Parole Granted: Free At Last!

For folks who have been following my blog over the months you may have noticed that I hadn’t posted anything in a while. There was a reason. Back in mid-August my parole (parole for deportation) was granted!

A couple of days ago, 2 weeks after my parole eligibility day, I was driven to Niagra Falls by Canadian border police in handcuffs and dropped off on the U.S. side. U.S. Customs and Border Police then took my fingerprints, scanned my passport for outstanding warrants and eventually a door was opened and my freedom became official.

My parole conditions are basic: don’t associate with anyone with a criminal record, attend counseling and don’t attempt to return to Canada. If I return to Canada they can hold me for the duration of my sentence, which is September, 2015.

So it’s finally over, I can’t believe it. Getting out of jail is one of the best freaking feelings in the world. It’s also kind of overwhelming. Emotionally speaking, I got out of there relatively unscathed. I did pick up a bunch of scars, bumps and injuries (mostly all connected to jail soccer games, therefore totally worth it). All-in-all I feel the same. If anything the experience made me tougher, stronger and wiser. I hope to be a source of information and support for those who will inevitably be put through the prison system in the future.

I want to thank everyone who submitted parole letters on my behalf. The parole board received over 30 letters (they couldn’t believe it, they were shocked) and they read every single one. Each letter was integral in winning my freedom. Thank you to each of you who took some time to do that, I wouldn’t be free right now if it wasn’t for you.

I also want to thank everyone who corresponded with me over the past 7 months and I want to apologize to those whom I never replied. Each letter I received made my day a little brighter and allowed me to maintain emotional stability during dark times. My incarceration was a case study in how to do solid prisoner support work. The amount of solidarity I received throughout the process was outstanding and I wouldn’t be in such good shape right now without it.

So thank you, thank you, thank you folks. I can’t wait to give you all a hug when I see you. My heart is filled with so much joy right now.

Freedom is a must!!!




Joel’s Blog: Trust and Community

July 7, 2014

In a few days I will mark my 5 month anniversary.  I’m finding the time
moves faster now that I have a constant routine.  I’ve also gotten pretty
close with the main players on my range, and they’ve accepted me as one of
them.  I genuinely enjoy spending time with these 4 or 5 guys, whether it’s
sharing meals, playing cards, watching movies, or working out.

New York City is a frustrating place for me because there is so much
emphasis on the individual.  It’s hard to feel like you’re part of a
community in such a big city.  Even though I managed to develop close and
important friendships before my incarceration, I felt surprisingly alone.
I think part of being human is the need to feel like you belong somewhere.
Living in such a massive capitalistic hub like NYC can be alienating
because of the difficulty of satisfying our communal needs.

Strangely, jail satisfies those needs.  Some of the friendships I’ve formed
just couldn’t exist anywhere else.  Out in the real world, it is so easy to
find ways to distract yourself from establishing meaningful connections
with people.  The distractions are infinite.  Here we have no choice but to
deal with each other.  This can be both stressful and highly rewarding at
the same time.

Upon reflection, I’ve ignored much of the advice people gave me before
coming here.  The conventional wisdom for surviving prison is to keep to
yourself and “do your own time”.  While this advice is good as a
foundation, I think it’s also important to be social – to meet people and
talk to people – rather than just keeping your head down.  Keeping your
head down and being a wallflower is surely the safest strategy but it’s far
from being the most rewarding one.

Guys here always tell me, “You can’t trust anyone.”  I think they apply
that philosophy outside of jail too.  No doubt, it’s of the utmost
importance to keep people at arm’s length when you are incarcerated - at
least until you get to know them.  There are all sorts of snakes, rats,
psychos, and crazies walking around here.  There are also some very good
men.  Men who I know I can trust because they mean what they say and say
what they mean.  In jail there are people of a high moral caliber.  Just
like in the real world they are a minority, but they exist.  Find them,
befriend them, earn their trust and let them earn yours.  You won’t be

Joel’s Blog: Dealing With Conflict

June 18, 2014

Before I begin this post, I want to mention that although it’s wonderful
getting letters in here, it’s not so wonderful for some people who see me
getting them. Most of my fellow prisoners get no mail at all. When they
observe me receiving so much mail, it reminds them of how alone they are in
here. Some folks supporting me have sporadically offered to be pen-pals to
some of my fellow prisoners so I want to use this blog post to formally ask
you all who are reading this to write a friend of mine in here.

