Doing time in Yazoo City, Miss., seems to be a double portion of punishment. You see, the State of Mississippi is the poorest in economy and opportunity throughout our nation. The county of Yazoo, where I am incarcerated, is the poorest ranking, in all categories, from economy to education amongst the counties in Mississippi. This should paint a picture of my conditions here in prison. If the state leaders are unable to bring prosperity to their constituents, what makes you believe that I, being in prison, am doing any better? You might be shocked to see the B.O.P’.s website and read of the many educational opportunities I have at my disposal or the health and fitness programs I have access to. Well, don’t be, it’s all for show. The truth of the matter is that these programs are not funded and are taught by other inmates. Funding for the education department seems to be diverted into other departments the Warden and his executive staff feel are priority. The perception, or should I say, the priority of the B.O.P. is security, not education or rehabilitation. I truly believe that the guards and education staff I encounter on a day to day basis at one time were motivated to help. However, they were soon drained by the process of bureaucracy and eventually burned out. To be fair, there are those individuals who ruin it for the rest of us who want to really learn and reflect on how to be a part of our community, but the B.O.P. policy finds it easier to just remove the programs as opposed to removing the individuals. Another surprising issue might be that we are the last human beings in the U.S. still paying for long distance phone calls. Each call costs me $3.15 for a 15 minute phone call. In an effort to stay in contact with my children, parents and siblings, my family has to send me $80.00 per month for calls. That’s not including what I have to spend on hygiene each month. The phone system issue is frustrating because there are clearly more advanced and affordable systems through VOIP and other telephony technologies. For some lobbying reason the B.O.P. is in love with SECURUS. I ask myself where are all the profits are going? It surely is not being invested back into rehabilitation. I’ve shared just a glimpse of the many issues here in prison. I won’t complain about the lack of privacy and comfort because I know that a lot of you out there will say, that’s what prison is supposed to be like. But I would really like you stop and think about the importance of rehabilitating someone through adult education programs. For the first time a lot of us are in a place where the noise is gone from our life and we can clearly see where we went wrong. We just need someone to show us a different path.
— Adrian R.