The Sun magazine, Charlotte, North Carolina, published a clip I sent in response to an article in Readers Write.
That was a decade or so ago. In the published clip, I shared about the experience I wrote about in response to the Quora question: Is it true that people get sprayed with water in prison when they first get there?
No, not during any of my experiences. However, this did happen:
In the Georgia prison system, at the Georgia Diagnostics and Classification Center, in Jackson, new arrivals were sat in a chair and then asked, “How do you want it cut?” referring to the hair on our heads.
After a moment of appearing to listen (for the effect of the joke), the inmate Barber would smile before using hair clippers to cut it down to the scalp. “Oops, I got a little too close,” he might say, a smirk on his face.
Then came the degrading and humiliating part:
All prisoners were stripped of all clothing, and then sprayed with bug poison under the arms and testicles, before the “Turn around and bend over and cock ’em.”
We would have to turn around, bend over and spread the cheeks to be sprayed with the bug poison.
Upon completion of the licing process, then followed a group shower, another aspect of Prison Life I didn’t find enjoyable, but no one ever knew that because I wore my Bullet Proof, Tough Guy Mask.
Each day I devote, or at least attempt to devote, part of my time to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Quora.com. Most often I fail in two or three of those areas.
Most of my posts and online activities relate to prisoners, prison reform, and or criminal justice reform, as well as posting excerpts from the life and times of the infamous Wayne T. Dowdy. Sometimes I address other social issues to let my voice be heard.
I’m a returning citizen, who had never used a cellphone until August 28, 2018, and yet, now I am working at having four websites live before June 2019 arrives. I’m determined to make a difference in the lives of others by doing what I do.
I always want to write my blog posts for straightfromthepen.com and waynedowdy.weebly.com. I just run out of time each day and come up short. 😦
Oh, I forgot, working on revising and writing my books to learn the formatting process to help those caged behind walls, bars and fences and others be published, and as part of one of many planned business adventures.
The point in all the above is that I am a man with a mission who wants to make a difference and to let his voice be heard.
I often disagree with viewpoints expressed by others on penological and social issues. I want to believe that change is possible, and that society has became more humane since the Romans ruled the earth. The following debate is one such social issue I posted as an answer and then replied to on Quora.com:
believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many
luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers. Is being in prison as good as
people think it is or worse than people could imagine?
The people who believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers, need to sign up for a prison stint to learn about FAKE NEWS. Prison life sucks!
Prisoners learn to tolerate and accept the conditions of prison
life, regardless of those conditions. Humans adapt to their environments.
Rehabilitation versus punishment has been on the table for decades. Better results come from providing programs to help people change their lives, as is evident by the passage of the First Step Act, which requires the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons to create and provide more evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism.
None of those programs will include having prisoners chained and tortured until they decide to repent and change their evil, wicked ways.
The punitive aspect of prison is removing the person from
society; inhumane treatment leads to psychological damage (being in prison
under decent living conditions may still lead to the development of psychiatric
Most prisoners return to society. Which is best: to have men and women confined in an environment that breeds more illness than it treats or cures, or to provide an environment where those men and women learn to change behaviors so that they exit the system in better shape than when they arrived?
An experimental prison program in Connecticut (Prison Reform Progress), which is modeled after those in Germany known to provide more humane living conditions, are showing positive results; meaning that perhaps America will change its failed criminal justice system so that men and women who go to prison will leave and not return, but I guarantee that would not happen if society reverted to the days of torturing and mistreating its prisoners.
Most people on the outside believe that
EVERY PERSON INCARCERATED should NEVER get out of prison and that is a fact
that is 99% true.
I’m sure a lot of that is true, which is of course, is based on
ignorance of the law and crimes that lead to prison. Stereotyping others also
If those who believe in such a way would attempt to investigate and were intelligent enough to comprehend the complexities of the United States criminal justice system, then they’d know how easy it is for someone to go to prison.
Everyone who goes to prison is not a serial
killer, rapist, murderer, robber, or child molester.
