Our summer newsletter recently which went out to 500+ people in solitary confinement. This quarter’s print edition includes articles on the obstacles to reporting on solitary confinement and the California prison hunger strike, as well as news briefs from around the country. It also includes a moving plea from the mother of a young son held in solitary.
The print edition is sent free of charge, thanks to the generosity of our donors, to currently and formerly incarcerated individuals and their families and supporters and to nonprofit organizations. To request that you or someone you know be added to the mailing list, send the address to Solitary Watch, PO Box 11374, Washington, DC 20008, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update (10:32am): The Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective have issued a statement “suspending” the hunger strike. “To be clear, our Peaceful Protest of Resistance to our continuous subjection to decades of systemic state sanctioned torture via the system’s solitary confinement units is far from over. Our decision to suspend our third hunger strike in two years does not come lightly,” reads the statement. “From our perspective, we’ve gained a lot of positive ground towards achieving our goals. However, there’s still much to be done. Our resistance will continue to build and grow until we have won our human rights.”
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) released a statement this morning that all hunger strike participants had resumed eating, ending a two month long hunger strike. 100 hunger strikers were participating as of yesterday afternoon, with 40 on hunger strike the entire 59 days since the launch of the strike. Protesting long-term solitary confinement and sensory deprivation in California’s Security Housing Units (SHUs), 30,000 prisoners in 24 prisons across the state and in out-of-state facilities housing CDCR prisoners launched a hunger strike on July 8th.
Following up on two statewide hunger strikes in 2011, the hunger strike focused on the long-term segregation of 3,000 alleged prison gang affiliates for indefinite terms in SHUs at Pelican Bay State Prison, Corcoran State Prison, Tehachapi State Prison, and recently constructed SHU at California State Prison, Sacramento.
The hunger strike was ended following a meeting of the four main hunger strike leaders and 14 others, representatives of the four main ethnic groups in California prisons, in the prison law library. After a vote to end the hunger strike, leaders were allowed to call leaders of remaining strikers at California State Prison, Sacramento. The hunger strikers there concurred with the decision to end the strike.
Last week, State Senator Loni Hancock and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano announced their intention to hold hearings on SHU policies.
Three days into the hunger strike, strike leaders at Pelican Bay and Corcoran were removed from their cells and isolated from others. All hunger strike participants had sandbags placed at their cell doors. Some had their property seized and all had items purchased from the prison canteen taken from them. Hunger strike participants in the SHU were assessed 60-90 day extensions on their SHU terms.
Two weeks into the strike, Corcoran hunger striker Billy Sell committed suicide within a day of ending his participation. He is the second known death of a hunger striker in the last two years. Christian Gomez died in February 2012 in the Corcoran Administrative Segregation Unit (ASU) one week into his participation in a small-scale hunger strike inspired by the 2011 hunger strikes.
Participants at San Quentin even refused water for periods of time during their hunger strike. Calipatria State Prison hunger strikers had negotiated with the Warden to end participation in exchange for entering informal talks. Reportedly, hunger strikers there received minor concessions, including the installation of pull-up bars.
Several hunger strikers at Pelican Bay and Corcoran were transported to California State Prison, Sacramento, officially because the facility is better suited to treat them. Of concern during the strike was CDCR’s obtained court permission to force feed hunger strikers even if they had signed a “do not resuscitate” order. The medical receivers office has consistently denied that the order was ever used.
Throughout the hunger strike, many were hospitalized, some lost more than 20% of their body-weights, and some had to be sent to community hospitals due to complications from resuming eating.
The post California Prison Hunger Strike Ends After 60 Days appeared first on Solitary Watch.
Starvation affects every part of your body and will make you weak and vulnerable to infections. The function of all your cells and organs will decline. Your skin may become fragile and you are likely to develop uncomfortable sores, particularly in the mouth and bony pressure points. You may feel very cold and experience constipation and/or diarrhea. Lack of food is likely to affect your ability to think clearly. You may become depressed or withdrawn. Eventually, starvation will start to damage your major organs which can then fail completely. Heart failure and sudden disturbance of the heart beat are the leading cause of death in starvation. Your choice to refuse food can result in death.
If you are well nourished when you began to refuse food and you take in adequate fluid, you are unlikely to die from starvation for at least six to eight weeks.
