The odor makes my eyes water. The walls are covered with dried clumps of hair and soap scum. The ¼” of scum lies silently at the bottom of the broken sink. To label it filthy and unsanitary is an understatement.
Ad Seg (the Hole) doesn’t have inmate workers. There are no inmates assigned to keep the common areas of this ancient building clean. In a regular facility inmates are assigned to clean the hallways, tiers, benches and showers. If left neglected, the showers quickly begin to smell and a layer of grime builds up. At minimum, showers have to be cleaned twice a day, and once a month they are deeply cleaned with floor scrubbers and heavy-duty disinfectant.
The Hole, however, doesn’t have the luxury of inmate labor; and you can bet your life the officers aren’t going to clean the showers. If it was privately run, the health department would shut down the showers here.
I have no options, so in order for me to wash I have to enter the dirtiest place in the Hole. As long as I avoid the walls, and keep my feet firmly in my shower sandals, I come out pretty clean.
The majority of the staff in a prison is jaded; they believe that no inmate really changes while in prison. They think a criminal is always a criminal. To them, those who appear changed are only playing a role; but they have never seen the transforming power of Christ.
I am witness to the fact that once-hardened criminals can be truly transformed. Men who never felt an ounce of pity for the victims of their crimes now have consciences, and hearts that ache when they upset someone. Men who once carried a gun, ready to kill, now proudly carry a Bible, ready to give the Words of Life. Men who freely took what was not theirs now unselfishly give of their possessions and themselves, knowing all are from God.
True change does take place behind the walls and razor wire of prisons. Souls are cleansed in the filthiest location society offers.
Prisons are filled to the brim with the filthiest, most sinful people. The darkness of sin lives around and inside prison walls. If sin had an odor the stench would radiate from prisons in plumes of thick clouds. If sin had a vacation destination, prison would be number one on its list.
At times, however, God uses a filthy place, like a prison, to clean His own, just like the shower in the Hole cleans me. It is there He provides time for the Word to penetrate deep into a hardened heart; and it is there that His love, grace and mercy mold the once-hard clay, to create a vessel for His use. But….yes, there is a “but.”
Just as I must not touch the walls and floors that are covered with grime, the inmate must stay away from the sin that is ever-present in prison. By remaining clean, one can come out ready to serve, and live for, Christ.
Yes, prisons have a lot of filth, but God uses places like prisons to raise up some mighty men and women, who love Him and serve Him.
Please don’t doubt the power of God to change a sinful man, for it is that same power that changed you.
….….thinking it’s time to wash my armpits…….
Adrian G. Torres
This blog was authored by Adrian who is incarcerated. Adrian sends the blogs via US Mail to Friends of Adrian volunteers who post the blog.
The website is owned and maintained by Friends of Adrian volunteers. Due to his incarceration, Adrian Torres has no access to the website and is unable to respond to any comments posted.
Comments are answered by Friends of Adrian volunteers.**