By Christopher L. Young
La Grange, KY
I am grateful to be a member of the NLG and a Guild Notes subscriber and looking forward to receiving the Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook—I appreciate the chance to get my voice heard while being a political prisoner incarcerated in Kentucky.
This is why I’m committed to challenging and exposing all forms of institutionalized environmental injustice, racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, classism, authoritarianism, fascism, and imperialism, along with mass imprisonment within the KY prison industrial complex. Currently, Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex and Green River Correctional Complex are built on top of coal mines. If you look at the Kentucky “corruptional” system, all the prisons are built on land that can be used to farm on (i.e. grow vegetables and produce other vegetables) and use as a school to teach skills to offenders to be productive citizens.
A report by the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission stated that the Kentucky DOC “fails to protect society, prevent crime or rehabilitate offenders.” Kentucky State Reformatory does not stand up to its name at all because it takes up to a year or more to get into GED school due to a lack of teachers; furthermore, prisoners can’t get accepted into such programs unless they are 18 to 24 months to parole, or serve out. Then we get paid 80 cents per hour for certain jobs (e.g. janitor, wheelchair pusher, going to GED school, etc), $1.30 for certain jobs or $2 for legal aid, grievance aid, CPTV watcher, etc. and some inmates don’t get fully paid due to their crime.
Then you have the mentally ill prisoners who don’t get the proper treatment due to psychological services being limited (i.e. individual and group counseling, delays in receiving medication, staff trained to deal with mentally ill prisoners and properly trained crisis intervention staff).
This is why I am so devoted to striving for justice, to chisel away at the corruption that hinders so many in Kentucky injustice penal system.
I am a jailhouse advocate and litigant, and have a case that I mailed to the Oldham County District and Circuit Courts on January 24, 2016, and criminal complaints to the District Attorney on the same day. I can’t properly navigate these cases because I am in the segregation unit and don’t have access to research materials, law books, legal digests, etc., and most of the time I have trouble with getting legal copies.
These challenges we’ll always face, and until they’re won, I will struggle against authoritarianism, imperialism, fascism, and racism.■