Share This Message & Comfort Each Other

Share This Message & Comfort Each Other

I was watching the news last night and saw the story of those 19 children and 2 teachers murdered….how does something like this happen? Why does it happen? I don’t even know what to say about a situation like this, what do I say about an act of torment like this? What do I say!!!!! It’s just a shame all those little babies going to school, and get murdered! what the HELL!!!! Then they’re talking about gun bans, but they talked about gun bans every other time some guy woke up on the wrong side of the universe and decided to bring hell to earth. What makes this time any different? It seems like politicians just say what they know people want to hear even if they know what they’re saying doesn’t really solve anything, because it’s politics, and playing politics is a game that affects real lives. As we can see, playing politics has cost us 21 more precious, innocent lives. This drastic event has really saddened me, it angers me, it runs my emotions wild.

The spiritual needs of the people are not being cultivated, their psychological needs are not being meet. take a second and actually evaluate the mental condition of the people in this country, and everything that we are going through.

in the past two years people’s whole lives have flipped on them, starting with covid-19. People being locked down in their homes, stripped from their social lives, some stripped from their jobs losing their economical independence, some losing the lives of family members, friends, neighbors. Correctional facilities for example became under staffed because the staff were quitting and dying. This lead to mandating the remaining officers in order to keep the facilities up and running, so they went from working 40 hours a week to 112 hours a week – that’s everyday for 16 hours ….on top of that, every time you look on the news they’re talking about inflation, they’re talking about recession, then every time you stop to get gas for your car, the price just confirms everything you’re hearing on t.v., the prices of food increase, the price for renting homes have more than doubled in some places, little babies are being hospitalized because of the lack of formula, we are fighting for the rights of the woman to govern her own body, police shooting and killing our children, our neighbors, our friends, our loved ones, people losing their family members to wrongful convictions….think about this…really think about this..this has become the everyday normal for us, Every American is going through this alone, on top of the day to day stresses of surviving, without any counsel, and without any psychological support. Statistics show that more Americans are suffering from depression and mental illness dis-eases now than ever before….ask yourself why????

Because to every action is a reaction. and everything that’s going on now is a product of the decisions being made at the top…. Americans need mental support, every American is suffering, we each may deal with it differently and some of us may not know how to deal with it at all, but we Americans need the support If not from our government then from each other during these times of discomfort … .it’s like sending a solider who just fought in a war back home to his family without any psychological evaluations, knowing that the war has impacted him mentally in ways he can’t understand, and he starts drinking and abusing drugs trying to cope with the discomfort. This is us America, we need to get the help we know we need. and stop trying to be strong on our own. stop overlooking what you’re going through and talk about it, or it will come out in ways that will lead to regret and even more discomfort.

People need more counsel, people need to talk more about how they’re feeling and what’s going on around the world and how its effecting us, WE have the right to speak freely, you shouldn’t have to be afraid of a consequence to speak out, the world is changing and the government doesn’t want us talking to each other about it.

Let’s talk about it, Tell everyone what you’re going through. We are at war against our own psychological position and the only way to fight back is to start talking about it, and coming together and being here for one another, listen to one another, comfort one another, we are living through some real drastic times let’s stand together and stand for Justice for all.

If you don’t have anyone to share your suffering with feel free to drop the load off on me I stand with you. for prayer request, a listening ear, and a brother in arms.

contact me Via jpay: www. jpay.com
Sean Daniels #839717

or Via snail mail: Sean Daniels # 839717
Chippewa correctional facility
4269 west m-80
Kincheloe, MI 49784

Appreciation for Popsicles and Apathy

Appreciation for Popsicles and Apathy

Photo by Lanju Fotografie on Unsplash

RCW 72.09.010 – Legislative intent. It is the intent of the legislature to establish a comprehensive system of corrections for convicted law violators within the state of Washington to accomplish the following objectives. […]
(5)(a) Avoiding idleness. Idleness is not only wasteful but destructive to the individual and to the community.

