no.09

"One time, my brother came to the hole and I asked to be in the cell next to him so he could help with my case. I said I’d cover my window otherwise. They said, 'Cover your window and kill yourself.'"

I been down here 20 months now. I was in solitary for over a year, starting just the second or third day I was inside. It messed my head up a little bit and made me want to act out even more. When I acted out, I got put in a restraint chair or tased. They had me in a restraint chair for over 16 hours one time. Then they took my tray meals away and put me on bagged lunches - just three sandwiches a day - for almost a month. This was all for “assaultive behaviors.” I just started talking to walls and stuff. One time, my brother came to the hole and I asked to be in the cell next to him so he could help with my case. I said I’d cover my window otherwise. They said, “Cover your window and kill yourself.” I covered my window and SERT came. They tased me for over ten seconds and I chipped my tooth. After those first 180 days they gave me, they just kept reupping. They gave me 90 days for every time I was maced, tased, or put in the restraint chair. One time they reupped because I covered my window when my toilet and running water were broken. Covering my window is a way to get attention. It works sometimes. They know what I want when I do things. Some COs [correctional officers] give you what you want, some don’t.

solitary1.jpg

solitary

digital photograph

2020

Once, they kept me in a cell for two weeks with no mattress and just two thin blankets. They said this was because of “mattress restriction,” which doesn’t exist. I stuck my arm through the slot in my cell door to demand my mattress and they started giving it to me for a few hours every afternoon. But sleeping at night just wasn’t gonna happen. I was staying up all night in pain because of the bullets in me. I’ve had bullets in my right hip, lower back, and upper back for almost two years and the pain keeps getting worse. I have trouble bending over and I limp. The bullets be moving around, giving me muscle spasms. I was also supposed to have surgery to get a bullet out before I came inside. They’re saying there’s a policy that I can’t get surgery, but they haven’t provided me anything showing that policy exists. I was on medication for the nerve damage on the streets and they say they don’t give that in jail. They have me on Tylenol and a muscle relaxer, but that only helps a little. I put in a sick call slip the other day because I was in so much pain and saw a doctor, but he said he didn’t see an immediate threat to my health. All he gave me was physical therapy, but that doesn’t help for neurotoxicity from the bullets or the surgery I need. Physical therapy is just stretches on a piece of paper and the sessions last ten minutes. I haven’t seen them since last month; they took me off the list. I’ve asked for a cane or a walker, but they ignored it. They said, “You’re walking fine to us.” 

 

The first time I was diagnosed with PTSD was after I saw my brother get shot. I was re-diagnosed when I got shot. The medication helps some, but I still have symptoms. One minute I’ll be joking around, then I’ll be moody. I’m supposed to see the doctor every 30 days. Sometimes they’ll just reorder the meds without seeing me and increase the doses. Sometimes I feel like the doses need to be changed. I saw a doctor when I got out of solitary who changed my meds and I feel fine on those. They also changed my seizure medication and that’s been alright. While I was in solitary, I had a seizure. I’ve had them since I was 15, but that’s the only one I’ve had inside. They called a medical emergency on me and gave me a shot, but I was back in my cell from medical after only half an hour. I felt horrible afterward. I hit the back of my head during the seizure and they didn’t do anything.  

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Kaitlin Grant is a mixed media artist currently residing in Lansing, Michigan. Her work primarily focuses on addressing social issues through experimental photography and collage.

  • Instagram