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A Journey of 1,000 Miles...(Part 2)

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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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

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