It’s always a musty smell seemingly coming off inmates at the end of a long turbulent ride through prison. After serving 27 years and 6 months, it seems that I have spent my entire adult life behind bars. To compound matters, I have spent more time incarcerated than free. It sometimes feels like my time spent outside of prison was a sort of a dream/nightmare that I find myself hoping to relive once again.As I move closer to that Parole date, I have discovered my fear of screwing up -or in my case- fighting and getting a written infraction looms large. I should explain. I were relocated to another prison unit. Usually, after spending so long at one place, you or I have earned a certain amount of respect. Since coming up for parole, it seems I basically quit doing time while doing time. What I mean is, I stopped being personally productive. Things like working out, attending college, taking more faith based classes, have been placed on the back burner. I seemed to be coasting comfortably through prison. Not smart or good.

It’s better to be respected than being feared.

Fear will cause death, respect will cause apprehension. Since arriving on this unit, I seemed to have turned into another person. In my previous time in other units, I were quick to be confrontational. Now, I seem apprehensive. My thinking or inaction revolves around my daughter Shapheka. When I call home, we truly talk and I cannot count the occasions that our conversations ended with her tears. Not to mention my lovely grandchildren. Amere, King and Poodie who at every moment reminds me what love truly is.


So I have a choice. Allow the gossip to get to me or confront the very same people who are too cowardly to even whisper one word to me. Yeah, at times it gets to me – then God will send someone to me like Ra. He just read off something to me. These people/kids come off like ruthless gangsters who fool the mass of other prisoners until they get the smallest infraction which causes them to dump every player to the administration (snitch). These same gossip mongers come off knowing everybody’s case, every officer’s personal business but forget that they are here for screwing around with someone’s kid. It’s like, as long as I am talking about them, no one is looking too deeply at me.

Yes, I have been a victim of gossip mongers and haters. As much as I try to get these clowns or shady nigga’s to cough up the goods, they never do. For instance, I do happen to encounter a snitch. In every instance, when you see him, he’s whispering or cuddling up with a staff member. With me being a new inmate and one accused of beating his sister to death over a Nintendo game, you can imagine the things said. When I come around and after I walk away, the coward throws up his hypocritical hand and states: ‘Lord have mercy.’ All the training I learned from two pro boxers and my stepfather ,who forced boxing gloves over my feeble fist at 6 years old, is forced out the door. Beating the shit out of this trash will only prove or give credence to the ‘crazy’ gossip.

This I know. For instance, and I have no idea why these people have these names, but another guy who went by Bullrider would be standing in the shower masturbating on a female guard who was around a hundred yards away. He had a nasty habit of being in the shower next to my cell. Every day when I got off work, he was in the shower playing with his Johnson. We’d argue. In my way, I were really warning him not to push me. He would continue, telling me to get out of his business. But in the process, he continued with the disrespect. While one night standing at my door waiting for breakfast, I could hear Bullrider gossiping about me. The guy was rude and the greater majority of what he was saying was false. He had no idea I were standing at my door. ‘That is how you feel, Bullrider?!’ I saw the shock sketched across his face. The group of inmates standing around seemed to encourage him further. ‘I said what I said Bitch ass nigga, so what?! I said ‘I’ll be out there when the doors roll’. Bullrider was slightly taller than myself and appeared to be in better shape. I was chubby and smoked illegal cigarettes. There’s no way I should have been fighting anyone. When the doors rolled, I rushed him swinging. He swung back, in seconds he was sitting on his backside looking up at me. Needless to say Bullrider never came back to the shower next door to my cell. Ironically I would be locked up a few weeks after. Supposedly, not for the fight.

Positive energy

The variables are crazy in prison. Guys come off like monsters when they are really mouses. Now, I have to drown myself in positive energy. Doing that in prison is like going through the desert looking for water. I have to create my own positive energy. I know accomplishing things outside of these walls promote inner growth. Here of late, God has opened the door to a Parole Lawyer and an Appeal Attorney. Although all their fees have not been paid, things are moving. With that being the case, ‘Writing for Freedom’ is to be released soon. You can review the preview here: Black Spring Press Group  This will hopefully help to pay lawyer fees.

If you are reading this blog, please take a moment to make a preorder. I’m sure you will enjoy the work.  Derrick L. Griffin, 05-04-2022