In prison we endure things no-one should, and it changes us. I don’t mean to say prison isn’t necessary, sometimes it is, but we must view its necessity through another lens. What we are subjected to today is because of a compilation of systemic failures over a long period of time. You say we deserve what we get for committing crimes, that lack of empathy shows how much is misunderstood.
First, the majority of us aren’t just perpetrators of crime, we’ve been victims. The phrase, ‘ violence begets violence ‘ isn’t only a cliché, it boils a complex issue down to a slogan. Imagine a child that has been beat with weapons, sexually abused, emotionally and mentally tortured, neglected, and starved before they even walked out the front door. This child turns to drugs and gangs to find any relief from those atrocities, but trauma comes out, and if left untreated comes out in anti-social ways. They’re placed in juvenile facilities where the abuse is continued, locked in with adults who prey on their smaller stature; the only way to survive is to become the monster you blame him for being.
The child grows into an adult, without any adequate treatment, they inevitably commit a crime. The system holds their past against them and throws them in prison, then forgets about them – they deserve what they get.
Inside; they’re locked away in an institution miles from anything they’ve known, given inadequate mental health treatment from an overburdened system, and placed around predators with no choice but to be one of them or become prey. They spend their days in a constant state of survival; manipulated, manipulating, always the potential for extreme violence, dodging sexual predators; sensory overload from hearing and seeing violent assaults, sexual relations( consensual or not ), verbal abuse from fellow prisoners and staff, in an overall tense environment. All this while trying to live; eat, sleep, exercise, maintain familial relationships (maybe even a romantic one ), and rehabilitate themselves.
How do any of us make it with a level head intact?
Photo by Oxana Melis on Unsplash