I’m Someone Time Forgot – Chapter From ITFO

 

Listen to I’m Someone Time Forgot by Sonni Quick #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick/im-someone-time-forgot

 

I’m Someone Time Forgot 

 

Jamie was stressed. It created a restlessness inside him he couldn’t get under control. He craved the feeling of walking. To go outside in the fresh air and push his legs to walk his full stride, and feel his arms swinging by his side. He wanted to walk with purpose because there was someplace he wanted to be.
     He wanted to walk and breathe deep until his body was exhausted. He couldn’t do that in his cell with only two full steps of walking space before he had to stop and turn around. If he was outside the cell, walking down the hallway, he could walk in a slow, shuffling stride of about twelve inches, the length of the chain between his ankles. If he went any faster he would fall on his face. Since his hands were cuffed behind his back it would be a pretty nasty fall. Even so, the more he craved walking, and couldn’t, the more stress he felt.
     He knew what Sonni would say, “Chant about it.”
Taking in deep breaths to chant was like meditating and it had a calming effect. But right now he felt too hopeless to chant because everything in his life was out of control. It was so hot and that made it hard to concentrate. How was he going to make it through the remaining years he had when he could barely make it through the day?

Earlier, Jamie asked to be taken to see the doctor because he was having bad dizzy spells. All the doctor did was tell him to get some rest. Beyond that there was nothing he could do for him. What did that fool think he did all day in a segregated cell?
     Jamie was afraid of falling. He had a couple bad falls during seisures and there were only hard things to fall on. He had some bad cuts and around here cuts got infected. The nurse always let injuries get infected before they did anything about it because they didn’t think there was any need to keep it from getting infected. Then, getting it treated by the doctor took time. Nothing ever happened fast. Infections could be prevented but they didn’t see it that way.
     The doctor don’t treat nothing until it’s about ready to kill you. He seemed to hate his job, especially the inmates, like they weren’t worth helping. He never even said hello, or anything like he hoped you would feel better soon. A smile of friendliness? Forget that. It was part of his job to make you feel like shit because you were in here.
     He didn’t like treating inmates. There were some scary ones he wouldn’t want to be around either, but he didn’t need to make sure everyone who needed to see him knew you were inferior to him because he was a doctor.
This job at the prison was probably the only job he could get. Why would you be a doctor in here if you could get a job a somewhere else? Did they even have a valid license that hadn’t been revoked?
     Jamie was lightheaded and passed out a couple times and now this fool told him that to fix it he was to go rest? Wasn’t it part of his job as a doctor to find out why it was happening, especially because of his epilepsy? Was it too far above what the prison allowed for the “adequate” medical care the law dictated. Ordering rest as a treatment didn’t cost the prison a cent. Running blood tests does. That ate into the profit they made off the inmates being here. They were kept alive with minimal food and care like other caged animals.
     Sleep was beyond him at night because all he did was toss and turn. When he finally did fall asleep he would jerk himself awake. He was sure it had a lot to do with not knowing what was happening with his family on the outside.
     He constantly thought about them, especially when he was trying not to. He hadn’t heard from no one in his family for a long time. Maybe no news was good news but he still needed to know. How was his son? Morgan wrote sometimes but she often put a lot of time between her letters.

Jamie lay on his bunk thinking about everyone he knew, one at a time. He didn’t have the mental strength to stop. When he got depressed this always pushed him further down the hole, and then he wanted to let it all go, but he couldn’t stop himself. He felt he was someone time forgot.
Out of sight, out of mind. He didn’t exist for them anymore, until he got out. No one thought about the effect it was having on him right now as he lived it.
     During these times of depression he always said he was going to give up, cut them off and never write to nobody again. He said that over and over through the years. He needed to hear from the people in his life who knew he was in here and that rarely happened. Almost no one took the time to do that to let him know they cared or write to tell him what was going on out there. No one cared that little Jamie needed him. Being in prison made it doubly hard for his son. He needed a relationship with his dad. All this made him terribly lonely.
     He was worried about Morgan. She was working two jobs. She had no choice with kids to take care of. He needed to be able to do his part and couldn’t, and that made him feel guilty.
     Sonni was sick and that was probably why she hadn’t written or come to see him in her dreams. Maybe she was saving her strength. Not knowing, he could only guess when it was time for her to get the liver transplant she was waiting for. She wouldn’t know until the last minute, so there wouldn’t be time to tell him.
     When too much time passed between letters he always worried the time had finally come, that she was in the hospital and no one would be there with her except her husband. No blood family. A time when family should be there to wait for her to wake up and know she was okay – to support her and make her feel loved. He knew deep down that this was going to happen. No matter what differences there were, her family should be there. They didn’t live too far away. The writing was on the wall and he felt bad about that. He knew what it felt like and would there if he could. He knew he would.

This was the worst thing that kept him awake at night, tossing and turning. It seemed to him that family thought they had the right to hurt you the most. It was important to him and important to Sonni to be there for each other. It’s hard to go through things like this and be alone. It messes up your head and makes you feel helpless to not be able to help. If only he could shut off the thoughts.
     He liked calling her Mom. She knew he needed family and because she was his son’s grandmother they really were connected like they were family. It meant a lot to him because she stuck by someone like him the way she did. Some people look down on people in prison and treat them bad even after they get out like they weren’t already punished enough. She didn’t see him as a bad person. She never tried to make him feel bad. If she wanted, she could be angry at him because he did something that made her daughter’s life hard, but she didn’t. Now she was the only connection he could count on who always remembered he was here.
     Now she needed him to be there and he wasn’t good for nothing and was letting her down, too. He loved her because she took the time to be good to him. He wanted to do the same for her.
     It wasn’t unusual to hear this same story in here. He heard it plenty of times. Family stopped writing or visiting, or the drive was too long, or they got tired of being asked for money, like somehow the inmates found a way to get the things they needed without doing something that could have far reaching consequences. So they stopped answering letters. Maybe they didn’t want to know what was happening inside. Maybe they couldn’t scrape together twenty bucks between them to put on his account. A lot of dudes were on their own with no help. He had Sonni. He would never forget that.
     Jamie knew his family hadn’t stopped loving him. They just didn’t know how to show it. Maybe they took his love for granted. He would love them no matter if they wrote. And he would, he always would, but it was hard to keep making excuses their absence. He knew they had their own problems to deal with. He wanted to know what was going on in their lives and they didn’t tell him. But he knew what was going on Sonni’s life because they wrote to each other. He could pray for her about that and feel like he did something to help because he needed to do something besides sit here.
     Whether someone prayed to God or simply prayed and put it out there, it was the focus of the prayer and the mental energy that went into it that mattered the most. So he prayed urgently that she was okay. He needed her to be okay. He didn’t want to be without her. She was all he had.

