Inside the Walls: Contraband

Photo by Ye Jinghan on Unsplash

is contraband in prison because free thinking, independence of spirit and open mindedness are like acids that eat away at all prison bars and locked doors. Liberating the heart and mind, even when the body is not free.

is contraband in prison because brotherhood always speaks out against oppression and poses threats to the power structures. Prisoners overcoming racism, prejudice and hate, to see each other as equals, is the system’s biggest fear.

is contraband in prison. How many of my brothers are here who shouldn’t be? Some innocent of guilt, others guilty of innocence. While many here have harmed others, still there are those whose “crimes” have no victim. Moreover, we must never forget that cops, judges, jurors, and prison guards often see to it that justice is not done for the poor, oppressed, and helpless inside these walls.

is contraband in prison. From fists and shanks to shields and batons, violence is the way of all tyranny. Remember: The system wants us at each other’s throats because it makes us much easier to control. And the worst violators of the peace are often those pledged to defend it (e.g., killer cops, military leaders, jingoistic politicians, etc.).

is contraband in prison. The warm embrace of family and friends. The touching and holding of lovers dear. The fires of passion, stoked and quenched by hands, lips, tongues, and bodies. All this is denied and forbidden here. There is no room for love in Hell! When you can’t be with your loved ones in times of joy or crisis… That is when the contraband nature of love in a carceral state becomes most clear… But really… In a society where hatefully punitive laws, institutions, and practices are all too often the established norms… Should anyone be surprised that love is nowhere to be found in prison???

is contraband in prison because, if we knew even half of what the system didn’t want us to know, surely the walls would come tumbling down. For their bricks are laid with the mortar of doublethink and their foundations are always built upon falsehood. This is the house Orwell’s Big Brother built. But, by developing a new and revolutionary consciousness… Together, perhaps, we can find a way out of this deception, this misnomer, this evil hoax, this lie the system dares to call “corrections,” when, in fact, it is absolutely nothing of the kind. For the ultimate truth is this: The ruling elites need to keep the most marginalized elements of our society stuck in the revolving door of recidivism, because they fear them!

is contraband in prison. How else can it be in a place like this? Where inane rules, illogical policies, twisted thinking, and warped minds reign supreme among both prisoners and staff. Here, the authorities often make up the rules as they go along. What regulations do actually exist are always interpreted in ways that serve the interests of the powers that be. So, if you’re a victim of wrong-doing in prison, don’t expect there to be common sense resolutions to your problems. Especially not if it inconveniences those who run these hell holes in any way, shape, or form they please. Critical thinking means nothing where arbitrariness is the order of the day. Power always trumps fairness and logical deduction and rationality are never approved of in slaves.

is contraband in prison. As powerless beings we are jammed into tiny cubes, forced to live in unnatural close quarters or unnatural solitude. Manacled, thwarted, squelched, isolated, and restrained at every turn. Required or compelled to do this; prohibited or punished if we do that. Deprived of simple pleasures and quite often of necessities as well. When you’re locked up, contentment can be as fleeting as a lightning flash and seeking joy can be as futile as a dog chasing its tail. Those who say: “Prisoners have no right to be happy,” just don’t understand. Such people should be made to suffer and endure the demeaning life behind bars and locked doors which is our constant reality, but not part of our sentences.

is contraband in prison. When you’re treated like a cross between a wayward child and a potentially dangerous or predatory animal, it’s often as if you’re a nonentity, devoid of rights, privacy, and humanity. So how can respect for the inherent worth of the life, person, and meager possessions of inmates ever be achieved? Such a thing doesn’t stand a chance as long as the modern-day slavery of imprisonment in penal institutions, mental hospitals, and all other such places continues to exist.

is contraband in prison. Because through unity, we can join the fight against cruelty, malfeasance, and corruption as a bulwark of mighty solidarity. For unity always stands tall against unfairness of all kinds. But if I take your hand…you, me, and tomorrow link up as one. Regardless of race, creed, color, class, or cultural background, no matter who or what we are, or what some of us have done, we must never forget that we’re all in this together. “All together now!” This must become our motto. For united there is little we cannot do. Making vows against injustice. Raising voices in loud protest against harm masquerading as “Rehabilitation.” Speaking truth to power, we are a resounding war cry, shouting down all that is unfair. Together, our siren duet can reach a great thundering crescendo.  The bottom line is that all prisoners’ lives matter!