October 27, 2014

The cell isolation unit I currently reside in is designated specifically for the inmates that tested positive for drugs and alcohol. As I wrote a couple of months ago about the prison utilizing the space that the juveniles once occupied, the rumors were true, once the juveniles shipped out to another prison the staff turned the unit into a space to hold the overwhelming number of inmates that tested positive for drugs. The night before the juveniles were scheduled to ship out they destroyed the unit, delaying the prison officials’ plans to sanction us all immediately after the juveniles departure. The juveniles all left Madison penitentiary a farewell gift, ripping the sink and toilets from the walls and floors, breaking windows, urinating and defecating all over the cells, breaking the lights, stuffing objects in the electrical outlets and much more. As a result of their destruction, many repairs had to be made before moving us in here. Part of this unit is caged off, once designated for the more dangerous juveniles charged with serious crimes like murder, this section is now an additional overflow for the hole. Inmates go to the hole for several reasons, fighting, smoking, getting caught with drugs or hooch, caught in sex acts, etc. Often inmates that are constantly getting in trouble have to sit in the hole until their security gets raised, waiting for an open bed at a higher level security prison like the level 3 security prison, Lebanon that I left from more than a year ago. I have no idea what drives some of them to act like animals, but they do, they yell and scream, day and night, beating and kicking the door so hard it sounds like a jackhammer in the middle of the street. Often at night I have to put my headphones on just to drown out all the noise in order to get some sleep. Sometimes an inmate will urinate and defecate in a cup saving it to throw all over a guard. This reminds me of being back at the county jail, next to all degrees of criminals, some non-confrontational like me and others just ruthless murderers without a care in the world for anybody or anything, ready to snap at any moment. I remember being at Lebanon, the guards had to deal with these kind of inmates more regularly, and they responded to inmates much differently, if someone was yelling, screaming and beating on their cell, the guard would just walk by, empty a can of mace in the cell and keep on walking, generally shutting them up, or making them scream even more from the pain of the mace, regardless they wouldn’t continue beat on the cells or make a ruckus for much longer after that. I’m not at all saying this is the right thing for a guard to do, many of them abuse this procedure along with many other rules that are not only wrong, but illegal and would result in an arrest if acted out anywhere other than prison where nobody holds them accountable for their actions. Inmates are the only ones punished for actions in prison, sometimes inmates are punished for doing nothing. I have to remind myself that I wouldn’t be going through any of this if I hadn’t broken the law to support a deadly addiction to substances. My advice anyone reading this would be get your life together before it’s too late, get off of drugs, don’t break the law and you won’t have to worry about going through the difficulties I currently face on a daily basis.


Steven Dybvad

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