Inside The Forbidden Outside – The Hardest Lesson to Learn

This chapter is broken into two segments to make it easier to read in one sitting.  The first part is my words, and part two are letters from Jamie.  Part two was already published as the chapter, “I’ll Love You Always, Daddy”  It was expanded because of other letters I found.

INSIDE THE FORBIDDEN OUTSIDE     by Sonni Quick  COPYRIGHT 2016

See the SoundCloud link below to go to the rest of the music.  As with all web based media, all stats, likes and shares helps to spread the word as I try to get this off the ground.  it would be appreciated more than you know.

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THE HARDEST LESSON TO LEARN

       The hardest lesson to learn in life is the one where you realize, no matter what you do, there is nothing you can do to change it. You can’t make it better on the outside, because you can no longer control it. But you can learn to pay attention to things you do now, because there are effects to every cause we make, good and bad. These causes send our life in directions we often later regret. We can’t go back and do things over, but we can do other things that effect our future in a better way.
        Through the book there are times when both Jamie and I speak because our stories became intertwined during these years. At the moment I am reading through hundreds of letters Jamie has written to me over these years. He has, in reality, grown up while being locked up. He has been locked up since before he turned sixteen, except for a brief period when he met my daughter after he was released from juvenile detention and they now have a son. Today, in 2016, he is thirty three. That is a lot of life to lose, and unless there are things learned that will make the rest of his life better than it would have been had he not gone in, then that is a high price to pay for wisdom.      

       In a way, I have watched him grow and mature from a boy into a man. He had to decide which lessons he needed to learn so he would be able to figure things out for himself. That hasn’t been an easy road.  There is only so much you can understand unless you were taught. We learn wisdom by our life experiences. What do you do when you don’t have the practical experiences needed to acquire wisdom? What happens when the things you do learn are not the right things for life on the outside?

       Because he really needed one, I became mom, although he is much more than that to me. His biological mother seldom made a step into his world and he was left with no support, emotionally or financially.  One of my worries was how does he not become institutionalized? I have seen the effects of that with other people who were not able to adjust when they got out. Where does he direct the anger he has over the way people have treated him? Anger is one way to cover up pain, and that pain, at times, becomes unbearable, especially when it involves his son.
        Because Jamie is in prison, does that make him a bad person? Should one of his consequences be people looking at him through the lens of “once a loser, always a loser?” Many people on the outside have only one view, and that is to look at convicts as always being criminals. It’s hard to pay the complete price and not be judged as a loser. There is no mid ground. They can never finish paying their dues. People may say inmates deserve a second chance, but only as long as they do not live near them and not in their neighborhood. Inmates are judged harshly by non perfect people who don’t think of the things they might have done in their own past, but didn’t get caught. Haven’t we all done things we aren’t proud of, or did something that was at least on the edge of being against the law? Haven’t we all been blamed for something we didn’t do, yet no one believed us?
        I often read comments like this about black people that were left at the end of articles. Many of these people are white and consider black people as having crime in their genes along with not being overly bright. A stigma is attached to being black. White privilege is usually dripping with sarcasm about what they think they deserve over black people, simply because they were born white. Blacks can never be good enough in the eyes of many white people who still think of themselves as being privileged. That is the way our justice system works.
I now have two half black grandsons. In my opinion, from what I’ve seen, boys have it harder than girls, when being harassed by the police, although I know it’s been hard on the females as well. Racism has entered my home. I know now what it is like to be frightened for my family. It is easy to say you aren’t racist when you are white, when you don’t have to worry about your family. But as long as the percentage of black to white remains the way it is in the prisons, I have reason to fear for my family as any other black grandmother does.

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       The negative way many people see black people has intentionally been driven into the heads of white people by our government over the last thirty years to support their ‘War on Drugs.’ Tell a lie long enough and people will believe it. The government is largely responsible for the intense racism still going on in America to support the bottom line profit of the corporations that own and operate a large percentage of the state prisons. to make a profit there needs to be an endless supply of people being incarcerated. Blacks, Hispanics and other minorities fill those quotas.
        There are four kinds of incarcerated people. One: People who should never be allowed to roam free among people because their crimes have proven they have no idea what the difference is between right and wrong. Two: There is nowhere to house the mentally ill. They don’t get the treatment they desperately need and are instead put in solitary confinement cells and neglected until their insanity is complete. These people often die in prison from neglect. Three: There are those that made a stupid mistake. They aren’t a danger to society and want another chance to prove it. Four: The innocent, and there are quite a few of them if you take the time to read the pleas of help from people who are supporting people who have been charged with crimes they didn’t commit.
        Judging from the number of people who are set free from prison, often after being incarcerated for decades, because they were finally proven innocent, shows you how deliberate the judicial system has been in locking up as many blacks and minorities as possible. These incarcerated people are valuable to the the corporations who want them for free labor just as plantations owners were in the past who needed slaves. In addition, there are many supplies needed for these millions of people and companies bid on the contracts to be the ones to supply them. Prison is big business. To stop this way of doing business will be fought by those corporations.
        The blacks and minorities are often forced to take pleas offered to them by public defenders who work for the District Attorney, not the people they are supposed to be defending. These people either take the plea deal, or they are threatened with having more charges added. This is what happened to Jamie. He wanted to go to court. He wanted to explain his side of the story, but he would never get that chance. He finally had to accept the seventeen year plea deal or he was threatened with  up to ninety-nine years if he insisted on going to court. They intended to scare him and they succeeded. He had no one on his side he could get advice from. He was more alone than he had ever been in his life. He knew he was screwed.
        Jamie became the next person to help fill quota the Prison Industrial Complex had been promised by our government with twenty year contracts.. The corporations were promised the prisons would be kept full or they would be paid for each empty bed. No one cared what happened to the people who got sucked into this system. He was a criminal. He didn’t deserve consideration. He was no longer a human being. He was a number. #1368189.
        Year after year Jamie sits in his prison cell and tries to live through the grief of his ruined life. The letters he wrote to me are a diary of his time inside and the inhumane way he was treated.  After years of writing, I learned for the first time, why our prisons are continuously being built. At the time, though, I didn’t know anything. I never gave one thought about the prisons. They didn’t exist in my life. It never made it into the news. The only people who understood what was happening was the black community, but if anything at all was said, it was to instill in the minds of white people that black people were dangerous and far less intelligent. They were told blacks were lazy and didn’t want to work. They grew to believe black people kept having more kids to get bigger welfare checks. The people who did do that were just as white as they were black. It wasn’t decided by skin color.

