In prison, is 'kindness' always perceived as 'weakness'?
Many people who have committed crimes and find themselves in prison can and surely do still have good hearts. Yes prison appears to be a dog eat dog world, where survival of the fittest is the rule. However can anyone give any examples or share experiences where they've bestowed an act of kindness on another person in a jail or prison environment that wasn't perceived as that person being 'weak?' I think this is a good topic for this forum and it would be nice to hear people share stories of kindness to demonstrate that 'it's not all bad behind the walls.' Thanks to anyone who cares to contribute to this thread.
No, in prison, kindness is fortunately not always equated with weakness. In fact, there is so little kindness in this world we live in that kindness, especially in prison, is like a gift of light in a dark world. Initially, I did not talk much when I went inside. I quietly surveyed the scene and paid careful attention to everyone and everything that was going on in there. I did not speak at all for the first few days, but in time, there were a few women who approached me and spoke to me with kindness, not wanting anything from me, only wanting to know me. I was blessed to be with some women who really cared about me, and I don't know how or why that happened. All I can say is that I only sent out good energy, and so I got it back in return.
In prison, there are women who do not have much of anything. Life has sucked them dry. Some of them are so lost and alone. I was just as lost as they were, but some of us bonded together and formed a unit like a family and we watched over each other. I am not saying that we didn't have to be tough. We did have to. We had to defend each other and our own space, and that was a non-negotiable fact of life. However, we also faced the same pain and struggle each day and helped one another through it with simple kindnessess: a cookie when you liked that kind of cookie at lunch, a smile or a joke, a shared card or book or an amusing story, a hand to hold. Simple things that made the difference between life and death.
"A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages."--Tennessee Williams
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I have a friend in a maximum security facility and he participates in a mentoring program for the mentally ill there. He says that even the most hard-lined inmates will respect those mentors and when they go around to take up collections (like getting candy to give to the mentally ill guys) everyone chips in.
He also says that most people respect the faith community (e.g., Muslims) and people with handicaps. So there does seem to be a sort of code about "hands off" for vulnerable groups.
He is an older person and I get the feeling that the old timers are more likely to be this way than the newer guys. So even if it is not as common as we would like, there are examples of kindness that are generally respected by the "Community."
Last edited by AnnaTrem; 11-05-2009 at 05:53 PM..
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