Question Time with Polish Avenger
Polish Avenger – A software-engineering undergraduate sentenced to 25 years because his friend was shot dead during a burglary they were committing. In Arizona, if a burglar gets killed, the accomplices can get 25-year sentences.
Leigh asked these questions:
Is there work for everyone who wants to work?
No. Although the policy states, “Every inmate shall work,” the reality is that jobs are quite scarce here. I estimate that around 40% of us are employed. Some of these are “paper jobs” in that they only exist on paper. Most of the guys would love a job, as otherwise they’re cooped up in the dorms all day with all of the other unemployed. All that restless energy and free time translates itself into mischief and noise and discontent. I count myself extremely fortunate to have such a good job! By contrast, I’ve just started a series of posts about my first prison job way back in ’94 about cleaning up blood and feces for a nickel an hour!
What changes have you seen (if any) since the economy has gotten even worse?
They have been steady. First, everyone’s wages went down by a nickel. Then our work hours got rolled back from 80 a week to 60 or less. The most dramatic change will occur this April. They circulated a memo stating that they can no longer afford to feed us dinner. Yes, seriously! Instead, we’ll receive the gut-meat sack meal I described in “A Doomed Sock.” Even more amazing was the gall of the director’s remark in that memo: “The quality of the meals will not change.” C’mon now, that’s just insulting!
Now, I hear some of you thinking, “You ungrateful so-and-so! They should only give you bread and water.” Hey, I understand. I really do. Not everyone here has evolved out of deserving to be here. Despite my bias towards prisoners rights, there are a lot of guys here I don’t like, I avoid, and who will undoubtedly come right back. But the reality of it is, every person here is an individual. Lumping us all into a convenient stereotype is just as short-sighted as a racial slur. Yeah, some of us may be incorrigible or dope fiends or whatever. But some of us aren’t. I’ve taken full responsibility for my crimes since I turned myself in back in 1993 and confessed. I expect no sympathy – or hero worship as someone put it! – just a chance to be heard as an individual in 2010, and not forever judged by one mistake 17 years ago.
Thus endeth the sermon!
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