       People believe what they read in the news and when anything is said often enough, it is believed as truth. Trying to change that perception today is hard. They don’t want to believe that their hatred and fear wasn’t warranted. There had to be a reason why cops were killing black people left and right and the police were giving excuses for killing black boys and men by saying they were were afraid for their lives, even if the person they killed had no weapon. We’ve all read the stories.
        When I growing up I was scared to death of black people. There was a line down the middle of our town and the blacks lived on the other side and whites on the other. I remember wanting to touch their skin to see if it felt different. I wasn’t racist – until I got into my teens, but that is another story for another time.
        Later in life I thought, like everyone else, the purpose of our prisons was to lock up bad people so our country would be safe for everyone else. The government, during the Nixon administration, manufactured the war on crime and the war on drugs. I thought it was true. I learned the prisons were full of extremely bad people. But when a closer look is taken, it seems that in the 1980’s and 90’s our country spawned a very large number of black people we needed to be protected from.
        New prisons were being built at a fast rate and still are. The news was full of stories about crack cocaine and heroin. It was a problem. It still is, but we were told over and over we needed to be afraid of black people, not white people. They made us afraid to walk on the same side of the street with black people because they were going to rob us. Walk on the other side of the street, we were warned. Be afraid, be very afraid of anyone wearing a sweatshirt with a hoodie, as if the sweatshirt alone turned them into thugs. Black people couldn’t help it, we were taught. They were born that way. It was in their genes.
        White people were rarely associated with these drugs.  In reality, the use of drugs is  evenly split between black and white. But the government needed people to believe the problem was because of the blacks, to support the war of drugs, to support the building of endless prisons, and to support the corporations who were in it for profit. They won. The plantations of the south simply moved inside the prisons and business continued as usual. Can we undo the damage that has been done to the black race? It will be hard because it spawned a new generation of racists right on down through the police and the justice system.
        Jamie is not in prison for drugs, but everything that was happening also affected how the two races, as well as Hispanics and other minorities, were sentenced. The sentence of Life without parole is handed down to all non whites much more often. White offenders were given much lighter sentences straight across the board. You need only look at the prison population to see this. There are also many more black not guilty inmates. When an inmate is finally set free who isn’t guilty that inmate is usually black and has served on average of 20-30 years of his life for no valid reason.
        How come we have so many more dangerous people in America who need to be locked up for the rest of their lives than there are in other countries? How could we have 5% of the world’s population and 25% of all the prisoners? What was wrong with the United States that there were so many more bad people living here who didn’t need to be locked up before, but they do now? Why did the concentrate black people to arrest?  Why were so many more black people given LWOP – life without parole?  The average person never knew this. They didn’t even know it was a question they should be asking because it wasn’t reported in the news  the way it is now. Most people supported Bill Clinton’s ‘Three strikes and you’re out’ law, because we were ill informed of the reality of the prisons or the gradual takeover of the prisons by the Prison Industrial Complex. Prisons are big business. The people believed the fallacy that they were supporting the curtailing of crime being perpetrated by black people.
      It has only been only in recent years that we have been able to look back and see what has happened since the “War of Drugs” began. To make it worse, there were 6 times more black people locked up than white people, even though 77% of our population is white and 13% is black as of the census report in 2014. It hasn’t changed. The percentage is still the same. One out of every three black men can expect to spend time in prison during their life time.
      The government, the media and the people who own the prison corporations have done a hatchet job on the black population in America. The black race was expendable simply because they weren’t good enough to be white. They needed to fill the prisons with someone. The white population would have never tolerated it if there were more whites locked up than blacks. Authorities were picking people off the street and jailing them for no other reason than they were walking down the street in colored skin; any color other than white. Now people know the truth, but changing their hearts is next to impossible

end part one . . .

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Chapter List:
A Message From Someone Who Cares (forward)
First two chapters:
Everyday Dreams
Jamie’s Story

I have begun a newsletter on different aspects of the prison industry as well as updates on the progress of the book. I’m looking for a reasonable cost publishing house that can also include CD’s of the piano music found at http://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick, most of which was written for the book.Fill out the contact form to be put on the mailing list which will only go out monthly. (You won’t get bombarded like some businesses do!)

Juvy to Prison

cuffs and books

This was originally posted over a year ago and I decided to post it again.  With so many posts to read to learn about Jamie, it is easy after all this time for his story to get lost.  Why does this matter? How did he get caught up in the school to prison pipeline that led to prison, as it does for a very high percentage of youth. Not only is their education is taken away, their self esteem is lost. They are not expected to succeed, and many don’t have parents who care. It became just as easy for kids to be put in solitary confinement as adults. They are sexually exploited. They become angry and they give up.  They become the next crop of adults who feed the prison industrial complex.  A different kind of slavery, but slavery none the less.  Juvenile detention has only one direction – Do not pas go. Go directly to prison.  They belong to the system now.  And who cares?  Not many.

Why is police racism encouraged by their superiors?  Why do they look in the other direction or do whatever they can so these legal criminals don’t have to pay the price for their actions?  In the part few years especially, it has become so much worse. Police brutality is off the charts. Why has it been more difficult for black kids than white kids? Why do blacks kids get taken to jail for simply walking down a street after dark because a white man “thought” he looked suspicious even though he hadn’t done anything wrong? Why are kids handcuffed in school for reasons that not long ago only got detention? Why? Because it became profitable.

There are still so many misconceptions by the average American because he gets his “news”, and I use that term loosely, from the media who is paid to report things in a biased way, or he learns from TV shows that aren’t based on reality, yet it is taken as truth.

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Before I met Megan I had only been home for 9 months.  I had done just 4 years in Texas Youth Commission, better known as TYC.  I was placed in there in 2000 when I was not yet seventeen.  The charge was assaulting a police officer.  This never should have happened.  The cop was harassing our family.  It was his fault.  But when you’re black and the cop is white it’s always your fault and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I always seemed to do something to get me in trouble.  I’m beginning to understand that karma has a way of doing that to you.  This is the story of what happened that day.

My older brother and I got into a fight in the front yard.  He had an amp for music in his car.  I took it to a friend’s house across the street.  I went back to get it but it was gone.  I don’t blame my brother for being mad at me.  He thought I sold it.  We weren’t little kids and we fighting pretty good. My mama yelled at us to come in the house. There were four of us kids. Raising us wasn’t easy.  I have two brothers and a sister.   My mom had to play the part of both parents and work all the time to take care of us.

