Sometimes,You Just Do What You Gotta Do

wynne unit,Huntsville Prison,solitary confinement,mass incarceration
Prison unit Jamie is in
photo source; brokenchains.us

May 29,2015.

Hello mom,

How are you? Fine I hope and in the best of health as well.  I received all of your letters. Before I got them I had written back to you but I wasn’t able to send it out.  They took all my property.  Then they gave it back to me and then they took it away again.  In this letter I will explain to you how I have been feeling as well as let you know what happened with me.

For as long as a week I was picked on and refused showers, meals and recreation.  I’ve been given every punishment they could give to me. I spoke with every ranking officer about an officer named Robert Curlee.  He’s the one that refuses me everything.  Guess what they tell me?  Stop letting him get to you because he goes home at 1:00.  So I say okay, I understand that except he does it to me every day, and ya’ll are not doing anything to stop him, not even talking to him about it.  So I said, don’t worry about it. I went to see the warden in UCC ( the prison’s court)  about a case I got.  I talked to him about it and why I got it.  However, when I talked to him about the officer and what he was doing to me he just waved me off like a fly.  So guess what?  Me being me I’m gonna speak my mind. You know I’m very outspoken.

So I told the warden, “You know I’ve tried to do the right thing, by talking to your ranking officer about a problem I’ve been happening with an officer of yours. I’ve just tried to explain that to you, but you showed me you don’t care by waving me off, so I don’t care, either. Fuck you!”

Of course I was locked back up in solitary confinement after that.

So here I am, having the same problem with the same officer. I called him to my door and asked him why he was doing what he was do?

He said, “It’s because gray rides with gray (guards), and if an officer tells me not to feed you or take you to shower, then I’m not going to do it.”

But I know no one is telling him such things. He’s doing it because we got into it once and he’s holding onto that.

So I say, “You know what? I’m tired of you doing me like this.”

He says, “so?”

So I say, “You know what? Keep messing with me. Call my bluff and I’m gonna beat your ass.”

He turned red. I told him, “I’ve been through a lot. I’ve had some bad news. Let me chill. If not, the first chance I get I’m gonna break your jaw.”

I told the same thing to the ranking officer. Guess what? Now he comes to my door and asks me how I’m doing.

(Sonni’s note: This is not exactly the best way to handle problems and can hurt things for him in the future, but when you are continually pushed to the limit what do you do?  The warden wouldn’t listen.  I’m sure he hears the same thing every day.  He knows what the officers are doing to the inmates.  This is part of what needs to be fixed.  When people are treated inhumanely how much can you push them before they strike back.  But that only gives them reason to keep doing it.  How do we stop this treatment?  I wish I had the answers to that.)

My First Parole Hearing in Huntsville Prison

texas
Sonni’s note: This was originally written on Sept 1st 2013, as Jamie was waiting for his first parole hearing. He told me, in Huntsville prison no one makes parole with their first meeting. It’s so discouraging. He was in Ad Seg at the time (solitary confinement or G5 or administrative segregation. It’s all the same thing) One way they can keep you down is to not let you be able to do anything to show you’ve done something to better yourself. Trying to deal with prison politics is a joke, and the joke is on the prison inmates themselves. Since he shouldn’t have been locked up again for another two years in ad seg in the first place. The parole hearing is a joke. He got jumped. Even a guard testified he had no choice but to defend himself, but it didn’t do any good. They sent him back, anyway. And now they’ve they sent him back for the third time. They have their thumb on you and you can’t do anything about it.

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34287.pdf 

This is an article by NICIC. National Institute of corrections.  I added this article as a link on the left if you wanted to point someone else to it to find it easily.   It has the statistics of offender reentry back into the world.  The percentages of inmates that stay out, according to crimes they committed.  So much depends on education, housing and community support.  I also believe it highly depends on their belief system.  The numbers are for those that had been arrested  up to 4x and then higher.  Jamie has one conviction, and he wasn’t the one who actually committed the crime.  The parole board doesn’t see it that way when they determine whether to give parole, nor does it take into consideration on whether there is a need to keep the prison full.  What is best for the inmate doesn’t actually come into the picture. )

Hi Mom,

I hope this letter finds you well. My first parole hearing is coming up in a few months. I’m trying to not think about it because I don’t have a chance of making it. Mom wrote a letter to the parole board. She sent me a copy of the letter. It won’t do no good but she says it won’t hurt for them to read about me from someone else. She says maybe it will make them feel better about me the next time. I know she would really want to be here but I’m not sure if they would even let her in for it. But I’d really like to see her again. We didn’t have enough time last time. I know I shouldn’t be complaining cause it seems as if I had a lot of visits, but they all happened in a one month. It was six years since the one visit I had before then. It would be great if I could have a visit from somebody once a month, but I doubt that would happen. It never has. Wishful thinking. These things are what gives me memories. I play them over and over in my head.

If you want to get parole you have to have an L1 rating and I’m an L3, so they’ll probably put off my next hearing for 3 years. That sucks. It stands for line class. You go up one number each year, if you’re lucky. They keep you knocked down and then they can keep you locked up. Also, when you’re in G5 you can’t take any classes or use the library. I would have to be in G2 for that. But in G4 I can go to the rec room where there’s a TV or they play cards and other stuff. The parole board will want to know what I’ve done to help myself when they know very well that I can’t do anything to help myself because they keep knocking me down to a level where I can’t do anything even if I wanted to, and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s just the way prison life is. But at least I have the books and magazines that Mom sends me.

At the parole hearing they’ll want three addresses and three phone numbers so they can call and talk about the area where I would get paroled to, but I don’t really know if they would call anyone. They want to keep us here. They make lots of money off us. Without prisons Texas is broke. There’s over a hundred prisons in Texas alone. This is supposed to be the land of the free but we have more people locked than any other country in the world. Is it because people here are commit more crimes? I don’t think so. A lot of big businesses make money off us, too, with all the things we need to buy and all the things they have to provide us, as little as it is. Prisons are big business. So if they can keep us in here then they all win and we all lose.

It’s really cold right now. They have no heat. I’m wearing all the clothing I own. It’s hard to sleep when you’re freezing. No heat in the winter and no AC in the summer. I think it’s another way to torture us. I don’t like this at all. Too cold.

( Sonni’s note: Nov 25, 2014. He is now in G4. He gets out one hour a day to go to a cage not much bigger than his cell so he can walk or pace or exercise by himself. He’s still cold and winter is just getting started. I sent him some money to buy long johns. They have them in the commissary which they’re allowed to go to twice a month. He was right, though, there was no chance of making parole. He said to me once, ” The parole board don’t like to parole Blacks”. He’s seen a lot of men get turned down. Gotta keep those prisons full. He made G2 in December and they knocked him down to the bottom again mid February. They’ve knocked him down twice to solitary for a total of about 4 years. He’s in G4 now, not G5, He’ll have to work his way back up to g2 to get his privileges back. He managed to find a GED book and he’s studying. He said he wants to be ready to start taking classes when he gets out when he gets back to G2, except he has no idea when that will be. He’ll be able to go to the library then, too. I asked him what his favorite subject is. He said it was math. Hmmm. . . . There are careers he could study for if he has an aptitude for math. I was able to get my cell phone in the system for “Friends and Family” which is a way for inmates to make calls. The process was not easy, and now they have taken it away from him. he was able to make calls for two weeks. These are all positive things that will give him a better chance of making parole sometime in the next 8 years. ( I’m not smiling) (added: march 1, 2015. He goes up for parole hearing again in October, 2016)