Life in Adseg


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

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

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Dear Sonni,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Watch and Whirl – my other blog

Can I  Finally Get Out of Ad Seg? Maybe?

Before I share part of Jamie’s last letter . . .

(note from Sonni: I’ve been running myself crazy taking care of details for the book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” When I began writing, I didn’t know putting out a book involved more than writing it and finding someone to edit it. I knew there were self publishing businesses that helped, but I didn’t know most of them preyed on people who didn’t know they were being scammed into paying for services they didn’t need. That subject should be another post.

After writing this blog for a year or so, I knew Jamie’s story needed to be told. I began the first draft. To understand who Jamie is you should go to archive below the post where you can pull up the posts by the month. Also, some of earliest one are found at the top of the page in the white area.

It was important to find the right artist to create the book cover art, which will also be the digital album cover. Learning how to mark a product has been a challenge. Sometimes, at the spur of the moment I’ll feel a need to play my piano.  It is a release for me when I am on emotional overload.  It is why so many of my recording have an air of melancholy. There is sadness when I feel there is nothing I can do. The music is like a diary of these years. Certain music reminds me of a particular letter of something important that happened. Recording music for the book as the soundtrack is best played while reading. I’m also being promoted on several websites that carry the music. Before the book is published I am releasing another album of improv music titled, “Stories Without Words”

1976 Early (young) Sonni. The gold bangle on wrist is still there today

I’m having new promo pictures taken with my white piano, outside in summer greenery, by a photographer who specializes in photographing musicians. My promo pictures during my earlier years of playing would only work if I was never seen in public! ( I think I’ve aged just a touch! ) I knew if I was going to resurrect my music career, I couldn’t do it halfway. The difference today is I would not want to travel and tour again.  I want a more intimate setting in a nice restaurant (where I can sell books, too!)

I am also planning to go to Texas for a few weeks during October to visit Jamie at the prison. We need to talk about any changes and additions. Asking him to dig into a painful part of his past and ask him to relive it and write about it has been hard for him. I’m trying to keep him as involved as I can. No one is meant to live through being locked up by themselves for this long.  It’s been almost three years – this time. He has 4 1/2 years left on a 17 year sentence.

Part of the reason it has taken this long to finish the book is having to communicate through  letters, and then waiting for the answer. If the prison puts the inmates on an unexpected lockdown – more than the standard 30 days out of every 90 days then he might not be able to go to commissary and run out of stamps. That happened last time and he couldn’t write for weeks. The prison also screwed up the food box I sent. They marked it ordered, but didn’t deliver it. The online site showed it was ordered. It wouldn’t let me order again until after they were put on lockdown. No food boxes are delivered during that month. Add over 100 degree temperature to the mix doesn’t help anyone’s temperament.

A fight broke out in another building. It was used as an excuse to toss the cells and lock everyone down. He was out of stamps and had nothing to trade with. The guards love candy sticks and will sometimes trade a stamp for one. The cost for one is fifteen cents so it’s a good trade. I try to order 30 and add a variety of gas station quality, convenience store delicacies. Raman noodles, chips, cookies, mackerel, tuna and more – all processed crap, but often better than what they serve for meals. I can purchase $20 a month or $60 for three months. Not much, but it helps – in more ways than one. I can tell by his handwriting when he is depressed. Contact from the outside is like gold.  So many have no one. So . . . on to his letter)

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Good morning to you,                                                                                                        8/18/17

It’s early 5:47 but I could not sleep. I’ve been up since about 9:00 last night. I have not been feeling well. Anyway, I’m writing to tell you something. I really don’t like speaking about it because, to me it seems like when I do something bad always happens. Before I tell you I want you to know I was pulled out of my cell to make a phone call. I give up. I’m not putting in for no more phone calls. Nobody answers the phone at my mom or for my son. I have been doing good and staying away from trouble to make these phone calls only to not reach no one. “F**k that.” I have not had no write ups in over a year. This means I get a line class which goes toward my parole and getting out of ad seg (administrative segregation – a fancy word for being locked up by yourself for 23-24 hours a I don’t know when I’ll get out of seg. It might be Sept or January or March. Hopefully Sept so we can have our first visit that won’t be behind glass. That would be nice being able to hold your hand. I’m a line two right now. I need to be a line one in order to see parole. So in another 6 months, as long as I don’t get any write ups. I’m trying hard. I really am. It will be twelve years by then. I’m trying to make it home. I’m trying hard to get out of this place. I wasn’t to be there for my son. I want to hear you play the piano. 