I met many men in prison who said, “I never
knew I could be put into prison for doing that.”
How could any rational legislature vote for a bill that would result in some men and women going to prison for 25-years-to-life for crimes as simple as shoplifting or stealing pizza?
If those people who feel everyone who goes to
prison should not be released knew of such laws, would they feel the same?
Then again, the Romans and many Rome citizens
thought it was okay to feed Christians to the Lions for entertainment, so … has
society digressed from what was learned through history about the evil nature
of some in power, to endorse such practices as keeping someone in a cage for
I hope not and know that most do not feel in
such a way, or else the legislatures would not be voting different these days.
Even though you make some good points I stand by my post. Watch any YT video about trials and read the comments of the ignorant and ill-informed if you doubt my thoughts. People get charged with offences such as you mentioned and then get acquitted, but it doesn’t matter in the court of public opinion. You are charged – you MUST be guilty. Lock ’em up and throw away the key. Another “win” for the prosecution!!
YouTube and television programs
only represent a small portion of the population. The editors of the program
controls content to express their views on the issues, or to be what needs said
or shown to get higher ratings.
Even politicians fall victim to
the Editor’s Choice, when the politician says many things during an interview
that the editor cuts to shape into the program’s viewpoint.
I knew several people in prison
who felt the same way as what you state, but they were the same ones who, for a
lighter sentence, helped the government put other people in prison.
As I wrote, a lot of the public opinion is based on ignorance. Most continue to sit in front of a television and watch programs designed to increase viewership through sensationalism, ignorant of what is the truth. Ignorance exists because of a lack of information. 🙂
Prisoners shout various Early Warning Codes to forewarn others. I recently learned that at some Georgia prisons, the Early Warning Code is “Twelve,” which I learned on Quora.com. At one prison, other men used Top Rock or Bottom Rock to indicate where the staff member walked (top or bottom tier).
The reason an inmate may shout that (12) is because, for instance, that a correctional officer or staff member enters a living area at the “12 O’clock” position, or that “12” is just one of the many “Early Warning Codes” used.
Staff may exhibit the same behavior, after getting used to prisoners using the Early Warning Code to let others know they’re on the prowl.
In the early Eighties I was at the Georgia State Prison (GSP) in Reidsville (The Great White Elephant), where the first version of “The Longest Yard” was filmed that starred Burt Reynolds. We used “Fire in the Hole” as our Early Warning Code to forewarn others that a correctional officer or staff member was entering the cellblock/living area.
Several staff members would walk in the door and shout, “Fire in the Hole.”
That may be because, in 1982, a federal monitor said that the Federal government had declared the prison as the most dangerous prison in the United States. Vincent N., the Federal Monitor appointed to monitor the prison for compliance with a Federal lawsuit (Guthrie v. Evans), made the claim of which I still challenge as factually incorrect.
I was an inmate representative in reformation process, voted in by my peers to represent the Whites for mediation during racial and legal disputes (to help resolve issues without killing each other and to help get the prison in compliance with the court orders).
I said, “How can we be the most violent prison when more people got killed in the New Mexico prison?”
“That was during a time of riot,” he said. “We’re talking about a time of non-riot. During a general run of the prison, y’all had thirty-five inmate-to-officer attacks, fifty inmate-to-inmate attacks, and six-murders.”
I suspect that because of the extreme level of violence, most staff members did not want to walk up on prisoners doing something illegal or unauthorized, which would require an un-favored response that may result in another staff assault.
In the past, one correctional officer had been robbed and killed by prisoners. One prisoner removed a watch from his arm as he lay dying on the floor from a heart attack.
During my four-year stay at GSP, a male correctional officer was raped by a prisoner, of whom the prisoner had put a knife to his throat and pulled him into the cell, where the unthinkable happened.
The era of violence at that prison ended. Reorganization resulted in the reduced violence, as the more dangerous prisoners are more closely monitored and controlled.
But I am sure there are still those who will shout whatever the trending “Early Warning” signal may be for a staff member entering the area.