Glimpse Into Book Two – Where is Jamie Today?

wh jamie2

This is not a book chapter. This time period takes place about the time book 1 of Inside The Forbidden Outside ends. Book 1 will not go to the end of his sentence. The sequel begins in 2016 and finishes his incarceration,  his experience of getting out and what happens next. Where does he go? How does he experience freedom and what is his relationship with his family, most of all his teenage son?

This is a glimpse into Book 2

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It was almost the end of 2018 and Jamie was glad to get out of Allred Unit. There had to be a better prison than this to finish his time in. It was okay at first. They seemed more respectful of the fact that they were human beings, but it didn’t last.

It was pretty clear they weren’t gonna to be letting him out of adseg.  He had never been in regular population, but they had classified him as a threat to other inmates. That was their last reason for not moving him out of adseg and he knew it was an excuse.

It was a desperate move he made to get transferred out of Wynne Unit in 2014. He felt the threat of constant physical violence from the guards and he had no protection from them. It was hard to keep his anger in check. The pushed and pushed, trying to get him to retaliate. Having five guards pick him up and slam his head into a wall was only one thing they did. Beating him up in the hall after being allowed to make an emergency call to his mother when she was in the hospital was another. The list was a long one.

He was in G5, (Adseg.) and that was nothing new. He had spent most of his time in state prison in this bottom rung of the prison. A majority of inmates stay in population. Their time is not fun, either, but it is not the hell of segregation. The loneliness alone will get you if the smell doesn’t choke you.

Before he was moved from Wynne he had done the required years of adseg, locked down 23/7 and allowed no freedom unless you considered being shackled and taken to commissary once a month, showers or being to go to the medical unit – if they took him – to be a benefit of freedom. But he wasn’t safe. He tried to stay clear of the guards. They were supposed to move him up to the level classification of G4 but was told there wasn’t an empty bed.

The best thing about G4 is he could walk to chow for his meals, but always with eyes open in the back of his head. All he had to do was look someone in the eye for a knife to get stuck in him somewhere by someone who was told to stick him. He had no friends – and he wanted no friends. You didn’t know who you could trust. He only wanted to get through his time in one piece.

He was in limbo, being kept in solitary confinement. They took away his property, sometimes even his mattress. He had a cellmate for awhile and he let him borrow his mattress if he wasn’t using it.

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You will read about this in more detail later in the book chapter of that year. Currently I am writing about 2012 and a lot happens in between then and now. Subscribe to ITFO NEWS below to read about the progress of the book and soundtrack.

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Jamie had to get out of Wynne and the only way to do that was to threaten a guard with harm. It worked. They moved him to Allred. The punishment he received was a year in adseg, but when he got there he was told he had to do two years. It was their protocol. The more men they had in adseg the less men they had to deal openly in other parts of the prison where the could congregate.

After two years they wouldn’t release him and said, “Next year we’ll let you out,” so he waited.

At three years they wouldn’t release him and said, “In six months we’ll let you out,” indicating if he could continue to have no write-ups in his file the would get moved – so he waited a little longer.

At three years and six months he had a hearing and was turned down again, but they said, “If there are no problems, for sure you’ll be getting out in six months.” Jamie felt good about that. It felt like a sure thing the way they said it – they were going to let him out. He wanted desperately for that to happen. He was at his breaking point. The next level above G4 was G2. Then he could get a job, probably janitorial, and he could apply for a class to study for his GED and possibly a trade.

Six months came around – the four year mark and he felt good about it. He didn’t allow anything to get in his way and screw things up. He kept a positive attitude. When he went to his meeting they told him, “We’re sorry, but we still aren’t going to let you out. We think you’re a threat to the population.”

Jamie was dumb-founded. He stood there, shocked and speechless. He wanted to show his anger. It took every ounce of self control he had to keep his not shut. They had to know he would be angry and were watching to see what he did. There was so much he wanted to say but he knew arguing with them or saying anything would look bad. He silently went back to his cell.

He wrote a letter to me and said, “You would have been so proud. I would not give them what they wanted.” How could they say he was a danger to population? He had never been in the general population since he got there four years ago. Population is G2.