His name is Michael. He’s a 40 year old Jamaican guy who has a wonderfully
positive personality. He could pass for a Buddhist, so impressive is his
ability to make light of a terrible situation. Please send him a short
letter just to let him know that he’s not alone. It will make his day. He
told me he’s really interested in getting a letter from a woman. Like all
heterosexual males locked up, he definitely craves female attention. His
address is:

Michael Grant
1501 Fuller Ave
Penetanguishene, ON L9M 2H4, Canada

Back to the topic at hand. Conflict in life is inevitable when you have
various competing interests. Conflict in jail is a scientific certainty
because all the people with competing interests are trapped together. Walking
away isn’t an option because there is nowhere to go. If someone calls you
a “bitch” on the street, you can literally turn and walk in the opposite
direction. That privilege doesn’t exist here. There’s no walking away. Every
conflict needs to be resolved and this is usually a torturous and stressful

Because of who I am – someone who is geeky-looking, educated, and generally
different – I have become the target of certain individuals. I attract
unwanted attention. So, in response, I am changing. I talk to people as
minimally as possible and avoid letting them see the real me. I keep them

One verifiable truth about jail: people generally confuse kindness for
weakness. One of my theories is that some people have never been shown
kindness so they immediately assume that there must be something wrong with
a kind person. People here will abuse your kindness. If you give them
something – an item like a newspaper – they will begin to expect and even
demand more of the same in the future. Then, if you decide to cut them
off, they will immediately resent you and a conflict is born.

So, I’ve decided to learn how to fight. It’s imperative that I have some
idea of how to defend myself against the chaotic and hard to predict
violence of jail. Better to be prepared than not. Through some clever
jail engineering, I’ve managed to hang a rolled-up mattress off the top
bunk in my cell. Every other day I set it up, wrap my wrists and hands,
and go at it. I never punched with my left hand before – I’m developing a
quick jab. It’s great exercise and after 20 minutes, I’m shirtless in my
cell sweating profusely.

For anyone about to go to jail: take MMA, boxing, or some type of martial
arts training. Don’t sit around for months stewing in self-pity like I did.
Knowing that you can defend yourself will prove invaluable. It will give
you confidence and allow you to assert yourself. People will be less
likely to take advantage of you.

When I first came here, I met a young man who got half his ear bitten off
in a fight. He said to me, “People mistake kindness for weakness.” At the
time I shrugged him off but he was speaking truth and he learned it the
hard way. I came to jail with the idea that criminals are better than
everyone else: an enlightened segment of society. The truth is that
criminals are just people – some are good, some are bad, some are very very
bad, and they are the reason for my training.

Joel’s Blog: Settling In

It’s been three months since I last tasted freedom and I finally feel like
I’m settling in to the bulk of my sentence.  Fortunately, these early
months have gone well and been without any major incident.  It’s amazing to
get so many letters of support from folks around the world.

Getting a letter while behind bars is an amazing feeling.  Thank you to
everyone who took some time out of their day to sit down and write.  I’m
doing my best to respond to each letter, so if you haven’t gotten anything
from me yet, I haven’t forgotten.  Also, for some reason, the mail censors
keep tearing off return addresses so unless you include your return address
in the body of the letter somewhere, I have no way of knowing where to send
a response.

Now that the weather has been getting nicer, we’ve been playing a lot of
soccer in the yard.  Jail soccer is a bit different from regular soccer –
pretty much anything goes.  Everything from tripping and shoving to holding
and pushing is welcome and even encouraged.  For a few days in a row, I
couldn’t seem to avoid getting kicked directly in the face with the ball.  It
was as if my face had a gravitational pull and the ball landing on it was a
scientific inevitability.  Also, the shoes they give us are loose fitting
so it is common for shoes to accompany the ball in flight after a swift
kick.  At any given moment it is possible for multiple shoes to be flying
through the air at once (yet more projectiles I have to shield my face

I can’t deny that sometimes I get frustrated in here.  My life has
essentially been reduced to three spaces:  my cell, the range, and yard.  Every
day is some combination of those three places which makes me claustrophobic
if I stop to think about it for too long.  When sadness/claustrophobia
strikes, I try to stand back and gain perspective.  My situation could be a
lot worse and it’s only temporary.  One day in the not too distant future,
I will get out of here.  Some political prisoners will spend the rest of
their lives behind bars so I’m relatively fortunate.

