(Sonni’s note: This letter was written on 7/26/2011, while still in solitary confinement, ad seg. I had moved from Key West to Pa to get on the liver transplant list at Hershey Medical. Now it was just a waiting game. I had to get sicker before I’d get moved to the top of the list. That took almost another year. Jamie was very concerned about me, and wrote regularly knowing it had to be pretty bad if I voluntarily closed my retail store and moved north.)

Hello mom,

Are things a little better being able to type? I know you can’t write anymore. Sorry it’s taken so long for me to write back. How are you feeling? Good, I hope. As for me I have some good news. It’s about how things are done here. They have it now where we have to get levels. There’s 3 levels, 3 being the lowest. I had to do 30 days level 3. Being at that level there’s no power or AC. I guess it’s to teach us a lesson? I’m a level two right now. I have power and it’s a lot cooler than at level 3. I have to do 60 days at level 2 to get my level 1. I don’t know anything about level 1 yet. I know they say we have to do 90 days there. I’m not sure, though. Don’t worry mom. I’m sure things will be fine.

There’s lots of officers, guards, who get off on having control over other people’s lives. I believe in karma as well. When I say half the guards get what they dish out I mean it. I just try to stop myself from falling into their traps. About the gas they spray us with, it’s not gasoline, it’s more like pepper spray or mace, although it has different kinds of peppers and chemicals in it. It’s real hot!! For two days my skin was burning. It felt like it had gotten inside my skin and was eating my flesh. Just the thought of it hurts.

Mom, what I’m fixing to tell you is very important. I told Megan the same thing. I understand that some things they might take out on me. However, as long as the warden and people around the warden sees what’s happening and sees the complaints they will leave me alone. What I’m saying is, as long as they know I have outside help they will leave me alone. They won’t mess with me like they do the others who don’t have help on the outside. That’s really why I try to keep in touch with family an all.

Look mom, things will be okay. As far as you writing my mom, please let her be, please. Just give her time to come around. If she don’t, it’s okay mom. She did her best raisin’ me, I promise you. I know you may feel there’s no excuse for what she’s doing. However, others families are going through worse things. It will be okay mom. I have to go for now mom.

Love always, Son
P.S. I received the books,thanks.

(Sonni’s note: It’s always best to start at the beginning when you read about Jamie to understand what has happened during his time inside. There is a story here and jumping in to the middle is sometimes confusing He. Follow the blog and found out about this man, Jamie. He calls me mom and talks about his mom. For long periods of time he hasn’t heard from his mother and he would get very depressed about it. Sometimes years went by before he heard from her again. Being in lockdown 23 hours a day with nothing but the letters I sent and magazines and books it was important for me to move into the position of mom and be there for him.

People can easily lose their sanity when they are completely cut off from human contact. It only takes 15 days for someone to start losing their mental stability.

Having some you can communicate with, someone you talk to about what’s going on in your head helps them to cope. Because of being locked up in solitary as a juvenile (juvy) he was prone to serious bouts of depression and at times in these past years he has slipped in and out depression again. I wanted and needed to be in close contact with him to make sure he was okay. I was very concerned. At the same time he was the one wrote to me through my illness which spanned 4 years, so we were each in our own kind of prison.

Who was going to send him enough money to buy hygiene products and stamps. How about soap that isn’t made from lard and lye? The prisons aren’t very generous about giving you any necessities important for keeping a little dignity about your person. He gradually started calling me mom and I started calling him son. We are connected by blood with my grandson. At the time I will admit that I was very angry with his mother. There was a five year span when she never went to see him, although a large part of time he was far away in a different prison. She did go to see him a few times over a year ago. He needed her to come back and one day he waited 2 hours in the waiting room and she didn’t show. Maybe there are things I don’t know. He always said it was his fault, and to please not blame her. She worked very hard to take care of him growing up. He takes all responsibility. He didn’t want me to feel bad about her. I came to understand how he felt. She is his mother and he loves her. I’m not angry anymore. I just want him to be happy. I’d like to talk to her now, bring her into what is being done here. She can tell me what he was like growing up. There is always two sides to every story and I’d like to know what she thinks. Maybe someday.)

8 thoughts on “How to Keep Safe From Prison Guard Abuse

  1. Hurrah!
    It sounds like his instincts about their relationship are sound. It would be wonderful if he gets to have both his moms writing to him,
    And…two grandmothers for his child.
    Add your dauhter and it sounds like, well a family.

    I do realize that I’m completely ignorant here. And I’m not much for prayer.

    But I’m going to pray about this.


    1. The problem is that she hasn’t been writing to him, no contact, at time, for years. I know there are always 2 sides to any story though and I am trying to learn to not pass judgement without knowing it. There has been almost no contact from his family or anyone but me helping him with commissary money for hygiene products or things like stamps. No else sent books to read and there was no TV. It was just him and me. But now it looks like there may be improvement, hopefully, in the family department. I can never really take the place of his mother. As for prayer, I’m Buddhist. Our form of prayer is not asking something “out there” to fix things in our life. When you change something inside it will reflect on the outside. The microcosm and the macrocosm working in sync.


    1. I think mostly hands on things. He mentioned diesel mechanic is one thing. He said his epilepsy shouldn’t stop him, but someone in the outside world might think differently. Clair he has never had a job, except he just got his first one in the prison he told me today – in the laundry. He’s real glad for that. It keeps him busy and it’s warmer there. There’s no heat in the cells and they only gave him one blanket so he wears all his clothes at night. After spending 4 years in solitary since he’s been there, being around people is good, except many of the people are revolving door inmates. Men who think of prison as home because there is nothing for them outside.


      1. Wow.
        Well, for what this is worth, diesel mechanics make a lot more than liberal arts college grads, and employers aren’t even allowed to know about controlled epilepsy since the Americans with Disabilities Act. If they do find out they have to accomodate the worker. (I know this for sure)
        Can anyone else write to Jamie?You could check to make sure I don’t write anything that could be inadvertently upsetting/ uninformed/unhelpful, etc.

        Stay strong, sister!


        1. I talked to his real mother for the very first time since this happened! She hasn’t been very involved with him during this. We talked For two hours! She is going to send me pictures and is telling me things about him growing up. I was concerned because he calls me mom. She said that it’s ok to have more than one mom. This is quite a turn of events.


    1. Thanks Claire. I had my first phone call from him last night and today. It was good to hear his voice and to tell him everything that is happening on the outside. My concern is education because how does someone who has never been allowed to have a life have the wisdom that comes from life experience. He can learn a trade, but if he wants a college education inside he has to pay for it.


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