“Inside The Forbidden Outside” This is the new working title of the book I am writing about Jamie Cummings.  At first I wanted to write a book because he has a story to tell, but decided to first write a blog.  I needed a way to categorize his letters. He talked about the same issue sometimes in different letters and I still have many letters and I haven’t had a chance  yet to add. I realized there was enough for me to begin writing this book. Sometimes you will read incorrect grammar and phrasing. Jamie has had little education and has been unable to even take a GED course. In many cases I keep it true to his thinking and writing although I often correct things that might be confusing.  I also change the names of some people and leave out passage here and there if it may be confusing.

I want to present this book to the parole board  It may help in their determination. I am then determined to have it published by the time he is released. I believe his story about his life and the state of the inhumanity at the juvenile detention institutes as well as the prisons, has value for those who are going through the system, and if they don’t change, they will end up where he is. There are inmates in other prisons who also have set up ways to help and mentor the kids. Jamie was part of the “school to prison pipeline”, a phrase that was coined in the past year or so to represent the kids who, often unjustly, get caught up in the system.  Solitary Watch is a very good website to read about about the lives of other men who have been in solitary confinement and also has many good resource links.

I understand many of these men have done horrible things, but there are just as many men who haven’t, and many who are locked up simply because they are mentally ill and there is nowhere to put them.  They are in solitary for “their own protection.” Regardless, the inhumane conditions they live in were not part of the sentence the judge passed down

Jamie still has 8 out of 17 years of his sentence left and prisons do not like to give parole. The owners of the private prisons have not hid the fact that they have given millions of dollars to politicians for their campaigns on the condition that they keep the prisons 90-100% full and vote with their best interests in mind.  Money talks.  Politics is all about money and power.  It is a battle to fight the slave state set up for profit. It is an expansion of the southern plantations whose owners thought they had the right to own a person of color for fincial gain. White privilege.  The fact that there are six times more blacks and minorities in prison does not mean that these people did more crimes, it  means there are more things that are a crime, if you are black

Please read this and tell me what you think. Please fill out the form below to keep up on the progress, even if you are following this blog, because this will be the reader list I show to agents to prove this book has value.  The sale of this book could be what gives him the monetary advantage to succeed when he is released into a very unwelcoming society. You will also to receive notice of any other chapters I post here. Your info will remain private. You can also leave a comment for other readers or follow the entire blog through WordPress or email as each post is added.   Don’t forget to check the yellow stars and rate it Any and all criticism is welcomed and lets other people know what you think. Who better to ask than the readers?  Will you do that for me – for Jamie? Will you share this on your own social media?  Your help would be so greatly appreciated.  If you have taken the time to read this . . . please add your voice. If you want to read another random chapter go to Nightmares
Inside The Forbidden Outside


Dear mom,

Sorry for taking so long to write. I hope all is well with you. Is been a rough day today. Sometimes I want to give up.  Ill try to tell you what is happening.I remember taking a deep breath before I even opened my eyes. Something woke me up. That happens a lot, day or night. It was probably someone down the hall. There’s lots of people here with major problems in the head. Some can’t cope with being here anymore, when all forms of human contact are taken away. Dudes start crying and banging on the door with their fists and feet. Sometimes they find ways to cut themselves or even commit suicide because they can’t stand it anymore. Being alone inside a solitary cell will suck the life out of even the strongest man.

I know the craving to feel the skin of another human being touching you, and holding you with kindness. It’s worse than withdraw from addiction to drugs. This is the hell of incessant suffering. Sometimes I wish I could die, but I can’t. Some men claw at themselves and make themselves bleed. They talk to the voices in their heads that laugh at them, taunting them. Sometimes they’ll open a vein, capture the blood and pour it on their head.  These are the  things that can happen when you are more alone than a human is supposed to.  How can I keep it together when so many people around me are losing it? There is a man down the hall who thinks he can’t possibly stay in here one . . more . . minute, so he screams and screams and nobody hears him. He’s not screaming loud enough for anyone to do anything about it. He doesn’t exist anymore.

