Marc Emery: U.S. federal prison blog #1

(Marc Emery's U.S. federal prison blog #1 originally ran here on the Cannabis Culture site.)

I share a cell with Oliver, a Jewish Iranian-Canadian guy. It's like North Fraser pretrial centre, concrete & steel, but with a locker. Outside of our cell is the "range" where 60 of us eat, shower, watch Tv and play cards or dominoes or such activities, as well as walking the second level walkways for exercise.

We are locked in our cells from 10pm to 6am, and from 10am to 11:30am and 4pm to 5pm. The other times we can be in the range. Normally, the range is surprisingly quiet, most people are doing things, and the TVs are by radio signal only. An inmate lent me a radio with ear buds (my own one arrives Tuesday) and there are many, many FM music stations it can pick up, many quite good, so that's a nice discovery. PLUS, get this, I can pick up CBC Radio One at 91.7 clear as a bell, so I can hear the news!

I asked other inmates how I could get a cell on the other side of the range, because the windows over there have sunlight coming through them, and we have no outdoor exposure here of any kind, no fresh air at all, but if I could get some sun that would be nice. You have to keep an eye on when an inmate moves out and then claim his cell, so I will keep inquiring. My cell doesn't have a desk in it like some do, I could really use that for all my writing, there isn't a flat surface in my cell for that.

The poor food is getting me a bit down, but getting my commissary goods on Tuesday will help. I hope the place I get sent to after here has better opportunities for vegetables or better food, but it looks like I'll be in tough while in these prisons.

I'm helping a fellow who is coming off methamphetamine deal with his wasted life so far and helping to rebuild him into a good human again. You know this is what I'll do with the inmates who always come to me for help, and of course they do come to me. But no one is really aware of my work in the field of drug addiction & recovery or my political activism, but since I don't need help, it's unnecessary that they know my storied career.

Having actual "fans" here might even be annoying because they might pester me for stories and I'm more into my studies here and listening to those who need help and working on rebuilding them into decent citizens and good sons and good parents and helping them see how and why they screwed up—I'm totally brutally candid with them and they appreciate it because I don't want anything from them—and then how they can change and redeem their sorry-ass behaviour with proper, responsible living.

All these people have kids and parents who are very sad and disappointed and I can rock them out of their self-centered obsession. Richie went through this with me in North Fraser, but he needs another good 6 weeks of me for him to reform. He was thief for most of 20 years, lying to himself and all others blithely, yet now he is 40 and at a crossroads.

Update sent on Monday evening, May 24th after entering his guilty plea

I left for court at 6:15am, was shackled in cuffs & chains from 7am to 5pm, 10 hours, with the exception of the half hour in court 2pm to 2:30 pm. Court was fine. I plead guilty as scheduled. Britney, Jeremiah, Allison Bigelow, and Joanne Vanderwolf (an employee from 1995) was there, Joanne was wearing a No Extradition shirt and was protesting outside because she brought her FREE MARC sign into the court. I was chained and waiting in a cold cell the other 9.5 hours. I haven't had a shower or bathroom use yet, I can't wait to get that done but shower time next is 7:30pm and its about 6pm now.

I was on TV here today as people protested at the courthouse. That's what inmates here tell me. A number of them saw it and are introducing themselves to now because they realize who I am, including the Mexicans. A guard also read somewhere about the protests in Canada and around the world and said, "I guess a lot of those people are saying 'Fuck those damn Yankees that took ya away'", and I responded, "We love the American people, but the US government is bad."

I'll be sure to call or write later, after I wash and get centered again. Even though it's horrible here, there's lots to be thankful for, I suppose... That's the thing about jail, you get the blues or internalized anger over things because everything is wearing on my spirit, and its only been a little over 2 weeks.