As she was talking to us inside the house about what happened outside there was a knock on the door.  When my mama answered it there was a police officer standing there.  One of the neighbors must of called them.  The officer wanted to speak to my brother and me but my mama said no, she had everything under control.  The officer didn’t listen to her and called to us anyway.  My mama told him again she had everything under control. She was the parent. It should have ended there. Then my mama tried to close the door and the officer stopped her by putting his foot in the door.  He pushed the door open again.  My brother and I stood up.  We told him again that we had everything under control.  He was determined that he was going to get inside the house.  He pushed the door open so hard that my mama fell to the floor.  She broke her wrist.  I  knew this was going to be bad.  We had problems with this officer before.  He was bad news.  I helped my mama up off the floor and my brother went after the officer for hurting her. The officer maced him. When he did that my anger let loose and I hit him with a broom!  His arm was all cut up from the straws.  Then my little brother came into the room and it was just hell.  My sister was pregnant but if she wasn’t she would have gone after him, too.

My mama was taken to the hospital and my sister went with her.  My older brother was placed in the back of the cop car.  He was so angry because the officer maced him that he kicked out the car window.  Me and my little brother were put in a different car because we were minors. Let’s just say that I got the short end of the stick.  After a while everyone got to go home except me.  I was sent to do 9 months in the TYC.

When I got there I stayed in my room and didn’t talk to anyone.  I said to myself that nine months in juvy isn’t that bad.  I could do it.  I did everything I was told to do.  I went to school and attended groups.  I waited and waited as time passed.  Finally, the day came for me to leave.  At least I thought it was supposed to be the day I was going to leave.  I was packed and ready to go when they told me I couldn’t go home.  I didn’t believe it.  I got really upset and asked them why? I did everything I was supposed to do.  They told me I didn’t have my level four to go home.  I said I didn’t know nothing about needing a level four . My lawyer didn’t tell me and he didn’t tell my mom neither about any of this.  They told me again I couldn’t go home so I went to my room and slammed the door.  I sat in my room and cried.  I just wanted to go home.  Then I started kicking the door and walls.  I really wasn’t trying to listen to anyone because I was lied to.  There was so much anger inside.  I started throwing the stuff I had packed to leave.  An officer came and I was sent to 23 hour lock up in security.

young offender

disclaimer: This is not Jamie, but it is a locked up child

From then on everything with me was always on the negative side. I caused all kinds of problems with school. I got into fights in the dorms. I would take off running around the campus. I did everything I could to rebel. I got into it with the staff. It went from a nine month sentence to them keeping me there for four years. I was so angry. I shouldn’t be there in the first place.  Things went up and down with me. But at some point I finally stopped and started thinking. I wanted to go home. I needed to do the right things that would get me home.

(Sonni’s note:  It always sounded fishy to me seeing the reason he was locked up.  What kid would not defend their family in their own home.  Isn’t it the same with the gun issue?  You are supposed to have the right to defend yourself in your home?  But this was a cop.  Why is it legal for a cop to literally push his way into your home without a warrant? With no crime committed.   Was it a good  enough  reason, to physically hurt the mother and then not expect that her kids were going to get upset and defend her?  You can’t defend yourself from a cop? Looking at the behavior of the police today, why am I so amazed at that?

It’s police brutality. But why put Jamie in juvy?  And why not prosecute his brother? Because they knew they couldn’t.  But kids are different. They’ll put kids in juvy, sometimes even because they are absent from school. It’s called the school to prison pipeline. They know it sets the stage to push them clear through to prison. These kids get out without an education, learning more about crime then they ever knew going in. That kind of atmosphere would be of no help to any young person. They don’t get the help they need and they never learn their life has value. When the kids get upset and lash out they put them in solitary confinement in juvy is just as bad as solitary confinement in adult prison.

But there is another reason.  There’s a lot of crooked business going on between judges and juvenile detention centers among other reasons.  There’s a lot of money to be made.  For example there has been a case in the Pa courts about this very thing. This judge sentenced thousands of kids to juvy in exchange for money.  This is only the tip of the iceberg.

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/4/kids_for_cash_inside_one_of

From the beginning they had no intention of letting Jamie go home.)


In the four years I was in juvy I only got four letters.  I know now that if my family couldn’t write to me then why should I expect them to write me now?  I’ve written a lot of letters and it isn’t very often that anyone writes me back.  I can count on one hand how many I got.

Anyway, I finally made it to level three.  I was doing good and I got to do a lot of things.  I went swimming.  I got to play pool and watch movies.  I loved it.  I did good for a year and a half. Then I received a letter from home.  One of my aunts died.  My grandmother had ten kids.  Six boys and four girls.  I’m crazy about my aunts.  I only had three.  I lost it and went downhill.  I was placed on BMP, Behavior Modification Program, for thirty days.  I had to deal with 23 hr a day lockdown.  They brought my schoolwork to me.  I got an hour of rec.  I was on three of these BMPs all total.  I didn’t care anymore.  The last time I was sent there was because I hit one of the staff and broke his nose so they filed charges on me. I did it because he used to just pick on me for no fucking reason.  It really gets to me when I think about it.  It brings it all back like it was yesterday.  He used to call me nigger.  It hurt me and it ate at my feelings.  I know it sounds better to call it the N’word but lets just say it the way he did, and he didn’t call me ‘N’word.  He called me nigger.  I told his supervisor but she didn’t believe me because of all the other trouble I caused on her dorm.  While I was finishing up on the third program a Broward County police officer came and told the staff about the charges that were filed on me and I was placed in the back of the patrol car and taken to Broward County Jail.

While I was in there I really started losing it because I knew what the outcome of my life was going to look like, with me ending up right where I am now.  This would have probably happened to me no matter what I did.  This is where my life was going.  I look at all the things I did.  How could it have turned out any different?  I had chances to change things but I always screwed it up. I have no one to blame but myself.

During the time I was in county jail I wasn’t myself.  I did try to stay out of people’s way.  It wasn’t easy.  I got into a fight over the TV,  and once I got stabbed with a pen.  I really lost it and went into a deep depression.  I stopped eating.  I couldn’t sleep.  I thought of my aunt and cried.  I was miserable and I couldn’t pull myself out of it.  They placed me in a single cell and sent a doctor to come talk to me.  Afterward, she talked to the judge and I was sent to a state hospital for more than three weeks so I could get some help with my depression.  When it was over they sent me home. Finally.

