It was just a matter of time before the news of the horrible death of Officer Hook was known everywhere. The news stations picked up the escape attempt almost immediately was still circling overhead the prison grounds as their ground crews were setting up their satellite trucks at the front main gate doing their reporting from there about the tragic death of the correctional officer and the botched escape plot. Cyrus was still locked into a small room where he remained until he was called for by an investigator assigned to the case today. He was isolated from all the other prisoners as he was an eye witness to the shooting and the escape attempt near the North gate area.
The main focus at the time appeared to be on the death of the officer that was used to gain access to his uniform and radio to get across the backlot. Sitting there, in handcuffs and reminiscent of the first time he was involved in a homicide, Cyrus didn’t know what to think or what to do. He was totally shocked that these two guys that worked with him day in and day out would do something so horrible to Officer Hook who was professional and kind whenever he worked with his work detail.
Finally, after sitting inside that room for approximately four hours, a man and a woman walked in carrying a tape recorder and paper. It was clear they were not in a good mood as they had a black ribbon across their badges in honor or Officer Hook. Sitting there, taking a deep sigh, the man introduced himself as agent Leroy Gibson, from the Highway Patrol and then introduced his partner as agent Schuler, also of the Highway Patrol.
The first thing they did was advise Cyrus they were going to tape record the entire interview and that he was not a suspect in this case, yet but that could change as more information becomes available through other sources working on this matter. They shared with Cyrus there were six agents working on this case and that he would be one of the first to let go if they got all the information they needed today to start their investigation process of the crime scene.
The drill seemed familiar, name, number, ID card, housing assignment, work assignment, DOB, crime, sentence, etc. etc. Cyrus was totally attentive and tried to give them everything they wanted for he knew nothing of this plan and felt like he was also betrayed by his fellow workers by being there in the wrong place at the wrong time. He also resented the fact that they had killed Hook who never harmed anyone and was a decent man to all of the workers. Answering question after question, the agents proceeded to every detail that they sought to make sense out of what had happened today.
Once they were done asking Cyrus about his job and his movement that day, they went to other subjects and finally gave Cyrus a pencil and paper and told him to draw a sketch of the backlot and where he was during the time of the shooting and escape attempt. He covered how the regular officer, Officer Jones, was sick and that Officer Smith had never worked there before and that Hook felt ill and asked Smith to take care of the lunch as this was something Smith shared with Cyrus during the time he was assigned to go get the cart from the kitchen.
The matter moved along pretty well as Cyrus cooperated immensely with the two agents hoping to be released before nightfall and pick up a sack lunch to eat as he had missed his lunch and his dinner so far in the day. He was also very tired and felt like he could sleep all night but did not show his fatigue to the investigators as they looked tired as well. Cyrus knew it would be a long night for many at the prison as incidents such as this normally result in a long lockdown and suspension of all activities except food and medical runs. All work would be stopped and there would be no movement or visitation tomorrow or maybe for the rest of the week until the warden said it was time to remove the lockdown and go back to business as usual. Cyrus knew he was guessing but there were other incidents like group fights or other disturbances that normally result in a complete lockdown for days before they open the yard back up and allow movement again.
Someone knocked on the door and handed the two agents some coffee. Looking at Cyrus, agent Gibson asked if he wanted some and Cyrus, wanting to get out of there, nodded his head no and continued drawing the sketch. Once done with the sketch he handed it over to the agents as they reviewed the drawing with their notes and found similarities but not exact duplication of information they had gathered before entering the small interrogation room.
Curious, they asked Cyrus if he knew the two suspects very well and again, Cyrus nodded his head no as they lived in another dormitory and seldom talked or came over to where his work station was located. Then they reached over and grabbed Cyrus’s hand to take his fingerprints and told him, “relax, you’re not a suspect but we need to keep you safe because you are a witness to the crime.
