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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I Want To Tell You a Story . . . About Ricky Jackson

I Want To Tell You A Story . . . About Ricky Jackson. Once upon a time . . .

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source credit: abcnews  Ricky Jackson on the right and one brother, Wiley Bridgeman on the left. Ronnie Bridgemen was paroled in 2003

 
Ricky Jackson, 59, is sprawled across a leather couch in the basement of his house in Chesterland, Ohio. “I intend to live well,” Jackson continues. ( This article is abbreviated) “I’m not going to waste it by holding grudges.” Not that anyone would blame him. Beginning at age 18, Jackson spent 39 years in a prison for a crime he did not commit – the longest prison term for an exonerated defendant in American history, and a staggering example of how the criminal justice system can wrong the innocent.

In 1975, after returning home after an honorable discharge from the qqqqMarines for medical reasons, he and two friends were arrested for killing Harold Franks outside a neighborhood convenience store. According to police, a pair of assailants splashed acid in his face, clubbed him, shot him several times, stole $425 and fled.

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source credit:  abcnews

The weapon was never found. Jackson and his friends said they were elsewhere. But police obtained a statement from 12 year old Eddie Vernon who told police Jackson fired the weapon and the other two young men doused him with acid and stole his car. But Eddie’s statement was shaky. He couldn’t identify the suspects in a line up and several classmates said he was nowhere near the crime scene. Still, three separate juries accepted the youngster’s account. All three were convicted and sentenced to die by the electric chair.

Before it could take place, Ohio took away the death penalty and the sentences were changed to life in prison, which in itself is a death sentence. Jackson spent his life reading, giving himself his own education. He studied everything from gardening to refereeing basketball. He found solace in the prison library. He wrote letters – to journalists, filmmakers and anyone who might be interested in his case. In 2012 The Scene – a Cleveland magazine published an article about the frail nature of Jackson’s conviction that condemned him. He was connected to the Ohio Innocence Project by minister of that now grown 12 year old boy Eddie Vernon who had testified against him. He said he was coerced by the police to give it. They threatened to arrest his parents if he didn’t give the statement. His mother was sick and he was afraid. When he became ill himself he could no longer live with what he had done. Ricky said there is no anger. He was just a scared young boy. In 2014 the charges were dismissed. But that can not give the time back. Time stands still in prison. Very little changes. “It was overwhelming being out after all that time. He received less than a million dollars for the loss of his life. He bought a house and began the process of building a life with a fiancée’ and her children.

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But what does that mean when compared to losing everything his life could have been from before he was even able to vote? Youth being coerced by police without a parent or attorney present has come under scrutiny lately. Cops have bragged they can get a confession out of anyone for anything by wearing them down after many hours of interrogation. All they have to do is tell them what they want to hear and they will let them go home.

I read this story today in an article in the 2017 JAN/FEB issue of the Smithsonian magazine, written by Matthew Shaer. It is impossible for me to read the life stories of people who were destroyed by our justice system run by human beings who don’t care about the lives and families they destroy – on purpose –  getting away with coercing false information that should never hold up in court. It almost didn’t for Jackson.  It took three (probably white) juries to finally hand down the death penalty, letting the real murderer off the hook. Did he kill again? Did he commit more crimes? Why didn’t Ricky Jackson’s life matter? Why didn’t the truth matter? Given the number of predominantly black men who are eventually set free, apparently truth in our justice system doesn’t mean much. Truth also has a price tag –  if you can afford to pay it.

Black people’s lives obviously don’t have the same value as white people since they represent only 13% of the American population but 58% of the people incarcerated. If you still want to believe somehow that blacks are inferior or have a genetic predisposition toward crime then count yourself among those who are racist. It is people like this who strove to lock up as many blacks as possible because after reading and believing what our government wanted you to believe you never looked any further to find the truth.  In the last 40 years our prison population more than quadrupled.

Didn’t it ever seem odd that black people suddenly became so dangerous? Even though heroin was predominantly a white man’s drug, it was the black man to fear? More crack cocaine has been used by whites than blacks, unless you believes the media. Over all drugs have been used equally by whites and blacks but because there are more whites than blacks in the population why weren’t more white people locked up?

Did you know, in Virginia in 1856 , there was only one offense a white man could be given for the death penalty – ONE – but there were 66 offenses choir which a black man could be given the death penalty. Mississippi had 38 offenses for blacks and one for whites. Today it often happens that sentencing is less harsh for whites for many different crimes.

