The Dregs of Society

For a state so short of funds, it is amazing to me that there can be so many do-nothing captains in one prison at the same time, along with a recent graduation class of future captains who will also one day be sucking off the public milk.

Remember Steve Kennoway, the once head of the guards' union? You probably saw him many times "testifying" before the legislature about how tough guards had it in the system today. Really? When was the last time a prison guard was killed? He once told the legislature and the press that "we walk the toughest beat in town". Really? Ask any high school teacher who walks the toughest beat in town. More teachers are assaulted in one year than any guards are in ten years. Yet teachers get less than half the salary these guards get. The sad part is that the guards don't even have the common decency to wear a ski mask when they pick up their pay checks.

The people in the Department of Corruption that wear suits know how to get the biggest bang in their buck. What they do is sit in the weeds until it's time to get ready for retirement; then they put on guards uniforms with gold captain bars. Even former superintendents do this because a captain makes more money on retirement than a prison warden. So, here's Kennoway, now a gold-bar captain at MCI Shirley. Imagine having a legitimate grievance and going to him for resolution with fairness? About a week ago as I was heading to the lie lawbrary, I saw three captains, none of whom I have ever seen before in this joint, pulling guys over to check their ID cards and to reprimand them if they had in any way altered their clothing. You have more than a quarter of a million a year standing there like Taliban warlords doing all they can to provoke and antagonize so that it will make life more difficult for the two women now running this prison. It is a concerted effort to get their own way in all matters, regardless of established rules and regulations. They all stood there "walking the toughest beat in town" as the prisoners passed by.

Today men are given D reports for breaking rules that aren't even rules. They are charged with violating any rule in the DOC, even though they cannot cite exactly what rule was broken. Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22, would have had a ball with this concept. In fact, they ought to rename that particular rule "Catch-22" for expediency and uncontestable, concrete proof that something was broken, even though something wasn't broken.

I believe in insurrection through the written word. I never go to disciplinary boards, because it never has mattered what any of us "had to say for ourselves." Who are any of these drunks and wife-beaters to sit in judgement of me? I have never filed a grievance report either. Go to the head weasel and complain about what their brother weasel did to me, and expect a positive result?

I once wrote an article entitled "Just Say No" about how to win in the game. The plantation cannot run without the prison slaves. Let the Dregs do all the work, for the outrageous sums they get paid every year. No violence. Just passive resistance. That is what will get us decent food and programs that really mean something toward our release dates. It also might make them begin too treat our visitors with the respect and dignity they deserve. What a concept.

   Joe Labriola, Prisoner

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