My name is Martin Sanchez

Sanchez, Martin



My name is Martin Sanchez. Im a Mexican-American born in Laredo, Texas. Raised on the Southwest side of Oklahoma City... I been incarcerated in The Oklahoma department of Corrections since I Turned 18 years of age. I am now 39 years old... I've spent my last 21 years of life, locked up in a maximum security environment. I have just recently stepped down in security to a medium facility, where Im still being held locked in my room 23 hours a day, simply because of my past. I am not allowed to be on the open general population yard because they think Im still an active gang member, even though I have been clear of any misconduct or issues w/any inmates or staff, since I been here. Including, I have done as my Case managers asked of me, to cell up w/ different types of guys to ensure that I'm not on any kind of BS. I've even lived with mexicans who they assume were my enemies. I chose to live w/ them to show the facility that I'm done with all the negativity. I dont care about any gang BS or any prison politics. Over the course of my 21 years being locked up in this system, I have see alot of madness, even been apart of alot of madness myself. Being that I was only maybe 120 lbs. soaking wet when I first came to prison, and only being like 5 foot 5 inches tall, give or take, a couple of inches, I had to do what I had to do, to stay alive inhere. I was thrown into a world where stabbings, killings, and other shit that would be hard to imagine, is an everyday way of life. Of course, as a lil ass naive kid, I was expected to die within a few short years into my sentence...Back then, I had made a promise to my mom, that I would stay alive as long as I could... I was given a life sentence on an accidental shooting case. The presiding judge made sure that my jury found me guilty of 1st degree murder, even though the jury specifically asked to be instructed on a "misdemeanor manslaughter/accidental shooting" charge and sentence, during deliberation. Yet, my judge saw it fit to instead instruct them to the 1st degree murder, and the jury then returned w/a 1st degree murder conviction... I have gone through many challenges, struggles, and changes while being locked up. My biggest problem, and maybe, the one thing that ultimately kept me sane through these 21 years of pure madness, is the drugs. Im embarrassed to admit, that, I've done everything from Heroin, Cocaine, Meth, different kinds of pills, and weed, pretty much on a regular basis, since day one in prison. I've been clean for the past year or so, but I think that drugs are a big reason of how I was able to make it through so much shit over the years and still be somewhat normal. I've seen guys get stabbed to death, beat to death, hang themselves several times, overdose on Heroin or Cocaine, or both, after being tired of doing this time. I've seen guys set their cells on fire, even dying from those same fires they've set in their own cells. Thats nothing to say, of the sexual situations I've seen w/ other guys... I've had to endure losing family and friends, to which I couldnt even be there to say goodbye. Thats not counting the friends I've lost behind these prison walls, to all the madness... I dont think society realizes what they subject a person to, when they sentence someone to large amounts of time... They dont realize that after a certain amount of time, the sentence becomes torture... Spiritual torture, physical torture, and, most of all, mental torture. It should be questioned how prison is used to rehabilitate people, when one in subjected to so much craziness. How do you fix a person's mind, after seeing so much shit over the years? There's no worse case scenario for post traumatic stress disorder, than having to spend so much time in prison. If doctors cant cure veterans that suffer from PTSD after a short while of them being in a warzone, how do you expect to rehabilitate a child, by sending him to prison for life? People dont realize that they're "destroying", more than "rehabilitating", by giving offenders these large amounts of prison sentences. Peoples' minds deteriorate, and ultimately, leads many to suicide, because the structure doesnt work. This structure is inhumane. It's straight up torture... Another example; I recently lost my mother. She passed away about a month ago. My mother has been everything to me, my whole life. She raised me. She took care of me all my life. She sacrificed most of her life, to give me and my family, the best that she could. There's no doubt, that a mother, is a person's most beloved thing, in all our lives. Yet, while she layed in a coma, on life support, I was denied, by this facility, and the department of Corrections, to go and say my goodbyes. I wasnt allowed to go to her bedside while she layed dying, and I wasnt allowed to go to her funeral either. My Aunts and Uncles offered to pay mileage, officers overtime wages, and any cost, just to be able to go say my goodbyes to my mom before she passed. I was denied that. It has always been a right, for inmates, to be allowed to go see a mother or a father, either, on their deathbed, or funeral. Why couldnt I go? I have to live w/that agony for the rest of my life. I wont ever have the peace of mind, that comes w/atleast saying goodbye to the woman that gave birth to me. This system is fucked up. It only breeds hate... During these 21 years of incarceration, I've had many issues and altercations w/ inmates, but I've never acted out towards officers or any staff. I never let the hatred consume me in that way. I realized at a young age, that these women and men, only come to work for a paycheck. Same as any other job. I do understand that these people that work here, come to work, because they have to feed their families; so I've never had any issues w/staff. For the most part, my objective has only been to stay alive and stay sane... I wont paint myself as an angel, because I've had to fight a lot over the years. I've done alot of shit Im not proud of. My peers respect me, and for the most part, try not to have issues w/ me. I earned that respect the way an old school convict did, when I first came to prison; the gladiator way... Now that Im older, I choose to be alone. I dont look for approval or any friends. I've realized that my life hasnt had any meaning in a longtime. I am now, the loneliest I've ever been my whole life; but I know thats also a part of growing up... I think of something that I once read, it said something like "Young men seek war, old men seek peace". Thats a hard truth I've come to realize. I find myself reading alot nowdays. Im looking for purpose in life. Im trying to find a way to be a positive influence in this world before I leave it too. I've been through and seen alot of fucked up shit in my life, so Im looking for a way to use it for good somehow. I hope the things I said in these writings can shed a little light on what it's like to be in prison for an extended amount of time... Thanks for taking the time to read it. -Respectfully, Martin Sanchez 6888 E. 133rd Rd. Holdenville, OK 74848

Author: Sanchez, Martin

Author Location: Oklahoma

Date: August 6, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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