I came to prison a person that deserved to have my freedom taken. Today, I feel regret and shake my head at my shameful adolescence – I can’t change.
Incarcerated: 19 years
Housed: Lewis Corrections Department, Buckeye, Arizona
I came to prison a person that deserved to have my freedom taken. Someone said, “You’re too young to spend the rest of your life in prison,” but I belonged hidden and out of sight. What I didn’t know: I wasn’t ready to be thought of as anything more than a condemned kid. I’ve grown up in here. I’ve had a long time to accept my fate. I’ve been able to dust myself off and get out of the negative emotional mindset – to emerge now – hopeful. Today, I feel regret and shake my head at my shameful adolescence – I can’t change. It would’ve been nice to reach out to people outside of my environment. Spending half my life behind prison walls, it’s unfortunate that I haven’t had much, if any steady communication or positive support to influence me. I hate the stigma of being looked at as a criminal, but it is true. I really ain’t got nothing left to lose. Maybe when I’m old and my health starts to fail, I’ll be given the opportunity to be released? All I know in this confinement, I might even be institutionalized. I would think after spending almost two decades in here, I would have gotten better at expressing myself, but it’s hard to communicate my thoughts without sounding like a stereotype and full of myself.The only major thing I’ve gotten used to in this place, is the isolation. It has both its good and bad qualities. Isolation has become an easy tool to distract myself. I occupy my thoughts with learning. After I received my GED, I realized I’ve been the one holding myself back. Education is really important, and when I first arrived I had none. I got used to how prison used to be, but it seems with the new prison tablets, a whole new world has opened up. In the ol’ days we were simply treated as nobodies, animals. I would have never thought in a million years that I would hold a tablet in here, listening to music, video games and movies. Just a few years ago I would be lucky to have had a written response and was requesting library books. I enjoyed writing this even if I am totally oblivious to anyone who could be reading this. I’m writing to write.