Notes from the Inside: Noel Sambrana

Tiny - Posted on 14 April 2011

Noel Sambrana

Greetings, I am writing in representation of those who are being held in the buildings of California's biggest money machine. Better known as prison. I must contend, I sure don't see any of that money my confinement is generating, especially not in reforming me with education.

Here behind the wall being low income people it is very rough and tumble. A majority of the convicts really do try to seek something better in their lives. The system though does not allow them to because the many cut backs in funding for prisoner reform and education has made rehabilitation obsolete. The majority gets back out into society on the same level they entered prison, only a bit more angry.

I see people come and go and come again. I have come to realize these last six years that 99 out of 100 men I come across are generally from a low income background, living in low income neighborhoods. Now they're caught up in a vicious cycle, with no end in sight. And the judge at sentencing had the audacity to call this the Department of "Corrections". I see no correction here only oppression and demoralization. This is my fourth term and I'm serving 22 years 8 months to life. I received all that time to be "corrected" and pay back my debt to society. And yet, they do not offer any "correction" courses so I can learn to better myself. They will though provide a senseless novel to read. They do not offer any job training skills so that convicts can pick up a trade and return to society as an asset, but they will give me a deck of cards to keep me busy.

It's pretty amazing when I hear of a convict that got out and made something of himself. So amazing, in fact, that in six years I still have not heard of it. What I do hear of is the constant battle with the establishment. Many who are released from behind these walls end up back in because they were in the wrong area and it does not matter if they're clean and working now. They still lose their freedom just because they were walking through a known drug area. What I also hear is men and women being released only to end up on street corners or dead. People come behind the wall everyday and go nowhere. Some sell their soul for protection, others sell their bodies just to survive. After months or years, it just creates a madness in these individuals. I've had three neighbors hang themselves, only one lived. I've heard the cries of rape and bitter hatred. I've seen people stabbed, shot and pummeled to the ground. There are nights where I myself have layed awake with tear filled eyes, remeniscing about my family and the child I left behind. I wonder if I will live to see another day. I see, it is vital that people find education before it is too late. Otherwise, you end up like me; without a job, without a family and without a name, only a number. Just because we are homeless, doesn't mean we are hopeless and just because we are convicts doesn't mean we can't create a more positive future for ourselves. The key is education and without it we go nowhere.

Noel Sambrana, #K-53140
P.O. Box 3476 C.S.P. SHU 4A2R-37
Corcoran, CA 93212-8310


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