One guy I sit with for meals is doing everything he can to make his
experience as miserable as possible.  He doesn’t go to yard, doesn’t order
canteen, and intends on avoiding work and school while in jail.  His
reasoning is that his freedom and his life outside will be much sweeter
after depriving himself.  He’s a man of extremes.  Eventually, he says, his
misery will get balanced out with positive experiences.

I try not to think too much about time and dates.  Once you start counting
days, you are in trouble (counting months is ok though).  It still feels
like I have a mountain of time ahead of me, but the thought of being free
again is what wakes me up every day.  Out in the world people are living
their lives but in here time seems to stand still.  We are living in some
sort of black hole where time has no real meaning.  It’s a bizarre and
disorienting feeling.  Freedom is precious, folks… treasure every day as if
it were your last.  Unfortunately, human beings have this persistent
dilemma:  we don’t know what we’ve got till it’s gone.  For freedom that’s
especially true.

Joel’s Blog: Transfers, Transfers, and More Transfers

May 1, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, after spending over a month on Unit 5 I was
transferred to the education range on Unit 6.  At that time I wasn’t happy
about moving for a couple of reasons.  A.) in jail being uprooted and then
forced to adapt to a new environment is exhausting and often traumatizing
and B.) Unit 5 is a good place filled with good people.  Subjectively
speaking it is a more down-to-earth, “real” jail experience with plentiful
amounts of solidarity amongst prisoners.

While on Unit 6 my time slowed to a snail’s pace despite beginning classes
and having a bit more freedom of movement.  It may have simply been that I
landed on a boring range, however, my theory is that the inmates behaved
differently due to the methods of control utilized by the guards.  The
staff there constantly remind inmates that they are in a place of privilege
and threaten to send them back to Unit 5 if behavioral standards are not
met.  For example, after bringing a water bottle to class for days without
incident, a guard arbitrarily decided to one day forbid me from taking it
with me.  After some back and forth, I was told I had a disrespectful tone
in my voice and that if I didn’t like the rules I could always go back to
Unit 5.  I said that to me it seemed that certain rules were being made up
spontaneously.  The guard responded, “If you don’t like the rules you
shouldn’t have decided to come to jail in the first place.”  There isn’t
really room for healthy debate with someone who enjoys total power and
control over you so I sucked it up and left my water bottle behind.

I saw similar situations occur between guards and inmates where those who
fall out of line are reminded that they are lucky, then are threatened with
transfer back to Unit 5 if the “undesirable” behavior continues.  This also
creates an environment where inmates begin to police one another’s actions.
For example, I created a piece of workout equipment and was encouraged by
another inmate to get rid of it because the guards wouldn’t like it.  Instead
of pushing the boundaries and pushing for more rights, inmates walk around
scared and engage in self-policing which I find pitiful and toxic to be
around.  A quick lesson on jail lingo:  inmates who do the work of the
jailors are called “birds” and are generally less “solid” if they forsake
the prisoner’s code of solidarity.

Despite my discomforts, I started to settle into a routine and form bonds
with the other prisoners around me.  Then earlier today, out of the blue, a
guard called me over and said, “Pack your stuff, you’re moving to Unit 1.”  I
was told that because I am a foreign national, I would have to do my time
in the remand jail pending my deportation back to the United States.  Remand
jails are widely considered to be a more unpleasant and chaotic experience
than sentence jails.  Folks are usually stressed about their cases and
don’t know what they’re futures hold.  This can lead to tense situations.

So as you can imagine, I was devastated to hear that I would be spending
potentially the next 10 months in such a place.  The reason for my transfer
didn’t make sense because my sentence has only just begun, but ultimately I
had no say in the matter.

After a customary strip search, I was escorted from Unit 6 to Unit 1 where
I waited in the holding area until assigned to a range and cell.  I waited
and waited.  It turned out the staff had some internal disagreements as to
where I should be placed.  Because I am both sentenced and a foreigner who
will eventually be deported, there is ambiguity about where to put me.
Eventually, they decided to return me to the sentence area of the jail.  
My fate: back to Unit 5 where I began my Penetang experience.

