Growing up Incarcerated and the Uncertain Future

Sophie,

I apologize for my lateness.  It wasn’t intentional.  It’s more or less what you were requesting.  I understand what your “blog” is.  A tool, for prisoners like myself, to let their voices be heard.  Now, the real question is, what do I have to say that really means anything?  Then it came to me.  I’ll tell you my story.  (What I’ve done, what I’ve been through, and what I’ve learned.)  Here it is:

I’ve been locked up for nearly ten  years now.  It’s become, more and more my reality.  My past, it seems, is more a dream.  That I visit from time to time.  A part of my life forgotten.

I was eighteen when I came in.  Just a kid.  I’ve practically grown up behind bars.  My crime is Manslaughter.  I recklessly caused the death of my neighbor.  I got into a confrontation with him.  Which escalated quickly.  He lost his life.  I lost my freedom.  And I’d do anything to take it back.

I relive my actions from time to time.  I always arrive at the same conclusion…”Why was I so intent on hurting this man?”  I mean, it would have been so easy to just walk away.  But all I was concerned with was proving myself to my friends.  As if that would confirm who I was.  I’ve learned over the years that men are plagued with the idea “to be a man, you must be tough”.  This isn’t far from the truth.  However, we’ve twisted the true meaning of being tough.  There are many forms of toughness.  And only one, in which we senselessly hurt another.  We never truly understand until we’ve grown in mind, body, and spirit.  (In my opinion.)  Unfortunately, there are some of us who have learned too late.

I have a little over two years left till my minimum release date.  “I ask myself, what am I leaving with?”  There is so much uncertainty.  I tell myself that I want to do good.  I want to change, for my families sake.  I tell myself that they’ve been through enough.  I’ve been through enough…

…Then I’m shaken back to my current reality.  As some guard disrespects me.  Treating me like I’m some inferior animal.  Intentionally taunting me because I’m an “inmate”.  Using their authority as a tool.  And depending whether I react to their taunts, will determine if they’ll want to search my cell or not.  In other words, toss my cell, as if a tornado had come through.  Smiles plastered on their faces.  (Which razes [sic] eyebrows when considering the D.O.C. motto…”Integrity, Respect, and Professionalism”.  Hypercritcal [sic] nonsense!)

It’s at these times that I ask myself, what am I leaving with?…”If we refuse to see ourselves as flawed and imperfect; Able to learn from our mistakes.  We will forever remain a destructive and distrustfull [sic] race; suspicious until it is too late for redemption…When we’re all damned”.

(P.S.) Tell me whether you want me to write about something in particular?

Ben

New Hampshire State Prison

6/23/2011

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12 responses to “Growing up Incarcerated and the Uncertain Future

  1. I went to school with Ben and definatly didnt see the penn being his future. Definatly glad he will be getting out soon. I too have been locked up and know the feeling of guards abusing their authority. Hopefully this will behind u soon Ben and u can move forward in ur life. ~Amanda Monahan~

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    • Amanda, he certainly has developed a talent that is unmistakeable now. I am sorry about your incidents with guards. Thank you for reading and showing support. I will be sure he knows about your comment.

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  2. I didn’t know Ben that well but am close with his brother Abe, his twin. I read this and think about how well he worded his feeling and emotions, how he never once blamed anything on anyone else. I feel proud for him in a way that he can feel so disrespected and yet have the ability to see what is going on and to realize that the behavior he has had in the past is not useful to him now.

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  3. I think it takes an incredibably “tough” man to write about his expiriences, feelings and time locked up. He has probably seen more violence in the past 10 years then most of us will see in a life time. He is Exactly right that “men” have twisted the meaning of being a true MAN. True men know where there imperfections are and try to understand them as well as learnging to live with them everyday. I don’t know you Ben but when you write things like:
    It’s at these times that I ask myself, what am I leaving with?…”If we refuse to see ourselves as flawed and imperfect; Able to learn from our mistakes. We will forever remain a destructive and distrustfull [sic] race; suspicious until it is too late for redemption…When we’re all damned”.

    Is a sign of a really tough MAN. Thanks for showing us what it is when someone actually shows remorse and can admit when then wronged themselves and others. I think if you could teach some the of boys in “our” reality what it takes to be a “man” the world might start making sence.

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  4. I know Ben very well and we’ve kept in touch for the most part writing to each other. I can’t really find the right words to describe the way I felt the very first time I read this. And having just read it again for probably the 9th or 10th time, the knot in my stomach is just as tight and it brought tears to my eyes yet again. Even after years and years of letters I don’t think I’ve ever read such painful and powerful words from him. It just goes to show how deep his pain and remorse actually is. He will never cease to amaze me at how intelligent, strong, and caring of a person he really is. He has been so greatly missed and I’m counting down the days until he is released. Love and miss you so much Ben!!
    Katie Keller

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    • Katie,

      Ben has other things published on the site. He has two poems and I just posted a piece from him last week about Truth in Sentencing. He is a very intelligent man who has a gift of words. I will be sure he gets your comment.

      Sophie

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