(The source for this photo is borde.org. ) This past week the facebook page for Jamie, “Jamie, Life In Prison” gained 45 new likes, the most it has grown in any one week period! It takes time to build readership just like it takes time here at WordPress. My last ITFO Newsletter didn’t post here to this blog. I am having difficulties doing some things right now since I broke my shoulder and arm a week a ago. I can only use Swype on my Nook which is slow and tedious. At least I damaged my left side and not my right side, as I try to find something positive in all this mess. If you aren’t on the mailing list yet for the newsletter, go to the link for the facebook page. Scroll down about a dozen.You’ll see a post “What About The Children?” sent out to over 6000 people. Clicking on that post will bring up the issue. There are about 7 articles you can read by clicking on the titles. Only a tiny portion is visible. Each one is a different aspect of the children. On the top are buttons to see past issues and also to subscribe. Please do that and also share it on your timeline if you think it is important. The next issue will be about the women, a quickly growing segment of the prison population. Why? Without mothers the children have no chance at all.
The issues about prison reform are so important because it affects so many people in addition to those incarcerated. Wives and husbands. Sisters and brothers, grandparents and friends. If our justice system didn’t incarcerate so many innocent people to feed the corporations that don’t want to pay a living wage to the public who desperately needs to make a livable wage then just maybe things could change. If you break it completely down, it begins with the percentage of people who believe the corporations who bring you the news are also bringing you the truth. Sadly, the truth is hard to find. Versions of the truth, which are really only opinions are believed as truth. Only if you take the time to read outside the box and strive to understand why it is so important to “them” for you to believe what they say can you begin to understand what is true and what isn’t. Until you do that you are just a pawn in their game of control.
The incarceration of the black race was deliberate. We know it for sure with John Erlichman’s confession about Nixon’s War on Drugs. We also know for certain because it is mainly the black race being set free because of bogus charges – not the white race. Sadly it often takes 20 – 40 years to get the conviction turned around and prisons often fight like hell to keep them and say it is up to them to figure out how to get released with no help from them. Is it because they don’t want to admit wrong doing because of the way they are mistreated?. I don’t know, but I think, as human beings, they would want to do no more harm. It is not the case, though. Because of racism, being born black is often the only “sin” committed.
In cases where crime was committed, the mandatory minimum sentencing laws often take the rest of that person’s life away from them. A gram of coke, an ounce of pot and a life is lost. Which is worse? Driving drunk that caused a death, but with a good attorney could set you free, but if you only had a public defender they’d force you to take a plea of many years. The public needs to do the right thing and force change.
In the meantime, the destruction of families, the destruction of a child’s education, children deprived of parents, black children overwhelmingly shoved through juveniles detention with very few people hearing their cries for help. Look at what the system did to Kalief Browder. Remember him? It took him committing suicide to stop the system from putting kids in solitary confinement. I wonder how many times he was raped by guards and predators. We should be ashamed that it was allowed to happen. I know other personal stories of ruined people. All I could do was apologize. I don’t know how to fix it. It makes me sick. I don’t know how the law works, but there are people who do, and we can help them by educating people.
Until the people, us ordinary people, throw our support behind the people who are fighting for change, then it will continue. Get away from TV news, bought and paid for, and use the power of the internet. That doesn’t mean to go to news sites that support what you think. Go to sites that don’t sing to the choir where you can actually learn something.
Take care of the children, especially the children of inmates. They are our future, too. We can change their future and also change the future of the world. So many people like to say we are a Christian nation. I don’t see it by looking at people’s actions. What I see is hate and judgemental attitude… Is it you? I don’t know, but you do… I see many harsh words for people who are pro choice. But those who are against abortion, you have the right to your feelings, but are you all talk? Do you do anything at all to help care for the children you say have a right to be born because life is a gift? If you don’t help the children your talk has no meaning. Do something. Be proactive. You reap what you sow.
I wrote this poem eleven years ago. I return to it today and just want to weep. What are we doing to our children? Who will save them? Who will carry the torch of knowledge for the next generation and for the generation behind us?
No one to close the windows
when the rain storm pellets their beds.
