I have been in prison for over two decades

Magic, Joshua



I have been in prison for over two decades for theft related crimes I committed as a youngster. I grew up poor and in special education and spent a long time as a run away during my teenage years, due to abusive home life. I have worked in prison for most of this 20 years doing various jobs. I have seen and experienced many forms of abuse from assault by staff to daily harassment. I have also seen other prisoners abused. Many times, and even now I see prison officials causing alot of harm and violating their own policies and state law. Such of destroying my legal mail, lying and trying to turn inmates against each other. But despite all of it I have tried hard to work on my own self development. I don't do drugs. I do not steal and I do my best to treat others with respect. I do no believe in violence, only in defense of one's self. It appears to me that the state of Virginia only cares about money. Most of my relatives are dead. I do no have any children nor do I own anything. In a few years I will be released. But I find the things D.O.C. wants me to is in no way a benifit to me. In many ways is a hindrence all they want is payment (despite my working for 20 yrs at 27 cents and hours). I struggle with flash backs, anger, panic attacks, and half of the time I am so overwhelmed. Sometimes I cannot even function. For my whole sentence I have been told that I cannot make my own choices, don't think for myself. When to eat, sleep, pay money etc. But they want me to do these things when I get out. Its set up for me to fail. I want to do right, but going to AA or learning that George Washington crossed the Potomac River is a waste of my time and causes me to see that they are as incompetant as I am. But at least I give people words of encouragement when they have a HARD time and I try to treat people right. DOC did not teach me those things. I have never been told that my crimes were wrong nor why they were wrong. I have gone against the flow of staff and other inmates when it came to what I have discovered is RIGHT. Many times I have been punished for doing the RIGHT things and not doing the wrong things by staff. Yet I still keep trying to follow my conscience. Prison authorities have demonstrated to me that it is ok to cheat, steal and lie Teach me how to manage my budget. Teach me how to over come this negative part of self. Show me how to over come the barriers in my mind which has caused me to struggling with learning. Have classrooms without yelling and disruptions. Let me have a place were I can go for twenty minutes and think about what I need to do to be a better person. Give me some hands on job training which I can do without it involving slave labor for the states financial gain. Maybe staff could be forced to go by policies and procedures and be accountable for their violations and misconduct. Maybe it should be required reading for DOC staff to deep ponder and read the book "The Lucifer Effect" by Philip Zimbardo and how they are influenced by the system to abuse inmates. Maybe the kitchens could serve healthy, properly prepared food that is not rotten and has the proper portions. Maybe staff could be taught not to take out their frustrations on inmates or intentionally degrade and antagonize them.

Author: Magic, Joshua

Author Location: Virginia

Date: February 14, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 3 pages

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