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Missing Mail & Evil Midget Clowns

6:17 PM
Things happen, mistakes get made & that's just life. In a system where the employees are overworked, underpaid & not appreciated, it's inevitable. But one thing I can't abide is repeatedly & completely avoidable mistakes with my mail. Restricted though it is, my incoming & outgoing mail is my connection with the world. On top of everything else, I don't want to have to worry about whether or not the mail that someone has sent to me is actually going to make it to me or if it will be given to someone else. I have no way of knowing.

This being the second incident in recent weeks, not including the couple of times someone's mail was given to me, I had to say something about it. (I really dislike having to complain about it, because it almost feels like I'm snitching.) Luckily for me, the assistant shift supervisor came around, & talking to her about the situation calmed me a bit. This isn't something I can take chances with.

In the course of discussing the problem with the assistant shift supervisor, I was showing her the 3 items of mail I had received. One piece had the number of the cell I'm housed in written on it, the other two had a different cell number written on them by the mailroom staff, but all of them were given to the wrong person at first. I was holding one of the envelopes out to show her the number written on it. . .when a picture fell out. A picture of evil-looking midgets dressed as clowns. Or evil-looking clowns trying to pass as midgets. I can never tell them apart. (At this juncture I would like to invoke the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.) After an awkward moment, the officer with her picked the picture up & handed it back to me. Not willing to tempt Fate any farther, I proceeded to thank them & crawfished away from the door.

The next morning I also spoke with the Unit Manager, who said that she'd send out an email about it & would also contact the mailroom for me. Was glad to hear that, but this is something I have to follow through on. Can't have my evil midget clown pictures falling into the wrong hands. . .
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Real Motives & A Different Angle

12:19 AM
March 2, 2011 marks 13 years since Casey Harmon's death. Since 1998 I have been charged, sentenced & started serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole for murdering Casey. And during these 13 years, Mr. John Harmon has -on numerous occasions- used the death of his son to gain the attention of the media & be in the public eye. This wasn't for a good cause or some noble purpose. Just the opposite. It seems Mr. Harmon is using Casey's death to milk the public for sympathy & have his own 15 minutes of fame.
Casey R. Harmon (Deputy Sheriff) Lee County, MS. Sheriff Department By John Harmon, Blue Springs, MS USA Casey was 20 years old, working at the Julenile Detention center in Tupelo,Ms. A 16 year old suspect was being helded for shoplifting. The suspect was being released when he pulled a gun out of his shoe and fired a shot to the head of Casey, killing him instantly. The suspect escaped, but was captured later that night near Memphis. The suspect, Stephen Farris, was sentenced to life with out parole , Plus 70 years. Casey Harmon came from a history of law enforcement, his grandfather was the chief deputy for Chickasaw County, Ms. , in the 1960's, his father was a deputy sheriff for almost 20 years, and his two brothers are currently deputy sheriffs with Chickasaw County.
When we're not looking at just one side of the story, one set of skewed facts, it's easier to see Mr. Harmon's motives. Even in his memorial to Casey, Mr. Harmon has to mention himself & tag his name on. The truth of the matter is, Casey means more to Mr. Harmon in death than he ever did in life.

This time Mr. Harmon has used my transfer from Parchman to WCCF as his excuse for dragging this unfortunate affair back into public view again. It's my opinion that Mr. Harmon's perception of Parchman is a strong point in the argument for closing the MSP down. He wasn't overly concerned about the level of security, but didn't want that I should be housed in a facility that is "modern" (i.e. humane). This speaks eloquently of Mr. Harmon's character.

A little history is in order here. . . Since 1998, I know of 5 escapes from Parchman. During one escape, 2 prisoners made their way out of the maximum security camp, Unit 32, that was just closed down. I know of absolutely NO escapes from WCCF since it was opened. WCCF also just installed an electric perimeter fence that cost upwards of $400,000. No matter where I'm housed, I'm still doing time. Mr. Harmon made an issue of announcing that he asked the DA not to seek the death penalty out of "mercy" even though I didn't go to trial. We now see what his brand of mercy entails. Mr. Harmon wants me moved back to Parchman. Whether at Parchman or WCCF, it matters not to me. Before I left Parchman, I was on an incentive program, had my own TV & radio, A & B-custody canteen privileges, & was housed with guys I've known for years. I don't have any of that at WCCF. So if Mr. Harmon can convince MDOC to move me back to Parchman, more power to him.

There are at least two sides to a story &, since we're airing all this, let's ask some questions:

  • What really happened that night of March 2, 1998?

  • Why was Casey Harmon working at the Tupelo Juvenile Detention Center (seeing as the rest of his family works in law enforcement in Chickasaw County), and what controversial incident made Sheriff Jimmy Simmons tell Casey he could either resign or be fired?

  • Why was 20 years old Casey Harmon placed in charge of a juvenile detention center, particularly in light of why he was forced to resign from his previous job?

