After spending the usual time in the Maricopa County 4th Avenue jail, I was transferred to the Arizona Department of Corrections’ Alhambra Unit for classification. I found out I was going to Cimarron Unit, Tucson prison to do my time. Cimarron was a maximum security prison and the hub for the ‘AB’ aka the Aryan Brotherhood. I thought I wouldn’t leave there alive and could not understand why I was sent there and not to a medium or minimum security prison.
For the next 9 months, I was involved in a fight at least once a week, not for starting trouble, but for keeping a pack of cigarettes, a pair of Reebok tennis shoes, my TV, weekly store, you name it. I hated having to fight to keep my stuff, and to this day, I can honestly say that I kept everything, with the exception of a few sore ribs, jaw, etc.
Approximately six weeks later, I had to go to the Medical Unit to get the two 3 x 7 inch pins out of my wrist. There was only a sadistic PA there. I asked if he was going to numb my wrist before pulling the pins out. He laughed, told me to quit acting like a baby and take it like a man. He turned to me and as he did I noticed he had a pair of needle nose pliers in his hand. I told him he wasn’t using those on me and his reply was, either get this done or he’d call a guard and have me written up for disciplinary action. It took four tries and many extremely painful slips before he finally got them out. He sent me back to my cell without even an aspirin.
I saw two guys die with shanks still in them. One had two in his neck, presumably because he owed a skinhead $4 for a pack of smokes. The other man was killed, also by shanks in his neck, right outside of the chow hall. Up until two hours before his death, he’d been in protective custody for the past 13 years because he’d stood by a black man’s side in a fight at Florence prison aka The Walls, where the condemned go to die. Anyway, this guy finally decided 13 years was long enough, so he’d asked to be released to the general population in another prison. The AB had put a $4000 hit on him 13 years prior. The prison admin agreed, but sent him to Cimarron, and he had no idea till he got there and pleaded with the colonel to send him elsewhere, but the warden had gone home, so his request was denied. An hour later, he was laying on the concrete in front of the chow hall, dead with four shanks in his neck. His body was there for three hours till they called an ambulance to come get him.
Another inmate who was a gynecologist and had 17 years for assault on his patients was working out at recreation when someone chocked him to death with a bar bell.
These are only a few of the activities that went on while I was there. After about a year, I was transferred to a minimum security complex where the same went on but not as frequently.
I was finally free after spending 2 1/2 years in the worst hell I could ever imagine. I never did find out why I was sent to a maximum security prison but I survived, if not a stronger and tougher man, then at least a wiser one.
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