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Old 05-28-2019, 01:43 AM
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Default Anger at our unjust prison system

I need to vent. I cannot believe what a racket the prison system is. If it werenít such an unethical way of earning money, I would invest in it myself because people are getting rich off of the inmates and their families!

My son has two prescriptions that he gets every month that we pay for. In addition to the cost of the meds, the prison charges $15 out of his commissary money each time he gets one prescription, and he has two! What are inmates to do if they donít have the money to pay this? I couldnít believe it the first time the charges came through! They obviously only care about making money and not about the mental health of the inmates.

The food that the inmates get is ridiculous also. I donít see how theyíre possibly getting the vitamins and protein they need without buying vitamins and extra commissary food. Even WITH a little extra commissary food my son is always starving. So, youíve got large numbers of mentally unstable inmates or addicts without medication and very little nutrition living in large groups in overcrowded conditions. Is it any wonder that they fight and riot?

My son has gone from looking like a normal, healthy teenager to the most pale- skinned person I have ever seen, and heís 1/4 Hispanic who normally has golden skin, and thatís WITH vitamins that he promises heís buying and with a little bit of extra commissary money to buy some extra food! What about all of those poor men and women who donít have anyone to help them? I know how sickly my son looks... what about the ones who arenít getting anything extra? What about the ones who have families and no money for the family to travel for visits or to make phone calls? How is that going to affect their mental health? I wish I could win the lottery just to put some commissary money on each inmateís account who doesnít have any extra!

It also seems that most of the food that theyíre served is just full of empty calories, and thatís the way a lot of the commissary food is too. I understand that they canít have certain things like fruit since theyíll manage to make booze with it, but it seems inhumane that these places are for-profit, private companies. We are gouged every week with phone calls and commissary. I had no idea how difficult and expensive it is to try to keep someone mentally healthy and physically healthy while theyíre incarcerated. I feel like itís a necessity to send money for the vitamins since my 18 year old sonís brain is still developing, but I canít even be sure that heís buying them. Then they charge $30 every month just to GIVE HIM HIS MOOD STABILIZERS after weíve purchased the prescriptions. These are necessary for his mental health! Would they rather that we didnít pay and he ended up committing suicide there? We feel backed against the wall.

I sure hope they do a good job helping these people get on their feet once they get out, but from what I hear, the companies that own these places want them to come right back because every inmate is more money in their pockets!

The safety of the prisoners is a joke too. My son said he saw one guy go in for a fight in a cell and was carried out with his head looking like a pumpkin. He never saw that guy again. He also said that you have to stand up to the people who bully you, or your life will be a living hell. That poor man who went into that cell felt it was necessary to go in there and try to fight just to make his life there tolerable. Why canít there be more supervision to prevent this from happening, or is it that the COs just donít care? I can answer my own question. They donít hire enough people because the investors want the money for themselves, and many of the COs donít have proper training or enough co-workers to feel safe themselves.

I donít understand it. We are supposed to live in one of the most developed nations on earth, yet we have a corrupt, greedy group of people running the companies that run the jails and prisons. I am so absolutely disgusted by this. If anyone has any suggestions on what I, as a semi-handicapped person, can do to change this, please let me know. Iíve signed every petition I can find, but Iím just not well enough to protest or form any kind of group, and I feel like Iím so ill-informed. Are there any good prison reform groups out there? I can at least write emails, sign petitions, and call people.

I wish so much that I could somehow get this information out to the naive people of our country. I had no idea how bad it was until I had someone I love in the system. I know there are thousands of other people out there who are just as naive about this as I was. Iím so disappointed and outraged at our country for letting this happen, but I feel like I have no knowledge, energy, or power to do anything to fix it.

There are so many, many other things that are wrong... people having to take plea deals and admit to things they didnít do so that the prosecutor wonít take cases to trial, public defenders who are overwhelmed with cases so that they canít do a thorough job on individual cases, judges and juries who donít even get to hear the truth of what happened because of crazy legal loop holes, wealthy white men getting cushy sentences, gangs and racism in the prisons, corrupt COs, power hungry prosecutors who will do anything to win a case, the fact that a lot of these inmates need mental health solutions/addiction rehab rather than prison time, all of the drugs that are smuggled in that are cheaper in prison than on the street... I could go on and on.

