Category Archives: Other Entries

TRANSFER

Dear Everyone,

The roller coaster ride gets even more rocky! On March 26th I was transferred from the McConnell Unit. It was not a surprise to me; I knew they would eventually try to distance themselves from me in light of their frivolous Seg’n of me and the fact that I’m challenging it legally. But, this isn’t going to stop that process.

Of course, they chose to get me as far away from my support system as possible and moved me to Abilene. This puts me 7 hours away from the person that visits me the most, 5 hours away from my family in San Antonio and 4 hours away from my lawyer in Austin. It’s a typical tactic to isolate an individual from his support system.

TDC allows inmates to put in for a “Hardship Transfer” based on family medical problems. Since my father and grandfather both had severe medical problems we have put in for a transfer back to my region (something they could have done from the beginning). Let’s hope it happens soon.

For 3 days I zig zag’d through Texas.

Day 1: left McConnell and stopped at Connally Unit, Stevenson Unit and a pre-release facility. The final destination was Darrington Unit in Rosharon, TX. In company with me was Marc Garrett (the man who openly admitted to committing the said assault I’m in Seg for). Garrett was sent to Darrington and assigned there (take note: even Garrett is closer to San Antonio than me. Rosharon is right by Houston).

Day 2: I left Darrington and went straight to the Walls Unit in Huntsville. What memories I had going there. I stayed there for the night.

Day 3: The next morning I left the Walls. We made a stop at Hughes Unit then came straight to Robertson.

While the scenery was a treat for the eyes the pain from the cuffing wasn’t. Shackled from hands to feet is no pleasantry. The nerves on my left thumb are still numbed.

When you leave on chain you are allowed to bring one bag of property with you (so one must choose wisely what you wish to have). While policy says that property should reach you within 21 days or so sometimes it can take up to 2 months. I received the rest of my property on May 10th. Not too bad considering.

And so Robertson it is for a while. There’s nothing better to report. Well, it seems you trade one thing for another. I traded off bad conditions and decent guards for good conditions and a band of malicious guards. I don’t think I’ve seen guards as hateful as these. And when I say hateful I don’t mean guards that simply enforce the rules. I have no problem with being punished for any rule I break. But, these guards go out their way to provoke you and ransack your stuff. I’ve already gone through it once while being here and had property of mine confiscated. But, I’m going to go out of my way to fly as straight as an arrow because I have bigger fights ahead. I recall reading a piece of philosophy that said Wisdom was not just about knowing HOW to fight a battle, but WHEN! I think I’ll adhere to that.

One thing about it is I understand where I am. I have no illusions about it. Sometimes some (not all) of these guards will come through and they want to go “hardcore” with you.

Taking you to recreation or shower they’ll strip you out, do a full cavity search (open your mouth, lift your testicles, turn around and spread your cheeks). Not nice, but it IS a rule they can enforce. A lot of inmates will get into arguments with the guards about it. In turn they don’t come out of their cell for not complying with policy. By the time they get to my cell I’m already naked. NOT cause I enjoy the process but because 1) I’m not going to let them beat me and deny me what I’m due and 2) I already have the mentality that THIS IS PRISON! THIS IS NOT A SUMMER CAMP OR A COLLEGE CAMPUS! This is prison, I know what it’s about. For guys that have a lot of time to do I suggest they get ready because it’s getting worse. I’m ready for whatever they got!

As we speak I’m gearing up to challenge the Seg situation, I’m cranking out good enlightening material to the public and I’m preparing for another round in the 2013 Legislature. At the end of every storm the sun will shine again. I think it’s my time to bask in it.

Do stay tuned. Much more to come.

LEARNING IS STILL THE KEY

There’s an old saying that goes-

“You learn something new everyday.”

 

This is heard a lot amongst the men in prison where there are new discoveries everyday (maybe new policies or the latest prison gossip).  I can bear witness to the numerous of things one discovers- from the radio, tv or books. And while I’m not surprised at the new things I find out, I often end up in awe about them.
I have one such discovery to share, and as a well-read 35 year-old it’s almost embarrassing, but hey- “You learn something everyday.”

