It’s Not Pretty

by AVA News Service, November 6, 2013

Editor

Oh, the irony! I have gone from living in a gorgeous Victorian apartment on sunny San Bruno Avenue to dwelling in a hideous cage in perpetually foggy San Bruno jail.

My alleged crime is vandalism on the most vandalized bus route on the West Coast, the 14 Mission line. Apparently some do-gooder hero wannabe cop (snitch?) with a "cellphone badge" saw a guy with long blonde hair throw a boombox at the back of said bus and called 911. The cops came like lightning due to this broken window/assault on an inanimate object and must have issued an all points bulletin for the suspect. A half an hour later the pigs spot me four blocks away and slam me to the ground and drag me to jail where I'm facing three years in prison just on the probation violation. Of course, I can't afford a decent lawyer and I got dealt a crappy (in jail we call them dumptrucks) public defender who does next to nothing to get me out on my own recognizance which would have allowed me to keep my job and apartment.

So now even if I get out after my probation revocation hearing in a couple of weeks I will still have lost two months of San Francisco Indian Summer, my housing, my job, and maybe even my very hot girlfriend. (Damn I hope not.)

It's draconian as all hell when you think of the real crime that's going on in the world.

However, I'm not writing to the AVA with a sob story looking for sympathy. I hate to admit it, but it's my own stupid fault for ever being on probation to begin with. The point of this letter is to update my beloved friends in the Emerald Triangle on the incarceration situation in San Francisco County jails.

As usual, it isn't pretty.

#1. The sixth floor in the Hall of Injustice at 850 Bryant Street is closed or in the process of closing for reasons not yet made clear to the inmates of the other four San Francisco County jails. I say good f---in' riddance! When I think of the atrocities that have gone down on that line it almost brings tears to my eyes.

#2. We are starving in here. The diabolical 1%-er CEOs at Aramark prison industrial food services are gradually chipping away at our caloric intake to the point of sheer desperation. I've heard of people eating orange peels with toothpaste on them. And the value of a single Top Ramen soup has skyrocketed. You could be beaten to death for a 10¢ wedge of salt flavored starch. I kid you not. For lunch today we got two slices of bread, two slices of what passes for lunchmeat, four one-inch long carrot slices and a packet of mustard. That's less than I got from the school lunch program in second grade for crying out loud. Meanwhile, I'm told by deputies that the price of Aramark stock is going up.

#3. If you don't have a high school diploma and don't want to go to class and pursue one, you get sent to the hole and lockdown for 23 hours a day. I've heard they will also send letters to the judge and the district attorney stating that you are "refusal to program" thereby tarnishing your chances at freedom. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for rehabilitation and San Francisco is to be commended for lowering the recidivism rate in recent years. But this entire forced education and rehabilitation program is screwed in at least a couple of ways. For example, if you are looking at a serious chunk of prison time and you just lost your job, your house, your girl, your kids, your car, and maybe your life, do you really want to be stuck in a classroom studying algebra with a bunch of youngsters shooting spitballs?

Also, many inmates such as myself prefer to self- educate at our own pace. I for one learn a lot by playing chess and reading all day. I'm currently enjoying Erick Lyle's book, "On The Lower Frequencies," a secret history of the city. Mix in some copies of Maximum Rock'n-Roll with a few thrasher skateboard mags while imbibing in some coffee, candy bars and contraband, and I almost feel subversive as as time goes by in this living Inferno.

Thanks for listening and here's hoping you had a happy October harvest.

Jesse Driggs,

San Bruno Jail

PS. IcareAramark.com. Send food to jail online with your credit card or debit card 24 hours a day worldwide. Don't forget us, please.

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