Today the administration at MCC notified the incarcerated population that a “staff appreciation” event will be held on May 31, 2022. At the same time as this notice was being disbursed, the Twin Rivers Unit Associate Superintendent was going around the institution with a bowl full of popsicles and handing them out to staff.

The incarcerated population at MCC is furious by this shameless demonstration of “atta-boy” behavior — and here’s why:

While this event occurs, MCC prisoners will be locked down from 10:30 a.m until 2:30 p.m. Staff will be eating BBQ while we eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

To be fair, staff have gone through a lot during covid. With Gov. Inslee’s vaccine mandate causing major staff shortages, many MCC staff worked four double shifts a week for months. In addition, DOC struggles to keep new hires because it is simply an agency that doesn’t know how to be humane — either to employees or prisoners.

Whereas staff suffering at MCC has ended, the horrors of covid isolation for prisoners has never lessened — and in fact continues to worsen under the free hand administrators have to cause harm — all under the covid umbrella.

At Twin Rivers Unit the prisoners in both medium custody units have been removed from their jobs in all Correctional Industries operations besides the kitchen. This results in them being stuck in the housing unit all day. Milling around. Doing nothing.

Recreation has dwindled from four to six hours every day, down to a meager two hours — which is cancelled several times a week for a variety of reasons. Going to the yard on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings has disappeared completely.

Volunteer programs no longer exist. Twin Rivers used to have religious programs for all faith groups every single day of the week. Self-betterment programs such as Bridges to Life, Defy Ventures, Bridges to HOPE, Toastmasters, and recovery groups like AA/NA and Celebrate Recovery.

All gone.

Draconian covid protocols are imposed and aggressively enforced. Masks on at all times, maintain six-foot distance … completely ignoring the space limitations that do not allow “social distancing” — and the fact that we are sheltering in place when in our “wings.”

Visitation has been decimated — from four days a week for seven hours a day, down to three, 3- hour visits a month. We can drink bottled water now — but masks remain on with no eating food or kissing our loved ones. The argument against eating? Our masks would be down for too long.

MCC administrators must have found magic masks for the staff appreciation event — because surely they won’t be allowed to unmask and eat around one another. Ha.

Since March of 2020 this has gone on for us. During the covid outbreak that began in November when three maintenance staff infected their inmate work crews, MCC prisoners went weeks eating food that wasn’t fit for a dog. Many went weeks without a clean change of clothing. All were locked down for over a month. Over 400 positive cases and DOC never gave out a single cough drop.

Nobody has ever offered anything that resembles an apology to the prisoners at MCC. Certainly we’re not having a BBQ to acknowledge the way we continue to suffer. Our daily lives are fear. When will they take visits? When will they lock us in again?

I appreciate staff — and I only hope that they “drink the kool-aid” during their BBQ. Or was it in the popsicles?

I Tested Covid Punitive

I Tested Covid Punitive

On January 23rd I took a Covid PCR test and, because of the absolute mismanagement of the Covid response in our prison, I tested “Covid Punitive.” I had been going to work, taking rapid tests to get in, for almost 2 weeks without incident (including the time of the PCR) and yesterday, my results were in… I was positive. I can remember a day last week of some sweats and a sore throat, but we had just had flu shots, so I assumed it was associated with that. So, in the prison’s terrible response to this, I was snatched from work, locked in my cell, told to pack everything I own in 15 minutes, chained and shackled, loaded up on a bus with 78 other positives, and taken to another prison without a clue what was happening to us.

There, I sat in a filthy cell where I could touch two walls at once, without anything to clean it with. It has open bars and all night I could hear others struggling to breathe, coughing and hacking. The “mattresses” we use are a pad about two inches thick on a hard metal tray bolted to the wall and it makes your arms numb in the night. We were told we will only have one chance to get out for a shower or a phone call — once a day. This prison is over 100 years old and this cellblock had been recently shut down. It’s disgusting. But it’s now the “Covid Isolation” unit. I’ve been stripped of everything — all the meager comforts I had — because it’s all now in storage (I hope) and get to deal with this 10-14 day knee in the back (or longer if people keep testing positive). Imagine if you had tested positive and had to pack up your home, hoped someone stored all of it, got harnessed like an animal and moved to some random, filthy house, halfway across town… and, like some here, do it all while you can hardly breathe.

