The Flaws and Effects of Prison
In the book, A place to Stand, by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Baca writes about prison and how being incarcerated can have impact on a person and their family. With the most beautiful, strong and poetic language, Baca tells us the story of all the people who faces difficult times in order to find their place in the world. Baca always felt like he had no place to stand in society because, all of his life he was put down by his family and friends. From the age of five Baca experienced his dad and uncles going in and out of jail from being addicted to alcohol. Baca knew he would eventually end up in jail sooner or later because that’s what he had experienced all of his life. Baca writes, “Whether I was approaching it or seeking escape from it, jail always defined in some way the measure of my life” (3). Baca felt that his life would always head in the wrong direction because of his family issues. Baca shows being in prison can cause a lot of emotional impact on a person’s life, as well as affect the community. While Baca was in prison he faced a lot of emotional distress. While in prison Baca undergoes many transformations. He finds himself at different times a violent criminal, a lost and desperate man in the insane ward, and a dedicated student. Baca finds his way within the pages of letters, and finds his voice in learning to read and write. When Baca would go through his emotional roller coaster, all of a sudden he would find an outlet for his anger, frustration, humiliation, and sadness. Even while Baca is in prison he faces endless tragedy from his family that affects him daily. When Baca first arrived to prison he had high spirits he said, “The key was to survive prison, not let it kill your spirit, crush your heart, or have you wheeled out with your toe tagged” (109). As you can see Baca went into prison with a mind set to be the best person he could be but, as usual trouble always seemed to find him. Baca always understood that his life in prison would face a lot of challenges because; he would have to prove to other inmates that he wasn’t weak. Baca said, “When I first came in, every eye in the block checked me out. I felt vulnerable, with nothing to hide behind, veil my confusion, or conceal my fear” (109). Baca wanted to do his time without getting into any trouble but, he knew that prison was separating the weak from the strong. As time pass while Baca is in prison he would get sent to the hole where he would be isolated from everyone for about thirty days. While Baca would be in the hole he would reflect back about his family and his old relationship with Theresa. Baca begins to think about his grandparents, and how he felt his life would have been different if his grandfather never would have died. Prison has an effect on the community in a way which, it has made people more violent. In the “House I Live In” documentary it says that, “imprisonment affects individuals and families living in poverty”. When an income generating member of the family is imprisoned the rest of the family must adjust to this loss of income. Because the family experiences financial lost, as a result of the imprisonment of one of its family members, the increase of expenses must be met such as the cost of a lawyer, food for the imprisoned person, transport to prison for visits and so on. Baca also states that, “In the end, as always, a cell is the only place they have for kids without families” (174) Baca came to realize that most people that we’re in prison came from broken homes. People that usually came from broken homes was more depressed and troubled and would most likely end up in prison, because they would use violence to express their anger which would eventually lead them to prison. Prisoners are violent because, they often think about how their families have to suffer because they are in prison. Another reason why prisoners are so violent is because, most prisoners is in prison for a long time...
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