When Black Lives Matter became a household phrase, white people got defensive and said All Lives Matter. Black people have been trying to get that across for many generations but it mattered little to the court system. All lives have always mattered. Where was everyone’s sense of correct judgement towards blacks for all these years? Why is there a belief in white privilege, based only on the color of one’s skin?

Then it became Blue Lives Matter. They had always mattered, until it didn’t matter when they recklessly killed black citizens, because they could, and didn’t have to pay the consequences. Unfortunately, what they lost had farther reaching affects than the relative few who were killed, and I’m not belittleing those deaths; they lost the respect of many Americans because they were allowed to be above the law. No one is above the law. Not even our president.

Police are no longer seen the same way as other protectors, the way we see firemen and ambulance EMTs. Police are instead feared because many are corrupt and behave as legal criminals. Children have to be taught how to interact with cops so they don’t hurt them. Black men have to fear being shot and killed. Why is this? Because this is what many cops have done and it has ruined the reputations of all of them.

Now that you hopefully understand, if you already didn’t. I’m now going to get back to my story . . .

You tell me if you think Ricky Jackson rightfully lost 39 years of his life, or if a racially prejudiced court didn’t care about finding the right murderer. How would you have felt? Would his being black be enough for you to think he should lose his life? If the answer today would be no, what will you do today to help change things for other human beings in the same situation? Or would you stay quiet? Would you at the very least share this story with others? It takes people standing up to change things, otherwise nothing changes. Is that acceptable?

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Will Our Prisons Make America Great ?

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November 2016

Dear mom or rather, Hello beautiful,
        It was so good to hear from you and to know you are starting to feel a little better from surgery. I must say, reading your letter about your pain complications really hurt me. Yes, it hurt me so much. Having to go to your juglar just to find a vein? I know how that feels. I’ve been stuck with needles all my life because of the epilepsy. Ever since I was a baby. I hate IVs. They hurt like hell. As I read over your letter it gave my stomach such a bad feeling. I’m glad you are okay. I’m very sorry you had to go through this.

(Sonni’s note: Do you ever wonder why certain people end up in your life? Why some people come into your life and walk out five minutes later and why some people stay and change your life profoundly? Jamie is one of those people who changed my life, and I changed his. There are parallels between his family and mine that allows us to understand the pain family can cause. We both have a medical history that has affected our quality of life. Our lives clicked on so many levels that I know had we not met, our lives would be drastically different and I doubt they would be better.

There was a reason I needed to learn about the issues with our prison system and learn to care about the people inside- yes, the people being abused by mentally sick people working in the prisons, either because they enjoy inflicted abuse, or they are making profit off them on a grander scale.

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source credit: fox2news.com

That doesn’t mean that all guards are like this, just like not all cops are bad cops. But the bad ones should be kicked out of the profession since it doesn’t look they will get prosecuted. This is what makes people angry. I  have talked to quite a few inmates. They all say the same thing about guards. When a guard does something harmful to an inmates there should be consequences. If they cause a death they shouldn’t just be moved to another prison to continue abusing people just because they are wearing a uniform. It’s like Catholic priests that molest young boys.  They get moved to another parish. Why can’t they be convicted when they break the law? Are inmates less human?  Have they lost the right to live? The people inside are more than convicts, felons or inmates. They are more than whatever happened to put them there.

Sentences don’t fit the crime, if there even was a crime. After many of them are destroyed by the abuse they receive and then are let back out into society without the skills to cope, knowing the revolving door will push a majority of them back inside so the profit machine can suck up the rest of their life. What a way to Make America Great. )

I got my copy of the GED book and the dictionary. Thank you. It is good to have that to work with. I’ve skipped around reading it. I’ve read US History, US govt, world history and more. I just read about Indian Civilization. Also, I didn’t know India was the birth place of Buddhism. Just so you know I have been chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo x 1000 for you.

I got two letters from my family. That’s a first in a long time. One from my brother and and one from my grandmother. Indeed I was surprised when I got his letter and when I opened it there were four photos. He said he had a lot on his place but never asked how I was doing and said nothing about any help in any way. A My family knows you have been the only one helping me all these years and all he talks about is own full plate. He asked if he was still on my visitation list. No, not after 10 years of waiting for him to come see me. He let me know I have a new 3 month old niece. Nobody ever tells me anything. Better late than never, I guess. He sent photos. It’s the only way I feel I’ll get to see her. He has a son a year younger than my son, however I never met him. He did send an up to date photo saying he thinks he’s tough. I do appreciate the photos.  I’ll write him back. He said my mom is sick again. So did my grandmother, but I haven’t heard a word from my mom herself. I never hear about anything until it’s way after.

