Watching The Inside World – ITFO Chapter

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WATCHING THE INSIDE WORLD

 

Jamie was laying naked on the cement floor. Summer hit in full force. Sweat was dripping down every crease in his skin. He didn’t know how he was going to make it through another summer, and there were many more to go.
     After midnight when heat trapped inside the walls began to cool, the cement floor seemed appealing. He stripped off his whites and stretched out hoping it would bring relief.
     He had already passed out twice so far this summer from the intense heat, and had one seizure. The only good thing that happened was being taken to the medical unit which had air conditioning. It was a small reprieve but it only made it worse when he was returned to his cell.
     He needed more water, good water. He was dehydrated and was afraid to drink too much of the water that came out of the faucet. There was an odor to it and sometimes it wasn’t exactly clear. There was a brown tint to it, some days were worse than others. Would it make him sick? He sweat so much he knew he needed to replace the minerals, like the ones in sports drinks, but he didn’t have any. They sell it at commissary but it was sometimes a month or more before he was taken there.
     There was no energy in him to move, and no reason to move. His body felt so heavy. His blood pressure was pounding in his head. How could the warden do this to everyone? He had to know how much they were suffering. Was this his way of rehabilitating them? Yeah, they were learning things; how to hate the prison and everyone in it.

How much anyone suffered depended on what level they were on. There were three levels in adseg. There was no power and no AC on level three. They even covered the vents to cut off any possibility of air circulation. That was a good punishment wasn’t it? If you owned one of the little fans they sell in the commissary you were out of luck because it didn’t work on level three.
     Jamie thought they were trying to teach them a lesson about how screwed they were. Whoever created these punishments had be masochistic.
     If he was level two he would have power and it would be cooler than level three, but not by much. That was the level he was on before the knife was planted. He had to do thirty days now to get back to level two and sixty days to get to level one. Three more months total. During summer that was a lifetime. He heard it took 90 days at level one to get moved to G4 where he could go to chow, but he wasn’t sure about that.
     He knew the guards didn’t like him. Not for any real reason. They hated most everyone in here. They didn’t take this job because they were interested in doing guard duty. There wasn’t much else in town for a steady job.
     They found a way to put him in adseg, but it wasn’t because of anything he did, he was set up. He did react back and that was his fault. If the guards didn’t like you they found a way to mess you up. It didn’t matter that he was trying to play by the rules, not if he didn’t get along with one of them. This one guard, Rodrigues* was an asshole, always making sarcastic remarks trying to piss him off, and sometimes succeeding. Then they’d write up a case on him. He needed to learn to keep his mouth shut.
     The unit went on lockdown. The guards were going from pod to pod ripping up everything. They tore apart the cells looking for weapons, drugs and cellphones.
     While the guards had fun destroying their property, the inmates were locked in cages barely bigger than a phone booth. There was a ledge they could sit on to wait until they were done. Then they had to go back and clean up the mess. Most of it was unnecessary. The guards destroyed things because they could.
     The guard who had consistently harassed Jamie “found” a homemade knife sitting on the edge of his sink. He tried to make it look like Jamie was stupid enough to leave a three inch piece of sharpened metal laying out in the open, even though he knew they were coming to toss the cells. If the sergeant believed that, then he must have been in on it. It was his word against theirs and there was no way he could win that argument.
     He had been fixing to get his level one. The weapons charge knocked him back down to level three. The main office for Texas prisons, TDCJ, in Huntsville, was contacted and the knife was sent to them. This was one way they added extra years to someone’s sentence. He only needed one more major offense for that to happen. At the least it would now take longer to get out of adseg.
     He didn’t even own a knife. It made sense now what the guard said when he was sitting in the cage. He walked by, then stopped and smiled at him.
     “What are you smiling at?” Jamie asked.
     “You’ll see,” he said, and laughed as he walked away.
     Jamie knew then he was the one who planted the knife. It wasn’t right. He didn’t do anything, but then he got angry defending himself. He played into their hands. He needed to stop reacting and think before he spoke.
     They sprayed him with chemicals. It was the first time. It felt like his skin was burning off. Three days he lived with it before it started wearing off. When he tried washing it off it made it worse. Being burned in a fire had to feel like this, only you couldn’t see anything on his skin except a little redness. Was it legal to use that kind of chemicals on people? Probably not, but who was going to stop them?
     No one would do that to an animal. The guards plotted a way to lower his level in adseg and then punished him with cruelty that was beyond inhumane. It was the guards who needed to be sprayed so they could feel what they we’re doing. There was nothing he could do about it now but someday they will get it back.

