Letting Go

By: Deshawn Crenshaw #270497

Why is letting go of the past hard to do?

PRIDE, mixed with anger at self! I sung a selfish tune, on and off for the last 3 and a half years. I Personalized, Overgeneralized, and Magnified every voice and every thought, instead of God’s. Friends, I thought that I would share the THOUGHTS from an article that I read.

Dissociation is the essence of trauma. The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations related to the trauma take on a life of their own.

The sensory fragments of memory intrude into the present, where they are literally relived. As long as the trauma is not resolved, the stress hormones that the body secretes to protect itself keep circulating, and the defensive movements and emotional responses keep getting replayed. They have no idea why they respond to some minor irritation as if they were about to be annihilated.

Flashbacks and reliving are in some ways worse than the trauma itself. A traumatic event has a beginning and an end—at some point it is over. But for people with PTSD a flashback can occur at any time, whether they are awake or asleep. There is no way of knowing when it’s going to occur again or how long it will last. People who suffer from flashbacks often organize their lives around trying to protect against them.

They may compulsively go to the gym to pump iron but finding that they are never strong enough, numb themselves with drugs, or try to cultivate an illusory sense of control in highly dangerous situations, such as: bungee jumping, or racing bikes. Constantly fighting unseen dangers is exhausting and leaves them fatigued, depressed, and weary.

If the elements of the trauma are replayed again and again, the accompanying stress hormones engrave those memories ever more deeply in the mind. Ordinary, day to day events become less and less compelling. Not being able to deeply take in what is going on around them makes it impossible to feel fully alive. It becomes harder to feel the joys and aggravations of ordinary life, harder to concentrate on the task at hand. Not being fully alive in the present keeps them more firmly imprisoned in the past.

We have all been through enough after 2020. Please take care of your mental health and the mental health of Family and Friends.

Contact info: Find me on JPay.com under; Deshawn Crenshaw #270497
I am located at the Muskegon Correctional Facility here in Michigan.

Women Lost in the Criminal Justice System

By:  Tamerra Washington #486364

Although Women’s Awareness Month is over, let’s not forget the many women overlooked in the criminal justice system.

I wanted the light to shine on women lost in systematic injustices, some bound by poor choices, and just left for dead.

There has been awareness of the gender disparity in the work force, in sports, but let’s not forget the criminal justice system.

Are you aware that since 1989 only 11 women have been exonerated and 119 men? Nationally 241 women out of 2,754 exonerated. Locally the Wayne County Conviction Integrity Unit has released 28 men and no women since 2018. Why is that? Is the life of a woman not as valuable as the life of a man?

Tamerra Washington #486364

WHV

3201 Bemis Road

Ypsilanti, MI 48197

Living Vs. Existing

By: Joseph Green

“EVERYONE HOLDS HIS FORTUNE IN HIS OWN HANDS, LIKE A SCULPTOR THE RAW MATERIAL HE WILL FASHION INTO A FIGURE……..WE ARE MERELY BORN WITH THE CAPABILITY TO DO IT. THE SKILL TO MOLD THE MATERIAL INTO WHAT WE WANT MUST BE LEARNED AND ATTENTIVELY CULTIVATED.” – JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE

At some point in life we must ask the question: Are we living or merely existing? In prison they say many of its residents are merely existing. Existing, according to Webster, is the state of simply being or to achieve the basic needs such as food and shelter. The MDOC provides its current residents with these basic needs. Which leaves many with the notion that they no longer strive to live. That nothing has to be obtained or worked towards. Many men and women within these walls are merely existing because their environment has taken their drive to live. They have their basic needs met, so what else do they have to live for. They have allowed their prison sentence to rob them of their light and right to live. Living is defined as active or thriving; being alive. Having purpose.

In my personal opinion living can be done at any moment and from anywhere. Despite my current conditions, I haven’t allowed this system to rob me of living my life. Like the light in a lighthouse that guides ships on a darken ocean. I to can be the light and inspiration to someone. My struggle can be used as a light to others who travel the dark oceans known as life. Defeat only happens when you give up, however, living is when you fight and turn your struggle and defeat into strength and light for others.

Being active and living with a purpose shows others that despite your current circumstances your light can survive and shine bright in the midst of darkness. By seeking further education, new hobbies, and gaining a greater understanding of who you are… you learn to live with purpose and passion. You learn to live and not merely exist in these confines. You realize that you hold your future in your hands. Learning that you still have a choice to live or exist. For they can hold your body but not your mind. Which do you choose? I know I choose to live beyond these walls and allow my light to be the guide to others. No matter what you’re going through, strive to live and not merely exist.


