The Prison Stole My Books When They Moved Me

Hello mom,                                                                       April 1 st, 2016

How are you today? Fine and in the best of health I hope. I’m not too sure what the weather is like outside today. I don’t really go outside. However, I can tell that the weather is crazy just by sitting in this cell. When it gets hot and stuffy the walls will sweat. Then it will get child Then it has rained quite a but down here as well. Now that is Texas weather.

What kinds of herbs are you going to plant this year? Are you planting any flowers? I never took the time to enjoy the sight of a beautiful flower. My mom had a couple ivy plants and I’d water  our spray them every now and then.

So you know, you don’t have to keep worrying about the heat and me being hot. I just got a new fan today. Also the medical co pay is paid off. Thank you. I also write to Leah and thanked her, too, for helping me. My radio the property lady took? They are $20 and I should be able to get one soon. I miss not hearing what is going on in the world.

InsideOut,original music compositions by Sonni Quick,Jamie Cumminngs

Books. I never got my books back. I don’t know why they kept my GED study book. She told me I was not going to get it back. Why? Why did they take that one away? And she took the brand new one Melvin got for me. I didn’t get a chance to read it. I’m still pissed about that.  I wrote a step one grievance to try and get them back but I haven’t gotten it back with a reason yet.  That book is about a man who was framed for  three murders and was given a life sentence. He fought the system for 23 years for his freedom. I have his first book. She took the second one. I never got a chance to read it. I also would like to read the Jim Crow book. When I’m not sleeping or writing, I read.

I can read a book and be finished with it in a day and a half. I read them and pass them along to others to read. Where we are, on level three and two they take our property. So out of 83 people I’d say more than half have nothing to read. The ones who do have a few books they have read them over and over. So I’d let them read something. Then there is always someone to spoil everything. I let a dude read a book but I wanted it back because I hadn’t read it yet. He kept it. Anyway, I still have quite a few to read. Sending the books in the 30 book lots has really helped me a lot to keep my brain occupied. I’m okay.

I received some post cards from Sherrll and her husband, and Jason. I’ve been writing them back, too. Having other people write to me and having letters to write is so important. If people only understood it can make such a difference between making it and not making it. Doing time is easier when you know people care about you. I’m regret I agreed to do the 17 years. I didn’t think I had the choice. I lost so much I can never get back. So I have to make it worthwhile.

I meant what I said about showing respect and have so much determination to give it and show it. It is very strong.The nurse that returned your call about my seizure meds, remember, there are some who will help but most just try to cover their ass.  But she doesn’t really care and this is how I know. I just had that seizure that caused me to have those seven staples in my head. I was in a cell on row one. Now they have me in a cell on the second row. What am I doing on two when I have seizures. It is harder to get to me for help and more dangerous for me.

My seizure Med – Tegretal – I explained about the doctor taking away my meds at the last unit, Wynne unit. He told me the first time I saw him he wouldn’t put me back on Tegretal because my level was too low. Then he said he can’t do it because I had headaches. I told him when he asked me how I felt. I told them I HAD a headache which is common after a seizure. The doctor said he didn’t care he still won’t give the Tegretal. They want to put me on Dilantin, which I took as a kid and it has really heavy side effects – makes you feel like a zombie and made my gums bleed.

You said you sent a picture in your letter but there was no picture.  Someone took it.  I get your big envelopes when you print things out but I don’t know if anything is missing, so make a list of what should be ever in it.

I’m okay mom. Don’t wory.

Love to you, Jamie.

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

Sonni’s Pinterest boards

This is the Internet radio show interview I did on the David Snape Show, and how to sign up for my new monthly newsletter about the book I’m writing, inmates who need pen pals,info about changes in the prison system, inmate stories that need to be told and other books inmates are writing.

The Fallen – The Battered

This music. was originally posted on my other blog Watch and Whirl You can also find it below at Sound Cloud. I wrote this during the Fall as I looked out the window watching the wind blow the leaves from the trees. Swirling around and gently falling to the ground, battered and torn with the color dying out of them.

This is for every person who has been abused by our injustice system. Every life who has been taken away. Every one caught up in the quest for mass incarceration. Every family who has been destroyed. Every child who has lost their parent. Every parent who has lost their child. I actually wrote a different post for this music because it makes me angry when people – or corporations – who profess to care about our country but who really do everything they can to line their own pockets and care nothing about the people they destroy. Enough said. The information is there for you to find if you choose to find it instead of listening to the choir sing to the choir. I will continue to try to make a difference and do what I can to help those I can.

