by Richard Wembe Johnson
The notion that emotional feelings and love interest ceases at the gates of the prison is blatantly absurd. A huge majority of individuals in prison are equipped with the same meaningful desires to embrace their heartfelt feelings in spite of their situation of being restricted and unable to express them deservingly with passion.
The very nature of prison itself by pure design purposely suppresses that vital component that gives life and direction, that epitomizes love relationship between people either intimately or socially. The restraints that being in prison put on both the incarcerated as well as their loved one are only superseded by prison overseers’ feverish efforts to enhance their aim to sever the bonds of love and endearment between families and their loved ones.
This is accomplished in many different ways, while at the same time they pretend to want a positive connection between inmates and their inseparable loved ones, when just the opposite is true. This clearly explains the disassembling of the family visiting program, the shortened hours allowed for visiting, the high cost of phone calls, the strict mail process and regulations, the placement of various prisons in desolate and depopulated areas, and the overuse of SHUs.
These are just a few of the constraints employed to impede and eventually destroy the ties that bind any cohesiveness of love. You would think that a healthy and loving relationship shared between prisoners and their loved ones would be wholeheartedly embraced, supported and strengthened by those individuals charged with the obligation of running the prisons; yet undisputable proof plainly suggests that this isn’t the case, but rather is at odds with any suggestion of encouraging and bolstering the unions shared by loved ones.
It’s important that you understand the harmful impact of this treatment overall, not merely as a love interest, but a uniform issue that divides people all across the board. When you intentionally subdue love, caring and togetherness, you’re basically flatlining the potential of a nation of people, regardless of ethnic background or race. The propensity for love comes in many colors and faces. There is a need for social contact; it’s a must. Life itself is based on the ability to develop and grow in harmony with common concern and belief, promoting a union based on the importance of sharing love for each other.
The notion that emotional feelings and love interest ceases at the gates of the prison is blatantly absurd.
Prison on the other hand is in the business of pain and profit, not the solidarity of family or their common interest. Every single day families are torn apart not solely because of their separation by imprisonment, but more so by a calculated disconnect that purposely unhinges and disengages people caught in the labyrinth of prison chaos. No one wants to be seen as victims, but reality is reality, and there are victims on both sides of the wall who are connected by the travesty of loving someone confined and being unable to freely demonstrate their affection in a spirited manner.
Why does it matter that we not allow prison and prison authorities to completely eradicate us as loving human beings who treasure the belief in caring and loving? The fact that we’re in prison for alleged wrongdoing should never be the wedge that keeps us apart, but instead it should be the motivating factor that we use to beat back the process engineered by the corporate greed of big business, the prison industrial complex. Yet CDCR’s actions contradict their own rules, under Title (15) 3170 (A), which reads: “These regulations are made in recognition and consideration of the value of inmates’ visitation as a means of increasing safety in prisons, maintaining family and community connections, and preparing inmates for successful release and rehabilitation.”
They want you broken, tattered, distraught and embroiled in self-pity, because then you’re without the drive and spirit needed to engage them in battle for your right to vigorously take them to task, against their evilness, with the sights of prevailing victoriously. To allow them to disassociate you from any meaningful relationship is an abomination of any sought out undertaking of heartfelt devotion. By all standards of imprisonment and the characteristics of loving someone locked up, it is truth.
Yet by the same token you hold the keys as to how the standards play out for you in truth. To concede to the harshness of their pursuit is to surrender all hope and expectations of rising above the demeaning aspect of imprisonment and its enforcers. Loving and caring are more than just words; they represent the best in us as people that life, either in prison or out, has to offer. We must learn to re-engage with one another socially, emotionally and lovingly, because when we dismiss one another, we literally capitulate our present and future, rendering ourselves hopeless and irrelevant.
CDCR’s actions contradict their own rules, under Title (15) 3170 (A), which reads: “These regulations are made in recognition and consideration of the value of inmates’ visitation as a means of increasing safety in prisons, maintaining family and community connections, and preparing inmates for successful release and rehabilitation.”
If we refuse to show interest in our well-being, how can we expect those with proven histories of showing contempt for our concerns to even consider our needs and desires. Don’t allow yourself to become a passive victim to the cruelties of prison, deviously created to make us ineffective on either side of the wall. Be proactive in pursuit of establishing or re¬establishing relations with those who for whatever reason are in prison, repaying the debt according to the law, which everyone knows is always in the eye of the beholder, as well as being an inexact science.
The difference between someone who cares and someone who claims to care is simple: action versus inaction. It certainly can go a long way when someone knows that their fight isn’t in vain and others share their mission of not allowing isolation to render them invisible and ineffective. Consider that if doing right was so easy, there certainly wouldn’t be so much wrong at the forefront, but standing up can be a very daunting experience, however a most worthwhile one.
Let my voice, your voice, his voice and her voice be heard over the wall and through the wall, announcing the will of the righteous. Those of us who are limited in movement must continue to reach outward, and those who aren’t as restricted physically should reach inward and continue to show love and to embolden those who are institutionalized behind the fortifications of captivity and insensitivity. The wanton and immoral acts by the profiteers off of those confined should be held to answer, without haste, for deliberately denying everyone in or out the promise or possibility for loving beyond the boundaries of the prison perimeters.
The perception that he who wields the power is almighty, without flaw, is a delusion that must be vanquished, as to allow the significance of sensational emancipation called love to shine bright on either side of the barricade, unbound and complete. Love doesn’t stop at the gates, but it can begin only if together we forge a clear path for its emergence, fearless and devoutly unwavering against all odds.
If you without reservation love and truly care for someone locked up, then the only way to show it is to be about the business of exhibiting it beyond all doubt, at every opportunity, in all instances and occasions. To love is free yet sometimes expressing it isn’t. Nonetheless, it’s possible with sheer purpose and determination.
The day you stop loving is the day you for all practical purposes stop living!
If it’s love that is central between a man and a woman, that is entirely different from the love of a family member or associate, yet the essence of love is still unmistakable, to the point that the power is unshakable and not easily relinquished into triviality. It will withstand everything that is thrown its way with unfailing resolve. Of course there’ll be challenging moments, but what is love without checks, balances and crises. How can you know its strength if there are no moments of bedlam to gauge the durability?
The greatest truth to love shared is the trust between those involved. Always trust that which provides the best perspective in loving that person to the fullest, without hesitation. Your love can only be quantified for its reliability according to what you build it upon, not others. The success or failure resides with you alone, just as it should. Despite it all, the end result surely is on you, the crucible for sustainment of loving someone in prison. For all intents and purposes, the inspiration to love and give of one’s self to those in prison is a reflection of the inner soul that is indicative of what life, sensibilities and the appreciation of love that is endless entails.
Be the victor, not the victim who submits to the capriciousness of demonic actions that exude mental and physical suffering. Let love be the master of destiny. Leave no one behind! The day you stop loving is the day you for all practical purposes stop living!
Send our brother some love and light: Richard Wembe Johnson, K-53293, SHU D2-218, P.O. Box 7500, Crescent City CA 95532.