Chapter 15 Anamosa State Penitentiary


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March 30, 2004 - March 08, 2007

The first place you get put into at the Anamosa State Penitentiary is Orientation. This is in LUA which is an air conditioned building. It has barred cells  which may be a a decorative pattern but they are secure make no mistake about it.  We were in two man cells that were well ventilated and a guard was stationed out in the day room. We were awakened and taken in mass to the cafeteria where meals were served.

We were returned to the living unit and stayed there. In our cells with our cell mates. The toilets are in the cells so you have no privacy.The guards could be of either gender and could stop by anytime they felt like it. God help you if you had a force gay cell mate. You had no way to keep from displaying whatever his particular sexual desire was.

My celly was a Mr. White who was black and was also on a sex charge. He had climbed out of bed and put his hand accidently he claimed on his daughter's genitals. He was told by the judge he would be sent direct to treatment and then on to parole. Whatever he thought I doubt it happened that way.

After about a week we were taken up to a conference room where we were spoken to by a man best known as T-bone Taylor. T-Bone was also from Waterloo. He had put the entire county (Black Hawk) on edge for forty-eight hours after two Waterloo police officers had arrived at his home to ask him to turn his stereo down. He had met them on the porch and had shot each of them twice. It was a waste of bullets. The first shot killed each of them. So this cop-killer now was going to tell us how to do time. He gave us the usual thing about not getting into debt to anyone, such debts often turned into sexual services to the lender. He also urged us to mind our own business. T-bone was trying to do good to make up for the evil he admitted he had done. Fact is T-Bone had killed two other inmates at the Ft. Madison Penitentiary.

After two weeks of being spoon fed prison life in the maximum security prison we were released onto the yard and transferred to the general population unit. We were moved to LUB, Living unit B and now were on a status of waiting for a job. We alternated long days out and long days in. On long days out we were able to move freely about the buildings and yards up until about 5 on short days we were in the cell except for time to go to meals and get mail.

This status is called On-call and we were waiting for a job. With 1200 inmates in a prison built for 800 there weren't enough jobs to keep all the men busy.  How you move out is dependent  on someone getting locked up on a disciplinary report for more than five days. After five days they lose their jobs and someone from on-call takes their place. 

Here we say fights all the time. In this prison almost five per cent of the population is lifers. Life in Iowa is Life without possibility of parole so they have nothing to lose since Iowa has no death penalty. If a murderer already serving life without parole kills another inmate the only thing he will get is a year in the hole. They don't put them on trial because they are already serving life without parole.

My counselor in this prison was the only black man I knew in a  white collar job in the prison. His name was Darby Washington who in my humble opinion was a black racist. Black sex offenders were given jobs in shops where pay was higher. Darby would not let me work there because he wanted me to have to face all the other inmates in the prison everyday. So he kept giving me jobs in the dining hall where every body had to come to eat or in laundry return where every inmate had to go to pick up their laundry.  This way he was exposing me every day to people who, because I was a sex offender, wanted to take a shot at me.  So I had some hole time in this prison too.

Being taken to the hole is different here. They run you through a perp walk. So I got to listen to the other inmates saying stuff like, "Hey Higgins is in the hole.","What did he do to come here?" "Probably got caught fucking somebody."  Fact of the matter is even masturbating is considered sexual misconduct. Actually have sex with someone else is sexual misconduct punishable by six months in the hole. Verses ninety days for masturbation. I did not want to catch a sentence for that because compulsive sexual activity in prison can get you civilly committed.

Iowa has a code provision that allows the permanent civil commitment of any Sexually Violent Predator. Now in incest there is seldom any need for the perpetrator to become violent. His victim, because she loves him, will typically obey if her father wants sex with her. She may object but he can continue grooming her until she decides to cooperate with him. My daughter was conditioned to let her father do anything he wanted to by her mother's neglect and her father's taking over caring for her. Her father loved her enough to take over care of the child.

When Sabrina was about a year old a surgical procedure was planned to close her palate. The lip had been closed when she was four months old. At the University of Iowa Hospitals in Iowa City Iowa the parents wait in a surgical waiting room until their child awakes from general anesthesia  at which time the parents are summoned to be there for their child as soon as they wake up. On the day of surgery we accompanied her to surgery and then they took her away we went to the waiting room to wait for word.

