It’s recreation time, better know by us in prison as “Pasture Time.” All our housing units “barns” release at the same time. With all doors open the inmate gather in groups which resemble herds and move toward the rec. gates. Nearly 500 of us crowd in the pasture like cows on a farm. Yelling at one another, like the sound of mooing cows.
As a general room of thumb ranchers usually allow no more than 6-cows per acre. Often there’s as many as 700 of us on a mere 4-acres. Many play games such as baseball, basketball, football, soccer, some sit and play cards or dominoes. Others sit alone by themselves for peace and solitude.
Tensions have been high lately, with all the gang violence and lockdowns. Today was no exception.
While sitting on a bleacher alone, I hear someone yell “it’s on.” I turn in that direction to see two groups going at it.
Security is scarce and hadn’t noticed. Not even the ones patroling the outside fences with shotguns hadn’t noticed. Although three sides of the pastures fences are topped with razor wire so sharp birds that land upon it often lose a foot and sometimes their lives.
The outside guards remain at ready in case a cow decides to go astray, they have orders to shoot to kill. And receive the $200.00 bonus.
Finally the interior rec. officers take notice and slowly make their way towards the disturbance. The groups “cows” see them coming and disperse, leaving one laying on the ground, blood oozing out onto his T-shirt.
Re-enforcements are called, arriving at the same time as the nurses and doctor arrive with a stretcher. The wounded is place on a board, neck brace installed and lifted onto the stretcher and they rush him to our medical clinic.
As the re-enforcements are trying to evaluate the incident, having us line up against a fence, another disturbance occurs nearby. No doubt it’s retaliation time. The groups “gangs” were going at it like a pack of wolves attacking a herd of deer.
The guards converged on the gangs in masses as pepper spray filled the air. Many dispersed blending in with the innocent bystanders.
Again, leaving behind another wounded. I could tell this one was wounded more seriously. His neck was cut ear to ear. His T-shirt torn off and his chest had multiple punture wounds. The victim was laying in a pool of crimson blood, no movement visible.
Another medical team arrived. Immediately C.P.R. was started and performed to no avail. Fire ants were already feeding upon the victim seeking to claim a meal.
This time the victim was loaded on the stretcher covered in a full body sheet, and slowly wheeled towards the medical clinic, no need to rush anymore.
As we were being escorted back to our dorms, a Medivac helicopters roaters beating blades sounded overhead as in decent it landed near the front gate of the outside of the prison, to take the first victim to the hospital for emergency surgery.
There will be no need for a second helicopter, the second victim will be picked up later in the day, by the County Medical Examiners Office and taken to the morgue.
No telling when we’ll be afforded recreation time again. Our pasture has now become a crime scene and will be closed for God only knows how long. Leaving the fire ants to feast upon the spoils of war left behind.
Our rec. yards, our pastures are no longer playgrounds. They’ve now become fearse battlegrounds, where many herds gather and wage war upon each other.