The following is a direct report by a prisoner on several conditions and grievances at Marion CI in Marion, NC. It briefly gives a good summary of day to day challenges facing prisoners living at the facility, in particular the ways that race, overcrowding, and resource access directly function to increase conflict, violence, and division among prisoners of color. Marion CI is generally understood by prisoners to be one of the most corrupt facilities in the state, as well as the worst in cases of censorship and punishment of politically active prisoners.
This missive is in regards to numerous situations going on here at Marion Corruptional Institution. First and foremost, forget the NCDPS policies. This institution is run by its own policies. For example: every adult close custody facility in NC has a phone in the dorm for inmate usage. Well, Marion doesn’t! One unit here at Marion houses 192 inmates, 96 on the lower level, 96 on the upper level and 32 per dorm (6 dorms per unit). Now understand that there are three units like this and each unit is predominately of color. On each unit there’s one phone on each level located outside of the dorms in the core area. Each inmate is allowed one attempted phone call a day, but you must sign a phone list the day before and then get put in rotation in order to use the phone.
Imagine what this is like when this institution is locking down throughout the day everyday of the week. Not only that, but you have 96 prisoners trying to use this one phone daily. The phones do not cut on until 8 am ad they cut off at 9pm. Yeah, it sounds like a lot of time. But you must use the phone during the time you are out of your cell, and that time is 7:15 – 10:30 am, 1pm-3:30, 6:15-9pm, or 9:15-11pm. And for the most part, we can’t even use the phone on Saturday due to Marion policies. So the time is actually extremely limited. Now the best part I left for last. There’s what they (the corruptional officers) call the “fish bowl” on E-Unit. This dorm houses 20 prisoners (18 whites, one asian, one latino). Between them they have their own phone in the dorm that they are able to use at their leisure.
I could get into the race thing, which is a big issue at this institution. I’ve written grievances on these issues but to no avail. My grievances are turned down and I’m harassed for writing them.
Other situations occurring here: Every adult close custody facility in NC has two TVs in their dorms: one for sports, on for movies. Well, Marion doesn’t. They even have it set up to where a staff member makes the TV schedule, leaving us to watch nonsense
Now for a more serious issue here at Marion. The officers may come around to conduct a cell search. They handcuff the prisoner’s hands behind his back and sit him in a chair in front of his cell so he can watch. While one or two officers search the cell there’s one left standing outside of the cell. During the process of the search there’s 31 prisoners left roaming around this defenseless inmate! Regardless of the officer standing beside the man, the prisoner is clearly in harm’s way!
I myself an trying to have these three situation changed for the better. Because it’s cruel and unusual punishment and discrimination towards the prisoners here at this facility. There is no excuse for Marion CI to be showing inequality amongst the whole, favoring white prisoners with more privileged conditions, and provoking conflict and tension among prisoners of color with overcrowding and competition for resources. Whether I stand as one or stand as many, I strive to make change for better living conditions among these mountain bred officers.
Peace and Blessings,