Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What Is Prison Like?

         {prisoner sent this article to me in 1975}

What is a prison like…it is not for everyone. The prison I know is different from the prison you know or hear about.
Prison is a place where you find grey hairs on your head or where you find your hair to disappear. It is a place where you get false teeth, stronger glasses,aches, pains, and you worry about them.
Prison is a place where you learn that no one needs you. That the outside world goes on without you.
Prison is a place where you hear of a friend’s divorce, and didn’t the neighbors’ kids graduate from school and you had thought they hadn’t even started.
Prison is a place where you lose respect for the law because you see it raw and naked, twisted,bent and blown out of proportion to suit the people who enforce it. Prison is a place where you’re smarter than the parole board because you know which guy will go straight and which won’t. Prison is a place where a letter from home or your girl can be like a letter from the war department,when you see it lying on your bed, you are afraid to open it. But you do anyway, and you usually end up disgusted,disappointed or angry. But you are still glad you received it, for at least someone remembers  you. Prison is a place where you go to bed before you are tired, where you pull the blanket over your head when you are not cold. It’s a place where you escape by reading, playing cards,dreaming,writing letters or by going mad.
Prison is a place where men are frozen in immaturity by being deprived of fundamental liberties where lives are dominated by petty rules which have no valid security or rehabilitation purpose,but are a great tool of harassment. Prison is a place where in a perverse climate you are expected to become socially responsible, but no chance is given to do so. It is a place where you are told when to wake up,eat,sleep, and so on. Letters are censored, visitors sharply limited. Prison is a place where you rarely get adequate medical treatment besides aspirins, everything is a privilege including food, which can be taken away by the man.
Prison is a place where if you are married you watch and wait for the marriage to die.It’s a place where you learn that absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. And where you stop blaming your wife for having a live man, instead of a fading image of a husband. Prison is a place where you promise yourself to live a better life when you get out. Sometimes you do, but more often you don’t because no one seems to care if you do or not anyway! Yes…prison is a place.
                    written by Sam in 1975


1 comment:

  1. This is a very deep letter!
    I would like permission to feature this in a note for our organization and outreach blogsite: R.I.F.T. Reentry Initiatives For Today
    Executive Director
    Leann Lincoln