April 20, 2014 This week I was finally transferred from Unit 5 to Unit 6, a move I was dreading. In jail, change is a bad thing and can cause a great deal of stress. It feels like whenever I begin to feel comfortable on a range, my roots are pulled out from under me and I have to readapt to a new space. Most inmates agree that these constant transfers, along with the fear of the unknown, makes our lives much more difficult. When the time came for the transfer, I was strip searched in the shower stalls (boxers off, open your mouth, turn around, and touch your toes) and had my possessions sorted through. Many of my belongings were trashed or confiscated pushing me to say to a guard, “This isn’t ok, we have rights.” She responded, “You gave up your rights when you decided to commit crimes.” I challenged her on this because I found the response ignorant and insensitive. It was also filled with a reactionary disrespect for me as a human being. “If we don’t have rights, why are we given three meals per day, given beds to sleep in, or brought to yard every day?” Of course we have rights, I don’t think there is any debating this. Many of our rights have been won through struggle by inmates before us just how wage earners enjoy rights won by workers before them. If we don’t constantly assert those rights, those who have power over us will do their best to take them away. I am now writing this from Unit 6, which is advertised as the “privileged” unit by staff. There are benefits to being here (like fewer lockouts and access to books), but I’ve observed that the privileges are dangled in front of us like carrots in order to keep us in check and passive. The interesting thing is that we do not have many of the things that are standard on Unit 5 like weight bags, workout equipment, or adequate laundry. Most people on Unit 6 don’t want to accept the status quo for fear of being moved back to Unit 5. I’ve also noticed that, here, we are babied and observed a great deal more. It’s interesting how authoritarian systems use privilege as a way to better control populations. After getting settled a Canadian Border Security agent came to see me. The purpose of the meeting was to arrest me so I can’t walk out the front door of the jail. Instead, when my sentence is complete, I will promptly be deported. Most likely, they will drive me to the border and leave me there. He also told me that if I’m granted parole in August, the same thing will happen. I will simply get deported with the one condition that I am never to return to Canada. He also said that being American will work in my favor because they would rather get rid of me than continue to pay for my incarceration. It’s definitely tempting to get my hopes up, but I don’t think things will be that easy for me. Even though my chances of returning to jail are essentially zero, I believe that people high up in government (both Canadian and US) want to make an example out of me. They call it a “deterrence factor”. Why would they set a global precedent for extraditing a US citizen across an international border for property damage charges, and then just let me go at the earliest possible date? It’s very tempting, but I’m not getting my hopes up. I refuse to let them crush my spirits by letting them take away something I might desperately want. This isn’t to say that I won’t apply for parole in earnestness; I’m just trying to be realistic about the potential outcomes. Besides, it’s not so bad here – what’s another six and a half months in the grand scheme of things?