Learning to grow inside a prison cell

Brown, Jamel Lamont

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Jamel Brown New York ESSAY Learning to Grow Inside a Prison Cell My nightmare begins in 1988 when a Latino man living around the corner from where I reside was murdered The investigating Detective and Bronx district Attorney office put my name in the mix after I had a domestic dispute I was put in a mock line-up and told I was identified by a person I never seen before I confess to my Judge that I had no knowledge of the crime the Judge said I know but that's everybody's line in the system I was sent to Riker's Island a dark and gloomy place where upon entering the Jail all eyes are glued to you like You are up on stage This is where the system fail so many of our youth. By placing us in cell blocks it becomes dog eat dog world. The weak is prey upon daily. To live without being prey upon you must join a gang (Bloods, crips, Latino Kings etc) or a religious organization like muslims, F.O.I. or catholic Brotherhood. The yard is divided into territories and control by these rival factions. The price of initiation is usually to knife a rival gang member or a Jailhouse snitch. There is no education programs for our youth. We are force instead to spend every waking moment fighting for survival. Over fifty percent of the inmate population is illiterate and another 30% suffers from some form of mental illness. Tension is as thick as mist in the morning air. Where can a youth turn too. The correctional officers are more concern with control than human life. The average youth has no conception of law. We are usher into a court room. Face with a proceeding we know nothing about. We are assign a lawyer who is over work in most cases and have no interest in the case one way or another As this cold reality sets in you are suck deeper into the bowels of gang life. The stress is unbearable, the loneliness is constant violence becomes a part of everyday life. The hearts becomes cold and bitter. Human compassion is at a all time low. Each day spent in prison transform each individual into something it takes years to deprogram yourself from. Usually people find God, though I never knew he was lost. Gangs in prison gives one a false sense of security and makes one feel as if they are being loved. A botherhood of a bunch of kids who are lost and need a positive role model to emulate but is push into a cell instead we are made to feel as we are nothing, we have no voice and must earn our respect in the eyes of other prisoners who don't mean you no good because they don't mean theirselves no good. How is it that the youth are looking to prisoners serving life sentences as mentors This only lead one deeper into a life of crime and the mass public wonders why recidivist is so high Prison can be use as a hospital or university. a hospital to heal that which hurts or a university to learn all one can I speak from personal experience. I was 17 when I arrived in prison today I am 42 years old and have been in prison close to 25 years. Prison is a place of lost souls, self hatred and sadist behavior. A place where men look like men, act like men but aren't men. Prison is a place of evil reincarnated, human suffering, where everyone has a knife or razor blade and walk around with a chip on their shoulder. While a Youth is dealing with all the psychological pressures, there is also an emotional side in a place where it is look down on anyone showing emotion. The unwritten rule is a man is not suppose to cry. There is no emotional outlet, so the smallest of things like sitting in a chair can turn into a deadly ordeal. I have witness a man kill another man over the telephone, it's ironic because the phone is collect and some prisoners charge a Fee to let other prisoners use the phone Going to chow in the messhall usually turn into a full scale riot when different cell Blocks are in the messhall at the same time. Prisoners look forward to these royal rumbles as a emotional outlet The trip to court is the worst. We are literally stuff into a bullpen like sardines Fights are constantly breaking out You can count on at least Five Fights in the bullpen Court is a place where the gangs pass messages from one cell block to another. Its a place for the prison's latest gossip and robbers who is looking to prey on other prisoner for their clothes and sneakers. If you tell the correction officers You are label a snitch and the prison motto is snitches get stitches What is wrong with this picture is? the prison system is failing our Youth, it is entrapping us turning us in many cases into something we do not desire to be. To prove myself to other prisoners I accumulated 12 years in solitary confinement Some of what I felt after being in extreme isolation was depression, anxiety and racing thoughts Finding it hard to concentrate / or sustain long term focus. In extreme isolation mentally stable individual adverse psychological effects manifest even after short periods of time. every little thing is a ticket and extend your solitary confinement time. I have known people to come to solitary confinement with 90 days and wind up doing ten years The ability to think outside the box is under rated and they say common sense is the best sense but I found that to be lacking in many areas in solitary confinement The one Positive in solitary confinement is it gives you alot of time to read, study write and do introspection. The hardest thing for a person to do is face themselves Positive change start from within. life is 90% mental and only 10% physical. The Human body is made out of three entities: the mental, the physical and the spiritual You must grow simultaneously in all three areas, Everything is a balance if one area is off then the whole body is off. The power of pray is a powerful tool. A Person need Faith To have something to believe in, but thats the thing about faith either You have it or You don't. In this god Forsaken place the biggest lesson I learnt is patience and that a hero lies in all of us we Just have to dig deep sometime to find it no matter how bad our own situation may be there is always someone worse off then You. That thought has compelled me Forward and gave me solate in the fact Who am I? I am continuely changing From one moment to the Next. My metamorphosis is constant growth, my mind is endless, my dreams are vivid. I inspire to be great and to turn a negative into a positive ... to be continue. Transcribed: 2017-04-30

Author: Brown, Jamel Lamont

Author Location: New York

Date: October 19, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 6 pages

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