Jamie looked up at the sound of banging on the cell doors. It broke into his thoughts and he stood up to go stand at the door. It was time for the meal cart to bring dinner. It had lots of shelves with trays stacked on top of trays. He was hungry tonight. There hadn’t been much for the mid day meal except two baloney sandwiches with nothing but a slice of meat and cheap bread. That wasn’t enough for a man his size.
     He thought about a real sandwich. Lots of meat, tomato and lettuce, two slices of cheddar cheese with lots of mayo and pickles, too – and chips. That made him hungry. He laughed a little. He shouldn’t torture himself like that.
It had been a good while since he had a hot meal. No matter what they brought to eat it was always cold when it was put through the slot. Sometimes he thought they never heated the meals at all.
     The trays were prepared ahead of time and kept frozen in big freezers in the kitchen and were brought to them just as they were. They couldn’t prepare them at mealtime. How were they going to serve hot food to all the inmates? Were they going to heat them up in microwaves, or prepare trays one at a time like they would at a hospital? Fat was congealed on the meat like it hadn’t been heated again. It was bland, no seasoning of any kind. It was horrible food and he was always afraid of getting sick eating it.
     The dudes in gen pop ate hot meals because they walked to where it was served. He was trying to get back to G4 so he could walk to chow. In the chow hall it was important to have eyes in the back of your head because you never knew who was gong to start trouble with you, but it was worth it for a hot meal. It wasn’t exactly fine dining but it was better than what was slid through the food slot.
     Jamie had lost a lot of weight since he was locked up because he couldn’t choke down a lot of what was given to him to eat because it was so bad. No use complaining about it, though. It wouldn’t change anything. Jamie looked down at himself. It was getting hard to keep his pants up. He hadn’t been this skinny since he was a kid, and he was chubby then, too.
     He heard laughing and the bang of a food slot slamming shut a few cells down.
     “Oh, you thought you was gettin’ food tonight?” he heard one of guards say, laughing.
     “I’m sorry,” he added sarcastically, drawing out the words. “I guess they forgot about you in the kitchen.”
     A few seconds later he heard, “Too bad if you’re hungry. It’s not my fault. It’s too late to go get more. I’m not your servant and I’m not going to make a trip to the kitchen just for you.”
     The guard’s voice started to get a threatening edge to it because the dude in the cell wouldn’t quit talking and getting louder, too. The guard only worked here. He didn’t make the rules. If he wanted to keep his job he did what he was told, and he was told to bring food to only some of the inmates. Was he supposed to care if they were hungry? They were fucking criminals. They should be glad he brought them anything at all. Sometimes he felt like a goddam babysitter.
     “So I guess it’s no dinner for you tonight,” the guard sneered as he turned to walk away. “You’ll have to wait until morning. Deal with it,” and continued on to the next cell.
     His drawn out Texas twang had a nasally sound like he had a marble stuck up his nose. It grated on Jamie’s nerves like hearing fingers scraping up a chalkboard.
He could hear the dude in the cell raise his voice, calling him every name he could think of, but that only made the guard laugh. He turned around and stood there, far enough away from the door, hands on his hips where he couldn’t be reached through the bars. What a dick.

Jacking their food happened at at least for one meal a getting food. There was no reason for this. Messing with the inmates might feel like a sport to the guards but it would end up causing a lot of problems for all of them. You can only push people just so far before they come back at you.
     The guards were finding ways to make the segregation inmates miserable. No one was going to stop them. They were probably encouraged to do it. Even if they all filed a grievance about it nothing would come of it.
     It didn’t do it at every meal, but it happened enough times to make them all worried about being hungry. The food might not be worth feeding a dog, but it was the only food they had. Sometimes, when they brought a tray half the food was missing when they put it through the slot.
Some of the dudes planned to get even with the guards because they had nothing to lose if they got in more trouble. Some were going to be here for most, if not all of their lives anyway. They didn’t care.
     The day before, an inmate cut an officer pretty bad when he didn’t get his food. A lot of these dudes had a weapon of some sort they had made. They could get creative when finding materials they could sharpen and turn into a something they could stab into someone. This dude was waiting for just the right time and he cut him. He was lucky he didn’t kill him. What did the guards expect? They thought they could be assholes and no one would try to get even? These dudes had all the time in the world to plan what they were going to do.
     Fires were set inside the cells and there were no fires extinguishers anywhere to put them out. It caused a lot of chaos and it was a mess to clean up. Others flooded the halls by stopping up the toilets and overflowing the sinks. It stank in here. The heat made it worse. Imagine breathing in that stink with every breath you take and you can’t get away from it.
     Jamie didn’t want to be included when the officers retaliated so he drank a lot of water when they passed him by with no food and didn’t say anything. He wasn’t going to react emotionally. It wouldn’t do no good. It wouldn’t make them bring him food, so he was better off in the long run if he just let it pass.
     Joining in when they started getting crazy wasn’t a good idea, either. He tried to stay cool. The last thing he wanted was to do something stupid he would later regret that could get him written up or have more time added to his sentence.
     That is where this was headed if it didn’t stop. He guessed that was what Sonni meant when she wrote about cause and effect. What he chose to do right now could affect his future and he needed to make the right choices.
     The officers were taking it out on everyone on account of that guard getting cut. It wasn’t right, making all of them pay because of what one dude did, but that is the way they did things in here. There is no justice on the outside and there is damn sure no justice on the inside.
     Jamie tried to do his best to cope with everything, but sooner or later he knew something would happen. Things got crazier every day as it got hotter. Tempers rose. Days went by. Hopefully things wouldn’t get any worse.

The next month didn’t get any better. Each day was like the one before it. When the heat started rising in March everyone knew it was fixin’ to be a long, bad summer. No way they were going to spend the money for AC unless they were made to do it legally.
     Money the prisons paid out to families 11 people died was less than the cost of installing an AC or heating system. The winners cold get pretty cold, too. There were a few articles written each year but nothing was done and when it got hot the next year they wondered if would be bad enough to make the prisons fix it. The newer prisons were built with it, but not the older ones.
     Jamie passed out from the heat one year. When someone gets that hot, and they haven’t been given their meds every day, it puts those people in danger who have high blood pressure or diabetes and other illnesses like him with epilepsy. But it keeps happening.
     This year bad heatwaves were happening everywhere in the country, even up north. It seemed like it was getting worse every year. It was up over a hundred for weeks. That meant it was doubly hot for inmates in the south.