There’s a logical, scientific, and humane way for this prison command to deal with sick people, but instead of seeing an opportunity for compassion, it’s a chance at kicking someone while they’re down. Everyone around here is terrified of the Covid tests. Not because of being ill, we can deal with that, but a Covid positive test result is really a Covid Punitive test result. If you think Covid can make you feel miserable, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…

A Meal

A Meal

There are just over 800 prisoners at the Twin Rivers Unit of the Monroe Correctional Complex, a medium custody institution located in a semi-rural area northeast of Seattle, Washington. The prison has four living units: A, B, C, and D, and each unit has three “wings” (A, B, and C) all with a lower and an upper tier.

On the morning of Friday January 21st, 2022, a man named Chandler M. was locked into his cell (on “quarantine status”) at TRU/B-Unit C-Wing (“C-Wing”) in order to undergo a symptoms test out of concern that he might have contracted c/vid.

Also on Friday January 21st, 2022, the Secretary of DOC Cheryl Strange put out a letter to families of the incarcerated that said, in part, “I know some of you have concerns about food and water getting to your loved ones at regularly scheduled times. In some cases, and some locations, meals are taking much longer to serve. Everyone in the facility is being given the opportunity to eat every meal.” Mr. M. had no knowledge of this promise from Secretary Strange — but it would be one that DOC fulfilled for him.

On Monday January 24th, 2022, while helping pass out commissary to the people in C-Wing, I took two very small bags to Mr. M’s cell. I would later discover that they contained Tylenol and other OTC products — no food items like chips, meat, rice, ramen noodles, or coffee. Just medications.

As I waited for the officer in the control booth to press the button that would unlock Mr. M’s door, I found out that his door lock was broken and could only be opened manually with a key. So I told him to slide his key under the door (yes, we have keys to our cells — like I said: this is medium custody) so I could unlock it for him. For some reason he balked and since I couldn’t understand him, I became impatient and moved on to give commissary to the next person on quarantine.

I was done in just a few minutes, and decided to go back and speak with Mr. M. Because he is very awkward socially I try and make extra efforts to connect with him — and it was a good thing that I did.

Mr. M. had not been allowed out of his cell with the other quarantined prisoners to shower and use the phone for the entire three days that he’d been locked down. He had also been fed one time in those three days — but as promised by Secretary Strange: he had the opportunity to eat his (one) meal.

Readers: please know that I promptly went out and read the acting unit supervisor, sergeant, and officers the riot act over Mr. M’s maltreatment.

Their response? “He should have said something.” Typical blame shifting by an abusive authority figure. What was he supposed to say — and to whom? All of our inquiries are met with either “I don’t know” or “that’s up to Incident Command.” More correctly called “Idiot Central,” I think.

They also told me repeatedly that he had never been on quarantine. Oops. His mistake — but with a broken door lock he couldn’t come out and he really has no friends that would say: “Hey! I haven’t seen Chandler today — let’s go find him!”

I was able to give him some food right away, and then was overjoyed to unlock his cell for him and let him out just before lunch on the 24th.

By noon Mr. M had been locked back into his cell. I stormed over and demanded to know why — “I’m not cleared to be out yet” is what he told me.

Huh. I guess he was on quarantine and not in his cell just because he didn’t have someone unlock his door. Looks like the blame-shifting didn’t hold up after all.

Mr. M is off quarantine now and moved into a cell that doesn’t have a broken lock — which I should add he was never supposed to be left in anyway.

But he did get the chance to eat his meal.

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Whether you are for or against inmates being able to receive stimulus checks like rest of the country, the choice was made by a judge who cited her reasons very logically and with compassion for why she believed it was justified. ”Why should an inmate receive such a windfall, they all going to waste the money!” cry out some who see only the worst in inmates. Let’s face it, most people in prison are there by their own making and the state provides what they need to exist. Yes the state provides the bare minimum of food, shelter, and healthcare, but nothing more.