Several hours later they called us and we went up to the recovery room where the kids woke up. As we came out of the elevator alcove I heard the child screaming bloody murder, the nurse trying to calm her and another nurse saying, "We need you in here now. She has the strength of ten men."  As I walked rapidly in the direction of my daughter's voice I sense that Kathi my wife in name only had turned back when my daughter vomited a small but large looking amount of blood. She couldn't cope with the gore. I love my daughter enough the gore did not matter. I walked right up to her and took her in my arms. The nurses were concerned that I was wearing a dress shirt. I told them."The shirt doesn't matter compared to her." Sabrina immediately calmed down now that her daddy was holding her. My wife came up and took her out of my arms and Sabrina immediately twisted around and pushed with both her legs which launched my year old daughter through the air toward me. I caught her in mid air and returned her to my shoulder.

Her mother had abandoned her in her time of need so she didn't want her mother anymore. Daddy didn't abandon her when she was in pain and angry because she didn't know anyone in the recovery room. Her father loved her without condition despite the fact that she later would ask me to do the unthinkable things with her.

So the grooming was as much a matter of her mother's neglect and weakness and her father's unconditional love overcoming his feeling of helplessness when she was in pain.

The fact was I was being punished for being assaulted, for possessing white out, or for defending myself or my property. I had lots of radios, tokens (spendable in vending machines in prison) and headphones stolen while I was in this prison because they gave me a thief by the name of Jeff Cue as a cell mate in LUB. Jeff would act like a friend of mine then when I was out he would tell a friend in an adjacent cell where my valuables were stored. We could buy a Master Brand padlock but with our pop being sold to us in cans it was easy to tear up a pop can and use it was a shim to slip the lock. Took only a few seconds. So if someone wanted to steal, they could.

Cell were opened on a regular schedule and when I was working there might be one or two cell lines when they would open the doors for a minute. With a lock you could open in a few seconds and a cell mate that could tell you where all the valuables were a minute was all you needed to steal everything the disliked inmate had. For quite a while I'd pick up my commissary on Wednesday and my stuff would all vanish by Friday. Headphones were required if you used your TV and the only portable radio they sold at that time were Walk man type things that required headphones. So headphones were stolen and resold constantly. The more I bought. The more they stole.

So I was working on the serving lines which put me in front of every inmate in the whole prison. I received threats mostly when I was serving deserts. An inmate would threaten to beat me up if I didn't give them a double serving. I could be fire for giving a double serving. So I did not  give them anything except the serving I was suppose to give them. No body actually assaulted me on duty. I did have one guy push me away from the pop machine where I was filling a plastic glass with Diet Coke. Fortunately this was observed by a guard who saw what happened and took the guy to hole. I had not fought back and did not get in trouble. One guard wanted to lock me up anyway but the guard that saw it said."Higgins didn't do anything. He was minding his own business when he was pushed away and pop spilled over his tray. " They gave me another tray and I sat down and shakily ate my meal. I say shakily because my hands had a visible shake that was a result of adrenaline released during the altercation. I had to exert a Mr. Spock level of control but I still had trouble controlling my pituitary gland which was triggering the adrenal glands to prepare me to fight or flight.

After I had gone to the hole once I was shifted to the dish room where dirty dishes were taken by inmates after the meal. If I was on the window I would often have an inmate push a stack of trays over the ledge into my chest when we were struggling to keep up with the outflow of inmates. 

Then they gave me early outs which meant I woke up before most other inmates and let out to help serve breakfast. So I was back into the serving line. This was good pay. $2.36 a day. The minimum wage laws hold no sway in Iowa prisons. Once again I was facing all the inmates who ate breakfast. This wasn't as much of a problem as lunch or supper since there was no desert. Some still tried to intimidate me which just stiffened my resolve to stand strong.

Eventually someone uttered a threat against me in front of a friend of mine who did not realize they would lock me up to keep me safe. That's right they may or may not punish the person who  uttered a threat but would lock up the threatened one. It's called protective custody and your better off in the hole than in PC. PC gets normal rations in the cell. Up in the hole which is on the third floor of LUD. The supper meal was double rations in the hole but PC just got single rations like you'd get in the cafeteria. So my counselor kept me in there even though I did not want PC. Had not ask for PC  and was not afraid.

For a Christian being killed in prison holds no terror. I know Jesus saved me on October 1, 1996 and that if they killed me it was because it was His will to take me home to Him. Pain was something else. I am not a masochist despite the fact that had stayed in very had marriage long beyond any rational hope. I loved her. She did not love me. But please remember the Catholic teaching of that time that did not allow divorce under any circumstances.  That was part of the knowledge I absorbed as a child that still seemed true from what the Bible seemed to say.

