Excerpts from the book
A brief cross-sampling of some excerpts from Mr. Altomare’s powerful civil contempt jail diary, uniquely told through the eyes of an American CEO innocent of any crime.
His ongoing Supreme Court case questions the actions of the c (SEC). It also questions his inappropriate solitary confinement incarceration by a recently promoted or rewarded Judge who refused his Company a jury trial against the SEC. This most unusual and hopefully soon to be historic case affects the core freedoms of every American.
His New York Times full page ad, a warning to prevent today’s financial meltdown caused by the SEC’s failure to regulate its naked short selling involvement and their subsequent abuse of power actions to silence him, ring very clear today as attempts to prevent this heroic whistleblower from exposing the SEC’s wrongdoings to the public. Despite the ongoing silencing attempts of the SEC, this former Marine, a courageous defender of his 63,000 shareholders, is better understood and admired as the diary entries unfold.
This former warden, political candidate and grandfather was also forced to join a prison street gang to survive in this sad and at times bizarre expose` which skillfully demonstrates simultaneously the flaws in both our wasteful regulatory and justice systems. With a questionable 70 billion dollar annual budget, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) itself is undressed and strip searched by the pen of this former English professor and fortunately for us forced first time writer as we helplessly watch him lose over 40 pounds.
We are painfully introduced to this high security secret prison within a prison in the center of New York City as we examine some memorable prisoners and some painfully unforgettable guards, procedures and administrators. Suffice it to say, your justice system confidence and your prison thought avoidance dissipate as this prison diary is completely digested.
SOLD SHORT in America – excerpts
….In less than an hour in the awkwardly silent ride from airport to lower Manhattan, a 60 year old, respected former political candidate, businessman and law abiding American citizen, without a parking ticket, will change his name from Richard Altomare (that’s me) to 006981-054. I will report to the Manhattan Correction Center to be placed in a high security solitary jail cell with no permitted trial, no crime committed and no knowledge of the events that you, the reader, are about to observe. Over the following unbelievable days we will better understand together one of America’s best kept secrets, never before so clearly exposed by an innocent whistleblower.
During this soon to be life defining wrongful incarceration you, the reader, will see and experience a prison world our defensive psyches refused to admit exists.
…I must confess, I often have looked past the barbed wire of prisons thinking that our government ran a tight ship with our prisoners. Prisoners were bad. They obviously were guilty of something. These prisons kept law abiding citizens like me and you safe from them.
….I am sure this “stay” will be a one or two day occurrence and I will be put in some non-criminal minimum security facility. Maybe, I will be assigned to a prison like the one in which I was a Warden, when activated in the military reserves many years ago. Now I, someone without a moving traffic violation, was actually going to prison. Life is filled with many unusual experiences, so I figured I would at least have some new interesting dinner stories and be home by Monday….
…Yet I received a mystery book which had the last six pages ripped out, but I read it anyway. Twenty-four hours in total isolation is a very long time. The book had a note from the previous reader. It said, “I ripped out the ending – fuck you. In here, none of us have an ending.” How prophetic that statement was to become…
…A society is measured by the way it handles its prisoners. Boy, did I see a lot this first week. It is not a recommended spa but if one wants to lose weight, find religion or learn to enjoy handcuffs – reservations can be arranged by disagreeing with a politically appointed lifetime Judge, whose poor decisions will soon be exposed in the Supreme Court.
It is now May 10th and my eighth day of incarceration and in addition to my still being here it amazes me more that a counselor has not appeared. More than that, NOTHING can be done, no calls, no supplies, no visitation forms UNLESS this counselor gives them to you. Men are begging to call home at night and the Corrections Officers simply say, “talk to your counselor”. It is a continued emotionally abusive game or a sadly stated organizational ploy.
When an inmate psychologically snaps, and snap they do; they scream gutterally, pound and kick the door and make the longest and most unnerving sounds. Then the guards let them make a telephone call even without a form. What then is the expected behavior of a balanced inmate to call or get their requests? You guessed it! Act irrationally and get attention. On the outside of each door is a mouthpiece speaker which forces an inmate to scream to be heard. Normal voice patterns are not responded to. Polite questions posed to guards are ignored unless the inmate irrationally performs like the zoo animals the guards are accustomed to conditioning. The guards tell me that some inmates throw feces and urine at them. Today I do not wonder why. In the days to follow, I wonder why that is all that they do.
…I submitted a request today for toilet paper and socks. I was told maybe Monday on the socks, but they’ll see what they can do with the toilet paper request. A few hours passed and one of the more violent and hardened inmates called for toilet paper this way: “hey, toilet paper mother fuckers – not next year – now!” Then paper came within minutes for him and me! I hope he’s also without socks, because I could use them as well. Insanity begets insanity in this institution.
….Tonight I spoke across the hall with the 25 year old young man who has been contained in the system for six years.. As I spoke with him through the window of the steel door to my cell, I watched his smile and thought about the last six years of a boy who could have been my son,.. I cried. He was in solitary confinement because he yelled at his counselor. She put him here in solitary. I am a reasonably good judge of character. The boy was incarcerated six years ago for a non-violent offense. What are we doing to young men like him? Give me a young man like this and I could make our society proud of him. What a waste of humanity. When they are done with him, this young man will be a repeat offender.
…My crazy next door neighbor is still screaming and banging on the door. He doesn’t want a roommate and he has worked his crazy mind into believing that he’s getting a roommate. While he’s carrying on, the screaming “gang code talk” has begun about the “fight”. The forms of communication that move the prison world are telephones and “tell an inmate”. I hope my next door neighbor stops screaming.. No one has said anything about a roommate, yet he has worked himself beyond a tantrum state. What a sad character. I wish I could do more for him. Hopefully this book will help many of them..
…Today was the Fourth of July! The day began uneventfully with showers planned and my new orderly helping me. Until lunch time, it appeared to be a typical Friday. The food came at 11:30 AM and both meals were delivered. One was a sandwich with the mystery meat (low grade bologna) and the other a more palatable Fourth of July hamburger and chicken meal. One of the officers decided that the chicken hadn’t been deboned. We aren’t permitted bones because inmates can make a sharp weapon out of a bone. Of course, I could see nothing good happening if we returned the meals. I suggested keeping the bologna sandwiches while the inmates waited for the actual holiday meal. We could, I said, simply remove the chicken and we could wait until they redeliver. All of my ideas were rejected, and the entire cart was returned for the “deboning”. When the cart finally made it downstairs, the culinary inmates had one hundred meals to resell, and they told the mess officer that they threw the meals out. By 2:00 PM the inmates were pounding and screaming for food. By 3:00 PM some of the inmates were hysterical. I was in the laundry room eating some vegetables that my orderly had stolen before they sent the cart back. By 3:30 PM they sent up only the cold sandwiches. One inmate reacted honestly by saying, “I would kick the door, but I don’t have any strength left”. By 6:45 PM the same cold deboned chicken and hard hamburgers made it to the now sullen inmates. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!!!