January 30, 2003 - March 30, 2004
At the time I was sent to prison the Iowa Medical and Classification Center was located in the community of Oakdale, Iowa. Later it was located in Coralville Iowa. No, it didn't move. Oakdale's citizenry decided to dis-incorporate, that is, they decided not to be a town anymore. They were then annexed by Coralville which is adjacent to Iowa City, Iowa where the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics are located. This is where all but one of my victim's surgeries took place because it was where the most expert doctors were for cleft lip and palate.
We were transferred from the Black hawk County Jail in a van. The sheriffs went through a gate into a garage. We were dressed in jump suits and had handcuffs on our wrists connected to waist chains and our ankles were likewise shackled. We were taken into an intake area. Weighed and then taken to a cell in a reception block. These are double cells with wall mounted bunks with fire retardant foam mattresses.
The other inmate was much younger than me and we talked for a while until they opened the cells to line us up for supper. We went. as a unit, to meals. There we were assigned tables as we came off the line at tables of four with attached seats. These table and seat sets were bolted to the floor. At one meal, they seated Light foot at my table. This man got his 25 year 85% minimum mandatory sentence reduce to 40% minimum mandatory because I offered to testify that I told him I was guilty. I had never said any such thing. I only told him what I'd been accused and stated there was no evidence. This was a reference of physical evidence. My wife having caught us once and my victim's testimony would have been more than enough to make the jury consider me guilty.
Iowa Law allows a reduction in sentence for being an informant. Let's explain something about the con code. There is nothing lower than a snitch. That's convict slang for an informant. Now I had no intention on outing him to the other inmates. I would not out him to the other prisoners because that would make me as low as he was. My main concern was he might be afraid of me outing him for snitching me out and lying and try to take me out to preempt that action.
had no room to talk about my case. His step daughter at age 9 was in a sleeping bag inside the house he shared with her mother when he allegedly sexually abused her. claimed his stepson did it. incest is said to be more common than incest but is less commonly reported because parents hesitate to bring the case to the police and harness their sons with the label sex offender.
I did inform our unit officer that and I should not be seated again at the same table. I explain one of us had received a reduced sentence for snitching out the other one. Since my sentence was tagged as being set by a plea bargain that meant that if they were curious enough to check they would find out which one of us snitched.
Three weeks after I arrived at Oakdale, as the convicts called it, I was taken off reception and sent to S unit. R and S are transitional units between reception and general population. So I now had the idea I would be put in General Population at Oakdale. This unit is dormitory styled with four bunks in each room with two rooms separated by a six foot tall concrete block wall. That put sixteen men in close proximity with conversation probable. It was here that I first find out that sex offenders are only three thicknesses of paper above the snitches and those with child victims were only two pieces of paper thickness above the snitch and if the child was his own then he's only one sheet of paper thickness above the snitch.
Since my victim was my own child at the time of the abuse that didn't give me any room to maneuver. I kept my mouth shut and told nobody anything. Still the Department of Corrections had a web site that lists what every Iowa Prisoner is in prison for so an inmate can write or call a friend on the outside and find out what all his roommates are in prison for. I did not know that at the time but it was not long before someone found out what I had been sent to prison for and started giving me attitude. They were patient because they wanted to get to general population first. Since all offenders in R and S will go to T unit if they get GPed at Oakdale they knew they could get me there.
Still there was the time we had a female guard and while I was in the shower someone came in a stole my clean clothes. Since I'd tossed my dirty clothes in the laundry hamper as I took them off, I was naked and had nothing to put on. I called the guard and before she got too close I did warn her, from behind the wall, that I was totally naked. She said "Wait right there." Duh! Where was I going to go? She went to the second level opened clothing issue and found me a decent jump suit and a pair of briefs. A computer terminal in clothing issue had records of what size took. She returned about five minutes later with the clothing which I accepted with thanks and then left me to get dressed. As I started to come out she told me to "Wait a minute, Higgins" She took the top off the trash can and under a few paper towels found my orange jump suit and said, :"At least now you know what they did with them." She threw the jump suit, brief and socks into the dirty laundry hamper.
