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© 2001 Indian Country Tomorrow
Prison Writings: Dom Nessi
Contraband Network 'Slowly, but Surely' Imploding

Dom Nessi: "It's really lonely here." (GCN)

By Dominic A. Nessi, Prisoner No. X34203S
Chief Information Officer, National Park Service
Former Chief Information Officer, Bureau of Indian Affairs
Former Acting Director, Office of Economic Development, BIA
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs, HUD
Former Director of Indian Programs, HUD
Former Director of Housing Management, HUD

I saw K.Go (that's prison-speak for Kevin Gover) today in the mess hall (that's prison-speak for cafeteria). He thought I was a little depressed, which I was. He tried to encourage me and said I was the "best CIO the BIA ever had."

It lifted my spirits a bit, then I realized. I was the first, and only, CIO the BIA has ever had. So after prayer services, I had a CO (correctional officer) deliver a memo to Gover (he's in a different part of the prison for political appointees like him and Bruce Babbitt. They put us career people in genpop -- general population) and asked him to clarify what he meant.

He wrote back and said that I took the trust system "further than anyone else could have" and that, if forced to testify in court, he would "stand behind" his hiring of me. That kept me going until lights out.

But as I lay here writing this, I wonder why he didn't do that during our contempt trial.

I hate Mondays. Part of my sentence is learning about real computers. Apparently some court monitor said I made up all this computer lingo to fool a judge that trust reform was working.

So I have to attend "computers for dummies" class on Mondays. At least we get to log on and I found a back door into the National Park System network (shhh, don't tell my bosses it exists, because I haven't, and if I request funds to plug it up, they'll know it's there) that allows me to work on stuff I didn't finish (and there's tons of it, don't tell them that either!) before that judge sent me here.

I heard some juicy gossip in the shower today. According to sources who control the soap, Big B (that's what they call Bruce nowadays) has asked to be transferred out of his cell with K.Go (they have been roomies, how scandalous is that) because K.Go has been "acting all crazy and stuff" and has been trying to get an Indian prison gang recognized as an official prison organization because they have displayed continuity as a vigilante group since the late 1980s.

Wouldn't it be a riot if that were true? I tried to hear more of the story but my screams drowned out the voices.

I love Wednesdays! We get to play baseball, which is my all-time favorite sport, if you will recall my numerous memos.

Well, I don't actually get to play because no one picks me to be on their team ever since they heard what I did on the "outside." I'm just the water boy.

I heard more about the K.Go-Big B feud. Turns out K.Go's petition to have the gang recognized came after its members gave him 20 boxes of cigarettes.

Now I'm not one to get all ethical and stuff, but that sounds really wrong and it contributes to the illegal trade of goods here. So I wrote a memo to the Warden and told him that the prison's plan to reform the contraband system was slowly but surely imploding and that it needed to be changed.

I am so angry! The Warden filed my memo with the federal judge. I wrote that in confidence!

When I confronted him, he mentioned something about me not getting involved in Indian affairs. Part of my sentence, it turns out, is not to be involved in Indian stuff, because that judge said as far as he could tell, I always mess things up when I do.

I just might ask to be reassigned to a different prison.

Well I made it through another week. I don't know how much more I can take, though. Everyone is out to get me and they treat me like a pariah.

Plus they keep bouncing me from job to job, hoping that I find something I am good at. But this whole experience makes me value my life on the outside even more. Cause when I get out, I'll be on the first Concorde to Paris.

Editor's Note: This is another in ICT's ongoing series of prison writings from past and present government officials, attorneys and senior management whom U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth held in contempt and sent to jail for mishandling the trust fund. Dom Nessi writes from federal prison in Clarksburg, Virginia.

Next Week: Former Deputy Commissioner of Indian Affairs Hilda Manuel.

© 2001-2002 Indian Country Tomorrow