ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Prison Life- Answers From An Ex-Con

Updated on April 8, 2016

James Emerson- Author/Excon

The Beginning

Locked Down On The Inside

Today is my birthday. The sun outside is shining and while it’s not summer as of yet the cold has lost its winter bite. I’m 34 now. Another year passed as I frantically attempt to rebuild my life. Sometimes I feel like I’m running in place, trying to play catch up, as I attempt to finish the life tasks most complete in their twenties. It’s been a good year though. I have a woman who loves me and a 16 year old son who, while frustrating sometimes, makes me so proud.

I go to school full time for business. I have a 3.8 GPA with over 60 credit hours, My goal being the attainment of a graduate degree. My classmates see me as a clean cut, handsome (if I do say so myself), athletic young man. I enjoy dressing well and taking care of myself. Most see me as a nice guy.

What they would never guess, is that this isn’t the person I used to be. As a youth I was rash, and violent. I cared for no one but myself and loved nothing so much as the feeling of a gun in my hand. Armed robbery, burglary, dealing drugs, selling guns, I did anything and everything I could to make myself feel powerful and in control. I was a bad person, who cared nothing of anything but myself. It wasn’t long before my lifestyle caught up with me.

Next came the nervous waiting. Jail is like purgatory. Thick concrete walls finished in institutional tones, razor wire topped chain link fences. In a way, waiting in jail is more torturous than prison because you’re typically located close to those you care about. You can look out the windows and see the city traffic flowing in an unceasing river, knowing that nothing has stopped because you sit locked away. You can no longer kiss your woman, hug your children. If your mother lays dying you can do nothing but mourn and bang your fists on the wall in impotent protest. You’re a ghost, and it’s only the beginning.

I was locked away for thirteen and a half years, most of it at FCI Raybrook. I’ve been housed in state prisons of every security level as well as Federal prisons across the East coast. I was herded and corralled like an animal, unable to fight back or resist in any effective way. I was filled with pent up rage and helpless to exert any control over my own life. I lost everything.

In the fall of 2014 I emerged from Federal prison, a new man. I had little idea of what to expect or how I would be received. After living among animals for such an extended period adjusting to the community was going to be difficult. A recidivism rate is above 75% should prove to you that integrating after incarceration is no easy task.

It’s been almost two years now. I’m a new man. I’d like to think a good man. There’s many men who are still behind the walls awaiting their release day, there’s also many who don’t have one. I decided to start this forum to inform the public about the realities of prison life. What can one expect when they go to prison? What’s it really like “behind the wall”. America houses more prisoners than any other nation in the world. Many of us have loved ones locked away. If you would like to know what they are going through, simply ask. If you’re anticipating incarceration yourself and want to know how to prepare yourself, ask. I am here to educate the public in hopes of opening eyes, releasing some of my own pent up demons, and perhaps making conditions a little more bearable for those still inside.

So let’s discuss America’s prison system. Let’s provide clarity on the subject, and open eyes to the plight of those “paying their dues”. If I can help one person, provide peace of mind for someone who is awaiting the return of a loved one, or ease the burden of some of the millions affected by prison, then every ounce of effort I put into this blog is worth it.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)