One day I finally said to myself – “you killed someone” – a young man’s life is gone. And I wondered how my mother would feel if it had been me who had been killed. I began thinking about my victim’s mother.
Logic By Edward Ji How does prison work? The worst thing about prison is not how it captures men, but how it releases them. We are given nearly nothing. Maybe a GED. Only a handful of units in Texas have college classes, where it takes eight years to get an associate's degree. Or maybe we get a class to become [...]
Courtesy, Joseph Dole Why I Am Still on Death Row by Joseph Dole I was never on “death row.” Instead of being sentenced to death by execution, I was sentenced to death by incarceration or Life-Without-Parole (LWOP), the invisible death row. Does that mean I’m mean trilled to have been “spared” the death penalty? Quite the contrary. Had [...]
Tamms was allegedly opened as a sort of "shock-treatment" for violent inmates and gang leaders. If the inmate behaved he was supposed to be transferred out after a year. This never occurred, though.
It’s surely proof that the world has gone to hell, when I become the voice of reason and defend the Boys in Blue. As a criminal who’s been arrested numerous times, I can assure you that cops don’t go out of their way to kill criminals. If they did, I’d be dead.
A decade ago Steve Bogira’s Courtroom 302 gave us a glimpse of the corrupt culture of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago. Now a new book, Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court....
By: J.S. Slaymaker, Contributing Writer The best thing about being in prison is getting out. To do that, an inmate has two options, aside from dying while inside. The first is to serve it out in full, day for day. The second is get out early on parole. And to do that, you have to "act right" and accumulate enough [...]
By: Mustafa Zulu, Contributing Writer "In order to reform a criminal you must first break his spirit." - Elam Lynds, warden of Sing Sing prison in New York Last month I was busted with a knife and been here in the hole since. Winter months in North Dakota State Penitentiary (NDSP) are the worse time to be slammed in the hole. [...]
By: Matthew Leachman, Contributing Writer Most of us will get out. Some will stay in prison for only a few months; others will stay for a few years, but only a small percentage will die behind prison walls without ever again walking free. Most of us will get out, which is why rehabilitation is a goal that every rational person [...]
By Antwan Johnson, Contributing Writer Antwan Johnson, Contributing Writer Getting out for some is overrated. During my time in penitentiary “Getting Out” was always about all the money I was going to make, or the many women I was going to mess with. I speak from personal experience. I’m a repeat offender. This is my 4th time in penitentiary. [...]
By: Jason Walker, Contributing Writer After spending over five years in solitary confinement, I have finally come to realize that solitary confinement is known torture -- and the prisoners aren’t the only ones who know this. There have been extensive studies that have shown that lengthy periods of isolation can cause a number of mental and psychological setbacks. In a report [...]
By: Jason Moore, Contributing Writer As a prisoner and former gang member in the Michigan Department of Corrections, I don't know which is more repulsive: gang activity or prison officials claiming the moral high ground only to reach with a limp arm when searching for ways to stop gang growth. It's understandable for prison officials to view gang members as [...]
By: David Valdez, Contributing Writer Before 1977, ALL California prisoners were sentenced to Indeterminate sentences, [or Life on Parole: a term that included “imprisonment for life” (i.e. five years to life for armed robbery). After serving a certain amount of time, a prisoner had to appear in front of a parole board in order to earn their release date. The [...]
By Sheldon Johnson, Contributing Writer In April of 2008, my son was arrested for accidentally killing a Columbia graduate student [Minghui Yu, pictured], while trying to impress a group of shallow friends who taunted, egged and dared him to attack the Asian man. Fast forward, my son eventual plead guilty to his recklessness – ignorance; however, the media had a field [...]
By Gilbert Paliotta, Contributing Writer Just read this, okay? What does whatever I, or any other prisoner, have to say matter? We’ve “committed the crime, now do the time.” Yes, I mean that’s what I may be thinking too, if our situations were reversed. That said, I would be absolutely petrified to have you, an ex-felon, probably a [...]
BY TRACY LEE KENDALL You really want reform? A lamb where once there was a lion? Safety-in your streets? More money spent upon your childrens’ education and well-being instead of being stolen or misused or wasted by prison staff and inmates? To lift civilization higher and higher into advancement and progress and everything many of us tell ourselves we support, [...]
