Saturday, January 3, 2009

My Fear Came True...

As you may remember, my brother was about to transfer to a lower level prison, which was supposed to be a good thing. Well, in the California Department of Corrections, it seems that the MO is Opposite Day...every day! Of course, we knew that, which is why we have been on pins and needles for the last few months, just waiting for word of the impending transfer. He had been assured by his counselor that he wouldn't get sent to a dorm-type situation. In Opposite Land, this means that is exactly where he got sent.

Have you seen those Lock Up shows on MSNBC or National Geographic, where they feature the dorms, ex-gyms used to house hundreds upon hundreds of inmates in triple and quadruple bunks, one foot apart from the next, with all races, gangs and affiliations under one roof, nowhere to hide, no walls, no dark catch my drift. An atom bomb ready to go off.

Yesterday we received a call from my brother. Thirty minutes after he arrived at the new prison, he was jumped and beaten very badly by a gang of his own race. They didn't like the prison he came from. That was all. He thought his back was broken. They told him to leave. LEAVE. WTH? Basically, they weren't allowing him to be there and if he didn't "leave" they would kill him.

In prison, snitching is something you don't even consider doing. Even if you're hurt. The only thing he could think of was to tell the guards he was going to hurt himself. They immediately took him to a "crisis bed", which was a tiny linoleum cell, stripped him naked, gave him a mattress and two sheets. And there he was, for 21 days, until yesterday morning. They sent him to a mental hospital (because of the suicide threat) and he was able to call us.

I talked to him for two hours! He's ok, he got xrays, and is being taken care of now. I told him he did the right thing! After not knowing all these months, no phone calls or anything, this was such a roller coaster of emotions, I almost vomited.

We can actually call the day room and get him on the phone! It has never been like this these past 4 years. We've never had a way to contact him except by mail.

We have 14 months to go. I hope and pray that he can just stay where he is. We don't know at this point. But for now, life is good for him. He feels like he's in paradise, he said. They are treating him with dignity and he actually has a room to himself.

He didn't deserve all of this. Like he said to me yesterday, "I deserved something for what I did (bar fight), but I didn't deserve this much."

And so, I pull my poem out again, and relive the feelings of seeing my baby brother in the fight for his life. I'm still so proud of him for making the life's changes he has in prison. He's a good person. I wish this was over now. And now, I get the privilege to call him as soon as I post this.

*This is not him, this was his celly, he painted (oils).


~Tessa~Scoffs said...

I am so relieved he's "doing better." Even though for what he's gone through, you could hardly call it that. Your family remains in my prayers.
P.S. Thanks for visiting Skorpeo. I have three brothers, he's the middle one (not Baby).

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Let's hope he can stay there. He needs to act mentally unbalanced. He will be safer there. So glad you can call him. Also happy he is doing better.

Not The Rockefellers said...

That is both terrible and relieving news. Terrible that he had to endure that beating over something he had no control over and relieving that he was able to be separated from it.

I am glad that you were able to get a chance to speak with him. Here's to a speedy, safe New Year for you all!!

Peace - Rene

Never lose hope.

Denise said...

{{{HUGS}}}} I will keep you and your brother in my prayers. Is there any chance of an early parole?

Anonymous said...

Wow, it's crazy to hear what goes on behind bars, and to know there's really nothing you can do must be awful for him and you. Let's hope that 14 months moves fast.

Insanity Kim said...

Praying for your brother and your family!!

Mama H said...

WOW. I can't even imagine what you are going through. Since I am new to your blog, I went back and read the previous post. My little brother has had some run-ins with the law also, yet hasn't had to face jail time so far. Reading what your brother (and your family) are going through makes me hope and pray even harder that my little brother can straighten his life out and stay away from the prison system. Thanks for taking the time to blog this and be so honest in your experiences and feelings. I really am enjoying your blog.

Mama Wheaton said...

I'm sorry to hear about your brother. I hope he can stay where he is and I really hope he comes home to you safely and as soon as possible.

Pearl said...

Oh gosh, what a harrowing story. I am so sorry, I don't know what to say... I can't even imagine what you must be going through. Your brother is lucky to have you.

