Letters From Jail

The inmates are shackled with a mostly nonfunctioning swamp cooler. A few days ago the staff here even turned off the water that circulates on the pads of it. We find on any floor location, that once you get to leave your pod we all dread the thought of coming back as all other areas within this jail except our housing areas are air-conditioned. This double-standard is yet another blatant way Sheriff Joe and his staff violate any resemblance we might have of human rights, civil rights or dignity . . .

The jail staff is one poorly trained, subpar group and it's not only the detained inmates who suffer on a daily basis, and not all of us are guilty or even convicted . . .

Mike Sanders

A Rough Start
My name is Anthony and I am sitting here thinking about why I keep on hurting myself and the people I love the most. I think the reason why is because I hung around people that didn't care about nothing but drugs. I remember when I was in high school you chose to do it because it was the thing to do if you liked to hang around cool people and get attention from the girls. But as time went by it was harder to stop. When I started to notice it was messing up my life it was too late, I was behind bars, feeling sorry for myself. If I only knew what I know now, I could have changed . . .

. . . My mom was in prison when she had me. My father and mother were drug users and alcoholics. When I was born I was four months early because my mom was using drugs when she was pregnant. So I was born with a learning disability. When I was in first grade it was hard for me to understand things. I couldn't read or write that well, so as time went by it got harder for me every day. I was told that I was a dunce and retarded, and that made me think that I was. As I got older I started to hang with people that didn't think so, at least they didn't tell me. When I was 18, I went to prison for the first time. Well, guess what; I made it . . .

I decided to live on the street, which I knew nothing about. It was hard at first. But I got the hang of it. It wasn't that bad. I started meeting people like me, so I guess after all I wasn't the only one that had this problem. . . . All the people knew was how to steal and do drugs. Don't get me wrong. Street people have feelings and their heart can be breaking as well. It was fun at first but now it is all about survival and to worry about nobody but yourself . . .

I know you might think I should get a job. Well, for me, it's hard because I have a learning disability. I know at 29 years old I should know how to read and write. I do know how to write somewhat, and as for reading the same thing. Most jobs require a high school diploma. . . . When I was a kid I would always get hit and screamed at, just because I didn't understand what I was supposed to do. If I read something I couldn't remember what I'd read and didn't understand. And at 29 years old it is the same way. But I taught myself how to read and write, and as you can see I am doing just fine . . .

Anthony Gonzales

M.C.S.O. Reflections

The Maricopa County jail system, on this we reflect/
The total lack of justice and our loss of respect

At one time concerned about upholding the law/
Now in total denial, from the things that we saw

From the traffic violator, to the fraudulent schemes/
To the serial killer with Death Row in his dreams

One who commits murder is let out on bail/
While the traffic offender is locked up in jail

The rapist gets out on his second offense/
While the drunk gets a year and is sent to the tents

Unrecognizable food and the uniform blues/
The guaranteed daily raisins and the flip flop-style shoes

The half-spoiled lunches, with the Ladmo bag jacket/
Available daily, for those that can hack it
Full grown men, locked in a box/
Egos shot down with pink boxers and socks

Windowless buildings, high ceilings, cold floors/
Stainless steel toilets, dividers, no doors
Concrete, steel and barbed wire fences/
For those with thoughts of escape are soon brought to their senses

Some stay up all nite, keeping others awake/
Caused by insomnia, fear, or high sugar intake
Handcuffs, locks and chains all things that shall bind/
Our constant reminders what happens with crime

While dominoes, chess and cards remain consumers of time/
We're still humans despite our mistakes/
No reason for treatments that dogs wouldn't take

We're all in it together, to this there is no doubt/
We have one thing in common, we all want to get out!

Jesse Molinar, Patrick McKellips, Jose Reyes

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