One Thing Missing: I Was Black

by Desiree Glover, CCWF
I have a story about some Fire Inside the CCWF walls. I came to CCWF on 6/30/94 being classified and getting a job in Graphic Arts 1, not knowing anything about printing, also not knowing how unfairly I would be treated. I liked my class, learning and being taught, not by my instructor but by inmates.
I got better and better. It took 14 months before I got a chance at a pay slot. I was showing great performance and printing quality work, and I was impressing my boss. But one thing was missing that I did not understand. I was BLACK. I thought I was a convict so ethnicity didn’t matter. I was wrong. I found out that in this Graphic Arts 1 class, Blacks can only go so far. Now as far as getting a pay slot a Black had to leave the program in order for the next Black to get in, but that didn’t go for other races.
I remember talking to my boss about a pay slot being available. I was next in line due to my performance in his class. He told me it wouldn’t look right if he put a Black in that pay slot, so it was given to a white inmate. The white inmate that got the pay slot had only been in the class for 3 months to my 10 months. I was the one who trained her.
Well, I finally got a pay slot but that didn’t last long because my time was up. The key was that BLACKS do not stay in Graphic Arts 1 class for over 1-1/2 years. And using the Appeal Process did not help. Oh! Yes it did, it helped me get put in c/c (closed custody) status. That means you are unassigned, put in a room where you program for only two hours a day and are locked down for the rest of the day. That was for fighting for what I thought was unfair and unjustly being BLACK in CCWF Vocational Training Program, unable to complete a vocational trade while serving a four year second strike sentence.