From the March-April 2023 issue of News & Letters
Gunnison, Utah—The Dept. of Corrections in Utah and other states are digitizing mail, which impedes our civil rights. It delays mail delivery and takes away our right to be able to hold and look at our personal mail any time we want or need to. We look forward to mail, visits, phone calls, and commissary. Someone who’s never done prison time could not understand how important it is for us and our mental health to have and hold mail from our loved ones knowing they wrote it thinking of us.
PHOTOCOPIED MAIL AND BARRIER VISITS
We no longer have contact visits, they are now visits behind barriers. It’s depressing and frustrating because you can’t even hear each other. The video visits cut in and out most of the time. I have seen inmates come back from these visits in tears. It’s hurting our loved ones as much as it is us.
Inmates in Utah are mass punished. Policy FDol/2.01 states that disciplinary principles are constitutionally supported. I have read this over and nowhere does it state that mass punishment is constitutionally supported. It states that inmates should be held accountable for their misbehavior. I agree. But it also states that the actions taken be fair and impartial. Mass punishment isn’t fair or impartial. It only guarantees that the recidivism rate won’t go down due to the fact that the D.O.C. took away stuff needed to help prisoners who want to rehabilitate, because a few misbehaved.
We will be back in society one day and would hope that our time in prison was spent rehabilitating ourselves with programs and educational opportunities provided by our state and our country. Not helping us isn’t working, so let’s try the opposite. Believe in us and change.
Being in here you run into pure evil, real monsters. The more society dehumanizes everyone in prison, the more the prison keeps taking from prisoners who want to change, the more monsters society will get back. We and our families deserve a fighting chance at a better life. Shouldn’t the question be: Did we give them something to fill the void instead of criminal behavior? Did we teach them a trade or educate them to earn a good living?
Some people just don’t want to change; but a lot of us really want the chance. We’re not given any real options, we’re just told to shut up and deal with it. Well, that’s not me. I love my family and I believe in humanity.