Besides, Jamie wasn’t a trouble maker. He minded his own business. It was the guards who didn’t mind their own business. But there was a real danger in G2, too. A lot of dudes had weapons and they used them if they thought they needed to, or if they just didn’t like you. Maybe their mental illness got the best of them that day. There were also gangs and lots of drugs. But there was also the library and classes so he could prepare himself for the outside, so that is where he needed to be. He had made it to G2 once before but the guards set him up by planting a knife in his cell and back to adseg he went. He had applied to study for his GED but that is a far as it got.

One day he heard about a program at a different prison, Hughes Unit, between Austin and San Antonio. It was a 35 week program, 5 – 7 week steps of therapy. Talking about goals and anger management. It could good for him. It would get him around people, too. He was starved for people to talk to where he didn’t have to yell to another cell to talk. Maybe this could be the start of something good.

He was accepted and transferred – with only the clothes on his back. He had to leave his property behind. His books and letters and everything he saved would take a couple months to catch up to him. He really bored and had nothing to read. Was this was going to be worth it.?

He wrote to me and asked, “Books, could you please send me some books?”  I  have a favorite place where I buy books for him and I have used them for years. It’s book store in Texas  imailtoprizons.com that is approved by the TDCJ – The Texas department of criminal justice. They sell new books and used books, single books, and book lots. 3′ of books, about 30 books for $35. It’s good deal. But I can buy 1-3 books, too.

You can’t choose the books you want in the big lot of 30 books, but when you’re locked up, you don’t care what it is, you’ll read anything – over and over. You can barter the ones you don’t want to read again for things you need – if they don’t catch you because it is a punishable offense. These books come in grab bags. You can choose between women’s stories or just an odd collection of other books. Jamie likes westerns. These grab bags are more quantity than quality but there many good titles, too. It will give him a month of new reading. A book a day. They also sell game books like soduko crosswords and word search.

They also have women’s lingerie magazines. I’ve gotten him a few of these. They aren’t naked. No porn,  but it is pretty women in sexy lingerie and gives them something to use with their imagintion. Being locked up for years as a straight male in the prime hornyness years, it must be extremely frustrating. That is why men who are totally straight end up having sex with each other because the lack of sex drives them to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do. It becomes normalized because they are so far outside normal society.

“And food, could you send me a food box? They are feeding me food loaf and it is made from spoiled food. I can’t eat it and I’m hungry.”

I was allowed to send a box, picked from a small selection of commissary food. $60 value every 90 days. About 60 cents a day. Raman noodles, instant rice, noodles, instant refried beans, oat meal, coffee. There was junk, but I tried to buy things to fill him up, mostly starches with empty calories which promote diabetes –  rampant in prisons.

To be continued. . .

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I went through earlier music I recorded, going back a few years, before I started recording for the book. I was back on my feet after a liver transplant and rewarded myself with a new piano. I hadn’t learned yet what it could do, and was only beginning to learn the style I play in now – improvisation. I had always structured and written music before this – wrote the chord charts and even hand charted piano arrangements ( before computers did it for you.) Improvising is as different as boogie woogie and Classical. To play improv, I believe you need a good understanding of music theory like you need to know the structure of language before you can write a book. They both have a learning process to go through to free your mind to write. If you don’t know music theory you’re flying blind and any good musician will hear, you don’t know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, most musicians who think they are free styling improv music sound like amateur musicians. I thought I would add one of those early piano pieces here. This was not recorded for the book:

Listen to One in a Million by Sonni Quick #np on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/sonni-quick/one-in-a-million

 

 

Prison Torture Never Ends

Heat in Texas prisons, no AC in prison in the summer
Wynne Unit, the prison Jamie is in. These fans are the only cooling system even when it is over 100 degrees. Since there are no open windows all it does is blow hot air around. Credit source: beaumontenterprises.compip

Jamie has been at the Allred unit in Texas for nearly three years. Before that, Wynne Unit. How much is an inmate supposed to tolerate from staff and guards? They can do anything they want to them and there is nothing an inmate can do. Why is that? Everyone knows it. Anyone with the power to stop it – doesn’t. They can file a grievance but the system is not set up where the inmate wins. When the medical unit and staff knowing screw around with someone’s health, aware of the consequences to the inmate, I wonder if they stand around and laugh about it in the break room? They push inmates to break them and so often succeed. Here is what is happening . . .

