How Equal are the Scales of Justice?

horizontal-2071313_640There are quite a few new people coming to this blog. I want to thank you. It is important to be more aware of our justice system – and our court system that makes and breaks the laws that have been set up supposedly to protect Americans from those who break the law. But from what I read, our systems of court are very choosy about who they protect and who they punish for breaking those laws and it often has nothing to do with whether they are guilty or not.  It depends on their skin color, their money, who they know and how much power they have. The American people can scream “INJUSTICE” all day long and it won’t do a damn thing. It keeps happening! The courts do not protect all citizens.

The one thing the average person can do is to inform people of what they learn about this. Don’t just read about it and walk away thinking someone else will fix it. On this page – facebook.com/jamielifeinprison – and this blog there is more than the reporting of police and court injustice, there is knowledge of what goes on behind the scene that takes place inside jails and prisons.

When I heard Trump say that he has done SO much for black people and SO MUCH for inmates, and how he is the least racist person alive – while praising members of the KKK – I am astounded that some people believe him.  What he has done for criminal justice wouldn’t fill a teaspoon looking at the millions who are incarcerated and ten times that, when you add in the families who have ruined lives long after they are released from prisons sentences that are far longer than they have ever been. that does not include state prisons where 4/5 of inmates are that affects only a very small percentage of Federal inmates – it can’t stop there! Conditions inside the prisons are worse than ever. We need to do more than just read about it.

So I ask, would you please share more articles on your own timelines and social media that help teach people what our justice system has become. When it is time to vote again, if people are more knowledgeable, they will vote with their brain and not with their feelings, hopefully. Our country has to be more diligent than ever if we are going to have a country that protects all of its people, not just the light skinned ones who have money. Because that is how our justice system works today.

Did you know the prison corporations have contracts with the states promising the prisons will be kept full, or the government will have to pay them for the empty beds? Those contracts have always been there since the Prison Industrial Complex was formed but now, with less Marijuana arrests what sector will they raid to keep the prisons full? Will they prosecute more low income people who can’t afford an attorney? They already do that. They have to fill the beds some way – so who will they go after? We’ll find out. Stockholders must get their profits.

A few weeks ago my husband and were pulled over. It wasn’t because we did anything wrong. We didn’t have a broken tail light. We weren’t speeding. There was no reason to be pulled over. The cop was on a fishing expedition. We drive a seventeen year old car that has seen better days. It was pretty obvious we didn’t come from money. He pulled us over just so he could run our plates and see if there was anything he could get us for. There wasn’t so he had to let us go.

BUT THERE WAS NO REASON TO PULL US OVER. Good thing we were white. There was no telling what would have happened if we weren’t. We’ve all seen the videos. Cops aren’t trying to protect the citizens, they are looking to see who they can arrest.  Vigilante cops. Do you all citizens deserve to be called Americans? If you do, you need to do more, even if it is only making more effort to keep people informed.

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My Blog Map of The World

My blog map

I like to look at the map of the world I have on this site where the flag counter is located under each post, which tells me how many hits and how many countries have tapped into my blog on any given day, week, month or year. In the past week it was 26 countries, some from places I really didn’t know existed. Overall, at last count if was a total of 135+ countries. Today I see that it is only Greenland and interior Africa that are the only places that haven’t come to my blog. I don’t get hundreds of hits a day like some blogs do. Maybe if this blog was all I was doing and devoted every day to it, it would be more. Most people who come here are not other bloggers, it is from Google searches for information that they find me.

People all over the world are looking for information that connects to prisons – largely the US prisons. Why? Because what we do affects people everywhere. We set a standard for others to follow and unfortunately that standard is a bad one. Will we ever learn to do the right thing? It is doubtful. Greed is much more powerful than the desire to do the right thing.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t punish people when they do something wrong, but it is wrong to give a black man 20 years in prison for stealing food if his family is hungry, especially when a white man would probably get a year of probation, maybe. We over-punish and we do it based on race. Or look at it this way; what would twenty years in prison do that one year wouldn’t do, especially since now his entire family is being punished. Or was that the intention? Destroy the family. Make them all suffer and unable to rise up out of extreme poverty. Take away any chance of survival. Our criminal justice system is really screwed up.

I don’t know a lot about the prisons in these other countries. I’m sure some are better or worse, but they don’t use them for corporate profit the way we do, making prisoners a commodity for individual stock market growth.

“A sure bet,” they say. “Just keep the prisons full of people.” “No problem” our government says. Laws are abused to make sure 1 in 3 black males will do prison time.

“Let’s reinstate stop and frisk,” says Jeff Sessions, even though it never worked and locked up many more people who couldn’t afford to bond out, and they sit for years in jail never being charged. That will make the corporations lots of money. They could build more jails – provide more jobs. Who cares who it hurts.

For more than ten years I have researched this as I have struggled to understand not only what they have done to Jamie in the prisons they have sent him to, but to try to predict what the effect will be when he gets out. It takes so much more than wanting to have a good life, especially when he has been hogtied in the worst way to keep him from being able to learn how to survive when he gets out. Keeping him in a solitary cell, not allowing him to get any education at all, then setting him free with no life skills. There iss no education for an inmate in adseg or solitary, so they refuse to let him out. They say he is a danger to the rest of the general population inmates. That is the reason they give him. No one can survive that, especially when family isn’t there for you. He has me. Just me, and I am not in the best of health and 30 years his senior. I’m doing all I can.

When I think of the long journey I have been on – helping what used to be a young man who never had a future. It was taken away when he was still 16. He is 35 now. He has been in the prison system far too long to hang in there with promises of a better future that doesn’t begin until the brink of middle age. Taking on that 17 year sentence with him, promising to be there for him is almost the length of time it takes to raise a child until high school graduation, and trying to be responsible for the nurturing of that person almost completely through letters and a visit every year or two. I can’t even touch his hand during those visits.

