“Arrowhead” an essay by Eric King

To: Dr. Mann *May I please get tea bags? If out, sugary cereal?

This is an essay Eric submitted for an ADX program

Eric is in a step-down unit of the ADX.

It was determined it would be unconstitutional to release someone from ADX-level-deprivation to the streets, so the ADX created a special unit for people within a year of their release. They are supposed to be able to earn privileges to help them adjust to the outside world. They have specialized caseworkers that help them know what kind of programming they’re eligible for, they can get phone calls, they can get snacks, they can earn a lot of things.

Eric has not been OFFERED and programming.

Through other prisoners, Eric found out about a program in which he could write essays for treats and submit them to psych.(As a reward for this essay, Eric requested “sugary cereal pls.” )

***It’s cute every time we submit one of these essays to talk about just the audacity of where he is, and what he is writing these for. It’s nothing but laughable what pre-release preparation looks like at the Federal supermax ADX Florence. We talk about how it was deemed not okay to release someone due to the streets directly from the ADX. What this means for Eric now… is a little more than just essays. And non-existent pre-release programming. The reality is what the bureau of prisons is going to do (so that way they don’t deprive him in such a way he is released directly to the streets) is place him at USP Florence where multiple people who were involved in his original assault and torture. Both on and off camera where he was repeatedly choked and smothered while fully 4-point restrained. He was left almost naked with no bathroom for 7 hours. 3 to 4 hours of this video tape has been deleted. And even without the jury being aware of the four pointing and torture he was acquitted for the attempted charges of assault on lieutenant Wilcox. Now for one day he gets to be placed at the prison where this man’s son works and various other people involved. Because it would be depravation to just release him to the streets…

This day, these 24 hours that stand between him and freedom are heavily on his mind. The white gang politics at this prison are intense. If you look in Pacer the lawsuits are abhorrent. And often involve guards turning their backs and letting prisoners take care of business..

Beyond this

This 24 hours that stand between him and freedom… Was supposed to happen last february. Prisoners are allowed up to a year and a halfway house and through the covid pandemic the standard has been such. However the prisons are so grossly understaffed, the ADX specifically such an extreme that if the person who reads his mail goes on vacation, if the person who schedules phone calls goes on vacation, if the person who is responsible for his pre-release paperwork goes on vacation… It does not get done. Because the ADX does not have enough staff to have backup security officers for prisoners. This is the unit that holds some of the most notorious federal prisoners in the United states. And almost every position, is unique and the ones that are assigned to provide enrichment to prisoners, to help them program, to get them phone calls, to help in any way… DO NOT HAVE TRAINED BACKUPS… These prisoners just go without.

These prisoners are completely reliant on one person to get the job done…. The bureau of prisons has so grossly negligently understaffed these prisons that it’s not all grudges and closets. Sometimes it’s just procrastination and vacations.

Eric was eligible for a halfway house in february. The bureau of prisons did nothing to help communication with us probation so that way Eric could be accepted to serve his probation in colorado. His May halfway house date was thrown in the trash. After months long delay thankfully he finally was able to be in contact with us probation who have been nothing but supportive in his journey towards release. When US probation finally accepted his placement he was given October 12th as a halfway house date. He grieved and celebrated this with his family. However the person assigned to do the job and submit the application did not submit it properly and accidentally submitted paperwork to the halfway house saying he has an active warrant which is not accepted in a halfway house. The halfway house communicated with the employee saying that once the warden signs off on the new application that they were allowed to call the halfway house to get a new date because they were incredibly overbooked right now and Eric had waited long enough. 2 days. That’s how long it was going to take for the warden signature. 3-4 weeks was the reality by that point he barely has a date by the end of the year. He may have 2 months in the halfway house.

Eric has had a job offer since April to train and work as a paralegal. He has pretty urgent medical needs that is costing the bureau of prisons a pretty penny. He’s almost to the point where he gets to have a CT scan to see whether the asbestos in the segregation unit visiting room at FCI Englewood permanently damaged his lungs. And if that is what’s causing the growth in his lymph nodes that he has been trying to get help for for years. He had a surgery scheduled however it was canceled by a nurse at USP Lee after his victory at trial. (in the same 24 hours she added an alert to his medical file that can be seen on every page, saying that this prisoner likes to hit lieutenants with closed fists.) He has had senate intervention. He has had call in campaigns campaigns. He has had the bureau of prisons bring him to hack doctors that order scans on the wrong sides and tells him he should just do yoga.