  • Why was Casey carrying a pistol he wasn't old enough to legally own, & why did he have it in a juvenile detention center?

  • Why would a 16 years old kid with no previous history of violence -an honor roll student, Rotary Club Scholar, a Boy Scout, who was about to go home as Mr. Harmon reiterated, a kid that to this very day, people who knew him don't believe he committed this crime- why would he shoot anyone, especially an officer?

I'm no longer that 16 years old child, Mr. Harmon. You & those working with you can no longer threaten my life or harass me to any effect. And anything you do to attempt to harm me, I'll just use for good. Maybe this whole case should be reopened, re-examined & looked into more deeply.
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Heiress Presumptive or Presumptive Heiress?

12:19 AM
You know those lint catchers in clothes dryers? My mind is like that, picking up all kinds of useless facts, tidbits of trivia. Now I get to share them with you! Aren't you excited?!

So, you think you know all the famous heiresses out there? Let's test your knowledge. This one had me stumped, so pay close attention. . .

  • She doesn't need the money she'll one day inherit. She has made millions of dollars, and continues to make money from a TV show in which she co-starred.
  • One of her cousins owned the Adidas shoe company.
  • Another one of her cousins starred in the movie The Goodbye Girl.
  • During the French Resistance of World War II, her grandfather was a hero.
  • Her father is a multi-billionaire.
  • Though her father was born in Paris, she was born in the U.S.
  • After previous attempts, she starred in her own successful TV show.
Have you given up already and tried to Google it? Hah! No cheating. Who do you think it is, so far?
Leave your answer as a comment at the end of this post, if you dare.

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A Journey of 1,000 Miles...(part 3 of 3)

1:20 PM
The thing that stands out in my mind from when I first entered Wilkinson County Correctional Facility is the length of the halls. Brings to mind those scenes from the movie The Shining for some reason. The halls seemed especially long to me because I had to lug/drag/maneuver my property down them while in the restraints I mentioned in Part 2.

HJK Section is where we from Parchman were escorted, where long-term segregation prisoners are housed at WCCF. If memory serves me correctly, it's on the opposite side of where we entered the facility, all the way at the end of the hall. As The Offspring said, "You've gotta keep'em seperated." (A lot of my internal dialogue comes in snippets of songs, images from movies, quotes from things I've read. . .)

We ended up on K-pod which has (20) twenty cells; ten upstairs & ten downstairs. Although the cells are equipped to house 2 prisoners each, the current segregation status of this area limits one prisoner per cell. When you walk through the door & onto the pod, there is an open "dayroom" area to your left with twelve metal tables that seat four each, and a set of four modular showers (that lock) to your right with a waist-high partitioning wall that has seating on one side running the length of the showers. The control tower has a view onto the pod through a barred, rectangular window about 10 feet in length, set about 6 feet high from the floor on the wall opposite the cells. On the wall to the far left after entering the pod, there is a telescoping stand bolted to the wall about 9 feet off the floor, on which the TV sits.

After we were escorted onto the pod, we were directed to stand along the partitioning wall as, four at a time, we were ordered to go through the strip-search process in the showers. When the search was complete, we were put in restraints & escorted -each to his assigned cell. There we waited for our property to be searched & inventoried, & waited to be called to finish being processed in. What followed was a basic orientation, photos taken, info gathered, vital signs recorded, & instructions given.

Something I'd forgotten during the hustle & bustle of moving, I was soon to be reminded of. I'd heard tale that, upon arriving at WCCF, prisoners had to give up all their clothes and would be issued new clothing. Including underwear. The last time I'd had to wear briefs was in 2001, at Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility. When these things, these little boy drawers, were issued to me...I seriously considered going commando permanently. They were like seven sizes too big for me. Two other prisoners could fit in there with me, & though it's cold in these cells, it's not THAT cold.

After awhile I decided to try on these supersize Underoos out of curiosity. When I got them on, I didn't know what to think at first. They weren't briefs. This was a loincloth! I felt like Mowgli in The Jungle Book. I kept looking around, waiting for Baloo to jump out & start singing about "Bear Necessities." Had to be careful so I didn't bare my necessities wearing them. If I have to choose between boxers and briefs, I'll let Mowgli keep his loincloth.
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A Journey of 1,000 Miles...(Part 2)

5:48 PM
Though it isn't fun, after years of wearing chains whenever you're not secured in a cell or recreation pen or shower, you become accustomed to it. You actually expect it, to an extent. Might be difficult to believe or understand that, but that's the reality of it. Being packed in a confined space like sardines, while wearing restraints for a prolonged period, is a different matter. And it seems like the transportation officers (not all of them) attempt to make it as stressful as possible: smoking with the windows rolled up and the heat on the high setting, listening to a radio station with a preacher screaming about hellfire and damnation, etc.

