Executive Directors Kirstin and Jonathon attend criminal sentencing at the Pima County Courthouse. On this day, we watched as a man who used a cell phone to get in touch with family members, including 4 kids, who he is otherwise cut off from got an additional year added to his sentence. It was also Jonathon's first time on the other side of the "bar." Here's what he wrote about his experience on that day:
"After watching a good friend of mine get sentenced to another year in prison for using another prisoners contraband cell phone. He made only two calls on this phone. They were an attempt to speak with his children. Due to the high price of prison phone calls and the difficulties presented in the approval process by DOC, my friend Aaron Sneva had not been able to speak to his family for several years prior to this. I myself have experienced this. In my nearly 13 years in the prison system, I was never afforded through the department of corrections the privilege to speak to or see my mother or family, excepting a thirty minute visit from my sister Ashley who is now in prison, and a 30 second call from my sister Ruby to inform me that my mother had died.
The few brief high risk moments that I spoke to my mother was by way of these illegal contraband cellphones. It was quite profound to sit in the pews and watch as my friend dressed in orange, with belly chains, cuffs and shackles on, was sentenced. While I wore my nice suit of "Freedom". Knowing the next day he would be shipped back to the very prison yard I was released from. Knowing what he is going back to. Prison does something to you. It's not natural, I think the longer and more harsh your stay, the more it fucks with your head. I think, that most of its victims are hardly aware of the deep cuts it has placed upon their souls. I know for me, it makes functioning in this "free world" difficult at best and nearly impossible in moments. Sadly, I cannot quite articulate why. Or what it is, that is wrong with me. I just know that things are not right...."