ABC | 02.01.2008 18:16 | Repression
Use of violence by the prison guards is quite common, they have a special sound-proof room, where they carry you. It looks like that, they come in 10-15 people, it depends on what you've done. They wear helmets, protection vest, with shields and batons. They drive you to the room kicking you, beating with batons all over your body. When you're already there, nobody can hear you, because the room is made in a way that no sound would go out, they put a protection helmet on your head, so that you wouldn't smash it on the wall yourself (where's that great care coming from?!) and a belt with handcuffs, so that you wouldn't defend yourself. Those philanthropists, depending on their mood, or how their last night with their wives was, come several times to „cure you from the demons”. When you get out of there, after 24 or 48 hours, sometimes longer, you have to promise you'll be quiet. You go to a doctor (who in my case said so!) who looks at your body, then says you won't die from it, or that you'll be fine soon. They say those things to the others too! Usually you are put in another cell afterwards.
Here, I will describe only one of the experiences I've had during this punishment. Everything I write about are my personal experiences, but I've chosen one, the one I wasn't quiet about. It was as usual, but that day, it was a little different because of some reasons that I want to write about, because I will always remember that day. I've already described how it looks like. That day, more of them came for me, it was in Przemysl prison. One of them took me to a common room so that they could take the other ones from the cell out, it was a cell for more than 20 people. They wanted to remove witnesses, because they wanted to start the party in that particular cell. When they came for me to the common room and I went out to the corridor I was thrilled with the number of cops that I saw. There were a lot of smashed jars in the corridor, they threw them out of the cell. First, they put me against the wall with my arms upwards and with my legs wide astride. Then they were abusing me with offensive words, then I was hit in the back of my head and I fell down, the party began. My whole body was kicked, beaten, they didn't look where they hit. When they stopped the fun for a while, they ordered me to stand up and stand against the wall again. I did what they asked for, meanwhile, half of them stood in a line along the cell. My bed was next to the wall in the end of a 20-person cell! Then they asked me to come inside the cell and take my stuff. I had to go through an „obstacle course” [which means all the cops on his way were beating him up heavily – translator's comment]. They gave me one minute to take my stuff, which was impossible to do, so they had another reason to beat me up. That was the third time in 10 (?) minutes. While they were having fun with my stuff, letters, photos etc. I was standing against the wall. There were loads of smashed jars around, that was next to the door of the cell. I didn't notice when I was hit in the head and I fell cutting my hands, there was a jar in front of my eyes, I mean, the leftovers of a jar, it was standing with its bottom down, with a smashed edge. If I hadn't protected myself with my hands, I would have fallen in the glass with my face, in the best case possible, it would cut my face, in the worst case, it'd pierce into my forehead. I turned pale, I looked in the eyes of the person, who hit me, for a while he realized what could have happened. He stopped for a while, he kicked the glass, and continued on beating me up. After all, the put me in an isolation cell, I put out my stuff and laid down, counting bruises on my head. There were 16 of them. My body was so bruised and sore that I was really terrified. But the peace didn't last long. They cleaned up the corridor and they took me again. While they were kicking me, I opened my eyes, I saw them leaning over me. I knew I lost consciousness, but I found out about the epilepsy after few weeks. They gave it up and carried me to the cell. They said the doctor had holidays, so they I couldn't see him, with a lot of injuries and internal pains, of kidneys, liver and something else, but it's hard to tell, I felt pain everywhere. When the signs of the crime came off... It's hard for me to call it other way, because I have a long sentence for a battery with a use of a dangerous weapon in self-defense. So I am a criminal according to the law, so who are they according to the law, the law that says I am a criminal? Okay, so, when all signs went off, they suddenly took me to a hospital, a civil one, to see a neurologist. He asked me about my head injuries, if I had ones in my childhood, or of I fell off a bike, shit like that. I never had any head injuries, so I told him the truth, when I had ones and all the circumstances. I knew that was the reason why I was at the neurologist, that I lost consciousness, but he was the first to tell me that I was there because of epilepsy. Oh fuck, post-traumatic epilepsy, concussion. I don't know what he wrote in the files, but since then, I've been taking medicines to decrease the risk of a potential epilepsy.
