Eric King: Voices from Solitary: Flipping the Script

Solitary Watch, September 30, 2020

Eric King describes himself as a 33-year-old vegan anarchist political prisoner and poet who was arrested and charged with an attempted firebombing of a Congressperson’s office in Kansas City, Missouri, in September 2014. King was charged with throwing a hammer through a window of the building, followed by two lit Molotov cocktails. The criminal complaint states that both incendiary devices failed to ignite. King was identified as a suspect by local police because he had previously come under suspicion for anti-government and anti-police graffiti. After accepting a non-cooperating plea agreement, King was sentenced to ten years in June 2016. His release date is October 2023. He has served his time in various facilities of the federal Bureau of Prisons, or BOP.

King is currently facing one count of assaulting a government official for an incident that occurred in August 2018 at the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) Florence. According to King’s account, he was taken into a mop closet, out of sight of prison cameras, and beaten up by a corrections officer. The officer then said that King had assaulted him. King has been housed in a segregation cell at FCI Englewood since August 2019, fighting this charge. Overall, King has spent about three years in solitary confinement. He now faces a maximum of 20 additional years in prison. Read more about Eric King here: supportericking.org

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My toilet is right next to my cellmate’s face, not hyperbolically, it is literally three inches from where he lays his head. I am in the FCI Englewood Secure Housing Unit (SHU)—the oddest SHU in the Bureau surely. In this segregation unit, you will get inmates from the Low [security prison], pre-trial people and folks like myself and my cellie who are on writ [having a court case] from other penitentiaries. This oddball combo makes no sense and causes a localized class system, all a part of the psych-ops of this odd rust bucket of a prison.

On August 17, 2017, I was taken into a mop closet by Super Patriot Lieutenant. I have been in solitary ever since, 19 months and counting. I learned how bad it can get, discovering new ways they can torture you; mentally and physically. Whether being choked while being held in four-point restraints for seven hours, being held in a cell for four days without a functional toilet filled with someone else’s feces, I have seen their brutality and am stronger for it. I hope.

The last SHU I was in before the indictment hit was the penitentiary in Virginia: USP Lee. There is no oversight at these joints. At USP Lee, you have nothing coming. NOTHING. You cannot receive or buy magazines, newspapers, books, radios, coffee, hygiene or pens. You can buy a rubber pencil which shows up horribly on all papers. You are completely isolated, which in my case included a phone ban from a previous SHU and visiting restrictions that were never explained to me. This is a SHU that holds 200 and only had 150 mattresses, many of which have no covering and are just urine-reeking slabs of foam. If you don’t stand for count, they take your mattress as punishment. Skip standing a second time and they will take you out and replace your clothes with ‘paper clothes’: see-through orange shirt and see-through bikini bottoms. You will be marched up and down the tier while the guard calls you ‘faggot’ and spineless ‘inmates’ join in with cat calls and whistles. You will stand next time. If you refuse the new wardrobe, you will get beaten and charged with assaulting staff. This is the BOP’s SHU. Resistance is not tolerated and no one will hear you scream. No one is listening.

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