Saturday, March 14, 2009

white letter recent update: letter to mum

Brandon wrote me a letter. I can feel the tiredness in his words, life sort of dragging and being pulled along just because the moments are passing. In prison, tensions rise and fall, come to a head and settle, only for it to happen again, simply because it is life at the most minimal level in so many ways. But I'll let Bran tell his story. He starts off:

I just found a white hair embedded in one of the earpads of my headphones. Better not be one of mine. Although, I'd rather my hair turn white than fall out. Must be under a little more stress than I thought. I'll never stop dreading baldness until it actually happens or something trumps it and I no longer give a damn. Events over the last few weeks have been conspiring against my letter writing efforts: my most recent move, the perpetual clothing exchange crusade, BS down at work, getting sick or distracted, etc. It's almost as if the whole thing's out of my control and all I can do is wait for the proper planetary alignment and a good word from the jail witch doctor.

He writes on: With work, it's money and politics as usual. The higher ups increased the weight goal that determines the bonus. Last month, we made 40 cents per hour, the bare minimum I believe. The normal take is 60 cents per hour. With our work worth less, there's less incentive to work harder. We already knew we were losing contracts, thereby making it more difficult to reach our bonus goal, but they raised the pound requirement anyway. We net them nearly $1 million annually and they tell us we're lucky we get paid at all. What a slap in the face! Naturally, all this does is fan the flames of long-burning indignation between the shifts, and to a lesser extent, the clean and dirty sides. Accusations fly ("1st shift is lazy, 2nd shift speed washes to get more loads per diem, why can the dirty side leave when their work is finished, it's not fair"), everyone is punished, nothing is fixed. Speaking of things needing fixing, machines are allowed to completely break down before any consideration is given to their maintenance. Luckily, nothing has ever failed catastrophically resulting in injury. One washer has been broken for months, with no effort to get it running again. It can process nearly 400lbs/hr, a rather sizeable loss. After all this, the bosses have the audacity to complain. Have the time to gripe when your CI shop burns to the ground by disgruntled prisoners.

On the whole, tension around the prison rises. A huge brawl broke out on B-block, locking down the jail last weekend. A number of people were stabbed, and a gret deal of weapons were found. A slug-fest in the yard the other day almost ruined this weekend. They at least gave us unit rec,
so we can get out of the cell. Eventually, all this is going to reach a head and it may get ugly. Hey, they wanted to test the waters, take away this and that, pester, poke, and push the inmates. The when there's dire consequences to reap, no one seems to know how it happened.

Back to mum-we hope to visit Brandon on his birthday, March 29th. He'll turn 23. The time sort of shuffles by slowly and I pray somehow to be past this part of it. Still, there are reasons for everything.


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