Up until about a couple of years ago I didn’t know what an Almanac was! Yes, indeed. I’ve had dictionaries, thesauruses, even a seven-language dictionary, but I had never owned, nor seen, an Almanac. Maybe I had heard the name and I thought it was a book of maps or something (like an atlas). But, little did I know what I was missing.

Around 2 years ago someone was cleaning house and was trying to get rid of their Almanac. Being forever vigilant about good books I asked for the Almanac, because I had never had one.  And wow- I had no idea of the vast information it had. Next to the dictionary, this may be the most important book ever. It has EVERYTHING in it. I had no idea one book had compiled so many things.
The edition I got was 2005, nevertheless I relished it like a child opening gifts on Christmas day.
While I could cite an abundance of things in the Almanac that informed me and enlightened me, I’d like to share just one that stood out to me the most. I don’t quite know why this did. Perhaps because I never knew the depth of it (something that’s in our face daily), and that it came off almost occult like. And that is:
Code of Etiquette for Display and Use of the U.S flag
When to display it, flying at Half-staff, how to fly the flag, church use, how to dispose of worn flags, when to salute the flag, prohibited uses of the flag are some of the topics.
I’ll let you research all of that for yourself, but it sure was a fascinating discovery about what this government expects for its flag.

Now that I’ve gone through the Almanac front to back, it’s time for me to pass it along to. I have to give away good material such as this, but I must always keep in mind that so much more is ahead. We could live 100 life times and never learn everything about life, the world or the universe. So, as long as I’m living I truly look forward to “learning something new everyday.”

 

MESSAGE FROM KENNETH PT 2 – 13/07/2011

I’ve come to the realization that I have to refocus myself on all my endeavors. Being in General Population is a frenzy that has caused my objectives to become scattered. I’m no longer in an environment where I’m in a cell 22 hours a day and all I have to do is read and write. General population is a warped version of society where we work, battle supervisors and stress over day to day living. These distractions keep my mind and body occupied to where I’ve neglected my objectives. That distraction is over.

I’ve always believed that for to gain support I have to be my #1 supporter, and in that vision while people help me, I have to be the main pusher of those goals. Right now i am reorganizing my goals and objectives to gain my freedom. As once upon a time I stood I can’t depend on others. In some ways I’ve relaxed and put my faith in other people and while their intentions may be good, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. This isn’t to say that my faith is misplaced, it’s just the realization that only you can build your dream house. I’m responsible for building my own dream house. People that love me may help me decorate it at some point, but I’m solely responsible for building this house. This is what I lost focus on, certain events in my life over the past 2 weeks have given me a reality check. It wasn’t just the slap of the situation that I faced, but also the reminder of who I am and what I came to do. I embrace the teachings of Growth and Development and the concept that progress comes in degrees and stages. For every step on the ladder there is a rung where you pause before you take the next step. I’ve paused! It’s time to take another step towards the top. NOW!

MESSAGE FROM KENNETH PT 1 – 13/07/2011

I rarely talk about life in prison. I rarely talk about the things I see on a daily basis, not just on a political platform, but on a personal basis to my family. I guess you can say it’s my personal belief that you all (family and friends) have enough to deal with in “that” world and then have to deal with the madness of “this” world. You surely couldn’t handle both. So I silently endure what I face, because after all why should others have to bear my mistake.

But, more and more I am coming to see the need to talk about certain things here, if not to invoke action but to enlighten. You can’t expect people to act on what they don’t know nor understand, right? So, little by little I want to begin to touch on some things that I face from day to day. It would be impossible in a blog to give a person a true vision of prison in Amerika today. In fact, not even a fleet of books could, because prisons differ from State to State, facility to facility, State and Federal and even regions within a state. Some go from the most extreme to the most juvenile. Each have ties that bind them regardless of the worlds that separate them. I can only give my little corner of the world and plant a seed of a broader link in common adversities and obstacles.

