They call it “Lobby Day” in Tallahassee, when organizations and advocates get a chance to speak with lawmakers and urge change. I lobbied with the Florida Cares people, advocates for prison reform.
Florida jails and prisons are starving and deadly because lawmakers talk of changes. Changes include a reduction of mandatory minimums, which can put folks behind bars for the slightest transgressions. For decades.
We meet in the Senate building. We suggested changes. They do nothing. The GOP senators couldn’t care less. Meanwhile, corrections officers and prisoners live in hell.
The politicians talked prison reform all last year. And when we went to meet with them, they weren't there. They sent interns and aides to talk with us. All the reform bills were ignored or dropped, so they talk a good game and then fail us. It was like I was in “Catch-22.”
Advocates said on our way home that the politicians do this every year. It’s taxation without representation.
The aides two senators sent to speak to us were good listeners but neither of them had any idea what prison is like. When you get right down to it, there will be no change. Hope is finished
A memoir by the letter writer, “The Five People You’ll Meet in Prison,” will be released in September.