I’m watching this documentary on netflix called “First and last.” It shows what happens to people from the moment they are arrested, and later when they are released. They interview and document a few individuals and their stories.
I’ve often watched prison documentaries, and there are some things I could never understand. Mind you, having been on tv myself a few times, plus documenting how I saw “Crazy Eyes” from “Orange is the new black” on a “Scared Straight documentary,” I know that much of what you see is fake and bullshit.
That being said, at the end of the shows, they generally update us on what happened with the individuals they followed. More often than not, they end up drinking, doing drugs, or committing crimes again.
One guy wasn’t out even 3 hours before he was already drunk stumbling the streets again. You saw the change in his demeanor and how he went from a relatively calm guy to an aggressive drunk within minutes of being free. Some guys offered to buy him a beer and instead of saying, “I’ll have some food instead and maybe a juice or something,” he goes and buys himself a 40 ounce and is drunk within minutes.
This guy was homeless, he was in the streets right out of jail. He didn’t remain free for long and was right back in within days. I think this would be his 50th time in jail. I guess that it’s easier to have a warm bed, 3 square meals, a shower, and a roof over your head provided by the state, rather than to own up and be your own man. This guy is fucked up, and though I know he’s an alcoholic, it’s hard for me to have sympathy. The tools are available to him, but instead of going to the halfway house and trying to get back on his feet, he chose to get drunk again. I don’t understand this. But then again, I don’t understand substance abuse, I guess it goes hand in hand.
Another one, a mother of a beautiful little girl, she wasn’t out one day before she disappeared and ended up on the streets again. It’s sickening to me to see this. I could see how her Grandmother said, “Tell her baby, tell her you want her to be clean.” I could see that the little girl was hurt, but she was already damaged and cold and resigned to accept that her mother was lost. It’s heartbreaking. I only hope that the little woman DOES NOT follow in her mother’s footsteps.
Often you see these people cry and whine about how this was done to them and now they are doing the same thing to their own children. Why? I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m being insensitive, but you know what? I care more about the kid’s well being than I care about your fucking feelings. You came out clean, you did it. All you have to do is stay that way, and you can’t do it for your child? Then fuck you.
I know that drugs are no joke, but if your own life doesn’t matter to you, then at least your child should matter to you. At what point do we say enough with the excuses and take some personal responsibility for our actions? How much can we blame on someone else? These people I mentioned above have options, especially the mom, her family has a home, support system, family, etc. But nope, she goes back to drugs and the streets leaving the little girl alone again. The first guy, he ends up right back in jail.
I was happy to see that some of the people who were released did the right thing and did get their lives back in order though.
Growing Up Bronx
Please note the date on a post as it may be an old viewpoint. I keep old posts to show my evolution. The opinions and views expressed here are solely those of the author.