I’ve heard the stories. I heard about the guards who would get feces and piss thrown on them because someone had been saving it up, waiting for him to come close enough so he could throw it on him. Word gets around. It gets pretty noisy during the day when everyone starts talking and yelling. We can’t see each other, but we can talk to each other..

photo credit: egyptianphoto-eng.blogspot.com
photo credit: egyptianphoto-eng.blogspot.com

A person can only take so much deprivation before it gets to him. He gets disoriented because he don’t know what time of day it is. Sometimes, once that happens, paranoia sets in. He’s used to hearing it. No one will go in and help these men who are losing their minds. No one wants to go inside those cells. There could be shit smeared on the walls and everywhere else. And lord knows the last time he might have showered. But if he won’t put his hands out the slot in the door so they could cuff  him, the guards put on their riot gear and get the tear gas and the tasers ready to subdue him.

Guards are often rougher than they need to be.  Most of them are bullies?  Well, let’s just say this is the perfect job for people like them.  The inmates here aren’t dogs. We’re still human beings, but we aren’t treated like we are. The guards are brutal. So, unless an inmate threatens to hurt himself, they’ll just walk on, continuing their babysitting job, not caring that the person on the other side of the prison cell door is actually a man.

The prisons created this problem. Now they don’t like how it takes so much money to take care of the dudes with medical problems, so they don’t. They ignore calls for help. Sometimes, they just let them die. A lot of these men in lockup shouldn’t even be here. They were crazy to start with but there was no place for them to go.  Mental hospitals closed and they were kicked to the curb. They ended up homeless and cops picked them up. I try not to think about it too much.  I have to put it out of my head, or it’ll start to drive me crazy, too. I know you don’t want to hear about this stuff but I have to tell someone.

I’m not sleeping too good. Most nights I don’t. I Toss and turn all night most of the time because I’m freezing. Right now I ache so much because I’m tired. Not only am I skinny because because they don’t give us enough food, I’m losing muscle from not moving around much.  My knee and leg are all swelled up again.  It goes up and down.  It’s been like this for over a month now.  I asked the doctor if it was fluid on his knee because it really hurts to touch it.  I asked if maybe it needed to be drained.  She said no.  It would never get approved.  Things like costs them money.  Who cares if I’m in pain. So lay down and try to sleep. I try to remember the good parts of my life and play it over and over in my head.

Sometimes I can make myself believe I’m not here. I’m back home with Morgan and my son is there. It makes me want to cry. I messed things up so bad. It would be so easy to lose myself, give up and join the people in this hell they are in. Sometimes, the mistakes I made, come back to me every day. It’s hard to keep it away when the brain has so much time to think.

It’s easy to lay here and think of how much I love her. I’ve never loved anyone the way I love her. I have no memories of anyone else. I wasn’t out in the real world long enough, since he was a kid, so how am I supposed to know if what I’m feeling is real or not?  When I met her I fell hard.  I didn’t have anything to compare it to, except loving my mama,  or my aunts and I don’t think that’s the same thing. I need to keep my love for her alive in my mind to save my sanity. She has no idea how much my love for her keeps me from losing it.

He couldn’t lose it. There’s no way coming back from that. They’d never let him go then. He had to stay focused on getting out of here some day. The only way he could that was to make himself believe she still loved him as much as he loved her.  Yeah, times change.  They aren’t the same people anymore.  At least in his dreams he could pretend it was real. Time stopped.  It was still 2006.  Reality, he knew,  was proving to be another matter altogether.

Pulling his hand out from under the one thin blanket he had to cover himself, he tried it cover his face with it and breath warm air. It was cold in here and it was the only thing he had to stay warm. The blanket was thin and worn. How many other inmates had used it before it was given to him? The thought of getting under a nice warm comforter was almost to much to bear.