Today was July 12, 2011. Jamie’s son was five years old. He sat on his bunk and sang Happy Birthday to him with a heavy heart. He wished he could see him right now. He wanted to put his arms around him and hold him.
     “Morgan said he seems happier now,” Sonni said said as she sat down next to him. Little Jamie had been acting out with tantrums.
     “We all been mad at the world a few times,” he nodded in agreement as he glanced at her and smiled a sad smile.
     Jamie was still convinced he was losing his mind each time she came to talk. Sometimes it was days or weeks before he saw her again and thought maybe those were times when she, too, was feeling bad.
     Sonni was on the liver transplant list and had moved to Pa to be close to a good hospital and her family, but her family didn’t care about her. It was hard on a person when they realized they didn’t mean much to people who they thought loved them. This is why she understood how much it hurt when no one answered his letters or came to visit. It hits you from out of the blue. A lot of dudes in here had to go it alone for many reasons. It wasn’t easy and it made it hard to survive when they got out.
     She recently sent him some money for commissary and ordered a magazine subscription. He had nothing to read and was really bored. Time dragged. Every bit of kindness meant something to him. Nothing was taken for granted.
     “Once a week the guards are supposed to give us one hour of dayroom time,” he told her, “but they are too lazy.”
     “It’s easier to provoke someone and make him mad so they have a reason to not take them and call it a punishment,” Jamie added.
     “They do the same thing when it’s time to take us to shower. It’s crazy back here and that’s just half of it.”
     When he had passed out from the heat and had the seizure they took him to medical. Then they took money out of his commissary and paid themselves for the effort.
     “They cause the problem then take what little money I have because it made me sick.” He knows he doesn’t have to tell her everything. She seems to know what he’s thinking.
     “They probably look forward to the hot months,” she said back, “because of the extra money.”
     If he didn’t have any money in his account they would wait until she sent some, and then take it out.
     “To tell you the truth there is not a day goes by I’m not worried,” he continued.
     “I never know what’s going to happen or when it will happen,” he said starting to get an upset edge to his voice.
     “That is why I cry when I think about the visits.”
     “No one in my life knows what happens to me.” Jamie stood up and turned his back to her so she wouldn’t see his face.
     “And I don’t know what’s happening with them,” he sighed. “I worry about my mom and nobody tells me nothing.”
     “Do they think I don’t want to know?”
     “Since I’m big I’m supposed to be tough and take no shit from anyone,” he said, lowering his voice.
     “My family is not seeing this inside world the way I do,” he tried to explain. “They don’t have to watch it happening, so they don’t have to worry.”
     “Yeah, I know they are going through some stuff, too, but not like this.” Jamie paced back and forth.
     “They don’t understand how bad this is. They have never been through it and I wouldn’t want them to.”
     Jamie stopped talking to think for a minute. “I don’t think they care enough to even try to understand,” he frowned.
     “Not that I can tell.” He turned to face her again.
     “If I’m not sleeping, I’m day dreaming,” he said.
     “Playing old moments in my thoughts are like movies in my head, imagining where those movies would have taken my life if I wasn’t here.”
     “I know for a fact me and Morgan would live closer to you. I don’t know if she ever told you, but she tried to get me to fly down to visit you. It’s not that I didn’t want to, but I’ve never been on a plane. Driving there was too far. I’ve never left Texas. I didn’t know the freeways. I wish now I would’ve come to see you.”
     Sonni stood there silently listening.
     “I’m sure you got upset with me when I told you I was fixing to get locked down again,” Jamie began again.
     “Stop right there,” she said, putting her hand up to quiet him.
     “I am not upset with you, about anything,” she said softly, putting her arm back down by her side.
     “You have not done anything,” she explained. “These people have been determined to punish you. Some people enjoy causing others to feel pain.”
     “You have not been trying to hurt people, and I know there are people here who do, who think this is their castle and they are going to rule it.” She moved closer and looked him in the eye.
     “That would be different,” she told him. “But that is not you. I wouldn’t be here if I thought it was.
     “And I’m not going anywhere,” she added sternly.
     “I’m not going away. I am not everybody else.” she wanted him to believe it.
     “Even when you don’t see me, I’m not far away.”
     Jamie could feel tears behind his eyes so he closed them. When he opened them she was gone.

