June 1, 2015
Hi mom, I’m doing better today. I got my World Tribune. ( Nichiren Buddhist weekly newspaper) for May 15th. I read the whole paper. There was a lot of good messages and words of encouragement inside.
You asked in your letter what I will do to stay busy. Well for starters I’m going to work hard on my temper. I have a lot to think about. I was thinking about what you asked me. You know, about talking to kids when I get out. I would love to do that. I could get on YouTube or Facebook and make videos using a web can and explain to the world what the prison system is like. Because if the families only knew how their family and other people were being treated inside they would understand why so many never make it home. If they make it home they are often in pretty bad shape if they have been abused. How is someone supposed to have a better life if they are scared to be around people?
Families should open their eyes and understand the pain, suffering and all the shit we have to put up with. All because these people have control of our lives more than they should. They have the power to abuse and humiliate us, starve and beat us, which is not part of our sentence. We should not have to live like this. There have been people in here for many years who have never had a case brought against them, but yet when they come up for parole they are still denied their freedom. Why? That’s a damn good question.
But we all know it’s about free labor Texas gets from us. Texas don’t pay anyone no matter what job they do. Why would they want to lose that? They rest of us who can’t work they get paid just for us being here. The Texas prison system says they pay us with good time. However, anyone who comes into the system with aggravated time like me, don’t receive good time. Ain’t that something? For those that do receive it, it can be taken away in a blink of an eye.
Every officer is required to write up a certain amount of cases on inmates. the prison might say that isn’t true, but it is. If they don’t they will be written up by their supervisor. So they have to make stuff up to blame us for. The system is set up so that us inmates can’t win. And this is why so many men of color lose their lives or never make it home. We do have a way to write up officers. We can write a grievance. But get this. There is step one and a step two. There is no doubt that what we write up on step one will be looked over and denied. Every single time. For some odd reason it takes these people 40 days just to deny step one. The warden is the one who does this, of course. Step two goes to the main office in Huntsville. You’d think these people would look into this given that it is part two of a grievance and it has been filed for a reason. Yeah, right. Step two takes 45 days to be investigated. If you add the days together it is almost three months. 85 days which is the same amount of time you get for having a case written up against you. So they will tell us to write up an appeal against the wrong punishment we were given, taking away our commissary, recreation or our property. No matter what, we will be on punishment that equals the same amount of days it takes to appeal it.
So why appeal it or write it up at all? Because even if we win the appeal we will still would have done the punishment already anyway. All they do is erase the case from our file, maybe. Anyway, I promise you that not too many people win their appeal. One last thing before I end. This is crazy. There is a black lady here who is a captain, and when I say she is dirty that is what I mean. She’s crazy. She was born in the system. Yes, her mama was locked up when she had her. She told us this. She also has a brother locked up. You’d think she would understand. She said she didn’t give a damn. I wanted to give you something deep about this place. Ill write more later. I’m tired. I’ve been up all day. Also, on top of everything we’re on lockdown again, so I won’t be getting much food to eat.
Till next time, love, your son Jamie
(Sonni’s note: My advice to him is: go through the process any way. If there is a possibility that the case would be taken off his file when he comes up for parole, it might help. I realize that he said that most of the appeals aren’t won, but if you filed enough of them, and they were against the same person you would have your own paper trail that might be useful when it comes time for parole. Food for thought.)
(added later note: The officer he gave the grievance form to, to file, must have just thrown them away. He never got the denial so he could file the appeal. I called the warden and there were no grievances on file from him – but he’ll check on it, he says. “I can’t have my officers doing that sort of thing.” He was supposed to get back with me about it, but of course he didn’t.)
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