Jamie rubbed his eyes, trying to clear his vision enough to see if it was close to sun up.  He put on his glasses.  He turned his head to look out the window. He wasn’t sure. The window was pretty grimy. He opened his mouth into a big yawn, trying to wake up. He read somewhere, when you yawn, your body is trying to get more oxygen. All he knew is that the oxygen in this room was pretty damn cold. He thought he could almost see his breath. Anything to torture the tortured.

prison windowBut at least he had a window in this cell. He was moved around a lot. Different levels on different blocks in different prisons. He couldn’t count how many times he’d been told to pack up his shit. And he’d been in … trying to count on his fingers, naming off six different prison units they’d transferred him to, all over the state. When they transfer you, you can’t trust the guards. One time a whole bunch of his stuff had been stolen. Pictures, books, letters and a new stack of writing tablets he’d just been sent. He tried put in a complaint but he knew it would come to nothing. How was he supposed to prove his stuff was gone when now he was in another prison and there was no proof he owned it in the first place?

He was still tired but he knew he wouldn’t go back to sleep. It wouldn’t really matter anyway. He slept off and on all day. Sometimes, if he slept too much they’d send someone around to make sure he was still breathing.  Most days he was so depressed it didn’t matter if he was asleep or awake. It was the best way he knew to pass the time. He has a few books. He’s read each of them several times. He’ll probably read them a few more times, too.

Sometimes, in his dreams  he could see his son as if he were standing right here beside him. God, he missed him so much. The thought of putting his arms around him and feeling his body against his, a deep wrenching pain started in his chest as he tried to fight back the tears. He didn’t want anyone to hear him crying. He heard crying often enough as men lost control and despair spilled out their guts.

He pulled a worn picture out from under his pillow. He kept it close. He lightly touched the picture with the tips of his fingers, caressing her face. She was beautiful. He closed his eyes and sighed. He could still feel her warmth as he pictured her lying next to him. And his son? It still amazed him that this boy came from him. It was the one good thing he had done that gave his life value.

Holding the picture made him feel as if his family were right there next to him. He wondered if his son ever dreamed about him? Six years old now and growing up without a dad, just like he did. He wondered if Morgan even thought about him at all. He hoped so, even though she did go on with her life. He couldn’t expect her to wait for him all these years, even though, in the beginning she said she would.

After awhile her letters came less and less and she had excuses why she couldn’t write. Her boyfriend always found the letters and threw them away, was her main excuse. He couldn’t blame her. She wanted a man in her life who was going to be there, and he was definitely not there, that’s for sure. But he was going to make it up to them some day, if he could. If they let him. So much time has gone by he could never get back again. He was sorry. He was so, so sorry. He had really screwed things up. He didn’t mean to.

He looked over toward the window again. It was still pretty dark outside, that much he could tell. They kept the lights on all the time to screw you up. Made you crazy not knowing what time it was. Daytime, nighttime, those lights were always on. The lights made it damn hard to go to sleep. What was the point of that anyway? There was no point, that’s the point. They just wanted to fuck with you. The lights, though, seemed to affect a lot of dudes here. Especially the ones who were on the edge.

Most of the meals were the same, too, so you couldn’t judge by that, neither. Two busquits and tablespoon of peanut butter, or two little pancakes with peanut butter. All he knew was he was never, ever, going to eat peanut butter again, for the rest of his life, once he got out of here.

Once you got disoriented and didn’t know what time it was it became it harder and harder to pull your mind together. The harder you try the worse it gets, and it will make you nuts. He’s heard it happen. You can tell when someone starting to lose it. It starts out with threats to the guards and threats of what they’ll do to themselves. then they started screaming to be let out. Yelling and screaming they can’t take it anymore, with an insane edge to it. He was not going to let them screw him up. He had to admit, though, he had hard days, too. Days that would be easy to just crawl up inside himself and not come out.