*Rodrigues – not the real name of the guard

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Almost everything in this  chapter was taken word for word from letters Jamie wrote in 2011, broken down to create dialogue. Background Description is added to better understand his environment. Some incorrect English is kept in the dialogue because it gives a more accurate feel for his state of mind. As years go by and he reads more his use of words and phrases improves. None that has anything to do with intelligence, but rather the lack of basic education.

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What Are Prisoner’s Rights

I have read comments on my Facebook page from people who state prisoners deserve every bad thing that happens to them inside. No, they don’t. But the rights listed below are constantly ignored by the prisons because no one oversees whether they abide by them.

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What Are a Prisoner’s Rights?

Prisoner’s Rights Law deals with the rights of inmates while behind bars. Many of these laws relate to fundamental human rights and civil liberties.

Cruel and Unusual Punishments – Every inmate has the right to be free under the Eighth Amendment from inhumane treatment or anything that could be considered “cruel and unusual” punishment. Unfortunately, the Eighth Amendment did not clearly define what “cruel and unusual” punishment includes, meaning much of the definition has derived from case law. Generally speaking, any punishment that is considered inhumane treatment, like torture or abuse, or a violation of a person’s basic dignity may be considered cruel and unusual within the discretion of the court.

Sexual Harassment or Sex Crimes – Inmates have a right to be free from sexual harassment or sex crimes, like being raped or molested while in custody. This applies to crimes or harassment from both inmates and prison personnel.

Right to Complain About Prison Conditions and Access to the Courts – Inmates have the right both to complain about prison conditions and to voice their concerns to prison officials and the courts.

Disabled Prisoners – Inmates with disabilities are entitled to certain reasonable accommodations under the American with Disabilities Act to ensure they receive the same access to prison facilities as those who are not disabled.

Medical and Mental Health Care – Prisoners are entitled to receive medical care and mental health treatment. These treatments are only required to be “adequate,” not the best available or even the standard treatment for those outside of incarceration.

First Amendment Rights – Inmates retain basic First Amendment rights (i.e., free speech and religion), but only to the extent that the exercise of those rights do not interfere with their status as inmates.

Discrimination – Inmates have the right to be free from discrimination while imprisoned. This includes racial segregation, disparate treatment based on ethnicity or religion, or preferences based on age, among others.

If you have questions about what rights an inmate has (or will have) under specific circumstances, you can review the materials below and should also contact a local attorney familiar with criminal law. You can find a list of attorneys in your area on our Civil Rights Law Firms page.

Copyright HG.org.

 

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You Don’t have The Right To Bitch

“You don’t have the right to bitch about something unless you are willing to stand up and do something about it.”

This was said in a Ted Talk. It is very good and worth watching. I believe this. That’s the name of the game isn’t it? Lots of people have an opinion about what is the right thing to do. Some also pass judgement on others, but all they do is talk. When it comes time to do anything about it they go away because it is asking too much.

We have a problem in this country. When it comes down to helping to make the change that is needed they wait for someone else to do it. “I don’t have time” or “I don’t know what to do”. This is not everyone but if 25% more people did more than just read about it, maybe change in rotten systems, like the criminal justice system, could happen.

It’s been ten years since the concept of “prison” entered my life. I had never known anyone who was incarcerated. I knew nothing. The only time I ever thought about it was during an episode of Prison Break.

These years have taught me what it really means to have compassion for human beings regardless of who they are or what they have done that landed them in a prison cell. Some were forced in with plea deals. Some aren’t guilty at all. Some tried to get away with doing something and got caught. Some are mentally ill and were imprisoned instead of treated. Some should never be let out because they are too dangerous to be allowed in society – but that doesn’t mean they should be inhuman treated. That makes us just as bad.

I want to thank those who have supported my effects by sharing posts and commented, subscribed to my newsletter and steamed my music. Followed my YouTube and read chapters of the book I’m writing. Thank you. Thank you.

Without you I could do none of this.