BY DANIEL HARRIS The antisocial behavior of criminals is a symptom of a deeper illness that is not only the cause of crime but also the driving force behind untreated recidivism. The stated goal of incarceration should be treatment that changes the way that prisoners think, and then assists them in the transition back to freedom. Criminals don't view their [...]
BY TY EVANS Did George Costanza Design the Prison System? After 25 years’ experience as a prisoner, I blame George Costanza, or someone like him, for the state of America’s prison system. George, Jerry’s ne’er-do- well sidekick on Seinfeld, had a knack for always getting it wrong. Our prison system couldn’t get it more wrong, which is why I suspect [...]
BY PATRICK LARMOUR Patrick Larmour The educational system in California's prisons is a joke. Allow me to explain why. When a prisoner gets assigned to school, that is basically their job. The incentives for him to go to school every day are unlimited access to the phones, weekend and night yard [outside recreation], plus an increased canteen draw. [...]
By: James Dankovich, Contributing Writer Courtesy Chris Dankovich The situation, simply put: for families of the incarcerated, life is brutal. Sad. Devastating to family structure and closeness. Difficult financially. Painful. Wrenching, forcing families to drive six hours on Sundays to visit with no gas money. Getting rejected for a visit for some technical violation of clothing or inadequate identification [...]
BY DAVID VALDEZ, Contributing Writer Before 1977, ALL California prisoners were sentenced to Indeterminate sentences, a term that included “imprisonment for life” (i.e. five years to life for armed robbery). After serving a certain amount of time, a prisoner had to appear in front of a parole board in order to earn their release date. The parole board required inmates [...]
BY CHARLES NORMAN, Contributing Writer Courtesy: Charles Norman Prisoners beaten to death by guards. A prisoner boiled alive until he died. A murder contract taken out against a released inmate by racist Ku Klux Klan (KKK) prison guards. Systemic brutality, widespread contraband smuggling, false statements, cover-ups, and fabricated disciplinary reports. Hundreds of prisoners dying due to inadequate medical care. Anomalies? [...]
BY JOSEPH DOLE II, Contributing Writer Illinois currently finds itself in a dire fiscal state. A main cause of this has been years of passing laws without any consideration of the resulting financial costs. An egregious example of this is the Truth-In-Sentencing (TIS) law. TIS requires that nearly all violent offenders serve 85% to 100% of their sentences. Prior to [...]
BY JOSE VILLARREAL Courtesy of Jose Villarreal Solitary confinement is now firmly embedded in this country’s prison system. Indeed, the control units that specialize in housing prisoners in solitary by the tens of thousands throughout the US have become the new normal. Slowly, people out in society are becoming used to the concept of solitary, but for prisoners [...]
BY OMAR ASKIA ALI The United States is a capitalistic driven democracy, where the marketplace is king and money is the horsepower that pulls dreams into reality. "Money, Power, Respect, Is The Key to Life," rapped Lil' Kim back in the 1990's. With these few words she summed up the American philosophy of life. Personally, I don't believe in this [...]
BY JAMES WALLACE All the instructions and great advice my Mother has given me throughout my life has been worn out by an almost constant conversation with nothing more than people with characters like myself – wicked and profane. Even though it’s sad to look at a life misspent, it’s kind of funny how everything my dear mother said, and [...]
BY BRAD SIMPSON Courtesy of Brad Simpson Hello. My name is Brad but everyone calls me Lou. I’m in prison for killing an inmate while doing time for another crime. The reason I tell you this is so you’ll know, upfront, that I’m not innocent. I’m not wrongfully convicted, or targeted. This article isn’t about me crying over [...]
BY TY EVANS Courtesy Ty Evans A common perception about prisoners is the well-worn statement, delivered with a roll of the eyes, “They all claim they’re innocent.” Prisoners’ innocence claims have been around so long that they’ve become a punchline. In The Shawshank Redemption, young Tommy asks Andy DuFresne what he’s in for, and Andy mockingly replies, “Everyone’s [...]