Sometimes the bare minimum just isn’t enough — or even humane. When you have to make a choice between buying over the counter medication or hygiene on your $18 a month state pay, which do you choose? As there is very little in the realm of recreation provided by the state in general, many inmates often fall back into old and abusive behaviors for their own survival. Positive and entertaining diversions other than the state-sponsored schooling and programming, designed for nothing more than to give the illusion that the state actually cares about rehabilitation, are critical to the well-being of prisoners. Doing time should entail more than eating and sleeping. Having basic needs met and positive things to do to occupy the time reduces fights, theft, and use of illegal substances — which seem to flow as freely as rain from the sky.

In this article, I will attempt to show what the money is being used for behind the chain linked fence of one Ohio prison. Some of this is no surprise — but in my observations of other inmates, I was most pleasantly surprised. I would only ask you, Reader, to try to keep a open mind.

THE UGLY: Unfortunately when the first stimulus checks started to hit random inmates’ commissary accounts, the flood of drugs was as if a mad deluge of every possible type of narcotic found its way onto the compound. This fact in and of itself is rather odd as according to staff and ODRC, all drugs in prison come from relatives and friends who slip drugs to inmates during supervised visitation. The other way drugs supposedly get in is by people running up to the fence and tossing the contraband over. What makes these claims rather odd and unlikely is that when the checks started coming in, we were in the mist of the covid pandemic and visitations had stopped months before and only a small amount of inmates were allowed out on the yard at any given time and they were quarantined to a very small area and heavily supervised. On top of that, there are a number of armed staff members patrolling outside the perimeter in vehicles. Yet, somehow we were having as many as a dozen drug overdoses a day in the block of 140 men that I was in. Before the checks hit, the same block would have one to two overdoses a week.

THE BAD: Many inmates were able to pursue their chosen vices with great vigor. One inmate, we’ll call him Mr. S., was always getting high despite the fact he didn’t have a prison job at all. Having no support from his family on the outside, he would do any odd job, steal anything, and even trade sexual favors just to get high — an attempt to escape his misery and loneliness. Once Mr. S. saw the money on his commissary account, he made sure that the block drug dealers were aware of the money on his account. Suddenly he had unlimited credit and in only one month, racked up a $800 drug debt. Then Mr. S. got himself thrown into the hole and when he got out, he was moved to another block were he once again ran up a huge debt. He was eventually moved out to another camp for his own safety.

THE GOOD: Another inmate, Mr. L., was getting out of prison in just six months when the first of his stimulus checks hit. He paid off his court cost and the money he owed ODRC. Mr. L. was very frugal with the money and only spent part of his normal state pay at commissary. Upon leaving the prison Mr. L. owed no one and went to the halfway house with nearly a thousand dollars in his pocket and a plan for success. He left prison much more confident and without the burden of having to start over in debt and with only gate pay which is about $75. I’m sure he was not the only one to use the money in such a manner.

Mr. H. is one example that truly shows what an inmate with hope can do to make a difference with his money. Mr. H. was estranged from his ex-wife and children like so many of us are in prison. His solitude, like others, comes from the embarrassment that his family felt over his trial and conviction. His wife moved on after divorcing him and his children call another man father.

Mr. H. was able to have his mother to send his children, who were both in college $300 Walmart gift cards each for Christmas and the same for their birthdays with no strings attached. Mr. H., who hadn’t had any contact in over seven years with his children, expected nothing. It was just a kind gesture by a caring parent who had previously been unable to do anything for his children. He then spent some of the remaining money on getting himself a TV, a food box and such.

Six months later and out of the blue, Mr. H. received an emotional email written from his two children. They wish to be part of his life again. They explained about their anger at him over abandoning them at such an early age. They forgave him and gave their father a second chance.

Some people over-indulged in their own vices, while others used the money for a fresh beginning. And a few mended fences and made a small part of the world a better place for those they still cared for.

What did you do with your own stimulus? Did you chase a poison or did you heal a wound?

 

Photo by Victoriano Izquierdo on Unsplash.