Then there was the razor sabotage. I shaved one day and had a cut that cut my face opened so it was have covered in blood. The twin blade razor had its top blade bent up on one side so it sliced off my skin with little pain. Thankfully for me the cut was not deep and I did heal up within a week. So the pattern of harassment had started but if I was so optimistic as to stay with a woman who promised sex but rarely delivered I obviously was too optimistic for a cynical place like prison.
After two weeks in SE I was transferred to TB unit and was GPed. So now I'm in a room with seven other people who were all inmates on various charges. Anybody who wanted to know what I was in prison for could find out if an outside person they knew had Internet access. I was still unaware of this but slowly becoming aware that other knew too much. Once Jesse Lightfoot was identified as having a possible problem at Oakdale, he was not GPed there. I do not know where they sent him.
Once on GP there was a job assignment to be made and the staff decided I was sufficiently non-violent to be trusted with a position in the kitchen. When I write of trust I mean they would allow me to hold a butcher knife to prepare food under light supervision. The knife was used to quickly slice vegetables and bread which was baked in the prison bakery.
In February I was transferred to the Polk County Jail for a Termination of Parental Rights Hearing. This is a hearing to divorce a child from its parents. The child, my daughter, was represented by the Children's Law Center of Polk County. This hearing was set aside because the Childrens Law Center was headed by an attorney formerly employed by the Polk County Attorney's Office. Since that office had all the information used to prosecute the offenders and, through discovery, all the defense documents that were used to defend the person that gave her access to more information than she should have in the post she was now in. The Iowa Court of Appeals stated that the Childrens Law Center of Polk County was no longer to defend any child whose case went through any Polk county agency. So this hearing was thrown out because Blackhawk County DHS had handled the original interview with my victim and the Des Moines Police Department had interviewed by self, my wife and my daughter about March 15, 2002
I worked here until I was involved in a fight. The inmate who struck me claimed I was a serial pedophile with many victims instead of an incestuous father with only one. He was following a line newscasters had used saying a typical sex offender violates over 300 victims before he is caught and put in prison. Maybe the fixated Pedophiles who grooms his victim and abuses her and moves on does have that many incestuous fathers love their daughters and only have sex with them because their wife won't. There is another model where the two parents were incestuously abused as children, saw it as pleasurable and want to pass that pleasure on. My case if of the former. I met many men who came from the later group in the treatment groups at Mt. Pleasant Correctional Facility where I would be eight years after this.
When I went before the Administrative Law Judge blamed me for the fight saying I should not have defended myself! Both my assailant and I were sentenced to 30 days in the hole. That's what inmates call it. The official title is Disciplinary Detention. I was in unit H. He was in G unit. both of us were single celled. That means there was no cell mates. I did have one though. He was one inch tall about three inches long and had a tail almost as long as his body. He was a mouse. Each morning and evening this rodent would go from cell to cell hoping for a tidbit of food. Even a few crumbs would do the job. So I suspect all the inmates gave him a little. In a place where there is no love even a mouse coming around can become a loving pet.
You still get fed the same in hole. You just don't have anyone to talk to and exercise is in a very small outdoor cage, about 5 by 20. You can walk, do pushups and that's about all. It's not really that bad. I can do hole time with ease as long as I can have books. They ran a library cart around every few days and let us each have three books. So I could have that and the chaplain made sure we could have a Bible. So between the Bible and secular books I could keep my mind engaged and keep out of trouble.
The difference between H and G is significant. G block has no windows. H block has windows and the barred cells face the officers desk and the area around it. The guards treated me fairly well and I took outdoor exercise anytime it was offered which was every day. At the end of thirty days I was returned to General Population unit T and was assigned now to janitorial work. I was assigned to clean the bathroom on unit V. That unit is where I would go if I could get through 90 days without getting a report. That I recognized as unlikely because of the hatred that many on T unit had for me because of my sexual offense.
May 1, 2003 was set as the date for the repeat of the termination of parental rights hearing. This time they did not take me to Des Moines I was connected to the court by telephone and was able to participate via that phone line. The hearing was done and I went back to my room and hoped they would not do it. That is I hoped they would not terminate my parental right to my daughter.
On May 2, 2003 I was taken back to Waterloo for final sentencing. The trip was made by van and I was put in the Black Hawk County Jail again to await the hearing.
The hearing was held in a court room in the jail house. So I was standing there in my orange jump suit as the lying bitch I had married twenty seven years told the court with a whining cry in her voice that I had destroyed her dream of having a large family. Let's analyze that with full disclosure shall we:
So who really destroyed her dream of having a large family? I am responsible for the abuse. She is a compulsive liar.
