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Home Katfish The Dirty Secrets of FCI Big Spring, Texas Reality Inside Solitary Confinement, AKA The Hole Part 1
Reality Inside Solitary Confinement, AKA The Hole Part 1 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katfish   
Thursday, 25 June 2009 00:04
 Big Spring FCI Special Housing Unit (SHU)- “The Bucket”

Welcome to the hole, better known as The Bucket. One enters the Bucket thru a two door trap. Big Spring is very security conscious indeed because a hostage cannot be here without two guards- sometimes as many as four- who escort the hostage thru the various wings, halls, and stairways. The actual floor plan of the Bucket is irrelevant. Besides that, the way the SIS police act towards me now that they know I'm blogging for TFTC, who can guess what kind of reason they may next contrive to KEEP me in here should I reveal floor plans. Let's not.

So anyway, as I said, two guards to each hostage. A hostage will never be outside his cell, outside his recreation cage, or outside his interview cage (more on Cage World in a moment) without being cuffed behind his back. One guard leads the way while the other holds onto the handcuffs.

The Bucket's clothing issue is all emergency orange in color: Pants, shirts, socks, Chinese karate shoes, even the goddamned boxer-shorts are orange. A very loud color (my nuts haven't had a good night's sleep yet).



The cell they keep me a hostage in is twelve feet by eight feet. The desk I'm sitting at right now is a pie wedge shaped piece of stainless steel bolted into the corner, the front edge three feet across (my measurements are made by my using my pad of paper which is ten and a half inches long). Bolted to the floor in front of this desk is a metal stool. It's shaped like a cable spool. It's about eighteen inches high. Each end is eleven inches across. Five bolts hold it down. Also in my cell is the ubiquitous stainless steel toilet combo sink. This has a drinking fountain thingy on it. You push the button and nothing happens. I have a theory about that, but nothing solid yuh understand.

The cell has a double bunk, an upper and a lower, which kind of eliminates that whole “in isolation” concept that being in the Bucket means. The bunks are approximately eighty inches long by (and my celly and I have measured this twice now) twenty-seven inches wide. Think about that. Twenty-seven inches wide. I am seventy-five inches tall. I'm not sure how wide I am- who is?- but I do not fit; my elbows and shoulders hang over the edges. The bunk itself is secured to metal plates in the floor at all four points. It is also secured to the wall at two points. By secured I mean welded. There are two half circle loops of metal about three inches across welded at each end of the bunk. Two. Each end. There's also the same loops welded at each side, but only one per side. I'm told that they're there in case an overly violent convict should need to be restrained: the two at the foot of the bunk would be one for each foot. The one's at the sides would naturally be for the wrists. It's unclear what the restraints would consist of; either leather straps or chains. I'm not inclined to discover for myself. The half circles welded at the head of the bed are a mystery.


The mattress is covered in bright blue vinyl; solid like a waiting room's chair's upholstery. The mattress itself is NOT soft; it is seventy-two inches long by twenty-six inches wide. It's about three inches thick. It has a UNICOR prison industries label attached to it: I tried to peel it off, no dice. Bedding issue is one blanket, one towel, two sheets, zero pillows. All UNICOR products.


The window in the wall is between the desk and the bunk. It has a sheet of opaque plastic secured to it on the outside which allows light in and nothing else. The window is twenty inches across by forty-four inches high. It has three squared bars welded into it vertically. Each bar is two inches to a side. The entire window has a grill of expanded metal welded over it.



The door to the cell is a heavy duty Nazi-bunker affair, thirty-six inches by eighty-four inches. It has a slot window in it maybe sixteen inches high by five inches across. I can see the cell across from me. There are Mexicans in there. We do not speak the same language. There is also a tray slot. It is locked from the outside. Food trays are passed in so one can sit next to the toilet and eat soggy food. The tray slot is also for handcuffing. If a convict must come out of the cell, then he must back up and extend his arms/wrists thru the slot. The guard cuffs us. If you have a bunky (I've been in this cell before with 4 convicts at a time- two man cell- four convicts), then he also must cuff up before the door is opened.




Also on the door is a round hole. It is at face level. It has perforated steel welded to it, inside and out. In between the perforated steel is a piece of metal which blocks about 75% of the hole. The hole was designed so a hostage could speak with staff. The metal blocking the hold is an add-on idea meant to block an angry and frustrated hostage form spitting or throwing nasty liquids thru it and into staff's face. The metal blocking the hole also is good at blocking sound rendering the hole useless, thus staff and hostage scream into the door's edges in an effort to communicate. By the way, the expanded metal welded to the windows make it impossible to clean. The window to the outside is recessed, approximately six inches from expanded metal to glass. It is unbelievably filthy in there; at least half an inch of dust, dirt, lint (orange colored of course), plastic forks and spoons, desiccated and largely unrecognizable bits of food and fruit peels, Jolly Rancher wrappers, etc tetra Yeck.




The floor is concrete and gray. The walls, stool and bunks are painted a dull yellow, the color of a heavy smokers' walls. The door and windows are painted a dark brown. The ventilation is very good. There's a shelf made of expanded metal welded beneath the lower bunk. We're to keep our few allowable affects there.


