Recently a Spokesman-Review reader shared some thoughts about the prison system in our country and shared some startling statistics. I started writing to prisoners about 55+ years ago and still do. They tell me their stories and share their feelings. I seek to give them some hope and encouragement.
I’ve been writing to one man in Kansas who’s been incarcerated for some 40 years and is expecting release on parole perhaps in a year or so. He is very afraid as there is almost nothing being done to prepare him for re-entry into the outside world which will be totally strange to him. Prisoners have told me many times of the indignities and mistreatment they are constantly subject to from fellow prisoners as well as from guards.
One prisoner witnessed an inmate being beat to death by guards. Later on I saw this incident in a newspaper article, so he was indeed telling the truth. One man that I currently write to has been locked up in solitary for 30+ years. I verified this from court records and he is telling the truth. He writes the most positive letters that one could ask for but he is constantly demeaned by guards. My heart goes out to those who are incarcerated and hope that USA prisons will find a way of rehabilitating them instead of constant punishment and degradation which is the case in most instances.
Anyway, I write this from my heart.
Thomas E. Durst