones responsible for all the contraband drugs and phones and tobacco that comes into the institution that all inmates, guilty or not, are always being punished for.) Anyway, so now it’s like this: We get up and are all let out together until they send us to get our trays to bring back. Then we are locked back down, but half of the unit is let back out for several hours while the other half of the unit is forced to endure lockdown conditions, that is of course till the next meal then they hurry up and unlock the other half so that they can push them out the door to go and get the next meal tray, then of course its lock back down.

As for recreation, well 3 times a week we are allowed to go outside to the recreation yard and be locked into a caged area by unit for 2 hours, and you never know where you will end up – the track area? the handball area? the outside tv area? So it’s really not at all worth the hassle. When you come back in after being out in the heat and sweating for 2 hours, you are sent right back into the cell with no shower, no pass go, and definitely no $200.00, unless you happen to be one of the staff members being paid your tax dollar to do absolutely nothing.

Needless to say I’m upset over all this charade. I don’t understand how this kind of foolish abuse can be tolerated, even promoted by the Bureau of Prisons. Of course I’m gonna try to keep from getting sick; I’m trying to keep my sugar levels in check but I’ve had 2 sugar crashes in the past 3 days. My situation only looks favorable in that I will be out soon and can try to regain the good strides I was making with the early morning exercise and diet improving my sugar levels. In the mean time I’ll be right here locked down kinda sorta just enough to keep me uncomfortable, and I’ll make sure to hide from the Covid that the staff is bringing into the institution, cuz it sure ain’t gettin in by jumpin the fence, and I damn sure ain’t been nowhere.

I just wonder why?

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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