April 7, 2010
I started writing these more years ago then I care to think about. I never go
back and re-read what I have written before. I suspect it is obvious in some of
the things I write. I wrote a lot about what it was like, here on Death Row,
when I first started writing these. Over the years there have been many changed.
The Death Row I wrote about originally is not the Death Row of today. It seems
almost all the changes that have been made are designed to take away, or to
restrict what we had here on The Row. Not changes made to necessarily improve
There seems to be a real mean-spiritedness in many of the things
that have changed. In fact, it seems mean-spiritedness has become the way of
pretty much everything in here. When I first arrived here on Death Row there was
a certain consideration and respect shown to each other by the guards and
prisoners. I remember being asked what the guards are like and my reply was that
most guards just want to do their job. That they treated the prisoners okay.
That seems to be a rarity now. It seems to have become more antagonistic from
both guards and prisoners. I canít say the guards are to blame for this. They
are responsible for their individual behavior, but their behavior is ignored, or
even encouraged, by their supervisors. I suppose when you are sitting where I
am, your vision becomes a bit myopic about things like that, but it is what it
seems like to me.
In the last year there has been the budget crisis here
in California. The budget crisis has effected almost everything in the
California prisons. I canít speak for the rest of the prisons, or even the rest
of San Quentin Prison, since I donít have direct knowledge of it. Only what I
see here on Death Row. One of the most noticeable changes has been the food.
About ten years ago Death Row went from having hot meals served from a hot
car, to now having the meals dished onto trays in the prison kitchen and
transported to death row. Now our food is all mixed together and cold. Since the
budget crisis the prison stopped using meat, or uses very little meat. I have
received meals with chicken or beef in it. As I poked though it, I would find
maybe one or two fingernail sized pieces of meat. But very often, no meat at
all. Instead the prison started using what is called protein supplement, made
from soy, I think. No one I know eats this. It stinks and it ruins the taste of
the other food it comes in contact with. Most people throw their meal away,
except for what they are able to salvage that hasnít been contaminated by the
protein supplement. I donít know how the state is saving money by using this
protein supplement. There is two or three times the wasting of food now, then
before this supplement was used. I suppose it looks good on paper. The prison
can show the politicians they are saving money by using supplement.
will go ahead and end this one here. In the future I want to talk about the
problems we now have with our mail and also with our visits. I also want to talk
about some of the changes to other programs in here. I donít plan to rehash all
that I wrote about before. I just want to talk about how has changed, compared
to when I wrote about these things before.
I thank you for spending a
little time to read this. I hope to be back sooner rather then later.
Take good care and feel free to write me.
p.o. box C-97919
San Quentin Prison
Quentin, California 94974