"If I could, I would make a petition to the Supreme Court or the Governor. I would stand in front of the courthouse every day with a sign screaming my lungs out for equal justice, every damn day. I would take immunity away from the DAs and police officers. Let them be accountable for they own actions."
Don’t nobody stick to policy around here. They’re taking the law library boxes out and replacing them with the video visit. I’m ready to tear them a you-know-what when I find out the handbook isn’t accessible on the iPad. Thinking through legal stuff gives me hope that I might have some type of gratification, me knowing my rights. It helps me let other people know what their rights are, too. They shut the water off last night. It’s still jacked up down here, but the inmates don’t want to stand up for nothing. If they stand up for their rights, this jail won’t run. But there’s tasing, macing. I can smell the mace through the air vents at least once a day from SERT, the jail’s version of a SWAT team, responding to a “disturbance” on pods that are likely to have guys with mental health conditions. SERT has been responding a lot more because of the pandemic. This block is a madhouse, but the real problem is the administration. Somebody's got to get in that circle, file a claim on them, or nothing's going to get done.
Can’t get nothing done in the courts and you can’t get nothing done down here. It’s a jail of hopelessness. Everyone walks around sedated, half crazy, or violent. It’s just bad. Most of the jail is on psychiatric medicine. I bet since this pandemic the number has jumped off the roof. There’s some trying to hang it up every day down here. They started me on medicine last month for my depression, anxiety, and PTSD because things have been stressful. I think I’m screwed up because they prescribe people too much medicine rather than actually fixing the issue. I feel like I’m being forced to take meds. If I was on a regular block I could just not take them, but on my block the nurse is on me. She’s awful; I call her Nurse Ratched.
The pandemic has been stressful. 23 hours in the cell, 1 hour out has been bad for inmates and guards, and the guards are taking it out on us. I'm back on psych meds because of so much time in my cell. Everyone feels hopelessness. We can’t get a fair trial, and we’re not even getting jury trials until next year. One hour out only gives me time to shower and make a phone call. Yard access is limited, and sometimes people get burnt on their rec time because of how many people are on the block. There’s no gym, no movement. Years ago, we used to be able to go to the gym. Being locked inside, we’re losing sight of the world. More time to work out would really help my mental health. My grandma just passed and I tried to get furlough, but they aren’t doing them. We’re just stuck down here. Guys are being rebellious because of how hard it is.
My job is keeping me sane. I’m a caretaker for people with autism and intellectual disabilities on the mental health block. I do legal work and counseling ﹣ I’m their dad, their mom. I cut their hair. Sometimes it gets overwhelming because I’m also trying to take care of myself, but they don’t have anybody fighting to get them out of here. The jail is trying to pass them off to other facilities and outside programs. Only two people I’ve seen actually care about these people. Once, I saw an autistic guy have a seizure. I ran into his cell to hold him, but SERT responded and pushed me out of the way. They cuffed him. To see somebody standing over top of you with an AR gun isn’t helpful when you’re having a crisis. It’s intimidating when they come on the block, and can even cause a person to be rebellious. There’s days where I see ‘em where I’ll be like, I’ll use that gun on you so you see how it feel.
If I could, I would make a petition to the Supreme Court or the Governor. I would stand in front of the courthouse every day with a sign screaming my lungs out for equal justice, every damn day. I would take immunity away from the DAs and police officers. Let them be accountable for they own actions.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Flora-Sae Kim is a queer disabled artist and writer, whose works aim to explore and expand upon the shadows of our personal struggles and strengths. Their work is deeply personal, political, and spiritual-daring to push boundaries and encourage the viewer to expand in their perceptions of the norm, or rather lack thereof.