No one to lock the doors at night
and keep intruders from walking in.
No one to warm up dinner and
feed their craving little bodies.
No one to scare away the dragons
who star in their dreams at night.
The children are
thrown away –
labeled incorrigible –
beyond our abilities to help.
The achievement gap widens.
The terrain becomes more barren.
The house falls into further decay.
The green in the landscape
If this doesn’t make you cry, nothing will. I found this as I was preparing the next issue of the ITFO Newsletter, which is about the children of inmates. Since I am still learning the program I couldn’t get this video to play when the newsletter was opened so I decided to post it separate. I’ll be posting the newsletter tomorrow.
The lives of children are severely affected when one or both parents are locked up. What happens to these lives as they grow up to be young adults? Do they follow in the same path because they see it as normal, thinking it will also be their future? Black children have been confronted with more of their relatives going to prison than the average white child. Do they accept it as inevitable because no one taught them there was another path they could take – before it became too late?
I want to tell you a story about my own childhood which explains how a child could think the course of their life followed a plan. Looking back on it my mother and I had a good laugh, but at the time it wasn’t so funny. When I was quite young, I learned my mother was raised by her grandmother, not her mother. She was only four years old. Both of her parents remarried. Neither new step parent wanted her to live with them because admitting there was a child from a previous marriage meant their spouse had been married before. Being divorced was shameful, so she was raised by her grandmother. When she was 11 years old it went to court for a custody battle and her grandmother was given full custody. Having to go to court was a horrible experience for her, sitting alone in a back room. and it remains a bad memory. At some point she told me about it when I asked her why she wasn’t raised by her parents. I must not have understood it because afterward I was convinced everyone had to go to court when they turned eleven. I had several years of being afraid because the closer I got to eleven the more was scared I became of having to go to court. By the time I reached eleven I matured enough to know I wouldn’t have to go, but not once did I confront my mother about how I felt because I thought I already knew the truth. It may sound silly, but at the time I thought I had no choice. This is the way a young child thinks.
How do children deal with life knowing their father mother, or both, is locked up? How many children grow up and the only visits they remember are in a prison visiting room, often behind a panel of glass with a telephone to speak into? Do we assume they know how to mentally process that? Are they more apt to think what happened to their parent will be part of their life if they see it all around them? Why would they think their life would be different? Even the act of “stop and frisk”, which was condemned in New York City as racial profiling, are acts children learned by watching what happened by cops who crossed the line by stalking black people for no other reason than because they were black and hoping they would find something on them that warranted an arrest. Is this all black children? Of course not, but it affects far too many.
In addition these children need to get a worthwhile education in schools that are often underfunded or perhaps closed because they are in disrepair or don’t have books and even qualified teachers. Going to a school far away is not easily accessible. Low income families often don’t have enough food and kids only have school lunches too rely on for food. I could go on. Many of these kids do not graduate. They fall in line with what others kids do and the cycle continues on. Many youth end up in juvenile detention and even truancy from school is one of the reasons they are put there. They become part of the school to prison pipeline. That becomes the prison to poverty pipeline. No education means no job. They have no life to go back to when they get out. They have to eat. If they want to be “rehabilitated” there has to be an open path to do that. There are few options. We need to stop this cycle and concentrate on raising capable people. But who cares? “They are just black kids and they get what they deserve,” is the thought of too many people. This is why there are more black kids than white who are locked up, and more black men than white in prison.
Blacks have long been sought after to fill the prisons starting with juvenile detention. Teachers have admitted they suspend black children much more often than white children. Is it too late to re-educate teachers about this treatment? Is it too late to re-educate cops? How many teachers would not be able to say out loud that they have been unfair? Their own education probably began with how they were raised and how their own family felt about blacks. But even today many people still believe black people are are less able than white people. They think blacks do more crimes, consume more drugs and the reason there are more blacks than whites in our prisons is because they were born with a gene that makes them want to commit crimes. This has been proven to be a fallacy, but it was what the media has reported and some people believe anything they read if that is what to believe.
