wynne unit,Huntsville Prison,solitary confinement,mass incarceration
Prison unit Jamie is in
photo source; brokenchains.us

May 29,2015.

Hello mom,

How are you? Fine I hope and in the best of health as well.  I received all of your letters. Before I got them I had written back to you but I wasn’t able to send it out.  They took all my property.  Then they gave it back to me and then they took it away again.  In this letter I will explain to you how I have been feeling as well as let you know what happened with me.

For as long as a week I was picked on and refused showers, meals and recreation.  I’ve been given every punishment they could give to me. I spoke with every ranking officer about an officer named Robert Curlee.  He’s the one that refuses me everything.  Guess what they tell me?  Stop letting him get to you because he goes home at 1:00.  So I say okay, I understand that except he does it to me every day, and ya’ll are not doing anything to stop him, not even talking to him about it.  So I said, don’t worry about it. I went to see the warden in UCC ( the prison’s court)  about a case I got.  I talked to him about it and why I got it.  However, when I talked to him about the officer and what he was doing to me he just waved me off like a fly.  So guess what?  Me being me I’m gonna speak my mind. You know I’m very outspoken.

So I told the warden, “You know I’ve tried to do the right thing, by talking to your ranking officer about a problem I’ve been happening with an officer of yours. I’ve just tried to explain that to you, but you showed me you don’t care by waving me off, so I don’t care, either. Fuck you!”

Of course I was locked back up in solitary confinement after that.

So here I am, having the same problem with the same officer. I called him to my door and asked him why he was doing what he was do?

He said, “It’s because gray rides with gray (guards), and if an officer tells me not to feed you or take you to shower, then I’m not going to do it.”

But I know no one is telling him such things. He’s doing it because we got into it once and he’s holding onto that.

So I say, “You know what? I’m tired of you doing me like this.”

He says, “so?”

So I say, “You know what? Keep messing with me. Call my bluff and I’m gonna beat your ass.”

He turned red. I told him, “I’ve been through a lot. I’ve had some bad news. Let me chill. If not, the first chance I get I’m gonna break your jaw.”

I told the same thing to the ranking officer. Guess what? Now he comes to my door and asks me how I’m doing.

(Sonni’s note: This is not exactly the best way to handle problems and can hurt things for him in the future, but when you are continually pushed to the limit what do you do?  The warden wouldn’t listen.  I’m sure he hears the same thing every day.  He knows what the officers are doing to the inmates.  This is part of what needs to be fixed.  When people are treated inhumanely how much can you push them before they strike back.  But that only gives them reason to keep doing it.  How do we stop this treatment?  I wish I had the answers to that.)

7 thoughts on “Sometimes,You Just Do What You Gotta Do

    1. The hard thing for me is deciding to intervene – call the warden – or find out of there is anything legal I can do. I’m pretty sure this is done to keep him from making parole again next year. He told me a long time ago that they don’t like to parole the blacks. They just keep adding things to their record and even extend their time. They also keep them in because most of them have nowhere to go or couldn’t get a job because they don’t let them complete any programs that shows they have done something to improve themselves. This is why I am working on the book I’m writing. To try to get money – to help get a parole attorney? Or to have money waiting to help him when he gets out? No one else will do it. But I am afraid if I try to do something from the outside to stop the treatment they will make it even harder for him.

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  1. I tend to agree with you. However, I have found on a number of occasions in my life that people who were antagonizing me often wanted to see me stand up to them. I think in the prison system this is likely not the case. But perhaps Jamie achieved a level of respect from a man who needed someone to prove he was willing to play the same game— to show some backbone? I dunno… it’s sad that people forget that in the end, we’re all going to die some day. And even though we won’t know until that day what happens to us, I would think we should at least err on the side of being good to each other while we’re here. How do proliferate empathy and love to this cracked world?

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    1. I don’t know. You could be right. Another aspect these guards have to consider – most people do get out of prison. Make an inmate hate you and he just might come looking for you later. I remember reading a couple of years ago about an inmate killing a warden when he got out. They screw up their minds and then they expect them to be okay when they get out? That is why I work so hard with Jamie, to keep his head screwed on straight and stay focused on the rest of his life. He fell down this time, but he’ll get back up. I’ve been writing to him almost daily. I did send him what you wrote. I’m pretty sure he will write me back about it. Thank you again for writing.

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    2. I tried to reply to a different post you left and i think i sent it to the spam! You wanted how I don’t get discouraged. There is a website I want you to go to. Read a bit. You’ll understand. This is what I teach Jamie. I think if I had not reached in and grabbed hold of him years ago he would have had a chance. But life is always a few steps forward and one step back. We have to pick ourselves up and keep going. http://sgi-usa.org. I think you will find this interesting. It’s the only thing that really works for me

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      1. Thank you! I will check it out. I listen to a great deal of Eckhart Tolle. He’s at my level of understanding and I’ve learned a lot from his writings. I’m very interested in consciousness and am always looking for more insight. Thank you again. 🙂

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        1. I hope you do go. It has guided my life for longer than you’ve been alive. It’s about learning how to make the right causes in your life to have the effect you want in your future. How to be happy and how to turn the negatives your life into positives.

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