After a year of working in Prison… I finally pushed my alarm.

It happened one beautiful January afternoon. Group was going just fine and perfectly smooth. I had two guys working on bead art, one was coloring and the last guy was just sitting watching the animal planet I had put on in the background, we will call the last guy Inmate G.

Inmate G was perfectly normal the first half of group. He was cooperative, responsive, didn’t show any signs of agitation or aggression. However, out of no where about 40 minutes into group he gets up and walks around me to the other end of the table where the first Inmate was sitting.

“DO YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ME?”

He said… the inmate was taken off gaurd and quickly responded, “What, no.” Inmate G then walks up to the next inmate and says:

“I HEARD YOU BEEN TALKIN SHIT”

The other guy just looks at him and doesn’t even say anything. Throughout those interactions I was trying to get Inmate G’s attention and asking him if he was alright. However, he ignored me and kept making accusations at the other inmates, which led me to believe he was out to start something. So I began to slowly exit the room.

Finally, as Inmate G approached the last Inmate in the room, a poor helpless older man who was just working on his beads, things started to escalate. By that point I was already out the door telling the officer…

“They’re going to fight!”

Last I saw before the officer ran in was the poor old helpless inmate holding up a chair trying to defend himself. I quickly turned my attention to pressing the alarm, and when I went looked back into the class. I saw blood splattered on the floor by the old helpless Inmate who was laying on the ground on the other end of the room and closer to me was Inmate G laying on the ground unscathed with the officer on top of him cussing him out.

Meanwhile, out of the window of the class I could see a hand full of officers running over to the building as the alarm blared and lights flashed.

I should of had the alarm on me (my forgetful mistake, and one I will never make again), but luckily I got up and exited the room before the fight even started, and the C.O. was ready to respond. He was one of the better C.O.’s… you honestly can’t depend on all of them for safety.

After Inmate G was escorted out and the ambulance along with a few nurses had come, the poor helpless inmate was sat down in a chair and examined. I was outside the room looking at him. He looked beat up, sad, and scared. It was one of those moments where I had to hold myself back, and not walk up, look him straight in the eye, and genuinely ask “Hey are you okay?” ….I have moments like that a lot here, but this one moment especially. But of course the way things are here… I can’t do that, at least not without A LOT of consequences.

That incident was just a reminder of the darkness of the world, and representative of the brokeness we carry as humans. Sometimes it’s hard not to let the empathetic emotions I feel for some of these guys here weigh down on me, but in moments where you witness a poor helpless old man getting beat up out of no where and you cannot do anything…. it’s almost impossible.

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