Tag Archives: Jason Glascock

Languid Eyes by Jason Glascock

This post is complimentary to allow his voice to escape the confines of prison walls. Only the font style and size has been changed. Content is as submitted. Straight from the Pen does not express any opinion on the subject matter or content or the validity of any statement or claim made.

This post will also appear on Life Inside and Out, a Space on Quora.com, where men and women go for answers to questions. Check out the profile page for Wayne T. Dowdy.


Languid Eyes by Jason Glascock #342498

In my dream I repeat “6 am. 6 am. 6 am.”

I need to wake up at 6 A M!

My eyes snap open to a cream-colored cinder block wall and roll over to a clock reading 6:08 am. Perfect. I tighten my muscles, straining as hard as I can, working through the back, legs, shoulders arms jaw, every muscle gets engaged, released and stretched in this wake-up ritual.

6:08 am. I have a few moments before I actually need to get up, but if I stay here, now relaxed after the stretch, I’d likely fall back to sleep; so, I take three deep breaths and get up. The dayroom hasn’t opened yet, it’s quiet, my cellmate is asleep, meaning I need to be as quiet as possible. Piss in the toilet. Flush. Wash hands. Wash face. Rinse mouth. Dress for work in heavy boots and wait for the door to pop with that steel-on-steel hammer sound. Quiet, like I said.

While I’m sitting in the chair waiting for the door, I decide to do some squats to get the heart pumping. Slow, quiet ones that don’t get me breathing hard. I’m facing the dimly lit dayroom through the small window in the door, looking across at the other cells. The dayroom nightlight flashes into my eyes as I go down, disappears as I stand into the shadow. It’s then that I notice the burning of fatigue that wants to force me back into bed, the tiredness I’m trying to drive away with the squats.

Fresh blood to the brain simulates thoughts. For every hour loss of sleep the IQ can drop by 10 points. Sleep deprivation increases heart disease, exasperates diabetes, increases irritability, promotes violence, and a slew of other maleffects. With all these negatives recognized by medical science, departments of corrections around the country have become aware of how to create conditions that enhance the punishment factor of prison. They’ve doubled down on their efforts to make the environment as uncomfortable as possible. One method is to use sleep deprivation. The choice of uncomfortable mattresses, beds that squeak and rattle when a person rolls over, louder toilets, louder sinks, and more. They’ve removed sound absorbent surfaces such as carpet and wood, opting for steel and concrete. They’ve put in more and brighter nightlights that illuminate the bed as if it were daytime. For instance, I sleep with stadium lights shining in my face or reflecting off the dirty-white wall. If I cover my head the officer will pound on the door to wake me up. Light levels are shown to affect the quality of sleep. The beds are short, so in my case with a 6’4” frame, my feet hang off the bed, resting on square steel tubing much of the night. Then there is the heat. Where temperatures over 75°F are known to cause physical stress and negatively impact sleep, the prison now keeps the livings units at ~85°F year-round, all day, all night, somehow justified as part of their energy saving initiative.

All of that runs through my mind as the squats increase blood flow to the brain. Down… Up… Pump-pump. Down… Up…

The burning in the eyes never goes away; a constant irritation throughout the day. At 4:10pm I enter my cell to wait for dayroom to close. I sit down and grab the book I’ve been working my way through. I look at the page and the text goes wonky. I blink a few times and it clears, coming into focus. A few minutes later I snap awake, catching myself from falling out of the chair. I clear my throat, look to the page and find what I last remember reading. A few minutes later, I’m startled awake again by the sound of the book hitting the floor. I need a nap, but I’m dirty, need a shower, and count is within 20 minutes. There’s no way i can get to the showers. My eyes ache, my muscles ache, l know I’m missing things as I struggle to understand the book. Standing will increase my metabolism, but my feet hurt from working in the bad boots, so I sit back down.

I turn on the TV for some news. As I’m watching all the horrible stuff in the world, I hear this gasping snore and realize I’m sleeping again with my head back like a Zippo lighter.

Coffee. The 4th cup of the day will get me going. And squats. Yes, squats!

It’s count and just standing feels exhausting, but I can’t take a nap because it’s time for work. When the dayroom closes, and I clean. Rushing to change mop water, disinfect phones, tables, chairs, vacuum what carpet remains, sweep and mop. There are ramen noodles on the wall, and someone smashed half a Swiss roll into the rug. Not too bad today. 45 minutes of cleaning and then it’s chow time.

I rush into the servery for a cold hamburger on a bun that’s so dry it crumbles in my hand. I shovel the burger and canned pears into my mouth and leave, still chewing as I stand up; the dayroom needs to be finished before it opens in a half hour.

With work done I shower. The combination of work, coffee and shower leaves me feeling refreshed, the sense of fatigue washed from the brain, but I know it’s still there. Military research has shown there is no performance improvement from caffeine for cognitively demanding tasks and does nothing for the tired muscles. So, I don’t feel the need for a nap and keep going.

The night comes and the 9:15pm count approaches. I’m wearing down. I’ve been up all day, moving around, lifting, twisting, etc. I was at a computer for 4 hours doing a college paper, rereading the book and parsing its contents, formulating my argument and crafting supporting clauses. Exhaustion isn’t creeping up, it’s here and I’m pushing myself. 40 more minutes, I tell my body. I can do 40 more.

Count clears on the unit and then I’m in the dayroom cleaning up for the final time. The work increases my heart rate and blood flow. Fatigue is cleaned from my muscles as I wipe the floor with a wet mop. Thrust right. Thrust left. My back muscles countering the forces and I bounce from foot to foot, bending the knees slightly in almost a dance. I breath deeper, engaging, disengaging, and reengaging muscles, oxygenated blood floods every part my body as I run up and down stairs. The work re-energizes my body leaving only the burning grittiness in my eyes.

