This letter was written by a person incarcerated at Vacaville.
What I’ll say next has never been good to speak on by inmates, but it needs to be said, especially now. For more than a year there has been no contact visits for the inmate population, yet drugs and cell phones are still showing up in the institution and inmates are being nailed to the walls if they are caught with either, again, staff not so much.
As with the COVID-19 and the drugs coming into this place the inmates are being blamed for it and punished. Everything here is one way street, and it’s a dead end for you know who, inmates. I don’t use hard drugs or alcohol, but if I get me hands on a cell phone, I want it. Yeah I’m looked at in a major bad, bad light, was even denied parole last year at my first board hearing for five years, the phone made me violent in the board’s eyes.
However I see it like this. If you place a bowl of candy on a coffee table with a three-year-old in the house, how long will it be before the child makes he way into the bowl of candy? And would you cut the child’s hands off when you’re the one that placed that same temptation in his reach?
Now I’m no child, I fully know right from wrong, but I also I know I want my freedom back. Because of the way the way the world is now ran nowadays, through technology, being able to use a cell phone is the closest way I can seem to get to regaining my freedom, being able to reach out to people.
Collect calls and writing letters is an lost art. No one seems to want to answer letters without being able to email, CDCR knows this, but the one reason they give for not allowing cell phones, we might commit a crime against someone. To me it’s just one more reason or way to keep me from regaining my freedom and away from the outside world as a whole.
Drugs, fighting, people OD’ing, rape, shootings, stabbings, gambling, you name it, I’ve probably seen it. Schools, vocations, self-help groups, people coming in to tutor inmates, friends outside, angle tree, many groups who try, try to ease the darkness for inmates, you name it and I’ve probably seen it, but I’m tired of seeing it all.
In 1992 I committed two robberies on innocent people, I went to prison, as well as I should have, problem was I didn’t learn anything from it, so not longer after I was released I did it again. This time instead of four year sentence I was given two life sentences. Did I deserve to come back, yes! Yes and hell yes!
Let’s say because to the amount of time I was given I sobered up real quick like. I was placed in school, I finished their three tier educational program. Following that I completed six vocational trades, I’ve worked on two major construction crews, learned a lot from that.
I have countless certificates from self-help groups, even wrote and published two books. My typing could use a little more work, but I taught myself this as well. Yet none of this was enough when I went. I went before the parole board.