I’d do it again – because it also taught me a lot about myself. We weren’t blood related between he and I, but we are connected through my grandson. I have been through so much during these years – marking it along the way with crisis we both have had. Life puts you exactly here you need to be to grow as a human being, hopefully affecting other lives in a positive way. I can’t imagine my life without this.

That is all I wanted to say. I appreciate, more than you know, the people who have supported me in this effort – reading, sharing, listening. The book and music have taken far longer than I had thought but if the effort is going to be made it has to be to the best of my abilities, and sometime that means I have to rewrite part of it as I learn. I am confident there is a reason for doing it. I keep the end result in my head. We are what we think. But without other people – you – it couldn’t happen. I’m excited about what the future could bring for Jamie, his son, and yes, my daughter as they are the parents of their young twelve year old boy. My grandson deserves to know both parents. His life has to heal, too.

Thank you

 

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KS Prison Transfers Used to Silence Dissent

I copied this article word for word. I was too appalled to sit back and do nothing. So many people really have no idea of how bad it is when you are locked up in a prison in the US.  Some may say they deserve whatever comes at them but I disagree.  I won’t write today about the many non-guilty prisoners there are – but no one deserves this. As citizens it has to reach a point where people stop looking away like it has nothing to do with them.

It is a fact that WE cause the horrible conditions by allowing it, and then look away when the corporations want to shut up the people who are trying to help their fellow inmates inside – and most of us ignore it or give it a passing wave. Saying it is horrible is not enough – until someone you know gets locked up. We are doing this to other human beings should be enough to do SOMETHING. I sent this article to the two email addresses at the bottom.  That in itself will do nothing – but if hundreds – thousands of other people do it to – that does something.

El Dorado Correctional Facility

KS Prison Transfers Used to Silence Dissent

In the late hours of Sunday, May 20th, Kansas Department of Corrections officials sent a special operations team, known in Kansas prisons as the “black suits,” to the prison cell of Eric Sims, imprisoned in El Dorado Correctional Facility. They placed him in handcuffs and escorted him to a holding cell in another part of the institution, along with all his property. About an hour later, another special operations team arrived from Hutchinson Correctional Facility, removed Sims from the isolation cell, placed him in belly-chains and leg-irons, and then put him in a cage in the back of a van.

The two officers drove Eric through the middle of the night, for two days, stopping only long enough to place Eric in another isolation cell in a remote county somewhere in Mississippi. He remained in an isolation cell, with no windows, and reeking of death. Eric said it took nearly two days for that smell to leave him. After the officers had rested in a local motel, they placed Eric back in the cage, in the back of the van, and drove him to a prison facility in Orlando, Florida. Upon arriving in Florida, Eric was again, placed in another isolation cell, in 103 degree heat, with no fan, no cup to drink water, with only his Bible and a few legal papers.

In the days following, it was discovered who ordered the involuntary transfer. On April 18, 2018, Doug Burris, a correctional manager whose core function is described as “risk management” for the Department, authored a memorandum to Florida officials requesting Sims be transferred to their state. In that written document, Burris made reference to Eric “misleading” legislators as one of the reasons to justify his extraordinary retaliatory actions against Eric.

The only legislator Eric has had contact with was Senator Laura Kelly, now running for Governor of Kansas. On April 4th, Eric prepared a packet of information for Sen. Kelly that shared numerous published articles that detailed the dangers of outsourcing basic healthcare services for prisoners to predatory HMOs, and the tactics used by correctional officials to protect them. Sen. Kelly’s office signed for this packet of information on April 9th.

Additionally, in the April 18 memo, Burris explicitly listed Eric’s formal complaint filed with the Kansas State Board of Healing Arts against a Corizon Site Director at Norton Correctional Facility. Corizon Health Services is the prison healthcare provider contracted by the Kansas Department of Corrections. The medical care provided by Corizon to Kansas inmates ranges from rude and dismissive to criminal negligence. This manifested most tragically in the early spring of 2016 when a young Black inmate, Marques Davis, died in Hutchinson Correctional Facility from a fungus that ate his brain. For months, he pleaded for help as his vision blurred, his speech slurred, and he became so disoriented he drank his own urine. True to form, the Tennessee-based, for-profit HMO that the KDOC pays nearly $80 million dollars of taxpayer dollars every year to outsource their essential responsibility of basic healthcare for the inmates in its charge, blamed Marques. The KDOC did nothing, other than attempt to defend their contractor and control the narrative.

However, all the gruesome details of Marques’ needless and shameful death caught the attention of several Kansas lawmakers. The word spread quickly throughout Kansas prisons, that there were actual elected officials in Topeka who were looking into the practices of just not the predatory HMO in charge of their healthcare, but the other actions of KDOC officials in recent months that created unsafe living and working conditions for inmates and staff in Kansas prisons.

It is clear from the April 18 Burris memo that speaking out against these injustices in Kansas prisons is the reason for transferring Eric to Florida.

Eric entered the system at the age of 23. He just turned 50 years old last month. During those nearly three decades in the Kansas prison system, Eric has dedicated his life to being an advocate for those less fortunate around him; those inmates who lack the resources and education that too many times fall victim to an overwhelming system, the large bureaucracy that runs it, and the corporations its most essential functions are outsourced to each year. For his advocacy, Eric has a paid tremendous price – personally and financially. For his work, he has been targeted for over thirteen different retaliatory moves in his tenure in the KDOC; when others who entered the system the same time as he did, have only been moved two or three times at the most. When program dollars shrank in the early part of Eric’s sentence in the KDOC, both he and his family spent thousands of dollars of their own money to provide Eric the resources he needed to develop peer-directed educational and character-based program models to provide access to such basic needs like literacy and personal development. Many of these flagship programs are still in use in several Kansas facilities today. Eric’s ground-breaking work was foundational in establishing peer-directed inmate civic organizations for the first time in many Kansas prisons; who, over the past decades since their creation, have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help some of the most disadvantaged and poverty-stricken families in communities all across the state.