I know that my son did something wrong and needs to be punished. However, his lawyer (a GOOD one that we had to scrape up money to pay since the public defender had no time to work on his case) had him take a plea deal which had him admitting to things he didnít do. The prosecutor would have done anything to win because heís hoping to become a judge and wants the wins on his record, so he would have crucified our son if he hadnít taken the deal. The judge and jury would never have even gotten the chance to hear the truth of what had happened, and he could have been facing so much more time than if he took the deal. That was the first time we had ever heard of such a thing. We were so stupid and naive to think that we had a ďjustĒ justice system. He needs medical and psychological help, but heís not getting any of that in prison. He said if he talks to the prison doctor about any suicidal thoughts that heíll be put in medical, and he goes even more nuts in there. So now heís been away from his counselor and psychiatrist for almost a year. Who knows how long it will be before he can get treatment again? Iím terrified heíll give up and attempt suicide again. My husband has actually told me to prepare myself for this scenario. Iím afraid to hope that my son ever be ok.

Again, I agree that he deserved to be punished. I just donít understand how any humans in this country, even those that break the law, have to live under such inhumane conditions. I donít expect prison to be a country club, but $30 a month just to be able to take medicines that we already purchased? Having to live daily with the fear that someone may disrespect you and that youíll have to fight just so you wonít be abused by other inmates? How is this justice?

If anyone has any ideas on how I can help fix any of these conditions, please let me know. This is so, so wrong. Even after my son gets out, I want to do SOMETHING to help those poor incarcerated men and women, but I donít know where to start. Iím so overwhelmed by my health situation and trying to raise my other kids that I canít figure out what I can do. I feel so helpless.

Thank you for letting me vent.
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Old 05-29-2019, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Mama33 View Post
I need to vent. I cannot believe what a racket the prison system is. If it werenít such an unethical way of earning money, I would invest in it myself because people are getting rich off of the inmates and their families!



My son has two prescriptions that he gets every month that we pay for. In addition to the cost of the meds, the prison charges $15 out of his commissary money each time he gets one prescription, and he has two! What are inmates to do if they donít have the money to pay this? I couldnít believe it the first time the charges came through! They obviously only care about making money and not about the mental health of the inmates.



The food that the inmates get is ridiculous also. I donít see how theyíre possibly getting the vitamins and protein they need without buying vitamins and extra commissary food. Even WITH a little extra commissary food my son is always starving. So, youíve got large numbers of mentally unstable inmates or addicts without medication and very little nutrition living in large groups in overcrowded conditions. Is it any wonder that they fight and riot?



My son has gone from looking like a normal, healthy teenager to the most pale- skinned person I have ever seen, and heís 1/4 Hispanic who normally has golden skin, and thatís WITH vitamins that he promises heís buying and with a little bit of extra commissary money to buy some extra food! What about all of those poor men and women who donít have anyone to help them? I know how sickly my son looks... what about the ones who arenít getting anything extra? What about the ones who have families and no money for the family to travel for visits or to make phone calls? How is that going to affect their mental health? I wish I could win the lottery just to put some commissary money on each inmateís account who doesnít have any extra!



It also seems that most of the food that theyíre served is just full of empty calories, and thatís the way a lot of the commissary food is too. I understand that they canít have certain things like fruit since theyíll manage to make booze with it, but it seems inhumane that these places are for-profit, private companies. We are gouged every week with phone calls and commissary. I had no idea how difficult and expensive it is to try to keep someone mentally healthy and physically healthy while theyíre incarcerated. I feel like itís a necessity to send money for the vitamins since my 18 year old sonís brain is still developing, but I canít even be sure that heís buying them. Then they charge $30 every month just to GIVE HIM HIS MOOD STABILIZERS after weíve purchased the prescriptions. These are necessary for his mental health! Would they rather that we didnít pay and he ended up committing suicide there? We feel backed against the wall.



I sure hope they do a good job helping these people get on their feet once they get out, but from what I hear, the companies that own these places want them to come right back because every inmate is more money in their pockets!



