"Stripping Us Of Every Shred Of Humanity"

We are the "forgotten ones" of America's society. We are the masses condemned to be executed at the hand of the State -- in the guise of "justice." We are like "castaways," shipwrecked and lost without anyone hearing their S.O.S.

We only ask to be treated by our "caretakers" with some dignity. They have taken our contact visits from us. For many years, we could mingle in the same room and have the joy of holding our daughters and/or sons -- able to give our loved ones a hug, filled with love. But due to the one unfortunate incident in 23 years -- in reality, a "scuffle" with no serious injuries to the two combatants -- the administration has decided to punish us all.

Of course, they justify this by saying we are the "worst of the worst" -- while hiding behind excuses about the "safety and security of the institution." But a look at, say, Folsom State Prison will reveal more assaults in their visiting room than here on death row -- yet they still have contact visits!

The vast majority of us here on the row just want to do our time (draw, read, study, write, go to yard, exercise, etc.). Oh, but wait... now they've taken away our yard -- indefinitely! Why? Again, because of an attempted escape -- because they weren't doing the job they're paid to do!

We get punished by being placed on indefinite lockdown until "modifications" can be made. What modifications? Well, we've now lost our pull-up and dip bars -- a means of exercise and release of tension. Where does one focus their frustration or release their tension? With 70-plus people in the yard, you figure where the blow-up will be.

It's all part of their grand designs to pit us against each other.

When does all the senseless and needless taking stop? I mean they've even taken away chicken from meals -- because the bone can be used as a weapon! But chicken has been served for eons! Yes, it's true, the bone has been used as a weapon. But it's still served everywhere else, even places where people have multiple life sentences (which when you really think about it is the same as a death sentence).

Let's be real -- this is a prison. Prison is a place where ingenuity flourishes, and one can fashion a weapon out of pretty much anything -- including toilet paper!

These may seem like small issues to many, but to us, who have very little, these are cherished treasures. We here on the Row are already sentenced to die. But to strip us of every embodiment of basic humanity is a barbaric way of control.

We're not asking to live the life of Reilly. We simply want to live out our remaining life with such basic amenities as a hug. What happens when we become the "barbarians" that we are slowly and methodically being forced to become?

I'll tell you: Like a tornado, the rage continues down a destructive path where each man can be expected to do nothing but spin out of control.

Al Nadey, P76535
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974