Melvin, the man in southern Texas who goes to visit Jamie every 4-6 weeks, tried to see him today and was turned away. This has been the only man who committed himself to be there for him like a father figure. He has also been able to get information to me about things that are happening. He told me today that Jamie was put back in solitary confinement and they also took away his visiting privileges. I doubt Jamie even knows he tried to see him.
The abuse never stops. In my last letter he said the guards were harassing him so bad he stopped going to chow. It was safer to take his meals in his cell. So what happened? I haven’t gotten a letter from him in two weeks and when that happens it always concerns me. Sometimes they even take away all of his possessions, including his mattress. The worst thing about all of this is that it will used against him when his next parole hearing comes up in Oct 2016.
The parole board will ask,”What have you done to improves yourself?” they will ask. “Nothing? And you think we should let you out?” or “Oh, you don’t even have a GED? You’ll never get a job. Request denied.” Chances for parole are very slim.
He has told me, “They don’t give black dudes parole. They keep them until they time out.” Inmates that stay until the last day of their sentence just get put out. They don’t get the counseling or therapy to help them integrate into society. But he has me, and will do everything I can for him to be okay.
This is why I’m writing the book, “Inside the Forbidden Outside”. I haven’t posted anything new lately. I’m doing a lot of editing and reorganizing and will then hire a real editor to make sure it is done right. I’d like to sell enough copies to give him a nest egg to help get him started. At least that is my dream and even inside prison what is life without a dream?
I talked to my grandson and asked him if there was anything I could tell his daddy for him. He said, “Just tell him I love him.” That will pick up his spirits and give him a reason to keep going. Keeping that connection alive is important. Someday, when his son gets older, if he has any doubt that his father has loved him this entire time, he can read this blog. He can get to know him here. It must be hard to have a father and know you can’t see him. For a variety of reasons no one takes him. I am too far away. His son could be 17 by the time he gets out and Jamie would be close to 40. If he makes it out.
I will just have to wait to hear from him. It’s so premature to even think about when he gets out.
Adult court does not want to take time and money to cases that are being heard by public defenders, who actually work for the DA. They get paid on average, $75 an hour for maybe three hours work to convince you take a plea. They try to stack as many offenses on top whether they are true or not and scare you with unusually long sentences. If you don’t have a paid attorney to defend you, you don’t know what to do. Out of fear you take the plea.
In Jamie’s case he wasn’t innocent. It was his choice to go with his cousin that night. But having no attorney to help him made it worse. He had no priors. But a public defender isn’t interested in doing a good job for you. He’s only interested in being done with you so he can go on to his next “client”. At first Jamie was first told he would get 99 years if he insisted on going to court. The second offer was 45 years. When he continued to refuse they offered him 17 years and told him if he went to court he wouldn’t get that. It would surely be much higher. He was scared. He took the 17 years. He has now almost done 10 of that. They don’t like to parole blacks so he is afraid to get his hopes up. He does have an uncle that works in the parole system in his area so there is hope he can somehow intervene. But since they keep him in ad seg, and can’t show he has improved himself there is still only slim hope. The prison system sets them up to fail.
(Sonni’s note: A couple weeks ago I asked for people to write messages of encouragement to Jamie and send them to his email address at firstname.lastname@example.org. He had just had a really hard time with the officers at the prison. They poked and prodded and lied to him until he finally lost his temper, which gave them the excuse to bring him out of his cell. Five guards kicked the crap out of him and rammed his head into a wall and split it open.
The abuse continued for days – because he fought back. You can’t fight back. He couldn’t win that one. They set him up and he fell right into it. I could tell by his letter he had hit bottom.
How often can you go through that and still stay encouraged you’ll live to get out of there, and not be so affected by it that you can’t have a normal life? It’s like coming home from a war. yes, inmates get PTSD. When you have lost all your freedoms and it lasts for years, knowing that you can walk out the door into the sunshine whenever you want to is hard. That is why caged animals have a hard time leaving their cage. Fear of the unknown. Some people were kind enough to send really great emails. I’m sending them one at a time and stretching it out. Hearing from people on the outside mean more than you can imagine.
When someone has been locked up for a long time, family and friends usually have less and less to do with you. Inmates lose their identity. I write to him often and talk about what is going on in my day. We discuss things that are happening. This is often the only communication he gets from the outside for long stretches of time. So every single letter is a big deal. If you want – you can still send an email at any time to the above email address and I’ll make sure he gets it, even if it only a line or two. Thanks.
(First the message Maesha sent to him and then his reply.)
My Name is Maesha. I’m a Canadian and I live in Toronto, Ontario. I’ve just recently ‘met’ your ‘mom’ Sonni online through blogging. I have to tell you that immediately I felt her deep and loving kindred spirit. It’s easy to see that she loves you a great deal. The effort she is making to bring your story to others is inspiring and noble. I wish you could see it. What she is doing would give you so much hope!
I can’t say I’m enjoying reading about the experience you are having in life, where you are at this very moment. My world was so vastly different than yours, so much so that I have a difficult time understanding sometimes. It does make me sad. It’s difficult to learn what I’m learning about the system. And when Sonni writes a post, I feel your pain.
There’s a part of me that hopes that by taking on some of that sorrow less of it will find its way to you. Sonni is doing that for you. You may not see her directly, but she is your very own tiny piece of heaven.
Jamie, you are still a young man. And when you get out, you will still be young enough with a lot of time to bring to the world all the beautiful human worth you possess. There are sources of strength deep within you. You are a survivor. I suppose we are all survivors in some capacity. We must continuously search for strength and the courage to go on, to become stronger and stronger.
Sending strength and hope, with a side dish of love.
I will try to keep this as short as I can. First I would like to thank you for your words of encouragement. Mom sent me your post from the blog. I must say when i first saw your your name I thought you were my cousin. Lol her name is Maesha as well. However, as I read I noticed you said you were from Canada. First person that came to my mind was Drake. One of the best rappers. He’s real gifted. Sorry for getting sidetracked.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my story. I tell it, not just to try to get the world to understand how the system treats us, but to try to get the families to understand why their their loved one’s are lost in the system. I’m in Texas and we who are incarcerated there, there is a good chance, 50/50 that we won’t make parole. Why? Money, as well as slavery. We are worked without pay. If we don’t work it stops us from going home. But even if we work we still don’t have a chance of making parole. We are kept incarcerated and away from our families to support these people’s greed. That’s just half of it Maesha. We are treated badly and provoked by the officers. These people speak of changing our life but the way they act and treat us is crazy.
The system is really made to destroy us, and turn us into someone we are not. They are successful with that with a lot of people, and a few they are not. As long as these people get as much money out of us they can, whether it’s from working us, commissary products we buy, and overcharging the phone system, and even bringing in drugs and cell phones to sell. They don’t care. These want us to stay criminals, even while they call for us to change. However, they are the ones who bring in the drugs and cellphones. Crazy, huh?
Well, I’m going to go for now. I hope you get this. Thanks again for reading my story.
Always, your friend, Jamie