The main reason I was spared months of suffering is because of the kind and
good-hearted staff on Unit 5.   When I arrived, they explained that they
advocated for me to do my time on a sentence unit because it was only fair
to me with so many more months ahead.  It was one of the first times since
the start of my incarceration that I was treated like a human being and not
a number.  I thanked them thoroughly for their kindness and I am still
grateful.  I found that the guards on Unit 5 are generally quite
respectful, and in such an environment, it’s easy to return respect.  They
were even kind enough to give me my own cell with a view ot the TV.  After
such an exhausting day moving around it was touching to finally be treated
humanely.  Apparently, even in jail the arc of the universe bends toward

Joel’s Blog: Carrots and Sticks

April 20, 2014

This week I was finally transferred from Unit 5 to Unit 6, a move I was
dreading.  In jail, change is a bad thing and can cause a great deal of
stress.  It feels like whenever I begin to feel comfortable on a range, my
roots are pulled out from under me and I have to readapt to a new space.  Most
inmates agree that these constant transfers, along with the fear of the
unknown, makes our lives much more difficult.  When the time came for the
transfer, I was strip searched in the shower stalls (boxers off, open your
mouth, turn around, and touch your toes) and had my possessions sorted

Many of my belongings were trashed or confiscated pushing me to say to a
guard, “This isn’t ok, we have rights.”

She responded, “You gave up your rights when you decided to commit crimes.”

I challenged her on this because I found the response ignorant and
insensitive.  It was also filled with a reactionary disrespect for me as a
human being.

“If we don’t have rights, why are we given three meals per day, given beds
to sleep in, or brought to yard every day?”

 Of course we have rights, I don’t think there is any debating this.  Many
of our rights have been won through struggle by inmates before us just how
wage earners enjoy rights won by workers before them.  If we don’t
constantly assert those rights, those who have power over us will do their
best to take them away.

I am now writing this from Unit 6, which is advertised as the “privileged”
unit by staff.  There are benefits to being here (like fewer lockouts and
access to books), but I’ve observed that the privileges are dangled in
front of us like carrots in order to keep us in check and passive.  The
interesting thing is that we do not have many of the things that are
standard on Unit 5 like weight bags, workout equipment, or adequate laundry.
Most people on Unit 6 don’t want to accept the status quo for fear of being
moved back to Unit 5.  I’ve also noticed that, here, we are babied and
observed a great deal more.  It’s interesting how authoritarian systems use
privilege as a way to better control populations.

After getting settled a Canadian Border Security agent came to see me.  The
purpose of the meeting was to arrest me so I can’t walk out the front door
of the jail.  Instead, when my sentence is complete, I will promptly be
deported.  Most likely, they will drive me to the border and leave me there.
He also told me that if I’m granted parole in August, the same thing will
happen.  I will simply get deported with the one condition that I am never
to return to Canada.  He also said that being American will work in my
favor because they would rather get rid of me than continue to pay for my

It’s definitely tempting to get my hopes up, but I don’t think things will
be that easy for me.  Even though my chances of returning to jail are
essentially zero, I believe that people high up in government (both
Canadian and US) want to make an example out of me.  They call it a
“deterrence factor”.  Why would they set a global precedent for extraditing
a US citizen across an international border for property damage charges,
and then just let me go at the earliest possible date?  It’s very tempting,
but I’m not getting my hopes up.  I refuse to let them crush my spirits by
letting them take away something I might desperately want.  This isn’t to
say that I won’t apply for parole in earnestness; I’m just trying to be
realistic about the potential outcomes.  Besides, it’s not so bad here –
what’s another six and a half months in the grand scheme of things?

Joel’s Blog: Weapons Search Lockdown

April 8, 2014

As I write this we are in our fifth straight day of lockdown.  We haven’t
been out of our cells since Thursday night (today is Tuesday).  The reason
for this lengthy lockdown is a “weapons search”.  The search was declared
on Friday, began on Monday, and just finished this morning.  We haven’t
been given access to showers since Thursday night and were only given
canteen orders today after the search finally ended (we usually get them
every Friday).  This lockdown has affected the entire unit: 6 ranges that
hold approximately 180 of us.  The guards claim they couldn’t perform the
search until yesterday because they were “short staffed”.

