Incarcerating The Innocent- Prison is big business

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Prison is big business. There is lots of money to be made by prison slavery. If you think it is anything but that you are sadly mistaken or uneducated about our justice system. You believe the garbage put out by the news that black people are dangerous and Hispanics are rapists and murders. Who did we hear that from? And the attorney general wants to increase the prisons and make new crimes. 

What does it matter if the person arrested is innocent or guilty? Incarcerating the innocent? Locking up the mentally ill? Sentencing young children as adults? All of that is worth big bucks to the corporations who run the prisons as well as the American companies who make the products consumers buy.  They want the free labor, unless you think .10 – .22 is actually a wage. Do you? Seriously, do you?  Does it bother you at all?

Do you want to know which of the products you buy was made by the free labor of a prison inmate? As a consumer how much did you pay for that piece of Victoria Secret’s Lingerie? Prisons make more items than you realize, as well as a lot of the gear used by the military, the police and even the servers at fast food chains. Dentures, computer parts and furniture. How much is it worth to a company to not have high labor costs, workman’s comp, sick leave, maternity leave, overtime or vacation pay? Companies bid for prison labor. Do you think these companies want prisons to close down or should America  build more?  Do you think they care if the people inside are guilty or innocent? Absolutely not.  They think of their bottom line.

I have been writing about these issues for more than a few years, but I have reading, researching and learning about problems in prisons for a lot longer than that. It floors me that prisons are allowed to severely mistreat people inside and no one stops them. They are fed poorly. Only those inmates at the top level of minimum security – G2 – are allowed to take any educational classes. The lowest population of people are in G2. The rest are in G4, G5, adseg and solitary. They make sure people stay in those levels even if they have to file false cases to keep them there. If they do make it out of prison they don’t have anyway to get a job because they don’t have a GED. Some people put comments at My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison saying these people deserve every bad thing that happens to them because they are criminals, without knowing if they are guilty or if they were incarcerated as innocent. Many were kept from a jury trial because they couldn’t pay an attorney. Do say they had a public defender because they work for the DA and there job is to scare them into taking a plea or more charges would be added. What would you do if the choice was fifteen years or fifty? Would you take the plea – even if you were innocent?

How can that be? Now we have a president and an attorney general who wants to make it worse for inmates plus create new crimes to lock up even more people, especially those who aren’t white. Why would they want to do that? There was only four reasons I could think of. Money Racism Money and Money. Or they have serious mental issues. People at the top who have always had the ability to do something about it must be profiting from it in some way. Obama was finally “beginning” to do something, but this new administration hates him so much they want to undo anything he did.

Beginning of mass incarceration
The beginning of mass incarceration of Blacks

This has been going on for longer than Obama. Let’s go back to Nixon who began the war on drugs for the sole purpose of locking up black people. Politicians get campaign money from the Prison Industrial Complex to vote for laws to their benefit while entertainment licensed stations like Fox News convinced oppressors that black people are inferior, with a lower IQ and are born with a criminal gene – and white people actually believed it. Of course, white people were superior! I’m white, and I’d be embarrassed if I had to say I believed that.

Who are the people who have have money invested in the prison corporations? CoreCivic (prepare yourself for pure propaganda) – aka CCA- stock rose when Trump was elected because he was heavily promoting locking up more people and increasing mandatory minimums. Prison corporations probably had a party to celebrate.  Or maybe we have too many KKK affiliates in our government. But today people are dumping their stock is dropping because of what is happening in this administration. Why do we have so many people in power who don’t care if innocent people are locked up? Those of us with loved ones inside – we understand what is happening. We know the truth. But the truth doesn’t matter. Only profit does.

I never thought much about prisons before I met Jamie in 2005 shortly before he was arrested. I was ignorant. I only knew what I saw in movies or TV series like Prison Break. I didn’t question anything. It didn’t affect my life before this. When I started researching I thought, could this be true? Was it really happening? Why didn’t I know about it?

How about the series, Orange is the New Black? A fifteen month sentence and it’s been on what – five or six seasons? Their guards are like comedians. The inmates talk about awful food, but I saw what they serve at there nice little buffet in their once room cafeteria. This is what people watch to find truth about the prison system? The information can be found if they stopped watching TV. But then they are watching it to be entertained, not to learn something.

It’s a joke. It looks like a joke. It’s no wonder people think what they do. Unless you know someone inside or do some serious searching, prison looks like a great place to be. Free education, except you have to be on the top level if you want to study for your GED or learn a trade, and trust me, if you are black or a minority they have no qualms filing false cases to make sure you stay on the lower levels. 12 years Jamie has been locked and never has there been a GED class in sight for him.

I’m not going to take the time today to go through everything I know to be true, just understand that I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t. I have a few trolls who like to leave comments calling me names and telling me how stupid I am. They say all people are in prison because they ARE GUILTY! They deserve to be abused. If you do the crime you have to do the time. Yes, there are many people in prison who are guilty, and some are guilty of very bad things, but I am talking about the ones who are not. Being guilty or not guilty is rarely the reason one goes to prison. It comes down to this – do you have the money to pay for an attorney? If you don’t, you usually have to accept a plea deal. Plead guilty and you’ll get less years. Plead innocent and they will tack on extra charges. Either way, you now have a felony record. When you get out it will be nearly impossible to rent an apartment and if you find a job it will likely pay  less because they know you are a desperate for a job and will take anything In addition – you can’t vote.

Crime is down, so how can Trump and Sessions talk about there being a rise in crime when the courts have put so many innocent people in prison? In addition, the mandatory minimum sentencing is far to long to make any sense. How can I know this? Because I read about so many people, mostly black and Hispanic men who fight for decades to prove their innocence – and they get out. Even with proof the DA tries their damnedest to keep them locked up. Why? To save face? Because they can’t admit they were wrong? Or because when the prisons are full, our government doesn’t have to pay the Prison Industrial Complex for empty beds? The government is on the hook to keep the prisons full any way they can. They don’t care if people are innocent or guilty – only that they fill a prison bed. The system is corrupt. It is a slave system that imprisons citizens.

We need to support people who are tying hard to not get convicted for something they didn’t do, and to find an attorney who will take their case. Only 3% of those arrested get to see a judge to present evidence. They never make it court except to plead guilty and agree to go to prison. They don’t care when they make someone plead guilty when they aren’t?

I have talked to a fair amount of people who weren’t guilty. Some are out now, and some are still working on their cases. This must be stopped! The point of prison is to punish the guilty, not make corporations rich. A sentence should be equal to the crime and rehabilitation needs to be there to help them become productive citizens. The point of prison is not to destroy people so they can’t live. It also destroys the lives of the guards who have to live with the things they have done to these people.

Can it be stopped?

Prison Torture Never Ends

Heat in Texas prisons, no AC in prison in the summer
Wynne Unit, the prison Jamie is in. These fans are the only cooling system even when it is over 100 degrees. Since there are no open windows all it does is blow hot air around. Credit source: beaumontenterprises.compip

Jamie has been at the Allred unit in Texas for nearly three years. Before that, Wynne Unit. How much is an inmate supposed to tolerate from staff and guards? They can do anything they want to them and there is nothing an inmate can do. Why is that? Everyone knows it. Anyone with the power to stop it – doesn’t. They can file a grievance but the system is not set up where the inmate wins. When the medical unit and staff knowing screw around with someone’s health, aware of the consequences to the inmate, I wonder if they stand around and laugh about it in the break room? They push inmates to break them and so often succeed. Here is what is happening . . .

I received a letter from Jamie yesterday. He is close to getting out of adseg – administrative segregation – a fancy word for solitary. Locked up in a cell 23/7, except for Jamie it’s 24/7 because he’s trying to stay away from the guards by refusing showers and rec. He bathes using the sink. He knew they’d try to press his buttons to keep him down. He’s had no write ups in a long time.

