Fan Trouble (by Lifer Renee)

Renee – Only a teenager, she received a 60-year sentence. Now 15 years in, Renee is writing from Perryville prison in Goodyear, Arizona, providing a rare and unique insight into a women's prison.

Sunday was pyjama day. Just as it sounds – we got to stay in our pyjamas and watch reruns on the TV. I wasn’t paying much attention to the yard activities.

The 4 o’clock headcount came and went. The temperature was hitting 115 degrees. Who cares if I am in a sweat box. As long as I am breathing, life is great according to the Arizona Department of Corrections.

My cell door still hadn’t opened by 5.10pm. All I wanted was to get some cold water from the water cooler. That is if there was any in there.

I walked to the door to see if anyone was outside. I saw my friend, Kane, in cuffs, getting escorted off the yard. There were at least six officers, plus sergeants and lieutenants bringing handfuls of zip-tie handcuffs and large cans of pepper spray. The officers blocked both entry ways to the kitchen. A kitchen fan was thrown out, and another officer walked out.

Hours went by and I only saw Kane cuffed up. The fan that was taken out was put back in.

Me and my roommate came up with endless possibilities. Finally, we decided that our lockdown status had something to do with the heat.

At 6.30pm, I said, “Are they ever gonna feed us dinner?” The last time we ate was at 7am.
“I hope so soon. I’m starving,” my roommate replied.
“Me too.” I laid down and started channel surfing, waiting for the door to open for dinner.
Around 8pm, my roommate said, “Maybe we’ll get lucky, and they’ll bring us dinner on Styrofoam trays.”
“Yeah, right! We’ll be lucky to eat before nine.” I attempted to cool myself off with my “handy-dandy sprayer” – a hairspray bottle cleaned out and filled with water.

They opened our doors for chow at 8.30pm. I found out that a fan mounted on the chow-hall wall had fallen off and almost hit a woman stood behind it. The women told an officer what had happened. The officer decided the inmates had tore the fan off the wall, and didn’t call a maintenance worker to see if the fan was repairable. The girls in the kitchen asked to be moved to a larger area, to a makeshift dorm. The answer was no.

So twenty-five kitchen inmates went and sat outside in the shade because outside felt cooler than inside. This happened during headcount, causing a serious problem for the guards. The inmates were told to lockdown and they refused. That’s why staff with zip-tie handcuffs and pepper spray had mobbed the yard.
The sergeant told the girls, “Either you side with me, or her,” pointing at Kane.
The girls tried to hold their ground, but their ranks were broken. Kane, the most vocal, was cuffed up and taken to the Complex Detention Unit (CDU) for inciting a riot.
The officers told the women, “You can lockdown or be sprayed and taken to CDU.”
They locked-down.

Now Kane sits in CDU on a ticket that could bury her in the hole – all because she stood up not just for herself but for everyone in the kitchen, including pregnant women and women who have seizures.

Shaun Attwood


Anonymous said...

Many inmates keep food in their cells in case of situations like these. Gangs will assign certain people to have lots of items on hand for new inmates or in times of lock-down. This is sometimes known as running a store and can get you a punishment if caught hoarding. Im not sure how women operate but as much as Renee mentions getting her cell tossed and the BS around her, I imagine its hard for her to keep a stash.I hope some good times come your way Renee . Stay cool. ~ Big Jason

Victoria Law said...

Wow, just saw this. Can I repost on my blog?

Jon said...

Repost whatever you want, Victoria Law.