tv Lockup Holman MSNBC June 16, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. >> america's prisons, dangerous, often deadly. there are 2 million people doing time. every day is a battle to survive and to maintain order. >> down on your feet. down! >> located in the deep south, holman correctional facility where most are serving life sentences. we spent months documenting life on the inside where the prisoners have nothing but time and nothing to lose. this is "lockup: holman extended stay."
for the officers and staff working at holman, the biggest challenge is dealing with difficult inmates. >> you ain't got no business [ bleep ] with my -- >> took my mail and -- >> that's the part of it. [ bleep ]. i don't have any problem. ask any officer that walked by here. i don't know [ bleep ] with nobody. >> and with a steady decline in staff, the pressure is on the new recruits. >> i don't even want to think about failing because it's not an option for me. i'm going to pass. i feel like if i did fail, i'm letting a lot of people down. not just myself. welcome to the gates of
hell. >> charge him double for an armband. okay? hey, and then whoever that armband belonged to, he need to get charged, too. >> in roughly four months of shooting inside holman, warden grantt culliver has shown many sides. >> warden's office. culliver. can i take a message? >> he'll call you back. yes, ma'am. >> you take messages, warden? >> yes, ma'am. we do it all. >> he's firm. >> get your shirt on like you're supposed to. >> but fair. tough -- >> you're right. i'm going to be with -- >> [ bleep ].
>> if you would shut the [ bleep ] up then i could understand somebody's going to be pissed off at your ass in this place acting like a child. >> yet understanding. >> so really i'm doing a favor on the one hand. >> but this morning, a side of the warden we haven't seen emerges. >> last month, we lost three cos and we lost three trainees. one new trainee is scheduled to report on the 16th and we're not making any headway. all you got mandated. actually going backwards. it just puts more work on the current staff that we have. and all the time. more than anything else, it's
our staff. it puts a lot of pressure on staff. and i just feel like our staff is -- i don't want to say "tired" but i feel like the staff is "tired." you can't work but so many overtime hours on and on and on. without at some point you're going to hit a wall. that will work one or two ways for us. neither of those ways are good. they'll be more stressed which means less tolerant and more uses of force, et cetera, which is not good, or they'll start calling in to get some time off, which makes somebody else have to work which is still not good. it's just not a good situation at all. >> besides being the administrative lieutenant i'm also in charge of institution recruitments. that's been going pretty good. as of lately, we've been getting some pretty good recruits in. i think we got four or five at
the academy right now and so far those guys are doing good. >> come back and -- >> i came in here as a trainee or cadet and basically the pre-part of my deployment before i attend the academy for officer corrections c01 is to come here and basically be an observer. i've been preparing for that for now for about seven months and just trying to get ready for the different physical requirements and the mental requirements it takes and as soon as i get ahold of that i'll come back and be a correction officer, so i'm looking forward to that. >> looking for knives, ice picks, reefer, money, anything, pills, anything that's not given
out at the institutions, it's called contraband. >> you really can't find anything else around here for the type of pay and benefits without a college education. and there's a 25-year retirement plan. and i'll be less than 50 years old when i fully retire here if everything goes well through the academy, so i'm looking forward to that. >> you have to shake down the ball yard before we let inmates out on the yard. >> i've trained pretty hard. i did attend the academy on the 29th of january and there was a portion on the obstacle course and i wasn't able to do it, to basically sum it up. when i came back here, i felt embarrassed that i failed something like climbing a wall. since then i've trained every day and i think i'm prepared and i think i'll totally exceed my expectations. honestly, i cannot let myself fail. i've invested a lot of time. worse case scenario, if i fail, i honestly don't have any clue what i would do. i have a 2-year-old daughter and we just had a newborn son. he's 14 days today. if i fail i'm letting a lot of people down so my feelings are,
i have no outs if i do fail so i have to make it happen. >> if cadet hardy graduates, one of the responsibilities he may have is performing surprise shakedowns. >> cell searches, there are 24 hour searches that are designated cells to be searched on each shift. priority wise it should really be high. with the shortage we have, there are any number of times when the cells don't necessarily get searched because you got other things that takes precedence. so cell search is not necessarily at the top of the list. so when we get information and we get information from seg just as we do from general pop, about guys having different things in their cells. you know, if we do the 24 hour searches, we get a answer to pull some stuff out of the cells. >> officers are looking for contraband ranging from drugs
and weapons to items not allowed in administrative segregation, like tobacco. if an inmate violates rules in segregation, he winds up in disciplinary ad seg where even most reading material is considered contraband. >> that's evidence about the -- i'm telling you -- that's evidence, man. you know you violating the law. you ain't got no business [ bleep ] with my legal [ bleep ]. you know it's against the law to do what you're doing, bitch. >> i've been there. i'm still here. 25 years. >> you better get your ass out there. >> 25 years i've been here. >> we'll see if you're still going to be here. [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. i don't care nothing about you. you ain't [ bleep ] me, bitch.
