Sitting in my cell I can feel the floor shaking. I can hear the banging. I can see a man dancing on top of a table in a common area. This is a typical afternoon in a federal prison; FCI Petersburg to be exact.
As I sit at my desk, which is in a cell which has a shut door, I work hard on an English paper. Spread out on the desk before me are my college study guide, a textbook on writing by Joseph Trimmer, and a pad of paper with notes across it. I mean business. I aim to complete another lesson in my college correspondence course.
Yet, every few minutes my concentration is broken by another outburst which I can hear over my ear plugs and feel through the floor of my cell and my desk. The shrieks and banging which produce vibrations in my desk and distract my concentration are here to stay. And there is no one to stop the madness, for the guard assigned to the unit has left his post and is nowhere to be found. (Note: The guards here at FCI Petersburg regularly either leave their posts or even join in with the yelling at the TVs.)