This makes me so emotional. I get frustrated because I want to change things and I don’t know how or I don’t think it is enough. Prison has needlessly destroyed so many people that should not have been destroyed. Depression in prison for those who are caught in an unbelievably cruel and inhumane box is devastating. It needs to change. Massive prison reform is needed. Profit should not be the number one focus of the prison industrial corporations. There are bad people inside, but the majority are not. We need to help the ones who need to be let go. Prisoner mental health should not be destroyed. Reintegration into society is extremely difficult because it creates a fear to be near people.

THE FALLEN   by Sonni Quick.   copyright 2015

If you have heard my music before, you know I do not “compose” the music I record. There is no plan. It is not written down. I don’t think about it. I just play it. My fingers play what I feel. Everything is improvised. I couldn’t play it again. My fingers have a mind of their own. It is a language. When you speak, do you think about each word and put a sentence together before you speak it? Do you write down each word so you know what you said? Can you just make up sentence after sentence because you know the language? Of course you can. Most people, when they learn an instrument, they learn through method books that teach them how to read the notes and play it. Just like we learn the alphabet and learn how to make words. We learn to improvise with those words and it becomes a language that conveys thoughts and emotions. But most music teachers that are hired only teach their students how to play the written notes written by other people. They don’t learn how to play those notes as a language that conveys how they feel or how they think.

The piano changed from being an instrument to play, to an instrument that understood what I was feeling and I crawled inside it. I became a bystander and separated myself from the act of playing the piano and instead listened to the music as it played itself. What you hear today I can do for hours going up and down the piano keys playing the emotions I feel. If I try to manipulate it, it doesn’t work. My fingers know the piano keys, like an artist knows his paints and a dancer feels the music and his body know what it can do. It’s a wonderful feeling. I also know I haven’t reached the end. I’ve just begun.

Thanks for listening.

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

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

Youtube – Are We All Sex Offenders?

 

A friend of mine has a son who is in jail waiting trial. He has been waiting for a couple years. They want to give him a ten year sentence because of a touching game he and some teenagers were playing and he touched the breasts of an underage (15) girl. Completely consensual. He was 18. Is this right? Does he deserve to have his life ruined because of this and also have the tag of “sex offender” follow him for the rest of his life, ruining job opportunities and even the ability to rent an apartment? Yes we do have sex offenders who are a danger to people, but there is a large percentage of those people who are not dangerous.  Anytime someone hears the word “sex offender” they immediately jump to the conclusion that person is a rapists or pedophile.  This is another part of our injustice system.  A sex offender can never pay his debt to society.  He is branded for the rest of his life.  He will always have to explain himself to every single person he meets and people will look at him with disgust in their eyes.

I wanted to bring this to light today to see what you think.

Follow Jamie on Facebook. . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

RIKERS ISLAND: Chamber of horrors in the middle of New York

I’ve written about Rikers Island before. Most people were unaware of it before young Kalief Browder committed suicide after belong locked up in solitary confinement for 3 years without ever going to trial because he was accused of stealing a back pack he didn’t steal. His family couldn’t afford to pay the bail to get him out.He was told if he just pled guilty he could get out. He was 16 and wanted to go to college. He would be able to do that if he was a felon. Please read this article and go to the links and learn. Share this article. These abuses don’t only happen at Rikers, they happen everywhere, and in the US it is predominantly people of color. You don’t have to commit a crime to get caught up in our system of “justice”,and the practice of holding people in jail for years while they are “innocent until proven guilty” because the people brining arrested are low income and can’t pay basil is horrendous. This allows the prison industrial corporations to make a fortune off the backs of many innocent people as well as those who are guilty

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

HumanSinShadow.wordpress.com

Chamber of horrors in the middle of New Yorkfus_thebox_shout

Outrage is brewing in New York City over the nightmarish conditions in the Rikers Island jail–but it will take a strong movement to shut it down, writes Julian Guerrero.

THERE’S A factory on an island in New York City’s East River–a factory that produces human rights violations, located in the long shadows of the Manhattan skyscrapers that symbolize international wealth and power.

Pressure has been building on Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council to end the violence and abuse at the city’s main jail on Rikers Island, after investigations by the New York Times [1] and U.S. Department of Justice [2], among others, have exposed the inhumane policies of the city’s Department of Correction and the daily brutality committed by correction officers (COs).