(Sonni’s note: It’s not uncommon for family to gradually forget about a someone inside. I guess it’s out of sight, out of mind.  The longer they are in the less they see them. In Jamie’s case, no one was ever there for him, right from the beginning. I tried to get his older brother to write to him about a year and a half ago. I called him. Family can make all the difference in the world. Depression is so common, and when someone is prone to depression it’s even harder. I can always tell what shape Jamie is in by his handwriting. He has quite a family neglect f family few different styles of penmanship and each one is a different mood.

In the last eleven years had his family bothered at all to write to him and find out how he is, it would have helped him – a lot. But no one could be bothered. No one had  a stamp. He’s never heard anything from his younger brother, and his sister? Who knows. she has had her own set of problems. When I asked his brother to write to him his reply was, “It’s not my fault he’s in there. My life didn’t stop” as if someone has had blamed him. He told me, “It’s not your concern.”  Well then who the hell’s concern is it?  Nobody else has given a rat’s ass how he’s been.  You can’t go back and undo that no matter how many letters you write now. Eleven years? I would have a hard time forgiving them. Can you tell this upsets me? But  it doesn’t matter if they are forgiven or not.  You reap what you sow.  You get back what you dish out. What goes around comes around and most of all – there is an effect for every single cause you make and no amount of forgiving wipes that away.  I wrote a post in February 2016 and sent it to his brother.  I never heard back so I don’t know if he read it.

Do you remember the song, He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother?  This is the link to the post. The youtube video is in the post. It makes me cry every time I hear it now because I think of all hurt his family caused him and all the hurt of others in the same situation.  You can read it if you like.

Thanksgiving was terrible. The food was bad. The only thing worth eating was the dessert. The dressing was too dry. Everything else was what we normally eat everyday – green beans etc. I don’t have an extra food to eat. Do you think you could send an Ecomm box?  Leah, your friend who writes to me sent me some money for Christmas. I need to buy a new hot pot to heat things up in.

images(Sonni’s note: Each yearly quarter I can order $60 worth of items from the commissary they can keep in their locker. It doesn’t affect any money in their acct. Coffee, cookies and crackers, Raman noodles, squeeze cheese. Like the kind of food you’d buy in a $1 store Cheap and not very healthy but it fills the hole and gives them goodies they might not buy. They probably trade some of it for stamps, which I can’ t buy for him, or he can trade it for other things he wants. Commissary is like money. Maybe someone draws greeting cards they can personalize. They have to get creative if they don’t have anyone to help support them. Inmates can also get pretty creative making dishes with commissary food. They can make cakes out of crushed cookies. It would be interesting to eat some of their recipes. But it isn’t just the food itself, it’s what they have to fashion to cook it in. They don’t have pans or a burner. They can buy a flimsy hot pot but it doesn’t get hot enough to boil water. But somehow they manage)

Time to go to bed. It’s late. Thank you so much for everything. I’ll be thinking of you. Get some rest and give yourself time to heal. Don’t rush it or you might hurt it.

Love you, Jamie

 

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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.

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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?

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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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Texas Department of Criminal Justice -tdcj

 

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Jamie Cummings and his son Jamie 2013 – The last picture taken

Chapter – Inside The Forbidden Outside

Jamie Cummings Incarceration 2006

Being here is hard. Prison is hell. Jamie supposed if he were in a minimum or even a medium security prison it wouldn’t be so bad. There is a big difference between that and high security. No prison is fun but where his cell is, is more like hell. Not being able to change anything about your life is more than frustrating. Being treated like you have no worth is even worse.

He knows this is partly his fault. He was so angry when he got here. He had no control over it. He was angry because he knew there was no way he could change the way they treated him. They made sure to push all his buttons till he exploded. They treated him like he wasn’t worth dirt. No one would let themselves pretend it didn’t matter, and to them his life didn’t matter. He couldn’t do anything or say anything to defend himself. Being black, he was used to this kind of treatment from anyone in authority.

So yes, maybe it’s his own fault, but he reacted the only way he knew how. He got angry. He was just so tired of it all. How on earth was he going to do seventeen years. They planned on ruining him, using him all up. After all those years was he supposed to get out and go on with his life as though nothing happened? How does he work and take care of his family? Will they even be there? He can’t even think about that.

