My name is Michael Hall.
I survived the onslaught of opinions, judgments, and abuse that comes with prison life. As I get transitioned out of the MCCF Program I will be forced to go through the abuse once again. Justice must be served but at what cost is justice served when the convicted are punished over and over again?
Many of us are trying to change our lives.
I am a prisoner with the C.D.C.R. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation)
My relationship with the C.D.C.R. began June 9th, 2006. Going in and out of county jail since 1982. It was inevitable I would get "Broke Off"... catch a lot of time.
During reception due to the nature of my crime, the rape and torture of a woman with implications. I had to be housed under protective custody. California at the time had what is called sensitive need yards, or S'n'Y for short. California housed drop-out gang members, sex offenders and people considered high power - actors, singers, etc......
Anyone who would be extorted, victimized or basically killed on the line (term used for General Population).
A serious psychological issue with inmates stems from our personal disassociation with reality. The fact is:
If any one of us truly cared about our family, women and children, or making the world a better place none of us would be in prison. We would strive for the best we had to offer.
This is a personal perspective but it is something I realized, I truly didn't love my family or society.
Many inmates in the prison system have the personal desire to continue in the same behavior that brought them to prison just covered up by a lie. A self manifested lie; "If I kill a sex offender or rival gang member, I'm providing service to society. How is an inmate going to understand moral and ethical value when society encourages and applauds sodomy and murder in prison.
Men who have committed horrible crimes and those considered sexual predators that are actually killed in prison - so-called prison justice; are acknowledged by society as acceptable service.
This is a personal perspective, but it is something I came to realize; I truly didn't love my wife, my kids or my family.
Many inmates in the prison system have the personal desire to continue in the same behavior covered up by a self manifested lie:
When G.P. kills a sec offender or some rival gang-member/Dirt Bag, they are providing a service to society.
How is an inmate going to understand moral and ethical value when society encourages an out come such as this?
Men who have committed horrible crimes and those considered sexual predators that are actually killed in prison (prison justice) are acknowledged by society as acceptable service. The social perspective is, everyone in prison is bad and can't be trusted; and yet victims of injustice want revenge carried out by prison inmates.
I see where society don't mind who gets killed in prison. Victims of crime and family members truly believe it is unjust to sentence someone to prison. Victims don't see a value to prison unless their perpetrator is victimized or killed doing time.
The social perspective.......
Everyone in prison is bad and can't be trusted. Yet victims of injustice want revenge carried out by prison inmates. I see, society don't mind who gets killed in prison. Obviously, victims and family members of victims don't believe justice is service through the system. Victims don't see a value to prison unless their perpetrator is victimized or killed doing time.
What is wrong with this social perspective?
If I were not housed in a sensitive need yard I would have been killed or worse, became a killer myself. (Fighting for survival changes a man).
I am grateful for never being put in a situation where I had to fight for my life. I've had to fight but never to the death.
With prison justice, I would never have written this letter. The opportunity to share educated insight into values that must be changed.
When you allow men to continue in their behavior; behavior that leads to prison, you've given them purpose.
When society is cheering corrupt moral and ethical conduct -- Remember:
These men are going to leave prison and continue to perpetuate the lie; society don't care what I do as long as I don't do it to them.
There is a lot of gray area perspective......
What is the purpose of the court, to administer justice. Why does society in general feel cheated when it comes to the justice system?
My original view was rich people, politicians, and any law abiding citizen sat on one side of the social spectrum. It was them and then it was me. Since I believe no one cared about me and my life I would do whatever I wanted within the confines of the drug world. A social level not connected to mainstream society -- ya, right!
The court system which represents citizens and communities......I would think.....would also be the liaison for the social perspective of correct principles? After all these years........ At least have a better understanding of negative behavior and the signs that warrant concern.
Getting involved in someone's life.
I mean actually help an individual correct their behavior and become productive in a positive manner. Human beings need purpose.
Society should never commend prisoners for negative behavior. You send the wrong message! Do you really want an inmate to hand-out justice to those who don't deserve to live?
As of right now; I see the court system as a revenue stream. Since no help is truly provided before a crime; it is then, a processing arm of society.
Bad choices and a flawed base of principles led me to prison. Drugs and alcohol numb the pain of failure. I could never find my purpose. I have been afforded the opportunity to search for who I am. What matters to me and why I acted in such a negative manner only came with time. Being uneducated I left high school. I grew up with violence and abuse none of which anyone truly understood. This was how the world was.
I grew up with little to no respect.
I realized, no one cared. I learned to take advantage of the world around me. The next 20 years were a blur. I started by selling weed in the 70s and ended my life as a methamphetamine addict.
I vowed to change my life in prison. It took 2 1/2 years just for my body chemistry to reach homeostasis. During that time I was allowed by correctional officers to pursue an education. I was housed at Corcoran State Prison, C yard.
My crime was against a woman associated with criminal elements. The nature of the crime required me to be placed in protective custody. C yard was S'n'Y but still prison. Relatively safe I was able to clean myself up and earn a G.E.D.
Prison has not been easy to navigate. I really had to work hard to become proficient in changing false beliefs. Working on negative behaviors within the prison setting. I had severe ethical depravity. I choose not to continue in the same behavior. As I continued to educate my principles changed.
Everybody on this yard was considered a target on G.P..... Relatively safe I was able to clean myself up and earn a G.E.D.
There were many good officers on this yard.
Prison has not been easy to navigate. I really had to work to become proficient in changing false beliefs. Working on negative behaviors within the prison sitting........was very difficult.
On the personal level, I had to live with another inmate in a cell. When I moved to a dorm sitting, I lived with 200 inmates.
Such as myself; who had severe ethical depravity most inmates make poor choices. Many inmates choose to continue their behavior (remember the lie). As I continued to educate my principle values changed. This caused tension with one or two inmates from time to time. I wanted to follow rules not break them.
The environment will make you grow up fast. You either learn to work with the personalities around you and stand for something or continue in the same behavior that lead to prison.
I survived the onslaught of opinions, judgments, and abuse that comes with prison life; but how many have not...........
I survived the onslaught of opinions, judgments, and abuses that come with prison life; but how many have not?
The environment will make you grow up fast. You either learn to work with the personalities around you and stand for something; or, continue in the same behavior that led to prison.
I cannot change the past. I would have been a law-abiding citizen after 10 years of this prison term but justice must be served!
I wish to make amends for my deeds. I owe the people of California a debt of gratitude for saving my life. I want to continue my college career and receive a degree in psycho-social behavior. I hope to shed light on behavioral conditioning that incrementally deteriorates the development of good ethical and moral perspective.
Thank you for your time,
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.