For many New Yorkers–especially the more…

View original post 2,562 more words

The Elderly In Prison – Is It Right?

Elderly-Prisoner
photo source: famm.org

What happens to the old people in prison? No one thinks about the elderly in prison.  Most people think of prisons as places where dangerous criminals are locked up because society needs to be protected from them. They are locked up and the key thrown away for 30 – 40 – 50 years or more, until they die of old age. LWOP – Life Without Parole. A young man, or woman, as young as mid teens, committed a crime, and had the rest of his life was taken away. Twenty-two states try children as young as seven as adults. We don’t often picture inmates as people with walkers and wheelchairs, or think they spent nearly their entire life in a cell.  It also takes approximately $30,000 a year of the taxpayer’s money to pay for one inmate to live in the horrible conditions found inside prisons. Senior inmates are almost double that.  There are 2.33 million inmates in the the Us.  How many prisoners are there worldwide.  It is a scary thought.elderly prison inmate

                                       source credit: ca.news.yahoo.com

It is difficult to write only about the elderly in prison without explaining what the prisons are for everyone, and the treatment all inmates  get. It is how the younger inmates are treated that affects them as they age. If they are unlucky enough to spend multiple decades locked up they will go through a lifetime of malnutrition and insufficient medical care that affects the elderly in ways that are cruel and unnecessary. That is what happens to any institution that becomes “for profit”. On the outside we don’t consider age 50 to be elderly. In prison it is. Age 50 and above is the fastest growing segment of the prison population. Some prisons are nursing homes with barbed wire.

This is the effect of the “War on Drugs” when people were handed life sentences like candy. The sentences they were given would not be given today, yet they keep these people inside long after they paid for whatever  crime they committed. Today, everyone wants to carry a gun. It’s their constitutional right, they yell. The want to be able to strap them on their hip like some long ago cowboy. But in 1980 you went to prison if you were caught with a gun in your possession. These men are dying.  They want to see their grandchildren and spend a little time with their family.  They are no threat to anyone.  Because they are in prison, the caregivers hired to help them are not even allowed to give them a hug.  They can’t show kindness  to a dying man.  They are in prison, after all.

This is a link to one of the best articles I’ve read about the aging in prison. There are also experiences of about a half dozen men.  It made me cry.  One man saw a tree for the first time in 20 years – a tree – and the experience so moved him.  The Painful Price Of Aging In Prison

In the 1980’s, when Ronald Regan began “The War on Drugs”, those who were apprehended with even tiny amount of marijuana were given extremely long prison sentences. If someone is arrested with alcohol, a very harmful substance, it’s okay and legal. Death from alcohol abuse is common.  But can’t prohibit alcohol.  We tried that already.  So now they have tried with marijuana, classifying it to be as dangerous and lethal as heroin. Its a Class 1 drug. There has never been even one death from marijuana, ever, and you can’t OD on it like you can with alcohol poisoning. But this phony war has imprisoned hundreds of thousands of people and have made certain corporations very rich.

Now, 35 years later, these elderly inmates are very sick and dying. The war on drugs stopped nothing, but it filled the prisons and the corporations took over because of the money they could make.  What is the point of giving someone a fifty year sentence for drugs?  If he has done a crime, give him an appropriate sentence.  It serves no purpose to take away his entire life. And when they get proper medical care in their younger years and they are fed horrible food so they don’t get the nutrition they need to stay healthy, then you have people dying when they are fifty. Renal failure is one of biggest medical problems.

Michael-Tyrrell-handcuffe-010
photo credit: theguardian.com                                                                                    This was taken the day before this man died.  He is handcuffed to the bed.

 We have learned in recent years that much of the evidence that was used throughout the years to find people guilty, was wrong. When that mistake  is found, often through DNA, or finding evidence that had been suppressed that would have exonerated them from the start, you would think they would be released, but they aren’t.  Even when the courts are presented with new evidence, setting them free is nearly impossible. Even if a judge overturns a conviction, the prison won’t set him free without more years of hassle, as seen by the case of three men called The Angola Three All three had their convictions over turned after spending decades in prison, but the prison wouldn’t let them go. 85% of all inmates in Angola, die in Angola. With attorneys trying to get them released, one man died, one man who was near dying did get out and died a few days later.  There is still one man inside.  After yet another court case where he was deemed innocent and the judge said they would not be allowed to file another case against him, the prosecutors are determined that he will not get out.

