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The Zoo SHU: Blog 7 YAZ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Katfish   
Sunday, 24 January 2010 00:46

Came to the Zoo SHU (Yazoo City's Special Housing Unit, or “The Hole”) on Friday, 12-11-09 at ten in the morning. My unforgivable infraction? Authoring blogs about my life inside a Federal Prison Complex. Let me define what a “Prison Complex” is. Here, in Yazoo City, MS, you'll find an Honor Camp, A Low Security Facility (is where I am), and a Medium Security Facility. Convicts and Guards alike call this place “The Zoo”. The Zoo has aspirations to become a full service Prison Complex. Word has it that ground has been broken in order to begin building a USP to add to the collection. Shave and a haircut...two bits.


Back to the Zoo SHU. Each cell is approximately 12' x 7'. This SHU has a shower in each cell. Takes up a lot of room, but I'm glad to have it. You see, even though the Hole is the Hole is the Hole, and even though I've been in only one other Prison's Hole, The Zoo's SHU is way better than Big Spring, Texas's. (A little Prison I fondly remember as Big Dump.) NOTE: I never ever went to the Hole in the Colorado State Prison System during four separate incarcerations over a 20 year span. What does that suggest about the BOP's shameless methodology of Segging men on a Guard's whim? It really truly is guilty until proven innocent in the BOP.


As I said, my cell has a shower. Big Dump's doesn't.
My cell here has a window I can see outside from. Big Dump's doesn't.
Here I have two blankets. Big Dump only allowed you one. It seems to be freezing in every SHU in the system, I ask around.


Food here is way better, with the exception of a couple power tripping Guards who should've never been given authority over other people's lives in the first place (it went straight to their freakin' heads), the vast majority of the Guards are decent people. It was essentially the same at Big Dump. Whatever.

Dig this, inside my cell, I control the light switch. I can turn it off to sleep. Pure black. On, off. On, off. Check that out!



Let me tell you something else; the water here is much better. Thirty parts per million of Arsenic in that water at Big Dump. For serious, dude. Not here in The Zoo. You can taste the difference.



Naturally there's some unpleasant aspects of the Zoo SHU. I mean, it is the Hole after all. For example; have any of you heard of a Flex Pencil? No? Neither had I. Not until I got segged here and asked for some paper and something to write with. I was given an orange rubber band that has a black streak in it. I'm not kidding. You can tie a friggen knot in a flex pencil. If I didn't know better (and I rarely do), I'd think a Flex Pencil was a gag item from a joke store. But it's not. We're really supposed to write with these. For serious. Pencil lead you can tie a knot in. Lipstick is firmer. Umm, not that I've ever fucked with lipstick, but you get my drift. I'm quite fortunate that I have one of the last SHU pens left, a three inch jobber. Once it's ink runs dry, who knows?

The Zoo's Medical Department is lousy with lazy, STILL. Naturally there are a couple of Staff in Medical who care and who try. But for the most part, because I wrote the department up, here in a documented grievance (dismissed of course) as well as on TFTC they'd just as soon let me croak before helping me out. If I get the Swine Flu, I'm a goner, and it'll probably be a flat boat ride out into the swamps, my body in the prow and somebody from Medical going, “Here gator, gator, gator.”

So anyway, there are no book carts in the Zoo SHU. I'm fortunate that I have people who care enough to send paperbacks. For serious, I am a reading and writing machine.

The first cell they put me in had Black Mold in it. Somebody want to tell me what the big scare with this stuff is? I dumped some yellow SHU cleanser on it and simply scrubbed it gone. That's that. Mold schmold. P-Tooey on Black Mold.



Here's the very worst part (at least in my book it is): They do not sell coffee on the Zoo SHU Commissary. They do give over two 8 ounce Styrofoam cups of Chickory Coffee every morning with (or shortly after) breakfast. That helps fend off those nasty 'feiner withdrawal headaches. So there is that. The SHU's Property Officer (a guard who catalogs everything that came out of your unit/cell locker) allowed me to keep two bags of my Keefe Coffee. But that was like, three weeks ago. Ran out yesterday. They do give me 16oz a day. But on the Compound I guzzle over 60oz a day. There's some mighty powerful jonesing in my future.

Here's some things that have stood out in my mind these past 3 weeks inside the Zoo Shu:

X-mas Dinner. The tray thru the slot in the door had a Cornish game hen on it, a scoop of bone dry cornbread dressing, scoop of green beans, two dinner rolls, a mini apple pie (like, maybe 5 inches in diameter), and surprisingly enough, a cup of Nog. Each SHU Convict also received the regular BOP X-Mas sack. These sacks are filled with a couple dozen lunch-bag sized snack-packs of chips, crackers, cookies and candy. X-Mas was groovy.



It's a few days before the New Year's Day meal. On the menu is ice cream. I believe this is to be given out on New Year's Eve. I know the schedule on the bulletin board in the Unit has it marked down as an “Ice Cream Social”. Think about that for a second. Can you really picture Federal Convicts having an “Ice Cream Social”?

The main meal on New Year's Day is supposed to consist of a piece of grilled beef with onions, some seafood (I can't even begin to imagine what that might be), a baked spud with sour cream, and some type of dessert, probably another mini pie.

And there you go, my life in the hole. A right corker, ain' it?


BTW- They released my friend, Plywood. He is back on the Compound. Went there yesterday afternoon (12-28-09, Monday). This is good. This is very good. I give the lil' fella many props though. He too possesses the courage of his convictions. He too had the balloons to toe the line and say, “Enough is enough.”
Ever on, little brother.
Ever On.

~Katfish  12-29-09

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Last Updated on Sunday, 31 January 2010 02:38