In spite of the retaliation, Eric has remained true to the core principles he has based his life on; having maintained the lowest custody level, and highest incentive level possible over three decades. During that entire period, he has received less than a handful of minor rule infractions, with his institutional record being described by many staff as exceptional, and himself being described as a model inmate. One of the officers who escorted Eric to the isolation cell the night of May 20th commented to the other: “Mr. Sims is the most respectful and well-behaved inmate we have, why are they messing with him?” It wasn’t just the comments of this officer, but the numerous written references from both uniformed and non-uniform staff in almost every facility that Eric has been housed that all testify to both his character and conduct, day-in and day-out, over a long period of time. Just last year he received heart-felt thanks from staff for placing his own life in jeopardy to protect a female officer from assault. These are the correctional officials who have direct and personal knowledge of who Eric really is, and their written references are evidence that the narrative used by Mr. Burris and other officials is not in line with the truth. In addition to the staff that see him every day, there is a volume of personal written testimonies from his fellow inmates, who Eric has had a positive transformational impact on their lives – many, he taught to read and write for the first time. His daily choices over 26 years have been a model that has encouraged and inspired other inmates to change their lives.

There are over 10,000 inmates in Kansas prisons. There are inmates who have killed and brutally assaulted both staff and other inmates. There are gang leaders who have set-up and financed illicit organized criminal activity, whose members extort, steal, and intimidate staff and inmates. There are inmates who have trafficked contraband, drugs and illegal materials in every institution they are housed – again and again. Out of all of these 10,000 inmates, why did Mr. Burris choose Eric – someone who many staff describe as a “model inmate” with the above track record?

The retaliatory transfer of Eric Sims is one example of the negligence, malfeasance, and corruption in Kansas prisons and throughout the prison system. The prison-industrial complex and the neoliberal policies it supports drives prisons to privatize basic services, pack prisons full, and exploit a prison labor force. The mistreatment of these prisoners is not the result of cutting costs to save tax dollars; it is the result of a system that serves to maximize profits for those who make their money locking up and exploiting the largest prison population in the world.

For Eric, he just wants to be transferred back to Kansas, where he can at least be close to his family and church. But he also wants accountability for the prison officials behind this. The effort to silence and punish him is chilling. If a well-educated white man with social support can be effectively subdued, what of other inmates who are more vulnerable? And what other abuses are being swept under the rug? The KDOC needs to, at minimum, start with increased transparency and oversight on these issues.  

Contact KS legislators to demand Eric’s return to Kansas and an investigation into the Department of Corrections’ abuse of involuntary transfers:

Contact KS legislators to demand Eric’s return to Kansas and an investigation into the Department of Corrections’ abuse of involuntary transfers:

Laura Kelly, candidate for Governor (D): 785-357-5304; laura@laurakelly.org

Boog Highberger, House Correctional Oversight Committee: 785-424-3262; mrboog@att.net

 

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Are You Aware There is a Prison Protest Happening?

There is so much continued repetitious crap in the media right now, regurgitating itself over and over again – about the antics of Donald Trump – that serious issues are being put to the sidelines. Intentional? The ongoing dumbing down of America?

Over 14,000,000 people are arrested each year, often incarcerated for years without ever being charged and found guilty – because they can’t afford bail. The corporations make a fortune off these people from phone  calls and commissary alone. Many of these people provide the constant filling of prison beds. Add to it the reopened, crumbling prisons that had been previously closed, and the tent prisons used to hold the immigrants who needed out help. What did the US do with the people – they were turned over to prison corporations like CoreCivic to use and abuse for more profit. I won’t get into what they did to the kids.

Because of horrible and corrupt prisons where many of the guards are dirty and bring in drugs and other contraband to line their own pockets. It feeds the drug dealers and the gangs inside and puts everyone’s lives at risk. Contrary to popular, ignorant belief – everyone inside is not a hardened criminal. Some are innocent and some want to get their lives on track and lead a better life. Some have families that are left outside scared their loved one will get killed. I have communicated with a lot of inmates. Don’t argue with me until you have done the same. Prison is nowhere close to “Orange is the New Black.” The guards on that show are a joke and the inmates make good comedians.

This month there was a riot inside Lee’s Correctional institute in So Carolina. Seven men brutally died. Part of the reason was because there were very few guards to help put it down. A large percentage were dirty. The men had been left to roam free in the prison. Enough is enough is enough.

http://sawarimi.org/national-prison-strike  This includes the demand list.

There was, at last count, 17 prisons that started a protest for better conditions inside less than a week ago. That protest will go on until Sept 4th. Instead of listing everything this protest is about along with a list of their demands, I will give you the links to read it for yourself. The powers that be are trying viciously to not let info on the protest inside their prisons. I found one inmate yesterday that knew nothing of it. Now he does and he is armed with details. If you know anyone inside, find out if they know and get this information to them so more inmates and their families can stand in solidarity. The men inside are begging us on the outside to support their efforts.

 

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Keeper My Thoughts – Chapter in ITFO

Last Note 2 sm

 

Keeper of My Thoughts

 

The harder Jamie tried to stay out of trouble the more it came looking for him. The guards went out of their way to get in his face and push him to make him react. Why? Were they bored? Did they want to mess up his day or they we trained to be that way?
      If the inmates were locked up the guards had more control over them and there was less they had to do. It was stressful for Jamie. He always felt like he was on the edge, waiting for them to file a case against him whether he did anything or not.
      One of the hardest things for him to overcome was the instant anger that came over him before he had a chance to think. He expected people to do the right thing and that didn’t happen in here.
      On the outside it was supposedly right and wrong that got you locked up, but once inside right and wrong had different meanings. When he spoke up for himself or tried to explain anything, it always got him in trouble. So right or wrong didn’t matter. Only who had the power mattered, and it was clear he didn’t have any. Guards didn’t like it if you called them out on anything. Getting bumped down in his line class was almost always because he couldn’t keep his mouth shut.
      Jamie didn’t want to lose the last of the privileges he had. The simple actions of being of being able to walk to chow or sit in the day room were hung over his head to keep him in control. If he lost these last privileges he would be confined to his cell.
      He could learn to control his own actions but he couldn’t control what a guard did, so to lose these privileges he didn’t have to do anything. A guard in a bad mood could make up a charge and it would be his word against the guard and he would lose every time.

