“This experience changed my entire outlook on people. Before I got arrested I thought that everyone had some morals and values… but in there, they treated people like animals.”
Mentally, I was a child when I got arrested. I had to transform into a cold-hearted adult. I was 17 and about to be 18, so the week after I was arrested, I was moved upstairs to be housed with all the adults. This experience changed my entire outlook on people. Before I got arrested I thought that everyone had some morals and values, and I assumed that people were nice until they proved otherwise. But in there, they treated people like animals… they were so mean. It was extremely degrading – correctional officers wouldn’t give people toilet tissue or pads. At first I was trying to talk to people and make friends. The next day those same friends would try to steal my stuff or gang up on me and try to fight me. It was like mental torture.
Someone was always trying to take advantage of you, so it made me put my guard up. I wouldn’t talk to anyone. I’d just lay on my bed by myself and cry because I didn’t know who to trust and I had no one to talk to. I felt so alone and confused. The one person I made friends with went home, and I didn’t want to make any more friends just to have them leave me again.
Mentally, I still struggle from my time in an adult jail. I automatically judge that everyone is against me. I’ve been trying to change it back, but mentally I was set in that way. The bottle in my photo represents an escape. It’s like an opportunity for the old me to come back and forget about the bad stuff to live in the moment. I want to live life without it, I don’t want to feel so frustrated or agitated that I need an escape.
It’s been three years and I’ve gotten better now – I won’t let a lot of stuff get me to the point of anger. I’m finally reaching the point where I want to be. I want to be happy and bubbly. Even if someone is disrespectful to me I want to be that person who still reacts with respect.