It was mid July and Jamie hadn’t heard from Sonni in more than a month. She had been saying the doctors told her to expect July would be her turn for a transplant because she was getting close to the top of the transplant list, but there wasn’t an exact day and all kinds of things could go wrong.
     The reason she moved up the list so fast is because two cancer tumors were growing in her liver. If one more developed they would take her off the list because her chance of surviving the transplant would be less. If one got out of the liver it would over, too.
     He wished he knew why she hadn’t written. If something happened, what if no one told him? The more he thought about it the more he worried. Add to it that it was so hot breathing was an effort and the water that came out of the faucet was rank. Terrible as it was he couldn’t drink enough of it. He couldn’t drink enough of it because he was so dehydrated.
     There was nothing to do and nothing new to read. He didn’t feel like re-reading his books again or more time so he took out his letters and began reading them from the beginning. They were in order by the date so it was almost like reading a book. Some of the letters were almost memorized. He knew all the good parts. He held the images they created in his mind and tried to imagine living inside the stories.
     He laid back down on his bed and had almost fallen asleep when he heard the mail cart outside his door along with his name being called.
     “Cummings. Mail.”
     Jamie jumped off his bunk and moved the few feet to the door. A Jpay letter was pushed through the slot. He thought it was from Sonni until he looked closer. It was from her sister, but she must have used Sonni’s Jpay account. He recognized her first name.
     The waiting was over. It was finally over. The relief was overwhelming. She had the liver transplant two weeks ago and was home now. She hadn’t been able to write or type, that is why he didn’t hear from her. He was right in feeling so unsettled. He had been worried about her because he didn’t go this long without hearing from her, but she was okay. The stress of waiting was finally over. They had talked about the transplant happening for a long time.
     The letter was dated, July 17th, 2012 and this is what her sister wrote:

“Sonni has asked me to write to you. She finally had her liver transplant on Sunday July 1. The six-hour surgery went well. She spent 10 days in the hospital and they have finally sent her home to start the slow healing process. Her recovery is amazing. She wants a normal life so bad.
When I visited her on Saturday she told me she had received a letter from you. It will be some time before she can sit at her computer but she wanted you to know her long wait and surgery were finally over. She looks like my sister again, not a puffed up marshmallow. I know from our talks she cares alot about you and she didn’t want you to worry.

Take care and I know she will write herself as soon as she is able.”

On August 6, he got his first letter from her. He could tell it wasn’t easy for her to type. He was relieved to finally hear from her. Life was going to be rough for her for awhile but she made it this far and the transplant was over now.

” dear jamie-im getting a little better every day. slow and hard. i tried 2 send u money but my card was out of date. i have 2 call 4 a replacement. im learning how to walk n talk all over again. i am bored we each have a cell but i know that yours is much worse. i chanted nam myoho renge kyo so hard in my head-screamed it. pain meds dont work on me and i have felt everything they did 2 me.but ive turned a corner n its a little better. i think of u every day hoping u werent 2 worried. everyone has their own choices and does things that cause unhappy things to happen. my grandfather taught me from childhood – To thine OWN SELF be true. no one can know u really. some think once a loser always a loser. that isn’t true because i guess that would makes me a loser 2 – former drug addict and all that comes with it. i just didnt get caught. u arent a loser. neither am i. i have to go. nurse is here. be good! Mom”

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What Does It Mean To Be Alone – ITFO Chapter

last-note-2-sm
Standing next to the door of his cell, Jamie leaned his back against the wall. He stared at a cockroach walking across the floor, seemingly without a care in the world. He wondered what its plan was. Where was it going? He read somewhere that roaches had been around since the dinosaurs. The world could blow up from a nuclear bomb and the roaches would be the only living creatures that survived. He used to smash them for having the nerve to walk over his body, but there really was no point in doing that. There were a million more where that one came from.
     He felt the same way about the guards. They were like cockroaches. They crawled out of the cracks in the walls looking for someone to walk on. What was the point of hating one and wanting to get even for the way they  treated the inmates, when there was an endless supply of new guards getting younger and younger every year, replacing the ones who got burnt out and quit.
     Some of them were barely eighteen, right out of school. They got maybe six weeks training trailing older guards around the prison before they were released to do whatever damage they could do on their own. They were put up against men in cells who were two- three times their age who had years of experience dealing asshole guards.
     These young ones thought being a smartass was part of the job. The trouble was, they had a lot to learn. The men here had ways of getting even with guards who disrespect them for no reason.
     One day there was an arrogant, new guard. A tough kid who today was helping bring lunch trays to the cells. Couldn’t be more than nineteen. He thought he would show off and spit on Jamie’s food before putting it through the open slot. He laughed after he did it, with an expression of “eat that, sucker.”
     That was one meal Jamie didn’t eat. It pissed him off. This wasn’t the first time a guard intentionally ruined his meal and it probably wouldn’t be the last, and if this kid was doing the same thing to food trays of other men, he’ll learn his lesson the hard way.
     He’d seen it enough times. The men will collect piss and shit. On a certain day and time they’ll catch this guard in the hall and shower him with the waste they had saved up. Even some women guards got nailed.
     Man, you should hear the screams as all the stink landed on them. They couldn’t get away. Going back or forward, someone was gonna nail ’em. Jamie shook his head and gave a little chuckle at what the men have to do for a little amusement around here.
     The free-for-all stink bombs did make for some heavy duty, eye-watering fumes in the unit, and inmates had to clean up the mess, but how exactly were the guards going to punish men who were already in 24/7 lock-up? They could take away their personal property for awhile, but it was worth it.
     In defense, the kid tried to keep up his shitty attitude on his face to show he didn’t care, but it couldn’t keep the embarrassment from showing through pink skin as each man going down the corridor laughed at him. The young guard also learned that day not be so blatantly stupid.
     Some of the men locked up in here weren’t wound too tight. Maybe they kept them in adseg too long. Some cracked and couldn’t take it anymore. There wasn’t enough mental health people to take care of them. They needed the right meds they weren’t getting.
     You really had to have your shit together to not lose it. Too much isolation was hard, but no one who worked here gave a damn if it was right or wrong. Inmates became punching bags.
     Most everybody got out of here sooner or later but some didn’t leave being able to survive on the outside and ended up coming back from no family or friends to help them.
     Most of the teenage guards the prison hired were hyped up with making steady money but most didn’t make it past a year before they were fed up with the working conditions and quit. More took their place.

