Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Saturday, July 28, 2007


[This was written near the end of May while in prison.]

I usually go to the law library right after work around 2:30p. Three copies of the USA Today, Pensacola News Journal, and the Wall Street Journal are usually delivered by 1:30p, weekdays only. Since I don't get to see the news on TV anymore (although I sometimes pick up a little CNN/MSNBC/FoxNews in the Bus Staging Area before work and during lunch break) and I don't have internet access, newspapers are the only real news source I have left. Sometimes, they have a way of sneaking out and not returning but I am usually one of the first ones in the library after they arrive.

Some inmates have subscriptions to other papers, such as NY Times or Miami Herald, but those arrive a few days late, which makes them more useful for analysis rather than current news. Subscription is the only way to receive papers. They cannot be sent by friends or family via mail; they must come directly from the publisher. You pick them up during mail call.

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