WallaceWilkersonWoodfox.jpg

As of 2015 it is against the law to sentence a minor to life without parole, but it isn’t retroactive. If you were sentenced in 2014 the new law isn’t for you. And if you are 65 and already had been imprisoned for nearly 50 years you won’t be allowed to have even a small portion of your life back. To date, it has been unsuccessfully fought.

This article talks about the Supreme Court ruling about youth offenders.  For every youth that has been given life with no parole, he will die in prison as an old man. There are women, but the majority are men. Juvenile Life Without Parole

prison elderly2

Are these elderly prisoners a danger to society?  No. But sadly, after spending decades locked up inside a prison, and not having access to decent medical care, dental care and nutritious food, you body is going to break down faster. You will be much older than than the same aged person who didn’t go through that. A persons body can be neglected for only so long before it breaks down.

Because of poor dental hygiene, and no six month check ups, teeth pain is a  common problem that is ignored even after the teeth become infected and an abscess has formed.  Many problems could have easily been taken care of when it was a simple cavity.  Even after a tooth has abscessed, painfully evident by swollen a mouth and an inmate screaming in pain, they will let him cry in pain for a long time before anything is done. To make matters worse, guards will taunt the inmate and laugh at his discomfort. If he is are extremely lucky he might get an aspirin, but that won’t help the problem of increasing infection. Teeth pain is one of the worst pains to endure and for prisons to allow inmates to suffer this way is inexcusable. If you are in pain, too bad. Eventually, he will be taken to a dentist, but by then he will  have suffered for weeks or months. The dentist could be a two or three day bus ride away, with the inmate being shackled to other prisoners. Spending a lifetime in prison, as your teeth rot because of bad food and lack of care, is inhumane. I have learned  these things through many letters I have received over the years from inmates.

prison food,lockdown,ad seginmate privileges,no justice for inmates
example of prison food on while on lockdown Photo credit: pennsylvaniacooking.blogspot.com

After decades of poor quality food, barely above starvation, it takes a toll on health. If you are one of the few who has family who puts money on your books – a term used when money is sent that can be spent in the commissary or to make calls – you could purchase a variety of food very much like what you could buy at a gas station convenience store. Fresh vegetables or salads are not on the menu.

Disease is rampant and are most are untreated. Many illnesses wouldn’t have ended in death if the inmate had received care. The notion that inmates get free medical treatment is highly exaggerated. They have to fight for medical care and often lose. My grandson’s father, Jamie Cummings, who today turned 33, has been in prison for ten years.  He not only has epilepsy, he was recently been diagnosed with Pericarditis, an inflation of the sac around the heart. He had a seizure that was severe enough for him to be taken to a hospital.  Quite often they just let him lay in his cell because the guard doesn’t want to do the paperwork.

It was during this hospital stay they discovered the problem with his heart. They kept him there for four days monitoring his heart.  The cardiologist told him – and wrote in his report the medication he needed.  It is easily treatable but is often fatal if left untreated. The sac around the heart hardens and blood cant pump right.  It causes chest pains and difficulty moving around because the body doesn’t get enough oxygen. The medical unit at the prison won’t give him the medication that will save his life.  I’m now fighting for him. Jamie has been having chest pains. He talked to a nurse using video chat in the medical unit.

Although there are many inmates with chronic illnesses at Huntsville Prison, there is often no medical staff there for long stretches of time. They leave at 5 PM and return around 3 AM.  Although in my experience I have called there quite a few times as early as 2 PM and receptionist tells me they are already gone for the day. If an inmate needs medical help someone calls a nurse at a different location using video chat. What good is that? There are many chronic illnesses that need more than someone just looking at them on a screen. Older inmates need better care than that. When Jamie had his latest video chat because of chest pain, the nurse said he didn’t “look” like he was in pain and told him to drink more water, the nurse’s remedy for everything.  Jamie does get medication for seizures but he still has them. He went into the hospital with that medication so they can’t decide he doesn’t need them.

The medical care isn’t free.  Every January he is charged $100 he doesn’t have.  Every time I put money into his account  they will take half until it’s paid.  I pay it because as lousy as the care is he needs to be able to call for help when he has a seizure.  Many inmates don’t.  If they don’t need to see a doctor for the rest of the year he still has to pay $100 for one visit. sickness runs rampant in prisons.  If some things aren’t treated they could get really sick or pass it on to others.

