This is to let you know

Hughes, Chris

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NO TITLE APWA, This is to let you know that I sent an essay last time I wrote and it's in your file. You can print this: I have done a lot of time in and out of jail and prison. I was locked up from age 13 to 18 in training school-not because my crime was that bad (grand theft auto) but because of the irrational and excessive rules I couldn't abide by. When I got out at age 18 I was released and was 18 physically but still 13 socially. I was clueless. All I knew was fighting. I was conditioned to hate authority-for 5 years they treated me like an animal, even though I was only a child. I got out and so confused I didn't know what to do. I was hurt. I turned to smoking marijuana. Then it was alcohol. Eventually I got in trouble for possession of marijuana. I did a little time in jail. Shortly after I was released, my mother, whom I lived with at the time, had to leave the house to me because she couldn't afford it. She moved out and I was left with a house I definitely couldn't afford. So it wasn't long I was living in my mom's car. I eventually got very drunk one night and I honestly did not intend to drive but I blacked out and I took off driving in a drunken stupor. I awoke in the hospital. I actually asked for my keys. I was then told that my car had been totaled. I was devastated. I went to the homeless shelter. After 30 days I was kicked out into the streets-my time had run out. You can only stay for 30 days, then you're out for 6 months before you are eligible to come back. On freezing nights or raining days I had no choice but to seek shelter. It wasn't long before I was arrested for 2nd degree trespassing and placed in jail. This all was so long ago. I remember bits and pieces but I was caught once at an abandoned house after I'd worked all day at a temp service. I had a bag of weed and a cop caught me red-handed. The Guilford County Detention Center is an awful place. I was booked, placed under a 500 dollar bond and put in a cage. That bond was truly a ransom. They knew I couldn't afford it, so they knew it was excessive. There's an Amendment in the Constitution that says "excessive bail shall not be required." Yet they do it regularly. I sat in jail, time and time again, for petty "crimes" like trespassing, public intoxication (where is a homeless person supposed to drink?), or disorderly conduct. A few times the cops escalated the problems by being sarcastic and then they'd put their hands on me, pushing me toward a car, and I'd turn and tell them to get their fucking hands off of me and there's your "resisting" charge. It was a crock of shit. There was nothing just about it. Hindsight is 20/20 and that's still how I see it. And the times I may have been wrong and showed out, well, you have to realize how hard it is to accept being tied up in chains like a hog and locked in a cage. Your instinct is not to allow it. That instinct is much stronger after you've been locked in cages most of your life and know for a fact that the justice system's intent is not to rehabilitate prisoners and/or help with a successful transition into society. As I write this I sit on solitary confinement. I sit in this cage 24/7. Oh, don't forget the 365. They don't give me any resources to learn from or prepare for my release. I have 2 years left. I know it but, more importantly, they know it. So why are they just trying to drive me crazy and release me broke, busted, and disgusted? They claim their goal is rehabilitation. How? By locking me in a cage, treating me like an animal and then releasing me with no money or home? They also claim their number one goal is public safety. The "North Carolina Department of Public Safety." Ask yourself: How does it make the public safer by locking people up, knowing the prisoner will be released to the public, and driving them crazy and releasing them in worse shape than they were to begin with? That makes society more dangerous. At least it makes it worse, not better. I'd like to see one single statistic that shows a benefit from mass incarceration-and I'm not talking about the money that the system makes or the elections that DA's, judges and legislators get for enforcing and endorsing this system. Because they are the only ones who truly benefit. Think of all the money in prisons. Couldn't we build schools instead? I mean I have seen at least a hundred prisoners or pre-trial detainees that did not need to be locked up. That's probably more than a hundred I've seen but I'm being realistic. Some prisoners do need to be locked up and deserve to be too. But the amount of prisoners in America is outrageous. The amount of laws are outrageous. Go to Dumblaws.com and check some out for yourself. What's really worse is the problem of legislators claiming prisoners as their "constituents" to gain the upper hand in elections-aka gerrymandering. This gives politicians a powerful motive for mass incarceration. They claim the prisoners and the prisoner doesn't even know it, nor do the voters, so nobody can challenge this corrupt practice. I weighed 220 lbs. when I was first locked up. I now weigh 175 lbs. That's