Okay, so I started to act, I wrote to the prosecutor, to the ombudsman. I have the right to glue the official letters and to take confirmation of receipt of those letters. I did so to avoid the possible loss of those letters. The attitude of prison guards towards me changed, but only for the time of my acting. So the investigation on the case started but I got replies that there are no evidences supporting my version, there are no traces, I didn’t file it to the educator (who knew about everything), to the prison’s chief, I tried to meet him but I didn’t succeed, but he also knew about everything. I had no forensic examination because the doctor was on holiday. And the epilepsy that I have is an alcoholic one. What the fuck, when was I supposed to drink? I’ve been in jail since my teens, then on my 18th birthday I was in prison again, for 18 months, then I was free for 2 months and 4 days, then I was imprisoned for another 2 years. That was my second time in jail. So when was I supposed to drink? But, yeah, they say it’s alcoholic and that’s it. I wrote dozens of letters, but of course everything was totally groundless, everybody fucked up, nothing happened, there are no evidences (so I lie for sure), they were covering each other! I couldn’t do anything, it all looked as I described. A local newspaper wrote some few shitty lines about that whole show they made in the prison. Not only were the guards fired, also the people from the very top. It all started when the prison was visited by the representatives of European Commission and they were talking to everyone from the cells, the authorities couldn’t take part in this, they didn’t allow them. Nobody was scared at that time, because they believed there’s a chance for improvement of the conditions in the prison and they won’t be repressed, because the guards weren’t there during the control visit of the Commission. There were also controls made my the commission from the Central Office of the Prison Guards, but everyone knew that it’s all the same shit and first of all, complaints wouldn’t work and secondly, they would be repressed. So guys were scared.
The next thing is healthcare. You’re not gonna believe it, but the nurses here are really incapable of their job, you can go to see them or the doctor, who’s there once in two weeks, they would look, knock on your back and they have a wonderful cure, that will heal you. I’ll give you one example of many. One guy had purulent scabies, he went to see the healers, they say it’s nothing, an allergy. The scabies grew stronger, all covered in purulent wounds, he went to see the doctors again, and again they said it’s allergy. After three weeks they finally figured it out that it might be scabies so they took him to an isolation room, but in the meantime he infected several other inmates. The doctor is here once in two weeks, so if you get sick two days after his duty hours, then you have to wait another 12 days to see him. Flu, fuck the flu, you won’t die from it, you wait for the doctor, in the meantime you would infect the other guys and then you all wait for him. Medicines, antibiotics... they cannot give you any of them without doctor’s advice, so you walk around sick until he shows up again. Usually you get well without any medication. Sure, why not. Why should they give any medication (you won’t die from it). Next, I want to write about the dentist. Right now I’m in Rzeszow Zaleze prison. The dentist’s here once a week, or, if it really hurts that it makes you go mad, then can have a visit earlier. We had one lady dentist here last year, she infected loads of prisoners with serum jaundice. There were loads of cases against her filed to the prosecutor office to start an investigation. I heard myself once when she told one of the guys “be happy that it’s not HIV, only jaundice”. They fired the lady dentist, now there’s mister dentist here, he doesn’t remove so many teeth. Lady dentist was pulling teeth like hell. Why do anything, fill it, you can just get rid of it, doesn’t matter, 5 or 10, hurts or not, there’s a defect, let’s pull it!