 

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Eyes In The Back of My Head – ITFO Chapter

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Eyes in The Back of My Head

 

There was a murder in the shower. A dude was stabbed twenty-seven times by his cellmate. Jamie was blown away. It was going too far. This could happen to anyone in here if they got on the wrong side of someone else. Punishment was dished out the way anyone thought it should be. Lots of these dudes had been screwed by the justice system, so they were going to give justice the way they saw fit.
     There was so much violence in this prison. No prison is a good prison but he heard dudes talk about this prison being one of the worst. The guards were corrupt and in business with the gangs. They make the inmates fight each other and bet on who will be left standing. He should be getting used to this by now, but he wasn’t. He didn’t want to get mixed up in it but they don’t let that happen. He was a big guy and he knew how to fight. He tried to stay by himself as much as possible. The last thing he wanted was to get more time added to his sentence, and they would do that in a heart beat if the wrong person saw a fight going down.
     Eyes in the back of his head were what he needed. He couldn’t trust nobody to have his back. More than half the dudes in here had some sort of weapon and they wouldn’t hesitate to use it if they felt threatened.
     Drugs were involved in everything. It’s how money was made on both sides of the fence. The quantity and variety of drugs coming through here was crazy. Pills, weed, heroin; you name it, it’s in here. There was more drugs in here than a crack house on a street corner, and just as easy to get – if you have the money. If you don’t, and you don’t pay up, that could get you killed.
     It comes in packed along with supplies and the staff that worked in the kitchen or handled other supplies for the prison made sure it got to the right people. That wasn’t the only way it came in. Visitors smuggled it in, too. Some got caught and some didn’t. It’s not worth the risk. If you were an addict you’d probably think different.
     On top of that, some of the men made their own wine. Five dudes recently got caught who were stupid drunk on their assess. Getting drunk wasn’t worth the possibility of getting caught with it, trying to escape reality. Whether inside or out when you didn’t like your life, drugs and alcohol gave you a false sense of a better world for a short time. Then you come down and you’re still living in the same screwed up place. People die of overdosing in here the same as on the street. He wasn’t tempted to do drugs, at least chemical ones that mixed with his seizure meds. That was dangerous. He didn’t mind a little weed, though, but in here you don’t know what you’re getting and there is some bad shit going around that really messes you up. The dude who killed his cellie in the shower was drunk when he did it. What happened that he needed to kill him over it? This wasn’t like the free world. No one thought about consequences. They reacted to what happened right that minute and didn’t care because they were already locked up.
     Without a courtroom the men acted as the judge, jury and executioner in a much worse way than the courts could impose. It took very little for someone to decide you needed to die and you ended up with a knife across your throat. He wanted to be transferred somewhere else, but he didn’t see that coming anytime soon. In the meantime he needed to be careful.

<<< >>>

Jamie was lucky. He had a window in this cell. sometimes he didn’t and never what time of day it was. It was suffocating. Sometimes he went a long time without breathing any fresh air. He couldn’t see much of anything out the window. He doubted if it had ever been cleaned. Still, when he closed his eyes he could feel light on his face when he closed his eyes and he could pretend he was anywhere but where he was.
     Summer would be on them really quick. Right now it was the time of year when it wasn’t to hot or too cold. It wouldn’t last. In Texas the summers were killers, and every year more people died. There was always talk about how that needed to be fixed, usually around an election time, but nothing was ever done about it. They weren’t going to spend money they would rather put in their pockets.
     It was going to be hard. There was nothing he could do but try to get through it. He dreaded this time of year. He had lived in Texas his whole life so he should be used to it. The difference was he couldn’t step through a door into air conditioning and find relief, except if he had to go to the medical unit.
     Things weren’t looking up for him. He feels like he’s in a no-win situation between a few of the guards and inmates. If he wasn’t careful it could get him getting killed in the shower, too.
     He had reason to be scared because these guards will let the inmates beat you up, or beat you up themselves. There was a fine line between guards and criminals that was crossed all the time. So it was really not guaranteed he would someday go home. He tried not to think about that, but it could happen.
     Wanting to be with his family was the only thing that got him through the day. He promised himself he would never give up, even though he was hurting inside. There were a lot of corners to turn and hills to climb but that it was part of his life now and he had to find a way to get through it.

