Surviving The Prison System(Thoughts Shared By A Survivor/Sharif)
On Sept. 29, 1992, (my mothers birthday) I was arrested on warrants and taken to jail. On Nov. 12, 1992, (my grandmothers birthday) I was sentenced to 9yrs. in the Florida Dept. of Corruption (FDOC). Three days later I would celebrate my birthday pondering thoughts of what awaited me for the next 108 months of my life.
Going to prison is like being shipped off to some hostile foreign country, where you face a series of extreme hardships and strange, unnatural ways of thinking and acting. It's a three-shift graveyard full of distant memories and false dreams. A prisoner looks around and thinks to themselves " this isn't the way things were suppose to turn out for me, where did I go wrong". You say to yourself "there's nothing going on here except a lot of fools boasting loudly about what they once had or could of had or did". In fact all one is actually seeing and hearing are prisoners constantly shuffling to cope with day-to-day survival.But that's just scraping the surface of things. While every day brings the same ole same ole, what's going on inside of prisoners never stands still. Like any war,( and yes, being in prison entitles us to P.O.W. status given all the wars the government has waged against the people under the guises of war on drugs/crime/poverty etc.) one must learn how to survive or otherwise perish into the jungles of nothingness and madness. Being a guest of the system can drive you crazy, or it can drive you sane in special ways.There is nothing like the inside of a prison to help you examine and reexamine your views, values and goals in life. While people in the outside world are busy with concerns like which fast-food joint to stop by for a quick lunch, prisoners and their loved ones are dealing with sheer get-down survival. Living in the maze of the prison system calls time out on trivial everyday issues and brings you face to face with the here and now. One thing for sure that I found out: it offers a chance to stop and think -- to reflect on the nature of life itself and our places in it.Hard times in general will force you to look into the deeper recesses of yourself. But it is an even greater challenge when your vision is distorted by the madness of the criminal justice/prison maze. It takes a super-human will and dedication plus an unwavering effort to grow tall enough mentally and emotionally to see over the gun towers, rows of razor wire and the petty rules and personalities that make up the heart and soul of the FDOC, in which you're confined. Whenever I found something which was designed to keep me lost in the darkness and confusion, I dedicated myself to finding a better path, no matter how much time, effort, or sacrificing it required. The choices in prison are simple : "grow or die". Change is certain, growth is optional.I discovered that part of the wonderful power of our minds is the ability to change what we think, what we value, and how we react. When we find something that just isn't true or doesn't work, we have what it takes to alter our beliefs, behavior and responses. As we grow mentally, we can eventually develop the wisdom to see and respond to things in the most positive and productive manner. This is what it takes for every man, woman, and child to find their way out of Florida's evil maze and never come back to the FDOC or any of it's associate agencies. Growth in a 6x9 cage requires limitless courage and sweat, but great progress is possible. I'm living proof it can be done. My last 4yrs in prison was inside a 6x9 sensory deprivation cell on Control Management (CM1) status, and the FDOC officials hate to witness this in any prisoner.Many of us know that throughout history, dating back to biblical days, times of imprisonment and hardship have driven people to discover and focus their inner spirit. What I am referring to is something much deeper more honest and real than simply trying to pray your way out of a prison. Self-awareness is the extension of our minds beyond time and space into the highest level of being to which we as humans are capable. This is one of the most positive aspects of fighting through Florida's evil maze : when it expands our understanding of our higher nature.It's too long, hard, and dangerous for anyone to survive and exist inside Florida's DOC without immense courage, honesty, discipline, and a little outside support wouldn't hurt.So if you really want to survive the drama of being in the grips of the FDOC two things are necessary: You've got to out-live them and you've got to outgrow them! This means using every drop of energy and every opportunity to improve yourself on every possible level. Because until you learn to grow beyond the evil maze, you are doomed to remain a resident of some back woods maximum-security hell-hole Florida's good-ole boys have built for the likes of you and I.I Am,Sharif
Sharif's Comments on "Up In Arms"
EX-OFFENDERS' RESOURCE PAGE
Time For Justice