He sat up in his bed, thinking, he had to find a way to get through this even though there days he didn’t want to get off his bed because there really was no reason to. some days he held on by the skin of his teeth. “One more day. Just one more day”, he spoke out loud as he sat there, rocking back and forth with the rhythm of repeating it over and over..

“I’m going to have to get up and pee,” he said to no one in particular. “No way around that.”solitary cell

He moved his feet around in circles trying to get the blood flowing, and slowly stretched out his legs. He carefully put the picture back under his pillow and swung his legs off the side of the thin mattress and put his feet on the floor. He was glad he had socks on because the cement floor sure was cold. He reached his hand out and grabbed the sink to help him stand up. He could hear his joints creak, when he tried to move, from laying in one place for too long, protesting at being made to move. If he wanted to, he could stretch his arms out from his sides and easily touch both walls of his 5X8 feet cement box. The toilet was connected to the sink, really close to the edge of his bed, with a piece of metal sticking out to the side that served as his table. There was a little stool connected to it that couldn’t be moved.

He was wearing every stitch of clothing he owned, which wasn’t much, just a white jumpsuit, trying to stay warm. In the summer, during the intense Texas heat, he sometimes took off his clothes in the evening and lay down on that same cement floor trying to feel a little coolness. There were only a few months out of the year that either weren’t too hot or too cold. He was wearing white. Everything he owned was white. It got dirty so fast but he guessed that being white they could bleach the hell out of it to get out the stench of an unwashed body who was out of deodorant.

Jamie looked down at himself. He really needed to get him some new clothes. But that costs money so he was stuck with what they gave him. He had lost so much weight with them starving him half to death that and had trouble keeping his pants up. He used to be a pretty big guy. He definitely used to have some meat on his bones, but not anymore. Not that he looked bad, but he didn’t like often he had to hear his stomach growl because they only gave him enough food to barely keep him alive. What he wouldn’t give for a big plate of bacon and eggs with home fries, and a big glass of orange juice. Maybe two. That was one of his dreams, he thought, as he laughed out loud. Dreaming about food.

He stretched and reached over and grabbed hold of the sink to steady himself, which was above the toilet bowl, so he could relieve himself. He washed his face with the little piece of soap he had left and drank a little water out of the sink. He was real hesitant to do that because the water had a brownish tint to it, so who knows where it came from or what the pipes were like it had to travel through. He didn’t have much choice. It was the only water there was. This prison was pretty old.

People on the outside had no clue what it was like in here. All they know is what they see on TV and that never really showed it like it was. Once the channel changes they don’t think about it, unless they find themselves in here, or until someone they know or love gets caught in the system. When the system gets you they don’t like to let you go unless they have to, and even then they make it hard for you to make it out there. They make too much money off you. They own you.

He knew it must still must be pretty early because there weren’t too many sounds yet coming from down the hall. It won’t be for long though. All that banging on the walls and people yelling, upset at something or nothing at all would start pretty soon. He couldn’t blame them. It was the only way to get their pain out. Some cried just to make sure they were still alive. If someone were to describe hell, it would look and sound an awful lot like this place.

This day would end up being exactly like thousands before it. He walked the few steps to the window to see if he could tell yet what kind of day it was going to be. At least he had window. Not all the cells had windows. There were small things to be thankful for.

18 thoughts on “InsideOut now changed to “Inside the Forbidden Outside”

        1. My mother has seen the toll it has taken and said yesterday, without thinking,” I wish you had never meet him” because she gets concerned. My health is not the greatest. But it is this undertaking of what is happening to so many people. Trying to make a difference gives purpose to my life. No it isn’t all I do, but the change in the life of a single human being can change the world. If you have someone who believes in you, you can move mountains. Attitudes about race need to change. It is easy to say you aren’t racist if it doesn’t affect your life. People don’t understand slavery really was never abolished. It just changed shape.


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