>> every day we're going to take care of you. he's not happy. he had a copy of a quarterly newsletter that our department puts out. it's put out for the employees. it's not even put out for the inmates. i don't know where he got it from and it's not something he's allowed to have in his cell. he started claiming it was evidence in a legal trial that he was in and that's why he got mad. when somebody talks to you like that your first reaction is getting mad. in this job, you hear that every day. you have to be thick-skinned enough to let it roll off. he's not talking to the person. he's talking to the blue suit. you can't take it personally. try to let it go on, let about your business. treat it as a professional thing, not a personal thing. do the paperwork you're supposed to do and you can't take it out against him on a personal level. you have to remain professional at all times. it's a stressful job.
this stuff, naturally, builds up in you and you have to find ways to work it out, deal with your stress. a lot of jobs are stressful and everybody has to learn how to deal with that on a personal basis to get the stress out of your system. i exercise a lot. next on lockup: extended stay, it's a second time a charm for cadet hardy's physical exam. >> alabama corrections has a tough test you have to pass in order to complete the academy. that's just the tip of the iceberg.
getting a picture sent in? >> are you talking about females? female friends? okay. they can have lingerie on. they can have panty sets on. bathing suits as long as the nipple area does not show, and the bottom part of the genitalia does not show. so you can have those, but that's it. >> all right. >> all right. thank you. >> okay. close the window and wait for the next one. >> meanwhile, sergeant english is on lock fixing duty, one of the many jobs he holds at the prison. >> this is normal. i do this all day long. i walk like this all day long. they call me from seg this morning and told me this lock wouldn't open on the tray door which means every time they feed this inmate, they have to open the door. the whole cell door. which puts them at a security
risk every time they feed him. so i'm going to take it apart and fix it this morning. i mix this oil up. i was a machinist before i became a corrections officer. 48, please. yeah, 1084 to the gate. turn around. >> regardless of how busy >> regardless of how busy sergeant english gets, there's always time to shake down the suspicious inmate. >> just keep standing there.
i'll just drop it so i can get my hands -- nope. you done it to yourself. ask me how i knew. then you lied. go on back to your dorm. talk to you after a while. a6, main hall. 22 to the 48 gate. these sandwiches he made in the kitchen, he stole. >> hungry? >> no, i ain't hungry. >> but stealing sandwiches is no laughing matter since it could land the inmate in administrative segregation where some inmates cause nothing but
trouble for the officers. >> just two days ago i had some mail come and you came by here and took my [ bleep ] mail and throw it in the dump. >> this is a holman death row/segregation unit so this is a sensitive, high security area. it does have a different feel here. you have a lot of inmates back there that have been in single cells for a long time, and they, of course, build up hostilities. this time of the year the temperature, the weather is hot and of course that helps to also flare tempers. we have to be very, very cautious. we have to follow procedures because it's a highly explosive area. >> you got no right to touch my mail. that man took my mail two days ago. showed it to me and throwed it in the trash can. throw it in the trash can.