Deb said...

What a roller coaster you and your family have been on. God love your brother - no human should have to go through what he has gone through. I hope it only gets better from here on. Thoughts and prayers are with you all.

Le laquet said...

Oh bless him - lets hope he can stay where he is and remain safe.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. After I posted this I talked to him again. I got even more details about the incident. AWFUL. But it COULD have been much worse. But still, AWFUL.

But, he's safe for now. I hope he can stay there. I'm trying to arrange flying down to see him asap, since visitation is every day!


Wendy said...

Being a Lockup obsessive freak myself I can relate to your fear (and sounds like reality)for what you imagine your brother to be going through. I am so sorry but I am glad I found you and I will be back. good luck and god bless

Anonymous said...

Your brother painted that picture? It's is amazing! He is very, very talented.

I hope he's able to stay where he is and the rest of his sentence goes fast.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Yes, he painted that. Isn't it amazing? That's NOTHING compared to the stuff he just sent home.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Miss Cassoulet, such an extraordinarily difficult thing for you to cope with, I really can't imagine how horrid it is for all of you.

It's good to know you can speak with him without as much hassle, hopefully that carries a teeny bit of consolation.

The painting is amazing. Just incredible. He is *so* talented. I can't wait to see some of the things he sent to you.

I keep you in my thoughts and prayers,

La Belette Rouge said...

OMG, this is horrible news. Oh, dear CC, I am so sorry. I so hope that he can stay in the mental hospital. I am sending hugs, good thoughts and sincere wishes for peace throughout this harrowing time. Much love.xoxo

Kirie said...

What an awful situation for your brother, and for you to have to feel so powerless to help him. I will keep in my prayers. He sounds smart and resourceful and is clearly so talented. I hope that this year brings him good luck to use all of those things.


Paula said...

How terrible! I am so glad you can now call him and he is doing better. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Imogen Lamport said...

Ohh, how terrible for him (and you).

My brother in law was in prison in the UK for getting into bar fights - he's out now. But he spent a lot of time in solitary - luckily he was never in a dorm situation - it sounds so much worse and dangerous.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Thank you, and yes it is an ENORMOUS relief to be able to pick up the phone and call him. (Even though the phone line is busy 90% of the time, I've gotten thru several times.) Just knowing I can reach him, even if I don't call, HELPS.

Thank you...yes it's been quite a harrowing experience, and this tops the cake. :(

Thank you, yes he is quite smart, talented and resourceful (I guess one would have to be to survive this situation without being violent)I'm soooo thankful for that.

Oh I am so sorry that you, too, know this experience. Yes, the dorm situation (especially in California) is a terribly violent situation. They put all races, gangs, ages, and offenders in one room with quadruple bunks. There are invisible gang lines that you have to learn, or you're dead. California is creating monsters. Help us all when the system completely breaks down.....
Thank you to you too, everyone has been so lovely and sweet.

Hugs to all.

Imogen Lamport said...

Just tell your brother when he gets out, not to do the stupid thing my brother in law has just done that has landed him back in prison - to miss 3 of his parole meetings... so stupid! At least he is providing a very good lesson for my son of how not to live your life.

Vicki said...

Wow. I can't imagine what he's going through, and you either. I do hope he gets to stay where he is and that having the "mental issue" tag won't make release more difficult.

He has such an amazing talent. I look forward to seeing more of his work.

Cassoulet Cafe said...

Oh yeah, if he isn't on top of his parole, WE will be. But I think he's got such potential with his painting, that he has incentive to never go back to prison. I have high hopes for him, and if you knew me, you'd know that doesn't come easy...I'm a bit of a skeptic I'd say, and I've seen far too many people make empty promises.
I used him for an example too, for my kids, of how not to start down the wrong path in the first place. It all started with that first underage drink....sigh....

We just found out this morning that we don't want him staying there very long. They can just flat out keep you there for years. He's not suicidal, but that's why they are keeping him there, so hopefully they'll see he's ok when his 3 months are up and let him go back to the original prison to serve out his remaining months.
Yes, he's so talented, I'm so excited to see the rest of his work he is about to send home!!!