Breaking point

Bowden, Brandon

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Brandon Bowden Ohio "Breaking Point" In Ohio's Department of Rehabilitation - n- Corrections...I've spent the past ten years of my, at times, "seemingly pointless" existence, trapped. Racism, violence, drugs, death, distress, frustration, ... and so many more aspects of the modern day prison environment, are elements that make this place... a living hell! The picture I'm about to paint for you... "the reader"... no matter who, or where you are... I guarantee will open your mind to the truth untold to probably the majority of our nation's population. I only ask that you let go of any pre-conceived notions, that you may have towards "prisoners", and allow my words to enter your [soul?] as the words of a imperfect "man." One who takes responsibility for the mistakes he's made in his past, and simply wishes for a chance to live a normal life and continue to correct... his many imperfections. "I've never killed a man, women, or child. Nor have I been convicted of murder, or attempting to murder anyone...ever! Yet, here I am after a decade, I remain state property with approx. another entire decade of my life to waste, dwindling away physically, mentally, -n- emotionally... inside the ODRC. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation Corrections) My journey started in a level 3 close maximum security prison. Trumbull Corr. Inst. housed various different types of inmates. You had the convicts... (hard seasoned veterans who knew their way around the system like the back of their hands...), and the new wave a.k.a. inmates. We were naive, -n- none of us had ever really did any hard time, or experienced the worst that a place like prison could offer. Actually, a convict -n- an inmate are one in the same. The "lower" crimes -n- sentences such as, burglaries, rape, thefts, -n- gun cases etc. On one end, the "big" crimes... assaults, robberies, murder etc. ...on the other. This is what naturally was the basics in the pecking order when it came to respect issues. Level 3 close maximum isn't what you'd normally see on T.V. by far. There usually are no gun towers, the police presence isn't as aggressive -n- the tension between c/o and inmate isn't as thick as it is in maximum security -n- most supermax prisons. The gangs are present, but they run wild -n- are less organized here. The simple things, like, ... people's faces are friendly... smiles and laughter occur often in this environment. Usually, "short-timers" (guy's with approx. 1-to-5 years) do their time here and get their status dropped quickly. Then, you have the "underworld"..... the other part of this world where young inmates with "big" crimes -n- time, are being "groomed" to dominate the majority of the population with either acts of violence, a brutal reputation, or in most cases, a cult-like following of their fellow gang members. Usually, we were the one's serving approx. ten years or better. This, is a place where.... to have a "life" sentence is first glorified! Most of the latter... end up in places like where I currently reside. Either Ohio State Penitentiary, a supermax facility... or the worst facility that the ODRC has to offer, "Southern Ohio Correctional Facility" a.k.a. Lucasville. I must admit, I've been incarcerated here since Sept. 2014, -n- in these ten months, I've experienced worse living conditions than ever before in the last decade! Real talk. In 2005 I was placed on the "STG-Security Threat Group" file, a.k.a. the gang file and labeled, which instantly makes you a target. It never hit me that I'd be much of a problem or should I say "inconvenience", until I arrived at Lucasville. In society, we tend to think we've grown beyond racism... when in reality, I'm a believer that it lies dormant in the deepest, most unknown places we house here in America. The tension applied by "hate"... can be felt the instant one steps foot on this... plantation! Now, I am not racist, nor do I "hate" any people for their [selected?] way of living. But when a person or group of people hates you... for no reason beyond the color of your skin, I simply cannot "agree" that this is righteous, positive, good, intelligent, or any pattern of thinking that is beneficial to our evolution as human beings. From the moment our busload entered the processing area here at Lucasville..... I noticed how not only were all the c/o's older caucasian males, but they referred to us as "boy", or "hey you". You are then literally led to cages where you're forced to strip, and be taunted by these older white males who seem to have no problem constantly reminding you... "they will beat your ass if you get out of line" without hesitation. After this, you're assessed by a medical unit that consisted of all "white" women that don't want to even meet your gaze at all! If, and when you do make eye contact, you'll most likely get a disgusted look which is followed by the "nurse" telling one of the c/o's in the area, something along the lines of... "I think this one just tried to mind fuck me!" followed by a billy club or "P.R. stick" toting cop approaching you... "Boy you'd better watch who you wreckless eyeball around here if you know what's best." After about an hour of this type of treatment, me and five other's were led to "J2-block" or the segregation area where we ended up spending our first weekend, waiting to be classed to either general population a.k.a. Level 4A, or "the insane asylum"... Level 4B. The rumor's we heard of -"4B"- were flatout sick. Guys threw, -n- chewed their own feces, semen, piss, etc. as a form of disrespect. Mice were everywhere, ... word was some sicko's would capture, kill, and eat mice. Men yelled any -n- every derogatory term they could think of in the form of an "argument", called "cellbanging." Sometimes a cellbang could end up in a friendship, other's could get you sliced by a razor on the way to, or from your shower. Outside recreation was like the "homosexual's playground." Though you were shackled at wrist -n- ankle and chained to approx. 5-10 other men, once you got to your rec. cage (which were lined up side-by-side, constructed of metal fencing) ... you were on your own for about an hour or so give or take. Rumor held it, it was normal to look to your side and see a sex act going on through the holes in the fence. My first weekend here in S.O.C.F., confirmed all the rumor's except one! I refused to go to recreation to witness that..... the rumor was more than enuff for me!! Today, I sit in J2-block "segregation" on the slammer side... waiting to be shipped off to "4B" for a dirty urine. I tested positive for marijuana (THC) 2 weeks ago. Just ten months ago, I left the hole (seg) classed to a Level 4AT, the transitional phase between 4B, to 4A. Just ten months ago, I hadn't had to worry about being another inmate who'd been swallowed up whole by the corruption, -n- crookedness of this crazy place. Just ten months ago, I hadn't witnessed first-hand how quickly an argument could turn into war. I spit on you, you pull your dick out -n- try flashing me. I say "fuck you", you say "fuck me and my dead pissy ass grandparents"... the pandemonium has no limits! Next thing you know... you notice the bugs, -n- small hair follicles are not only in your food 'more'... it seems that breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the trays are tainted with shit that doesn't belong nowhere near, let alone... "in" (mixed into) your meal portions. Combine all this insanity, along with men yelling at the tops of their lungs from sun up to sun down... the pressure this atmosphere has on one mentally, is officially enough to make one reach his breaking point.

Author: Bowden, Brandon

Author Location: Ohio

Date: October 19, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 4 pages

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