#thoughtsbeyondthewall

Chicago

Written on 11-3-16


*Introduction*


A lot of people say home is where the heart is, I agree. But home can also be where the pain are suffering are. Sometimes people forget that a lot of pieces play a part of the way a person is. In this piece I wanted to show the other side of what my hometown provided me. I used an old traditional style to write this because I didn’t wanna go into long drawn out details and I thought it fits perfect for the idea.

Chicago


C is for the Chains the streets had on me.
H is for the Hell my desires provided me.
I is for the Innocence that disappeared the minute I learned to walk and speak.
C is for the Chaos my family instilled in me.
A is for my Agony.
G is for every Girl who smiled and lied to me.
O, you didn’t know, that is what’s left of me.
Sweet home Chicago, it will never be..!

Dark Freedom

Written on 3-17-16


*Introduction*

Dark Freedom is the very first poem I wrote incarcerated. It took me a while to get out of the writer’s block I was in. Even though this is my first prison sentence, I was thinking about the times when I did county time and coming home to absolutely nothing and nobody. Then I thought about the people that died. So basically when I was free, I had the same exact feeling as if I were in prison and/or dead. There was no difference. I was very depressed when I wrote this.

Dark Freedom


When you die you’re placed inside a dark hole.
Everyone you ever knew moved on.
Months pass and they slowly stop talking about you.
Years pass and the memories of you slowly vanish. Old pics of you cease to be viewed, everything you owned disappeared.
No letters, no calls, no one, just darkness.
No good times, no bad times, no more time, just darkness. Nothing exists except the damage you left behind, and even that gets forgotten overtime.

When you’re released from prison, you reside inside a dark hole.
Everyone you ever knew moved on…..

HOUSE BILL 4489 – We Need Your Help!

Michigan is striving to reform its prison system, but this can’t be done if the state representatives don’t hear from you!

Please take 5 minutes out of your day to call Representative Graham Filler at 877-859-8086 to show your support for House Bill 4489. This will allow those incarcerated an opportunity to earn disciplinary credit reduction – time off their sentence for good behavior and taking educational classes.

Thank you for your support!

Our Gardens

There was a man who planted a garden for the very first time. He got a book and followed all the instructions that were given in order to have the proper harvest. He bought all the seeds, he waited for the right season, he turned the soil and then he began to plant. After several months of watering and fertilizing his garden he started to see tomatoes, turnip greens, onions, cucumbers, and cabbage. So he went back to the book that he had to figure out when was the right time to start reaping from what he had planted. But as he was reading he noticed that the book instructed that he pull up the weeds that grew around his vegetation. He immediately headed to his garden because that was something that he never did. After about 30 minutes of working he went to pull a weed that had grown higher than his turnip greens but it wasn’t easy. So he had to get down and really pull at it because it had been growing since the beginning. As he tugged and grunted a little bit he finally got it and he was so surprised at how rooted it was in the earth but even happier that he got it out of his masterpiece.

Then several days later a storm came that brought some heavy rain and that had him very worried. He thought that his garden was finished and would be damaged by the high winds and rain. So the next day he got up and checked to find all of his vegetables soaked in puddles of water and some laying all the way down. He was devastated and couldn’t believe that all his work was for nothing. Full of frustration and disappointment he headed back in the house.

By the next morning the sun was shining bright again but he was still feeling a bit angry about his garden and what had come of it. But he headed back out there anyway because he wanted to see if there was anything that he could salvage. To his surprise, all that he had planted was standing right back up like it had never been hit by a hard storm. The man was so excited and he ended up spending the rest of that day tending to his garden that was once again flourishing.

_______________________________

I wrote this story to remind everyone to take care of the seeds we plant. God will bring about all that we need in our lives when we properly care for the seeds (gifts) that have been given to us. It is not about how much we have but about what we do with what we have. Today, I told a man to be mindful that he is not overlooking what God has already done in his life. Like praying for something that He has already given but we are overlooking it because of how we “think” it should look or fit. God knows what He is doing and we must trust His hand over our lives. After all He created us with purpose on purpose.

