Archive for May, 2013

Dead Behind Bars; When It Comes.

Posted in Doing Time Overseas!!! on May 9, 2013 by doingtimeabroad

“It’s hard to wait around for something you know may never happen, but it’s even harder to give up when it’s everything you ever wanted”. #Freedom!

The trouble with life in the fast lane is that you get to the other end in an awful hurry.
– John Jensen

Everybody’s gotta die sometime. That’s life.
– Archie Bunker

Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.
Lillian Dickson

Men fear Death, as children fear to go in the dark; and as that natural fear in children is increased with tales, so is the other.  ~Francis Bacon, Essays

If you spend all your time worrying about dying, living isn’t going to be much fun.  ~From the television show Roseanne

As a prisoner and one incarcerated thousands of miles away from my families and loved ones. One dark and pessimistic thought that I have always kept at the back of my mind, is when life is no more; when one has walked the line to dead-end. And when that moment comes, while one is incarcerated and locked up far away from his loved ones and families; many families will never get over it, as question upon questions will be raised; what was his last words?, how did died?, what caused his death? And many such-like questions.

My fate is shared with many foreign inmates in different prisons around the world; especially in prisons where mortality rate is very high; Latin American prisons.

High mortality rate from; summarised execution by rival gangs, gang wars spiralling from the streets into prison populations, debts and inability to pay back, utterance of wrong words to the wrong person at the wrong time and place, negligence from the authorities to check on the health of prisoners (infectious diseases spreading like wildfire among inmates), indulgence in dangerous habits without care, overcrowded cells and centres, the list goes on and on. An inmate’s life is of no value the moment he is hauled into the prison population.

The moment an inmate is hauled in through those iron gates, among the catcalls and chaotic noises one hears; will be words, expressions of threat and abuse, along with laughters as the rookie inmate is ridiculed and welcome to his new world. But in reality, he will live to face those words and his reactions will determined his survival; cowered or defiance!

Many factors within the walls of the prison and within the system contribute immensely to the high mortality rate of inmates. With every death; there is a story behind and around why he died. Some of the deaths could have been prevented or avoided, but sometimes the authorities aren’t ready to spend, waste human, materials and financial resources on a group of dormant humans, whom they deemed are not making positive contribution to their societies.

Amongst us; The foreigners, the most deaths had been out of negligence from the authorities as we are left to savage and survive. We are overcrowded, living in inhumane conditions, denied of basic necessities like; water, energy, bed, toiletries, alimentation and most importantly; medications!

FF: 15:29:58 of THU 25 APR 2013! Started this blog couple of days ago, when I saw our #HIV/#AIDS sicked inmate at the infirmary wit other local inmates on my way up to school. I knew, from the looks in his eyes, his days are numbered, sooner or later we will receive the much awaited and anticipated news; that he is no more, just like that.

He won’t be the first neither the last, since my incarceration, I have seen many fought with their last strength and breathe to live through those last moments, but it’s a lost battle. The living are left to ponder who will be next and at that moment, everyone is sure to make a reality check and take stock of his life. Sooner or later they all forgot that moment when they all stood before señor muerto; life gets back to what is normal to us.

Barely 24HRS! We had our patio yesterday, a Mexican whom I have known throughout my stay here, and known to have chronic heart/cardiac problem and also a chained-smoker; had a cardiac arrest, his cellmates and compatriots tried resuscitation, but nothing could be done. The cops were called, but wouldn’t come in as they aren’t sure what awaits them inside; they stood outside as the inmate was wheeled in our improvised ambulance; A Wheelbarrow!

The lad that went out with the cops, came back and broke the news, that the man has kicked the bucket; the most dreadful news every inmate hates to hear, that one of them is gone. But from all indications, the man died before cops came for him. Since my incarceration, I have seen many kicked the bucket, that I’m losing count.

Another released inmate was shot dead here in Panama; he was a nice mate, but who knows why he met his last moment on an assassin’s nozzle! Question upon questions that there won’t be answers.

Two lads that escaped separately on their way to the city’s hospital were both murdered after making their ways to their different countries; one to #Venezuela and the other to #Colombia. The Colombian staged smooth, Hollywood-styled getaway, as his mates ambushed the cops and freed him with no casualties; we all believed, it was a planned and inside job. But the lad barely live and enjoy his new-found freedom when he was gunned down in his car. The Venezuelan, been a trickster and an artful dodger, was a smooth talker and a pathological liar; whichever way he used, he must have paid the cops at the hospital to let him out. Made it to his country, but was also met his destiny at the assassin’s nozzles. Such is life….Asi es la vida! Live by the gun, die by the gun!

