Q17: Does Prison Work?


Anonymous said...

Amen, Shaun. I think this country is finally, slowly realizing how foolish, destructive, and wasteful it is to incarcerate someone for possessing weed. It's not a criminal problem. Let social work, rehab, etc. come in where appropriate and that may help.

For harder stuff, well, my first bust and trip behind the walls for four months was for pot. A lot of pot. Being arrested, then jailed was so surreal, so terrifying, so embarrassing, I didn't question whether it made sense. Subsequent jail terms were for harder stuff and when I finally caught the chain to state prison, there was no doubt that I deserved that.

But did jail and prison work for me? No. What did work, I'm ashamed to say even today, was the six months I did in impact incarceration boot camp. That did change me and when I got out of prison, I did not return to drugs.

Until 20 years later. I was shocked and discouraged at the overwhelming majority of men I was locked up with were there for drug crimes. Even more annoying was how it was possible to get meth and other drugs so much more easily. And the stuff was often better. It was possible even back during my first "criminal phase" but hard. In Joe's Joint, the stuff flows so readily that it forms the basis of the black market economy run by the gangs. So, I'm convicted of drug crimes and sent to jail to be punished and rehabili --- oh, just punished and put out of the way. And in that jail, that I'm in because of drugs, I'm offered by the staff there drug in case I might be depressed or anxious that I'm about to have my freedom and privacy taken away and then thrown into a snake pit. To survive in that snake pit, I align with my race, join their gang, and get my drug back - but taken in much more dangerous and potent ways. Jail made me a worse addict.

Yep, it was just a matter of weeks after my release that I got a dirty urine test and went back in for four months, then, of course failed another probation joke that I went in again.

Finally, I foolishly thought Joe's chain gang might be enuf like boot camp ... No. Boot camp tore me down but then built me back up -- better. Chain gang just gives you a different reality from lock down but tears you down and then drags its own shit that makes you want to go to the cells or the tents. I wish jail could change me, but I'm getting high right now and we all know where that is leading.

SO, PLEASE! Everyone listen to what Shaun said here, realize what we're doing isn't working, and try something else. At least let's get out of a bizarre reality where a lawyer can say "Murderer, rapist, and drug dealer" in the same breath and have no one question him.

I'll try to be less wordy next time. Remaining anonymous until I'm no longer on supervision.

-- A convict (don't call me inmate!)

Jon said...

that makes total sense to me. Convict :)