This excerpt is taken from Sonni’s blog, My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison
This excerpt is taken from Sonni’s blog, My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison
This poem was written by Brett McKeehan, an inmate in a State prison system. Brett has written a lot of free-form poetry over the many years he has been incarcerated, and this is one that depicts some of the despair inmates feel. I hope you enjoy it.
Drifting to Nowhere
Drifting in an ebb and flow to nowhere.
My greatest fear is that no one will remember my years.
No mark, no stamp to prove I was here, was there, come from where?
Only a legacy of brutality seemingly unspoken.
Haunting me, it’s a cycle I cannot break, seems to be my fate,
This little tittle of a square, not ever letting me go anywhere.
I had dreams, but screams rule my dreams of late.
Once again but not of my volition, I find myself in a state of contradiction.
Did I request this? Did nothing to deserve this … this time!
Slowly sapping away at the life in my veins.
Sometimes I wish I had it in me to cry, at times even wishing it would all just die away … all of this.
I wonder if I’d even be missed, almost brings that tear to my eye.
Been so long since I can remember any type of love that really did matter.
I search each day, and by month and by year to find those feelings that once were there.
Alas, alas, I search for them still.
This Prison Family Bill of Rights is something every family of an incarcerated person needs to know about. You deserve these basic rights when your loved one is incarcerated. This year’s International Prisoners Family Conference was held in Dallas Texas May 4-6th 2016. You can find more information about this conference and their goals at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Working together through organizations like this one … we CAN change the opportunities and the results for our loved ones when they are released and during their incarceration. This is a copy from their website. Photo courtesy of Fotolia.
A Coalition of prison family members and representatives of secular and faith based organizations serving prison families from across the United States in attendance at the 2012 National Prisoner’s Family Conference drafted the Prison Family Bill of Rights and the Bill was affirmed and adopted by attendees at the 2013 conference, as follows:
The Prison Family* has the right to be treated with respect and dignity by any and all representatives of the prison system at all times.
The Prison Family has the right to expect and be assured the utmost care is established and maintained to provide a healthy and safe living environment that promotes effective rehabilitation, reintegration and parole planning throughout a loved one’s incarceration.
The Prison Family has the right to be treated and integrated as a positive resource in the process of rehabilitation and reintegration preparation and parole planning of an incarcerated loved one.
The Prison Family has the right to receive consistency in the enforcement of rules; regulations and policies affecting a loved one’s incarceration.
The Prison Family has the right to receive consistency in the enforcement of rules; regulations and/or policies affecting visitation and/or all forms of communication with an incarcerated loved one.
The Prison Family has the right to be informed in a timely, clear, forthright and respectful manner of any changes in rules; regulations and/or policies affecting visitation and/or communication with an incarcerated loved one.
The Prison Family has the right to be informed within 24 hours and in a compassionate manner regarding the illness; injury and/or death of an incarcerated loved one.
The Prison Family has the right to extended visitation during the hospitalization of an incarcerated loved one.
The Prison Family has the right to be informed within 24 hours of the security status change and/or transfer of an incarcerated loved one to a new facility.
The Prison Family has the right to be provided specific written and evidence-based reasons for a loved one’s security status change; clemency denial and/or parole denial.
The Prison Family has the right to have their incarcerated loved one housed within a distance from their permanent address that provides reasonable access for visitation and/or to facilitate serving as a resource in the rehabilitation and reintegration preparation and parole planning of their incarcerated loved one.
The Prison Family has the right to be provided the current specific name or names and direct phone numbers of prison officials to contact for questions about their incarcerated loved one.
* The term “Prison Family” is herein defined as including, but not limited to a blood or adopted relation, spouse, domestic partner and/or trusted friend designated by an incarcerated person upon or during a period of confinement as one who will serve as an outside contact on his or her behalf for the relaying of any communication regarding the medical and mental health, security status and location of the incarcerated person and/or for making critical decisions on behalf of the incarcerated person in the event of his or her incapacitation.
For a printable pdf copy of the Prison Family Bill of Rights, e-mail: email@example.com.
Re-blogged from Fusion: Written by Casey Tolan. This practice violates the basic right of free speech and the ability of inmates to stay connected to society. It perpetuates “warehousing” of inmates rather than rehabilitating them.
Texas is banning inmates from having any kind of social media accounts—including accounts run in their name by friends or family members.
A new rule prohibiting all inmates from “maintaining active social media accounts for the purposes of soliciting, updating, or engaging others” was included in the latest version of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s offender handbook, which was updated April 1.
Texas officials say the new measure is necessary because some inmates misuse social media. “Offenders have used social media accounts to sell items over the internet based on the notoriety of their crime, harass victims or victim’s families, and continue their criminal activity,” spokesperson Jason Clark said in an email. “The agency will take all of the necessary steps to prevent that from happening.”
