By DAVID MARSH Editor’s Note: David Marsh was a staff writer for the San Quentin News for two years until his release on parole in June 2010. He is now a reporter and columnist for the weekly Valley Voice newspaper. I guess it’s time to for me to live up to the commitment that I made when I left San Quentin in June of last year. I said I’d occasionally submit articles for publication in the San Quentin News, so here is one. I am reviving “As I See It…” in the pages of your newspaper. I am also using the name “As I See It…” in the pages … [Read more...] about As I See It. . .
By DAVID MARSH Editor’s Note: David Marsh, now paroled, was a Staff Writer for S.Q. News and periodically submits articles for publication with his permission. The shy ten-year-old boy takes several halting, tentative steps up the sidewalk leading to the closed door, his small hands tightly clutching two bags in one hand, a larger jar in the other. P.Nuttles! Delicious butter toffee peanuts! The currency of choice for successive generations of many YMCA summer-camp-bound youngsters. The door opens, somehow the confused young lad … [Read more...] about Family Camp Ready to Open for the 2011 Season
By DAVID MARSH When you forget your mistakes, you are doomed to repeat them. As a parolee, I do not have the luxury of room for making mistakes. Only three short months out from behind the foreboding walls of the fortress by the bay, the venerable San Quentin State Prison, I flagrantly broke the law! I got a ticket for not using my seatbelt. And certainly I knew better. I mean, it’s hard to forget that you’re a parolee. Nonetheless, I didn’t buckle up and the local constabulary wasted little time in serving me up a painful … [Read more...] about So What Happens to a Seatbelt-less Parolee?
By DAVID MARSH Parole is in transition. The folks in Sacramento would be the first ones to tell you this in case you didn’t read it in the newspapers. My parole agent(s) have been quick to point this out to me. But you’ll experience the confusion firsthand with your first visit or two to the local parole office. Me, I paroled on June 11 and I’m currently working with my third agent. Yes, three in two months! I haven’t moved or changed my address once. I’m still in the same place. And No. 3 tells me not to get too comfortable because I’ll … [Read more...] about Parole’s Ups and Downs
By DAVID MARSH A federal panel has refused to eliminate the receiver overseeing California prison health care. The ruling clears the way for federal Receiver J. Clark Kelso to proceed with his $1.9 billion construction plan to add medical beds to the state’s 32 prisons. The decision was announced by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on April 30. Kelso was appointed by U.S. District Judge Thelton E. Henderson of San Francisco under authority of the federal Prison Litigation Reform Act. The move came as a … [Read more...] about Judges Back Kelso’s Rule
By DAVID MARSH The clients are inmates, and many are soon to be paroled. In large numbers, two evenings each week, they file steadily through the door of the California Re-entry Program in a seemingly unending stream. For those who come through the door, their quest is for information vital to their success or failure on parole. Information which, for most, can be found in no other place behind the walls of this budget-challenged prison. THROUGH THE DOOR Twice each week many will come through the door seeking information in areas as … [Read more...] about Re-Entry Program – What It Means
When Virginia instituted its long-planned smoking ban in prisons in February, it brought half the number of the 50 states which have outlawed the use of tobacco products by staff and inmates on prison grounds. A number of the other 25 states that still permit tobacco products on prison grounds have some sort of partial ban in place, with some sort of exception such as staff smoking areas. Georgia will become the next state with smokeless prisons when its ban takes effect in December. Most states have relied on a phased-in approach in … [Read more...] about Prison Smokers Are Facing A Bleak Future All Over
David Marsh wrote this column shortly before being paroled By DAVID MARSH FORGIVENESS: I will be leaving this place soon, in a matter of days, God willing. Yup, parole date coming up for me, again! Hope to make this one, on June 11th. And as a single father with three children, two of them minors, who is at the tail end of a sentence of nine with half-time, I would like to believe that I am ready. Time to get home to my kids, Becky, David and Nolan. But I know in my heart that I am not yet truly ready, because I still have no idea … [Read more...] about Going Home to See Becky
DAVID MARSH I’ve left behind the walls of the prison, having paroled on June 11. But I’m still fighting to reach freedom, one slow step at a time. I’m homeless for now, for the first time in my life, and I’m 54 years old. I’d never have imagined that there is such complexity to being successful at being homeless. But there is, and it’s a struggle to learn it. Until June 11 the folks at San Quentin cooked my meals, gave me a bed to sleep in, even did my laundry if I’d let ‘em, and gave me a job on the newspaper to keep me busy and out … [Read more...] about I’m Out On Parole: So What Do I Do Now?
By DAVID MARSH Will these walls that now surround me Be my future, then my end These cold steel bars before me Are my truth, I can’t pretend Are my memories of freedom Just a taste, forbidden fruit Are my visions for the future Out of reach, perhaps quite moot Will this gate that does not open Keep my spirits trapped within Do you keep me here in prison As my punishment for sin Just perhaps I’m not the person You locked up so long ago If you took the time to know me It is possible you’d know … [Read more...] about MEMORIES OF FREEDOM