This was back in 2004.  I met Megan in 2005.  I ended up back in here in 2006.  Ain’t that crazy?  I finally got home but I placed myself around the wrong group of so-called friends.  I lost myself again.  But I’ll say this much, it won’t happen again.  I’m going to change the direction my life has taken.  I’m going to be the kind of person I can be proud of, and my son can be proud of, too.

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

Original Improvised Piano Music

Prison, We Must Do Better for At-Risk Teens

Jamie started in the school to prison pipeline at the age of sixteen because a cop had a vendetta against his family. He literally pushed his way into their home, knocked his mother down and broke her wrist. Jamie defended his mother. Was that enough reason to put him in juvenile detention until he was 21, unable to get even a GED? What kind of job was he supposed to get. He might have legally been an adult, but he had no experience to draw on. He had also spent extended time in solitary confinement. In Juvy it was called “Behavior Modification Program” or BMP.

teens a risk, school to prison pipelineI recently started reading a book that was published in 1997. The title is, “No Matter How Loud I Shout -A Year In The Life Of Juvenile Court” – by Edward Humes. It takes place in juvenile courts in LA. The courts then, and now have no idea how to handle children criminals. Some are hardened criminals while still in their early teens and some get mixed up in something and learn their lesson. Some come from the streets and some come from the middle and upper middle income families where they have every opportunity a child could want. The conflict is when to prosecute them as adults. There can’t be one rule that covers everything that changes at an exact moment yet this is what they try to do. Are kids responsible for their actions and at one age. Some get their lives ruined and some get let go until the next crime they commit. It’s a tough call.

During this time this book was written I lived in LA until my children were teens. I went through rough times with my kids. When my son and daughter were 15 and 18 we moved away. I had to get them away. Educating them in public schools was impossible. I pulled them out of bad schools and put them in other bad schools hoping they would be better. But the writing was on the wall if we stayed. We loved north to a small town. My son got his act together and started working hard. My daughter got pregnant and had her first baby at 16.

When I read today about the juvenile courts in LA in the 90’s, knowing how easily it could have been my children I was reading about, it is scary. Today they are 35 and 38 and they have their own teenagers to worry about. It is much worse it today than it was in the 90’s. Kids have less and less respect for teachers or anyone in a position of authority. So many have less respect for themselves as well. They were never taught respect in their homes. Many parents wanted to be “friends” with their children instead of parents. These teenagers I am reading about in this book are in their 30’s now. Are they alive? Are they in prison?

As parents we want to say it won’t happen to our children. It does, and when they grab hold of your child, or your grandchildren, the system doesn’t plan on letting go until they have sucked every possible way of making money from them.  Look at Jamie. He is now 32. He STILL doesn’t have a GED. Without that, how can he take other educational courses? How can he learn about something he is interested in when he doesn’t even know what that is?

Are there bad kids out there? Absolutely. Bad parents in bad neighborhoods, and bad parents in good neighborhoods. Some parents don’t want to believe their child would do these things, but they do. There is a saying, “If you continue to do what you always done you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.” Parents need to have a better perception of the life outside their children are exposed to. There is no one protecting them. It doesn’t matter what neighborhood you are from or how much money you make. Some of the things my children tell me now they did 20 years ago had my jaw on the floor, similar to the things I told my parents long after the fact. We were lucky. Really lucky. Not everyone is.

In the past few years “The Law” has upped the ante. Now, instead of handling disciplinary issues that previously called for detention, being sent to the principle’s office or parents were called – now it is the police who called, who come and handcuff the children in the classroom and escort them out. Quite often the police are already located on school grounds replacing guidance counselors. They are also often taken into a courtroom in handcuffs, too. Why? Do the officers fear for their safety or is it for effect? Often the reason is not justified and does untold damage to the child’s self-esteem. Sadly, this affects black children more than it does white children and even Hispanic children. White children learn early in life that black is not as good as white and they carry that attitude into their adult lives and a new generation of racist attitudes is born.

An already bad situation with juvenile courts has been made worse. More adult criminals are cultivated. Black children learn their lives don’t have as much value. The juvenile courts are so overcrowded. There is no time for anyone to care. We need to do more to help in some way. Too many people are short in help and long in opinions and the children are thrown under the bus.

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CHILDREN IN SHADOW ::: CHILDREN IN WAR

Prison, We Must Do Better for At-Risk Teens

Guest Commentary

Published August 16, 2015

Since the late 1980s, at-risk teens have been subjugated to terrible injustices. Being socially labeled super-delinquents by politicians and media, legally tried as adults under get-tough legislation, and psychologically stunted by zero tolerance in schools and abuse in correctional facilities.

Today, you would imagine that America has found a better way to deal with juvenile delinquency and youth-gang crimes, but unfortunately, many states still implement outdated, misguided policies that continue to funnel teens into the juvenile justice system. This populates our prison systems. And to make matters worse, recidivism keeps increasing this rate—that is, teens become damaged goods after cycling through “the system” and often return to prison as adults.

According the Annie E. Casey Foundation, despite the good intentions and regulations in our system, teens do learn how to become better criminals from inmates, and…

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Kids In Handcuffs

kids in handcuff
photo course:
bordc.org

22 states in America allow kids as young as 7 to be tried as adults. Kids don’t just wake up one morning and start committing crimes one day. Many are in rough neighborhoods or in abusive and neglectful families. Their immaturity coupled with the feeling of having no way out doesn’t leave them with many choices. No one hears them until it is too late. From the stories I’ve read, not one said they weren’t guilty. Most had no way of understanding the ramifications of what they were doing. They didn’t have anywhere to go to change what was happening around them. One boy came from a family where 7 men in their immediate family were behind bars and one witnessed his father shot and killed in front of him when he was 14. Who mentored this child or taught him right from wrong? What did he learn growing up? Many of these children never had a chance. Growing up, and maturing in prison, never having the chance to learn how life could be some want to be able to use their lives to reach out to other young people. To be given 25 years to life? Is that the best use of their life? How many hundreds of thousands of dollars will it cost the taxpayers to provide him this very substandard existence. They can never have hope. Can their lives be redeemable? Children have no control over their emotions. Many use violence to get away from people who are abusing them. Why can’t we handle this differently? Why do we have to throw them away?

You will have to make up your own mind about this. It doesn’t matter what you think, it only matters how the system changes. The more voices there are, the louder the call for change and the faster it happens. This begins the school to prison pipeline. Don’t turn a blind eye. Once a child gets caught in it they often can not get away. They also learn more about doing crimes than they knew before they went in. There are good and bad people on both sides of the fence. None of this is new, but they are things we should never forget. We need to have a justice system that is fair to all people and doesn’t single out others because it is clear this is what is happening.