Jamie decided to stay in his cell today. He had little to do except have conversations with himself. He was doing his best to stay away from trouble but it managed to find him if he left his cell. He didn’t have anything to read he hadn’t read countless times already. He was restless. Sitting on his bunk he leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes. Maybe he could go to sleep for awhile and kill some time.
     “It’s hard sometimes, isn’t it?” Jamie kept his eyes closed and smiled. He was starting to like this. It was good timing, he needed someone to talk to.
     He cocked his head to the right and opened his eyes.
     “I can only take so much,” he said, answering her question.
     Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail that went almost to her waist. It looked good on her. She stood there looking at him, wearing jeans and her hands were on  her hips. She was smiling. He never realized before how valuable a smile was ’cause he sure didn’t get many. She might be Morgan’s mom but they sure didn’t look anything alike. They were both beautiful in their own way.
     Suddenly he realized, if he was making all this up in his head he sure did have a good imagination, didn’t he? In a way he wished others could see her, to prove he wasn’t nuts, but maybe it was better this way.
     Jamie thought about the three years they had been writing.  He never really understood why she started writing to him after he had been inside almost two years, but he was glad she did. When he asked her, she said he was family, but after getting to know her she knew no one else was writing to him, so she did.
     She sent books, a little money, and their friendship grew from there. He hated to ask her for money, but she was the only one who would help him. She didn’t make him feel like he was begging. He was grateful for everything she did, but he didn’t want anyone to think he was using her, especially Morgan. She told him not to feel like that. She helped him out because she wanted to. She sends what she can when she can.
     Her letters kept him going. She was his connection to the outside world. He didn’t know if he would make it if she stopped writing. He knew people had their own lives and were busy surviving. He didn’t blame them for not having time for him. He didn’t need anyone to write all the time. The occasional letter he did get was about what was happening to whom, but no one asked him how he was doing or if he needed anything. If you don’t ask you don’t know. Gradually even those letters faded away .
     Jamie needed her, and she knew it. When she wrote it was like a conversation back and forth. She cared how he was doing. Apart from the mental need, if she didn’t help him get things like stamps and hygiene he’d have to find some other way to get them. He might end up owing someone and maybe that would not end too good. In addition, she was a sight for sore eyes, even if she wasn’t real.
     “I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to handle the situations I have on my hands right now and what to do about it.” Jamie told her.
     “What’s the problem?” she asked.
     “I can’t sit in my cell 24/7. In fact, I’m not going to,” he said, making up his mind.
     “Why do you think you need to stay in your cell?” not understanding the problem.
     “If I can’t talk to these dudes about the problem we’re having then there’s only one solution.
     She wasn’t going to like this. “I hate to go back down that road but I might have to. I’ve had two fights already and the way things are going there could be plenty more to come.”
     “That’s what they do in here – fight,” he told her.
She paused for a few seconds and frowned.
     “That’s the way karma works,” she began.
     “Causes made in the past come into play today, or in your future,” she gently explained. “When a cause is made there is going to an effect at some point, for all the good and all the bad that has happened. The same is true for everyone. No one – gets away – with anything.”
     Jamie got up and went to his locker. He sorted through a stack of letters until he found the one he was looking for.
     Taking it out of the envelope and reading through it, he stopped and looked at her, “It’s true what you said,” he paused.

<<< >>>
     

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Jamie’s Son Jamie

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I couldn’t resist putting up this picture of my grandson. Jamie’s son was 12 this past July. It’s been hard on him having a father in prison. The hardest part is not really knowing who he is. It wasn’t as if he knew before it happened. They will have to work that out when he gets out.

One of the hardest things for me is knowing he will have to face the racists who feel black people don’t deserve to share the same space they are in. It isn’t a matter of “if” it will happen but “when” and how often it will happen. I write to help people better understand the reality of an unequal society and the higher percentage that get locked up because of it. I devote a large percentage of my day working to make a change. Talking to people, answering their “What do I do now?” questions.

The T-shirt my grandson is wearing is for sale. It helps to cover the cost of providing what Jamie needs to survive. He has no help from his family. I wish I didn’t have to write that.

After Christmas I want to take a trip to The to go to the prison. It’s been almost a year. I hope to take his son with me.

This link – right here – will take you to the page where the t-shirt and tote bag are for sale. Or you can donate any amount of money from $1 up. Anything would be appreciated.

tote bag with Jamie's picture

One more thing. I sent his son a tote bag. He’s hanging out on his wall and using it as a place to keep his father’s letters and cards. Keeping them together is important to me.

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Am I Too Broken To Mend -ITFO Chapter, Poetry and Music

 

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Fractures from falling
Invisible pain
Counting the minutes
Like drops in the rain
It runs down my body
Soothing my skin
Gathers the heartbeats
Holding them in

Imagine forever
Time without rest
The passing of memories
My hand on my breast
Feeling my heartbeat
Wanting to end
I’m broken in pieces
Too many to mend?