I want to be there for Jamie while he’s still young. He and I have so much to talk about. Him reading my letter is not the same as him looking me in my eyes and talking to me face to face. That is what I want. So I’m focused on staying out of trouble.

There’s lots of days I don’t go to the shower. I stay in my cell and use the sink and do a bird bath. There’s also days I do go to rec or eat because I try so hard to avoid B/S with the officers. Please know that I’m trying. Sorry I have gotten tired. I will pick this back up later today.

Sorry for the long wait. Things are getting real testy around me. I have been getting into it with the inmates. I feel I’m being tested and this is some kind of karma. It’s stressing me out because I see SCC next month (state classification). I don’t know what they are going to do.

I got everything you sent me. Thank you so much. When you come to visit in October be sure to put in for a special visit ( 2 days, 4 hrs each day. A regular visit is one day, 2 hrs). Being in a place like this really will let you know how much you miss being around regular people. You want to know what I have to listen to? I’m tired of hearing these dudes talking about other dudes. Nasty.

You liked your birthday card? I had it made. I’m learning to make them. I’m working on my coloring and everything. I think it’s wonderful you are doing what you love. There’s a station on the radio that plays instrumental only. I haven’t listened to it in awhile. I have to get me another radio. Mine got broke. Move your fingers over the ivory keys of your piano and enjoy the sound.

We’re going on lockdown again the last week of this month or the first week of next month. If I get out of ad seg it won’t be so much. Gotta go. They’re picking up mail on the other side and I want to send this off.

Till next time, love Jamie

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Next issue coming soon. The topic this month – Incarcerating The Innocent  . . . AND . . . beginning today, until ten days after the next issue is published, anyone not currently receiving the issue in their email can tap the above button and enter a sweepstakes to win a signed copy of Sharron Grodzinsky’s “Waiting on the Outside.” Ten copies will be given away.  No shipping fee. Absolutely free.

I have read the book.  It is a gripping and heartbreaking true story of a mother who did everything she could to understand and save her adopted son from destructive behavior, choosing to become a skin head, joining the the local white nationalist movement at a very young age. He ended up in prison, where trying to leave the gang could have deadly consequences. Nothing she tried to do to help him had any positive effect.  He seemed determined to make every bad choice that came his way.

Will he be able to survive prison?  Will he survive when he gets out? There is no answer to that question because he is still locked up. This is every mother’s nightmare who watches her child grow up and become someone who is feared by the public.

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Jamie Life in Prison at Face book . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world.  All blog posts on this blog post at this site.

Piano Improv Music of Sonni Quick. at Facebook. My music info with links to new music as well as digging into the past.  I came across a poster of a major music event for me when one of my songs was performed with an orchestra and I flew out to San Francisco to hear it.  My life has been crazy and full of risks and challenges, but I’m still here. I will continue living until the last minute!

ReverbNation . . . Lots of great indie music at this site.  I was impressed. I’ve become a “Fan” of ones I like to help support them and I can share their music if I like. The have many neat services that help musicians put a good package together to promote their music. Tapping on the link will take you to my “work in progress” profile page.  check it out. Tell me what you think. I would appreciate any and all feedback of what you really think.

SkunkRadioLive . . . Thank you to those who tweeted my name at the SKL twitter page. Until i get back out and playing the only people who find me is online.  Many of you I’ve known quite a while and some are knew. But anyone who has a business or does anything online, even Facebook, knows how important to to have your page liked and shared. Right now I have to depend on the people I reach through my computer.  it is hard with new pages.  Some people might think what you do isn’t good if your numbers are low.  They can’t get higher until you start with the first one.  Booking agents and club owners might only have my profile page to go by so I am in constant building mode. On the right side of this page  you will see another twitter symbol asking you to tweet your favorite song.  When you click on it you go to a half filled tweet where you only need to add the name of a song and the artist name