Inmate Letter

[The following was posted by Pat Bliss, and transcribed in Word format by me. It is a very tough read, as I tried to avoid editing as much as possible. I wanted it to be in the original voice, but did need to make some changes in grammar or spelling, only to make it readable. I strongly encourage you, however, to give it a read. It is a profoundly disturbing and heart rending work.


The following was written to me by an inmate. It is very difficult to read, due to the inmate’s educational status. BitcoDavid did the transcription – as best he could –  and tried to correct for spelling and grammar where it would make the letter easier for our readers to understand, while at the same time trying not to alter the inmates original work.

Image courtesy a-conservative-perspective-on-former-inmate-re-entry/

4-11-2012                                                                              xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday                                                                            xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx-Low

Do not print my name. I                                                  xxxxx P.O. Box xxxxxxxxx

Fear “ retaliation of officers                                           xxxxx CA xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

I’m Deaf and fear for my life, in cells with other Inmates, in dorms and around officers. I’ve been beaten and raped many time’s over 25 years.

Mrs. Pat Bliss,

I’m xxxx xxxx I’m now incarcerated since 1988. I was born with very bad hearing, in 1958, but at that time of my life, I was born in an orphanage by a teen-orphan mother. I’m Black, and who my parents was, I’ve never known, and in 1958, no one cared about a Black-Deaf-orphan.

I learned how to adjust, and read lips. I only made it to the 9th grade in school, since I couldn’t hear well. I avoided people most of my life

I learned how to do plumbing and janitorial work to survive. This is my first time in prison. Over time now in prison, I’ve lost my hearing completely. I was wearing hearing aids – then I was given an amplifier, but now 2012 neither hearing aids or amplifiers do not help.

When I was in court, I told my attorney – I couldn’t hear & I didn’t understand. He never spoke up for me, so I wrote a note to the judge.

I wrote a note to the judge stating I was hard of hearing and what I had did concerning the case + how long I had known the defendant + that I needed help communicating. But the judge had my note ordered sealed and she never read it to the court. She read the note, but not to the court.

I was on drugs and the women I dealt with was on drugs. The judge and DA use my statement as a confession and sent me to prison. I was with prostitutes and street people. Some I was having sex with for years. Most of the women was Deaf or disabled In some form or another. I went to court and told the truth in a note and the court used it against me. So, I got charged with rape. Since being in prison, I’ve been on psych-medication off and on. I’ve been beat and raped many times. Officers always put me in situation where I will be beat and raped and my stuff taken.

I was at xxxxxxx – xxxxx – xxxx and was beat daily by officers and when I complain and wrote 602-appeals they put me in ad-seg – then transfer me to xxxx – state prison – where things got worse. I wrote the federal court in xxxx County. I got beat and transferred and put back on psych-medication in 2005, 2006. I 602 appeal being raped in cells.

In 2005 and 2006, the officers put me on a special – van – transferring me to xxxx xxxx. There my counselor – a lady – received notes from other prison staff and she changed my case factors – from rape – to – “child abuse,” then refused to even see me – or help me – so, I wrote the courts to get legal papers stating this was not true. I was beat and put in a cell with another inmate who rape me and officers refuse to help me – or move me to another cell.

I wrote a 602 appeal stating I’m deaf and being raped and abused and my things stolen – xxxx xxxx and now here at xxxx xxxx they refuse to help me or protect me. I’ve ask doctors and custody and counselors and psych doctors to give me a single cell for safety concerns and mental help. They all say no. I stated A.D.A. regulation 1630-2-R the risk of direct threat – mental harm and physically harm and the imminence of harm.

They all refuse to help.

I’m completely ignored. I’m Black and in prison for a rape I did not do and I’m Deaf. Now. I do not trust anyone and I do not talk to anyone and I never leave my cell. I’m scared to sleep in the cell with inmates – I’m scared around people. If I complain – or write a 602 appeal I will be beat and transferred again.

I’ve seen my c-file and medical files, and ther is statements in both concerning me and things I’ve suppose to have said – to people – staff and doctors and officers that I’ve never seen and never talk to.

I was put in A.S.L. Sign language school, but I was too scared and nervous around the crowd of inmates at class. I couldn’t set still.

