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People want to claim that prisoners shouldn’t get to eat shrimp or have crabmeat on their commissary because it would be luxury items that they don’t need and don’t deserve. It’s ignorant people who think we’re getting it for free. No. If we did for some miracle, get shrimp in commissary, it would be at least five dollars for a small packet that barely fits in the palm of your hand. And yes, WE, the inmates, pay for our food from commissary.

The food that we don’t pay for that is served to us in the kitchen comes in large boxes marked, “Not For Human Consumption”. Unless the food is black, we can’t throw it away and must cook it and serve it to the 900+ inmates at the facility. If the food is green, we rub more seasoning into it, cook it longer, and still serve it. If it smells funny, we rub more seasoning on it and cook it very well done.

Ignorant people think I’m lying. If I had a camera, I’d take pictures, but there are no cameras allowed inside a federal correctional institution. Because an ignorant person claiming prisoners get it too easy behind bars has never been in prison before, let me tell you how we really have it and how ignorant people need to get themselves educated about reality and not something they see on tv or not what they’ve been misled to believe.

We used to have mattresses. It didn’t matter that they were old, dingy, filled with holes, and that the springs were broke and stuck out all the time, scratching and cutting us when we laid down. We had mattresses and that was the closest thing we had to feeling like normal human beings. Now, we have green mats, an inch and a half thick, with hard green pillows to sleep on. Imagine being 58 with old bones and having to sleep on something that has no support, it feels like you’re sleeping on concrete day after day for the next ten or fifteen or twenty years. That’s what it’s like. A slow torture that breaks down your bones, because we don’t get enough calcium in our horrible prison diet. You ache everywhere. If you manage to fall asleep at all, you’d wake up feeling worse than before. Sleep on concrete with an inch of flimsy material between you that gives way for the next decade so you’re basically sleeping on concrete like a homeless person and then you can complain about how “lucky” we prisoners have it and how “easy” prison is.

Ignorant people don’t know anything. That’s why they’re ignorant. Well, let me help educate you on the realities of prison conditions and prison life.

That’s our realities. We work eight hour days, five times a week, for a total amount of $5.25 a MONTH. That’s 4x LESS than what a slave laborer in a third world country like Bangladesh makes in a month. They get paid $0.13 an hour and make $20.80 a month on 40 hour weeks. Inmates living in a rich economic free country where slavery was abolished in 1865 make LESS than slave laborers in a poor third world country! What is wrong with that picture? Everything! Everything is wrong with that picture.

The prison industry is the largest slave factory in the world.

Now, inmates do get three free not-for-human-consumption meals a day, so it must not be all that bad. Well, count roaches as part of those free meals because the kitchen is infested with roaches! Everything has to be cleaned twice and if a roach or two or a few falls into the gigantic pots of awesome homemade gruel you’re making, just pray you’re not the one who gets them on your plate. We’re in Florida so you have regular roaches and huge palmetto bugs that fly. They look like the hissing Madagascar roaches in the Will Smith movie, Men in Black.

As if that’s not scary enough, there’s mice, gnats coming from out of shower drains, and black mold. We get rid of that last one by painting over it, pretending it doesn’t exist because we can’t see it anymore.

Prison life is not some easy, free three meals a day gig. It’s not what people think it is. And to have a miracle where we can buy something like shrimp that costs our entire monthly paycheck is not a luxury. It is sad that ignorant people want stricter prison laws and worse slave labor laws so that inmates can feel “punished” for their crimes. Any person would abhor prison and it’s conditions on their self, so why is it okay to “punish” others even more? It’s NOT okay.

I am an innocent woman who is serving 25 years for something someone else did. I don’t deserve any punishment and I’ve been through some terrible things in my ten years behind bars. I never even got a speeding ticket in my life and here I am fighting for my freedom from an illegal incarceration.

Good job, America, for being the number one country with the highest incarceration rate in the world. And good job on putting innocent law abiding citizens like myself who has never gotten in trouble in the past fifty years of my life, behind bars. America, you must be really proud of yourself for your support of human rights and justice.