So  I was PC for three weeks before they offered to release me if I would sign a statement that I was not afraid. So they released me and since I'd been locked up too long I'd been replaced on the early serving line I was returned to on-call. In fact each time I got a major and spent time in the hole I was returned to on-call and had to wait idle until a job came opened. My counselor was still requiring me to be exposed to every inmate in the prison so now I was returned to laundry return.

Here some people would come in just to hassle Higgins. They'd sit there and call me Huggies or Pedophile or whatever they thought up. I'd retreat to the back of the laundry room then and read a book until they decided they weren't going to get a pay off by my getting mad and starting a fight.

I had been in a laundry claim room for a week when some of the other workers would not let me deliver or pick up clothes in the last couple of rows of laundry bins. This was because these men were acting as lookouts for other workers who were receiving blow jobs as payment for debts or simply because some gay guy had an oral fixation. I had been housed with some gays who would offer their mouths or their asses for my use but I didn' t want them. I'm not gay. Not even in prison where I can't get laid by a woman I still refuse this outlet that the Bible called an abomination before God. That is the strongest word used for any sin in the Bible. So regardless of the political correct movement says God says it is sin and that settles the question for anyone who believes the Bible is the word of God.

One pair of inmates kept coming into the laundry pickup room and giving me crap. Eventually I was fed up with these young (<24 Years old) who thought they knew everything about life. Having spent six years at Hawkeye Institute of Technology teaching young people electronics I knew they would not go away until I put them in their place. So one day I flat out told them they needed to mind their own damn business that they never spent years teaching people how to make a living in electronics or counting people for a census to determine how many representatives Iowa would have in Congress and until they did something in service to someone other than themselves they had no right to talk to me as they were. They were left speechless.

A few days later one of them came into the laundry room and as we were sorting the incoming laundry he came around the back of the D and E bins as I was delivering laundry to the bins in E and F. He started hitting me in the face. The man was a known killer.

He had been hungry and broke so he called Pizza Hut and ordered a Pizza to be delivered. When the delivery man came he hit the delivery man in the head with his hammer, killing him instantly. When the Pizza delivery man did not return to the restaurant  they tried reach him on his cell phone and it went to voice mail. They became concerned and called the police. The police went to the restaurant and took the delivery list and started to follow the delivery man's route. When they found his car in front of the house they went and knocked on the door. The guy answered the door and let them in with the body still lying on the living room floor where he had fallen dead. When asked why he killed him the murderer said,"I was hungry."

Now this young killer was punching me in the face and I slowly backed him out of the blind area into the sight of the supervising officer. What as idiot he just kept on hitting me and after I had him all the way back to where I and other sorters picked up clothes to deliver them to the individual bins eventually after between 12 and 16 good punches I went down. He kicked me a few times but didn't have the leg strength to really do any damage. And without a hammer to multiply his power he could not kill me. When I went down some of my coworkers told the guy to get off me and after that I don't remember what happened but the officer squeezed his Walkie Talking and said Assistance Needed in Laundry Recovery. which brought the Trauma Team in to handcuff the perpatator and the nurses to treat his victim. Me.

So I was brought a wheelchair and put in it as I regain consciousness. They tried to carry it up the outdoor stairs. Laundry pickup was in a basement. But I and the chair was too heavy for even three officers to lift. With the extra food I had in the hole and the boredom I had experienced I had built myself up to 200 pounds and was strong enough I could have whipped the kid but then I'd be in the hole. I was locked securely in the infirmary with one eye swelled shut and the other half closed from swelling. I was able to read in the infirmary with a single eye and the people there had compassion for me as I ran through their library. An investigator came by and I told them what happened that morning in the laundry pickup room. When I got out I found out my assailant had been put in the hole for six months. I was returned to the job as soon as the bruises and swelling healed. People were surprised to see me and ask me how I avoided hole time. I ask them if they say me defend myself. They had to admit I had not. I knew fighting him would have gotten me locked up win or lose was of no matter to the guards of the Anamosa State Penitentiary..

When the six months of my assailants hole time came to an end my counselor called me to his office and told me he was sending me to Clarinda. I objected to this because at that time my sister was coming up quarterly for visits from Peoria, Illinois. Oakdale and Anamosa are both in Eastern Iowa a relatively short drive from Peoria. But Clarinda was in the Southwestern Corner of Iowa. It takes nearly five hours to traverse Iowa East to West and now almost the whole state separated me from from my sister and her husband.







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