Monday, June 8, 2009

Locked Up

Hello There My Lovelies,

I have a new ritual every late Saturday night now. I like to get a snack and watch NBC's Locked Up. They also have Locked Up Extended Stay and Locked Up Raw. I find it to be very interesting. Basically covering prison life. You get to listen to the prison guards talk as well as get interviews from some of the prisoners.

I got some good work out ideas from watching those series. Those men live in small closed areas and still manage to come out buffed. They don't even need any equipment. You can do arm dips on your bed. You can do pushups, sit ups and squats on the floor. You can do burpees. There is never an excuse to not get in shape. Having no money to buy equipment is especially a bad excuse.

Those series make me value my freedom more. I can take a walk outside and enjoy the fresh air and smell the roses. I can travel overseas. I can talk to whomever I want. I don't know how I would deal if my freedom were taken away.

I can't imagine being out of touch with the rest of the world for over 20 years. At my internship with the Public Defender's Office, one of our clients was recently released after 20 years behind bars for drugs. He did not know how to use a cell phone. He was almost crying because he was scared and didn't know if he could survive in the real world. Our city has changed so much. Twenty years ago there were different stores, different people, different cultures. It's all changed.

Yet many people who get out of prison re-offend and end up back at square one. Prison is a hell hole, but apparently its not bad enough to scare people into cleaning their lives up. It's a life style, a mentality and I guess unless you just can't understand unless it's your lifestyle. I don't understand it. I hope I never do.

Anyway, as I was watching the documentary I was watching the prison guards talk. They acted real professional on tape. They were addressing everyone as "Sir" and writing up official reports when there was an incident such as a stabbing or finding contraband. When the prisoners were acting rowdy and out of hand, the prison guards handled it very efficiently and in a professional manner. They were talking about how they are professional with the prisoners because they too are human.

I kinda laughed because I highly doubt the guards always act like that when the cameras are off. I am sure many do. Don't get me wrong, I commend the guards because it takes some serious balls to work in a prison. But I've heard of the guards cussing at or beating inmates or not writing the reports the needed to write. It's so easy to get away with, and who are you gonna believe, the convicted murderer serving a life sentence or the prison guard ? So watching all that professional demeanor kinda made me wonder what really goes on when the cameras are off.

My favorite episode was the documentary about San Quentin. San Quentin is an hour away from where I live, and one of the oldest prisons in California. It was built in the 1850s. I drive by it when I go visit my grandma, it's right by the Bay Bridge. As a child, when my dad drove us to my grandma's he always made it a point to say " Oh look kids, there's San Quentin. If you don't behave and you do something stupid and break the law, that's where you'll end up. Wave to all the prisoners now." I would ask my dad more questions and he made sure to tell me it's one of the more violent prisons.

Our prison system here in CA is out of control. Due to our budget crisis, our prisons are overcrowded, and outdated. Now they've converted the gym at San Quentin into an area with bunkbeds to house the prisoners. It's a recipe for disaster, when you put all these violent men together with less than 3 feet of space in between them. A lot of rehabilitation programs have been cut. A lot of career training programs have been cut. And a lot of prisoners are complaining about that. But here's how I see it. Our public school system is getting the big stiffy and many innocent children who haven't committed any crimes are getting shafted out of a good education because of our budget crisis. Some our hospitals have been closed down. Programs for at risk children have lost funding. So why on earth should we put the prisoners above them and fund their rehabilitation efforts ? Especially since most reoffend anyway. It doesn't matter how many programs you have, most don't want to change. And the ones that do want change and become success stories don't blame the system.

While I watched the documentary, I just wondered where these guys went wrong. Why did they let their lives spin out of control ? What drove that guy to kill his grandmother ? Why did the guy choose to violate parole when he became a new father and knew his children depended on him ? Why couldn't he just walk away when he was insulted, why did he shoot the guy instead of just walking away ?

I grew up thinking that we were inherently good people even if someone wronged us. That we were born knowing that we shouldn't harm another person. That we don't harm others unless it's in self defense. That stealing from others is wrong. But I grew up with people to help me differentiate between right and wrong.

After watching these documentaries, I realized how important good role models are. How easy would it be for us to be locked up if we didn't have the role models in our lives that we have.


Big Mark 243 said...

As far as the work out stuff goes, I would offer myself up as an example. I am pretty built up, and mainly from doing stuff like that.

The dude you say was crying, reminds me of the cat in Shawshank Redemption, who couldn't cut it on the outside and hung himself. After that long, with all their friends and folks they know either dead or in the system or beyond living that life, it must be hard.

No, we aren't 'inherently good'. We are born with our own issues hidden deep inside of us, and it depends on the fibonacci sequence of life to determine how things are developed in us.

I wonder did you know that you were as hot, smart, and strong as you are? I know it took me years to realize that I was something to people, and once I found it, I hung on to it.

That I didn't end up going down that path, simply means that wasn't the destiny for me, no matter how close I may/may not have came.

Gee, I am rambling ... maybe I should make an entry and ramble over there!!

Myra said...

Girl, sometimes you go so deep! You are headed toward the right career because you understand, and you care. I've watched a few of those shows...some men seem so sincere when they say they want to change, others just don't seem to care. Its a whole other world behind bars.