People on the outside have no idea how demeaning it is to be locked up like a rat and eat food not fit for a dog. When Jamie agreed to take the plea of seventeen years he did it out of fear. His mind was going around a million miles an hour. He was so scared. He didn’t have time to think about what it meant, and he didn’t have anyone on his side he could talk to. He didn’t know what to do. He was alone more now than he had ever been. But he had been alone most of his life anyway, so what was he expecting?

He never had an experience like this before, so how was he supposed to know if taking a plea was the right thing to do or not? He had his experiences with the juvenile system but it was nothing like this. Besides, they lied to him right in the courtroom. They said he only had to stay nine months. That was a joke on him because it ended up being an awfully long nine months. And for what? It was the cop who should have gotten charged. He’s the one who pushed his way into their house and hurt his mama. He wasn’t following a crime. He had no legal paper that said he could come into their home. He screwed up and someone had to pay. He couldn’t charge anyone with anything but they didn’t a real reason to put him in juvy. Who is the court going to side with, a black kid or an officer of the law?

Attorneys are supposed to know the right thing to do, but what do you do when your attorney has no interest or time to help you because he has to hurry on to his next case? He won’t make more money if he does his job right. He doesn’t care if he ends up screwing a man’s life. He’s just another black man. From the time he was young and saw the way cops looked at him, daring him to make one wrong move so they could justify slamming you on the ground. Doesn’t he have a right to be angry about that?

He saw his dreams fading right before his eyes and he wanted to cry because the pain was so bad. He didn’t want to cry in front of anyone so he clenched his fingernails into the palm of his hand trying to draw blood.

The only thing he would have to keep him company on this seventeen year journey was the small amount of time this past year that held pieces of the only happiness he had, and these pieces would have to last him a long time.

Jamie wouldn’t be able to see the face of his son when he was born. He was the only good thing that had come from his life and that hurt him the most. He would probably be sent to a prison as far from his family as possible. That’s what they do. He finally had something good that was his, but they had other intentions for him and took it away. He sometimes thought they did it on purpose as punishment. They made it impossible for family to come visit and make it a little easier to go through your time. No, they like to see you suffer. It’s such a crappy job so maybe it makes them feel better.

These prisons get built in low income, sad little towns in the middle of nowhere. It brings jobs to people who don’t have the intelligence to leave town or learn to do anything better. The pay is lousy and most of the people are uneducated.  Put a uniform on them and they feel important. It goes to their head and they now have the right to be abusive and push people around. He supposed there might be some good people there but most of them get twisted around because they are allowed to do things that on the outside would get them sent to a prison. But no one is looking. They bring in drugs and cell phones and physically hurt inmates who can’t fight back. Some of those inmates die when they are done with them.

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      Jamie wasn’t a bad person. He knew in his heart there was good inside him, but he didn’t think anyone looked at him long enough to see it. Morgan did. He was pretty sure of that. He had never been happy before her. He only existed. All he had to hold on to were her promises she would always love him and would wait for him to get out. He had to believe that or it would tear him apart.

The public defender assigned to him when he was arrested was no real attorney. Jamie never even meet him until right before they were to go in to see the judge. It added a lot of stress. He wanted him to take a plea of forty years and didn’t want to give him time to think. Forty years? He didn’t have a record. He had never been charged with anything or even been arrested and the district attorney sent  this pd to offer 40 years and plead guilty to something he didn’t do. Sure he had been there. They had gone out to party. His cousin even joked about robbing the place but he didn’t think he was serious. That was enough to make him guilty, too, and they wanted forty years out of him? He was supposed to agree with that?

Then the pd came back and offered 17 years. That was supposed to sound good now? If he didn’t take it he was told they’d pile on charges and he’d never get out. It’s easier to ruin a man and think it made you look good rather than finding out the truth and saving him and his family. That is so crooked.

This attorney was a puppet for the District Attorney, dressed in his cheap suit trying to look important. Jamie was just another person on his list that day to add a couple hundred dollars to his paycheck. He didn’t care a whit about what happened to him. He probably didn’t even know his name without looking down at the paper in his hand. His job is to make sure he scares him enough to take a plea. The truth has little to do with anything.  This is what they do to people like him. They decide his life for him and send him off somewhere to be forgotten. He will make money now for the corporations who own him for as long as they can suck it out of him.

