I asked the following question to people at my prison, Southeast Correctional Center in Missouri. The responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
Q: What is one thing prison administration could do to make your quality of life inside prison better?
Josh Swims: Better quality of medical treatment. Most of the time they take so long to meet our medical needs, and there are occasions where they never respond or attend to us.
Alex Roper: Less processed food and more real food and proper portions. Not just a little bit of food like they do. That’s important, especially for big guys like me.
David Bell: Eight hours of uninterrupted sleep, because they always wake us up, turning the lights on during the night for count times.
Erik Smith: Man, what we need is our cable TV fixed. Every time we have less and less channels.
Steve Jackson: A new dentist. Last time it took four years just to have my teeth cleaned, and now I have been waiting one year for some filings in my molars. … They just don’t care about us.
Santiago Avalos: More opportunities. More jobs with better pay.
Rafael Salazar: It would be excellent if they would allow us to invite a friend to our food visits. (Editor’s note: Incarcerated Missourians are allowed food visits with their family but can’t invite another incarcerated person to join them.)
Bryan Tomlin: More concern for our nutrition. I take care with what I eat, but sometimes I don’t have enough money to purchase canteen food, so I go to the chow hall, but the food there is not the best option. For example, a dinner dog for breakfast? That’s ridiculous.
Kendall Johnson: A dermatologist would be enough for me for now. I have acne breakouts that have never happened before, but the medical care in here doesn’t take care of situations like this. Unfortunately, the acne solution in the commissary is not good for my skin sensitivity.
James Mecum: Case workers that indeed care about the issues we face, because if we have struggles with our cellie or in the wing or with our job, it seems like they don’t care at all.
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.