The journal of Benjamin Perez

February 24 2009

Disappointment is what I feel for not writing in my journal for about a month now.  Disappointment because of the benefits I know one can acquire through freely expressing their thoughts on paper.  It's like having someone to talk with when there's no one actually there to give you a couple of minutes of their time.  It's an alleviating feeling.

So anyhow much has transpired in the past few weeks in my life, not in my immediate surroundings, nothing really changes...  Well actually it does and thinking that it doesn't is a kind of defensive mechanism we use to reinforce the cynicism we choose to embrace while living under these conditions.  Don't get me wrong there's no doubt that living in isolation is detrimental to anyone and it does have an affect on our well being but it's better to deal with what we experience than shaking it off as a we against them mentality.  You do and try to connect with what exist beyond these walls.  It's what keeps you sane.  Healthy relationships with family and friends is what gives one purpose in life.  It took me a while to understand that.  I came into the system young and angry and that of course drove me to make some bad choices but we can all choose to grow up and change it's just a matter of recognizing your flaws.  It's not about other people being wrong it's usually you.

February 25 2009

I don't know how to feel after receiving news from home about my younger sister leaving her husband.  I am proud of her for taking a stance against an abusive relationship.  No woman or man deserves to be in an abusive relationship.  But I'm also concerned about her well being and psyche because a separation is a sad event that everyone is going to hurt from.  There's no easy way about it especially when children are involved.  I'm worried about how she and her children will handle the single mother status she;s now living under.  It's going to be tough and I was there to help her and the children through the transitioning phase.  They're going to need all the family support they can get.

I think it's unfortunate how widely accepted it is in our society for women to automatically be the ones to carry a majority if not all of the responsibilities to raising children.  That's bull.  Both parents aught to share in such a task.  Just because a man believes that he does enough by being a provider, it doesn't mean that it's enough.  A provider has to do with financial and nurturing support to the child.  Money doesn't teach them the lessons they need to learn of how to be a wonderful human being.

I could only hope my nieces and nephews have their father in their lives after their parents have separated.  We shouldn't excuse the absence of fathers in the lives of their children.  It's their responsibility to help raise and nurture their kids.  No more accepting anything less.  Let's raise the standards for our brothers, uncles, cousins, and men in our community.  To meet, our future generations depend upon it.

February 27 2009

Today I finally made it to the doctors line to be examined for a stomach pain I was experiencing a month ago.  Stood in a holding cell for two hours without a restroom.  A vent that blew cold air none stop me in standard get up.  A pair of boxers and t-shirt with waist chains on the entire time.

The doctor asked questions and looked me over.  I was good so all I walked out with was a sheet of paper that recommended stretching exercises.

March 1 2009

It's been a busy weekend of a whole bunch of nothing.  There's a bill that's being drafted by senator Leland yet of the California Senate that is addressing the issue of giving inmates who received a life without parole sentence while under act an opportunity to be reviewed for parole.  I'm going to contact the senator to ask for a copy of the bill and see if there's anything I can do to help and support his efforts to reform such an injustive.

March 2 2009

So far this year I've read two books and am about to finish off a third one.  I wonder if I should keep count of how many books are read this year and what those titles are.

I notice that I can read a book and eventually it slips away the memory bank so maybe by keeping track I can strengthen my memory.

March 3 2009

Today I received the first issue of chess lessons from alternatives library.  I'm really looking forward to applying some of these lesson.  Chess is a great way to pass time and for the stimulation of the mind.  So thank you for this lesson.

March 9 2009

So far this year I've read two books and am about to finish off a third one.  I wonder if I should keep count of how many books are read this year and what those titles are.

I notice that I can read a book and eventually it slips away the memory bank so maybe by keeping track I can strengthen my memory.

March 13 2009

A cousin of mine replyed to a letter I recently wrote him and I was surprised to hear from him so soon.  In the letter I asked if he would be willing to process a book order for me on a title by Machiavelli and another of Francis Bacon's work to which he promptly responded with a yes and asked me to send him the information.  I gotta say how grateful I am that he's looking out but on top of that it also feels good to know that we have loved one who without hesitation are there for us for small things to that solid support we need to do time productively.  That love from family is what really drives us to become better people by taking a good hard look at ourselves and without family we'd be lost in this world.

March 17 2009

Happy St. Patricks Day!

This day is special for me because the woman I love and our boy is a portion Irish.  I'm mexican but embrace the spirit it as a family celebration which they allow me to participate as an honary Irish brown man.

March 23 2009

Today I received a certificate of completion for a creative language course from College Guild.  It's a wonderful organization made up of great people who allow prisoners to take correspondence courses from a number of subjects.  It's a great feeling to accomplish anything in our position because it give us a sense of worth.  Worth because living in a cell without being offered anything to do is a waste so course like these builds our self esteem.  Thank you all for making them available to us.

March 25 2009

I wanted to share something I wrote in the last lesson for my creative language course that touches on the California prison system.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has full responsibility to the dire conditions of which it now finds itself by the passing of sponsored bills that work at strickter and harsher penalties instead of rehabilitating legislation that strives at becoming the solution

Throughout the 1990's California has been one of the premier states that has functioned under the belief that heavy penalties for crime committed would lower the rate of criminal acts.  It hasn't worked.  As a result we are currently faced to deal with the ramifications of this false belief that for so long drove politicians to be tough on crime.  California has 33 prisons with a total design capacity of 82,936 along with a staff of 61,721 who earn an average salary  $53,400.  It wouldn't be such a problem if a system was set where prisoners were given the opportunity to learn the tools they would need for a successful integration in society while serving out their sentences and earning the right to be released for those with life commitments.  Unfortunately it doesn't have such programs which is why California houses 23,174 inmates with life sentences and ultimately the cause of the unchanging realism that has its institutions at a 207% occupancy, that's 172,008 inmates so when you combine all those into numbers it's a total of 317,375 inmate custody and parole.

It's time for legislators to take control and responsibility by pushing reform legislation to rehabilitate inmates and keep them out.