Can America continue to ignore the massive impact excessively harsh incarceration tactics are having on this country? How many children must go through life without a mother or father because we refuse to address alternative resources that would allow fami- lies to be reunited sooner.
Most child psychologist agree that alienating children from either parent leads to “toxic stress” resulting in lasting psychological and physical health problems. As children grow older without parental guidance of both parents, it can also lead to criminal behavior spurred from the anger or confusion of a missing parent in their life for so long.
Almost all – 91 percent – agreed that the US criminal justice system needs reform. 61 percent preferred shorter sentences to spending on incarceration. Eighty-nine percent of crime victims favored additional spending on schools and education over build- ing more prisons and jails.
So it seems the only ones who support excessive incarceration is our government. The people have spoken and are largely against excessive sentencing, and for prison reform. The government does not control the civilian, we control the government. They serve America. It’s time for the government to do what the public demands of it.
Jeremy Mount, Federal Correctional Institution, Sandstone, MN
Dear San Quentin News,
My name is Jessie Garcia from Centinela Prison. I’ve been read- ing the articles in the San Quentin paper about running for a few years now.
I started a 100 mile club about four years ago here at Centinela. We currently start from July 1st to June 30th for runners to com- plete 100 miles or more. We have between 40 to 50 runners. We have about 20 who complete between 100 to 1,000 and a few who complete over 2,000 miles.
We started this year having a 3 mile race. I’m planning on expanding to have 2 mile and 6 mile races also. The reasons I’m writing is to ask if the next time you get ready to have a 3 mile race if it would be alright if you let me know 4-6 weeks ahead of time and we can run one over here and can send you our times to compare with your runners and see how we place. Kind of like a competition. I hope this is something you would be interested in so we could get other prisons to do the same.
I hope that you take this into consideration. Sincerely,
Jess Garcia, Centinela State Prison
To San Quentin News,
My name is Danna Dan Vongamath, I am finally in prison at the Wasco State Prison Reception Center. But before I caught the chain, I was housed in a facility (a county jail) in Orange County. While I was there fighting my case for six months. I never in my entire life have taken so much verbal abuse, threats, personal property abuse, causing tension between other races fights and riots, all from an Orange County deputy. I am so tired of not say- ing anything, so tired being scared to talk about it. These past couple of months, inmates and deputies were getting into it. But the local county newspapers made us inmates look like the inci- dences with the deputies were for no reasons and that we are the ones with animal like behavior. I don’t ever think a deputy will ever come forward to the media that he has been abusing his power. How can we stop being abused? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Because they have a badge does that make them have the right to inflict pain and harm, mentally and physically? This is America so America I’m asking for your help.
Danna Dan Vongamath, Wasco State Prison
San Quentin News,
In writing this letter, I express a grave concern I have regarding the Prop. 57 law. My main concern is the fact that it was created with discriminating efforts. Discriminating towards violent offend- ers. Violent offenders need just as much help as anyone else serving time. It makes no sense to exclude them, simply because their crime was considered “violent.” How are we (violent offend- ers) supposed to successively transition into society after serving an extensive amount of time behind bars? Milestones, they can have milestones! That’s all? What about all these enhancements and add-ons for a crime we’ve already paid for? Milestones will definitely help, but are not sufficient enough for proper rehabilita- tion. SB1393 takes away the 5-year enhancement for a serious felony and SB136 takes away the 1-year enhancement for prior felonies. What about the 3-year enhancement for a violent felony? Once again, laws are coming into existence that are backed by discriminating preference!
I’m not complaining, I know I messed up, but seriously an 11-year sentence to be served at 85% (now 80%) is a bit excessive! And, not being eligible to the many benefits that are available through Prop. 57 hurts me. I just want to get well, and part of getting well is making it home to my wife and family as soon as possible.
Vincent Caico, Deuel Vocational Institution
Prisoners’ Lives Matter
People don’t stop being humans when they offend society and
On the contrary we lose some of our best citizens at their prime In fact it is inside of their cell that many prisoners rehabilitate themselves
Coming out into society as reformed people having left the older
Of their lives behind on prison shelves
Instead of breaking the fallen down even further we should pick
Let them drink from the fountain of change till they do away with their hiccup
They did wrong and must be held accountable for their acts Recidivism is a blight on society and statistics prove these facts
Men and women deserve a second chance when they are locked
away in prison
These are our fellow citizens who went astray with their vision
A prison number doesn’t make them any less of a human being We all just have to guide their sight back to a civilized way of seeing
Drugs play a major role in their fall
Addicted to chemical substances under the influence of alcohol Many were at their lowest common denominator when they became criminals
Therefore we must all stand up and mentor better choices for the millennials
We can’t just lock up our citizens and throw away the key
The ultimate goal is to rehabilitate them so they can contribute to society
The world can’t afford to only see incarcerated people through the lens of
Their past clutter and clatter
Although we must never forget the victims of crime prisoners lives also matter
Jefferson City Correctional Facility, MO
To San Quentin News:
I’ve written before about how I was shocked at the intelligence, integrity and openness of your writers. These feeling of mine are strengthened with each issue.
I get to read words from actual real people who have evolved from desperate, fierce criminals…who have transformed themselves into beings of compassion. I am not making this up. There are examples of this all through the San Quentin News…
Then in the September 2019 issue on page 17 in News Briefs (#4), Sharee Miller, in prison for murder, speaks of the OPPOSITE: ac- tual law officers performing horrendous torture. This is something ELSE that goes on that I’d not known: there are people whose job it is to PROTECT humans from torture and crime, who are themselves “desperate, fierce criminals…” and Miller having the guts and integrity to report it, at her OWN risk.
The San Quentin News helps me see the WHOLE picture. I send blessings and support and love to all San Quentin people.
Nyla Blair, Outside Supporter
I’m over here in Corcoran State Prison, in the ASU (Security Hous- ing Unit). I came across your newspaper while searching for the legal library address there at San Quentin. First I would like to say good work, the paper is great. Keep up the good work. Next I am trying to request a recall and resentencing form for the enhance- ments I was given. It’s Assembly Bill 2942-Penal Code 1170(d) (1). I’ve been struggling trying to get this form for a minute, any help will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time and help.
Randall Hinson, Corcoran State Prison
Dear San Quentin News,
First and foremost I would like to thank ya’ll for publishing my ar- ticle in the October 2019 issue, titled “Pelican Bay Inmates Break- down Barriers of Stigmatization.” It’s important that people all over especially California see the faces of the people who are making a heartfelt solid effort to stop racial tensions, violence in prison. Daily we are tested.
A lot of people do not like to see African Americans, Whites and Mexicans playing sports together, taking pictures together or greeting each other with a hug. Sometimes C/O’s say we are get- ting soft. Teaching individuals methodology instead of ideology is hard work. Getting people to think has always been a tough job, yet we are having success at Pelican Bay. I’m hoping my article reaches gangs everywhere and influences them to try peace to make our communities safer. A special shout out to all of ya’ll at the San Quentin. Be on the lookout for more of my writings.
Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. Emphatically, Little John Perry, Pelican Bay State Prison