Forward by Christopher
Maximum security is different from time at the lower levels. You’re caged with men serving very long sentences many of whom will never be released. The mentality of convicts is hardened, and it’s day in and day out of endless madness. Each day is about survival.
In maximum security most convicts could care less about the next man. They certainly have a disdain for a hostile administration protecting bad staff or that promotes retaliation.
I’ve been locked up long enough to know convicts who survived the 1993 riot at Kyle’s facility that grabbed international headlines and cost Ohio taxpayers nearly a half billion dollars in the end. It was an insurrection spawned from a hostile administrative atmosphere. Prisoners who endured the abuses and subsequent 1993 riot at SOCF won a class action lawsuit and were paid damages. His essay has uncomfortable echoes of a troubled history at his facility.
Kyle is a lifer in Ohio’s maximum security prison. It’s him and 4 walls with no access to much of anything. He survives by holding onto memories of a life past, and of believing that there’s an end in the future. I know what he’s going through because I’ve experienced much of what he talks about at different times throughout my incarceration journey.
By Kyle (SOCF) (OH)
I lay here in this dark secluded cell, a dungeon really, and just stare at the walls. It seems as if I am trapped between time and space. Somewhere in the Netherworld, a place where others do not exist. Time stands still while the rest of the world passes by. The only thoughts you are able to hold in your head are the same patterns repeated again and again. How can one’s existence mean so much to one another and so little or nothing at all to another?
This is a world where loved ones drop off like rain, and friends disappear like morning dew in the sunshine. The air is stale, but you learn to cope, you learn to accept the inevitable that this is how it is for you. You’re paying the price for actions that someone who did the same or worse won’t have to pay at all.
You are enslaved. You are under the thumb of “The One” who controls your every move and strives to control even your thoughts. This is a world of wanna-be’s, used to be’s, and has beens. A bunch of losers, given a role of authority to misuse. But no matter how much you despise their contempt, you can’t do a thing about it.
So you continue to dream, recalling the days you had women, not caring a damn about them for they came a dime a dozen. But now they have become your most yearning desire, your main focal point, your every breath. You remember their scent more than anything. The sweet perfume rising off their shoulders. The freshness of her natural scent after being caught in the rain. The pungent sharpness of after sex. Even that awakens your memory in a pleasantness of what used to be. Other than the thoughts of women is the focus of leaving.
As the days turn into months and months into years, it’s amazing that you are still able to hold on to the day of walking out of this place. The air’s thick with mold and mildew, heavy with perspiration and too much madness all around. All you view and touch every day is heavy steel and cold concrete. You know they designed this system to rob you of all your possessions. You own nothing. All you have are the clothes on your back, a face cloth, a towel, and precious drawings and letters you’ve accumulated through the years. They have every intention of keeping you dormant. Keeping you in a monotonous hell of half existence. You know not to give in as so many others have done, don’t give them the satisfaction of seeing you down and empty, void of any life, vitality, so many brothers behind bars the ones who will continue to have reality of prison for the rest of their lives…
“Prison is hell.”
Kyle (SOCF) (OH)
If you enjoy the guest written essays on this blog you can now own them, along with every post from March 2019 through April 2021, in the book titled ”Behind The Wall: A Prisoner’s Journal” ($11.50, 483 pgs. Amazon.com) (eBook $1.99) By Christopher Monihan. Buy one for yourself or give a couple to friends, but most of all THANK YOU for following.