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Dear Mr. Chauvin,

I gather that you are currently in isolation. However, that will soon end, and you will be placed in the general population. I do not know whether you will be in a cell by yourself or whether you will  have a bunkie. But whatever the case, your disposition will determine whether you do the time or the time does you.

As a former officer of the law, you should not have any problems with the correction officers who probably see you as someone who took one for the team. 

However, if you are arrogant, they will make a point of letting you know that you no longer belong. I know that you are quite aware of how officers get their point across, so avoid confrontation at all costs.

I know you are probably bitter. You probably feel that the system is unfair. But I am sure that in times past you lauded the virtues of the criminal justice system. 

Remember that from the perspective of your victim’s family, you should have received a harsher sentence. Please do not let your bitterness push you into joining one of those groups in prison that masquerade as “pro American” but are actually racist to the core.

If you don’t make productive use of your days, you are bound to be miserable. There is a P.O.W. adage that states, “The days and the hours are very long, but the weeks and the months pass quickly.” 

Keeping yourself busy will shorten the days. Try to read as much as possible. I suggest you start with Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” and Viktor E. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” Alexander’s book will give you some insight about the system you were once part of so that you can be an informed advocate for change. Frankl’s book on the other hand should help you adjust to your new confines.

If you have questions, feel free to ask.

Sincerely,
M. Yayah Sandi

P.S. Whatever you do, don’t drop the soap!

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.

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M. Yayah Sandi

M. Yayah Sandi is a writer incarcerated in New Jersey. He requested that his first name be withheld.