Not everyone can write on HumanMe. I guess when I say it so bluntly it sounds pretentious, however, I am unapologetic for that. I intend for this to be a platform that amplifies the voices of those who chose to change their lives during incarceration. Period.
What someone’s crime is, who it was against is of little importance to me. HumanMe is not a soapbox for anyone’s criminal rights. We are not an advocate for sex offender law reform or lighter sentences or bringing back parole in Washington. HumanMe advocates for human change to be recognized, that’s it.
We are about progress and moving forward. Pasts cannot be changed. We cannot rewrite our histories and we cannot go back and erase our bad decisions. We cannot undo our childhoods, our traumas, nor can we undo the trauma we have caused. We cannot allow ourselves to live in the past and dwell on things that didn’t work.
HumanMe is an advocate for those who have owned their pasts and then have decided to change, on their own volition, while in prison, while no one is watching. That’s the thing that makes us so different, that’s why there is a need for this because no system is in place to see positive change. We seek to change that. Plain and simple.
What doesn’t qualify is getting too old to commit crime, or what’s known as aging out. Nor does simply not committing crime because you don’t like prison and don’t want to come back, in fact, that reasoning is so flawed it makes my stomach turn (if being locked up was a good deterrent for someone they wouldn’t have committed their crime in the first place, it’s not like they didn’t know this place was bad). Being a prison abolitionist or eloquent writer or speaker does not qualify a HumanMe writer. Only those that have put in the work to change themselves from the inside out qualify.
They don’t manipulate people into “believing” them. They are open to new views and ideas and opinions and ways of doing things because they have experienced firsthand that change is good, not threatening. They are not angry at DOC or those that work there, though that doesn’t mean we like everything they do and will pick up “crosses” from time to time. They are okay following and creating other leaders as well as leading, other leaders don’t threaten them.
I could go on for an entire book about what a changed prisoner, or “dedicated desister”, looks like, what they do, how to recognize them (and I will be writing one, just as soon as I have access to a word editing software…). But the bottom line here is that not everyone who stops committing crime is a HumanMe writer. We’re picky and we are banking our reputation true desistance, not clever mouthpieces. That’s our point, our reason for existing, because nobody else is doing what we do…they can’t.
(For interviews or media inquiries please contact me directly!)
Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-510-2
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272
or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)