He wrote to me that the nurse is refusing to give him his seizure medication for epilepsy. At his point of writing it had been three days. He keeps asking her for it and she refuses to bring it. Have you ever watched someone have a grand mal seizure? The prison won’t give him the medication that works best for him. I already went rounds with the medical unit over that and they wouldn’t budge. So he still has more seizures than he should. But not taking anything, and as any protection leaves his body it will induce more. Add to that the terrible heart in a closed cell with no ventilation makes me angry.

Guards work three 12 hour shifts. One of the guards put his hands in his food just to try to make Jamie angry so he could retaliate and write him up. He won’t eat now if this guard is on shift. He only eats breakfast, which is pitiful, but not lunch or dinner when this guard works. He’s close to losing it. I could feel it. I wrote to him today to turn away. Don’t let them take away your chance of getting out of adseg. He can’t study for his GED until he is classified G2. First he has to get to G4. This process could easily take another 1-2 years. At G4 he can leave his cell for chow and limited time in TV rec room. He’s been this route before. They can, and do, take it away in a heart beat and it takes years to climb back out. He’s had 11 years of this. If seems deliberate. The guards get a perverse pleasure from abusing people with permission. Jamie has been in adseg this time for almost 3 years because he needed to move prisons because of physical abuse that included beatings by guards at the Wynne Unit. They moved him – and gave him 3 years of adseg to go with it.

I also bought him food today. It’s like gas station convenience food. Not even one can of vegetables on the list. Snacks. But also tuna, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sardines, coffee, Raman noodles and such. They only allow someone on the outside to purchase $20 a month or $60 a quarter. But I wasn’t due to buy him more until Oct. I sent it to another man, probably next to him, who doesn’t have anyone helping him. He’ll probably pay him in food. They go on lockdown soon – for 30 days – every 90 days. They cut food rations so without extra food and that guard who’s messing with his food he’d get hungry. There are so many inmates with no one on the outside. It’s easy to see why so many don’t make it when they get out

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Most of you who follow this blog know I put out a monthly newsletter called  ITFO NEWS. Each month I focus on a different prison issue. The one being published at the end of the week is on Incarcerating The Innocent. It’s an important topic because many lives are ruined even when there is no solid evidence to convict them. I’m having a book give-away this month. Each new person who wants to try ITFO NEWS can enter their name and email address HERE and have a chance of winning a signed copy (or ebook if you prefer) of “Waiting on the Outside” by Sharron Grodzinsky. If your name is randomly pulled by Sharron, you’ll receive one of ten free copies, shipped free. 

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This book is timely for what is happening today. It is a true story of a young man still in prison today who got involved in the KKK as a teenager, attracted to craziness, violence a drugs and couldn’t find away out. Young people are easily swayed. You need only to look at pictures in our media to see who the recruits are. Any mother who has lived with the fear of raising an out of control teenager will find this book hard to put down. Did it start when he was a child? This story shows you what unconditional love is. Will he make it now when he gets out? Will the KKK let him go? 

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Jamie’s Facebook page   – current events in the world of injustice

Jamie’s twitter page 

Are You New To Jamie’s Story?

j and jWhen I started writing this blog for Jamie over three years ago it was because I thought people needed to hear his story. It wasn’t because his story was exceptionally different from other people in prison. It was because his story is too damned common. A large percentage of people live their lives oblivious to the pain and suffering inflicted on many people who are locked up in all kinds of detention centers – not because they are dangerous people, although there are many in prison who are – but because they are a source of profit for prison corporations and shareholders who have stock in the growing number of prisons. It is also a source of campaign donations for politicians who then bide by what the prison corporations want – more people to profit from and little oversight about the way they are treated and cared for. We know what the problems are but we can’t make them change.

I don’t blame people for not knowing. I didn’t know anything, either, before Jamie came into my life. All I knew was what I learned in TV series like Prison Break. I didn’t know it didn’t tell the whole story. I thought people were in prison because they deserved to be there. I didn’t spend any time thinking about whether the amount of years they were sentenced was fair. I didn’t know blacks and minorities were targeted. It didn’t affect my life – I thought. Then I met Jamie.

In the pages at the top of the blog is a page that was written at the beginning of my writing the blog. “My Name is Jamie”. If you don’t know his story that is a good place to start because it tells some of the reasons why he is there and what his life was like. There have been many changes since that was written. If you read through all 300 plus blog posts for the ones that include his letters you would be able to follow his life, but that would take a lot of dedication. Instead I thought I’d give you a synopsis of where he is now and what is going on.

Inside The Forbidden Outside, writing new book, JamieCummings,solitary confinement, prison industrial complex, Sonni Quick
We can dream great dreams. “Inside The Forbidden Outside”

In addition to this blog I am also writing a book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside”, which is in the second draft. It has taken me longer than I expected to write because I can only write one thing at a time. Two blogs, A newletter “ITFO News” and a book take time and I work on them in a cycle. Add to the mix all the required social media promotion to build a network. When I work on one I can’t work on another. I often work until the sun comes up.

In addition, I am an improv piano composer and I’m working on an album of music for the book. Much of the music was originally written for different blog posts you could find scattered throughout the blog. The music is sometimes painful and melancholy, relaxing and peaceful, best listened to with your eyes closed in the dark. Music promotion takes up another huge chunk of time. You can find my music at these two websites. Skunk Radio Live and ReverbNation. (the links are below the post) Share it if you like it. For anything on line – stats matter.

The reason for all of this is to create a place mentally for Jamie to go when he gets out in 2023. He needs something to work on that has meaning. A book to use to talk to people – help young people stay out of prison and give meaning to his 17 years inside. Turn a negative into a positive.

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Jamie has been inside for 12 1/2 years. He has 4 1/2 years to go. He did 4 years in juvenile detention right before this on a charge he wasn’t guilty of. He took the fall for his younger brother and was told if he did the time for him he would only do nine months. There should have been no charge period. A cop illegally came into their home with no warrant and no cause for entry. His mother got hurt and his little brother hit the cop with a broom in defense. But Jamie was lied to. They didn’t let him go until he was twenty-one. This is in a chapter early in the book. With no education, no life experience, no job history and no counseling, what was he supposed to do?

I think the last 4 years of his sentence are going to be harder than the first four because he is tired. Burnt out. He will be 35 in January 2018. In the beginning he had no idea what to expect, he only knew it is going to be a long time. He hoped his family will be there to support him. He lost raising his only child, a boy, my grandson, who was born after he was arrested. He turned 11 this past July.

He waited and waited for his family to be there for him, giving them excuses of being busy and they will probably write later, which they never did. He asked for a little money to buy hygiene products and nothing was ever sent. He suffered from depression – and epilepsy. No one asked him how he was or if he needed anything. My daughter, his son’s mother went on with her life. He never blamed her for this. They hadn’t been together very long.

How would you feel if this was you and no one gave a damn how you were? The largest percentage of inmates come from the fostercare system, but he had a family and that family acted as though he didn’t exist. Letters weren’t answered. They still aren’t answered. The only person he has had through this is me – and through me, some of you who have written and encouraged him.

Jamie wasn’t guilt free but when you are black or a minority and have no money for an attorney they force you to take a plea deal with threats of a longer sentence if you don’t. If he had an attorney he would have never gotten 17 years. Only 3% of those arrested actual go to court to have their case heard. 97% only go to court to plead guilty – in and out of court in ten minutes. There are so many people arrested there is no time for anything more. this is also why there are so many, often after decades get their cases overturned. But nothing can back the years of suffering inside.

He has been moved around to eight prisons so far. He isn’t in gen pop where there is an opportunity to take classes or go to the library. Even so, gen pop is a dangerous place because there is a mix of inmates with nothing to lose. A lot of bad stuff happens, not only with the inmates with drugs and sex and fights with weapons, it also often includes participation with the guards. Jamie has been beaten, sprayed with gas and false cases have been filed against him he can do nothing about. At the last prison, in retribution for filing grievances against guards for their treatment they filed thirteen sexual harassment cases against him. He can’t fight that. It’s on his prison record.

