Stand up for change

September 27, 2018

From the September-October 2018 issue of News & Letters

This article is in response to the one by Fredd, “Prison Censorship,” in the July-Aug. issue of News & Letters.

Prisoners exercising, Van Gogh, 1890.

I’m an inmate at the federal prison in Big Spring, Texas, and I know the difficulty that the writer has in trying to organize fellow inmates to stand up for what little rights the incarcerated in this country have left. We have had similar, though not as draconian, censorship at this institution over the years as well as other pointless rule additions. Every time I tried to get others together to do something about it I heard the same excuses I’m sure Fredd is hearing: “Nobody else is going to do anything. Why should I?”

There are two buildings on this compound where prisoners live and this summer the new warden informed us that he was going to split recreational yard time between the two buildings to control the influx of contraband. One building would get rec time one day and the other building would get it the next day.

That was finally too much for everyone and the whole compound laid down. No one went to eat lunch that day and when the COs made the work call afterwards and no one left their building, the staff locked us in our dorms. We were locked in for two weeks eating nothing but baloney sandwiches, but we did get our rec yard back.

So Fredd, please let everyone on your compound know that nothing will change if no one does anything. But if you are willing to stand up (or “sit down”) for your rights, you can enact change

—S. E. M.

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