"Leaving Pelican Bay SHU, I’m a pup in a brand new world"
by Clyde Jackson, published 2014-09-06 by "San Francisco Bayview" newspaper [http://sfbayview.com/2014/09/leaving-pelican-bay-shu-im-a-pup-in-a-brand-new-world]:
Send our brother some love and light: Clyde Jackson, C-33559, SATF C3-217, P.O. Box 5246, Corcoran, CA 93212.
Leaving Pelican Bay SHU was exhilarating – with at the same time a feeling of melancholy. Seemingly a paradox. When one has spent decades isolated to fashioned hours of 22½ hours each day, strangely this abnormality functions as a norm.
I hardly looked back as I was departing, but I was never displaced from the stark reminder of what I personally experienced and what others continue to endure.
When I finally reached this place (California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility at Corcoran), I began to realize that I had actually been released and quite possibly over a period of time I might just be able to restore in myself a sense of normalcy.
CSATF prisoners listen to a visiting missionary in the “hot flaming sun” of the San Joaquin Valley. For prisoners whose color has faded from decades in isolation, with rare exposure to sunlight, the hot sun of the San Joaquin Valley is good medicine.
It actually took me four days to get here after making multiple stops at other points. This added to my level of anxiety in anticipation of the new environment I was designated for. Thus far, I truly can attest to the fact that general population is totally distinct from what I remembered 33 years ago when I first arrived at San Quentin.
A month after my arrival, I have not settled in yet and probably will not, simply because transitional adjustment develops over a long period of time. Especially considering the horrific circumstances of the SHU, it is not an easy adjustment.
So to facilitate this process, I put together on a daily basis “short thoughts” in order to relax my mind and not become over-consumed. The sun is beautiful as I watch it “flame” across the sky. I’m learning receptibility as I adapt to the cultural generational gap.
Yard is sparse, twice a week, so the three times I’ve relished the “hot flaming sun,” more and more my complexion is returning. People are good-spirited and it’s a trip listening to their stories on an exchange basis.
I’m on the verge of reconnecting with my family. And I had my first contact visit in over 30 years with two great friends who provided me a generous level of comfort. It was a splendid occasion.
One thing that captures my attention is that after all the struggles of the past, there is definitely more work needing to be done. I’m waiting on a job now as I wait to enroll in the educational department to complete my academic course I started in the previous environment.
In sum, it’s like being a pup in a brand new world. I’ve conveyed this new experience accordingly and I’m just trying to fit in and live with the same intransigent discipline that keeps me on the correct course.
First time I’ve had a phone call that’s not related to an emergency situation, so I could just enjoy the tone of the receiver’s voice. Takes a while getting used to. Until next time, be up!