Prisoners Reaching Out To Educate Children and Teens

PROTECT is a group of life prisoners attempting to effect change via novel approaches. Hoping to help youth at risk, the men of PROTECT offer their services to youth counselors, groups and individuals.

We do this by corresponding. We address consequences of actions based on experiences and we offer alternatives. Recognizing that knowledge is power, we also teach other prisoners Spanish, math, reading, and writing skills. When we need educational materials to teach other prisoners, one of our members purchases them.

Most of us in PROTECT have been in jail since childhood. All of us are in isolation (commonly referred to as SHU) more than a decade and counting. Many have asked us for a “wish list” of teaching materials, but our goal is to give via experience, advice, and truth — and not to receive. We appreciate the offers, but our wish is first to let people know we’re here.

PROTECT members discuss ways to help children and teens at risk of becoming caught up in the revolving door of justice. We remember how fascinated we were as children with the older homies, especially the ones who had done jail time. We remember how their words and actions had an influence on us. We have formed a question: how can we have the same effect but in a positive manner and direction?

Our only dilemma is that prisoners are confined within the Security Housing Unit (The Hole) at Pelican Bay State Prison, California’s highest security prison and a joint deemed by staff and society as the worst of the worst.

Therefore, the sole avenue available to PROTECT for accomplishing our goals is through correspondence. To let people know of our existence, we write anyone and everyone, and we send out individualized bios about our four members.

Approximately three years ago, we heard about the Jane Goodall Institute and how they are involved in helping humanity, animals, and the environment through the Roots & Shoots program. We contacted them and joined. Our first act was to donate artwork to the program; the proceeds from the sale of that artwork was used to help youth at risk.

PROTECT’s main purpose is to get in direct contact with groups that deal with children and teens who are involved in activities contrary to leading productive lives. We then share our experiences and advice with them.

Our interest is not in telling young people what is right or wrong — that’s their choice. Instead we believe we’re in the unique position of being able to point out the consequences of one’s actions, attempting to emphasize the importance of education as an alternative.

PROTECT members are prepared to correspond directly with the youth or through their parents, guardians, or counselors. An added benefit is that letter writing improves reading and writing skills.

Contact Jack L. Morris and PROTECT at:
Jack L. Morris C-06409 P.O. Box 7500, D7-217 Crescent City, CA 95532