The safety of the prisoners is a joke too. My son said he saw one guy go in for a fight in a cell and was carried out with his head looking like a pumpkin. He never saw that guy again. He also said that you have to stand up to the people who bully you, or your life will be a living hell. That poor man who went into that cell felt it was necessary to go in there and try to fight just to make his life there tolerable. Why canít there be more supervision to prevent this from happening, or is it that the COs just donít care? I can answer my own question. They donít hire enough people because the investors want the money for themselves, and many of the COs donít have proper training or enough co-workers to feel safe themselves.



I donít understand it. We are supposed to live in one of the most developed nations on earth, yet we have a corrupt, greedy group of people running the companies that run the jails and prisons. I am so absolutely disgusted by this. If anyone has any suggestions on what I, as a semi-handicapped person, can do to change this, please let me know. Iíve signed every petition I can find, but Iím just not well enough to protest or form any kind of group, and I feel like Iím so ill-informed. Are there any good prison reform groups out there? I can at least write emails, sign petitions, and call people.



I wish so much that I could somehow get this information out to the naive people of our country. I had no idea how bad it was until I had someone I love in the system. I know there are thousands of other people out there who are just as naive about this as I was. Iím so disappointed and outraged at our country for letting this happen, but I feel like I have no knowledge, energy, or power to do anything to fix it.



There are so many, many other things that are wrong... people having to take plea deals and admit to things they didnít do so that the prosecutor wonít take cases to trial, public defenders who are overwhelmed with cases so that they canít do a thorough job on individual cases, judges and juries who donít even get to hear the truth of what happened because of crazy legal loop holes, wealthy white men getting cushy sentences, gangs and racism in the prisons, corrupt COs, power hungry prosecutors who will do anything to win a case, the fact that a lot of these inmates need mental health solutions/addiction rehab rather than prison time, all of the drugs that are smuggled in that are cheaper in prison than on the street... I could go on and on.



I know that my son did something wrong and needs to be punished. However, his lawyer (a GOOD one that we had to scrape up money to pay since the public defender had no time to work on his case) had him take a plea deal which had him admitting to things he didnít do. The prosecutor would have done anything to win because heís hoping to become a judge and wants the wins on his record, so he would have crucified our son if he hadnít taken the deal. The judge and jury would never have even gotten the chance to hear the truth of what had happened, and he could have been facing so much more time than if he took the deal. That was the first time we had ever heard of such a thing. We were so stupid and naive to think that we had a ďjustĒ justice system. He needs medical and psychological help, but heís not getting any of that in prison. He said if he talks to the prison doctor about any suicidal thoughts that heíll be put in medical, and he goes even more nuts in there. So now heís been away from his counselor and psychiatrist for almost a year. Who knows how long it will be before he can get treatment again? Iím terrified heíll give up and attempt suicide again. My husband has actually told me to prepare myself for this scenario. Iím afraid to hope that my son ever be ok.



Again, I agree that he deserved to be punished. I just donít understand how any humans in this country, even those that break the law, have to live under such inhumane conditions. I donít expect prison to be a country club, but $30 a month just to be able to take medicines that we already purchased? Having to live daily with the fear that someone may disrespect you and that youíll have to fight just so you wonít be abused by other inmates? How is this justice?



If anyone has any ideas on how I can help fix any of these conditions, please let me know. This is so, so wrong. Even after my son gets out, I want to do SOMETHING to help those poor incarcerated men and women, but I donít know where to start. Iím so overwhelmed by my health situation and trying to raise my other kids that I canít figure out what I can do. I feel so helpless.



Thank you for letting me vent.
This is LEGIT- the BEST description of prison ive ever seen put into words.
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Old 05-29-2019, 02:46 PM
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My son has two prescriptions that he gets every month that we pay for. In addition to the cost of the meds, the prison charges $15 out of his commissary money each time he gets one prescription, and he has two! What are inmates to do if they donít have the money to pay this? I couldnít believe it the first time the charges came through! They obviously only care about making money and not about the mental health of the inmates.
How are the $15 charges listed? I mean to ask, what do they say they are charging for? Processing or something?
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mama33 View Post
I need to vent. I cannot believe what a racket the prison system is. If it werenít such an unethical way of earning money, I would invest in it myself because people are getting rich off of the inmates and their families!

