Difficult Opposition: When We Are Our Own Worst Enemy
About a month ago I received a copy of a newsletter from Ultra-Violet out of San Francisco. I had sent them a letter requesting assistance with the formation of an LGBTQ Peer Support system here. So they published my request and my mailing address. Fantastic, nothing made me happier. However, inmates began to write me from all over the country from Kern Valley to Pennsylvania all the way down to Louisiana. I wanted to respond, but my state prohibits inmate to inmate contact in any way. I ensure I follow the rules because I have much to lose. I was not even allowed to see the letters much less receive a bunch of them. So I spoke with the Associate Superintendent and asked what I should do with the letters to be in compliance. I had done no wrong and it was the mail room who let them come through. However, I was informed that even though staff made the mistake, I would be blamed. So I had no choice but to turn them in to my unit CUS for my own protection against infractions.
Having said that (I hope your still with me here), my CUS assured me no more would come through. This verbiage indicated he was going to raise some sort of questions with appropriate administration. It must have been effective because the following week I received a bunch of mail rejections. Good, done deal. I don’t feel like I was being setup anymore.
That is until I received my first email notification informing me that the mail room had “censored” my out going mail. I inquired to them directly and they denied having done anything, responding eventually with “we don’t censor only reject”. So I dropped it. No grievances, no complaints to appropriate administration, just let it go. I wasn’t even told what was censored, not which email, or what was taken out. Only that it was a safety and security threat to the institution. I wasn’t taken to the hole or formally investigated which raises concerns…but against my better judgment I let it go for peace sake.
Then, I received another “censored your mail” notification. Only this time it said “no minor contact or depiction of a minor”. But I still wasn’t told which email. So I scanned my recent sent messages and found nothing that matches either of those things. In fact, the recipient was my mother. I can only assume it was a photo of a drawing I was working on in which it is a family of five. None of which appear to be in violation of any age depiction requirements. In fact, none of which are. It is a portrait of a family I am doing as a portfolio piece to display my skill set. It was unfinished.
So here I am now, confused as to what I should do now? Let it go again and let these people harass me? I can’t stop an action that I don’t know what it is and I am not going to set myself on fire to keep them warm. It is becoming evident that I am being targeted by mail room staff and things are escalating that can effect my ability to parole. I have to answer to the ISRB parole board and will have to give an account of every accusation made of me. Founded or unfounded has no bearing. What shall I say to them regarding this? How do explain the personal vendetta of another?
I still haven’t filed a grievance. I don’t want to because I still believe that you should be able to settle matters with out some formal measure. I don’t want anyone to get in trouble, or start some legal battle over basic rights. I have my own troubles to deal with, I have my own battles and demons to fight. My plate is full and God is walking me through all things, now an outside force is flinging mud at me…and its annoying. But it still won’t stop my goal.
I don’t care what anyone says, I WILL help men come to terms with their sexuality, I will stop men from committing sexual assaults on children before they do it and get them the help they need. I will be apart of the solution to end predatorization on minors. There are men that can be helped, not all, but some and I am going to find them and help those that want it.
I will at this point ask for help in dealing with this. Any ideas?
Jeff Utnage 823469