Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Light & Water

Strange Grey. Retreat. Biscuit. These are the colors that Butler County Prison used to paint and detail it's insides with. Imagine bright florescent lights bouncing off of off white walls all day, 24 hours a day. This is part of the physicality of jail life in Butler County.

I want to talk today about just that, the physical side of jail...I have spent time already covering the very personal side of my own struggles at the jail, my biased opinions and my side of the experience. There is another side to incarceration that cannot be biased, it simply is.

Before going further, I am not someone who is under the illusion that jails should be exactly comfortable...there is discomfort in the so-called free world, and of course the comfort level in jail would be less than that. Naturally, jail will be bare bones necessity.

There are two points that I really want to cover now; the first being light, the second being water.

Light. In Butler County Prison, you are subject to florescent lights 24/7. I am not an optometrist, but I have to think that this is not good for one's eyes. There is a little respite at night when the staff generously turns one of the two lights in your cell off...but after a few minutes, you don't notice. You could comfortable read a book all night in the lighting. The jail actually sites the reasoning behind this is that it makes it easier for guards to count captives at night...as opposed to using their flashlights to look in. First...no one is going anywhere after lock in, counting is arbitrary. Second, if an individual considers using a flash light as hard work, maybe that individual shouldn't work in the corrections industry. Just opinion here...what do I know? In contrast, captives are provided little or no real opportunity to see real sunlight...the rec yard gets a thin ray of light for a short time during the day, and the windows in the cells are frosted to "prevent inmates from signalling free persons". Again, excuse me if my opinion is showing but what kinda chittlins is that? Signalling them for what exactly? An armed escape? A revolt? Laughable.

Water. The keystone of our life. Water in jail is not what most people would consider "drinkin' water". This over chlorinated, recycled water literally tastes like pool water.

Sometimes less is more. I am going to omit needless words and leave it at that. Chlorinated/recycled. Very little sunlight, if any.