I received a letter from Jamie yesterday. He is close to getting out of adseg – administrative segregation – a fancy word for solitary. Locked up in a cell 23/7, except for Jamie it’s 24/7 because he’s trying to stay away from the guards by refusing showers and rec. He bathes using the sink. He knew they’d try to press his buttons to keep him down. He’s had no write ups in a long time.

He wrote to me that the nurse is refusing to give him his seizure medication for epilepsy. At his point of writing it had been three days. He keeps asking her for it and she refuses to bring it. Have you ever watched someone have a grand mal seizure? The prison won’t give him the medication that works best for him. I already went rounds with the medical unit over that and they wouldn’t budge. So he still has more seizures than he should. But not taking anything, and as any protection leaves his body it will induce more. Add to that the terrible heart in a closed cell with no ventilation makes me angry.

Guards work three 12 hour shifts. One of the guards put his hands in his food just to try to make Jamie angry so he could retaliate and write him up. He won’t eat now if this guard is on shift. He only eats breakfast, which is pitiful, but not lunch or dinner when this guard works. He’s close to losing it. I could feel it. I wrote to him today to turn away. Don’t let them take away your chance of getting out of adseg. He can’t study for his GED until he is classified G2. First he has to get to G4. This process could easily take another 1-2 years. At G4 he can leave his cell for chow and limited time in TV rec room. He’s been this route before. They can, and do, take it away in a heart beat and it takes years to climb back out. He’s had 11 years of this. If seems deliberate. The guards get a perverse pleasure from abusing people with permission. Jamie has been in adseg this time for almost 3 years because he needed to move prisons because of physical abuse that included beatings by guards at the Wynne Unit. They moved him – and gave him 3 years of adseg to go with it.

I also bought him food today. It’s like gas station convenience food. Not even one can of vegetables on the list. Snacks. But also tuna, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sardines, coffee, Raman noodles and such. They only allow someone on the outside to purchase $20 a month or $60 a quarter. But I wasn’t due to buy him more until Oct. I sent it to another man, probably next to him, who doesn’t have anyone helping him. He’ll probably pay him in food. They go on lockdown soon – for 30 days – every 90 days. They cut food rations so without extra food and that guard who’s messing with his food he’d get hungry. There are so many inmates with no one on the outside. It’s easy to see why so many don’t make it when they get out

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Most of you who follow this blog know I put out a monthly newsletter called  ITFO NEWS. Each month I focus on a different prison issue. The one being published at the end of the week is on Incarcerating The Innocent. It’s an important topic because many lives are ruined even when there is no solid evidence to convict them. I’m having a book give-away this month. Each new person who wants to try ITFO NEWS can enter their name and email address HERE and have a chance of winning a signed copy (or ebook if you prefer) of “Waiting on the Outside” by Sharron Grodzinsky. If your name is randomly pulled by Sharron, you’ll receive one of ten free copies, shipped free. 

GRODZINSKY_Waiting 3D book_SMALL

This book is timely for what is happening today. It is a true story of a young man still in prison today who got involved in the KKK as a teenager, attracted to craziness, violence a drugs and couldn’t find away out. Young people are easily swayed. You need only to look at pictures in our media to see who the recruits are. Any mother who has lived with the fear of raising an out of control teenager will find this book hard to put down. Did it start when he was a child? This story shows you what unconditional love is. Will he make it now when he gets out? Will the KKK let him go? 

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Jamie’s Facebook page   – current events in the world of injustice

Jamie’s twitter page 

Sometimes I Ask Myself, Why am I still Alive?

cartoon4Mom, in your letter you said you feel sad for me. Don’t be. Lonely is something that has always been part of my life. You are the only reason I have not lost my mind. Remember that, okay? I love my family so much. No, I can’t explain why. I can’t explain anything. I don’t know why they made the choice to not help me or come to see me. Sometimes I ask myself, was I that bad? I know I caused these things to be in my life. It is my karma. No one else is to blame. But what did I do to cause me to not know who my dad is or even know if he is alive? Will I ever know who he is? It was hard growing up knowing my brothers and my sister’s dad but not mine. My mom did everything she could to take care of us kids. I love her for that. I would never turn my back on her. She has never hurt me, at least not up to my 32nd birthday when she said she almost aborted me because my so called dad wouldn’t leave his wife. That hurt. Right then I forgot all about the visit and was on another planet.

