8. Hail Mary Pass

Dead silence screamed danger. The frenzied squeaks of prison-issued blue deck shoes on sealed cement confirmed it. That was, of course, followed by wet smacks, fast pops, loud cracks and finally a dull thud. Whoever that guy was who lay crumpled and unresponsive on the range floor, he wasn’t conscious. His legs were seized straight, quivering uncontrollably and he had pissed and shit himself. Later, after the routine cell search and customary lock down, I heard that he had died en route to hospital. Apparently he stole a bag of chips from another inmate’s canteen, but who knew? Furthermore, who cared? This was prison justice: the thief got what he deserved according to us and society—at least that’s what I told myself to cope with the tragedy of this senseless act. All I knew was that I didn’t know anything and I didn’t see anything. I had only heard it. But I wouldn’t even tell the guards that much. I had to survive, and you did that by keeping your mouth shut and turning your head. But why was this my last and best option? Why would I put myself in this horrible violence and filth? The answer was simple: I did it to save my leg and my life.

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Inclusion Working Group
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
Publication Date: 
Canadian Observatory on Homelessness