Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Photo by  Sharon McCutcheon  on  Unsplash
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

While taxpayers are fighting to make it, trying to keep from losing homes, losing jobs, and having to go to the food banks just to feed their family, the state of California is wasting their tax money.

I’m in prison for murder and belong in prison for my crime. I was sentenced to two more 25-to-life sentences while in prison. I’m 58 years old and my earliest possible release date is 2074. There is no way I’m ever getting out. I’ve accepted that I will die here in prison. But the state of California keeps picking up cases against me, spending thousands and thousands of taxpayers’ dollars, so they can give me time I will never do because once I die, they can’t bring me back to make me do more time. 

At the present time, I have a case in Kings County and Sacramento County in California as well as other cases that are pending. These cases are costing the taxpayers a lot of money that could be used to help with COVID-19 relief. If taxpayers knew the state is wasting money like this, they would be mad as hell, and they would have a right to be.

Add this to all the money spent on other prisoners, who are never getting out, but are continuing to go to court for cases. That is a waste of money that could be spent elsewhere. 

There is also this: the prison has lost or damaged my property over seven times. I submit complaints about it, but they keep losing my forms. Now I go on hunger strikes because they refuse to give me forms and other legal documents I’m supposed to be able to get. 

I’ve been on many hunger strikes, mostly over lost or damaged property. Sometimes I have to go on three or four hunger strikes for one issue because they try to persuade me to eat by promising to get my stuff. When months go by without getting my stuff back, I start another hunger strike. 

An emergency ride to the hospital costs $1,800 plus thousands of dollars to pay the two officers working overtime. Those costs don’t include the hospital bills. On one hunger strike, I was sent to the emergency room seven times. The prison paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money over a few hundred dollars worth of property because they lost or damaged it. 

I’m currently on a hunger strike that started on December 12. I’m sure this time, like the others, I’ll be taken to an outside hospital more than once. They will pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for my lost property. I will get compensated for it or die trying. But either way, taxpayers are always the ones who lose.

At the very least, taxpayers deserve to know where their money is going. The state could be using it to help prevent people from losing their homes and jobs. I’m just one person they’re wasting money on, but there are many other prisoners in the same position. It’s time to stop this abuse of power and save a lot of money — taxpayers’ money. 

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.

Raylon Shane Attebury is a writer incarcerated in California.