She also perjured herself again when she claimed that my son was estranged from us because I had sexually abused him also. That never happened. My son stated for himself that he was estranging himself from us because we fought too much with each other and it sickened him. That was the truth
I had told my attorney to have my son at the sentencing to reply to any of the lies I thought my wife might come up with. The fact that he did not have Charles JRE. brought to the hearing would have been sufficient cause for an appeal of the sentence. There is a clause in most plea bargains that if the defendant appeals the sentence he agreed to then they can bring you back and try you on the original charge. When the hearing is full of lies there should be the right to appeal.
My victim also perjured herself saying She never asked me.
So my victim had learned from her mother how to lie.
The Iowa Department of Human Services say they are pro family and want to keep families together. They also prepare girls to testify against their fathers by convincing them their fathers do not love them. Again, if I did not love her why stop when she was becoming even more easy to get to by manipulating her mother out of the house so we could be intimate.?
So the hearing was full of lies and my attorney did not even question my wife about the oral contraceptives or the cut off of sex that had been in effect since our daughter had been born.
So the hearing was full of lies and the judge gave me the twenty year sentence. I was 49 at the time. Twenty years added to that is 69. No male in my family has lived that long in the last three generations and I did tell that to the judge. I said it would be a life sentence. I'm still astounded that I am now 61 and still have not had a single heart attack.
Indeed I had not been back out of the hole for the previous fight for 6 weeks when I was returning from supper one evening when someone behind called out "Hey, Higgins." When I turned around I was immediately punched in the nose which sent my glasses on a ballistic course. Now my vision is about 20:500. That means what a normal person sees at 500 feet I can't see until it is 20 feet away. So once the glasses are gone I'm helpless. He did not hit me again and thanks to my blind condition I could not identify my attacker. Nor did I report it. That would have been snitching. To be honest not everyone shared the opinion that sex offenders all deserved all the violence that you could get away with. I could not see to find my glasses but some other inmates found them and handed them to me. I went back to the unit and tried to forgive and forget the attacker.
In my room where seven other inmates including Stacy Ragan who had the body of a bodybuilder. He verbally expressed his hatred to me but would not physically attack me. Other inmates varied from one drug pusher who felt he couldn't condemn me because when school kids came to buy his X he sometimes gave discounts if they gave him a blow job to another one who condemned me because of the harm I brought my victim. I've never denied I was guilty and never denied it did her harm. One of these, a young black man, claimed I was a pedophile and was in my face all the time. The administrators of this prison didn't care if I got beat up in the room. So once when he was hassling me on my upper bunk getting in my face as I was lying down. I sat up and got out from under the blanket and gave him a gentle push with me right foot. He turned and punched me in the face!
We settled back down and slept in the same room. I slept well despite the earlier battle. Late the next afternoon I was handed a report for fighting. Someone had told the officers what had happened. The next day I was sent to the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) and he claimed I had kicked the other inmate! Now I grew up taking tap, ballroom and ballet dancing lessons. The result of this is that my legs are heavily muscled from the ankles to the pelvis. If I kick someone you can bet I will produce bruises, but the ALJ decided the whole thing was my fault. I don't know what they expect me to do when people are constantly in my face and they house a sex offender with a person who was abused as a child. Interestingly the next time I saw my assailant years later he was in PC (Protective Custody) which meant he most likely was a sex offender also. He claimed to be a drug offender but I still was not wise to the fact that the DOC ran a web site where you could find my charges or anyone else's.
I did 30 days in the hole for this fight. Since they blamed me I did it in G block where there are not windows. No officer. You are just locked in a cell with a solid steel door and your food comes three times a day through a hatch in the door. They come and get you every other day and let you take a shower and that's all you get in G. No exercise. They still bring a library cart and bring you books and you can have your Bible and do the studies that come in the mail.
I must stress that if anyone is doing time they should avail themselves to some of the hundreds of ministries that give Bible studies to inmates. Some of these even sent envelopes with return postage. So the inmate doesn't even have to pay to send them in. It means his only investment is his time and his ink.
So I kept my mind busy and exercised my body with sit ups and pushups. I can do hole time fairly easily because there you are isolated and other inmates can't really get to you.
