To San Quentin News,
No More Masks by Frank M. Ornelas
I had three masks, the first one was used for those who didn’t know me. It was to keep people away and to keep them cautious. It was a way to keep them at bay. The second was for my circle of friends, friends I didn’t trust. I used it to intimidate. With it, I used it until I didn’t need them anymore. The third mask I used on my family. I didn’t want them to know I was a criminal. I hid the shame and guilt I carried. Alone, I removed the masks; the hurts, the scars, the resentments, the regrets I hid. I had to change. It wasn’t easy, but I was ready to heal. When I was ready to face the world, I revealed myself to my family. They saw the authentic me. They accepted, loved, and helped me move on. And I stopped looking for
fake friends, and started looking for confidants. And they were true so I didn’t need a mask. They got to know me. In the end, I stopped wearing all the masks; In public, people no longer feared me; some even greeted me. I was finally able to receive so- ciety, because society was ready to receive me.
Michael Ornelas Valley State Prison
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Incarcerated Addicts
William Brigham, M.S.W. (Master of Social Work)
RE: Presidential Bid
Dear San Quentin News,
I am an SB 260 life prisoner that has been denied my freedom for 27 years for a “non-murder offense” by the parole board.
I will be running in the 2024 Presidential election, I prom- ise. I’ll need all the support I can muster-up. Our country is at risk 24/7. With God all things are possible. Hopefully I will have my G.E.D. by then; real sure of it.
I have noticed it is almost impossible to find any updated news about old lifers. Each quarter I look forward to the San Quentin News that is published by well-educated and rehabilitated men. And I am beginning to be disappointed that the articles seem to be promoting sports, music, etc.
I am pretty sure San Quentin prison is lovely, but the reality is for a lot of lifers, specifically serving a sentence for 3 strikes, it’s time to go home. We are the oldest abused and used pris- oners.
First ever former prison inmate to become commander-in- chief. Lower the unemployment rate, that, in turn will lower the crime rate, then in turn lower the murder rate.
What happened to all the lifer litigation against the board? I am afraid if I don’t speak up now, it will never be said. The po- litical lifer voices are drowned out by rhetoric. If we don’t have nothing else, we got a voice.
I would also address climate change where we respect the earth, respect and take care of one’s self. It might be already too late to save our earth, (but) I’m advocating for the earth. Let’s work together and stop the madness/destroying Mother Earth. If people think the weather’s dangerous now keep burn- ing fossil fuel.
Sincerely Tracy Cullie
In other places on earth people are dying of hunger, and the people that don’t; BAD things are happening to them. People should learn from the mistake they’ve made in the past. If peo- ple don’t they most likely will not have much of a future on the livable earth once it is gone.
Mental Health program
I would like to bring light to Mule Creek Prison, B-Yard to give everyone an idea of the majestic atmosphere surrounding it. Like most prison yards it has five buildings, a beautiful yard, and a great education program. Building six is where the (Enhance Outpatient Program) E.O.P. inmates and staff members who make the difference to this yard are placed.
Fewer than 1 percent of the more than 5,000 U.S. prisons and jails, housing more than 2 million inmates, allow access to FDA-approved medications such as methadone, buprenor- phine, Suboxone or Vivitrol, even though addiction experts have considerable evidence to prove their effectiveness in treating addiction to opioids (heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone). Even the National Sheriffs Association has published a guide as to how best to incorporate their use in jails.
All praises be given to our Supreme Creator, “THE LORD of HOSTS.” I compose this letter in response to an article about Mr. Glenn Bailey. An Article from San Quentin News dated April 2019. I couldn’t resist an opportunity as this to extend my utmost respect, plus appreciation regarding your integrity. Also (your) commitment to the roles you all have assumed. Its complex trying to describe the emotional impact – us coming together for a true cause like the ole days!!
Everyone has issues of some sort; few choose not to do any- thing about them. There are those who take steps to change their lives in the face of such opposing circumstances, and at times it may look hopeless, but they persevere anyways.
The opposition to the use of these medications in jails and prisons is mostly because of legitimate safety and security concerns. A possible answer to this problem might be found in the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which bans discrimination against people with disabilities, to include pro- tection for those recovering from drug addictions. At least four prisoners nationwide are arguing that the ADA covers them and that they are being denied proven medication-assisted treat- ment (MAT).
A time in which we understood how imperative it was to unite, unlike today, many of us are lost and now conform to elements reflecting self-destruction, or should I emphasize genocide? Wondering why we’ve failed to empower ourselves as a Black race.
Those who step up every day, and face their issues inside their self and the stigma over them from the world because of mental health issues are very special. The staff who watch over them , and the psychologist who take the time to help them overcome their issues should be acknowledged for what they do, even though they don’t do it for the purpose of being ac- knowledged.
A consequence of miseducation regarding the dynamics of empowerment. Therefore, has hindered us the adequate cause plus ability to work together!! Primarily due to everyone ‘ha- tin’ rather than congratulating!! Every time one of us emerge, whom is great, somebody’s gonna hate!! That’s ridiculous!! Yet, a reality many of us cannot understand a failure to incorporate ideas, business, also finances puts us Black people in vulner- able positions! “I’m keepin it 100.”
Psychologists have their hands full, but do a great job to counsel, and lend a helping hand to assist people with mental health disorders. I don’t know if you have ever dealt with mental health disorders, but let me tell you at times people can be un- predictable and unreasonable due to their issues, and whatever else is going on in their lives.
The importance of making this treatment available during in- carceration is found in the following: In the two weeks after re- lease, prisoners are 12 times more likely to die – and 129 times more likely to die of an overdose – than the general population. Forced abstinence behind bars means addicts are released with a lower tolerance and an increased urge to use.
Now I get out next year and a brotha 49, yet still got it! How- ever, do realize the complexities I must endure. Although it’s a shame you can’t get any help in our Black communities, a lot of us are still suffering the effects of slavery!!
It takes really special people with big hearts to properly deal with this. I’m not even talking about the unending training and schooling. I believe people are put in positions because they are able to handle the situation properly.
Recent research reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that prisoners who received methadone mainte- nance treatment (MMT) during incarceration were more likely than prisoners who did not receive MMT to engage in the treat- ment after being released, and that those who received metha- done during incarceration also reported less heroin use and had a lower risk of nonfatal overdose after being released.
That’s why I must be surrounded by those who regard the struggle, those whom are not suffering mental enslavement; but a lot of us have succumbed to bitterness, hate, fear as well in a lot of our sistaz as well.
I have personally been in the groups and there is a lot of sup- port and information for people plus the program is getting bet- ter and focusing on major mental health issues likes: anxiety, stress, mood, and substance related disorders. The hope is to reach as many people with mental health issues as possible to make the world a safer place.
Only five states – Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Vermont and Washington – offer both methadone and buprenorphine to some inmates at one or more prisons or jails. Hopefully all parties involved (corrections official, researchers, civil rights organizations and prisoner spokespersons) can come together to
Where our sistaz don’t even smile anymore! But (sister) your smile is so infectious and exudes joy. Nor have I allowed trials or set-backs to steal my inner peace. My GOD given ability to exist warrants enough reason to be happy! So, I can smile too. I refuse to let things I endured in prison, or the streets of L.A., where I’m from steal my joy! Anyway, GOD BLESS. I send my love to all of you. Big ups to ‘OG’ Mr. Glenn Bailey.
Mule Creek State Prison
John C. Imus Jr. Valley State Prison