"Jon I need you to come home and put this toy together for me. I can't figure it out." Those were the words spoken by my sister Christmas day 2002, that nearly made me collapse with grief.
The strain and ultimate destruction the "system" causes families, and relationships in general, is probably the worst part of being caught up in the system. My sister is autistic and relys on help just to maintain her existence. She cannot cook her own food, tie her shoes...none of the simple things we take for granted. She is completely dependent on others. Since I can remember, I have cared for and tried to help my sister grow as much as possible. Change is difficult for her. She has got to have structure and for her whole life she has had her brother there. She can't comprehend what has happened to me or why. She just knows I'm gone and won't come home. Her world has been shaken and turned upside down. Not only by my incarceration but she has had to move twice, see her mother suffer the loss of her son and all without really knowing what is wrong. Guilt consumes me when I think of how I have let her down. Yet my story is not original here. So many times I have been the sounding board for grieving men as their wives leave or cheat, finding the distance of their love to much to bare.
The limited contact creates rifts and voids in relationships until they are finally torn apart. These strains are only intensified in ad-seg (Administrative Segregation) where phone calls are limited to 2 a month. Visits are behind glass and the written word is the major form of communication. An almost extinct form of communication in our high tech society. So you can sit on a concrete island waiting, watching each day, as the staff walk around passing out the mail, hoping for something to slide under your door. Not only is outside contact limited but contact with the men around me is forbidden! The goal must be to destroy social skills and shatter the person in ad seg. Yet we manage to foil any barrier placed in our way. A comb tied to string carries the kite (note or letter) to who ever I might want to communicate with. Yet the price if caught "fishing" is to lose your TV for a week and potentially extend your stay in ad seg. Yet our need for communication exceeds any fear of consequences. Even possessing string carries punishment. Losing your TV at a minimum. How ridiculous! DOC fears men who think but for what purpose? They built this world (prison). Isn't this what they desire as part of their plan? They say gangs are a problem yet secretly they encourage their progress to keep the inmate population separated and at odds with each other. This is to keep inmates from uniting against their captors. They say the weak shouldn't be preyed upon and must be protected yet they cut our pay from $2.00 a day to 60 cents per day. They say we need rehabilitation yet the one class ( anger management) required by 90% of my last facilities population, wasn't offered. How is this rehabilitation? How is this humane? How does this exist? The answer is the tax paying society allows it and only this society can change it! Jonny