Skip to main content

This is a big change for me, from a maximum security prison where I was inside most of the time and lived in a one-person cell. Now, I’m in a medium-security prison that was once an old college campus. I live in a three-person dorm room and have a key to lock it when I leave.

What a shock this is to me. In my last prison, Jameson, they were so short-staffed that we could not go outside when the weather allowed it for many months. It got better when the prison gave us tier recreation. Here in Springfield, I go outside every day and get fresh air and sunshine. I have to walk to the Chowhall from my building; I also get to go to an outside recreation yard at certain times of the day beside the building. The old dorm room I am in is excellent. It has a closet, wooden dresser drawers, an oversized vanity mirror, and a countertop. The floor is tiled, and the room is bigger than my Jameson cell.

I actually feel more like a human being, being able to leave my dorm room and lock my door to go outside in the fresh air. They have a day room with a TV, pool table, hot water, and an ice machine. All this freedom of movement is a big shock to me; in Jameson, if you didn’t have a job, a prisoner was locked in his cell most of the day. That has begun to change with different administrations. I facilitated the Buddhist Group for about eight years, and now I was asked by my former celly to run it here. I accepted the responsibility and have enjoyed facilitating it and getting it going. The Buddhist Group in Springfield was pretty much shut down due to a lack of interest and people going. I got two boxes of Buddhist books sent here to help spread the Dharma of Buddha. We are small in number, but it is growing. I donated $350 to the Buddhist Group account to buy religious items, books, and DVDs and help pay for our upcoming religious holiday meal.

Change has been good for me. It has made me feel more human and given me a purpose in my life. My life is going well, and it shows that you should never give up, even in prison. Your life is what you make of it.

Leave a Reply

Receive more inspiring stories and news from incarcerated people around the world.