November 06, 2014

Unfortunately my horticulture class intervened with my law library pass, so I still haven’t had the opportunity to look at the new DRC rules and regulations. I asked some of my classmates if they could help me, none of them had any copies of the DRC rules, they also said I have to purchase a copy card and make copies at the library because inmates are not allowed to check out the DRC rules and regs, only view them from the library or make copies. I have to wait another two weeks to go to the store and purchase a copy card, so in the meanwhile I’ll have to submit another kite, requesting a pass to the law library that doesn’t conflict with my horticulture class. However one of my class mates was nice enough to provide me with a book called ‘The Jailhouse Lawyer’s Handbook’ which has some great information that I’m finding very interesting. Unfortunately it had no information pertaining specifically to urine screening procedures, but it did have information about my rights as an inmate to write about who, or whatever I want as long as it’s not threatening or harmful to another person. I learned that my old unit manager had no right to threaten me with punishment, or stop me from writing about him or any other staff member for that matter. Under the Martinez rule a prison official cannot censor an inmate’s mail just because it makes rude comments about the prison or prison staff. Which leads me to another piece of information I found about my procedural due process rights regarding punishment, administrative transfers, and segregation. The rule states that I have the right to challenge a punishment in prison if it is unusually harsh, or if the punishment is done to get back at me for something I have the right to do, in example; writing about a caseworker in my blog, who in return has a grudge, possibly getting back at me by tampering with my urine screen information, which of course is just speculation, but very possible and not excluded from my list of variables. So far a number of my interactions with prison staff and officials have shown me that they can be very sneaky, dishonest, unethical, breaking rules and even laws in order to accomplish a task or cover up an incident. I’ve already fallen victim to some of these unjust behaviors, along with witnessing countless others. Prison officials may break the rules and laws to get what they want, I however will continue to follow the rules, but I will not abide by some farce, unenforced command in order to please a staff member that is working against me instead of trying to help me rehabilitate. I just can’t wait to get my hands on the DRC rules because I have no doubt that the officials are also breaking many of those rules in order to keep me from proving that they screwed up with this urine screening procedure. I no longer allow this event to consume my life or disrupt my daily goals, having said that, I still feel deeply obligated to fight for what is right, and it’s important for me to at least try to open a path, paving the way for other future inmates that will be faced with the same predicament, having a false urine screen jeopardize their entire sentence and an opportunity for an early release. Many inmates are waiting to see the parole board, which makes decisions for an inmate’s release based purely on that inmate’s prison record. This whole urine screen may have compromised my chances for going home six months early which really stinks, but just think about someone who’s been in prison for decades, making life changes, atoning for one’s past, following every rule, only to be caught in the clutches of some generic urine screen, incorrectly reading positive for an illegal substance…

Steven Dybvad

 

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