Thursday, April 30, 2020

"You did this to yourselves..."     by    Rory Andes

Social distancing is difficult to do in a crowded prison. On my block, there are about 70-75 people. The two common areas we are allowed to share are day rooms measuring roughly 30' x 30' and 10' x 20'. That's about a total of 1,100 square feet of living space collectively. Also, in this space there are rules on exactly where we can be and when. This carves out several feet already. For a family of ten, it would be difficult to operate in this much space. For over seventy people, we have always made it work, but the space is difficult to use while implementing social distancing. But that family of ten in 1,100 square feet doesn't have to social distance in their home, only when exposed to the public. So why not us?

The public to us are people not living on our block breathing our air and definitely the staff who ARE exposed to the outside. There's a lot of buzz in the media about prisons right now and it's a source of frustration because being spread out is recommended, but difficult to practice. So yesterday, an official came in frustrated that we weren't far enough apart. Understandable. We want to be safe, too. But he insinuated the threat that we will be locked down soon because of it. We work, we exercise, we stretch our bodies outside of our cells. We interact and create community beyond our cells. Lock downs are synonymous with punishment. If two men live in the same cell, surely they can stand in a day room together, right? Like a family in your community?

The understandable frustrations are something we are coping with. The thing I struggle with was his comment, "You did this to yourselves...". No. No we didn't. Nobody here went to China and contracted Coronavirus. Nobody here went to the grocery store and contracted Coronavirus. If it's here, someone from the public brought it in. Nobody here elected for more punishment through no fault of our own. I get their frustration, but I don't agree I "did this to myself". If you wonder why families and inmates get upset, it's because of ideas and comments like this....

by Rory Andes

The time to end prison overcrowding is now. Vote like humanity depends on it.

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272


Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Anyone Else Thinking It's A Good Time To Buy Stocks?    by    Ruth Utnage

Ford. I've been watching Ford stock for years trade between $10 and $12 a share and when it dropped to 4 and some change during this pandemic all I could think about was wishing I had a boat load of money to buy in.

Anyone else thing that?

I see others I like as well, like Tesla dropping to low 300's then spring back up to over 700...whew! 100% increase in 3 days!!!

I can't wait to get out of prison...

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Contact Info:

To contact me you must be a humanist...

"A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, then by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust." ("Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire )


Fed up with the bullshit!    by   James Cody Goodwin

Another day and just my wing is back on so called quarantine. that means locked down in a cell within arms reach of another human all day everyday. so much for social distancing. 

Last quarantine happened because a guy on our tier who works in the kitchen got sick. not with covid. we got off quarantine and he went back to work. In the kitchen.

Now the same guy is sick again. we are back on quarantine. just our tier. this man spends more time every day in the kitchen preparing and serving food with coworkers from EVERY unit and many different tiers but only this one tier is locked down leaving the rest of the exposed kitchen workers to go back to their units and recreate exposing the ENTIRE population to this virus.

There is no social distancing between the incarcerated individuals working in the kitchen, nor is there any between them and the outside staff who work with them. they stand side by side on the serving line every meal serving food.

Most of the sick have worked in the kitchen.

But hey, its all good because this one tier has gone on some arbitrary lockdown.

Last time we went on so called quarantine for fourteen days and not one staff of Sargent rank or higher ever spoke to us or told us what was going on it was left to us to assume. but I'm past caring at this point because it is all bull shit. it does not matter because D.O.C. is going to keep locking down a minimum of inmates leaving us at risk as others just as exposed or worse are running around. Correctional industries needs it money which means it needs its inmate slaves working in the kitchen, in the CI commissary and in its other sweat shops in prison.

DOC claims to do contact mapping when someone gets sick and to respond by quarantining those who were possibly exposed. bullshit. Correctional Industries inmate slave laborers get sick and only the tier they live on gets locked down not their co workers and not those who share living spaces with them. that would mean to many CI employees not working to make them money.

The bottom line is my life and the lives of everyone I am locked up with are being placed In jeopardy. this is beyond a matter of my being incarcerated for a crime, this is life and death. If the state wanted to kill me it should have had the guts to do so at sentencing instead of charging my seventeen year old ass as an adult and locking me up for fourty years. I will not submit quietly while the dogs of the state continuously expose me to this virus so that Correctional industries can maintain its work force. they have not the authority nor any kind of right imaginable to threaten my existence nor any one else's.