The public has been inundated this past year with more and more accounts of this savage behavior by people staffed by our justice system. It’s out in the open and more and more people are demanding change. This last incident of Kalief Browder and how his experience of spending years at Rikers Island, not even being convicted of a crime, destroyed him to the point where he felt the only way he could really escape was to kill himself. Since this was a young man getting an education, who might he have grown up to be? He’ll never get that chance. It is a tragedy. Every person, Black, White, Hispanic, gay, or poor, has been caused such a disservice by the keepers in this country. A judge was given a 30 year prison sentence for selling schoolkids and adults for profit to a prison. The only people who don’t get an automatic sentence the ones with money or an important name, because they buy their way out. A white man can have money and still get away with raping his own children and be returned to society with the potential to hurt someone else. The judge ruled that being a pedophile would make it hard on him so he was given probation and mandatory counseling instead. For molesting his children and was caught in the act! It was not enough to put him away!
60's school classroom
I went to grade school in the sixties. (note: there are no fat children here) When I was disruptive I got the paddle once by my teacher. Children were respectful and rarely chaotic and undisciplined. The cops weren’t called! Now if a child is disruptive in class, they just call the cops and will be put in handcuffs in front of other children and taken away. That child that might only be six or eight years old and be taken away from their parents and likely be put in juvenile detention. A broken rule that might have previously only needed the parents to come for a meeting with the teachers, now means the parents will instead have to go to court and at last have fine to pray. There seems to be this push, especially in the poorer neighborhoods to lock up as many kids as possible.

Jamie is a school to prison pipeline victim. His story is here to read starting on this blogs opening page. I invite you to spend some time here reading posts of his letters from prison or listening to the music written for the book I’m writing located at the last page through the menu button at the top of the site.

#STPP in Action: A Tale Too Often Told

I needed to add this one too. It’s time for people to wake up and see what happens to kids when the school system decides they aren’t worth working with. Where will this kid end up? What are his choices when he has been deemed a failure before he even got started.

The #PushBACK Project

It’s difficult to really understand the School to Prison Pipeline if you are only thinking about it in terms of national statistics, mass incarceration rates, or facts and figures.

If the School to Prison Pipeline (STPP) doesn’t impact you directly, then you might have a difficult time understanding the system pushes students out of school and into prison. On the other hand, you might not have heard of the STPP–but if you are a student of color, a student with a disability, an LGBTQIA student, or a parent/guardian of a student with any or multiple of those identities, you probably have felt the effects. You might not understand why, but you know that the education system is not providing what is sorely needed-which is equal access to education.

Let’s take a look at one student and pretend his name is Tim. Tim entered a new school having been kicked out of…

View original post 395 more words

Alternative to Violence Project

avp, alternative to violence project

photo credit:
justifiedoutdoors.com

Something positive is happening inside a Maryland prison

Facilitators of the Alternative Violence Project ( AVP at the maryland Correctional Institute in Hagerstown insites you to join us for our annual  “AVP Recognition Night”

Home

Tuesday July 21, 2015 at 7 PM

The program includes and opportunity to meet and hear from

inmate and community volunteers who are AVP volunteers

Founded and developed from the real life experiences of prisoners and others, encouraging every person’s innate

power to positively transform themselves and the world AVP is a non profit national and international program

which is run entirely by volunteers both in prisons and in the community

AVP, alternative to violence project
photo credit:
inside cdcr.ca.org

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Why am I posting this?  This is the next step for me in completing my journey.  I have been writing this blog for almost a year and a half. Earlier this year I began writing the book Inside the Forbidden Outside. Many people have been following the story of Jamie Cummings.  I have received many heartfelt responses and also many comments from people who had no idea what our prison system is about, and now they do.  Nothing can change until people are aware there is something to change.

There have been a lot more articles in the media about these glaring problems, and it has already become part of the issues next years presidential candidates are choosing to talk about.  Not because they believe in what they are saying, but because it has become a hot topic.  Of course, each party blames the other party for being the country that has locked up the highest percentage of it’s citizens, especially the gap between black and white which is six to one. It’s almost as though they are noticing it for the first time.

What this tells me, the time to write this book is now.  Over the year and a half it will be in the news more than it ever has been.  Between the racism in our police force which leads to the racism in our prisons, which starts at the juvenile level, there is no better time than the present to step up my involvement.

I know a lot.  I have researched every side of these issues.  I have my experiences with Jamie Cummings and also Armando Macias on San Quentin’s death row, who also gets the bad end of the stick when it comes to racism.  One important thing I am lacking, for this book to be successful, is the credibility of having hands on experience inside the prison system.  Being able to work with people who are familiar with this system from the inside will be another piece of puzzle of that will help make this work.

Books aren’t written and then magically appear for sale.  There has to be a funnel to send it out. The old days of sending a manuscript to a publisher and they take it over, give money up front and then promote your book and send you on book tours is over – unless you are an accomplished writer with a proven track record.  That certainly isn’t me.  But I do believe what I’m writing has value.  Since I am self publishing  I need to wear ten hats.

My main concern is when Jamie gets paroled – what then?  Seriously, what then? Will they even parole him without having a GED, although it is the prison who has made sure he couldn’t study for it.  68% of all males in state and federal prisons do not have a GED.  Does he move to his mother’s house, a house he has never lived in, with the man she recently married she claims is his real father, who never acknowledged him? That could be tense.  How about moving in with family who showed him no support during his incarceration?  No, “Hi Jamie, how are you?  Remember, we love you!”   How about finding a job in a small East Texas town that until twenty five years ago had unpaved streets in the black (ghetto) part of town? What would he do to earn money?  It sounds pretty bleak to me.

This is what I see in my head:  With book in hand, holding his head high, talking to communities, schools, boys and girls clubs, churches and other places, about the issues that lead kids through the juvy system and into the prisons right where the prison industrial complex wants them.  The school to prison pipeline is very real and finally in the past year has been recognized as a real problem that needs to be addressed.  The 6 to 1 odds come from the fact that the police raid these neighborhoods 6 times more than white neighborhoods.  They are instructed to stay out of white neighborhoods because parents of these kids wouldn’t stand for it.   Even in schools it is a fact that black kids are punished much harsher than white kids for doing the same things.  These things need to change.  Jamie’s experience can be used for positive change.  His experience is not unique, but it takes someone with a desire to change, to use that experience to help people.  If he needs me to lean on until he gets his bearings, then that is okay.  During this time I will be writing the second book – his life on the outside.

