[Final Straw Radio Show broadcast, 17 SEP 17]
Back in January here at Warren Corruptional, Donald Pate, Jr., was sitting at a table in the dayroom minding his own business when another prisoner strolled up to him with a clothes iron in his hand and smacked the living daylights out of him. Now, I’ve never been smacked in the head with a clothes iron, but I imagine I wouldn’t enjoy it– and I bet Pate didn’t particularly care for it either.
The prisoner was sent off to Lucasville of course, as further deprivations and oppression are the only tools in the prison mismanagers’ toolbox. But that response doesn’t address the larger context.
Where did the clothes iron come from? Why did the prisoner have it? And why was he just allowed to stroll around the block with a heavy and potentially-deadly weapon in his hand?
I’ve been transferred around to many level 3 prisons including Toledo and Mansfield. At all of those level 3 prisons, prisoners have wrinkled clothes to iron too, so clothes irons are made available for that. But, at both of those level 3 prisons, the clothes irons are chained or otherwise harnessed to the standing structure. Prisoners can use them within a radius of about 5 feet, but cannot go chasing around their enemies and smacking them in the head.
There’s a reason for that: Clothes irons have repeatedly been used as weapons, and very effective ones. So, prison managers at Toledo and Mansfield took the reasonable precaution to have their maintenance staff– who get paid an hourly wage whether they work or not –fasten the irons to the walls or pillars with something like bicycle chains. Those prisons haven’t had assaults with clothes irons in decades.
But here at Warren Corruptional, if a prisoner needs a clothes iron, he just walks up to the officers’ desk and asks for it. He might have to turn in his ID for collateral, but maybe not. According to the video footage in the case of Pate, the prisoner who smacked him in the hed with the iron came out of his cell with it, so clearly the accountability for the clothes iron had broken down.
So, the question arises– why didn’t Warren Corruptional spend a few bucks on some bicycle chains in order to stop assaults with clothes irons the way all of those other level 3 prisons did? That’s a good question– a central question to the civil action Pate has filed in the Ohio Court of Claims for in excess of $50,000 based on prison officials’ negligence.
We know Warren Corruptional has the money. Warren just spent millions of dollars replacing perfectly functioning porcelain toilets with steel ones so that administrators could have flush timers on the toilets. We now get one flush every five minutes and if you flush before five minutes elapses, you can’t flush for a whole hour. They spent millions to replace perfectly good toilets so that, over time, the pennies they save on less water turns them a surplus.
But, they had millions of dollars to replace the toilets– so why couldn’t they buy bicycle chains to secure the clothes irons?
Warren Correctional also just installed new locks on the cell doors. The new mechanisms are computerized with flashing red and green lights and are the size of small hotel refrigerators mounted to the outsides of the doors. Ridiculous. And, these things are not hooked up to a master board, so in the event of a fire doors can only be opened manually and we’re all dead.
These fire traps cost Warren Corruptional $6.5 million. So, again, why couldn’t they buy a few dollars’ worth of bicycle chains to secure clothes irons and prevent assaults? Why did Warren Corruptional just keep handing out exotic, deadly weapons to anyone asking for them?
Even after Pate was smacked in the head with an iron, do you know what Warren Corruptional did? Since the clothes iron used to assault Pate had broken in the impact with his skull, Warren Corruptional bought a heavier, sturdier replacement… so the next skull-bashing won’t break it. That way, they can just wash off the blood and matted hair. Good as new.
I think this situation provides us some insight into the cold, calculating mindset of prison mismanagers. Just like the Nazi concentration camp managers who came before them, they must completely de-sensitize themselves to the humanity of those in their custody in order to carry out the grisly and far more important business of long-term economic conservation, or what seems to be. In such a mindset, captives are nothing more than objects, just like the captives at Nazi concentration camps.
In Pate’s case, the question before the court is whether or not prison officials applied the same standard of care that they would apply to their own affairs. So the question is, how many of Warden Chae Harris’ own children would have to get smacked in the head with a clothes iron at his house before he took precautions to secure it? I bet if Pate was Chae Harris’ child, Harris would have bought those bicycle chains a long time ago.
Let’s hope the check that Chae Harris has to write to Pate is comparable to the checks he wrote to the profiteers who replaced these locks and toilets.
This is Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Corruptional in Lebanon, Ohio. If you’re listening, you ARE the resistance…
Categories: Sean Swain