Hello. My name is Stuart Mitchell Young. Until prison I had very little experience with art. I took a very basic class in middle school and a semester of art in high school. Once I came to prison I had a very hard time adjusting. The people here that are not interested in bettering themselves were hard to deal with. I became suicidal after being sent to another prison that was a very dangerous place. I was confined to the SHU for another 11 months. Total between solitary confinement in pretrial and SHU I spent a total of 25 months in some form of protective custody, most of it spent alone. I did not adjust well. However in my third year of incarceration I rediscovered art. I started drawing. I realized that I wasn’t bad. In fact I started with drawing animals in graphite and I was already as good as most “portrait artists” we have here. It’s kept me out of the SHU and has become my chosen coping method for stress. I started treatment for my crimes and painting helps me deal with the stress of changing who I was. I was always playing video games and browsing the internet before, but now I have decided that I want to spend my free time drawing, painting or crafting items for people to enjoy. I just wish that art programs had a higher priority than they do now. On average, without missing meals, we only have five hours a day, but they tend to close our art rooms for any reason they can. We pay for the “privilege” of having art supplies with a 30% markup for each item only to be told we can’t access them the majority of the day. So even though I’ve finally found an acceptable practice to fill my free time I’m hindered by the very organization that has told me that I needed to change.