Written By: Frank L. Adams Jr. #427391 @Jpay.com

Why I Feel a “Good Time” Law Would Benefit the State of Michigan

By: Jerry Metcalf #251141

During my first 10 years of incarceration I refused to accept responsibility for my actions. I blamed others and often lied, telling people I was innocent or that my victim deserved to die. Because I felt like there was no hope due to my extremely long sentence, I spent most of those years drunk and acting like an idiot, not caring whether I lived or died.

Then, during the middle 5 years of my incarceration, I began to realize that I needed to turn my life around whether I was going home early or not. It was during this time that I began to attend Alcoholics Anonymous. I am currently in my 14th year. I can proudly declare that I haven’t taken a drink of alcohol since 2010.

During these most recent ten years of my 25 years of incarceration, I’ve made leaps and bounds in my reformation.

I taught myself to write. I am most proud of that. I’ve written and published over 50 articles and essays for various journals, magazines, and news outlets. I am a contributing writer for The Marshal Project, Prison Writers, and Prison Life and Beyond. I am also the author of the monthly prison advice column, Ask Jerry, which helps people to understand what prison life is like and what can be expected if they or one of their loved ones ever end up on the wrong side of the law. I have written a fantasy fiction novel, Blood & Steel, which is currently being published on Wattpad.com in serialized installments (Wattpad.com/JAMetcalfjr). I have published 2 poetry books, Prison Poetry Vol I, and Vol II. I have also published 4 essay compilations, Prison Essays Volumes 1, 2, 3, and 4. I currently have a prison-slang dictionary and a prison cook book in the pipeline to be published as well (find them all on Amazon.com).

I’ve earned many different certificates, and even a two-year degree in religious studies. I’ve also learned how to paint abstract art, and my paintings hang in households across Michigan and the rest of the United States (check some out on Redbubble.com/JerryMetcalf).

I’ve learned to read and write Spanish, though I grow rusty when not using it, but it helps that each winter I hold a class teaching Hispanic prisoners how to speak English, and American prisoners how to read and write Spanish.

I’ve learned how to weld, woodwork, lay tile, pour concrete, repair and install plumbing, and countless other hands-on skills while working maintenance here at the prison for eight years. I will never have a problem finding and keeping a job.

I currently (and for the past 5 years) train service dogs for Paws With a Cause (pawswithacause.com). This not only blesses me with an employable skill, but also offers me an avenue for giving back to our great state. My dogs currently help a wide variety of people, but I am most proud of the dogs I’ve trained for autistic children.

I am a Prisoner Observation Aid, which is a prison job that requires a high degree of trust from the Department of Corrections because I not only monitor suicidal men who suffer from mental illness, but I also must sit and talk to these men about their problems in confidence, making sure to never allow their woes to reach other convict’s ears.

Last, but not least, I’ve been on a spiritual journey these past 25 years. And along the way, I’ve read, practiced, or studied just about every religion known to man, seeking what parts might best fit me. I now meditate and pray each day to maintain a beautiful spiritual health. I also exercise and stretch to maintain mind and body health. Though, unfortunately (due to working a plumbing job in prison that exposed me to heavy metals), I now suffer from stage 3 Kidney Disease and Chronic Hypertension.

My new mission in life is to serve others. Like my hero, Nelson Mandela once said: “The rent we pay for space here on earth is service to others.” I truly believe this. That’s why I’ve adopted it as my motto.

I tell you all of this so that you will see why a “Good Time” law is so badly needed in Michigan. I and thousands of others have completely rehabilitated ourselves. We are ready to reenter society and once again become productive, tax-paying members. But the only thing stopping us is these absurdly long sentences that were given to us during the “lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key” era.

Keeping me in prison for another 10 years until I reach my minimum outdate does nothing to further justice or my rehabilitation. The only thing 10 more years in prison will accomplish is making me too old to be employable. Those extra ten years will keep me from coming home and earning my way. They will keep me from paying taxes. They will also almost guarantee that the state will be forced to take care of me once I am free as well, because I will have had zero time to save for my own retirement.

My name is Jerry Metcalf and I wish to make the world a better place. If you do too, please join me @Facebook.com/jerryametcalf.jr. And join the Michigan Justice Advocacy group @ mijustice.org.

