Life in Adseg

 

prison letters,inmate letters,ad seg,level G4
A letter from 2010. For years he called me Mom. He needed one. His bio mom doesn’t write to him.

I’d like to bring you up to date about Jamie’s life in adseg. I’ve written a lot that is going into my book but after 2016 it will be in the sequel. That will be about the last years and the process of getting out and re-entry into society with all its ups and downs. This post will have parts of a recent letter I received. He wrote quite a bit about how certain things got done inside. Things we take for granted.

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Dear Sonni,

I hope all is well for you. Thank you for everything you do and the encouragement you give me. Someday I will be able to hear the music you write. You write with such passion. I can tell by the way you write about it and all the work you have done to tell my story.

I had my meeting about getting out of adseg. I knew the minute I walked into the meeting that I was screwed,, I had met with this officer before. Even though I was told at the last meeting they’d let me out next time I knew it wasn’t happening. He told me I was a danger to general population, although I don’t know how they figure that. But you’d be proud of me. I didn’t react. I wouldn’t give him that. I won’t let them break me. That’s what they want. I want you to know I’m okay. I signed up for a program. I don’t know if they’ll except me. If they do they’ll move me to another prison.

I was lucky to be able to call you. I can make a call now every three months. I didn’t know it would cost so much, $20 for ten minutes. I have to call collect. When I get out of adseg you can put money in my account and I can buy minutes. That might be cheaper.

I’m glad to hear you’re still walking. I’m in such a small area it’s hard to move or workout. Trying to workout in the dayroom is crazy cause dudes will watch. Crazy thing about that – it is only two things they are looking at. I don’t have to tell you what it is. Keep walking okay.

You asked me how we play chess. Our chess boards are numbered 1 to 64. We call out numbers and the piece and move pieces on both sides of the board to keep up with each other’s moves.

When I’m in the dayroom I like to help passing stuff, like kites, which are little messages, or books and commissary. A lot of the stuff will go under the cell doors or the rat hole which is a hole about the size of an apple in the back of the door. We can push commissary out of it.

The day rooms are right next to each other so we can stick our arms out and hand each other stuff. When we’re in our cells we use what we call a fishing line. We pull threads out of sheets or waist bands of clothes, then put mashed up soap into a used meat pack or toothpaste tube to give it weight. We tie the line to the soap, and slide it out under the door across the floor, over another line. We attach a staple so when it crosses another line it catches it. Then you pull that line toward you with what they are sending across.

Sometimes the officers will help pass stuff like books and magazines, usually when they don’t feel like doing other work, so we have to make a deal like give up rec or a shower or both.

You asked about fires in a prison and if we had smoke detectors. There is nothing to tell us if a fire and no fire extinguishers. I’ve never seen one in any prison they sent more to. If there is a fire, often set by an inmate as a way to make a point an officer has to call it in over his radio.

Laundry – a lot of dudes don’t use the laundry. They buy new or wash their own. The laundry only has 3 big washers and they stuff them, really stuff them full and the clothes don’t get properly washed. They come out as dirty as they go in. Some dudes will wash your clothes in exchange for commissary. 

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If you don’t have anyone helping you with money or the ecomm box you can order every quarter you have to find some other way to get what you need. Commissary items are money in a prison. I send an eccom box every three months. I can send $60 of convenience store food and have it delivered, or I can split it between 3 months. The last quarter they raise it to $80 – the holiday box. There are some items that aren’t food. Select hygiene, paper, envelopes and pens. I buy him water, condiments, sardines, rice, ramen noodles, coffee, squeeze cheese, garlic sauce, things to doctor up the bland food, candy, cookies, chips. Nothing very healthy. They don’t have one can of vegetables on the list. 

I put money into his account to buy stamps ( also used as money) and buy other items he needs. I can’t send much so he uses it sparingly. This is why I have a post that comes up first if you log directly into the website that sells t – shirts with his face, a tote bag or you can send money to help me help him. I live on a disability check and help from my son. When my book is published hopefully that will change things. Until then I need your help.

Corporations that get a contract with the prison system that houses millions of people make a lot of money. The certainly don’t want prisons to close when people have no choice except to buy from them. But eating like this, if you have a long sentence, the lack of nutrition and diseases it causes ages them quickly, especially with a diet like this. When you add the poor medical care receive, that should be a crime in itself. 

People are punished and sentenced to prison. They don’t go to prison to BE punished. Everyone who has the capacity to make and change laws knows this. So why does this continue? That’s a good question.

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I Don’t Write About Happy Things

 

males-2091701_640It is easy to write about happy things. Some people want to be entertained and read things that takes them away from daily life. Some look for new ways to do things hoping they find that magic bullet that will hold their interest for more than thirty days. Some are trying to improve themselves so they read every article on nutrition or exercise or mental well being. I don’t think we can be happy or well when so many in our population are being abused. Not every inmate is guilty. Many prisoners are innocent. My writing focuses on these points:

1. People are housed out of sight so we don’t have to think about them. We blame these people for all the ills of society. We turn a blind eye. We don’t want to let them back into our neighborhoods because media has taught us these people are to be feared because they want to hurt you in some way. We want to believe these people deserve what is happening to them and there are no  exceptions in our mind.

2. Incarceration, and for many it is not what you think. People develop their own ideas about the millions of peoples who are locked up. The government and the media have you brainwashed at this moment that all immigrants are criminals, drug dealers and lowlifes who deserve to have our wrath because we believe they are taking something valuable from us. It is a fallacy. Your life will not be one bit better with a 50 ft wall. We think it is true because that is what the media and government have told us day after day to justify what they do.

3. Understanding the role of the prison corporations in the lives of all incarcerated people – which affect you also. Very few understand the amount of money that is made or the importance you that the people remaining ignorant, No one wants to  know these things – until it affects them, and sometimes they contact me. “What do I do,” they ask? “You won’t believe what they are doing to my son. He needs insulin. They are refusing to give it to him.” Or, “My husband has a heart problem, and his cell is over 105 degrees, everyday. He has passed out twice and they won’t let him see the doctor.”  In my case it is the refusal to give seizure medication for epilepsy – and this is just medical.

