Prison stories are often filled with memories of inmates being victimized by the staff, the overall system or even other inmates. It’s hard to protect yourself from this type of harassment while you are under someone else’s authority. While trying to protect yourself you run the risk of bringing harsher or unnecessary punishment to yourself.
I tried to avoid victimization while in prison camp. Every time I started feeling like a victim of the system or of some grand conspiracy theory, I would start asking myself questions as to why I was there. I would ask questions like, “Was I there because of money? Political reasons? Was I here because John Q. Public feels like I needed to be punished? Did they want to punish me because I was a greedy black man or subprime borrower that advanced the system, and fucked them over their homes (which they feel they obtained honestly and legally)?”
I really started to always feel this way. However, I then began to feel like I was there because the politician’s voters wanted to feel safe (whether it’s an illusion or not) and didn’t care if I was right or wrong.
I don’t want to sound like a victim, so I’ll let you decide if I am or if I’m not. Personally, I really don’t think of myself as a victim. At the end of the day, I’m still a felon who did the time based on my actions. I guess the fact I served my time made someone feel safer and happier. Maybe someone got a promotion because of my time in camp, however, I wasn’t going to let all of that make me a bitter person. Instead I would say to myself, “I have an opportunity here. Let’s take advantage of it because I’ll never get it again.”
I’ve read two books about the prison system, the New Jim Crow and Lockdown America. I plan on doing blog posts on both of these books. However, I tried not to allow the information in these books affect me. Every time these books would give me a negative feeling, I’d put the book down and tell myself that it’s an advantage and a blessing being here. It’s not that I was trying to hide the fact the prison camp was a horrible place to be, it was because I really believed it was an opportunity to get ahead in my life. All I did was read, sleep, workout, and write. It reminded me of college without the teachers and alcohol, so why view this place negatively? Plus with me having such a short time, I couldn’t allow that to get to my head because I was too close to going home.
Though I write these posts and my future book with limited knowledge of what I will be writing about—I can honestly say, I’m going to avoid the “God put me here for a reason” saying. Yes, I strongly believe in a higher power, though I follow no religious faiths. My issue with that statement is how could I be at a place like this while the “devil,” if you will, has all of the advantages? Or maybe the god within me put me there in a pre-destined state and knew exactly what was going to happen to me and how I was going to get out of it. I don’t know.
I think you’re starting to see why I never questioned too much about why I went to a prison camp. The questions created more questions. Before long, I was drowning in questions and became angry and hateful. Once I get like that, I can’t make any situation positive or fruitful. Maybe I was a scapegoat, a patsy, a causality of war on the middle class, or it was just my time in life to have bad things happened to me. That doesn’t matter because if I was, let’s say a scapegoat, I’d still have to get out of the situation in one piece. If I was a patsy or some causality of war on the middle class, I’m still responsible for turning my life around. Maybe one day, if someone tells me exactly as it was I’ll care, until then I’ll stick to “I committed a crime on my own free will and accord and I’ve accepted all blame and responsibility for the event leading to and following the crime”.