Those who speak out and who protest, especially non violently, have the tendency to be buries in isolation. so if you don't hear from me, keep the faith stay safe and never quietly submit to the state.

In solidarity.

James Cody Goodwin


Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Viral Battlefield...     by    Rory Andes

The world is circling the drain on the edge of economic depression and health crisis. America has been ordered to stop the very things that make them American or else face the fallout. The backbone of our country, the American worker, spent the last six weeks losing 17 million of their jobs. News story after news story shows the finest medical professionals on the planet get beat to hell trying to stay ahead of a viral pandemic. Whether in the grocery stores, the hospitals, the factories, or your living rooms, the battlefields are where you stand. Prisons share in the fight and we too have our sector to defend.

For the last three weeks a small group of us who know how to sew have taken up the task of making face coverings for the prison population and beyond. Hour after hour of relentless production to secure the safety, both physical and mental, of our neighbors inside and out. Along the way, the weary have succumbed and protests have erupted inviting news crews. Faith has been rattled and I've watched my friends work themselves into mission focused zombies. An officer read me like a book two days ago after a grueling weekend and insisted I make sure I'm taking care of myself. Ruth and Marshall have spent at least fifty hours each in the last four days behind either a sewing machine or serger and we have produced masks in the thousands to ensure people's safety.

Tonight I saw a broken blood vessel in Ruth's eye. Hours of intense focus, stress, and pressure to produce, along with little sleep, does that. Her contribution on this viral battlefield, along with our small band of skilled warriors, have held the line so far. We aren't nurses, we aren't first responders, we aren't grocers, truckers, or the loved ones you get to see after a day of uncertainty, but we are fighters in defense of a community. The victory on this battlefield is some distance away, but we're taking the hill... one damned stitch at a time.

by Rory Andes

We recognize our abilities. You'll recognize our contributions....

Email at Jpay.com using Rory Andes 367649

Or by Mail:
Rory Andes 367649
MCC-TRU
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272


Monday, April 27, 2020

Transgender Health    by    Ruth Utnage

I began taking hormones about 60 days ago. Spironolactone pills and Estrodiol injections. I am developing as predicted, breasts are already growing etc. Which, to be frank...hurts. Like physically hurts. Who knew?

I've had boobs for 30 days and they've hurt every one of them! Sleeping on my stomach?

Not any more.

Watch out for water pressure, hugs, forearms, work spaces, taking my shirt on and off, and who could forget leaking...yeah, they leak. Neat.

They may be pain's in the, ahem, chest, but they are mine and I feel better knowing they are growing and- I guess- working, despite it being a little uncomfortable.

What a strange feeling, pushing 40 and my body is literally growing. Cool.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Contact Info:

To contact me you must be a humanist...

"A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, then by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust." ("Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire )


Sunday, April 26, 2020

Whatcha Readin'?    by    Ruth Utnage

I have been too busy during this crisis to read. Which sucks because I love to read. In fact, I need to be reading in order to prepare myself for my future release endeavors. Plus, reading makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something, even if its just finishing a few chapters, and in some cases, or a few sentences a day (depending on the book type, I'm into some unusual stuff, like academic books, I have to reread the same sentence a few times sometimes to retain it, especially if it's involving foreign concepts).

How about you? Have you read anything good lately? I'm jones'in for a whole day of reading. Maybe hearing about other peoples reading endeavors will help fill the gap?

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Contact Info:

To contact me you must be a humanist...

"A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, then by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust." ("Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire )


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Professional Sports Are Missing An Opportunity Amid The Pandemic     by     Ruth Utnage

As a young teen I came to Washington with my Mom where my Grandma was already living her dream: a sweeping view of the mountains, trees, and water. Another major attraction was the Kingdome and the Mariners.

I remember falling in love with the Mariners because I could name the players. I came from Nebraska where the Omaha Royals played in Rosenblatt stadium, but I didn't know anyone's names. The only reason I could name the players of the Mariners was because they were all over the television.

Commercials featuring various skits of the Mariners, their personality shining through. It allowed my Mother, Grandmother and I to have long conversations about each player, why the team was great. We were excited about the game and team pride permeated our home. It wasn't so for other sports teams in Washington and a distinct difference could be seen, the other teams weren't advertising the personality of its players to us. We had nothing to connect to.