The book I am writing is centered around the life of a man, Jamie Cummings, whose life has been taken from him since he was 16.  He is now thirty-five. My book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside” is about his life and his fight to survive until he is released – in 2023, if they don’t find a way to keep him and add years.  Yes, that happens.

14 million people are incarcerated every year to find permanent replacements for the 2.3 million who constantly fill the prisons, not counting the immigrant prisons.  That is a lot of people.  It is more than any country in the world yet we have only 5% of the world’s population – and 25% of the prisoners.  Incarceration makes some people very rich. The quality and strength of a society can be seen in the way they treat the incarcerated, the poor, minorities and the elderly. The US is sadly lacking in compassion on all fronts, because people won’t turn around and look.

I write to educate people because nothing will change until people stand up and treat each other the way each of us wants to be treated, if we were down.

You can easily find individual chapters to my book on this website.  Here are a couple to get you interested. They are not the 1st and 2nd chapter, but you will understand. Click the subscribe button to get on my monthly newsletter. Share it with your friends.  In it are articles, chapters and new music that has been written for the soundtrack of the book.

Looking Into The Crystal Ball

What Does It Mean T Be Alone

 

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Ghosts in My Head – YouTube Video

 

This is the latest music video I have produced for my upcoming book “Inside The Forbidden Outside,” based on the life of Jamie Cummings and his years in prison. I sincerely hope you like it and subscribe to the channel. these numbers are very important for the success of the book.

So far he has completed more than twelve years out of seventeen, bouncing around to eight different prisons from one end of Texas to the other. He will be nearly 40 when he gets out. Unless I can raise the money to hire a parole attorney he stands little chance of making parole. Inmates are not allowed to be present for parole hearings. Their files are looked and a decision is made – almost always denied. What is in that file?  I intend to find out.

It is a tragic story and not an uncommon one. The prison system attempts to suck the life out of anyone it can get its hands on to increase the wealth of the corporations that run them. They make that profit by denying them the very things they tell the world they provide. They do that with smiling faces on their websites.

Horrible food, withholding medications and treatment for illness that do not have to cause death, but will if they aren’t treated. These are only a few of the inhumane things they do to abuse the people – the human beings – they are in charge of. They keep many, a higher percentage of black to white, in a classification called adseg or G5. When they are kept there it is very difficult to get out get their classification raised for years and even decades. These inmates are denied any form of education, even a GED, knowing when they get they will be unable to support themselves and society will not welcome them. Many in society say they deserve anything that is done to them – but do they? 97% of all arrests never make it to court and are forced to take guilty plea deals whether they are guilty or not by threatening them with added charges.  A 20 year plea deal can easily become a 65 year sentence for someone not guilty of what they are charged with.  But the public assumes they are guilty. They are black aren’t they? Much of society thinks being black is a crime itself, so lock them up.

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Ghosts in My Head is music for the chapter when the conversations he has with the woman in the letters crosses over from reality to fantasy and he is no longer alone in his cell. 

I hope you subscribe to the newsletter below so you won’t miss updates as the book gets closer to completion. Writing a soundtrack to read by is a bit unusual for a book and this music was written for him and the emotional roller coaster ride the last twelve years have been. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support.

 

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Today We Need Strong Words Against the Trump Regime

 

Protest against Trump
Hundreds of thousands march down Pennsylvania Avenue during the Women’s March. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston

This is what America has become – deporting prominent people who work for the freedoms on which this country has prided itself for more than two centuries.We allowed ourselves the many illusions of a democracy the Republican Gestapo has actively worked to blatantly destroy to advance the holdings of the wealthy on the premise that the average person’s life has less value. 

My writing is almost always about some aspect of our criminal justice system. But what circumstances are former inmates walking into on the day they are released and want to build new lives. The America they knew and the new America they will see can’t co- exist. If the Trump regime has decided which citizens deserve freedom and liberty, I can assure you they won’t be looking at former inmates as the type of citizens they will feel are deserving of “their” help. They will want them back in prison where they think they belong. Prison corporations already try to keep from helping prisoners with health care, decent food and education because they think of the cost as something coming out of their pickets. After all, they are just criminals, right? And immigrants are rapists and murderers and gang members according to Trump’s SOTU.

Steve Prator, Louisiana’s sheriff recently said the prisons should not parole the “good ones” because they could get a lot more free labor out of them.  I suppose inmates should be used for their worth and then discarded?

If you want to be a good Republican today here is partial list of what you need to support. Feel free to write and tell me what I missed.

They have taken pride in:
1. Racism
2. Discrimination of non- whites, non heterosexuals
3. Cutting help for disabled, elderly and the poor
4. Unequal education for all children and support fir dissolving the line separating church and state because they believe their religious beliefs should be forced on everyone.
5. Gutting consumer protections
6. Gutting environmental protections
7. Taking from the poor to give more to the rich
8. Supporting fossil fuel energy and attempting to halt renewable energy growth
9. Wanting to line all our coastline with drilling rigs until this earth isn’t habitable – as we continue to invade other countries for their resources, too, because they aren’t strong enough to stop us.

10. Arresting people who aren’t loyal to them as they pretend it is Trump who leads them.
11. Wanting to destroy our right to free speech
12. Increased sentencing for non violent crimes and for Cannibis, pretending it’s as lethal and addicting as opiates but is really to keep prisons full in repayment of campaign funding by prison corporations.
13. Destroying the internet and controlling what you learn.

This list goes on and on. Registered Republicans approve of the items on this list. They support the destruction of democracy. But they can’t have their cake and eat it, too, but they think they can. Sorry, ignorance is not bliss.