Jamie tried to be strong. He stood up for himself and said he didn’t want to take a plea. He wanted a chance to tell his side about what happened. He didn’t know then, they don’t let people like him get into a courtroom except to plead guilty. Only about 3% of arrests go to court. The dockets would be too full and it would cost too much money. If someone couldn’t pay for an attorney they were going to be forced to take a guilty plea whether they were guilty or not. Even if you were dead to rights innocent it’s a pretty big risk to take. A public defender isn’t going to work to prove your innocence. Maybe there are good ones out there who care, but to them it’s just another day on the job. The more clients they see, the more money they make. Jamie thought he had a right to an attorney. That is what the law said. It also said he had a right to a jury of his peers. They thought otherwise. To them he had no rights. Laws didn’t apply to him.

When Jamie went out that night with a friend he didn’t think he was going to pull out a gun and try to rob the club.  He knew he had a gun in his backpack but he didn’t think he would use it. It was nuts to do that.  Maybe he was just being naive. He had already been to prison twice and it was a three strikes state. Why would you gamble with your life that way? He hadn’t been out very long since his last arrest. This arrest would out him away for the rest of his life. No parole. Did be like it that better?

He had been in trouble most of his life but he was fun to go party with. Kinda crazy. Jamie wanted to go out and have a good time. Shoot some pool. He thought he had learned his lesson. But no judge would care that Jamie had no intention of robbing that place with him. His skin color doesn’t win that battle. All black men are criminals. Not with a public defender who doesn’t want to defend you anyway.

His mama didn’t have the kind of money it took to hire a real attorney. Jamie knew that. If she did, then what they did to him at juvenile court never would have happened. But the thing is, and he knew it then, too, cops don’t have to take responsibility for the things they do. They are protected.  The court looks the other way. Cops can get away with just about anything. Just like it didn’t matter that the cop busted into their home and pushed his mama down. It only mattered that he reacted to it. What son wouldn’t try to protect his mother? Someone had to pay for the cop’s mistake. The cop needed them to look at someone else to be at fault for what he did. Since he was a juvenile and the cop couldn’t charge anyone in his family with a crime, they settled on taking his life and locking him up in juvenile detention for nine months. Except they wouldn’t let him out, not for more than four years. They thought his life had no value so why not ruin it while they collected money for him being there.

Jamie’s story isn’t special and he isn’t alone. Black people have gotten the bad end of the stick for a long time. Slavery never ended, it just changed. The people were convinced there was something bad inside them that made them criminals. A criminal gene. When movies and newspapers told white people over and over that people like him were dangerous, they believed it. It’s not even their fault. How are they supposed to know the truth? They heard it their whole lives. They were told having white skin made you privileged. It gave them the right to look down on other people. They listened to the news at night and this is what they were told. Isn’t the news supposed to tell the truth? What does it matter. There is no law that says they have to.

White courts lock up every black person they can. They need to fill the prisons with somebody. Contracts with the prison corporations said so. It was just a matter of time. Black people are easier to lock up. Most can’t afford a good attorney so it is easy to push them into taking a plea deal. lHe was twenty-two with no education or work experience, plus he had epilepsy, so who would want to hire him? He didn’t know how to do anything. Men disappear and the women left behind have so much hardship taking care of their families on their own with low paying jobs. Most need some kind of government help and it makes them look lazy, like they don’t want to get a job. His mama worked hard to take care of them. But there wasn’t a parent at home to help raise them. There are lots of women white and black raising kids alone but there are more black women who raise kids alone because their man is in prison.

Jamie didn’t have time to understand any of this before he met Morgan and she got pregnant. He had been locked up in juvy. He didn’t have a family in a long time. She was older than him by a few years and had two children already. She seemed so smart to him. She had gone to school and studied things. She encouraged him to want to go to school because she was going back to school at Angelina Jr College. He’d have to get a GED first because he didn’t make through tenth grade. But how did she think he would be able to provide for this ready made family of almost five people when he had no experience doing anything? But there was no sense thinking about any of that now. He had to figure out a way.

He wanted this so badly. A family of his own. Someone to love. He would do things different than what he had growing up. Jamie wanted to be a good father, even though he had no idea what that was.  He didn’t even know who his father was, not even his name. He was kept in the dark so deep about how a family was supposed to act he didn’t once think to ask his mama who his father was. She never told him and he didn’t know to ask.

