Cell Reform

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I harken back to Andy Dufresne crawling through 500 yards of fecal smelling foul that Red could not bear to stomach and realized that there are “Coyote Ugly” circumstances that will make anything seem plausible when trying to escape the doldrums of purgatory. There are desperate times for any measurement of life, a marking of forbidden territory that one would not dare contemplate to travel back towards again. I’ve even applied this same theory within the realm of fiction, as I could never figure out how one could end up with so many Jurassic Park movies as if the first killer dinosaur wasn’t a sign from God to stay the hell away. Is it blissful ignorance or something within our inner being that allows us to know the consequential results, yet we still embrace the dare-devil gene that won’t allow us to simply just walk away from an oncoming speeding train. I had this same Jurassic Park epiphany when thinking about those who are routinely incarcerated after reading about the alleged Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev facing possible life imprisonment inside the ADX Supermax prison in Florence Colorado. I was befuddled when reading a quote from ADX Warden Robert Hood who proclaimed and I quote “The Supermax is life after death. It’s long term. In my opinion, it’s far much worse than death.” The prisoners live in a 7-by-12 foot concrete cell and sleep on a concrete slab with only a thin mattress for comfort. They receive their meals through small holes in the doors and dwell inside their cells for 23 hours a day. “Wow” was the first expression to come to my mind upon reading about this, as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is only 21 years old and while most people his age are just cutting their teeth in the world of adulthood, he will be on the cutting edge of solitary confinement. Of course if this is his fate, no one would argue for sympathy on his behalf due to the heinous and diabolical act that he allegedly committed. However, I am not writing this to put his guilt or innocence on trial, as I am more so trying to understand repetitive cycle of prison. Most noted is that there are some individuals who are just sociopaths and are beyond reform; however I am talking about those individuals who are trapped in the prison cycle as if it is a turnstile doorway at the Ritz Carlton. When listening to the description of Robert Hood regarding ADX and the living confinements of the prisoners, I wondered aloud as to who would want to go back there if they were somehow released? The subject not broached enough is the fact that in non-Supermax facilities, individuals who enter into those prisons usually go in there to become more versed in criminology than they do in reform. So one must ask whether or not the prison system is more of a training resort to become a criminal mastermind or is it an institution to reform the said prisoner so that he/she can become a productive citizen when reintroduced back into the realms of society? Then we have to address the real boogey man who haunts the term “reformed prisoner” which is the fact that prison facilities are a web of profitability for judges, politicians, correction officers et’ al. One would think that if reform was the goal in place to achieve, then why not make prison life unbearable like the Supermax facilities? Why must gang rape be the only deterrent from not wanting to enter prison? Why not make solitary confinement and sleeping conditions a deterrent as well? It’s feasible to believe that prisoners are no different from that of a lab rodent in an experiment conducted by pseudoscientists. Those same pseudoscientists are not seeking a cure for the disease, but they are instead producing a pill that they can market in an infomercial for profit in spite of the many side effects that are destined to follow. Prison in many ways is a placebo, as it seems like it can cure the ills of society, but instead it’s a revolving door that continues to release a stronger toxin back into society. We can watch the daily news feeds and we will always find a lead story that justifies the need for them. I am not saying prisons are not a necessity, but what I am saying is do they reform a prisoner or do they help them evolve into more of a societal menace? Robert Hood stated that prisoners who enter ADX has a discerning look in their eyes when knowing that this is the life they will face. I’m interested in knowing if the same applies to those who are part of a criminal cycle in the non-Supermax facilities. Perhaps they view it as an opportunity and not as a detrimental circumstance. The fact remains that something is broken and duct tape is not an acceptable means for repairing the broken gears of this concept. Reformation is defined as: the act or process of improving something or someone by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc. Sadly enough I know very few criminals I know who can emphatically claim this definition; however they can always seem to reclaim residency back inside the cages. Maybe my title is somewhat valid yet backwards. I stated “Cell Reform”, perhaps it is time to “Reform The Cell”. #change in order to change

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