You can read  Jamie’s story at:   My Name Is Jamie. My Life In Prison

Cost is the bottom line for everything.  Cut the cost. Who cares?  Inmates are a forgotten society that has no value. Jamie’s experience is just ONE person, one human being.  2.3 million people are locked up in the United States. If they gave inmates the medical treatment they needed, there would be no profit. Investors would be unhappy. After all, they are just inmates, and most of them are black. They don’t care who they hurt.  It seems greed is the reason for everything these days.

A picture of this wouldn’t do it justice.  You need to read the article:       Ten Worst Prisons in America

Another large percentage of inmates are Hispanic. Yes, America is in a uproar about illegal aliens, but Hispanic families with wives and children are separated from their husbands and imprisoned having committed no crime. How bad would your country have to be to risk crossing the border of another country illegally.  Maybe they shouldn’t have done it, but does that mean we have the right to enslave them?  Many have severe medical needs.

I watched a video of a new prison being auctioned off and prospective buyers were promised an endless supply of people. Hispanics caught at the boarder were going to keep the new prison full.  The bidding started at $5,000,000. Today, Texas already has more than 110 prisons.

Many inmates become diabetic because of a high carb diet which turns to sugar. They aren’t going to get the diet they need. Arthritis or any common “old age” disease, won’t get treated. Many illnesses a prisoner has is treatable, but in prison they are left untreated regardless of the pain, until it gets very bad and then the absolute minimum is done.

When sentencing became absurd during the “War on Drugs” in the 1980’s, no one looked at the future affects and thought about the elderly inmates who needed more care than what they would be willing to provide. How could the prison continue to be profitable if they had to pay for necessary medical procedures? The law states they have a right to medical care, but they don’t say how much or when.

When prisons, like hospitals and schools, became “for profit”, corporations wanted to jump on the bandwagon. The Prison Industrial Complex took over many prisons . States were broke. They couldn’t repair roads or schools, and they couldn’t afford the costs of the increasing populations of the prisons while having to constantly build new prisons to house them.  Corporations, like CCA and the GEO Group, offered to take the prisons off the hands of the states and run them. But here was the deal: the states had to sign 20 year contracts promising the prisons would be kept 90-100% full AT ALL TIMES, or the state would have to pay them for the empty beds. That could run into millions of dollars. The corporations sold the deal by telling the states they would now have more money for roads and schools. That didn’t happen. Instead, there were many lawsuits because the corporations were cutting too many corners for profit.  People were dying because of the lack of medical care. They cut out too much food and other necessities. Some of the states that signed those contracts will not be renewing. But these corporations donate a lot of money to the campaigns of politicians to guarantee they will vote on issues that are in the best interest of these corporations. This puts a lot of pressure on both sides.

New prisons are still being built, even though this year there has been much in the media about lowering the prison populations. In my opinion, it is a sham. There has been no mention of the 20 year contracts already in force. There were investors and stock holders who are looking forward to all the profit  to be make. The United States has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of all the prisoners. Do we really have more criminals? No. This system preys on blacks and Hispanics.  Many people get imprisoned that shouldn’t be. That is the only way they get the support they need from the white privileged population who need to keep racism alive and well.  Every black person they arrest could find guilty of something, guilty or not.  There are six times more black people than white people in prison, yet black people are only 13% of the population.  Prisons are filled with black people, a much lower percentage of Hispanics and the occasional white.  The media, bought and paid by those who make the profit, convinced the public that black men are dangerous. They start in elementary schools, where 6x more black kids are imprisoned in juvenile detention.

Although this article is focused on the elderly, most of them started out young kids when they were first imprisoned.  It is these laws that need to be changed, so people don’t spend their entire lives in prison.  Prison should only be for those who really are a threat to society, and that percentage is much smaller than you think.  To understand the problem with the elderly, you need to understand why there is a problem and why it is as bad as it is. Many lives have been ruined for that reason.

At a time when it would be compassionate to let a dying man be at home, it is denied. There is something called – compassionate release. An inmate can apply to be let out to die at home.  Four times this year an inmate applied for it and four times it was denied, and since the process is very long they often die before and answer is given.

SQ sm cages

 There is one last thing I haven’t mentioned – mental illness. That is another article by itself. So many people who have a mental illness have been put in a prison because there was nowhere else to put them. Conditions inside made their problem worse and they often get put in solitary confinement for their own protection.  Even those who have committed crimes often have a mental illness that is made far worse because of how they are treated. Many try to commit suicide and some succeed.  They have also been left in their cells to die with no one helping them, with staff watching them die through the window on their cell door. You don’t want to see the video I watched for an hour, watching a man take his final breath and not one person, including medical staff would help him until after he was dead.  Then they did CPR so they could say they followed the book. It was one less person to care for. There are many lawsuits. There is almost no help for people who need therapy. This last picture is a group therapy session. Effective? You decide.