<<< >>>

What a lousy night. Forget trying to sleep. It was too friggin’ hot and no way to cool down. Summer heat in a Texas prison was hard to get through but there was no choice. It was at least 90° and it was still the middle of the night.
      Jamie’s little fan, pointed at his face barely moved the air it was so heavy with moisture. His skin stuck to the mattress so he took it off the bunk and tried to sleep on the metal slats beneath.
      He ran the risk of a guard seeing his mattress off the bed. If he noticed it when he came around for his thirty minute check he might get yelled at to put it back on the bed. It was worth the risk but it didn’t work, anyway. It was a little cooler than the plastic but the metal didn’t make for good sleeping. Now he was tired and cranky with a bad headache.
      In the morning a guard finally came and took him to the showers. It had been three days since his last one and he knew he didn’t smell very good. He craved the feeling of cold water streaming down his body. There was so little pleasure in this place and a shower ranked on the top of the short list of things that caused pleasure.
In the middle of his allotted five minutes, with soap on his body, the guard shut off the water.
      “What the fu..” he started to say while turning around to face the guard.
      “What did you do that for?” Jamie asked with a sharp tone in his voice. He could feel himself getting angry so he closed his eyes, took a deep breath and thought, “Not today. Don’t lose it today. Get a grip”
      They stood there for a long second and stared at each other. All Jamie wanted to do was finish his shower and wash the soap off his skin. If he couldn’t do that the soap would dry on his skin. It would irritate it and make him itch. Add humidity to it and he’d be miserable.
      The guard who took him to the showers wasn’t having a happy day, either. He didn’t enjoying babysitting this sorry bunch of men. He wanted to hurry Jamie so he could get on to the next smartass he had to bring here. The faster he got done, the faster he could get back to the air conditioned staff office and whatever porn magazine happened to be lying around.
      This was a crappy job. He’d been here five years now and sometimes he felt like he was the one being sentenced. There weren’t any other good jobs in town that had benefits. He had a family to feed so beggars couldn’t be choosers. He had jumped at the chance to work here, but that didn’t mean he enjoyed it. They didn’t pay him well enough to have to watch these poor suckers get naked and whack off in the shower. He’d seen enough naked men to last a lifetime.
      They could do whatever they wanted in their cells, even though he could write them up for that, too, but the poor bastards had to get off somehow. He wouldn’t turn a blind eye, though, if he caught them doing each other. That was a mortal sin. The bible was adamant about that. He knew what went on in the cells so he no tolerance for any of them and what they might do.
      He had no tolerance for this one, either. He was going to hurry him up by turning off the water. He didn’t care if he didn’t get to rinse off the soap. He could plainly see it was all over his body. Serves him right for being here. That was his problem. He was the one in charge and he was calling the shots.
      Jamie was angry enough to let loose and tell him what he was and wasn’t going to do and demand he turn the water back on. He hesitated. If he did that he might lose everything he had been working toward, over a stupid, lousy shower.
      He told himself every day to stay in control of his mouth. He didn’t want to do something that would mess up his chances of going home. This would get him in trouble, probably get written up and lose his line class. That would put him in 24 hour lock up.
      Was it worth it over a shower? No. He was angry because he couldn’t do anything about it. Right and wrong didn’t matter. He’d screw the last months he was trying to get through so he could get moved back up to population. He wanted to go to school so he could take care of his family when he got out. He had to remember that.
      Jamie stopped and shut his mouth. He clamped his lips together and tried to think fast. He had two ways to go. Each one had a different result. Up till now he followed his instinct and let his anger speak for him. It never worked. Not once. He could do it different this time.
      He reached for his towel and covered himself. He didn’t look at the guard in a confrontational way. He lowered his head and looked down. What did he really want here? He only wanted to finish his shower and he didn’t want no trouble. He didn’t need to let his pride stand in the way. He sure didn’t want a stand off with a guard that would only end one way – with him in lock up.
      “Sir?” he said respectfully. “Could I have another minute . . . please . . . to rinse off?” Jamie waited. He said nothing else. It was the guards turn to talk. There was nothing he should find fault with.
      “About time,” the guard thought to himself. He was being shown the respect he thought he deserved. Why he thought he deserved respect without earning it, because he was a guard, was at the root of the problem between inmates and guards. But Jamie appearing subservient felt good so thought he’d bestow a little kindness on him, like a man in authority should do.
      “Okay, one minute,” he said as he flipped his fingers at him like he was brushing a fly away from his face.
      “Make it snappy,” he added.
      The guard turned the water back on and stood there and watched. You couldn’t be too careful with these morons. You never knew what they might do.

 

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Ghosts in My Head – YouTube Video

 

This is the latest music video I have produced for my upcoming book “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” based on the life of Jamie Cummings and his years in prison. I sincerely hope you like it and subscribe to the channel. these numbers are very important for the success of the book.

So far he has completed more than twelve years out of seventeen, bouncing around to eight different prisons from one end of Texas to the other. He will be nearly 40 when he gets out. Unless I can raise the money to hire a parole attorney he stands little chance of making parole. Inmates are not allowed to be present for parole hearings. Their files are looked and a decision is made – almost always denied. What is in that file?  I intend to find out.

It is a tragic story and not an uncommon one. The prison system attempts to suck the life out of anyone it can get its hands on to increase the wealth of the corporations that run them. They make that profit by denying them the very things they tell the world they provide. They do that with smiling faces on their websites.