But the real reason is so many children were raised themselves with one one parent or relative – if they were lucky – and the foster care system if they weren’t. Mothers can’t be fathers and young boys need the guidance of a man. So many didn’t have the experience of having a family who provided stability. That isn’t a guarantee, but sure helps. Kids look around them and follow the course they have been exposed to and that often leads to prison. At the same time that very system is doing everything they can to lock them up whether they are guilty or not. If this were not true, how could most of the people given pardons be able to prove they are innocent, even after they have 20 plus years imprisoned – and most of them are black people. This is the race that has been blamed for crimes and imprisoned even if they were out of town when the crime was committed. It didn’t matter. The police only needed someone – anyone – they could pin the crime on not caring they were ruining not only that person’s life, but the lives of their children.
Can these children now go out into the world as adults and lead a life they have never lived that makes them acceptable in society? Many don’t even have a GED or work experience and have to look for manual labor jobs. Many test with low IQs – not that they are retarded but because they don’t have enough education to pass simple tests. Children grow up to be adults and they have to live their lives still shackled. Finding a landlord to rent them an apartment is harder than getting a job. So it all goes back to their childhood and not having many of the advantages other children have. The children of inmates become the next generation of parents whose children are on the other side of the fence.
There is much I could say here about solitary confinement, but you can find many other posts and pages on my blog that speak of it. I published this post before and it has been read and watched over 8500 times over more than two years. with a few updates it was worth published it again. This is just as important now as it has ever been. There are links beneath the post when you click on it to take it out of the archive roll that can take you to other sites that will give you many more examples of it. The best one is Solitary Watch
Between the story of the man this blog is about, who has spent a number of years in ad seg and solitary confinement years largely in retaliation for standing up for his rights and the rights of other inmates; almost 11 years total in prison, first offense, with 6 years to go, and others like Armando Macias, who has become an interesting pen pal over the last couple years. He has 3 pages here that can be found at the top of the page in the white area of his writings about his experiences when he arrived on death row and the humiliations they put him through. I recently found out he just got married to his long ago love in his life. How do marriages work in prison? That is a topic for another post. I can only tell you now he is as happy as any other newly married man because he knows he is loved, regardless of his past. He has hope. I have learned more than I ever wish there was a need to know about prisons. It has opened up in a sense of compassion for people that most others would throw away as having no value. There are good and bad people in prison just as there are good and bad people in the population.
I sincerely hope you keep on reading while you are here, and return often. Jamie’s story is one that needs to be told. You probably came to this page from a social media site. If you go to the page that starts out with, “I want to encourage you . . .” You will find out the important places to start first reading that will give you a better understanding of the purpose of the blog. So often people do the wrong thing for the right reason but that doesn’t necessarily make him a bad person. And it doesn’t mean he should lose so many years of his life because of it, unless there is financial motivation. During 9 years we have been writing it gave me a clear understanding of how necessary it was to help him. He mattered to me. This one human being, younger than my daughter, father to one of my grandsons, who wants to have another chance at life.
Prisons are kept full using the backdoor method – mostly parole violations, not new crimes, although they do exist. Actual rehabilitation is not really a high priority. The fact that Jamie also has epilepsy and has had a multitude of seizures while inside, will only make it that much harder to find work. The fact that he spent over 4 years in juvy on a bogus charge from late 16 to 21, and not able to get an education will also make it harder. Renting a place to live will be the hardest. He is worried and he has a good reason to be.
In addition to these things you will find music media files on some of the posts. I am an improvisational pianist and and play and record music that fits the emotion of how I feel when I write. I hope you enjoy them. Any one of those pieces will take you to SoundCloud where there are 29 pieces total.
I’m writing a book about Jamie’s experiences with the justice system and bad prison policy in general titled “Inside the Forbidden Outside” Publishing a book when you have never published one is a daunting task. I spend most of my day writing and learning about the business of writing.
I also put out a newsletter once a month about prison issues, stories of other inmates, updates on how the book is coming along, and other information. You can sign up below.
From reading your letter it looks like your hands have been full. You do so much on the computer and I have never messed around on it. Of course, it was never like it is now. Back in the 90’s we had a computer but we didn’t have internet.