His two brothers and sister all had dads. They all had different dads and that was okay, he thought. He watched them leave on the weekends to visit their other  families. He envied them because they had other people to love he didn’t have. Brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins. Even grandparents who loved them. But he wasn’ t included. He wasn’t part of anyone else. He had lots of relatives with his mom, mostly aunts, and he loved them so much. But still, without a dad there was a hole and he couldn’t fill it up with more people. That was what he wanted, what he needed, and now there was nobody there.

Jamie pictured his son growing up and playing ball with him and taking him fishing. He’d spend a lot time with him. He’d help him with homework. His son would always know how much he was loved. In his head he had this perfect picture of the family he wanted. Now he would have no way of doing that and it pained him. Maybe his son would hate him now. He really screwed things up.

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       Jamie had nothing to do but think and he had a lot of years to do it. He laid down on his bunk and turned his face to the wall. He studied the scratches on the wall other men had made. Everything had been painted white at some point but now it was more gray than white. He could see where names had been scratched in, and dates. Other men who had been just as bored as he was. He wished he could shut it out and make his mind blank, but the more he tried, the more his thoughts pushed their way back in. These thoughts kept banging around in his head. He wished he could make his brain shut up. He could see why so many went crazy in here. Maybe it was easier to let go. For him it was easier to let depression sneak in and bring him down. That happened in juvy and they sent him to a different place with kids with problems where they could watch him all the time. He couldn’t deal with it anymore. How was he going to make it through all this time and stay sane.

How does he change things to have a better future? How can you know something you have no way of knowing? He knows he has to make his life go in a different way but he needs help. He doesn’t know anything. He knows he needs to educate himself but where he is they won’t let him. Education is a privilege but without it he won’t stand a chance on the outside.  He has to rely on Morgan for any kind of happiness but happiness alone doesn’t teach him what he needs. No one else he knows would care so that doesn’t help. Friends don’t last. They’re the first ones to drop you. It’s stupid to even think about it because he would be middle aged before he was released, if he didn’t make parole, and that was real iffy.

He knew from experience his family wouldn’t be there for him. They weren’t there for him when he was in juvy, either.  It was rare for his mom to answer a letter. He supposed she loved him, and maybe she thought that was enough. He felt forgotten like no one cared. They were too busy living their own lives to spend five minutes seeing if he was okay.  He was on his own. Should he give up and let his life take him wherever it goes and hope for best? Should he want a life he knows he can never have? Is it dumb to want something when you don’t know what that something is?

Jamie got up and started pacing. Three steps in one direction, turn around and three steps back. Back and forth. Over and over. Then he started to run in place trying to get his heart rate up. He even did some pushups to try to keep his body going. He was overweight when he got here. Not bad,! but still too much padding. It didn’t take long for that to come off with the crappy food they gave you. Some of it he really had to choke down and that was only because he was so hungry.

People get hard in prison. There is so much anger. They want to hurt the world that hurt them and lash out at anyone who gets too close. They also think they have to show how everyone how tough they are to survive. Jamie didn’t want to be that kind of person but sometimes his anger took control and he couldn’t stop it. He could take care of himself if he had to.

Sometimes he stood up for other inmates. Mostly new ones who didn’t know the ropes. Guards didn’t like it when he did that and it got him in trouble.  Life should be fair, but in his world that rarely happens.

Most dudes don’t know what to do with their anger and the pent up energy that comes with it. Sometimes it just explodes because it needs to get out. Jamie tried hard to control it but sometimes someone just pushed and pushed and wouldn’t shut up. He knew his  anger was one of the biggest things he needed to overcome.  His mouth got him in trouble. Because he is alone he thinks so much about life and getting out, and that by itself can make a person angry.

Truthfully, it hurts so much when he gets in that type of mood it’s hard to keep the pain down. It rips him apart from his insides. He feels left out of life like he doesn’t exist and no one cares. He hopes he never treats anyone the way he’s been treated in here, like he doesn’t matter. But he can’t depend on someone else making him feel his life has value, he has to do that himself. Trouble is he doesn’t know where to begin.

Was it because he didn’t have a dad to teach him things when he was growing up? Who was supposed to teach him? There was no one. He doesn’t want to be that kind of dad to his son. But even if he knew who his dad was, maybe he would not have been a good dad. Maybe he was better off not knowing him. Was he alive? Maybe he’s in prison, just like him. Jamie had no idea who his family was. Surely there is family out  there he doesn’t know. Does he have an grandma or maybe another brother or sister who doesn’t know about him, either? Was it fair that his mama cut him off from knowing?. Or maybe there was no one. That’s the point. He doesn’t know because it never was his decision.

