Dear American Justice,
When I first encountered your Judicial System In the year of 1989, I was a young and ignorant 18 year old fool still trying to figure out who I was as a man. I was an unguided, Immature and troubled lost soul who had no idea and/or clue as to what I was actually doing in the inner city streets of Elm City, New Haven, Connecticut. And despite the fact that I both knew and understood that selling drugs, carrying firearms and assaulting individuals was a violation of both our moral and criminal laws, As an uneducated problematic teenager who had no respect for self and/or others, I honestly did not know and/or care to understand the severity and/or consequences of my actions and crimes.
I honestly did not know and/or care to understand that I could easily receive a 25 year prison sentence for the felonies I was senselessly committing. Even though I both knew and understood the reality of prison from an outsider's perspective, I never thought and/or believed that I would end up becoming an inner city statistic.
I never imagined that I would become the 82%, however on June 21, 1989 that is exactly what and who I became. Inmate number 22090-069
My first experience with your prison system was a frightening one to say the least, and even though at that time there were only a limited amount of educational programs I could've and probably should of taken advantage of, my survival and well being as a man meant much more to me than a General Equivalency Diploma. My manhood and safety meant more to me than any available program afforded to me by your department of "in-corrections", and you certainly may not understand or even care why as an uneducated young man I didn't take advantage of those opportunities, however at that particular time in my life you left me with only 2 options. Fight or be victimized.
You see the prison system I was subjected too was nothing more than an animal house designed to either harden me and/or destroy me, and as an impressionable young man who was already fueled by the anger and rage I experienced throughout the course of my childhood life, It hardened me to the point where my first altercation with another prisoner ended with him in the intensive care unit and me subsequently in the hole.
And at no point during the course of my incarceration did I begin my prison sentence with the intentions of assaulting others prisoners and/or "Correctional Officers", In fact I wanted desperately to change my life and/or become rehabilitated. However after observing young men being raped, assaulted, humiliated and broken by both prisoners and prison staff. I came to the conclusion that I would rather kill and/or be killed then end up becoming a victim of your tactics and peers.
After observing a young man being burned to death by his own "so-called Gang brothers behind a drug debt that wasn't paid, I realized that if I wanted to survive in this world which you skillfully created, that I would literally have to go numb and become an animal myself.
Fortunately at the time I neither murdered anyone nor was seriously injured by anyone, yet in understanding my condition and knowing what I was up against I assaulted several individuals including your staff and ended up turning a 5 year prison sentence into an 8 year prison prison nightmare.
I ultimately ended up spending approximately 23 months of that 8 year prison term on administrative segregation, more notably the hole. Despite the fact that being isolated from the general population deterred me from hurting others, the physical as well as mental torture that was inflicted upon me by your prison staff and system in general drove me to become angrier, hateful, and cold. So cold in fact that once I was finally released from this terror after having served a total of 6 and a half years, I picked up a gun within 11 days of finally being released and without hesitation, compassion and/or respect for human life, I senselessly fired a bullet into the mouth of another troubled inner city young man who was just as lost as I was.
I willingly inflicted pain on others so that in some way, shape or form they could feel and identify with the anger and unbearable pain you inflicted upon me. And in doing so and continually living a reckless, destructive and irresponsible life, I ultimately graduated from your state run facilities into your Federal Bureau of Prisons.
At times I wonder if the system you designed and subjected me too did indeed mold me into the animal I became. Despite the fact that I was a "criminal" in your sense of the word, I was also an 18 year old troubled young man who needed nothing more than your help, guidance and protection. Unfortunately I did not find that help, guidance and/or protection behind your concrete prison walls and in falling victim to the abnormalities of prison life and succumbing to the senseless violence that plagued its population, I became and am now what most Americans consider to be a career offender, ex felon, convict and statistic. I am now what America considers to be a menace to our so-called civilized society. Even though I have taken full responsibility for my past actions, crimes and life and am now free. I know and fully understand that regardless of what I say and/or do to make amends for my past I will forever be stigmatized as such.
I know and fully understand that the transformation I have made changes nothing whatsoever and that despite the fact that I have both matured and learned from the many poor and reckless decisions that I have made throughout the course of my life, in the eyes of many including you, I will always be considered inmate number 22090-069.
I thank you for the pain and unforgettable experiences you have given to me American justice. I thank you for creating that untamed beast who is now an O.G and number.
written and conceived by Billie Gomez