My son has two prescriptions that he gets every month that we pay for. In addition to the cost of the meds, the prison charges $15 out of his commissary money each time he gets one prescription, and he has two! What are inmates to do if they donít have the money to pay this? I couldnít believe it the first time the charges came through! They obviously only care about making money and not about the mental health of the inmates.

The food that the inmates get is ridiculous also. I donít see how theyíre possibly getting the vitamins and protein they need without buying vitamins and extra commissary food. Even WITH a little extra commissary food my son is always starving. So, youíve got large numbers of mentally unstable inmates or addicts without medication and very little nutrition living in large groups in overcrowded conditions. Is it any wonder that they fight and riot?

My son has gone from looking like a normal, healthy teenager to the most pale- skinned person I have ever seen, and heís 1/4 Hispanic who normally has golden skin, and thatís WITH vitamins that he promises heís buying and with a little bit of extra commissary money to buy some extra food! What about all of those poor men and women who donít have anyone to help them? I know how sickly my son looks... what about the ones who arenít getting anything extra? What about the ones who have families and no money for the family to travel for visits or to make phone calls? How is that going to affect their mental health? I wish I could win the lottery just to put some commissary money on each inmateís account who doesnít have any extra!

It also seems that most of the food that theyíre served is just full of empty calories, and thatís the way a lot of the commissary food is too. I understand that they canít have certain things like fruit since theyíll manage to make booze with it, but it seems inhumane that these places are for-profit, private companies. We are gouged every week with phone calls and commissary. I had no idea how difficult and expensive it is to try to keep someone mentally healthy and physically healthy while theyíre incarcerated. I feel like itís a necessity to send money for the vitamins since my 18 year old sonís brain is still developing, but I canít even be sure that heís buying them. Then they charge $30 every month just to GIVE HIM HIS MOOD STABILIZERS after weíve purchased the prescriptions. These are necessary for his mental health! Would they rather that we didnít pay and he ended up committing suicide there? We feel backed against the wall.

I sure hope they do a good job helping these people get on their feet once they get out, but from what I hear, the companies that own these places want them to come right back because every inmate is more money in their pockets!

The safety of the prisoners is a joke too. My son said he saw one guy go in for a fight in a cell and was carried out with his head looking like a pumpkin. He never saw that guy again. He also said that you have to stand up to the people who bully you, or your life will be a living hell. That poor man who went into that cell felt it was necessary to go in there and try to fight just to make his life there tolerable. Why canít there be more supervision to prevent this from happening, or is it that the COs just donít care? I can answer my own question. They donít hire enough people because the investors want the money for themselves, and many of the COs donít have proper training or enough co-workers to feel safe themselves.

I donít understand it. We are supposed to live in one of the most developed nations on earth, yet we have a corrupt, greedy group of people running the companies that run the jails and prisons. I am so absolutely disgusted by this. If anyone has any suggestions on what I, as a semi-handicapped person, can do to change this, please let me know. Iíve signed every petition I can find, but Iím just not well enough to protest or form any kind of group, and I feel like Iím so ill-informed. Are there any good prison reform groups out there? I can at least write emails, sign petitions, and call people.

I wish so much that I could somehow get this information out to the naive people of our country. I had no idea how bad it was until I had someone I love in the system. I know there are thousands of other people out there who are just as naive about this as I was. Iím so disappointed and outraged at our country for letting this happen, but I feel like I have no knowledge, energy, or power to do anything to fix it.

There are so many, many other things that are wrong... people having to take plea deals and admit to things they didnít do so that the prosecutor wonít take cases to trial, public defenders who are overwhelmed with cases so that they canít do a thorough job on individual cases, judges and juries who donít even get to hear the truth of what happened because of crazy legal loop holes, wealthy white men getting cushy sentences, gangs and racism in the prisons, corrupt COs, power hungry prosecutors who will do anything to win a case, the fact that a lot of these inmates need mental health solutions/addiction rehab rather than prison time, all of the drugs that are smuggled in that are cheaper in prison than on the street... I could go on and on.