I’ll tell you right now, Texas is at the bottom of the barrel in every category: conditions, economy, rehabilitation. And as I watch the prison conditions decay, I fret not only for those here, but those that return to society malnourished (mentally, physically, and spiritually) and the families that must sit by and observe this. Maybe something I write will be a spark in someone’s mind and spirit. It’s not about pampering a person in prison, some people deserve to be here, it’s about what’s fair and humane, because at the flip of a switch it could be your people. It’s about being aware that what we inflict always comes back.

So from time to time I’ll share a story or two, or problem and we’ll see what we can stir up.

“Truth is only violated by falsehood; it may be equally outraged by silence”. (Henri Frederic Amiel, swiss philosopher 1883).

MESSAGE FROM KENNETH – 06/06/2011

Dear All-

I know it’s been a long time since I sent out any word on my situation. But, please believe it’s not been because of a lack of activity. At this stage of the fight most of our actions are done subtly. To have left death row with such a bang it’s understood that the best way to FULY leave these doors will be subtly and not noisily.

Many knew that the majority of our efforts were being focused on getting certain bills passed in the legislature that would not only open the doors for me, but hopefully others too. Our first attempt at this in 2009 ended with a bitter defeat in the Senate. With the efforts to correct the mistakes we made in 2009 we was sure that we would pull off a legislature victory in 2011.

I’m VERY sad to say that we did not! House Bill 2200 filed by Borris Miles did not make it out of the House Committee (the very first stage of the legislature). This has shattering effects to the hopes I had for a soon victory. In no way does this mean “it’s over.” It only means that we are delayed. We are unsure as to why the bill did not progress, especially when it progressed all the way to the Senate in 2009. On the surface it seemed that the bill did not have any fervent resistance, but we never know the plots hatched in the dark corners of the political world.

So, that is done. It is a terrible sting, but it is done. At this point in time my lawyers and I are going back to the drawing boards. By no means have we given up hope or thrown in the towel. It’s unfortunate the lengths we have to go to for justice, but justice has always seemed to be attained ONLY by sweat, blood and tears in this country. And if that be the case- SO BE IT! We accept the challenge.

It is my intention to be a bit more vocal now through these networking channels since this latest development. Plus, things throughout TDC period are becoming more and more oppressive. With the state of the economy and the many budget cuts going on– which prisons see the most of—conditions are getting worse. It was always said that a life sentence is only the slower version of the death penalty. I cannot lie – I feel the effects of that statement now. Hopefully, I will be able to bring a lot of these things to life.

As for now we go back to the drawing boards and seek a way to overcome this situation. For those that were working on the bill- I thank you. And for those that will still be standing with me as we go on- I thank you 1,000 times ahead of time. You’ll hear fro me again soon.

Until then…

Love & Struggle!

WHERE IT’S WRITTEN

As human beings we’re always trying to leave our mark. It’s embedded in us to leave remnants of who we are, what we’ve done, what we believed.
From the Pyramids to the Projects to the Prisons, man seeks to resurrect his language, visions, feelings. This specific thought settled upon me one day as I was reading the writing on the walls in my prison cell. I’ve been in cells with more graffiti than a New York subway station. I’ve also read some really profound statements. That may be what inspired this writing.
I’m in a cell where someone was on a Jesus crusade. There’s 10 different scriptures written all around the cell. Some beautiful ones too:
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life to which you were also called.”

And just above that someone else had wrote “No Mercy”.

In the last 2 and 1/2 months I’ve been in 5 cells. Over 15 years I couldn’t count how many different cells I’ve been in nor recount all that I’ve read from the walls. But, it has been a moving compilation. Some of the things I’ve read have stirred me down to my soul.
When I returned to Seg August 9, 2011 and was placed in the most restrictive housing with only a pair of socks,  boxers and sheets (not a single thing else) all I could do was sit on my steel bunk and look around. There I saw a gut-wrenching paragraph scribbled on the wall:

“Only the strong survive. Welcome to hell. You can cry, scream, pray- they don’t give a fuck. Just do what I did- smile and make it fro day to day.”