Horrible food, withholding medications and treatment for illness that do not have to cause death, but will if they aren’t treated. These are only a few of the inhumane things they do to abuse the people – the human beings – they are in charge of. They keep many, a higher percentage of black to white, in a classification called adseg or G5. When they are kept there it is very difficult to get out get their classification raised for years and even decades. These inmates are denied any form of education, even a GED, knowing when they get they will be unable to support themselves and society will not welcome them. Many in society say they deserve anything that is done to them – but do they? 97% of all arrests never make it to court and are forced to take guilty plea deals whether they are guilty or not by threatening them with added charges.  A 20 year plea deal can easily become a 65 year sentence for someone not guilty of what they are charged with.  But the public assumes they are guilty. They are black aren’t they? Much of society thinks being black is a crime itself, so lock them up.

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Ghosts in My Head is music for the chapter when the conversations he has with the woman in the letters crosses over from reality to fantasy and he is no longer alone in his cell. 

I hope you subscribe to the newsletter below so you won’t miss updates as the book gets closer to completion. Writing a soundtrack to read by is a bit unusual for a book and this music was written for him and the emotional roller coaster ride the last twelve years have been. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

 

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Waiting Months To See a Dentist – Medical Care in Prisom

This is a repost from Nov 2012. It is still relevant today because medical care in prison hadn’t improved. Now that I have a medical POA ( power of attorney) on file in Huntsville, ( each state has their own Burough of Prisons where inmates complete files are kept.) In Texas it is the TDCJ – Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Allowing someone to lay in their bunk with extreme teeth pain for months is abusive to the extreme. In 2012 I had no idea what I could about. I was intimidated by the prison system.

***************************

( Jamie’s letter)

I’m waiting to have surgery on my wisdom tooth. It’s infected and it’s hurting really bad. It gives me headaches and everything. I’ve been waiting two months now. They keep pushing my appointment back. They don’t care. They want me to go off. I tell them about the pain every day.

These people don’t know what the hell they are doing.  They are just here.  The first doctor I seen told me about my infection as I told her about my pain.  Then I seen another doctor and he told me I didn’t have an infection. and that nothing was wrong with me.  I asked him if he thought I was lying about my pain, and I told him that another doctor said it was an infection.  I asked him if that lady was lying and he said, ” I didn’t say that.”  I told him that somebody was lying and I know it wasn’t me.  I could tell by his face he was mad.  Who gives a shit?  He don’t care about me. He’s here to waste time and get paid.

It got worse because I had to have my wisdom tooth pulled.  I was told after about the nerve that goes around the ear.  Fun huh? Remember I told you about having to wait to have my wisdom tooth pulled?  Well, on the first week of this month I left on what they the call medical chain,  to a unit in Huntsville that has a hospital on it.  It took two days to get to the unit.  It takes so long because they pick up and drop off to other units at the same time.  Oh, we sometimes ride on a bus the call a Blue Bird or a van.  I rode on both.  That van is so uncomfortable.  They really make it hard on us.  They have us elbow to elbow in the van.  On the bus if you’re not from Ad Seg you are cuffed to someone else.  Yes, they pair everyone up.  I’m sure you might be wondering about having to relieve ourselves.  There’s a toilet  so that means if someone has to go the other has to go too.  Crazy huh?  Sorry, I wondered off.

When I got to the hospital I had to wait because there was others in front of me.  So I had to wait two more days.  When I went in for the surgery they did x-rays.  The photos showed up on the computer.  The one I was going to get pulled was growing sideways and was cutting my gums.  The dentist saw the top back left one and was like wow.  I asked what was wrong and he showed me the photo.  You could see all my teeth perfect and he showed me and it was flat!  The word he used was, deformed.  So he asked if I wanted it removed.  I was going to ask him if he would anyway.  They don’t allow them to pout us to sleep.  they just numb it.  Mom, he was on it for two hours!  When he finally got it out the tooth had four roots!  It came out in five different pieces,  All that pulling and pushing and drilling.  I held on but I almost passed out.  Then bottom one hurt as well.  He had to do a little more cutting. I felt it too.  We had to stop.  Mom, I’m in so much pain.  It took me four days to get back because of the weekend.  The first five days the hospital was giving me Tylenol with codeine for pain before and during the surgery.  Now I’m back in my own unit and their best meds are Ibuprophen.  They think that  and water helps everything.

So I’ve been sleeping a lot to try and get away from the pain. ( Not helping ) This is the bad part here, mom.  It hurts to chew and drink  because my tongue is swollen.  However they have me eating solid food when I’m supposed to be on a soft diet but the doctors here won’t give it to me.  I’ll eat sometimes and sometimes I won’t.  I try not to give these people what they want so I just deal with it the best I can.  Just know that if the pain becomes too much I’m gonna try the right way first to get help.  If I don’t get help there is only one other way.

It’s been crazy in here the past few weeks. Well, it’s crazy every day but I try not to pay attention to it. I do my best to take my days one at a time. They got me on anti depression medication because they say something is wrong with me. I don’t take it ’cause nothing is wrong with me. I go on hunger strikes off and on. The longest I’ve stayed on is a week and a half. I just have those kinds of days. I don’t want to do this or that. It causes trouble sometimes. Oh well, I I just have that ‘I don’t care feeling’ at times.

Me and everyone else have been getting into it with the officers. We’ve been without hot water for over a month. We’re also back on lockdown for 30 days. Once again only peanut butter. I guess it’s part of the punishment that we, as humans, get treated in here.