Jamie had just finished his breakfast of three small, cold pancakes with a spoon of peanut butter, cold coffee and an apple. It was still dark outside. Another long day stretched ahead of him
    He tried, sometimes to put a schedule together of things to do to fill the day. It was hard to keep to it. He had never developed the discipline to keep to a schedule. Keep it loose, but keep the day going.
     The workout room, where there were weights and equipment was off- limits to him. All he could do was what he could mange in his tiny space, like push ups, sit ups and squats. He had to tire himself out or he laid awake at night.
     The guards constantly woke them up all night anyway, making sure they didn’t escape, which was a joke. It was just another form of torture. If the guards had to be awake and miserable, so did they.
     Two weeks earlier he got his property back. Having all your things taken away really messes with your head. There was so little he could call his own that reminded him that being an inmate here was his only identity. Not having his pictures to look at or old letters to read again made him feel more alone than he was, if that were possible. These things, along with books and magazines made him feel human, and a human being had things, as few as they were. Did the prison want him to feel grateful for getting back these few personal items? It worked. Being able to see his son’s face, Morgan and his family made him feel less lonely, but it also made him feel depressed because he was away from them.
     “Okay,” he said out loud. “Don’t let it suck you in or it won’t let you go all day.” There have been enough days like that and they were miserable, “Get a grip.”
     Shaking it off, he went through the titles of his books, running his hands over the covers. When they take your stuff you don’t always get it back, or what used to work, like a fan, might be replaced with one not working.
     All his books on Islam were there. Guess nobody wanted those, so he tried to do some studying, and his prayers. He needed a way to focus on the positive parts of his life and trying to do these prayers every day would help him learn discipline. Five times a day, though, was hard.
     An hour later, looking through the slots in the wall that passed for a window, he could tell it was morning. He didn’t think the sun was out and it was already hot enough to know he would really be sweating in a couple hours.
     Summer was almost over according to the calendar, and he was glad about that, but Texas in the summer lasted a lot longer than it did in other states. It wouldn’t start cooling down until mid October. These thick walls trapped the heat and turned it into an oven.
      He kept himself busy by doing a little cell cleaning. It would make him feel better. Being moved around to different pods on different floors he found most cells were so filthy you didn’t want to touch anything. The little bars of lye soap the prison gave him each month had to do all of his cleaning including his body, the cell and his clothing. He kept his space as clean as he could. If he had a little money in his account that Sonni sent he could buy a bar of soap but mostly he used it for stamps, hygiene and food.
     It was time for lunch so he didn’t pay much attention to the noises he heard in the hall until they were at his door. He was on his hands and knees, looked up and saw it was the sergeant, with two guards. This man didn’t usually come unless it was something important. Was he in more trouble he didn’t know about? Again, he was trying to keep his nose clean of any problems, but that didn’t mean anything here. Trouble found him easy enough no matter what he did.
     “James Cummings?” The officer asked, glancing around the cell.
     “Yes, sir,” he answered with suspicion in his voice and got to his feet.
Jamie’s eyebrows knit together. Standing up he walked closer to the door, but not too close. This man knew who he was. He didn’t have to ask.
     There was a clipboard in his left hand. He glanced at it and let it hang by his side. He took a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the sweat from his forehead. The sergeant hated – hated coming into the adseg pods of the unit, especially in the summer. They smelled like an open sewer covered up in Lysol, which it was. Jamie could tell this was an official visit of some sort.
     “You’re being transferred.”
     Jamie lit up. “Transferred?” Maybe he’d be moved closer to home.
     “Where to?” He didn’t want to show his excitement.
     “McConnell Unit,” the sergeant answered. “in Beeville.”
     “Contact your family if you want to.” Then he turned away and walked toward the end of the hall with the two guards walking behind him.

Jamie walked over and sat down on his bunk. Putting his elbows on his knees and the palms of his hands together in a picture of prayer, he sat there tapping his fingers against his chin. He had to think. Why were they moving him? He hadn’t ask to be moved. He had thought about putting in for a medical transfer but he hadn’t done anything about it.
     They were moving him clear back across the state, way south, near Brownsville which was near the Mexican border. He would still be too far away for anyone to visit in one day so he’d be in the same boat he was in right now. And it would be just as stinking hot, if not more so. He was sure if he were close enough his family would come to see him regularly, or at least sometimes. They shouldn’t move people so far away from family. It makes it worse for them. Wasn’t locking them up enough punishment? Did they have to keep family away, too?
     He knew about McConnell Unit. He talked to a dude in the day room a while back who used to be there. He had nothing good to say about it, but was there anything good to say about any prison? A lot of inmates died there. He would do as best as always to stay out of trouble if he could.
     Going back across the state would be just as long and boring as it was getting here a few years ago. He was naive back then and thought if he were good he could get out early.  Now he just wanted to get out in one piece. The trip will be several uncomfortable days on the road, but he’d be out of here. He’ll be able to look out the window and see life, sky and birds. Cars on the road passing others who were going places. They probably didn’t understand how precious their life was and how easily it could be taken from you.
     This was another sharp turn to the left. Where would this take him?

 

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Jamie’s New Merchandise

I am raising much needed funds. For two main reasons. Jamie has some legal expenses that are connected to the lack of medical care he isn’t receiving for epilepsy that has caused him to have more seizures I am using legal means to force the issue. My second reason is the funds needed to keep the ball rolling in producing the book/music I am writing. I want to do a good job. The proceeds from this will help him get his life started when he gets out.

50% of the profit from initial sales will be used for jamie’s personal needs such as stamps, hygiene and items he can get at the commissary.  This is the first time I have for outside help from anyone who can. I survive on a disability check  and trying to take care of these things has become more difficult as expenses have risen.

 

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Waiting Months To See a Dentist – Medical Care in Prisom

This is a repost from Nov 2012. It is still relevant today because medical care in prison hadn’t improved. Now that I have a medical POA ( power of attorney) on file in Huntsville, ( each state has their own Burough of Prisons where inmates complete files are kept.) In Texas it is the TDCJ – Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Allowing someone to lay in their bunk with extreme teeth pain for months is abusive to the extreme. In 2012 I had no idea what I could about. I was intimidated by the prison system.

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( Jamie’s letter)

I’m waiting to have surgery on my wisdom tooth. It’s infected and it’s hurting really bad. It gives me headaches and everything. I’ve been waiting two months now. They keep pushing my appointment back. They don’t care. They want me to go off. I tell them about the pain every day.

These people don’t know what the hell they are doing.  They are just here.  The first doctor I seen told me about my infection as I told her about my pain.  Then I seen another doctor and he told me I didn’t have an infection. and that nothing was wrong with me.  I asked him if he thought I was lying about my pain, and I told him that another doctor said it was an infection.  I asked him if that lady was lying and he said, ” I didn’t say that.”  I told him that somebody was lying and I know it wasn’t me.  I could tell by his face he was mad.  Who gives a shit?  He don’t care about me. He’s here to waste time and get paid.

It got worse because I had to have my wisdom tooth pulled.  I was told after about the nerve that goes around the ear.  Fun huh? Remember I told you about having to wait to have my wisdom tooth pulled?  Well, on the first week of this month I left on what they the call medical chain,  to a unit in Huntsville that has a hospital on it.  It took two days to get to the unit.  It takes so long because they pick up and drop off to other units at the same time.  Oh, we sometimes ride on a bus the call a Blue Bird or a van.  I rode on both.  That van is so uncomfortable.  They really make it hard on us.  They have us elbow to elbow in the van.  On the bus if you’re not from Ad Seg you are cuffed to someone else.  Yes, they pair everyone up.  I’m sure you might be wondering about having to relieve ourselves.  There’s a toilet  so that means if someone has to go the other has to go too.  Crazy huh?  Sorry, I wondered off.

When I got to the hospital I had to wait because there was others in front of me.  So I had to wait two more days.  When I went in for the surgery they did x-rays.  The photos showed up on the computer.  The one I was going to get pulled was growing sideways and was cutting my gums.  The dentist saw the top back left one and was like wow.  I asked what was wrong and he showed me the photo.  You could see all my teeth perfect and he showed me and it was flat!  The word he used was, deformed.  So he asked if I wanted it removed.  I was going to ask him if he would anyway.  They don’t allow them to pout us to sleep.  they just numb it.  Mom, he was on it for two hours!  When he finally got it out the tooth had four roots!  It came out in five different pieces,  All that pulling and pushing and drilling.  I held on but I almost passed out.  Then bottom one hurt as well.  He had to do a little more cutting. I felt it too.  We had to stop.  Mom, I’m in so much pain.  It took me four days to get back because of the weekend.  The first five days the hospital was giving me Tylenol with codeine for pain before and during the surgery.  Now I’m back in my own unit and their best meds are Ibuprophen.  They think that  and water helps everything.

