rue LOVE Comes Through Understanding
We are called the United States of America, the land of the free & home of the brave and there are individuals brave enough to escape there country to take advantage of the benefits and enrich there lives with opportunity. So if they make it here safely and they are abiding by the criminal law, then they should be free. That’s what makes us the greatest nation in the world, people of different colors, shapes, sizes, intelligence, knowledge, wisdom, & understanding come together to create true Unity.

Over 90% of citizens of America were migrated to this country, within that percentage some were forced. The only true citizens of this country are Native Americans. Which is weird because the people that are creating the laws and statutes or the decisions of who and what are allowed to come into the country are the ones that took over something that didn’t belong to them in the first place.

The end to Racism, Prejudice, and Stereotyping could never END as long as we see differences. It is true that Black Lives Matter, when you say that though your implying a difference in the life. Its in a Human Beings DNA to feel better or lesser than someone else at something, so when you apply color to the perspective, of course your going to create a idea that one particular shade of a person is better. There is no such thing as a minority if we truly believe that we are equal. You can’t ask for equality when a difference is implied, there is only one race that God created and that is the Human Race. Its also true that God created each and everyone of us differently, but those differences were meant to be unified through fellowship in Love, Loyalty, Integrity, Honesty, and Righteousness. Which is supposed to happen through our beliefs or religious preferences.

Troy Oakes #891671
Funding Our Own Incarceration-Charles A. Jackson

FUNDING OUR OWN INCARCERATION
BY CHARLES A. JACKSON BEY
As we know the cost of living in the outside world has been going up and the battle for minimum wage has reached nearly ten dollars per hour throughout Michigan. Be mindful the institutional factory jobs has been removed throughout Michigan prison system, as well as our work bonuses for the remaining jobs such as food service. Over the last 30years prison wages have not gone up! throughout Michigan, it is widely known that state prisoners such as myself can barely support ourselves with a prison job adding to pennies a day. We are considered blessed if we have the help of family and friends. It should be noted once again that prison wages have not increased in over 30years. Yet the prison store prices have gone up! Along with prison job pay scales going down. On top of limiting us to only 200 hours as food service workers, with a starting rate at 17.5¢ unskilled, 23.5¢ semiskilled, and 32.5¢ skilled per hour, consider how prisoners are being held responsible for the following living expenses toward funding our own incarceration:

A. Hygiene supplies including sales tax

B. Over-the-counter medications,
including sales tax

C. Co-payments for medical, dental, optical services, in the amount of $5.00 per visit individually

D. Legal photocopies along with notary
services in the amount of $1.00 per notary.

Pursuant to MDOC policy directive PD 03.04.101, which governs medical service providers to charge prisoners a $5.00 medical co-payment for all medical services as delineated above, placing extreme hardship on all prisoners! so this alone does save the state and prison system thousands of dollars. This is in addition to the fact that all the work we do would otherwise cost the state money to hire people from outside to do, which means prisoners are taking on the many facility operations.

Also look how we add additional funding to our own incarceration, comparing store prices from 2008 to those of 2020:

*noodles then 20¢ now 35¢
*white rice then 65¢ now $1.39
*chili no beans then $1.45 now $3.33
*peanut butter then $1.70 now $3.29
*tuna fish then $1.30 now $4.42
*footlocker then $79.40 now $112.00
*protein powder then $10.90 now $15.51
*cough drops then 65¢ now 93¢
*stamped envelope then 41¢ now 59¢
*Colgate toothpaste then $1.50 now $2.80 
*Soap then 40¢ for Ivory, 60¢ for Dial, now 65¢ for off-brand

Keep in mind that in reality we are unable to actually afford any of these items on a 17, 23, or 32¢ income, so that means that those of us who are blessed to still have family, friends, and love ones to help support us are the ones actually being fleeced. Which they are the actual tax paying citizens funding our own incarceration through the Securepak ordering system, phone system, J-pay Music, and the fee for sending financial aid to our accounts just so we can keep funding our own incarceration through the system of highway robbery with no gun!

My last critical point which I want to enlighten readers to is this Safe & Just Michigan gave the two following statements in the spring of 2019:

1) People incarcerated in Michigan are serving some of the longest sentences in the nation, with an average minimum sentence that is 10.3 years and growing, and
2) Michigan’s prison population has fallen 23% between 2006, when it reached its largest size of 51,515 people, and 2017.

These two statements might sound like they cancel each other out, but both statements are true. The paradox is one of the interesting facts brought to light in the Michigan Department of Corrections’ 2017 statistical report, which was released in January 2019. It’s no coincidence that the average minimum prison sentence is rising at the same time the overall prison population is declining. In fact, the two are related. In recent years, efforts have been made to find ways to divert people from prison for offenses that bring shorter prison sentences. Problem-solving courts, such as substance use courts and mental health courts, offer treatment programs instead of prison time. This has reduced the state’s prison population. However, that has done nothing to reduce the number of people who are still serving long-term sentences. While people serving sentences of 20years or more comprised 18.3% of the prison population in 1998, as of 2017 they represent 31.7% of the population. We have fewer people coming to prison, but those who are coming are coming for a longer time, adding to the system of funding our own incarceration along with the tax-paying citizens of Michigan being fleece.

According to a report by the Senate Fiscal Agency, a reduction in 13,000 prison beds would result in a $494,000,000 savings. Even with this decrease Michigan still has an incredible amount of work to do in order to lower the prison population further. Even with that cut over the last 14years, Michigan still spends over $2 billion on corrections alone. Like many states, Michigan has reached a critical point in the status of it’s corrections department. Instead it should be Michigan Department of Corruption or Misusing Michiganders’ Deposits on Corruption because the MDOC has deviated from the concept of Michigan Department of Corrections. Because in reality that term would represent an individual being corrected from their error by being rehabilitated through adequate programming, restorative justice, and prison reform.

So you citizens should be fed up! with the lies and misuse of your tax dollars going towards the funding of our own incarceration!!! I know I am, what about you???

Family & Friend Support Pt 2-Joseph

Dear Readers,

The one thing many prisoners yearn for is support from family and friends. When many of us came to prison, we were forced to be alone. And for many of us that unknown experience is scary. Support in most cases is given in the beginning of our sentence but as the days and years pass things begin to change. Life continues to go on without us. Its a cliché quote that says, ” Out of sight, Out of mind” and sadly it plays its way out in our daily lives as the days and years pass. Its not that they love us less or they don’t care but life doesn’t stop for them and unfortunately were no longer present.

Nothing about prison is normal or humane. Prison is a abnormal environment. This is why support is truly needed. Family keeps a prisoner engaged with reality. Family reminds us that we are human beings that have emotions and feelings. Support is giving help and encouragement. 

Prison places a enormous hardship on the mental mindset. Its a daily struggle remaining normal in a abnormal environment. Some have the mindset of not changing and they accept the negative trajectory of their life.

For those who do seek change and accept that this is a positive trajectory to a new life. They now are seen as the abnormal individuals in this environment where the criminal mentality is deemed normal. So we seek the support of positive people to keep us focus and motivated in are journey of being productive citizens.

The support from family and friends is very essential to our mental growth and change. We need to be encouraged with positive words of hope and change. We need to know we are loved, missed and needed. This comes by way of letters and phone calls. Simple jpays that say I love you and stay focus go along way. A lot of men don’t like to write other men however understand that its needed. Men need to seek counsel from other men. Steel sharpens steel. Men that will hold us accountable to take our rightful place in this world as productive men. 

When many prisoners got incarcerated a lot of family members were young so bonds and relationships were unable to be developed. Now as they come of age into adulthood, they have no idea who we are but we have no idea who they have grown to be. I’m embarking on a journey to learn my family as we speak. When I left they were baby’s and teens now there mothers and business women. Who have no idea who I am as a man today. They only know what is told to them and somebody else’s perspective of you is subjective or bias. Especially if they haven’t had any contact with you to see your growth and evolution. I would like my family to get to know the man I am today because Im no longer the man I was 13 years ago. When I am released I will need their support more then ever. The parole board wants to know that prisoners being let back into the communities have some form of a support system.

Prison is designed to destroy family ties by way of systematically employing many tactics to discourage healthy and consistent relationships. For example, you may be from Detroit but instead of housing you within reasonable driving distance they house you up north 5 to 8 hours away. Knowing that this will discourage your family from visiting. They make the application process to visit complicated by denying applicants because they failed to put N/A in places that don’t apply to them. Making them fill the whole application out again only to deny them again for something trivial. These tactics are meant to discourage families from visiting. It has happen to me numerous times so I speak from experience. Physical interaction is another very important aspect of support. 

Friendships come in many ways. We cherish them because a true friend is hard to find. Everyone wants to be your friend when your doing good and on top but your TRUE friends will be by your side when your at your lowest.

The voice and message I’m sending out is this, if you have someone in your family or if you have a friend incarcerated reach out to them. Your support is truly needed. A simple, “How you doing” and Keep your head up goes a long way. Remind them they are human beings because this system is designed to dehumanize them. Its not all about money and food packages. We need to know somebody cares. Despite the mistakes we have made we still are human. If you truly love them know they need your help as they change. No one makes it to the top alone.

I thank you for reading my post. Please leave a comment and continue to visit for more thoughts beyond the wall.

Joseph Green

Family & Friend Support-Jerome Walker

My name is Jerome Walker, but most people call me Don’Jay or DJ for short.

I am here to talk about how essential it is to having family & friends support while being in prison.

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During my first 5 years in prison, I had little to no family support due to the crime I committed, or from their misconception on what had took place.

By not having any support, I let it dictate the way I did my time. I was considered what most called a hard ass. I didn’t listen and came in as if I had a chip on my shoulder. I began to lash out as I was catching unnecessary tickets and constantly getting in trouble and going to the hole. To me, it was like without family being by myside, I began to contemplate was life really worth living?

The saddest thing is when I got locked up, my daughter was only 8 days old. I didn’t have the support of her mother, nor did I had the support of my family.

I only could hear through new prisoners coming in telling me how such & such died, and how my daughter’s mother is out there struggling.

There was barley any pictures coming in, any money to buy the necessities.
A lot of people had to rob and steal because they were unable to have that family support that all people in prison needs.

5 years into my time, one close member in our family died from cancer. The family came together and reached out to me and decided that life was too short to harbor unwanted feelings.

I was reached out by many family members and friends.

Having family and friends write to you and tell you to keep your head up, and we are in this with you made everything felt like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

I instantly changed my behavior. I put away my childish ways and became a man. I managed to get my GED, some certificates in Culinary arts, Custodial maintenance and many others. I started to interact with family more, and my dark days seems to have light in them.

Family support is so essential for us on lock down, because without it, it seems like we are fighting the world alone. Sometimes we become depressed and want to give up on life. It’s like, if they don’t care, why should I?

My happiest moment is when I had help from family and friends in finding my daughter 3 years ago. We have built an unbreakable relationship, and she is part of my support system.

My biggest support system now is my mother, sisters, daughter, uncles, father, cousin, and many of friends. There’s light at the end of my tunnel as I strived to be a better person for my family, myself, and friends.

I have a petition going towards my release in accordance to the change of law dealing with juvenile lifers, please go to my facebook page at Jerome Jay Walker click on the link and signed the petition I have on there. If you don’t see it, please send a friend request and I will accept you as a friend, you will then see the link and be able to sign it, and please, share it with your friends. Thank you for signing.

Sincerely,

Jerome Walker #277651