Sticky, of San Diego, California
As of late, I find myself writing about this subject more and more often. A pattern, maybe? Not too long ago, I got a new cell mate. Before he came, I prayed for a roomie with Christian values, which is exactly what I got. Over the course of the first week, I learned he has been doing time since 1984. I was still in high school then. We are both from south Cali and have lots to talk about. The part that infuriates a piece of me is the raw deal the citizens of this state passed upon him, changing the course of his life.
Sure, the man killed a couple of drug dealers, in self-defense, but there were many extenuating circumstances with his case. For one, the two of them were shooting at him. It sounds to me as though he was punished for being a better shot. At the end of his trial, the jury found him guilty, "beyond a shadow of a doubt," naturally ignoring all the shadows. Their recommendation was (1) 25 to life sentence. But, the judge concluded this to not be enough, adding an additional 25 to life, making them consecutive, thus: 50 to life. The judge wanted to break him off with life without the possibility of parole but, because he was under the influence of narcotics, the death penalty and life without were illegal and off the table.
In 1987, my cellie appealed the sentence, and won ... sort of. At least, they like to have you think he won. The sentence was changed to 25 to life + 25. The only change was the elimination of one "L". Well, slap me twice and call me a dumbass. I guess I'll be dipped in shit as soon as it's explained to me how this was a win. Still, he's happy and convinced he will receive a parole date when he goes to his first board hearing, in 2020. I hope he is right.
I believe prison sentences should be on a sliding scale, for everyone. Those who continue to wallow in their old ways should remain in these places. But those who, like my cellie, are no longer the person they once were should be granted freedom. Or, perhaps half-way house freedom. It is understandable to sentence a 20-year-old murderer to life, but how do you look the same man in the eyes, 30 years later, knowing he is no longer that punk kid, and keep him locked away? As human beings, we all learn from our mistakes. Some learn faster than others, but we still learn. I live with a man who has done just that.
As I wrote this, my new cellie was outside trying to catch a view of the "Super Moon". It was special, not because the planet seemed closer, but because he felt closer to it. That night was the first time in 31 years, having been to eight different prisons, that he was allowed to go to night yard. Therefore, it was the first time in as many years he had been able to stand on the dirt and have an unobstructed view of any nighttime celestial entity. I hope he can one day share the same vision with his dad. Years ago, he made a promise to the man he'd do everything necessary to get out, before his father passes. I think he has and will continue to do so.
Sam Aurelius Milam III
I'm no longer convinced that disputants are more likely to obtain justice from lawyers during a trial in court than they are to obtain it from Champions in a trial by combat. Who knows? Maybe God really would intervene and strengthen the arm of a Champion in a righteous cause.
I don't know if justice is available either way, with a Champion or with a lawyer, but it certainly doesn't seem likely to me that God would ever strengthen the arm of a lawyer, and their mouths are already strong enough.
|Letters to the Editor|
Wow, the "War on Evil" was the best writing from Frontiersman [Auto-Da-Fé, November, page 1]. I expected to end comparing it with the "War on Terror" and Gitmo which is a helluva lot worse than US prison system. Gitmo you are not charged, no hearing, etc.
Portugal has now legalized all drugs. http://mic.com/articles/110344/14-years-after-portugal-decriminalized-all-drugs-here-s-what-s-happening
Here is a video you may find enjoyable: https://youtu.be/sHzdsFiBbFc
Newly released inmates should have knowledge of programs BEFORE being released. Sad that there is no info for inmates while inside. Heard the hardest part is after release. I find that hard to believe but I was never a felon.
911 was not only bulldozed but the heap was shipped to China. [Second Editorial Reply, November, page 2]
"It was either watch the documentary or show up early for supper and risk having to help." [Fish Story, November, page 3]
Wow, do you know who you sound like in that sentence? You sound like Ignatius Jacques Reilly. In fact your entire paragraph was VERY ENTERTAINING! I am forwarding that part to my friend who told me about the book A Confederacy of Dunces. :):):):):):):):)
A Confederacy of Dunces is a very good book.
Dear Comrade Sam,
Greetings to you in solidarity. Thank you for Oct issue of your newsletter. And thanks once again for printing my letter [Letters to the Editor, October, pages 2 3]. I'm more upset about them killing [name withheld] than any thing, the beating I took wasn't shit next to beatings I've taken in the past. The pigs at Chino kicked my teeth out in 2011, for trying to get a pig in Lancaster to face murder charges....
Now I wish to speak/write on Sticky's "Rehabilitation Failure" [October, page 1]. First, CDCr is an industry. It could not be profitable if there was not a high return rate. My social worker here just told me that a parolee can't get food stamps, can't have a business license, and out of the $200 gate money the prison industrial complex gives a parolee, one has to buy his/her own bus/train ticket back to whichever California city in which you were arrested. I ask, in this day and age, how long can a person live/survive/eat/house one's self on $200 minus the cost of a bus or train ticket? The answer is not even 24 hours. I have solutions in my mind that may work to stop the revolving door of incarceration. But the truth is this is by design. The word rehabilitation means to reform to an earlier state, to make one how one was at a former time in one's life. But the way I see it they can never rehabilitate most prisoners, because the areas we come from never allowed us to be habilitated.... We are square pegs in a round hole world. Without a family support system, or close supportive friends or mate, we are doomed to return. You can be violated and sent back to prison without even being charged of a crime.
Re your article "On Hope and Futility" [October, page 3], Orwell's 1984 is one of my favorite books. It's so relevant in these days and times. I personally have seen change in the way people think in my 20 years since I was free....
I really enjoyed the article by Robert Outman [Auto-Da-Fé, November, page 1], and your response to it [Editorial Comments, November, page 1] in the November issue of "Frontiersman". Just yesterday, I attended a function of the Libertarian Party of Hawaii and picked up a pamphlet titled "A New Vision for America" which made some points similar to yours and many others that made sense to me. Anybody interested could probably get a version of the pamphlet by googling the Libertarian Party....
Thank you for your writing.
Steve, Wahiawa, Hawaii
Sam Aurelius Milam III
A White Man's Notes
Sam Aurelius Milam III
Women are very good at appearing to be victims.
In any argument with a man, a woman's most likely acknowledgment that she's wrong is when she acts offended and doesn't want to talk about it anymore.
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Lady Jan the Voluptuous; my mother; Betty; and Eric, of Ione, California.
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