So I’ve been sleeping a lot to try and get away from the pain. ( Not helping ) This is the bad part here, mom.  It hurts to chew and drink  because my tongue is swollen.  However they have me eating solid food when I’m supposed to be on a soft diet but the doctors here won’t give it to me.  I’ll eat sometimes and sometimes I won’t.  I try not to give these people what they want so I just deal with it the best I can.  Just know that if the pain becomes too much I’m gonna try the right way first to get help.  If I don’t get help there is only one other way.

It’s been crazy in here the past few weeks. Well, it’s crazy every day but I try not to pay attention to it. I do my best to take my days one at a time. They got me on anti depression medication because they say something is wrong with me. I don’t take it ’cause nothing is wrong with me. I go on hunger strikes off and on. The longest I’ve stayed on is a week and a half. I just have those kinds of days. I don’t want to do this or that. It causes trouble sometimes. Oh well, I I just have that ‘I don’t care feeling’ at times.

Me and everyone else have been getting into it with the officers. We’ve been without hot water for over a month. We’re also back on lockdown for 30 days. Once again only peanut butter. I guess it’s part of the punishment that we, as humans, get treated in here.

Then, on top of everything, an officer slammed my finger in the tray slot – on purpose. That’s the thing they open when they give us our food. He cut it open. A really deep cut. I made them take me to medial where they took a picture of it. I had to get an x-ray a few days later because it wouldn’t close. The officer told the sargent he did it but that it was an accident. He said he didn’t mean to do it and he didn’t see my fingers. He lied. It wasn’t the first time he had tried to do that. I told him I wanted to talk to the lieutenant. This guy is the kind of dude that doesn’t like to be overruled by anyone. But the Lt. told me ask about moving me to another cell because also, the cell I’m in leaks water from the shower. One night I fell getting up to use the rest room. I hurt my ankle and had to go to Medical. They’re trying to hurt me. I know they are. The cell I’m also leaks bad when it rains and they know it because an officer told me the dude who was in here before got moved because of it.

They want me to fall their trap but I won’t. I’m writing up this officer who hurt me because I feel he is a threat to me. I also feel he will try to retaliate once he finds out I’m writing his a** up. To go through this whole process will take 60-120 days. They make it so long so you’ll give up. If you’ve tried to file a grievance before and couldn’t, you wouldn’t try again. The officer might try to get back at you to show They are in control. So They win either way

I’m gonna go for now. But not before I say Love You Always, Jamie

 

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There is No Justice For Inmates

 

wh jamie

No Justice For Inmates

This is a reprint of a post dated Feb 14, 2014

Four years ago. Four very long years. But at least they are past. Unless paroled, he has five to go.  I would like to be optimistic for him but the odds are not on his side. Not having a supportive family or a place to go provided, the book and music I am writing would need to be widely successful to make enough money to help him get started. Have you ever known when you just had to do something and it was the most important thing in your life to do? Everything you learned up to this point was so you could take care of that very thing? That is how I feel about my writing and my music or I could never spend the hours I do every day to do it.

The only thing that changed, is three years ago Jamie was moved from Wynne Unit in Huntsville to Allred Unit in Iowa Park. Both in Texas. He was physically abused and beat in Wynne Unit. They had put him in solitary for a bogus reason I won’t get into now. They took everything away from him including his mattress and he had staples in his head because they ran it into a wall. After talking to the warden, who told me the guards had filed thirteen sexual harassment cases against him, and his guards wouldn’t lie (choke), Jamie knew he needed to find a way to get transferred out of Wynne.

One step up from solitary confinement is Adseg. The added privilege is being taken to the commissary once a month. They had no open cells in G5 (which is another name for adseg) So he threatened a guard. It was the only way to get moved. I talked to Allred after he was moved because he didn’t get his property for a couple months. The woman I talked to said she understood he was moved for his safety and he will get his property when there are other inmates who need things moved, too. Some things were replaced with broken items or were missing entirely. Who was he going to complain to? Because he had to be moved, they said he would have to do one year in adseg – in a cell by himself where food is brought to you and it is rare to get out of your cell. Three years have gone by and he is still in adseg, always told twice a year he had to do another six months. In March there is another assessment. Will he get moved up?
———————————————————————–

sc cell
Mom,
They are starving us. I don’t know how they get away with this but they do. We can’t do anything about it. They put us all on lockdown again. Not because we did anything but because they want to toss our cells looking for weapons and drugs. One time they planted a weapon in my cell. They put a homemade knife on the sink. I was really surprised and mad when they “found” it. Even if I had made the knife, would I have been stupid enough to leave it out on the sink when I knew they were going to toss my cell looking for weapons? It had to be a guard. They try to get you in trouble and keep you down. It doesn’t matter if you are guilty of doing something in here, they will make sure you are guilty. It’s your word against theirs, and you can’t win.

We’re on our second week of lockdown. This is the hardest one I’ve gone through. By law they are supposed to feed you a hot meal every three days but they do what they want to anyone in a white suit, which is us. They are feeding us what they call a peanut butter sandwich which is a half spoon of peanut butter on bread. They only give us a half spoon because they are trying to stretch it out to last longer. It saves them money. They stretch it more by adding some really nasty soup or applesauce that makes me gag. But I have no choice. I have to eat it or I get nothing. I’ve heard that it costs $40,000 a year for each inmate, to keep us here. Where does the money go because it sure isn’t spent on us. Once in a while we get a meat sandwich or cornbread. Sometimes prunes or raisins. In the morning we get two biscuits with a half spoon of peanut butter or maybe two pancakes.

This system is built for the inmates to lose. If we think we’re being treated wrong by the officers and they write up a case against us ( make up a case against us is more like it ), they tell us to write up an appeal. First they take away any privileges, like going to the commissary or rec,for 30-45 days. Guess how long it takes for the answer to the appeal to come back? 30 days. It’s crazy. The appeal will always be denied, too. It’s all for nothing. I lose my comm privileges for nothing. I get punished because I appealed the false charges against me. I lose because I tried to stand up to the bullshit. There is no way around the system. All the officer has to do is lie and the next one will back it up or say he didn’t see anything.

But I know now there are effects for every cause that is made. All the good ones and all the bad ones. These guards in here don’t get away with the things they do. It’s written into their own lives. They will have to face the effects of so many lies. They don’t get away with the things they do to other human beings. They may get off treating us like dogs, but we aren’t dogs. They may talk to each other about the things they do to us and laugh, thinking they are getting away with it. But we are people. I will do my best to change the part of me that caused this to happen to my life. I will find a way to make a difference. I will become a better person. I will someday leave here a better person. I will have hope.

It’s a new year and I’m going to do my best to stay out of trouble. I never try to make trouble. It’s always someone else who comes up to fight me. But no more fighting. Nothing. But when you don’t fight back then everyone feels they can run over you. But I’m not going to fight. I want to focus on coming home. I have to raise my level before they will consider me for parole. I’m level 3. I need to be level 1 before it’s even possible. Even then they could still turn me down. They well give me something called a set-off, which means I have to wait another five years before I can see the parole board again unless they want to bring me back up again. This system is built for our downfall. They don’t want us to survive in here. There is no justice for inmates at all.

