Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Prison Pen Pal

Awhile back I talked about my cousin Tommy who lives in prison.  You can find the posts  here and here if you want to read them.  If you don't want to read them, in summary, when I was a teen my cousin Tommy was arrested and sentenced to life in prison for murder. He is now living in his 3rd prison.  He was kicked out of his previous prisons for various reasons. First time for having sex with the dental assistant (frowned on apparently  ha ha), and next because of a tool he'd owned and used for years, but for some reason he doesn't know, the guards were searching for it, but during the search for this said tool some cell phones were found in other inmates cells.  Cell phones are abundant in prisons but not allowed.  They're snuck in by the guards. 

After the cell phones were confiscated the inmates who had them were apparently angry at Tommy, but Tommy denies this fact.  He says he gets along with all the races.  Tommy was put in solitary confinement as punishment for having the tool, then aapparently the guards worried about his welfare so they moved him.  He describes his new prison view like living on the moon. No view at all.  That would be the desert. 

A few months ago I sent Tommy my first letter. I was nervous to write him.  We weren't close growing up.  I remembered him from family functions but he being a boy and me a girl and our age differences meant we had almost nothing in common.  But, I'd wanted to write him for awhile so I did.

To my relief, he was thrilled to hear from me and we continue to correspond back and forth.  Each of us write/receive a letter a month. 

He's got a great attitude considering where he is and where he'll stay most likely for the duration of his life.  He is bitter that he has a life sentence, but others who have committed worse crimes received lesser sentences.  He's very philosophical and a very good writer. He's been told by me and others to write down his story in essays to be published. He avoids doing so because he doesn't want to relive the nightmare. He denies he's guilty. 

He claims to be busy and loses track of time.  He gets to watch TV and reads books. He says it's not unheard of for guys in prison to read 1000+ pages a day.  He says he doesn't read that much. I sent him a few paperbacks he requested. He's only allowed to receive paperbacks and they must be mailed directly from the book seller.  Meaning I can't mail them.  A company/distributor has to send them.  He gets to spend time in the "yard" where he hangs out with his friends.

He knew some guys at his current prison since they'd been together before at a different prison.  He says unfortunately at this prison, when your a Lifer you don't get the good jobs.  He enjoys working and was saddened to learn this fact.

In the latest letter certain races were banned from using the common yard due to fighting going on among them. Mostly the blacks and Hispanics.  Tommy is American Indian. He's actually American Indian (deceased father), Italian and Irish (mother - my aunt), but he decided in prison to use his American Indian looks to his benefit.  It's all about Race in prison.

I think in the future I'll write down some quotes from him.  I don't have any of his letters with me right now or I'd give you a few lines. 

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