Since the start of my journey through the Canadian provincial jail system
“short of staff” has been the ubiquitous justification for locking us down
and taking away what little freedom we have.  To many of us, this weapons
search is clearly an arbitrary denial of our rights masquerading as a
security exercise.  If there is actually a dangerous weapon somewhere, the
guards are not acting logically to address that risk.  If there were a
dangerous weapon somewhere wouldn’t it make sense to find that weapon
immediately instead of making us languish in our cells for days before the
search even begins?  Why give someone with a weapon advance notice of a
search and then give them days to dispose of it?  Common sense dictates
that if they wanted to find a weapon, they would try to catch us by
surprise.  Finally, if the jail is short staffed, why is that so?  If one
or two guards don’t show up to work, apparently hundreds of men must get
punished as a result.  Jail is already cruel on many levels, particularly
the isolation and separation.  Locking us up in cages for 24 hours a day
without showers is beyond the pale.  Apparently, forcing us to stew in our
own filth for days on end counts as rehabilitation here in Canada.

To protest our treatment and assert our rights as human beings, we refused
to return our plastic trays after lunch yesterday.  After protracted
negotiations with “blue-shirts” (low ranking corrections officers) a “white
shirt” (high ranking official) was brought in to deal with us.  His
warning: if the guards did not receive our trays within 15 minutes he would
lock us up for another week and we would eat all meals out of bags.

After days of lockup, we decided to concede.  Our only recourse at this
point is to write a letter to the ombudsman, a strategy that has proven to
be ineffective at changing anything.  The end result:  our rights are
violated and there is nothing we can do to improve our conditions without
suffering severe consequences.

Joel’s Blog: Comradery Behind Bars

From March 1st

Governments and the mainstream media have created a myth: if you go to jail, you must be a bad person.   During my stay here, I found the opposite to be true.  Most of the guys on my current range are good-hearted and amicable individuals.  Some of them have made mistakes and some of them are drug addicts who need treatment, but the majority of inmates here are victims of unjust socioeconomic conditions.  If the war on drugs ended tomorrow and if poverty was properly addressed by society, these jails would empty out overnight.

My current cellmate, Rick, is a 65 year old Buddhist who has been in and out of jail his whole life.  He has over sixty convictions, mostly related to drug use and distribution.  He is in jail now on charges related to an unarmed bank robbery.  I like doing time with him because he spends most of his time reading – an activity I also enjoy immensely.  He tells me that jail has only exacerbated his criminality, quite the opposite of correcting it.  He is a heroin addict and also suffers from Alzheimers disease.  Most of his crimes occurred to fund his drug habit.  He is an ideal candidate for treatment and jail has only worsened his life.  He’s probably one of the kindest and most harmless people I’ve met in or out of jail.

I’ve noticed myself developing a comradery with the other prisoners here.  There is an unspoken understanding that we are struggling together through an unjust experience.  One of the most interesting and likable characters here is a Somalian guy, Ali.  He has been targeted, along with others, around the Rob Ford drug scandal and was a target of ‘Project Traveler’.  When news arrived there was a video of the Toronto mayor smoking crack, police agencies from various provinces launched a major investigation into the source of the drugs.  Ali shared the story of how a SWAT team raided his family’s house with machine guns traumatizing and injuring his relatives, and then giving him the beating of his lifetime.  He has been in this jail for over eight months now.  He is soft-spoke and well educated – a completely different character being portrayed by the media.  He expresses frustration at a system that intends to convict him before he has even had a chance to see the evidence against him.

Jaimie is 43 years old.  He has AIDS, Hepatitis C, and is hypoglycemic.  Previously, he spent a few months in a cell Alex Hundert.  He is constantly asking other people in here for juice crystals (packets of sweetener for our water) to balance his low blood sugar.  He says he’s been in and out of jail for years.  When he gets out, he has nothing and often feels the pressure to survive… ultimately resulting in him being charged with dozens of crimes.  He then sits in jail for six months to a year, and the charges inevitably get dropped.  When he gets out, the cycle repeats.  His situation is urgent and he needs the basics:  food, housing, and medical care.  I told him I don’t believe there is much I can do for him other than get his story out.  If you are compelled to help him by sending a letter, or more, his name is Jaimie Simpson and he is at the Toronto West Detention Center.

Joel’s Blog: On Patriarchy and Homophobia

March 28, 2014

A few things have been bothering me about jail life.  I found myself getting along with other prisoners but some things annoy me; namely, the copious amounts of sexism, misogyny, and homophobia on display here.  I’m not in a position to confront people on these issues so I’ve resorted to writing to vent my frustration.  First, on the issue of misogyny, in here it is common to hear women described as things, “bitches”, and “sluts”.  It’s also common to hear guys brag about the sexual things they would do to a woman if given the opportunity.  These things are often very derogatory.