16:42:53 on SAT 27 APR 2013! Just last night, another elderly inmate took ill, same heart and gastric problem; our alarm was raised, as we banged on the metal door with metals. Cops finally came and took him out, but doubt if he was taken to hospital. Haven’t checked if he’s back.

Inmates mortality is no new thing, it’s widely known and an accepted fact; that inmates and ex-inmates have very high mortality rate, so many things contributes to that fact. Long term lock up with no access to mental and physical medical aid tends to leave many depressed and sick with chronic undiagnosed sicknesses. Lack of exercises and mobility and poor nutrition also contributes to that fact.

Many who were drug addicts, couldn’t handle the withdrawal on inside when they can’t afford to fund their addiction, hits a dead-end and left with no option other than suicide. Others meet their fate through knives or other forms of violences that will definitely take their lives as the heat cools down. Recently; guns and other deadly arsenals are being deployed and used.

When brawls starts, many are looking forward to what type of weapons will be drawn and used by the different factions. There’s always a rush of adrenaline as men gathers to watch, with no one ready to split or stop the fights. Since we are left with nothing to do, such a free show is what many long for, but most becomes fatal and a free fight for all as compatriots and gang members always get involved.

All said and done, fight over…. Life gets back to normal in the centre, but one’s life will never get back to what one thinks is normal; one will live and do his time constantly watching his back. Even, when transfer is sought for and given; inmates also knows the value of networking, friends of friends came always finished the unfinished job. Thus, one is not safe when the parallel paths we all travel crosses path, not even the released ones are safe as we have seen. Jobs could be done from orders of time-serving inmates; loyalty matters a lot on the inside.

We cannot banish dangers, but we can banish fears.  We must not demean life by standing in awe of death.  ~David Sarnoff

Well, we are waiting for what the authorities will ditch out now after the recent death of our fellow inmate. Many are due to be checked up but no medical staff around to do the necessary things. And the cops are too busy or lousy to do a thing; one has to pay them to be transported to the poorly staffed clinic, that barely have drugs since they had all been nicked and sold on the prison’s black market.

Finally, till when one walks out of here alive and a free man, one is left to wonder and ponder about the next second, minutes, hours, days and the unknown; what lies ahead and awaits or lurking in the darkside of every inmate.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.  ~Mark Twain

#FastFoward.. 01:38:39 on THU 9 MAY 2013!
Should get this up as soon as possible; as prisoners in a prison where everything hangs on chances and fate; we live on borrowed time. Anything can happen at any moment without warning.

Earlier in the gym yesterday, one of the new inmates slumped down, glad I was all worked up, ran up and held him and administered #CPR to revive him. Despite his condition, the cops refused him outside, we had to get him stabled right in the gym hall, all because it was zero-movement outside as the locals in pavilion 7 (former kitchen turned cells to house the overcrowded inmates) were busy stabbing themselves; from what we heard, there were multiple stabbing. How fatal they are, we wouldn’t know, but from past incidents, they don’t stab to scared, but they stabbed to kill.

Hope the zero-movement won’t continue into Thursday as nothing would be allowed in, even when things comes in, we are paying through our teeth.

On the inside (OIN); life is lived on the edge and on the verge, words are thoroughly thought upon before utterances are made as fatal consequences could follow after the wrong words.

Our lives hangs on the wings of each man’s fate and what destiny has bestowed on us. But then, destinies could be altered and change by seconds; one’s decision made at desperate moments could forever change one’s destiny; for good or bad!

As these newbies are hauled in, we, the older ones watches as they struggled to adjust to their new lives and world. Seems the floodgates for offenders are opened as we are receiving new inmates daily. Hope someone up there remembers that we are overcrowded and striving to survive on the scanty resources in the centre.

Like every other prisoner locked up for whatever reason of crimes; we all pray to walk out one day alive, but then the word healthy comes to one’s mind; until one leaves and had a proper medical checkup, one is not free, as there could be something lurking on the inside of one’s body.

We have heard of European and American inmates who went back home and had to be quarantined for weeks and months until they were given the all-clear to enter into the civil population. A Swiss inmate had all his belongings incinerated as he left with all the prison bugs. An Italian who looked very healthy left with the chicken flu… And many others with more deadly infectious diseases; #HIV #tuberculosis.

Then, the thought of what goes on in the mind of every inmate who knows his moment has come keeps many thinking of their lives, but sooner as death had taken his own, life tends to go back to normal or what is normal to us. It’s every man dreams to take his last breathe surrounded by his families, but fate has a way of playing the death-game.

While we wait, we hope that there will be good news at the end of the tunnel.

Those who live are those who fight. ~Victor Hugo

I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.~Maya Angelou. #Prison #Life #experience.