I've been here at the Orient Prison since April of this year, and living conditions here are deplorable. I live in a dormitory that holds approximately 310 prisoners, who sleep in double bunk beds, with roughly 36 inches between beds. The noise level in the dorm is maddening, and creates stress to such a degree that prisoners contemplate violence to silence the noisy prisoners. We're forced by prison staff to put all our state clothing and personal property into a locker box that measures 2.4 cubic feet. This policy means that prisoners have almost nothing, since the space is taken up mostly by our state clothing.

We're harassed constantly with mass shake-downs where the guards search through our property. Whenever they find legal work, they sling it all over the dorm.

Every time it rains the basement floods, and to take a shower -- we have to walk through sewage.

Last month there was a fire in 8-dorm where prisoners were protesting the implementation of a punishment program. After the fire, guards looted the locker boxes and stole cigarettes, watches, food and other items. To cover-up the theft, guards filled the locker boxes with water and said it had all been damaged in the fire, and threw away almost all the rest of their property.

Prisoners who file complaints here experience all sorts of reprisals. My mail has been delayed, or lost, legal work has disappeared, guards in the visiting room harass us about our visits, and the parole board considers any prisoner who files a complaint to be a trouble-maker.

There's very little recreation here, as we spend most of our time locked in the dorms. The Administration continues to cut back on worth-while programs.

To add to all this, the parole rate has been reduced to a point where almost no one is making a parole any more. I'm serving a 4 to 25 year sentence, and will have the entire maximum in on this sentence in another 6 years. The concept of rehabilitation and even "justice" has been discarded completely. It is all about punishment now. I feel like an animal in a cage. This is one of Ohio's worst prisons, and the conditions here are unacceptable!

Since the fire occurred here last month, another disturbance took place at the Lancaster Prison this month. Lancaster has living conditions which are much like the conditions here. Legislators aren't willing to intervene.

With the most non-existent parole rate, prisoners are losing hope of getting out of prison. Realizing they have nothing left to lose, many prisoners feel open rebellion is the only solution left.

If something doesn't happen to change the course of current events, more rebellions and uprising are likely in the future. I don't condone the use of violence -- but younger prisoners feel it's the only answer.

We need some legislators to investigate -- before it's too late.


Submitted by: Jeffrey Ruiz, 24 Aug. 1997
#A-150-835, Orient Correctional Institution
PO BOX 511
Columbus, OH 43216

The opinions expressed by this prisoner
are his own and do not necessarily reflect
the opinions of this site editor.

WE are FADS.
WE shall remain in force until the CHANGES we seek are Accomplished.