Are You Aware There is a Prison Protest Happening?

There is so much continued repetitious crap in the media right now, regurgitating itself over and over again – about the antics of Donald Trump – that serious issues are being put to the sidelines. Intentional? The ongoing dumbing down of America?

Over 14,000,000 people are arrested each year, often incarcerated for years without ever being charged and found guilty – because they can’t afford bail. The corporations make a fortune off these people from phone  calls and commissary alone. Many of these people provide the constant filling of prison beds. Add to it the reopened, crumbling prisons that had been previously closed, and the tent prisons used to hold the immigrants who needed out help. What did the US do with the people – they were turned over to prison corporations like CoreCivic to use and abuse for more profit. I won’t get into what they did to the kids.

Because of horrible and corrupt prisons where many of the guards are dirty and bring in drugs and other contraband to line their own pockets. It feeds the drug dealers and the gangs inside and puts everyone’s lives at risk. Contrary to popular, ignorant belief – everyone inside is not a hardened criminal. Some are innocent and some want to get their lives on track and lead a better life. Some have families that are left outside scared their loved one will get killed. I have communicated with a lot of inmates. Don’t argue with me until you have done the same. Prison is nowhere close to “Orange is the New Black.” The guards on that show are a joke and the inmates make good comedians.

This month there was a riot inside Lee’s Correctional institute in So Carolina. Seven men brutally died. Part of the reason was because there were very few guards to help put it down. A large percentage were dirty. The men had been left to roam free in the prison. Enough is enough is enough.

http://sawarimi.org/national-prison-strike  This includes the demand list.

There was, at last count, 17 prisons that started a protest for better conditions inside less than a week ago. That protest will go on until Sept 4th. Instead of listing everything this protest is about along with a list of their demands, I will give you the links to read it for yourself. The powers that be are trying viciously to not let info on the protest inside their prisons. I found one inmate yesterday that knew nothing of it. Now he does and he is armed with details. If you know anyone inside, find out if they know and get this information to them so more inmates and their families can stand in solidarity. The men inside are begging us on the outside to support their efforts.

 

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How Solid is Your Rock?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

prison labor

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

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

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

“Palpable Irony” Written by Inmate, Martin Lockett

palpable irony

Several months ago I read a book by Martin Lockett, “Palpable Irony: Losing My Freedom To Find My Purpose”  You can purchase it here

While I was reading the book I thought so much of Jamie.  Everything happens for a reason.  I think I was meant to know this young man. There are things about their lives that seem to run parallel.  They are within a year of the same age and they received the same sentence, seventeen years.  They went in almost at the same time and both still inside.

Where Jamie has used Buddhist study to learn about life and change the things that have caused him unhappiness, Martin turned to Christianity.  But instead of just saying he is a Christian but not applying what he learned to his life, he worked hard to be the man he knew he could be.  It was his second time in prison.  When he got out the first time he couldn’t maintain his Christian beliefs and within a year, his old life sucked him back in and smacked him across the face. It wasn’t being a criminal that landed him back in prison, it was poor judgement and a lack of being honest with himself.  As with Jamie, a year after he was released from Juvenile detention he went out to party one night with a cousin who had recently gotten out of prison, again.  Hindsight is 20/20. Being with him at all was a lapse in judgement and it cost him seventeen years of his life and being able to raise his son.

Sometimes though, when it looks like everything has gone wrong; you lose the woman you love and you lose years of your life you aren’t able to get back, you aren’t yet able to see what you have gained because you aren’t far enough to look back with that 20/20 hindsight.

I think Martin has gained much more than he lost and it will bring more to his life than if he had never gone in.  So which way would have been better?  Not go in, and continue to scam your way through life feeling lucky if don’t get caught, and maybe never have anything to be proud of?  Maybe never going to school or finding the right woman to love? Or is it better being forced to take the time to evaluate your life, change it, and then be a good influence on the people around you and help them change their life, too?  Read the book and decide for yourself.