HEAL A DAMAGED HEART    by Sonni Quick  copyright 2016

I sometimes ask myself, why am I still alive? Up till now you didn’t know this, but I cut my left wrist twice since I’ve been in here. Remember when I was moved to the prison in Richmond? I was only supposed to be there for a short time. I was happy because it was closer to Megan and my son. I thought she’d come see me but she didn’t. They moved me there because of my depression. I was refusing to eat. Sometimes I have wondered if I’ll make it out alive. Not only because of what they might do to me, but because of what I might do to myself. I have fought depression ever since I was a kid because life has been so hard.

No one could know how hard it is, always being afraid of the next seizure. They are so painful. Having them in front of strangers. Making a fool of myself. Knowing they were talking about me or maybe they were making fun of me. It’s probably why I had no friends growing up. They were afraid of me or their parents made them stay away from me. I’ll bet the guards make fun of me. Maybe that’s why they pushed me so hard. Maybe they want to see me have one. All of this made me so angry and sometimes I needed to be angry to keep going. It’s easy to say life isn’t fair but if what you say about karma is true, I’m getting back in my life something I caused and I need to learn something about myself to understand it.

Unless someone had ever been here and had to be alone for so long, there is no way to understand how your mind takes control. Every day I have to fight with myself to be the one in control. I read your letters over and over about you telling me I have value so I have to fight for my life. When I read your letters I believe you. Knowing you are out there helps me. Many dudes in here have no one and they go crazy. There are lots of crazy people in here.

I’ve been waiting for six weeks for my property to reach me. To tell you the truth, I don’t know if I’m ever going to get it. I think the lady in property at Wynne unit lied to you. I have talked to the property lady here myself and still nothing. I’m trying so hard not to flip out on these people.

( Sonni’s note: I called the Allred Unit and talked to the warden’s office. His secretary did some checking and called me back. He just had his belongings delivered. They don’t send it through the mail. They send it to the main prison until they have enough other belongings to send of other inmates to warrant a trip to that prison. Then it has to be gone through to make sure there is nothing he shouldn’t have. That process took two months. It doesn’t matter if that inmate doesn’t have anything he needs. Anything that matters to him is in that locker. To lose it would be devastating. While he waited, I sent him another box of 30 paperback books from http://imailtoprisons.com so he could keep his mind busy. Melvin sent him money so when he got his new ID, because a guard at the other prison destroyed his, he was able to go to commissary and buy paper, envelopes, a pen and stamps. But he had no addresses other than mine because he memorized it. This letter I received 3 days ago. If anyone wanted to write to him, the easiest way is to send him an email to: mynameisjamie2@gmail.com. I would then forward it to http://jpay.com. They print it out and deliver it to his cell. If you want him to write back put your address in it. You can also send an email directly through jpay using his ID#1368189. It costs the value of one stamp per page and one stamp per attachment if you send a picture. If you wanted to send any money so he can buy food – coffee, Raman noodles, canned food, snacks and hygiene products – you can do that at moat, too. Right now I’m paying off his medical fee for this year so he can call medical. It costs to see a doctor our even a nurse. But If for any reason you don’t want to pay the cost, I’m more than happy to send your mail for you. Letters from the outside mean so much. Just send it to the gmail address.)

I have nothing to read to give me that encouragement. No books that you and Melvin sent me that teach me how to change my life. I fight inside myself to stay alive because I don’t want to disappoint you after all these years you’ve been there for me, trying to get me ready to have a life outside here with my son.

I’ve wondered what it would have been like for me if we had not been writing each otherBlack and white hands and you helping me. Truth be told it brings tears to my eyes because I know I would not be coming home. I would be lost in the system. So right here and right now I want to say thank you. I love you for all of your help and support as well as encouragement. And I can’t forget the love. It’s been too long for there to not be love. Sorry about that, my feelings just popped out. (smile)

Til later, love you.
p.s. Tell Melvin I’ll write soon and thank you.


