I was only in jail for 5 months, a relatively short space of time. That 5 months changed me forever and I don’t think that I will ever recover from it.
Prison is designed to deter people from committing crime and to rehabilitate offenders so they can live and function in society without harm to others…..well, I call bullshit!
Jail….honestly, yes, it may help some people…however the majority of the people I met treated jail like a home away from home, it’s a revolving door for them, they go in, get out and end up back in again. There’s no rehabilitation, and its not a deterrent, in jail they are fed, clothed, sheltered, receive medical care (however minimal) and most of their friends/family are in there too.
Jail is also so inhumane its ridiculous, yes it seems contradictory to my previous statement, but, hear me out. The jails are overcrowded, they are so over capacity that inmates cannot have their own cells, there’s not enough food, shelter, health care….some people are treated like dogs. There is violence and sexual assaults, people trying to poison one another, give others hep c. Its disgusting.
As far as mental health goes…well, you’re screwed…being sent to a place that totally dehumanizes you is one thing, but then when yoire mind is broken and your soul destroyed, you’re given some sedatives and told to harden up! No wonder people turn to drugs, alchohol…anything, just to escape the Neverending barrage of depression and anxiety they’re going through. You may go in there clean, not reliant on drugs at all, but, when you’re released you need to get to a doctor to get your prescriptions because you’ve developed a drug habit in prison (just because it’s from a doctor doesn’t make it less of a drug )
There’s a whole new system you need to learn, and you need to learn it fast. There’s a new language, a hierachy, a new currency, new life…..and if you don’t conform, you’re screwed. There’s not just murderers and rapists in there, there’s a mother who didn’t do her taxes properly, there’s a father who fell asleep behind the wheel and lost control of his car, there’s a child who’s only just turned 18 and is still trying to figure out why her boyfriend lied to the police. ..so many people, and yet they are all tarred with the same brush.
Being in jail showed me that there are so many people who need help, but there’s no help for them. They will never break the cycle because no one will give them a chance.
Every night, when I can’t sleep and my thoughts return to that place where you’re on guard 24/7. I spent 5 months in there….it feels like it was 5 lifetimes. There’s no recovering from an experience like that, there is no coming back….it stays with you forever, you never forget, and you never stop hurting. You get angry and sad, lost and afraid, but its a traumatizing experience and you may not reoffend…but you will never forget, and the fear of having to go back doesnt leave you.