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!

Click here for Polish Avenger’s previous Question Time.

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Shaun Attwood

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