they don't do nothing about it and i'll tell y'all the real reality what's going on in this prison. you see him over there? because he don't tell you the truth. i'm telling you something. >> i thought you told me we was going to do better. >> two days i will be going home and these folks keep trying to trap me in this prison, lying on me. writing me up disciplinary i ain't never did. saying i did things i never did. this officer is trying to trap me in the state of alabama. hey, man, it's critical. the world out there is critical. i ain't no devil. >> jaime bell, constant pain in the side. troublemaker. always has some sort of complaint and he's just not going to be satisfied. he's just going to complain. how long have you been in disciplinary seg? >> how long have i been in
disciplinary seg? you all had me in disciplinary seg three years. >> three years? and all of it is entrapment and you don't deserve any of it? >> they brought it on me. fight. they brought it on me. jumping on me. i'm going to be in the free world very soon and they can't stop it. they trying to take my life in this prison but they can't do it. i'm coming home. >> jaime, and he's been in disciplinary seg, i know he's been there for the last year, and i don't see him getting out anytime soon. these officers work here on a daily basis they deal with these inmates, and you build up a relationship with these inmates and some are good, some are not so good, but again, it's an area where we have to be very cautious and very particular. >> the job of dealing with the inmates brings us back to the mailroom where ms. etheridge's visitors seem endless and the questions never change. >> that's okay. >> i need to know what the
requirements are to receive a photo. >> you want a normal photo or are you talking about one of your girlfriend or something or a female? >> of a female. >> female? nipple cannot show, genital area cannot show. other than that they can have on lingerie as long as it's not see-through. they can have on a bathing suit, bra and panties, as long as it's not see through. you can't see anything here or down here. >> what about like a friend? they see pictures of them drinking beer or stuff like that? >> no. >> no pictures of beer in the photo? >> no, sir. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. i have never seen him before in my life. coming up, jamie bell like you've never seen him before. >> just trying to get ready to go home soon i hope.
as warden of holman, grantt culliver is always looking for ways to use the prison environment to his advantage. >> what do you do -- >> lettuce. >> there's no lettuce in alabama. what kind of lettuce? >> lettuce like that. >> never heard of it. can't grow no damn lettuce. in alabama. i tried it. >> you can't grow lettuce? >> collard green. i don't see it, that's what i tell you. i ain't jesus christ. look what i told you. >> warden culliver is currently planning upgrades to the softball field to raise morale
and lower tension. >> it has to be backed. this time of the year the softball field, that's your premiere event. in the afternoons the guys get out here and play softball, really don't have any problems out of them, keeps tension down. >> they get tired, go in, take a shower and go to bed. >> go to bed. no fights. it's the overall process of trying to improve the facility. >> though there's plenty of room for improvement, the inmates at holman get maximum use out of their softball field in its current condition. >> that's one. my percentage just went up. if you were able to transpose, imagine them in uniforms, take the wire away from the fence, just from the attitude of the guys, right, it would be any other male softball league in any small town america or usa, doing what they do after they've had a hard day's work minus the
beer. it's the same thing with the exception of you're surrounded. i think it has to transcend from being in here all day, you get a chance to get out. i think it helps to keep the tension down. >> all work and no play wears down even the warden, so he always looks forward to downtime with his kids. >> i coach a rec league team. i actually coach my two sons, and i've done this before. this is the first time i will have had them on the same team. we go back, run the wheel. going to go to the middle. you go down low, okay? let's go. let's go. on three. one, two, three, defense. good defense. good defense. stay on your feet. stay on your feet. good defense. good defense.
i get an opportunity to spend some time with these kids and in trying to be a role model for some kids. but not overbearing or anything like that. sometimes you're watching kids, you see kids that have a lot of potential and they have some bad attitudes and i realize what a bad attitude is going to end you up at. a lot of times i pull those kids in, hey, look, no sense in you throwing this away because people will turn a back on you if you have a bad attitude. too far for a jump hook. he went straight up, ref. nice, nice, nice! i get something out of it, too. i basically tell these kids if i give my time to come out here and spend time with you so we can do this, i expect you to
give me the effort back. >> it's essential for warden culliver to maintain a life outside of prison but it's cadet hardy who's sweating it just to get in. a few days ago the correctional officer in training took his physical examination for the second time, and this time he passes with ease. >> well, actually i did a lot better than i expected. of course i had a lot of doubt because of failing the previous academy in january. i gave it 110% because i had to. i didn't want to do this over again. alabama corrections has a very strict and, you know, tough physical test you must pass in order to become -- even complete the academy. going in i thought that was going to be the hardest thing to overcome and which i passed with flying colors and things like that but that's just the tip of the iceberg. >> the situation of the system and what we're going into, understaffed, overcrowded. it's probably one of the worst times to be a corrections officer and everything that is taught to us at training camp is for a purpose to keep us alive, keep us safe.