And it sat deep with me as I soaked up the screams, kicks and bangs to the door. It was a reminder to the seriousness of the prison Industrial Complex.
Though some of the things I’ve read have ranged from babble to insane to poetic, I give these inscriptions as much respect as any philosophy or novel book; if not more, because these words weren’t written from fiction, rather real life. I preview this penitentiary walk through these inscriptions. I preview the hope (“Jesus Saves”) and the despair (“I wake up in the morning and I ask myself – is life worth living, should I blast myself.”- Tupac “Changes”).  I need to remember that the stakes are high and that these people are playing for keeps. Therefore, there remain things to fight and overcome.
May this poem say the rest of what this writing intended to.

34TH BIRTHDAY

It was beyond a blessing to celebrate my 34th birthday. While prison is not the most utopian place for such a celebration a person must be mind of matter and find ways to uplift his spirit in such adverse surroundings.

For many prisoners it is their thinking that when an inmate takes joy in eating a holiday meal or doing something special for his birthday that it is something “institutionalized” about his actions. It is felt that these things are done to numb the reality of prison life. And while for some that may be true, it doesn’t ring true for me.

Why? The reason why it doesn’t is because I am a person that has done just about everything in the book worthy of resistance on the inside (short of violent attacks on staff). Therefore, I am a person that has become detached to materialistic things or token things they throw us for behaviour modification. I can do without them just as much as I get them (on the rare occasions). Thus, I have never allowed such comments to change my actions, attitudes or behaviours. What I do is what I do for higher purposes regardless of who understands them or knows them.

For example, on my birthday I had been saving my pennies up for about 2 months. I sacrificed certain days for this day. And I was able to cook a big meal for those around me and provide sodas and goodies. I understand that there are some guys around me that cannot afford to buy sodas on a regular basis. They live off the bare necessities which are not things like soda. A 30c strawberry soda is 2 bars of soap that a person needs to stay hygiened up. And YES- what I just said is a reality here (especially in a state like Texas that doesn’t pay for your labour, but charges you for everything else [like medical appointments]). So, my celebration became others.

One young guy came up to me and exclaimed how he wished his birthday (a month ago) was like this, but he smiled and said- “I felt like this was my birthday” and that made me smile and let me know that what was in my heart for my birthday (to share with others this benefit I have). A bit of fragrance always clings to the hand that gives you the rose, feel me?

And so it was a beautiful day. One day I will be celebrating a birthday in Morocco or Spain or somewhere far from here and I’ll reflect on these times. Perhaps I may have more now that I have In the future, but it will be a time to reflect and remember how I felt. I’ll carry it then as I carry it now. And on that note I’ll say this about sharing and I will let it stay with me for birthdays and more….

When giving….
The best thing to give your enemy is forgiveness;
To an opponent, tolerance;
To a friend, your heart;
To all men, charity;
To your self, respect;
To your child, a good example;
To your father, deference;
To your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you

DAY WITH DAD – ONE DAY WITH GOD

I wanted to share with everyone a most amazing event that took place in my life over the weekend. These stories are like jewels upon our crown of victory of leaving death row. I say OUR, because there is no me without WE!

I’ve already expressed how i plan to take advantage of EVERY opportunity available to me. If they offer it, i’m going to try to be a part of it. I have a lot of catching up to do with Life.

I found out about a program that is offered where they allow your child(ren) to come inside the Unit and spend the whole day with you. It’s sponsored by several different christian organizations. This program has only been done a few times on McConnell Unit. As soon as i learned about the program, i applied for it. That was about a year ago. Well, i ended up getting chosen for the program around January and it just took place this passed weekend (March 13th). I don’t think i can fully explain what all just happened to me this weekend. It was an event full of love, compassion and togetherness (something not exhibited much in TDC – amongst prisoners and guards and prisoners and prisoners). IT was a day about uniting child and father and promoting parenthood. It was beyond words. I want to share some of the things that took place.