You get back what you give
No more, nothing less
Trace the wound with your finger
A tiny caress
Time doesn’t linger
Waiting to heal
The pieces of you
That forgot how to heal

This is a partial chapter. To read complete chapters subscribe to ITFO News below. Any new subscribers from this date I will automatically send the current chapter. If you have already subscribed to ITFO News and would like it, drop me an email at squick@mynameisjamie.net and type – Please send Too Broken To Mend” in the email subject line and I’ll send it to you. 

 

Am I Too Broken To Mend

 

Jamie reached his hands out and braced them on the wall. This was bullshit. He was tired of being on the receiving end of being ignored. What was the point? He tried hard to let it pass over him but today it got to him. He knew they were trying to make him angry. If they succeeded they could write up another case on him.
     Being in adseg was deliberate, they didn’t want to let him out of here, but he was determined to make his way back to G2 so he could go to school. He needed to take care of his family when he got out and that won’t happen if he didn’t have schooling and learn to do something that made enough money. Right now he couldn’t make enough money to take care of himself. If that happened what would he do? Would his family take care of him? For how long?
     The warden wanted him right where he was. Guards had an easy job when the men were locked up in their cells so they did whatever they could to make sure that happened. It didn’t help him none when he burst out with anger. He needed to learn to control his emotions.
     Once again the nurse pretended he wasn’t there when she made her rounds giving out meds. As she continued walking past him down the hall he yelled, “My meds, where are they? It’s been three days.”
     To top it off she turned around and gave him a cocky, know-it-all smile.IHer actions were deliberate. She knew he was supposed to get his seizure medication. Most likely she was told to skip him again. It didn’t make sense until he realized how much money the medical unit made by shorting inmates. He knew he wasn’t the only one being skipped. It didn’t matter what illness you had, they were going to short your meds. Who were you going to complain to?
     “I want to talk to an officer,” he yelled as the bars at the end of the hallway door slid open and clanked shut as she walked through.
   “I want to file a grievance,” he yelled louder, even though she was now beyond being able to hear him.
      It was pointless to file. No good ever came of it. He hadn’t heard of even one person saying they had filed one and it worked. The prison wasn’t going to stop because a complaint was filed. If anything, they would retaliate so you better think about how worth it was. The staff always got away with anything they did to the inmates. Nobody cared.
     He knew the chances of having more seizures increased every time they skipped his meds. They probably wrote in his file that they gave it to him so it would be his word against theirs. Maybe he should write it all down so if it was ever checked he’d have proof on his end, if that helped.

<<< >>>

Jamie turned around, put his back against the wall and slid down until he was squatting on the floor. He folded his arms across his knees and lowered his forehead until it rested on his arms. He was tired; tired of doing nothing.
He stayed that way for a long time thinking about how seizures had messed up his life and his helplessness at not being able to control them. It was a weakness they could take advantage of and there was nothing he could do about it.
     As a child he knew he was different from three other kids. His mama made him stay close to her. He want allowed to go outside and run around with the misc in the neighborhood. She checked on him a lot at night, afraid he would have a seizure when he was sleeping and she wouldn’t be there to help him through it. 
     As he got older the seizures got worse. When he was twelve he had brain surgery. He was having non-stop headaches and his mom was worried. The doctor said there was bleeding on his brain and he wanted to see if he could stop it.
     “So what did they do?”
     At the sound of her voice Jamie jerked his head up. He had been almost asleep. Maybe he was still asleep. He pinched himself, but it didn’t change anything. He had been half expecting her to come back and at the same time realized that if she did, it could mean he was starting to lose it. He slowly turned his head and looked at her.
     There she was, sitting besides him on the floor, looking over at him just as casual as she could be, smiling, like it was a normal thing to be sitting next to him on the floor of a men’s prison. What should he do? He smiled back.
     “Better get used to it,” he mumbled to himself under his breath. He had a feeling this was just the beginning.
   “What did they do,” she repeated, as though she had been sitting beside him all along listening to the thoughts in his head. How long had she been sitting there? Could she hear what he was thinking, too? If she could that would be scary.
     Okay, if they were going to do this again, so be it. He wasn’t going to call the guard this time to see if he could see her, too. He didn’t want to get locked up with the crazies. He’d never get another hour of sleep. They scream and moan all night. What was he thinking? He must be nuts. No one would believe him if he told them. He closed his eyes and answered her question. “I don’t think I was ever so scared, even when I was arrested.” 
     “I was having a lot of seizures. They made me feel sick. My mom was really worried.”
     “What caused them,” she asked.
     “People have them for different reasons,” he told her.
    “Sometimes, during their life they had a head a head injury, maybe in some sort of accident. Sometimes it takes years to have the first seizure.”
    “But there was no explanation for mine.” he added.
    “They were always there, from the very beginning, as soon as I was being born.”