Facebook.com/Jerryametcalf.jr or JerryMetcalfArtist

wattpad.com/JAMetcalfJr

Twitter @JerryMetcalfJr1

Email: J.Metcalfauthor@yahoo.com, or @ Jpay.com

An Exhilarating Conversation

In The Name Of Allah The Beneficent The Merciful. Greetings brothers. My name is Ajovi X , and I’m here to give you my topic in the month of April. The question that was asked pertaining to the 3 individuals who are now gone (deceased). I only have 2 that I would love to talk to and why these are two great individuals:

1.) Master Fard Muhammad

2.) The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad

For me to be able to sit in front of the man himself who is Allah in person; Master Fard Muhammad would be an exhilarating moment, better than life itself. I would love to sit in front of God himself and want to understand and learn to matriculate the understanding of a man into “a god”. To be able to possess and process the information of the Biblical and Qur’anic perspective of man, and put it into everyday life. To lead by example. To “ACCEPT YOUR OWN AND BE YOURSELF.” To know the way God walks, talks, listens, to possess and understanding more coherently the “99 attributes” of God Allah himself. For God himself to tell me to be a god in my universe, in my community and know how to execute the plans and motion a god should, that’s a reason to meet God himself. I’ll have to say, ALL PRAISE IS DUE TO ALLAH, for raising one in our mist to lead the lost so-called American Negro to salvation and to bring him to knowledge, wisdom, and understanding of himself.

The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We wouldn’t have this great man if it wasn’t for Allah in person (Master Fard Muhammad) himself traveling over 9,000 miles to teach us the word of God (Knowledge of self, God, and the devil) to deliver us from the enemies hand. This is the messenger of Allah himself. Sent to give us the true meaning of a black man, and to help obtain or mind to the highest axiom. That he is god and the only way for him to master the skills and the meaning of god is to get into the teachings of God himself. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad has given me the medicine to live, to breath, and to understand. He’s given me the opportunity to turn my life around and to start new.

I thank these two great leaders, teachers, and guides for matriculating me into the god that I am today. To represent todays black youth in the struggle for freedom, justice, equality, and Islam.

Sincerely, Ajovi X

Good Time

By: Charles A. Jackson Bey #600271

Why should good time be implemented in Michigan’s Prisons?

The reason why good time should be implemented in Michigan’s Prisons is because you give prisoners an incentive to change for the better and to do right. When a prisoner feels that they will have to do every year that they were sentenced to in a hostile environment, they become hostile in order to survive the environment.

Also having good time creates a safer work place for correctional officers and other staff members along with more safety for the prisoners, reducing the violence by giving hope to prisoners to know good behavior is rewarded. Which could result in doing lesser time and returning back to society as a productive member from not thinking and acting as the title convict while in prison.

Not only does good time change the behavior of most prisoners, but it also allows us to become more involved in our rehabilitation. By taking more programs and taking educational matters more seriously, along with maintaining a job while incarcerated knowing good time is earned for being a productive prisoner while incarcerated.

This cuts down on theft within the MDOC food service jobs for prisoners due to the fact prisoners would know catching a theft ticket for stolen merchandise would result in a loss of good time. Saving food service millions of dollars from products not coming up stolen at an alarming rate.

This also cuts down on the amount of ticket misconducts being written on prisoners because more individuals would be involved in obtaining freedom and would choose to follow the rules in order to avoid loss of good time. Now this allows more people to return to their families a better person, helps cuts the prison population down and help cut the MDOC’s 2 billion dollar budget deficit down to an all-time low.

Michigan knows good time should be implemented throughout their entire incarceration system because they are one of the only states that are behind in regards to prison reform along with the utilization of good time. And that locking individuals up for a significant amount of time cripples the economy from warehousing prisoners through tax payer dollars just being misused that could be directed towards keeping ex-offenders free instead of keeping us locked away.

The lifer’s public safety stated:

Crime is a social disease that persistently plagues American society, an epidemic so widespread that almost every American citizen will either be personally touched by it or know someone who has been during the course of his or her lifetime.
Crime in all its varied forms is more deadly and prevalent than AIDS or any other form of disease currently known to afflict humans. It sabotages the safety and wellbeing of Americans of all races, classes, and educational levels.

The ever-increasing resources required to identify, convict, subsequently house, clothe and feed those convicted of criminal offenses siphons needed assets from vital social services and programs. Yet, despite the exponential growth of prison populations, harsher sentences, tough-on-crime policies, and rapid new construction, the problem of crime persists.

So my question would be: why shouldn’t good time be implemented in Michigan’s prisons? Since it will only help bring about real change!!!

Feel free to contact me through j-pay or by writing to:
Charles A. Jackson Bey
#600271
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Dr.
Lapeer, MI 48446