Early Jan 2016

Hello mom, I’m sorry it to so long for me to write. Things have really been crazy the last few weeks. I have through hell and back. But that’s in the past. I’m not in the Wynne Unit no more. I’m now in N. Texas.

(  Sonni’s note: This is the 8th prison Jamie has been in. IF you would like to write to him here is his new address: James Cummings #1368189  12-Fpod-84, Allred Unit, 2101 FM 369 North, Iowa Park, Tx 76367 for those who have written and had birthday cards returned because he was transferred. If they were delivered, they haven’t sent his property to him yet so he doesn’t have any addresses, stamps, paper or ID to get any at the commissary. Hopefully he’ll get it, but last time the guards took things. It’s normal to be moved all over the state. There are more than 110 prisons just in Texas. Going to N Texas is better than going south. Texas is hot in the summer all over. But the south is hotter)

lockdown,voice from insideI am in ad seg, but believe it or not it’s okay as of right now. I am so glad to be away from Wynne Unit. It took two days to get here and we went through a little snow storm.

(Sonni’s note: Jamie told me a long time ago that he’d never seen snow. He’s never been out of Texas. So he must have enjoyed seeing snow. I just sent him a letter through jpay.com and sent a picture of the snow storm we just had on the east coast. 33″ and add 2 more feet of drifts. I hate cold weather. I prefer the tropics so I am typing right now wrapped up in three blankets! I hibernate in the winter.)

So far I’m okay. I’m still having chests pains here and there but I’ll be seeing a Dr here soon. They’ll start taking my medical fee out of any money you send until it’s paid. If you hadn’t been paying it all these years and helping me I wouldn’t have anything. I hope the send me all the books you had just sent.

( I buy them by the foot. A variety of all kinds of used books that measure three feet when stacked. I already bought another 3 feet. If he gets the last shipment h, too, he’ll be set for a couple months! In his property is also a radio. I found a neat article about how a monk sets his day. I jokingly told him he is like a monk who also lives in a cell. It helps to have a routine and stick to it spending so much time doing each thing and keeping his mind occupied in a positive way.

Source: Timo Waltari on Flickr
photo source: wikipedia commons (also from previous article)))

If you haven’t yet, read the post before this one about solitary confinement in the UK.  It’s hard to read what this kind of solitary does to the mind. It causes depression and mental illness. Suicide in prison is high. Depression and paranoia. Human beings are not meant to never be touched or talked to. Most people can’t handle it. Jamie is no stranger to solitary confinement or ad seg. They are both 23 hr a day lock down. Every three months they lock you down further to toss cells. Commissary is suspended even though he can only go once a month anyway and food rations are cut. Being able to stock up on food from the commissary is important.

Jamie studies Nichiren Buddhism. I started teaching him about 6-7 years ago. It’s not an easy practice to do every day without support. Compare it to taking out a gym membership. After going for awhile most people gradually stop going and make excuses why they can’t exercise that day, but they’ll go tomorrow and when they don’t see results they quit.  Buddhism produces actual results. It isn’t like Christianity where you go to church once a week, ask forgiveness and all is okay and you treat the world around you the same. We look at life and death in a different way and don’t think it was created by a god. It is different than a religion where a god is at the center. Since there is no god in Buddhism to worship, we don’t pray to an entity outside of us to change things in our life. We pray for the wisdom to know what to do to be able to change the part pf your nature that ends up causing you unhappiness. When you are able to change something on the inside, it affects your environment on the outside. 

We cause our own problems and over time we see the effects in our life around us. We can’t expect our life to change without doing the work. It’s like praying to change something and then holding out our hand expecting the benefit of cookies. We have to learn how to make better causes so we can be happy. In the last year, when Jamie was knocked down from G2 status that allowed him phone calls and had also allowed him to have a job – cleaning the showers – that he had worked hard to reach, because of the vindictiveness of a guard, it was a major let down for him and slowly he allowed his anger to have more control over his actions than common sense. He’s human. We’re all human, and we do or say things we later regret. But in prison you also have to deal with the rule that guards are always right and inmates are always wrong and there is nothing you can do about it. This has happened a number of time over the years where he had privileges taken away because of someone else has power over him.

But still, it is the result of cause that were made that put him in this situation to begin with, and only by changing how he deals with it can he change it. Wanting to change it doesn’t work by itself. If it were that easy to change, people would be doing it all the time. But they don’t and many fall back on, “That’s just the way I am.”

This is why we practice Nichiren Buddhism – not Tibetan or Zen or any other because they are ass different as Pentecostals and Catholics.If your faith only tells you what you should to be happy, but doesn’t tell you how to do it, then you have only half a teaching. Praising a god or any religion is not how you change the problems in your life. I’ve gone into this explanation because it’s a very important part of how he will be able to have the life he wants.  It’s up to him and asking an entity in the universe to fix his problems won’t work.  Ask any inmate in solitary confinement how that method is working for him.  If that worked we wouldn’t have the prison system we have because I’m sure there are a lot of inmates who are trying that method.  I don’t mean to disrespect anyone’s choice of faith.  I hadn’t intended this to be a post on faith, but it is a big part off how I keep his head above water.  I only know what works for me now and what hasn’t worked in the past. If anyone would like to know what this is go to http://sgi-usa.org.