Guards are always right and inmates are always wrong. It’s the same thing out here in the “free world” when it comes to cops and taking responsibility for the people they murder for no reason.

Today he still sits in adseg – administrative segregation – another name for solitary. When he was moved from the last prison 2 1/2 years ago because he was no longer safe there, he was given one year in adseg. Once he was moved they added two more years. Why? Because they can. He has a meeting this month to see if they will let him out. He has a 50/50 chance. If not, then the next meeting is in six months. Is this serving any purpose? Or does it make the guard’s job easier?

I’m worried about him. It is too much time alone. He turns down going to the shower and does a bird bath in the sink – to stay away from guards. He turns down his hour of rec for the same reason. He doesn’t want anything to get in the way of getting out of adseg. How will this affect him when he gets out? it isn’t a matter of, will it affect him? It is only a matter of how much. Reintegration will be hard.

This Fall I am making another trip to Texas for a few weeks. I went a year ago, too. I want to finish up on some details I need for the book. I can take his son to see him. I can encourage him to hang in there. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel for the things I am trying to do to create a life for him, which also has a benefit for me with my music and gives me a reason to keep on writing. There has to be a sequel about what happens next.

It’s important to focus on the positive. See yourself being successful with whatever you want to do. If your life is full of, “I can’t . . .” or “It won’t . . .” or “I could never . . .” then you won’t do anything. All you will do is sit back and feel sorry for yourself and the bad hand of cards you were dealt. It is up to each of us to make our lives work. But if no one teaches you how to do that, what can you do?

I have spent years teaching Jamie the law of life – the law of cause and effect. Some call it “You reap what you sow,” but many don’t take it seriously. Where we end up is the result of the things we have done, so it is up to us to do things to undo what we don’t like and get our life going in a positive direction.

I want to thank all the people who have encouraged me. It has kept me going when i doubt myself. It has helped give me the strength to not give up. Who am I to think I can accomplish these things? If I lose confidence I remember why I’m doing it and what the stakes are. My actions affect other people. Everyone else abandoned Jamie. It happens to most who spend a long time inside. I promised him I would be there and he is counting on that.

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Next issue coming soon. The topic this month – Incarcerating The Innocent  . . . AND . . . beginning today, until ten days after the next issue is published, anyone not currently receiving the issue in their email can tap the above button and enter a sweepstakes to win a signed copy of Sharron Grodzinsky’s “Waiting on the Outside.” Ten copies will be given away.  No shipping fee. Absolutely free.

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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

Sonni’s Pinterest

Jamie Life in Prison at Face book . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick . . . New facebook page of the past and present

ReverbNation . . . Website of Indie music not on traditional radio stations. Sonni’s featured page.

SkunkRadioLive . . . Indie radio station out of London playing music composed for  the book being written for Jamie.  If you can, help support. It will all help Jamie in the end.

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Protect yourself by having an attorney on call with an app on your phone. Stopped and given a ticket? harassed? Get screwed by a landlord? Customer not refund your money? Need a FREE will done? (normally about $300) Click on the link below and see why you need this. A friend has a brand new problem with a landlord. She had just signed up for the service. She didn’t even think about Legal Shield until I reminded her. All for much less than a trip through Kentucky Fried Chicken. Call me, email me, msg me here or at FB. It’s that easy.

No one can make you do this, but it is why you have car insurance even though you are a good driver – the other person who hit you, isn’t. Then you call your insurance company. That is why you NEED Legal Shield.

You can also contact me here: Legal Shield

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LAND OF THE FREE – HOME OF THE INCARCERATED

Texas flag
Texas Flag source code: theintercept.com

Everyone knows it. Some people are trying to fix it. Too many people are tied to the money made from incarcerating as many people as possible. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done. If the system is fixed in one place, new crimes are being created to take their place.

Up until now the focus has always been on the big, bad, dangerous, inferior black man. The media, especially FOX News, has put forth enough garbage to make you believe whatever the conservative politicians want you to believe by twisting propaganda. Many people watch this entertainment licensed station religiously like a junkie needing his fix of heroin. It has been determined that it isn’t against the law to lie to the people under the guise of truth. Understand these words. News doesn’t have to be true. If you are stupid enough to believe what what is said or printed, that is your own fault. 

When a lie is told often enough, with a concerned straight face, that lie is then believed as religiously as we believe other so-called truths. Are you a person who has fallen into this trap, not wanting to know actual truth because it isn’t as important as knowing perceived truth if it sings to the choir in your head that wants it to be truth?

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The rise of women being locked up is higher than men, and yes, more black women than any others, growing by 730% since 1980. The prison population has decreased by 3% but the rise of women has increased by the same amount. Women are more likely to be locked up for a non violent crime than men. If they are anywhere near where drugs are sold, being the wife or girlfriend, they are automatically given the same sentence regardless if they had anything to do with it. Now that is true of all crime. Loan your car to a friend and he commits a crime and someone dies, you will receive the same sentence, even if you had no idea what he was going to do because you can’t prove you didn’t know.

So many of these women are mothers. So many are already single mothers. What happens to their children? Even if they have a family member to raise their children they are often too far away to see them. The mother child bond is often lost. There is another law in place as well. If a mother is incarcerated more than 22 months child protective services, CPS has the right to force them to give up their parental rights – permanently – and gets a huge check for each and every child the adopt out. But women don’t get sentences of 22 months. The average is 4 – 10 plus.

To make matters worse, 71% of all prison inmates come from foster care. So are they setting up a permanent revolving door of inmates to appease the bottom line of the wealthy prison corporations like the newly renamed CoreCivic (CCA) or the GEO Group, and medical corporations like Corizon? Add to that the Guards Unions, fighting for more prisons for jobs, not caring if their jobs are making them money off the backs of real people.

Obviously, there are people who need to be taken off the street, but you’d have to be living with your head in the sand to not know how many people are given sentences not equal to the crime, are who are innocent. All of the predominantly black men who are aquifer each year because they finally got the help they needed to free them should tell you that. Our judicial system preys on people who can’t afford an attorney and forces them into plea deals. 3% of those arrested have there day in court, except to plead guilty because they were threatened with a longer sentence if they didn’t.

With new laws creating new crimes who is truly free. Think about this. College students participating in a sit down, nonviolent “crime” protesting the inauguration of an inept president are later arrested because of a picture taken – no one said to move or you shouldn’t be here, and forced to take a guilty plea deal that requires doing time in prison with a felony record for the rest of their lives, ruining their education, their life and theiitfo newsletter

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Stay current on prison issues and inmate writings. As I build followers for Jamie with the book I’m writing about Jamie Cummings life, Inside The Forbidden Outside, keeping people informed along the way is important. It gives him a purpose when he gets out that he can help other lives. Much of the information is not on this blog and it’s important we reach people everywhere. We have a government now even more gung-ho on locking up as many people as they can for even longer years – making crimes out of things that were never crimes before to placate the prison corporations. It is going to affect even more people who will get knocked sideways when they find themselves behind a steel door. Staying informed helps you protect yourself, because, yes, it can happen to you, too.

 ( If you realize there has been a name change from Megan to Morgan from other chapters, my daughter didn’t want her real named used.  I was going to name her Morgan so we settled on using that)

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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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Jamie Life in Prison at Face book . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

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Protect yourself by having an attorney on call with an app on your phone. Stopped and given a ticket? harassed? Get screwed by a landlord? Customer not refund your money? Need a FREE will done? (normally about $300) Click on the link below and see why you need this. A friend has a brand new problem with a landlord. She had just signed up for the service. She didn’t even think about Legal Shield until I reminded her. All for much less than a trip through Kentucky Fried Chicken. Call me, email me, msg me here or at FB. It’s that easy.