The event began Thursday night (March 11th) with a brief orientation of the event. How the program came into existance was talked about and we began to meet the sponsors of this event. This event was started by a woman named Scotti Barnes whom is an amazing woman of God. She has a ministry called Forgiven Ministries and the story behind it is powerful. I encourage all of you to go to her web-site and read about her work. She brought us in and told us about what was to come. To start the event off she showed us a video called the Heart of Texas ( I believe this video can be accessed under this name on the web too.) This video set the tone of the weekend. It was about a man who was all about love to his fellow man. HE was from a small town in Texas (in other words gre up around a lot of racism and division amongst people.) And he had grew to have a strong relationship with a black family there in that town. The Black family was deep in poverty and were just struggling to live. This man extended much love to this family and would assist in bringing clothes to the home, food and other things. The relationship was one definately made by and through God’s love.

The story takes a powerful turn. One night this man’s family was coming back from a baseball game and for whatever reason the family had to make a pitstop. During the pitstop one of the man’s children got out of the van and ran into the highway. Sadly, the child was hit by a vehicle driving along. The driver didn’t stop. The child was killed instantly. In the wake of this tragedy the town was in uproar. They wanted to find out who had done this and deliver “justice” to that person. A search was carried out for who this person could be. People were watched and vehicles were searched for. And eventually, a vehicle was found that matched the crime scene situation. To everyone’s suprise the vehicle matched the man who was receiving the help from the childs father. I think that pierced every man in the room’s heart. But, what happened next shook the room even more. Never once did the man show any hate towards the man who hit his daughter. Infact, he did the opposite. He showed supreme compassion and reached out to that man. Not only that, but he asked that man’s family to join him at the funeral (on the FRONT row) and even provided half the clothes for that family to wear to the funeral. IT was beyond belief.

When the case was brought to court he plead with the Grand Jury to not indict this man, because he knew this was a God fearing man and that if he knew what he had hit, he would of never drove off. And that’s exactly what happened – the Grand Jury did not indict this man. How a man could take this position after his child was killed ONLY GOD CAN KNOW.
This video told the entire story – this is just a brief outline. I gave that very brief outline, because when the video went off the man came into the room to meet us all. WOW! That was amazing! This man came in and told his his story and gave testimony to forgiveness. Once he spoke he greeted everyone in the crowd and i think everyone knows that i had to share my own story with him. And i did. I told him about my years on Death Row and how his story resonated to me, because being a death row inmate i know something about forgiveness. I know that if people would have never forgave me for my bad decisions then i wouldn’t be where i am today. If people hadn’t granted me supreme compassion i wouldn’t be alive. We had a very good talk and they convened the meeting with preperations for the next day. The next day we would meet with more people and they would prepare us for our Saturday Day With Dad.

Friday came with much anticipation and we walked into an event beyond imagination. The day was all about us and all about showing us (With Love) how to be better men and better Fathers. It was almost like a seminar teaching us to work with our kids, talk to them and make a bridge over these walls. I am thankful to say that i have a beautiful bond with my child, but nevertheless i still learned much about Fatherhood. There were men in that room (13 of us in total) that hadn’t seen their children for years. I was joined to their pains. There was many tears and testimonies, all of which touched my heart. Through their pains i realized how even in here, i am richly blessed and i know God has a specific purpose for me.

The best way i can say it is these people treated us like men and Kings. We met other volunteers who had great testimonies. They all provided pieces to the puzzle about how we can overcome our hate and negative behaviours. Some of these volunteers had faced their own dark moments (like Jack King). They topped that day off with fried chicken, dinner rolls, green beans, potato wedges and every goodie you could think of (cake, chips, candy bars). It flowed like a river and they werne’thappy until we were stuffed until we couldn’t move. I, of course, felt guilty after eating 3 pieces and enough goodies to feed a third world nation. But, i enjoyed myself and even more enjoyed what was being relayed to us. WE spent the rest of the day making gifts for our children and preparing things for our children that would be given to them on Saturday.

