Prison Radio
Sheik Bilal Abdul Salaam-Bey

This is Charley Hughes, better known as Sheik Bilal Abdul Salaam-Bey. I’m currently housed at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. This is part three of my piece on captivities. There is a larger percentage of prisoners with a learning disability than in the population as a whole. I think that is because a lot of prisoners didn’t get a chance to complete school, due to being in the streets or growing up in dysfunctional families, where education was not important. A lot of prisoners were never taught how to read and write. And a lot of them have ADD and ADHD. The best way to captivate the minds of these prisoners is by teaching them to read and spending two hours per day, helping educate them so they can succeed and prosper in life.

A lot of adult prisoners were held captive as juveniles. We might have started out by vandalizing property. I used to vandalize property because they belonged to people who looked down upon my people and the way we lived. It was also a way to get attention and get a reputation. The best way to reach juveniles who are being held captive in the numerous detention centers and facilities across the United States, is by having someone that has been through the same struggle and understands their pain, speak to them in a clear and concise way, and become their mentors. Juveniles don’t need jails. They need guidance and direction. Had a lot of prisoners in adult prisons had this growing up, we wouldn’t be in prison today.

When I was 12 years old, I got into a fight at school and was taken to the Juvenile Intake Assessment Center. It made me have a resentment towards law enforcement. They took my belt and shoes that had me sit in a hard, plastic chair and wait for my parents to pick me up. I was placed on Juvenile Intensive Supervised Probation. I had to give UAs and breathalyzers. I had to pay $10 per month as probation fees. Once I got violated, they set me up for life in the judicial system. I got sent to group homes then to the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex. Here in Kansas, they have what is called extended juvenile jurisdiction, which allows the state to try a juvenile as an adult, if they commit a felony while at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex. This rule is what caused me to be incarcerated for the past 17 years straight.

This is the story of a lot of prisoners in Kansas Department of Corrections. After so long, laws and policies are changing for juveniles at KJCC. They can now leave the facility for work and education. Had I had this chance I wouldn’t be in prison. The youth are the future and we have to reach them before they become captives of the judicial system. Thank you all for your time, effort, and energy. Anyone wishing to reach me concerning this piece may do so by writing Charley Hughes, C-H-A-R-L-E-Y H-U-G-H-E-S, number 96576, Hutchinson Correctional Facility, PO Box 1568 Hutchinson, Kansas 67504.

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.