 

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Lockdown 24 Hours a Day

24 hour lockdown
source credit:
urbangifts.co.uk

This is a repost from my first year of blogging. Some things never change. This is one of them.

 <<< >>>

 

Hello mom,                                                                                          April 20, 2015

I want to say I’m so sorry for the long wait. Things have been real crazy the last two and a half months.  I’m on a special cell punishment which was supposed to be a 30 day lockup.

(Sonni’s note:  Inmates aren’t allowed to argue with the guards.  They are always right and inmates are always wrong. A guard filed a false case on him, which they often do when they have a grudge.  When it came to court the guard could not be found for 3 days.  Instead of dropping the case they had someone else stand in for the guard who wasn’t there and Jamie was not allowed to attend.  So, of course they found him guilty and took away all of his very newly earned privileges, like being able to make a phone call.  He was able to get in one last call to tell me what happened.)

My date started on February 3rd.  I was supposed to get off on March 3rd.  However they have made me stay in lockup telling me they have no open bunks. No open bunks?  So I was told I might get shipped to another unit on the other side of Texas.  I’ve talked to everybody from the warden to the Major about getting moved to a G4 block.

( Sonni’s note: G5 is solitary confinement, G4 is one step ahead and at least you get to leave your cell for meals and very limited time in rec to watch TV.  No other privileges.  Last time they did this it took 2 more years to get to G2 where you can have a family visit that is not behind glass and you can make phone calls if someone registers their phone.  You can get put on a list to take your GED or other trades and they might find you an unpaid job in the laundry.)

As of right now I’m ending a second term of this punishment because I am trying to avoid being sent to another unit.  I have watched people come and go for three months.  What I need is someone to call the prison and get on these people about when I am supposed to get off this punishment on the 24th. Call the warden or call classification.  You’re going to have to pretend you’re my bio mom or they won’t talk to you.

I’m on lockdown 24 hours a day.  I only come out for showers 3 times a week.  No rec. I get jacked for it every week.  So I give them hell.  They are treating me wrong so I am treating them wrong. They hate to do paperwork so to hell with them.  I yelled all day, beat and kicked on shit and I’m still here.  I had a seizure.  A bad one and spent 9 hours in the hospital.  When the day comes and I’m not out of here I’m going to do this all over.  I will make them G5 me so at least I can go to rec and get some fresh air.  Back here we aren’t allowed to go outside.  They put us in a cage and we walk around in it.

I’m telling you this because I don’t want to let you down by going G5 again, but it’s really getting to me.  They put the same officer here had to deal with before  and he is (REALLY) working my nerves.  He’s doing crazy shit just to take away my rec because he can. They took away all of my things.  They let me have deodorant and my soap and paper, but they took away all my books.  Please help me get away from back here.  They will ship me to West Texas.  They been sending dudes there.  I don’t want to go back there.

I love you always

<<< >>>

(Sonni”s note: I wrote an immediate answer to try and help him get his head together.  He’s trying to fight a battle they will never let him win.  He’s playing into it. But after almost 3 months locked up again in solitary confinement –  only worse, because they have left him with nothing to do.  His magazines aren’t getting through and he can’t get to commissary.  He has tried so hard, but sometimes it seems hopeless and no matter how hard he tries there is some asshole guard who gets off on pushing the inmates until they lose it.  It is some sort of vile game with them.  People who have control over other people often abuse it, especially when their bosses give them the okay that it is okay.  I will call the prison on Monday.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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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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Waiting For Your Visit at Allred Prison

Jamie's letters

I’ve been waiting for your visit. It’s been so long.  Over a year and no one else has come to see me.  I also feel as though the staff wants me to fail.  Somehow they get pleasure out of it. I’ve been waiting and waiting to be let out of adseg. There is no reason why I should be here.  It’s been almost three years this time.  I don’t have any write-ups.  What do they want out of me they aren’t getting? That’s why I know they must enjoy the power they have over us.  All I can do is try to hang on.

I’m sorry it took so long to answer. You know I was having some problems.  I had problems with medical about them getting me my medications and other problems with an officer putting his hands in my food. These people are a bunch of lying pieces of shit. I know you called up here and questioned them about my medications.  I knew you did because they sent not one but two nurses to my cell on different days to talk to me.  One was a pill nurse and one was the RN. They let my seizure medication expire and then tried to blame me. They waited four days.  That must have been when you called and they knew they couldn’t get away with it anymore.  I told every pill nurse who came through here that I didn’t get my medication and they ignored me. Sometimes it was the same nurse I was telling. They did it on purpose. They said they were waiting until they renewed my meds to come talk to me. That was a lie.  They came because you called. Why did they let it run out?  What were they trying to do?

I tried to make a complaint but the RN said she did not care. Even when I told her a ranking officer witnessed everything she still said she did not care.  They had only come to my cell to talk to me to cover their asses.

<<< >>>

(Sonni’s note: When I called the main medical unit when I got Jamie’s letter telling me they were skipping his seizure meds, I was told the nurses has marked in his file that he was getting his meds every day, so it was deliberate record falsification.  I wanted to call the warden but I know from previous experience that he will always side with his staff and never with the inmate no matter what happened.  I knew he had a reclassification coming up anytime trying to get out of adseg and if I tried blame his staff for what happened they might retaliate against him. One time after he got beat by the guards and I talked to the warden, the guards filed 13 sexual harassment charges against him in one month. It doesn’t matter if they were warranted, it was now on his record and that makes it true. It is a crappy system.  The guards get away with all the abuse they take out on the inmates. When I called the medical unit about him not getting his meds, the woman was going to contact the nurse on that block and ask her.  I said to not do that because they will lie for each other.  Her response – “I know”. 

I am also only allowed to call the medical unit one time a month. I questioned her. “What if there is an issue, like this, and I need to talk to you?”

You can’t.  They won’t put your call through.”

Then I need you to call me back and tell me he is okay. Has he had any seizures during this time?”  Fortunately he hadn’t. I pulled out all the stops to make her sympathetic enough to call me back when she knew something. She said she would, and she did. She said I was right, he wasn’t getting his meds and they gave bogus excuses.  It was deliberate.)

<<< >>>

As for the officers here, nothing has changed. They are plain evil. It has gotten worse because when they are hired they train them to treat us like shit.  Lately all the officers are 18 – 19 years old.  Yep, that young.  They ruin them. They teach them to talk crazy to the men.  As soon as they do it to the wrong person they find out what happens. I feel sorry for them cause half these dudes here will throw shit and piss on them.  Crazy, huh? They have to have some way to get back at them. It’s funny as hell when these guards start talking shit to these dudes and they get hit in the face. If they are going to disrespect the men just because they are inmates they are going to learn what happens.

I still have issues with the guard that keeps messing with my food. That dude is really just crazy.  He gets to me at times but I try my best to stay focused.  They did not let me out of seg.  They set me off for another six months.  People in seg get brought up every six months.