I know that my son did something wrong and needs to be punished. However, his lawyer (a GOOD one that we had to scrape up money to pay since the public defender had no time to work on his case) had him take a plea deal which had him admitting to things he didnít do. The prosecutor would have done anything to win because heís hoping to become a judge and wants the wins on his record, so he would have crucified our son if he hadnít taken the deal. The judge and jury would never have even gotten the chance to hear the truth of what had happened, and he could have been facing so much more time than if he took the deal. That was the first time we had ever heard of such a thing. We were so stupid and naive to think that we had a ďjustĒ justice system. He needs medical and psychological help, but heís not getting any of that in prison. He said if he talks to the prison doctor about any suicidal thoughts that heíll be put in medical, and he goes even more nuts in there. So now heís been away from his counselor and psychiatrist for almost a year. Who knows how long it will be before he can get treatment again? Iím terrified heíll give up and attempt suicide again. My husband has actually told me to prepare myself for this scenario. Iím afraid to hope that my son ever be ok.

Again, I agree that he deserved to be punished. I just donít understand how any humans in this country, even those that break the law, have to live under such inhumane conditions. I donít expect prison to be a country club, but $30 a month just to be able to take medicines that we already purchased? Having to live daily with the fear that someone may disrespect you and that youíll have to fight just so you wonít be abused by other inmates? How is this justice?

If anyone has any ideas on how I can help fix any of these conditions, please let me know. This is so, so wrong. Even after my son gets out, I want to do SOMETHING to help those poor incarcerated men and women, but I donít know where to start. Iím so overwhelmed by my health situation and trying to raise my other kids that I canít figure out what I can do. I feel so helpless.

Thank you for letting me vent.

I 100% agree. Prison should be humane. It's supposed to be a consequence for breaking the law but is often a way to punish, humiliate & control another human being. We treat animals in our animal shelters better than they do some people in prison.

The medical issue is a valid concern. Since it appears that you are in Cali, I suggest you reach out to the Berkley Prisoner Advocacy Network. They might be able to help & you might find that a place you want to work with for change.

https://www.law.berkeley.edu/experie...ocacy-network/
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:52 PM
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How are the $15 charges listed? I mean to ask, what do they say they are charging for? Processing or something?
They hardly tell us anything. It just comes out of his commissary. My husband called because we thought our son might be lying, but aside from telling us that the charges were valid, they wouldnít say anything more. They often tell us that they canít discuss things because heís over 18, especially since itís medical stuff. I call BS especially since weíre paying for the medicine from his psychiatrist and making sure he gets refills. He was going to this doctor before he turned 18, so thatís why we even know about the scripts and whatís going on with his mental health. Ugh.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:55 PM
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All these complaints are why I only got arrested one time.
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:55 PM
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I know there are worse prisons in the world , but ive seen so mamy amazing prisons in other states that blow my mind, the prisoners are living better than me & their return rate is less than 10%!

However, in the states i feel like if inmates lived better people would want to return & it would be harder to readjust to the outside life, as homeless already get arrested to have a place to stay.

I believe each country is different as the peoples mentality is different, but I definitely think we need to redo our legal system & prison system but no one (who can do something ) wants to to it as it would cost money & they would lose money in the long run
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Old 05-29-2019, 05:59 PM
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They hardly tell us anything. It just comes out of his commissary. My husband called because we thought our son might be lying, but aside from telling us that the charges were valid, they wouldnít say anything more. They often tell us that they canít discuss things because heís over 18, especially since itís medical stuff. I call BS especially since weíre paying for the medicine from his psychiatrist and making sure he gets refills. He was going to this doctor before he turned 18, so thatís why we even know about the scripts and whatís going on with his mental health. Ugh.
Hmm. If I'm not mistaken, your son can request a printout of all of the charges made to his account. He could then send that to you. GaReform mentioned you might be in Cali. Is he a CDCR inmate? I ask because my husband is and I might be able to find an answer for you. Something smells off about this. I do know they charge for certain medical visits and I thought it was $5 a pop, but that was a few years ago so the amount may have changed.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by JessesGirl2022 View Post
This is LEGIT- the BEST description of prison ive ever seen put into words.
I give you and any other person who reads this the right to use my words for any help you can get for inmates and their families. If anyone wants to copy any of this post to help make changes, PLEASE do so.

