Can One Foresee The Change, Or Is It To Remain A Dream?
"So many hcn'e sight without vision, which is indeed worse than being blind.
I have lived through years of torturous deliberation during these years of
However, I maintain my integrity as well as my vision of liberation and
justice. As I grow like a sturdy oak
tree, my growth fortifies me. My roots spread beneath and through the walls,
reaching out tentatively into
the lives of those who read my words.
As for all prisoners, whether I face a lot of time or only a few years,
there are serious fundamental
questions. These are agonizing ones for most of us, most of the time. How
will 1 get through it? How will
I maintain? How will I grow while resisting the simultaneous dehumanization?
I wonder how many others
like me verbalize to themselves, or to each other, such questions. How often
do others stop to examine the
state of their spirits as I am naggingly compelled to do without much
After all, prison is a constant gauntlet I must run throughout the howling,
beating circumstances of
my sentenced days. I am stopped bare; my heart, mind and spirit are kicked
and punched. Ef I'm not
vigilant I will become scarred, traumatized and tough like a punching bag -
resilient but empty. I put up
my shield, a transparent but defensive wall that seals shut my living tomb.
I resist cruelty and callousness.
I gather together an inventory of light, exploring the reaches of freedom
from within my cell, as well as the
responsibilities of freedom without.
I have become "harder" in my years of incarceration but I have become
"softer" also. Like all
here, I am a human being who has much to offer from my own intelligence,
creativity and wit
Many in society view the prisoner as someone they know exists but shun if
not known to them
directly. Why care? some ask. Let mm rot awhile, some say, not flunking of
his return to the community.
Some do care: conscientious individuals and those whose daughters and sons,
mothers and fathers, aunts
and uncles and even grandchildren make up and comprise the prisoner class.
Why can society at large not
assist in the caring? Prison is to provide public safety, yes, but the
prisoner could be a threat to that safety
once he is released because of having received no treatment or programs or
pre-release planning, and no
aftercare programs are waiting for him on the outside.
One day I could have contact with a caring individual from out there and
become a living
somebody to him; then the struggle for my existence will become a part of
his caring. There are so many
like me here. Why can society not care for all of us and seek to give and
offer all of us a chance to grow
and learn from our mistakes? Why must we be repressed in punishment beyond
the punishment of our
sentences and not be offered the caring and guidance we need to prepare us
to return to the world of those
who now shun us? Would society not profit were we to find love and make
change through treatment and
programs befitting our needs? The answer is an emphatic "yes."
Sadly, the WI Department of Corrections doesn't consider our future
potential as a normal person
to be part of its offering; instead it thinks of its vested interest and job
security in Wisconsin's fastest
growing industry, the business of prisons.
The prisoners of the Supermax Correctional Institution (SMCI) in Boscobel,
WI are a prime
example of time bombs waiting to go off. The diminishing effects on us of
the institution's condition of
long-term sensory deprivation have already been determined to be a very real
issue but the issue is not
given any real treatment These prisoners like myself are denied real human
contact and interaction on any
real or intimate levels. I ask for your open support for changing this
dehumanizing prison into a regular
maximum-security prison. .
Do you on the outside want these wounded, angry individuals walking among
week, next month or next year? A small action on your part can make big
change without much
intervention of personal time. I ask that you call or write to your
legislator or newspaper to express support
for our plight and call attention to these real issues. Please tell them you
care. Your tax dollars will
produce watered-down results if you cannot move their current investment in
purely maintaining me and
those like me in the inner walls of these isolation cells into an investment
in our future return to a society
that wants to be safe. I ask that you hear this plea from one among many
here who fight to remain humans
being, regardless of these painful and dehumanizing circumstances.