My Life in a Prison Cell in an Overcrowded Prison

An average day for me is not the same as the days of an average person, because I live in a very unnatural environment. My day often begins with a flashlight beam bursting through my eyelids, penetrating the brain, disrupting the sleep cycle. Or with the sound of metal-on-metal from a guard jamming a quarter pound, brass key into the keyhole to free me from the confines of a prison cell, designed for one, housing two. Quite frankly, I live in a bathroom with another man: a bathroom that may substitute as an office, bedroom, den, dining room, kitchen, living room, gym; one with the potential of becoming a boxing ring, miniature sports arena, war zone, crime scene. Under such confined conditions, having an attractive female as a roommate would make life much better. Unfortunately, that is not an option, so I remain more celibate than some priests. If I had a choice I would live alone, since I can’t have a female; due to prison overcrowding I live as I do. So much is life on the inside.

To clarify life on the inside, most people who come to prison straight do not go out gay, as “asserted” by Dr. Ben Carson. I learned in Psychology about Projection, which is where a person projects their actions or feelings into someone else. For instance, a person who cheats on their spouse may come home and accuse them of being unfaithful. Could that be related in some absurd way to Carson’s statement?  Who knows?  Why use defenseless prisoners as an analogy that homosexuality is a choice? I started serving this sentence almost three decades ago and haven’t changed my sexual preference yet. I don’t knock anyone who prefers to have sex with others, whether bi-curious, homosexual, or whatever they choose to be, who also decides to have sex with someone of the same sex; or what anyone else does with his or her life, but I will write that many prisoners are homophobic. Homosexuality is not socially acceptable in most prisons, especially in the federal system compared to some state systems. Most of whom I know do not choose to have sex with someone of the same sex. I have known men who were raped who still chose not to continue to participate is sexual activities with other men. Some of my peers asked me to clarify that what Carson said was not true, and so I have.

On a blog sent to me from CNN’s website, posted as Comment 97 by Philip Bump, March 4th, 2015, Bump wrote, “In an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday morning, likely 2016 presidential candidate, Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon, stated his belief that homosexuality is a choice. His evidence for the claim? ‘A lot of people who go into prison, [they] go into prison straight and when they come out, they’re gay.'”

Bump continues with a profound quote from Dr. Helen Eigenberg. “‘The fundamental assumption of the analogy he’s using is insane,’ said Helen Eigenberg, professor of criminal justice at the University of Tennessee, who has been studying sexuality and incarceration for about 25 years. ‘I don’t know of any research that substantiates the [claim] that men go to prison and come out gay. There’s no data to support that claim,’ she said.” I commend her for her frankness and agree 100%. Maybe I will send her a complimentary copy of my books (UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D. and ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN) to help her in her studies relating to incarceration.

The reality of life on the inside is far from what is shown on television. Most prisoners do not run around looking to rob, rape, or physically assault their peers. Some do, of course, but most of them end up caged in a cell twenty-three hours per day, alone. Prisons vary. Prisoners vary as well. More will be revealed. Stay tuned.  I’ll post more about my Life Inside real soon.

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