My Prison Experience Essay

1504 Words 7 Pages
My Prison Experience I am a convicted felon; it defines my circumstances, not my character. Being a convicted felon brings with it a seemingly insurmountable stigmatization within society, of which I battle through daily. I am not proud of the choices I have made yet I am distressed by the lifetime of consequences I have and will continually endure. Despite these consequences I have not given up hope of a better life to come. With seven years of personal experience, I can assert with confidence that by enduring the criminal conviction process, the racial disparities within the system, the current utilization of convict leasing and physical and mental abuse, and continuing mental and legal effects, that the criminal justice system in America …show more content…
Racial disparity seems to be built into the structure of the United States criminal justice system. “Racial disparity continues at the correctional level of the justice system in Virginia. Virginia’s prisoners are mostly African American, family‐aged and under‐educated. African Americans incarcerated in state‐run facilities comprise over 60 percent of the inmate population, despite making up less than 20 percent of the general population” (Braford, 2013). I noticed this disparity in most of the facilities in which I was housed. The only exception was Chesapeake Correctional Center. As a white woman in a black world, I encountered many forms of racism. The simplest form was a nickname I was given while in jail for my probation violation in 2007. I was known as “RWC” or resident white chick because I was the lone white female in a pod of 30 women. I was mocked daily but chose to laugh about it for fear of reprisal. The guards were of no use to me as most them were black as well, they often participated in the activities. Dealing with being the minority was an adjustment I soon learned to make. However, it was the least of the issues I would face in …show more content…
I cannot, is not something I like to admit, yet I cannot, vote, rent an apartment, hold certain licenses, find employment easily, travel outside of Harris County without permission, serve on a jury, or even own a gun. It presents with infinite obstacles in my life, yet I choose to approach each one with the ingenuity and coping skills I honed during my seven years of incarceration. I will most likely never regain any of these rights because Virginia disenfranchises felons for life. “Anyone convicted of a felony in Virginia automatically loses their civil rights - the right to vote, serve on a jury, run for office, become a notary public and carry a firearm. The Constitution of Virginia gives the Governor the sole discretion to restore civil rights, not including firearm rights” (Thomasson, 2016). To get my rights restored, I must first complete my sentence, including probation. Due to the number of convictions I have, I will be probation indefinitely. I am not alone, “there are currently more than 5.85 million disenfranchised felons and ex-felons nationwide, of whom nearly 40 percent are African Americans” (Gibson, 2015).Disenfranchisement is a lifelong

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