Skip navigation
× You have 2 more free articles available this month. Subscribe today.

Eleventh Anniversary of Marion Lockdown

I was asked to put together an article to tell my side of the story of how the cruel and unjustifiable lockdown at Marion kicked off eleven years ago. I am supposedly one of the two reasons (excuses) BOP officials gave to justify the lockdown. PLN is the only news media with enough walkin' around sense to ask those of us actually involved in the "inside" story to give an account of events.

I have had some dealings with magazine and book writers in the past who have twisted my words, put their own words into my mouth, taken prison officials' version of events and printed them as facts while ignoring what I said, all in the name of being "objective." When one writer failed to include the fact that a guard had threatened me, he said he thought his readers wouldn't believe it. This was before the Rodney King incident, so maybe now the red-blooded, brain-dead citizens living in the suburbs of fascist America would be more prepared to entertain the idea that cops and prison guards actually brutalize people just for the hell of it.

I don't want to waste all of this space, though, writing about the already known "demonic" nature of Marion itself, or reminding people of how the prisoners' side of things gets white-washed by the 6:00 o'clock news machine that rushes to the site of the prison strife and gets the "inside scoop" from some prison official and runs back to broadcast the "truth" to a blank-eyed, gullible American public. Instead, I will take full advantage of this opportunity to finally tell my side of the story in my own words.

In 1983, after three long years of torment from a sadistic Marion guard, and having my life put in danger, I finally couldn't hold my cool and I snapped - attacking him. He died later in the infirmary. Hours later during FBI and BOP interrogation, I told them the incident was "personal" between he and I, not a guard vs. con thing. I mean, I just didn't attack him 'cause I didn't have anything better to do that day (as they like to pretend whenever guards get repaid for what they do to people in here!). I would never move on anyone without serious provocation, especially a guard, since they have the biggest and most sadistic gang going in the prison! The fact that I have been in solitary for the last eleven years (and everything else they have done to me) shows that they retaliate. So things have to be bad before a rational human being is moved to that point. As with 99% of prison uprisings, people just can't take any more so they move into action.

When the incident occurred, there were two other guards escorting me from the shower area to my cell. I was in the Marion control unit at the time. I could have assaulted those two guards if it were a guard vs. con thing, but I didn't. They fled when he and I got into it. So there was no involvement whatsoever with any other staff. Unfortunately, another guard was mortally wounded that same evening in another part of the control unit. It didn't surprise me since at that time, more so than ever, control unit prisoners were being grotesquely traumatized and brutalized after a new chain of command had just taken over. There's just so far people can be abused before they defend themselves!

A week after the killings, myself and the other prisoner charged with killing a guard were transferred out of Marion to two separate prisons, and have been held in specially designed security cells ever since. According to BOP's propaganda, the guards' deaths were due to "a couple of white supremacists." I can't speak for why the other prisoner did what he's accused of, but I know that at one time he was a practicing Muslim, so I doubt he considers himself a "white supremacist." Yet the press just automatically printed whatever BOP puppeteers said without bothering to ask us prisoners what happened and what motivated it. All that people heard about the incident is what the BOP wanted them to hear, nothing about what was really going on in the control unit that led up to the guards' deaths.

However, I said all this to say that BOP claims it was because of "us two" they had to lock the joint down permanently, a decision made long after we were gone. Plus, to show the absurdity of using us two as a justification for the Marion lockdown, the control unit we were in is for all practical purposes a separate prison from the mainline. It was separate in structure, location, and policies, etc. Control unit prisoners never came into contact with mainline cons. So whatever occurred in the control unit literally had nothing to do with the main population. This means the ploy used to keep Marion locked down since 1983 is false and fabricated to suit BOP's own agenda. It has since been revealed (in documentation) that the lockdown was a long awaited plan of theirs. They were just waiting for an excuse they could use to put their plan into action. Well, they got their excuse, and now they're using the "security concern" ploy to bury many more prisoners in other super-max lockdown hell holes across the country. Once they figured they could get away with it, and they were able to get the press and the "get tough" politicians to applaud the sadistic practice, they began to build more "Marions."

Prison officials are notorious for exaggerating facts, over reacting, and "labeling" people to whatever suits their purposes in order to vilify those they abuse, and to justify their own wrong doing. They do it to discredit our testimony and our actions, to divide us and to keep us at each others' throats. So I plead with those unaware of the provocateurs' ploy to be mindful when official commentary is given about this group or that group being involved in an incident. The BOP is not interested in offering the truth about the goings on behind the walls. They are more interested in trying to sabotage our struggles by suggesting that it was just a couple of radical whites going off. They want to attribute certain brands of ideology to prisoners according to race or association, so instead of the public asking why a fight or a prison rebellion occurred, they can automatically assume it was just a bunch of crazed, mad dog killers raising hell again for no reason or rhyme.

The BOP's propagandized 1983 press releases served multiple purposes. The bottom line is this: the death of the two guards had nothing whatsoever to do with a "white supremacist" agenda. I am sick of the authorities falsely attributing certain ideologies and criminal activities to individuals and groups of prisoners. By dividing and labeling us, prison officials can douse any spark of unity among us. They can use the stereotypes they help create to justify their own abuses to the public. By characterizing us as crazed mad-dog killers they can get public sympathy when they bury us alive in the most inhumane super-max solitary lockdown hell holes.

We all need to wake up and realize who our real adversary is, since they are burying us alive deeper by the day, regardless of race or religion or home state. It doesn't matter who I am or where I am, since we're all on the "inside." We all live in this hell hole together, so it's the same old shit in just about every joint across this fascist, prison-happy nation. It's time for all of us inside and out to unite and stop falling into the numerous traps our keepers continue to set for us, and band together in solidarity for a common goal.

As a digital subscriber to Prison Legal News, you can access full text and downloads for this and other premium content.

Subscribe today

Already a subscriber? Login