So reads a “Pelican Bay State Prison Hunger Strike Informational Sheet” revised in June 2013 and distributed to California hunger strike participants protesting long-term segregation in cells the size of a bathroom, for average terms of 6.8 years, with limited opportunities to demonstrate a willingness and potential to reintegrate in the prison general population and by extension, society . The hunger strike is now eight weeks in, with 40 on hunger strike all 58 days as of yesterday. An additional 88 hunger strikers are still on hunger strike.
Hunger strikers are known to be at Pelican Bay State Prison, where the four hunger strike leaders remain in the Administrative Segregation Unit, isolated from others even further. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation chief, Jeffrey Beard, a former psychologist, has publicly denounced the strike as merely a “gang power play” and an effort by “violent prison gangs” to stay in business. How demands for better food, more constructive programming, and behavior-based segregation practices would strengthen prison gangs and undermine institutional security has yet to be explained.
Notably, California State Senator Loni Hancock and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano have announced their intentions to hold hearings on the SHU. Assemblyman Ammiano has previously held two hearings on the SHU in 2011 and earlier this year.
Hunger striker Mutope Duguma, who has been in the Pelican Bay SHU for over a decade for alleged affiliation with the Black Guerilla Family (BGF), has reported that on August 23rd, two busloads of hunger strikers at Pelican Bay were transported to California State Prison, Sacramento (“New Folsom”), on an eight hour bus ride that was a harrowing experience for the weakened hunger strikers. Solitary Watch has also received reports of hunger strikers at California State Prison, Corcoran also being sent to New Folsom in the past two weeks.
The wife of one hunger striker from Pelican Bay who was transported to New Folsom who recently visited him reported to Solitary Watch that her husband was “very skinny.” She also reported the following information from her husband: “On the buses, they had no medical personnel, though the men were being told they were being transferred due to medical reasons or medical monitoring. Their visits have not been taken away and per Assistant Warden Baufman, they will not be taken away. My husband has now lost 58 lbs and was told that before he is sent back to Pelican Bay, he must gain back a certain percentage of his body weight..he has lost [at least] 27% of his body weight. As of right now, he and the other men have no plans to resume eating until negotiations between hunger strikers and CDCr are met. My understanding is these men could end up being at New Folsom for several months. My husband said everyone is doing fine and their spirits are high, though their bodies are weak.”
The medical receivers office has told Solitary Watch that not all hunger strikers are consenting to being weighed, though of those who have, “two hunger strikers have lost more than 15% of their body weight; 12 have lost more than 10% of their body weight.”
Also according to the medical receivers office, there are three prisons with hunger strikers. It is unclear what the third prison is, alongside Pelican Bay and New Folsom. On August 28th, there were three prisons on hunger strike; on the 29th, there were also three prisons on hunger strike, though the medical receivers office reported that these were not the same three as on the 28th. In other words, one prison ended its participation while another joined. Determining which prisons are involved has been a challenge.
On August 27th, the CDCR press office told Solitary Watch that the hunger strike at Corcoran had ended and that “there were no negotiations. The hunger strikers chose to resume eating.” However, Solitary Watch later received word from a hunger strike mediator that some black inmates were resuming their hunger strike, a claim that hasn’t been reflected in CDCR’s official hunger strike counts.
On the issue of hunger strike counts, the unnamed mediator also reported to Solitary Watch several examples of improper hunger strike counts they had received:
- “In clinic, man gets glucose gel pack squirted into his mouth. He spits it out. He’s told ‘too late, you’re off HS.’”
- “In clinic/hospital, doctor tells prisoner, drink this ensure or I won’t treat you. The prisoner, afraid he’s in real danger of organ failure, drinks it just to get treated.”
- “Prisoners pass each other notes or magazines by fishing. The sender and receiver are both declared off hunger strike.”
- “A prisoner is told he’s off HS because he accepted his dinner tray the day before. He denies it. The guard shows him the log of trays for that prisoner, which shows he accepted it. ‘That’s false! I did not,’ says the prisoner. ‘Oops, my bad,’ smirks the guard.”
- “A prisoner starts eating again after getting dangerously ill. But after a few days, he resumes the HS. He’s not counted until he misses another 9 consecutive meals, and we’re not sure he’s counted even then. Unknown.”
- “In some locations, prisoners are counted as off if they get the gatorade; in other locations, not.”
There is also the possibility that Calipatria State Prison resumed hunger strike activity last week, as they reportedly said they would do if the hunger strike leaders weren’t negotiated with, which clearly has not happened. Either way, there is no clear evidence of what the third prison on hunger strike is.