Below is a letter I just received from Martin

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 Dear SonniQ,

Thank you very much for your interest, thoughts, and response to my book. It always humbles me to hear how people I’ve never met read my story and was moved in some way. It’s encouraging to hear you say, “He was a success story when it could have easily gone the other way.” I attribute that to God and a lot of people who love and support me and what I aspire to do. Thank you for recommending the book on your blog as well — I appreciate that very much.

It sounds like you are Jamie’s primary support system. I commend you for that as I know it is not easy on you to do that. I pray that he is released soon. I think it’s tragic that he is not able to have any type of relationship with his son, especially since I have no doubt that his son is yearning for a relationship with his daddy. Unfortunately prison robs countless children of the opportunity to have meaningful relationships with their fathers. Obviously I don’t know the circumstances of your daughter and Jamie’s relationship, but my heart goes out to your grandson who is being deprived of bonding with his father. It nearly brought a tear to my eye hearing how his son wanted to give his daddy $2 to buy a soda. Kids are always the innocent bystanders harmed through this situation. I pray he and his son are able to reconcile when this is over. But in the meantime you are his angel, keeping him going in every way. I’m sure he tells you often as possible how much he appreciates you.

To personally answer your question, yes, I DO know how fortunate and “lucky” I am to be where I am, receiving the kind of services I am while incarcerated. Indeed, medium security and maximum security are worlds apart, and many inmates in maximum security prisons are treated worse than even unruly animals. It’s a disgrace that we allow such inhumane treatment of humans in our penal system, but we do. People are not outraged enough because it hasn’t happened to their family members directly. It’s a shame and my heart goes out to you, Jamie, and his son who has no idea how his father is being treated in that cold, dark place. Where is he? Texas? Yeah, I’m not surprised. I’ve heard enough horror stories about Texas prisons to last two lifetimes. How come Jamie can’t apply for medium custody? Is he in trouble a lot? That tends to happen more in prisons that lack any type of rehabilitative opportunities — not that I’m making excuses for misconduct because it still comes down to an individual choice. But certainly there’s more understanding in those horrid conditions why someone may act out.

You asked if I’m writing another book — yes. Actually, Adopt an Inmate will be helping me with the publishing process. I’m extremely grateful for their care, compassion, and willingness to help make prisoners’ lives more meaningful and manageable. My second book is actually a collection of a year’s worth of blogs that I wrote in 2014 that were dedicated to the important topics of how prison affects inmates and our families and loved ones. I wholeheartedly believe Jamie (and you) would enjoy it and find it worth your while. Oh, and we’ll see to it that the editing in this one is more consistent. 😉

It sounds like you are currently working on a book of Jamie’s life? Is Jamie contributing to it too? How far along are you? I hope you’re enjoying the process — I certainly did! It was cathartic in many ways. I assume you’ll be looking to publish it, no? When do you project it will be available for purchase? Keep Adopt an Inmate informed because I’d like to buy one of the first copies.

Thank you again for taking an interest in the things I write, SonniQ. You sound like a great person with a big heart and Jamie is fortunate to have someone like you in his corner. It’s unfortunate I can’t follow your blog and comment the way you do on mine, but I will someday! 🙂 In the meantime, continue to do the good work you’re doing and making a difference in the lives of people who need it the most. Take care, SonniQ.

Sincerely,

Martin Lockett

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Soon I will have a button that will take you to my newsletter sign up but until then I am using the one from WordPress. The next newsletter will be out in about two weeks.  I will have progress about the book which is about 4 weeks shy of being written and the first chapters are off an editor I really like.  ( I’ll see if she likes me, too!)  But I want to write about topics of our justice system that isn’t here at my blog.  It won’t be repetitious. Many of my readers are not bloggers here at WP. To be able to reach them it is very important for you to share what I do with your own social media. It is harder to sell a book if you don’t have anyone to tell.  I want sales to be put to good use for Jamie.  Just like Martin, when they get out they need to be able to start a new life.

You can use the form below, or you can send your email address to my new address at sonni@mynameisjamie.net