I had hoped I would never read news about my country like I read now on a daily basis. This Gestapo type behavior of whisking people away, destroys their families, taking them away from their wives, children and communities where they have often lived for decades. Good people. Family people. Hard working people. Innovative people. People who contribute to our country and fought for our country. They are being targeted to get them away from “good, deserving citizens.” Trump’s government thinks these people, who have fought against discrimination, must be deported because they are dangerous. It is freedom and knowledge that is dangerous to Trump’s America.

This country was built 100% by immigrants after we destroyed its inhabitants, took away their land and didn’t honor our treaties. To this day we whittle away what little bit lasts because the government says they need it more. We made the indigenous people out to be the bad people we needed to overthrow. Now Trump has equated the word immigrant with the word criminal. But it was us who were the criminals. We were the murderers. We were the theives who took what wasn’t ours. Now Trump says : Immigrant = bad person. Immigrant= not good enough to live here – even if they had lived here for decades and have a wife and family and pays taxes. Immigrant = deportation.

It makes me sick. Trump’s America. I spit it out like spoiled food that sits rotting in my mouth. I’d rather starve than give an inch in the hell bee occupies.  Trump declared he is on the side of America’s citizens. He has no remorse for behaving like Hitler deciding what race or what nationality is worth protecting. He also decides which citizens are worth protecting. I am appalled, as everyone who lives here should be.

History books looking back at this time will teach the young about this dark period. It will explain the cause of people’s ignorance. The new generation will be amazed at how easily people fell under control of the political party called Fox News, just like we were amazed that German citizens fell under the spell of Hitler. That couldn’t happen to us. We’re smarter than that we would turn against our neighbors.

Fox News is directing our easily swayed, mentally challenged president (” I am, like, really smart” he says in his valley girl way of speaking about himself).  They tell him who to incarcerate and who to execute while inventing “facts” that don’t exist. Laughingly, smart people don’t have to tell people they are smart. They are smart enough to know that.

This dark time will be taught in school like Hitler is taught today. Children will learn what we did to other non-white countries so we could move in with our corporations and nationalize them for profit. Casualties and deaths will be counted and attributed directly to this disgraceful American President who is causing the collapse of any good we are capable of doing. We can no longer pretend America gives a shit about anyone other than the elite class who would rather see someone dead if it meant it could claw out another dollar for themselves.

With Americans targeting their neighbors and spreading hate like the Germans did, I wake each day with such sadness. As I listen to the madness of the fervent talk coming out of Shawn Humanity’s mouth I wonder if the evil was always there or if his ego and huge paycheck gave him the self importance to spread such viciousness to people caught up in the lies he tells. He has far surpassed Bill O’Reilly in spreading evil non truths to his audiences. They lap it up like a dog in heat. How can the anchors at Fox be so hateful of America. It is frightful.

America is losing its soul. It’s goodness. I used to be proud to be as American – so glad I live here. Now I am ashamed of this pathetic regime that was not elected by the people, although Trump thinks he was and it infuriates him. He won, not because he was the best person for the job, but instead by manipulations of billionaires redrawing district lines and attempting to further control who is white enough to vote. And of course, Russia. That much has been proven. The rich don’t give a damn about the people who live here if it doesn’t further their agenda.

I am ashamed of the people who allow themselves to be manipulated by Trump. I am ashamed that people I know could be so ignorant of the reality of America today – those who feel entitled. Those who pride themselves on remaking ignorance into their reality. Those who think their lives are more valuable than others. Sadly, Trump’s America will hurt them, too.

Where was the outcry from Republican citizens when a Republican politician a couple weeks ago announced they wanted to put a stop to Meals on Wheels and lunches for poor children because THEY WEREN’T WORKING and America couldn’t afford to feed them. Not WORKING? He was proposing they just let them die from hunger? They aren’t good enough or productive enough to live? I’ll bet that will motivate the lazy elderly to go out and get a job at Wal-Mart. Who cares if they can’t.

There are people who think every fetus has the right to live, but don’t expect republicans to do anything help them live. Count my life in this batch. Elderly and disabled people weren’t worth helping? This is America? Where was the outcry for suggesting that? Or perhaps Fox News didn’t report it and people never heard about it. Fox is very selective about what they consider to be the truth worth reporting.

Trump has laid our evil government on the table for all to see. He couldn’t have done this if his black heart wasn’t already there. His first year in office has only laid bare what was already hid – the undeniable beginning of the destruction of our country. If you don’t see that you deserve the consequences you will be blindsided with.

The rest of us will continue to fight for our country. We have kept our eyes open to the agenda of today’s Republican party that in no way resembles the party of my grandfather. It has sunk to lows previously not thought possible. Not America. I cry for my grandchildren and the destruction they are left with long after Trump is dead and buried.

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Can You Stop Prison Abuse?

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Can you stop prisons abuse? On a whole – no. But can you help the person you support? I believe you can. I’m not going to sit by with crossed fingers hoping they won’t succeed in hurting or possibly killing him. They crossed a line. 

I’m on a plane, headed home from a three week trip to Texas to see family and visit with Jamie. It was a hard trip but much was accomplished. I was able to go to Allred Prison three times for a total of 10 hours. It was good to see Jamie and the smile on his face told me he was looking forward to this visit, his only visit since my last trip in Sept ’16. One sad note – his son refused to go with me. More on that another time.

I have learned things. If someone you care about is locked up and you seriously want to help them, read this post through to the end. If you are writing to an inmate you met as a pen pal you probably aren’t invested enough to go to bat for him/her against the prison system, although taking the time to communicate with someone who needs the support of someone in the free world is no small thing.

I learned things about the prison system. How they get away with doing things that put inmates in danger. The prisons and staff should be held accountable and made to do the right thing but how is that possible? Who makes them? Does your call to the warden make them? If it doesn’t, can you just sit at home and worry while you wait for a letter or a call to know they are okay, if they even have phone privileges, which Jamie doesn’t?

Every politician, whose job is to create policies that are supposed to be for the good of the people, KNOWS how corrupt the system is. So why aren’t the prisons made to change and treat human beings kept inside the cages and cement closets as something other than a commodity they can beat and misuse any time they want?

