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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fried Chicken -- June 3, 2009

Today we were given fried chicken for lunch. It is not served often, and is a favorite among the

prisoners in Stateville. I am not particularly fond of fried chicken, especially dark meat, but it is

better than the processed turkey-soy meal, turkey-soy patties, or sausage we are regularly given.

Processed turkey-soy consists of turkey scraps ground together with soy meal into a kibble that

resembles dry dog food. It comes in huge bags and is dumped into large kettles to be boiled and made

into many of our meals. It is used to make spaghetti, stew, Sloppy Joes, breakfast gravy, tacos, and

almost anything you can think of. Sausage is served to us three or more times a week along with the

premade turkey-soy blend patties. Considering that I despise sausage and am not fond of processed

turkey scraps-soy meal, chicken is a good alternative.

At Stateville, prisoners are served the cheapest, low quality foods that can be purchased in bulk. Thus, along with ground turkey-soy and sausage, we are also given lots of beans, bread, and instant or scalloped potatoes. We are not given any pork or beef. There are a number of Muslims here, and rather then serve an alternative meal to them, no pork is served at all. Beef is more expensive and also is prone to be stolen by inmates and guards. Our vegetable is usually plain lettuce, but we also get carrots, peas, corn and collard greens. Dessert is usually a couple of prepackaged cookies, or a little cake. Applesauce is also very common. The quality and quantity of food served has progressively become worse since I've been in prison. The administration has been cutting costs, mostly at our expense. With the massive debt Illinois has incurred due to the wasteful and reckless spending of taxpayer dollars, and the loss of revenue from the recession, we could soon be living on bread and water if it were not for federal law mandates.

Chow is served early for the first cell house to be fed. Just after 9 a.m. today, guards begin to open cell doors upstairs. The doors are opened individually, and each gallery is run separately. Years ago, all doors were simultaneously unlocked and a few galleries were let out, but due to increased security concerns, this has been stopped. After being let out of your cell, you walk outside and line up in two lines. Guards will often bark at you to deuce it up. The chow lines this morning were particularly long and loud. Everyone had come out for fried chicken. Due to the volume of people who come out for this meal, our new warden recently ordered it never to be served for dinner. This is so everyone can be fed and locked back in their cages in time for the 8 p.m. head count.

From outside the cell house, we walk a couple of blocks to the dining room. We are closely monitored by guards and lieutenants. In fact, usually eight to ten lieutenants are standing just inside or outside the chow hall talking or staring you down. What is the purpose of having so many lieutenants here doing nothing, I wonder, and it only reminds me of how overstaffed Stateville is. The chow hall and kitchen are in a large circular building with a gun tower in the center. Three pie shaped wedges of dining rooms lead off one side of the circle, so the guards in the gun tower have unhindered sight and line of fire. This year, two of the dining rooms were divided in half to create five--one for each gallery of a cell house.

I waited in the crowded herd for a long time until reaching the food counter. It is very loud, and people are not only speaking amongst themselves, but yelling to people they know in the dining rooms. At the counter, I take a tray and slide it down the line as prison workers drop food onto it. First, I was given a plop of black eyed beans, and then collard greens, which usually taste like I would imagine lawn mower clippings would. However, I always eat them for their nutritional value. Then two pieces of bread grabbed by hand are thrown on my tray. Finally, the much anticipated chicken is given to me at the end of the line. It is very overcooked, and almost fried beyond recognition. I take it without a gripe. I have lived an unjust and miserable life for many years. What is an overcooked piece of chicken compared to that?

3 comments:

  1. White shirts ware the only ones carrying peper spray so with hundredths of inmates 8-10 leutenants don't sound like "overstuffed" since CO's cary nothing on them. I find it funny you would complain of number of staff..don't you know they are the only ones keeping animals from praying on regular inmates? In Joliet they gave me a galery with 70 inmates on it...one guard-70 inmates...the whole house had one stinky sgt. 1 lt. 1 capt and 8 guards for the 8 galleries...but with lunch the numbers were always less...1 guard would supervise 2 galleries...1 his and one of the guard on lunch. I explained to my inmates that due to lack of guards they beter not start no fires in the cells, or fights a I was not paid enough to break up jack...and they got the message. You really want extra staff not less...Think about it: when trouble starts in West House everyone available must showup there which leaves other areas of prison understaffed...Guards are the only protetion an inmate has against the really sick inmates who were sick before being locked-up and didn't join the human race after being locked-up...You might not want to start any trouble but most inmates do think of nothing but trouble...and that's where staf comes in...a shield between maniacs and you. (don't depend on tower guards as by the time they see a problem, the problem is bad...very bad...and what good does it to you if agressor is shot if you're bleeding to death on the floor? Look at guards, even the bad ones, as protection not waste of taxpayer money...You are wel aware of assaults of ANY kind that happen due to...lack of a guard to witness it...and bad inmates know how many guards are where and are planning acordingly...so trust me, guards are the only hope you have of going home in one piece, if ever. Very weak, slim hope but there nevertheless...underpaid, unarmed, stresed to the limit hope...but there...not for the warden or governor but for normal inmates who only wanna to their time and get the hell out of there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Given the choice between freedom and oppression, I will always chose the former, even at my own peril. I have no fear of violence and my death would only be a blessing. However, the vast amount of guards who enforce ever greater numbers of rules on every aspect of my paltry existance makes me all the more miserable. The IDOC has changed radically since the 1990s when you worked here. I think even you would think the excessive rules and manpower absurd.

      On a side note, guards are now allowed to carry large canisters of pepper spray, and it is not limited to white shirts.

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    2. Your death...dude you better not die, is that clear? Your imprisonment is just a set-back, and you will get it...time is relative and at let's say 52 you are still like @ 18, only with les hair...nothing changed and you missed nothing anyway...nothing but civilian drama. Stay alive and healthy and bring your butt back home already! Death could wait, don't worry :), no need to rush it in mind or otherwise. Every day you re alive is a slap in the face of immoral politicins and judges and prosecutors who would really like you dead and out of everyone's mind. Piss them off, stay healthy hahahahha

      Delete

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