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Wristbands: Tagged Like Cattle

Wristbands: Tagged Like Cattle

By: Brett Booker

Monday, March 6th 2017 

(Written from Douglas County Corrections  – Omaha, NE in 2016 – Currently at Leavenworth Prison in Leavenworth, KS)

As you can see from the photo above, all inmates at Douglas County Corrections are forced to wear bright yellow, indentification wristbands. They are extremely tight, uncomfortable and oddly overbearing. I wanted the world to see these, so when an extra band came into my possession, I thought it was an ample opportunity to send it home to my family. You see, after a few months of wearing a new band, they begin to break down, either through water erosion, tension/pressure, or because of natural human tendencies to fiddle with them. With that said, several months ago I was due for a new wristband. The wear and tear of the old band is evident.

Anyway, the administration at this facility wait til there is a group of individuals who need new wristbands. At that point, they will send a C/O (corrections officer) up from admissions with the freshly printed bands, metal fittings and a hand clamp to attach them to peoples’ wrists. When my name was called, I approached the podium and instantly noticed it was C/O Sheridan. I was thinking, “Shit, this guy hates me!” What happened next didn’t surprise me either. He clamped the band on my wrist so tight, it felt like it was cutting off the circulation to my hand. I notified him, and asked politely to loosen the wristband, but he told me to deal with it, so I did!

I immediately departed the day-room for my cell. From there, I delicately turned my band until the metal fitting was facing down. Then, I began to grind it back and forth, leaving the rivets completely bare, which allowed me to carefully remove the wristband. I instantly felt a sense of relief. Although I had only been wearing the new wristband for a few minutes, I had a distinct, bright red mark where it once laid. One could only imagine what could have happened after a few months. Regardless, given I enjoyed being in the Programs Mod, to learn and better myself, I removed the elastic band from the bottom of a rubber glove, and used it to attach the band back to my wrist. All with the purpose of avoiding a lockdown.

Now, in my eyes I didn’t do anything wrong. Any C/O could still identify me at anytime, but I didn’t have to be in immense pain for them to do so. I followed all the rules, and continued to remain low-key, spending the majority of my time reading and writing. A month passed and dozens of C/Os checked my wristband for count, yet none of them mentioned anything about the blue elastic holding it together. That is, until Sheridan came to work in my housing unit. He despised me in every way, shape and form. My theory, is that he believes jail needs to be uncomfortable and the ultimate form of punishment. Sheridan also resembles an individual who must leech positive energy out of people to survive. With that said, he cringes seeing my positive personality and stoic aurora.

First, I’d like to note that C/O Sheridan looks like a cracked out Benjamin Franklin. Once you set eyes on him, he’ll remind you of the insect villain from Men In Black who says, “Where is the galaxy!?” Nonetheless, when he saw that I reattached my wristband, he completely lost it. He took it to the extreme. Instead of getting me a wristband that fit properly, he removed me from programs and didn’t place me on lockdown, for his sergeant told him it was otherwise absurd. His lockdown report went as follows:

“On 4 May 2016, at 1235 hrs, I was getting inmates in HU 19 ready for class. As I gathered them together at the podium, I noticed that I/M Booker had his wristband attached with a piece of blue rubber glove. I instructed him to hand me his wristband….I personally had just replaced this wristband, less than 30 days prior to this…” He goes on to explain the damage to the band, that he observed. Like I said before, it was decided to move me out of programs, instead of being placed on lockdown. Moving to the second document, its hilarious how they classify it as “Major Misconduct!” Insane right? Given I don’t cause any problems and several other inmates have their wristbands attached similarly. Either way, it’s sad to think that we are all tagged like cattle.

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