How will I get the knowledge to do these things?  Why would anyone listen to me if I approached them about setting up a community meeting?  Who am I?  I know that Texas has the same kind of volunteer services at their prisons as I am sure most all states, do.  I live closest to the Maryland prisons and I was given the contact to call.  It is my way in.  Through the different services they provide along with different kinds of workshops with the inmates as well as training for people who want to learn how to facilitate a workshop is where I begin the process of credibility.  They look for people with the ability to get up and speak to a room full of people, which I have no problem with.

The next step will learning how to translate that to Texas.  Jamie needs to be able to tell the parole board why he should be released next Oct 2016.  He needs to have a plan.  Another inmate in a different prison told me if he could find a way to start a group inside the prison, perhaps fathers with children who are also separated from them it will show he is thinking about his future.  How to accomplish that is a mystery, but maybe I can learn how that can happen, through the new experiences I will have.

I’m excited.  When you want to do something bad enough, and you have no doubt you can do it, doors open up.  I have unshakable belief I can do this. 

writings.  Help me build a larger readership base.  I know this isn’t a fun topic.  I’ve had two people in the last 24 hours who told me they couldn’t “like” my post – because they didn’t “like” what it was about.  Feeling good about it is not the point.  I want you to share it because you don’t like it, because it needs to change.


http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison blog posts and news about injustice all all over the world.

This is Why I Do What I do For Jamie Cummings

Sonni’s note: For those that see this posted twice, I also printed it as a page on Inside the Forbidden Outside<

Early in 2015 I began to write a book giving Jamie a voice for his life -a voice to speak about the experiences he’s been through and why they happened. Rereading his letters, there are a few common threads that run through them. The deepest one is loneliness. The second one is not understanding why no one cares. The third one is determination. When he gets he out he is going to be a father to his son, one he never had himself. It was hard not be affected by Jamie. Other people see what the people closest to him cannot.

This is why, after years of writing letters, I chose to start writing his blog the beginning of 2014. It’s hard to not have feelings for him when you read his words. I have heard from so many readers who have been affected by his story and are pulling for him to have a successful life. He hasn’t heard many words of encouragement from people in his life, but he will knows there are many people all over the world who wish the best for him. He is a good man – a lonely man – who had one time in his life where he thought he found happiness. He so loved a woman who loved him back, who was having his baby. His child! But he lost that long before it ever breathed life. That child is now almost nine years old. The times he has seen him, through glass, has been few.

jamie Cummings, father and son
Jamie and Jamie Cummings- age 8

The first half of his life he was a lonely child. You can have a large family and still be alone. Getting sucked in to juvy system at sixteen took away the rest of his youth. Being released at age 21 and shortly after, meeting my daughter and getting pregnant was the happiest he had ever been. He didn’t know life could be so good. He would do anything he had to, to take care of his precious family. Anything. But how could he do that? He didn’t know what to do. He had no education. No job. No driver’s license because of epilepsy. He had no wisdom. He didn’t understand consequences. He had no life experience to draw on and no one to seek guidance from. Under pressure to take care of this precious life he created, he chose to go along with something incredibly stupid, and lost everything. Now at age 32, he still sits, trying to stay optimistic about having a life, yet still doesn’t know how to do that.

Does that make him a bad person? No. He, too, is a product of his environment, just like we all are. There are many people in prison who are very broken. They come from tortured lives of abuse and violence. What their environment taught them, took them to a place where having a life that fits inside society is far beyond their grasp. The only place their life works is inside a prison where others understood the language they spoke. They never experienced or learned what a good life should be. You learn by your experiences, your community. When these people get out of prison, they may want a different life, but they won’t know how. They will end up back inside. These people are only a portion of why people are locked up and unfortunately those are the ones you hear about. So you believe that prisons are only for bad people, and most of them, unfortunately have sentences that last longer than they should, with every form of inhumane treatment your imagination can think of.

But how did Jamie end up losing his way? What cause was made where this could be the only outcome? The experiences you have in life don’t happen by accident. There is no such thing as good luck or bad luck. There is only causes you’ve made that you might not understand. Some are easy to see and some are not. There is nothing that manipulates life like a puppet on strings. What he is experiencing, just like all of us, is the effects of these causes we made in our lives. So how does he change it? How does he turn it around? That is what I explore in this writing of his life.

Why should I care? Why was I pulled into his life? What part was I to play? Why couldn’t I be like everyone else and say how unfortunate it was that this was happening and then go on with my life? Or, I could say it hurt me so much he was in there, that I was unable to bring myself to write back. It wasn’t my fault he was there. Why did I feel it was my job to be there for him? I didn’t just become part of his life for no reason. A cause was made. By him? By my daughter? By me?

I became part of his life because was no one else there. He is the father of one of my grandsons. His pain was too great for me to become like everyone else. Jamie and I needed each other. It wasn’t a one way street. He wasn’t “using” me, as one person told me. I didn’t buy the statement, “Once a loser always a loser.” He needed to be taught things he never had a chance to learn – how to pull himself up so he can one day be a father to his son, my grandson? Wishful thinking won’t cut it. He needed someone he could count on, who wouldn’t judge him, and like a parent, I became mom.

That is why I do what I do.

Thank You For Supporting, “Inside the Forbidden Outside”

insideOut,inside the forbidden outside,injustice system,Jamie Cummings,racism is alive and well,stand your ground,white privilege
Inside the Forbidden Outside

Many people have followed me, Sonni Quick, on this journey I’m taking, writing about the life of Jamie Cummings. “Inside the Forbidden Outside”. chapter one which had the previous title of “Inside Out”. You’ve encouraged me and told me to keep writing. Some of you have given me guidance and writing tips as a new book author. You told me it was a story that should be told. Some of you have told me you cried tears. You had no idea what being in prison really meant, because only knowing what TV and movies portray is not the whole story. Only people who have been where Jamie is will know for sure that what I say here is the truth.

Tears weren’t cried because Jamie is in prison. Tears were cried because his anguish was felt; his loneliness and depression. The loss of his family and his son from his life, with no one making the effort to bring him to visit. It is easy to see what he is going through through in his head, trying to understand what happened to his life that brought it to a screeching halt inside the thick prison walls.

Over the nine years I’ve known him, trying to hold him up, made me want to reach through the prison bars and wrap myself around him and hold him him, telling him it would be over someday. Reading and knowing about the stripping away of human dignity is hard to read.

