Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jailed Historian Recounts 12 Days in Jail

photo: From Asbury Radio archives. Baumgartner is in foreground.
From Werner Baumgartner via mail:

Day 12 – at the County Jail

Called down to visiting today, no idea who came, I was returned to my cell. The Jail went on “lock down” alert and I guess the visitors were sent home.

Received a letter yesterday with printouts of comments about my situation. Thank you to all who support me and understand the asinine injustice being perpetrated. To those who think I deserve this, I can only wish you end up here yourselves through some misfortune or miscarriage of justice.

It’s a cold, hard place of concrete and steel. Locked up most of the time like an animal at the zoo. Stripped naked while people watch upon entering, given a jump suit and a number. Two sheets, a blanket and a Zip-Lock bag of new possessions: a plastic cup, a spork, toothbrush with no handle, deodorant, body wash, comb and a plastic cup.

Living in a bathroom with a total stranger or two. That’s all this “cell” is – a bathroom with bunk beds instead of a bath tub. Designed for two with a solid steel door. When things get crowded they assign a third person to my “room”, who has to sleep on the floor next to the toilet. Lucky I was not the “third man” this time. I have the top bunk for now.

Not much to do but sleep, eat, walk around when allowed or watch TV. The great pastime here if one doesn’t play cards or board games. Pondering what evil allows me to be in here over house repairs. Lawyers, the “system”, small people with too much power?
Why are all the other “code violators” not in here with me?

Then included in a letter addressed to me were the following points Werner said I could report here:
I saw a man have a seizure, foaming at the mouth due to not getting his medication; A cellmate of mine came down with gout, also from not getting his meds; An inmate overdosed from meds he had hoarded and could not be woken up. Medical care here is abysmal. I have been in constant pain for five days; my hip joint is messed up from sleeping on a steel shelf with only a thin pad.

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