I was just reading the new issue of Time magazine you got for me. On the cover was little furry monster with horns, a big grin and a laptop on his lap. the article speaks about all different websites, what they are used for and so on. However, the main topic was about the hate in the internet world. It’s everywhere and it’s crazy. I thought about what you said about me being called a racist and that is why I had no visitors. Someone had spread rumors about me to people and maybe that is why nobody wants anything to do with me. Could this be the excuse I get now when there is still no visit? Like you, even though I know I can’t change anything with my family I can’t help but still think about it. it seems as thought there should be a reason I could understand. Maybe I don’t agree with what is said but I don’t have any way to prove that it is not the way I am.
Being accused of being a racist when you know you have never said anything that could be taken as a racist remark makes me very angry. I have no way to defend myself. I can be accused of anything and those stories can be spread. People will believe these stories I am not this young immature man anymore. I am a man who has been through a lot these past ten years. I have had to take responsibility for my actions and also take responsibility for things I didn’t do and was accused of doing, but I will be damned if I am going to take responsibility for being a racist.
It’s bad enough to be in here in the first place with other “charges” being added to my time.
For some reason I have been unable to get the ITFO Newsletter to automatically post to this blog. I also can’t copy and paste it, either. Soooo if you click on this link the newsletter will pop up. At the top of the page is an archive of the earlier ones I sent out and also a way to sign up for the newsletter. Thank you to those who have already signed up. The support I have received along with the many positive messages is what keeps me going. Messages to Jamie I send in emails to Jpay. He can only receive but can respond in longhand. Cards and letters mean a lot.
If you know a subject you’d like to know about with the prisons or someone inside let me know and if there is something you would like me to help promote let’s talk. Prisons affect not only the people inside, it affects all the family and friends on the outside
Frederick Douglass, a slave in Maryland who became an abolitionist and journalist said, “It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”
“To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken the moral and mental vision and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.”
How often have you heard: Black people are stupid. Genetically they don’t have the abilities of white people. Genetically they are predisposed to be criminals. If you hear anything enough you start regarding it as truth. Many white people thoroughly believe they are a higher cut of human being.
In July, Bill O’Reilly making an extremely stupid remark on air at Fox News, commenting on Michele Obama’s comment that slaves built the Whitehouse said, “Those slaves were “well fed and had decent lodgingsprovided by the government.” However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor.
Most people do not realize how many of the products they purchase off the shelf and on online sites areproducts made by slavesin the prisons for as little as .29 an hour. From Eddie Bauer’s jeans to Victoria Secret’s lingerie to military ammunition and supplies our police force needs to needlessly subdue anyone they choose to stop and harass. These products made by prison inmates are used against themselves. Inmates who are paid a ‘wage’, when released are presented with a bill for room and board which puts those released in high debt in a society where it is nearly impossible to rent an apartment or find a job. It is important to keep the prisons full, and no politician shooting off his or her mouth about reducing prison populations will be able to accomplish more than a small amount to make it look as if something positive is happening.
How do they keep the prisons full? They start with the children and separate them from their family intent on ruining their chances of getting ahead. Are their children who are uncontrollable. Yes, but you have to go back to the beginning of their lives. How many of them have parents in prison? How many of the men in their families have been to prison, because the odds for a black man is one in three. The odds for Hispanics: one in six. A black man with a high school education has a 70% chance of going to prison. So, logically, keep a black man out of school and there is a greater likelihood of filling the prisons because – no education means no job.
When Jamie gets out of prison when he is 40, and so far they have kept him at a level where he is allowed no phone, no job and no education. The property manager at the prison physically took his GED book and 18 other books from him – for no reason, when he was transferred . I can only conclude that she didn’t want him to self-educate. One of his greatest worries is wondering what will become of him when he gets out, because although he knows I am here, I will be pushing 70 when he gets out and my health is not the best.