The hunger strike participation levels reported by CDCR have varied widely over the past week and a half:
- September 3rd: 128 hunger strikers in three prisons; 40 on hunger strike since July 8th.
- September 2nd: 135 hunger strikers in three prisons; 40 on hunger strike since July 8th.
- August 30th: 123 hunger strikers in three prisons; 41 on hunger strike since July 8th.
- August 29th: 156 hunger strikers in three prisons; 41 on hunger strike since July 8th.
- August 28th: 123 hunger strikers in three prisons; 41 on hunger strike since July 8th.
- August 27th: 118 hunger strikers in three prisons; 41 on hunger strike since July 8th.
- August 26th: 92 hunger strikers in two prisons; 41 on hunger strike since July 8th.
The post Day 59 of California Prison Hunger Strike: “Their Spirits Are High, Their Bodies Are Weak” appeared first on Solitary Watch.
The following roundup features noteworthy news, reports and opinions on solitary confinement from the past month that have not been covered in other Solitary Watch posts.
• According to the tally kept by the Miami Herald, 35 of the 166 men held captive at Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike, with 32 being force-fed and one hospitalized. Most recently, the Herald reports on the Pentagon ‘s announcement that the US has sent two Algerian detainees home from the detention center, making it the first detainee transfer from Guantanamo in almost a year.
• The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that two families have filed lawsuits against Pennsylvania’s Armstrong County Jail following the suicides of Tyler Emigh and Tyler Watterson, both of whom were being held in solitary confinement at the time of their death.
• The Los Angeles Times reports that California senator Loni Hancock and assemblyman Tom Ammiano have announced hearings over the brutal prison conditions face by people incarcerated in the state.
• The Nation discusses potential avenues California prison hunger strikers can take in light of Governor Jerry Brown’s “hardline position.” According to the story, “only a fast-track restoration of checks and balances by the courts and legislature, propelled by public questioning, might yield a breakthrough.”
• Alternet reports that a 23-year-old man arrested for a misdemeanor died in his solitary confinement cell in an Illinois jail. According to the story, “The 7th Circuit denied immunity to a doctor and nurse over the death of a schizophrenic prisoner whose diabetes went untreated…”
• Democracy Now! airs a recording of Todd Ashker, one of the authors of the call for prisoners to hunger strike who is currently held in SHU at Pelican Bay. In the recorded statement, Ashker discusses his motivation behind hunger striking and events leading to the creation of the formal complaint by prisoners. A script of the extended audio can be viewed here.
• The Associated Press reports that a US judge has ordered officials at North Carolina’s Central Prison to save video from surveillance cameras in the prison’s solitary confinement unit where eight prisoners say corrections officers beat them.
• In a piece responding to a court order approving the force-feeding of prison hunger strikers, Al Jazeera America discusses the issue of forcing prisoners “to live in a dying situation.” The story asks, “Do ethics and the law truly demand that we compel prisoners to live in a dying situation by refusing them an escape from a life worse than death?”
• HuffPost Live discusses the use of solitary confinement on people with mental illness with guests including Dr. Terry Kupers, psychiatrist and national expert on the mental health effects of solitary, and Ryan Pettigrew, who was held in solitary confinement for eight years at Colorado State Penitentiary.
• The Des Moines Register reports that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad issued an order which he says will restrict the Iowa Juvenile Home’s use of long-term isolation and restraints. Aside from holding the facility to “higher standards of care,” the order also calls for a task force to formulate new recommendations for the home.
• NJ.com reports that PBA Local 105, New Jersey’s corrections union, is pushing the term “restricted engagement” as a new way to describe solitary confinement. The request follows a recent petition calling for an end to the use of isolation at a youth detention facility in the state.
• The New York World reports that previously unreleased data from New York City health officials shows that prisoners held in isolation remain in jail for decidedly longer than those held in general population. According to the story, prisoners with mental illness “typically spend on twice as long incarcerated on Rikers Island than the general population, even if they committed similar crimes…”
• ProPublica reports that, despite promising to help prisoners suffering from mental illness, New York continues to place many people in solitary confinement. According to the story, “In New York, inmates diagnosed with ‘serious’ disorders should be protected from solitary confinement. But since that policy began, the number of inmates diagnosed with such disorders has dropped.”
