In the summer of 2008, life changed forever for Dr. Harding McRae, a Board Certified emergency physician with over 30 years of experience. In the blink of an eye, a momentary lapse in judgment resulted in a felony arrest for assault with a deadly weapon and, sixteen months later, on November 3, 2009, his conviction ultimately bought Harding a five-year sentence in state prison. At his sentencing hearing that day, the trial judge unabashedly admitted that he hadn't even bothered to read any of the more than 180 letters he'd received from friends, family, fellow physicians, and lawyers . . . including two sitting federal judges . . . all urging leniency for a man who had saved hundreds of lives in his career.
It was never going to happen. Vilified by the media, in print and on radio and TV, as the epitome of bad driving behavior-in their opinions, Harding was a menace to society-and in open court by the trial judge, who surely didn't want to be excoriated on the 6 o'clock news for showing the tiniest bit of sympathy to a first-time, but very high profile, offender, McRae became the scapegoat. He was summarily remanded into the custody of the County Sheriff, eventually to be handed over to the state . . . and ordered to serve not less than 85 percent of his 60-month hiatus.
602: Form of Futility recounts Harding's time in County Jail, before and after sentencing, his transfer to one of two state “reception” prisons, and his eventual placement in the Jefferson Rehabilitation Center, a fully secured prison for low-level offenders. It was at JRC where his skills and abilities would be exploited by the Correctional Officers for whom he worked. And it was there that he discovered the futility of submitting a JDCR Form 602-to register an inmate's complaint-or was it a Form 22?
The state prison system, as it exists today, is in utter chaos, enabling “Doc” to keep a detailed account of his experiences as the JRC Captain's clerk, which became the basis for this fictionalized, but true, account of his prison time. The places, the people, the events . . . they're all real. Most of the names have been changed-to protect the innocent, the guilty, and the incarcerated.
For "Doc"-a most appropriate prison “handle”-602: Form of Futility is as much a cathartic as it is a glimpse behind the veil of chain-link fences topped with razor wire. And it challenges the public's perception that the state prison system is even remotely concerned about its inmates.