Journey of Faith

Open the door Sir

Did you ever hear the saying, “the inmates are running the asylum?” Well in figurative speech that’s the case in prison. The place didn’t know how to operate without the slave labor of inmates painting, shoveling snow, cleaning. Covid made the officer’s and regular staff have to take on duties that normally us as inmates took care of. They were more than happy when things could return to enough of a normal that we could start working again. Even the counselors were put to work in the kitchen to box up meals in Styrofoam clam shells. This did not make them happy at all. One of the duties that I was given was cleaning the staff restroom. As belittling as this sounds, they didn’t let just anyone do this. One of the first days, I had just started cleaning. I heard the one counselor yell over to the officer, “who’s in there? I don’t want them stealing my soap!”. I ducked my head out and said hi to her. She chuckled, and said, “Oh its Tierney, I have no issues with her.” They knew who they could trust and who would steal if it wasn’t nailed down. Before covid started however, the staff relied on trusted inmates when it came to asking questions about things on the block. We would get a new officer or one that didn’t work there that often. They knew who to ask to get a truthful, non-sarcastic answer. I had to laugh at a memory that came to mind today. When I was in classification, we were all in cells and in order to get out of them, you had to push a call button and let the officers in the bubble know what your problem was. If you had a legitimate reason to have the door opened, your wish was granted. You could have had an appointment, a schedule phone call, shower time to name a few. Otherwise, the door wasn’t opening. When it was chow time, we ate in the dayroom while in classification. When it was mealtime, you stood by the door waiting for your section to be opened. When the door opened, you exited your cell and closed the door behind you. If you didn’t, you were made to return to close it. The one day we were standing by our door waiting for it to open. We waited and waited. Nothing happened. There was about 10 or so cells to a section that opened at a time. The officer could have asked anyone in this section. The next thing I knew he buzzed our cell. He said, “Tierney!” “Yes sir”, I responded. he said, “why isn’t anyone coming out to eat”. I said, “well sir, you need to open the doors”. I just looked at my roommate and started to laugh. I mean, was he serious? lol. His response to me was, “my bad”. This was just one of the occasions that to this day crack me up. I’m just shaking my head.


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