Connect with us


OP-ED: Without Family Visits and Phone Calls, the Soul, Heart, Mind And Spirit Deteriorates




Richard Johnson is a columnist for The Post from Folsom State Prison.

Richard Johnson is a columnist for The Post from Folsom State Prison.

By Richard Johnson, Folsom State Prison


Prison – by its very nature – is designed to sever family bonds and destroy the dynamic unity that is an integral component of family cohesion necessary for the fulfillment and sustainability of family.

When someone goes to prison and is isolated from family and friends, the alienation can be extremely devastating on a number of fronts, resulting in a complete breakdown of the natural and instinctive connecting fibers that create a functional family.


Prison is a very destructive device that is employed not only as a form for punishment for certain alleged crimes, it’s also a tool used to purposefully dismantle family and divide, separate and crush all remnants of a meaningful and progressive family.


I can personally comment on the intentional annihilation of family under the yoke of separation when the means for correspondence, both physically and also by the phone, are non-existent.


It is through a healthy exchange between family that some are able to get up every day and face the daily detriments of prison life, for without it the soul, the heart, the mind, as well as the spirit deteriorate – usually beyond repair.


So many people who find themselves locked in the clutches of captivity need that continuity of expression that only can be felt by family, associates, friends and loved ones committed to keeping the sanctity of family cemented in ties that make them whole and meaningfully special.


Whatever created the separation should never be allowed to continue. No one is perfect. Life is too precious to allow strains and differences to be the reason to keep us apart.


It matters not that the fences and walls are between us. What does matter is that we don’t allow these obstacles to prevent us from reuniting and reconnecting those lines that are in place to give us the opportunity to solidify as the standard bearers for what should be done when incarceration befalls a loved one or family member.


An occasional visit and/or a phone call means the world to those held under the restriction of imprisonment.


Family contact allows prisoners to truly feel their life is not over, and the world that they left as a result of a bad choice, or unfortunate mishap has not abandoned them.


Families experience priceless joy, love and a sense of oneness when they are able to partake in the sentiments of being together either physically or via the phone.


Contact from families, friends and churches is not a trivial undertaking. It is a needed and conscientious act strengthened by the threads of love, devotion, and the desire to remain necessary as a family.


In these uncertain and perilous times, we must do more to prevail against all odds. Visits and phone calls are a must in spite of any mixed feelings.


We only add to the pain when we allow negativity to hinder our vision of what is right. Contact gives real purpose and pride to us and our families.



East Oakland Organizer Needed

The East Oakland Stadium Alliance (EOSA) is seeking an Oakland-based grassroots organizer for a short-term engagement to help grow and mobilize our coalition! Comprised of local businesses, workers, labor organizations, and community members, we are deeply concerned about the Oakland A’s proposal to leave the Coliseum site in East Oakland and build a new stadium at the port. An ideal candidate has on-the-ground campaign field experience, a strong awareness of Oakland and Alameda County political figures, and deep ties to East and West Oakland communities. Being a local resident of Oakland is a plus.

Employment with EOSA is a part-time role and will last for a minimum of four months with an opportunity to extend longer. Transportation and cell phone use would be reimbursed and candidates of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

If interested, please send a cover letter and resume to Emily Penrod, For more info about EOSA, visit our website and check us out on Twitter @AllianceOakland.


Copyright ©2020 Post News Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.