I have been contemplating blogging about this issue for some time. I know it may cause some controversy. The question is simple.

What does the religion of Islam teach about disagreement, difference and controversy?

Today, we live in a time where people are using the religion of Al Islam to spread hate. As a result many innocent people are being killed and left homeless. It is a tragedy, and quite tragic, to see this type of bloodshed that we are seeing in the news. It is quite tragic to see and hear that others are doing this in the name of Allah, as a means to protect the religion from the “infidels”.

This is not the religion that was sent by Allah to His Prophet Muhammad. The religion of Islam was sent to perfect the character of mankind. Before the time of the Prophet Muhammad the Arab men who were burying their daughters alive, were walking o out and about unclothes, engaging in other vile and despicable behavior. The Prophet, with his message abolished all of these ignorant practices and establish fairness and equality among the people. The Prophet was know as Al-Amin (the Trustworthy). He was known to be a kind, shy and gentle man.

If the example of the Prophet Muhammad is the example set for Muslims how did we get to the point we are at today? How did some of the Muslims get to the point of beheading journalists? How did they get to the point of killing innocent women, children and men? Making them kneel down and shooting them in execution style and left in a hole to rot. This is not the example that the Prophet Muhammad left behind for his followers.

The Prophet was a man who never took revenge for himself. A man who never so much as laid a hand on his servants. He was a man who was known to be soft spoken and never raised his voice.

It was narrated once he was sitting with some Bedouin men and a young child ran up to him. He picked the child up and kissed him on the cheek. The Bedouin man looked at him in disgust and said to him, “I have many sons and I have never kissed one of them.” The Prophet replied, “what do I have for you, from this religion. I have nothing for the one who has no mercy in his heart for others.”

He was once quoted as saying, “Allah will not show mercy to the one who shows no mercy to others.” This shows that he left an example where one is to show mercy and kindness to others.

How can these extreme Muslims claim to be following the Prophet Muhammad’s example as they commit these ruthless acts? It is not possible for them to be following the same religion he left behind. They are interpreting the religion according to their whims and desires. And causing much corruption and bloodshed along the way. They are not following Islam.

Allah says in the Quran, ” O you who believe stand out for justice even if it be against your own selves…” He also said,” O you who believe do not let your dislike for another people cause you to be unjust in your dealing with them.”

So, even if there is something that one dislikes about a person/people it is not Islamic to treat them unfairly. There is nothing in the religion that suggest overthrowing or tyranny against an established government. Rather, it is from the religion of Islam to be patient with the leaders of these established governments. To rise up against them is extreme and causes more harm that good. It is the innocent that are left to suffer and die. It is not for a handful of people to decide for the whole. Especially when this decision will harm the whole.

This is clear advice and warning to the Muslims to be fair and not to be unjust in their affairs. Even when someone is unjust towards them. They are commanded to be fair to others. What we are seeing from the likes of these people is not fairness nor justice, let alone Islam!

It is time for the Muslims to speak out against such atrocities. Silence is a form of consent. To be silent about the issue is let the wrong doers become the leading voice of what others see our religion as. Silence will only further the confusion of who is who, who can be trusted, and what is the true representation of Islam to be followed. To be silent it is consent to the bloodshed and other atrocities that are taking place. To be silent is to agree in part or in totality.

I have taken a stance from where I am at. I speak out and let it be known that the acts of these people is wrong and it is misguidance to hold on to these beliefs. Some many not like it, but right is always right. I would not want this to happen to my love ones and friends. Why would I want it to happen to someone else’s? It would break my heart to see someone I love and care about kneeling in the sand, helpless as they wait the blow of a sword from a man in a mask. It breaks my heart to see this and other acts that are perpetrated by these people.

The beheading of a Journalists, the reign of terror and killing of the innocent is wrong. It should not be applauded nor encouraged. Attacks on free and innocent people should not, must not, be encouraged, endorsed, or applauded. One should not feel joy in the suffering of others. Rather one should be fearful and sadden by the trials that come from these acts and people.

