Prison Radio
Marvin “Shaka” Walker

Greetings. One morning, a doctor came to my cell, checked me out, and said I had COVID. And this was the beginning of COVID wrecking havoc in East Block. I was to be escorted downstairs. On the way down, I reached for the railing. I missed. Oh crap, I’m falling. But no, an officer caught me from falling from the fifth tier down to the floor.

I couldn’t have braced myself. Really, he saved my life or saved me a whole lot of pain I never knew. I am so thankful he walked me down to the first tier, held me the whole way down, got a wheelchair and pushed me to the clinic. Once there, found out my oxygen level was real low. While we waited for outside hospitals to accept me, he stayed there, guarding me. Finally about 11:00 p.m., a hospital accepted me.

Oh, this officer made sure that I didn’t need anything during the wait. We talked. When it was time to leave, I thanked him again. Thinking back, he really didn’t have to put self at risk like he did. Spent nine days in the hospital and had restraints on the whole time. Was told early that morning I was being sent back to Quintin, San Quentin. So around 10:00 PM, three officers came in, told me to get ready. The whole time they talked about the program at their prisons, different ones, talked or bragged about how they treated or mistreated prisoners. Said to self, I’m glad they wasn’t the one who escorted me that morning from the fifth tier. I fallen and I can’t get up.

Once we reached Quentin, no, during the ride over, they talked about how many bullets they had (hint, hint). Once we parked, not one has ever been to San Quentin, so they left me in the van while they toured Quentin. Maybe 30 minutes later, they drove me back to the clinic, where I was put in the holding cage. At least no more restraints. Had to wait to be cleared, another hour or so. Once cleared, I was told that an officer was coming to escort me back to East Block. Now who’s to walk in? That officer who saved me that morning. Seeing him brought a smile to my face. Quickly forgot the two jerks who left me in the van. I again thanked him as he walked me up the stairs.

One of us joked about no falling. Since then, a prisoner did fall from the same spot. I didn’t see him, but I heard he was hurt bad, broke leg and all. That could have been me. I thanked him again while I was looking up at the heavens with a second thank in mind. While I may never remember his name, I never forget that this stranger reached out in a time that I truly needed a helping hand.

In struggle, Shaka.

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.