Culture and Society
No one in prison is ever coming back. Once we’ve served our time, everything is finally going to work out. We’re all going to stay in touch, so we can share our good news — except I’ve been giving out a fake phone number this entire time. I’m embarrassed to know these men, eyewitnesses to a shameful period of my life I can’t wait to live down: two years in prison for a nonviolent offense.
She neglects to mention the coins that dot the walkway in front of the prison’s main doors. As you leave, you bend over for a penny and discover the coin is sticky with ejaculate. Cheers and howls erupt from the many floors above your head, and more coins rain down, along with obscene invitations. You drop the penny and wipe your fingers on your pants, but the damage is done. They now have your measure.
When sent to the “box,” I would try to smuggle in a fragment of pencil lead, usually by hiding it in my cheek. Then I could spend my time drawing castles — on scraps of newspaper or directly on the floor and walls.
November 15, 1975, 3 AM on a Saturday morning, two months after my twentieth birthday. When the police came knocking on my door, I was sleeping. I’ve heard that’s how evil comes, in the dark of night. It don’t want to be seen.
Maya Schenwar On The Failure Of Mass Incarceration
Prison deepened my sister’s addiction, crushed her self-esteem, narrowed her options for jobs and education, and diminished her hope for a good life. She was in a much worse situation each time she came out.