It has been an interesting few days in prison. I encountered or observed several situations which reminded me of things I need to avoid in prison.

My first experience was biological in nature. A fellow prisoner named Al developed a serious infection last Tuesday. He had large boils on his face, neck, arms and legs. His right eye was swollen shut. He apparently developed a staph infection. The medical department is giving him daily antibiotic shots to combat the infection. Needless to say, I wash my hands about 20 times a day and never walk past a hand sanitizer without using it. (I am also avoiding Al).

I also heard about a prisoner( lets call him Ted) securing contraband (cigarettes) which could result in serious trouble for him. I heard that Ted stakes out the staff outdoor smoking area and waits for employees to use the area. He then sneaks into the area and picks up the cigarette butts and pockets them for later use. (gross). This allows him to satisfy his desire for nicotine. Ted better be careful because the staff smoking area is “out of bounds” for prisoners and the possession of cigarettes is a serious rule violation. If Ted gets caught, He is on the bus to a higher security level institution. Again, I did not see this, just heard it.

My final noteworthy experience was a lesson in humility. I was power washing food carts behind the kitchen, when a corrections officer I do not particularly care for, dropped a half full box of old peaches at my feet. He stated ” Most of them are rotten, but you my find a couple of decent ones if you look”. At first, I was offended. Who is this guy to drop garbage at my feet and suggest I might find something decent to eat? I am not a stray dog. After a minute or two, I regained a rational train of thought and told myself maybe He was trying to offer me some food I would never get in the prisoner dining hall. Sure enough, I searched the box, found a couple of decent peaches, washed them off and enjoyed them. Letting go of my pride pride allowed me to enjoy some fruit I had not eaten for over 22 months.

Germs, contraband and pride – I am doing my best to avoid all of them!

Ken Flaska

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