In my last meeting with SCC (state classification), there were three people who sat in on it. A ranking officer on the unit, unit chairman of classification and the Huntsville head person of classification.  The person from Huntsville has the say-so over all of them. She told me I was doing good but I wasn’t ready yet.  I think she is just waiting to see if they can push me into messing up.  A person can only deal with so much.  If I mess up and get angry they can give me another two years I have to do.  That means I can’t get my GED too. But she did say if I stayed out of trouble that next time I see them in March they will let me out.

What I hate so much is having to deal with this officer who is messing with my food.  It will probably get worse.  I promise you to do my best to stay focused. I’m going to try to get sent to another unit close to home. I don’t want to be in this one anymore.  I know there will be a few stumbles in the road as I go. I want to thank you for being there for me and encouraging me. I know things will get harder before they get easy. It always does. So I’m waiting for your visit. It will make it better for awhile.

 

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Will Our Prisons Make America Great ?

alone

November 2016

Dear mom or rather, Hello beautiful,
        It was so good to hear from you and to know you are starting to feel a little better from surgery. I must say, reading your letter about your pain complications really hurt me. Yes, it hurt me so much. Having to go to your juglar just to find a vein? I know how that feels. I’ve been stuck with needles all my life because of the epilepsy. Ever since I was a baby. I hate IVs. They hurt like hell. As I read over your letter it gave my stomach such a bad feeling. I’m glad you are okay. I’m very sorry you had to go through this.

(Sonni’s note: Do you ever wonder why certain people end up in your life? Why some people come into your life and walk out five minutes later and why some people stay and change your life profoundly? Jamie is one of those people who changed my life, and I changed his. There are parallels between his family and mine that allows us to understand the pain family can cause. We both have a medical history that has affected our quality of life. Our lives clicked on so many levels that I know had we not met, our lives would be drastically different and I doubt they would be better.

There was a reason I needed to learn about the issues with our prison system and learn to care about the people inside- yes, the people being abused by mentally sick people working in the prisons, either because they enjoy inflicted abuse, or they are making profit off them on a grander scale.

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source credit: fox2news.com

That doesn’t mean that all guards are like this, just like not all cops are bad cops. But the bad ones should be kicked out of the profession since it doesn’t look they will get prosecuted. This is what makes people angry. I  have talked to quite a few inmates. They all say the same thing about guards. When a guard does something harmful to an inmates there should be consequences. If they cause a death they shouldn’t just be moved to another prison to continue abusing people just because they are wearing a uniform. It’s like Catholic priests that molest young boys.  They get moved to another parish. Why can’t they be convicted when they break the law? Are inmates less human?  Have they lost the right to live? The people inside are more than convicts, felons or inmates. They are more than whatever happened to put them there.

Sentences don’t fit the crime, if there even was a crime. After many of them are destroyed by the abuse they receive and then are let back out into society without the skills to cope, knowing the revolving door will push a majority of them back inside so the profit machine can suck up the rest of their life. What a way to Make America Great. )

I got my copy of the GED book and the dictionary. Thank you. It is good to have that to work with. I’ve skipped around reading it. I’ve read US History, US govt, world history and more. I just read about Indian Civilization. Also, I didn’t know India was the birth place of Buddhism. Just so you know I have been chanting nam-myoho-renge-kyo x 1000 for you.

I got two letters from my family. That’s a first in a long time. One from my brother and and one from my grandmother. Indeed I was surprised when I got his letter and when I opened it there were four photos. He said he had a lot on his place but never asked how I was doing and said nothing about any help in any way. A My family knows you have been the only one helping me all these years and all he talks about is own full plate. He asked if he was still on my visitation list. No, not after 10 years of waiting for him to come see me. He let me know I have a new 3 month old niece. Nobody ever tells me anything. Better late than never, I guess. He sent photos. It’s the only way I feel I’ll get to see her. He has a son a year younger than my son, however I never met him. He did send an up to date photo saying he thinks he’s tough. I do appreciate the photos.  I’ll write him back. He said my mom is sick again. So did my grandmother, but I haven’t heard a word from my mom herself. I never hear about anything until it’s way after.

(Sonni’s note: It’s not uncommon for family to gradually forget about a someone inside. I guess it’s out of sight, out of mind.  The longer they are in the less they see them. In Jamie’s case, no one was ever there for him, right from the beginning. I tried to get his older brother to write to him about a year and a half ago. I called him. Family can make all the difference in the world. Depression is so common, and when someone is prone to depression it’s even harder. I can always tell what shape Jamie is in by his handwriting. He has quite a family neglect f family few different styles of penmanship and each one is a different mood.

In the last eleven years had his family bothered at all to write to him and find out how he is, it would have helped him – a lot. But no one could be bothered. No one had  a stamp. He’s never heard anything from his younger brother, and his sister? Who knows. she has had her own set of problems. When I asked his brother to write to him his reply was, “It’s not my fault he’s in there. My life didn’t stop” as if someone has had blamed him. He told me, “It’s not your concern.”  Well then who the hell’s concern is it?  Nobody else has given a rat’s ass how he’s been.  You can’t go back and undo that no matter how many letters you write now. Eleven years? I would have a hard time forgiving them. Can you tell this upsets me? But  it doesn’t matter if they are forgiven or not.  You reap what you sow.  You get back what you dish out. What goes around comes around and most of all – there is an effect for every single cause you make and no amount of forgiving wipes that away.  I wrote a post in February 2016 and sent it to his brother.  I never heard back so I don’t know if he read it.

Do you remember the song, He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother?  This is the link to the post. The youtube video is in the post. It makes me cry every time I hear it now because I think of all hurt his family caused him and all the hurt of others in the same situation.  You can read it if you like.

Thanksgiving was terrible. The food was bad. The only thing worth eating was the dessert. The dressing was too dry. Everything else was what we normally eat everyday – green beans etc. I don’t have an extra food to eat. Do you think you could send an Ecomm box?  Leah, your friend who writes to me sent me some money for Christmas. I need to buy a new hot pot to heat things up in.

images(Sonni’s note: Each yearly quarter I can order $60 worth of items from the commissary they can keep in their locker. It doesn’t affect any money in their acct. Coffee, cookies and crackers, Raman noodles, squeeze cheese. Like the kind of food you’d buy in a $1 store Cheap and not very healthy but it fills the hole and gives them goodies they might not buy. They probably trade some of it for stamps, which I can’ t buy for him, or he can trade it for other things he wants. Commissary is like money. Maybe someone draws greeting cards they can personalize. They have to get creative if they don’t have anyone to help support them. Inmates can also get pretty creative making dishes with commissary food. They can make cakes out of crushed cookies. It would be interesting to eat some of their recipes. But it isn’t just the food itself, it’s what they have to fashion to cook it in. They don’t have pans or a burner. They can buy a flimsy hot pot but it doesn’t get hot enough to boil water. But somehow they manage)

Time to go to bed. It’s late. Thank you so much for everything. I’ll be thinking of you. Get some rest and give yourself time to heal. Don’t rush it or you might hurt it.

