The Marshall Project

A Pacifist's Plan to Survive the Violent World of Prison

Before I even open my eyes I am reminded of where I am, by the yelling and smell of sweat in the dormitory, the hardness of the metal bunk beneath my four-inch thick mattress, the fluorescent lights burning through my eyelids, my anxiety.

When I do finally open my eyes, I see men moving all around me like an army of ants. It’s only 5:14 in the morning, but they’re already gambling on Texas Hold Em’ games while sitting on rusty footlockers, smoking cigarettes. Others are hustling for their living: washing laundry, sewing clothes or rolling smokes.

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