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

CHAPTERS OF “INSIDE THE FORBIDDEN OUTSIDE”
Forward – A Message From Someone Who Cares
Everyday Dreams
I Love You Always, Daddy
Jamie’s Story

Please fill out the form if you wish to be on the email list so you don’t miss any chapters I publish for  “Inside The Forbidden Outside”

Female Prisoners In California are Hunger Striking In Solidarity with Detained Immigrants

There is so much injustice in the world and the center of it is in the United states. Many people in this country are snowed. They think we are a generous country who wants to help free people around the world from tyranny. But as is seen today, the kind Xristian people are not so kind after all and they are cheering on the corrupt GOP leaders as they attempt to use the inciting of fear to become our next president. God help us all – a worthless phrase, because if there were a God, and he was trying to make us in his image he would look at us as a total failure. There are truly people who need our help yet we turn out back as we prepare for the season that says, “Peace on earth and goodwill toward . . . ” Damn, the old Xristmas record I always played just broke into a million tiny pieces.

Prison Photography

rajashree

Rajeshree Roy with Carolyn Miller, a close friend, on a visit at Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF).

IN SOLIDARITY

Something very significant is brewing in California right now. Female prisoners in the Yuba County Jail are organising in solidarity with immigrants n detention.

Yesterday (Monday 14th December) a group of women began a hunger strike, joining hundreds of other detainees taking part in hunger strikes at facilities across the country.

You may or may not have heard about the fasting and hunger strikes going on in immigrant detention facilities across the country. Up and down the country–in the Hutto Immigrant Detention Center in Texas; in an immigrant detention center in the high desert city of Adelanto, California; in the Krome Service Processing Center in Florida; and in Alabama, in El Paso, Texas and in Lasalle, Louisiana, too.

Vikki Law has covered these as a trend. And they are

View original post 514 more words

That Is The Connection of Love

RAIN UPON MY WINDOW CELL   by Sonni Quick  copyright 2015

Letter written, November 16, 2015

Dear mom,

I know it’s been hard on you the past few years due to all your surgeries and all, but please know – that was all in the past, so you have to look forward and never look backward. It’s a crazy life, but more important is that you enjoy yourself. You have a passion for music and I heard you play the piano over the phone and it was beautiful. Do what you enjoy doing and love yourself. I am proud of you because you were strong, encouraging and stayed confident through it all – the perfect success. The power of chanting paid off. Things take time but one must never give up.

Jamie cummings before prison
Jamie, the day we met, with my daughter and grandkids

(Sonni’s note: This is know.  People come into your life for a reason.  Some people come in and out of your life so fast you don’t even remember their name.  If life hadn’t taken the twists it did, the night I first met Jamie, ten years ago, could have very well been the only time I ever saw him.  I would only have a fleeting memory him because there would not have been a reason to remember him. If my daughter had not introduced me to him the night she brought him to my hotel room, when I went to Texas to visit for Thanksgiving, it would not have changed the things that happened to him, or the fact that Megan had another baby, but we would not have had an effect on each other.  He would have no one to be there for him and prison would be having far graver impact on him today, with seven more years to go. Although his life is still up for grabs, he now has a higher likelihood of having the life he dreams about.

Not crossing paths with each other would have probably lessened the chance of success of a better life when he gets out. How many people are sitting in prison who have no one who cares if they live or die? Some are very bad people, some were abused people, some were falsely accused and many fell prey to mandatory minimums and were sentenced harsher than than they should have. I would have never written this blog, or book I am writing, and my ignorance about our injustice system would not have changed. Helping him has enabled me to reach out and help other people. Once again I will say: At the end of our lives, the only thing that matters is the effect we have had on other people. We live on when we change their life – for the good or for the bad – and they use what they learned to influence others. That is cause and effect – karma – you reap what you sow – no matter how you look at it or what your faith, or lack of faith, means to you.

Jamie has learned the value of his life. Being in prison does not make him a lesser man. He has learned the uselessness of anger, unless that anger is used in a positive way. I have learned that just to say you aren’t racist doesn’t mean you aren’t racist, because saying those words are meaningless. It is in your actions, your thinking and your honest intentions that count.

