I spend a lot of my time researching what is happening in our prison system, determined to find ways to not only help the public understand what it means to be in prison, but also to find ways that I can help, not only Jamie, but other people. What happens when an inmate gets out of prison largely depends on the support he gets while still in prison and often that support is minimal. I have read many articles about how high the recidivism rate is. Inmates end right back inside. They don’t have the education they need to support themselves, and also to feel good about who they are. Do they have any days where the word “Inmate” doesn’t feel as though it is imprinted on their forehead? Until the laws are changed, when an employer sees the box checked that asks if they were ever convicted of a felony they won’t get hired. If they apply for higher education and the college see that same box checked they will most likely get turned down regardless of their abilities. And in Jamie’s case, he has epilepsy. He can’t do manual labor jobs dealing with machinery or even get a driver’s license. His survival of his time has not been easy. Preparation for the rest of the time in his life will be a challenge

15 thoughts on “Surviving the Time

  1. Hi Sonni,

    My Love has been in prison for 27 years. I found you because you commented on his blog that he wrote 3 years ago. https://inmateblogger.com/2015/04/18/dwayne-satterfield/ (and he has found Love! Yay!)
    He was sentenced to Life Without Parole when he was 18 years old. We are waiting on some cases that are being deliberated in the Supreme Court right now based on juvenile sentencing that might give him the opportunity for a re-sentencing, and hopefully, the opportunity to be released from prison.

    I look forward to exploring your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for telling this. So many, mostly men were sentenced in such way to lose their entire lives, yet many adults are released after x amount years. I did stupid things at 18 that could have gotten me locked . Am I that person today? Would punishing me now serve a purpose? But good things are happening in our justice system now with them taking a better look at the situation. If you ever want me to reblog a post let me know. I could also put his story in my next newsletter. I think I’ll do a topic on juvenile lifers. When did you meet him?

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      1. I met him in October of 2016. I was reading an article about someone that was being re-sentenced because he was LWOP but was 16 when he committed his crime. As I read more about the case, I discovered that his co-defendant was 18 and was not being given the opportunity for re-sentencing. As I continued to read about the case, the injustice of it really got to me and I ended up finding him on writeaprisoner and writing him a letter. I have never written to an incarcerated individual before and I was a little unsure about it. In all honestly, I probably wouldn’t have written him , but I felt secure knowing he was 2,000 miles away. I had some preconceived ideas about that a person in prison was like.

        Little did I know at the time what an amazing person he is today. He does the dog program, teaches Yoga behind Bars, makes quilts for the homeless, makes hand-made journals for women’s shelters and teddy bears for the kids that are with their mothers in the shelters. He has turned his life completely around and is truly the most amazing person I have ever met.

        Let me reach out to him and tell him about you and your blog! I would love to get his story out there. He has no family to speak of and he has one pro-bono attorney in Seattle that works with the Youth Advocacy Clinic. He is my Love’s only hope at this point…

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It an intense relationship that is built through letters. All you have is words. No body language. The man I write to and I and have 12 years of letters. I met him once before he was arrested. . That story is in the pages at the top of the blog. . For years I was Mom. He was my daughters boyfriend. They have a son born after he was incarcerated. She nt

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        2. Hmmm. I think it posted. . . She went with life. His family dumped . All he has had is me to help and there for him. They won’t let him out of adseg. No GED, no phonecalls. Nothing. My daughter is angry that we write. But I’m not stopping, because he needs someone who cares. He wouldn’t make it through these last 5 years. I am 28 years older than he is – but in letters none of that matters. Only the lifeline that connects through the letters matters. I’m hoping the book/music I’m writing will pay off in the end and help him have a life.

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          1. You sound like an amazing person Sonni. I am glad the Universe has put you in my path 🙂

            I talked to Dwayne about you and he would like to give you something for your newsletter/blog. Do you have any advice to him on what to write? Do you want to know about his upbringing and how that contributed to him being in prison? Or how he has changed since he was first convicted? Or how he is helping other incarcerated inmates?

            He wrote you a note in a jpay email to me. Here is the text:

            Sonni.
            I want to thank you. I never knew your response to my post and when Teja told me what you wrote I was struck by how insightful you were.
            I know that Teja responded to you but I would like to also.

            Love did finally find me and when it did it was like being struck by lightning! Teja is the best person I have ever met, straight away it was as if I had knew her my whole life, it was so easy to trust and confide in her, which I am sure you know how difficult that is for hose of us that have spent our whole adult lives in prison.

            Teja completes me in ways I could have only imagined before. Because of her I am a better man. so to return to the topic, Love, the real thing, has found me. Thank you for your response.

            Teja also spoke to me about your idea of writing a story in a newsletter. I’d be very interested to assist you in any way that I can. Just let me know what you would like.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Dwayne, people who don’t know anything about the criminal justice system or know anyone inside know nothing except for what they learn through the media, TV or movies. You can’t blame them for that when they hold strong biases. “Inmate” means the same thing to them no matter who they are. But each inmate is human and is more than the reason they are inside. Jamie Cummings, who I write about did 4 yrs in JD for his younger brother. He had a target on his back his entire life. No one took the time to see the person he was. It is rare for him to hear from any family and no one else will put money on his acct. It is why I’m writing a book on his life. What caused this to happen? What ways did he have to change and how did it hurt him? He will get out some day. What would happen to him without someone to help him navigate a hostile society.

              I hope you get another chance. I think it would be best to do your story in 3 parts and put it on my blog. One part will link to the next. I can link to it in my newsletter and each of them posts to my social media. Resentencing the adults who were sentenced as juveniles with lwop has been written about in a number of publications this past year so I know it is of interest to readers. I’m also connected to at least 20 other Facebook pages about prison reform etc where I share posts. I think you have story worth publishing.

              Take your time. Put in as much detail as you want. I will wait to hear back from you. I also use jpay. I can get your # from Teja. Take care. Sonni
              ————————-
              Teja, people cross paths for reason. Everything is for a reason.That in itself is long conversation. I am a Nichiren Buddhist – for 30 years. I specify what Buddhism because there is a huge difference between that and Zen or Shinto or Tibetan just like Christian religions between Pentacostal and Mormon. I mention this because I put a lot of thought into who I am and accepting responsibility for my life and what I do – because there are effects for everything, good and bad. Always repercussions for choices. Understanding that makes life interesting because we CAN affect our future. This is the philosophy I’ve taught Jamie, to be able to deal with his life in lock up 23 hrs a day for years. It’s a very lonely place to be.

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            2. I don’t know if you have written about this earlier in your blog, but there was no indication in the posts I read. You’ve had quite a lot to deal with and overcome.

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            3. I have a seperate blog where I keep all the emails and writing/journaling that Dwayne and I do with each other. My FourStars blog was a sort of vent for the chaos that I had allowed my life to become a few years ago. It is interesting to go back and read it now and wonder how I ever let it get to crazy. Lack of boundaries, people-pleasing, co-dependency and conflict-avoidance had a great deal to do with it. I have a fabulous counselor that has really helped me get back on my square and get back to the real “me” I always was. Feels great!
              I will have to look more into Nichiren Buddism! Dwayne took his Ethical precepts vows in prison through a nun from Sravasti Abbey that came in to work with the prisoners. https://sravastiabbey.org/who-we-are/
              Dwyane and I meditate together every evening at the same time 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

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