Hell is prison
Tell me of life: living, brotherhood, compassion, understanding, reasons, forgiveness, love.
Tell me of democracy: freedom and rights, equality and justice, dignity and trust.
Teach me about good and evil, rules and laws, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.
Show me hell: frustration, helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, anguish, loneliness, separation.
Show me control: censorship, surveillance, no privacy, head counts, slave labor, strip searches.
Show me pain and suffering: broken hearts, destroyed lives, human degradation.
Show me toilets in threes—marked: “Men,” “Women,” “Inmates.”
Show me the system: power, bureaucracy, authority, circles and channels.
Show me people who aren’t people but jobs.
Show me cages: locks and guards, walls and doors, chains and bars.
Show me the never ending jangling of keys.
Show me rehabilitation: punishment, brainwashing, torture, propaganda.
Show me psychological tightrope walking.
Show me time: days, months, years, a lifetime.
Show me—I am a prisoner.
Robert H. Senden
Sandstone Federal Correctional Institute
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