I ask myself what can I do from where I sit? What can I do to discourage others from this ignorance? The most I can do is what I am doing now. Warning of its dangers. Talking to others and educate in what true Islam is and about. Walking and living in a manner where this is shown by my actions is the best I can do now.

Hopefully one day I will be able to get out of prison and live the example of a good Muslim. Hopefully I will be able to use this experience to reach and teach other Muslims, on the inside and outside. Perhaps show the correct manner in which to live, after having experienced hardships, in a mixed society with all races, religions, cultures, genders, values and view points.

I believe that if others can see Islam lived out correctly in the life of someone else, it can be a good example to look at and follow. And not the example that is portrayed by this extreme and radical groups.

I wish I could do more. I wish I could reach out to the loved ones of those affect by this latest criminal act and offer my personal condolences and support. One can only imagine the pain and grief they feel now. Hopefully it does not turn to hate and bitterness. I understand how it could. It is times like these we need to support one another.

From where I sit I am trying to do the best I can. The question is are you doing the best you can do? Or are you going about your normal routine as if this does not affect you. What will it take? Another tragedy to happen. Will it take the loss of more innocent lives? Will it take another senseless act in our backyard? Do you need the reminder of innocent people jumping hundreds of stories in the attempt to stay alive. Do you need to see more images of constant bombing of The Gaza strip. What do you need to see so that it becomes real to you? What will it take for you? More heads of

Do you fuel hate with more hate? They say that those that hate something usually have a high propensity to love. It is often our extreme love for something that makes us hate the opposite.

So, instead of focusing on the hate to change a situation lets use its opposite. Love. Considering the way things are going what is the worse that can happen? It will be a lot better than what we are experiencing right now. It will be more productive too. It is may lead to productive conversations that lead to positive actions.

I challenge myself, as well as others to be more understanding of one another and to work together to change the wrong that is being done, no matter where it is being done at, no matter who is doing it.

Inside the Criminal Mind

Posted: September 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

It is rather unfortunate that someone is lead into a relationship where the other person is not completely honest with them. It is hard to understand the psyche of someone when you don’t know how they really are. With the incarcerated person there is a lot that goes with that. What I will try to do is give you a glimpse of what that could look like and be like.

The first thing that needs to be addressed, when it comes to someone that has made a habit/career of committing crime, is criminal think. A acts begin with the way we think about them. In the mind of the criminal (whether they know it or not) there are severe control issues. From the person that uses a weapon to evoke fear and intimidate others to the person that uses drugs as a means to manipulate those addicted to it. There is a sense of power an control that one falls into and the feeling is like no other. What better person to be in this life than the person that controls things around them. This extends to physical, emotional, and mental abuse. Abuse that is common and typical in the world of crime and criminals. I don’t use these words lightly. It is what it is and needs to be called what it is. Criminal behavior and criminality.

God’s gift to the criminal man in prison is a woman. It does not matter the woman. Often the more unattractive the better. There is no real sense of commitment to this person. At the end of the day it is, “what can I get from her?” Whatever “that” may be. Money, cards, letters, emails, visits, sexy photos, anything to make the time easier. These women often have self-esteem issues or have been hurt and dogged by men on the outside that they settle for a guy on the inside. A guy that is going to address and cater to their emotional needs. The idea is to pull her all the way in, manipulate and control the situation.

This is the way the criminal mind works. It spares no one and nobody is safe from it. Not even other criminals. There is no sense of shame when it comes to Victimizing others. At the end of the day it is about self. This is what the criminal mind looks like. It is very controlling and conniving. It will use religion, family and anything else to achieve what it wants.

In these types of relationships, if one is not aware of this mindset, one will get sucked in this web of deception and lies.

This mindset is what I had to challenge and change. I had to learn to let go of control. This was/is the hardest thing to do. As a person goes from having “all” the control to having “none” in the matter of minutes. One no longer has control over the food they eat, the clothes they wear, the bed they sleep in, the time to go to bed, the people around them, the use of the phone. They are subjected to cell searches and pat downs, randomly, where someone is looking and prying into their lives. This where the need to group up and create factions come from. It is the need to have power and control over others. It is the need to be acknowledge and recognized. This is dangerous when it comes from a negative, dishonest and deceptive place. This is the mindset and behavior that will drive one to take a life or lose his life about a 49 cent stamp, the belief that they have the right to watch a certain show, or the pride of what is considered “convict” respect. One loses out all the way around the board with this mind-set.