Many people, due to lack of education about the prisons believe only the guilty are prosecuted and they deserve whatever torture they receive. The guilty inside lose the right to be human. There is abroad spectrum of guilt. Not everyone inside is a child abuser, murderer, rapist or the like. There are people inside because they couldn’t pay a court ordered fine or they were with someone who committed a crime and are guilty by association. Some are guilty but why are there different sentences for the same crime if you are white instead of black. Some are innocent left with no option but to take a plea deal because there is no one to fight for them. 17 years or 50-99. Would you plead guilty if you are innocent and risk never getting out?

New crimes are being decided this year to fill the gap left by less personal drug use arrests. They are prosecuting people who dare to protest. They are arresting kids as young as seven for fighting. They are handcuffing kids at school. Detention isn’t good enough anymore if money could be made for the prison system. Ruin them young, destroy their education and it later becomes a filled bed in an adult prison. Why do you think they want to lock up kids? Read Jamie’s story in the links at the to of the page and learn what they did to destroy him at 16 even though the only crime committed was by a cop who busted into his families home.

Many of the “guilty” inside are there because they couldn’t afford an attorney. It doesn’t matter how guilty someone is, they are treated the same. They lose the right to live as though their life matters. No one is going to make the prison system do the right thing, especially if you base it on the concept of actual right and wrong. Even the politicians who outright say the prison system needs changing don’t have the power to make that happen. There is too much money to be made. The corporations involved need to be fed. It doesn’t matter – at all – if thousands of people across the country die from abuse if it pads their bottom line. No family or friend on the outside who learns about the abuse of their loved one is going to change that.

We do the best we can to help our husband/wife/ son/daughter or other family/friend. We call the prison/medical unit/warden/mail room when things go wrong or we just need answers. An inmate files a grievance that gets lost. A guard can retaliate in many ways. The warden looks the other way. He lies to you and says, “My guards would never do that.” Medications are withheld that can cause death – heart/seizure /cholesterol/insulin/ depression and psych meds and others. Medical problems can easily be erased out of records. Wrong medications can be substituted. Dental problems not addressed. An abcess? Who cares? Pain? Too bad. The list of what they can do is long.

Let’s say your son has been sentenced to 10-20 years. Does he have a Medical issue? What if he is beat – by guards or inmates, how will you intervene? The prison staff is trained to lie to you. Do you know when they are lying? Do they sympathize with you while they lie? What can you do about it? Are we helpless to help?

The list of things done to Jamie over the years is long. Incomprehensible and cruel acts that are often life threatening. Judging by the comments guards and medical personnel say to him it seems as though they take pleasure in hurting people. Are they paid to be this way? Do they get satisfaction knowing their actions caused someone to possibly die? Many death certificates in prisons say, “Died of natural causes,” but it doesn’t say they withheld necessary medications that caused this natural death. Do you think an autopsy will be done to understand the cause of death? Absolutely nothing would be done that indicated the prison was responsible. You’d be lucky to even find out the whereabouts of the body.

If you have a loved one who is locked up you probably have been through some of what I am saying. There is no rule book. Where do you go to find out what to do? Who will help you? Who has the answers? Even if you talked to an attorney, does that person understand how the prison corporations operate? Probably not. That is field not practiced by the average attorney.

If anyone wants to know where hell is located, it is in the prison system and any entity associated with it. It mentally ruins anyone who works within it, including those who look the other way because they want to keep their job. At the end of the day they go home to the free world knowing what they witnessed and knowing they went along with being cruel to human beings way beyond what their sentence dictated. Inmates are sentenced to time, not abuse. All prison staff have to live with that. What goes around comes around.

At any given time there are millions of people in the system. Every year they lock up at least as many people as they let out. The prisons stay full – per the contracts the prison corporations have with the government. Since they can’t easily fill the prisons anymore with people caught with a personal stash of weed, they have had to make new crimes. Jeff Sessions has vowed to increase mandatory minimums. Why do you think he would want to do that? Because these people are too dangerous to be free? Or died he own prison stock? The major push of immigrant detention has made these corporations very happy and even more rich. Why else would you lock up women and children when they seek medical care or go to church? Are these the bad hombres? The prison corporations love Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions to pieces, they are so damn happy.

The next issue of ITFO NEWS will focus on this issue to help you understand how to fight for someone who is inside. No one knows what to do. You can subscribe below to make sure it is delivered to your inbox. I can’t stress how important this is if you have someone you care about inside, especially if you are already aware of wrongdoing. You will want to keep this issue as a resource. Share it with a friend you know who has someone inside.

If you have read my blog you know Jamie has epilepsy. I’ve been worried, even more so since they upped their game messing with his meds on a regular basic and giving him excuses why they wouldn’t give him his seizure meds. He had a seizure and they let him lay on his cell floor untreated. They lied to me when I called and said he didn’t have a seizure. I was also told I couldn’t call back to check on him because I was only “allowed” to call once a month. Is that true? How do I find out? This isn’t the first time they refused his meds but I didn’t know what I could do about it. I thought, “Why would they do that? Isn’t it wrong? How can I find out if he is okay?”

After my first visit his ID came up missing. Three days the following week he was again denied his meds because he had no ID, even though a new one was requested and they know they know him. A week later and he still had no ID. He knows his number and they can look it up. It was deliberate. They most likely took his ID. How else could it disappear into thin air? I am fighting this now.

You know the old saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.” This is one of those times. We can’t force the system to change. That isn’t going to happen. But you can learn what to do to keep your loved one safe and fight back. You CAN force that horse to drink when you learn how to play their game. Knowledge is power.

 

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Letter to Jamie 2012 – Waiting For Liver Transplant

Sonni Quick April 2017

Many of you know I am doing a rewrite of Inside The Forbidden Outside, What a journey this has been since I decided Jamie’s story needed to be written.  It is not because his story is so unusual, but because there are so many people who have lived the same story.  There are different characters but the underlying theme is the same.  People need to better understand this story because too many still say the line, “If he did the crime he needs to do the time.” How do they know if he did the crime?  How do they know the underlying reason why so many live this story? 

