Paul Stotts

“My new TV!!! It’s been almost two years without a TV for me because my old one was stolen… now I’ve got a new one… It’s TV time” By Paul Stotts

For the past two years, I’ve took it slow… really slow. By this I mean no TV and no radio. Books, magazines, and newspapers have kept my mind busy. Two years ago, I lived in a 16 man unit in Lansing medium unit. Two people per cell, eight cells per unit. I lived in this area for about a year when one day things went very wrong. Let me share the story of the day my TV was stolen.
There was another inmate in my area, notice I clearly call him an “INMATE” and not a convict. His prison name was “Possum” like the goofy animal that regularly becomes road kill. Well possum was a bad drug addict. I understand addiction, but some people are so lost in their addcition that it negatively rubbs off onto every aspect of their life. This is how I’d describe Possum. Just not a “good guy” in my book. He spent much of every day scouring the medium prison yard for something to get high on. It was an every day affair for him. From time to time he would ask me for a 30 cent soup, a bar of soup, or other little things. Most of the time I’d turn him down, telling him he needed to spend the money he had on thigns other than dope. Every once in awhile I’d give him a bar of soap (when he started to stink up the pod anyway.)
One day I bought a new pain of shorts. Possum offered to pay me $2 for my old torn shorts because he had no shorts. I told him that I couldn’t sell them to him, that they were old and ripped and if he wanted them, I’d give them to him.
Have you ever heard the old saying “A good deed never goes unpunshed?” Well I have. I didn’t pertiuclarly believe this, but after this situation, I’ve come to see it as somewhat true.
About a week after I gave possum my old and torn up shorts, my TV comes up missing. It was padlocked to my bunk with a combination padlock. I notice that the padlock was still there, but the power cord that was looped to my bunk locking my TV had been cut. It astonished me that someone would cut through the power cord to steal a TV. But this is prison, and I’ve been here more than 11 years now, so not much surprises me anymore. I guess you could try to put the cord back together with tape, but it would still be majorly damaged.
I go about investigating who took my TV. All signs are pointing towards Possum, as he had outstanding drug debt that gang members were pushing up on him to pay. I confrunted him and he played it dumb… “it wasn’t me, I’m so sorry this happened to you, how can I help?”
Well, in the mean time, my friends on the yard were doing their own investigating. It’s always good to keep some friends in prison and a good reputation on the yard. This way when something like this happens, your not alone and having a huge target on your back for future theft. The next morning after the theft, I wake up to a code being called in the chow hall. I see all the officers running there and Possum coming out in handcuffs, bumped up a bit, as well as two of my buddies in cuffs as well. I’m thinking to myself “damn, what happened?” Now I’ll have no chance of making Possum pay for my stolen TV because he’s being taken off the yard.
It turned out that my two friends got violent with Possum when they confrunted him about stealing my TV. They got informaton that it was him, and was told he was given ten dollars off his drug debt because the TV was destroyed by cutting the power wire in the theft. The person who ended up with the TV ended up trashing it because they couldn’t fix it, imagine that. The person who got the TV also told me if they knew it was mine, they wouldn’t have even given Possum the $10 off his debt. My friends send my a kite (a prison note) a few days later from the mex. segregation area. It said that they felt it was mandatory they take Possum off the yard to prevent future theft. I can see their point, and in prison, often choices like this aren’t even left in the victoms hands. It wasn’t up to me… if it was, I would have perfurd him staying on the yard and making payments to me for the theft… but it didn’t work out that way.
When he was taken off the yard, I went through the proper chanels and filed a property claim of theft. I gave the information, and the claim was turned down. DENIED. Thanks facility staff for all your help!!! Do you see why these types of situations are handled internally through inmate force so often? I do. The claim officer said he sow Possum go into my cell, a cell he didn’t live in, when noone else was in the cell, but from the video he didn’t see a TV come out of my cell. WELL MAYBE THE TV WAS UNDER HIS BULKY JACKET!!! We have flat screen TV’s, they are small and they are easily concealed under a coat.
So I was never reimburesed for my TV. Possum is now at home out of prison probibly getting high, maybe robbing someone to pay his debt.
I’m still sitting in prison. his theft has effectred me for almost two years now, as that is the time I chose not to but a new TV. I had the funds, I just chose to go without. The good news is last week I got a new TV!!! It’s been almost two years, I spent my time on college studies and reading. I really didn’t miss the TV, but I’ve got to say, now that I have a new one…. boy is TV addicting. lol!!! It really is.
I’m taking two college classes this semester. I’m now having to juggle my time a but better. TV is so time consuming that I’m having to disipline myself to get my studies done. It’s good for building self discipline. It’s also very intertaining. All in all I’m glad to have another TV. Hopefully this time, it will stay in my cell where it belongs… but this is prison and nothing suprises me anymore. I think I’ll be a bit more selective about who I “give” anything to from this point forward.
Best wishes and stay positive.

Paul Stotts
DOC #93319

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2 replies »

  1. Ugh! My husband got robbed while sleeping in a locked cell with one other human being on Earth, his bunkie! But bc my husband is on the Autism Spectrum he can’t defend himself so he’s at the mercy of whatever his bunkie wants to do 😟 so he just gives and does as told to stay safe.

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  2. What a sad states of affairs, Paul. But I guess some good came out of it for you. You learnt some valuable lessons, you are studying, and you discovered that TV watching needs to be ‘cpntrolled’ so it doesn’t suck up too much time. Good luck with your studies.

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