Song Pick: “Danger Zone” by Kenny Loggins
Do you remember reading my blog a few posts back whereby I addressed the issue of every correctional officer not being a bad person? [See my post from 11 December 2017] Well, that same premise also applies to prisoners serving time in the Washington penal system.
Jason McDaniels is a prisoner serving time in the Washington D.O.C., currently housed at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center (with me–in fact, he’s my neighbor in the living Unit). Jason’s been locked up nearly as long as I have, and–like me–is a veteran when it comes to being incarcerated. He, too, started his adolescent life misspent and with all the wrong influencing factors present: gangs, drugs, alcohol, guns, etc. etc. After a few smaller offenses as a juvenile, he graduated right into the adult system with a second degree murder charge and a conspiracy to commit first degree murder charge. And was convicted for both, concomitantly sentenced to a cozy 503.25 months in prison. Fights, drugs, investigations, tattooing–an impressive array of knuckle-headed behavior marks his first ten years in prison….
Then he started getting his shit together, and started making changes in his life to become a better person and to make more positive and productive choices for himself–the current culmination of which change is evinced as follows:
On 13 April 2019 Jason and I were sitting at a table in the dayroom creating beaded artwork projects when we heard a solid ”thump thump thump” a few tables away. When we looked over, we seen Mikey, another prisoner here at SCCC, laying face-up and flopping violently on the concrete floor: the ”thump thump thump” was Mikey’s head banging on the ground as he spasmodically seized. Standing around Mikey were three or four other prisoners, lamely watching as Mikey lay on the ground injuring himself. I immediately shouted ”get his head,” but Jason was already running over to Mikey. Jason lifted Mikey’s head, sat down on the floor behind him, pulled him into an upright sitting position in front of him, and held Mikey as he continued to go through his seizure. I yelled ”Man Down!” to the officer on duty, and he came over and seen what was happening and called an emergency code over the walkie talkie. We all went to our cells, except for Jason: Jason continued to sit on the floor and hold Mikey as Mikey shook and spasmed more and more violently. Jason was–literally–punched and scratched multiple times as Mikey unconsciously writhed and bucked through his seizure. Still, Jason held Mikey. For over five minutes. While correctional officers came running down to the living Unit in response to the emergency code which was called, Jason was the one whom was in the midst of this medical emergency, selflessly ensuring that another prisoner was as safe as could be during a seizure.
Our correctional officers are the people entrusted with us prisoners’ safety and security–they’re literally the ”First Responders” as it pertains to us prisoners. So ask yourself: why did Jason have to come over and assist Mikey during his seizure? Its because a week prior, Mikey had endured a seizure on the breezeway during a movement to the dining hall, and during that seizure we all watched as the correctional officer there panicked, grabbed a fistful of Mikey’s hair and held his hair as Mikey’s head flopped and bashed into the concrete sidewalk during that entire seizure. Jason figured that if he didn’t help Mikey during his most recent seizure, then Mikey wouldn’t get any help at all. Keep this genuine act of kindness in mind as you’re quick to label prisoners as selfish, sociopathic pieces of shit, because–although that’s primarily true for the majority–there are a few of us diligently working to get our shit together and become better people. Jason McDaniels is one of those few. You can public records request all incident reports and video footage for this incident via the following address:
Department of Corrections
Public Disclosure Unit
ATTENTION: Public Records Officer
P.O. Box 41118
Olympia, WA 98504-1118
Brian Matthews (BM44)