I can’t make you do this. It is why you have car insurance even though you are a good driver – the other person who hit you, isn’t. Then you call your insurance company. That is why you NEED Legal Shield. If I didn’t think this was true I wouldn’t waste the space putting it here.

You can also contact me here: Legal Shield

There is a new law that should scare you. Starting now, in Missouri, if boys fight on school property, as boys, having immature minds have done for as long as there have been schools, they can now be prosecuted and locked up. THERE IS A 4 YEAR YEAR PRISON TERM FOR THESE SCHOOL CHILDREN. Which state well be next?

All parents should be scared. Your son might not be a bully but there are plenty of others who are. Everyone has read about bullying. Now we have the added dimension of some parents teaching their children to hate other races. Those who falsely think white people are superior. Hate crimes have been rising. The white boy has a higher likelihood of affording an attorney to keep their son out of trouble. Does the minority child have that same advantage? 

Read this. It should shock you. The sheer numbers of Black and Hispanic youths incarcerated in the late 90’s are men now. Where do you think they are now? Take a guess. Since their percentage of the population was so small compared to white youths who committed the same crimes and were not punished, is the racism of our government and courts ever questioned? Have they been hell bent on destroying the lives of minorities so white people can continue to insist on their false sense of superiority? Yes.

As drug laws for marijuana decrease and less people can lose their lives for it, more  laws for other crimes need to be passed to keep the quota rising. Look at all of the new jobs created for worthy Americans to build and maintain these prisons. What makes it greater still – you don’t need a college education for the menial job of being a prison guard, and you get to wear a uniform that allows you to abuse people to make up for the fact that most of them couldn’t get any other job. Like the police, they don’t want “A” students. They have a higher consciousness of right and wrong and can less easily be swayed be reacting emotionally, what is known as “kick the dog syndrome”. In most states the only requirement to be a cop is a GED. Yes, some who advance get degrees. These are not the ones pulling you over to do a”stop and seizure” of any asset you have on you, or shooting you through the window because they are scared of black skin.

America, at the top of the list of all countries, has created a class of people the government has decided is good for only one thing – to be fodder for creating wealth for people they feel are more deserving. They do this while equally pushing forth the belief we are a Christian nation. You can read it every day on social media where people are sending “prayers up”, “prayers for you” and asking “Can I get an amen for that?” It is used so often it’s worthless. What I haven’t seen is one “prayers for all the children who lives have been damaged” because of our legal system, because they aren’t white. Because they can’t defend themselves from the old white men who think they have God-given powers to destroy those they think are less fortunate. 

Where do you stand on these issues? Do you look the other way?

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Stay current on prison issues and inmate writings. As I build followers for Jamie with the book I’m writing about Jamie Cummings life, Inside The Forbidden Outside, keeping people informed along the way is important. It gives him a purpose when he gets out that he can help other lives. Much of the information is not on this blog and it’s important we reach people everywhere. We have a government now even more gung-ho on locking up as many people as they can for even longer years – making crimes out of things that were never crimes before to placate the prison corporations. It is going to affect even more people who will get knocked sideways when they find themselves behind a steel door. Staying informed helps you protect yourself, because, yes, it can happen to you, too.

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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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Protect yourself by having an attorney on call with an app on your phone. Stopped and given a ticket? harassed? Get screwed by a landlord? Customer not refund your money? Need a FREE will done? (normally about $300) Click on the link below and see why you need this. A friend has a brand new problem with a landlord. She had just signed up for the service. She didn’t even think about Legal Shield until I reminded her. All for much less than a trip through Kentucky Fried Chicken. Call me, email me, msg me here or at FB. It’s that easy.

I can’t make you do this. It is why you have car insurance even though you are a good driver – the other person who hit you, isn’t. Then you call your insurance company. That is why you NEED Legal Shield. If I didn’t think this was true I wouldn’t waste the space putting it here.

You can also contact me here: Legal Shield

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If You Do The Crime You Should Pay With Time

Jamie’s son and Sonni’s grandson

 IF You Do The Crime You Should Pay With Appropriate Time

America is in denial. Instead of seeing us as the country that incarcerates more of is citizens than any country in the world – by a long shot – for corporate profit, many see America as this good Christian nation than benevolently lends a hand to countries who are aching for us to take over and teach them the kind of democracy we have; including teaching them how to set up a prison system that rapes it’s own country – literally – of any freedom or liberty people should be able to have.

America is about profit and if people’s lives need to be forfeited to get it – well, that is just the American way – unless it is your family that is affected.  Blindly, many Americans are sucked into “news” sites that are better at twisting the news than reporting it. People’s habits run deep. They don’t know how to understand an issue unless someone tells them how to understand it.The problem is, what they think they understand has been skewed to mean something other than the truth. This past year is a perfect example.  When people ignore the continual massive lies of our new leader(?) in chief, and want to give him a chance – to do what? Continue to lie and behave in embarrassing ways you would never accept from anyone else, what is the end result? We have a country that sees itself differently than the rest of the world sees us with a very twisted reasoning of right and wrong.

I have such a bad feeling about this because the writing is on the wall and has been for a long time. But this article is not about Donald Trump. I doubt his supporters are reading this anyway because the truth isn’t something they want to hear because it isn’t on Fox News. Their version of the truth and reality are two very different things.

I have read more articles on all facets of incarceration than I could ever count, trying to understand where we went wrong and why. How do we fix it? Can we fix it? We have a country that “wants” to think it’s a Christian nation yet doesn’t know how To apply it to their own lives. They are not devastated over the intentional ruination of an entire race of people where the only real difference is the color of skin. But somehow, because white people, and I am one of them, are often so insecure about their own worth they have the need to feel they are made of a high quality substance than people of color, missing the point that it makes them less, not more, than the people they put down.

Is this all white people? Of course not. But because people of color have been stomped down, and a high percentage treated unfairly by incarcerating them to keep them down, they have been kept from a decent education with good schools and good teachers. A vast amount have been kept from the very people who should have raised them and were instead sucked through the penal system from grade school on up through the juvenile detention system. This was the long range plan to hold down the black race since Nixon started the fictional  war on drugs so he could incarcerate blacks through the PR plan labeling blacks as heroin addicts on a war path to rape the white man’s daughters, along with all the pot smoking hippie war protesters.  It worked, and we’re still trying to undo that one.

I’m sick of hearing, “If you do the crime you have to do the time”, because you’d have to be a complete idiot or unable to read to not see the vast amount of information out there that talks about all of the innocent black people being freed from prison every year because they were falsely incarcerated. It often took 10-20-30 years to finally free them, now too damaged to pick up a life that was taken from them. They can’t go back to their wives or raise their children all over again. Their lives were destroyed. Their children’s lives were destroyed. My grandson’s life with his father was destroyed. Why?? Because they are black and you don’t like black people? Or because corporations run by rich white men have the power to keep slavery going in the prison system and their shareholders could make money off them by making them work for free? Or food or medical corporations could get rich from denying services while their families were made to pay fees so they could make a medical call and see a nurse on a computer screen who tells them to go drink more cruddy water that comes out of a spigot in their cell instead of actually treating their illnesses?

Our government, along with the Prison Industrial Complex – with your compliance, because you intentionally look the other way, has caused the suffering of an entire race – and America thinks it is a Christian nation? Is this what it means to be a Christian? I am sickened by the hate and I am astounded by the ignorance.