The best part of the van trip? Actually leaving the grounds of the Mississippi State Penitentiary. Maybe because of all that has happened there...all the suffering and hatred and misery and death...but the very air of the place is oppressive. Crossing over that boundary line, it feels as if a weight has lifted off your shoulders.

I have a soldier's philosophy- eat and sleep when you can, because you don't know when you'll get a chance to again. The trip went relatively quick for me while I slept, sometimes almost leaning over on my neighbor who'd been sprayed. Hey, I can't be picky about where I sleep. So, I can't tell you what the countryside looks like between Sunflower County and Wilkinson County. I kind of regret not paying attention to the fall colors. I needed my sleep though.

Arriving at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility was a lot like the process of leaving the Mississippi State Penitentiary. We were unloaded from the van and the transportation officers from MSP recovered their restraint gear while the guards from WCCF put their restraint gear on us. MSP's restraint gear is the standard waistchains with cuffs attached so that your arms can hang down to your sides, and regular leg shackles. WCCF's restraints seemed cobbled together. But they weren't accustomed to dealing with segregation prisoners, and didn't know how to make things run smoothly.

To be put in this restraint gear is a process. First comes the regular handcuffs which are placed on the prisoner's wrists to the front of his body and double-locked, to make it more difficult to pick the locks. Next is the "black-box" which fits between and onto the bottom of the cuff on each hand and locks into place, preventing the prisoner from bending his wrists much. Then comes the chain which has a special link that is run through a slot in the black box from behind. (Get your mind out of the gutter for just a minute! Geez!) Once the link is through and protruding from the front of the black box, it's held in place while the chain is wrapped counter-clockwise around the prisoner, the remainder threaded through the link and wrapped clockwise back around the prisoner and attached to the chain with a clip on the end. And after placing leg shackles on us, we were ready to go inside!
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A Journey of 1,000 Miles...Begins With a Cavity Search (Part 1)

11:59 PM
Before transferring to Wilkinson County Correctional Facility from Unit 32 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, I'd learned as much as I could about where I might be going. Every facility has its pros & cons, of course. But a lot of what I was hearing as "negatives" from prisoners who had been at the facility before, didn't matter much to me. I don't smoke or do drugs, so I didn't care that I couldn't get those things. And though my record is far from perfect, word was that the admin at WCCF wants to see for themselves what kind of person you are. And that sounds good to me.

So, the day arrives at Unit 32 when they wake us at 4:00 A.M. & tell us to pack up. First comes the visual body search by the guards. They tell you to get like you came into the world- naked. Your clothes are searched. You are searched. There's no place for modesty.

One of the prisoners in the group being transferred that morning tried to hide some dope 'tween his butt cheeks. Didn't work. They found it. He wouldn't give it to them, so they sprayed him with OC spray. Guess who had to sit next to him for the 4 hour van ride? ~sigh~ Yeah, I have all the luck.

After we were searched and restrained, we were transported to the holding cells. All our property was ransacked and the guards decided willy-nilly what they were going to let us keep before running everything through a X-ray machine like the ones they have at airports. We were loaded up in the van & off we went! Short of dragging me behind the van for the entire trip, they could've done pretty much whatever they wanted as long as I was leaving Parchman.

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A Brief History of Aspirin

12:06 AM
I'd always heard that European settlers of America had learned about the pain relieving effect of willow bark from the Native Americans. Turns out the ancient Egyptians were chewing willow bark and passing on their knowledge long before. Still and all, the Europeans might have learned from the Native Americans, since aspirin didn't become popular in Europe until 1763.

Edward Stone, a British clergyman, is given credit for using and sharing willow bark with his parishioners -relieving many cases of rheumatic fever in the process. It took about 100 years before someone figured out how to synthesize salicin, the raw ingredient in aspirin, in the lab. Charles Gerhardt created acetylsalicylic acid, the synth form of salicin. But it was Felix Hoffman, a German scientist working for Bayer Industries, who followed Gerhardt's process 40 years later (1897) and took the credit. It was the first mass-marketed drug, introduced in 1899.

Better than chewing bark, the tablets caught on quickly. People have different ideas on how to take them though. The Brits dissolve theirs in water. The Americans swallow theirs whole. While the French. . .are French. They prefer them as suppositories. Talk about a pain in the. . . Reminds me of my ex.

Thanks mostly to radio jingles sung by Eva PerĂ³n -future First Lady- in the mid-1940s, Argentina became the largest per-capita consumer of aspirin in the world.

Until the 1970s, no one was even sure how aspirin worked. British scientist John Vane cleared that up, showing that aspirin reduces the production of prostaglandins -fatty acids that cause swelling- in the body. Your body produces its own aspirin when you get enough benzoic acid, from foods such as fruits and vegetables. One more reason to eat healthy.

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About Me

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

Check out my other blog . . .


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