One of my reliable uniformed CI's told me that he believed our former prison tsar Harold Clarke broke camp because of the high suicide rate in Massachusetts prisons. Hell, if suicide were a disease, Harold Clarke was a carrier. This asshole came from out of state, out of space, to do nothing but scramble the system beyond recognition. For those in the know, he FUBAR'd it. He doubled up Zooza, placed men in behavioral mental health OCCC, and generally had a reverse Midas touch on everything in his range of vision. Like the Sneasel he was (a sneasel is a cross between a snake and a weasel), he slid out of town and into a state where he could be happier tending over death penalty cases. Bad luck for Virginia. Good luck for us. Maybe.

So now what? Everyone else "downtown" left too. Why? What did they know and how long have they known it? Even when offered the job as commissioner, three people refused it. Apparently none of them had the sack to stand up to the rogue union run amok with good PR about walking the toughest beat in town. Teachers get punched out more than any guards ever did. The "toughest beat in town" mantra is no more than a cry for more money and more guards to get even more money. Like baseball players, it will never be enough even when they get the millions to do something as mundane and boring as opening and closing doors.

The one commissioner that actually tried to make a difference was harassed into quitting by the guards. They followed her around with an inflatable rat on the roof of a car while she drove down the street. What did she rat about? Oh yes, I do recall that she released a video of a couple of guards beating and kicking a chained prisoner as he laid on the ground screaming, "I'm not resisting! I'm not resisting!" The shame of it all! I mean, in the past the only videos ever released were of prisoners acting up. Or the best one of all, when they do a shakedown they show weapons they confiscated during the 70s. I know; one of them is an axe that I had in 1973. I've seen it on the news after every major shakedown since.

No matter who takes the lead role, he or she will face a myriad of problems left by their predecessors. They will need to single cell Zooza again as the most immediate measure of safety and a bit of peaceful harmony. They will need to find a way of rewarding good behavior because as it stands now, no matter how well anyone does, at the end of the day they will receive the same amount of nothing as a raving lunatic. They are also going to need a way of dealing with lifers, especially us old bastards with attitudes. Let's go back to what worked in the 70s. Allow our families to buy us our clothing and appliances. It would save the state a lot of money and give us a chance to at least feel a bit more human as we put on warm clothing in winter. The Company Store is selling us shoddy goods at inflated prices. Our families can comparison shop for us as an alternative. I am not suggesting eliminating the company store (Keefe Corp), but let's keep their competition real. We pay hundreds of dollars for $50 TVs, radios, typewriters, and assorted clothing. If we don't like their stuff, we can just go shop elsewhere or do without. Hey, I'm okay with nudity if need be — nothing more attractive than a fat bald old man in his skivvies running around the place.

The sneasels will keep running the place while the reasels (a cross between a rat and a weasel) will run rampant among us. Even vermin have their places in life. Sad that they seem to all gravitate to a certain field to roll in the bovine excrement of their own making.

Whatever the future holds for us, it can only change when we stand with one voice inside and out to demand positive change and humane treatment. For those lifers out there reading this, you too will grow old in here. Think about how you want to spend what remains of your life behind the walls and razor wire. The old adage still applies, live on your feet or die on your knees.

   Joe Labriola

  Return to top of page