well, inmates move contraband cell to cell, tier to tier, they use dental floss, tear up sheets. they tie an empty tube of toothpaste on it and flip it from one tier to the other. they move cigarettes, tobacco, magazines, anything they can get to read, they'll try to move it. normally tobacco, they won't move anything like tobacco or any pills or anything like that, only if the officer is not presents that's when they'll normally do that, or they know we're going to get it. this is not something we put up with, and we have to put up with
a certain amount of it but if an officer is on the tier we try to get those to prevent things from being moved from cell to cell. >> toothpaste, you know what i'm saying, shoot it up under the door, pull on it, pull on it, pull on it, make it jump. we use a trail. she going to break down on you, too. you know what i'm saying? it's all good, though, man. >> it's been more than a week since we last saw jaime bell. >> that man just took my mail two days ago. showed it to me, throwed it in the trash can. >> and apparently we've caught him on one of his good days. >> ready to go home soon, i hope. >> jaime bell. he needed some help today. he's got some legal work he's trying to take care of.
last week we had the incident with him, he didn't want to cooperate. jaime bell, when he wants something, he's cooperative. when he doesn't need anything, he's to the going to cooperate very often. >> tried to get you to come out of that cell, didn't want help then. something we deal with every week with him. we're used to it. i'll check on it. i'll look on it. >> tea! tea! tea! tea! >> a shortage of staff has lowered the number of cell searches in ad seg and in turn more contraband is being
smuggled in. and sold in ways most officers can't detect. >> sign language keeps police out of our business. most police don't know sign language so that will be a way to beat them. >> we asked antonio easter to translate sign language from a previous episode. >> he's telling him that he's got ten bugles for him. buglers worth so much back then, you can make $150 on one pack of bugles up there. stick them up their butt, you know what i'm saying? all kinds of crazy stuff to get bugles up there, you know what i'm saying? it's a lot of different ways to get it up there. i wouldn't tell you my way, because i don't want to get caught, you know what i'm
saying? >> this is smoking tobacco up in seg, they put it down and this put the deodorant back over it and it will do a good job. put deodorant back over it. this right here, hollowed out, he had marijuana filled up to there. he put this back on and had it glued in there. see he kept the cellophane all on it. you just look at it -- he had three tobaccos, one marijuana and had all the matches. and what really gave him away is when i was shaking his property down before i got to this point i found rolling paper. here's a card, just a regular card for rolling paper. this inmate right here actually had -- this is a disciplinary he received. he had it glued together and he had rolled up paper and that. it's kind of hard to deny it's yours, it's got your name on it.
he had two boxes inside a box glued together and had the matches all down the sides. one individual done a very good job one time, he took his whole part off his shoe and took the whole bottom off. there's not much cushion in these state shoes but he lined it with tobacco and when he took it off, i knew -- i took my knife and cut it. it just popped out, so much tobacco in there. this right here is a false bottom. you put one bag down inside another bag and you glue it back up. everything is not what it appears in prison. that's just some of the ways they get it. i'm sure i get beat often but i catch quite a few. i do it for a living. i enjoy it. coming up, officers in ad seg hope to put a stop to the tobacco business with surprise cell searches. >> smoked all the tobacco. that's all he had left. as far as the tobacco goes.
