Kropotkin wrote a lot on the wrongs of prisons. These two paragraphs hit the nail on the head for me. Sadly I feel these effects.
The theory of will power
“There is another important cause of demoralization in prisons. All transgressions of accepted moral standards may be ascribed to lack of a strong will. the majority of inmates of prisons are people who did not have sufficient strength to resist the temptations surrounding them or to control a passion which momentarily carried them away. In prisons as in monasteries, everything is done to kill a man’s will. He generally has no choice between one of two acts. His whole life is regulated and ordered in advance. He has only to swim with the current, to obey under pain of severe punishment.
Under these conditions all the will power that he may have had on entering disappears. And where will he find the strength with which to resist the temptations which will arise before him, as if by magic, when he is free of the prison walls? Where will he find the strength to resist the first impulse to a passionate outbreak? The prison has done everything to kill this inner strength, to make him a docile tool in the hands of those who control him. This fact is, according to my mind, the most terrible condemnation of the whole penal system based on the deprivation of individual liberty.” -Peter Kropotkin
Society has made an enemy of me I feel. Surely there are people who still love me and maybe a few friends. Upon release heading back to my own devices weaker again from more state-sponsored torture. What chance do I have at being true to myself? I want to build and work and help people. Get my will back. I feel alone and damaged. Writing and reading is all I have to fight these terrorist goons believing they are doing society a favor by keeping a man under lock and key feeding us trash. In my heart I have always known prisons harm. Society cannot believe “corrections” is happening in the department of corrections. The sound of chains and steel banging all the time is enough to test the strongest will. They will break you. I stay very angry and yell and cuss and fight but it saves my soul and my tattered will. I am not proud of myself for making people’s lives harder and tit for tat is a shitty way to live but I am wounded and cannot bare the solitary confinement and being housed in buildings with no sunshine or grass under my toes.
As an anarchist I believe all we can do is give advice to people and live a moral life. Law, authority and religion have robbed us of freedom to think and listen to our inner selves. Imagining a life where equality existed and institutions crumbled is what keeps me pushing along. I have empathy for my brothers incarcerated and sympathy for the misguided souls who choose to work in prisons. I try to keep my hate in check. If you can’t hate, you can’t love–I believe. Misguided hate can hurt. I am aware. Durham County Jail gets my hate. All prisons, justice centers, judges, laws, politicians, they all get my hate. They lie and hurt families with their banter and idiocy. The biggest criminals in the world walk around Wall Street. Capitalism funds these idiots to pass laws. Fuck the police and their mentally ill bosses.