When it comes to incarceration there is a new problem beginning. Crime is down. No matter what our new leader tries to make you believe about how awful it is everywhere – Crime – Is – Down. But the prisons have to be fed. Our government has contracts with the prison corporations. If they aren’t kept full then your tax dollars has to pay them for empty beds. Did you miss those articles? Who will they fill the prisons with? With people who break the new laws. The are increasing the crimes your grade school children commit that will give the adult sentences. Michigan passed a law that went into affect on Jan 1st. Children as young as 5 will be prosecuted as adults if they are caught fighting.  Children. Just kids. So common. That’s what boys do. And now they can get sentenced and locked up for it. Think I’m kidding? Read. How many Detroit children will this affect? What color is Detroit?

N. Dakota is only one state that wants to make protesting a felony and if you kill someone by running them down with your car it’s okay. Is this sick? Do you want to be associated with this? How many haters would have a field day with this? Trump says he’s the “Law and Order President” but law and order has never been his strong suit. Ever.

Sentences will become longer. Approvals for parole will become less in order to fill the prisons still being built. It scares me. Too many people look the other way. Unless you are a family that has been affected by the draconian laws our prisons are run by, why should you care? Because it affects everyone. Nearly every day I read a message, usually by a mother, “My son, or daughter was arrested. What do I do?”

Maybe they are guilty and maybe they aren’t, but the handing out of 20 year sentences for non violent “crimes” is very common, and their entire life is ruined for profit. Absolutely nothing of value is made except more money for the rich. Educate yourself. Don’t assume you and your children will be safe. Your family could be next. Teach your children how to interact with police the same way black parents train all their children from a young age. Assume they will be stopped. Teach them how interact with authority. Being white isn’t always the only protection needed.

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Prisoners With Disabilities Are Neglected in America

(Sonni’s note: This article has special importance to me because of what I know Jamie has been through suffering with epilepsy. In addition, every inmate suffers when dealing with any medical illness, even when critical. No one would ever allow their own family member be treated with the lack of care inmates deal with. You wouldn’t let your brother layon the floor after a seizure not caring if they were okay. Epileptics often injure themselves. The level of anti seizure medicine in their blood is important. They should be housed on a first floor because they need to be carried to medical. The warden lied to me and told me they had too many prisoners with seizure disorders or needing walkers so he had to be on the second floor. I later found out this was fabricated. After a seizure they cuffed his legs and wrists and picked him up and carried him face down a flight of stairs. They had failed to get the board he should have been strapped onto, lying on his side. If he had had another seizure while being carried like that they would not have been able to hold him, and dropped him on his face.

What I don’t understand is why they get away with this, and every other rotten thing they I do. There are regulations for everything else the govt has their fingers in yet they can’t make sure prisons follow the rules and make sure the people they are responsible for are cared for, kept safe, feed edible food, educated so they can work, and sentenced to reasonable time – instead of being abused in a slave system for profit)

Prisoners With Physical Disabilities Are Forgotten And Neglected in America

By Jamelia Morgan, Arthur Liman Fellow , the ACLU National Prison Project

JANUARY 12, 2017 | 9:30 AM

Dean Westwood arrived at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Oregon in a wheelchair. Prison officials required him to surrender his property, submit to a search, and agree to administrative procedures like finger printing. This is standard practice. But unlike other detainees, Dean is paralyzed below the waist and has limited use of his arms and hands.

Staff at the Oregon jail didn’t know how to handle someone with his disability. They rough-handled his limbs and pulled his fingers apart to get his fingerprints. They stripped him down for a search, rough-handling his genitals. They forced his body into a set of jail clothing that was a couple of sizes too small, which caused Dean severe irritation below the waist.

They then placed him alone in an isolated medical cell for approximately seven days. Without the means he needed for assistance in moving around, Dean lay flat on his back in an isolation cell. He endured painful convulsions because the jail failed to provide him with his medically necessary anti-seizure medication.

The way Coffee Creek jail officials treated Dean Westwood is a travesty, and his story is one of many. Prisoners with physical disabilities constitute one of the most vulnerable populations in detention, yet across the nation, they are needlessly subjected to neglect, denied services, and placed in solitary confinement.

These prisoners rely on corrections staff for support and services every day, be it assistance in taking showers, getting dressed, receiving medication, utilizing law libraries, or visiting prison commissaries. Although comprehensive data on the number of prisoners with physical disabilities in jails, prisons, and detention centers across the nation are currently unavailable, as many as 26 percent of state prisoners report possessing a mobility, hearing, or visual disability, according to one 2003 estimate. When cognitive disabilities and disabilities that limit a prisoner’s ability for self-care are included, the proportion of prisoners with physical disabilities in prisons and jails increase to 32 percent and 40 percent, respectively. Moreover, as the prison population ages, reports indicate the number of prisoners living with physical disabilities in American prisons will increase significantly.

Despite these known facts, prisoners with physical disabilities are often denied the services they are entitled to under the law. Over 25 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which prohibits public entities from discriminating against people with disabilities, discrimination against people with disabilities persists in prisons and jails nationwide.

END PRIVATE PRISONS

Recent court cases have brought to light the serious violations of the rights of prisoners with physical disabilities. In March 2015, the Los Angeles Sherriff’s Department settled a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Southern California, agreeing to provide mobility devices and physical therapy for prisoners with mobility disabilities after horrifying incidents of neglect and abuse. In an ongoing class action lawsuit, prisoners held in Illinois state prisons challenged the denial of, among other things, alert systems that would provide warnings to deaf prisoners during fires and other emergencies in the state prison facilities. Another recent case against the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola alleges that corrections staff refused to provide a blind prisoner with a cane for 16 years. The problems, however, didn’t stop there. The prison also declined to place him in a facility with accommodations for the blind. As a result, he was forced to rely on other prisoners rather than prison staff to carry out his daily activities.

Neglect is only part of the story. Prisoners with physical disabilities are at constant risk for placement in solitary confinement and its attendant harms. Though few studies exist examining the physical harms to prisoners placed in solitary, research suggests that placement in solitary can exacerbate existing disabilities or chronic conditions, particularly in cases where adequate care and treatment is not available for prisoners held in solitary. There is also extensive research that shows that placing individuals into solitary confinement causes devastating psychological harms.

Worse still, prisoners are often placed in solitary not as punishment but for logistical reasons. For example, when there are no available and accessible beds in the general prison population, prison officials may place prisoners with physical disabilities in solitary confinement as a solution to overcrowding.

In Maryland, Abdul Muhammad, a blind prisoner, sued the Maryland Department of Corrections (DOC) for placing him in solitary confinement and denying him access to showers, phone calls, religious services, visitation and library privileges as well as educational and vocational programming. The complaint alleges that prison officials informed Muhammad they were placing him in solitary until they figured out where to place him long term. Muhammad remained in solitary confinement for almost six weeks. The Maryland DOC’s actions flout federal regulations prohibiting the use of solitary in this way.

All prisoners in solitary risk being denied access to prison rehabilitative programs and services, but the harms of this denial are particularly acute for prisoners with physical disabilities. And it is a harm that perpetuates further harms. Prisoners are often required to complete “step-down” programs to progress out of solitary confinement. When institutions fail to provide, for example, a manual for prison rules or disciplinary procedures in Braille for blind prisoners or sign language interpreters during disciplinary hearings for deaf prisoners, they are creating significant obstacles to prisoners with physical disabilities being able to progress out of isolation. Rather than ignore or harm these prisoners, states must address and accommodate their physical disabilities.

There is much that is wrong that needs to be righted in our prisons and jails. To ensure that prisoners with disabilities are guaranteed their rights under the ADA, criminal justice advocates and disability rights advocates must come together to address discrimination against people with disabilities and work to make the promise of the ADA a reality in prisons and jails across America.