Then, on top of everything, an officer slammed my finger in the tray slot – on purpose. That’s the thing they open when they give us our food. He cut it open. A really deep cut. I made them take me to medial where they took a picture of it. I had to get an x-ray a few days later because it wouldn’t close. The officer told the sargent he did it but that it was an accident. He said he didn’t mean to do it and he didn’t see my fingers. He lied. It wasn’t the first time he had tried to do that. I told him I wanted to talk to the lieutenant. This guy is the kind of dude that doesn’t like to be overruled by anyone. But the Lt. told me ask about moving me to another cell because also, the cell I’m in leaks water from the shower. One night I fell getting up to use the rest room. I hurt my ankle and had to go to Medical. They’re trying to hurt me. I know they are. The cell I’m also leaks bad when it rains and they know it because an officer told me the dude who was in here before got moved because of it.

They want me to fall their trap but I won’t. I’m writing up this officer who hurt me because I feel he is a threat to me. I also feel he will try to retaliate once he finds out I’m writing his a** up. To go through this whole process will take 60-120 days. They make it so long so you’ll give up. If you’ve tried to file a grievance before and couldn’t, you wouldn’t try again. The officer might try to get back at you to show They are in control. So They win either way

I’m gonna go for now. But not before I say Love You Always, Jamie

 

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Help support Jamie. Share his story. Subscribe to keep up on the progress of the book and to read news about the prison industry. I also print the stories of other inmates that need telling if you have a story to tell.

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Sharing is a great way to do that. If you are new to this blog read his story on the blog beginning with the ones at the top. Early posts found inn the archived will also help you get tho know him. The story begins 19 years ago when the the kids in the family defended their mother from a racist cop who forced his way into their house. Jamie was put in juvenile detention. His story needed telling.

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Destroying Human Life in Prison For Profit

illegal immigrant inmates, prison inmates

Do You Think Destroying The Lives of Prison Inmates Doesn’t Affect you?

Because I often receive negative comments about inmates – that they deserve every horrible thing the prisons do to them, you need to understand the impact on society. Almost all inmates will be released.

The quality of their lives affects society. So many people swallow the propaganda just like the government wants you to. Many people are less able today to think for themselves.

Some people think if they aren’t doing anything wrong the prison system doesn’t impact their lives. For that reason these people only read sensational headlines telling you inmates are dangerous criminals who need to be punished. Parents are often needlessly locked up for the entire childhoods of their children, making them unable to be a parent and their children with harder lives to bear. How many were un necessary? How many simply because they are black? Or Hispanic? Or anyone not Caucasian?

What good does it do to lock someone up for decades with fabricated evidence? And yes, the criminal “justice” system does that. Do you approve? Do you look the other way?  There are too many racists in this country, including our president. When you look at the fact that there are less Blacks in the US than Whites, there should be more white people in prison. Blacks do not commit more crimes or do more drugs than whites. That has been proven – over and over.

Since blacks and minorities are punished harder, the children in these families are severely affected by poverty and substandard education. Do you think that is fair? Their lives and later their children’s lives are affected while racism continues. Does that matter to you? This information isn’t new. Do you quietly turn your face away because after all they aren’t white? Do you speak up for those with no voice?

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A large percentage of people skim headlines without reading the articles and form opinions from that. Taking the time to read about a issue instead of being told what to believe by a newscaster is happening less and less.

Prisons and the corporations who profit from them do everything they can to keep your support – and your ignorance. Just like the tobacco companies tried so hard to convince you smoking wasn’t harmful, to get more people addicted and their profits rolling in. Propaganda you hear is meant to steer you into a precise mind frame.

People wrongly put in prison or given overly long sentences is done to create profit, not rehabilitation. This is wrong for a country that tries to convince itself it is a Christian nation. It makes me angry when some holier than thou comment is made by our leaders and politicians as they lie and cheat their way into wealth for their own kind not caring who they hurt. This is what I see today. It is shameful.

When I read what some people think about the way inmates are treated and that it should be worse, it makes me realize how little they actually know. What knowledge they have is spoonfed to them in soundbites.

They think they are safe. They wouldn’t commit a crime. Wake up. Many of the so – called criminals didn’t commit one, either. We would be closing down prisons if those people were freed, but the profit-motivated corporations couldn’t have that, could they? Does that bother you at all? Why do we have an average of 700 people per 100,000 when other countries are often in the 140-200. Why are Americans more often locked up? Are Americans more prone to being criminals, or is there too much profit in locking up citizens? Are they really guilty? Or are they money makers.

Even when it is proven an inmate is innocent the prisons and local government do everything they can to prevent them from being released. When a child is given life with no parole how does that help anyone? If they manage to get released after decades, is their life is in tatters becaus they have no life experiences to learn from? Does that make it better for you? Or him? Does that life matter as much as an unborn child? Can anyone answer that?

Many inmates are sick when they are released. They didn’t receive proper care for most medical conditions. They often lose decades of their life because the medical corporations don’t provide adequate healthcare. It hurts their profit. How does that affect you? Any part of our life that is taken over by corporations hurts us.

Chronic conditions worsen and mental care isn’t addressed properly. Inmates often aren’t given meds they were on when they arrive let alone for treatment caused by inhumane treatment. Those who suffer mental illness aren’t diagnosed and often left to die. Most inmates are released to the street with only a 30 day supply of any meds they were given, with no clear way to get more. Those who are released who need medical care can’t get it. If they are on the street they are locked up again. This often increases crime in the neighborhoods. It also increases trips to the ER which drives up medical costs for everyone.

Kids are being funneled into the school to prison pipeline at an alarming rate, in the hopes they will later fill a bed in an adult prison. The government has contracts with the prison corporations guaranteeing the prisons stay full or they have to pay them for empty beds. So increasing “crimes” to lock up people is the only thing that makes sense to the current Attorney General.

Why should the schools waste money on guidance counsellors, who rarely exist anymore except in high dollar neighborhoods, where many of the girls have eating disorders so the have prettier collar bones sticking out. They’d rather employ cops instead, to stand guard at the schools where at- risk kids go.

In many cases there is no more detention or being sent to the office. Children don’t see guidance counselors when they fall behind. Instead, kids get sent to juvenile detention. Education is extremely hard to get and when and if they are leased they have lost the social skills they need and are behind academically.

