Trigger warning: graphic description of drug use and vague mentioning of rape and violence
This is a fictional story that touches on a wide variety of gritty realistic and tragic parts of modern humanity, which are often omitted from the common view by layers of superstition, overgeneralized assumptions, and a very naively jaded societal perspective.Though most of this is based on speculation and some of it being blatant exaggeration, people akin to the one depicted in this article do exist and the various images described within this romanticized conglomerate of real world scenarios and provide a metaphorical magnifying glass to shed descriptive vision to many overlooked and poorly understood issues swept off to the side of the normative and institutional levels of the collective society.
What is the point of prisons as a social institution? One would likely assume that it’s to keep dangerous individuals contained and kept away from the Law abiding population so as to protect the sheep from the deranged. At least from my perspective (for what little it might be worth) that’s what it ought to be, however are all criminals really that dangerous? Does anyone reading honestly believe the majority of people incarcerated are so vile and malevolent that we have to lock them away From society in a cage?
Now before I get too ahead of myself I wanna make a little disclosure: the people I am talking about here are not the ones that should unquestionably be detained and incarcerated, there’s no dispute that the majority of people with cases involving murder, sexual violence, and potential terrorism attacks need to be ridiculed to a box with shackles and chains but these aren’t the type of criminals I’m talking about.
The variety of criminal I am referring too is that which many of you probably know among your friends/family (or maybe not but I’m guessing a fair amount of you do.) People who have served or are in the process of doing time for non violent crimes such as drugs charges, unarmed robbery, unpaid tickets, credit fraud, identity theft, etc. Im not disagreeing with the fact that most of these are wrong in most broad circumstances, but is it really so detrimental to our society that they have to be forcibly removed from it, processed treated the same way as a murderer or sex offender? Further more isn’t it counter productive towards any potential rehabilitation, remission and reintegration of these citizens back into society?
To anyone who knows the slightest lick of psychology it should be well understood that the personality and Psyche of the individual are modified and “mutated” in correlation to the experiences of that individual. Elements I believe to be crucial components within these sets of experience include our subjective thoughts and reactions, setting and atmosphere, relation toward or place within existing chains of command, worldview and corresponding beliefs that inform our subconscious on how we perceive and interpret input, the nature and state of our existing interpersonal relationships, standing and degree of integration within peer circles, and the degree of control we are allowed to exert over our own schedules, activities and choices.
With this in mind, try to imagine how various aspects of the collective set of experiences that comprise a trip to prison would effect your psyche, and subsequently your personality and the basis for which you make decisions and pass self judgment. especially when gang activity, chronic violence , and frequent rape scenarios within U.S prison systems are taken into account. Not only are you treated like and looked at as an absolute monster, your’e now surrounded by tons of hyper aggressive men with prison mentalities all while dwelling on the undeniable reality that rapists and murderers are around you, seeing all the examples of prison violence on tv news and movies, it’s easy to see why someone would find gang involvement or develop a drug problem while incarcerated as necessary means to cope, integrate, and feel safe.
Now let’s get a little hypothetical here and spawn into the buffer memory of this narrative an imaginary inmate named Jeff. Jeff wasn’t too far from your average guy, he wasn’t much of a looker but he talked a good game, and had a very detached and pessimistic but a uniquely charming demeanor he worked a job as a network technician, finished high school and got apprentice training at a local trade school had a decent amount of friends on both sides of the law, a serious girlfriend whom he had been with since just a few months after his graduation 4 years prior and was an impassioned painter, a paranoid conspiracy theorist, an avid reader and a huge fan of classic rock and old school hip hop, though he liked his job with computer networks, he always dreamed of being able to spend his days working on his paintings, and writing dystopian novels; a genre he was obsessed with.
Jeff however developed a rather nasty dependence on heroin and other opioids, and turned to a side hustle of cooking low level distribution quantities of crack cocaine and selling to feed his own habit on top of splitting bills with his job. Jeff was first introduced to heroin by his older sister Naomi who had been involved in a small cult that revolved around using heroin to induce a vulnerable state that supposedly made it easy for one to contract, host and communicate with demons, I would however take the validity of this with a grain of salt as her mental health did not appear to be much healthier than that of her younger brother.
Now let’s also say that Jeff has a somewhat ethical approach to the way he sold drugs (Again all hypothetical). So let’s say Jeff had a heroin problem and sold crack to pay for it. Now obviously selling crack is not a good thing, and Jeff is very aware of this but he’s able to justify it to himself (and in my opinion rightfully so) by vowing to only to sell to adults who were already regular users of or full time addicted to the drug, unlike many hard drug dealers who get their hustle by creating numerous drug problems within a preexisting population of youth.
So Jeff is able to help some of his crackhead friends rock out at a more affordable price, and in exchange his heroin habits are taken care of his bills are covered by his day job, his gas tank and fridge are always looking full, and his girlfriend never goes without the latest iPhone, a fancy dinner date every week, constantly surprising her with flowers and paintings all the time revealing his suppressed nature as a hopeless romantic. Despite knowing her man is a drug addict and drug dealer, she loves our hypothetical junky Jeff who was indeed a very kind person both before and during drugs, but Jeff suffered from high functioning autism, and was slowly beginning to develop schizophrenia and as a result took to use of the illicit opioid to keep his mind at ease, a poor decision he made out of apathy, morbid curiosityis stuck with because of a rather ironic predicament: that he functions too well to acknowledge sobriety as a necessity. certainly there can’t be any real ethical component towards getting high and slashing some prices right?
