I’ve been incarcerated for so long. I spent three years in the juvenile system and was sentenced to two natural life sentences, eight months after my release from juvenile. At 36 years of age, I’ve spent about 21 years of my life incarcerated. However, that’s not what I mean by “so long.” 

“So long” speaks to the fact that my whole life has been someone telling me what to do without offering me help to get through whatever the issues were in my life. It starts with your mother or father or both separated with two different sets of values, so that even when you do right, it’s wrong. Next, I found the Nation of Islam, which was taught to me by an aunt and uncle, who both wanted me to be and live up to something that they couldn’t and wouldn’t do. Next, I found gangs, when I was about nine years old, and I didn’t understand ‘til I got life that gangs only protect those at the top. 

Every one of my friends in my age group is either dead or locked up. And now, serving two natural life sentences, prison has control over my life, and I’m sentenced to live like this until I die. So from birth to death, someone has always controlled what I did with my life. It’s sad because now I can think for myself, and I’m being told that I will never be actually given the chance as a free man. It angers me so much. In everyone’s prison sentence, they change for the better; then, when nothing happens, which we call “bits,” we become careless, hopeless, and angry all over again. And it comes from suffering. So long.