• The Los Angeles Times reports that advocacy groups have filed a federal lawsuit against Contra Costa County’s youth detention facility claiming children with mental disabilities are being denied educational opportunities and are held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day.
• The ACLU outlines 2013 legislative reforms that “highlight a growing recognition of the need to limit solitary confinement” in In “The Solitary Confinement Scorecard.”
• In a recent piece published on Truthout, Lisa Guenther writes on the CDCR’s response to the hunger strike and gang validation policies that have landed thousands of California prisoners in SHU. Referring to the hunger strike, Guenther writes, “It is precisely this collective action, and this promise of solidarity, that is criminalized by the CDCR in its deployment of “gang” rhetoric against individual prisoners and against the strike action as a whole.”
• Courthouse News Service reports that a Pennsylvania county jail may be held liable for failing to treat a man who was being held in isolation. Derek Black, whose repeated requests for medical assistance over a 2-week period were ignored by jail officials, “died after coughing up blood and suffering from chest pain for weeks in solitary.”
• Scientific American reports on the overuse of solitary confinement in the US, noting that isolating prisoners inflicts irreversible mental damage. Calling for the practice to be dramatically curbed, the story states that “[s]olitary confinement is not only cruel, it is counterproductive.”
The use of solitary confinement in California prisons, can amount to “cruel punishment, even torture.” This is according to a recent news release from the Office of the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), in which the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Juan Méndez, addresses the issue of solitary confinement in US prisons and specifically those in California.
The statement came as nearly 100 people in three California state prisons were engaged in day 47 of a prison hunger strike. The hunger strike began on July 8, with more than 30,000 prisoners in two thirds of California prisons refusing food in protest of long-term solitary confinement and inhumane conditions.
Méndez, who is a former political prisoner, asserts that prolonged isolation is cruel and inhumane, stating that “[e]ven if solitary confinement is applied for short periods of time, it often causes mental and physical suffering or humiliation, amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and if the resulting pain or sufferings are severe, solitary confinement even amounts to torture.”
The UN rights expert urges the US government to place restrictions on the application of solitary confinement to ensure that “solitary confinement is only imposed, if at all, in very exceptional circumstances, as a last resort, for as short a time as possible and with established safeguards in place.”
Méndez further calls for an unconditional ban on solitary confinement of any length on children, people with disabilities, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and those serving life sentences or on death row.
Honing in on California’s continuing prison crisis, the UN expert expresses concern about about the brutal conditions at Pelican Bay State Prison, where “more than 400 prisoners have been held in solitary confinement for over a decade, and the average time a prisoner spends in solitary confinement is 7.5 years.” Of particular concern are the approximately 4,000 people who are held in Security Housing Units (SHU) on an indefinite or prolonged basis.
Referring to a District Judge’s recent approval of California’s request to force-feed prisoners, the torture expert states that “it is not acceptable to use threats of forced feeding or other types of physical or psychological coercion against individuals who have opted for the extreme recourse of a hunger strike.”
Méndez has in the past repeatedly addressed the matter of solitary confinement in the US. The release specifically notes his 2011 report to the UN General Assembly and “numerous communications to the Government” in which he calls on authorities to allow for an assessment of the country’s use of isolation by a UN expert.
In another noteworthy report, which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council last year, Méndez finds that, in certain circumstances, solitary confinement qualifies as “cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment” and even torture.
Following up on Méndez’ efforts, in June, a coalition of civil and human rights groups called on the US government to extend the special rapporteur a formal invitation to assess the country’s use of solitary confinement.
To date, the US government has said only that it is in the process of considering the request.
Concluding his recent statement, Méndez underscores his message to the US:
It is about time to provide the opportunity for an in situ assessment of the conditions in US prisons and detention facilities.”
The post UN: Solitary Confinement in the US Can Be Torture, Force-Feeding Unacceptable appeared first on Solitary Watch.
Today is Day 49 of the California prison hunger strike. The hunger strike began on June 8th, and began with the participation of approximately 30,000 prisoners in 24 facilities across the state (as well as out of state facilities holding California prisoners). The number soon dropped to approximately 12,000 three days later when it was officially recognized by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) as a mass hunger strike, or, as CDCR has referred to it, a “mass hunger strike disturbance” that is nothing more than a “gang power play,” as CDCR Secretary Jeffrey Beard called it in a Los Angeles Times editorial.