I had to challenge this mind-set. How? I had to learn to share and that the world did not stop not revolve around me. That is what the criminal voice says. It becomes resentful that life goes on. It vows to hurt and make pay all those that crossed it and forgot about them. I hear it all the time. The when I get out this is what I am going to do story is what I call it.

I hate to say it but I try to keep it real. The level of selfishness is at an all time high because the system creates selfishness. From the time a person is arrested, in the federal system, he/she is asked if they want to cooperate. This sets up the idea of “look out for yourself and get yourself out of this situation.” This caters to the criminal mind. To use any means to avoid accountability for their actions. It feeds this mind-set from the door.

It is sad that women get caught up in this cycle as they put their trust in guys that are out for self. Guys that will not be truthful in their actions. Who will not value the foundation of “relationship”, which is based on trust, loyalty, and respect.

I hope that you recover from this bad experience with a new and positive perspective on life and relationships. The inner-person is the only person. The inner-person can change and can when it wants to change.

With that being said I will tell you that it is not easy to change learned behavior. But, if there is a true desire to change one will change. Not for others but most importantly from themselves.

Jail-pic-4

The latest events surrounding the death of Michael Brown has me wondering about the future of the the world we live in. I think of the events that have taken place and wonder how will this change the society.

I think of the racial split that will occur behind this event. I am grateful that the youth of today are more open to the diversity that makes up this country.

As these events unfold the discussion on the prison yard is interesting. Those mostly concerned are black, and you can hear frustration and anger in their voices.

Being incarcerated I have a different view. What happened was wrong, no doubt. But, the way that the community has decided to voice the wrong is not proper either. I know there are some who are taking advantage of a bad situation. But at whose the expense?

I remember early in my incarceration we decided to protest the living conditions within the prison. At the time I was being housed on the juvenile range. Someone came up with the “good idea” of throwing our mattresses and property on the tier and lighting it on fire. We were locked in the cells and started to throw out our stuff. We were yelling for our demands to be met. We gave them 5 minutes to fix 100 year problem.

We started to toss baby oil on the stuff, as baby oil is flammable and will burn. 5 minutes passed and a match was lit and tossed on the stuff laying on the tier. A big fire ignited and there was this loud whoosh sound. In a matter of seconds the tier was on fire. Smoke start to fill the locked tier and cells. We almost killed ourselves!! Guys were choking and screaming to be let out the cells. Guys were sucking air through the toilets. We would flush the toilet to get air in the bowl. The bars got hot to the touch. We almost killed ourselves! What did we do? Excuse my French but we did not get shit and we fucked up the prison some more! The prison that we had to live in because they were not going to let us free.

We took a situation that was criminal (the mistreatment of inmates is called cruel and unusual punishment) and harmed ourselves. We did not get what we wanted, a 5 minute fix to a 100 year problem. We ultimately made it bad for ourselves. It is more criminal to create a oppressive situation for oneself. This is what the people of Ferguson is doing to themselves.

Make no mistake about it.. Wrong is wrong. But you don’t fix wrong with more wrong. Something needs to be done. Answers need to be given. But this is a 400 plus year problem that people want fixed today. Sorry but I doubt that it will happen in that fashion.

We need to step back and readdress the problem the right way. Intentions need to be made clear. For what purpose are we here for? What is the goal and object of any demonstration and protest? I am glad that people are stepping up. But not the manner in which some of are doing so.

For those of us who can remember 9/11 we see how this event has changed the world, and not necessarily for the better. We are no more safer today. From what I hear it is more of a hassle to maintain privacy, to avoid being profiled, and to travel. I don’t know an outside world post 9/11 so I don’t know. But I will say this. What happened in Ferguson Missouri will be monumental in changing future events just as 9/11 change world events. The issue of race and poverty can no longer be avoided. When the time comes to address these issues, whether by dialogue or actually putting forth actions, what course of action will be taken.