End of partial chapter . . .

 

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Am I Too Broken To Mend?

Yamaha DGX 650

This is the latest music written for my book. The chapter is being written today, largely focuses on Jamie have to live with epilepsy from birth. Any time you have more than one seizure for any reason you are considered to have epilepsy.

It can begin at any age, often developing  from trauma to the brain that may have happened many years earlier. But Jamie had a seisure as he was born so he has never known life free of the possibility of a seizure at any moment.

While rereading hundreds of letters in a short period of time, preparing to write the book, I was amazed at how many times the prison withheld his medication for preventing seizures for days at a time. He was never seizure-free but it did cut down on the frequency. Receiving the letters over a ten year period made it less  obvious how often it was.

Withholding medications and medical care in general is one of the main points prisoners wanted addressed in this latest prison protest. They are dying young from diseases they don’t need to die from. No matter what you think about prisoners, this was never part of their sentence – this comes from the greed of the corporations with the co-operation of the government, no matter what they say to try to convince you they want prison reform. Trump has tried this tactic recently. But releasing someone here and there does nothing to alleviate the problem. It just creates good PR for them.

Politicians receive a great deal of campaign money to vote in the best interest of the prison corporations. States let corporations run the prisons so the money doesn’t come out of their budgets. They promise they Will keep the prisons full so they can maximize their profit. Does that sound like prison reform to you. Inmate are worthless For any other reason, right? WRONG.

Sonni Quick

http://sonniquick.net

KS Prison Transfers Used to Silence Dissent

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

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

El Dorado Correctional Facility

KS Prison Transfers Used to Silence Dissent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Jesus Loves The Little Children? All The Children in (America)

I’m angry.

The laws that run this country allow people to abuse other people they think are beneath them. Our prisons are a glaring example.

We know these laws need to change, but those in power don’t want it to change and not enough of us do more than shake our collective heads and go about our business. We’re too busy we tell ourselves.

Over the years men in power have changed the laws to increase their riches and that of the corporations that run the prisons, as well as the prisons that enforce them. While enforcing their laws they have no problem breaking any other law that gets in their way – and then lie about it.

To accomplish this, religion is often used to control the masses. This is nothing new. Now they are changing the law that used to prohibit preachers from politically swaying people from the pulpit making it seem like it is God’s own direct words that instructs people how to vote.

Trump thinks he is the greatest President America has ever had. This is one of the “great” change Jims he has prided himself on doing for the people ( for himself) ever since he became a new baby Christian. Did you fall for that? Now they will be able to continue to abuse the very people they are preaching to. Have we learned nothing through the centuries?

Just as slaveholders did for hundreds of years, beating, starving and raping their property, thinking that being owners allowed them to treat people in the most heinous ways, they continue. That mindset hasn’t changed from then until now.

What is it that makes a supposedly God fearing – oh that’s right. You rarely hear that phrase anymore, “God fearing” because its all about the love now, isn’t it? Do you think it’s okay to abuse people for profit?

jesusschooledya

Do you approve of what Trump’s wall stands for? He needs for Americans to have only contempt for Hispanics and only his wall can save us. Do you believe they should be imprisoned so corporations like CoreCivic and Geo Group can suck as much money as they can from their families on phone calls alone? Do you think they only wanted to come here for free handouts? And who gives a crap about their children? How many people believe that garbage? Wave your MAGA hat if you do.

Did you learn the lesson? Only think about yourself. Put a wall around yourself and harm anyone you think crosses the line. The golden rule we learned as children in Sunday School, “Jesus loves the little children. All the little children in the world,” unless they try to move into your neighborhood. The Golden Rule only applies to the supreme white race loving other supreme white people.

sleeping-baby-1000x666

God is no longer to be feared. He only loves, loves, loves you. He is only concerned with ways to bless you. There is no fear of punishment. Why, because too many people think God lets them off the hook simply by asking for forgiveness. Its not that simple. You reap what you sow. The bible says so 13 times. You get back what you dish out. It comes back and you pay.