And so the day ended with a lot of prayer and mental preparation for what the next day would be like.

Saturday arrived with all of them dressed in their best whites and smiles glowing everywhere. They started the day off with a nice quick breakfast of sausage bisquits. And when i tell you everything they served us was mouth watering it’s not an exaggeration. This makes even the best prison food seem like dog food. And i’m not ashamed to say that i ENJOYED what was offered (haha).

The morning began with a lot of mingling with the volunteers that came in for the event (which was maybe 20 or 25). And i had a suprise. I had been sharing my story with as many people as possible and had also shared some newspaper articles about my plight that talked about me and Nydesha. As my story spread i ended up meeting a volunteer that knew about my case. He was an older man from Houston and he told me his story. HE said back in 2007 when he heard aobut my case, he was upset with the Governor for commuting my case. He sid that he felt like if i was there i should have been executed too. Thats not a foreign expression to me, you know. But, he said he had some life changing events that allowed him to release those feelings and got him involved in prison ministry and after reading some of those newspaper articles about how i went to death row he said he began to question the death penalty in itself. So, that was a very powerful thing to see the corcle of growth moving like that.

Around 10am our children entered the Unit. Sadly, 2 of the guys children did not make it and one man’s daughter came late, but she came. We all comforted each other and rejoiced in what was talking place. Our kids came in and the event was launched.

We played games, had a country singer there, magic shows and even 2 clowns came in. After playing these games they served us some treats to hold us over until lunch which consisted of grapes, bananas, straberries, chocolate milk, danish and other goodies. On and on the day went with singing and playing games.

Lunch was served around 12.30 and we feasted on hamburgers and chilli dogs followed by cake. There was a time in the program where we were allowed to find a quiet spot on the Rec yard and talk to our children. IT was a beautiful sight to see guys hugged up with their children, there was a lot of joyful tears. We gave our kids the gifts that had been prepared for them, we signed the t-shirts that we wore and just exchanged as many thoughts and words as possible.

After everything was done there was a traditional ceremony that was done and that was a balloon release. Every child and father had a balloon to release to the sky – symbolically representing whatever they wanted to release to the sky. I mention this because there are a few people reading this who knows about a story i told regarding the releae of a balloon. This story i told was about me releasing a balloon that was symbolic to a person in my life. That balloon, though staying in my sights for a while, would eventually go so far to where i couldn’t see them anymore. And on that day, March 13th, when i released that balloon i realeased that person fully from my heart. This event ended up being more powerful for me in many ways.

To top off the event pictures were taken. I’m posting the one my daughter and i took. And for the record i can’t count how many persons told us that my baby looks JUST LIKE ME (thankyouvery much!) And of course our matching smiles took the show. Nydesha has grown to be a beautiful young lady and is very eloegant and mature for her age. I couldn’t be more proud, though i know i’m going to be.

It was hard to close the day, but we did with a lot of hugs and kisses. My heart perhaps did a littlebetter than others because i know i will see my daughter again soon, though each time she leaves it makes me just a little bit sore. And i was sore in the heart for those that may not see their children for a long time.

We all were very thankful for this program and for those people that came in to do this for they don’t judge us and treat us the way you would think people in society would want us to act – like good, wholesome citizens.

It’s been an amazing weekend and this short journal doesn’t even encompass everything that took place, but i had to share with you what i was able to experience. From my understanding there will be a Day with Dad Reunion sometime later this year, so hopefully that will happen and i’ll habe a nice story about that.

Try to take out the time to look up:

www.forgivenministry.org

www.heartoftexasthemovie.com

I’m greatly blessed to be where i am today and i thank all of you that helped me get to this point, because without your support, teachings and love i wouldn’t be where i am.

I’ll talk to you soon!