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The System is Fucked

Lakiesha Smith

The System is Fucked

After going back and forth to prison for most of my 20s I started to actually pay attention to what was really going on. I had met so many females with so many crazy stories it was like the odds was stacked against them from the start. I started catching cases in my 20s. I liked money so getting fast money has become my thing. I was a booster. For those who don’t know what that is I use to go in the local department stores and steal clothes. Then I would hit the streets and sell them for half the price on the tag. I don’t know if you know but people loveeeeee shit on sale lol. I started doing that when I was 20 years old. I actually just started off doing it to get the things I wanted but after I saw how much money I was making from selling the stuff I was all in. I was selling stuff in beauty shops, bars, nail salons, etc. When people would see me coming they would immediately start smiling. They started calling me deals on wheels. I don’t even think I even thought about the consequences, I just was focused on the money and only the money. 

              I caught my first case at 23. Greed played a big part in that. I had already stolen so much shit this day but I still wanted more. Big mistake. I was walking back to my car with a purse loaded with stolen items when the security came running behind me. I had never been caught so I didn’t know if I should run or just act like I didn’t see them coming. They escorted me back into the mall and back into some security room and asked to see my purse. I was already caught so I just handed it over. Long story short they took me to jail and I was now fighting my first case. SMDH. See, but let’s dive a little deeper into this situation. Like what was really going on in my life. I was 23, yes, so I was considered grown but honestly I was lacking a lot of things like direction. I had a mom who really didn’t care and I had never seen my daddy ever. I was out in these streets looking for love. Looking for acceptance and looking for some money. I think that a lot of people who end up in prison lack direction. Not saying that’s an excuse just saying this is what I noticed after talking to so many women in prison. 

              Did you know that almost half of the women that’s in prison are there because of a man? Like a man may have robbed a bank and some female was with him being a ride or die and now she’s serving 10yrs in prison. Or a man may have raped someone’s kid and the mama killed em, now she’s serving a life sentence for protecting her kids. When you start researching how a lot of these women were raised so many of them grew up in domestic violence households. When I was in prison we all had to take these classes when we get to prison. The teacher asked out of a room of about 300 women to stand up if you NEVER been sexually abused. About 20 people stood up. Meaning there was 280 women in this room that had been molested at least one time in they life. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I definitely starting counting my blessings at that moment. Being molested or being raised in a home where you are witnessing domestic violence can fuck your mind up for life. I start realizing like how wonder some of these women ended up in prison. They had some really traumatic childhoods. Sad, man, I swear. 

              The point I’m trying to make here is that a lot of times this trauma cycle starts at home. Starts with how you were raised. Yeah I know some people can be raised in these situations and still grow to be successful and don’t get caught in the system but a lot of times it goes the other way. And once you’re in the system it’s like you’re stuck in the system. Once I started catching cases it’s like it was hard to stop. Once you got that felony on your record you are labeled for life. I’m not making any excuses about why I headed down that road but I do know I was lacking a lot of things on the homefront. Even when I use to try to fight my cases it was just me. No parental guidance telling me what I should be doing or how to go at the situation. I had to learn these things myself. They say it takes a village to raise a child but it also takes a village to start changing the narrative of some of these adults. What we may have lacked growing up we have to be able to relearn what we need as an adult. We have to help people heal from all the trauma they experienced as a kid. I’m no doctor or no psychologist but I think if we wanna stop so many people from being repeat offenders we must first help them heal their minds. My opinion. 

Painting by Gwynne Duncan 

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