There are many different reasons why people are put in prison. The reasons for what they did, and having those reasons used for corporate gain has put millions of dollars into many people’s pockets. Now American private prisons are spreading outside our borders and we are teaching other countries how they,too, can exploit their citizens the same way we do.

Imagine yourself in his circumstances. You can’t say it will never happen to you, because it can, easily, just by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These are the things you seldom read or hear about in the media. The government has to justify why there is no money for education, yet hundreds of millions of dollars are available to build new prisons to satisfy the unending thirst of American corporations that want to use prison labor to manufacture their products. Lower taxes for the rich will not create jobs for the people, but it will provide more prisons to house more inmates to manufacture items that are available on our store shelves. Inmates also produce a great many items our police force and military needs to continue to do what they do. A subject to explore at a later time.

I posted a two minute video recently. It is not of Jamie, but it is of a man who spent 18 1/2 years in a solitary cell not unlike the cell Jamie has spent years of his own life. Jamie’s sentence is 17 years and he has done more than 9 so far. Not all of it has been in an ad seg unit (administrative segregation), but it has been determined the human mind can only safely stay in deprivation like that for 15 days before there are possible alterations in the mind. There was a politician about a year ago who voluntarily went into a solitary cell for ONE DAY and wrote about how horrible it is. I say, stay in for 15 days. Maybe then some laws will change. Keep him there for a month, not even
years which is so common, and he will be screaming to be let out just like all the others.

Even though I believe what happened to Jamie’s life, beginning at a young age, was unfair, coming to life through racial inequalities, life isn’t fair. I also believe if he had not been with this particular group of friends that got busted that night, which you can read about in Jamie’s Prison or read the post Juvy to Prison. Something else would have happened to produce the same result. He didn’t learn the life skills he needed. He needed to “belong”, and was easily swayed by the wrong people.

So, what to do about all of this now? How do we make something positive from something negative? The change in the life of a single human being can change the world. Because there are 10 strikes against any person getting out of prison, beginning with of the lack of acceptance by society, it is extremely difficult for them to survive and create a life of value. No one wants to employ an ex-offender and no one wants to rent an apartment to them, either. Many of these people, men and women, have families they love and need to take care of. They paid their price to society and have earned the right, at the very least, to gain their self respect. Society wants to keep punishing them for the rest of their lives. Ask yourself why? For this reason many ex-felons have to resort to other ways to make money, because they have no other way. Our prisons didn’t teach any way. Do you understand the dichotomy of the situation?

What happens to an x-offender, who, from his teen years has not been able to get an education? When he is finally released in his mid to late 30’s, or older, and has no work history, but wants to work, where is he going to find that job in a unwelcoming society who is afraid of him simply because he has been to prison? God forbid, he could be dangerous!There are many people who have never been to prison who can’t find work. If they have a hard time, how does an ex-offender find work? Many of these people, who haven’t been incarcerated apply for government assistance, live in public housing or section 8 housing, get disability, or use WIC (Women, Infants and Children) or food stamps to help supplement the rising cost of food. Most people don’t go to the government for help because they are lazy, but because they have no other choice, as the media would like you to believe. NONE of these options are even available for an ex-offender. Jamie won’t even be able to apply for disability because of epilepsy until he has been out for one year. How does he survive that year?

Jamie is black. I am white. We are connected by the blood of his son, my grandson. He is part of my family. he calls me ‘mom’. Because I have taken the time to be his family andf because he let me inside his head to feel the pain as he tries to understand the causes he made for his life to produce the sharp left turns that led to prison.

What should he and I do with this knowledge? I believe it can and should be used to help people. Help kids understand what the end of the path leads to if they choose to go down the wrong one. Young people have no wisdom to draw on. They can’t understand something no one has taught them. There are many ‘Jamies’ out there. His life story can also help educate people so they can have a better understanding of our prison system and why America has only 5% of the world’s population but imprisons 25% of the world’s inmates. His life story can also help inmates who want to do better, to understand their lives have value. It’s all about choices. Cause and effect. Not all inmates are inherently broken. Some just made a bad choice and have paid for that mistake. Many deserve a second chance and need our help, even if that help is only having a better understanding and acceptance of their value as a human being.

This is what I need from you that would help me in my quest. Please, go to different posts and pages on this website http://mynameisjamie.net and post them to your own social media. Go to posts that talk about the book and send them out. The category still says “Insideout” for now uieven though the title has changed to “Inside the Forbidden Outside”. Encourage people to fill out the contact form to be on the mailing list for the book. If you don’t use social medial there is a tab where you can send out emails.

I have a dream. That dream is watching Jamie have the kind of life he can be proud of and being a father to his son. Will you help me help Jamie? My dream is that this book will sell, but I can’t do it by myself. It will be book sales that will enable Jamie to survive in this society he will hopefully, someday, in the near future, enter into. Inside the Forbidden Outside is still being written. There is still a lot of work to be done, but when you self publish writing and promoting have to go hand in hand.

I know I’m asking a lot from you, You have my sincere appreciation.

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

Sonni Quick piano music complete list

Walking While Black

This is Jamie’s most recent letter. It was difficult for him to write and difficult for me to transcribe. Criminals need to be locked up. There is no question about that. There are some pretty screwed up people out there, but I also know there is a business structure to the prison system to make sure, once they have you, they plan on keeping you. Because sentences are incredibly long, far beyond the point of being necessary, it makes it impossible for 71% of parolees to assimilate back into society. Look at that percentage. After five years only 29% don’t go back. Quite often it is for breaking a rule, not for committing a crime. These 8 years I’ve been writing to Jamie, I have come to know his was a life, was a life unnecessarily destroyed – by many factors. Being black is the greatest factor. No father, little structure because it’s a single parent home, a cop the family had trouble with, who barges into their house when he was sixteen and hurt his mother, being sent to juvy for 9 months for hitting the cop with a broom, and not let out for 4 years. There are so many kids who are product of the community they are raised in, and when you are black, the odds against you and the odds that you will be put through this system is much greater than it is for white kids. That is a fact. Not an opinion. It set him on a course it was meant to go – to lead to prison. Jamie is guilty of being born black – walking while black – who had the possibility of an education taken away. He never knew we was allowed to have a dream for his future. Without having an education, what is the likelihood of working, especially being born with epilepsy? Where was his father? He is a retired cop who wanted nothing to do with him as a child. If he had helped to raise him could this story have turned out different? His mother and father are now married. It happened about a year ago. Jamie didn’t even know it happened when it did. He has reached out to his father and getting nothing in return. So now at age 32, the man Jamie is will have to be strong. Beat the system that is set up for him to fail. he went in a boy and has to come out a man, without having the benefit of life’s experiences to guide him – when he is paroled, whenever that is. This is why I write this blog and why I write the book, ‘inside out’. Type that in search and pull up the chapters I have posted. It will give you insight to solitary confinement. Is Jamie a bad man? Does he have the mind of a criminal? You judge for yourself.