Love you, Jamie

 

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Picking Up Broken Pieces Inside AdSeg

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June 3rd, 2016

Hello mom,
I received your letter today and boy, that sure was one long letter. I’ll try to answer your questions as best I can. I will also give you my true thoughts. I’ve really been sitting and thinking about my future. So many things just pop into my head, even when I don’t want to think about it. Please know that I’m okay. Sometimes I just go into a shell to get away. Sometimes it’s good and sometimes it isn’t. But I’m fine, okay, so don’t worry.

(Sonni’s note: But I do worry. No matter how strong someone may think they are, if you spend time in solitary for an extended period of time you can’t help but be affected by it. Sometimes you have a grip on your head when you’re alone and sometimes you don’t, and it gets to you. I have studied extensively the effects of solitary. Unless you have been there no one can know – including myself, what it is like to go weeks, months and years with no one but yourself to communicate with. No physical touch, no words except orders, no one to talk to about these things in your head.

I had a few rather callous conversations with people who don’t understand and are quick to place blame. “It’s his own fault. He put himself there.” Nobody blamed anyone else, so why are they so quick to make sure you know that. Strangers and family. They think, he is in prison, he shouldn’t be making any mistakes, so it’s his fault. Don’t you think he know that? Do you think he should have learned to behave 100% of the time and never give in to emotions.. The inmate must never forget they are to blame.

Jamie has had some very tough times this last ten plus years – for a variety of reasons – some are because of things he has done and some are because of retaliation from prison guards who have let their authority go to their heads and there are no repercussions for the things they do to inmates. They think, even if he is being continually mistreated, he is supposed to remailn calm and don’t contradict guards when they accuse him of doing something he didn’t do. Jamie fills out grievances that are never filed. He is carried down a flight of stairs face first with the guards hooking their arms through the cuffs on his wrists and ankles after having a seizure, because the guards are too lazy to get the board he is to be carried on, strapped on his side in case he has another seizure. . . . .

But he is not to get mad? He is supposed to stay in control and be polite no matter what they do to him? But he is a human being. We all have emotions. Even with an animal, if you treat him bad often enough he is going too bite you. So here we have a human being – someone I know very well and he is expected to do something you yourself would not able to do. You might think you could, but you couldn’t.

Someone said to me, “But you would think by now, after ten years, he would have learned!” Does that mean, no matter what is done to him he is supposed to stand there and not react in any way, always staying polite. Never should he ever reach the point where he can’t take it anymore. Maybe he should crawl into his head so far that he can’t find his way to normalcy when he gets out? How is he supposed to interact with other people when it’s been driven into him that who he is, what he thinks and how he feels really has no importance.

I tell him constantly his life has value. He won’t have a clue what to do when he gets out, but no one who knows him will have much patience with that. They won’t help because they have no clue what solitary confinement is and they will expect that since he is a grown man he should know what to do. Honestly, no one gives a damn what happens to him. He is going to have to prove himself to them before they trust him enough to even be nice. Why should he have to do that?

If he had been a drug addict or a violent person who hurt someone or had a string of convictions that says this guy is trouble – stay away from him; I could understand their skepticism. Except for this, he has not one conviction on his record. Was he perfect? No, but then neither was I. I did things in my youth that could have gotten me prison time had I got caught. I know lots of things people who didn’t get caught for things they did. Have I made them prove themselves to me? I’d like to flush his family down the toilet.

When I read his letters there are times when I can tell he’s in trouble – not physically, but mentally. He tries to stay strong in his letters to me. But he will also apologize to me when he thinks something happened and he should have been in better control. It’s okay. tomorrow is another day. Start over and focus again on your future. Imagine where you’ll be and the
things you want to do. What have you learned that can help other people

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

I’ve been asked, “Why is he back in ad seg again. What did he do?” He probably reached the end of his rope one day and got angry. You aren’t allowed to get angry. Everyone single person has gotten angry and yelled at someone. What if you weren’t allowed to ever get angry and you had to push it down deep inside. Could you do it and NEVER fail? You would just quiet your mind and not react – month after month after month? No, you couldn’t, and then they would give you more time in adseg. It is a lose/lose situation
Many inmates spend years locked up alone. They never get out. How does the prison do it, because it is against the law now to punish someone with more than fifteen days of solitary? By creating more cases. It takes a long time to get out of the lower classifications of prison. Solitary, ad seg (G5) and often G4. If the guards can’t find a way to sentence you with more time, they will just make something up. Do you think they wouldn’t do that? The more people that are locked up like that, the less they have to do. If you were paid what guards were paid you wouldn’t want to do much, either. Besides, they have to endure heat, too. But they get to go home at the end of the day. Still, it’s s sucky job, so amuse yourself and go pick on some inmates. No one will care. Guards stick together just like cops.)
I got a letter from someone who reads your blog. She said her son just got 20 years. She asked me for some pointers. I told her that family support is very important. ( something his own family will never understand) I also gave her some do’s and don’ts to give to her son. She said she was thinking about getting him an attorney, one who used to be a felon. Bad move. I told her to be careful. Make sure he works for a firm so he is legit. Some are just out to get your money because you are vulnerable.

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

biz card
Beware this picture is 30 years old!

So you want to play gigs again. Really! that sounds cool. I think you still have what it takes. I’m sure you are asking yourself, how could I say that? I’ve never heard you play. Passion. It’s because you have a lot of passion and I know that must be in your music. I know you can do it. Go ahead and start gigs again and do something for me while you do it. Enjoy yourself. That’s all for now. I’ll be waiting on you.

(Listen to this piece – really listen to it. Close your eyes.  Put your head back . Tell me what it means to you. Can you tell me what I’m saying?.

I had quit writing music about twelve years ago. I had no more reason to write. I had convinced myself my years of playing professionally were over. I was still teaching, but i played with headphones on so no one would accidentally hear me. I was told my playing might bother people.  I had also been sick for a long time and couldn’t sit up for long. I had nothing to write about. As I began this blog I wanted to play music again. As I healed I started playing my piano more and more. Something had changed, though.  My entire thought process for writing had become something else.  I stopped writing songs and crawled into the music. I started out writing music for Jamie. Music is emotional. Going through these years of keeping him going brought something into my music that wasn’t there before. Now, probably only one day a week, I want to find a nice piano bar or restaurant that would like beautiful music in the background. My days of fronting a band are long over. Now, as you see posts that have music on them you will understand a little more why I insert them.)

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Return to Corcoran-SHU from CCI-Tehachapi for “step 3”

black hands on cell door, prison guard brutality
source credit: pittsburgurbanmedia.com

A report from Jabari about his return to CSP-Corcoran for “step 3” of the “Step-Down Program”: April 19, 2015 They finally officially opened up the step 3 program here at CS…

Source: Return to Corcoran-SHU from CCI-Tehachapi for “step 3”

(This is a blog post I found today. It will tell you a lot about what happens in prisons.  Coincidentally, I have a second grandson with a father in Prison yet I haven’t talked about him on this blog.  I haven’t had communication from him.  I wrote to him but didn’t get a return letter.  He has been in prison for a long time – more than once – for about 17 years. This last time was for parole violation.  I bring this up because he is in Tehachapi.  He has tattoos from his neck to his wrists to his ankles.  This will affect how he survives when he gets out again in 2017)

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