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Doing Time

by Stephanie Durr about a year ago in incarceration

For BJ continued....

Chapter One Continued...

This is written by Bruce Thibodeaux for the world....

As I lay back in my rack typing a love story to my beautiful and beloved wife to be on my JP5 Tablet, an inmate by the name of Dough Boy comes up to me with his coffee cup in his hand. "BJ, say my nigga, can you spare a shot?" he asks. I Tell him yeah and reach in my locker to produce a bag of keefe coffee, and give him exactly 2 spoonfuls of the instant coffee that they sell us from the commissary. 2 spoons= 1 shot of coffee. "Preciate ya homie." he says Yeah whateva... I lay my head back, look around the dorm, and observe my surroundings. I instantly feel that familiar sense of dread... of seeing the same things, the same faces,the same characteristic actions from the same people everyday of my life. The never ending revolving door of my existence. It makes me sick. I am far too used to it...

I am what society knows as being institutionalized. I have been incarcerated now for over 10 calendar years. I still have a projected 15 years remaining on my 25 year sentence. It's when an inmates mind becomes programmed to the routines of this everyday life, and we have lost touch with the reality of a free society. Losing the sense of what being civilized really means, basically it is when you can say you are 'tution'. (prison slang for institutionalized. Probably coined in Louisiana somewhere.) Further definition of being 'tution' exceeds in many degrees of the word and/or meaning. For instance,it is considered tution to wash your boxers and socks while taking a shower and hang them to dry on your locker everyday. To bring your personal spoon with you to the Chow Hall to eat with. Another example would be claiming a certain spot to sit in the day room every single time you go into the day room, when you have brainwashed yourself to belive that this is 'your' personal spot to sit, by right, and will not even allow other inmates to sit in that spot. I have seen many fights and altercations occur behind this exact situation. That's some tution right there... There are many forms and affects of being institutionalized. After so long, so many years spent locked up, an inmates mind deems to break free and reform. The free world becomes no more than a fantasy,a delusion, or a dream. The only world or life that is real is this one we live on the inside. Many times I have found myself out on the yard looking out past the 14 foot high double fence covered top to bottom with razor wire, gazing out into the woods far beyond the fields and find myself wondering if what's beyond is actually real. Is there really a free world out there? Or is it only this? Does freedom even exist? It doesn't seem so at times and it will only drive me insane should I linger on the questions for too long. My focus, I tell myself, should only be my survival from one day to the next. To distinguish the line drawn between what's fake and what's real, where truth leaves off and madness begins is sometimes quite the task. These things go beyond anything I have ever heard about, or been taught prior to coming to prison...and now after all these years spent behind bars, I feel not pride in understanding these things so well, but contempt for those who have failed to, and now I feel a trace of frustration... of having people think they know the hard facts of what doing time really consists of when I know , yet can not get them to see the abstract concept of the greater whole that's right before them....

stay tuned... my life isn't over neither is this story....


Stephanie Durr

Read next: What Are False Accusations and What to Do?

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