Most people have heard of the ‘school to prison pipeline’, but it is more than that. It is also the ‘cradle to prison pipeline’, the ‘poverty to prison pipeline’ and the ‘prison to poverty pipeline’. Why is there a funnel that keeps a never ending supply of children being forced through it knowing it will irrevocably alter the course of their lives. Sadly, many, or perhaps most of these children won’t have a chance to build a positive life. They can never play catch up because they are too far behind the eight ball. They will have to support themselves anyway they can find to do so. Legal or illegal because you have to eat. The prisons bank on the revolving back doors of the prisons. It is the least costly way of keeping the prisons full.
If these men and women had a support structure in the beginning, there is a good chance it isn’t there any more. Their life experiences and what they learn living in a biased justice system that doesn’t supply them with the experiences and subsequent wisdom they need, or the courage and confidence to have a life filled with love and hope. These are broken men – and women. The odds are completely stacked against them unless they are lucky enough to find an organization that guides them into the right direction.
I have read, if a prisoner is paroled they have a step down program that counsels them on re-entering society and helping them find at least a half-way house. Prisons do not have any programs for those that do their entire time. They are simply put out the door with 30 days of medications, a bus ticket, a few bucks and they are on their own if there is no one to pick them up. There are some programs if they can find them after they are released. If they had been in solitary confinement – they go from their cell to the street. I can’t even imagine how horrifying that is.
What we learn as children sets the stage for how we make decisions in our lives when we become adults. If a person comes from a dysfunctional or broken family who had children without knowing themselves what it means to parent children, how are they able to learn what behavior and control is needed in society. They may end up in foster care bounced from home to home until they drop out. What do they have the time to learn if their education has been totally disrupted and no one cares one iota if they succeed or fail?
Not every child who has been suspended from school came from a family such as this. Some just had the misfortune of having a teacher with the tendency to suspend more black children than white. Teachers often have more tolerance and leniency toward white children. Theysuspend 4x more black children than white. Without realizing it these teachers when they were children may have learned their bias from the adults around them. They may never say it aloud, but they can’t help but believe and expect their black students to be trouble makers.
When I was a child going through middle school in the 60’s not one child was handcuffed
by the police and put in the back of a police car. Not one. Not a single solitary one. But then, the first black classmate I had was in 5th grade and he was the only one. Through 6th grade black students were segregated simply because they lived in the black neighborhoods. I never went into those neighborhoods. I was too scared. Why? Why did I feel that way? What did I hear, and when, to make me afraid to go where they lived? I couldn’t tell you. Not one school had a cop – a trained and sometimes brutally physical cop, who sometimes slammed kids to the ground, the way they do now. There were no cops on school premises every hour the school was open. What the hell happened? Children haven’t changed. Parents and parenting changed. Adults, coming from the baby boomer age wanted to be friends with their kids, gave them more freedom, didn’t teach them to respect the generation that raised them. Parents lost control.
At school it became easier to suspend students than to work with them. Many schools nolonger haveon site guidance counselors or nurses. (This article should make you cry or get very angry) There have always been mischievous kids – pranksters – kids who picked on other kids and kids who would get into physical fights. They were sent to the principal’s office and he meted out punishment. Maybe the paddle, which I admit to getting, and it was never considered abuse. I deserved it, I’m sure. Or we got detention or a meeting with parents would happen, but never was a child handcuffed and taken away – until it became profitable. Then the child would have to see a judge and often, most often, if you were black you went to juvenile detention. Why? Why is there zero tolerance for young children doing what children do? Why did it become so necessary to ruin so many young lives?
This funnel was called the “school to prison pipeline” because so many children who were forced through it could never get their lives on track. Juvenile detention changed them. Many became angry. Many were sexually abused. Until just this year juvenile facilities used solitary confinement as punishment if they ‘broke a rule’. Now children cannot be put in solitary, but it took one boy committing suicide to make the change. If adult brains can be permanently scarred, what would it do to a child? It is heartbreaking. I’m not talking about children who have committed a serious crime, I’m talking about a child who had a teacher who couldn’t, wouldn’t take the time to help because perhaps they had too many kids in their classroom, so it was easier to call the on-site cop who feeds him into the system.