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Chapter List: For “Inside The Forbidden Outside”  currently being written

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Everyday Dreams
I Love You Always, Daddy
Jamie’s Story
The Nightmare

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Almost Happy Birthday Jamie

happy birthday

I should have posted this earlier for all the people who have had encouraging things to say to Jamie while reading his story over the past year and a half.  I wanted to give you enough time depending on where you live.  He is still blown away by all the people all over the world who have left comments for him. 

The only thing he has every wanted is to see his son, but it hasn’t been possible.

When you are in a place like this, and have a birthday in prison, it is easy to feel the world is against you, and often times it is. I’d like to start this year off better than the way it is ending.  A birthday card for an inmate, and he doesn’t get cards from his family, does a lot to raise his spirit.  He will be 33 and except for a year he has been locked since before he turned 17.  So if you would like to put a smile on his face you can send him a birthday card (or even a Christmas card), to:

James Cummings #1368189, Wynne Unit, 810 FM 2821, Huntsville, Tx 77349

A few things to know:

  1. Don’t send colored envelopes
  2. Don’t send gummed address labels – they should be hand printed.
  3. Nothing with glitter or anything attached
  4. No metal or with staples
  5. Nothing that plays music

From me to you – thanks from the bottom of my heart!

Sonni

I recently sent him quite a few of these responses to him and asked him to write and send a response for everyone.  It is hard sometimes for him to send out many personal responses because even the price of a stamp is something hard to come by, especially when he can only go to the commissary one time a month.  But if sent one to me then I could post it.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world
Click on my picture to bring of the list for all ten piece. My favorite piece is Remember My Life.

Sometimes,You Just Do What You Gotta Do

wynne unit,Huntsville Prison,solitary confinement,mass incarceration
Prison unit Jamie is in
photo source; brokenchains.us

May 29,2015.

Hello mom,

How are you? Fine I hope and in the best of health as well.  I received all of your letters. Before I got them I had written back to you but I wasn’t able to send it out.  They took all my property.  Then they gave it back to me and then they took it away again.  In this letter I will explain to you how I have been feeling as well as let you know what happened with me.

For as long as a week I was picked on and refused showers, meals and recreation.  I’ve been given every punishment they could give to me. I spoke with every ranking officer about an officer named Robert Curlee.  He’s the one that refuses me everything.  Guess what they tell me?  Stop letting him get to you because he goes home at 1:00.  So I say okay, I understand that except he does it to me every day, and ya’ll are not doing anything to stop him, not even talking to him about it.  So I said, don’t worry about it. I went to see the warden in UCC ( the prison’s court)  about a case I got.  I talked to him about it and why I got it.  However, when I talked to him about the officer and what he was doing to me he just waved me off like a fly.  So guess what?  Me being me I’m gonna speak my mind. You know I’m very outspoken.

So I told the warden, “You know I’ve tried to do the right thing, by talking to your ranking officer about a problem I’ve been happening with an officer of yours. I’ve just tried to explain that to you, but you showed me you don’t care by waving me off, so I don’t care, either. Fuck you!”

Of course I was locked back up in solitary confinement after that.

So here I am, having the same problem with the same officer. I called him to my door and asked him why he was doing what he was do?

He said, “It’s because gray rides with gray (guards), and if an officer tells me not to feed you or take you to shower, then I’m not going to do it.”

But I know no one is telling him such things. He’s doing it because we got into it once and he’s holding onto that.

So I say, “You know what? I’m tired of you doing me like this.”

He says, “so?”

So I say, “You know what? Keep messing with me. Call my bluff and I’m gonna beat your ass.”

He turned red. I told him, “I’ve been through a lot. I’ve had some bad news. Let me chill. If not, the first chance I get I’m gonna break your jaw.”

I told the same thing to the ranking officer. Guess what? Now he comes to my door and asks me how I’m doing.

(Sonni’s note: This is not exactly the best way to handle problems and can hurt things for him in the future, but when you are continually pushed to the limit what do you do?  The warden wouldn’t listen.  I’m sure he hears the same thing every day.  He knows what the officers are doing to the inmates.  This is part of what needs to be fixed.  When people are treated inhumanely how much can you push them before they strike back.  But that only gives them reason to keep doing it.  How do we stop this treatment?  I wish I had the answers to that.)