I feel so powerless. I want to feel proud of our country, but the older I get, the more jaded I become. Wow, Iím feeling incredibly bitter lately.

I wish I could bring something positive to the table, but Iím just not there yet.

Thank you to all of you moderators. I donít know how you do what you do on here. I appreciate everyone so much.

Thank you also to everyone who has responded. You make me feel so much less alone.
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Old 05-29-2019, 06:36 PM
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All these complaints are why I only got arrested one time.
I think a lot of the people who get arrested again and again are either addicts, have mental health problems, or both. My son has both. He does well for a while, but then he self medicates to deal with depression and anxiety and goes off the rails. We thought spending time in juvie would help him to straighten up, but we were wrong. He has tried to commit suicide multiple times, and he almost succeeded once. The doctors said it was a miracle that he survived and that his organs werenít damaged. He definitely needs some major help along with the punishment. Heís been dealing with these issues since he was five. Weíre at a loss as to how to help him because even his mood stabilizers donít always work. He was actually on mood stabilizers during his most serious suicide attempt, so obviously something isnít working. It just breaks my heart.

We tried to get him into mental institutions before he turned 18, and there are none that we can find that take patients for long periods. Most would only take him for a couple of weeks, and insurance only paid for part of it. We just are tapped out when it comes to money for major treatment if he needs it again once heís out. Iíve read articles that the prisons are now becoming the new mental institutions, so people like you who arenít mentally ill actually learn and never go back, but the other ones continue to fail. Iím not sure my son will ever learn.

I pray that he does, but his history suggests that heíll either be dead or back in prison shortly after he gets out. The bad conditions donít seem to deter him from breaking laws even though he knows better. I canít understand it, but I donít deal with depression and addiction like he does.

I just want conditions to be better for people there. Again, I understand that theyíre being punished, so I donít expect it to be easy, but I think it must be difficult enough to be locked away with so few choices and with horrible nutrition, especially for people who are there for long sentences.

Also, the families get punished along with the inmates, especially families living in poverty. They arenít the ones who committed the crimes, but they pay and pay in so many ways. It just doesnít seem right.
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  #11  
Old 05-29-2019, 06:45 PM
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Default Iím sorry I canít give you more info

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Originally Posted by miamac View Post
Hmm. If I'm not mistaken, your son can request a printout of all of the charges made to his account. He could then send that to you. GaReform mentioned you might be in Cali. Is he a CDCR inmate? I ask because my husband is and I might be able to find an answer for you. Something smells off about this. I do know they charge for certain medical visits and I thought it was $5 a pop, but that was a few years ago so the amount may have changed.
I will talk to my son about requesting a print out. Thanks for the info. Iím trying so hard to remain anonymous on here, so Iím not sharing his location. I come from an intensely private family of introverts, and my husband and siblings would be very angry if I shared more.

I agree that something smells off about it. It could be that our son is somehow using the money for something else and lying to us, but since my husband called, we do think the charges are real. I wish we could get more information about it. I think we should insist that he get the print out and send it to us, and if he refuses, then we just donít put any extra in commissary for him. That might clear some things up.

Thanks so much for the idea.
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  #12  
Old 05-29-2019, 07:04 PM
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Default That makes sense.

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Originally Posted by jordan321 View Post
I know there are worse prisons in the world , but ive seen so mamy amazing prisons in other states that blow my mind, the prisoners are living better than me & their return rate is less than 10%!

However, in the states i feel like if inmates lived better people would want to return & it would be harder to readjust to the outside life, as homeless already get arrested to have a place to stay.

I believe each country is different as the peoples mentality is different, but I definitely think we need to redo our legal system & prison system but no one (who can do something ) wants to to it as it would cost money & they would lose money in the long run
You make some really good points. I canít believe how different prisons and states are from each other. Iím so glad to hear that there are some where the return rates are less than 10%! My son says that many, many of the people he lives with have been in prison multiple times, and that a lot are addicted to meth. One of his roommates has gone back in for selling meth multiple times. So far, my son has never used meth (that I know of,) but that doesnít mean itíll never happen.

