Weekends. Weekends are the worst part. Time seems to stand still on the weekends. I’ve been incarcerated for over a year now and the weekends always drag.
On September 2nd of 2011 I was arrested in South Central Los Angeles as I came out of a recording studio where I was working on a new record for my band “Time Again”. I was charged with kidnapping, carjacking, conspiracy to commit robbery, robbery, street gang allegation, dissuading a witness, assault along with about 10 other charges. I was told that the State Of California would be seeking to give me 4 life sentences. Needless to say it was not the best Friday night I have ever had; especially when you know that the person pressing charges is an admitted liar and crack-cocaine addict that is going out of their way to take the rest of your life away… literally. Well I’ll tell ya this… it has been a year and I’m not broken, I’m not beaten and I’m still smiling every mother fucking day. It’s gonna take a whole fucking army if ya wanna stop me… cuz until the moment I’m 6 feet underground I’m not gonna lose hope or stop fighting for a second.
Sometimes in life you gotta take a step back to take a larger step forward. And that is exactly what I’m doing. I’m not sorry. I don’t feel remorse… and I don’t give a fuck! I’m doing these years to pay my “debt” to society so I don’t owe anything. I’m just gonna do me… ya hear? 30 days is more time than I should have done… but I’m doing years… so I’m all paid up. Get it? Got it? Good.
I’m not trying to be all serious; really, I’m just trying to do my time. It’s just a hard pill to swallow if you can feel where I’m coming from. In the end I agreed to a plea bargain where the state dropped 16 charges if I agreed to plead guilty to 2 charges and serve 4 years; of which I’ll most likely serve about 3. So I got 1 down and 2 more to go. It ain’t so bad, you got a lot of cool cats and ya got a lot of knuckleheads… a lot like the regular world. The hardest part is the racism. In prison in California… it’s like going back in time a hundred years… all races are separate and it is propagated by the inmates. Now I’ll tell ya right now… I don’t subscribe to racism at all. Black, brown, white or green… if you’re cool with me… I’m cool with you. I’m an outspoken advocate for equality on all levels. I try to remind myself daily that prison is not the reality of our world today even though it’s where I’m at today. I’m not gonna let this place change who I am and what I stand for. No matter how unpopular that may be sometimes.
I spend a lot of each day in self-reflection… which is not always the easiest or most comfortable thing. Although I’m angry about getting lied on by the person that put me here, I knew how fucked up they were from the start and their malice doesn’t surprise me. Sometimes we gotta let god handle shit for us. And in this case… I’m gonna trust he got me.
I miss so many things… little things… I’m not gonna get into it but to anyone that happens to read this… make sure you appreciate the time you got with your loved ones. Shortly after I got arrested one of my best friends and mentors passed away. His name was Curt Livingston and was known affectionately to those who knew him well as “Silk”. Many a day goes by where I’m saddened with the knowledge that I’m not gonna have another chance to hang out with him until the wee hours of the night laughing and smiling. I love you bro, and I miss you.
Now for all ya’ll reading this, I want ya to know I’m gonna be writing these little posts on the regular and sending them out to be posted for ya’ll to read. The format will change and vary and I’ll be covering any and all areas and ideas that cross my mind. One may be about my day to day prison life and happenings or one may be about Obama’s re-election campaign. I may discuss my fears one week and my hopes for the next week. The format is that there is no format… ya dig? Cool.
As for life in prison right now… things are tense and anxious. There have been 5 riots here where I’m being housed in the last 5 months. It has continued to escalate and has resulted in men getting their skulls caved in… multiple stabbings and other really sad things. The two groups that have been involved don’t include me but nonetheless it is hard seeing anyone getting hurt when it is avoidable… and in this case it is becoming blatantly obvious that the prison guards are putting these dudes into battle. It sucks and my heart goes out to all the cats involved. Prison is often a place where you are left with no options other than to go to war. Regardless of the reasons for the fight you are painted into a corner… and for the men involved in the recent riots and the unavoidable ones in the future… my heart goes out to you. My hope for everyone here is that we can go back to our families and loved ones. And for all you cats that wanna preach that some people deserve to be locked up… I don’t wanna hear it… because you know the point I’m trying to make. I agree that a lot of people here fucked up, myself included… but I also believe that society has failed a lot of people as well. The courts and D.A.’s and public defenders give out disproportionate and undeserved punishment. The proof of this is the fact that the federal government said that California’s prisons are so overcrowded that it can be considered cruel and unusual. They have been ordered to reduce the population by 30%. Shit is fucked up… bad.
Something has got to give soon. The whole country is broke and we got people in prision who don’t deserve it. Or people that should have been released but are serving extra time for petty violations. As Nelson Mandela wrote in his autobiography “Long Walk To Freedom” – “No one truly knows a nation until one has been inside it’s jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats it’s highest citizens, but it’s lowest ones.” I can tell you from first hand knowledge, California is failing it’s citizens. There is no rehabilitating; it’s human warehousing pure and simple. There is no surprise in the fact that it is a revolving door. We fail to give “convicts” the second chances they deserve… we punish them and then deem the penance served, yet give them little or no chance for success after the fact. The stigma of being a felon is enough for the majority of society to just cast a person away like a piece of unwanted furniture.
This is just one of many things that wander through my mind on a regular basis and over the next months and years I’m sure I will touch on it again as well as many other topics that I feel passionately about. If ever any of you that read this feel the desire to respond, I would love to hear it. If you take the time to write to me I will respond. Sometimes it takes me up to a month to receive a letter through the prison process but I assure you that I respond to everyone letter I get. If for some reason you wrote a letter in the past or write one in the future and you don’t get a reply within 6 weeks, then the prison lost your letter. This happens more than they would like to admit. If this happens please write again. Letters mean the world to me. To all of you that have been writing me or have written before… thank you so much! I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for each and every letter. With that being said, I will say farewell for now. Until next time… KEEP ON RICH ROLLIN’!
WRITE TO ME:
Daniel Dart Richert #AL2076
C.M.C. West Prison
P.O. Box 8103
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403