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LIFE BEYOND BARS-The Beast Must Be Fed

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Isn’t it ironic that these men were pretending to join in on being aghast at Hillary’s supposed lies, but now that Wall St is getting front row seats in the White House to manipulate the country’s finances, they want to make sure their shady dealings are glossed over during their confirmation hearings. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Unless you know someone in prison,  the way people think about prison issues is very narrow, if it is thought about at all. Take for example, the chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” concerning Clinton. It didn’t matter if she did anything to be locked up for.  People were caught up in the emotional release of endorphins and the pleasure it gave them to anticipate her being hurt or possibly even dying. But they have forgotten about 2009 when the banks and mortgages began causing the ruination of many people’s lives, including my own.  Where is the outrage over them running the country from those who supported this ticket? Should we “Lock them up?”

A majority of people don’t follow world events close enough to truly understand what happens in the world around them, or they center what they believe on an infotainment station like Fox News and think they are getting all the truthful news they need to stay informed. But yelling  “lock her up” gave them something physical to get back at to relieve the failure of being able to do anything about it before.

They were looking for anything they could find to blame for unhappy lives. It must be someone’s fault and they would have had Clinton hanged on TV if they could, and even cheered, even though the issues they wanted her imprisoned for weren’t issues that would have affected the success or failure of their lives Would it matter if she was innocent? Again, no, and they wouldn’t have believed it anyway.

Sadly, there is something so exquisitely intoxicating being part of a large group of people who are all yelling at the top of their lungs, at the same time, to hurt someone. They even allowed their children to witness it, creating the next generation of haters. Who better to emulate than mommy and daddy. Why do you think we still have racism? It would have died out long ago if parents didn’t teach their children bad ways of thinking.

When a parent is the one to teach a child an important part of reasoning, the child naturally assumes it is the truth. Why wouldn’t they? Why would their parent lie? The same goes for religion. If you hear something enough it becomes the truth. It takes a strong person to examine those truths because it can affect those important relationships. Why else would a child grow up thinking they were a privileged part of society because of the color of their skin if it wasn’t something they were taught? Some children eventually become smart enough to think for themselves.

Some people must like it when it becomes legal to kill someone and get away with it.  It serves a purpose, like a hit of heroin. It’s a release. They enjoy it. It feels good. Why else have people gathered for centuries to watch people being put to death. It’s entertaining. For some it’s even sexual.  For some it’s revenge.  For some, curiosity. This mind set was used when people gathered to hang black men from trees like low hanging fruit. They needed only the smallest of reasons, a lie being spread that a black man had the audacity to touch a white woman – or maybe he only looked at her and that was enough to call for his death – with no remorse. Many still feel the same way today.

If you read history going back to the time of “The Games” in Rome, people absolutely loved watching well trained men kill each other. They cheered. The entire city emptied out to go to the arena to watch the games. People got angry if the politicians took their fun and enjoyment away. Moving ahead, they loved the burning of witches and hearing their screams. They even took their children to watch. Public hangings. Electrocution. Death by injection. What is is it about people who get off on the killing people and loving to watch?

emmett_till

Emmet Till (This video should make you cry that ANYONE could do to another human what they did to this boy! If it doesn’t, shame on you. ) Emmet was a 14 year old boy in 1955 who was kidnapped from the home of relatives, beaten mercilessly, killed and found in a river for flirting with a white woman. How anyone could condone this act is sickening. Emmet was just a boy! But even today there are plenty of examples of this happening by people who think being white is superior to being black and it’s okay to kill black people.  Look at how many cops have come under scrutiny for killing them for no reason. They say, “I was afraid for my life.” Can’t they come up with more than one thing to say? That excuse is used way too much. But they get away with it! It must be in the cop’s handbook of how to get away with killing people you don’t like.  This way they don’t get prosecuted because then the courts would have to admit it was wrong. It will continue as long as there is no price to pay for taking the life of another human being. Any human being. How long will that take?

The question has been raised many times; is murdering someone because they raped or murdered someone okay? What difference is that murder? Is it because we decided certain murders are okay because we legalized it? What does it matter if it is still the brutal slaying of human life? States go back and forth on the legality. But in the end they still have to bear the brunt and live with the consequences of making the cause of making it legal to kill another human life.

The US is a country that wants the people to think it is a Christian nation, yet allows this barbaric practice never thinking it through to the end. If they truly think an all-knowing, all-seeing entity in the heavens is watching what they do, what do they think this intelligence “up there” is thinking about when it sees, down here on earth, the people committing hate crimes and sees people who think their skin color makes them special when supposedly “He” created all people of all races to be equal?  Did he think, white people are special and they can use black people, Muslims, American Indians or Hispanics like dogs? I think God would be pretty disgusted with people who think they are the chosen few – if you believe that sort of thing.

But I guess we’ll never know because people separate their religion from their actions. They pray when someone is sick or when they die. They pray for unborn babies. Some even think a person can pray away being gay. But do white people pray for God to forgive them for all the black people who get killed just for being black. Do they pray for the children who lose their parents because of bogus charges or unreasonable sentences they themselves don’t suffer? Do they pray for the youth who get killed by people like George Zimmermann who thinks if they look suspicious he should be able to kill them, yet when a jury can’t convict him because he is white and so are they, it happens over and over and over again. Someone, explain it to me please – why is this okay? Is it okay with you, and if it isn’t, what are you doing about it?

This isn’t a fun subject to write about. I doubt we will ever completely understand why we let it happen.  Many people inside prisons were never guilty of their charges. Our justice system is corrupt. We have finally begun to let innocent people out after they spent decades inside paying for something they didn’t do. How many innocents have we killed? No one likes to think of that. It’s not supposed to be part of our lives. That’s we they are kept separate, so we don’t have to think about them.

Most people, if they have no one inside, don’t want to believe all prisoners aren’t guilty. We want them to deserve every atrocity that happens to them in prison. We don’t want to think we got it wrong and locked up innocent people. The courts will fight tooth and nail to keep convicted people guilty or they look bad.

race graph in prison

If we separated the guilty from the innocent and then sentenced the guilty appropriately, our prison numbers would be the same as other countries. How can we – just one country – imprison 25% of the WORLD’S population without imprisoning a lot of innocent people to satisfy the thirst of the prison industrial complex? Doesn’t that bother you? It bothers me a lot, especially because America thinks they live in a country of Christians. That is so hypocritical!

Our entire prison system needs a total make over, beginning with the ever-changing reasons why we decide certain segments of society should be locked up.  Because of the prison corporation’s increasing thirst for profit, the need to incarcerate more segments of society has to expand. If we are decreasing the penalty for drugs, then those people need to be replaced with others in order to keep the prisons full. So who gets locked up, and who doesn’t get let out?

Why do you think they fight to keep the elderly imprisoned? Exactly how dangerous is an old, sick prisoner who can barely get out of bed who wants to spend the last of his life with family? “But he pulled an armed robbery 40 years ago!”  What exactly is he going to do? He did enough time. But corporations get paid by the govt if his bed is empty. Family pays in so many other ways so it hurts the bottom line to let him go. Enough is enough.

Now we have increased sentencing of children, even as young as 5-10 years of age. “I don’t believe it! That will never happen!” Believe it. It’s real. Michigan made it law on January 1. kids will get slapped with a felony charge for fighting – at any age for any reason. Half of all schools now have a cop on the premises. Don’t kid yourself it is to protect the school. It’s for easy access to the children. The wrong kids of course.  The black and Hispanic ones. The beast must be fed.

I’m going to leave you with one last thing to read and I hope you take the time to do so. Open your eyes. See what is happening. Do what you can to help change things.

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How Solid is Your Rock?

This year we had an example of what happens when we fight against wrong, and win. The people who have been marginalized for centuries after we took their land from them and then pushed them onto tiny patches of land and continued to strangle them as though their lives were worth nothing. They stood up and showed us what the word courage meant. Their intention was not meant to teach us that, they had decided they were not going to let the bullies in this country tell them once again it didn’t matter what they thought; they couldn’t have a say so about the land given to them in treaty if it went against what the bully wanted.

