Nov. 25, 2013

A Day In The SHU(24 Hours)

by Pablo Piña (author's profile)


RE: A Day in the SHU
24 Hours

* I woke up at 5:00am, the guards are getting ready to change shifts.

* I usually lay in bed until 6:00am because nothing is going to happen until 6:45 or 7:00am, so I get the most out of the bed. And rest my body.

* Today is Thursday, I can hear a female voice, that should be Ms. Larsen who works on Thursday and Friday in the control booth, she's one of the regular guards and has been around for many years.

* I hear the floor guards coming in, and moving around up front. They sit at the front of the tier (pod) and because there's no wall or solid door at the front of the (pod) it has a grill gate just like the front of our cells, a steel grill with little holes in it.

* So I can hear them out there, talking, moving around, all of that. This is much different than the other SHUs I was in, where the only time you hear them is when they come on the tier.

* This is good in a way, mostly because it's good, to me anyways to be able to hear a female voice is very comforting, it is what keeps me in the real world. (Reality)...

* Imagine being back here 24 hours a day for decades and never hear a female voice, I think it would drive us crazy.

* Long time ago they wouldn't let females work around us in the lock-up units, I remember them times.

* 7:00am, the floor guards brought the breakfast trays, there was a new female officer.

* The food is the same junk. They put out a new menu that says that we will be getting some better stuff. But it looks like all that changed is the name of the meal.

* So what we got is a new menu that describes our meals like a restaurant's menu. But when it gets here it's the same as before.

* But it's the only game in town and they know we got to eat it or starve.

* 7:30, they came and picked up the trays. And handed out our supplies, toilet paper, soap, and cleanser.

* We're given one of each that is supposed to last a week till the next supply day next Thursday.

* I usually watch the news each morning, the world news on ABC, and turn my T.V. on at 6:00am. But my T.V. is beginning to get old and feeble, it doesn't get all the stations any more, I think it has dementia. I was trying to get Channel 3 but it won't come in anymore.

* Now it's 8:00am and the yard program is starting. Today it starts at 121 on the bottom tier (my neighbor). I'm in 122 so I'm next. He gets an hour and a half out there.

* My other neighbor Sal in 123 was asking me about an education station on the T.V. but I don't get it. He and I are working on math, I'm trying to learn algebra. It's really hard without anyone to explain it step by step and give examples. Instead we have to teach ourselves.

* The maintenance guy came in right now, 9:00, to fix our shower light. It's been out for weeks, we had to shave in the dark.

* We haven't had haircuts or nail clippers yet. Every first Saturday of the month we get to use the nail clippers and cut our own hair.

* I could use the nail clippers in the shower, but I wouldn't try it in the dark. Might cut my little finger off.

* It's 9:16am right now and I will start getting ready for yard.

* 9:30am I went out to the yard.

* My neighbor Sal was trying to tell me how to adjust my T.V. so it gets Channel 3, but it didn't work.

* I have two journals that I'm trying to get sent to be placed on my blog. They're from the two earlier hunger strikes, and are kind of lengthy. If I get them I will have them posted.

* At 11:20 I came in from yard.

* They no longer make us strip down on the way to yard or when we come in. They open my cell door and I walk out to the yard which is at the back of the pod.

* Once I get outside the door is closed and I finish getting dressed, then I start jogging around the yard. It's not that big but it's enough to get warmed up.

* After 10-15 minutes I stop running and start doing warm up exercises. That consist of calisthenics, to warm up my entire body.

* Then I start my push up routine and burpee routine, in between I run in place and then drop and do 100 push ups, three sets, then I do squats, 50 in set, then start running again in place. I usually count to twenty then drop to push up position and start the burpees, these are done like a push up with after each push up I draw my knees and legs under my stomach and kick my legs out, then stand. That's one set and I do 100 of them, then I start over and do another 100. I do this ten times and usually finish right about the time for me to go in.

* That's only my Thursday routine. The other six days I do other exercises for an hour and 1/2.

* So I came in at 11:20am, and am let into my cell. It was a nice day, I could see on the top of the yard the sun was barely touching it. We don't get much sun because the walls are too high.

* The SHU is a very hard place to do time, I mean if you're only gonna be here a while it's not bad. But for folks like me that have to stay in here indefinitely it can wear you down, and will if you allow yourself to worry about it too much.

* It's 12:45 and I took a quick bath using my sink filled with water. I bathed over the toilet, so the water mostly goes into the toilet.

* Thursday is our shower day but that ain't till 2:00pm, so I wash up after yard, kind of a quick rinse.

* After cleaning the cell I pull out my lunch and tear that up real quick. The lunch is very light, a sandwich of baloney, with mustard, a cookie, and an apple. And a Kool Aid.