Obviously he’s not doing these men any justice by selling them crack cocaine, but it’s fairly ignorant to say someone who is seeking out a drug dealer isn’t sewing their own seeds. I believe Addiction to be a genuine illness and that many who suffer from serious addiction are in some way shape or form victims, but I also believe that it is the sole responsibility of the addict to make that decision for themself otherwise their sobriety will only last as long as the relationship with the person(s) who forced them to get clean.
Jeff was a very highly functioning addict, he viewed it as a sort of scheduled maintenance, his first shot was no less a part of his morning routine than his coffee, shower, and breakfast. on an average day shot exactly two bags of dope a day divided into three shots with the smallest one being before breakfast, the medium one at the beginning of his hour long break at work, and the biggest shot before his favorite news channel came on at night.
Besides dope he also smoked a couple grams of pot a day, if he ever had to go without a dose he would often supplement it by drinking rather heavily unless he had access to a weaker opioid or a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or Valium to pacify the early stages of withdrawals and this comprised most of his pre prison drug use. Once in a great while he would partake in a few lines of coke or a couple hits off the crack pipe, but these occasions were very rare before prison. Getting high for Jeff was never about fun or excitement, he got high to feel comfortable which would easily explain his disposition towards a drug which is notorious for making homeless people fall asleep feeling safe and warm with a smile on their face, in a sketchy alley in the kind of neighborhood you don’t walk through after dark.
So back to our man of the hour Junky Jeff, fast forward a little bit and one of the people Jeff was selling crack too wore a wire, and since Jeff was high on dope he never once thought anything sketchy about the way the snitch was acting, and so he was set up in the process of trying to chop a couple ounces to one of his regulars, Jeff gets 10 years in federal prison, since the cops confiscated most of his money he was unable to afford a good lawyer and had to get a public attorney who did his case little justice.
Now we see Jeff in prison, his girlfriend ditched on him for another man, he lost his job, his name was in the paper and now his family and acquaintances know about his drug problem. Jeff is also not a very big guy , after all he was a heroin addict who maintained business computer networking systems for a living, and besides one of his old dope dealers, Jeff has no connections in jail. Not even a week went by before he experienced his first prison rape. This pushed him over the edge and compelled him to join a gang but the only prison gang which would accept him due to an unwillingness to prove himself through initiations involve assaulting and or raping other prisoners were the neo nazis. This leaves him rife with self hatred, as there was not a prejudice bone in Jeff’s body, but in this case conformity took precedent over his meta ethical beliefs.
Now things are really going south as a result of all the combined problems Jeff’s drug use skyrocketed. He was now shooting up as many times as he could possibly afford too, sometimes even 8 or more times in a day sending sometimes as much as three to four bags through a single needle, when access was good he began shooting things other than dope, like low quality prison coke, all kinds of pills filtered down without proper technique or equipment often times shooting substances who’s recreational value is highly negligible, out of a pure affixation over the needle itself. After everything life had thrown at this man That he no longer held the will to fight against the inner desire to waste away, he felt that the needle was his only friend, his needle was the only one who could make him smile, before long the majority of his conversations were behind him and his syringe who he eventually began calling Heather.
Family and friends from the outside world stopped visiting him shortly after admitting him, as he was always begging for money or too doped out to hold a conversation with his visitors, often times disconnecting from the world around him completely and begin mumbling unintelligible nonsense mixed with the occasional fit of psychotic laughter to himself. The absence of his family was not something done out of spite all the while convincing himself it was those around him who were all crazy, deeming himself the only sane being around, an irony of ironies.
The neo nazi group he was inducted into made him feel even more alone, whenever they were meeting to discuss their anti-Semitic segregationist propaganda, and pathetic excuse for an ideology, Jeff would be fantasizing about cleaning the floor with the blood of the ignorant prejudice scum surrounding him, a morbidly enjoyable fantasy that helped him get through the meetings, trying desperately not to dwell on the overbearing realization that he would be affiliated with this group for the rest of his life, sometimes he was able to make himself feel better by convincing himself that he was a spy. Ironically the neo nazis never realized how sick he was compared to everyone else, perceiving his detached apathetic nature as a sign of toughness.
Meanwhileparticularly bad day him and another inmate found themselves in the infirmary with some pretty nasty infected veins as a result of trying to inject a mixture of Wellbutrin, benedryl and seroquil, in an attempt at producing some form of speed ball type effect, as it was the only thing they had currently been able to get their hands on.
Another time he had found himself in the infirmary because he had ingested an obscene amount of two milligram Xanax bars, eventually causing him to black out, forgetting he took anything he decided to shoot up and almost didn’t make it as a result of the combined central nervous system depression, luckily he someone noticed him and Again he was rushed to the infirmary. Though he miraculously survived, it was discovered that he had contracted HIV as a result of sharing needles with other inmates. He never lived to see his freedom. He died of an overdose that was thought to be intentional about a month after his diagnoses a love note was found addressed to his syringe “Heather” but this alternated back and forth between the name of his girlfriend, it is unclear if this is done intentionally or which on the note was actually referring to but the nature of the note is far to disturbing to describe here.
I hope this narrative did a little more than sicken and disturb you all, but one can never get the big picture without acknowledging the grim and ugly parts about it, maybe this article will effect how you perceive someone you may already know or meet in the future, let us know what you thoughts the comments section.