CONVERSATING ABOUT WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND!
By Brent Green
Society would hope for inmates exiting prison to be in a more mature and rational state than they were at their entry. Unfortunately, the social structure that arises from attempting to securely house over a thousand men with limited movement sometimes works contrary to that goal. Rehabilitated minds should be priority number one for society, seeing deviant and immature thinking are among the root factors in crime. Unfortunately, the rehabilitation of the inmate’s state of mind is not working to its maximum potential due to the prison social structure. Instead of leaving as men with corrected flaws, the young males never mature mentally while many older males regress to an adolescent state ill prepared for society. This is an overview of some of the conditions which cause such.
Inmates are financially dependent on outsiders for sustenance, usually family members. Men who assumed the role of providing for their family now depend on their wives, siblings, and with most younger inmates, their parents in order to bathe and eat. Such dependency is damaging to a male’s psyche and congruent to adolescence.
Similar to childhood, inmates are told when to eat and go to bed for obvious security reasons. Having other men and women control such aspects of their life can be demeaning, seeing most men are free of such restraints by adulthood.
For security reasons, inmates are allotted specific hours for recreation or “playtime”. Inmates who are confined to their living quarters the majority of the day anxiously await such recreation time reminiscent of recess in school. Inmates also gravitate towards others with similar backgrounds such as neighborhood or home town and form cliques like high school.
Most inmates commit financial based crimes because they refused to take the traditional route to financial stability via education. In a bit of irony, inmates without a high school diploma of GED are forced to attend GED class until completion of such with classes starting early in the morning like the schools they abandoned as teens. If you are not forced to attend school as a youth, you are forced to work for menial wages averaging around twenty dollars per month. Such petty wages for jobs such as cleaning showers, serving food, and cutting grass, take the inmate back to doing household chores for little or nothing.
Like adolescent boys, male prisoners are forced to admire women from afar being deprived of sexual contact or intimacy with the opposite sex. A man’s sexual prowess helps define his masculinity and having this abruptly taken while many are in or about to enter their sexual prime is also damaging to the psyche. Men hanging in groups like boys, deprived of sexual contact with women contribute to the adolescent atmosphere.
Upon entering the prison system, a male’s identity is partially stripped by depriving him of his worldly possessions and limiting the personal items such as clothing he may purchase. Unfortunately, with a lot of men of the criminal element, especially young black males, material possessions hold considerable weight in their view of self, especially clothing. Inmates are given uniforms to wear the majority of the time upon entry. This is for security reasons but it also loses that individual’s uniqueness as inmates are reduced to six digit numbers in blue and orange uniforms.
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