What a proud, strong name – Standing Rock. How appropriate. How unmovable. It was sheer will against sheer will.

“We are going to make you move,” the bully said. “We don’t care if we ruin your lives. We are going to put that pipeline under your water. We are bigger and more powerful and you can’t stop us!”

“This rock stands. It is solid,” The Americans, the true Americans said. “We will not fight you. We bring no weapons. We come in peace but you will not dig up our land to increase your profit. You have raped this land for too long.” The bully isn’t used to not getting it’s way. Other bullies, including our new president have invested much money in this pipeline, in the destruction of our earth and by God they were going to get their way – except they didn’t.

I’m sure the bullies are dreaming up other ways to force the Indians to do their bidding. Who are they, after all, to stop them? They have always won, until now.

The bullies in the land, the wealthy corporations, who can never have enough money and power, disguised their motive in the beginning as being for the good of the people. There is no need to pretend any more. They intend to take what they want and destroy the lives of anyone who gets in their way!

I wanted so much to see the American Indians win but deep in my heart I didn’t see how they could – but they did!

My heart swelled with joy and admiration. All they did was stand there, immovable, and thousands of people came and cheered for them, joining in solidarity. They faced off the bullies. One side with weapons and the Indians with peace. This was important enough to lay their lives down if they had to.

The call came in. The bullies were backing down. Today, while reading I learned something new. Originally, the pipeline was to be put in close to the town of Bismark. They said no! You can’t put it here. You might destroy our water! After thinking a about it they decided instead to put it through the protected land of American Indians, the only true Americans in this country. Bismark won, too, but they suffered no casualties. You see, Bismark is 92% white. The bullies would never have attacked them with guns and other means of hurting people. Bismark was filled with the chosen race, the pure race, the white race. The Indians were expendable.

(update 12/29: I found out with further research that the info I read on Bismark was misleading and was never viable as an option. My apologies for not double checking my resource)

This gave me so much hope and encouragement. It showed me what having faith in one’s convictions really was. For years I have been trying to help change what the bullies do to millions of people who are often innocent of crimes yet get caught in the money making teeth of the Prison Industrial Complex. Guilty or not guilty doesn’t matter. They just need people to make them money. They are forced to work for pennies if they pay them at all. Companies bid on slave labor to make their products. They twist the minds of people through PR until they say, “Let the notion of slavery rest. Why do you always call it slavery?” But if they were forced to work in often very poor conditions, ignoring medical issues, fed slop only fit for pigs and then use their pennies to buy hygiene and cannot use it to help their families, then slavery is exactly what it is. Many are sexually assaulted. Men and women and often by guards.

They twist the minds of people through PR until they say, “Let the notion of slavery rest. Why do you always call it slavery?” But if they were forced to work in often very poor conditions, ignoring medical issues, fed slop only fit for pigs and then use their pennies to buy hygiene and cannot use it to help their families, then slavery is exactly what it is. Many are sexually assaulted. Men and women and often by guards.There are many groups of people across the country and around the world who are fighting to help the men, women and children who are caught in this hell. We fight for sentences to be reasonable and for the non guilty to be freed.  We do not want anyone to be forced in a plea deal out of fear because they are told if the choose to go to court they will add charges so they will never get out. 

White people, black and brown people who commit the same crime should get the same sentence. Parole should fair, and people granted more than a few minutes on a video screen to plea their case while the parole board looks at the next case.

Prison corporations need to go. Education and rehabilitation need to be there so when they are introduced back to society they have a chance of survival instead of being forced to do something illegal so they have enough money to buy food.

prison labor

There are millions of people inside prisons working hard so you can buy the products made for the companies that bid on prison labor. You have no idea if it is made by an inmate who had no choice but to work for for pennies an hour. There are three times that many people affected on the outside as well, and many on probation and parole who can’t find places to life or get a job. Slowly it is changing because people like me,  are working to educate people that prison is nothing like what they watch on TV.

There will be a stand-off coming where people are going to have to choose whether they want their lives ruled by corporate profits. Starting in 2017, for the first time, we will have a government run by the very corporations we railed against. I don’t have to list these corporations. Read the news at Common Dreams, Alternet, Truth Out and others that actually print the truth and not what they are paid to print. Verify at more than one site before you believe anything, the mistake I made earlier in this article. Open your mind and learn the truth. I have no time to fill my mind with the things they want us to believe. Some people are gullible and believe something because they want to and it has no bearing in truth.

The wrong people are changing our country in the wrong way. It’s time we stand up and fight for each other and with each other instead of fighting against each other for our destruction. Make your life count for something. That is the legacy you leave behind.

Americans For Prison Reform

This is Going To Be a Year of Change For Inmates – If We Try

There are quite a few people who have Facebook pages and groups who feel that prison reform is very important and it’s time for those changes to begin happening. We read a lot. We post articles we find that talk about the problem. Some of us have loved ones who are locked away so we have first hand knowledge of the cruelty they endure yet we don’t know how to change things. We stand a better chance of changing things if we come together and fight together.  The powers that be – the government, prison industrial complex and the people who run the prisons don’t care how we feel because they are so sure there is nothing we can do. They think their profit is safe.

There are millions of us on the outside who can be a force to reckon with -if we organize. We don’t have to continue to let this happen. The blacks, the poor, the minorities, the juveniles are being used to make some people wealthy. The lying politicians at the beginning of this election cycle all said they were going to fix this. Half way through they stopped talking about at all.  All politicians lie. No one is going to help. They all have a finger in the profit pie.

There are many groups of people in many states who are doing all they can. Some have attorneys who have a better grasp of the legalities but one major problem is – we are all separate. We may recognize the name of a group but we don’t know what their plan is. There is absolutely no cohesiveness. How can we support each other when we don’t communicate? This election showed us the power of the internet. We need to use it more effectively

There is so much that needs to be fixed but people feel helpless about what to do because the problem is so huge and has so many parts. Aside from the many people locked up there are millions of people on the outside who get hurt. Some of my friends and I are beginning to come together and talk, to see what we can do. No one group is going to fix the prison issues. The people need to help themselves. Watching what the American Indians did showed us we aren’t helpless.  But did we really believe they would push them back? Really? It was an eye opener for me. So why are we letting them do this to us? It will take time to sort this out.

We need people with skills, fundraiser skills down the line. Social media skills, etc. who are willing to take on the corporations and their profit making machines and change the laws that are against the health of the people inside. Am I biting off more than I can chew? Probably, but I know if you reach for the stars and land on the moon you’re a hell of a lot closer next time you reach. You accomplish nothing if you don’t try.

I have been fighting for Jamie for almost a decade. I work on my projects that have to do with our prisons like a full time job – because it is. I spend most of my day researching, writing and connecting with people. I understand not everyone can do that because of commitments in their lives and families to care for.  Some only have time to read and share it, but even that is so important.

There are many people who have no idea what the prisons have been built for and why we have more than anywhere else in the world. Many people believe everyone who is inside deserves to be there. They believe they are all bad guys, except we know that isn’t true  because they are our husbands and wives, our children and our friends. We know what happened to put them in prison. Being guilty isn’t important.  The truth isn’t important. Only money is important. Keeping prison beds full at all costs is important. Their only purpose is to fill a bed and they need someone to exploit to do that – and yes, there are bad people in there, too, as well as those who are mentally ill with no place to put them.

mentally ill inmates
photo credit: photos.pds.org

With 5% of the population and 25% of all the prisoners in the world, if that were true then America has a pretty lousy life philosophy if we truly produced that many hard core criminals who need our lengthy mandatory minimums. Everyone knows our prisons are a racket. Why is it being allowed? Why haven’t they been changed? Why is it allowed?

Judges sentence someone using the mandatory minimums because they have no choice. I am sure most people have never read what those minimums are. They use use the phrase “mandatory minimums” because they know it is something that should be changed because they heard it somewhere else. But what does it mean? When did it start? How does one go about changing any one of them because they all have different years they began, some as early as 250 years ago.

