It’s Difficult to Make Sense of The Prison System in America

The more I learn, the more confused I am by the whole system.

Damian Delune

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My wife read something to me the other day that’s stuck with me. It went something like, don’t believe the prison and justice systems are broken. They’re functioning exactly how they’re designed to. This is much more accurate than I’d like it to be.

Telling my stories and the stories of others from inside prison walls has shown me, nothing makes sense in here and it’s not supposed to. The longer I’m here, the more I’m convinced certain things are done in such a way as to keep you confused, unsure, and even frightened of what comes next.

This is one of the reasons I’m so impressed with Norway’s system. As the warden at Halsted stated, the punishment is being away from family and friends, being locked away from the world. Anything else should be a means to rehabilitation and reentry into the world.

I can tell you from personal experience, there is nothing rehabilitative about single cells, being locked up for 23 out of 24 hours, inedible food, and the like. I’ve recently been moved to my more ‘permanent’ lodgings and am once again under quarantine, 21 days this time around. This appears to be the prison’s answer to how to deal with COVID, as none of us were tested upon entry to this new facility and we won’t be tested upon release to general population, according to two different COs I spoke with.

How this makes any sense is beyond me. I’ve had COVID in here and I don’t want it again. I definitely don’t want the new variant. Being sick in places like this is a nightmare. You don’t get valid medical treatment. I watched other inmates become almost deathly ill with COVID at my last placement, and be ignored. Regardless of your crime, your guilt or innocence, no one deserves to lie on a cot, soaked in sweat, alternately freezing and burning up, coughing so hard they vomit without some kind of medical treatment beyond temperature checks and Tylenol.

The only credit I’ll give the set-up in this new facility is how they’re handling phone calls. Anywhere else I’ve been, they’ve left it to the inmates to police themselves, even in a situation like this where there are currently 20 people all vying for the…

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Damian Delune

Incarcerated writer sharing real stories about life on the inside, through my wife, Demeter Delune (editor, publisher, promoter, responder)