Surviving Toxic Prisons

It’s a burdensome task surviving toxic prisons where the environment on a persons spirit is like acid dripping on an individuals flesh, searing the human qualities off a being. Policies and practices are constructed and saturated with inhumane substance that amplify toxicity. No inhabitant is unscathed. The result of merging toxo-ideology with prison structure inescapably manifests itself into unfair customs and exercises that take on many poisonous faces within the correctional system. These customs and exercises willingly become repeated practices that do more harm than help in the realm of rehabilitation. Solitary confinement is representative of such a poisonous face where one is locked in a cell 23 hr. of a day, suffering deterioration and distortion of the mind. The grievance system, a prisoners main avenue of complaint within the DOC, is itself a poisonous contradiction. Instead of being a mechanism for protection and reinsurance, it’s used as a tool to permeate helplessness that’s derivative to the magnitude of unfavorable outcomes by those in distress. Absent of proper treatment and adequate housing, individuals who suffer mental illnesses are left to roam the careless walks of prison compounds and more often than not, are thrust into cells with untrained intolerable individuals, otherwise creating unhealthy situations that has routinely proven to end in rape, injury or death. The fact that prison guards are instructed to immediately order prisoners to remove their hat before stepping foot into a building while proudly wearing ” their ” correctional hat in a display of superiority & dominance, is toxicosis. That act may seem miniscule in nature; yet, properly weigh heavy on the antagonist scale. Behind the surface we can see how it serve as a direct catalyst to the feelings of worthlessness DUE TO IT BEING SO MINOR. If one is not equal or treated fairly in terms of basic etiquette, than surely one can never be as such in the grand scheme of a thing.

The elemental conditions in prison, in its own right, is toxicogenic in producing toxic components and poisons within the atmosphere. These elements breed emotional dejection, conjuring frustration of having to breath spawns of black mold and dust filled air. Asbestos is regularly found in the dark bowels of the most ancient of penitentiary structures, while its captives are made to drink under or over treated water out of necessity. The swarm of toxins allow no exception to its prison food neither. It’s a kind of service where one may find rodent excretion on trays & utensils, roaches peppered on any given meal, and a mouth full of clotted milk if a mistake is made of not sniff testing before consumption. Those acts are hostile in psyche and harmful in health. This poisonous atmosphere produce by malicious activities within the DOC septics is constantly introduced into the quarters of men and women and usually capable of negatively inducing the psyches antibodies which protect the spirit of its captives. In sum, the prison system and its toxins produce depression, anxiety, dependence, destruction, hopelessness, helplessness, irritation, frustration, aggression, suicide and many other adjectives related to such. So many imprisoned men and women are forced to combat this toxin themselves while looking out of windows, searching the clear sky for freedom. Wishing they were that leaf, bird or butterfly. They are forced to battle a toxic psychosis in risk of losing their sanity and humanity. No human being should have to endure such an onslaught, and no human being should suffer the brute fault if one were consumed by the toxic fumes of prison asphyxiation. When certain needs are not met, it’s natural to survive in anyway that is optional. It’s an already dead person that will endure these elements of torture and find in themselves no form of retaliation, destructive or otherwise.

These words are written from wisdom and the courage to be free of the bondage of toxic prisons while in the face of overwhelming odds. This requires personality and character which hardship reveals. We must appreciate, care for, love, understand, and support the men and women who battle the toxic beast daily. We must do so, not for praise, not for reward, not to deify, but to give strength and to rejuvenate those who’s being battle tested. It’s selfish to enjoy the benefits of the struggle without participating in the fight of struggle. We are a community that will return to community and it must be the goal of community to sustain our strong men and women that fight to rise from the polluted ashes. “Any people who could endure all that brutalization and keep together, who could undergo such dismemberment and resuscitate itself, and endure until it could take the initiative in achieving its own freedom is obviously more than the sum of its brutalization.”

~Ralph Ellison 

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