(funny story actually. This nurse signed his paperwork transfer order to ADX Florence. The federal supermax prison that involves a secretive internal court procedure, an obscenely long application and months of waiting to get designated….. The day he arrived at USP Lee. The bureau of prisons wants to talk about how carefully they place people at ADX Florence, however Eric’s hearing was nothing but ceremonial. His transfer order had been signed months prior by the same nurse that canceled his surgery after he was acquitted for the assault was Donald Wilcox.

The harm that was caused to Eric though was minimal in comparison. Eric has met since his arrival so many souls at this prison who cannot say this… And then there’s the people no one is ever going to meet again besides their lawyers and us born blood relatives. The prisoners on special administrative measures. One can’t help but Wonder how many of those prisoners had a stamped ticket for travel to the ADX before their hearing wherever completed.

Eric lost 10 months. Which is nothing compared to everyone else in that building. However it did directly affect his health…

During all this time he could be seen outside doctors. He could be working. He could be getting used to life outside deprivation. However he is not. He is not because the bureau of prison believes that in the most secure prison in the nation it is not pertinent to have someone trained as a backup for every position 🤷‍♂️

So…. as cute as it is to laugh at how ridiculous pre-release programming is. The bureau of prisons pre-release programming that they have planned for Eric is to place him somewhere that could potentially put his life in danger. All while stealing days weeks and months of his life. He has not had a disciplinary infection for years. He has done nothing that might warrant the treatment he has received.

After that horrific reality check we want to balance it out with a really beautiful article from Eric

also his out date fundraiser is almost at goal!!



When I was in elementary school, my mom worked as a bid coordinator for a food distribution company. In gratitude for securing great deals, one of her clients gifted her with Chief’s season tickets. She probably would’ve preferred money, or a raise, but for me this was life changing.

Being poor in KC meant you were a world away from live games. You’d have the game on TV, muted, listening to Mitch & Len on the radio broadcast, rocking counterfeit hats and shirts. Now I’d be going live, the only kid in my circle who’d ever been.

My mom—unsurprisingly—chose all the warm games, which was fine by me. I’d be going during the play off push. Mom was in a serious relationship that would turn into a very happy marriage to a person I considered—and still consider—to be my dad, Jim. He’d be my chaperone, a task he excelled at.

Match day was a total event. We’d start early to get me prepped for the painfully cold KC winters. T-shirt, long-John shirt, sweater, jacket, long-John pants, 3 socks, sweat pants and snow pants, hand-warmers in my gloves, pockets and shoes. We wouldn’t drive to the games; instead, we’d drive to the bowling alley in North KC where people would be tailgating, boozing, gabbing. I loved it. When our bus arrived it was my job to remember our bus number so we could catch the same one on the return. Most likely it didn’t matter, but it made me feel trusted and important.

There are few moments in life more exhilarating than arriving at a stadium on match day. I fell in love. Not just with the Chiefs, but with live sports, local teams, big events, the thrill of common goals and shared experiences. These early experiences helped shape my entire life and personality. The games were amazing. I got to see Derrick Thomas, Marcus Allen, I even got to meet Len Dawson once. The crowds’ joy was my joy, our rage united, our hatred of Elway made us family. I got to scream, cuss, chant “We’re gonna beat the hell out you, You, YOU! You You You!!” I felt alive and a part of something bigger. We won, we celebrated. We lost.

The results mattered, but most importantly was spending time with Jim. I felt included and loved. It was our thing together—freezing half to death together. We were a family. My mom had those tickets for about seven or eight years, and not once did match games become a chore. The last match I went to was during the 2014 season. I got tickets from my ex’s uncle and took a friend who’d never been before. It was the only time I’ve ever been and not had fun. We were playing the Dolphins, coldest game of my life, stadium half empty, and my friend complaining the entire time.

To me, the Chiefs aren’t some team. They’re my family history. They are bbqs and nachos with family and friends, halftime pick-up games in the driveway, bonding and sharing it together. This is what I want to share with my girls, this love and joy, a family tradition, an inclusion into something special. Kansas City forever.


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