Memory of Daniel McCauley
have learned that 26-year-old Ohio State Penitentiary prisoner,
Daniel McCauley, committed suicide in May 2007. Daniel was a contributing
author to Prisonersolidarity. Fellow inmates described him
as a decent and generous person who cared about others. Daniel's
crime was committed at the age of 16. Deeply and sincerely regretful,
this young man dreamt of a society that would give youth offenders
a second chance, rather than allowing them to "rot" behind
bars, at a supermaximum security facility.
are re-posting Daniel McCauley's Prisonersolidarity essay,
in honor of his memory and his dream. Please circulate widely.
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By Daniel McCauley, Prisonersolidarity.org
name is Daniel McCauley and I'm a lifer at Ohio's only "super-max
prison," the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown. I started
my sentence at the young age of 16 after the youthful mistake of
drinking beer, doing drugs, and running with the wrong crowd. One
fateful night I was with a couple of childhood friends when someone
came up with the idea of breaking into an unoccupied house. "Just
some troubled youths being troubled youths." Someone ended
up being in that supposedly unoccupied house, and the intended "breaking
in and entering" became much more. It led to the aggravated
crimes of burglary, robbery and murder.
make matters worse, while my co-defendant and I awaited our hearing
(to be bound over and tried as adults), we escaped from the Juvenile
Justice Center. We were so out of control and homesick that we ran.
We were captured and re-arrested three hours later.
my short and troubled lifespan I've made mistakes that I've come
to regret deeply. But the greatest mistake, which I'm forced to
live with day after day, is the knowledge that I was involved in
the taking of another human being's life. This is something I will
not be able to compensate for as long as I live. I mourn daily the
death of that innocent victim and can only imagine the loss and
pain that the victim's family has had to endure. No matter what
side you view it from it is and always will be an incredibly tragic
event for all who were involved.
the youth that I was yesterday is not the man that I have become.
Today I find myself in control of my thoughts and actions. Still,
I am not perfect and have gotten into minor trouble while serving
my time. But when you throw a kid into a rainstorm, he is bound
to get wet.
I sit here today, at the age of 25, and take the time to repent
and think about the senseless pain I've caused others (my family
included), I find myself wanting to make things right. Now that
I've grown up and become wise enough to think for myself, I want
to give something back to humanity. In fact, I feel it is my obligation.
I've lost a lot through thoughtless action, so hopefully I can somehow
use my voice/pen to stop someone else from making the same mistakes
- mistakes that would cost him and others a great deal of unwarranted
see kids every day, coming to prison at age 16 and younger, making
their own costly mistakes, and then doing 15, 20 even 30 years to
life. Speaking from experience, I can understand how some of our
youth can get out of control and have no sense of positive direction.
And that's only the surface of the problem. What I can't understand,
however, is how society can so easily give up on its youth. Why
do we pin such outrageous sentences on them, with the intention
of supposedly teaching them a lesson? It's plain to see that this
vindictive method is not solving youth crime. Prison should be about
reform, and not mere punishment, at least for its youth. Our youth
need to be given the proper tools, to think rationally for themselves,
so they can become productive members of this same society that
has allowed them to be thrown away. In my opinion the best tool
you can give a prisoner is a good education. Unfortunately, instead
of adopting education as a rehabilitative approach for our youth,
our leaders spend hundreds of thousands of dollars locking up juvenile
offenders for almost an eternity. If the courts and politicians
would spend that money on our troubled youths' educations, they
could change the lives of many lost souls.
Aren't we still human, after all? To err is human. No human is infallible.
It's essential that people begin to see us as humans and not animals
or unsympathetic monsters. Why are we so focused on severely punishing
our youth? Life goes on, people learn and change. They don't stay
in one moment of time. I myself have changed. Many youth grow up
and no longer have the passion for crime and all the troubles that
come with it. Yes, we have committed a crime and are in prison.
But if we could live a productive life in society, why not give
us another chance at life? Following a personal transformation and
decision to help others, I think the system should evaluate a prisoner's
change seriously consider granting freedom.
The individual is able to change when given the tools to do so.
Allow us the opportunity to help others, rather than mercilessly
housing us in prisons, to rot. It may take different amounts of
time for people to change for the better. But the one thing that
does not change is our outrageous prison sentences. Beyond our youthful
mistakes, it is the system itself that holds us back. Let us save
our youth by extending to them the tools they need to prevent them
from drowning in self-destruction.
OSP - 878 Coitsville-Hubbard Rd
Youngstown, Ohio 44505
appreciate your taking the time to read my testimony and hope that
I may help at least one person to learn from the mistakes that I've
made, and not end up where I am. If you would like to correspond
with me or if there is anything else I can tell you that may help,
please feel free to write to me. If you'd like to receive a response,
just include a pre-stamped envelope with your return address on
it. Again thank you for listening to what I have to say, and don't
ever give up.
----- Original Message -----
From: Angela Jancius
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2007 11:22 AM
Subject: [prisonersolidarity] Daniel McCauley, the Lynds and Prisonersolidarity
air on WBAI's nationally syndicated "WakeUp Call" program
Radio journalist Mimi Rosenberg read Daniel McCauley's Prisonersolidarity
essay in a show that was dedicated to his memory, which focused
on youth incarceration, rehabilitation, prison reform, and the inhumane
conditions at supermax prisons (a comparison is made between Youngstown's
Ohio State Penitentiary and Guantanamo). The interviewed guests
were Staughton and Alice Lynd. Rosenberg's report aired on WBAI
New York, on the nationally syndicated morning show, "Wakeup
Call." You may listen to
and download the interview at WBAI's program archive: It is
the June 6, 7 a.m. "Wakeup Call."
Mimi Rosenberg (MERosenberg@legal-aid.org) is planning to do further
radio shows on prison-related topics, and may be featuring more
Prisonersolidarity writers. We'll keep you updated.
Want to respond to issues raised on Rosenberg's program? Make your
voice heard. Contact:
Ted Strickland -- 614-466-3555 (phone); 614-466-9354 (fax)
* First Lady Frances Strickland -- 614-995-2000 (phone)
* Marc Dann, Ohio Attorney General -- 614-466-4320 (phone)
* Terry Collins, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation
Correction -- 614-752-1164
* Andrea Dean, Public Information Officer of the Ohio Department
Rehabilitation and Correction -- 614-752-1150
* Keith Fletcher, Public Information Officer, Ohio Supermax Prison
State Penitentiary") -- 330-743-0700 -ext. 2003
* Marc Houk, Warden, Ohio State Penitentiary; 878 Coitsville-Hubbard
Youngstown, OH 44505-4635 -- 330-743-0700
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