Sports are shut down until further notice, team franchise owners are rightfully worried about filling the stands once more and the future of their league's financial endurance, and they should be. History is being made right now and nobody knows how social distancing is going to be used once this is over. Our culture and willingness to gather collectively for events is being impacted in an unprecedented and unpredictable way. So what's the missed opportunity?

While we have no sports to watch except sports stars playing video games now is the time to showcase who your team is. Who's on it, what's their personalities, who's quirky and relatable, what's the lineup? Generate some excitement for your teams return by allowing the average Joe in. Tell us who the players are. Run ads for your team, just to keep us abreast of who's on them.

If passed every Seahawk I would only recognize one, Russell Wilson. He's the only one who's consistently been on television and thus when the Seahawks play again he's the only one I can identify and associate with a face and some resemblance of personality. Without that face, I have no reason to get excited about the Seahawks return to television, helmets and obscure press conferences block my ability to relate to any of them.

Spend some cash on ad spots, make them corny and advertising only the team, make them clever, make them heartfelt, do all three. Canvas us with reminders that people are under those jerseys.

You might just return with the largest following in United States history picking up interest where it wasn't before.

Here's a hint, when Danica Patrick left NASCAR, so did I. She was the only athlete I could relate too...


Friday, April 24, 2020

Should Seattle Tax Big Business?      by    Ruth Utnage

This tax Amazon initiative that's been pushed hard over the past few years has gotten me thinking. Is it right or is it wrong?

I have avoided certain topics because of their potentially controversial nature, afraid that if I give my opinion I will lose readership. Then I realized, newsflash dummy, I'm not hiding for anyone.

I admire Amazon and Jeff Bezos. He is one of my personal heroes. Attacking him and his gentrification of Seattle is hypocritical at best. First, the amount of resources our Seattle City Councilmen and women spend on trying to rake success over the coals is disheartening, at best. While they preach about giving to Seattle's poor from another's success I sure haven't seen them give any of their government paycheck to anyone they represent. That's for sure.

I know that I have dreams of being successful, even helping out. But I don't want to just hand anything over so someone else doesn't have to share their resources. I want a big business that employs thousands and helps millions, I really want that. So I admire Amazon, it's my BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).

I believe in capitalism and its rewards, I also believe in giving back creatively and in ways that solve problems. I was born into a democracy, a Republic no less, home of the free. This isn't a socialist or communist country. We aren't like China where every business is owned by the government. We are America and its businesses like Amazon and audacious leaders like Trump that millions flock to our borders to be part of what is great about this land, capitalism and the pursuit thereof.

I have spent my entire life leeching off of others hard work and continued to hold my hand out for more, even feeling entitled to it. I came to prison, grew up, got an education, made some serious changes and now all I can think about is getting out and putting to use my new life. My new skills. My new purpose in life. Making my own way, carving out my own piece of heaven, capitalizing on our capitalist nation, the right way. If I can do it with my past, so can anyone else.

While I may not be in Washington's top 2% of profitable businesses, I am sure as hell gonna try. Taxing big business may seem like robin hooding to many, but in this case, robin hood is doing just fine financially and isn't giving up any of their resources to help any of you.

Take from the rich and give to the poor? You first council...we will follow your example. You give everything in your bank account to the poor, then you can ask others to do the same.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Contact Info:

To contact me you must be a humanist...

"A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, then by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust." ("Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire )


Thursday, April 23, 2020

Vandalizing And Harassing Asian Owned Businesses...Why Are We Not Helping Protect Them?    by    Ruth Utnage

I keep hearing about Asian owned and themed businesses are being vandalized and harassed during this crisis. I can't stand that. Every time I hear about it my heart breaks and my anger rises a little more. I know exactly what it feels like to be unfairly targeted for merely existing, and I'm not okay with it happening to anyone else.

People have stepped up and helped me in times of my emotional turmoil and traumas, its time to help our Asian population as well. I don't have much to offer, I get paid $40 this month, but I am willing to donate every cent to a recently vandalized Asian business owner just to prove that empathy and compassion actually exist.

Any suggestions?

With Love
Ruth Utnage

Contact Info:

To contact me you must be a humanist...

"A real humanist can be identified more by his trust in the people, which engages him in their struggle, then by a thousand actions in their favor without that trust." ("Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire )