7My voice through the prison walls
By: Inmate Ricky Vincent Pendleton II
I think rehabilitation is a propaganda word used by the lawmakers to cover their motives
Exploiting the inmates in a business venture. The whole prison industry is a "for profit" industry; from my reading is a billion dollars industry. How am I supposed to cope in here and seeing the corrupt acts of people...? I have to control the things in my life. Rehabilitation is on the individual prisoner, he/she has to dig deep within themselves to correct the errors of their ways.
How I cope in a place like this, by being warehoused in a prison like a produce with an item number? Well, I first have to atone for the errors that I might have caused to myself, family and others. Education is the next phase for my life. Knowledge of self is the key for growth and development and expressing it with words and/or ones ways and actions bringing forth understanding which is the manifestation and combination of knowledge and wisdom. I strive to better myself to move forward in my next chapter each time. I do, now what the environment that I grew up in and became a product of had not taught me. In the environment I grew up in I was taught by teachers that I wasn't going to be nothing, so therefore, I thought that. Having the understanding I know now I can revisit these past episodes like when I was in the second grade, there were this math teacher I had and we were doing a math problem and me a female Caucasian and two male Caucasians were having difficulty solving this math problem. This teacher said "raise your hand if you are having a problem" so we raised our hands. The teacher went to the female first took her time with her then walked passed me and went to the two males after she took her time with them, she went back to her desk and then gave the class an assignment which consisted of 20 math problems. Mind you that I still had my hand up. She had ignored me for some time, but when she finally got to me she saw that I was way behind, she did not take her time teaching me to find the equation either, she just did the problem for me and told me to move on to the 20 problem assignment. Of course, I had failed not because I was slow etc., but because this wicked teacher, at what was then the Page Jackson Solar School used this tactic to discourage me from wanting to learn. I say this to say that if the school system does not care for the future of children then how the hell would a system care for criminals?
To me it starts with family and then the community to raise children. Now I am in here, "prison" a first timer where there was no actual evidence, only circumstantial. I was a scapegoat because the real perpetrator cannot be prosecuted being six feet deep underground. It is hard in here just like out there in society, the protocol is that the "Blackman" is a threat to any community. This is what the media projects. Each time one of us in here gets a disciplinary rule violation we are tossed in segregation, but other non-ethnic inmates gets probation or community service. I can say that because I see it all the time. In my situation, I kept a journal in sequence by days being in prison. I was recording each important episode throughout the day of my experiences. I tend to be opinionating, also being sarcastic, and then I would be writing in a hypothetical manner to put my point across. I wanted the reader to see what I was going through in here. The administration had misinterpreted my writings and then considered it a "threat". In a routine "shakedown" a guard had found my journal and then confiscated it. I was immediately put in segregation. I was given a disciplinary rule violation report and later found guilty. I was sentenced for sixty days in segregation, and then the prison committee had recommended that I be placed in the eighteen month administrative segregation program, the warden later signed for approval. I wanted to someday write a book about my life in prison I was using the journal to help put the events and experiences together. Well, I had appealed the decision through all of the necessary remedy and ultimately appealed it to the society's court. It was in this court where it ruled in my favor, the court had said that there was insufficient evidence to justify the prison administration's guilty verdict. Finally, the court had ordered me out of administrative segregation back to general population, and for my original journal to be given back to me.
My vision of a better way to operate in this place is to stay away from stupid people who could get you into trouble. I call them "crash dummy" and we all can learn a lot from them. They are self-hated inmates who always find themselves in trouble all the time. They are inmates that don't have a positive way about them. I was told by a conscious inmate that to stay out of trouble, stay away from homo-sexuality, gambling, and drinking homemade wine and to just research my case if I wanted to get freed from this place. Institutionally, I utilize the law library most of my time because this place is our laboratory for change, to get out of this "Hellish" place. I strive to research my case to find errors made by the court. This is the best place to be for me when I strive to get my freedom back. Education and fighting the case is the best thing a prisoner can do while incarcerated. The work I do for dealing with time inside, I just build my temple. I work out, read books and study myself to get to know more about me. Most people are too afraid to learn about themselves because they are afraid of what they might uncover; this is why they keep claiming a title.
The challenges I face physically by being in this unnatural environment are health issues, the medical department only care for small issues but there are little concerns for difficult medical conditions. Psychological survival is where I have to have discipline and be patience when there are guards who don't have respect and they yell at you. Sometime they talk down to the inmates and I have to speak to them in a way that I don't get into trouble. Most prison guards don't have very good communication skills; they're programmed to react in the tactical way when dealing with inmates. I survive by being respectful and in hopes to get respect back. This works for me because I make it work. I apply the efforts to stay away from trouble. What doesn't work is when a person is saying he want to change but still find himself gambling, etc., if you say one thing but do another you're faking. Life is what one makes of it.
Prison is nothing to glorify, it is the most inhumane place to be in. I am just angry at the fact that a poor county in this country need the prison industry just to boost up that economy. They have no other means to generate revenue for that county. Crime is the way to make money... does crime really pays? The people live their lives on the backs of inmates who are now corporate fictions (movable properties) a ward of a State. Each indictment is a bill of exchange. The employees would program themselves with comments about prisoners, such as; "their scum of the earth," they are bad people trying to cheat society," just to justify working at any related prison employment. Now, there are prison reality shows where cameras go inside a prison to capture the moment. One thing I do notice about those media programs is that they exploit inmates by giving the society who watches this program a false and negative projection of how prisoners are throughout the country. They project fear out of false pretenses by giving the society the notion that, "the society need to build more prisons because if these criminal were to ever get out chances are that they may harm someone. These media never focus on the positive part of a prisoner's life such as how a prisoner's case had gotten overturned, or won on appeal. The media doesn't want society to see that the judicial system and the courts can get a case against the accuse wrong.
The media would go to one of the roughest prison, and then go straight to the administrative segregation units and turn on the cameras then watch the out of control inmates act up, giving the world the impression that all inmates act like this. Then they're being a team of guards who would take the situation under control, what an illusion they are feeding the masses. Don't get me wrong I respect law and order because every society needs it, but don't make law and order a "for profit," organization. In this prison, there are inmates who are mentally ill having a defeated mentality. Most are depressed on some type of medication. I have to choose who to share a cell with because many inmates are so damn depressed that they don't want to do anything, including showering. They would just stink, sort of like they're slowly rotten away. There are a few who keep talking about committing suicide because of their current situation. I had talks with other inmates who said that they would consider this. The prison environment has a strong tensional atmosphere, one could cut it with a knife it is so thick. Any time a negative element can trigger a raw explosion of a negative reaction. There are a lot of personalities in this prison, some cannot control their emotions, and others are so damn feeble minded it is so damn terrible. The Prison is in groups such as the religious groups, the hateful groups, and there is the homosexual groups, etc., it is like where ever one belongs to they will go, if they cannot stand alone. Well, as for me I stand by myself in any situation. I am on my square at all times. I am not a follower but a leader and a savior. I strive for freedom, justice and equality. Although, I am in this prison environment, I am not of this prison environment. This is my voice through the prison wall.
By: Ricky Vincent Pendleton II
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