They read our letters before they send them out.  The letters that come in get scanned. When Megan gave my brother money to try and get me an attorney, I wrote my brother and told him to give it back to her.  ( He didn’t )  The Sargent called me down to his office saying I was trying to extort money from my brother.  I looked at him and asked him if he was for real.  He took my letter and threw it in the trash.  He was not going to mail it.  So yes mom, it’s hard for me to say what’s on my mind.  They will read things the way they want to read them and try to find a way to get us into trouble.  The people here do things to provoke us any way they can.

The things that be on my mind sometimes are not good.  So I do my best to blow it off.  Just today the nurse didn’t give me my seizure medication.  It was the second time this week that she did that.  I didn’t do nothing.  I didn’t cause any problems.  I just accepted it even though the pain I will have to go through later.  I’m doing fine, mom, no trouble.  I’m doing my best to stay away from it. So far so good. It’s hard sometimes, though, because you know they want you to get ticked off at them so they will have a reason to punish you.

I’m having some medical problems. My right hand and knee is swollen.  My knee looks like a balloon and my hand feels like it had an IV in it for 48 hours.  I’ve seen the doctor.  She’s going to take some blood.  She said she was going to check my white blood cells.  I’m waiting for them to take the blood to see what’s wrong.  Both of my knees are bad.  Sometimes they both Swell up.  I broke my left leg when I was young and my right one before I came in here.  I got hit by a car.  The doctor wrote me up for a cane.  I felt I didn’t need it.  I’ll let you know later what happens.

Ok, this next statement is going to hurt worse than anything.  I write home, or to Megan and I really just beg them to write back to me.  My family don’t have a reason why they shouldn’t help me or write to me. And Megan? Okay, I understand her situation with the kids and all.  That’s why I don’t ask her for money.  However, it hurts her just as much as it hurts me to be here.  I know it’s my fault I’m here.

If only people knew how we are treated in here.  I just want to say that I’m going to ask her and my family one more time to write to me.  I’m going to give them three weeks.

(Sonni’s note: Quite a few times in his mind he’s given them this limit of time to write back. They have just so long to answer his letter or he won’t write again. They don’t write. They don’t know this. Maybe if they did know it, it would give them the incentive to write.)

I’m just going to give up.  I’m going to stop writing them.  I don’t want you to think I’m going to give up on Jamie and the kids.  I’m just so hurt.  I think I’ll give myself some time.  I don’t want it to come to this, but it feels like this is what the others want.  I know that Megan can’t help me, but it’s not about help.  It’s about being there for each other no matter what.  When I write I want to know how she, and the kids, are doing.  I’m not looking for help.  Knowing that they are okay is all I really need to know. Mom, I know you told me that if I every need anything to tell you, but I don’t like asking you for money.  I just want to thank you for all your help, mom. Everybody needs somebody to talk to now and then, when someone loves someone.  It not only hurts the flesh on the outside, it hurts the flesh on the inside as well.  When people love each other and something goes wrong, it hurts both people not just one.  I’m hurting, mom, and I’m falling fast.  Please help me if you can.  Everything is so confusing to me.  In the letter Megan wrote to me she asked me to marry her. Yes, mom, I would do anything to marry her.  But there are just some things she does that I just don’t understand.  Well, it’s 2 am.  I’m tired.  I think I need to go to sleep.

( Sonni’s note: I know that Megan meant everything she wrote to him in the beginning. When we went to visit him in 2013 I could see how much she cared. When he gets out and they are face to face who knows what will happen. Maybe it was a romantic idea to wait for someone without thinking about how long that time actually was.  I know she loved him, probably still does, but she was young and life moved on.  She had a hard time trying to raise three children by herself and she didn’t want to be alone. Jamie has begged her to write to him and to make him a part of his son’s life but for whatever her reasons are she hasn’t done that.  In the past some years it has been like pulling teeth to get her to write to him, to send him pictures and just to tell him how Jamie is.  I think she knows I will keep him up with how his son is doing, and I have.  She had another child a couple years after Jamie and was with another man for awhile but it didn’t work out.  She had to work so very hard to take care of four children. She has been a good mother to her children who each have a different dad.  I know that she cares for Jamie and she would never shut him out of their son’s life when he gets out.  But the only thing he has had to keep him going, the only things that made him feel as though he did something good with his life was becoming a father.  It has kept him going knowing someday he will be able to play that role.

Depression is so common in prison.  Even more so when you have been locked up in solitary which Jamie has been for more than half of his time in there.  The value of a letter is hard to express.  Letters are read over and over.  It is their connection to the world. Losing most of your twenties and likely most of your thirties, the prime young years of your adult life, knowing that you will never get them back is very difficult.  When he gets out it will like having the life experience of a very young person.  Starting out at that age, a time when you should already have your shit together, and having no idea how to function in society is why so many people getting out of prison can’t cope and end up  back inside.  It will take a lot of support to help him get on his feet. The double wammy of not having your family there to help makes it even harder,  There is so much pain inside of him as he learns to deal with that, taking all the blame for their absence on himself like it is all his fault that his family is absent from his life.  It makes my heart hurt with him.)

(Sonni’s note on 11/15, 2014: I have started going through letters I sent to him starting in 2010. That is when I started writing him through I can pull up copies of my letters to him. From 2006 to 2010 my letters were all handwritten. I though it would clarify things if this could be read from both of us. This next section is my letter to him.

“You mentioned about letters being read. Do your letters to me get read? Wouldn’t that make it hard to say what’s on your mind? Everyone has good days and bad days. I noticed a long time ago that there is a little slip in your letters when I get them and I’ve wondered if people read them before they are sent. But son, I want you to understand that it doesn’t matter to me anything you might have done when you were younger. I know who you are now. You are a kind, caring person. You were not raised around people that were a good influence on you who made you feel you had a lot to offer with your life. I know you love your natural mother simply because she is your mother. You’ve tried so hard to get her to notice you. How she has treated you the past 5 years is awful. You said you apologized for anything you might have done as a kid. You don’t have anything to apologize to her. If anything, she needs to apologize to you for acting as though you don’t exist even though you have written her letter after letter asking her to please write. She didn’t teach you the things you needed to know growing up. But sometimes mothers are so busy providing for you that there is little time to be there. I understand that raising my own children. I don’t know of all your family members, but when you get out you need to put yourself first and do what you need to do to be proud of yourself and be a good father to your son, who I know is your whole world right now and gives you the reason you need to not get into trouble and make your parole. If there is ANYTHING I can do to help make that happen, I will, and then the rest is up to you. But when you do get out – and you will – you need to go say hello to your family and then tell them you are going to go get your life together and leave. Don’t get caught up with people who are not the best for you. I know you are lonely. I know there isn’t enough to occupy your mind, but you will get through this. You are getting closer and closer to finishing. Just keep your head on straight. Love, Mom )

2 thoughts on “Yes, They Read Our Mail in Prison

    1. You are my birthday present this year On July 2 I will be 3. Yes that’s right. 3 years post liver transplant. 3yrs of life I almost didn’t have. Thankyou


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