When I got out of the hole this time I was returned to a different room on T and a new job assignment in laundry. I was given the job of folding the laundry when it came out of the dryer. There were eight of us doing the folding and while there was some harassment going on it was way less than what had been going on before so it was easy to ignore. I was in this job for sixty days when I got into another fight. This was another kid who thought a sex offender deserved to be beaten to within an inch of his life. He caught my right boot with his left cheek and went to the ALJ with a shiner and told the ALJ he had been minding his own business when I assaulted him.
The ALJ had some statements from confidential informants who saw what happened and told the truth and that he had attacked me and I had defended myself. The ALJ questioned me on how come I wasn't bruised and the other guy was. I could only explain my leg strength and my flexibility as being left over from dance lessons in childhood and my legs hit him harder than his fists hit me. I did 30 days in the hole but this time I was in H where we had windows and a visible officer. I also had daily exercise outside walking around the 5 by 25 exercise enclosure. I still did push ups and sit ups in the cell because after a while you'd go stir crazy if you didn't burn off some of the energy you took in at meals.
When I got to prison I was given a security classification score that said I could be at a medium security prison. What I did not know was that each fight added another 1 to that score and now I was at 10 which meant I should go to a maximum security prison. You may say it defies common sense to deny a man a right to defend himself but that's how it was done at Oakdale.
I go back to T unit and now my job is to dust mop, wet mop and buff the basement floor which is where laundry is. So I was cleaning where I formerly worked. I also cleaned the intake office once or twice a week when the officer felt it needed it. I went three month without a report and was finally transferred up to V unit.
On October 1, 2003 I received the decision of the May 1, 2003 hearing to terminate my parental rights. It was the day before my victim's eighteenth birthday which terminated the parental rights by qualifying her as an adult. The date on the paper was November 24, 2003 which was only six days before she would have aged out of my parental control. After I opened it I was visibly hurt and the look on my face said it all. When I went into my room one of the cell mates asked me,"Who died?" I handed him the court's decision and he said,"Man, I'm sorry that has to suck." It would not have had such an effect on me if I had not loved my daughter. It wasn't losing her as a sex partner. It was the fact that her termination of parental rights is a violation of God's commandments.
You can't dishonor a parent more than by saying you want to terminate the relationship and all rights they have over you. I never claimed the right to sexually abuse her. She gave me that by asking me to rub her and by initiating all the other incest incidents except possibly the one when I woke her up. For those who claim that parents that abuse do not deserve such honor please contact me on the "About the Author " link on the home page to show me where in Scriptures it says that. You will not find it unless you decide to interpret your own prejudices into what the book actually says.
In the General Population units of Oakdale for a unit officer to know where you are if a counselor calls for you or you have a visit you have a card. When you leave you put the card in the slot marked with what time you left the unit. When you return to the unit you take the card with you and put it in your room.
Counts are a fact of life in prison. When they do these we all sit up and the officer comes around and counts the men on the unit. If any workers from other units are on the unit at count time the C.O. (Correctional Officer) has discretion to let him stay and work through count or to send him back to his unit for count. So we generally are in the cells for count. Now if you're not on the unit during count your card should be in the card holder near the exit of the unit. But what if you are there and the card is in the card holder? Well that's enough reason to give you a minor report. One of my cell mates in V was also an accused sex offender. He was found guilty in a trial but still denied he was guilty. Only God knows what's true but unknown to me when I went to my cell for count he was taking my card back down and putting it in the rack so I caught the reports. Two of these was enough to send me back to T unit.
So within a month of my advancement to V I was demoted back to T. There a young man convicted of joyriding (car theft with a key) was harassing me to no end. I was trying to avoid it but only one grey haired old woman guard cared enough to call him down for it. Her name was Gloria and she herself was a childhood sexual abuse victim. She explained her actions as being fair because she knew I didn't do her when she was child and there was not supposed to be any punishment to me other than being restricted to prison.
It really didn't matter. There was a day I was sent to the infirmary and examined by a resident from the University Of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics who informed me he only did exams for people who were being transferred. That was the first I knew I was being transferred. A day later I was put in a van with some other inmates and driven to the Anamosa State Penitentiary. This maximum security prison is surrounded by a thirty foot tall stone wall at least four foot thick at the base.
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