Prison Radio
Joadanus Olivas

This is Joadanus Olivas, currently housed in New Folsom State Prison. The title is “Suicide or Murder?”

The voices of older prisoners resonate in my brain. One in particular is the voice of Old G Nick. His old saying goes, “Youngster, these officers will kill your black ass.” I would laugh continuously when he would go on these rants and jailhouse conspiracies about California Department of Correction officers killing prisoners themselves or having them set up my prison dates.

I’ve heard similar stories about prisoners being shot, hung, boiled in grief, suffocated, names such as George Jackson and Hugo Pinell come up a lot. I can’t say I ever believed these oral traditions. I just never gave these accounts much thought because I wasn’t sure. I mean, I didn’t witness them with my own eyes, or I wasn’t around when these supposed murders took place. I’ve seen many beatings from some officers behalf. I’ve seen them turn blind eyes on prisoner violence before arriving to the prison I’m currently at, which is New Folsom.

Now that I’ve been on here, I believe I’m getting closer to the mystery. I’m closer to the puzzling truth. Wouldn’t you believe these past stories about officers being responsible for the deaths of countless prisoners if you witnessed with your own? Officers opening cell doors, six prisoners entering another inmate’s cell, attempting to murder him with knives so long that they look like machetes. The end result: that prisoner never returned and no one held responsible for his attacks.

Or what if officers are approaching you about another prisoner because he’s not following their rules? Despite you declining another fellow prisoner accepting their offer and taken out the officer target for them, the target being victimized by the officers as well and labeled the aggressor, placed in a hole facing charges for battery. Well, I should just mind my business, huh?

I mean, I haven’t been a target or victim myself. Well, I have been silent in sharing my opinions with no one. That is until this last event took place on February 7th, 2022, two days before my birthday. Well, someone was supposedly found hanging in the shower two sections away from where I’m currently housed.

So yes, the same building I’m currently in. The first story is supposedly suicide. They say inmate Bennett hung himself according to officers. How does someone almost six feet hanging themselves from a door that’s only seven feet? You want to hear the jailhouse conspiracies heard through the grapevine? He was beat, killed, robbed, and his corpse hung. By? Who knows. Two years ago, in the same building, don’t you know a man’s corpse was found in a cell stabbed to death, and guess what? Another suicide. Supposedly he stabbed himself. He was labeled a suicide too. There’s this awkward silence currently in this building. Currently the inmates in the section where the corpse was found hanging in the shower don’t even act the same. Their body language has changed drastically, as well as certain officers who I’ve witnessed set inmates up.

There’s been a rumor since I’ve been in this building, that there’s a ghost or ghost that haunts this place. Who knows. At night, I cover my head with blankets and refuse to remove them until sunrise. If these spirits could talk, I wonder what truth will be revealed. Would it be suicide or murder?

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.