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When I won my appeal and was released from Death Row at San Quentin, I was required to go through Reception again.

The Reception Center is at DVI. I am an old man in a wheelchair surrounded by thieves and murderers (sadly, I'm included) coming out to the yard for the first time at DVI Reception Center. Then I saw the Cat! Orange in color, tabby in type.

The Cat came strolling out of the rec shack letting everyone pet and hold it, and seemed to be enjoying all the attention. Obviously not a feral cat, but one who is well taken care of!

After asking the inmate at the rec shack, I found out that the Cat belonged to all the inmates. She (yes, a She Cat) had free run of the yard, and lived in the rec shack.

Anyone who doesn't know prison life, like say a Mr. Joe Lunchbox, 9-to-5 Sally or a Mr. John Q. Citizen, would think we might harm the Cat, but in reality the opposite is true.

Anyone who harmed the Cat would be murdered on the spot. Because although we might stab each other over a Top Ramen soup(!) we would never, ever harm the Cat.

The Cat's name is Tracy, like the small town next to the prison. Tracy the Cat gives love to everyone, black, white, brown, or yellow.

The whole human race is her friend. That first day on the Reception Center yard she jumped right up onto my lap, rubbing on me the way cats do, purring loudly the whole time.

I was shocked. I had not held an animal in 25 years, and here she was in my lap loving me. I had no food. What did she want? All I had was a willingness to be loved, was that it?

Just then, her ears pricked up, and she looked around, let out a meow and jumped out of my lap and back into the rec shack.

The announcement for rec equipment recall was made, and all hell broke loose!

What we fail to learn from Tracy the Cat is very blatant! Can you see it?

Joseph Hart (Visalia, CA). Got some bad news this morning. A book of poems I wrote was damned with faint praise (they suck) by someone who's opinion I look up to. Looks like I'm just another unchurched, aging animal "wannabe" without talent heading for a grave. I enlisted immediately after graduating (one day I think), went through medic school, was hospitalized several times (psych), was given a medical discharge after 2 1/2 years, have no bad memories of the service (except I was glad to get out), and have complete and total praise for the VA medical system. They are good. Trump hasn't overhauled it yet-as he promised to do. I was given the discharge when I refused promotion-which I did (as I told Capt, Mullins who offered it) because I was against war and didn't want any emblem (the rank) indicating I liked it. He was furious. I was out in a week or so. I do/did hate war-what sane person doesn't? And I do think the VA medical system is good. Nothing for the bastard to improve.

By Paul Loyde Hensley, Sr. J-86000

Paul Hensley was sentenced to death in 1995 for the murders of Larry Shockley and Gregory Renouf, as well as the attempted murder of Stacy Copeland. He is currently at Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad, CA). For info on his crimes, see

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Author:Hensley, Paul Loyde
Publication:The American Dissident
Date:Mar 22, 2018
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