* My neighbor went out to the yard for an hour then came in, and the next guy David went out at 12:20. He'll stay out till yard recall at 1:30pm. The yard is stopped until after showers.

* After lunch I'm going to do some reading. I have a newspaper someone let me read. It's from newspapers that I really get my outside information on current events.

* 1:30pm, David came in off the yard.

* 1:43pm: The guards are changing shift, and the 3rd watch guards are coming on duty.

* 2:00pm, the showers are starting at cell 121. I finished reading the newspaper. There was an article about a lady artist in Oakland, California, she does some good work.

* As can be seen, the day in the SHU is really no program at all, except yard and now the showers.

* It's really up to a prisoner to make of it what he can. I do a lot of reading, studying the law. How to prepare and file petitions, civil complaints, motions and so on.

* I'm getting into math, there is some real hard stuff in math, but I'm gonna going to stick with it. I hope to get some good math books of my own.

* Hey, guess what, the other day a memorandum was passed down the tier. It said we can now have a typewriter in our cells. Man, I'd like to have a typewriter, it would make it much easier for my legal work. And writing the articles I write. But they put a pricey tag on them too rich for me. But they say we can have two appliances for entertainment, I wonder if a calculator is considered entertainment. I'll have to ask.

* The showers are starting.

* Man, I wished I had started my blog long time ago. I had the address, I just never thought of it. Plus I didn't know how to do it anyways.

* 2:17, I went out to shower.

* Today, Thursday, they let the porter out to clean the tier.

* 2:27, I got out of the shower.

* My neighbor was asking me if I could ever remember us prisoners not having restraints when being moved from one area to another. I told him as far as I recall we have always been in chains.

* My other neighbor went in the shower and finished.

* Then David went to the shower, and finished.

* 3:00pm, the porter is coming out to clean the tier.

* 4:00pm, the porter finished cleaning and went in his cell.

* The guard came in with the mail, and count, then left.

* I worked on some math for a while then put it down because it's close to dinner time.

* 5:20pm, they brought our dinner trays in and sure enough it's the same thing we always get, slop. Nothing like the description on the menu.

* I'm waiting to see what they say on the news. They are holding hearings in Sacramento about the SHU. How long it will take to get changes is the question.

* 5:30pm, the world news is coming on. The government shutdown is a joke.

* They came in to pick up the trays.

* 6:00, the upper tier is going out to the yard.

* The yard is ran until 9:30pm so that everyone can get outside each day.

* I'm guessing this seems pretty boring to you out there, especially if this is the same routine every day. And it is, nothing changes unless I go to see the doctor, or dentist.

* On the news the senator Ammianos said that he is going to keep the prison officials' feet under fire because he feels that changes need to be done in SHU.

* 6:30, the guy out on the yard is coming in. And the next guy is going out.

* I am waiting for the Gang Unit to come and search my property. They have to go through our property thoroughly for what's called inactive review, and then they recommend whether I should be released to general population or not.

* It's simply protocol. They don't ever recommend that anyone be let out of SHU.

* A lot of prisoners are talking about the rumors that some of us could be moved out to the "P.S.U." unit, it's a large unit on the main line where the mentally ill prisoners are housed, but are expected to be transferred to a new prison in Stockton, California.

* 7:10pm, the last guy came in off the yard. So the day is done, no more movement in this pod. We were just given a memorandum that says we can now have a cup - 16 (ounce) and a plastic bowl for cereal and we must buy them from the canteen.

* I finally got a couple of manila envelopes so I could now send some artwork to post on my blog.

* Everyone is all happy here because we can now have a cup and a bowl. For the past twenty years we been drinking out of milk cartons. That was our coffee cup and our cereal bowl.

* 8:00pm, the end of the day. They will come around and pick up mail at 8:30 and count prisoners. After that they come around every two hours and check until 4:00am, and I'm asleep from 10:00pm.

* I read in a news article one day where a writer said some people were saying "It can't be that bad" being in the SHU. And he said in his article if you really want to get an idea of what it's like, lock yourself in your bathroom for 24 hours, with only a radio or T.V. I got a laugh out of that. It's not the same, but I bet it would make you think of how it may be if you were in there for years. If you know you're going to get out in the morning it ain't bad at all. People have gone crazy back here from the isolation, and lack of contact with their friends, family. I believe some people are just mentally stronger than others, but wonder if it has done something to us that we can't see ourselves. But that is something that we'll never know. Only the folks who know us can see the difference.



Replies (2) Replies feed

charlottelouise Posted 6 years, 5 months ago. ✓ Mailed 6 years, 5 months ago   Favorite
thankyou for sharing

Issacdelacruz3231 Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago. ✓ Mailed 1 month, 1 week ago   Favorite
What is your whole workout routine in the shu

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