Darkness inside
Darkness inside

Darkness inside

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Prison changes you forever!

You are never the same once you go to prison. How could be? The things that you see and hear. The things that you are asked or demanded to do to keep yourself alive and safe. Physical violence that you endured when you first arrived or regularly just because you were an”easy” target or you “owe”  the wrong person money. When you owe someone money they add interest on that money, and the interest rate is high. That interest rate goes up every time that you don’t make that deadline.

Imagine:

Going into prison you are a sweet loving person who has never had to physical altercation in life. Now you have to go physically remove someone’s eye, or stab someone just because you’re the new guy. Or you are asked to go beat up someone or take a life just to prove that you are useful to someone in prison. Or you have to go “jump” someone because they owe money to someone and that inmate wants their money back.

Lifers:

Lifers have nothing to lose they are never getting out. They run the yards. They have CO’s on their payroll and they do not care, they have money, drugs, and all the power to make things happen. These inmates have perfected the art of making things look like accidents. They teach you how to beat up someone where bruises do not show up on the body. They teach you where to stab someone to kill them instantly and they all know where the blind spots are. They have secret languages, inmates who watch out for the CO’s, secret sign language, and snitches who teach you how to be better criminals. They know who to pay off, who to bring into their inner circle, and who to take the fall.

Carrying all of this:

All of this you carry with you forever. You never talk about it. It weighs heavily on the heart. Your own family will never truly know what happened to you in prison, because you can’t bear to see the hurt and disappointment in their eyes and heart. Somehow you try to to live to live a normal life again, but you can’t because the nightmares and the PTSD are bad, and rebuilding the relationship with your family is overwhelming but you don’t tell them. The darkness inside will scare too much and you think that they will see you as a monster without a heart, not someone who did what they had to do to come home to them. In the end, you lose them, you lose everything. Do I end up back in prison? Become homeless? What happens to me? What happens to them? Is there help?

Will I always be like this?

What will happen to me? The truth is many ex-inmates do return to prison, become homeless, and /or both. Some turn to drugs or suicide because they can’t handle society. Mental health has a waiting list or they don’t have the money to pay. For many, their family disappear a year or two into their prison sentence. Halfway houses and programs do not offer enough support for ex-inmates. Prisons do not prepare anyone for release. An inmate goes in at the age of  21 and is released 10 years and their age is 21 mentally. They are not taught to be self-sufficient while they are incarcerated. How could they be? Taxpayers pay for them, prisons do not have many programs in prisons and jobs are limited. Medical and behavioral health services are minimal at best.

Why doesn’t anyone see?

Why doesn’t anyone see that the prison system needs to change and make drastic changes for inmates to be more successful? Yes, everyone in every state is talking about “rehabilitation” and “reform” but what does look like to the government? From where I’m sitting it looks like fancy words and broken promises. It looks like no one has an idea or plans on how to make those changes. Hundreds of reports, millions of dollars in lawsuits, and hundreds of professionals saying all the same things that prison causes more damage to a person and how to make changes and no person can figure out how to make those changes. It’s unbelievably sad.

Will?

Will the darkness become something I can live with? Can I find a piece of my heart I once had? I want to be able to find someone to share my life with again. Will anyone ever understand? Yes!!! There is life after prison with the right help, family and friends, and counseling. I can make this happen. I survived prison!! I can make it through anything!!

I love all the comments, please let me know what you think. If you have a story you would like to share I will be happy to share it. Until next time.

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