by Fausto Minor
Since my incarceration my life has changed dramatically. The change came when I realized that I can do something constructive with my time in prison. This realization came to me while I was serving a twenty-six month SHU term. That is when I decided that I no longer wanted to be a prisoner of my own vice, so I started to study all sorts of subjects that would stimulate my mind. I began to see the positive aspects of being in prison. Once I realized that prison can be a positive experience for me, is when I knew I will be able to change my life around for the betterment of myself and my future.
I was serving a twenty-six month SHU term for an assault on an inmate with a weapon. I was in the midst of a fool’s drama when I stabbed a man. I was nineteen years old at the time, and I felt that my life had become desultory. I had given up all hope in life and wasn’t worried about the consequences of my actions. I truly believe that my life was over ever since the judge sentenced me to sixteen years in a state prison. It wasn’t until after I was almost killed in my cell and serving twenty-six month SHU term all alone in my cell that I realized I needed to change my life. Those moments of solitary confinement allowed me to think long and hard about my life. I came to the conclusion that I should use this time spent in prison to expand my mind.
I began to read all sorts of books while in Ad-Seg. I read books on political figures, to revolutionist, and philosophers. I was even able to find a math book that helped me sharpen my math skills. As time went on I became even thirstier for knowledge and wanted to learn about anything and everything. But I was limited in my resources. After my release from Ad-Seg, I found out that the prison has a voluntary college program for inmates that were interested, so I immediately signed up.
Signing up for college has been the first step to a positive future for me. Since then I have been able to finish my first year of college. Which I am studying for my A.A. in liberal arts with a focus in humanities. The program has changed my perception of life and changed it for the better, I must say. I no longer feel that my life is desultory and now I have goals. Aside from college I’ve also been able to take advantage of other programs that have helped me break free from the negative vices keeping me on the wrong path in life. All of this change came about because of a thirst for knowledge I had in ad-seg. I am able to see that me being in prison should not define me. Instead I believe what should define me is what I do with my time while in prison.
I would like to believe that prison has changed me for the betterment of my future. My release from prison will be a testament of my endeavor while in prison. My state of mind now will be the key factor to my success upon releases. Now that I am done trying to live that fool’s dream and have broken free from that tough guy prison mentality, I now have the chance to live my life with a better understanding and a better perspective on the quality of life.