What is it like to go to jail while you are completely innocent?

Mudassir Ali
Feb 14, 2020 04:54 AM 0 Answers
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Mudassir Ali
- Feb 14, 2020 04:54 AM

I think this applies to many people that go to/have been to jail; it is rare to find an inmate who thinks they deserve to be jailed.
How it is. I’ll describe my own experience. I was first jailed, wrongly I thought at the time, in Victoria, Australia in 1998 for just several months.
Inmates are put in holding cells after being convicted in court. The environment there is one of shock, fear and violence; I saw a man have a sizeable chunk bitten out of his face the day I was sentenced – brawls are common and freak the living shit out of first timers. There’s no exercise, you are neglected by the cops and you sit there and pray for the next escort van to take you to a real prison so you can get a bit of air and natural light (the cells are brightly lit by flickering fluorescent lights 24/7 in the holding areas). You are there with an assortment of terrified newcomers, withdrawing addicts and alcoholics and guys who’ve done it before and are often ramping up the fear for a laugh.
When you finally get escorted its to more holding cells, you have to hand over everything you have, strip and spread your butt cheeks and shower. Guys often take a dump in the showers because the holding cells are crowded and shitting in a room full of guys in fight or flight mode is not a good idea. You’re given prison issue clothes thatve been worn by countless others and are matted with their dead skin particles – the source of the skin problems that plague inmates. You get assigned to a section of the jail according to your offences and then you do your first walk through the eagle eyes of all the other inmates, intimidation is not the word. You get a cell though and if you’re lucky you get a one-out, a single person cell. Otherwise you get to stay with someone either as terrified as you or a returnee who’ll probably start trying to stand over you for whatever meager possessions you have, cigarettes, a better uniform, anything really. The old adage about rape is rare & generally only happens to people who’ve done something particularly stupid. You get to go outside in a yard and breathe fresh air again, all the while with your eye on those around you – that atmosphere is fear, intimidation and implied violence, and a don’t care attitude from the screws, the staff. And you listen to 9 out of 10 inmates bitterly complaining about why they shouldn’t be there in the first place – my whole point here. No one believes that they can possibly deserve to be thrown into these circumstances.
But you slowly become adjusted to it, the routines, the time passing so slowly and with so little to do. Jail is 90% boredom and 10% full on violence all in an atmosphere of intense fear and loathing. By about 3 months you’ve become used to it, forever. The experience changes you and your outlook on society to a predatory one. It takes years to come around sometimes never. I’ve known plenty of people who committed crimes just to go back to jail because that is the world they’ve become used to. Integration back into normal society is difficult as you’re still constantly on guard and can’t bring yourself to trust anyone else.
Personally I’d rather be beaten senseless by the people I stole from. They would have a sense of justice done, and I would be forced to face and accept my wrongdoing. There’s not much justice going on in the real sense of the word. Jails are there to isolate people who are out of control from society and no more than that. And it doesn’t work. You come out MORE out of contr.

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