It is quite odd and very disturbing that the majority of the children fed into this pipeline are black. Teachers who were interviewed admitted they are more likely to kick a black child out of class than a white child. Hispanics are in the middle. What does it say about us as nation, supposedly a Christian nation, some people think, yet our dislike and fear of black people even extends down to children, who are also supposedly children of God, if you believe in that sort of thing. Why are black children treated as though it is in their genes to be criminals, which is impossible. The state system, quite frankly, took away their realization that they, too, have just as much to offer as white children. Many have been set on the road for failure because the new definition of slavery lives in the prisons.
It is drilled into them that they don’t fit into a white man’s privileged society. I know we have many successful people color. I am talking about the ones the juvenile justice system got hold of and created a revolving door class of uneducated children who grew up and couldn’t get on their feet and landed in prison quite often convicted erroneously.
This blog is dedicated to Jamie Cummings who spent far more years in juvenile detention than what he was sentenced. He should not have been sentenced in the first place. It is appalling what they did to him. No crime was committed. A cop who had harassed him earlier illegally kicked his way into his house with no probable cause and no warrant. His mother was badly hurt. Since Jamie was a minor they gave him 9 months in juvenile detention because he was the only one they could “punish”. His brother was over eighteen and there was nothing they could charge him with. His other brother was just a young boy and his sister was pregnant. So Jamie was it. There needed to be some reason why the cop kicked the door in. But they didn’t let him out in nine months. He was in for more than four years, until he turned 21. By then he was seriously depressed in a juvenile facility for kids with mental issues. He did three stints in solitary confinement which they called Behavior Modification Programs or BMP. The day he got out, walking home from visiting a cousin he was arrested again for only walking and someone thought he looked suspicious. You canread this storyin more detail. What do you think happened to his education?
Jamie didn’t need to be sacrificed for the Prison Industrial Complex as someone to increase the profit of their bottom line. The possibilities of his life was shattered. But would he have had a successful life coming from the poor section of small town in east Texas where job opportunities were slim? We’ll never know. He has grown up while being locked up, a total now of more than 14 1/2 years with 6 1/2 to go.
How many more children have suffered the sadness of having their lives stolen from them for profit. So many of these children end up getting in more trouble and ending up back inside. What else do they know?
……. This is the second part of the interview from last week, talking about the book “Inside the Forbidden Outside” and also advice I would give first time authors based on what I found as a first time author myself. I had no idea how much I didn’t know about writing, and also the business and marketing knowledge needed to be successful. It can be overwhelming because you can only do one thing at a time. Prioritizing your time so you always have time to write can be hard, especially if you are also a blogger.
Hi everyone! Today I’m concluding part two of fellow blogger Sonni Quick’s interview here. Sonni is currently working on a book about letters she and inmate Jamie Cummings have exchanged for years. In case you missed part one of the interview, you can check it out here. Part 2 talks more about Sonni’s book and life. You can follow Sonni on Twitter here. You can check out/follow her blog here.
ME: Tell us more about your upcoming book. The first draft of the book on Jamie’s life is done, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” There is still a lot of work to do. I found out there was a lot I didn’t know about writing a book, too. One of those things is I need a mailing list. Books that are listed at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and others don’t sell themselves. That is…
Today is a look into the past. When I send a letter through Jpay, an inmate service where you can send email and money. There is an archive of every email I’ve sent. I have my letters to him and his handwritten letters to me. At least 600 letters between us. The only ones I don’t have are the earliest letters I sent before I found out about jpay, so I’m missing close to three years. He was incarcerated in early 2006 and I didn’t start writing for about 1 1/2 years.
Many people who find this blog start in a place that doesn’t give any reason for why it’s in existence. What is the story?. If you have followed since the beginning you probably know. I want new reader’s to want to come back time and again and help me to share his story with their own social media. Thank you to you who do.
Why are we writing? This letter is long before I started a blog and definitely before I started writing the book “Inside The Forbidden Outside. This tells you where both he and I were during this time in our lives. It takes a long time to really get to know someone.