Clark said that the department will reach out to social media companies to ask that accounts in inmates’ names be taken down, and that the new rule will strengthen their ability to do so. Inmates who are found to have social media accounts would be punished with a level three disciplinary violation, the lowest level violation in the system.
For many inmates, social media pages can be lifelines to the outside world. Prisoners write posts, send them to a friend or family member through snail mail, and ask the friend post them on Facebook. (Texas inmates have no internet access.) Some pages are diaries about their days behind bars, others serialize autobiographies, and others write poetry or fiction.
“These pages are beyond important because this is how the average joe finds out about the humanity of the people on death row,” said Pat Hartwell, an anti-death penalty activist in Houston who updates a Facebook page for death row inmate Charles Flores.
Hartwell said that death row inmates were told that the new policy will start being enforced tomorrow. She took down Flores’ page yesterday to avoid getting him in trouble, and several other family members and activists also posted on Facebook that they were taking down pages for inmates.
The rule could run up against First Amendment issues. Dave Maass, a researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who has studied inmate social media regulations, said he thought the rule was unconstitutionally broad.
“This policy violates the free speech rights of both the inmates and the family members and friends of inmates,” Maass said. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for a prison to tell someone on the outside what they can and can’t post when it doesn’t involve criminal activity.”
A Facebook spokesperson declined to comment on the rule.
Texas isn’t the first state to punish inmates for using social media. In South Carolina, inmates who are caught using Facebook are punished with solitary confinement. In Maine, inmates aren’t allowed to publish a blog or any other kind of writing online.
Re-blogged from Stevendjennings.com Blog on April 22, 2016. (These are some of the principals currently being used at Hope For Prisoners in Las Vegas, NV, with great success. For those who complete the 18 month program, the recidivism rate is just 6.5%).
For years I engaged in misconduct. As a matter of fact, I pretty much wrote a book on it. It’s called, “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary.” Today I reflect back to those sad days (and beyond) and I ask myself, “What could’ve reached me? What would’ve it taken for me to change my negative lifestyle?”
The answer is clear: meaningful activities that inspire intrinsic motivation, guidance, mentoring, and I needed mental practitioners who would’ve constantly provided positive reinforcements.
I dream and hope for a program that could change countless lives all over the country. The details are complex, but the concept is simple:
Offer programs that inspire intrinsic motivation. Every state has multiple correctional facilities. So implement specific programs in the facilities that are best suited for those specific programs. For example, one facility could specialize in automotive and mechanic programs, while another facility specializes in animals and veterinarian programs. Lessen the criteria of these programs and make them available to those who have never had such opportunities.
Strategically place mental practitioners around the facility to offer positive reinforcement, mentoring, encouragement, etc.
Work with outside companies that will hire some of these highly skilled men the second they’re released.
If this simple, realistic concept was properly implemented nationwide, I guarantee the recidivism rate would be lower than the current 66%.
I have recently run across a great blog called Inmates Matter Too (IMT). Like this one, it provides information about prisons and inmates and provides support for their loved ones on the outside. This is taken directly from the website: Source: Inmates Matter Too.
“IMT provides supportive and encouraging posts on Facebook, as well as updates on our prison system and programs helping those inside grow and gain the tools they need to be successful in society, blogs written by prison inmates and community members, a newsletter for inmates, resources to help inmates and their families and with more plans in the works with the expansion of our website.”
It is organized and managed by Jennifer R., who is providing valuable information and is also promoting work by inmates. One of those is inmate and published author, Martin Lockett. His posts range from a post about compassionate care in prison by prisoners, to a well written article about how much prisons cost taxpayers and how little they are getting for their money. Who would pour billions into a company that’s failure rate was almost 70%? Well, we the taxpayers are. This just brings to light how many changes need to be made in our penal system.
Please take a look at this blog and let me know what you think!
Re-blogged from “My Name is Jamie. My Life in Prison”
This piece was written for the book I’m writing of the same title. It is the longing of being on the inside looking out. You can find first draft copies of some of the chapters written in the blog post written before this. I would honestly like your opinion of what has been written. by Sonni Quick
Inside The Forbidden Outside by Sonni Quick copyright 2016
INSIDE THE FORBIDDEN OUTSIDE
Inside the forbidden outside
Looking out through only one side
Never feel the sun through the other side
Never feel it on my skin
I want to feel the breeze of the wind
Feel the grass beneath my feet
See the sunset when the light meets
the earth and sinks beneath
Inside the forbidden outside
Where nothing is for real
I have to close my eyes and think
To remember how life feels
I’ll never take for granted
That things, like rain, are free
I’ll never lose another day
When freedom comes to me
Outside looking inside
Looking through the other side
Never see the world through my eyes
Never live your life like me
Don’t take your life for granted
Don’t take the chance to lose
The touch of grass beneath your feet
or the freedom . . .to choose