Prison–Inside Looking Out Program

So, I was never in prison, but, I was in a relationship with a guy who was for like 4 years. Those of you who know me, know I also had a life-changing experience one day while I was there. This is not one of the feel-good stories in anyway. It is about the statement in the beginning of this film pertaining to whether one wants to adopt the prisoner/animalistic mentality or not. It IS a decision.

So I was on my way to the bathroom from the visiting room suffering another of my panic attacks. I grazed by a girl standing in line to get her pictures taken with her man. I didn’t think anything of it as I had my mind totally set on just getting to the bathroom. When I came back and sat down her boyfriend had come over and addressed my boyfriend. He said, “They would take care of it after visits”. Fear hit me because at this point I had just lost a friend to violence at a drinking festival called GrantFest in Montour Falls (hence the panic attacks–I was present when it happened). There were exchanging of words. I thought that it was over, but the guy came up from behind us a few minutes later and started to hit me in the head. A scuffle happened with a guard and they brought him to the back of the room. They then proceeded to walk him back by me (un-restrained) and he hit me again.

To shorten the story I am now, 8 years later, in pain almost every day of my life. I average about 5 ER visits a year due to flare-ups I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It has changed every aspect of my life and veered it in a direction I might have never gone had it not happened.

My point is, prison can “make-or-break you”. This is what my boyfriend had always said. I blame this man for his actions. I do blame the prison for not protecting me in the second attack but no one MADE him do it. It’s like when you are coming clean off drugs or alcohol. You need to accept responsibility for your own actions and decisions. This man can blame his mother, the neighborhood he grew up in, systematic injustice, his teachers, and prison all he wants. He, however, is the one who made the decision…twice…to put his hands on me and forever destroy my life.

I think this program is a good idea. While I don’t blame the prison system for decisions prisoners make, I do believe we can do better than what we have to offer as far as “rehabilitation”.

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