That’s Institutionalized – The Reason I’m Here


That’s Institutionalized is a blog series about inmates. The series showcases the anonymous writings of offenders in Virginia. The writings include narrative accounts on past lives, convictions, dreams, and future plans.

“The first night’s the toughest, no doubt about it. They march you in naked as the day you were born, skin burning and half blind from that delousing shit they throw on you, and when they put you in that cell… and those bars slam home… that’s when you know it’s for real. A whole life blown away in the blink of an eye. Nothing left but all the time in the world to think about it.” ~ Red, The Shawshank Redemption

The Reason I’m Here

Below is an anonymous account written by an inmate.

What led me to this point in life? I made a terrible decision and encouraged others to do badly. Instead of me being a role model and telling him or her to do the right things. I’m locked up because I got caught stealing with my friend.

The crazy thing about it, he was younger than me. It’s a big difference from being a good friend or a bad friend. See if I was a good friend when the person came up with the idea, I would of said ‘that’s not a good idea’. Even though it’s all of my fault for leading the younger ones to do wrong, I’ve still taken responsibility for my actions. I accept the punishment that has been given to me. I’ve said this is God’s way of saying to get my life together…before it is too late. I just want to be successful and have my mother and father proud of me. My mother and father are the best parents a child could ask for. There are many kids in today’s world without a father or their mother is on drugs. That’s why I need to be thankful for having loving and caring parents who stuck their necks out for me through thick and thin. To this day I still owe my mom and dad because I put them through hell, and I don’t want to cause any more problems. I slowly learned that our parents aren’t going to be here forever. So I need to do positive things and accomplish what I need in life. Ever since I’ve been incarcerated I learned how to be a man. I took the initiative to go enroll myself in the GED program, even though this is not my first time. This time I promise to stay focused and accomplish to earn my GED. My goals are to be successful…I want to further my education. I have skills in computer technology, I am also multi-talented and sing and write my own music.
My main focus is really to take care of my family. But, they say “how can you take care of somebody else and you can’t take care yourself?” I don’t have an answer.


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