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Am I Institutionalized?

My name is Richie, My info is Richard Jefferson NM1822, S.C.I Mahanoy, P.o box 33028, St. Petersburg Fl. 33733.____ I'm from Baltimore, I've been incarcerated for 10 yrs. on and off. My current bid I was sentenced to 12. for a fight. Growing up my dad went to jail for Armed robbery. He went in when I was two and came home when I was 23. Growing up people going to jail was the norm. My uncles, my mom, my brothers. At times it felt inevitable.

Am I Institutionalized? I don't think so. Prison scares me now. I now know its a place i can and will die in if I don't change. I have a son and daughter who I love very much. I came to prison when my son was only two, just like me and my dad. I want to be there for my kids. I'm well educated, and streets smart so I know I can make it. I feel prison isn't designed to help you, its designed to break you. People who are institutionalized, in my opinion, know nothing but prison, In prison they live better then they would in the real world. To them Prison IS they're home. That's not the case for me. I am no victim. I made my own decisions and now I must pay the consequences. My father not being there may have played a small role but still that's no excuse. I was bounced around from foster care to foster care, my mother was in and out of jail and hooked on drugs but still I had some good opportunities. I went to school in Africa for three months. I went to college. I was given every opportunity to change my life around and I simply didn't take it. Today though I'm doing everything in my power to do and be different. I want a different future not just for me but for my kids, my mother and those after me. I write poetry, I write lyrics, this is my inner peace.

I can't blame society or THE MAN for MY short comings. As a man, I know right from wrong and I know my actions were wrong. I just pray that the one's I've hurt will one day find it in they're heart to forgive me.

I thank you all for listening. As salaam Walaikum

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