The most recent participant numbers for the past week are:
- August 25: 96 hunger strikers in three prisons; 42 continuously since July 8
- August 24: 86 hunger strikers in three prisons; 42 continuously since July 8
- August 23: 84 hunger strikers in 3 prisons, 41 continuously since July 8.
- August 22: 79 hunger strikers in four prisons; 44 continuously since July 8.
- August 21: 80 hunger strikers in four prisons; 44 continuously since July 8.
- August 20: 94 hunger strikers in six prisons; 45 continuously since July 8.
- August 19: 136 hunger strikers in six prisons; 69 continuously since July 8.
- August 18: 129 hunger strikes in six prisons ; 69 continuously since July 8.
CDCR will not state which prisons are still on hunger strike for “safety and security” reasons.
Hunger strike mediator, Irene Huerta, released a statement on behalf of the mediation team today: “Right now, all of our lives are in the hands of CDCR; we’re all at a standstill. We have to sit around and wait – wait for a call to hear that the men have reached their demands and called off their hunger strike or a call that’s going to tell you that your loved one has passed due to starvation.”
The frustration and worry evident in the statement reflects the particularly brutal response by CDCR to this round of hunger strikes.
Since day three of the strike, hunger strike leaders at Pelican Bay and California State Prison, Corcoran were immediately segregated in other segregation units. Strikers across the state had property taken from their cells, had visitation denials, had sandbags placed at the bottoms of their cell doors, and have widely reported delays or rejections of mail to and from family members. Participants have even reportedly been given extended terms in segregation units of two to three months following disciplinary write-ups for their participation.
A participant at California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi described the process:
“I went today and plead not guilty but was still found guilty. Everyone was found guilty. I was prepared and even took two sheets of paper explaining why I was not guilty of that write up. The hearing officer at least heard me out and looked over the evidence I presented but it didn’t change his mind. One thing that I was trying to dodge was that part about the hunger strike being ordered by validated gang members…I was talking to the hearing officer about that and he knew why I brought it up–he knows how IGI (Institutional Gang Investigators) works–and he told me that since all races and factions in the system participated they can’t use that as any form of gang involvement since everyone was involved, it wasn’t a gang thing, it was a prisoner thing.”
Several major news developments occurred in the past week.
It was confirmed on Monday that, ten days ago, the hunger strike at Calipatria State Prison came to an end. According to a CDCR spokesperson, “The warden at Calipatria informed the inmates that local issues would be discussed only after they ceased their involvement in this disturbance. (Note that case reviews of all associates in the CAL Administrative Segregation Unit had resumed. That may have had an impact on the inmates’ decisions to stop their participation.)”
This confirms in part an earlier report by activist Kendra Castaneda, wife of a hunger strike participant at Calipatria, that the hunger strikers agreed to end on the condition that they be able to negotiate certain changes, which include installing pull-up bars.
On August 19th, CDCR was granted their request to “refeed” hunger strikers without their consent. CDCR sought the order, according to court documents, because of their concerns of “coerced participation in the strike or coerced execution of ‘do not resuscitate’ directives.”
Spokesperson Joyce Hayhoe, who represents the medical receivers office, told Solitary Watch that “our court order was sought proactively so that we had appropriate protocols in place should the need arise in the future. We have no plans to use the court order at this time. We would only use this order as a guide for an inmate near death.” As of Friday, Hayhoe reported that the order had yet to be used. Though she couldn’t give direct numbers, she stated that very few hunger strikers ever signed “do not resuscitate” orders.Also according to Hayhoe, in the past week one hunger striker was hospitalized today and two were observed at the hospital at Corcoran State Prison to monitor their resumption of eating. A sister of a hunger strike participant in the Corcoran SHU for nine years, visited him a week ago with their mother. “My mom said it was hard seeing him because he looked pale and thinner. One last thing he told was he doesn’t know what will come out of all this but ‘I’m going to stand up for myself and not five up.’” He has reportedly been involved in two stretches of hunger strikes. For 15 days beginning on July 8th he refused food and lost seven pounds. After eating for three days he refused meals for 11 days. “He said guys are dropping weight so fast. When they begin eating some eat too fast and get sick,” she told Solitary Watch, “a nurse asked every inmate if they would like to take at least a packet of multi-vitamins and a small powdered form of Gatorade to help with the deterioration for some.”