For Jamie, to be sitting in a solitary confinement cell and still be able to encourage someone else and be able to say the words, “I am proud of you,” is amazing. I know I can’t completely understand what he is going through. I know he holds a lot back because he doesn’t want me to worry about him. So much has happened to him that would have many men thinking about nothing but anger and revenge, which hurts no one but the person thinking it. This success story in the making, with many ups and downs, is his story. His encouragement has helped me get through my own hard times. We feed each other the strength we think each other needs so it goes around and around. It is hard when you are in the middle of the experience, but later in life as we both sit and reflect how these years have gone by, there is so much we both have gained. I stay confident there is a reason for this that will affect many people in a positive way.

I have been so fortunate to have Jamie, and this experience in my life. He is a special person and I have learned so much. He will always be my grandson’s father and I will always be his son’s grandmother. I will always be the mother of his son’s mother. Nothing can take away that connection. That is the connection of love, which is of course his strongest love. I don’t mean that as a relationship love. He’s younger than my children. But not all relationships turn out to be positive. Not all last a lifetime. Good friends are often harder to come by and can last a lifetime or longer. Passion comes and goes and often you can’t remember their name. There is a bigger reason why our lives crossed, and it is because of that , that it has come to mean so much. I know him. He deserves to have a chance at life and also to be what he wants most – a chance to be a father.)


Mom, I will get back into writing the things you need for the book. Things are just crazy here. I tried to write up the officers like you said – fill out grievances – so there is a paper trail of what they do and don’t do. However I can’t leave a paper trail if my write-ups are being thrown away. I wrote up three different officers and I have yet to get the forms back. I have to get away from this unit because the warden is the one to investigate the form. I have to have the denial of the first write-up before I can write the second one. It’s stupid. The first grievance you file is ALWAYS denied and it always takes a month to get the denial. They are stalling for time hoping you’ll give up. Because this process rarely works, most  won’t even file a grievance because nothing good comes from it. But you said they are counting on that so don’t let them get away with it. I keep writing the grievances, one after another, to show that I tried to use the system that was set up for us so we have a way to settle problems. But they have the upper hand and I think they must be just throwing them away. If I don’t get the first grievance form back it is like nothing was ever filed.

Blacks and Hispanics always had it bad. Yes, we commit crimes, but so have all the races. Many people don’t understand history. A lot of blacks have been sent to prison for nothing. Back in the day it was nothing to send a black man to jail. Now, instead of sending us to jail, they just kill us. (crazy)

I did go back to the hospital last week. Yet again, the medical unit did nothing. I was told again I would be placed on medication for my heart problem yet I have yet to receive any. I asked about it but I was told things were backed up. Unlikely. Life is becoming real hard for me in here. I’m trying to keep it together. I get so caught up in my problems. They took all my stuff away and it is locked up in the property room.

You can send me the chapters you are writing for the book. Don’t black out nothing. As long as there is nothing that violates policy, send it, it should be okay. I don’t care what these people think. I’m not violating no rules. Wow, you sure do have a lot planned for the book – the whole nine yards, huh? It seems like a good idea to me if you can sell or give away the music to the people who buy the book.

Look, whenever you get ready to come visit make sure you tell me so I can stay clear of these people. I’m not going to beg Megan to bring Jamie to see me. I’m through with that. I have to stop letting shit take control of me. And when I get caught up in this bullshit with these people here, I lose myself because I am so upset at times.

I got the three books you sent. You asked me how much room I have in my locker for books, and I have a lot if you want to send a bigger box. (Sonni’s note: I sent him 30!) I need them to keep me busy doing something. Could you add some Westerns? Thank you. (This is the first time he ever mentioned he liked Westerns. lol)

Wow – Mike’s cooking for Thanksgiving? He can cook green bean casserole? I love that! It’s good. I’m sure Thanksgiving will be okay here. Not better than being home, though. I have to go for now.

However, till next time,
Love you, Son.

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

Sonni Quick piano music complete list

Why Solitary Confinement? What Did Jamie Do?

Solitary confinement Cell

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

(Sonni’s note: In my last post I was concerned because I found out Jamie was back in solitary confinement. After I posted it I found a letter from him in my mailbox. He explained what happened, but didn’t mention any cardiology appointments, so maybe it’s not time for it. He said it was “next month”, but the month has just started. He should not be going months without the necessary medications for his heart problems.)