If someone only listened to or read mainstream propaganda, which is getting worse, why would they believe anything to the contrary? They might also believe the white race is more deserving, privileged, more intelligent and less likely to do drugs or commit crimes, especially since there are so many more people of color in the prisons than white people. No part of that statement is true. Many white people can’t stand the thought they aren’t superior to other colors.  When a race has been trampled on as much as the black race and other minorities are catching up, there is an all out effort to keep white prison corporations as rich as possible off the backs of people they don’t like to continue this false illusion.

But wanting to write a book is not as easy as knowing how to spell and where to put a period.  It has taken me a couple years of writing and studying to get this far. Working with a story editor this time has given me a much better grip on what I’m doing. Anyone can self publish an inferior product and not be able to sell their book, but this is far too important to not do the best I can.

Since no one sees every post I put out, and if you are interested in what I’m doing, please subscribe to my newsletter below.  I put out an issue about once a month on different justice issues with an update on the book.  I don’t send you several emails a day like some do.  I hate that.  I also don’t have time to do that.

I am combing through 4-500 letters Jamie and I have exchanged to pull out the most important ones to use. These letters are like a diary that hold his growth into a man and our growth in communication. His effect on my life has been tremendous.  It has also been a two-way street. We would not have made it this far without each other.

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sick me
I’m sitting on pillows because of bedsores. I couldn’t walk by myself. My husband took me outside each day because it was Spring. Clogs were the only thing I could get my feet into

To explain where this letter is in time, I had moved from Key West, FL to Pa in August 2010 to get on the liver transplant list at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. My local Dr couldn’t help me anymore. My body had swelled with fluid and I looked like a beached whale.  They couldn’t tap me anymore to drain fluid because it was everywhere, even in my skin.  I already had two tumors in my liver and if I developed a third they would take me off the list and tell me to have a nice life. I won’t get into the details because it is fairly gross. When the liver became available the Drs told my husband, but not me, that I literally had days to live. I was bedridden and couldn’t type or hold a pen or feed myself,  but I had a laptop beside me and I typed letters with one finger.  I had no doubt I’d be okay.  I still had too much to do. Jamie’s letters were a major source of encouragement. The transplant took place July 2nd of this same year.

 

 

Date:   1/11/2012 12:12:59 PM
Sent To:        JAMES CUMMINGS

Dearest Jamie – life always goes up and down. Even for people who think they have everything so many of them aren’t happy, get depressed, and feel as though they have problems they will never get out of. But it is really all in the mind and how you view things will determine how you feel. I can’t imagine how hard it is for you. I can’t imagine having a family who cares so little and who will think only of themselves when you get out and how hard it was for THEM. Rise above. Develop an inner strength that will see you through the tough times. For Xmas I am going to get you a subscription to a weekly newspaper that I read. You will understand better what I am saying. It is all about having hope. You know I am not a Christian. I am a Buddhist. The philosophies are very different. We don’t pray to an outside source to change things for us. We learn to change from the inside out. Every day I chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. It is time for you to try something different to help you figure out your life. You tried going to church.  You tried Islam. Nothing gave you the answers you were looking for. Now it is time to help you find them. I promise you this will change your life. Here is how to sound it out. If you counted to six evenly over and over you would have the rhythm. One- two -three- four- five- six. In music it is called 6/8 time.

1.Nam ( the a is pronounced like ahh) It doesn’t matter if it is pronounced right or not.
2.myo ( like a cat’s meow but with and o ) It is the attempt that matters.
3.ho Try to say it a hundred times. When you get comfortable
4.ren- ( like rent ) with it, direct your mind to pray for what you need.
5.ge ( like gay ) Jamie, I would not have been doing this for 24 years for no
6.kyo (like myo ) reason. The more you chant, the better. I have often chanted for 3 or more hours at a time. You will feel better and your head will feel better. People will notice the change.

You are such a worthwhile person. Some days it is hard. There is good and evil. Things will happen to try and make you stop. Don’t let anyone stop you. It isn’t easy doing this through the mail, but when you start getting the World Tribune and read and learn, it will make more and more sense. This is the best present I can give you.

I’m doing a little better every day. The pain is decreasing and the excess fluid is going down from the new medication. Mike said I look like a drill sargent since I don’t have much hair except for a little buzz on the top! It used to be down to my waist. Oh well . . . it grows back. I don’t want anymore chemo that is for sure. It was that procedure that I think gave me the infection I had. But at least they caught before I got any sicker. I do have good drs. Thank goodness I have medicaid. I can’t imagine what 3 days at Hershey Med costs. Probably more than I make, or used to make in a year. So, next stop – transplant here I come!!

Little Jamie will never hate you. He doesn’t really understand, but children are very forgiving. He only wants his daddy. I was lucky for Xmas because I still had quite a few toys and books left from closing the store. I knew Megan had no money so I wanted to make sure everyone had 3 or 4 presents under the tree – including Megan. I gave Jamie a 3-D puzzle of a pirate ship that Alex helped him with. I think that was the best thing for him. It wasn’t just a toy to play with and then forget about. He could be proud that he helped make it. I had puzzles for 3 yr olds that was good for Cozmo. I got clothing for Alex and Alyssa – important things in school. Can you believe that Alex will be 15 on March 2?? He has grown to be a good kid. Meg has always been a strict disciplinarian and it is paying off – even if her daughter hates her at least every other day!

Megan has not forgotten you even though it often feels that way. She gets so quiet when I talk about you. Afraid to think too far into the future.

I won’t let you give up, Jamie, that’s the way I am. You can tell me when you feel bad. I would carry your burden if I could. Lots of love, Mom

p.s. Sounds like you had a great xmas meal. It makes the little things so appreciated. I wish you could get care boxes.
Also – I am going to pay off your med fee. It doesn’t give you any money yet, but toward the end of the month I’ll put a little on your account so you can get some things you need.

