And the longer they are in, subjected to years and years of unremitting anguish, the deeper the scars and hopefully the stronger the resolve . . .
This optimism is astonishing. That after years of incarceration a man is still fighting for his freedom and that of others.
by Herman Bell
Loneliness is a prominent fixture in a long-termer’s life. He wakes with it and beds with it. It can lead to mental depression that is marked by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, to a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, to feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes to suicidal tendencies. In such a state the will is fragile: your hair might come out in clumps. You might pick at your skin, at your nose, or at both. Your lack of hygiene may cause noses to flair, people to talk about you, and even to avoid you. Another prominent feature of prison life is tension, which is so rife in prison that it is worn like an extra layer of skin. Anger is yet another feature: an unpaid debt, a slight – real or imagined – a look, an unguarded word…
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