The L.E.T. Project – A.J. is not feeling it.

A.J. said he is going through a down time right now. I don’t really know how to respond to him right now. Sometimes people need to be left alone in order to ponder and think. 

What is crazy is that I also heard from my cousin who is doing time. I haven’t heard from him until now. He gave me a lot of insight of what it’s like to be an inmate. His biggest gripe was the traumatic effects of being institutionalized. Losing his ability to be a man. He has a fiance and he sometimes has to beg her for commissary money to get by. He told me stories of him working in the jail cafeteria, only to get paid 13 bucks a month. He is in prison right now getting paid 21 bucks a month cutting hair. It is insane how jail is literally legal slavery. My cousin wrote me an 8 page letter, which really shocked me because I heard that he didn’t write at all. He apologized for not responding, and promised to start responding from now on. All sins are forgiven in my book. Besides, he has 9 more years of mail that I will send to him, compared to zero. Once people get thrown in jail, they often get forgotten about and abandoned. No one wants to talk to them or hire them because they wear a felon jacket. No one wants to hire them or deal with them period. I can’t erase the public’s stigma of inmates, but it is really sad when you commit a mistake at 18 years old as a black man, you get the maximum punishment that someone of a different background may get a fair sentence for. All that I can do is tell these inmates to read books and become self taught geniuses. Take advantage of correctional facility programs that are available to them. I want to see these guys become more successful than me. For some it may or may not happen. There could be underlying drug issues or mental illness, so it could be a complete crap shoot for all I know, but it is worth the effort.

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5 thoughts on “The L.E.T. Project – A.J. is not feeling it.

  1. I think he will write you back and probably tell a few of his fellow inmates. You have to understand inside you can’t trust no one and here he has a good dude writing him on the outside who he doesn’t know. Very admirable of what you’re doing and please try not to get discouraged.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think he will too. A.J. has been the most appreciative person of the project, always saying thanks and actually reading the books. Other subjects tend to look at the project as a “What’s in it for me?” angle. He probably heard that one of his family members is seriously ill, and he could be depressed about that. Every one in the pen has there depressing moments because of such a harsh environment. It changes the way you think of yourself and others. Like you said, “you can’t trust no one” in the system. Thanks Tareau for always showing love to my blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t see how anyone could avoid getting depressed in jail. Like you said, it’s literally legal slavery: those kinds of conditions have to be awfully hard to deal with. I’m glad you’re talking to AJ though, it has to be good for him to have someone on the outside who he can write to. The same goes for your cousin. A little compassion can go a long way.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. One thing you said is very insightful and explains a lot: “Sometimes people need to be left alone in order to ponder and think.” That is true of us all, and I can only imagine how much more so for someone in prison! And the other thing that comes to mind is reading and educating themselves. I read a biography of Malcolm X a few years back, and I was amazed to learn that he read and studied the entire dictionary while in prison! Next time you write to AJ, if you feel it is appropriate, tell him there are many of us who care and are sending him good thoughts. Thanks for all you do, Eddie.

    Liked by 1 person

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