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LIFE BEYOND BARS-The Beast Must Be Fed

ny-stock-01-800x416
Isn’t it ironic that these men were pretending to join in on being aghast at Hillary’s supposed lies, but now that Wall St is getting front row seats in the White House to manipulate the country’s finances, they want to make sure their shady dealings are glossed over during their confirmation hearings. Is there something wrong with this picture?

Unless you know someone in prison,  the way people think about prison issues is very narrow, if it is thought about at all. Take for example, the chanting, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” concerning Clinton. It didn’t matter if she did anything to be locked up for.  People were caught up in the emotional release of endorphins and the pleasure it gave them to anticipate her being hurt or possibly even dying. But they have forgotten about 2009 when the banks and mortgages began causing the ruination of many people’s lives, including my own.  Where is the outrage over them running the country from those who supported this ticket? Should we “Lock them up?”

A majority of people don’t follow world events close enough to truly understand what happens in the world around them, or they center what they believe on an infotainment station like Fox News and think they are getting all the truthful news they need to stay informed. But yelling  “lock her up” gave them something physical to get back at to relieve the failure of being able to do anything about it before.

They were looking for anything they could find to blame for unhappy lives. It must be someone’s fault and they would have had Clinton hanged on TV if they could, and even cheered, even though the issues they wanted her imprisoned for weren’t issues that would have affected the success or failure of their lives Would it matter if she was innocent? Again, no, and they wouldn’t have believed it anyway.

Sadly, there is something so exquisitely intoxicating being part of a large group of people who are all yelling at the top of their lungs, at the same time, to hurt someone. They even allowed their children to witness it, creating the next generation of haters. Who better to emulate than mommy and daddy. Why do you think we still have racism? It would have died out long ago if parents didn’t teach their children bad ways of thinking.

When a parent is the one to teach a child an important part of reasoning, the child naturally assumes it is the truth. Why wouldn’t they? Why would their parent lie? The same goes for religion. If you hear something enough it becomes the truth. It takes a strong person to examine those truths because it can affect those important relationships. Why else would a child grow up thinking they were a privileged part of society because of the color of their skin if it wasn’t something they were taught? Some children eventually become smart enough to think for themselves.

Some people must like it when it becomes legal to kill someone and get away with it.  It serves a purpose, like a hit of heroin. It’s a release. They enjoy it. It feels good. Why else have people gathered for centuries to watch people being put to death. It’s entertaining. For some it’s even sexual.  For some it’s revenge.  For some, curiosity. This mind set was used when people gathered to hang black men from trees like low hanging fruit. They needed only the smallest of reasons, a lie being spread that a black man had the audacity to touch a white woman – or maybe he only looked at her and that was enough to call for his death – with no remorse. Many still feel the same way today.

If you read history going back to the time of “The Games” in Rome, people absolutely loved watching well trained men kill each other. They cheered. The entire city emptied out to go to the arena to watch the games. People got angry if the politicians took their fun and enjoyment away. Moving ahead, they loved the burning of witches and hearing their screams. They even took their children to watch. Public hangings. Electrocution. Death by injection. What is is it about people who get off on the killing people and loving to watch?

emmett_till

Emmet Till (This video should make you cry that ANYONE could do to another human what they did to this boy! If it doesn’t, shame on you. ) Emmet was a 14 year old boy in 1955 who was kidnapped from the home of relatives, beaten mercilessly, killed and found in a river for flirting with a white woman. How anyone could condone this act is sickening. Emmet was just a boy! But even today there are plenty of examples of this happening by people who think being white is superior to being black and it’s okay to kill black people.  Look at how many cops have come under scrutiny for killing them for no reason. They say, “I was afraid for my life.” Can’t they come up with more than one thing to say? That excuse is used way too much. But they get away with it! It must be in the cop’s handbook of how to get away with killing people you don’t like.  This way they don’t get prosecuted because then the courts would have to admit it was wrong. It will continue as long as there is no price to pay for taking the life of another human being. Any human being. How long will that take?

The question has been raised many times; is murdering someone because they raped or murdered someone okay? What difference is that murder? Is it because we decided certain murders are okay because we legalized it? What does it matter if it is still the brutal slaying of human life? States go back and forth on the legality. But in the end they still have to bear the brunt and live with the consequences of making the cause of making it legal to kill another human life.

The US is a country that wants the people to think it is a Christian nation, yet allows this barbaric practice never thinking it through to the end. If they truly think an all-knowing, all-seeing entity in the heavens is watching what they do, what do they think this intelligence “up there” is thinking about when it sees, down here on earth, the people committing hate crimes and sees people who think their skin color makes them special when supposedly “He” created all people of all races to be equal?  Did he think, white people are special and they can use black people, Muslims, American Indians or Hispanics like dogs? I think God would be pretty disgusted with people who think they are the chosen few – if you believe that sort of thing.

But I guess we’ll never know because people separate their religion from their actions. They pray when someone is sick or when they die. They pray for unborn babies. Some even think a person can pray away being gay. But do white people pray for God to forgive them for all the black people who get killed just for being black. Do they pray for the children who lose their parents because of bogus charges or unreasonable sentences they themselves don’t suffer? Do they pray for the youth who get killed by people like George Zimmermann who thinks if they look suspicious he should be able to kill them, yet when a jury can’t convict him because he is white and so are they, it happens over and over and over again. Someone, explain it to me please – why is this okay? Is it okay with you, and if it isn’t, what are you doing about it?

This isn’t a fun subject to write about. I doubt we will ever completely understand why we let it happen.  Many people inside prisons were never guilty of their charges. Our justice system is corrupt. We have finally begun to let innocent people out after they spent decades inside paying for something they didn’t do. How many innocents have we killed? No one likes to think of that. It’s not supposed to be part of our lives. That’s we they are kept separate, so we don’t have to think about them.