this is not your everyday job that you walk in and fill out an application for and that any and everybody can come in and do. you have to realize you work in a prison and it's a maximum security prison. >> you know it's against the law what you're [ bleep ] doing, bitch. >> you have to prepare to be
disrespected, you know. you have to be prepared to be called names. >> lock him up. >> you have to be prepared for the violence. you may have to break up a fight which didn't have anything to do with you but then you're obligated to protect life. if there's a fight between two inmates and if it's, let's just say the housing unit, one officer in the housing unit, number one, you'd call for assistance. that's the first thing, get some assistance. two, tell the guys to stop. and the third thing is to use a chemical agent to break it up. >> when proper procedures aren't followed it's the officers in danger. >> we were preparing to do an institutional count bed check. over the in-house radio we had came a call, code blue, telling us an officer needs assistance in the dorm, he just had a fistfight going on. >> me and an inmate had an
argument. a senseless argument, to be truthful. we had an argument up by the front of the dorm by some ice, passing ice out. i said, we don't have to get into it, he said, well, i'm going to do what i have to do. so i stood up, stepped back out of that and say, well, no sense waiting any longer. we might as well get started now. so he, like, went for the pocket. i started backing out of it. we had an argument over in the corner, right? he's drunk and he comes out of his pocket, with a little thing, a little knife. i catch his hand, right. >> myself and three other officers laying down here to this cell and we came in. we observed the two inmates back toward the back of the dorm fighting. >> by this time the police coming, they're running. the police end up tackling me not realizing the guy got a knife so that's when he got the chance to swing the knife and i get cut or stabbed, so to speak. i get stabbed like in the side of the jaw and in the back
twice. yeah. that was before the police realized he had a knife. >> and the confrontation between myself and him which seemed like an eternity was probably three or four minutes. he stabbed or cut me approximately eight times. one time he went into the muscle. he stabs me three times in the forearm and cut me twice on my upper arm and slashed me right down through here. it was a homemade knife about seven or four inches long, about an inch and a half wide. i was lucky the inmate that was being stabbed was very lucky. he had one puncture wound in his back that just barely missed his spine. at the hospital you could actually see his spinal cord, it went that deep, so he was very fortunate that it didn't kill him. the inmate was trying to kill him. >> i'm trying to tell the police, turn me loose, the man got a knife but, you know, i guess when they're trying to do their job, that's how it comes.
>> it's dangerous. like i tell my wife, you know, i try to tell her every morning when i come to work, you know, i love you because there's always that chance that you don't come home. it's stressful but i love my job. i want to be here 20 years. don't do that. be nice. >> i think the stabbing incident may have opened up a few people's eyes because i think as you work as a correctional officer you have a tendency to become lackadaisical. everything is the same every day and i think it pulls you into a false sense of security that everything is okay. if something happens, it wakes you up, it brings you back to consciousness that you need to be very prepared, that you need to take your time, not rush. you need to follow procedures. next on "lockup: extended
okay. you guys, we've got a project. we have some inmates we need to shake down. supposedly running a tobacco business back there. >> in an effort to prevent any more, the captain and his team prepare for cell searches. >> we're going in there and looking for any kind of contraband, weapons, drugs. tobacco is a big thing so we're trying to get tobacco out of
this. let's go out there and see what we can find. >> a lot of times, an inmate will chain stuff to his door. you can have a knife taped to his door. there's enough clearance in here that it's going to open and close with a knife. you can see where he's been smoking. cigarette ashes here in the door. but no sign of tobacco. >> the search for contraband continues in another cell, one that belongs to anthony patterson, an inmate with whom our crew is quite familiar.
>> adjusting to seg life? >> it's hard. all right? i had 90 days to do. i did all of them except 13. that's -- you know why i'm here, right? >> no. >> having your penis out indecently exposed. >> while the indecent exposure and possession of marijuana landed him in seg, today anthony is just the subject of a random cell search. >> found a couple of newspapers. other than that, i didn't have anything illegal really. so i think i'm good. i don't think i'm going to get any more write-ups or nothing, i don't think. i don't know. but i hope not. yeah, i hope not. >> since officers don't find any contraband in his cell, anthony won't receive any additional time on his one-year sentence in ad seg.
another cell search produces a familiar face to our crew. the last time we saw terry moore, he was being locked up for stabbing another inmate. >> move. >> it's not my first stab. it's not the first time i ever stuck, so -- >> after a full morning of cell searches, the officers' diligence pays off and more so. >> he done smoked all the tobacco. that's all he had left as far as the tobacco goes. and he had these rolling papers. did you all find that much over there? >> small amount. all right.
