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matthewkeys17 karma

There are a lot of people serving out long sentences for crimes that don’t really seem to merit them.

I was incarcerated with a mixture of white collar offenders (bank fraud, tax fraud, mail fraud — a lot of fraud) and drug offenders (mostly non-violent dealers). Most of the drug offenders seemed to be serving our extremely long sentences for relatively minor offenses. Their cases are a testament to how broke our drug laws are, and it is horrifying and offensive to see this administration going down a path that will make things worse.

Don’t get me wrong — there were also people there who deserved what they got. I served time with one man who cheated members of his church out of their money and never expressed remorse for what he did. Those people served as examples of the kind of person I don’t want to be.

The biggest lesson I learned though is that everyone is complicated and is just trying to make it through life.

matthewkeys11 karma

The worst single incident was when a prison guard kicked my partner out of visitation. A few days after the incident, I was told my partner could no longer visit me for the rest of the time I was there. We were finally reunited about two weeks ago after fourteen months of not seeing each other at all.

A few weeks after the incident, the prison froze access to my funds, which left me unable to contact my partner, my friends or my family. This went on for five months before the prison finally released access to my funds.

The worst sustained part about being in prison was the constant harassment for being gay. Just to be clear, I never felt physically threatened (except for one time, which was easy to blow off), but there were a lot of “jokes” at my expense and questions that were completely unreasonable. I was asked more than once if I had been raped and if that’s why I was gay. People asked me if I was worried about my partner being loyal (one person said he was “probably cheating” because “all gay men are promiscuous”). Often I was asked how I “knew” I was gay, and more than one person suggested I “try pussy” to see if it would “convert” me (I tried reversing this logic on them but it never seemed to work that way).

There wasn’t a whole lot I could do about it except shrug it off. LGBT individuals are not protected citizens at the federal level and I was serving time at a federal prison. For that reason, I also could not challenge the visitation ban imposed on my partner because LGBT partners are not recognized as family members at the federal level. When you are gay in a federal prison you have no protection.

matthewkeys7 karma

That is a really good question, and I honestly have no idea! I can tell you that I know the battle will be uphill, and for that reason I plan on working extremely hard for anyone who gives me the chance.

Having gone through the system, I also bring to the table a perspective that few others have. It is one thing to cover the justice system from the sidelines; it’s another thing to be able to write and report from first-hand experience.

matthewkeys6 karma

This is how I respond, and then I move on.

matthewkeys6 karma

I’ve never helped anonymous.