Most people, if they have no one inside, don’t want to believe all prisoners aren’t guilty. We want them to deserve every atrocity that happens to them in prison. We don’t want to think we got it wrong and locked up innocent people. The courts will fight tooth and nail to keep convicted people guilty or they look bad.

race graph in prison

If we separated the guilty from the innocent and then sentenced the guilty appropriately, our prison numbers would be the same as other countries. How can we – just one country – imprison 25% of the WORLD’S population without imprisoning a lot of innocent people to satisfy the thirst of the prison industrial complex? Doesn’t that bother you? It bothers me a lot, especially because America thinks they live in a country of Christians. That is so hypocritical!

Our entire prison system needs a total make over, beginning with the ever-changing reasons why we decide certain segments of society should be locked up.  Because of the prison corporation’s increasing thirst for profit, the need to incarcerate more segments of society has to expand. If we are decreasing the penalty for drugs, then those people need to be replaced with others in order to keep the prisons full. So who gets locked up, and who doesn’t get let out?

Why do you think they fight to keep the elderly imprisoned? Exactly how dangerous is an old, sick prisoner who can barely get out of bed who wants to spend the last of his life with family? “But he pulled an armed robbery 40 years ago!”  What exactly is he going to do? He did enough time. But corporations get paid by the govt if his bed is empty. Family pays in so many other ways so it hurts the bottom line to let him go. Enough is enough.

Now we have increased sentencing of children, even as young as 5-10 years of age. “I don’t believe it! That will never happen!” Believe it. It’s real. Michigan made it law on January 1. kids will get slapped with a felony charge for fighting – at any age for any reason. Half of all schools now have a cop on the premises. Don’t kid yourself it is to protect the school. It’s for easy access to the children. The wrong kids of course.  The black and Hispanic ones. The beast must be fed.

I’m going to leave you with one last thing to read and I hope you take the time to do so. Open your eyes. See what is happening. Do what you can to help change things.

***************

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How Solid is Your Rock?

This year we had an example of what happens when we fight against wrong, and win. The people who have been marginalized for centuries after we took their land from them and then pushed them onto tiny patches of land and continued to strangle them as though their lives were worth nothing. They stood up and showed us what the word courage meant. Their intention was not meant to teach us that, they had decided they were not going to let the bullies in this country tell them once again it didn’t matter what they thought; they couldn’t have a say so about the land given to them in treaty if it went against what the bully wanted.

What a proud, strong name – Standing Rock. How appropriate. How unmovable. It was sheer will against sheer will.

“We are going to make you move,” the bully said. “We don’t care if we ruin your lives. We are going to put that pipeline under your water. We are bigger and more powerful and you can’t stop us!”

“This rock stands. It is solid,” The Americans, the true Americans said. “We will not fight you. We bring no weapons. We come in peace but you will not dig up our land to increase your profit. You have raped this land for too long.” The bully isn’t used to not getting it’s way. Other bullies, including our new president have invested much money in this pipeline, in the destruction of our earth and by God they were going to get their way – except they didn’t.

I’m sure the bullies are dreaming up other ways to force the Indians to do their bidding. Who are they, after all, to stop them? They have always won, until now.

The bullies in the land, the wealthy corporations, who can never have enough money and power, disguised their motive in the beginning as being for the good of the people. There is no need to pretend any more. They intend to take what they want and destroy the lives of anyone who gets in their way!

I wanted so much to see the American Indians win but deep in my heart I didn’t see how they could – but they did!

My heart swelled with joy and admiration. All they did was stand there, immovable, and thousands of people came and cheered for them, joining in solidarity. They faced off the bullies. One side with weapons and the Indians with peace. This was important enough to lay their lives down if they had to.

The call came in. The bullies were backing down. Today, while reading I learned something new. Originally, the pipeline was to be put in close to the town of Bismark. They said no! You can’t put it here. You might destroy our water! After thinking a about it they decided instead to put it through the protected land of American Indians, the only true Americans in this country. Bismark won, too, but they suffered no casualties. You see, Bismark is 92% white. The bullies would never have attacked them with guns and other means of hurting people. Bismark was filled with the chosen race, the pure race, the white race. The Indians were expendable.

(update 12/29: I found out with further research that the info I read on Bismark was misleading and was never viable as an option. My apologies for not double checking my resource)

This gave me so much hope and encouragement. It showed me what having faith in one’s convictions really was. For years I have been trying to help change what the bullies do to millions of people who are often innocent of crimes yet get caught in the money making teeth of the Prison Industrial Complex. Guilty or not guilty doesn’t matter. They just need people to make them money. They are forced to work for pennies if they pay them at all. Companies bid on slave labor to make their products. They twist the minds of people through PR until they say, “Let the notion of slavery rest. Why do you always call it slavery?” But if they were forced to work in often very poor conditions, ignoring medical issues, fed slop only fit for pigs and then use their pennies to buy hygiene and cannot use it to help their families, then slavery is exactly what it is. Many are sexually assaulted. Men and women and often by guards.

They twist the minds of people through PR until they say, “Let the notion of slavery rest. Why do you always call it slavery?” But if they were forced to work in often very poor conditions, ignoring medical issues, fed slop only fit for pigs and then use their pennies to buy hygiene and cannot use it to help their families, then slavery is exactly what it is. Many are sexually assaulted. Men and women and often by guards.There are many groups of people across the country and around the world who are fighting to help the men, women and children who are caught in this hell. We fight for sentences to be reasonable and for the non guilty to be freed.  We do not want anyone to be forced in a plea deal out of fear because they are told if the choose to go to court they will add charges so they will never get out. 

White people, black and brown people who commit the same crime should get the same sentence. Parole should fair, and people granted more than a few minutes on a video screen to plea their case while the parole board looks at the next case.

