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(From a July 22 @VoicesofSanQuentin Instagram post)

Chris Skull paroled on Monday July 13, 2020. During his incarceration Chris said he would look at his street clothes — Levi’s, brown leather belt and dress shirt — and dream of one day putting them on again. The clothes became a symbol of freedom. He said when he put his clothes on, “It was just like so much inexpressible joy. Happy. I mean, I was all a range of motions. I’m laughing and crying and jumping, lying down on the ground. I  mean, I was doing everything.” [smiley icon]. Because Chris was head of Inmate Advisory Council he had a single cell and says he started talking out loud to himself in the final hours, “‘Chris, you’re leaving.’ I’m telling myself stuff that so maybe I believe it. Like ‘Chris, you’re going home. Chris, you’re getting out.’  I mean, I’m telling myself some crazy things!” 

Chris says that when lifers get released, they are given a date, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting out. Anything can happen. And for a moment, Chris thought he wasn’t going to make it. The morning of his release as Chris started moving things out of his cell, the CO told him to stop and Chris thought to himself, ‘Uh-oh, here we go. I’m a lifer. They could stop this at any time.’ Luckily it turns out that Chris was going to be released during the second guard shift, instead of the first. Chris left his state issue “prison blues” and shoes in the cell. If Chris didn’t have “dress outs,” he’d be charged $68 by the state to walk out of the prison with state clothing. “It was so unreal, surreal that words can’t even express it. I was like, this is really happening. And it’s sinking in more and more…” 

Today Chris is checking out of quarantine and into transitional housing… but he wasn’t contacted by a parole officer, he was told by the front desk of the motel where he’s been … Stay tuned for updates.  Please go to our profile for a link to learn how to support the men inside and urge for more releases! #stopsanquentinoutbreak #human #carenotcages 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

@VoicesofSanQuentin is a social media entity that amplifies the voices inside and beyond the walls of San Quentin State Prison. Follow on Instagram: @VoicesofSanQuentin; Follow on Twitter: @Voicesof_SQ