We can no longer, as a society, avoid what is to come, in terms of social change and justice. To do so would truly be criminal.

Talib would like to hear other opinions about this situation. He is currently incarcerated but maintains the A Voice From the Inside as a means to reach out the public, and as a tool of awareness to what goes on in prison. He is open to taking all questions and comments. If you think others would be interested in hearing more pass the word, repost and sign up at his site.

This morning I woke up to some tragic news. An unarmed 18 year old teen was shot and killed by a police officer in Missouri. This news has created some discussion among some of the men here in the prison. Some of the conversations surround the response of the community members. Some of the members in that community rioted, looted and even shot at the Chief of police.

I am old enough to remember the Rodney King case and how the South Central LA community responded to the acquittal of those officers. They resulted to looting and violence. As the old adage goes, “two wrongs don’t make a right”, I agree with that. Yet, there is something deeper happening here. Something I have not yet heard mentioned by those that have appeared on TV to give their advice/opinions of what went, or is going, wrong.

As a people we are what we are taught. Black people living in the inner-cites don’t feel part of a social structure where they view justice and equality the same as those that have their place in main-stream society. In the black community exists a very different type of law and order. A very different type of infrastructure, where the values and norms are not shared by those outside of their communities.

There is a teaching in these communities that in order to be heard “we” must rise up against “any” and “all” with the force/threat and use of violence.

How can one expect anything other than rioting and looting in a community that is most likely stricken by poverty and under/low class living? Where most of the community feels marginalized and ousted by members of other communities. Was anything else expected from them?

The most important question to ask is did it work? Did it get the attention of the authorities? Unfortunately, it was the rioting and looting that got the national attention this event deserved on its own. This is the training that I speak about. That in order to be heard, to get justice “we” have to act up.

Go a step further. This has made news alongside the broken peace treaty between Israel and Palestine. As well as the slaughter of Kurds in Iraq by ISIS. That has been the rotation of news all day. My heart breaks when I see the slaughter of innocent people, wherever they may be. But what is the message of showing this type of news, the killing of a young black teen, in between the killing of innocent Kurds, Palestinians and Israelis. Does it say that “blacks” in this country when they feel they have been wronged respond the same way as “Islamic Militants” or “Palestinian rebels”. And I use those terms loosely. How will public opinion be shaped by the way this event is covered?

Will it send the message there is not hope for “those” people? That is what comes to mind when I think about the Crisis in the Middle East. It is almost a hopeless situation. A situation where one wants to see peace by any means necessary. Do I have those same thoughts about the shooting of an innocent black teen? I most certainly do. Not just a young black teen but any young or old person that is attacked and killed by those that are entrusted to serve and protect.

What upsets me is the coverage of the events. One guy was talking to a reporter and tried to interject a piece about the “black” mindset in America. She cut him off with, “lets talk about the looting.” They repeatedly showed the interview of the Chief of Police where he stated, “last night was the worst night of my life.” Not to discredit him. As I sincerely believe he was being genuine and honest. He was not prompted and had emotion in his voice as he said it. Yet, what about the other victims of last nights events? Do they not share the same sentiment, that it was the worst night of their lives as well?

Anytime you get the “police” to admit to fear. Those who are trained for these situations, to not respond with fear, to say they were “fearful”. What does this say about those that evoke this fear? The must be dangerous and helpless.

It is sad and unacceptable that the community responded this way. This is not the way to respond to any event. The use of violence never solves anything. This is why the continual fighting around the world will never cease. As it goes to be said. There has never been a group of people to take down another group of people, with force, except they became worse than the group they took down. So, it is not acceptable to respond this way. Yet, I understand it. It all goes back to what we are taught. I goes back to what gets the attention needed for “justice” from the other side. That is the way the “black community” is often designed. It is “us “against “you all”. So, to get justice from “you all” this is what we must do. Sad to say it works. Until those that cover these events wizen up to this it will always be a response to events such as these.