Prison corporations need to go. Education and rehabilitation need to be there so when they are introduced back to society they have a chance of survival instead of being forced to do something illegal so they have enough money to buy food.

prison labor

There are millions of people inside prisons working hard so you can buy the products made for the companies that bid on prison labor. You have no idea if it is made by an inmate who had no choice but to work for for pennies an hour. There are three times that many people affected on the outside as well, and many on probation and parole who can’t find places to life or get a job. Slowly it is changing because people like me,  are working to educate people that prison is nothing like what they watch on TV.

There will be a stand-off coming where people are going to have to choose whether they want their lives ruled by corporate profits. Starting in 2017, for the first time, we will have a government run by the very corporations we railed against. I don’t have to list these corporations. Read the news at Common Dreams, Alternet, Truth Out and others that actually print the truth and not what they are paid to print. Verify at more than one site before you believe anything, the mistake I made earlier in this article. Open your mind and learn the truth. I have no time to fill my mind with the things they want us to believe. Some people are gullible and believe something because they want to and it has no bearing in truth.

The wrong people are changing our country in the wrong way. It’s time we stand up and fight for each other and with each other instead of fighting against each other for our destruction. Make your life count for something. That is the legacy you leave behind.

Right and Wrong Has Different Rules For Prison Guards

This is a repost from 2014. Nothing has changed. There is a different set of rules between right and wrong than there is in the free world.

prison guard

My focus has been the injustice that has been shown to Jamie, and to all other prisoners as well. It’s about the injustice shown when he was a teenager, locked up for nine months that became 4 years.  They finally had to let him go because he turned 21 and they couldn’t hold him any longer. It is also about the injustice shown him when he was picked up for the charge of ‘aggravated assault’ because he was with someone who decided to use his gun to rob a place and he tried to run away, and the injustice of never having any justice at all because his woefully inadequate public defender, who is in the pocket of the district attorney knew it was his job to scare him to death so he would take a plea of 17 years insteadof going to court and possibly getting up to 99 years. What would you do if you were faced with that? You’d probably take the plea, too.

The years spent in solitary confinement, being treated as a subhuman being not deserving of human rights, is now hoping against hope that nothing will stop him from being allowed to make his very first phone call to his son since the day he was born. That is a lot of injustices, isn’t it? That has been my focus of this post.

There is another side of the story. The prison system is genuinely, very corrupt, filled with people and corporations looking to make a buck any way they can, even if it means hurting people. The security guards are to blame for the inhumane way they treat inmates. They are allowed to do this. The prison officers look the other way. The prison industrial complex sets the tone for this while taking advantage of prisoners. The security guards aren’t the ones who line the pockets of the government agencies and politicians so that the vote goes for the corporations and against the people. Corporations have been getting their way for a long time and there hasn’t been a whole lot anyone has been able to do to stop it. Money goes a long way in keeping information about their abuses from getting into the wrong hands and used against them, but even if it does and they have to pay off the lawsuits, they still made more money off the backs of the people than what it costs them to pay up, so I guess it’s worth it to them.

I could go into a long tirade against the corporations that cheat the inmates by not providing the care they so proudly proclaim they do on their websites, cheat the government and cheat people out of years of their lives all for the sake of a buck, but that isn’t my focus today. I want to focus on the prison guard himself. What kind of man or woman becomes a prison guard and what kind of nature does a person have to have that allows him to justify his actions and tell himself that what he/she is doing is ok? The prison says it’s ok if they torture inmates, so why not? But how do they live with themselves when they have participated in inhumane treatment of human beings? How can they do it and go home to their friends and family and tell them about their day? Who were they when they started and who did they become? Was that nature there all along and all it needed was a shove in the right direction? But still. I know that not everyone who works in a prison is like this. There have to be some good people who work there, too.

There are some careers where you have to turn off your emotions. If you are affected by the environment you work in, it could take you into a very dark place. If you got too involved, how could you turn it off at the end of the day? Is being a prison guard a role you play that gets put into the locker at the end of the day the way an exotic dancer puts her costumes in her suitcase and walks out the door at the end of a shift?

Is a prison guard always a prison guard? When does it become an identity instead of a job? Another profession that abuses the right to hurt people are the very people who are supposed to protect and serve the people of our communities. We know who they are. We read the news. We watch it on TV. We aren’t surprised any more when we hear of one more case where the bounds of the law were stepped over and another person was needlessly taken advantage of, hurt or killed. We would be shocked if it all stopped and the law was actually used to help us instead of control us. The days of Andy of Mayberry are long over.

The government has insisted that we don’t torture inmates.  How can they say that and who believes them? On Nov. 12 and 13, the practice of holding incarcerated people in prolonged isolation will come under international scrutiny when the U.S. government goes before the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva.

http://solitarywatch.com/2014/10/14/u-s-government-tells-un-committee-on-torture-there-is-no-systematic-use-of-solitary-confinement-in-the-united-states/

It’s part of a periodic review to assess if this country has been compliant concerning the guidelines of the Convention Against Torture and the first U.S. review under Obama’s administration. I think we know the answer to that. But I think anything said will just be lip service and they will continue to do things exactly the way they have been doing it.

But I’m getting off the subject. I want to find out who the people are who actually enforce the rules of behavior that says it’s ok to treat people so badly that they sometimes die from the abuse. What kind of prison guard can stand by and watch that happen? Apparently quite a few.

Jamie’s Facebook page Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Amerika Iz Addicted And Dependent On Slavery.

This is an article I have referenced many times. If you think you understand why we house millions of prisoners you need to thoroughly read this and find out exactly what companies are profiting from our full prisons.

Reading so many articles recently about the many politicians jumping on the bandwagon and saying we need to release inmates because it is wrong what we have done – but these politicians accept campaign contributions from these very prison corporations leads me wonder if it is mostly all BS. An election is coming. They have to appear to support what the people want, but after the election how much will really happen? These corporations are not going to want to give up their profit. Besides, they have contracts with the government to keep the prisons full – binding legal contracts.

Source: Amerika Iz Addicted And Dependent On Slavery