How To Get Even

Posted: May 31, 2012 by Ed Griffin in Prison
Tags: , , , , , ,

Get EvenWhile a person is in prison, they suffer through a lot of subtle and not-so-subtle insults from some staff. They are called socio-paths and worse, their file (which they can look at) reads like a horror novel. Pages and pages of evil and not one page of the good.

They soon find out there is no appeal process in prison. Oh, there is one, but you will be stooped over and walking with a cane before it’s resolved.

While you are in prison, you just have to swallow and take it. You are a number, you are called an “Offender,” even when we are all offenders. You are caged like a wild animal.

I have heard story after story of abuse, of contradictory orders, e. g. Guard A says “Go back to your cell.” Guard B says, “Get out of your cell.”

How do you get even for all this abuse?

When an inmate is ready to leave prison, there’s one message I tell him or her. “Don’t come back.” That’s the best possible way to get even. The prison system depends on criminals. Without criminals, no jobs. It’s as simple as that. By staying out of prison, the person gets even in the most effective way.

I know this is not a noble sentiment, but often it works better than the usual, “Be good.” And, of course, the prison Dollar razor wiresystem hasn’t even begun to help a man or woman when they walk out the door. This is the most critical time of all and there’s nothing for them except a crabby, overworked parole officer and a few programs. Where is the one-on-one contact? Where is the effective job help? Where is the community support (which should have started in prison)?

One might think the prison system wants the inmate back.

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  1. Joanne says:

    Yes, it does seem they not only want them back, but want to keep them as long as possible once they have them. Kinda makes sense when institutional jobs are tied to having people in institutions, doesn’t it? Sure this is a simplistic way of looking at this, but in the end it is a fact, given the way the system is currently set up. It is all tied to current political priorities.

    If rehabilitation and reintegration were priorities, then there would be more jobs (and more services) in the community and there would be a push to get more people out faster, to justify the jobs out there.

    Thanks for another great, thought provoking post.

  2. prisonsorguk says:

    Getting out and staying out is all that matters.
    When I arrived in jail at the start of what to be a 20 year sentence for robberies I was locked in a cubicle in the reception awaiting induction into the jail.
    On the back of the door a previous occupant had written: “The definition of ‘a bastard’ is a man who holds the keys to another man’s freedom” – to which someone else had added underneath “Could be true, but the definition of ‘a stupid bastard’ is the man who puts himself in a position whereby ‘a bastard’ holds the keys you his freedom”.
    In the 17 years I have now been free I have never again been a stupid bastard.

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Excellent signs on the door. thank you for sharing. Congratulations on 17 years free. I don’t really like the idea of getting even, but you sure did.

      • prisonsorguk says:

        I don’t like the idea of ‘getting even’ also, it has connotes bitterness and revenge. No one was responsible for my prison sentence but me – so the only person I had to get even with therefore was myself – and I did that by never going back 🙂

  3. Joe Pineda says:

    Question: How can an ex-con reintegrate into society when the first thing folks usually say is that he may become a repeat offender?

    • prisonsorguk says:

      How long you going to go on making excuses? Why care what other people say – I didn’t, I just got on with it. I moved to a different part of the country where no one knew me, got a job in a warehouse, worked hard and started to build a new life. Today, 17 years later, I own four companies, employ over 70 people, have homes in three different countries, fly my own helicopter, and have $200,000 worth of cars in the drive. None of which I could have achieved had I given two hoots what other people said.

      • Ed Griffin says:

        Wow. Amazing. You’ve done a hell of a job. But I suspect a lot of it has to do with your personality. My good friend, Mike, an ex-con, has that confidence and self-esteem that will carry him far.
        You’ve done a great job.

      • prisonsorguk says:

        Ed I’ve done no more than anyone else can do once they realise their future lays in their hands – its easy to be a successful failure, much harder to be a successful success!

    • Ed Griffin says:

      Right you are, Joe. People often live up to the expectations we have of them. I’m working with a man right now who is out, on parole, and I’m scared, really scared that he will re offend.

      • Joe Pineda says:

        But then being scared means that you care. That’s more than I’m sure the system is expecting you to do.

