GOING TO JAIL: THE INCARCERATION EXPERIENCE
To FRCC and Back
In order to get funding for my appeal I had to go before a judge in Supreme Court in Vancouver. With the way things work in the correctional system it took four days for my ten minute appearance before the judge. I was first taken back to FRCC the day before my hearing. Moving is tedious: It means being locked up in tanks while being processed and I spent over two hours with six others in a 10 by 10 tank with seating for three, four if you count the stainless steel wall mounted toilet in one corner. One young guy related amusing but very rude tales of his life as a pimp. He could turn it into an act as a stand up comic. At FRCC I was placed in Range 3A a GP or general population unit and a classic high security set up. I was double bunked with a guy who barely spoke and was glued to the TV set. I had no clothes with pockets and had to wear or carry my reading glasses. I couldnt find any books or magazines to read anyway. The unit was not very friendly and I got several skinner taunts.
The next day I was gotten up at 4:20 a.m., taken to North Fraser in cuffs and shackles, stripped searched and then taken to the Smythe Street Courthouse in downtown Vancouver. I spoke briefly and the judge granted my request. I was out of court by 10:30AM, held in a tank until 4:PM, taken back to North Fraser and tanked until about 8:PM before being returned to FRCC. I spent about 9 hours totally dead time with nothing to read, do, or except briefly, anyone to talk to. I calculated the dimensions of every holding cell by counting the 8 by 16 concrete blocks.
I was once again reminded again of the profound differences Ford Mountain and FRCC. The feeling and attitudes are different. The guards seem like different personality types, also the inmates. FRCC is like a pressure cooker. Things in Range 3A were threatening as soon as I got back. One of the young skinheads who had a mark below an eye began demanding to know my beef. After a MYOB reply he said it would be a good idea for me to ask for seg, or segregation which is mainly used for punishment. There is no TV and 23 hour lock down. There were more minor incidents. A few inmates told me to stay away from them and others refused to speak to me. I couldnt find a place to sit and eat my meals, or borrow a pen. I went to yard after dinner to get some exercise and relieve my tension. It was unsupervised. I couldnt walk around the yard as guys were playing handball and basketball. Others wouldnt allow me to stand near them in the one free corner. At the end of the period the guy with the mark began throwing a football at me as hard as he could ostensibly while playing catch. I had to deflect them to protect myself. He kept it up for several minutes until a guard came to fetch us. I had nasty threats on the elevator back up to 3A. I decided I wanted out of there immediately. Then a guard came to my room and said he was moving me to a lower bunk in room on the upper tier. I had just written up a request to be moved out of the unit altogether and delivered it to the guard on my first trip to my new cell. Minutes later I was assaulted by my new cellmate. Nothing serious, the pain was temporary, but I had to report it. The guy already there ignored me when I brought in the first load of my stuff, but when I returned he demanded to know what Id been charged with. Ive learned detailed answers are futile and told him it was none of his business. He asked if I fucked little kids, I said no. He continued pressing his questions and taunting me. When I again told him again it was none of his business, he suddenly kneed me in the balls and I fell to the floor. He didnt kick me when I was down. A senior guard came in and I explained what happened. I was then placed in seg. The guy with the mark below his eye grinned smugly and leered as I was escorted out of the range. He had won.
Seg was bleak. No windows and just one other inmate in another cell. We didnt speak. Luckily I had managed to hold onto a book, HAWAII by James Michener so I didnt get bored. Early next morning I was told that I would have to spend the weekend at FRCC, and then suddenly as things seem to happen, and with no explanation, I was told to pack my things. I suspect that it had to do with the incident in Range 3A. I was very glad to be back at Ford Mountain. I couldnt get back my former cell in Holloway House and I was put me in an unfinished room in A Hut in Downtown with a mattress on the floor, clearly a special arrangement. The next day I was moved into a regular room in D Hut. The rooms in the downtown huts are not as large or modern, no basin and toilet of your own, and theres no indoor common area. A refrigerator and microwave are in the corridor. But the huts are more sociable and picturesque being situated around a grove of tall firs. On warm sunny days it is almost like a picnic scene with a dozen guys all dressed in bright prison reds lounging on the small porches and sunning themselves or playing games at picnic tables.Jail Journal menu
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