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Some days I get angry about my son’s story. Some days it is worse than others. I begin to dwell on the “what ifs” that go along with having someone you love go to prison. Especially your child.

When Judge Kelly Lee Ellerbe sentenced my son to 15 years in prison, she also sentenced him to loss of the ability to start a career and a family and the loss of his dignity. He has been locked up for 4 years now. He was 4 days into his 22nd year of life. He is treated like a caged animal.

What my son has witnessed in this timeframe is shameful. The vulgar, violent world is beyond your wildest imagination. Many times you will hear people say “who cares about criminals, they get 3 squares and a free bed after all.” Well this is far from the truth.

My son is barely fed enough food, and the “privilege” of commissary is something he needs in order to have extras to eat and decent hygiene. Indigent prisoners get their very basic needs provided for them, but I have learned that this isn’t enough to really sustain a man.

I also get angry about the fact that I am triple taxed. Not only do I have to foot the 80-billion-dollar price tag through my state and federal taxes, I also have to provide him with money for his commissary, extra things like shoes, t-shirts, socks, underwear and other clothing. Plus, add on books and travel expenses to go visit him. And every time I order I am tapped with a surcharge.

I give him $60.00 per week which costs me $6.95 in a processing fee from JPay (big rip off artists). I also have to pay for emails, phone calls and anything he downloads from his tablet. Oh, and the prison takes $1.00 per month from this for administrative fees. Daniel is also charged $5.00 for medical or disciplinary actions which I pay, because he has no money!

So the anger manifests into words on paper. I try to tell the story of what the real prison experience is. It’s not about corrections. It’s strictly about punishing. Removing someone’s freedom is punishment, the rest is cruel and unusual and is illegal.

Daniel lives in a concrete box, surrounded by wire and officers with weapons. He hasn’t seen a sunset, the evening stars or a body of water. He gets no care for his eyes, teeth or mental health. He gets nothing but a daily dose of destruction of his emotional state of mind.

So how will my son come home? Will he be able to look past this environment and search deep into his soul to get through it? Doubtful, he’s angry too.