TARIK AKIM CLARK
Guilty as charged. I have several 115's since I have been incarcerated, and I am guilty of each and every one of them. My problem back then was that I did not try to not get any 115's when I first came to prison. I had a 25 to Life sentence, I was surrounded by inmates that didn't care, and I was trying to fit in any way possible. I already knew that stabbings, fighting or drugs was something I was not willing to do. I had to mask my fear of being chosen for that with the mask of defiance towards staff and the tool of humor. I would show out towards the staff if they were correcting me and make a small verbal turn into a
115. I was very anti—correction. I was very defiant. In my thinking at that time I had nothing to lose, because I was only losing time and I had so much of that. 2024 was so far away that
I didn't think I would be around to see this date. The attitudes of the dudes I was meeting on the higher levels was one of not caring what happened to themselves and no one mentioned the idea of self-help. Dudes were going to board and getting denied, and three strikers were told we would have it harder when we go because we have a history of messing up. So my hope was dim, I didn't have anyone outside of my family, so my self—esteem was low. And everytime I showed out by being defiant against the staff, the inmates on the yard would give me props. My mouth was a loose cannon and I never thought about what I said before I said it. I just knew it was a line with the staff that if your words crossed you would go to the hole, I never crossed that because I never wanted to go to the hole. I had heard stories of the hole and i didn't want to come out worse than I went in.
My two week stint that I did actually spend in the hole was for participating in a riot when I got to CMC~WEST. It was wild to me because all my time at HDSP, I never was involved in a riot.
But when I come to a low level 3 it happens. My mother was like
"son, you said those things wouldn't happen down there". I was just as shocked. She is a very protective mother and everyday I was on the upper levels she prayed constantly for me. It helped.
I was afraid for my life the whole time at HDSP. I was glad to leave that mountain, and I ain't never going back up. After getting ridiculed for my stupidity behavior and senseless 115's,
I knew from those that have been walking this walk before me, that it was time for me to get my act together or be prepared to do miserable time. Well, I took what they said to have meaning, but I didn't correct my walk. I began to tone down my stupid outbursts and officer disrespect, but I continue to break the rules by having a cellphone. I mean when I heard that people were getting cellphones and what they can do, I had to have one. I purchased it by not going to canteen or getting packages for 6 months. I was lying to my folks about what I was using the money for, because I was having them send it to a cousin that put it all together and sent it to the guy I bought the phone from.
That first cellphone opened up all kinds of doors for me that I had long ago thought were closed. It fed my ego and pride on so many levels that I really believed i was somebody to people I haven't talk to in years. I kept my criminal thinking on 24/7, because I was always thinking about paying for my phone bill and having money put up just in case I lost this phone. I would rent my phone out to people, if they gave me money for the bill or paid me in canteen. My mother would have nothing to do with me and my illegal phone, and being my mother I can see why. I know now that I was involving others into my criminal world and having them assist me made them just as responsible even if they didn't want to be. To those people I apologiged and they have forgiven me. I have 4 cellphone write—ups and I am guilty of all of them.
I thought I was being slick by walking a good conduct walk, but
I was only fooling myself, and it showed in the end because I ended up hurting myself. I hurt my family. I jeopardized the safety of the institution, and I also jeopardized the safety of other inmates. Even though my use of the phone wasn't for gang or drug talks, those I let use it could have done whatever they wanted and I would have been just as responsible. When I had those cellphones it gave me the feeling of being wanted, needed, liked, loved and helpful. Those were all fake faces to cover up the feelings of abandonement, shame, guilt, fear and the thought of no one needing or loving me. I was able to facebook and find old friends that gave my old way of living credibility and gave me rewards for doing this time and holding me down. That added to my criminal living and it fed my ego. I was addicted to the attention that the phone got me, and it also allowed me to be a part of the secretive crowd talks on the yard. Sharing videos and pictures with those that also had phones. I talked to my family in Boston and I was able to rekindle those relationships and also build some with family I never met. I would lie to the people I was talking to about the seriousness of getting caught with a cellphone, and say that since the police are bringing them in, if we get caught with one they just take it and sell it to someone one the streets. But I assured them that we was not getting write ups for phones. Everytime I did get caught, I would tell my folks that I heard the staff coming and I flushed the phone. I was caught up in a web of lies and deceit to the staff, family, and friends. And still yet, I believed the phone was the best thing to happen to us inmates. All the while, I am losing months off my outdate and piling up 115's that I will eventually have to discuss. The recent one in 20l6(hearing in
2017) was the one that broke my back. All my other 115's were done with no remorse, I knew what my consequences were and was willing to face them. But this one I didn't want to face, this one I wish I never would've got, this one made me regret any and all of my criminal thinking. This 115 showed me to my face that
I was a loser, that i was a lier, and I had a feeling of shame that I didn't want to face. What had hurt the most was that I let down other inmates that really started to confirm my change and put their faith in me to be able to speak my change. It was hard getting their trust back, but I realized that it began with me being real to myself and real to my change if my change was ever gonna mean anything to anybody. And if my change was to be sufficient. I gave it all up and I really began to dig both of my feet into my foundation of change. I have not stopped since then. I buried myself into groups, school and hobbies. I found out things that I was passionate about and pursued them. I put all of my effort into the groups that I attended and when I completed them, I was blessed with a call back to facilitate.
Awww, man. What that did for me. The feeling of being asked to facilitate gave me a rush in who I was, Tarik, and not in who I was pretending to me. Being able to facilitate let me know that among my peers I am accepted and respected for my change and that was a great feeling of admiration. I never thought that I could receive any type of reward for doing good, and before I left prison I was rewarded for doing good. Giving back feels good. It feels up all the voids that my false ego and fake pride left open. I am so grateful to be able to just that.
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