This is done to demonstrate masculinity and affirm heterosexuality in a place that is overtly homophobic.  Much of this behavior is, without a doubt, rooted in insecurity and an overwhelming desire to fit in with the pack.  Regarding homosexuality, there seems to be an accepted consensus that being gay is bad.  I’ve had a few disagreements with other inmates regarding gay marriage or any reforms that would progress gay rights.  The folks I spend time with outside jail are mostly all progressive on social issues so I’m having difficulty gauging whether jail culture is objectively more misogynistic and homophobic than mainstream culture.  My theory is that these behaviors are just more condensed and highlighted in here.

I also have a theory that homophobia in jail is a response to mainstream stereotypes around sexual assaults behind bars.  Most people, when you tell them you’ve been to jail, will wonder – if not ask directly – whether you’ve encountered rape and violence during your incarceration.  It appears that the homophobia here might be a way to discourage and neutralize sexual assaults before it happens.  Sexual assault within the Canadian provincial jail system is essentially nonexistent and that is mainly because inmate culture has zero tolerance for it.  Perhaps this intense homophobia is a crude reaction to the fear of sexual assault.  Asserting one’s masculinity through sexism might be another reaction to such a fear.  That wouldn’t make these behaviors justifiable but it would help explain them.

What is most peculiar is the existence of anti-authoritarian ideas and anti-gay/anti-woman ideas among inmates.  I’m opposed to all oppressive systems that are designed to empower one group of people over another.   This goes for economic as well as social systems.  These are ideas I’ve spent quite a bit of time refining and thinking about.  I’m just not on the same page as my fellow prisoners on these matters.  Unfortunately, I’m not in a great position to agitate for change in here.  All I can do thus far is disassociate myself from the situations that make me uncomfortable.

Written by Joel Bitar, an American activist serving a 20-month sentence in Canada for charges stemming from the 2010 Toronto G20 protests.

Joel’s Blog: What’s it Like?

From March 14, 2014

Folks have been asking me what it’s like being in jail and I’ve been wondering how to go about describing it.  It’s a much different experience than I imagined it would be.  In my last piece I said that this place is awful, however that was more in reference to the physical environment.  I think Alex Hundert described this jail most accurately when he called it a human warehouse because the buildings we are housed in are literally constructed in the style of warehouses.  Picture high ceilings, rafters, an overhead speaker, and constant echoing.  When I arrived it felt like I was walking into a Home Depot.

Socially I’m finding jail quite stimulating and, in a weird way, satisfying.  The other day one of my fellow prisoners had me laughing so hard, tears ran down my face.  I was preparing for a lonely, depressing experience filled with sorrow and sadness.  It’s quite the contrary.  The jailhouse camaraderie creates a thriving, rich social environment that you won’t find in many other places.

In her blog, Mandy Hiscocks, wrote that jail made her feel diminished as a human being.  There are the rare moments where I experience that.  For example, when I’m strip-searched and have to get naked, lift my sack, bend over, spread my cheeks, and cough.  The last time it happened to me, the corrections officer performing the search made an offhanded comment to a colleague that “it’s pretty gross” to have to stare at another man’s private parts.  When you are paid well enough, I guess such a thing becomes less objectionable.

The majority of time, however, I feel pretty good.  My experience is unique because I’ve had charges hanging over my head like a dark cloud for four years.  I feel a sense of relief being in here.  Each day is one day closer to putting this episode behind me.  Instead of looking at my sentence as a punishment, I see it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform an anthropological/sociological experiment into the nature of authoritarian systems that exist outside of mainstream consciousness.  I’m studying this place all the time, much like an outside observer, while simultaneously allowing myself to be an active participant in the experience.  In here, I feel like I can be myself and other inmates understand and respect me for what I’ve done and who I am.  It’s a much different feeling than the loneliness and alienation I feel living in a capitalist society where insane ideas have become legitimized and normalized.

Please don’t take this post as encouragement to come to jail or prison.  I would not choose to be here under any circumstance and would much rather be home with my family.  I feel myself longing for freedom all the time, but while I’m here I need to make the best of it.  Part of me might even be trying to convince myself that things are good as some sort of defense mechanism but, hey, it’s been a month and it’s worked for me thus far.

Written by Joel Bitar, an American activist serving a 20-month sentence in Canada for charges stemming from the 2010 Toronto G20 protests.