I am writing to tell you I have read your article the book “The Mars Room.” Something the author said rang a bell in my mind about accepting responsibility and being accountable. I would like to recommend a book called “Shantaran” by Greggory Davis Roberts. I have been incarcerated here in Texas for 32 years now. I have my ups and downs and I love this book, and relate to it in so many ways. I would like to ask this book be read and given a book review in the SQN. Thank you,
—Davey Crochett Gatesville, Texas
WASCO PRISONER REQUESTS YEARLY SUBSCRIPTION
I hope and pray this letter finds you guys in the best of health and spirits as it is my heart’s desire. I really like all the information your paper had to offer and therefore have attached four stamps to be able to obtain your most recent edition of your paper. I also wanted to ask if it is possible to subscribe to a yearly subscription and if so, how? Thank you for considering this letter.
—Jose Manuel Orozco CSP-Wasco Wasco, California
NORTH KERN SHOWS SOME LOVE
My name is Pablo Lanuza and I will love to tell all of you guys there to keep up the good work you are doing. I love reading all the new programs and all the different articles that you guys mention in the San Quentin News. Thank you also for giving us the opportunity to get more news for a very low price. God bless you all and thank you.
—Pablo Lanuza CSP-North Kern Delano, California
FLORIDA PRISONER WANTS EQUAL ACCESS TO PROGRAMS
Just got volume 2022, No. 7. I’m glad to see that the progressives are continuing to push the agenda for better education for the inmates at the “Q”. However, Florida needs to adopt the programs that are going on in the CDCR. I like that the warden there at the “Q” is letting STG (Security Threat Group) members [to] participate in programs. Everybody deserves a chance of educating one’s self. A STG file/label can hinder inmates from getting good paying jobs.
—Eric L. Wilridge Santa Rosa Corr. Inst. Milton, Florida
“THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY TO DO THE WRONG THING”
If you are sitting inside a prison cell while reading this article, then you are probably incarcerated for attempting to do the wrong thing in the right way and you got caught. You are not alone, because I got caught too. In 1988, I got caught for doing the wrong thing the right way, not knowing at the time that there is no right way to do the wrong things. Doing something that way is just flat out wrong. It goes against the natural laws of what is morally right.
As a criminal addict in recovery, I came to the moral resolution and a spiritual understanding over 10 years ago that there is no right way to do the wrong thing.
For those of you who are addicted to the “game” (criminality), now is the time for you to take the necessary steps to treat your addiction. I did not write this to make any person suffering from criminal addiction feel bad or ashamed. This is written to inform you that you don’t have to be loyal to the “game” or be dedicated to the streets. Be loyal to your family and dedicated to your recovery from criminal addiction. Thank you
—Irvin T. Tatum CSP-Calipatria Calipatria, California
INSIDE FELLOW FOR ELLA BAKER CENTER PROMOTES CHANGE
For the past six months, I have had the honor of serving as an Inside Fellow for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. My primary responsibility is to motivate my peers to take an active role in their destiny.
When the court sentenced me to life without the possibility of parole 30 years ago, with the tacit complicity of society, they were insinuating that I was incorrigible, a lost cause. I was just 23 years-old. Over 5,200 of us have been explicitly written off with this sentence, a sentence of death by incarceration. In addition, tens of thousands of others have been written off with sentences so enduring these eternal sanctions also amount to death.
Through the Inside Fellows the Ella Baker Center challenges the prison population to defy these sentences that disproportionately imply that we are worthless because of the color of our skin. Today, Ella Baker is handing us the tools to make our own case to push back to finally have some say in our own destiny. As Inside Fellows, our task is to encourage others and to also learn ourselves … I am proud to give this much deserved shout out to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. The legacy of Ella Baker, the woman, thrives in our condemned world. [In] a world where one might expect hopelessness, the reality is just the opposite. Indeed, iron sharpens iron, and Ella Baker’s legacy of people power is as alive as ever. Best regards,
—Dortell Williams CSP-Chuckawalla Blythe, California
WASCO READER APPRECIATES TRANSPARENCY
For hundreds of years, our society has evolved within a perpetual class system, footing one above another by race, creed, religion, gender and even employment. A system where those with power and authority believe it their right to judge, control, and silence those among them. Our justice system is but one example, often used to further personal interests rather than stymie crime.
In that context, I believe that significant praise is in order for those who make “SQNews” possible for its very existence and continuity prove those voices cannot be silenced. I hope to continue seeing truth and hope in its pages from Roger Parker to the laws and stories we need to understand. If we don’t forget the depths we came from, we won’t forget the changes that must be made. Thank you.
—Robert Vanleeuwen CSP-Wasco Wasco, California
MORE LOVE FROM DELANO
I read you guys’ newspaper whenever I come across an issue. It does not matter whether it is an old issue, I read every single article. I love the work you fellas are doing. Keep up the great work. With Respect.
—Jonathan Velasquez CSP-North Kern Delano, California
CHUCKAWALLA PRISONER’S HOPE FOR CHANGE
Perhaps like me, you read September’s issue of the San Quentin News.
You, like me may have been shocked by the California State legislature’s reasoning for not amending the state’s constitution to stop the practice of slavery in this state. What I find strange is how the most liberal state in the nation fell back on the same excuse used by the southern states to justify the continuance of the practice, “it would be economically destructive.” In a state where emphasis is on personal freedom such as abortion, where does the ethical and moral obligation vanish to when it comes to slavery? Are these morals predicated on finance? There are ways of ending slavery without “breaking the bank.”
I’m sure some would argue that if prison job assignments were voluntary there would be a shortage of workers because inmates would not want to work. As a lifer, I know this is not true. We all want a job assignment. It helps to pass the time and we get a little perk here and there. Also, the work would be of better quality. Forced labor does not produce quality work. Most inmates forced to work only do the bare minimum.
Then there are the rehabilitative benefits of voluntary work. First, an inmate can take pride in his work; he is no longer a low-life slave forced to do something he doesn’t want to do. He is a man on the job. Every rehabilitative program in the system works to improve an inmate’s self-esteem. A person who has committed a crime usually suffers self-worth issues. What does it do to a person’s self-worth to be reduced to slavery? Volunteer work is something an inmate can take pride in.
Then there is the Board of Parole Hearings. What looks better to the panel, an inmate that does the work he is forced to do or one that volunteers and does a great job?
Lastly, let’s look at the racism aspect. The majority of the population in CDCR is people of color. What is the valid excuse to enslave anyone descended from slaves?
—William Ennis CSP-Chuckawalla Blythe, California