An End To “Us Against Them”

An End To “Us Against Them”

Convicts against the guards. When I first began my life within the prison industrial complex over 28 years ago, this maxim was a hard and fast reality. Since then, I have witnessed it fade into an often intangible concept – and I am grateful to see its decline.

The root of this antagonism is easy to identify. Prisoners feel anger towards a system gone awry, and resentment for their captors grow, as guards attempt to rule by force rather than be reason, imagining that having the ability to do something gives them the authority to do it.

The passion of resistance burns fiercely within me, and I can feel the heartbeat of this problem. But there comes a time when we have to put our resentments aside if we are to ever have any real hope of peace and happiness. My hope is that by sharing one simple concept I can broaden the perspective of those that still subscribe to the “us against them” philosophy.

We all want to go home on time. Prisoners and guards alike.

Prisoners all want to be released at the earliest date, and in turn, prison staff all wish to go home at the end of their shift. Fortunately, the modern prison experience provides many opportunities for staff and prisoners to have positive interaction, which allows us to see the humanity in ach other.

Going home on time is an ideal that we can extend far beyond the walls of prison. This common goal is present in every class of our society, and through its acknowledgement, we can develop an often missing sense of connection between both sides of this paradigm.

I know all too well that prison is an inherently negative environment, and as such, this message will fall on many deaf ears – for prisoners and guards alike. But for most of us, this concept will resonate, and I hope grow.

It is no longer us against them. Today, it is us and them – together. Striving for stronger and healthier communities. Through embracing this common goal, we can all move beyond the anger and pain, and find a place where we can heal.

I want to thank the staff and supporters of Adopt an Inmate for taking the time to care. I want all of you to know that the kindness and consideration that you offer is deeply appreciated.

In Boldness,

Jacob Ivan Schmitt

Letters From Prison: The Price of Stupidity

Letters From Prison: The Price of Stupidity

by Frank E. Page Sr.

The first officer that any male who goes to prison in the state of Alabama will meet is known as “Michael Jordan.” This is not his real name, but the nickname given him many years ago as he looks like a shrunken version of the more famous basketball player. if he had had a stroke. Inmates in Alabama county jails know and warn first-timers about this officer. I have had personal encounters with him and I would like everyone to be aware of this 30-year “decorated” officer.

Kilby Correctional Facility has a no smoking policy in the chapel for any type of religious service, or when going to see the captain (whose office is located in the chapel). Each dorm would execute church call a little differently, but all inmates had to go through a checkpoint office to get to the chapel. Kilby keeps different types of inmates separated, so there are fences inside of fences, with checkpoints along the way.