“I just did eight and a half years in federal prison.”
“What was the worst thing about it?”
“The racial tension.”
“What else was really bad?”
“The guards. They hate prisoners. If you hate children, would you work at a kindergarten? If you hate animals, would you work at a zoo? Why work in prison if you hate prisoners?”
“What do they do?”
“They mess with your mind, try to break you down: cold room, one blanket.”
“You think they do it on purpose?”
“Why else would they do it? They know you’ll be cold. They know it will mess with your head. That’s just one small example—there’re many other things. If you don’t find a way to keep yourself sane, you’re going to re-enter society as a nutjob, a weirdo, messed up—all of the above. It’s called a correctional institution, but their goal is to mess you up: the guards, the system, they want you back.”
“What do you do to stay normal?”
“You think about your family—but some guys don’t have families.”
“I’m 49 years old and I was in prison for 22 years. Now I’m struggling to take care of my children. It’s rough. I’ve applied to every job and every agency. You serve your time, you get out, but they hold your past against you—your time is never considered ‘served’. I’ll be serving it for the rest of my life. I’m free, but I ain’t free.
“I have hope, though. I don’t give up. I know something good’s gonna happen for me. I know it. And if it doesn’t, I’m not gonna do nothing that’s gonna send me back to prison. The only thing prison does is teach you how to do wrong—how to be a better criminal.”
Stuffed deer heads on walls are bad enough, but it’s worse when you see them wearing dark glasses, having streamers around their necks and a hat on their antlers. Because then you know they were enjoying themselves at a party when they were shot.
—Ellen DeGeneres (via thingsandschemes)