Most inmates come from foster care. They often end up committing the crimes they learned from boys who are older. Released into society these boys will utilise what the old timers taught them to survive. Could these kids have been saved? Many could have been if people cared have as much as they Do about abortion.

Prisons, and the human beings kept there are everyone’s responsibility. Changing the laws that create this is important.

 

 

Can You Stop Prison Abuse?

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Can you stop prisons abuse? On a whole – no. But can you help the person you support? I believe you can. I’m not going to sit by with crossed fingers hoping they won’t succeed in hurting or possibly killing him. They crossed a line. 

I’m on a plane, headed home from a three week trip to Texas to see family and visit with Jamie. It was a hard trip but much was accomplished. I was able to go to Allred Prison three times for a total of 10 hours. It was good to see Jamie and the smile on his face told me he was looking forward to this visit, his only visit since my last trip in Sept ’16. One sad note – his son refused to go with me. More on that another time.

I have learned things. If someone you care about is locked up and you seriously want to help them, read this post through to the end. If you are writing to an inmate you met as a pen pal you probably aren’t invested enough to go to bat for him/her against the prison system, although taking the time to communicate with someone who needs the support of someone in the free world is no small thing.

I learned things about the prison system. How they get away with doing things that put inmates in danger. The prisons and staff should be held accountable and made to do the right thing but how is that possible? Who makes them? Does your call to the warden make them? If it doesn’t, can you just sit at home and worry while you wait for a letter or a call to know they are okay, if they even have phone privileges, which Jamie doesn’t?

Every politician, whose job is to create policies that are supposed to be for the good of the people, KNOWS how corrupt the system is. So why aren’t the prisons made to change and treat human beings kept inside the cages and cement closets as something other than a commodity they can beat and misuse any time they want?

Many people, due to lack of education about the prisons believe only the guilty are prosecuted and they deserve whatever torture they receive. The guilty inside lose the right to be human. There is abroad spectrum of guilt. Not everyone inside is a child abuser, murderer, rapist or the like. There are people inside because they couldn’t pay a court ordered fine or they were with someone who committed a crime and are guilty by association. Some are guilty but why are there different sentences for the same crime if you are white instead of black. Some are innocent left with no option but to take a plea deal because there is no one to fight for them. 17 years or 50-99. Would you plead guilty if you are innocent and risk never getting out?

New crimes are being decided this year to fill the gap left by less personal drug use arrests. They are prosecuting people who dare to protest. They are arresting kids as young as seven for fighting. They are handcuffing kids at school. Detention isn’t good enough anymore if money could be made for the prison system. Ruin them young, destroy their education and it later becomes a filled bed in an adult prison. Why do you think they want to lock up kids? Read Jamie’s story in the links at the to of the page and learn what they did to destroy him at 16 even though the only crime committed was by a cop who busted into his families home.

Many of the “guilty” inside are there because they couldn’t afford an attorney. It doesn’t matter how guilty someone is, they are treated the same. They lose the right to live as though their life matters. No one is going to make the prison system do the right thing, especially if you base it on the concept of actual right and wrong. Even the politicians who outright say the prison system needs changing don’t have the power to make that happen. There is too much money to be made. The corporations involved need to be fed. It doesn’t matter – at all – if thousands of people across the country die from abuse if it pads their bottom line. No family or friend on the outside who learns about the abuse of their loved one is going to change that.

We do the best we can to help our husband/wife/ son/daughter or other family/friend. We call the prison/medical unit/warden/mail room when things go wrong or we just need answers. An inmate files a grievance that gets lost. A guard can retaliate in many ways. The warden looks the other way. He lies to you and says, “My guards would never do that.” Medications are withheld that can cause death – heart/seizure /cholesterol/insulin/ depression and psych meds and others. Medical problems can easily be erased out of records. Wrong medications can be substituted. Dental problems not addressed. An abcess? Who cares? Pain? Too bad. The list of what they can do is long.

Let’s say your son has been sentenced to 10-20 years. Does he have a Medical issue? What if he is beat – by guards or inmates, how will you intervene? The prison staff is trained to lie to you. Do you know when they are lying? Do they sympathize with you while they lie? What can you do about it? Are we helpless to help?

The list of things done to Jamie over the years is long. Incomprehensible and cruel acts that are often life threatening. Judging by the comments guards and medical personnel say to him it seems as though they take pleasure in hurting people. Are they paid to be this way? Do they get satisfaction knowing their actions caused someone to possibly die? Many death certificates in prisons say, “Died of natural causes,” but it doesn’t say they withheld necessary medications that caused this natural death. Do you think an autopsy will be done to understand the cause of death? Absolutely nothing would be done that indicated the prison was responsible. You’d be lucky to even find out the whereabouts of the body.

If you have a loved one who is locked up you probably have been through some of what I am saying. There is no rule book. Where do you go to find out what to do? Who will help you? Who has the answers? Even if you talked to an attorney, does that person understand how the prison corporations operate? Probably not. That is field not practiced by the average attorney.

If anyone wants to know where hell is located, it is in the prison system and any entity associated with it. It mentally ruins anyone who works within it, including those who look the other way because they want to keep their job. At the end of the day they go home to the free world knowing what they witnessed and knowing they went along with being cruel to human beings way beyond what their sentence dictated. Inmates are sentenced to time, not abuse. All prison staff have to live with that. What goes around comes around.

At any given time there are millions of people in the system. Every year they lock up at least as many people as they let out. The prisons stay full – per the contracts the prison corporations have with the government. Since they can’t easily fill the prisons anymore with people caught with a personal stash of weed, they have had to make new crimes. Jeff Sessions has vowed to increase mandatory minimums. Why do you think he would want to do that? Because these people are too dangerous to be free? Or died he own prison stock? The major push of immigrant detention has made these corporations very happy and even more rich. Why else would you lock up women and children when they seek medical care or go to church? Are these the bad hombres? The prison corporations love Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions to pieces, they are so damn happy.

