October 15, 2014

One of my biggest concerns that I forgot to mention in my last blog entry, next to losing trust from my family was losing my horticulture class. My teacher said that he wouldn’t accept inmates on cell isolation as students; he said that unlike the other classes like G.E.D. which had cell isolation students only because it was a mandatory class whereas horticulture is more of a privilege. I always agreed with his statement ever since he first said it months ago when we started horticulture, but I knew I had to try. Getting a certification in horticulture is extremely important to me, I take my education and learning what’s taught in class very seriously, always sitting at the same open seat in the front of the class, always focusing 100% of my attention on the teacher, taking notes on everything and fortunately for me, my teacher knows it. I’ve studied for every single test and aced every one thus far, earning a spot at the top of my class and some respect from my teacher, awarding me the privilege of remaining in his class. One of the other inmates that went through horticulture several years ago, earning a master certification and a coveted position as a greenhouse worker and teacher’s aide told me that I’m the very first person to be able to stay in horticulture after being placed on cell isolation and for that I’m truly grateful. The first day I was placed on cell isolation I had to sneak over to the classroom after lunch because I knew I had to take action and make a desperate plea to my teacher in an attempt to stay in class. Let me make it clear that I’m against breaking any rules in prison, but I knew that if I hadn’t taken the risk that day to speak with my teacher I wouldn’t be in class today. I’m currently in an unwanted predicament, one that I didn’t earn or deserve; at that point the only thing that mattered was my efforts and actions towards damage control. I’ve taken control of my life for the last three years, realizing that if I want to accomplish something I have to work for it instead of sitting back hoping someone else is just going to hand it to me. I feel the same way about this whole screwed up urine screening, nobody knows for sure that I haven’t smoked pot except for me, nobody in this prison is going to waste a second of their time to lift a finger to help me resolve this injustice, all I have in here is myself to depend on, that means I have to continue taking action, or else nothing will get fixed, I will continue to sit on cell isolation for three months for something I didn’t do, unable to call my family for the holidays or talk to my daughter for her birthday and that’s a crappy feeling. After being found guilty by the Rules Infractions Board I was given the chance to appeal to the warden, but before I could even send out my official appeal to the warden I received a response to my appeal, finding me guilty again. That’s right, this is how messed up the system is, they don’t care about right or wrong, or following proper procedure because they have nobody to reprimand them for not doing their jobs, so they go through all these case files with one hand, a big red stamper that reads DENIED in the other, stamping away, sealing the fate of many lives each day. I feel terrible for another inmate accused of something they didn’t do who has to see the parole board for release from prison. Just imagine being in prison, changing your life around, not getting in any trouble for years, even decades, hoping to someday being released by the parole board for good behavior, then being thrown into a cell as punishment for something you didn’t do, knowing the system will undoubtedly find you guilty, locking you away and throwing out the key, sealing your once promising fate for a release from prison. I only thank God that I don’t have to see the parole board, then I’d be supremely pissed off about this rotten urine screening process that’s painting me to look like a continued substance abuser. My appeal was well thought out and written, I even asked for my parents opinion of it before I sent it to the warden, which just infuriates me that it wasn’t even read or taken seriously before being slammed with a big red stamp of denial. I’ll attach a copy of my appeal to the warden for all to read.

Steven Dybvad

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