Opinion » Letters

Jail is not fun or funny

Morro Bay

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In regards to your front page “humorous” article concerning being locked up in SLOCJ (“The Camp Snoopy Files,” Feb. 9).

First, let me tell you from my own personal experience, spending 4 1/2 months in the county jail was not fun, humorous, or funny. Perhaps this particular young offender’s repeated incarcerations have become so routine to this guy that is writing this series, that he has become institutionalized. In my opinion these articles are far from the reality and the horror of being locked up in SLO’s or any other jail. Perhaps this is the sad irony of the series.

The series of articles do not mention the deprivation, the humiliation, the dehumanization of what it really means to lose one’s freedom and liberty.

I never spent any time in jail before; my own experience was completely different. I was summarily placed in solitary confinement for 2 1/2 months of my 4 1/2-month stay. The reason, I believe, for being placed in solitary, was punishment for writing a letter to Congresswoman Lois Capps, complaining about filthy jailhouse conditions. While in solitary, I witnessed a suicide attempt in the cell right next to mine. Also I heard from reliable sources of other suicides and attempted suicides. Why is it these incidents go unreported in your paper or local nightly news?

Chief Justice Rehnquist, before he died in 2007, said America incarcerates more of its citizens than Russia and China combined and for longer sentences too. He also said America is addicted to incarceration.

Your front page article trivializes the real impact incarceration does to a person mentally, emotionally and physically. The peripheral damage of separation to the inmate’s family and friends, the loss of income and the permanent destruction to an individual’s reputation, the stigma of a criminal record on one’s ability to seek employment and government benefits are compromised for life in so many negative ways. I say again, there is nothing fun, humorous or funny about the SLOCJ.

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