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William Fullam Intro to Corrections Professor Poulsen May 8, 2011

Prison Sentence
My heart jumps into my throat as the juror reads the verdict, guilty! The sentence bestowed upon me is ten years without parole. Instantly my mind transfers to what I had done to get myself into this situation. Is what I have done something considered a bad crime in the eyes of other inmates? How am I going to survive ten years, thirty-six thousand days? I believe that I am going to do what is asked of me from the prison and be a model inmate. However, what about all the things that I have seen in the movies, the assaults, rapes, and violence are too much for me to handle.

As I am shackled and placed on the bus to be transferred, Orders are giving not to talk. The first time I hear a guards voice and I am a nervous wreck and cannot stop shaking. As the trip progresses I am in surprisingly good spirits, all considering. There is no talking and it gives me time to think of how I am going to act when I get there. As we are pulling into the prison the first thing I see are the fences, two deep topped with razor wire. Tall guard posts on every corner with guards carrying shotguns. My mind goes into the thought that I am going to die here or worse survive and become someones property. There are also the thoughts of having to hustle for food and other necessities in prison. The game is about to begin. Yes the game, for survival in prison

is a game, a game of life. In the movies, you have to fight for respect and keep fighting to retain it. Lose respect and you lose your life.

I am disembarked off the bus and head into the first room for intake and the officers are surprisingly at ease and not as forceful as expected. They calmly ask questions, give directions, and tell me how their system works. There are a couple of procedures, strip searches, which I go through with no problems at all. The guards next assign me a cell, am giving bedding, different clothing, and am brought to my cell. As we walk along the corridor, there is no yelling of obscenities, or talk of violence. I get to my cell and find another inmate that I will be sharing space. I have my bunk made up and sit. As I sit, my cellmate starts to explain the ins and outs of the system and who and what to stay away from. I have fears that I will not fit in and will have a hard time coping with prison life. It is hard to learn a new way of living after being free all these years. There are certain people you can talk to and a certain way that you can talk to them. As I get more comfortable and adapt to the system I find prison life is not complicated. When guards have giving directions and I follow those directions, life seems to roll along. When the rules are broken, the guards are there to see that they are enforced. I am afraid of gangs. Afraid of what could happen if I cross the line with them, so I stay away. Being a white male, I also try to stay away from other ethnic groups and keep to myself it seems the safest. In the beginning, I just want to do my time and go home. Then, as time rolls along, the days get extremely long and there is not much to do. I look into programs that may interest me. I find in this facility that there

are many programs available to me for education, faith, rehabilitation and recreation. For education there is a GED program, I already have one. There is also a vocational program that will teach me a new skill such as; carpentry, construction, computer repair, and many more. That is something that I may be interested in as I will need a lob when I get out. In addition, there are many different types of life skill programs that deal with substance abuse issues, coping skills, and family and parenting programs to help me learn to handle issues at home. All denominations of faith have a program on the list and that is a healthy way to start looking at life in a completely new way. There also seems to be industry programs that will allow me to earn some money during my incarceration while learning a trade and building self-esteem at the same time. Recreational activities include; hobbies, sports, and gardening among others. These seem to build friendships and are great ways to learn how to interact with others. As I sit in prison with all the time in the world, I realize I need to find a new way of living and change the way I have been doing things for a long time. I am able to utilize the opportunities afforded me by the state to rehabilitate myself and become a better person to my family and to society. I could not see any ways that I needed to improve myself on the outside. Now that I am in prison I realize that I must be deemed a menace to society to be placed in a facility like this. I feel that there is a need to repair myself with the programs offered. I want to use whatever programs I can to prevent this type of scenario from ever happening again. While I am participating in these programs, I see that others are ill at ease around me but the guards appear to notice and keep an

eye out for trouble. This is a sense of comfort knowing that even though I am in prison my rights and my safety are protected and I may continue to participate in the rehabilitation of my life. As I think about the prison system, the things that I would want are supplied. Safety, human rights, rehabilitation programs and most any other form of program to keep me occupied and headed in the right direction.