Reflections on Prison’s Soft Violence

Published date01 May 2022
Date01 May 2022
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 215 –220
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221096734
Reflections on Prison’s Soft
Dr.Jason Kahler
The following is from my journal, dated September 19, 2017:
Well, here I am. We woke up early and headed down, after stopping to get my tether
removed. The trip was fine, a little foggy and rainy. The sun came out, though, and in a
tremendous case of irony, it ended up being a really nice day. . . .
The facility looks a lot like the pictures online. It’s not a friendly place, but it’s not
Shawshank, either. The officers who handle processing are stern and to the point, but they
also can’t work the fingerprinting computer very well. Listening to them bicker about
computers not working was oddly normal. They get you out of your civilian clothes really
fast, around a corner, after one of the officers orders you to “get naked” . . . .
I think I am following my rules of not making jokes and not trusting anyone. . . .
Everyone has their own things that they have going on, and it’s not without laughter or
even without music. Weirdly, I am reminded of high school: loud, ruckus, and with
agendas everywhere. . . .
So, I am in my top bunk, writing, listening to myriad voices. Some shout out, others are
friendly, some guys read or sleep.
Day One.
FCI-Elkton: “We’ve got lots of guys like you here.”
I had reported to FCI-Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio, to begin serving my 41-month sentence
for one count of possession of illegal pornography. I am ashamed of my behavior, the
pain and embarrassment I caused the people who love me, and the role I played in the
revictimization of some of society’s most vulnerable. With the support of family and
friends and a 12-Step Program, I am addressing the underlying issues that led to my
crime. As of this writing, I am nearly five years sober.
I arrived at prison knowing the same stories about prison that everyone knows. The
fear is especially heightened for people arriving as a result of sex crimes. Within the
first few hours of my stay at FCI-Elkton, before I’d really entered the facility, I met my
first Case Manager. She went down my file, asked me some simple questions, and then
asked me a difficult question. She asked if I thought there was any reason that I
1096734CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221096734Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeKahler

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