Trust me I know. As a black man in this country I have heard this train of thought all of my life when it comes to finding the “solution” to “our” inequality issues. Even in prison. Guys always talk about stopping work or something of that nature. Although, guys have not been successful with this in years, they still mention acts such as work stoppage and events that took place in Missouri as the route to take. The route to justice and equality. Knowing that it has not worked in years and hence forth will never work again. Why, you may ask yourself suggest it as a solution. Because that is the way some of us “think”.
Until this mindset is challenged by those who have the position, influence and authority to challenge it many will continue to not only think but respond this way. As they search for “justice” and “equality”.

Hopefully, something good comes from this tragic situation. If there was one thing I could say to my “people”, and it is hard to say considering the history of blacks in this country, is that we are perceived by the perception we give. True the young teen is not at fault here. But what justice do you get for him by making it about you. When you respond out ignorantly you make it about you. What justice do you get for “him” by looting, robbing and killing your own communities. How are others going to buy into our cry for justice and solutions when we say we want it for us, yet we maim ourselves along the way. That sends a mixed message. One that is not to be trusted. What happens in this event? Nothing.

This is a true story about a friend of mine that was killed in a private prison.  Around the year 1996, Washington, DC started sending some of its inmates to a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio (CCA Ohio).  The agreement was that DC was to send low and medium security inmates to this prison. Rather than stick to this agreement they sent majority of maximum security inmates there. Mixed in with those inmates were inmates that had lower and medium security status.

Some of these lower and medium security inmates had never been around max custody inmates, therefore, they were easy victims. Most of them were assaulted, robbed, and harmed in other ways. For the max inmates it was the first time, for many of them, they were not caged in cells 23 hours a day. I had some friends that were in max (The Wall) years before being sent to this open population prison.

So, it goes without saying that most of them did not know how to respond to this new found sense of freedom. They were allowed to roam and mix and mingle with other people. They were able to hold and touch their loved ones on visits. Sadly, some of these privileges were abused and delinquency was pretty much rampant.

I was still in Lorton at the time that they were opening up this prison. I knew many people that were sent there. I was supposed to transfer there but I got into some trouble and was sent to the hole. Prior to going to the hole a friend of mine, I will not mention his name, was assaulted and sent to the hole. He stayed in the hole for about 30 days before being sent to Ohio. Due to the nature of what happened to him they had to separate him from quite a few people.

About 6 months after he was sent there I ended up in the hole. The second day I was in the hole a guy yelled down the tier to me. He says that a guy just got killed in Ohio. That it was in the papers and he was sending the paper down the tier for me to read. While he was yelling this out to me I had this feeling that it was my friend. I don’t know what it is but I seem to have a keen sense of things when they are not right. 90% of the time I am right.

Later that night the paper reached me and sure enough it was my friend. I knew his real name and there is was in black and white. Dead from multiple stab wounds.

One thing I found out when they began sending DC prisoners to CCA Ohio is that CCA was a company where one can openly trade and buy stocks. That used to be the talk of the prison. How in the hell can they send us to a joint where there is no telling who has invested stocks in the place??? So, for the sake of having something to do and talk about, I would get the papers and follow the company CCA.  How they traded, the price of stocks etc.

After this killing the company pulled from the market.  They were no longer listed in the papers.  I wondered about this for some time. I knew that it had something to do with the killing but did not know the facts.

About a year after this event I was sent to CCA Arizona. It was here that I met the guys that were shipped from CCA Ohio. They ended up closing the prison to DC prisoners, but they could not just opt out of the contract they had with DC.  So they just split the guys up.  Some ended up in Arizona, New Mexico, and Tennessee.  I just happen to be shipped to Arizona with some of the guys that were present when this killing happened.  The guys that did it got life on top of the life sentences they already had.  One happened to be there with me.  Actually he and I were cell-mates for about 6 months.

I will not go into the details of all that happened.  I will say that one of the guys that killed him was also in the hole for killing a guy in open population.  So, he caught two murders in the same prison.  The first one over a cassette tape, and the one in the hole in defense of his friend.  The guy I was in the cell with.