So you had the chance to talk with the Warden when you called about my medications. The warden is just as bad as the guards. He’s the type of fool who tries to bone every female officer who works for him. When he can’t have his way he writes them up. This whole place is corrupt. I’ve had women who work here offer me sex. I would never have intercourse with them even if I wanted to. I’d be too scared because of HIV. A lot of these women have sex with these dudes and a lot of these dudes have sex with other dudes. So I have safe sex, with myself.

This seg is nothing like the last one. Officers here are respectful. I haven’t met them all yet but I’m going to do my best to be polite.

Do you think you can get Megan to bring little Jamie to see? If you are still planning on coming to Texas this spring I can’t wait to see you! I have to go for now. I only have one piece of paper and a stamp that I borrowed. I’ll write again as soon as I can. Please call Jamie. And tell him I love him.

Love you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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2 thoughts on “Allred Unit- Prison #8

  1. I’m glad he is at a slightly better place, and has found a way of life that he can practice and work on staying sane. Forever grateful you have given him a voice to the world. The music is very soothing too.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Knowing what he’s been through these past ten years, and also knowing that his family hasn’t been there to help him, I can’t imagine where his head would be if he thought there was no one he mattered to. I haven’t printed any of his last letter yet and for personal reasons there are things I have to keep private but I know how deeply this has affected him, having a mother but not having one at the same time. It is why I became “Mom”. He gets depressed. I don’t blame him. I don’t think she ever taken the time to know him beyond raising him as a child. He’s honest with me about how he feels about things but he seems afraid that somehow I’ll get mad at him if he screws up and won’t want to be there for him anymore. I don’t think anyone had ever told him before what a great person he is – his compassionate and caring. He gets depressed easily about things he can’t control – like a relative dying. He has never had a chance to be himself. Except for one year he’s been locked since he was 16, almost 17. Living with epilepsy and going through seizures alone is hard. There is no way I could ever tell him he was on his own. I would never do that. My daughter moved on – She had 4 kids with 4 dads and Jamie was the 3rd. She’s a good mom, but she moved on. She couldn’t understand what my interest was and I think it has really bothered her. But I can’t see someone hurting and keep on walking. I’ve practiced Buddhism for 28 years. I know that many in the states are Christian, and I don’t know what you believe, but I don’t see many Christians take what they are taught and make a conscious daily effort to put it into practice. It seems their focus is on praising an entity and convincing themselves that they love whatever it is and insisting that Jesus is alive. What is not important is praising the teacher. What is important is showing the world that what he taught enabled them to change their lives, show proof of the teachings and become better people. Every poster seems to be about expressing love for God and go to heaven when you die. Christianity has only been around for a very short period of time. It was never used to manipulate people politically until the middle ages. The 2000 years of this age is a drop in the bucket compared to the years people have lived. Its really a fairly new religion. There are some Buddhists sects who praise the Buddha as well and there are Buddha statues on their alter and other people who want to appear peaceful will also have Buddha statues in their homes. There are no statues in my home because we focus on understanding the teachings and applying them to our lives, not praising the man. Praising the teacher doesn’t change the life you are living, and heaven and hell are no so place you go to when you die, it is a condition of life as you live it. But people think the faith they were taught is the truth simply because it is what they know and they never look outside the box. Where Jamie is in his life, and where I am, and everyone else, is the culmination of causes we’ve all made in the past, sometimes too far back to understand. it’s not important to know the causes. It’s important to be aware of the causes we make now because that is what will determine your future – regardless of whatever religion you practice or don’t practice. But if we don’t take responsibility for our unhappiness and if we blame others for it we can never understand why things happen. So I teach Jamie the premise of Buddhism and what it means to his life so he will learn to be happy and be a good father and teach his soon when he gets out. If he doesn’t raise his life condition and continues to react to life in anger then he continues to make negative causes. If he can work to change that then he can help others. Everyone has issues they wish they could change but they don’t know how to do it, and even then sometimes it is so hard to do. We repeat lessons until we learn to get it right. Everyone who comes into your life for more than just a quick wave is there for a reason. There is something to learn. I’m in his life for a reason. He is in my life for a reason and I am telling you this for a reason. We shouldn’t let opportunities pass us by. I started to write a reply to you last night but my tablet keyboard was messing up. I read that post of yours and it really affected me. All I could think of was the pain you had been in. I don’t know how far in the past it was, or if it ended, but regardless, it isn’t something that just disappears. That Deb, is a major effect of a cause you made somewhere for you to have to experience that. Please don’t take that wrong. I’m not blaming you. It took a lot of courage to write what you did. I could keep writing about this. I write about it quite often, usually on my other blog, Watch and Whirl. I don’t write as often on that blog but it is where I write posts that aren’t appropriate for Jamie’s blog. I want you to know that I appreciate the time you have spend on Jamie’s blog. It is through his blog that his book will get finished writing, so when he gets out there will be a plan for him to benefit by pushing it – lectures, boys and girls clubs etc and videos. He wants to help people. How else would he develop a life he would be proud of if he didn’t use his life to benefit others?

      Liked by 2 people

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