The methods that they use here and the so called prison rules are ridiculous. Rehabilitation, because I wanna write something about it now, is a word that’s totally absurd. There’s no rehabilitation here, it’s a word made up by politicians and it doesn’t meet reality in the Polish prisons. I want to start with the fact that they’d put in one cell a murderer, a gangster who grew up in the street, someone who rode a bike drunken or somebody who didn’t pay alimony or for any other small shit. The person comes in, listens to it all, learns, he’s vulnerable to many things, and instead of living according to the law, he becomes a potential gangster, murderer, thief or burglar. Secondly, this man sits for 23 hours doing nothing, he has a lot of time for thinking, planning. There are a lot of people who don’t have a place to go to when they’re out of prison. There’s no work where you can earn some money while being in prison. There are some prisons where you can work, but those are exceptions, it’s a really small percentage. Everyone can get a parole but it works differently. Even if you’re out, it’s not the end. You get some 50-100 zlotys (around 15-30 euros), or more when you leave the prison and that’s it! As I already wrote, there are people who have no place to go to. The only way out is a den and coming back to crime. If someone has a place to go to after being released, then they’re also in a lost position. They look for a job, but it’s obvious that a potential employer wouldn’t hire an ex-prisoner, he/she doesn’t want to risk. He/she has 10 other people for this place, so why should he employ a man with criminal record. The guardian pressurizes, threatens with annulling the suspension of the sentence, that was temporarily suspended for the parole. And there’s a moment of giving up and coming back to criminal life. The omniscient judge judges you later and tells “to be locked again” and the you’re back there. I will give you few examples of alleged rehabilitation. You can paint paintings, but getting the canvas and paints is almost a miracle, you can draw graphics with ink but they won’t give it to you cause it’s used for tattoos. You can draw with pencils but there are no pencils at the moment (maybe they’ll buy some in few days). There are prisons that have what they want but those are the administration’s minions. Recently, there was sports competition organized by the cultural educator, basketball, long jump, medicine ball throw. There was also a volleyball tournament between the prison units, but only the chosen ones played (rehabilitation?). What is it? Basketball throws etc? This is a fucking isolation from the society, segregation of the prisoners, like in cages, and fanning hatred. It is because of them some go out of prisons and kill. I know some examples of people who were here for one year, they were fanning hatred in them, by repression, it riots inside them and then it blows up on the other side of the wall.
In the unit where I stay, there’s a library, the biggest one in the prison, it has a lot of books, but nobody reads Tolstoy here. Usually they would read some “criminal” stories and they rehalibilitate here studying their craft for months. This is how the “rehabilitation” looks like, in short. There’s one more ridiculous thing for me here. You’re before the commission every six months, they evaluate on you behavior, the process of rehabilitation. They can be “good men” and send you to a half-open prison, where it is possible to get out earlier. Men in elegant suits, the best ones, law-abiding, with masks on their faces tell you “it’s good, behavior is okay, we have no reservations, hope to see further improvements, the rehabilitation goes right way”. In six months, in spite of the fact that you’re there the same way you were there, you didn’t get any document about your bad behavior etc. they’d tell you “oh, it got worse, you have to change, improve your behavior”. Did they forget about the good opinion they made six months before and about the fact that nothing has changed? I don’t know, maybe they had a fucked up day and they changed the opinion to a bad one (maybe they wanted to give a chance for improvement). Oh those fucking philanthropists, they’re so great! They gave me a chance for improvement! That’s a fucking „gift from heavens”.
Recently, I was punished to stay in an isolation cell, I was fighting for my right so they punished me. Isolation room means also that you cannot get any packages. For them it’s one punishment. It’s totally absurd, but they say it’s one punishment. During my stay in prison I was making a lot of trouble, as they say (self-mutilations, swallowing things), I’ve been through three surgical operations. And I hit a jailer, I smashed windows, I made rows and I was fighting for my rights, I was said to be a dangerous prisoner. I was put in a special unit. Cell 3 metres by 1,5 meter, I had two cell searches a day, which meant totally fucking up everything inside. Four appeals a day. In spite of the fact that there was a video camera in the cell and the Big Brother was watching me all the time. They dressed me up in a red uniform, they were undressing me completely every time I had to leave the cell. They were putting my hands and legs in chains that were wounding my legs. I didn’t have TV set or radio in my cell. There was a speaker, they were playing radio, very often they were playing “relaxing” music, sea waves, birds’ singing etc. I was alone in a cell for three years, the only faces I was seeing were faces of the guards, always serious and arrogant. I had nobody to talk to for those three years. Of course, they were trying to break me mentally and many times had I been provoked to behave in an aggressive way. Then I was punished for violent behavior. Now, I’m in a normal unit, in a normal cell, but all the time they threaten me with coming back to the unit for the dangerous ones. It’s hard to stay calm.
This how the law looks like, the law created by the immaculate dictators. I have to struggle with this dictatorship for at least three more years and I think this system is not gonna break me.