Thank you for giving me the opportunity…

Noble, Ricardo

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Ricardo Noble S.C.I. - Greene Waynesburg, PA 15370 02/28/2014 Dear APWA: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my writings. Please, post this letter regarding the plight of Juvenile Lifers (Lifers sentenced to Life while juveniles), solitary confinement, and the enclosed 3 page "RHU Parallel" essay I wrote (that's referenced in this letter) on your website. Enclosed is also a signed permission sheet to post the above-mentioned writings on the APWA. I am from Erie, Pennsylvania. I was only 15 years old when I was arrested/charged on 10/19/1991 for charges of Homicide, Robbery, and Conspiracy to Robbery. I have been in the adult prison system since said date. I was never in a juvenile facility. A book I wrote called, "Erie, Pennsylvania's Betrayal of Child" can be read and downloaded for free at: www.prisonsfoundation.org. It details what really happened in my controversial 1991 homicide/conspiracy to robbery case, how I was unjustly convicted, and the error and injustice of sentencing, placing, and defining children (juveniles) as adults. No child should be placed in the adult criminal prison system or sentenced to Life without Parole. It's hypocritical to criticize or berate child ("juvenile") Lifers for being angry, confused, resentful, and not being "role model" prisoners (by the Department of Corrections' Standards) when it's a proven fact that at the time of their alleged crimes they were mentally immature and not intellectually or emotionally sophisticated. Yes, every person is to be held accountable for their own action. But having Life without Parole is not the only problem said children face. There are other issues that have to be considered by placing a child in a hostile criminal adult prison environment. Child Lifers are forced into the hostile environment of the adult prison with little or no guidance and no programs to faster the growth and development people claim they need to develop intellectually and emotionally mature individuals (not just "robotic" prisoners). They are celled with and surrounded by many adult prisoners who prey on the intellectually and emotionally immature and some adults who are in prison for committing crimes against children. To say or expect that almost all child lifers are or become "role model" prisoners with extensive flawless or almost flawless behavior reports is like saying that not only are said children "qualified" to survive in a hostile criminal adult prison environment, but they commonly overachieve. Or like saying that the judge, prosecutor, legislator, etc. were correct in condemning a child to Life without Parole in the adult criminal prison system because said children not only do "good" in said hostile adult environment, but they achieve and excel just like or better than similarly situated adults. Also, programs that teach people that they are not supposed to feel hurt, pain, anger, or resentment when wronged or because of their experiences or dissatisfaction with their situation or conditions, instead of teaching individuals how to deal with, manage, and productively channel said feelings, have proven to be ineffective and even counterproductive. Pain and anger are natural surviving mechanism. They let you know that something is wrong, you have been wronged, and how deep ("bad") said injury is that you suffered or suffer. The stress of pain and anger are not the problem. Problems are caused by not properly responding to said pain and anger. Self-improvement is one of the best ways to deal with and/or relieve said stress. You seldom hear the voices (stories) of child lifers who are still juveniles. Many of them have trouble articulating and expressing their issues and concerns. And many of them won't express their issues and concerns because they feel inadequate or "wrong" for not having an "everything is okay" attitude or a "role model" prisoner story to tell. Lifers sentenced to Life while children are not wrong or alone in their feelings of anger, pain, confusion, frustration, or resentment. Controlling and overcoming said mixed emotions is a process. Some people just take longer than others to sort it all out, manage, control, resolve, and properly channel such feelings. Society needs a realistic perspective of the cruel and unusual aspects of placing and treating a child like an adult and condemning them to Life in Prison. No child ("juvenile") should be sentenced as an adult or placed in the adult criminal prison system. It's a proven fact that a juvenile's brain and mental development is much less mature and developed than an adult's. Solitary confinement is another subject that I would like to speak about. Solitary confinement is commonly called "the hole." Prisoners placed in solitary confinement are housed in the restricted Housing Unit ("RHU") or Security Housing nit ("SHU") and locked in a cell 23 or 24 hours a day. Whenever I read or hear prison staff, politicians and other supporters of solitary confinement, especially long-term solitary confinement, speak about solitary confinement, they make it seem like being locked in a cell for 23 or 24 hours a day is "no big deal" or problem physically or psychologically on a person. And, of course, they never speak about the things that prison staff do that cause and contribute to the negative psychological effects of solitary confinement. Like maliciously skipping prisoners' cell for meals, showers, and yard; contaminating/tampering with prisoner's food; playing games and tampering with prisoners' mail and commissary; routinely banging on the cell door throughout the night to cause sleep deprivation; physical abuse; staff verbally disrespecting you; staff humiliating you; staff falsifying your file; staff lying to you and lying on you. They tend to make is seem like it's only the corrections officers ("C.O.'s") who subject prisoners in the RHU to malicious and sadistic treatment. But nurses, counselors, and other prison staff often initiate and join the campaign of harassment and also help cover-up (hide) the mistreatment or prisoners. No one (inside or outside of the Department of Corrections ("D.O.C") genuinely investigates the malicious, sadistic, and unconstitutional things and conditions prisoners in Pennsylvania's RHU's are experiencing or the effects of it (see attached "RHU Parallel", 3 page essay). Most of the abuse and deplorable conditions are recorded 24 hours a day on cameras stationed throughout the RHU. And all D.O.C Staff (counselors, nurses, etc.) who come to/through the RHU daily or weekly have witnessed or are aware of the abuse, terrible conditions, etc. but they don't say anything about it, even though their job description requires them to report such. So, they are just as vicious and guilty as the actual victimizers. They don't have to use their own names. D.O.C Policy states that everyone (prisoners and prison staff) can report abuse of prisoners, deplorable conditions, and any other wrongs anonymously. But said staff say nothing. Instead, they stay quiet and fool themselves into believing that they are still "good people" because they are not the staff member actually or directly committing said atrocities against prisoners. By definition, that makes them an accomplice. Most abuse of prisoners by staff and terrible prison conditions are unreported and undocumented. So, statistics don't even scratch the surface of reality. I left the RHU, but I will never forget what I experienced and witnessed while in the RHU or the impact of it on me. All questions, comments, and advice are welcome. Contact me at the below address. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please, share it with others. Sincerely, Richard Noble

Author: Noble, Ricardo

Author Location: Pennsylvania

Date: February 28, 2014

Genre: Essay

Extent: 7 pages

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