Regardless of when it started, the sentence is how many years they were to be incarcerated. The judge did NOT say they were to be abused in prison. THAT is criminal. They don’t have the right to starve them with rotten food. The law states they are to be cared for medically – and that means mental health, too. Women are to be cared for with women issues. Men and women who are raped should have the right to press charges – against the guards our other inmates. Some inmates have to contend with near daily rape. Just because they are incarcerated does that mean the staff has the right to abuse another human being with no consequences?

Everyone know this so why does it continue! Right to lifers say every life is precious and fight for that. When does  a life lose the right to be precious? How many rapes does it take? How many beatings? How many ignored sick calls? For Jamie, how many epileptic seizures until he gets the right treatment?

seizure webmdcom

The list of abuses goes on and on with the higher staff allowing it by looking the other way. In many cases the guards and staff are more criminal than those locked up. So often, if an inmate files a case against a guard, not only is it not filed, they retaliate against the inmate, and write up more cases against him, throw him in ad seg and take ALL of his belongings away, including even his mattress, his flimsy, thin, 3″ piece of foam. At Jamie’s last prison he had 13 sexual harassment cases filed against him in one month. He had to force them to move him by threatening a guard so they would classify him as ad seg (solitary) because then they would move him. He is safer now – but he is still in ad seg. He had to deal with having his belongings taken away. 19 books including his GED book. He recently got his radio back after a year. His fan was replaced with a broken one. They gave him 2 more years of ad seg because that is what they do. He’s endured this to get away from a prison where the guards beat him up more than once, split his head open with a wall and sprayed him with chemicals.

Often we read an article and move on, shaking our head, wondering who will fix this. I tend to get very angry when I write about these things but anger keeps me going. You can find me easily at:

http://facebook.com/JamieLifeInPrison and http://mynameisjamie.net  A group of us are starting an alliance of people who want to do something. We have to start somewhere. Many have someone inside. If you want to help, come and talk with us.  Prison reform isn’t an easy thing to change but we’ll give it all we have. We need the input of people with experience. We need people who have the ability to stick with something or at least to know what your level of commitment could be. Even if all you can do is pass info, or reach out to people you know, that would be a help.  Let me know if you want to find out more. Send me an email at squick@mynameisjamie.net and I’ll get back in touch with you. This isn’t a commitment on your part. It’s a beginning. If you see this after it’s posted on facebook you can leave me a message there as well.

=========================

There being different stages we will go through. We have to start at the bottom before we tackle issues. At the bottom is simply getting organized. And although many of us have people inside this is not about getting people out, it is about reforming the system, about fairness, about the prisons abiding by the law even as it stands now. We have to do that before changing bad laws. It took a long time to get here and it will take time and a lot of effort to change things.

Personally, I would like to see for each inmate:

  1. Proper medical care – instead of using Tylenol for every condition. An outside system needs to be used to treat inmates that doesn’t say, for example, “You have water on the knee and it needs to be drained but the prison will never approve the cost. Here, take a Tylenol. Or, ” You have an abcessed tooth but it will be at least a month before we can get you to a dentist even if your face is swollen so bad you can’t eat. Here, take a Tylenol. Or, you had an epileptic seizure and you woke from it with your hands and feet cuffed, and not taken to medical because a guard didn’t want to do the paperwork. The prison medical corporations do not want to pay medical expenses. It is cheaper to let them die.

2. Decent, edible food they don’t have to be afraid to eat. The food corporations want to feed them on the cheap even if it kills them. We should make then feed their own families what they feed our families.

 3. A cell that isn’t too hot or too cold. I’m tired of hearing about deaths from the heat. That is murder.

 4. Ability to trace complaints against the guards by us on the outside so we know they are taken care of. They can’t be trusted and right now the fix is guarding the hen house. We get lip service by the warden. We need to know their complaints don’t end up in the trash and repercussions don’t blow back on the inmates. The prison has ways of stalling complaints so they become invalid. They do it on purpose so every single complaint is pointless. The law says they have the right to file for mistreatment but they is no law that says they have to do anything about it.

 5. People on the outside need the ability to file against a guard or staff if inmates are abused, and bring legal charges if their behavior warrants it. We don’t all have money to hire attorneys, in fact most of us probably don’t but we need a way to make sure they are safe. 

I’m going to stop there so the rest of you can add your concerns in the comments. If anyone has any idea of how to do this or has an idea of what to do first to get started, I’m listening. The tenetive name on facebook for this group is “Americans for Prison Reform.” Our prison system affects all of us.

I sure do hope to hear from you!  Sonni

THE NEXT MONTHLY ISSUE OF THE ITFO NEWSLETTER WILL BE GOING OUT SOON. TAP THE LINK TO GET IT DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX. EACH ISSUE NOW WILL FOCUS ON A DIFFERENT ASPECT OF PRISON ISSUES EACH MONTH. THERE HAS BEEN NO TALK OF PRISON REFORM SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN WHEN EVERYONE JUMPED ON THE BANDWAGON SAYING THEY WOULD BE THE ONE TO FIX IT. NOW NOTHING IS BEING SAID. IT WILL BE THE PEOPLE DEMANDING CHANGE THAT HAS THE ONLY CHANCE OF CHANGING THIS. PLEASE POST THIS ON YOUR OWN SM AND ASK YOUR FRIENDS TO SHARE IT, TOO. WE’VE SEEN WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE COME TOGETHER AS THE AMERICAN INDIANS HAVE DONE. WE NEED TO MAKE PRISON REFORM IMPORTANT, NOT JUST TALK ABOUT IT. CAN WE DO THAT?

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ITFO Newsletter

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni’s Pinterest
If you haven’t “liked” Jamie’s facebook page yet you can do so in the info under this post.

You can also follow the blog by email so you don’t miss any posts. That, too, is in the info beneath the post

Society’s Parasite: The Treatment Industrial Complex

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BRAVE NEW FILMS

If this doesn’t scare you, you aren’t human. If you think this isn’t happening you don’t understand greed. Because I have made it my business to try to understand why our justice system is the way it is and how none of us is really safe agains the corporations, especially if you aren’t full blooded white or if you have a mental history of asking for help. Bi-polar, needing meds and therapy – irratic behavior – needing therapy but no money for treatment so you get “sentenced ” for therapy. Shoot, what IS this about? Can they really do this to people? I know what they do in the prisons. Is this a version of the Twilight Zone where they smile and let you in – but never let you out?

Criminal justice reform efforts are at an all time high and have more momentum than ever. At the same time, there is a dangerous new scheme coming from the for-profit prison industry. The same companies who have made billions off of keeping Americans behind bars, the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of American (CCA), are now profiting off of another destructive system, the Treatment Industrial Complex (TIC). The TIC is the the expansion of the incarceration industry into areas that traditionally were focused on treatment and care of individuals involved in the criminal justice system–prison medical care, forensic mental hospitals, civil commitment centers, and ‘community corrections’ programs such as halfway houses, electronic monitoring, and home arrest.  Many factors are at play in the rise of TIC. As the public has grown more aware over the years of the large scale disenfranchisement of people of color by way of mass incarceration and the prison-industrial complex, so has there been rise in support for an end to the for-profit prison system. This social awakening is perceived as a threat to those who have been profiting off incarceration. This new approach is an attempt at repackaging the prison system for continued profits. Society’s Parasite: A Look Into The Treatment Industrial Complex, shows how dangerous this development is to the widespread movement for real criminal justice reform in the name of safety, not profits.

download
ITFO Newsletter

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni’s Pinterest
If you haven’t “liked” Jamie’s facebook page yet you can do so in the info under this post.

You can also follow the blog by email so you don’t miss any posts. That, too, is in the info beneath the post

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