I think youíre right that no one who can do something wants to spend the money needed for prison reform. I also think that there is such shame associated with incarceration that a lot of people are unwilling to openly talk about it. Thatís what Iíve experienced with my own family. Itís amazing how many people have told me about a relative they have in prison now that my son is incarcerated. I would have never guessed that any of them could relate to me at all. Of course theyíve all told me this in confidence, and none have done anything to help prison reform.

I hope that my son, if he can actually stay out of trouble once he gets out, will eventually be mature enough to own up to what heís done and to help others in some kind of prison ministry/reform.
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Old 05-29-2019, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by safran View Post
All these complaints are why I only got arrested one time.
I want to congratulate you for getting out and staying out. If I were your parent, I would be so proud! Iím sure it was very difficult to get through everything, even after you got out. Iíve heard that some POs donít make it easy, and Iím sure people judge without even knowing details. I canít even imagine what youíve had to go through.

Iím hoping that my son will mature during this time and that heíll work his tail off to stay out when he gets out. I also hope he will have a new outlook on life. I can only wait and see (and I pray a lot! Parenting has caused me to pray a lot more than I ever imagined!)
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:26 PM
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Mama33,

As you know, we both have been on the same road. AZ requires they serve 85% of their sentence and we have been trying to change that for several years, without success. Most states only require 65% of their sentence. We too paid for inpatient treatment when he was a teen, and then counseling - family and solo. The end result was not successful and we were forced into bankruptcy because of the medical bills.

AZ we don't have an option to pay for the medications that private doctors want them on. The state decides that. but, the medical services were so bad the ACLU brought several class action suits. The inmates do pay $5 per doctor visit, but no additional cost for med call. You might check with the ACLU in your state to see if there is anything pending or that you can do. The outcome has not really changed much but the ACLU stays on them and the State keeps paying fines - they finally contracted with a different medical provider, but we don't really feel that change will result. The problem is when you are an inmate, to make a complaint, especially a legal suit, the inmates are afraid of being targeted by the prison officials. The mother of an adult son who died in a prison my son was in at the same time, came forward and fought on behalf of her deceased son and inmates at risk. Her son was declared a suicide but the word from inmates was he was beat up by other inmates first, before being put into solitary where he subsequently died.

The fighting happens here to, as do the suicides. The week before my son's release, he saw another inmate hanging dead in the showers. Recently, in the news here was that one of our prisons the locks didn't work - a guard actually released video footage to the news. The State's answer was to padlock the cell doors - which was a huge fire hazard. Between the guards and the public outcry, the State finally moved all the inmates elsewhere and allegedly will be fixing the problem. Not only were the guards at risk (and some had been severely injured as this has been going on for several years) the inmates were able to get into other cells and attack other inmates.

They definitely are fed lots of carbs and little nutrition. Inmates how have worked in the kitchen have told me that yes, there is food being fed to them that is marked "not for human consumption" and lots of items that are past their expiration dates. IN AZ they don't get meat - it's all soy products. As much as possible, we tried to send securepaks with food items that are better quality, such as fish or chicken items, rice and beans, and similar things. The hygiene products are poor quality too, so good toothpaste, sunscreen, lotion, soap that won't destroy their skin all get added in and take up half the value we are allowed to send. On a positive note, at least in the places my son was at, those in the dorm who run the "stores" (which is illegal but exists in every dorm/prison unit) provided the newbies with basic hygiene products as a sort of welcome packages; and on holidays or someone's birthday, they included those who did not have family sending them extras.

There are no easy answers on how to obtain change on behalf of our loved ones who are incarcerated, or their cellmates and friends. I did have my son send me a printout of his account and paycheck and discovered charges I did not know existed. One was a percentage goes to the building fund - the fund they should have been using to fix those prison doors but got spent somewhere else.

There are not enough guards in AZ prisons, private or state-run. Those who do go through the program mostly try to use it as a jumping off point to get into law enforcement fields that pay better and have better benefits. Others get burnt out as they are forced to work double shifts week after week, because of the shortage. It's a big problem in AZ. I wouldn't want that job, especially at $16 per hour.

