Don’t Go Back: Reflection On Prison Experience | By Ricco Slade

I cannot blame anyone or anything for the mistakes I’ve made throughout the course of my life. I put myself in handcuffs. I put myself in the back of that police car. I decided to take the road that would lead me to Central Bookings. I put myself in that crowded bullpen. I put myself in front of that judge. I found myself in the Belly of The Beast. Fact not Fiction: The United States Of America has the largest prison population in the whole world. The Prison Industrial Complex is big business. It’s a machine. I can claim that I’m a victim of Mass Incarceration, and I very well may be; but the fact is I did this to myself. I chose this life when I was trying to fit in with the so-called cool kids. “Come on, let’s smoke cigarettes; let’s smoke some weed; let’s get the older kids to buy us some beer; let’s skip school, we need some money, let’s rob somebody.” In all actuality, I was a victim of peer pressure more than anything else. Look where that landed me. No Man’s Land. For the most part this has been a learning experience to say the least. A mental and spiritual journey of self-discovery and realization. A moment of clarity. I’m beginning to understand who I am as a person; a man; and overall a human being. I’m optimistic about the future. The life waiting for me beyond these barbed-wire fences and gun towers. I’ve learned to appreciate life and freedom. Most importantly, I’ve learned to appreciate time.

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