Christmas in prison by Derrick Martin-Armstead

Christmas in prison by Derrick Martin-Armstead

Monroe Corrections Complex – Twin Rivers Unit
December 25, 2020 6:30a.m

Christmas in prison is depressing. One can only imagine that it’s a depressing place in general. Due to covid we have not seen our families or friends in over seven months. We have lost many privileges due to this pandemic. Even though the only way we can be infected with this virus is by correctional officers and staff bringing it in, and coming into contact with us inmates. The department has used this virus as a weapon instead of a safety measure.

On the morning of Christmas, myself and other inmates decided to pass out cookies and hot chocolate to our fellow, less fortunate inmates, who have become more like family then anything as we quarantine together, eat together and go thru this pandemic together.

At 6:30 am The Sgt came running into the unit ordering that we stop immediately and yelled unpleasant things about the Christmas cheer. This ordeal lasted at best 5 minutes less than it takes us to pick up our meals in the kitchen, or line up for pill line or even working in correction industries both commissary and laundry. Both large money-makers for the Department of Corrections.

There were many of these holiday giveaways at Twin Rivers, but now I will be singled out and infracted for this. After being yelled at by the Sgt and reprimanded for these actions, “I don’t care about your lawsuits, you are completely out of line for this!”

At 29 years old, being nearly done with my 16 year sentence, I can say I have learned how to be human, how to love, and most importantly the joy one feels to help his fellow human being out. If in fact I receive a negative infraction… I know that I came a long way from the young 16 year-old thug that didn’t care about human life, much less if someone felt some Christmas cheer. I am guilty of bringing some love in this terrible pandemic, in the form of duplex creme cookies and lukewarm hot chocolate to the 90 inmates in A unit.

Jacob Schmitt – Empowering the Imprisoned: A Journey of Love

Jacob Schmitt – Empowering the Imprisoned: A Journey of Love

Our friend Jack Erdie produces and hosts a podcast called Plague Talk. The July 18, 2020 episode features Melissa’s husband Jacob Schmitt, interviewed from prison in Washington state.
Jacob Ivan Schmitt has spent most of his life locked up. Now he works to bring positive empowerment to the incarcerated and to thoroughly prepare them for “outside” thinking and successful reentry and community reintegration.
 

 

His is a story of the power of love and of dreaming being the bars that bind us. Even when we discuss the misery and losses for the incarcerated during Covid 19 lockdown squared, his vision is unwaveringly of internal and external freedom, autonomy, success and love.