He’s not a kid anymore. He wondered if his dad tried to see him and his mom wouldn’t let him. When he was a kid he didn’t know any better.  As he got older he tried to make himself believe it didn’t matter. He can’t pretend anymore. He was going to be a dad, too. Somehow. Would he want his son to never know who he was? What if Morgan never told his son about him because he was in prison. He would be as dead to his son as his father was to him. How could his son not resent him for not being there? His own mama left him with all these unanswered questions. Was that fair? Half of him was his dad. He couldn’t be that bad if she had enough feeling for him to sleep with him. Does he look like him? Does he have the same mannerisms?  Would he know him if he saw him? Does he know or care that he’s going to be a grandfather?

He had pushed this questions out of his head for a long time but now that he is going to be a father it made a difference. Who am I?  Down the road would Morgan resent him and keep his son from him because she thought he wouldn’t be a good dad? He hoped she’d never do that. Nothing would keep him from his son.  The older he got the more important it became. This is what happens when you have nothing to do but think.

There was another side to this. Why did his dad never try to see him? Did he agree to stay away? Did he think he would be bad for him? Did no one ever think he would grow up and want answers to these questions?

It was an awful feeling for Jamie to have his future at such odd ends, not being able to make any plans until he was almost middle age, with all of his twenties and thirties gone and then starting a brand new life like a teenager leaving home. That’s scary. Would he have gray in his hair? What kind of teenager would Jamie jr be?

What if the world continued to get more screwed up than it is and being black would be more dangerous than it is now? So many questions. His son might be half white but he doesn’t look it and to white people it wouldn’t matter. He’d still be black. But he didn’t want his son to be thinking being white was better. Skin color doesn’t make the man. It is who you are that matters.


After my injury I am trying to get back to finishing my book. Maybe letting it sit for a few months was be good so I can now look at it with a different perspective to make sure it says what I mean it to say. After this it will go to real editor who can see the areas that need work and help me put it together in the best way possible. You can’t properly edit your own writing because you’re too close to it. I’ve spent a long time working on this publication and I want it to be good – a realistic portal of life in prison and everything that is wrong with it. I’ll gladly consider any suggestions or ideas. I will be keeping up with the progress in the newsletter. Please subscribe below.

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Dreaming For Tomorrow

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DREAMING FOR TOMORROW

Where are you going?

I see you walking in the distance

In the open air, no walls around you

What are you thinking?

You move your feet in a tiny dance

A smile appears. There is no one to stop you

Stretch your arms, there is nothing to feel

but the wind through your fingers

and the sun on your skin

It’s been a long time since life felt so real

Where are you running?

so fast and so free 

You fall to the ground and look to sky

Watch the birds and the clouds moving lazily

You understand now what it feels like to fly

The piano music is titled “Inside The Forbidden Outsidecopyright 2015 by Sonni Quick.

If you want to hear any of the other music go to http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick. As with anything online, stats are important. Share, like or leave a comment for others to see. It would be a benefit for me. When my arm heals I’m coming out of retirement from music 14 years ago and play again.

For those not familiar with my music, it is all improvised. If there is an error it becomes part of the piece. I can’t play it again the same exact way. I recorded this as I was writing Jamie’s book. As my damaged arm becomes functional I can continue recording and editing the book.

When I woke this morning I had a vision of Jamie in the distance and these words came to mind. I thought how  it must be to never be able to stretch out your arms and not touch something. His world is so small. No ability to run with abandon. We crave what we can’t have

ITFO Newsletter #7 – Raping Female Inmates

Source: Michael Korchia on Flickr

ITFO Newsletter # 7  

For The Women and Their Struggles in Prison

Please Click on the above link to bring up current issue of the ITFO newsletter. Below is just a few snippets. Each issue follows different subjects that need changing and updates. I try to educate people on things they might not know.

It has been a learning experience putting a newsletter together. I hope you click on the subscribe button on the bottom and help me share it through social media. I have lots of plans and projects for this coming hear and it will take people everywhere to help make the changes we need in our prisons and all of the family and friends who are connected to them.

The prisons and our govt is finding new ways to fill our prisons and it starts with the children by making it a felony in some places for boys to even have an after school fight. A young girl was arrested for just baffling up her first at a cop. Cops aren’t there to help you anymore, they are to be feared. Of course fighting isn’t good behavior but boys have been doing it since the bidding of human beings and they weren’t imprisoned for it. It will cause years of prison time no matter how young while it destroys education. There is absolutely no reason for destroying a child’s life for something that should be between a principle and a parent. It will also be used to predominantly lock up kids who are white more than anyone. Kids expelled or suspended today are mostly black, which has been admitted by teachers.