What happened was a tragedy because actually my friend had stabbed one of the guys first.  He almost killed him. That was because he was being assaulted and robbed.  He just happened to have a weapon on him and stabbed one of the guys during the course of the incident.  For that he was sent to the hole and the other guy went to the hospital.

When the guy got back from the hospital he plotted on my friend and when the time was right he killed him.  He ended up pleading guilty to killing him.  But, it did not make a difference because he was already serving a life sentence for killing a guy in another prison.  So here you have a guy, my friend, that had a 5 year sentence (this is why I call it a tragedy) and 2 years left on it before going home, killed by a guy that was already guilty of killing another guy in another prison.  Who was also serving life for the killing. The tragedy is that this guy started out with a 5 year sentence and was put in a situation where he was involved with the death of another inmate.  So, the killer and the killed both started out with 5 year sentences.

What was the response of the prison?  To lock it down and tear the prison up.  The had the roof of the buildings designed so they could open the top vents and drop gas in from the ceiling.  After the gas fills up the unit they repelled down into the units in ninja outfits and beat the inmates.  Inmates who were not involved in what took place in the hole.  They beat them savagely.  So bad that the inmates actually filed and won a class action lawsuit against CCA.  That was the cause of them taking the company off of the market.

The investors were not willing to take the risk of investing in a prison where the prisoners were uncontrollable.  Where assaults and murder were rampant.  This was not supposed to happen with lower and medium security inmates.  This is when it became apparent that these were max custody inmates being housed in a medium security prison.

This is a sad story for all involved.  For the killer and the killed.  For the families of both of them.  For the prisoners that were beat and assaulted at the hands of inmates that they should have never shared the yard with.  For the inmates that were beat at the hands of the police.  For the inmates that lost property and pictures during the aftermath and response to what took place.  It is really unfortunate to think that at the end of the day there was money to be gained.   That peoples lives were/are put at risk for a dollar.  What makes that different from any other crime that is committed in society?

It is not the private sector that is to govern crime and punishment.  It is the job of the government.  But, today you have more private prisons opening up all across America.  No prison is considered a place of peace and sanctuary, but there has to be some accountability on those that oversee them.  Due to this lack of proper oversight a friend of mine lost his life.  What a tragedy.

I spent a few years in one of the biggest private prisons in America, Correction Corporation of America (CCA). It was an experience unlike any other. It is a unique experience to say the least. To be incarcerated in a prison system where stocks are openly traded, daily. To know that there are many people who are involved in the Criminal Justice System hold stocks and shares in CCA. I once, during a conversation, heard a college professor admit that even he had shares in private prisons.

Ultimately, incarceration is the burden of the government. Not the public. In the case of private prisons it has become a thing where private companies bid on contracts. The bid is not who can provide the most work related skills program or substance program. Rather, who can feed them, cloth them and provide medical attention to the for the lowest price.

Whatever company wins the bid now must set up the services needed. They often use other private companies to provide those services. So they bid out the the lowest bidder.

Aramark is a private food company that service CCA facilities. They have the worst food ever. The rations are low and the quality of the food is poor. Often carbohydrate induced and processed meats are served with every meal. Vegetables and fruits are hardly served, if ever. When they are served they are often of the lowest quality and grade.

The clothes that are provided are no more than a pair of scrubs. Two piece outfit. A short sleeve shirt, regardless of the weather, with one pocket. And, a pair of pull up pants with no pockets. This outfit saves money on tailoring expenses and other accessories needed to wear pants, such as a belt. Which cost more money.

This is just a small glimpse of what it was like to be in a private prison. The list of what is often wrong with these prisons can go on and on.

Privatization of the US Prison System
The US Private Prison System
Privatization of the US Prison System. An Infographic from ArrestRecords.com

For some time now I have been thinking about what it means to be civil. I have discussed this with many of the guys that I know and no matter who I discuss this with I always find some inconsistencies in the responses.