      • prisonsorguk says:

        If he reoffends that is his choice – and they are his consequences too. Every day life throws choices at us, where we have to make decisions, and we either reap the reward of our foresight, or pay the price for our foolishness. I wish him luck but the man who really counts in his life in the one staring back from the mirror.

      • Ed Griffin says:

        Thanks for your comments. I only wish that men leaving prison had your attitude and your belief in yourself. Weaker human beings are further damaged by prison, their self-esteem, low to begin with, made worse by the lack of respect from some officials. I’ve seen men like you, build new lives for themselves. It’s great to see. But I think our prisons tear down instead of building up.

      • prisonsorguk says:

        You can only be a failure in this life if you give yourself permission to be a failure. Trust me, anyone who can survive the US Prison System and come out the other side can conquer freedom and make a success of it; it is just a frame of mind.

      • Joanne says:

        Just thought I’d wade in on this. I do agree with you, prisonsorguk, to a certain extent, but my question is this: How can people achieve that “frame of mind” when they do not seem to have it?

        To elaborate, some people more naturally gravitate toward giving up and seeing themselves as victims of the system (of the world, really). How do we empower them to feel more like you–like they have all the choices that everyone else has, that it is up to them to use them and that they have the ability to use them? Is it even possible to steer someone toward this type of change in attitude or do they have to be born with it?

      • prisonsorguk says:

        Hi, I wasn’t always like this, I was also one of those who gravitated towards failure and regularly achieved achieved it! In my case it took 18 month of counselling, therapy, countering all my arguments about why I should give up with why I shouldn’t – try and get a copy of my book “A PRODUCT OF THE SYSTEM” by Mark Leech, there are some on amazon but this recounts my journey.

      • Ed Griffin says:

        I’m curious — the 18 months were provided by the prison system or by you? If only guys could have 18 months of GOOD counseling. I emphasize good, because I’ve seen the opposite in prison — not always, but enough times to warrant the question.
        And thank you for your comment

      • prisonsorguk says:

        Yes by the Prison System – HM Prison Grendon Underwood – the prison it is split into two half, one for violent offenders where I was located, and one for sex offenders: as a prison Grendon has the lowest reconviction rate in the country – just 11% reoffend, compared to around 75% for other jails.

      • Joanne says:

        Thanks for your response. I really like your response and truly believe in it! Now if only the people of this country would believe in it enough to lobby our government to fund proper counselling like you were fortunate enough to get. Thanks for the suggestion of your book too. I will read it if I can find it.

      • Joanne says:

        Hi Mark,
        I got and read your book a while back like I said I would. it was certainly worth the read. It might also be good if you wrote a follow-up to describe what it was like to learn to deal differently in the outs once you had decided not to go back to your old ways. I think that would be a book that might be useful for many who are goig down the same road you did. Anyway, thanks for the suggestion and good on ya’!

      • prisonsorguk says:

        I’ve been promising myself to update it for years and one day I will but at the moment I’m suffering from what we Brits call Blue Arsed Fly Syndrome!

      • Joanne says:

        Aha! So it seems at least in some ways you are like the rest of us after all! 😉 Well if you ever do write it, I’ll be reading it. Thanks for all you’ve done.

  4. Ed, you are too kind to the Parole Service. No question that the Act, the Regulations, CSC’s policies and procedures (including the Commissioner’s Directives) provide wonderful direction to staff to assist rehabilitation and reintegration. The problem, though, is that they are a fraud: Parole Officers do little or nothing to implement, support or assist these processes. No employment, no housing (except the lucky few with “residency” who get stashed in a “secure facility” full of drugs), nothing except constant threatening harassment and grim determination to get the inmate back into prison on the flimsiest or fabricated grounds. They effectively illustrate that the functional principles in society are those the inmate has always suspected: might makes right, nobody cares about anybody else, dishonesty makes you successful, you can do whatever you can get away with. Parole Officers get away with doing less than half their jobs because their is no effective means of complaint (grievances accomplish nothing but getting the inmate in more trouble, and only superficial changes, if any, are made so that the problems grieved about continue), and nobody who counts cares about inmates.

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