I was psychologically and sexually harassed at my former work place. They treated me like a peon, protected the people who attacked me and did everything they could to “build a case against me” while they acted in various prohibited ways. After some time I just finally lost it and they used a handful of emails and texts to say I was harassing them.
I’ve went to the police after being assaulted at a fast food place and they told me not to go after midnight. I literally pointed out some of the handful of the people that attacked me and they did nothing. My own sister had mechanic leave her a message threatening her life due to a dispute they were having and the police officer told her, “why don’t you just pay him?” But we have a different justice system for people with power, and since the security for my employer’s parent university was making the complaint, the SPVM went full out against me.
In the end I was acquitted of all their BS chargers and I was only guilty of breach of conditions; conditions that I was given based on a charge I was acquitted of! But during this process I spent 50 days in jail (none of it sentenced, just held on bail), and by the time it was over, I realized jail wasn’t so bad.
When you’re just waiting for trial, because you should only be there for a relatively short period, they put everyone in a maximum security prison. Maximum security sounds scary but all it really means is that you have less amenities and that they keep you in your cell in more intervals than other places might. Two to a cell and twenty to a block. Each block had a tv and two payphones. Once a week we could take out books from library (which was BIG for me) and could order extra food and toiletries from the canteen. We could also use the gym at least once a week (maybe more) and could go outdoors one hour a day. We played cards a lot and I even learned a really fun game while I was there.
My first days were pretty abysmal. I was suicidal, being held in isolation, and not eating. I was just so mad that they were getting away with it AGAIN. Then I got sick and caught a pneumonia (if I get Covid, I’m suing everyone). Once I was done with that though, things just got easy. It also helped that I was able to put money in my account. With $100 a week you’re rich in jail and in my case I was still being paid, by none other than the people accusing me! It was easy living after that. I had everything I needed. I could read in peace and quiet or maybe play sudoku or watch tv (Sundays were fun cause we watched football). I was always entertained. I was able to write in my journal and even took the time to prepare my case.
You get a lot of dummies in prison. A good portion are intellectually disabled. Why we allow such inhumanity, I can’t answer. But even amongst my group of 20 I was able to find some cool people and with about half of them I could have at least one topic of conversation. I developed a reputation as being a bit of an antagonist with the guards (I’m not taking shit from some uneducated backwoods Quebecois) and that endeared me to people. Plus I was always willing to trade stuff and I’d let them pay me back. At first I thought I’d get screwed over but better to keep the peace and I can afford it but no, I got all the principle back and the intrest!
One thing I want to highlight is that I was nice. I wasn’t being a tough guy (except with the gaurds) and most people in there with me were the same. We were all in the same boat and tried to make the best of it.
I was even able to take some French classes while I was there. It did help to break up the monotony of some of the day, but with all the books I was reading, it wasn’t necessary.
One of my favorite topics of conversation was learning about how things were in other jails. I was surprised to learn we were basically in the worst place possible! Because again, it wasn’t so bad. But I learned if your sentenced to more than two years, you get to serve at a federal prison; the greatest of all prisons. There you got your own cell and own tv and could even get a video game system! You could take university classes. I kept thinking to myself if I spend 10 years in prison, I’m coming out of there with two PhDs!
But this is the sad part. Currently, I have no fear of prison. When I get angry about what happened to me, I think of violence and I feel ZERO concern for going to prison. Absolutely none. Prison seems easy. But there are drawbacks to prison, its easy street but there are very little opportunities for joy. I can’t get to know new people or go to a new bar or club. I can’t fall in love or have sex. I can’t do something that makes me excited about the future. It’s easy but it’s joyless. So why don’t I fear it?
Covid-19 has us all self-isolating. It was very easy for me. I just postponed a couple of appointments I had. I simply don’t see or talk to anyone anymore. I’m depressed. I have PTSD. I’m angry. And I just don’t know who I am anymore or what I want. I’ve lost my sense of self. When people are alone, and have nothing really going for them, prison just isn’t that bad. I could get better but I’d bet against that right now because there are no signs of anything changing. At least not yet. Maybe some positive thoughts here and there but little action.
I guess I just wanted to write this to highlight how horrible life is for so many that jail is really nothing to be afraid of. I would have never thought I’d think that but having experienced prison, I can’t deny how utterly unimpressed I am with it, given my knowledge of what depression and PTSD has done to my life.