The next issue of ITFO NEWS will focus on this issue to help you understand how to fight for someone who is inside. No one knows what to do. You can subscribe below to make sure it is delivered to your inbox. I can’t stress how important this is if you have someone you care about inside, especially if you are already aware of wrongdoing. You will want to keep this issue as a resource. Share it with a friend you know who has someone inside.

If you have read my blog you know Jamie has epilepsy. I’ve been worried, even more so since they upped their game messing with his meds on a regular basic and giving him excuses why they wouldn’t give him his seizure meds. He had a seizure and they let him lay on his cell floor untreated. They lied to me when I called and said he didn’t have a seizure. I was also told I couldn’t call back to check on him because I was only “allowed” to call once a month. Is that true? How do I find out? This isn’t the first time they refused his meds but I didn’t know what I could do about it. I thought, “Why would they do that? Isn’t it wrong? How can I find out if he is okay?”

After my first visit his ID came up missing. Three days the following week he was again denied his meds because he had no ID, even though a new one was requested and they know they know him. A week later and he still had no ID. He knows his number and they can look it up. It was deliberate. They most likely took his ID. How else could it disappear into thin air? I am fighting this now.

You know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” This is one of those times. We can’t force the system to change. That isn’t going to happen. But you can learn what to do to keep your loved one safe and fight back. You CAN force that horse to drink when you learn how to play their game. Knowledge is power.

 

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If you know an inmate who writes poetry or is an artist or has a story you’d like to tell you can email me at: itfonews@gmail.com

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Waiting For Your Visit at Allred Prison

Jamie's letters

I’ve been waiting for your visit. It’s been so long.  Over a year and no one else has come to see me.  I also feel as though the staff wants me to fail.  Somehow they get pleasure out of it. I’ve been waiting and waiting to be let out of adseg. There is no reason why I should be here.  It’s been almost three years this time.  I don’t have any write-ups.  What do they want out of me they aren’t getting? That’s why I know they must enjoy the power they have over us.  All I can do is try to hang on.

I’m sorry it took so long to answer. You know I was having some problems.  I had problems with medical about them getting me my medications and other problems with an officer putting his hands in my food. These people are a bunch of lying pieces of shit. I know you called up here and questioned them about my medications.  I knew you did because they sent not one but two nurses to my cell on different days to talk to me.  One was a pill nurse and one was the RN. They let my seizure medication expire and then tried to blame me. They waited four days.  That must have been when you called and they knew they couldn’t get away with it anymore.  I told every pill nurse who came through here that I didn’t get my medication and they ignored me. Sometimes it was the same nurse I was telling. They did it on purpose. They said they were waiting until they renewed my meds to come talk to me. That was a lie.  They came because you called. Why did they let it run out?  What were they trying to do?

I tried to make a complaint but the RN said she did not care. Even when I told her a ranking officer witnessed everything she still said she did not care.  They had only come to my cell to talk to me to cover their asses.

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(Sonni’s note: When I called the main medical unit when I got Jamie’s letter telling me they were skipping his seizure meds, I was told the nurses has marked in his file that he was getting his meds every day, so it was deliberate record falsification.  I wanted to call the warden but I know from previous experience that he will always side with his staff and never with the inmate no matter what happened.  I knew he had a reclassification coming up anytime trying to get out of adseg and if I tried blame his staff for what happened they might retaliate against him. One time after he got beat by the guards and I talked to the warden, the guards filed 13 sexual harassment charges against him in one month. It doesn’t matter if they were warranted, it was now on his record and that makes it true. It is a crappy system.  The guards get away with all the abuse they take out on the inmates. When I called the medical unit about him not getting his meds, the woman was going to contact the nurse on that block and ask her.  I said to not do that because they will lie for each other.  Her response – “I know”. 

I am also only allowed to call the medical unit one time a month. I questioned her. “What if there is an issue, like this, and I need to talk to you?”

You can’t.  They won’t put your call through.”

Then I need you to call me back and tell me he is okay. Has he had any seizures during this time?”  Fortunately he hadn’t. I pulled out all the stops to make her sympathetic enough to call me back when she knew something. She said she would, and she did. She said I was right, he wasn’t getting his meds and they gave bogus excuses.  It was deliberate.)

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As for the officers here, nothing has changed. They are plain evil. It has gotten worse because when they are hired they train them to treat us like shit.  Lately all the officers are 18 – 19 years old.  Yep, that young.  They ruin them. They teach them to talk crazy to the men.  As soon as they do it to the wrong person they find out what happens. I feel sorry for them cause half these dudes here will throw shit and piss on them.  Crazy, huh? They have to have some way to get back at them. It’s funny as hell when these guards start talking shit to these dudes and they get hit in the face. If they are going to disrespect the men just because they are inmates they are going to learn what happens.

I still have issues with the guard that keeps messing with my food. That dude is really just crazy.  He gets to me at times but I try my best to stay focused.  They did not let me out of seg.  They set me off for another six months.  People in seg get brought up every six months.

In my last meeting with SCC (state classification), there were three people who sat in on it. A ranking officer on the unit, unit chairman of classification and the Huntsville head person of classification.  The person from Huntsville has the say-so over all of them. She told me I was doing good but I wasn’t ready yet.  I think she is just waiting to see if they can push me into messing up.  A person can only deal with so much.  If I mess up and get angry they can give me another two years I have to do.  That means I can’t get my GED too. But she did say if I stayed out of trouble that next time I see them in March they will let me out.

What I hate so much is having to deal with this officer who is messing with my food.  It will probably get worse.  I promise you to do my best to stay focused. I’m going to try to get sent to another unit close to home. I don’t want to be in this one anymore.  I know there will be a few stumbles in the road as I go. I want to thank you for being there for me and encouraging me. I know things will get harder before they get easy. It always does. So I’m waiting for your visit. It will make it better for awhile.

 

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