Stanley "Tookie" Williams, who has written many books, was sentenced to life imprisonment at the San Quentin State Prison. He served his sentence only from 1991 until when he was executed by lethal injection, as evident in December, 2005. He was the co-founder and a self-proclaimed leader of the Crips, an infamous gang in US. He elucidates on how horrible and inhospitable prison life could be and hopes that his message will change the lives of many criminals. Every prison in the US and county jail are different. For example, in Michigan, there are low security camps which are mainly for non-violent offenders. This is where they aim at genuinely getting one back on the straight and improve their life skills, drug rehab and employment training. There is then the level 5, where management of extremely dangerous criminals is undertaken. Here they ensure that the criminal fully feels the impact of being in jail, and since his or her jail term is quite long, the circumstances naturally rehabilitate the person. Prison life is not adorable, and people should ensure that they conform to the states rules and regulations.
That prison had no gym equipment. The gyms that people believe and watch in movies are considered as weapons and are always forbidden. The meals are unhealthy and generally make one grow fat. They have much fat, and there is no consideration of the health of the inmates by those who prepare it. Stanley explains how his block had only one treadmill that was deemed operational in the whole prison. That is in addition to food with extremely high fat and cholesterol levels, which are not healthy. One gets flabby at a very fast pace, and it is not desirable. It calls for personal initiatives to ensure that one keeps fit and avoids excessive weight. Stanley decided to engage one of his cell mates into a daily routine of exercises. In their room, they did some pushups and jogs. He considered it as being gay but had no option other than practicing it. These scenes and explanations can make one dread committing offenses. One’s health is extremely important, and the cells should check into that.
The moment one gets into prison, he or she should be ready to face solitary confinement. It makes one behave in the right manner and conform to the rules set in the prison. He or she will have to obey all the instructions given by the guards. Since one has a new “family”, he or she will have no other option than doing as expected at that place. It may sound a bit hectic at the beginning, but after some time one realizes that solitary life is normal in prisons. This means that every prisoner has to find a way of coping with that life. There are no books, lights are kept off, no friends, no blankets, and one is locked up for 23 hours (Stanley 20).
One is introduced to a harsh environment where he or she knows no one. When one acts naïve, he or she may be tortured by the experienced prisoners. It is humiliating and can even make one think of committing suicide. The love that one once felt to friends and family is no longer there. The prison is a place where only the brave can survive.
Drugs in the prison are always a viable option. One comes to terms with this after some time. There are always many people who peddle them. He elucidates on how it is easy to get drugs in the cell. There is also life inside the prisons. Criminals get away with illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, and the guards are the main peddlers. They use the experienced prisoners as their agents. The solitude in prisons makes one get involved in activities he or she never thought of doing. The idleness and the level of which one misses his or her family and friends tempt one into drug use and abuse (Stanley 11).
People in prisons always conform to the life there. One has to realize that he or she is not the first one to come to prison. There are many others who are more experienced in dealing with prison life. If one seeks to know where the drugs come from, he or she may face the wrath of other inmates. It may look as if prison life has all the rehabilitation qualities, but when it comes to drugs, one does things that he or she may not have dreamt of. Other inmates also take advantage of the naïve, new prisoners. They never give them time to settle and think straight. They make life a hell for the new inmates. The use of needles is common. That explains how paranoid he was about the fact that he could contact AIDS and went on to keep only one needle during his entire prison life. Tetanus soon caught up with him as the needle got rusty and the only option left was to spend most part of his days at the sick bay (Stanley 15).He also decided to use cocaine although it was a bit expensive. They had plans with the guards who could make sure that they get high. He even went to an extent of hiding some tablets in his skin. All these demonstrate how prison life can be so risky that one would not wish to get back there.
Prison life is not a life one can desire. It is necessary for everyone to ensure that he or she conforms to all the laws of the land to avoid getting into prison.