Essay on Parole and Artwork by Miguel Morales

First and foremost, I appreciate you taking the time out to stop and read through some of these postings. I’m writing you this in search for understanding and support on an important issue that we’re up against behind these walls.

The muzzle has been put on us (prisoners) for far too long now. We’ve always been made to feel like we’re simply stuck and can’t do anything to change the way we’re being treated back here because of stigmas made against us, lifestyles we were living, choices made when we were younger, and because it works, so much better for them and their agenda and pockets if we just keep our mouths closed and not say anything. But one truth is that the “system” has led some of the public to believe that the solution is to just lock us all away with extreme sentences and throw away the key, as if that’s what’s going to fix society’s problems. And clearly that hasn’t worked then and it definitely isn’t working today.

I’ve already been in prison for 17 years on a gang-related murder that happened in 2001, and I’m still facing 19 more years that are left to serve on my sentence. Because of sentencing laws in Illinois, I’ll have to serve all (100%) of those 19 years that remain without the possibility of ever earning any good time, no matter what type of program I complete or positive behavior that I show. So the question has to be asked- what incentive is there then to even “do good”? Why don’t we even have a parole board anymore? Where we can go in front of and show the positive that we’ve been doing (on our own), the changes we’ve made, the benefits we’ve made both for ourselves and those around us? We haven’t had a parole board in Illinois since 1978 and the sentencing just gets harsher and harsher. Why? Is prison without a parole board working? Are harsher sentences since 1978 working? With the crime-wave happening in Chicago today, I think we all know the answer to that question.

A fair and just parole board here in Illinois, will give us the opportunity to show and prove our ability to do differently. To change our ways and change our thinking, and take us from the mentality of not having anything to lose to having everything to gain back. It would bring a sense of hope knowing that there’s that possibility of being free again one day. And will very possibly be your next door neighbor, living next to you and your children, living on your block, in your neighborhood. So you have to ask yourself, what type of “neighbor” would you want him or her to be? Rehabilitated and helped in his growth with a different mindset and outlook on life? Or the same individual they were when they first came through these walls and learned nothing more but to become a better criminal while here?

To me it absolutely matters what’s offered to us in prison because what is or isn’t offered to us, reflects directly on how we will succeed or not succeed when we make it back to society. Programming in our prisons, smart sentencing, and having a parole board available to us absolutely matters. But today our fight is with us finally setting a fair parole board established for us here in Illinois We’re hoping to get the proper legislation proposed on this and if you’re with us in this struggle and chose to support us, all of the needed info is here.

We might need your support again in the future so I’m hoping this isn’t a one-time deal for you! I’m also an artist who does oil paintings. Mostly for fun, some for family and loved ones and some on commission. There’s a boatload of talent trapped behind these walls. Mine’s is just one of the many. Enjoy what you see and always feel free to write directly.

Thank you for stopping. Thank you for reading and thank you for any and all support!

Always in strength,
Miguel