Can you imagine living some place where there is a subculture that has very little resemblance of the greater-society? In terms of right and wrong, do’s and don’ts, and good and bad. The subculture of prison will not allow one to be civil. The be civil, in terms of what it means in the greater-society, is to me an outcast, or rejected amongst the vast majority of the population.

What is even sadder is that without understand what it means to be civil, or better yet to know how to act and think civil, is like bearing the mark of the beast. Because, the prisoner, inmate, convict mentality is so deeply embedded within this person that they lose sense of what it means to be civil, in the greater-society.

As of late I have been feeling my stripes, the ones that I have earned from doing so much time. There are not a lot of guys that can say that they have 20 plus years under their belt. That in itself grants me a lot of leeway to be me and do me amongst the other guys. So, I have been taking certain liberties, that I would not have dared taken as a younger guy in prison. Such liberties as greeting people in the morning with “good morning” or being courteous enough to let some one go before me through a door. Saying “thank you” when someone does something for me.

As I do this I often track the times that others offer the same courtesies to others. It is as if one is going to be labeled soft and weak if he says “thank you” to someone else. To smile is like being told you have an incurable disease. It is sad to see that many want life on the outside but do not know how to conduct themselves in a civil manner.

When a fight breaks out guys run and search out the fight to watch, what can be at times the death of someone, and ogle. When someone is about to be taken advantage of it is not common for those around to turn and look the other way. Or to laugh and ridicule at someone else’s misfortune. You will find these attitudes among throughout any prison in the world.

What I have come to know is that this attitude and behavior is often a cover up for the lack of substance in someone’s life. The danger is that after years of acting like this it becomes part of ones psyche. To act out and be heartless becomes normal. It becomes part of ones way of life.

Civility is what is needed to stay out of prison. To be able to adapt to the rules, regulations and right of the greater-society. Civility is not something that is read in a book. Rather it is something that is applied in ones daily life. It is what opens the door of opportunities and understanding. It is something that has to be practiced. Often in here it is not practiced.

Here the bad are deem as good. The good are deemed as rejects. The man with the most time is often lauded as the most respected guy in the joint. More time usually mean more crimes, of heinous sorts, were committed. This is often overlooked. That, in most cases, for a guy to get 100 years may mean that who knows what was committed to get that type of time.

I remember when I would tell guys that I had 20 years to do it was automatically assumed that I had killed someone to get it. The response is never about the victim or the family of the victim but more along the lines of, “man you must have been a tough guy out there.” Or the one that I hate the most, “better him than you.” Most people out in the free world would automatically question the choice of taking someone’s life. Most will make you feel bad about doing so, and would want to hold you accountable for these acts. Yet in here guys like this are often the most respected. The bad people have been exalted and made to be good. Do not get me wrong there are some good guys in here. I like to think of myself as one of those guys.

I often wonder how long can a person survive in the greater-society with a prison mentality. Not long. I tell guys all the time that the way they think about life, others and the world is not going to fly out there. The codes by which they live by will never be accepted out in the free world. That no one wants to be around people that are rude and disrespectful. Someone who is always ridiculing and criticizing others. And, definitely they do not want to be around people who only topic of conversation surrounds the drugs they have used or sold.

So, what does this mean? It means that as they find themselves rejected by the public-at-large they have to find some place to fit in and be accepted. That means seeking out the sub society of criminality. It is here that those sub cultural ideas are given any attention. It is here that they find acceptance and form alliances. It is here where the plot to commit more crime is either formulated or play out. More crime means more victims. The cycle continues.

Civility is something that is not stressed enough in here. It is hard to stress it when those powers to be, the ones that hold the authority, are not civil towards others. In order to train a monkey you have to think like one. In order to catch a criminal you have to think like one. In order to guard an inmate you must think like one. At times you must at as one. So everyone walks around here trying to prove they are the toughest. That is the attitude from the top to the bottom. The staff act as gang member because they have to oversee so many gang members. So they use intimidation to exert authority. They have to yell to get a point across. The same way that they act is the same way that inmates act with one another.

If people would be just a little more civil in their dealings the society may become a little safer. Just something to think about.