By Max R. Weller
After the horrible treatment I received shortly after arriving at the Missouri DOC-operated Kansas City Community Release Center (see “Depths of depair in 2004”), when I was placed into administrative segregation in a strip cell because my new parole officer thought that I was still suicidal, I was determined to play the game and bide my time . . . To that end, I enrolled in the MICA program (Mentally Ill and Chemically Addicted) at Truman Behavioral Health. My psychiatric evaluation indicated that no meds were necessary in my case, although I was offered a prescription for a mild sedative to help me sleep, which I declined. I had a few sessions of psychotherapy with a real psychiatrist, then began attending the weekly classes, run by mental health/substance abuse counselors with minimal training, which were the basis of this program. No great enlightenment came to me, but I didn’t expect any. My parole officer seemed pleased by this charade, even suggesting that I could get an apartment in the Shelter Plus Care Program with other [Froot Loops] for my neighbors. This program has evolved into Housing First, expanding from rental assistance into actual housing with a corresponding mushrooming of costs. Not anything I’d ever be interested in, because its purpose is to make the client into a permanent dependent of the corrupt system — “Abandon hope all ye who enter here” seems like an apt motto for it.
Because of my physical disability of venous insufficiency in both legs, previously documented in the DOC and for which I underwent an unsuccessful surgery while on parole in 2004, I wasn’t required by KCCRC to seek employment. Fees for being housed in a dorm there were waived in my case. I did reapply for food stamps (which I used for my own benefit, exclusively) and I was still covered by Medicaid, which paid for my prescription of allopurinol to keep another attack of gout from happening. I got that scrip filled at Truman Medical Center once a month, and my co-payment was 50 cents. I could walk much better in those days compared to now, but couldn’t do any heavy lifting or climb a ladder (and stairs were difficult); so, every day I’d leave KCCRC as soon as I could and walk from the West Bottoms into downtown KC to visit the public library, which was located in the former First National Bank building. It was a most impressive edifice, inside and out. Just a block away was an Osco Drug store which sold lots of other stuff including junk food, and I used my food stamps there. KCCRC also provided meals in a dining room, and the food was better than usual by DOC standards. Besides that, this is a coed halfway house, so I could eat there and enjoy the company of somewhat gentler (if not more refined) creatures.
The thing about KCCRC is this: there are more drugs inside that facility than you can find out on the street. At any hour of the day or night, you’d smell the aroma of marijuana wafting from the restrooms in any of the dorms. And crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, etc. were all readily available if you had the cash. Nobody with an addiction has any chance at all of getting clean in such a place. How did the drugs get into KCCRC? Parolees were searched every time they returned to the facility without exception, as far as I could determine. Then I realized it’s the corrections officers and/or civilian staff smuggling in the dope. Duh! (Sometimes, my own naiveté astounds me). This was the break that I’d been looking for — the means to stick it to these crooked assholes.
And that’s just exactly what I did. I took notes on which corrections officers and other staff members behaved suspiciously, and when and where they did so. For example: one group of three officers would always visit dorms together, one of ’em acting as a lookout in the doorway to warn of other (honest) officers who might be coming by. The two who entered the dorms would deliver the dope to the parolees acting as dealers. By April of 2005, I figured I had enough specific info to draw the interest of the Jackson County (MO) Drug Task Force. One morning, I took all of my notes with me to the public library and sent a lengthy e-mail to that local law enforcement agency. But, I was no fool — I knew I’d be in grave danger if I returned to KCCRC. So, I walked all the way to neighboring Lafayette County and got there around midnight. I dialed 9-1-1 from a payphone in the Wellington, MO town square, and turned myself in to the Sheriff’s Office for absconding from parole, again. Sheriff Kerrick Alumbaugh wondered how I came to be in his jail again the next morning; the last he’d heard, I was in Springfield, MO in 2004. I told him the short version of events at KCCRC, and he told me that it had long been suspected of being a giant drug operation. It wasn’t until weeks later, when I’d been returned to DOC custody, that I heard about the big drug raid by Jackson County authorities on KCCRC. Several arrests of DOC employees and parolees were made, substantial amounts of controlled substances seized, and stricter administrative procedures put into place. As far as I know, my name was kept out of it. Probably, the info I turned over was corroboration of what Jackson County already knew, nothing more, but it was deeply gratifying to me personally to see justice done.
To be continued . . .