The meaning of old has different implications, because of the circumstances a human being may find themselves in. Becoming an elderly man in prison, is a new chapter in human history. Prisons in America or the world for that matter, was never build for elderly persons. Crime, and others conduct did not required extreme and punitive and punishments. With this in mind, I will give my experience and how I have survived 47 years inside maximum security prisons.
I was twenty five years of age when arrested in 1976.I had a lovely, warm caring.I had a son just born December 1975. I had a home, sisters and brother’s and two parents and grandparents who loved me.
The trials and appeals took tolls on the family on different levels. Financial assistance begins to fade, marriage breaks down and grandparents begin to die. The variously struggles of getting older, does not cease because, I am in prison. The inability to be of some use with my wife and parents, causes a mental helplessness that convinced me of my relevance in the family and community. As older man I had to concentrate on my medical needs and ensure my activity was safe and for my health and sanity. Getting some education, taking basic community college course, relearning everything you use to know. I found the only math I used was filling out my commissary list. I began studying simple math problems and reading various books each week from the library. As time goes on my memory and other physical traits begins to diminish. My body suffered pain every night when I lay on the plastic mattress and the plastic pillion caused headaches and hip discomfort. Sleep deprivation is a permanent part of. growing old In prison. My visits collapsed . I learned that it was time for me to stop conveying my struggle upon the family and friends.
After decades friends believe I am crazy speaking about appeals, lawyer fees and finding witnesses! Many nights the voices and desires of freedoms have called me. I found my mind would always believed in my future to be brighter than the present. My faith increased as I grew. older, wiser and saw my own face in the mirror. I discovered I’m not alone but part of a larger journey that includes all of America. The experience of aging, is not pretty and a degree of humility takes charge of my personal struggle, and calmness begins to swim upon my thoughts and ideas. The anxiousness, fears and doubts begin to disappear and definite answers become part of my psychological condition. Aging, losing family, contacts, dreams, hopes permits my character to change from a worried lone!y person into a seasoned, balanced human being. Aging has taught me, one man has go fashion his own life and in this society, you can not expect government to see you as a citizen who remains a human being, despite being convicted of a crime.
Aging in prison is an inducement to appreciate every aspect of life. Above all I have learned the meaning of Love, Freedom and Faith. Aging in prison for me, taught me that the good intentions of the Quakers and other Europeans who came to Philadelphia to establish a place for law breakers and others, was good Intentions, but turned out as a nightmare for millions of women , children and men yearly. My aging in prison bass educated me, to recognize a flawed system, using law and order as a state sponsored system to maintain domination. over the poorer members of society, specifically. African Americans, unlucky Europeans and those who have been corrupted and abused early in life. Finally, my aging in Prison, has effectively allowed me recognize myself and many of the Aging men and women have the solution to the intricate disobedience to the standards set in society. My aging in prison is wisdom.