Monday, November 10, 2014

My Scapular Part I

I do not now and never will use the names of any BOP employees in any of my posts. Although I am well into my seventh year in prison I have never received any disciplinary action for any reason. That is until today. I sit here in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) at Butner Federal Correctional Institution facing the penalty for two prohibited acts (307 & 312): refusing to obey a direct order and insolence. Fairly serious charges; but now let me explain to you the vindictive, petty behavior of the federal bureaucrats that made these charges come about.

I wear a brown cloth scapular that shows my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. I was given my scapular by a BOP priest at MDC Brooklyn. We were at Christmas Mass and all of the other Catholic inmates in attendance received a scapular as a gift, along with a pamphlet of the sacred prayer and the directions on the proper way to wear the scapular. I followed these rules of devotion from that day forward. Every once in a while a BOP employee would inquire about the scapular and my explanation would mute their interest.

Then one day as I was exiting the chow hall at Butner Low Correctional Institution (my new home) I was stopped and searched by a CO who found nothing an promptly bid me to move on. That is when a demon-possessed alpha bitch struck. She and her pack of mean girls clawed at me from all sides. They grabbed a water bottle cover and an ID holder both knitted in the colors of the Italian flag. Both were thrown in the trash. All the while the pack of hyenas kept spinning me from all sides with questions about my scapular and religion. It was very confusing. Next the alpha bitch zeroed in and demanded that I put my scapular beneath my shirt. When I explained that because of my religious beliefs I could not tuck it inside of my shirt, she blew up and hissed a summons for a chaplain to join the confrontation. So this chaplain in a light suit dress shirt much in the style of Elmer Fudd scurries into the mist of chaos. At that point he clearly states that currently there is no policy against wearing a scapular exposed but in the new compound rules, that were not yet signed or in affect, it will be prohibited. So I was within my rights at the time.

Then the dwarfish alpha bitch decided that she wanted it concealed anyway. So the chaplain, in an effort to placate her, ordered me to hide my scapular. At first I refused, then rather than being forced to wear it incorrectly I removed it altogether. I later reread the prayers and instructions and I reaffirmed my devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary and put the scapular back on as my outermost garment. I looked for the alpha bitch and not finding her I located the same chaplain of unknown religious denomination to let him know that I reviewed the religious instructions and would henceforth be wearing my scapular exposed. He asked if I was sure and I assured him that I was.

Afterwards we exchanged a few emails and he said that he spoke with some religious administrator who said it should be worn inside. At the same time another chaplain emailed and asked to meet with me. He read the directions that I had and explained the compound rules and said that when the new rules were enacted that I would have to tuck my scapular under my clothes but for now I could leave it outside of my shirt. He was really very fair and very helpful. I again referred to the religious instructions that I received with the scapular and again I refused to hide my devotion new rules or not. I went on to check with a priest that I know and respect. He said that at one time it was only worn as the outermost garment but during WWII they changed it for men who were doing dangerous jobs where the scapular might get caught somewhere and cause harm. Not worn inside for some willy nilly reason, or for someone's religious bias. Well I was not doing any dangerous work. Then I asked an inmate priest and he said that he wears his inside but he was in touch with the Carmelite Nuns and he would ask them. I then decided that whatever the Carmelites said was what I would follow. After all that is where the scapular comes from.

Now it gets crazy. About a week after my encounter with the alpha bitch she pounced again. I was leaving chow and she rushes up to me screaming, "Take it off! You were told to take it off!" I calmly told her that I was not taking my scapular off and that the new rules were not in effect and that I was within my rights. She again screamed, "Take it off or tuck it in the chaplain said so!" I refused and she made me follow her to the lieutenant's office.

At that point a lieutenant came out and demanded that I hide my scapular. I again refused. He told me that he would write me a shot if I did not comply. I refused and explained what the chaplain had said and that because of my religious beliefs I would not tuck the scapular inside. He explained to me that only Jews and Muslims were allowed to publicly display their religion. The scary part was that he really believed that bullshit. He also stated that even the Odinist had to wear Thors Hammer around their neck tucked in. Now I don't in anyway disparage another man's religion, and I don't care how they practice their faith but damn was I starting to think that I might be in the twilight zone or on candid camera. All the while out of the corner of my eye I see this red-headed alpha bitch glaring at me. I held my ground and refused to hide my scapular. The lieutenant told me that I would receive a shot and would see my team the next day to determine my punishment. I was finally excused by the alpha bitch telling me to, "Roll on." When I asked her to repeat herself because I didn't understand she screeched, "Roll on!!!!" like she was talking on a CB radio to a convoy of big rigs. Then I understood that she was telling me to leave and because I use a walker with wheels she was saying "roll on." What an ass.

That night while I was in the recreation yard I heard a version of my name called, then spelled, over the PA. THe announcement said for me to report to the lieutenant's office. I immediately went. This time I saw two lieutenants. They told me that if I did not put my scapular inside my shirt I would be shipped to the SHU that very night for a for a very long, long time. I refused and I continued to refuse.

At that point I was handcuffed (and even though I now use a walker) my two feet were shackled on orders from the lieutenant. I was escorted by two COs for a pretty long distance and put into a waiting van. I was then driven to the SHU at the deuce (The medium security facility in Butner). The COs at the deuce were hysterical! They kept commenting, "What's with the low? They sent you here for that? How petty are they? Who wrote that shot?" There were many other mocking comments directed at the low facility (where I am usually housed). Most of them also assured me that I would be back at the low by the next day.

Then an officer from the low came to interview me. He also said he couldn't believe why I was there. He then asked who wrote the shot. Not knowing the alpha bitch's name I handed him the ticket so he could see for himself who she was. The name he saw shocked him. He told me that she could do whatever she wanted to me. He could not or would not help me. Now I know that I am a prisoner but this is till America. One person cannot do to another person what they want. There are rules for everyone. Aren't there? First, I was brought to the SHU because of religious bias and now I would be subject to the whims of a crazy lady.

The next day a SHU lieutenant came to get me out. It seems that the SHU was much too crowded for me to be there for such a minor offense. I was happy. A person with common sense and a little bit of power had arrived. When I told him alpha bitch's name he said he would call her. Then he bid a hasty retreat leaving me in SHU and I never saw him again. Every day brought a new inquiry. Even a captain wanted to know why I was in there for so long for such bullshit. He said there must be more. I must have cursed one of his officers. I told him that's so not true. It seems he was on vacation and dint' know the story and was just trying to trap me out there. One bright point was that alpha bitch was hated by almost everybody. Everyone but the captain had a derogatory adjective for her: "Full of herself, nasty, vindictive, evil, nuts and bitch." She is a real lovely person.

So because of alpha bitch's religious persecution and a weak-kneed chaplain I was locked up in solitary for eight days. My whole time in the SHU I wore my scapular exposed. Then when I returned to the low all of my personal belongings did not return with me. As a matter of fact, they were not given to me for a few weeks. I was told that the brass had a hold on it to further teach me a lesson. When I went to a hearing with my scapular still exposed the second chaplain stated the facts via the telephone to two BOP employees who promptly dismissed the ticket with no sanctions at all.

Don't smile yet the alpha bitch and her friends in the administration were far from finished with me. If you stay tuned for the next few weeks you can catch the updates of how the tyrants roll.

Stronger Today Than Yesterday.


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