My 40 minutes of night cleanup ends and I lock-in for the night. Sleep. I know I need sleep but reinvigorated from the light work I choose to take off my boots and socks, kick the feet up and begin reading the book I’d dropped earlier. The grey matter has plenty of energy now and I’m going to make use of it: BBC World News and a book on data structures in the Python programming language. I make a cup of tepid coffee and look in the mirror. My eyes are red-rimmed and bloodshot, the whites are the tan of straw and itch furiously, heavy-lidded, languid, exhausted. I take a sip of coffee and continue to look at myself for a moment longer, then turn to the book.

I get a good 20 minutes of reading in before an overwhelming sleepiness washes through me. I yawn, continue reading, forcing myself to finish out the chapter. That takes me up to 11pm and I can no longer focus the eyes on the page. The conversation with my cellmate proved that I can’t think either; halfway through sentences I’m losing track of the thought. Now, it’s time for sleep.

Flipping the light off is like turning myself back on. For some reason I get a short burst of wakeup energy from somewhere. Getting into bed, I feel the fatigue of the day fade a little, and I wind up staring at the wall for the next hour, rolling from side to side looking for comfort in an uncomfortable bed with a stadium light blasting my retinas, and the last thing I remember is looking a the clock reading 12:23am before my eyes snap open at 6:03am to start all over.

My experience with sleep deprivation is not unique or unusual. I go for days as I described and then crash. I simply can’t push myself any further and I’ll sleep nearly all day. There are days where my body hurts so bad from lack of sleep I don’t want to do anything. There are nights where I’m overtired and sleep fails to find me until 3am. Next semester I’m going to take 6 credits of courses, and my brain has to perform as well as any college student, and I wonder what it would be like to have full use of what my brain could do, if I could get good sleep.

Please send comments to the following:

Jason R. Glascock #342498

Racine Correctional Institution

P.O. Box 189

Phoenix, MD 21131

Parole in Wisconsin by Jason Glascock

From Jason Glascock, a captive in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The post is complimentary to allow his voice to escape the confines of prison walls. Content is as submitted. Straight from the Pen does not express any opinion on the subject matter, content or the validity of any statement or claim made.


Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

Wisconsin’s Sin: Prison, Parole and Empty Promises

In Wisconsin, prison is a social program; it’s intended to provide the public safety AND afford PIOCs (persons in our care—prisoner) the opportunity to forge a better, healthier life. The system has two faces: 1) the public face of what is says it’s supposed to help people rehabilitate; 2) the face shown to the PIOC population that says the system is there to destroy the PIOC.

Parole is a system the state legislators have instituted to allow prisons to earn release through good behavior. Do your programs and you’ll be released. There is a date where prisoners become eligible for parole: 1/4 of the overall sentence. Then there are parole hearing until a Mandatory Release (MR) date is reached at 2/3 of the overall sentence. But, in 1994 the Wisconsin legislature made the MR into a Presumptive MR (PMR); it’s presumed the prisoner is will be paroled, but it is discretionary.

PMR is the game of parole. He legislative intent was to encourage people to complete treatment programs or face longer incarcerations. Since the law was enacted, it’s been the policy of Wisconsin to retain PIOCs as long as possible, which means past their PMR dates. Parole says ‘we will consider release if you complete treatment.’ By then it’s up to the discretion of the treatment staff whether you enroll and complete; no objective criteria exist. Men are terminated for such things as group member feeling the person isn’t being open enough. What the hell does that mean? And, we’re not talking about the facilitators, but the other PIOCs not feeling validated enough.

One of the frustrating parts from the prisoner perspective is that the creeps get out. Over and over again I see guys that can’t stay away from drugs, booze, or fantasizing over abusing females—the serious creeps— get released. It’s as if Parole selects the guys they know are going to fail in order to point to those released as the typical felon. The system is disgusting.

Then there is the out right, bald faced lying by staff; Parole included. They manufacture records, invent offenses and comments, permanently entering them into a record that they refuse to change, even with court orders to do so. There is no mechanism to challenge the record.

Another game is when Parole requires an approved parole plan but the supervision agents don’t investigate the plans until parole approves release. A catch-22. They deny us for not having a job, but employers don’t agree to hire a person 3 months before release. They deny us for not have a residence, but to rent 3 months before hand you need that month’s rent, a month ahead, a security deposit, and 2 more months to cover up to release; ≈$5,000. Who has that?

The Parole “board” consists of one person making decisions on if they are “comfortable” seeing the person released. There is no objective criteria. Even the completion of treatment doesn’t guarantee release. They completely reject the federal and State’s dept’ of Justice reports regarding recidivism rates and their so vaunted COMPASS test that show petitioning PIOCs to be low-risk. Parole will just say a prisoner is high-risk, and—BLAM!!!—it is so, despite the evidence.

Prison, in Wisconsin, is a social program to help rehabilitate people. It places people into a situation to devalue everything they are, dehumanize, disempowering, isolate and handicap them to the greatest extent possible. Education is considered a threat to security and kept essentially nonexistent. They limit our to resources for educating our selves.

They have a great CNC vocational program, but only a few PIOCs fit the criteria for enrollment; virtually no one can enroll. Out of 24,000, only 7-10 get a chance. Transfer to a minimum prison so the prisoner can work in the industry prior to release is promised, but Wisconsin DOC doesn’t keep that agreement.

What a wonderful social program!


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