My husband and I had recently moved from Key West – not by choice. I loved it there. I owned a great little store that I had been at for ten years called Touched by the Sun, at Westin hotel. Almost everyday there was a cruiseship parked right outside my door. I saw the famous Key West Sunset Celebration every day. But the economy crashed and my liver failed. I needed a liver transplant and I was too far from a good hospital. I reluctantly closed my store and I moved north near family. We were still staying at my mother’s place when I wrote this letter. Leaving my life behind was like cutting off a leg. I grieved.
I stayed on my feet about another six months after this letter. I slowly lost the ability to walk without a walker or hold a fork. I had smaller surgeries and many infections, and put on 50 lbs of fluid -ascites. I developed liver cancer. A nonfunctioning liver effects the brain and it’s hard to think – too much protein – confusion – the meds were horrible but the biggest worry was slipping into a coma. I was lucky. A liver became available. I would not have made it much longer. My husband took care of me in bed like a baby for two years. I received no help came from my large family in Pa. (Not even a get well card) But Jamie encouraged me with letters. I had reasons for living. I wasn’t done yet.
I hope the book I sent was good. On Amazon you can read the first few pages to decide, but that’s all. It looked interesting. I’d send you books every week if I could. It would at least help to pass the time.
I hated to hear about your seizure and the way they treated you. Since they haven’t been consistent about giving you your medication I’m sure that has a lot to do with it. What is your cellie like? I’m sure when they find out about your illness they wonder if you will have one in front of them. People get scared of things they don’t understand. I know that it can harm you and do damage. I understand people are in prison for a reason and some of those reasons can be very bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to treat people as though they are less than human. I’m sure there are decent guards and also those that get off on hurting people. They like having that kind of control. But people get back what they dish out. The law of cause and effect. There is an effect for everything we do – good and bad – so just sit tight and do the best you can and ride this out because it will, someday, be over. When you start your life again you will want to feel good about yourself.
Yes, family is very important. But sometimes they think they have the right to pass judgement on other family just because they are related. Family can get pretty mean. My sister felt she had the right to ask questions and get answers to things that were none of her business. She didn’t like the man I’m married to even though she doesn’t know him. She made rash judgement calls without really knowing him, to keep from dealing with her own problems. The hardest thing some people have to learn is to respect other people’s privacy. I felt I couldn’t say anything to anyone without everyone calling each other with their latest news about so-and-so. The gossip in this family is awful.
It was hard ripping up my entire life and moving up here. I don’t like people talking about my life on the phone with each other. They don’t know me. Mike and I spend a lot of time in our room because it is our only space.
It’s hard to picture the rec area and the cages and the guards trying to get people to fight each other. I think I would rather stay in a cell by myself to lessen the chances of trouble. Although being able to play basket ball would be good if your knees were ok. What have the nurses said about your knees? There is something very wrong. Is it possible that it is water on the knee? Are they still saying they won’t do anything about it? They shouldn’t be so swollen.
It was good to hear that you were helping other people, and it’s bad to hear they punish you for it. Some people have had such horrible lives and have people that don’t know the difference between right and wrong. They don’t have a chance. You, too, weren’t raised in a way to feel that you were capable of so much more. No one to help with your schooling. Where were the adults you could look up to and respect? You will have a chance to change all that when you get out. You will be able to do something your enjoy, to feel good about yourself and have the confidence to get past the negativity.
I would like to see a copy of the things the commissary has. Also – are you still getting the mag subscription you wanted?
Time to eat. I made a big pot of split pea soup. I like to cook, and not being able to work right now gives me all the time I want to cook. When Mike and I get our own place my mom is sure going to miss me because I do all the cooking! She finds it hard to cook for one person and doesn’t eat as well as she should and since she has diabetes, what you eat is very important.(note from Sonni in 2016: Today we are bringing my mother home from a 5 month stay in a nursing home from a serious stroke of the small blood vessels – caused by her diabetes. If you are one of millions who has it, learn from this. She is in a wheel chair now.) I’m sure you would just like to eat something that tasted good with fresh veggies and fruit and maybe some nice BBQ ribs. Oh! I’m being mean aren’t I? Just trying to get your imagination going!
Lots of love son, Mom
New issue of the newletter going out on Sunday Morning 8/4