10-28-15

HELLO MOM,

Sorry for the wait. I received the letters you sent. Please tell your mother I said hello. Tell her I’m sorry I haven’t written to her. I just didn’t know what to say. I don’t want to say nothing wrong. Well, not say nothing wrong, it’s just that I’m nervous, just like the first time you and I met. But please let her know I am very thankful for the encouragement that she sends to me, as well as the love.

So how are you doing? Well yes that really was a crazy question. It’s always good to know you’re doing better. I know you can’t stand being in bed all day. I’m glad the side effects from the Hep C drugs has lessened. Don’t worry about coming to see me this month. Your health always comes first.

I’m sure you want to know what’s happening with me. Remember the situation that happened with the dude who worked in the cafeteria who was putting his hands all over people’s food and didn’t wear gloves? https://mynameisjamie.net/2015/10/18/there-are-no-judges-here-and-some-things-you-cant-let-fly/

Well, it never ended until now. On October 15th, the officer this dude worked for retaliated against me. He walked up to me and started pushing and shoving me trying to provoke me. However I just smiled at him because there was another officer there. He was telling this officer to stop and trying to hold him back. Shit, that didn’t last long. because the officer tried to grab me by my shirt and slam me into the wall. However, I jerked away from him.

If he had managed to slam me into the wall it would have been face first. After that he reached out and put his arm around my throat. He told the other officer to take me down. He didn’t want to do it at first. I hadn’t done anything. But he ended up doing it. He grabbed my legs and I went down. The Officer  who started this had me around the neck. While I was on the floor he was choking me. Long story short I got an assault case and 15 days in solitary. I have 8 days left as of now.

The officers came up with a story and blamed everything on me. Even the officer who watched the other officer do all this blamed me – to cover his own ass. It’s against the rules, they say, for officers to side with inmates on anything. But he ended up getting into trouble anyway because he had me handcuffed in the front instead of the back. I was being moved to a different block at the time this all happened.

I told the Major warden that the officer did this because I beat up a  worker of his who jumped me when I reported his violations in the kitchen. I also told him that this officer had threatened to get me which he did. They are supposed to be doing an investigation but we both know how that will turn out. The Major even told me if everyone sticks to their story there is nothing he can do about it – even if he knows the truth he can’t prove it.

But get this – another officer – an African – told me he saw what was done to me. I write his name down and told the Major. I told him to question this officer because I didn’t trust the Sgt or the Capt-Lt. They don’t like me because I speak my mind and I speak up for others when their officers are in the wrong. Anyway, the Major goes and tells the Lt. Then the next thing I know they can’t get ahold of this officer to get his statement.

When he comes back to work the statement he gave me and the one he is saying now are completely different of course. He told them I pushed the officer. The next time I saw him I was hot. I aked him why he lied. He said, “Because”. I said, What the hell is, “Because?” But I know they probably threatened to give him probation or take away his job. The African officers here will kiss ass to keep their jobs. They come over here and take a lot out on blacks. Really. They are just about everywhere in the system. If only would work in the system to see how their families are being treated

(Sonni’s note: Jamie said something here I want to find out. He mentions Africans and blacks separately, like two different people. Are Africans being brought into the country to work as guards?)

Oh believe it or not two inmates died of heart attacks in the last two months. Medical is not here around the clock. They go home at 5:30 pm and don’t come back until 2:30 -3:00 am. There are too many sick people here to not have medical care available. If something bad happens the inmate has to be sent to another unit or the hospital depending on how bad the situation is. If I was having chest pains after 5:30 they would take me to a medical room with a computer and I would talk to a nurse in another unit at least 30 minutes away. She would tell me to drink water or some shit like, “You don’t looklike you’re in pain”, like she can tell by looking at me on a computer. (Sonni’s note: That is their answer for everything. Drink water. Does that work for you when you feel sick enough to need medical care?)Then she’ll send me back to my cell. They do that all the time.

http://www.fairwarning.org/2015/07/jail-medical-care/

(Sonni’s now: I still often hear people sarcastically talk about inmates getting free medical. They don’t understand what inmates have to go through to get treated and how often they don’t get it at all, or they aren’t given their meds. Often, medical conditions are left untreated until it’s too late. They die of “natural causes” when they often don’t need to die at all. Who cares except the families who often don’t have the money to pursue filing against the prison and proving negligence. Very very few times has an inmate won a medical suit against a prison. It also costs money to treat inmates and that cuts into their profit)

I need to get this in the mail . Love you
Love always, Son {{smile}}

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

Sonni Quick piano music complete list