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ITFO NEWSLETTER #7

The rape of men and women have no help from prison staff – and often it is done by them, goes on and is not reported. Women are at the mercy of men who use them at will. In addition, some women locked up are pregnant and don’t receive the medical care they need. Lack of prenatal care and vitamins during pregnancies. Often there are no check ups to make sure the baby is okay. Was this part of their sentencing? Shackling a woman to the bed during labor, and general lack of medical care for all female issues can lead to life long problems. In addition, Women often lose any other children to adoption because they are forced to give up their parental rights. When a judge reads a sentence, where does it state losing their children is included?If a woman is not capable of raising children that is one thing,but we know it isn’t always the case and each situation needs to be judged on it’s own merit. The problem is, CPS makes tens of thousands of dollars for each child it takes away and more if the child is adopted out. Did you know this?

In the rest of the newsletter I will give you stories and links to follow about incarcerated women in the hope of creating better understanding and empathy for women who don’t have the means to keep the children they gave birth to, or to stop being sexually assaulted by their jailers. Don’t judge them, help them. Our prison system is a racket which uses and misuses the people caught in it’s snare. Most of them do not deserve what happens to them inside but it will   continue as long as we allow it to happen. Cont . . .

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

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

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.

Four Months As a Prison Guard

cca. prison corporations, prison industrial complex
 photo source: correctionsproject.com

(When a chapter is over, wait and a new one will begin)

CCA is only one of the prison corporations that convinced state governments to sign 20 year contracts with them under the premise they could run prisons cheaper. They convinced quite a few state government they would have more money for schools and roads. Since governments couldn’t balance their budgets it was a relief. But the deal also included the states had to keep the prisons full or they would have to be paid for empty beds. So anytime you hear a politician say they will reduce the prison population they are pulling a fast one on you. They know they can’t.

CCA runs the prison Jamie is in. Prisons are big business and trade on Wall St. Major American companies bid on the slave labour inside to make their products. In addition the inmates work call centers. Peoplecalling customer service have no idea they are calling a prison.

These prison corporations make money for their investors by denying services. The more they deny the more money they make. Who cares, they are just inmates, right? Yes, there are bad ones along with your husband or wife, your children and grandchildren and your friends. Sometimes guilty, sometimes not. Their medical needs aren’t meet. They are fed slop. Education is sparse and and only for upper levels. Something as small as trading books can have you put in isolation. As long as corporations run institutions for profit the worse it is. Add universities and hospitals to that. And now that corporation CEOs are running the country in Trump’s cabinet along with his children prepare yourself for me.

The rest of this article will be tjaken from the print from Mother Jones. Follow this link for the entire article.

CCA RUNS 61 FACILITIES ACROSS THE UNITED STATES:

  • These include 34 state prisons,14 federal prisons, 9immigration detention centers, and 4 jails.
  • It owns 50 of these sites.
  • 38 hold men, 2 hold women,20 hold both sexes, and 1holds women and children.**
  • 17 are in Texas, 7 are in Tennessee, and 6 are in Arizona.

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

Chapter 1: “Inmates Run This Bitch”

Have you ever had a riot?” I ask a recruiter from a prison run by theCorrections Corporation of America(CCA).
“The last riot we had was two years ago,” he says over the phone.
“Yeah, but that was with the Puerto Ricans!” says a woman’s voice, cutting in. “We got rid of them.”
“When can you start?” the man asks.
I tell him I need to think it over.

I take a breath. Am I really going to become a prison guard? Now that it might actually happen, it feels scary and a bit extreme.

I started applying for jobs in private prisons because I wanted to see the inner workings of an industry that holds 131,000 of the nation’s 1.6 million prisoners. As a journalist, it’s nearly impossible to get an unconstrained look inside our penal system. When prisons do let reporters in, it’s usually for carefully managed tours and monitored interviews with inmates. Private prisons are especially secretive. Their records often aren’t subject to public access laws; CCA has fought to defeat legislation that would make private prisons subject to the same disclosure rules as their public counterparts. And even if I could get uncensored information from private prison inmates, how would I verify their claims? I keep coming back to this question: Is there any other way to see what really happens inside a private prison?   (Go to the link above for the full article)

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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