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 corners...you 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).