How could I have been so stupid? I curse myself as I'm led away in handcuffs to my home for the next ten years, at least. No, I wasn't just "in the wrong place at the wrong time," and I'm not going to claim I'm innocent, because I'm not. And I'm not mad because I got caught. I'm mad at myself for doing it in the first place. I made a stupid decision, and I'm paying for it now.
I wonder what my first twenty-four hours in prison will be like. If I can survive one day, the others will be similar. I mean, it's not like my routine will be interrupted because I have to run out to the store for something, or my daughter forgot her lunch. No, for the next few years, my life will be a monotonous routine. Day after day after day.
The transport van takes me to the prison, and I'm processed. They give me a "security rating" that's supposed to indicate how much of a risk I am to myself, my fellow prisoners, and staff. Right. I can't even predict my own behavior half the time. That's how I ended up here in the first place. If I can't predict my behavior, how do they think they can? I suppose I should be glad, though. If I were honest with myself and they had asked me, I'd have put myself in a higher security level.
They lead me to my cellblock and introduce me to my cellmate. We spend the next hour or so talking about what landed us here and talking about prison life.
Then it's time for dinner. At least it's a hot meal. Maybe if I can think of one positive thing every day, this won't be so bad. After dinner, I meet other men in my cellblock.
Some pass the time reading, some play makeshift chess games, others just talk. As for me, I arrange the few belongings I have. I reach into my bag one last time and pull out my Bible.
"You a Christian?" my cellmate asks.
"Yeah. Or at least I was. I mean, I think I am, but..."
"Cool. Me too."
In those simple words, my cellmate indicates he understands my struggles; that he too wonders how he could have committed a crime and claim to be a Christian. Maybe this won't be as bad as I thought. I turn to Lamentations. Lamenting seems oddly appropriate right now.
Soon the guards are doing a headcount before lights out. I look at the clock outside my cell and notice it's almost eleven o'clock, nearly twelve hours since I got on the transport van.
I lie on my bed, trying to find a comfortable position, but I quickly discover it's near impossible. Though the guards have shut off the lights, there are still shouts and curses echoing throughout the cellblock. The guards yell back for them to be quiet, but it doesn't do much good.
I shift in the bed, and try to block out all the new, strange noises. Every time I'm about to drift off I hear a cell door shake, or a scream. I wonder how they ever expect someone to sleep here. Isn't sleep deprivation covered by the Constitution? Or the Geneva Convention? Or... something?
Sooner that I wished, the guards are shouting at us to get up. I dare look at the clock again. Five in the morning. They expect us to live on six hours of fragmented sleep for years on end? Perhaps I should spend my time studying that Constitution and the Geneva Convention after all... Somehow I don't think it's readily available in the prison library. Well, maybe it would be available, because... There goes my over analytical mind again. It always seems to act up when I have down time. I suppose it will be my constant companion here. Better get used to it.
They let us have a shower, if it can even be called that. Breakfast is next, cell time, and lunch. Then it's an hour in the yard. At least I'll get to see the sun some. After that, cell time, and soon it's dinner again. I realize I've made it through my first twenty-four hours in prison. I survived. I can handle this, one day at a time.
The LORD'S loving-kindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
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