I Wanna Be Free, by Rapheal Mitchell

Oddly that used to mean be released from prison, but today, I am not sure if I would not rather the other form of release, death. I have been imprisoned for 19 years and I am beyond tired. If you see my TedTalk, you to would feel at this point, justice has been served. Moreover, my lawyer on my case informed me he admits he committed a few constitutional violations and would write an affidavit to that fact. Which is great news because now I can be freed, but for an appellate lawyer I will need $7500, and no one has that. So, a GoFundMe page was set up, but that was a while ago and we are no where near our goal. Which helps reinforce my belief that maybe it is meant for me to die in this place.
Recently, I experienced inappropriate sexual behavior and advances made by my bunkmate. I complained about needing to be moved for my safety, and was ignored. I was told they were not doing “convenience” moves, which means moving me for comfort. I expressed this was serious and his behavior was increasing. At Lake Erie prison, there are a lot of dysfunctional things that go on here. This prison is 55% understaffed, so most employees work 16 hour days consecutively. Officers are pulled from their posts to be reassigned to do jobs they did not sign up for, so people have short patience. There is a huge K2 problem( a synthetic drug 85% of the prisoners use here,which makes them become like The Walking Dead), so I get how being sexually assaulted does not register high on this places priority list. I am a rape survivor and part of that surviving is believing that it will never happen again. There is an alarming fact I discovered during this trauma class; there have been more men raped in prison than reported rapes of females in society. That statistic alone should warrant concern. So I complained, wrote emails to every staff member, contacted my PREA(Prison Rape Elimination Act) compliance manager for help, and nothing happped. There was an issue thankfully witnessed by a staff member and he wrote an email to get me moved. In a meeting to be moved, it was determined I should be placed in the honor dorm because I have no conduct report violations, have a good job, and stay to myself. However, the day I was to be moved, the person most responsible for my care, told me it is so hard to place me, due to the aforementioned reasons. So she decided to not move me. Part of recovering is honoring your own strength, so I refused to allow that to be okay. I contacted upper management staff and they told her to move me at once, and instead of placing me in one of the two open beds in the honor dorm, she out of spite, moved me to the second worse dorm in this prison. There are constant thefts, rampant drug use, drinking prison wine, gang activity, two or three fights a day, staff disrespect, and perverse behavior that would make them have to register as sex offenders once free. I do not deserve to amongst these people. I paid my dues, clawed out of the bucket of people trying to hold me down, and fought to never have to be in this type of place again. I can not sleep. My current bunk mate is a drug addict. He uses drugs at our bed area all day and night. I am overeating because I am a nervous eater. I have my possessions locked together to detour theft, but that is pointless. I shower with two chairs placed in front of me. In an effort to keep me “safe” they placed my bed in front of the phones and whether on purpose or because of some sexual conversation on the phone, there are several men who play with their phallus while staring directly at me. All this is unwarranted. I fear if given the opportunity, what these creeps would do. I do not want to live like this and I have been seriously contemplating the alternative. Could it really be that bad? The unknown certainty of death, outweighs this known reality. “Be patient”, “it will get better”, and “pray” are statements I keep receiving, but no one is enduring what I am, so how can these words appease anything. I have cried so much I have no tears or care left. There is no way the alternative is not better than this. I need a reprieve of some sort that does not seem to be coming. Something within me broke. My trust is humans to exercise humanity has depleted.My belief that if you continuously put good in the universe, good will come back to you. My faith is shaken because prayers do not seem to be heard. I am mentally tired and have no clue what to do next.
So I just I breathe in and breathe out. I put one foot in front of the other. I find a way to be me just a little bit even when I feel lost. I hope and try to believe. I think I am going through this moment to pave the way for someone else to not have to go through this themselves. I guess God had to let me know I needed to be reminded that we are never finished being tested. I may not smile today, but as long as there is a tomorrow, I at least have the opportunity. I believe people will begin donating on my GFM page and I will be out of this place, and I believe that as long as I can be of help to others, I am meant to keep breathing. Though this is awful, it can not stay like this forever. Allow my words to be of some type of motivation to fight through whatever you may be enduring.
I leave you with this, I know sometimes in life it appears we are literally going through Hell, but maybe we need to go through this to become a better person, parent, or believer. Maybe:-)

Rapheal Mitchell
DOC #434-576

Categories: freedom, Rapheal Mitchell

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