June 14, 2012
by Gregory Barnes Watson


Phone Justice
Hello World!
June 6, 2012

Do I deserve a telephone call at reasonable rates? For that matter, as a convicted murderer, do I deserve anything? The short answer is, "NO!" My crime has harmed too many people to count. However, my family and friends, who have never committed a crime, have never harmed a soul. They deserve to be treated fairly and with decency.

Like the majority of inmates, my family is not wealthy. The exorbitant cost of a collect phone call strains their pocket books. Many supportive friends can no longer afford to have me call and I'm limited to once or twice each month to telephone my father. We try to make up for the loss by writing letters but hearing a caring voice is like an angel's hug.

For readers who follow my blog you know I've been incarcerated for 26 years. I've lost many loved ones in that time. One of them, my mother, passed in 2007 from an aneurysm and Alzheimer's. It was a long, slow slide into a coma and then death. To have been able to speak with my mother more frequently than once a month would have brought joy to her while she still knew who I was. It would also have lessened my guilt for not being by her side in the last days.

I am responsible for where I sit and do not complain. I do find it bizarre, if not self-defeating that those who are in power act so often contrary to what is right. Statistics, both state and federal overwhelmingly show that inmates who maintain strong family or community ties and support are far less likely to re-offend. Is that not a worthy goal?

If it is, I encourage all who have lost a voice, to be selfish. Work toward reducing the high cost of inmate collect calls. It will reduce crime, prevent future victims, and in these days of budget crises, it will save taxpayers money.

In closing, please keep in mind that I am the one who is to be punished, not my family or friends.

Gregory Barnes Watson
D-67547 C-14-104-IJ
PO Box 409060
Ione CA 95640

Novel: A Thundering Wind (Amazon.com)


Replies (1) Replies feed

prisonactionnews Posted 7 years, 7 months ago. ✓ Mailed 7 years, 7 months ago   Favorite
Hi, Gregory

I am writing to let you know about Prison Action News, a biannual journal of prisoners' stories of resistance to incarceration. Written by prisoners and edited and distributed by outside volunteers, PAN has about 1,600 incarcerated subscribers across the US. It is a great outlet to both read and publish stories about fighting exorbitant phone prices, or any other oppressive aspect of prison life. If you would like a free subscription to PAN, write to:

PO Box 832
Watertown, MA 02472

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