Current policy discriminates based on gender Jhana is an eighth grader aspiring to become a dolphin trainer. She admits that in preparation to become a dolphin trainer, she has flushed goldfish down the toilet on several occasions after finding it floating at the top of her fish tank. But if anyone were to question her […]
Reaching Out From Within:
In October 2011, Jeffrey Young submitted his first commentary to the MSR. His following commentaries became “Reaching Out From Within,” a column in which he wrote about issues surrounding his incarceration. “Reaching Out” was regularly published in the MSR through April of 2014.
We welcome Jeffrey Young back with the commentary below, giving readers a vivid glimpse through his eyes as he reaches out from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Rush City.
In my last column, “Overcrowding in Rush City Prison creates a risk to the public” (MSR, Mar. 24, 2016), I wrote about the overcrowding and double bunking in a prison originally designed for single occupancy in each cell.
This past January, President Obama issued executive orders forcing the federal prison system to change its solitary confinement practices. But an often overlooked issue is how double bunking and overcrowding in prisons creates dangerous risk as well.
Prisoners who lack a positive purpose in life or believe there isn’t any opportunity to pursue their purpose, often possess a “nothing to lose” attitude. These men pose a terrible danger to prison staff, other prisoners, and the community they may be released to. After losing the appeal of my conviction, I struggled with deciding […]
Last month, a young man who read some of my columns sent me a response letter. In it, he described some of his struggles with making changes in his behavior to improve his life. He mentioned that he can’t figure out why he continues to get caught up in his old ways, even when […]
“Police!” The shout from outside the front door was followed by the house shaking violently from a stampede of police exploding through the door. I was a terrified four-year-old in Spiderman pajamas staring at high-powered assault rifles aimed at me and my mother. After ransacking our home, the police soon realized that they had […]
During one of my summer breaks from college, I was sitting outside enjoying the summer breeze. In one hand I held a mayonnaise jar full of red Kool-Aid and ice. In my other hand I held a book on Egyptian culture. While reading, the sounds of a car creeping by and indistinct chatter from a […]
“You have 60 seconds left on this phone call,” blurts the automated voice. It’s an irritating reminder of where I live. When I talk to my daughter on the telephone, my confinement in prison fades into a vague reality. The 60-second warning yanks my consciousness out of the mirage my surroundings have morphed into. I’m […]
Conclusion of a three-part column It’s another sunny day in the ’hood, and the same old tired events are unfolding. A young brother is swindled, mean-mugged, and called a punk. Feeling disrespected, the young brother chooses his response. Acting on impulse, blinded by juvenile pride and infantile rage, he curls his finger tightly around the […]
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” — Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple At first glance, it can appear that people who have an abundance of money also possess the sole power to determine other people’s destinies. For example, education, suffrage, liberty […]