A wife of a hunger strike participant from Pelican Bay told Solitary Watch that two days ago she “received a postcard from an inmate who was with my husband at Pelican Bay. He said that my husband had been moved. I called around, but no one could tell me to which institution he was moved or why. Finally, Saturday morning, the Inmate Locator was updated and I saw that he had been moved to New Folsom.”
Though she is the emergency contact, she was not notified by the prison about this transfer. Many hunger strike participants have been moved to California State Prison, Sacramento (also known as “New Folsom”) for medical treatment. For some, this has included being held in the ASU.
In a letter dated August 20th, days before the transfer, her husband wrote her: “The last time you saw me, I weighed 216 lbs. I just got out of the I.C.U. (Intensive Care Unit) today and I weigh 162 lbs.” Their last visit was on July 7th.
The letter continues: “Since last Thursday, I’d been asking to see the doctor. The homies said I went on Friday, but I don’t remember that…This morning, they transferred me down to Ad-Seg, cause they say the federal oversight of medical is better. Plus in the SHU, they wasn’t giving us no kind of care. Be lucky to get vitamins and 2 tsp. of Gatorade. It’s crazy and I’ll tell you everything when I see you…They told me today that I was also dehydrated real bad. When they tried to take three vials of blood, they couldn’t even take one…my blood wouldn’t flow and it was like thick syrup…These fools even broke my T.V…said the cart got away…I heard that, right?!?…You know I’m doing this, Babee for us. I could except my first six years, but another six years, they just holding me for nothing and it’s a fight to get out of here. I know in my heart, Babee that I’m doing the right thing for me, for us and for our son. That way he’s not so easily caught in this systematic web and gets lost back here.”
The San Francisco Bay View has also published letters from three hunger strikers at Pelican Bay. Randall Ellis reported that, as of August 19th, he had dropped weight from 187 to 160 pounds. “There are men here willing to die who can’t be silenced by intimidation or cheap psychological gimmicks like “this is a ‘gang power play,’” Ellis writes.
Tracey Miller reported that all participants had received disciplinary write-ups for their participation in the hunger strike. He also wrote that he hadn’t “heard anything new in regards to talks on the hunger strike. Honestly, with the communication being so bad, you guys probably find out before most of us back here.”
Mutope Duguma reported that he had lost 44 pounds. “I am weak and fragile, Mary [Ratcliff, SF Bay View editor], but my mental capacity is strong still.”
The post Day 49 of California Prison Hunger Strike: “Our Lives Are in the Hands of CDCR” appeared first on Solitary Watch.
The following was written by Ricky Silva, 33, who is currently serving a life sentence at Florida State Prison, where he has spent almost four years in solitary confinement held in close management. He writes, “I even agree with my prison sentence… I don’t hold it against anyone who feels I got what I should get… But to someone else I might be a person who is need of human contact to prevent insanity.”
The following entry comes from Silva’s blog, Concrete Cage, which is maintained by a friend on the outside who periodically forwards reader comments to Silva. He can also be reached by email at ricky.lee.silva [at] gmail [dot] com or by writing Ricky Silva L24722, Florida State Prison, 7819 N.W. 228th Street, Raiford, FL 32026-1000. –Lisa Dawson
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
EVERYONE NEEDS A FRIEND
My back’s to the wall but still I will fight
without saying I’m wrong or believing I’m right.
I could live an illusion or even pretend
that I don’t want or need any type of friend.
Do I deserve friends? Who am I to say?
Everyone would have a friend, if I had it my way.
Should a man suffer for his wrongs? I believe so
but what that suffering would be, I don’t rightly know.
Should they hang me upside down by the tips of my toes?
Should they beat me half to death with a length of rubber hose?
Or should they lock me in a cell and deprive what’s called my mind,
just throw away the key until the end of time?
I am without a doubt no angel, that we know for sure.
Many of my past actions were evil true and pure.
I make no excuses, my crimes I wont dismiss
but I don’t believe anyone could possibly deserve this.
To feel so alone at times that you don’t wish to go on.
To constantly reach out for contact and for no one to respond.
To suffer every day with only yourself to blame.
To know the way your mind works will never be the same.
After years in solitary the world sort of drifts away,
your past comes back to haunt you and is stuck on replay.
You begin to hate yourself for all the pain you have caused.
I have struggled for years and now my life is on pause.
I understand how many people would feel, I’m just a piece of shit,
that if my life is total hell, I’m the one who done it.
And if I’m honest with myself, I would have to agree
but everyone needs a friend and that includes me!!!