Today it brought about this rant. I read that a tired female cop, after a 14 hour shift, tried to get into another man’s apartment thinking it was hers and when he opened the door she repeatedly emptied her gun into him until he was dead! DEAD. It is no excuse she was tired, but it will be used. We don’t kill people when were tired, or you shouldn’t have that job. Her key didn’t fit. That should be clue #1. What does his family do now? His mother lost a son, just like every other black mother who has had their child killed by a cop.

I read about this hate every single day. I’ve had enough. People, ordinary red blooded, heart beating people who love living, who have hopes and dreams, teenagers, business owners, bbq grillers, children walking home from playing in a public pool, airbnb renters, shoppers, children walking home from school, people driving to work, people who think they are safely in their homes, people in the yards, parents who love their children, people in restaurants, university graduates, people stopping for coffee – The List Goes On – are accosted, arrested, beaten to the ground, choked, murdered by cops and white people using “stand your ground” as justification for murder.

We lock up the rest and pretend they are worth nothing. It doesn’t matter that many were forced to plead guilty. The ones who weren’t? It didn’t matter.
97% of everyone arrested end in a plea deal. Only those who can afford an attorney get out. Because bail can’t be paid people often spend years in jail waiting. Families are destroyed. Homes lost, jobs lost and being a parent is lost – but the corpoations make a killing. They can only get out by taking a plea, by admitting guilt. Public defenders tell you additional charges Will be added if you don’t plead guilty.

Is this okay with you?

 

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What Goes Around Comes Around – ITFO Chapter

last-note-2-sm

 

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

 

Startled, Jamie woke up when he heard the food cart coming down the hall with breakfast. He sat up quickly and looked around. It took a few seconds to get his bearings. He half expected Sonni to be there waiting for him to wake up. What had happened earlier? It was confusing. It happened so fast he didn’t have time to put it all together.
     Did he dream the whole thing? He could have. He shook his head back and forth as if trying to clear the picture in his brain. It was surreal, like no dream he ever had before. He would like to think it was real, that Sonni had actually been standing next to him in his cell but that was crazy.
    Loneliness got to him. He heard some of the dudes who had been locked up by themselves for a long time sometimes talked to people they thought they saw in their cells but he knew he wasn’t that far gone.
     If he told anyone what he saw they would think he was nuts. He should write to her today and tell her what happened last night. She’d get a kick out of it. It did seem kinda funny looking back at it. That guard probably thought he’d gone off the deep end, unless he dreamed the whole thing. Jamie could laugh about it now, but last night he really thought he was going crazy.

<<< >>>

It was still dark when his breakfast tray was slid through the food slot. There wasn’t enough light to read or write letters so he laid down and went back to sleep.
     Later in the day he took some paper out of his locker and began drawing the lines going across like a writing tablet. He did it slowly. You could hardly tell it want printed on the paper. He stopped every few minutes and laughed a little as he tried to frame the words of the story he wanted to tell her. After that there was something else he needed to write about. She wanted to know more about the night he was arrested. He didn’t want to dredge it up but she needed to know from him what had happened.
     That’s the bad thing about storytelling. Everyone had their own opinion about what happened and why. A story can grow legs until the truth is barely there. She had heard more than one version of that night and he was the one to tell it. He lived it.
     People remembered what they wanted to remember and when they told a story they added their own details until it sounds like a different story. This was why he needed to write it out once and for all.
     There was one main thing he wanted Sonni to know, and it was important to him. It wasn’t his intention to get mixed up in a robbery that night. He was going out to party with a few other dudes. Morgan lost her car that night. It got impounded. He wouldn’t have done that. He was only guilty of not having good judgement about the people he hung with.
     After four years in juvenile detention from age seventeen to twenty one, Jamie didn’t know how to make the right friends. Everyone he knew was on the verge of becoming an adult felon when they got out. If kids were sent to juvy and shouldn’t be there they had to learn how to survive somehow. . . 

<<<>>>

The rest of the chapter is available to anyone who subscribes to ITFO News. You can leave me a comment and ask me to email it, send me a Facebook message or send an email to squick@mynameisjamie.net. I do not swamp your inbox. Promise. I’d like a way to reach you when it’s ready to publish, and any further ( hopefully ) books I write. A sequel it’s planned for this book. This book will end before he is released.

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