Welcome to Moose Lake

VINCE

It all happened so quickly: Monday night they called my name for a red box; Tuesday morning I packed up all my stuff; and by Wednesday afternoon I was way up north in Moose Lake State Prison.

I’m excited.  I’m not being stored in a county jail.  For a few days, however, I am being stored in a segregation unit, by myself, without any of my property, until there is an opening in general population.  I don’t really get why they took me from St. Cloud if they had no room here.  But I’ll accept the time in seg if it means they’re giving me an early start to Boot Camp.  All of the people that had been approved for Boot Camp and were being transferred with me were scheduled to enter Boot Camp two months from now.  So I’m thinking, hopefully, that somehow I got bumped up.

I’ve been in seg 2 1/2 days now and I still haven’t been able to make a phone call.  It kind of pisses me off that they treat me like somebody that has gotten into a fight or has broken the major rules. Not the attitude I had when I arrived.  Being in solitude has definitely changed my opinion.  It makes no sense to me.  Why am I here?

This really sucks.  Friday night and at the very least I’ll be stuck here for the weekend.  I still have no idea when I will be able to use a phone.  The schedule said today, but nobody ever came to let me know when.

When I was in Hazelden in 2001, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, although I think if I knew the correct responses to their questions, I could have been diagnosed with excessive flatulence and dementia.  If it had a pill, it could be cured at Hazelden Center for Youth and Families.

Anyhow…my mother is the only one other than them to inquire of my mental stability, repeatedly.  Looking back at just the first page I wrote since my arrival in Moose Lake, I can see some big mood swings.  Naturally I can deduct that my emotional stability, or instability, is a product of my environment.  Makes sense, since I have been in some pretty shitty places, the segregation unit of Moose Lake State Prison being one of them.  If I were at Disneyland, I would not need pills.  Here, I need pills, right?

[ANNE: In the Department of Corrections handbook, under “Prison Lingo”, Segregation (solitary confinement) is defined as a “restricted living unit used to house offenders who have violated major rules.” The United Nations Convention Against Torture considers solitary confinement and indefinite detention to be forms of cruel and unusual punishment, if not torture. The US is one of the big offenders, along with Iran, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Thing is, those countries are known for locking up political dissidents and throwing away the key—it kind of makes sense even if it’s horribly wrong. Vince is a petty drug dealer.

As an introvert who loves spending time alone, I had to think through why solitary is considered a form of torture. It goes back to my Christmas Day post, where I wrote about how human connections, while they can be challenging, are the ultimate source of meaning in life. While I enjoy being alone, I have a choice about it, and I can pick up the phone and call a friend or go hang out in a coffee shop whenever I want to end my isolation.]

 

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