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“Why some can’t adjust to change.”

Former NFL player Aaron Hernandez has been talked about in the news as well as the sports world since his conviction on murder charges. But this past week, Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell. Now questions linger as to what was going through his mind toward the end of his life. He had just the day prior was found not guilty two separate murders in other states. But the suicide came out of nowhere. But more than the suicide or even his murder charges, everyone want to know, how did he lose it all? What was it about the NFL that he couldn’t adjust to his knew life.

To the dominant society, it seems odd that a multimillionaire can’t just fly straight. But when you grow up a certain way, some people just cannot adjust. Meaning, just because you have a lot of money does not mean you’re going to change who you are internally. If anything, money just magnifies who you really are as a person. So whatever you were prior to the money, you’re more now. But still, the average Joe feels like Hernandez had life in his hands. Big NFL contract, married with a child, nice home; everything seemed right. So what was it about the street life he couldn’t shake loose.

Well, if you didn’t grow up in the street or knew someone that deep in the street, then you won’t understand how Aaron could become who he was in life. There is aspect of the street lifestyle that is within you already. Just as there are some people who can’t take part in the activities in the street. Not everyone is cut out for that life, but some are cut out. Hernandez was lured in after the death of his father. When a boy loses his dad, it’s much easier to pull him into the street because he is now looking for guidance. And if there is no one who can tell him in the street he’s headed down a wrong path, then the flower blooms how it wants to bloom.

So in the end, Aaron Hernandez is not the first pro athlete to fall victim to himself. A lot of guys have not been able to change their ways. Some men have even turned to abusing narcotics and alcohol because they can’t adjust to the new life they have. What’s sad is that more young men each and every year are suspended from professional sports leagues. And until they learn to leave old ways behind they will always have problems in life.

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IRON: The Business of Prison

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“In and out, the revolving door of the penitentiary.”

Growing up in the inner city, I saw a constant stream of men going in and out of prison. You would ask, “Hey where is so and so?” “Oh, he’s back in jail.” “What happened?” “Parole violation or robbed somebody or shot somebody.” If you didn’t know any better, you’d think prison was a business the way guys would go in and out. I guess that’s where that term career criminal comes from. Guys go to jail like it’s a paid position. But why? Why is the business of prison such a booming business.

I know you’re thinking, booming business. How is prison considered booming business? Think about this, the cost of keeping an inmate in prison is more than it cost to employ that inmate outside in the general population. So with that said, prison is kind of counterproductive for inmates. Well at least the ones that have not committed serious offenses such as strong armed robbers, rapist, child molesters, and murderers. No, no , I’m referring to the low level criminals like the forgers, petty thieves, and men behind on their child support. They are the ones that are taking up space; or are they really.

The prison business is big industry from the bedding that inmates sleep on to the food in the mess hall. The state issued clothing to the commissary on their monthly books. Someone is making money on a consistent basis supplying all these things. The question of what they are in the business of is answered, now who are the players in the game? There are two companies that hold three quarters of the market: Corrections Corporation of America and Wackenhut. Now these prisons get a contract for however many inmates can fit into a penitentiary. Guys get released for good behavior, but when they break the rules, there is more time added to their sentence. Which in turn means more money for the company.

Now prison is suppose to be for rehabilitation; on the surface at least. But when you look beneath the surface, you see the easy it is to get back into the penal system. And with the three strikes law, it further sweetens the deal for the corporation. I don’t care if you steal a bicycle or a slice a pizza, that’s 25 years to life on that third strike. But you’re probably wondering, why is it so hard for people to stay clean. All you do is get out, get a job, stay clean, no more problems. Wait a minute, let’s observe this for a second.

When you exit prison, a lot of men want to hurry up and get out, so they are paroled. Paroled is the key word, not freed. Getting released from prison with a parole officer can be just as constricting as prison. Parole officers would love nothing more than to catch you doing anything, no matter what it is; just to send you back to prison. Now you ask yourself, why would they want to do that. Well, these officers don’t earn their living by being nice. Plus, with the way prisons are set up as a business what is the incentive for them to see you free. There’s nothing in it for them, unless you’re back inside. Then you’re right back in the system once again. Not only back in, but serving the remainder of your sentence and maybe more time.

What about the men leaving prison and are free without parole officer. Then in that case you still have a long road ahead of you. Because first you have to find someone charitable enough to give you a job. Then, you have to distance yourself between you and your old circle of friends. God forbid you have a felony, you’re better off at times going back into a life of crime. With all of that has been said, why do some people get into crime to begin with; it seems quite avoidable.

The problem is that desperation brings guys into this life of crime. And sometimes as you’re in the life and eventually you want out. But then you find yourself in too deep, so you keep going further. Hopefully if you do get locked up it’s only enough time to be back on the outside as a productive member of society. You can have another opportunity to turn your life around. But for the ones who are there long, such as the lifers, you’re now part of the business. The business of the American prison system.