I think the only thing worse than a bad roomie, is a ghost roomie. When I first got to CCU (WCCW’s closed custody) and I went to the cell I’d been assigned, there was somebody else assigned to the top bunk, her property on the desk and shelves, her pictures on the wall. Looking at what she’d left out (because I’m not gonna snoop but of course I’m curious) she seemed alright. Bible open to Psalms on her bed. Native art, pictures of horses, elephants, and people on the wall. She didn’t have much beyond a few books and her scrap-booking stuff. She’d obviously been in prison for a relatively short amount of time.
As her absence dragged on, I assumed she was at work. Later that evening, I decided to ask some questions at dayroom. My roomie had just had a major psychological breakdown the day before and was in the COA (Close Observational Area or suicide watch). Furthermore, (according to the rumor mill) she has a special hate of LGBTQ people and is very unstable.
Not wanting to panic, I decided to talk to the Sgt the next morning and figure out what was going on. The conversation went roughly as I would expect. He assured me that he had looked at both of our files and matched us because “you’re both very quiet and you shouldn’t pay any mind to the gossip.”
“So I shouldn’t be worried about her having been in COA for the last two days?”
“Wait, she’s not in there with you?”
He then began manically looking things up on his computer. “When did she fall off my roster?” He asked himself, inspiring great confidence.
The next day, c/o’s came and packed out all her stuff. I felt a relief. Yes, people can be cruel, and a lack of popularity can easily lead to nasty rumors, but the sheer amount of people who warned me about her and all of them having the exact same story made me more than a little worried.
A week later she came back and was (thankfully) assigned to a different cell. She is every bit as terrible as people claimed. She’s done nothing but argue and yell at people in the dayroom. Occasionally I can hear her scream at her roomie. And today she went out of her way to yell transphobic slurs at me.
I have no way to know if the Sgt legitimately thought we would be good roomies, or if he put us together because he knew she would be a terrible person to live with. This is exactly what I’m used to. Whether it’s because the Sgt is incompetent or transphobic, I don’t trust him to give me a roomie I can actually live with for the next couple months til I’m moved to medium custody and all “courtesy moves” have been suspended here as a part of their covid response.
In short, this is gonna suck.