Like you, I did not know all the stuff that was going on in our prisons, until we became part of the system. For most of his sentence, my son was on the opposite end of the state, so I would spend $500 to visit for a weekend, 6x a year. Until the FCC made its decision (which is being challenged), I was paying $5.94 for every 15 minute telephone call. A connection fee was charged even if I was unable to answer the phone. A fee was charged to put money on the telephone account. The State was getting a kickback of 98% on the phone calls, so you know Securus was making a fortune off us to be able to do that at a profit. The FCC decision was the result of a case brought my an elderly lady who passed away before the case was finished. That decision resulted in no extra fees and my calls going to $1.94 for 15 minutes.

People like her have made it better for all of us. But it's a longterm process. Family and inmates have to willing to take that risk to bring a suit. If you get that printout and find out they are charging you $15 to distribute each med along with you paying for the med, maybe the place to start out is with the ACLU or any other organization that investigates prison and human rights issues. If they look at it, they may be able to tell you if it's shady. They may be able to find others and bring a class action suit. It doesn't seem right to me as that would mean those without family to pay are probably not getting necessary medications. Such an investigation my already be in process or it may be initiated because of you. It may not come to conclusion in time to help your son, but it may help those down the road.

Keep watching your legislature. I cant' do much either because of my disabilities. But, I did research proposed bills, share them with others on my FB page and also in FB groups that were set up for our different prisons, along with the threads in prisontalk, providing links to make it easy for others to sign or send an email to our local representatives. Every little bit helps, but it's chipping away slowly.

We have more inmates per capita than any other country similar to ours. We have a higher recidivism rate than those other countries too. Once I became willing to talk about it, the number of people I ran into who had a loved one in prison was astounding. We have to talk about it, take it out of the shadows, shine a light on the corruption, and convince the general public that it is time to put rehabilitation above punishment. What we have been doing has not worked and drug addiction, the base cause of so many who are incarcerated, is a disease not moral failure to be punished.

Last edited by lizlizzie2; 06-03-2019 at 10:05 PM.. Reason: Typo - FCC (not FAA)
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  #15  
Old 06-04-2019, 08:16 PM
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Default Anger at our unjust prison system

Mama33, thanks for your excellent post. Now you understand just how corrupt our criminal injustice system is. Itís all about the money ó extracting as much as possible from the taxpayers, the inmates, and their loved ones. And the courtroom process is basically a cattle call that has very little to do with truth or justice. Itís just a game in which each side wants to score points and win, simple as that. Testimony is not given and evidence not presented, because there are rarely ever trials. If you do go to trial and then lose, you get the ďtrial penaltyĒ at sentencing ó a much longer sentence for costing the court time & money by not taking the plea deal that was offered.
Services in prison, whether vocational, educational, medical or otherwise, are as little as they legally can get away with. The food is as close to mandatory disposal as is legally allowed.
Recidivism is strongly encouraged, because these golden geese donít keep laying eggs unless they come back, so the the system makes it extraordinary difficult for them to avoid getting sent back when theyíre finally released.
They pay all kinds of fees, even more so once they have a slave labor paying job on the inside.
Conditions are overcrowded, and understaffed with underpaid COs. Often things are in disrepair, like the locks in an AZ prison that another commenter mentioned.
And yes, the environment is often dangerous, so despite whatever mental or physical health issues your loved one has, he or she needs to learn how things work ó the official & the unofficial rules ó and how to conduct themselves, and what to not say and not do, in order to avoid further misery or injury.
And for all this, we taxpayers pay so that our country can incarcerate more people per capita than any other country in the world, including China, North Korea, Iran, or any other oppressive regime you can think of.
And as loved ones of the incarcerated, we pay a lot more than the average taxpayer, but that pales in comparison to the price our loved ones pay, and will continue to pay for the rest of their lives.
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  #16  
Old 06-10-2019, 06:03 PM
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Thanks, everyone. I really do need that print out. I talked to my husband who did call to make sure that the $15 fees per med were legit, and that’s what he was told.

We have the outrageous prices for phone calls too! I need to get the energy to figure out how to work on this. I think I do need to call the ACLU. Even if it doesn’t help my son, maybe it will help someone else in the future.

I’m going to keep signing petitions. I’m just so glad there are smarter people than I am to write them!
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