Department of “Corrections?” Essay

Kime English: 1060 55 Instructor: Jess Koski Narrative/Descriptive Essay Department of “Corrections? ” (Does the U. S. Prison System really rehabilitate people? In my opinion, Yes. ) Here in the United States Of America, people tend to have different opinions of our justice system. Does it really work? Does our justice system really correct and rehabilitate the inmates who serve time in our correctional facilities? Some even ask the question, does it make a person even worse? Back in 2007 I unfortunately got to find out for myself.

In my opinion, our justice system can do both, depending on the individual incarcerated and whether or not they are ready to make a change to better their life. In my case, it was a huge eye opening experience that was more than enough to make me want to make a change and become a better person. As a kid growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, I was always very rebellious and constantly getting into some kind of mischief. I always pushed my limits with what I could and couldn’t get away with. From as early as I can remember I was always pushing my parent’s buttons.

When I was three years old, outside our home were little cactuses growing around the side of the house. My parents always warned me to not touch the cactuses because the thorns would poke me and I would get hurt. One day while I was outside bouncing my bouncy ball waiting on the ice cream truck to circle down our block, the ball took a funny bounce of the carport and landed over in the cactuses beside the house. As I ran towards the ball, as if I were shot out of a cannon, wanting to get my ball and get back around the front of the house quickly to not miss the ice cream truck, I saw the cactuses.

Instantly I could hear my parent’s voices in my head yelling, “Don’t ever touch the cactuses, you will get hurt! ” I looked at one of the cactuses with its needles poking out of it like an angry porcupine and without fear, completely ignoring my parent’s warnings, reached my hands down and grasped my hands around it like a football. “Ouch! ” I yelped in pure agony from the dozens of needles sticking in my hands. My dad came running out of the house to see me ducked down still squeezing the cactus. Laughing hysterically he asked, “Had to see for yourself huh? I pulled my hands back from the cactus and looked down at them. Dozens of needles were sticking out of my hands like the sewing needles in my grandma’s pin cushion. I looked up at my dad as my eyes filled up with tears and began to cry. He picked me up and carried around front as the ice cream truck was leaving our block. I had completely forgotten about the ice cream and it was too late now. From a very early age I was constantly pushing the limits and putting myself in bad situations, one right after the other.

As I grew up and got bigger, so did my desire for rebelling and seeing how far I could push things. Almost 20 years later, in March 2007, I was 22 years old and my rebellious ways had progressed to sneaking out regularly, drinking alcohol, and experimenting with drugs. It was a cooler than usual spring night in Williamsville, Missouri, a small rural town about two hours South of St. Louis. I was drinking at my friend Skyler and his sister Samantha’s house and having a great time.

It sounds silly now, but I already knew not to drink and drive, as I had many friends get caught and charged with DWI’s. I knew how much money it cost them and how hard it was for them to get their licenses back, so I did not want to end up going through the same hardships and struggles that they had went through. I always tried to make sure if I was going to drink, then I would have already made sure where I was going to be staying for the night before I started drinking, and I had done so that night. I was supposed to stay the night there, at my friend Skyler’s house.

Later on that night as the drinks had been flowing for a few hours now, and we had been drinking like dehydrated camels on a hot summer day in the desert, friends of Skyler’s sister Samantha came over to the house. This was great to Skyler and I as all of her friends were girls, and all around our age. As we began to introduce ourselves and everybody began talking over one another, getting increasingly louder, Skyler and Samantha’s mother came storming out of her bedroom, stomping through the house like a raging bull. She had been sleeping and had woken up to a houseful of obnoxiously loud, belligerent, drunks. “Everybody out now! she screamed, and everybody ran out of the house except for me. I was too drunk to even think about driving, so I said to her, “but Sharon, I can’t drive home, I’m drunk! ” She replied, almost as quick as I could get that out, “ I said get out right now! ” I quickly ran out to my car and put the key in the ignition and turned it over. The engine cranked over and I sat there staring out the windshield wondering where everybody else had ran off to. I remember thinking to myself, I’m too drunk to drive, but with everybody gone and nowhere for me to go, I made the decision to risk getting caught and try to make the two hour drive back home.

I didn’t know it then, but this decision would affect my life forever. “Hold it right there! ” I hear someone yell as I wake up and open my eyes. I am in my car. Shocked, I look down to my left and into my cracked side mirror to see that I had wrecked. I was stuck on a fire hydrant that I had knocked over and it was spraying water out like a volcano. To make matters worse, the Missouri State Highway Patrol was behind me and two patrolmen were approaching my car with their flashlights and guns drawn. Still in a drunken state of shock, I reach out the window and open the door from the outside. I’m going to make a break for it. ” I tell myself. As I step out of the car, my feet sink down in a cold, wet, mud, like that of quick-sand, and I fall flat on my face. I am lying face down in a ditch filled with mud and water from the broken fire hydrant, my car was now perched on like a gargoyle on a New York City building. “Oh now that’s funny! ” the patrolmen laughed, and I knew right then I had made a huge mistake. I don’t remember much more of that night, but the next morning I woke up to a horn ringing extremely loud in my ear like a bomb siren during war-time, to realize that I was in jail.

Over the next five days I sat in complete silence in a six foot by nine foot cell by myself, as ordered by the judge for my DWI. Since I was only going to be there for a short period of time, so they say, they decided not to hassle with dressing me out and placing me in general population. Instead they left me in a one-man drunk tank for the entire five days. The drunk tank was solid concrete, cold and smooth, and everywhere. I had an inch thick, puke green mattress, over a rectangular chunk of raised concrete, three feet off the ground to sleep on.

There was only a cold, tarnished, stainless steel sink/toilet combo without a door in the corner for a bathroom. That was it. The door had a little vertical sliver of window to look out, which the guards placed a magnet over so that I couldn’t see out. There was nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no way to tell what time of day it was, as they left the light on in the cell twenty four hours a day. Being stripped of literally everything I owned, every freedom, and all dignity I had as a an, forced me to spend my entire one hundred and twenty hours of time in jail reflecting on my life and how to improve it so that nothing like this would ever happen to me again. To this day, ever since I walked out of that jail, I have never been in any kind of trouble with any branch of law enforcement, never drank and drove, or used any illegal substances again. Although a lot of American people think that our justice system does not rehabilitate or change people for the better, because of my experience, I believe our justice system can and does change and rehabilitate people who have the desire to change themselves.