Life in Prison
The literary readings entitled “Behind a Convict’s Eyes” and “Voices from the Field: Prison Adaptation Strategies for First-Time Short-Term Inmates” both host different narratives relating to how prison inmates actually adjust to the life inside the prison homes. There are different levels of emotions by which these readings are presented by their authors. Likely, the said readings have been based upon real experiences of inmates aiming to show the reality of life behind bars. It is undeniable that these readings introduce a new perspective as to how law breakers begin to learn different values in life as they spend their time under the custody of the government through prison services.
Individuals facing different adversities also have different manners by which they face their issues in personal development. Most likely, the prison house had been known to wake this sense of personal responsibility among inmates, especially those who have just come in within the territories of the barred walls of the prison buildings. At some point, when the word ‘prison’ is referred to by people, the first thing that comes into mind is “fear” (Carceral, 2003). Simply thinking about the possibility of living with criminals have naturally increased adversity among humans who have less knowledge about the life of the people within the barred territories of the prison homes.
However, once seen closely, it could be noted that life in prison homes is not that much to be feared about. Instead, it should be something that inspires people to see life as a much better source of learning. Seeing how the new inmates managed to adjust to the life inside the prison homes is indeed quite an awakening call for those outside. The readings further reveal that most of these inmates commit but one time crime that intended to mark them for life. At some point, it could be observed through the narration of the ones interviewed for the publication of the reading, the inmates and the once barred individuals thought more of the outside world than that of the inside issues that they have to deal with in prison. Likely, it could not be denied that realization of things came within the time that they spent their lives waiting for change while they were inside the barred territories of the prison homes.
One inmate even confessed “I was spending everyday like as if a year has already passed… I felt that I have spent my life in a rather stupid way that brought me to this dismay and made me spend more time to realize what I have done to my life”. (Carceral, 2003, 12) Yes, it is through this particular time in one individual’s life that he begins to realize and think about his personal decisions, his personal characteristics and the ways by which he faced his life during the times when he was still carefree (Santos, 2007, 19). Likely, it is only during the time when freedom is taken away from an individual that it is really realized as an important part of one’s life. The understanding of this thought has come to most inmates at the first time that they spend within the bars of the prison homes.
Understanding the important things in life also occur within the bars of the prison homes. Inmates tend to plan for their lives outside the bars. However, they can not simply spend their time in planning for what is yet to come. They are in need of facing their lives right there and then. Consequently, guilt feelings occur and coming back to the “light” becomes the main aim of each inmate to show that they are already persevering in repentance to what they have done against others or against the law. The sentenced time that they need to spend within the territories of the prison homes actually teaches them a valuable lesson. That life is short and it is a huge waste to spend it on law breaking acts just because of a sudden surge of temper or a sudden increase of emotional tension. (Schmid, 2001, 16)
Being inside has taught everyone to value their lives outside more, thus realizing how important it is to control their temper, to hold themselves down when adversities are happening. Most of the inmates take a better path after they are incarcerated. However, for some who did not realize the realities of life in prison, recidivism usually occurs. No matter, it should be well recognized how the prison rehabilitation intends to affect the lives of those who are placed in prison for some specific time. Consequently, the manner by which one conducts himself outside and the decisions that he makes upon certain situations carry a great deal on the ways by which he realizes the importance of life and freedom. Understanding this fact shall also make it easier for one to appreciate the benefits of life as it appears to offer him every now and then (Carceral, 2003, 17). It could be observed through these readings that valuing life is connected to the decisions that one makes. The process by which he handles himself and his temper actually matters as to how he primarily makes himself adjustable to the situations that he needs to deal with. It is through this process that one assures himself of the freedom that he is due.
Considering the thought of change within the incarceration programs present in the society today, it could not be denied that some aspects of the system need enhancement especially that of the rehabilitation focus of the institution. It is most important that the life spent by incarcerated inmates within bound of the prison homes be used with purpose as to rehabilitate the individuals in preparation for a better life ahead of them. (Santos, 2007, 16)
Moreover though, it should be carried all throughout the program that the importance of life and life’s purpose be realized by the inmates during their stay within the prison homes. Criminals had been noted to have a toxic-shamed identity that made them more vulnerable in committing unlawful acts that actually brought them to the state of life that they are in right now. Most likely, the process is rather demanding as to how the said individuals should be well affected by their incarceration sentences that they need to serve.
K. C. Carceral. (2003). Behind A Convict’s Eyes: Doing Time in a Modern Prison. Wadsworth Publishing; 1 edition.
Michael G. Santos. (2007). Inside: Life Behind Bars in America. St. Martin’s Griffin.
Schmid, T. J., & Jones, R. S. (2001). Ambivalent actions: Prison adaptation strategies of first-time, short-term inmates. In C. Pope, R. Lovell, & S. Brandl (Eds.), Voices from the field: Readings in criminal justice research (pp. 182-201). Belmont CA: Wadsworth.