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The Hate That Hate Produced

By Quentin Jones III (Beaumont Correctional)

Really, I f***ing hate this place.

I know. You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, me too” or “Of course, you’re in prison” but this hate is different. I don’t think most prisoners hate prison like I hate prison. Why? Because if they hated prison as much as I do, they’d be working to destroy it.

I don’t believe it’s possible to truly hate something and not seek to destroy it. It goes against the self-preservation instincts needed to limit pain. As much pain as this place causes me, for me to not see its destruction would make me some sort of masochist. True enough, pain is necessary for appreciation of pleasure and struggle builds strength – I am neither contesting nor contradicting these truths. But there is a certain type of hate – a hate born from love – that will not stand idly by and allow an institution as inhumane and unjust as the prison industrial complex to stand.

Every moment of every day this hate consumes me. It fuels me. This hate is the natural result of the love I have for liberty, justice, and equality – shit, the love I have for myself. This prison constrains me at every turn. No matter how much I strive to be better, no matter how much I learn, or what I do, I am still in here. I am still a prisoner. I am still surrounded by ignorance, hate, prejudice, division, falsehoods, and perversion. And, just as in the “free world”, it is this system that, if not created, perpetuates these distortions of reality.

And this is why I hate prison so much. Not only is my daughter growing up every day without me, not only is my potential wasting away, and not only is my mother suffering unimaginable grief – this is only part of a much larger system designed to bring these distortions about. Everybody here is a victim. The Correctional Officer who was led to this job through desperation, lack of education, lack of opportunity, prejudice, or a false understanding is a product of the same system that led me to this cell. The warden who doesn’t recognize that we are not offenders or inmates but human beings – they, too, are a product of the lies this system tells us all. The teachers, afraid to speak out against the mistreatment they witness every day for fear of losing their jobs, and the counselor who carelessly manipulates the point system to our detriment, even if unintentionally – they, too, are products of this system.

The prison industrial complex is part of a larger system – a system of White Supremacy, which is an ideological system, a particular way of viewing the world that doesn’t take into account the natural connectivity between all things. I hate White Supremacy because it is the source of so many (if not all) of the world’s ills. But prison holds a special place in that dark part of my heart. See, prisons are promoted as being beneficial to society because they reduce crime and rehabilitate prisoners and, although neither of these is true, people still support prisons because they believe that bullshit. Prisons are built in remote areas so that society can, in a sense, not worry about them - “them” being the bad apples that just don’t want to follow the rules and are a danger to the rest of us. But I say it’s society that creates “them”. The flaws and sickness of society are seen in “them”. I hate that. I hate that people have been convinced that those warehouses are somehow necessary for the betterment of society because I know that as long as they believe that shit, this system will be allowed to destroy those who need society’s help the most.

I hate that people around me have accepted this place as their home. I hate their hopelessness. I hate the way this place has reduced them to a childish, almost infantile state. I hate that there are not many true men in prison but I know it’s designed to be this way because true men would not allow the injustices that occur here to continue. This place is only able to maintain itself because of the population’s cooperation. It is reminiscent of slavery. According to the 13th Amendment, it is slavery. During slavery, most slaves just accepted their lot and sought to maintain a certain status quo. Prisoners reflect the same mind state. As long as they get the outside recreation they feel they are supposed to have, the amount of food they are supposed to get, or whatever else they feel entitled to, they are okay. It is only when these things are repeatedly denied or not granted over a sustained period of time that they think to resist. I hate that! I am supposed to be FREE! I was supposed to be told the Truth when I was growing up. I wasn’t supposed to be targeted. And, if I am supposed to be here, then I am supposed to be able to educate myself and better myself as much as I desire. Why can’t I go to college? Why aren’t there better cognitive development programs? Why can’t I start my own business? Why, when these things have been proven to aid in successful rehabilitation and reentry to society? Because this system is designed for you to just sit in here and rot away, waiting to be released so you can come back again and they can continue to profit off your misery? I hate this shit! They won’t keep new books in the library but they’ll give you a new deck of cards every week. You can only have 12 books at a time but you can have a cell full of commissary. I hate this shit!

But most prisoners don’t feel like I feel. If they did, they’d do something about it. Naw, most prisoners are just like those slaves. They’ve accepted their lot. This is now their home for however long they’ve been sentenced. Sometimes I think they just don’t have anything they really want to do because if they did, then they’d be trying to educate themselves on the law and maybe find something in their case. They’d be joining together and suing the state for cruel and unusual punishment for a violation of their human rights. They’d be keeping up with the issues in prison reform and abolition and keeping their people informed and involved. They’d be working to expose the system for what it truly is rather through social media by reaching out to the mainstream media, talking to each other, or writing some essays or books. They’d be boycotting work and school until the programs are upgraded. They’d be drafting proposals for classes and programs they want to see implemented. They’d be learning about how this system works and subsequently how it can be brought down. They’d be engaging in non-violent non-cooperative protests. They could be doing all kinds of things. They could be working toward getting a sentence reduction from the Governor based on their extraordinary accomplishments in self-rehabilitation. But they don’t. They accept this shit! Subconsciously, this place has become home for them and we know home is where the heart is. Their minds have become so lost in coping with their physical circumstances, that they end up placing value on things that don’t really matter. Since they don’t want to face their own demons, flaws, or inadequacies they spend their time focusing on the things they see wrong with others. I hate that and I hate that they don’t see it. I hate that I can’t make them see it.

But more than anything, I hate myself for being in here. I hate that I fell victim to the system and became another statistic. I hate that I squandered my potential and wasted my talents. I hate that I can’t seem to inspire more of my peers to see this system for what it truly is. But I won’t give up. I’m getting the hell out of this place or I’m to die trying. So, if you hate me, hate me for that.


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