Prison is a place that will either make you or break you, or perhaps even both, and maybe even many times over, before getting it absolutely right or completely wrong. And the difference between “make” and “break” depends on the individual’s own definition of the two and the defining moment(s) that brought him/her within their present state of mind.
I cannot imagine a lower point than prison, but you can sink even lower while in prison, and when I first came to prison I began traveling down that lower path. I began messing up, going to the hole and doing the hard-headed, bucking the system thing, but it got me nowhere real fast. Before I came to the point of no return, I stopped. Realizing I was messing up in a bad way, I evaluated myself and in turn, I re-evaluated everything.
I focused more on my writing. I worked to have a better relationship with my family. I took any self-help classes that were available to me, and still do. I started working out and building my body into something I could have only dreamed of before. I literally worked myself into a mental boot camp. I am currently working to become a successful writer and so far I have one book and four short stories published. I write under my free-world nickname, “Jeremy Mac”, but my real name is Jeremy Keith Phillips #115991. I have been serving a life sentence for first degree murder since August 24, 1999. I was 20 years old when I was jailed and 21 years old when I became an ADC inmate. I am now 34 years old. I am not just one exception out of thousands who has shown tremendous improvement and outstanding self-rehabilitation, there are many more, and if given the chance, would be productive and beneficial members of society. For me, my writing is only the beginning. There is so much more I want to do and so much more I feel I need to do for others. I just need that chance.
I am now a different and much better person than who I was when I came to prison several years ago. I just hate it took me coming here to do that. This place has shown me who I once was, it has made me who I am today, and it has destroyed who I will never be again.
Cummins UnitGrady, AR