Startled, Cyrus looked at the agent and said with a disappointed voice, “what do you mean, we have to keep you safe?” Well, it’s like this, we are telling your warden to move you out of that dorm so we can keep you safe. We don’t want anything happening to you before the trial and that means you are a material witness in this case. They are rolling up your property as we speak and moving you to another prison cell down where it is isolated and away from everybody else. Cyrus, sensing a tricky situation coming up said softly “you mean I am going to the hole? I can’t go back to the hole because I will go crazy if you put me there. It is cold, lonely and dark.”
Gibson, looking at Schuler said to Cyrus “look I know what you are saying but for the time being, you got to be protected and we can’t take any chances so the warden will find you another secure place to bed down for a while until the trial comes up and you testify.” It was most certainty that Cyrus began to feel that same despairing feeling he had in his gut when he was locked up down there in that dark dungeon over a year ago. In fact, his mind was racing on how he couldn’t breathe and how the walls closed in on him in just the short amount of time he spent down there. He could still recall the fluorescent lights flickering and buzzing all night; the smelly water from the sink and the corroded steel toilet that needed to be cleaned with steel wool to make it decent to sit on. This conversation sapped Cyrus of all his remaining energy as he was realizing that this was going to be another test of wills between him and the devil. The interview was over and two officers came to the interrogation room to put him in shackles and take him to the hole.
This was most certainly a déjà vu that he didn’t understand. He had done nothing wrong and he was being locked up for doing nothing. It seemed that there should be other alternatives available to him instead of locking him up for the next year or so as these trials are never immediately scheduled and won’t begin to start hearing any of the case materials until at least six months down the road.
Walking the shuffle with his leg irons on and belly chains on his waist he asked the officers if there was anything to eat. One of them said he would get him a sack lunch later after he was in his cell but by the way he said it, it was unlikely that he was sincere. After all, when one of their own gets beat up or killed, they take it out on every prisoner under their care and don’t really care about what is right and what is wrong. The fact that they were all wearing the black ribbons on their badges signified their mood and that right now; the prisoners were in for a rough patch until the emotion wore off or until they get over being mad.
Listening to the two officers talking, he had heard the prison facility was going to remain on lockdown for at least a week or so. They are going to make an example to all the prisoner here, all 5,000 of them that you don’t kill an officer, especially not one from this place. It was a solemn oath that would reverberate throughout this prison soon enough. Misconduct tickets will triple and the repercussions will be offset by useless violence
This method of collective punishment is a result of retaliating to the prison population for what one of them did to the establishment. The prisoners may not have direct association or endorsement of the few individuals who committed the act but they will all pay in one way or another for the actions of these few.
This concept of collective punishment inflicted mass or collateral damage and was commonly used and never justified but at times such as this, justice turns a blind eye and retaliation is the key element to resolve and deter such matter for future thinking and destroying their morale. Whether the additional punishment is intentional or unintentional, it doesn’t matter for the matter will impact all those who had nothing what so ever to do with the homicide of the officer and the escape attempt from the Aspen facility.
It is for certain that several things will happen in the next few weeks or even a month down the road. Since two of these prisoners chose to break the rules and killed an officer and attempted to escape this place, there will havoc wreaked upon the entire prison population starting with the suspension of movement, privileges, visitations, commissary, and jobs. This policy will be applied to control the negative results of such punishment and used to break the will of others who will increasingly be burdened by these suspended conditions. There will be cell searches conducted with extra vigor and extra efforts to find weapons, contraband and personal misconduct.
There will be intentional and accidental property damage reported or left unreported, with no recourse on a grievance or appeal since an emergency state has been declared and the powers control every aspect of every act within this prison. Men and women dressed in black riot gear will go up and down corridors with K9 drug sniffing dogs and seek out the drugs; contraband will be confiscated and needless destruction will occur when it’s all done. The temperament of staff will be severely toxic and harsh until the bitterness leaves their tongues and a new reason is found to return the place back to normal.