how under fed I am. Prisoners are locked in these cages and have to wait on police to bring anything they need or to get them medical help in the event of an emergency. The guards are supposed to do their rounds every hour but most don't. We have "call buttons" on our wall, which notify the guards if we need them. But they never answer them. They answer once in a blue moon but never when it counts. I haven't witnessed anybody dying but I have heard stories-from guards and prisoners. Basically I pray everyday and have written my family and told them that if I have a stroke or heart attack to remember I love them always-because I'll be a dead man. Even if I manage to get to the "call button" they will only notify the nurse (if they bother answering in the first place) and then the nurse will take their time. I have actually seen people complain of chest pains and it took the nurse over 2 hours to come. Seriously, I watched the clock! So if you have a serious heart attack or whatever-it's over. You'll die. And shouldn't that be a manslaughter charge against them? I mean all the laws are used harshly against us. Why not them? Why the law for me, but not for thee? There's no justice-just-us. And how can they make such a thing as a "gun law" when the 2nd Amendment specifically prohibits just that? How can they put you in jail indefinitely when you're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty? How do they get away with cruel and unusual punishment on a massive scale? All these things are prohibited in the Constitution. But here's something most do not know: the Constitution (Federal) is for the states-not the people! "But indeed, no private person has a right to complain, by suit in court, on the ground of a breach of the Constitution. The Constitution, it is true, is a compact (contract), but he is not a party to it. The states are the parties to it..."Padelford, Fay + Co. v. The Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah, 14 Georgia 438,520. So now you know that little tid-bit. It's real-look it up. We don't have rights but "government granted privileges," only. I sit in this cell day after day, learning through certain legal programs and The American's Bulletin Free Press Newspaper. And I wait. I wait. Knowing that when I get out I never want to come back. I want a job, home and car, a family. But I know the "justice" system is out to get me. I'll be struggling and have a parole officer trying to collect money I don't have-how can I win? I'm labeled a "felon"-that's a life sentence to poverty! How can I make it? I sit and ask myself. There's nobody else to ask. Where's the help with "rehabilitation"? I don't see it. I've asked my case manager and he hasn't done anything-nothing. When I get out I'm right back where I was, only worse off. They know I'm gonna be released! What is their game? Is it not obvious that they don't care about me or society? For if they don't help me, they hurt society! I'm only one prisoner-there are thousands of others just like me. The prison population is society! Some are out, some are in. We're all citizens too. We've made mistakes but who hasn't? I'm locked up for a violent crime. I was at a homeless camp that was "mine" for all intents and purposes. I got drunk, a guy wanted revenge, so he jumped on me while I was too drunk to fight back, to defend myself. I tried to walk away. If I were able I would've ran! But he kept following me, pushing, punching and trying to get me to fight. At the point I was about to fall down I was scared to death. My case is closed so I have no motivation to lie now. I pulled out my knife and told him to stop and to get away from me, I couldn't fight. I only hoped it would convince him to stop, to turn around. I never wanted to cut him. But he punched me again and I swung. Then I went down. I cut him as he pounded me in the head. He never stopped until he heard police sirens. Then he jumped up and ran towards the cops and lied to them. I was out cold. I was never even questioned. I was charged with attempted 1st degree murder. I got to court 15 1/2 months later after sitting in jail the whole time. Just so happened that the DA got me to court while my eye witness was in the hospital. The judge refused to grant a continuance or a mis-trial. So the jury never heard that eye witness testimony. The judge wouldn't allow us to use the "victim's" and his wife's wildly conflicting stories, that they gave to police at the scene, as a defense. The jury never knew that they were getting a totally different story. All they saw were pictures of cuts and blood. I was convicted of Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. I filed an appeal, found out that if I "won" I went back to jail and my charge went back to 1st degree attempted murder. It'd take about 3 or 4 years-I'd be home by then. So I had no sane choice but to drop it and I did. Some justice, huh? If I wouldn't have been released homeless would I have been in that situation? Chris Hughes

Author: Hughes, Chris

Author Location: North Carolina

Date: October 19, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 8 pages

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