J’ai reçu une lettre aujourd’hui de mon ami Michal qui est en prison en Géorgie aux États-Unis. Je sais qu’il y a des gens intéressés sur la vie en prison aux États-Unis. Je vous transcris donc ce qu’il m’a écrit ici (j’ai enlevé les parties personnelles). Je lui écris en français et il me répond en anglais.

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Salut Daniel,

Last weekend I had a visit! My friend XXX, came to see me all the way from MTL! (c’est la première visite qu’il reçoit en 7 ans) It was really fun. I really enjoyed it. She stayed here for two days, so despite that we had only a few hours to talk, I feel positively boosted and cannot wait to get the fuck out of here.

I received the Men’s Journal magazine yesterday, so I suppose you are the culprit (je l’ai abonné à 6 magazines pour 30$ pour un an). Thank you very much Daniel.

Recently we had some commotion here caused by the fact that in one of private prisons for foreigners, in Texas, prisoners got pissed off because of the conditions they were exposed to and burned it down! We first learned it here from the news. They showed some clips of smoke coming out of buildings behind a fence and interviewed some woman, FBI agent, who looked kind of freaked out, and said that inmates rioted because of inadequate medical care, but now are cooperating and being moved to different facilities where they will be provided with required medical services.

The next day after the Texas news, they started clearing up the “storage” pods and the next day they filled them up with mutineers, all handcuffed, chained and shackled. Basically, a makeshift SHU (Solitary Housing Unit) had been created for them.

Then, a couple of days later, they moved people from the “new arrivals pod” and one regular pod out to all the different units and brought in another 150 or so “Texasians”.

We could see them from time to time when they were bringing out somewhere, handcuffed of course, but we were not allowed to talk to them.

Supposedly the conditions in Texas were really bad. They lived in some kind of tents, water was available only during limited times, no A/C, expensive commissary (cantine), etc. Funny thing is that just before the Texas news broke out, they announced an increase in our commissary prices, which is already not cheap and people were getting pissed off. This thing in Texas happened on Friday, I think, and on Monday they announced here that prices increase is being put on hold, and few days later they actually lowered some of the prices here! Now we still have some of the “Texasians” in the SHU and the rumor goes that they will still be there for a few months.

Also, about two months ago they started bringing in people from the CCA prison in Youngstown, Ohio (une autre prison privée par où je suis passé) which is being closed, for they lost a BOP (Bureau of Prison) contract. These guys however are coming straight to the compound. Most of them are Latinos of course but there are also three Canadians (from the West) and one Irish dude. So, as you can see, a lot of things are happening here to keep us entertained.

Check this out, some time ago I was on a call out to see a nurse. When I got there and my vital signs were taken, I was told that I’m at eleven percent risk of cardiovascular disease in the next two years. I kind of freaked out because I feel generally healthy (il est en très bonne forme physique) so I asked on what base they got this conclusion. I was told that the blood pressure, cholesterol level and my age (48 ans je crois) are being taken under consideration and therefore I’m being asked to take an aspirin pill daily for the next six months. When I asked what was wrong with my blood pressure or cholesterol levels, because, as far as I knew, they were alright, that nothing has changed. The nurse admitted that it was based on my age solely. But he still insisted on giving me the pack of pills. I did not want to argue, so I just took the package and left. Of course I did not take any of those aspirins.

Then I found out that they were calling many other guys for the same thing, giving them pills to take daily. I talked to one guy who took some of them and it was upsetting his stomach. About a week later I was on a call out to see a nurse again. This time the same nurse told me to bring the pills back because he made a mistake and I’m only four percent at risk so I need not to take these preventive measures. And so I went back, got the pills and gave them to the nurse. However I kept a few, saying I’ve been taking them. I truly believe that they would not hesitate to simply use us as test rats. We live in a closed environment and it is very easy to check the results of whatever is being given to us. Maybe I’m nuts after being in prison for so long and just paranoing, I do not know.

Il parle ensuite de plein de rumeurs qu’on entend depuis des années. Par exemple présentement les gens doivent faire au moins 85% de leur sentence au fédéral mais la rumeur depuis presque toujours est que ça devrait baisser à 65%. Il semble que la rumeur trouve toujours de nouvelles racines pour la rendre plus actuelle.

Il me demande de vérifier pour lui s’il y a du vrai dans tout ça. Il est difficile d’obtenir ces renseignements à partir de la prison.

Il y a toujours une grande partie de ses lettres qui est réservée à la musique. Il écoute NPR (National Public Radio) et il me parle toujours de musique spéciale.

À chaque fois qu’il m’écrit il me parle des vraies saucisses polonaises que je devrais essayer à Montréal (on en mangeait en prison mais selon lui c’était de la merde) et les bagels de St-Viateur. Ça semble vraiment lui manquer.

Il est très drôle et il s’est fait passer pour un Juif pour avoir de la meilleure nourriture. Il finit donc sa lettre avec une blague :

Passover is around the corner and that means some different food (cream cheese, lots of grape juice, and macaroons). It’s good to be a Jew.

Jah Rastafari! (terme rasta pour les jamaïcains)

Salam Aleykoum (salut musulman, que la paix soit sur toi)