Monday, March 16, 2015

Bernard Kerik "The Horror of the Box" Bernie Kerik's exclusive personalMCC SHU Solitary Confinement Experience

In late September, 2012 through November, 2012, Bernie was sent from Federal Prison in Cumberland, MD to the Federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) SHU (special housing unit or solitary confinement) in federal custody to testify in the DiTommaso trial. It was, by far, the most difficult time of Bernie's incarceration for me in that we had no contact for over one month. It would be the longest period of his incarceration we were not in some form of daily communication by letter, email, visits or phone. Selfishly, I missed Bernie with every breath I took during this lonely time. The limited precious communication we enjoyed from prison went from a sweet daily ritual to a dead cold silence during this time of separation. Daily, I scoured the New York media for any news of his condition or movement. I wasn't sure what was worse: not knowing anything or the intentional humiliating "Mighty has Fallen" perp walk the media splashed on the front cover of each New York rag....Back then, I cared...a lot...

Although the Bureau of Prisons advised Bernie they were assigning him to solitary confinement for his safety and security, I knew it was also Bernie's most difficult time, as you will read. From my short law enforcement experience, I knew how difficult solitary confinement was on prisoners. For Bernie, with the added humiliation and embarrassment of the press, it would even that much more horrible an experience for him. However, I knew he was a survivor from birth and remained a warrior throughout all the difficult times of his life. It was the emotional component, the degradation of his soul and spirit, for which I had the most concern. To add to my worry, New York also suffered Hurricane Sandy during this time. The news of the conditions of the NYC jails and prisons during the storm was scarce. Of all the times for Bernie to be away, this had to be the worst time. I was constantly praying and concerned for his safety and well being. I worried constantly to think he may be unprotected, abused, hurt, sick, cold, lonely, lacking water, light or food, especially during the storm....

The "Cannibal Cop" and others were housed with Bernie on this wing of the prison as you will read in the following article. It is surreal and heartbreaking for me to reflect upon this time. I could never wrap my brain around the total irony of a federal prisoner, also the former NYC Corrections Commissioner and NYPD Police Commissioner, was now languishing in prison in the city he commanded just a decade ago during 9/11. I thought there were no words, night after night, in prayer as I waited for Bernie to return to Cumberland Federal Prison Camp. But there were words and feelings that must be written before they were nullified by time and events. For me, it was the declaration of Bernie's survival, his strength and the recognition of our bonding as only a separation will declare. I'll never forget that phone call he made to me from the car upon his release on the journey from New York back to Cumberland MD. (It was from a private cell of one of the guards who knew Bernie and allowed him a few calls from the car against the normal protocol. There was no typical recording warning the call was from a federal prison. I didn't believe it was Bernie on the phone. That incident became a running joke between us)...Looking back, it is a bittersweet memory for me now in light of our estrangement...it's difficult to label our relationship. As in 24: Live Another Day, our relationship was most like "Jack Bauer", anti-hero warrior and "Chloe", GeekGirl facilitator/partner back then....

Bernie clearly had some difficulty discussing the SHU experience. I couldn't hurt Bernie by forcing him to recount his experience. I patiently waited until he cautiously admitted he was ready to talk but needed help. I was there. Several months later, on March, 2013, he finally felt safe enough to open up about the experience. To make it easier on both of us, I wrote him some questions in an easy email format he could answer at this own pace. It was touching but painful experience for both of us. I sobbed during the entire process. However, as all painful experiences, it did bring us as close as we had ever been during his incarceration. Today I think of that bond and wonder how he could so quickly dismiss it today. But, Hell, Bernie and Rudy survived 9/11 together but not even this near-death experience repaired their conscious upcoupling! Here are his responses to my questions on which I began to write for him:

Bernard Kerik 033113 SHU Corrlinks Prison Email Page 1 of 2 www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

Bernard Kerik 033113 SHU Corrlinks Prison Email Page 2 of 2 www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com
From this foundation and several tearful conversations through numerous emails, visits and edits, the unfinished work known as "The Horror of the Box" was created. This work was left incomplete with the original edits untouched. Bernie and I were going to finish it after his release on 05/28/13. That never happened. That's too bad. I believe we this could have been our signature chapter of his new book. It was the most honest and open I've ever witnessed Bernie to be.....This piece reflects the best of Bernie and me. It is rigorously honest, torrid, deep, raw and stark in its irony and lessons.

Our lives back then were guided by fate and destiny. We just "let it be what it be." About everything and anything, we always remarked to each other, "Who would have thunk it?"...I leave it unfinished, as are we....

Against my clear objection, Bernie has felt it necessary to use my concepts, writing, editing and talking points without amends, permission, credit or compensation in media and, recently, in his Huffington Post blog. I give this work as a gift in memory of our time together....I was always there for him. There were great times. There were awful times. But it was our time....It will live on in our words.... The words remember when...

The Horror of the Box Page 1 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 2 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 3 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 4 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 5 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 6 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 7 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 8 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com

The Horror of the Box Page 9 of 9  www.DoingTimeWithBernie.com



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