Please comment, rate or leave your email information to know when “InsideOut” will be published

This is my new improvisation recorded march 22, 2015.  Title – “I’m Sorry”  by Sonni Quick  copyright 2015

walking while black, police brutality,Jamie Cummings,school to prison pipeline, juvy to prison, juvy
Walking While Black
photo credit: galleryhip.com

Hello mom,

Everything happens for a reason. What the reason is for I don’t know. Even me. Look at my situation. Look at the roads I have been down these last nine years. It’s just life. You’re right, I’m not alone. I’m not lonely either because I have you on my side ((smile)) We have helped each other out.

I sit in my cell and think about many things. I think about it so much and so many different things confuse me. Crazy huh? I ask myself a lot of the questions you ask me. About my son. About my family and most of all about how come my dad has been with my mom for almost a year and he has not tried to contact me? Even when I took the first step and reached out to him. Not in so many words. But I did let him know I wanted to get to know him. His birthday was this month. I sent him a card. Nothing yet. Why? Why don’t he write to me? I have questions I’ve asked myself for years.

I’ll try to answer your questions the best I can. But it really hurts, growing up without a dad. Then I never really had much of a young life. I mean, I had one, but not one a kid would like. I love my mother. Always will, but growing up knowing everybody’s dad, but mine. All for of us. We each had our own dad. Being home while they went to stay at their dad’s and dad’s family – it hurt. I’m the only child who never knew his dad or his family. Why me? What did I do to deserve this?

Question for you. Why did I have to lose my life? When I was 16 going on 17 I was sent to TYC. Texas Youth Commission. I was told I had to do 9 months. However, I was a young black male and was lied to by the courts. I ended up doing 4 years. While locked up I lost an aunt. I only had one visit from my mom due to the distance and miles from home. At times I got so angry I used to give the people problems. I would fight. Make them chase after me, spray me with pepper spray and even place me on suicide watch because of my depression. I was placed on two (BMPs), Behavior Management Programs. The first, because of being in so much trouble. The second was because I broke an officers nose. He poked and poked at me and kept calling me nigger. I finally lost control and hit him. I know I had a problem with anger, and but I a teenager who was already angry at being here in the first place. I could only take so much of him trying to make me come back at him. He pushed me because he eventually knew I’d fight back. So who’s fault was it? Was it all mine? Was I supposed to be the better person and ignore this asshole? And since there was nobody else that witnessed it, of course his story was different from mine. I just hauled off and hit him for no reason? But no one believed me because their staff don’t treat the boys like that. The officer filed charges on me. He knew what he was doing. I was handcuffed and taken to the county jail in Brownwood, Tx.

I got there and lost it cause I knew what was ahead of me. They was trying to send me here to prison. They ended up having me see a doctor because I stopped eating and was real depressed. The doctor spoke to the judge I guess because of instead of sending me to prison I went to a state hospital for depression. This was in 2004. I was 21. I stayed there maybe a month at the most. I didn’t like it. I’d been away from home for so long it was killing me.Then to be placed in a state hospital near Oklahoma really hurt. There was no way anybody could come visit me even if the wanted to. It was too far away. My life had been upside down for so long.

When I got out I went home. My family was waiting for us with a party for me. However the drive was so long, when my mom and cousin came to pick me up, they both needed to rest. We stopped in Dallas. We finally made it to Nacogdoches, my hometown, about 10:00. Everybody had just about had left. There was a few cousins and an old friend I went to school with. So much for a party. Everything was gone. I really didn’t care. I was home.

But get this, I went to my cousin’s house that same night. I visited for awhile and and then started walking home. In the apartment complex my cousin lived, they had guards after 10:00. So, I’m on my way home and the officer stops me. I explained that I was visiting my cousin and was on my way home. They asked me to step into the office. I did, and the next thing I knew I was in the back seat of a police car for trespassing. I was ‘walking while black’. I wasn’t even home one day, but I spent the next two days in jail. For what? My mom came and got me out.

I went to court for the case and guess who I seen? I seen the lawyer that was my lawyer four years ago. Now he was a judge. He did not know who I was at first. He ask me my name and I told him. He asked me who my mama was. It hit him. He ask how I was doing. I told him that I had just now come back from TYC. He looked at me crazy, as if he didn’t know that the 9 months I was sentenced to lasted 4 years. I told him he lied to me. He looked shocked. He asked what I was doing in front of him. I told him about visiting my cousin and he dropped the case.

I was home for one year. I met a beautiful woman who I fell hard for. I enjoyed spending time with her as well as her kids. Then later in our little relationship I was told I had a child on the way. I was excited because I was having my first child, yet worried because I had no job to support this child. The money I was getting I was getting illegal. Life is full of choices. Sometimes we don’t learn to think ahead about our choices. I made a bad choice by leaving the house that night. She didn’t want me to leave home the night that situation happened. That was a bad choice I made that night, but I didn’t realize it was a bad choice. Now I have a son who is almost 9 years old, who I’ve only seen a handful of times. What makes this so difficult is that this places his mother in a difficult place, too. It makes me worry about her and the kids.

I’m going to to end this. I’ve been going and going. This has been hard to write. It hurts to bring it up and think about it all over again.

Love always, Son

I forgot a few things. I’m going to try and remember as much as I can. I don’t like the past. I got the box you sent me you ordered from commissary. You also asked what I meant when I said I get snacks. A snack is a peanut butter sandwich or some kind of meat sandwich. I get because at night I wake up with terrible headaches and I’m dizzy. One day , when I had a seizure because of my epilepsy I came to know my sugar is low. Since I’m in lockup I had to tell them I’m supposed to get these snacks. One of the officers here is young, maybe 22 at the most. He just started working here. They pick up bad habits quick. Anyway, I’m talking to him and another comes up with my snack. This young dude takes the sandwich and pulls it apart and spits in it. All I could see was red. He talked shit but another inmate called to him and told him a few things about me. Let’s just say he seen me in action a few times. I have to be able to defend myself in here when I need to.

Till next time, Love you.