it's tobacco. write him a disciplinary? >> yeah. >> it's good to get any tobacco out of here that we can. i'm afraid the one guy had done smoked it up before we got there, but it's always good to remove this clutter and trash. ♪ >> in the mailroom, ms. etheridge doesn't run into many problems, but every so often an inmate lashes out at her. >> i got a letter this morning. it was addressed specifically to that mailroom whatever man, and it's from kenny wilson down in segregation.
and he wrote to me about his -- it was a musical card that he got and they can't have musical cards, but we've never rejected the card, itself. what we'll do is take the letter opener and go through the back and take the mechanical piece out, the battery and everything. and we'll just throw it away and we'll send them their stuff instead of just rejecting it. but he wrote to warden culliver and to me and sent the card to warden culliver and said that before i run crying and whining to warden culliver, he asked me, who do you think you are? and asked me, i don't have the right to disrespect his mail and it says does it say in your job to tear up the mail? you will pay for this card, i promise you that, and you will find a new job because you've crossed the line dealing with my mail. my name is kenny wilson. you must not know i hate you low life white people as is.
he doesn't even have correct grammar. he can't halfway spell, but yet he wants to be derogatory and racist and that's the kind of stuff we have to deal with when we're doing our job. we didn't ask for them to come here. they're not on vacation. they're not at the ramada. i'm doing my job. if they don't like it, they shouldn't come. >> been here a couple months getting more familiar with things and getting used to the inmates and things like that, you know, building a relationship with everybody. >> after months of training, cadet hardy has finally become correctional officer hardy. >> i've been working a lot of overtime. the way the overtime system works is you have to cover another shift. we'll work 16 hours. today i came in at 2:00 p.m. and i won't get off until 6:00 a.m. in the morning. so it's a long ride, especially when you have to go home and still spend time with your family and things like that. but the money is good.
that's what's appealing to you and you want to do it. you know what i mean? this morning, i got up at 6:00 a.m. and i had to go home and get a little bit of sleep and get back up here. eight hours after i punched out. it can get overwhelming sometimes, but hey, you know, it took a long time to get this, and i'm very proud to wear it, and i come in here each day and try to do my best. my first night on assignment was house unit "a." this dorm here. it was 10:00 p.m. when i came here that night. the first thing you're thinking, man, you don't know any of these inmates, you're all by yourself. you're all by yourself. you have 114 inmates in this dorm and it's just you. you're the only one that is with you on that side. it's an overwhelming feeling that goes through your body. i know i had a pen in my hand and i was fidgeting with it and all of a sudden i didn't realize, but i broke it in half because i was so nervous. if you're not nervous, you've got a death wish, you know what i mean? because this place is not a joke. as you walk by, everybody is looking at you. every inmate. they're wondering what you're about and things like that. they're automatically seeing what kind of officer you're going to be. i got stopped halfway in the
dorm and this one guy stopped and started getting a little irate with me because he was upset i kept walking. i was just trying to get familiar with things. anyway, he made a threat and i called to get back up to come down here and get him just in case it got serious and all of a sudden i got hit in the back of the head with a battery, a double "a" battery. before i knew it, i was getting hit with shaving cream balls and all sorts of stuff. it was an interesting night. you know, and -- but after the time went by, you know, i got comfortable with people, got to know who the inmates were. i talked to some of the guys i thought it might have been and i had, look, we can make this easy or hard. you know what i mean? so i understand this is their home, you know, this is where they got to live. i'm not trying to be a rude officer. or someone that's going to come in here every day and be a bad officer to them directly. i just let them know, hey, we can get along or make this hard, you know what i'm saying? preferably, i have 25 years to go until i retire. so i want to make the environment as comfortable as possible for them. as long as they're not hurting each other and stuff like that, we can make this easy, but you
know, after time went by, a couple weeks went by and i was down here a couple more times, it did get a little better. but they definitely don't make it easy for a rookie officer, that's for sure. >> i have a really good staff here. over the years, they take pride in what they do and i think they look out for each other. it's a tough job. you have to be prepared when you walk outside to go back to the community. somebody says, oh, you work at home? we had a guy, he lasted two weeks and he found out that, you know, he would rather be driving a truck than trying to tell them grown men, put your shirt in. get out of my hallway. step inside the block. don't break line. everybody cannot do this job. but when you find somebody that can, then you've really got a special person.
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