During my adolescent years, if anyone had told me I'd one day live in a cell for 22 hours at a time, I would have immediately considered them a mendacious person. Reason being is because I've always been claustrophobic. Small areas and tight spots are two places I vowed to never live in, and two entities I definitely abhor. As a matter of fact, I had this unceasing habit of telling my Mother “I'm never going to prison” because I understood this was an area over flowing with 9x5 cells, that I certainly knew I would not last in.
However, here I am today, an occupant of a sordid and gloomy cage. I've been incarcerated a total of four years now, and each waking day has been on filled to capacity with feelings of depression, sadness, deprivation, loneliness and many more I care not to name. I once read prison is designed to punish people, but I believe the purpose extends way beyond this alone.
Isolation can destroy anyone's mental state quickly its where they are, becomes stronger than their mind. Nevertheless, I'm glad to say I've been blessed not only with a potent mind, but also with the ability to adapt to my surroundings. Alongside that I possess the willpower to not let captivity deteriorate my brain. Yet even though I've had their objects instilled in me, there are just some things isolation still takes away forcing your mind to take on a subtle form.
In segregation, there are no soft beds, refrigerators, stoves or etc. There is no beautiful green grass, nor is there any elements of nature present to revive a desolate soul, which is what I have procured since being here. And it hurts deeply not having my freedom eats away at me and is deeply painful. When I want to go so far away, yet there is steel and concrete prohibiting my journey, I cannot help but suffer mentally. Without the luxuries of a free unrestricted life, I am left with nothing but torturous thoughts and immense tears towards how wonderful it was to have once lived that way. I lie awake at night being tormented by a painful desire to be with a woman, hear the laughter of a child, or do something as small as taking a stroll through the park. If I look through a magazine and stumble across anything that reminds me of my life beyond this space I reside in, mental anguish latches on to the depths of my mind and remains there for countless hours. Although being segregated has changed me tremendously as far as becoming a better person goes; this does not nullity or supersede the melancholy that comes from being where I am.
Isolation is nothing more than a modern day, concentration camp, whether it be called the belly of the beast, the pit of hell, or a super max facility- It is a horrible place the world would be better off without. Malcolm X once said “any person who claims to have deep feelings for human beings should think a long long time before he votes to have other men kept behind bars- caged”, and after encountering the effects of isolation, I can't help but agree.
Paul Storey 2010