So, I stop going. I do know and understand Sign language and I do use it and read lips and notes to communicate. If I’m forced to talk, I’ve ask for an interpreter many times at the doctor’s offices and in groups. But, no one ever come to help. I do not know what else was wrote in my charts lately, but no staff – doctor – officer – nurse – interpreter will help and the E.E.N.T. ear specialist stated and noted and I have legal documents saying I’m legally Deaf. I learn when very young how to read lips and watch people’s movements – first before learning Sign language. So, officers think I can hear them and officers send inmates to talk with me. Then the inmate will state the same to help officers. In prison, staff and doctors and officers only write what will benefit them and they only help inmates that will help them and say what they want. I learn this in my 25 years of incarceration. Facts.

I’m now in a program called E.O.P. Psych, which custody and doctors can use to disclaim anything I file against them.

Yes, I’m very depressed and I’m very paranoid around people and I don not trust anyone. The doctor’s work with custody and officers and keep me on medication – drugged up.

I’m in cells with inmates with serious mental problems. They abuse me and fight me and take my stuff. I told the doctors this, but even their boss said he cannot help me. I told the unit officers and they said for me to fight back or if someone gets hurt then they will separate us and put me in another cell. I cannot hear and I cannot speak well and I cannot yell for help.

I need a single cell, but they say no. Unless I kill my cellie – or he kills me. They then will take me to court and give me  more time – or bury me somewhere.

I was not exam until 1995 by prison doctors, but nothing was wrote – or noted. “1845 –legally” until 2006 at xxxx xxxx.

From all the transfers and ad-seg trips, I do not have anymore legal papers – lost.

I do not have any disciplinary “problems” but I’ve been to the hole and transferred many times. On legal papers in prison everything looks great, but in reality they do nothing to help of protect. I’m Black and in prison and Deaf and with no family ever.

I was 29 or 30 when I came to prison. Now I’m 55 years old – on August, 2012 – I’ll be 56 years old.

After dealing with the foster home – state people and society and going deaf and the state courts and state attorney and prison staff and doctors and officers and inmates, now I have serious emotional and mental problems. I don’t sleep and I don’t eat and I do not talk to anyone ever. I pray, but God gave up on me when I was born.

I’ve been lied to and [illeg.] on by doctors – pastors – officers – counselors – inmates. The people and women I thought was my friends came to court and testified against me to save themselves.

I pray only for death now.

You are my last hope of asking for help. If you cannot help me get a single cell and protection until I parole – 2014 – if they let me parole – I will give up completely.

Knowing the prison system you might not ever get this letter or you might not want to help a Black Deaf inmate either.

For 25 years I’ve not had any outside contact and no help – no visits – no mail – no phone calls – not even TTY phone. I’m at the end of my rope.

I’ll end here – hopefully waiting.

xxxx xxxx xxxx

Help if willing – or – able.

9 thoughts on “Inmate Letter

    1. Well, we might just be it. There’s the National Association for the Deaf, and numerous individual activists, several of which contribute to this site, but all in? I’d say we’re it.


        1. That really is part of the problem. In most cases these people have no representation at all. Public awareness of this issue is at a minimum. In fact, I myself – until I became involved with this project – had no idea this was going on. I was blissfully unaware that there was even a significant Deaf population in prison, at all.


            1. Thank you very much for doing that, Anotherboomerblog. One of our goals is to try to mobilize the Deaf community as well as the hearing. Deaf volunteers could provide many of these services, thereby obliterating the expense argument.


                1. Any time. You can e-mail me directly by clicking on the picture of a black dog, “Jack” on the right hand side column of the site.


  1. There are several problems faced by large segments of the Deaf community that preclude normal access to advocacy. First and foremost would be communication. Many Deaf can’t speak. The majority have a 3rd grade reading level, or are completely illiterate. Few can use the Internet and in prison, even fewer have access to it.

    Interpreters are provided – as per the ADA, for court appearances and in some cases for doctors appointments, but beyond that they must rely on each other – getting another inmate to go along and interpret for them.

    As a result, most Deaf inmates aren’t even aware that their rights have been violated, or that they have access to advocacy, were it to exist. One of our posts – – speaks to this in detail.


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