You can cry in the shower

24 02 2009

Part of helping my clients at the prison is teaching the first timers how to survive. Unfortunately, that means encouraging behavior which feeds into the prison mentality and stereotypes of masculinity. The reasons behind it are important of course. Personal safety is crucial and those new to the prison environment know nothing about the rules or how negatively it will impact them if they break  them.

Often I meet with men putting a great deal of effort into holding back their tears. I acknowledge their pain and how they are feeling and try to gauge if they want to let it out or not. You can tell….those who are looking to let the tears out will do so as they turn their heads away from the door so others don’t see them. The men who fight the tears are usually the ones who need to let the pain out the most. In those moments, I remember the words of an inmate I met with when I first started this job. “Tell ’em to cry in the shower. It’s the only alone time you have in this place and no one can tell that you’ve been crying when you get out.”  I share that information often and that it came from a prior inmate. It is unfortunate that they social rules of prison life won’t allow for expression of pain and vulnerability….that is just what alot of these men need.

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5 responses

24 02 2009
Jules

That makes me sad. Especially for the students of mine I see headed for that road.

25 02 2009
cb

Wow – yes, that is really sad.

25 02 2009
reas

It IS sad, but not surprising. Consider the culture, it’s actually a really good piece of advice.

3 03 2009
Ryann

Just dropping by.Btw, you website have great content!

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7 09 2011
Flash Bailbonds

First of all, you should learn the ways on how to survive in prison. The first thing you should remember is that you should not show fear, despair or any other vulnerability in front of many people, specifically the prisoners. If they see that you are weak, they will make you a target. Also, engage in some activities like basketball, spades or chess so you have something to do while waiting for your time to be released. You may even get a prison job instead so you can pass the time. Start reading as well.

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