Wednesday, September 23, 2015

William Myrl; Letters to No One (27)

Dear No One,

People are starting to get their players back. They all put in requests well after mine, but unjust progress is better than no progress at all, or something along those lines. I miss music, and I miss not having a time limit on typing these things up. At least it probably sounds more authentic, given that there is no drafting or editing involved, just fifteen to twenty minutes of my inadequate typing.

So there are a couple of points of interest I thought I would mention. The Unit manager of this building has gone on a crusade against property boxes being left out from under the bunks. He cites the ACA standards on unencumbered space as his rationale. Funny thing, the ACA standards have nothing whatsoever to do with inmate behavior. They are federal guidelines given to the states relating what they are supposed to provide prisoners with. As it stands, all the cells in this place were built according to a single occupant standard, and like every other prison built in that fashion, they were subsequently double bunked. There is literally nothing you could do to make our cells in compliance with the ACA without knocking out a wall.

Moreover, the presence or absence of a property box on the floor has nothing to do with "encumbered" space, because that refers to fixtures, not objects like trash cans or shoes or property boxes. Amusingly, the way to get around having the box totally under the bunk is by using it as a step. This is allowed, in a complicated bureaucratic fashion, because the ladders attached to the bunks have non regulation rungs. They start too high. So, being on the top bunk, I am allowed to leave my box out no more than twelve inches from under the bed to act as an ersatz step.

The actual text of the ACA standards also reads that the boxes have to be in operation position at all times, so putting them under the bunks is a no go. They can't be opened under there. Not that there would be any room to walk in the cell if both boxes were totally out at all times, but the point is that neither the standards or the people pretending to enforce them make any sense.
They handed out nearly fifty charges in our building before people realized this wasn't a joke. I emphasize, "in our building", because our unit manager is the only one who does this. It is his personal hobby horse, and when he switches buildings the horse goes with him. He was working this building two years ago and tried the same nonsense, then he moved and it went away. Now he has returned, to everyone's consternation.

Think about this. It is not an institutional rule. The warden doesn't care, no other unit managers are doing it, and it relates to no known statute or standard. For some reason, this man has taken and intense personal interest in the positioning of our property boxes. He has used a totally irrelevant set of rules to justify it. How does this sort of thing come about? I am actually curious, WTF? Anyways, it's just one more silly thing, like having to wear our IDs with the faces visible, or tucking in our shirts on the boulevard, or separating rec periods between the buildings, or taking away grey sweatshirts because they might give the officers something similar in the future, or counting our books, or outlawing pictures with boobs in them...


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