There is a long fluorescent light-box in the ceiling. It has two light bars in it. Between 10:30pm and 11:00pm the fluorescent lights are extinguished. They stay off until between 6:00am and 6:30am. Doesn't matter because there is also a regular light bulb up there. It's as strong as the one in your living-room. It's stays lit 24/7. I can write and read by it. In fact I'm doing so now. It's 4:37am.




This is my world. This is day 18 in “the Bucket”, punished without reason, charged with nothing, held  under the ever ambiguous investigation clause. I receive many messages from the yard, brought to me by the sympathetic guards. The messages are always the same: “We're trying to get you out, Katfish. Everyone knows they have the wrong guy.” Even the police who speak with me RE the investigation tell me that they too feel SIS has the wrong dude. Funny how one Poe and one Poe only is keeping me in here. Funnier still is the FACT that this single Poe is the very same Poe who hemmed up Ramon Milian, who once upon a time ago had a “My Story” page on Tales From The Cells. Now he's hemmed me up.(He's back up on Tales From The Cells, but is still sitting in the Bucket). Perhaps it really is just a coincidence. How do I know it's the same Poe? He told me.



I have a celly. His name is Bob. Bob is the silly fool that was suspected of checking in his bunky- a suspicious child molester type Bob says. Checking in means running a punk up the hill, into the Bucket seeking protective custody. When Bob's bunky checked in, naturally he gave the police Bob's name. Duh. And worse, when the investigating Poe hemmed Bob up, Bob actually had a note, in his own handwriting on an envelope in his pocket. The note was for his bunky. The note essentially said, “Check in or else”. I've asked Bob what the “or else” might have meant. Bob doesn't understand the question. After 18 days of Bob, I've discovered that in his 53 years of life, he's been hospitalized 4 times for self inflicted serious head trauma. To say Bob is a bit thick and simple-minded would be an understatement. Being Bob's celly has led me to discover new levels of self control. Everyone loves Forrest Gump, isn't that right? Good. How 'bout any one of you trying to live in an 8x12 box with one 24/7 for 18 days- no goddamned end in sight. Gump gets on my fucking nerves.


Now meet Cage world: The recreation cage is one large cage divided into 3 smaller cages. When I was a hostage here from July 29th, 05 thru December 5th, 05 for rioting (see my upcoming blog “Riot of '05”), two out of the three cages had both basketball hoops and pull up bars. The third had a dip bar/pull up bar contraption in it. The north and west walls are concrete, the rest is chain-link, roof inclusive. I went out there the other day. The pull up bars, dip bar contraption and basketball hoops have all been removed. Now it's simply 3 empty cages. That's Big Spring's segregation rec. Empty cages. Three of them.

There are other cages. In '05 it was only one. It was in a private room. It was utilized for strip searches, giving urine tests, or conducting interviews. Since 2005 three other cages have been installed in the middle of the thru-way that leads to the rec cages. Big Spring SHU does enormous business due to their SIS officer's inappropriate use of the 90 day investigation clause. Nothing like creating their own job security. Fuckers.


The rules also state a shower is to be made available 3 times a week. I detest this rule because I shower and shave every day. My floor's shower schedule is Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. The shower is also a caged affair at the front of every hallway. There are but 4 showers in the whole Bucket. The police must move hostages back and forth all day. Props to them.


There are plenty of police who work at FCI Big Spring whom realize that a convict's life is already plenty miserable enough, and those Poe show kindness when they can. Yet there are definitely those other Poe who clearly cannot wait to get to work so they can power trip on us for 8 to 10 hours. I don't mess with police. I don't try to make their jobs harder. I don't mess with anybody truth be known. That's a fact. Write up (shot) free since 1986-that for having a pocket camera in a prison honor camp in the Colorado State system- What I do is listen. And if I do hear of some outrageous behavior by BOP Big Spring staff, I look into it, write it down, and I share it. Misuse of authority is my number one peeve. Deliberate indifference pisses me off mightily. I probably have somewhere between 10,000 & 20,000 words RE these things already in my girls' hands. You're learning thru my eyes, my ears, my words.


Finally... I can't be certain of it, but I think they're messing with my mail. They could. Here's my address: Mike Harris#32599-013- 1900 Simler Ave- Big Spring, TX  79720. Send bug spray (not really). This cell is crawling with ants. Tuff little fuckers that refuse to be crushed. Bob and I tried to seal up the cracks with toothpaste. A battle we lost. Hard to sleep with ants on yuh. Struggle on. Is there anybody out there? Write me Whitebird. Where are you?


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Nikita  - Owner   |97.119.47.xxx |2009-07-04 07:19:31
Okay folks, things are about to heat the fuck up p retty quick here. My pla
n to do a special installm ent with all the blogs written in SHU to end at
a  peaceful transfer is not the case. Katfish is bein g fucked 7 ways
from Sunday, and really, it's ridi culous! Keep handing in there Fish, the
reserves a re on the way babe!!
mike Reardon  - n/a   |74.70.27.xxx |2010-10-04 06:28:06
evil is as evil does. wassup wit' you?
robin  - Sorry   |184.77.200.xxx |2012-06-30 01:54:36
I would like to say thank you for writing this.My boyfriend is in there and I'm
trying to learn ever ything I can about this place.I hope things get be tter fo
r all of you and everyone will be in my pra yers.
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Last Updated on Tuesday, 10 November 2009 23:58