by Letters to the Editor, July 1, 2009
We are locked down here for the second time this month.
I’m reading your June 17, 2009, issue, the one with your poignant “Welcome Rastafarians!” Followed by “See p. 9.” There being only eight pages, all brilliantly written and edited, the Rastis were surely deflated. If they would just wash their hair occasionally they may actually be welcomed — somewhere.
Peculiar prisoner behavior I have noticed since I’ve been in general population at this prison:
Wild rampant tattooing with more and more men appearing with nonsense letters and images, gaudily, grotesquely and permanently tattooed on their faces and necks.
The Nazis had to force their undesirables to get tattoos. Here, they wantonly deface themselves.
When a gang member takes a shower here he must have a fellow gang member standing guard outside the shower. Most of us are not gang members and we shower whenever we want to without “lookouts.”
They join neighborhood gangs out of peer pressure when they are very young. The nature of the gang interferes with the natural maturity process so they become immature adults.
One of the selling points for ganghood is power. One of the obvious drawbacks is less freedom. Whenever a person joins anything he or she is then obliged to do certain things and has less say-so in deciding for him or herself what is best.
Some organizations have minimal requirements of membership such as the “book of the month club.” Others will control your life for years, such as the military, and some will control your life right into a life sentence at a maximum security prison.
Think — before your give up your right to think for yourself.
I’m still teaching high school in here and working on the parole board.
Keep well — Freedom
Paul Jorgensen 53599-146
USP Hazelton PO Box 2000
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525
PS. Here’s an “institutional update to the inmate population” dated June 23, 2009: “On June 21, 2009, USP Hazelton was locked down based on an incident of inmate on inmate violence. Inmates are reminded there will be zero tolerance for any act of violence directed towards inmates or staff. It is our goal and it will continue to be our goal to ensure a safe operation at this institution. On Tuesday, June 23, mass interviews will be conducted with the inmate population. Once mass interviews have been completed the inmate population will receive another update. If any serious issues arise relating to the orderly running of the institution, staff safety, or inmate safety, USP Hazelton will remain locked down. Therefore, your cooperation is required. — James N. Cross, Guardian.”