Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On who's boss

There's one thing you gotta learn when you're in prison. You gotta learn who's boss. The system will keep pounding it in to you until you've got it straight. You're a nobody. Your opinion means nothing. You are simply a number.

It took good ol' Joe a little while to figure that out. Joe's parents are in their 80s and in bad health. They live in Lapeer, and there's a prison right there in the home town. So they thought it would be nice if Joe could be transferred from Ionia to Lapeer, in that Joe's dad has just suffered and heart attack and all. Certainly if Joe lived in the Thumb CF it would be easier for elderly parents to visit him.

Joe asked if we'd help. We wrote a letter to the warden, and we suggested that he contact his state legislators. His state senator was kind enough to contact the MDOC, and was told that Joe would probaby do best by just talking with his own housing unit personnel. He was informed that the state cannot really consider transfers just for convenience' sake, because transfers cost money and the state doesn't have any.

So Joe asked his housing unit people, but they didn't like that. And they didn't like it that I wrote to the warden and that Joe wrote to his state senator.

It was time for Joe to find out who's really the boss there.

So a transfer was arranged, all right. Joe was sent to the Upper Peninsula where, he says, he must stay now for two years. He doesn't think his parents will even live that long.

And while it made sense to Joe and his family to put him closer to his elderly parents, there wasn't unanimous agreement on that point. Sending him to the UP would teach him who's boss.

Well, Joe got the point.

He's simply a number. No name, no face.

The MDOC is the boss.

A boss with a heart.

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